Summary: A one-act play, based on a famous TV game show, used to highlight the real meaning of Christmas. This play was performed, as part of the service, on Christmas Eve of 2011 at St. James Centennial United Church in Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada. Les Kovacs wrote the original script but members of the cast later added many of the lines. Feel free to personalize the lines to suit your cast. We did.
Style: Dramatic. Duration: 15 - 20 minutes
Actors: 4M, 1F, 4M/F
Billy-Jo Baker - host of the TV show. (If a male plays the role, the name can be changed to Billy-Bob Baker. This actor should be good at ad libbing in case some lines are forgotten.)
Contestant #1, Lucky Landers (ideally a young female). The character calls for a younger actor. This character has large social conscience and is naïve about others who do not.
Contestant #2, Eager Ellison (ideally a male). This character is the ultimate in slick and sleaze.
Contestant #3, Dilly Dobson (ideally a male). This is an extreme Christmas spirit type role. Costuming should reflect all the glitz and cheap trinket aspects of Christmas. The character is a bit slow witted.
Figure: A "mysterious" figure dressed in black
Miss Vanity Wright (female): - host's right hand girl. This character is younger than Billy-Jo and only has the job because Billy-Jo is her aunt. A lot of attitude should be shown here.
Announcer/technician (could be two people). This person is responsible for the sound and lighting effects. If power-point facilities are available, slides could be projected to augment the telling of the Christmas story by the mysterious figure.
Audience prompter: Holds up signs like "Applause", "Laugh", "Cheer", "Boo", for audience response. The prompter may want to address the audience before the play starts to get them in the mood.
Billie-Jo Barker introduces the game show. In this show, contestants must answer questions regarding Christmas. If the answer is correct, the contestant gets money and points. There should be children in the crowd. Since only children know the true meaning of Christmas, they are the expert panel. Each contestant gets only one chance to ask the expert panel for his/her opinion. There are three contestants in this play. The second contestant, Eager Ellison, is a real jerk. He keeps distracting the other contestants, convincing them to change their minds, jumping in front of them so his hand is recognized first, etc. He ends up with all of the money. As each contestant wins, Vanity Wright presents the money to the contestant. At the end, the contestant with the most correct answers gets all of the money.
Throughout the questioning, Eager Ellison cheats in every way possible to get a hold of the money. He also makes fun of the other contestants as they lose.
Near the end of the play, Eager seems to suffer a heart attack and, in his unconscious state, appears to get a visitation that changes his outlook on life.
(The play opens with the intro music. Lights come up to full throughout the music. As the music fades we hear the voice of the announcer.)
ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages, welcome to another great edition of "Let's Make It Real". (Cheers and applause from audience) It's the fun filled show where contestants are challenged to answer skill-testing questions in order to win money. Today's sponsors include:
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Wild World - the best place to go before you set out for the wilderness of cottage country. Don't be caught without the proper gear to combat the hazards of Mother Nature. Wild World has a fabulous selection of the necessities of outdoor living. Barbeques, lawn chairs, portable coolers, guns, bows and arrows, electrical generators, large area insecticides, weed killers, fully enclosed and air conditioned ATV's, boats that can move so fast your lips will curl from the G force. All that and much more can be found at Wild World. Go wild with Wild World.
And now, here's the lady of the hour; the lady who knows the real values in life; the lady who's the epitome of happiness; your host Ms. Billy-Jo Baker and her lovely assistant the one and only Vanity Wright. (Audience prompted to applaud)
(BILLY-JO BAKER bounds onstage and stops front stage centre, microphone in hand. Makes a gesture of introduction to Vanity Wright, who goes up stage and, with a forced smile on her face, joins in the audience applause.)
BILLY-JO BAKER: Thank you! Thank you all for joining us on this most beautiful Christmas Eve! We have an exciting evening ahead, full of competition and prize money! And now for our contestants! All the way from warm Vancouver! LUCKY LANDERS! Come on down!
(LUCKY LANDERS runs up onto stage to applause)
A bit of a weather change for you, isn't it? How are you coping with the snow?
