Christmas Past and a Present

In this madrigal dinner, Princess Abigail is trying to find out if she got the Wee Box 300 for Christmas. (It has improved graphics and tongue clips!) Her grandmother is visiting and decides to share a very unusual present with her instead. It’s called a “book.” As they read the story, they are transported back to Renaissance times. Abigail and her grandmother become characters in the story, which is about a spoiled princess who wants something called a “wee box” for Christmas. The royalty try to figure out just what this is: a small box? Wee box shoes? Rock ’em Sock ’em We box? But, in the end, it is the princess who finds out that there are other presents that have been handed down that are much better than the gifts we think we want. Though most of our scripts are pretty broadly themed, this madrigal script has a more specific Christian theme.

Cast size: 5 Male, 6 Female, Extras


MARGARET: Abigail?  I hear that you’re having trouble sleeping.

ABIGAIL: Grandmother!  How, uh, . . . pleasant to see you. Oh, I’m not having trouble sleeping.  I was just getting ready to turn out the lights.  Yes, (Yawns.) I am very tired indeed.  Where did you ever get the idea that I was having trouble sleeping?

MARGARET: Oh, Chester told me.  He suggested that I come see you right away.

ABIGAIL: (Aside.)  Traitor.  “Mums the word.”

MARGARET: What was that?

ABIGAIL: Oh, uh, Chester . . . he’s so . . . absurd!

MARGARET: On the contrary.  He was right to tell me because I have just the thing that will help you out.  We’ll call it an early Christmas gift.

ABIGAIL: (Excitedly.)  Really?  (MARGARET pulls an old book out of her bag and hands it to ABIGAIL.  ABIGAIL turns it over carefully and examines it suspiciously.)  What is it?

MARGARET: (Aghast.)  It’s called a book!

ABIGAIL: A book?  What do I do with this?

MARGARET: You read it.  (Blank stare from ABIGAIL.)  It has pictures, too.  (Blank stare from ABIGAIL.)  It tells you a story?  (Blank stare from ABIGAIL.)

ABIGAIL: Okaaay.  (Opens the book and looks at it.)

MARGARET: (Takes the book and turns it right side up.)  You hold it this way.  The pages turn like this.  (Blank stare from ABIGAIL.)

ABIGAIL: So, where do the pictures come up?  Are they projected on the wall?  Where’s the wand?  And where’s the tongue clip?

MARGARET: (Hand to mouth as though she just said “tongue piercing.”)  Tongue clip?  I don’t even want to know what that is for.  This is a book.  You read it in order to get the story.

ABIGAIL: How will I see what’s going on?  (MARGARET strongly taps ABIGAIL’s forehead.)  How will I hear the conversations?  (MARGARET strongly taps ABIGAIL’s forehead.)  How will I know what the people look like?  (MARGARET strongly taps ABIGAIL’s forehead.)  Ouch.  Does reading always give you a headache?

MARGARET: It is called the world of imagination.  Let your mind create the scenes.  (Blank stare from ABIGAIL.)  Let’s give it a try, shall we?  (Opens the book and begins to read.)  Once upon a time, there was a great king who lived in a great castle, and he was giving a great feast.

(Enter HERALD who stands on a stuffed animal on the bed and blows a loud trumpet or horn.)

ABIGAIL: Grandmother?


ABIGAIL: There’s a strange man in my room.  And he’s blowing a trumpet.  And he’s standing on Mr. Peepers.

HERALD: (Clears his throat.)  Ready the meal and heat the wassail!
Bring forth the meat and finest of ale!
Blow the clarion!  Singers appear!
The king and his court are drawing near!  (Exits.)

(Later in the play . . .)

MARGARET: All right, let’s get into the story proper. Once upon a time, there was a great king who lived in a great castle and he was giving a great feast.”

(HERALD, in Renaissance attire, enters room and stands on stuffed animal on the bed and blows the horn again.)

ABIGAIL: Grandmother!  You already read that!  Strange man blows horn and stands on Mr. Peepers and the feast begins.

(Lights up full on Royal Table.)

MARGARET:  Right.  “The great feast was being held.”

ABIGAIL: And the strange man gets off of Mr. Peepers.

MARGARET: Of course. “The Herald blew a final blast on his horn (HERALD blows horn.) and left the hall.  (HERALD exits.)  The feast had begun.”  (Notices that the KING is wearing a Burger King crown.)  Uh, Abigail, the kings of olden times wore crowns with jewels.

ABIGAIL: Oh.  Sorry.  (PAGE enters and replaces KING’s crown.  ABIGAIL looks at the activity around her.  Enter PIZZA DELIVERY MAN.)  Wow.  The king really knows how to throw a party.

MARGARET: (Notices the pizzas.)  Abigail, pizza was not served at feasts.

ABIGAIL: Right.  (To PIZZA DELIVER MAN.)  Sorry.  Wrong century.  My mistake.  (She laughs weakly.  PIZZA DELIVERY MAN looks agitated and exits.) 

MARGARET:  Now, because it was close to Christmas, the queen mum–who was very popular on account of her imagination and wit–was visiting.  There was much Christmas cheer.  The king’s daughter, who was supposed to be in bed, was spying on the guests at the feast.  (The ROYAL TABLE freezes.)

ABIGAIL: Why did everyone stop?

MARGARET: You need the queen mum and the king’s daughter.

ABIGAIL: What are they like?

MARGARET: Well, they can be any way you imagine them to be.