THE SUBSTITUTE RUDOLPH
MARILYN A. KINSELLA
PUPPETS: Santa (S), Elf (T), Boy (B), Elephant (E), Fox (F) , Bee (B), Wizard (W), Girl (SJ), Dragon (D)
* This will take two puppeteers. More than 3 puppets are on stage at one time.
SCENE I (at the North Pole) (Elf and Santa on stage)
S. Dear, oh dear, oh dear oh dear!
T. Santa, why are you going around saying, oh dear?
S. Oh dear, my poor Rudolph is sick. He’s got the flu bug, and his red nose won’t even flicker much less glow. And tonight of all nights. Christmas Eve and a fog thicker than plum pudding. Just whom will I get to guide my sleigh?
T. You do have a problem. But, what can you do? You have to stay here and pack all the toys. You’ll have to get someone to go find just the right animal.
S. I’ve got it. I’ll look over my list of who’s been naughty and nice and find a very nice boy and a very nice girl for this special project. Trickster, where did I put that list?
T. There’s the list, Santa.
S. Let’s see. Bart, oh no, no, no. Ahh! Lisa – oh no, no, no. Now this is the ticket – Bud and Sally Jean. Just the two I can depend on. Trickster, you’ll have to use the magic words to bring them here.
T. Zippidy, zappida, zippidy zeeen
Come on up Bud and Sally Jean.
B. (enters befuddled) What? Where’s my video game? I was just ready to save the princess.
SJ. (enters) Bud, this is strange. I was just ready to put some cookies in the oven when suddenly I looked up and there was….Santa Claus!!!
S. Sorry about that, Bud and Sally Jean, but something has happened that just might stop Christmas from coming. I just knew you two could help.
B. Sure, Santa, what’s the prob?
S. Well, poor Rudolph is sick and I have no one to guide my sleigh tonight.
B. Gee, Santa, I’d like to help but I can’t leap over tall buildings in a single bound like Rudolph.
S. Ho, ho, ho. I know that Bud. But I figured that you kids are so smart you’d figure out a way to find a Rudolph substitute. The animal has to be big and strong, quick and clever and light on its feet so it can fly through the air like Rudolph. Do you think you can do an animal that meets my specifications?
SJ. Well, Santa, you picked the right kids all right. Bud and I will leave right now to find the right animal to guide your sleigh.
S. Good luck! (exit)
SCENE II (Bud and Sally Jean then - elephant, fox, and bee)
B. Gee, I hope we find the right animal. Let’s see. Santa said big and strong. Big and strong? Where are we going to find big and strong?
SJ. Don’t look now Bud. My eyes must be deceiving me, but isn’t that a…a…an elephant?
E. (elephant enters) Merry Christmas!
B. Merry Christmas to you too. Boy, are we glad to see you.
E. Really, well I’m glad to see you too.
SJ. What Bud means is that we are really glad to see you because we need someone big and strong to pull Santa’s Sleigh tonight.
E. Then I’m your woman. Big Bertha’s my name; pullin’s me game. Why I could pull 10 of Santa’s Sleighs with my left foot tied behind my back.
B. Wait, Sally Jean, Big Bertha is strong, but she’s not quite quick and clever like Rudolph.
S. You’re right Bud. Sorry, Big Bertha, but big and strong won’t get the job done.
E. That’s okay. I’ve got lots of Christmas shopping to do. I hear I can pick up a new weight-training machine down at the sports store for mere peanuts. Good luck! (exit)
B. That elephant sure has the spirit of Christmas. She was willing to help even though she was rushed for time like everybody else. But Sally, where are we going to find someone who is quick and clever?
F. (fox enters) Quick and clever? Did I hear someone call me?
S. Oh, Mr. Fox, it’s you! You are certainly quick and clever. But are you quick enough and clever enough to help guide Santa’s sleigh tonight?
F. Sounds like just the job for me - nothing like giving ole Santa a hand.
B. Whoops, I just remembered. The animal has to be so light on its feet that it can fly through the air like Rudolph.
SJ. Right again, Bud. You don’t happen to be a flying fox?
