Papa Panov’s Magic Christmas by Paul Thain

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This Play is the copyright of the Author and must NOT be Performed without the Author’s PRIOR consent


In darkness, all the CHILDREN enter through the auditorium, each carrying a lighted candle,
singing a favourite Carol

They sit around the main acting area

As the Carol ends, the STORYTELLER steps into the circle of golden candlelight

STORYTELLER : Have you ever heard of Papa Panov ?

The CHILDREN shake their heads

STORYTELLER : No ? Well, he was certainly a very strange and
curious man. Most people thought he was mad, but there were
some who believed he had been blessed by God.

As the CHILDREN imitate a cold Wind ...

STORYTELLER : It all began one Christmas Eve many, many
years ago, far, far away in a land called Russia.

The Wind howls to a crescendo, but then - prompted by a
commanding gesture of the STORYTELLER - it abruptly dies
as the CHILDREN simultaneously blow out their candles

STORYTELLER : Imagine if you will, a little village huddled
under a pale moon in a valley of silver snow.

From the dark Silence we hear a small group of approaching
CAROLSINGERS

Lights slowly rise as PAPA PANOV enters - an old man with a
long, white beard, spectacles and straggling hair. He goes
to his bench and works on a pair of riding boots

STORYTELLER : Papa Panov smiled as he worked at his bench,
grateful that the singing children had remembered him. But
even their sweet voices couldn’t take away his sadness.

As the singing ends, a young CAROLSINGER knocks on the
imaginary door

STORYTELLER : It had been a hard and painful year.

GIRL 1 : Papa Panov ! Papa Panov !

STORYTELLER : Since the death of his dear wife, his
only comfort had been his talent for making beautiful
shoes, but now he knew his old and tired eyes would
soon no longer be able to thread a needle.

GIRL 1 : Papa Panov ! Papa Panov !

PAPA PANOV struggles to his feet and goes to answer
the door

CAROLSINGERS : Merry Christmas, Papa Panov ! Merry
Christmas!

PAPA PANOV : Thank you, thank you all.

GIRL 1 : Isn’t it wonderful ? Isn’t it exciting ?

BOY 1 : I’ve asked Father Christmas for a toy boat!

BOY 2 : So have I.

GIRL 1 : I want a doll !

BOY 3 : I want a rocking horse !

BOY 2 : So do I. I’m getting a rocking horse and a
toy boat!

BOY 3 : I’ve asked for a toy soldier !

BOY 2 : So have I. I’m getting a rocking horse and a
toy boat and whole box of soldiers.

GIRL 2 : All I want is a golden ribbon. What’s he
bringing you, Papa Panov ?

PAPA PANOV : Me ?

GIRL 3 : Yes, what’s he bringing you ?

We hear the tinkle of sleigh-bells as the COUNT’S
sleigh approaches - drawn by four children each
wearing a horse’s head

PAPA PANOV : Dear oh dear, I really don’t know, but
I’m sure he’ll think of something. Oh look, I think
his Lordship has come to wish us all a Merry Christmas.

COUNT : Papa Panov !

PAPA PANOV : Yes, my Lord ?

COUNT : Over here - a word, if you please !

PAPA PANOV : (approaching) Yes,my Lord ?

COUNT : My Boots ! My new riding boots ! I was supposed
to have them yesterday!

PAPA PANOV : Forgive me, my Lord, a slight delay - my
eyes, I fear my eyes aren’t quite as -

COUNT : Tomorrow, do you hear ? I need them tomorrow.
I must have my boots tomorrow!

PAPA PANOV : But my Lord, tomorrow is Christmas.

COUNT : (whipping his horses forward) Precisely ! That
is why I must have my boots tomorrow ! Now get to it,
man, or you’ll be sorry !

The COUNT exits and the Sleigh-bells fade into the
distance.

GIRL 2 : Oh, dear.

PAPA PANOV : Yes, oh dear.

BOY 1 : And he didn’t even wish you a Merry Christmas.

PAPA PANOV : No, no he didn’t, I’m sure he’s much too
busy. But you must excuse me, children, you heard his
Lordship, I have to work.

CHILDREN : Goodnight, Papa Panov.

PAPA PANOV : Good night, children. God bless.

STORYTELLER : Papa Panov trudged through the thick snow
back to his little wooden house.

