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“The Night Before Christmas”

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Williams, Paula (Australian playwright, short story writer, dabbler in other genres, 1925-____), “The Night Before Christmas,”

a 10 minute comedy in English, set in the living room of an Australian house, 2001,


; • © 2001 by Paula Williams; • in Paula Williams' The Night Before Christmas (Bangalow, Byron Shire, New South Wales, Australia, The Author, 2001); • script/rights available from Paula Williams, Bangalow Australia, telephone 61- 02/6687 2728, e-mail miathara@linknet.com.au. • Cited by Paula Williams, via ftp, July 29, 2003; Williams says,

  §  Dramatis Personae Maise (65), sister, plump, basically cheerful disposition, uses bantering sarcasm to protect herself; Dot (55), sister, looks older, lean and stringy, sour on life.

  §  Synopsis “Maise is happily decorating a sad looking Christmas tree, the only one she could afford, with post-Christmas-sale decorations she had bought and saved until this Christmas. Dot, looking on, demands to know why the old cotton wool and homemade decorations weren’t good enough and, anyway, she is tired of the yearly sentimental mush Maise indulges in every year. Maise, talking to the tree instead of Dot, gives as good as she gets, remaining cheerful because she has a secret she is saving to surprise her sister. When Maise overbalances whilst climbing on a chair to reach the top of the tree and twists her ankle in falling, Dot is sourly unsympathetic. In pain, Maise finally has to yell at her to get Arthur from next door because Dot is unable to help her up. Dot leaves in an annoyed huff, and Maise confides her happy secret to the Christmas tree. The secret involves Arthur.

  §  Comment “This short play has been performed in Byron Bay and was runner up in the Kingarooy (Queensland [Australia]) Literary Eisteddfod (Short Play section) in 2001. It can be performed with the minimum of props. • Paula Williams, 78-year old playwright, began her association with the stage with Sydney University Dramatic Society (SUDS) in 1948-49, running around backstage with a string of safety pins, and delivering her one Shakespearean line with all the aplomb of a terrified mouse. She married in New Guinea highlands an engineer; they have two children. Subsequently they lived in Sydney many times, Hong Kong, and the Gove Peninsula, Northern Territory, Australia, until they 'dropped out' to become elderly self-sufficiency dudes on a rundown property on a mountainside near Nimbin, site of the Aquarius Festival. Has moved all her life, before during and after marriage. Likes change, hates cities, has been a questioner all her life. Began writing plays at he age of 61, after leaving her 37-year-old marriage. She and her husband are now good mates. Her plays sketches and monologues have been performed many times. In 2002, two one acts were published; another was shortlisted in an International One Act Play Competition in Malibu, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.. She writes with insight and humour gentle plays about relationships. Once a member of ANPC (Australian National Playwrights Centre), Sydney’s Griffin Theatre, and Brisbane’s Playlab (Playwrights Laboratory) and FAW (Fellowship of Australian Writers). Now confines her membership to Playworks (National body based in Sydney) and helping run Bangalow Writers’ Group (mixed genres) and the script/workshop arm of Baywrite Theatre, Inc. (Byron Bay) Has always done volunteer work wherever she’s lived. Does tai chi, aerobics and aqua-robics, and maintains a difficult, terraced vegetable garden.”

  §  Themes anti-life, joy, life, sourness.

See also Paula Williams'

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Page mounted August 3, 2003, and updated July 26, December 6, 2004, by the Webmaster.

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