F. Nope, only find those in fairy tales.
B. Well, thanks anyway. Your offer was greatly appreciated. (fox exits)
SJ. Back to the drawing board. Wait, do you hear a sound? (zzzzz – off stage as bee enters)
BB. (bee enters) BZZZZZZZZ Buzzzzy Bee, Buzzzzy Bee!!
B. What luck! Buzy Bee, over here. Are you too busy to help Santa?
BB. Never to buzzzzy to help Santa! What do you need?
B. Just someone light on his feet that can fly through the air like Rudolph.
BB. Fly through the air? Watch this. ZZZZZZZZZZZ
SJ. Gosh that’s great, Buzy Bee. But Bud, aren’t you forgetting big and strong?
B. Big and strong! Oh no! We’re back where we started.
SJ. Thanks Buzy Bee. You are very sweet and have a honey of a Christmas.
BB. Sure thing. I’m off to spread more good cheer. Zee you! Good luck! (bee exits)
B. Sally, I haven’t mentioned this before, but if we don’t do something real drastic real soon, there’s not going to be a Christmas.
SJ. What is it, Bud? If you have an idea, tell me.
B. I think we will have to go see the…the (gulp)…the wizard.
SJ. The wicked and wily wizard of Willoughby Wallow who lives near the dungeon with his dastardly dragon?
B. The very same. If anybody can help, he can.
SJ. Either that or he’ll turn us into toadstools. But, I’m willing to risk it. Come on, Bud, we don’t have much time. (exit)
SCENE III (at the Wizard’s Tower) (Sally Jean, Bud and Wizard)
SJ. There he is, the wizard himself.
B. Funny, he doesn’t look a bit wily or wicked – he just looks weepy. Let’s go see if we can help
SJ. Merry Christmas, Mr. Wizard, Sir.
W. Yes, it is Christmas, isn’t it, but it isn’t very merry.
B. Why not?
W. Because all I ever get is a lump of coal in my stocking. Everyone thinks I’m mean, even Santa, just because I changed that G.I. Joe doll into a Barbie doll and made all the Christmas cookies disappear off the table –actually they didn’t disappear. I ate them all, and then there was the time…
SJ. Okay, okay, we get the picture.
B. But, you did say that you were sorry.
W. Yes, very sorry. I just want Christmas to be happy for everyone.
SJ. Well, I think I know a way you can show how sorry you are and really mean it. Let me talk to Bud for a minute. (Whispers to Bud back and forth)
B. Yes, I think you can have a happy Christmas. You know that the thing that makes you the happiest is when you can give a gift from the heart.
SJ. That’s right, and sometimes no one even knows you gave it. It’s a secret.
W. Oh, I love secrets. What can I do?
B. Well, you know that prized, big and strong, quick and clever, light on its feet dragon you keep locked up out back?
W. Old Dragonmiester, sure.
SJ. Well, do you think Bud and I could…borrow him tonight?
W. Borrow? Old Dragonmiester? What on earth for?
B. It’s like this. Santa’s main reindeer, Rudolph, is down with the flu and he needs someone to guide his sleigh tonight.
W. Then, you may borrow Old Dragonmiester and have a Merry Christmas.
SCENE IV (back at the North Pole)
S. Where can those two kids be? I thought they’d be back a long time ago. I’ve got to be outta here in only one hour. Wait! What’s that I hear? It sounds like…its jingle bells (bells ringing and in appears the dragon) What? Where? How did you get in here (Bud and Sally are giggling)
B. Santa, meet Dragonmiester – your substitute Rudolph.
S. Well, I would never have thought. A dragon. Very resourceful. Very resourceful indeed. Thank you, Bud and Sally Jean. I knew I could count on you.
SJ. Don’t thank us. Thank the wizard.
S. You are Willoughby’s dragon? He’s never let you out for…for a thousand years.
D. That’s right, but he had a change of heart this year.
S. Well, if that wily old wizard can have a change of heart, then there’s hope for us all. Come on, Dragonmiester. We have work to do.
SJ. Don’t run off too quick. Let’s sing our goodbyes. Are you ready boys and girls? Let’s sing “We wish you a Merry Christmas.”
Sing – We wish you a merry Christmas.
All: “We wish you a Merry Christmas, we wish you a Merry Christmas, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!