Comedy/ 2 Characters, 1 Man, 1 Woman/ Full Length, app. 90 minutes
Synopsis: Algar and Lucy have just moved in together and plan to get married. Lucy, a hysterically busy party planner, is the youngest of four sisters in a claustrophobically close-knit Scandinavian family. Algar, on the other hand, is an only child who has purposely moved to the opposite side of the country from his parents. The two have embraced their differences — and each other — except, now that it’s December, there’s trouble on the horizon.
Algar has thus far managed to avoid much of the seasonal brouhaha during his relationship with Lucy. But now that they’re engaged, there’s no avoiding the highly ritualized holiday events and Lucy’s doggedly sentimental attachment to her family’s seasonal traditions. Algar feels like he has to take a stand or risk being overwhelmed, so he chooses a hill to die on: the Christmas tree.
Algar really does not want this potent symbol in his living room but for Lucy the tree is a trigger for happy family memories and the magical spirit of the season. As the big day draws closer, both make important concessions — Algar actually goes out and hunts down a scrawny spruce tree — but even that goes sideways when they can’t agree on how to decorate.
On top of the trouble at home, both Lucy and Algar are struggling in their professional lives. Lucy is exhausted from the seasonal pressures of her job (like dealing with a high-maintenance Christmas Eve wedding couple), and her family’s expectation she will produce the annual Christmas pageant. Meanwhile, Algar’s diatribes against Christmas and his grade nine students’ disastrous presentations for the school concert threaten his job as a high school teacher. His attitude also poisons the marriage course he’s attending with Lucy, taught by the earnestly interfering Pastor Larsen, who attempts to resolve the couple’s differences with therapy puppets and obscure Scandinavian proverbs.
When there’s still no decorated tree on December 24th, it looks as though the relationship is doomed. Especially since Algar has secretly arranged to spirit Lucy away to Hawaii on Christmas Day at the same time as Lucy has invited Algar’s parents to visit for the holidays.
This “Gift of the Magi” scenario gone horribly wrong ultimately forces Algar and Lucy to reveal their true feelings about Christmas past and present, including Algar’s epiphany about his negative associations with the tree. Freed from the tyranny of family history and expectations, the two can finally create their own holiday tradition.
Performance rights must be secured before production
Amateur and professional rights:
Michael Petrasek, Kensington Literary Representation
About the Playwright: Conni is an award-winning writer working in theatre, film and television. Stage credits include Matara and The Invention of Romance, both premiered by Workshop West Playwrights Theatre, Oh! Christmas Tree (Roxy Performance Series), and her widely-produced stage adaptations of W.O Mitchell’s Jake and the Kid and Bruce Allen Powe’s The Aberhart Summer. Conni has worked as a story editor on television series such as Mentors, The Beat, North of 60, The Adventures of Shirley Holmes, Taking it Off and Family Restaurant. Film projects include two feature-length comedies (in development) and two short films: Invisible, co-written with and directed by Neil Grahn, and Voila, co-produced and directed by Geraldine Carr. Conni has several publications to her credit, including six of her plays and a comic memoir, Roadtripping: On the Move with the Buffalo Gals (Brindle and Glass Publishing). Her writing has been recognized by AMPIA, the Academy of Cinema and Television, the Betty Mitchell Awards, the Writers Guild of Alberta, and the Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Awards.
Oh! Christmas Tree was first produced by Theatre Network, Edmonton, Alberta in December, 2018.
“Must-See Holiday Show” — Jenna Shummoogum, Avenue Calgary
“One funny tale of surviving the first Christmas together.” — Calgary Herald
“Filled with laughter and poignancy. But underneath the whimsy is an important message that will linger in your heart.”
– St. Albert Gazette
“Spirited . . . hilarious . . . mischievous” — Louis B. Hobson, Calgary Sun