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Copyright Alexandra M. Lucas 2018

designed by Jaclyn Lake 

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (short play)

2-Mar-2015

Cast:

FATHER EDWARD: Catholic priest in his early 30s with dark hair and green eyes; heartbreakingly handsome

AMETHYST: voluptuous, platinum blond stripper in her late 20s; naturally beautiful beneath the bleach and the tangerine tights

FATHER JOHN: Catholic priest in his late 50s with cropped salt and pepper hair
 

Setting:

Church of St. Vincent in a major northeastern city near you; 11:35pm on Christmas Eve; present day
 

There’s a small nativity scene on stage right, and excessive amounts of wreaths and tinsel scream Christmas.  A large banner that states, “Tomorrow: It’s Your Birthday, Jesus!” over a baby in a tacky blue party hat reiterates this fact.  A confessional is positioned down and center on an elevated platform. A wooden slat separates the priest’s side from that of his penitents.  The insides of these two compartments are visible to the audience but not to one another.

 

After checking his watch, the young priest who is seated in the confessional yawns and stretches, visibly exhausted from the demands of the Christmas season.  EDWARD loosens his collar and runs his fingers through his dark hair.

Checking his watch one last time, EDWARD exits the confessional just as AMETHYST enters the church.  Her cheeks are rosy from the cold, and she is clad in worn black knee-high boots that give way to tangerine tights.  Her sole source of warmth comes from a thin, clumsily unfastened black raincoat that reveals all.  In short, AMETHYST looks like she has some confessing to do.  Their eyes meet.  After a series of awkward gestures and stammering, he nods and they both step inside their respective sections of the confessional.

 

EDWARD

God bless you, my child.  What brings you here on such a night?  You shouldn’t be out by yourself.  Especially with the snow.

 

AMETHYST

Yeah, I didn’t get off work till eleven – early for the holiday, you know – and it’s not really snowing anymore.  There’s too much traffic for it to really pile up, anyway.

 

UNISON

The city never sleeps. (they laugh awkwardly)

 

EDWARD

(gently) Is this your first visit to the Church of St. Vincent?

 

AMETHYST

I’ve passed this place tons of times, but I didn’t think someone like me could come in.  So many good people here, you know?  Well obviously. But what would He want with a sinner?

 

EDWARD

He wants to help him as best He can.  Or her.

 

AMETHYST

Listen, I ain’t ever done this before – I was raised Baptist so I shouldn’t even be here.  But damn it, I need some – shit, I can’t swear here – shit, I did it again!

 

EDWARD

What do you need, my child?

 

AMETHYST

First off, I need you to stop the “my child” crap – I got a good look at you; you’re not anywhere near my daddy’s age.  “Amethyst” is what I go by at the club, but here, I guess I’m still Amelia.

 

EDWARD

What do you need, Amelia?

 

AMETHYST

It sure has been a long time since someone called me that.  Hey, you mind if I light up in here?  My oral fixation cancels out my fear of crucifixes. (looks up at the large, graphic crucifix near the altar; shudders) That’s some creepy shit.

 

EDWARD

Please do know, Amelia; whether or not you’re a Catholic, you are still in the presence of God in this confessional.

 

AMETHYST

(puts cigarettes away) That’s a ‘no’ if I ever heard one.  (heavy sigh) Tell me, father – can I call you ‘father’?

 

EDWARD

Most do.  Or Edward, if you like.

 

AMETHYST

I would like, but how about Eddie?

 

EDWARD

Generally, Edward is preferred.

 

AMETHYST

All you Edwards are the same – knew a guy like that in college. Never Eddie or Ed; always Edward. So tell me, Edward, will I go to hell for this?  I didn’t have a choice; he made me go, for Christ sakes – sorry again. I’m not proud of what I did last Christmas, so I thought, okay, Amelia; maybe there’s still hope. Catholics can confess; maybe I can, too.

 

EDWARD

Would you like to tell me what happened last Christmas?

