God Rest Ye Merry Businessmen
ANTONIA EBENEZER a young and successful business woman who owns a loan company on Canary Wharf
MARLEY JACOB Antonia's former business partner - could be male or female
CATHY CRATCHIT her underpaid secretary
OFFICE WORKERS 1 & 2 - could be male or female
OLD MOTHER Cathy's parent, who she supports along with the unseen father
GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST A clerk who has an account of all past business agreements - could be male or female
BULLIES 1 & 2 Characters from Antonia's past - could be male or female
GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT A jolly lady with a shopping bag - representing prosperity
GHOST OF CHRISTMAS YET TO COME A non-speaking ghost, a Managing Director, who represents the sterner side of business
HANNAH A young girl who has left home
LAURA her sister
CENTREPOINT CHARITY WORKER
NARRATOR or NARRATORS
A versatile script which could be played by either an all female cast or mixed. At a pinch, it could be all-male too.
It could be played by any number between 6 to 18 people.
If you want a smaller cast, the Narrators can be dealt with by dividing each section amongst the cast not directly involved in a particular scene.
The Office Workers, Bullies and Hannah and Laura can be played by the same two members of the cast. One of these could also play the Secretary.
The Young Woman, Centrepoint Charity Worker and Aunt Maud could double. The same person could even play Marley Jacob - as a female!
The Ghosts of Christmas Past and Christmas Yet To Come could also double.
The above would be for a cast of 9.
Because of the episodic nature of the script, even a smaller group than 9 could manage it. They'd be very busy. But 5 or 6 could just about manage it, with clear costume changes and changes in acting presentation.
This play is suitable as a Christmas production for an older age-group, from Years 10 upwards.
The running time is about 45 minutes.
Sample Pages from the script
NARRATOR It was a cold dark night on Canary Wharf; only six o'clock but pitch black already. But then again, it was December - Christmas Eve as a matter of fact - so I guess it was to be expected. The Managing Director and owner of the Scrooge Loan Company, Miss Antonia Ebenezer, was working late - as usual. She had some particularly pleasing debts to call in.
The scene is an office with a Canary Wharf sky-line. The scene will later change to Antonia's flat and Cathy's house, so appropriate pieces of furniture can be onstage ready for use. Alternatively, the set can be changed during narration.
EBENEZER to her secretary, Cathy Cratchit Cathy, send an e-mail to all the people on this list. I'm calling in all debts, to be paid as of tomorrow or ... I can think of a few companies which might be closing down.
CATHY Tomorrow? But ma'am, tomorrow is Christmas Day. They won't be able to settle any debts then because...
EBENEZER Cathy. Do you like working here?
CATHY Well. I ... er ...
EBENEZER OK. Let me rephrase that. Do you want to continue working here, or do you have another job in mind?
CATHY No, ma'am, I don't have another job. I ... er ... I want to stay here, Miss Ebenezer.
EBENEZER In which case, I suggest you send the e-mails. Immediately!
NARRATOR Which she did. Immediately. Because jobs on Canary Wharf had better prospects than the tills in Tesco and she had aged parents to support. She hoped that if she worked hard and pleased her employers, she would soon get a promotion. But it hadn't happened yet and she had been trying for over seven years. Of course she knew that by sending the e-mails she was doing a terrible thing, but she simply didn't have any choice. That happens sometimes, doesn't it? Meanwhile, Antonia was scrolling through her online accounts. She liked to do that before returning to her penthouse flat. A long time passed as manager and secretary worked silently together, though it has to be said that the secretary could occasionally be seen glancing furtively at her watch.
EBENEZER scrutinising the computer Mmm. Good interest rate on that investment. Not so good on the market shares. Note to self: sell Amtrack Trading.
A buzzer sounds and in walk two Office Workers.
EBENEZER with an aggressive stare Yes. What do you want?
The two exchange glances.
People like you only ever come to my office when they want something, so spit it out!
OFFICE WORKER 1 At this time of year, we think it is right to consider those people less fortunate than ourselves, and to ...