PAPA PANOV goes to his bench, picks up his sewing needle.
‘Outside’, the CHILDREN sing “Silent Night”

STORYTELLER : Again and again he tried to thread the
needle, but each time his old eyes failed him. It was
hopeless.

PAPA PANOV sighs, gives up and goes to his chair, where
he picks up his Bible

As the Children softly hum “Silent Night”

STORYTELLER : Close to despair, Papa Panov picked up his
Bible and tried to read, but again his old eyes failed him.
But then, then something wonderful happened - just as the
words began to float from the page, the whole room suddenly
filled with a soft silver light ...

The Singing is suddenly silent

A shaft of soft, silver Light appears ...

Silence

The INNKEEPER - played by the same actor as the Count -
enters, followed by MARY & JOSEPH

INNKEEPER : Are you people deaf ? Haven’t I told you ?
Haven’t I said ? How many more times ? We’re full ! There
is no room at the Inn! Kindly go away!

JOSEPH : Please, you don’t understand.

INNKEEPER : Can’t you see ? My riding boots ! I’m looking
for my riding boots ! Now go away, you silly little man!

MARY : Please, we’ve tried everywhere, there is no where
else.

JOSEPH : My wife is expecting a baby.

INNKEEPER : She’s what ? A baby ? Dear oh dear, that is
unfortunate.

MARY : There must be somewhere ?

INNKEEPER : My dear lady, I’d be only too delighted to
oblige, but as I’ve already tried to explain -

JOSEPH : Anywhere.

MARY : Please.

JOSEPH : Please.

INNKEEPER : Well ... there is a stable round the back.
It’s hardly suitable but at least it’s dry.

MARY : Thank you, thank you.

INNKEEPER : (leading them off) This way then ...

PAPA PANOV struggles to his feet ...

PAPA PANOV : ... no, no ... wait, wait - I have a room.
Let them stay here. And I’ve a blanket, a nice, warm
blanket they can ... Gone, they’ve gone.

Puzzled, PAPA PANOV shakes his head, sits down again

The CHILDREN imitate a strange, cold wind

The three KINGS appear

PAPA PANOV : Who ... who are you ?

KING 1 : We are the three kings.

KING 2 : We have travelled far, bearing gifts for the
little Prince.

KING 3 : I bring Gold.

KING 1 : I bring Frankincense.

KING 1 : I bring Myrrh.

KING 1 : And who are you ?

PAPA PANOV : Me ? Oh, I’m nobody. I’m certainly no
King.

KING 1 : But surely you must have a gift for the
Prince of Peace?

PAPA PANOV : I’ve nothing. I’m only a poor shoemaker.
What can I give? (standing) No - don’t go. Don’t leave
me. Take me with you. Take me to Bethlehem.

KING 3 : Our journey is long and you are too old.

PAPA PANOV : Too old ? Well, yes. Yes, I suppose I am.

The KINGS quickly confer

KING 2 : Perhaps it would be better if He came to see
you.

PAPA PANOV : Who ? You mean Jesus ?

KING 1 : Tomorrow. He will come tomorrow.

PAPA PANOV : But my Lord, tomorrow is Christmas.

KING 1 : Christmas Day, without fail.

KING 2 : Be ready.

KING 3 : Be sure to be ready.

PAPA PANOV : Jesus ? Jesus is coming here ?

KING 1 : Tomorrow.

KING 3 : Farewell, Papa Panov.

PAPA PANOV ; But what will he look like ? Will He be
a baby, or a man, or a - ?

KING 1 : God be with you.

KING 2 : Be ready.

KING 3 : Be sure to be ready.

The strange, cold Wind fades to Silence

Papa Panov urgently goes to his bench, picks up a pair of baby shoes

PAPA PANOV : No, wait ! I’ve just remembered - I do have a gift!
Shoes! Beautiful shoes, the finest I ever made. Please take them and give
them to -

When he turns back, the THREE KINGS have vanished

PAPA PANOV sighs, returns to his chair where he falls asleep

Lights slowly rise as we hear the approach of SLEIGH BELLS

The COUNT’s sleigh draws up and he strides across and bangs on Papa Panov’s door

COUNT : Papa Panov! Papa Panov!

PAPA PANOV : (shaking himself awake) ... what ? Who ... who is it?

COUNT : Open this damn door!

- end of extract -

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