One Christmas Night by John Trent
The stage is dark, except the faint glow of Christmas lights offstage.
Bing Crosby's "I'll Be Home For Christmas" begins playing.
As Music ends a Voice-over begins ...
ROBERT:The word "Christmas"often brings fear to the hearts of
manyAt least for those of us that dread everything that is involved
with that special time of yearAll that last minute Christmas
shoppingTrying to remember where we hid the presentsRealizing
that everything uses batteries and you have none The overcooked
turkey The fruitcake And no matter how carefully you rolled up
those lights and put them away last year, they will be snarled again
this ChristmasNow, once again that holiday season has come upon us
and no matter how prepared we are there is not enough time. For many,
Christmas is a time that each of us observes, in his own way, by going
to the mall of his choice and buying this year's gifts with next
year's money. Oh, for the good old days when people would stop
Christmas shopping when they ran out of moneyFor some,Christmas is
a time when you get homesick - even when you're home. And that's
what we are doing this ChristmasNo. Not get sickWe are going
home to visit Mom for ChristmasHopefully we don't get sick
Don't get me wrong, I like Christmas as much as anyone else. I also
like family. I just don't like both together.But, I promised Mom I
would come visit this year.Don't misunderstand, I visit mom several
times a year, but not at Christmas. It's been a number of years
since I have been home for the holidays. Once I moved out I decided I
would never go back for Christmas. Dad passed away the Christmas
before I moved and after what happened that night, I just didn't
want to be home for Christmas. I had no brothers or sisters. So
besides a couple of neighbors, Mom has no one to come and visit
her.Well, it's Christmas Eve and here we are. Almost to Mom's
houseOh, shoot!!! I think I left the Christmas presents at home
Maybe no one will noticeWho am I kidding? I'm in big trouble.
"I'm Getting NuttinFor Christmas" begins playing
THE SCENE WITH THE BURNT TOAST
Lights come up on Martha's living room. It is decorated warmly for
Christmas. Nothing fancy, but you can tell a lot of love and care went
into preparing it for the holidays. Christmas Classics are playing in
the background. Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, etc
After a brief moment the doorbell rings. There is a pause. Doorbell
rings again. MARTHA enters. She is in her mid-sixties. She could be
everybody's Grandmother. Has a pleasant manner about her. She has a
sharp wit. She is dressed like a Christmas tree. She is also wearing
oven mitts as she comes out.
MARTHA: I'm coming. Just hold on. You got here quicker than I
thought you would.
Tries to open the door while she still has the oven mitts on
Can't get a grip on the door knob
MARTHA: Just be patient will you? I'm doing the best I can. I guess
it would help to take these off. (Takes off oven mitts) I can't wait
to give you some of Grandma's sugar.
MARTHA: Opens door
SARAH steps in
MARTHA: On second thought, maybe I won't.
SARAH is carrying several small packages
She is the opposite of MARTHA. Never smiles. She has made a meager
attempt at dressing for the holidays)
SARAH: If you give me some of Grandma's sugar, I might puke all
MARTHA: Merry Christmas, Sarah.
SARAH: Do you have to say that every time you see me?
MARTHA: No. Only when you look sad and grumpy (Looks at SARAH who
has a grumpy face) I guess I do say it every time I see you.
SARAH: (Sets packages on table and sits down at table) Well, never
mind. Why are you dressed like a Christmas Tree? You look ridicules.
MARTHA: Because it's Christmas and I want to be in the spirit of the
SARAH: Every year you dress in some ridicules costume. Last year you
were a snowman. I'm surprised you didn't melt with all that warm
Christmas cheer you always have in here.
MARTHA: (Sits at table opposite of Sarah) Now Sarah, if you dressed up
for Christmas you might enjoy it a little more.
SARAH: I do enjoy ChristmasI just enjoy it a little more once
it's over… But then before you know it, it's back again. When I
was little, Christmas was a lot simpler. Didn't have to worry about
buying presents for everyone and making a big fuss at dinner. It was
all about being with family and reading the 'Good Book'.
