1950's New York accents, dress and hair styles add to the fun of performing this wacky Christmas comedy. The script features less lines to memorize than most plays with lots of room for creative silliness.
Click for a review of the Calmar Prairie Players performance. The photo, however, is of an excellent East of 60 Theatre production in Devon, Ab.
A full script is available for free download at TheatreAlberta's e-Script Library.
Click the link to see this play in the StageAgent catalogue complete with more sample scenes, monologues and in-depth character descriptions.
Buddy Brown – Voice actor, nice guy (Must also play Scrooge, Undertaker, et al at director's discretion.)
Lance Boyle – Voice actor, pompous jerk.
Betty Carr – Ditzy woman in love with Buddy (Mrs. Cratchit, Mrs. Dilber, and various characters at director discretion)
Clara Brown – Buddy’s sister (various characters at director discretion, once she’s forced to perform.)
Leslie Turner – Sound engineer, very matter-of-fact (male or female) unseen by the studio people in a separate booth (Fred and various characters at director discretion.)
Deborah Taylor – Thinks she’s girlfriend of Lance.
Gladys Nettle – Cranky station owner.
Doris Knight – Once a big star. Feisty. (Bob Cratchit and woman in shop, various female characters.)
Ronald Niven – Talented drinker with a voice acting problem (Also Narrator, Marley, Gentleman, Old Joe, others as needed per director) It is imperative he does the narration with an English accent. Though hammered, his performance diction must be as perfect as possible. Away from the mic, he should soundless British and more drunkish.
The setting for A Little Dickens on the Air is a sound stage at a radio studio in the 1950's.
The set consists of a fairly bare stage with three microphones lined up in front with a sound effects table on one side and the engineer room on the other, separated by a partial wall.
Act 1, Scene 1
(Buddy enters whistling a Christmas song, removes his hat and coat and hangs it on the coatrack.)
Leslie: Hey Buddy, care to give me a level?
Buddy: Sure, mic 1… Test... Test...
Leslie: That's good and mic 2?
Buddy: Test... Test...
Leslie: Darn! Heck! Rats! Shoot! Oh... Sorry for my language. Can you please try again?
Buddy: Test... Test... You okay? You seem a little keyed up.
Leslie: I heard Old Leather Lips is on the warpath. Wanna try 3?
Buddy: Test... Test... What's wrong with the producer, Mrs. Nettle? Something crawl out of her cream of wheat? What started her up?
Leslie: Actually, she’s a self-starter. Seriously, I guess listenership is down. She's blaming everyone but herself. When she inherited this station from her dearly departed husband, everybody thought she would just sell it. I think her trying to run it is a big mistake. Try the foley mic, would you?
Buddy: Test... Test... There's not much I can do about Mrs. Nettle. I just come in and do my job.
Leslie: Yeah, me too, but if she shuts down this show for that singing sister act she keeps threatening us with,
there's no guarantee they will keep me on.
Buddy: I can imagine. It is pretty certain they won't keep any of us actors, either, of course. Not for a variety show.
Betty: Oh hi, Buddy! I was hoping to catch you alone. I mean... see you before the show... Not alone necessarily of course, that would just be silly. I, uh... I... Oh dear, I am just embarrassing myself now. Oh... I have to try all over again.
Buddy: What the heck was that all about?
Leslie: Are you pulling my leg? Betty is crazy for you. Don't tell me you've never noticed. You would have to be blind, you chump!
Buddy: Oh Betty is swell, there's no doubt about that, but I think she has the hots for Lance. Why would a gal like that be interested in me anyway? Lance is the big star.
Leslie: Yeah, with an ego to match. It's a wonder he can get his head in the door of the studio. I wonder how many pounds of air pressure he needs to keep it that size.
Buddy: Lance is a bit of a prig but not a bad guy if you ignore the fact he is a bit insensitive and self-absorbed.
Leslie: That's like saying he is a sterling individual except for the murderous streak.
Scrooge: I wish to be left alone. Since you ask me what I wish, sir, that is my answer. I don’t make merry myself at Christmas and I can’t afford to make idle people merry. I help to support the establishments I have mentioned—they cost enough; and those who are badly off must go there.
Gentleman: Many can’t go there; and many would rather die.
Scrooge: If they would rather die, then they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.
Gentleman: But Sir!
Scrooge: It’s not my business. It’s enough for a man to understand his own business, and not to interfere with other people’s. Mine occupies me constantly. Good afternoon!
