A Christmas Carol Play
A Christmas Carol Play Act One
Written by: Walter Ben Hare
Adapted from the famous story of "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens
Scene: The counting house of Scrooge and Marley. A dark, dreary office, indicated by brown
curtains at sides, with entrances R. and L. and brown curtains at rear. Note: These rear
curtains must be arranged to be parted, showing the tableau stage back of the real stage.
The tableau stage is elevated a few feet above the real stage (this makes a better picture
but is not absolutely necessary). High desk at R. facing the R. wall. Tall stool at this
desk; ledger, quill pen, ink, candle on this desk. Small, old desk down L., facing audience.
Desk chair back of this desk. Two common wooden chairs at R.C. and L.C. Ledger, quill pen,
books, candle stuck in an old dark bottle, on desk down L.
Before the curtain rises Waits are heard singing off L. Curtain rises disclosing Bob
Cratchit seated on stool, bent over ledger at desk R., working by the light of the candle.
Waits (outside, sing "Christmas Carol").
(Cratchit turns and listens.)
Enter Scrooge from R. in a towering passion. Slams door R. Cratchit hurriedly returns to his
work. Scrooge crosses to door L. and flings it open angrily.
Scrooge (flinging open door L. at this point). Get away from my door. Begone, ye beggars!
I've nothing for you.
First Wait (sticking his head in door at L.). Only a shillin', sir, for a merry Christmas,
Scrooge. Get away from there or I'll call the police.
First Wait. Only a shillin', sir.
Scrooge. Not a penny. I have other places to put my money. Go on, now. You don't get a cent.
Not a penny!
First Wait. All right, sir. Merry Christmas, just the same, sir. (Exits L.)
Scrooge (comes down to his desk at L., muttering). Howling idiots! Give 'em a shilling, hey?
I'd like to give 'em six months in the work'us, that I would. Paupers! I'd show 'em what a
merry Christmas is. (Cratchit gets down from stool and starts to slink out L.) Hey!
Cratchit (pauses, turns to Scrooge). Yes, sir.
Scrooge. Where you goin'?
Cratchit. I was just goin' to get a few coals, sir. Just to warm us up a bit, sir.
Scrooge. You let my coals alone. Get back to work. I'm not complaining about the cold, am I?
And I'm an older man than you are. Back to work!
Cratchit (sighs, pauses, then says meekly). Yes, sir. (Resumes work.)
Scrooge. You want to let my coals alone if you expect to keep your job. I'm not a
millionaire. Understand? (Loudly.) Understand?
Cratchit. Yes, sir, I understand. (Shivers, wraps long white woolen muffler closer about
throat and warms hands at candle.)
Scrooge. Here it is three o'clock, the middle of the afternoon, and two candles burning.
What more do you want? Want me to end up in the poorhouse?
Fred (heard outside at L.). Uncle! Uncle! Where are you? Merry Christmas, uncle.
Fred enters from L. He is happy and bright and has a cheerful, loud laugh. He enters
laughing and comes down C.
Scrooge (looking up from his work). Oh, it's you, is it?
Fred. Of course it is, uncle. Merry Christmas! God save you!
Scrooge (with disgust). Merry Christmas! Bah! Humbug!
Fred. Christmas a humbug, uncle? You don't mean that, I'm sure.
Scrooge. I don't, hey? Merry Christmas! What cause have you got to be merry? You're poor
Fred (laughing good-naturedly). Come, then, what right have you got to be dismal? You're
rich enough. So, merry Christmas, uncle.
Scrooge. Out upon your merry Christmas! What's Christmas time to you but a time for paying
bills without money; a time for finding yourself a year older, but not an hour richer? You
keep Christmas in your own way and let me keep it in mine.
Fred. Keep it? But you don't keep it!
Scrooge. Let me leave it alone, then. Much good may it do you! Much good has it ever done
Fred. Christmas is a good time, uncle; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the
only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one
consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them in the social
scale. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket,
I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it, God bless
Cratchit (who had been listening eagerly, claps his hands). Good!
Scrooge. Let me hear another sound from you and you'll keep your Christmas by losing your
job. Get to work!
Cratchit. Yes, sir. (Resumes his work on the ledger.)
Scrooge (to Fred). You're quite a powerful speaker, sir. I wonder you don't go into
Fred. Don't be angry, uncle. Come, dine with us tomorrow.
Scrooge. Dine with you? Me? I'll see you hanged first. Dine with you? I'll see you in—
Cratchit (sneezes violently).
