By Peggy Barnell
A lesson in love and forgiveness is learned from a group of poor and homeless.
Colonel - a Vietnam vet, quiet but strong, a leader
Slow-motion Sam - from Texas, everuthing he says or does is in slow-motion
Fry-pan Jack - from Australia. He wears cast-iron skillets on his coat, in case an opportunity for a meal comes along.
JJ - a tough, street-wise lady with a bit of a drinking problem
Cookie - a lady who's the naive/innocernt one of the bung.
Likewise - all she knows is how to say "likewise, I'm sure." She's not all there upstairs, but sweet just the same.
Preacher - it's his mission to preach and tell people of God's
love, just give him a platform.
Lisa (Preacher's wife) - loving, supportive wife.
Mrs Linkhoff - russian immigrant woman who owns/runs the corner grocery.
Katrina Linkhoff - sweet teen from the poor side of town
Jared - rich teen who is in love with Katrina (Katie)
Officer Muldoon - he tries to keep the peace in the park - not too successfully
Oscar - the hot dog vendor with a heart of gold
This play was written around specific songs so they blend beautifully, but without the songs to complete it, additional dialogue would need to be written. I could do this, but the songs do a much nicer job of it. The city park is an easy set to do. Park benches and street lamps are a nice touch, as well as a burn barrel with branches and sticks poking out of it. Of course a snowman and lots of artificial snow and Christmas lights are a plus, as well. A row of store fronts is needed on one side of the set, with a door to go in and out of one store. We used our 'loft', and built a bridge on top of it. The area under the loft became the tunnel-type area beneath the bridge where the homeless people sleep. An old blanket tacked up over the opening gave the homeless a bit of privacy when the script indicated. The bridge up above was the place where the young love-birds met; all their scenes took place there.
(OPENING SONG: THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR (THIS SHOULD BE A BIG, BUSY SONG WITH PEOPLE AND ACTIVITY ALL OVER THE PARK.)
SCENE 1- B
(song has ended, people are exiting but cont. to talk & laugh and wish each other a merry Christmas, happy holidays, etc... only the homeless characters remain on stage)
Cookie: Good-bye! Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas, everyone!
JJ: Christmas! I hate Christmas! I hate the crowds and all these people singing and laughing and slapping each other on the back saying 'Merry Christmas' Ain't it just touching!
Cookie: And Happy New Year, too! (she says final greetings to those leaving the park)Oh, I love this time of the year! Everyone is so full of the holiday spirit-they're loving and kind to one another and there's true peace on earth, if only for a little while-
JJ: Stop it, Cookie! I can't take any more. I don't need any extra of that 'holiday cheer' from you! I'm already hearing jingle bells in my sleep!
Cookie: Me too, JJ Isn't it wonderful? I've been dreaming of jingle bells and presents under the tree and decking the halls and hanging the-
JJ: Look-if I hear one more Merry Christmas, someone is likely to see my left hook!
Colonel: Take it easy, JJ. She doesn't mean anything by it.
JJ: Well I mean something by it! I don't like this one bit! (shoppers stroll by and gaze warily at the homeless & JJ becomes coy) Anybody want to buy an apple? (she realizes she's not going to make a sale) What's the matter? Ain't you never seen nobody a little down on their luck before?
(JJ starts towards them menacingly and the people quickly disperse. one shopper hangs back to tentatively hold out a few dollar bills with a faint "Merry Christmas, lady")
JJ: (snatches money and tucks it away after viewing it briefly) Now scram! Go on-get out of here!!
Colonel: You don't have to make a scene, JJ.
Cookie: (calling after little boy)Thank you, little boy-thank you very much! She really didn't mean anything by that....she's really very nice if you get to know her!
JJ: all these do-gooders and their holiday spirit and I ain't had a decent hand-out in weeks! Jack, Likewise, there's the kind you gotta watch out for in this park-they'll steal you blind if you're not looking out for it! That kid was holding out those bills with one hand and probably ready to stick his other hand in my pocket when I wasn't looking! Yes sir, be on the look out for that kind.
Likewise: Likewise, I'm sure.
Jack: He looked innocent enough to me.
Sam: Hey, JJ, speaking of hand-outs, they're serving hot chicken-noodle soup down at the mission today. It was really good, too. I bet they've got some left over.
JJ: I need some hot liquid all right, but chicken soup is not exactly what I had in mind.(holds up a little brown paper bag with a bottle inside and tips it up.) Ar-r-g-g-g-h......empty again.
Cookie: Oh, JJ, I worry about you're drinking. It's just not good for you.
Colonel: You know what the doctor told you.....
JJ: You guys don't be wasting your time worrying about me. All I need is just a little nip now and then to keep the chill off my bones..... Hey, who's that? (Preacher has entered the opposite side of stage and is setting up his box to preach from as well as looking for an audience)
Colonel: Haven't you seen Preacher before?
JJ: Preacher? Preacher who?? (ducks behind a tree for a better view.)
Colonel: Just Preacher. I don't know what his real name is, but that's what I hear people calling him. He's been volunteering down at the mission the past week or so.
Cookie: Oh,, I've met him- I think he's a very, very nice man. He just wants to read the bible out loud and tell everyone about God.
JJ: Great, just great! Just what we need!
Colonel: I think he's harmless, JJ.
JJ: It ain't enough we got Christmas carolers and holiday shoppers and Santa Clauses and jingle bells, now we got us a preacher of all things!