(SFX: Footsteps, bells, door – Ronald steps away from mic and takes a flask out of his pocket. Doris and Betty try and stop him and get it off him.)
Scrooge: And you, Cratchit, you’ll want all day to-morrow, I suppose?
Bob: If quite convenient, sir.
Scrooge: It’s not convenient and it’s not fair. If I was to stop half-a-crown for it, you’d think yourself ill-used, I’ll be bound?
Bob: Yes, Sir, I mean no, Sir.
Scrooge: And yet you don’t think me ill-used, when I pay a day’s wages for no work.
Bob: It’s only once a year, Sir. It means so much to the children.
(Ronald escapes the women by going to the mic)
Scrooge: A poor excuse for picking a man’s pocket every twenty-fifth of December! But I suppose you must have the whole day. Be here all the earlier next morning.
Narrator: The clerk promised that he would; and Scrooge walked out with a growl.
Scrooge: Mumble mumble humbug mumble (under entire first sentence of narrator passage)
(SFX: Footsteps, bell, door)
Narrator: The office was closed in a twinkling. Bob Cratchit ran all the way home stopping only to take a joyous slide on a patch of ice with some neighborhood children.
Announcer: You are listening to The Manhattan Radio Theater Players performance of “A Christmas Carol” based on Charles Dickens classic novel.. Stay tuned for station identification and a word from our sponsors:
Buddy: This is the long break when they also do a short newscast, isn’t it?
Betty: I think so. We better keep an eye on Ronald, though, He is inclined to wander off.
Ronald: The show is going tremonsterously, isn’t it?
Doris: It is indeed but you can’t have anymore to drink, Ronald! You’re already lit up like an evening in Paris.
Betty: Yes, You should really give us the flask you have the last thing you need is another drink.
Ronald: Don’t be silly. I’m as jober as a sudge. I am not giving up my flask. I refuse to go out on stage alone.
Buddy: Come on, Ronald. Our careers might depend on it.
Ghost 2: Let’s listen longer to this happy family. See the joy in their faces.
Bob: And now let’s all raise a glass of Christmas cheer! I'll give you Mr. Scrooge, the Founder of the feast!
Mrs. Cratchit: The Founder of the Feast indeed! I wish I had him here. I'd give him a piece of my mind to feast upon, and I hope he'd have a good appetite for it.
Bob: My dear, the children; Christmas Day.
Mrs. Cratchit: It should be Christmas Day, I am sure, on which one drinks the health of such an odious, stingy, hard, unfeeling man as Mr. Scrooge. You know he is, Robert! Nobody knows it better than you do, poor fellow!
Bob: My dear, Christmas Day…
Mrs. Cratchit: I'll drink his health for your sake and the Day's, not for his. Long life to him! A Merry Christmas and a happy new year!—he'll be very merry and very happy, I have no doubt!
Narrator: The children drank the toast after her. It was the first of their proceedings which had no heartiness in it. Tiny Tim drank it last of all, but he didn't care twopence for it. Scrooge was the Ogre of the family. The mention of his name cast a dark shadow on the party, which was not dispelled for full five minutes.
Announcer: You’re listening to the Manhattan Radio Theater Players with their performance of “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens. Please stay tuned for station identification and a word from our sponsor.
Leslie: Okay, Studio two has the feed for three minutes of ads and whatnot.
Ronald: Oh good. I could use another drink.
Buddy: Good heavens, Ronald, how many of those flasks have you got?
Ronald: That’s a state secret.
Betty: I am very disappointed in you, Ronald. Another flask. Is it full? Will there be enough for everyone?
Buddy: I don’t know, Betty, I think you might have had enough.
Betty: I know my limits. Here. Watch me touch my nose. Ow!
Leslie: Oh dear, Right in the eye.
Buddy: Are you okay, Betty Here, let me have a look…
Betty: Oh, Buddy! Your lips are so close to mine!
Buddy: But… but… but… Betty… I… uh… Jeepers, Betty, I’m not sure this is the right time for this…
Ronald: Perhaps you two would like a little privacy while we do the show for millions of listeners?
Betty: I’m in pain! I am being spurned! Here, Gimme that flask. (Takes a big gulp and coughs)
Doris: Buddy, Do something!
Ronald: Yeah, that’s got to feed all of us.
Betty: My heart is broken! I can’t carry on! I quit!