LUCKY LANDERS: Oh, I really, really like the snow. It's so pure and white. It's like living in a cloud along with the angels that sang on the first Christmas Eve. I wish my whole family could be here.
BILLY-JO BAKER: Family and friends are important to you, aren't they? Is there anything you'd like to say to your loved ones back home?
LUCKY LANDERS: I just want to give a great big thank you to all of the people back home that pitched in to buy me a bus ticket. Hi Mom. Hi Dad. Love you and love to my brothers and sisters, Lucy, Larry, Langly, Lacy, and George.
EAGER ELLISON: (offstage - either makes a crack / snorts condescendingly) Pfft!
BILLY-JO BAKER: And what do you plan on doing with all that money, if you win?
LUCKY LANDERS: Well, the whole family is really interested in rescuing stray cats. I'm going to use the money I win to build the best cathouse in all of Vancouver.
BILLY-JO BAKER: And now, for our next contestant, EAGER ELLISON a marketing consultant and political promoter from Toronto, Ontario! Come on down!
EAGER ELLISON: (running up onto stage to applause)Yea...I'm the best. Just call me Ever-win Ellison.
BILLY-JO BAKER: Tell us a little bit about yourself, Eager!
EAGER ELLISON: This is my night. I just feel it. I'm going to win! Easy Street here I come ... yachts, parties, classy women. All for me. (looking at Lucky) Heck with family and friends. Let those losers look out for themselves.
BILLY-JO BAKER: (has to interrupt) That's--uh-- great, EAGER. It sounds like you're very...focused...on your goals. So, what do you think you have that gives you an edge over the competition?
EAGER ELLISON: Always thinking one step ahead. I'm your winner. It takes attitude to get ahead in this world. And guys that are ahead get respect.
BILLY-JO BAKER: Before we introduce our next contestant, since it's the Christmas season, is there anything special you want to say to our viewers?
EAGER ELLISON: Buy the best Christmas gift for numero uno. You know what they say. You gotta look out for yourself before you can look out for others. That's the way you get respect in this world. Charity begins at home.
VANITY WRIGHT: (distinctly NOT liking him, just HAS to pipe up) That's an awful thing to say!
EAGER ELLISON: Just wait until I've got all the money ...cutie.
BILLY-JO BAKER: (awkward laugh) What a kidder you are, Eager! (Hastily) Onto our last contestant: DILLY DOBSON! Come on down!
(DILLY DOBSON runs up onto stage -- this guy is like the epitome of over-the-top-Christmas-loving-guy, like an overgrown child--in fact, he's dressed up in full Christmas regalia. Maybe an elf.)
BILLY-JO BAKER: Uh, well hello there, Dilly! You certainly are...Dilly, aren't you? That is the most...unique outfit I've ever seen on a fully-grown person!
DILLY DOBSON: Yep! Ya got that right! This here's my own reeee-creation of the spirit of Christmas. Oh-ya, oh-ya, oh-ya! I've got here some tinsel, some what-cha-call yer mistletoe, and replicas of all of Santa's Reindeer. (Line can be changed here to suit whatever costuming is available.)
EAGER ELLISON: Eh, Dilly. Does your mommy know you're out this late?
DILLY DOBSON: Huh!
BILLY-JO BAKER: You're obviously a big fan of Christmas! What is your favourite thing about Christmas?
DILLY DOBSON: I really like the Santa Claus parade, the lighting of the big Christmas tree down at the municipal office, and all the decorations in the store windows.
BILLY-JO BAKER: Well, Dilly, you might be the most enthusiastic contestant we've ever had on our show! But you need more than enthusiasm to win Let's Make It Real! What kind of preparations did you make to get ready for the show?
DILLY DOBSON: I read "The Night Before Christmas" ten times so I can remember all the right answers.
EAGER ELLISON: Can't believe my luck. She's an airhead and if she had a clue it would be lonely.
VANITY WRIGHT: (to Eager) And you're just a self centred, egotistical, narcissistic pig.
BILLY-JO BAKER: Okaaaay, moving along.... Let's quickly go over the rules. You will be asked a total of 5 skill-testing questions. The person who answers the most questions correctly will win all of the money.