Preacher: (calling out as people pass by) God loves you! Please, turn to Him now. The time of His return is drawing near! John 3:16 says For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but will have eternal life.
JJ: Why I oughta go over there and-
Colonel: (pulls JJ back) Let him alone, JJ. He's not hurting anyone.
Preacher: Jesus said that the greatest of all the commandments is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Do you know Him today? He longs for you to turn to Him so He can show you love in return. (some shoppers have stopped to listen and Preacher talks with them quietly)
JJ: I don't like this one bit!
Cookie: Oh, JJ, don't be so hard on Preacher-he's really O.K.
JJ: How do you know so much about him?
Cookie: Well......yesterday Preacher said Likewise and I looked hungry and he bought us both a sandwich at Lucy's diner.
JJ: What? Are you for real?
Likewise: (stands to pat her tummy) Likewise, I'm sure.
JJ: Who left Cookie and Likewise alone?
Colonel: JJ, it was only a lunch. They seemed real interested in what Preacher had to say. AND- I was close by the whole time, keeping my eye on them. Besides, I'm trying to tell you, Preacher's O.K.
JJ: We gotta stick together-we're like family!
Cookie: JJ, I was really hungry and it was only-
JJ: I said we gotta stick together! We gotta watch out for each other. Jack, you don't know this neighborhood like the rest of us yet, so pay attention. We take care of each other, especially Cookie & Likewise. The things we gotta watch out for here are the police and the store owners, especially that nasty little Mrs. Linkhoff, and now we're gonna add Preacher to the list. Got it, Colonel? Sam? He's bad news-I can tell by the looks of him.
Cookie: Oh, JJ.......you don't understand...
Mrs. Linkhoff: (enters out of the store-front, broom in hand to assess the situation) Hey, what are you doing on my stoop? (to Preacher) You got no business being here in front of my store! You must leave now! Go, go! (to homeless) And YOU! How many times I gotta tell you? Get away from my store right now! You do not belong here in this neighborhood... bunch of lazy, no-goods anyway.... Bums! You are Bums, all of you! I count to three and if you're not gone I'm gonna scream for the police! One....(homeless begin to scatter)
JJ: Time to go! I've felt the end of that broom too many times as it is!
Likewise: Likewise, I'm sure!
Mrs. Linkhoff: Two! (Mrs. L. gives Sam a swat with her broom to speed him up)
Mrs. Linkhoff: Three! Good, they're gone.
Preacher: God loves you, Ma'am
Mrs. Linkhoff: (turns back to Preacher who has not left) What, you still here? Are you a new bum? You part of that bunch of no-goods?
Preacher: No, Ma'am. I just want people to know that God loves them. He loves you, too.
Mrs. Linkhoff: Go away. Do not come back to my store. Today I need customers. I do not need God.
Preacher: Yes, Ma'am. (he exits)
SCENE 1- C
Mrs. Linkhoff: (mumbles to herself as she scans the street)
Katrina! (louder) Katrina!! You come home now! It is time to work!
(to herself again) When I was her age I worked 14 hours a day in my father's store and I thought I was lucky because there was butter to go on my bread at the dinner table. Katrina!!
Katie: (enters breathless) Yes, Mama, I'm coming.
Mrs. Linkhoff: Where have you been, Katrina? (gives her no chance to reply) You have work to do. Get going and unload the pallets in back. They have been sitting for hours. Then we must scrub the floors. It's Tuesday-have you forgotten? I do not understand why it takes you so long to return home from school these days.
Katie: Mama, I-
Mrs. Linkhoff: Then you must take the inventory of the bakery counter. We must have our order ready first thing in the morning. Well? What are you waiting on? Idle hands are good for no one.
Katie: Yes, Mama. (exits through store front)
Mrs. Linkhoff: (cont to survey the street) One more lazy bum in this neighborhood is not what we need.
(enter Officer Muldoon, other side of stage)
Muldoon: Good day, Mrs. Linkhoff. I greet you with an Irish blessing. May your troubles be as far apart as my grandmother's teeth!
Mrs. Linkhoff: Blessing, nothing! How typical for you to show up late! Where were you just a few minutes ago?
Muldoon: What's the trouble, Mrs. Linkhoff?
Mrs. Linkhoff: It's those bums, those no-goods! You've got to keep them away from my store, Officer. They are bad for my business.
Muldoon: Well, I realize they're becoming a problem...I'll see what I can do.
Mrs. Linkhoff: Every week there's more of them-a new one today, right here on my stoop! But....... I been thinking. My daughter, Katrina.....she is a lovely young woman. Do you agree?
Muldoon: I.....that I do.
Mrs Linkhoff: Maybe you can find a way to keep the bums away from my door, and maybe I can find a way for Katrina to have an extra loaf of my cinnamon bread in the bakery every week, huh?
Muldoon: Are you offering me a pay-off, Mrs. Linkhoff?
Mrs. Linkhoff: Please...Officer, I am just a hard working citizen trying to be nice to the Mr. Policeman...
Muldoon: I'll see what I can do, Mrs. Linkhoff.
(lights fade to black)
(to be continued)
© Peg Barnell. All rights reserved.
THIS IS NOT THE FULL SCRIPT. To obtain the full script, a royalty payment is required. Please contact the author, to discuss. She may be contacted through her website, www.peggybarnell.com