7 characters. 4M, 2F, 1 Either; 8 pages in length. Approximately 10 minutes running time. A story for children about true happiness written by Corinna Rezzelle.

The Christmas Cuckoo is an adaptation of the story originally written by Frances Browne. In this comedic version, a loving grandmother is caring for her granddaughter and grandson and tells them the story of the Christmas Cuckoo. In it, two poor brothers accidentally disrupt the nap of an unusual cuckoo bird. They allow him to stay with them for the rest of the winter and when spring arrives, the cuckoo leaves but promises to repay their generosity by bringing them back a gift. When he returns, he offers them the choice of two branches: one made of gold to bring fortune and fame and a holly branch to bring peace and joy. Each of the brothers takes a different branch and their choices will change their lives forever! This delightful tale teaches children how generosity and a positive attitude create long-lasting success and happiness in life.

Corinna Rezzelle is thrilled to be a playwright on Drama Notebook! Corinna has been an active actor, director, and stage manager since childhood and a theatre teacher for almost eight years. Holding a M.A. in Educational Theatre and a teaching credential, Corinna’s goal is to create engaging theatrical scripts that all students will enjoy performing. You can purchase her other fantastic scripts, Pecos Bill and the Rip-Roaring Tornado and Peter’s Big Adventure, right here in the Script Library!

Excerpt from the play:

CAST OF CHARACTERS

Granny
Alice
Tommy
Spare
Scrub
King
Cuckoo

(It is a cold Christmas Eve night. There is a small Christmas tree, rocking chair and run set Stage Right. This is the home of Granny; she is the Narrator of this story. Alice runs in ahead of Tommy, they both have a popcorn chain in their hands.)

Alice
Ha ha! I beat you!

Tommy
It’s not fair, you got a head start!

Alice
Did not!

Tommy
Did too!

Alice
Did not! I’m just faster and smart, and–

Tommy
OLDER!

(They begin to bicker as Granny enters from Stage Left. Granny has a spring of holly pinned onto her sweater. )

Granny
Children, children! Quit being so loud! Santa Claus will never come tonight if you’re that loud.

(Alice and Tommy look at Granny, then at each other, and then mimed zipping their lips)

Granny
(sitting in her chair) That’s better.

(Alice and Tommy sit on either side of Granny.)

Tommy
Tell us a story, Granny!

Alice
Oh, yes! Tell us a good story.

Granny
A good story? Let me think…

(A cuckoo clock strikes 8:00 p.m. with eight cuckoos.)

Ah! I know. Have I ever told you the tale of The Christmas Cuckoo?

Alice and Tommy
No! No! Tell us!

Granny
Alright, but after the story, to bed!

Alice and Tommy
Yes, yes! Tell us!

Granny
Alright. Now how does it begin…oh yes! A long, long time ago in a little village far away, there were two brothers that lived together named Scrub and Spare.

(Scrub and Spare enter Stage Left and act out what Granny says as she says it. If you have lightening capabilities, the lights can go out on Alice, Tommy, and Granny, or they can freeze where they are on stage.)

Scrub was a serious and gruff man. He always wanted the finest things and would rail against those that said he couldn’t have them. Spare was a kind soul. He cared for all creatures, big and small. They were very poor and could not afford to buy any firewood, even though it was a cold, cold winter.

(Alice and Tommy shiver as the focus shifts to Scrub and Spare. They both have shovels.)

Scrub
Here’s a good one, Spare.

Spare
Aye! That is an excellent root. That will keep us warm for sure.

Scrub
If we can’t have the tree, a root will do for the Brothers Scrub and Spare. We’ll show them!

Spare
Merry Christmas, brother. What a Yule log we’ll have!

(The brothers pull the root out of the ground with much heaving and a lot of sound.)

Scrub
This one’s really in there.

Spare
Just one more scoop of dirt and then we’ll have it.

(With a huge amount of force, Spare strikes the root. The cuckoo, dawning colorful wings and flies out of the root, rubbing his head. The brothers cower behind each other, pushing one another in front to deal with this creature.)

Cuckoo
Cuckoo, cuckoo! Ow, ow, ow! What a way to wake a bird up! Did you have to hit me so hard?!

Scrub
Who are you?

Cuckoo
I’m the cuckoo that used to live in this root. (kicks the root) Oh, I was having the most wonderful dream about flying with the sun on back…wait…what day is it?

Spare
It’s Christmas Eve.

Cuckoo
Really? Wow. That was a long nap! I fell asleep in that root in the Spring! Wow! Well, I’ll never get back to sleep now…since I’m awake, do you mind letting me stay at your house until Spring?

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