(PROMPTER holds up APPLAUSE sign)
Now, some of these questions are pretty challenging, so if you're stumped, you can call on our panel of experts for assistance… (waves at 'Panel of Experts' in audience to stand up). Any questions before we begin?
EAGER ELLISON: (to Vanity) I got one. Hey Vanity - lookin' pretty good. Lights are on but is there anyone home?
(VANITY WRIGHT is getting ticked off, even starts walking over to give EAGER a piece of her mind, or to hit him, but Billy-Jo intercepts:)
BILLY-JO BAKER: Uh, okay, we'd better begin! Everyone in place!
(Note that EAGER is always trying to answer first, even if he doesn't know the answer)
BILLY-JO BAKER: All right. Question 1: You might have to do a little soul-searching for this one: What is the origin and meaning of Christmas?
EAGER ELLISON: It's the time to get out there and shop for those gifts. It all started when the Romans used to give Christians as gifts to their pet lions.
BILLY-JO BAKER: Wrong!
DILLY DOBSON: It's the time when we're all supposed to give presents to babies everywhere.
BILLY-JO BAKER: Closer - but still wrong.
LUCKY LANDERS: I think I'll ask the expert panel.
(Billy-Jo Baker walks microphone down to experts.)
EXPERT PANEL MEMBER: Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, the embodiment of God's love for us in human form.
LUCKY LANDERS: I'll accept that answer.
BILLY-JO BAKER: That is ABSOLUTELY correct! 1 point for Lucky!
(PROMPTER holds up APPLAUSE card and Vanity goes over and gives a bundle of money to Lucky.)
EAGER ELLISON: Hey - they just gave her the answer. Can they do that?
BILLY-JO BAKER: Yes they can, Eager. You weren't paying attention to the rules. Aaaaand now, onto Question 2. What is the meaning of the Word "Xmas"?
EAGER ELLISON: Hey me... let me... I'll ask the experts.
(Billy-Jo Baker walks microphone down to experts.)
EXPERT PANEL: Some people think of Xmas as a contemporary, sacrilegious abbreviation of the word Christmas, but the first letter of the word Christ in the Greek language is chi which is identical to the Roman alphabet's X.
(BILLY-JO BAKER knows the answer is right and is just waiting for EAGER to give it the thumbs up, when she is interrupted by EAGER:)
EAGER ELLISON: Wrong! You guys are such simple-minded idiots. Thank goodness I know this one. X is an unknown factor in calculating sales prices. Mass refers to the total mass of all goods. So X times mass gives you the total profits in this season's sales. Bring on the profits. Oh yeah!
BILLY-JO BAKER: (can't believe it) WRONG! WRONG!
EAGER ELLISON: (looks shell-shocked, and gets angry) Wrong? Impossible!
DILLY DOBSON: (raises his hand and) I accept the answer from the expert panel.
BILLY-JO BAKER: And the point from Question 2 goes to Dilly Dobson! Good for you Dilly!
(PROMPTER holds up APPLAUSE sign, obviously very enthusiastic that EAGER is losing, and Vanity goes over and gives a bundle of money to Dilly.)
BILLY-JO BAKER: Onto Question 3! We're getting into the tough ones folks! The pressure is on! Okay! In the Christmas story there are shepherds. What do shepherds do for a living?
LUCKY LANDERS: (Starts to answer but is interrupted) They herd---
(LUCKY tries to answer, but EAGER knocks her aside to get his hand up first. EAGER has now realized he has to cheat to win!)
EAGER ELLISON: Sheep. They herd sheep. (to Lucky) Gottcha!
BILLY-JO BAKER: That will be enough! Eager Ellison, you have answered correctly! Yes, shepherds herd sheep.
(PROMPTER holds up BOO sign and Vanity goes over and reluctantly gives a bundle of money to Eager.)
LUCKY LANDERS: (nods appreciatively, enjoying the story, not minding Eager's poor sportsmanship)
EAGER ELLISON: Who cares! I got the question right! Woo woo (etc, boorish behavior)
VANITY WRIGHT: (interrupting, really disliking Eager now) Can we move onto the next question please?