MARTHA: When you were young no one had heard of Christmas and the
'Good Book' wasn't even written yet. (Hides her laugh at the
joke she just made)
SARAH: That's not funny.
MARTHA: Oh, Sarah, you know I'm only joking with you I'm sure
they had written at least up to Deuteronomy by the time you were
SARAH: (Changing the subject) So when is Robby and that family of his
supposed to be here?
MARTHA: They should be here any minute. In fact I thought that was
them when you rang the doorbell.
SARAH: Why would I ring the doorbell if it was them? They could have
ringed it themselves.
MARTHA: That's not what I meant Never mind.
SARAH: You don't suppose they will miss coming again do you?
MARTHA: No, they wouldn't do that. Robby promised.
SARAH: Well, the past couple of years he has promised and then
something always comes up at the last minute.
MARTHA: (Politely defending her son) Robby is a busy man with his job
SARAH: Too busy for his own mother? You shouldn't make excuses for
MARTHA: I'm not making excuses for himSo why did you stop by
Sarah? To spread your Christmas cheer?
SARAH: Came to drop off a few presents and to make sure you're ok.
MARTHA: I'm doing fine.
SARAH: I know how lonely a person cat get around the holidays when
they lose the one they love (Lost in her own thoughts) The most
important person in their life.
MARTHA: I thought you were never married?
SARAH: I wasn't(Pause) I lost a goldfish once though.
MARTHA: (A big confused) Howsad.
SARAH: Well, it was. I was about ten years old and I won it at the
fair. I took Goldie everywhere. The best friend I ever had. About a
week after I got her she died. I cried and cried. My mom told me it
hurt so bad because I loved her so muchI decided that I would never
want to hurt that bad again. So I figured I would just always be
MARTHA: (Pause) So you decided to never get married because of a
goldfish that died?
SARAH: No. I decided I would never have a pet again. I never got
married because the right person never came along. No one could deal
with my charming personality.
MARTHA: I'm sure they couldn't. When you told me about your
goldfish, I thought it had something to do with why you never got
SARAH: Oh no! I just happen to think about Goldie. You really need to
stay with the story Martha.
MARTHA: I will try.
SARAH: (Pause) So how much longer do you think it will be?
MARTHA: I'm not really sure. Should be any minute. (Goes to window
and looks out) No sign of them yet.
SARAH: Why are you looking out the window? Isn't your stove in the
MARTHA: (Confused) Yes Why do you ask?
SARAH: I can smell those cookies you are baking. Was wondering how
much longer it will be, before they are ready.
MARTHA: (Realize what Sarah was talking about) OhThe cookies. You
were wondering when the cookies will be done. They're just about
SARAH: What did you think I was talking about?
MARTHA: Nothing (Hoping to get rid of SARAH) Are you leaving soon?
Or did you need something else?
SARAH: Why thank you. It's nice of you to offer. A few of those
cookies would be nice.
MARTHA: OkHaven't heard the timer yet, but I guess I will go see
if they are ready.
MARTHA starts to exit
SARAH: Oh! And a glass of milk would be great with those cookies.
Can't have cookies without milk. And make sure it's low fat. Need
to watch my diet.
MARTHA exits into kitchen
SARAH looks around the house trying to figure out what she can snoop
Spots Christmas cards on small table near front door
Gets up and goes over to table
Starts looking at cards
SARAH: How sweet. Everyone dressed their pets as Santa Claus. Wonder
how Goldie would have looked dressed as Santa.
MARTHA enters carrying a glass of milk with a plate of cookies
MARTHA: Sarah, you're leaving?
SARAH: No. Just stretching my legs. Where are you going?
MARTHA: Nowhere. Here's your cookies and milk.
MARTHA sits milk and cookies on dining table as she sits down herself
SARAH: (Sitting down) You didn't bake very many.
