Deck the Halls: 10 Plays to Read During December

Written by Ashleigh Gardner

August 15, 2018

For many theatre professionals, the month of December is packed full of productions of A Christmas Carol (and various other iterations of the tale), but some theatres choose to broaden their horizons during the holiday season. If you’re out of school for break (or have a little extra time on your hands), pick up one of these incredible plays that celebrate the spirit of the holidays.

A Tuna Christmas by Ed Howard, Joe Sears, Jaston Williams

Cast Info: 2m
“In this hilarious sequel to Greater Tuna, it’s Christmas in the third-smallest town in Texas. Radio station OKKK news personalities Thurston Wheelis and Arles Struvie report on various Yuletide activities, including the hot competition in the annual lawn-display contest. In other news, voracious Joe Bob Lipsey’s production of A Christmas Carol is jeopardized by unpaid electric bills. Many colorful Tuna denizens, some you will recognize from Greater Tuna and some appearing here for the first time, join in the holiday fun. A Tuna Christmas is a total delight for all seasons, whether performed by two quick-changing comedians as it was on Broadway, or by twenty or more. Production requirements are minimal, making the play suitable for school and community producers as well as large venues. Audiences who have and who have not seen Greater Tuna will enjoy this laugh-filled evening.” – Samuel French

Get the Play Here

Inspecting Carol by Daniel Sullivan

Cast Info: 8m, 4f
A Christmas Carol meets The Government Inspector meets Noises Off in this hilarious hit from Seattle. A man who asks to audition at a small theater is mistaken for an informer for the National Endowment for the Arts. Everyone caters to the bewildered wannabe actor, and he is given a role in the current production, A Christmas Carol. Everything goes wrong and hilarity is piled upon hilarity. Perfect anytime, this delight is particularly appropriate at Christmas.” – Samuel French

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Seven Santas by Jeff Goode

Cast Info: 5m, 3f
“The long-awaited follow-up to The Eight: Reindeer Monologues: This time, it’s Santa’s turn, and Christmas will never, ever be the same. Scandal erupts at the North Pole when the most powerful man on Earth is sentenced to rehab for a minor traffic violation. But when he finds himself in a detox program run by the estranged Mrs. Claus, Santa’s desperate struggle to conceal the truth about his arrest uncovers yet another sordid secret that could mean the end of Christmas-as-we-know-it.” – Samuel French

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The Crumple Zone by Buddy Thomas

Cast Info: 5m
“This hilarious Off-Broadway hit, set in a run-down apartment on Staten Island, concerns three gay roommates coming to a crisis during one frantic Christmas weekend. Terry, an out-of-work actor who can’t keep a job or get a date, spends his days swilling cheap vodka and playing referee to a messy love triangle. Extremely funny and deeply moving, The Crumple Zone is about staying together, breaking apart, and the things we lose along the way.” – Samuel French

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The Lion in Winter by James Goldman

Cast Info: 5m, 2f
“Sibling rivalry, adultery, and dungeons – The Lion in Winter, by James Goldman, is a modern-day classic. Comedic in tone, dramatic in action – the play tells the story of the Plantagenet family, who are locked in a free-for-all of competing ambitions to inherit a kingdom. The queen, and wealthiest woman in the world, Eleanor of Aquitaine, has been kept in prison since raising an army against her husband, King Henry II. Let out only for holidays, the play centers around the inner conflicts of the royal family as they fight over both a kingdom and King Henry’s paramour during the Christmas of 1183. As Eleanor says, “Every family has its ups and downs,” and this royal family is no exception.” – Samuel French

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A Facility for Living by Katie Forgette

Cast Info: 3m, 3f
“Joe Taylor, a retired actor, moves into a prison-turned-elder-care facility shortly after the demise of Medicare and the election of Dick Cheney to President.  There he discovers a community of loveable, irascible inmates hell-bent on bucking the dehumanizing system in which they have landed. Together, this band of aging misfits rediscovers purpose and dignity in the face of a system mightily stacked against them. A delightful comedy with bite from Katie Forgette, that dares to confront the issue of aging in America.” – Samuel French

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Greetings! by Tom Dudzick

Cast Info: 3m, 2f
“Andy has a sweet Catholic mother, a sour Catholic father and an intellectually disabled younger brother named Mickey. When he brings his Jewish atheist fiance to meet the folks on Christmas Eve, his worst fears about family blow-ups are realized. But when Mickey, whose entire vocabulary has been limited to “oh boy” and “wow,” suddenly spouts the word “Greetings!” the entire family’s belief system is turned upside down. For it seems an ancient, wise and witty spirit who is set upon healing the family’s wounds has borrowed Mickey’s body! Though a play for all seasons, Greetings! is ideal for groups wanting something special to put on at Christmas/Hanukkah time. The Off Broadway production starred Darren McGavin and Gregg Edelman.” – Samuel French

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A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen

Cast Info: 4f / 3m / 2 boys / 1 girl
Taking place just before Christmas, A Doll’s House explores the communication, or lack thereof, between Nora and her husband, Torvald. “In Ibsen’s play, Nora Helmer has secretly (and deceptively) borrowed a large sum of money to pay for her husband, Torvald, to recover from illness on a sabbatical in Italy. Torvald’s perception of Nora is of a silly, naive spendthrift, so it is only when the truth begins to emerge, and Torvald appreciates the initiative behind his wife, that unmendable cracks appear in their marriage.” – Bloomsbury Publishing

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The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge by Mark Brown

Cast Info: 6m, 2f / 8m, 5w
The Trial of the Century! A year after his miraculous transformation, Ebenezer Scrooge is back to his old ways and is suing Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future for breaking and entering, kidnapping, slander, pain and suffering, attempted murder and the intentional infliction of emotional distress. The ghosts employ Solomon Rothschild, England’s most charismatic, savvy, and clever barrister. Scrooge, that old penny pincher, represents himself. One by one, Bob Cratchit, Scrooge’s nephew Fred, solicitor and philanthropist Sara Anne Wainwright, and the ghosts themselves take the witness stand to give their account of the night in question.” – Dramatic Publishing

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A Country Scandal by Anton Chekhov

Cast Info: 11m, 5f
“A play with one of the longest runs in the history of the famous Greenwich Mews Theatre. Though the last of Chekhov’s plays to be produced professionally in America, it was written by the author at the age of 21 and is unquestionably a key to the comic intent of all his plays. Misha has a devil inside him that makes him irresistible to women, including his wife, and a widow, and the widow’s daughter-in-law. While the widow is pursued by a propertied gentleman and a huge serf, she has eyes only for Misha. But Misha prefers an affair with her daughter-in-law. There are many comic interludes, as when the widow’s son tries to challenge Misha to a duel; and all of them point up the humorous failings of mankind in crises. Misha himself fails, when he tries to commit suicide.” – Samuel French

Get the Play Here

Interested in reading more plays? Check out our other features below!

Ashleigh Gardner received her M.A. in Literary, Cultural, and Textual Studies (with concentrations in Contemporary Film, Psychoanalytic Theory, and Gender Studies) and her B.A. in English Literature (with concentrations in Early American Literature, Victorian & Gothic Literature, and Feminisms), both from the University of Central Florida. She is a playwright, a Shakespearean trained actor, a dramaturge, and a photographer.
Thumbnail image: Photo by hannah grace on Unsplash