BILLY-JO BAKER: Err, right (taking control once more). Each contestant has 1 point! What competition! Am I right! Am I right!
(PROMPTER urgently shakes APPLAUSE sign)
BILLY-JO BAKER: Question Four! On the night that Jesus was born, an angel appeared to the shepherds. What did the angel say to them?
(EAGER distracts Billy-Jo (throws something at Vanity or says there's a mouse running around -- something that makes her shriek), and then pulls out a cell phone device to look up the answer on the internet. Audience should see this device. The contestants try to tell on him, but Billy-Jo Baker turns back too slowly.)
EAGER ELLISON: (reads) "Fear Not, for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people". (as if to himself) Whatever the heck that means.
BILLY-JO BAKER: Ah, I didn't expect you to be so ...on top of Biblical verses...
EAGER ELLISON: Photographic memory! That's what gets me respect.
(PROMPTER unenthusiastically holds up applause sign and Vanity goes over and throws a bundle of money at Eager.)
BILLY-JO BAKER: Things are getting intense now! Eager is ahead with one point. There could be a tie coming up here or Eager could get the whole bundle. What will it be? Our FINAL QUESTION! Here it is! What is the estimated average amount of money that Canadians will spend this year on Christmas shopping?
LUCKY LANDERS: Oh gosh! I spend about $50 to buy food for starving cats. So it's about $50.
BILLY-JO BAKER (shakes head in the negative.)
DILLY DOBSON: Well, by the gee and holy wah, I spent $100 on my outfit alone. So, it's gotta be close to $150.
BILLY-JO BAKER (again, shakes head in the negative.)
EAGER ELLISON: Yes! I know this one. According to a recent poll done by Ipso-Reid, Canadians will spend an average of $1100 on Christmas shopping, trying to look like they're wealthy so people will show then respect. You gotta check out my gifts. They are impressive!
BILLY-JO BAKER (reluctantly.) That's … correct! Darn!
(PROMPTER continues to shake BOO sign. Vanity Wright takes all of the money away from the other contestants and gives it to Eager)
BILLY-JO BAKER: Congratulations, Eager Ellison, all the money is yours! You are the WINNER! All your dreams are coming true! How does it feel to be a rich?!!!
(EAGER suddenly gasps for breath and falls to the floor holding his chest.)
BILLY-JO BAKER: Mr Ellison? Mr Ellison?!! Are you okay? Are you …
(The cast freezes and the lights go dimmer.)
(Enter a FIGURE dressed all in black. FIGURE goes over to EAGER and gives him a good kick.)
FIGURE: Get up EAGER.
EAGER: What? What's happening? (Goes over to contestants and Billie-Jo and tries to talk to them but gets no answer)
FIGURE: They can't hear you, Eager.
EAGER: Why not? Am I dead?
FIGURE: Let's not get ahead of ourselves here, Eager. They can't hear you because you've cut yourself off from them by being a complete jerk.
EAGER: Who you calling a jerk?
FIGURE: You are, Eager. You got so carried away with winning that you forgot all about fair play, feelings of others and just common courtesy.
EAGER: OK! So I took a few short cuts, but, hey, that's the way of the world. Nice guys finish last. That's the way you get respect. It's a dog eat dog world, buddy. It's Christmas and everyone is out there getting all the goodies they can. That's what it's all about, getting what's yours. The one who dies with the most toys wins. I am dead aren't I?
FIGURE: OK, Eager. Let me ask you this. Are you happy?
EAGER: (sarcastically) What's happiness? I've been looking for happiness all my life and it ain't there.
FIGURE: So, how's that working for you?
EAGER: Not so good. OK, maybe I was happy as a little kid.
FIGURE: So what changed Eager?
EAGER: Well, I grew up and saw the way the world worked and changed from looking for happiness to getting respect.
FIGURE: Let me tell you a little story Eager. Once upon a time there was this young girl who was engaged to be married. Before she got married, she got pregnant.
EAGER: That wasn't very smart was it?
