The Nutcracker in a Flash

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12+ characters, flexible casting, approximately 10 minutes. Comedy script about a fast-paced remake of The Nutcracker. Perfect for middle and high school.

The Big Boss of the network demands a version of The Nutcracker that is fast-paced, hip, and sensational. He calls in Crackerjack and the Wizkid, a creative spin team known for their slickness and style. The souped-up makeover they propose blends elements from holiday classics and trendy references, spurring a ghostly visit from Mr. Tchaikovsky himself.

Playwright Bio:

Novelist, poet, playwright, performer, and screenwriter, John Biscello, is the author of four novels, Broken Land, a Brooklyn Tale, Raking the Dust, Nocturne Variations, and No Man’s Brooklyn; a collection of stories, Freeze Tag, two poetry collections, Arclight and Moonglow on Mercy Street; and a fable, The Jackdaw and the Doll, illustrated by Izumi Yokoyama. He also adapted classic fables paired with the vintage illustrations by artist Paul Bransom for the collection: Once Upon a Time, Classic Fables Reimagined. His produced, full-length plays include: LOBSTERS ON ICE, ADAGIO FOR STRAYS, THE BEST MEDICINE, ZEITGEIST, U.S.A., and WEREWOLVES DON’T WALTZ. He is the founder and director of the Taos Youth Ensemble, a theater collective, and as an independent drama educator, he has worked in various schools, creating plays with grades ranging from K through high school.

Excerpt from the play:

CHARACTERS:

Team Nuts & Bolts — Four network executives
Big Boss — Network head honcho
Crackerjack — Pitchman
Wizkid — Pitchman
Owl/Drosselmeyer — Magic owl and Marie’s uncle
Marie — Girl from The Nutcracker
Mouse King —Ruler of Mouse army
Mouseketeers — Mouse King’s minions
Nutcracker — Marie’s protector
Soldiers – Nutcracker’s army
Laurel and Hardy — Classic comedy duo
Jack Frost — Winter’s imp
Ghost of Christmas Past — Worked with Scrooge
Charlie Brown – Best friend of Snoopy
Tchaikovsky – Composer of The Nutcracker

*Any gender can play characters. Actors can play multiple roles as the classic holiday characters are introduced.

SETTING: TV Land

(TEAM NUTS & BOLTS on stage. Pacing, in a line, stooped over, hands clasped behind their backs.)

#1:
She said she wanted something new—

#2:
Fresh—

#3:
Bold—

#4:
Original.

(Pacing continues, left to right, right to left.)

#1:
The Nutcracker Gone Wild!

(Others shake their heads. The pacing continues.)

#2:
A Tough Nut to Cracker?

ALL:
Groan.

(Pacing continues.)

#3:
Of Mice and Men.

ALL:
Taken.

#3:
Of Mice and Men… and Nutcrackers?

ALL:
Double groan.

(Pacing continues.)

#4:
I’ve got it. The Nutcracker Gone Wild!

ALL:
Are you even listening?

(BIG BOSS enters. TEAM NUTS & BOLTS stand at attention.)

BIG BOSS:
At ease, team. How’s it going?

#1:
Great.

#2:
Super.

#3:
Dynamite.

#4:
Boffo.

BIG BOSS:
In other words, you’ve got nothing.

(TEAM NUTS & BOLTS hang their heads in shame.)

BIG BOSS:
Just as I expected. Which is why I want you to meet— Crackerjack and the Wizkid.

(CRACKERJACK and WIZKID enter.)

BIG BOSS:
They’re idea people.

CRACKERJACK:
We’re light bulbs that never burn out—

WIZKID:
We spin ideas so quickly, we put ourselves out of style.

BIG BOSS:
Crackerjack, Wizkid—whaddya got?

CRACKERJACK:
What we’ve got is television gold—

WIZKID:
Made for today’s short attention spans—

CRACKERJACK:
A two-hour bonanza—

WIZKID:
Turned into an eight-minute blast.

CRACKERJACK/WIZKID:
We call it The Nutcracker in a Flash.

CRACKERJACK:
The first thing we did… cut out all the ballet.

WIZKID:
Nobody wants to watch ballet—

CRACKERJACK:
Too artsy—

WIZKID:
Too much music—

CRACKERJACK:
People in tights, really?
(pause)
The main character is Marie. She’s now an orphan—cold, hungry, and alone on Christmas Eve—

WIZKID:
Orphans tug on the heartstrings—

CRACKERJACK:
She meets a white owl—

WIZKID:
White owls are all the rage—

CRACKERJACK:
And he says to her—

(MARIE and WHITE OWL are now on-stage.)

OWL:
Hoo!

MARIE:
Who me?

OWL:
Hoo!

MARIE:
Who me who?

OWL:
Hoo! Hoo!

CRACKERJACK:
See, that’s your suspense angle—

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