SARAH: The cookies. You didn't bake very many. You only baked two.
There is not enough for the two of us. (Takes both cookies)
MARTHA: Well, I guess I can get some more.
SARAH: That would be nice. I guess I could eat a few more. Thanks.
MARTHA: I need to check the laundry as well and then I will be right
SARAH: I will be right here. (Doorbell rings) Martha, did you forget
your key? You could have just come back in through the backdoor.
(Doorbell rings again) Hold on, I'm coming. Don't know why I have
to answer the door It's probably just carolers anyway.
SARHA opens door
A group of people shout Merry Christmas
SARAH slams door
SARAH: I was right.
Starts to walk back towards table
Doorbell rings again
SARAH goes back towards door
SARAH: Wonder who that is now. (Opens door) May I help you?
ROBERT: (Offstage) Sarah! It's me. Robertand my family.
SARAH: What are you doing here?
ROBERT: We're here to see my mom.
SARAH: Well, maybe you should go over to her house. Might have better
luck seeing her there.
ROBERT: This is her house.
SARAH looks around the house for a moment
SARAH: You're right. What is it doing over here?
ROBERT enters followed by JESSIE, NATALIE AND KYLE.
ROBERT and JESSIE are mid-thirties
NATALIE is around 14 and KYLE is around 12
ROBERT: Where's Mom?
SARAH: Not sure where she went. She was here a few minutes ago then
she just left. When you rang the doorbell I thought that was her, but
I guess you had no problem ringing the doorbell yourself.
NATALIE: Dad, who is that?
ROBERT: This is Sarah. She is a longtime friend of Grandma's. I
believe she is the mother of Isaac. Grandmother of Jacob.
JESSIE: Robert! Don't do that.
NATALIE: Why is she here?
ROBERT: No one really knows. She just shows up.
KYLE: She looks like a crumpet.
JESSIE: Children! Behave yourselves.
KYLE: Well, she does.
JESSIE: Still you shouldn't say things like that. (To ROBERT)
They get this from you.
SARAH: Who are these two darling little kids?
ROBERT: These are my children. Natalie and Kyle.
SARAH: Well, come over here and give me some sugar you two.
NATALIE and KYLE don't move
JESSIE starts pushing kids over towards SARAH
JESSIE: Go on. It's not going to kill you.
NATALIE: But, it might!
KYLE: Dad! Help!
SARAH grabs both kids and hugs them real tight and kisses them
SARAH: There. That wasn't that bad was it? (To ROBERT) So whose kids
are these? Never seen them before.
ROBERT: They are mine, Natalie and Kyle.
SARAH: And who are you?
ROBERT: I'm RobertMartha's son.
SARAH: Martha's son? I don't remember her having a child. She had
a goldfish onceI think.
NATALIE: Mom, is she crazy?
JESSIE: No. She's just old. She just forgets things sometimes.
KYLE: Is there a difference.
ROBERT: Of course you remember me, Sarah. I use to go to the grocery
store for you when I was younger.
SARAH: Oh yes. That's right. I remember. You would get lost every
time you left the driveway.
ROBERT: No I didn't!
SARAH: Yes you did. I don't forget anything.
ROBERT: Ok. Maybe I got lost once.
SARAH: (To JESSIE) Maybe once an hour. (To ROBERT) What did you say
your name was?
ROBERT: It's Robert.
SARAH: Robert? RobertRobertDon't remember any Robert, but I do
remember a little kid by the name of Robbie.
ROBERT: That's me. RobertRobbie
SARAH: Robbie? You're little Robbie?
ROBERT: Yes, I amLittle Robbie.
SARAH gets excited
SARAH: My gosh! Years ago you went down the driveway and got lost.
Thank goodness, they finally found you. You don't look anything like
your picture on that milk carton though. If we ever find your mother,
she is going to be so happy.
ROBERT: Find my mother? Mom is lost?
SARAH: She is? It seems like it runs in the family.[end of extract]