EBENEZER ... put money into the pockets of idlers and scroungers?
OFFICE WORKER 2 To supply aid for those people who have no means to enjoy the season as we do.
EBENEZER As you do, you mean. I shall spend tomorrow sorting out the finer points of my bank account.
OFFICE WORKER 1 seizing the opportunity So I hope you might consider making a standing order to Centrepoint and ...
EBENEZER sharply Where?
OFFICE WORKER 2 Centrepoint.
OFFICE WORKERS 1&2 Yes.
EBENEZER Now, let me just get this straight. You want me to fund a happy Christmas for a load of idlers who can't be bothered to go out to work?
OFFICE WORKER 1 We prefer to think of it as ...
OFFICE WORKER 2 ... aid for people who cannot find work.
EBENEZERHave they tried?
OFFICE WORKER 1 Well ...
EBENEZER I do not spend elaborate sums of money on my own Christmas celebrations. I am content to remain in my loft apartment with a bottle of good brandy and my Snow-Leopard Macintosh computer. Consequently it is not my inclination to waste money on ...
The office phone rings and Cathy answers.
CATHY after listening with a puzzled look Miss Ebenezer, it's for you. A Mr Jacob, it sounded like - but it couldn't have been.
EBENEZER Stop babbling, woman. [Picks up her extension.] Hello, Antonia Ebenezer here. Scrooge Loan Company. [She glares at the two Office Workers.] Are you two still here?
OFFICE WORKERS No.
JACOB who can be seen in the background Ebenezer, do you remember me?
EBENEZER Remember? I don't even know who you are! Jacob who?
JACOB Marley Jacob, your former partner.
EBENEZER Now look here. This might be your idea of a joke but I'm not having it. Poor old Marley died some years ago.
A door flies open and the Ghost of Christmas Past enters. He/She wears white and carries a large ledger.
EBENEZER Who are you?
CHRISTMAS PAST I am the Ghost of Christmas Past.
EBENEZER Long past?
CHRISTMAS PAST No. Your past.
EBENEZER Well, you've come to the wrong place. I don't deal in the past. The present and the future will do for me. So you can see yourself out.
CHRISTMAS PAST The present and future will be dealt with directly, and I will not see myself out until I have had my say.
EBENEZER sarcastically Then I suggest you make it quick! Life is short and I have much to achieve before I get old.
CHRISTMAS PAST It all began when you were quite young, didn't it?
EBENEZER What's that you have? Oh, that looks like Nan's old photo album. The one she gave to Mum. I told Mum to throw it away after I scanned them all into a digital display unit so that ...
Photographs could be projected here. They should be happy family snaps.
CHRISTMAS PAST But she didn't throw it away. She kept it because she likes to look at it.
EBENEZER Well, she can look at ...
CHRISTMAS PAST She prefers the album. She likes the feel of the pages, the smell of the parchment.
EBENEZER Typical. Funny ... [But she hesitates.]
CHRISTMAS PAST Funny?
CHRISTMAS PAST What were you about to say?
EBENEZER a little uncomfortably Nothing really. It's just that I thought of going there this Christmas, but ...
CHRISTMAS PAST Going where?
EBENEZER To my mother's house. But it's in the wilds of Derbyshire. I can't even rely on the internet connection there. No broadband, so ...
CHRISTMAS PAST ...you decided not to go.
EBENEZER Something like that. [She looks uncomfortable.] I wouldn't have been able to stay long anyhow and it would have meant a lot of trouble for her.
CHRISTMAS PAST She wouldn't have minded.
EBENEZER Well, I know, but ...
CHRISTMAS PAST In fact she would have enjoyed seeing you. But look - do you remember this picture of you?
The picture, which flashes up on the screen behind them, shows a group of children. One of them is standing a little apart from the others and looks worried.
CHRISTMAS PAST You weren't happy that day, were you?
EBENEZER I don't know many children who enjoy going to school, do you?
CHRISTMAS PAST Yes.
EBENEZER Well, I didn't like it. The people there - they didn't understand me.
CHRISTMAS PAST as the scene begins Obviously not.