 

AMETHYST

I s’pose that’s why I’m really here, isn’t it?  Well, Eddie – Edward – I wanted a baby.  I wanted one real bad.  Steve wasn’t so keen on the idea.  So he made me get rid of it.  And then he got rid of me.  I didn’t need that, you know.  My family already gave up on me when I told them what I was really doing here.  Oh, I went to the big city to dance, to become a star.  But the only dancing most can find ‘round here is – well, not that.  I can hear ‘em now, making a fuss about their college-educated daughter shakin’ it for tips.  And then Steve went. And then they all went.

 

EDWARD

None of us are ever alone, Amelia.  It’s brave of you to face your pain.  We all have choices to make, and not everyone will agree with them.  I finally committed to the priesthood a few years ago, although I don’t think that my parents would have approved, had they lived to see it. A doctor. I think I was supposed to become a doctor.

 

AMETHYST

(laughs softly) I don’t know why, but I guess I just assumed that priests were always priests, you know?

 

EDWARD

Yes.  I was happy enough, but God has led me to my true path, just as He will lead you.  I don’t know if we should be discussing such things here. Your confession – we should return to that.

 

AMETHYST

(reclines in her chair dreamily) You got such a soothing voice.  There’s just something familiar about it.  Talk to me, preacher man.  Please.  I just need to take a break.

 

EDWARD

I majored in theology at TCU, and then –

 

AMETHYST

Really?  How long ago did you graduate?

 

EDWARD

Oh, my ten-year reunion’s in…a few months, I suppose.  Wow, has it already been so long?

 

AMETHYST

You’ve got to be shi – I mean, kidding.  You really gotta be kidding.

 

EDWARD

This is hardly the place for that, don’t you think?

 

AMETHYST

You ever take a 100-level class on world religions?  Some bore of a course full of freshmen?

 

EDWARD

Oh yes. I realized my senior year that I had forgotten one requirement.  It was a silly mistake, really.  But that professor really did love the concept of worship.  He always gave us these prayer cards, but I felt badly because no one ever read them.

 

AMETHYST

I did.

 

EDWARD

What?

 

AMETHYST

I read them all, even the ones about those ancient religions.  You know why I read them?

 

EDWARD

You were there – the girl with the red hair –

 

AMETHYST

I read them because this tall drink of upperclassman said the same thing.  He felt just as bad as I did about poor Professor Kurtz.  I can’t forget him; he just had these eyes. Such sad green eyes.  Eyes that made a girl melt every time she lost herself in them.  Eyes that made her die a little inside because that girl knew that he wanted to be a priest and she couldn’t ever tell him.

 

EDWARD

Amelia!


The silence following his exclamation is deafening.  The distant sound of a recording of Judy Garland singing, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” plays in silence for two beats.

 

AMETHYST

Are you alone, Edward?

 

EDWARD

None of us are ever alone.

 

AMETHYST

It really is you.  You always did talk like that.  What happens now?

 

EDWARD

Traditionally, I give you penance so as to cleanse your spirit.  But this evening hasn’t exactly been…well…

 

AMETHYST

Traditional?  What, you don’t have strippers waltz in at 11:30 every Christmas Eve?

 

EDWARD

You’re a very smart girl.  Don’t ever let anyone tell you differently.  That’s what I want you to do for your penance.  I want you to remember that you are better.

 

AMETHYST

You mean…that’s what God wants me to do, right?

 

EDWARD

No, it’s what I want you to do.  It’s a penance from me.  God is…giving me mixed signals.  This hasn’t really happened before.

 

AMETHYST

I didn’t mean to mess with your sacred reception, father.

 

EDWARD

Maybe I’ve been misinterpreting for a while now.  For years.

 

AMETHYST

Maybe you were so busy looking for the answer you wanted that you haven’t been able to see the right one.

 

Bells in the church start to toll the hour.

 

AMETHYST

Merry Christmas, Edward.

 

AMETHYST smiles, stepping out of the confessional.  She looks back wistfully and starts to leave, only to have EDWARD catch her by the wrist before she can exit.  He opens his mouth as if to speak as he gazes into her eyes, but there’s nothing left to say.  Pulling AMETHYST to him, EDWARD kisses her as the bells continue to toll.  FATHER JOHN enters, but neither of them notice.

 

FATHER JOHN

May God bless you, my children.  (said as he makes the sign of the cross) There goes another one.

 

Blackout.

 

 

 

Copyright Alexandra Lucas 2015

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