FIGURE: Don't interrupt. That's not the long of it. She actually admitted to her fiancé that he wasn't the father of the child.
EAGER: He should get rid of her. You don't get respect from marrying her type. You'd be laughed outta town.
FIGURE: Ah, but he did marry her and he did get a lot of ribbing from his crowd.
EAGER: What'd I tell you? Loser! No happiness there, eh?
FIGURE: Not only that, Eager. He took her on a long journey forced upon them by an uncaring government and then helped her deliver the baby boy in a stable.
EAGER: In a stable - ya' gotta be kidding. Fat chance that kid has. Dopes as parents. Chances of him getting respect are nil.
FIGURE: Well, Eager, believe it or not, despite the lack of respect that boy made a great impact as a man. He gave people what they really wanted.
EAGER: You mean he gave everyone a big Christmas present? Must have cost a bundle.
FIGURE: Well, yes, he did give everyone a Christmas present. But not the type you're thinking of. He showed people about how the world should work, about how people need to get a different view on life and look at helping each other out. How they need to change inside, not just sticking to clichés and rituals, but how people need to give each other the true gift of love. He showed people how you need to give everything you've got, if that's what it takes, to make a change. He didn't stick to the status quo.
EAGER: So, these people, were they happy?
FIGURE: Happier than ever, Eager. Those who listened learned a different way of life. Instead of looking out for themselves they started looking out for each other and, because they no longer cared how many toys they had or how much respect they got, they found an inner peace, a happiness that only comes with giving love.
EAGER: So, I guess he got a lot of respect after all.
FIGURE: Not really, Eager, he was executed for the changes he was making. But his execution only served to bring people closer together and others spread the message.
EAGER: I don't see much of that love stuff around now.
FIGURE: Oh, it's all around you Eager. You just have to look for it. But don't look for it in the big box stores; look for it in the actions of people who are risking their reputations and even their lives to make things better for everyone. That's where you'll find love and happiness.
EAGER: (in deep thought) So, can I get in on this happiness deal? Oh, yah, I forgot I'm dead. It's too late for me.
FIGURE: All you have to do, Eager, is put yourself into other people's shoes. Stop thinking about being rich and start thinking about being a friend.
EAGER: So, I'll get real happy if I do that?
FIGURE: It's not that simple Eager. Like all things worth going after, it takes time. But it's worth a try Eager.
EAGER: Yah, I think I'd like to try. Too bad I'm dead.
FIGURE: You're not dead, Eager.
EAGER: I'm not?
FIGURE: No, you just had a fainting episode because you got too carried away with pursuing the wrong thing. You'll wake up soon and things will return to normal. What you do after that is up to you.
(FIGURE starts to leave stage)
EAGER: Hey wait. Who are you? Are you like the ghost of Christmas past or something?
FIGURE: No Eager. I'm just a doctor who happened to be in the audience. (FIGURE goes into audience.)
EAGER: What's your name?
FIGURE: (responds from off stage). Folks call me Phil.
(After this, actors all come to life. Lights go to full. Attention focuses on EAGER)
EAGER: (distributes money among other contestants and even gives some to Vanity) Look I'm sorry. I am a real jerk! But I'm going to change. I'm going to go out looking for happiness; a happiness that money can't buy. (starts to walk off stage) It's not too late. I can go back. I can change. I can. I can. I can.
(Other actors leave stage chatting amongst themselves about the sudden change in Eager.)
BILLY-JO BAKER : (shocked almost to speechless but not quite.) Well folks, that certainly was a surprise wasn't it. You know, maybe winning isn't really what it's all about. Nah! Winning is what it's about. Just be careful that while you're winning you don't lose yourself. See you all next week for another episode of "Let's Make it Real." Good night all and a Merry Christmas.
(She exits off stage to loud applause.)
END OF PLAY
© Copyright Les Kovacs, all rights reserved. The script may not be reproduced, translated or copied in any medium, including books, CDs and on the Internet, without written permission of the author.
The fee for use of this script is that a food collection be taken up for a local food bank. Acknowledgements as to the origin of the script would be appreciated.