The Trees of Throop

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5 characters. Approximately 10 minutes running time. Original holiday story with colorful characters and a message of kindness. Nostalgic and quirky. Written by Ted LoRusso.

Convinced that his parents will not have a Christmas tree, Louis Lombardi runs away, hoping to move in with a family who has one. This short play is a Christmas Elegy: quirky, touching, and simply lovely. The characters are colorful and the story nostalgic. A perfect holiday play for middle school, high school, or community groups.

Playwright:

Ted LoRusso has written dozens of plays, screenplays, and poems. He received the Venice International Film Festival Critic’s Choice Award for Best Screenplay and The New York City Underground Film Festival People’s Choice Award for Cracking Up, which was featured in the Toyota and Aspen Comedy Festivals, the Cannes Film Festival, and is due to be re-released on Blu-Ray in 2023. He contributed to The Right Words at the Right Time Volume 2, Your Turn, edited by Marlo Thomas. His song, Attack of the Rock People was recorded by Norah Jones and El Madmo on Team Love Records.

Excerpt from the play:

CHARACTERS

LOUIE, an old man, but we see as a young boy in the play
NORA, a young girl with pigtails and glasses
BUGSIE, a young boy, unkempt
TINA, a girl with orange hair and keen eyes
NANCY, wiry and smart for her age

Note: “Throop” is pronounced “Troop.”
Set: Bare Stage.
At Rise: LOUIE, a young boy, ENTERS. He takes Center Stage, addresses audience directly.

LOUIE (to audience)
Good evening, ladies. Gentlemen. And others. My name is Louie. I have lived here in Throop, Pennsylvania my entire life. In two weeks, I will be 77 years old. [Pause] I know. I do not look my age. Never have. Genetics. My Father was Sicilian, and my mother was really annoyed about that. She was Irish. She said that Sicilians had souls like dirty milk bottles. When I was sixteen, I asked Mother why she married my Father if he had a soul like a dirty milk bottle. It was the only time she ever slapped me. Correction. It was the second time. The first time was when I was seven. It was Christmas Eve. I loved Christmas back then. I still do. That Christmas Eve, around supper time, I said, Mommy, where’s our Christmas tree? She said she didn’t know. Maybe Santa Clause will bring it. Maybe?! I really wanted a Christmas tree. What if Santa forgets? I said, but Mommy, everyone else has a Christmas tree. She said, “If everyone else jumped off the Harrison Avenue bridge, would you?” That was when I suggested she jump off the Harrison Avenue Bridge. And that was when she slapped me. Looking back, I do not blame her. But back then, I did blame her. And so, I ran away. I packed a peanut butter sandwich and a pair of underpants into a paper bag and stormed out of the house, determined to find and live with a family who had a Christmas tree. First stop: Nora Minora’s house. Knock. Knock.

Nora Minora, a young girl, ENTERS. Pigtails. Glasses.

LOUIE
Hey.

NORA
Hey.

LOUIE
Did you eat?

NORA
No. You?

LOUIE
No. Do you have a Christmas tree?

NORA
Yes. You?

LOUIE
No.

NORA
So what’ya want?

LOUIE
I ran away from home.

NORA
Again?

LOUIE (to us)
I also ran away one Halloween because Mother refused to buy a pumpkin. And the next Thanksgiving because Mother refused to put marshmallows on the yams. (to Nora) Yeah, I ran away. Can I move in with you?

NORA
I’ll ask my mother.

Nora EXITS. RE-ENTERS seconds later.

NORA
No.

LOUIE
Can I see your Christmas tree?

NORA
I’ll ask.

Nora EXITS. RE-ENTERS seconds later.

NORA
No. Mother said people are coming over. You can look at it through the picture window on the porch.

LOUIE (to audience)
I looked at it through the picture window on the porch. It was really fat. Every ornament was the same color. Nora’s father had stretched real fake snow over the lights. It looked like it had snowed in their living room. Nora’s mother knocked on the window and motioned for Nora to go in. She did.

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