Scrooge. What's the matter with you? (Turns to Fred.) I'm a busy man. Good afternoon.
Fred. Come, uncle; say "Yes."
Fred. But why? Why?
Scrooge (savagely). Why did you get married?
Fred. Because I fell in love.
Scrooge. Bah! (Resumes his work.) Good afternoon.
Fred. I want nothing from you. I ask nothing from you. But why can't we be friends?
Scrooge. Good afternoon.
Fred. Uncle I won't part in anger. My dear mother was your only sister—your only relation.
For her sake let us be friends.
Scrooge (savagely). Good afternoon.
Fred. I'll still keep the Christmas spirit, uncle. A merry Christmas to you.
Scrooge (busy at ledger). Bah!
Fred. And a happy New Year.
Scrooge. Good afternoon!
Fred (goes to Cratchit). And a merry Christmas to you, Bob Cratchit.
Cratchit (getting down from stool, shaking hands with Fred warmly). Merry Christmas, sir.
God bless it!
Fred. Ay, God bless it! And a happy New Year.
Cratchit. And a happy New Year, too! God bless that, too!
Fred. Ay, Bob, God bless that, too. (Exit L.)
Scrooge. Cratchit, get to work!
Cratchit. Yes, sir. (Resumes work.)
Scrooge (looks at him). Humph! Fifteen shillings a week and a wife and six children, and he
talks about a merry Christmas. Humph! (Works on ledger.)
Enter from L. Two Mission Lassies. They come down C.
First Lass. Scrooge and Marley's, I believe? Have I the pleasure of addressing Mr. Scrooge
or Mr. Marley?
Scrooge. Mr. Marley has been dead these seven years. He died seven years ago this very
First Lass. We have no doubt his liberality is represented by his surviving partner. (Shows
Scrooge. Liberality? Humph! (Returns paper to her.)
Second Lass. At this festive season of the year, Mr. Scrooge, we are trying to make some
slight provision for the poor and destitute, who are suffering greatly. Hundreds of
thousands are in want of common comforts, sir.
Scrooge. Are there no prisons?
Second Lass (sighs). Plenty of prisons, sir.
Scrooge. And the workhouses—are they still in operation?
First Lass. They are, sir; but they scarcely furnish Christmas cheer for mind and body. We
are trying to raise a fund to buy the poor some meat and drink and means of warmth.
Second Lass. We chose this time because it is a time when want is keenly felt and abundance
rejoices. What shall we put you down for?
First Lass. You wish to be anonymous?
Scrooge. I wish to be left alone. I don't make merry myself at Christmas, I don't believe in
it. And I can't afford to make idle people merry. They should go to the poorhouse.
Second Lass. Many of them would rather die, sir, than do that.
Scrooge (savagely). If they would rather die, they'd better do it and decrease the
population. And besides, I am a very busy man.
First Lass. But, sir—
Scrooge. Good afternoon.
First Lass. I'm sorry, sir. Sorry—
Scrooge. Sorry for them?
First Lass. No, sir, I'm sorry for you, sir. Good afternoon. (Exits L. followed by Second
Scrooge. Sorry for me, hey? (Pause. He works. The clock strikes five.) Sorry for me!
Cratchit (closes his book, blows out candle). Is there anything more, sir? (Comes to C.)
Scrooge. You'll want all day off tomorrow, I suppose?
Cratchit. If it's quite convenient, sir.
Scrooge. Well, it isn't—and it's not fair. If I'd dock you a half a crown for it you'd think
I was ill using you, wouldn't you?
Cratchit (nervously). I don't know, sir.
Scrooge. And yet you expect me to pay a full day's wages for no work.
Cratchit. It only comes once a year, sir. Only once a year.
Scrooge. A poor excuse for picking a man's pocket every twenty-fifth of December! But I
suppose you've got to have the whole day. But you be here all the earlier next morning.
Cratchit. Oh, yes, indeed, sir. (Goes out R.)
Scrooge. I'll stay here a bit and finish up the work.
Enter Cratchit from R. with hat. He turns up his coat collar, wraps the long white woolen
muffler around chin and pulls hat down over his face.
Cratchit (crosses to door L.). I'm going, sir.
Scrooge. All right.
Cratchit (shields face with arm as though he were afraid Scrooge might throw something at
him). Merry Christmas, sir! (Runs out L.)
Scrooge. Bah! Humbug! (He works at ledger. Finally drops his head on his arms and sleeps.
The light of his candle goes out. Note: Scrooge might blow it out unseen by audience.)