When we (NBYT directors David and Darren) were looking for a play for this December, we considered a lot of different scripts. We wanted to keep it a holiday show, but we didn’t want to do Christmas Carol again. In fact, we wanted to do something completely different from Christmas Carol.
Some scripts didn’t have enough parts for all of the kids we hoped would audition. Some were just too depressing. Some couldn’t be licensed for production. And some had technical requirements beyond our current budgets and stage. (But someday, someday, we will make children fly!)
When we couldn’t find the perfect script, we commissioned one. (That’s a big word for “we asked someone to write it.”)
Denise Clapsaddle is a Connecticut pastor and part-time playwright and costume designer who adapted Dickens for last season’s A Children’s Christmas Carol. She’s also the wife of NBYT Artistic Director David Sousa. Way back in June, the three of us—David, Darren and Denise—sat down to talk about what we’d like in a Christmas play: a little action, a little adventure, and lots of fun parts for kids! A few weeks later, I’m Getting Nothin’ for Christmas was ready for auditions.
Here, in her own words, is what the playwright had to say about the writing process:
“In writing I’m Getting Nothin’ For Christmas, I drew on my own childhood memories and experiences. Santa and his workshop captured my imagination and I often tried to figure out how he managed to conduct such a large and impressive operation. Getting back into that type of thinking was incredibly fun for me. Like the children in the show, I found it hard to wait for Christmas morning, and the very excitement made being a quiet little ‘goodie two-shoes’ type of kid difficult as the holiday drew near.
I also wanted to create a world in which both boys and girls could participate in adventure equally. I loved books like From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and A Wrinkle in Time that featured adventurous children of both genders. Finally, I wanted to make the show entertaining for both kids and adults. My influences in crafting the script include the Marx Brothers films as well as stylish modern capers like Ocean’s Eleven.”
We think Denise did a pretty great job and hope you’ll think so too! I’m Getting Nothin’ for Christmas plays at Trinity-on-Main Performance Center on December 9, 10 and 11. More information is available on the NBYT website at www.nbyt.org, and tickets can be purchased online or by calling 860-515-8115. All major credit cards are accepted.