SEE AMID THE WINTER SNOW
Premiered September 19-21, 2019 in Philadelphia, PA
A Play in 2 Acts for 8 Actors (3 Women, 4 Men, 1 Role for Any Gender)
Recommended for Professional, Community, College, and High School Productions
Peter Fenton presents a brand-new holiday classic for the 21st century! Join our lovable snowman for a drink as he narrates the Yuletide pandemonium that is the tale of Mitchell Claus and Daisy Scarlett. Their love story is threatened when a blackmail scandal emerges in Santa’s Workshop amid Mrs. Claus’ critical re-election bid for mayor of the North Pole. Overflowing with fresh Christmas joy, the story develops in such a way to fold seamlessly into a retelling of a very familiar tale in its climax.
Of my first three plays, See Amid has the most layered plot. I created the role of the Snowman to serve a few purposes: first and foremost, the Snowman is there in order to make sure every member of the audience can follow the story from the first time reading or seeing the play. In addition, the fact that a Snowman is narrating the story is itself homage to Burl Ives in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer - and third, I wanted to create a space for a character to say out loud what I may have in another script written in the stage directions (the stage directions themselves have previously been described in Knights and Rose as being legitimately funny parts of the script that were never to be said out loud. I wanted to bring those bits out loud).
This play is recommended to those who know their Christmas standards, classic and modern - A Christmas Carol, Frosty the Snowman, Elf, Frozen, A Christmas Story, Charlie Brown Christmas, and all the usual Christmas carols overplayed on the radio between November 1 and December 31. The role of political and news media satire in this play is more akin to the politics and news media satire in Parks and Recreation than a serious government procedural.
SEE AMID THE WINTER SNOW is dedicated to Mom and Dad, who raised me to love well – to love well in family and friendships and to also love Christmastime. It was a joy to get to know their individual personalities better in the summer I lived with them between jobs while I wrote this play. SEE AMID is also dedicated to IdaLynn, who bet my father an ice cream sundae that he wouldn’t get a date with Beth from the front desk.
Any Gender Identity, Ambiguous Age, Any Ethnicity, Straight if Female-Identified/Gay if Male-Identified
The Snowman is our folksy, interactive narrator from the beginning of the show to the very end. Occasionally, the Snowman will directly interact with the characters in the story to make sure everything is being told correctly, but this charade is pure theatre. The Snowman knows perfectly well what they're doing. The actor portraying the Snowman should have strong command of the stage, excellent comic timing, and a lovable country twang (think Dolly Parton).
Male, 25-29 Years Old, Any Ethnicity, Straight
A well-maintained young professional elf with a sweet tooth who is the only son of Santa and Maureen Claus - working as Santa's Public Relations manager and Maureen's campaign strategist. Mitchell is something of a taskmaster, burying himself in work to keep things under his control, producing consistent results handily but also making him extremely prone to tunnel vision. Perhaps this trait has developed over the years in effort to fight any accusations of being spoiled or ultra-privileged being raised by the mega-philanthropist in Santa Claus and the mayor in Maureen Gaines Claus (and that's not to say those claims would be baseless - the Claus family is more than well-off). Motivated initially by an ice cream sundae, Mitchell falls in love with Daisy. His character flaws begin to bubble to the surface when he is hit with problems he did not expect.
Female, 22-27 Years Old, Any Ethnicity, Straight
A sensible fourth grade teacher with an extremely kind heart. She lives over the river and through the woods from the main village with her cousin, IdaLynn, and their grandmother. Daisy playfully schemes with IdaLynn to get Mitchell to ask her out, which pays off in kind. Daisy is extremely supportive of Mitchell's work and never wants to inconvenience him, even when she has dreams of her own, like her wish to open her own school. This trait becomes something of her unraveling through the first two acts. In the first act, Daisy relates to Mitchell the story of her classroom lesson that day - telling her students the meaning of "the elephant in the room": when something is a big problem, it should be brought up (because it would be really uncomfortable if there was an elephant inside the classroom and nobody said a thing about it). This is the lesson Daisy grows to internalize over the course of the play.
Female, 26-32 Years Old, Any Ethnicity, Any Sexual Orientation
Daisy's cousin and Mitchell's co-worker and close platonic friend. IdaLynn is a new homeowner and happily engaged to Jerry, a character not present in the story. IdaLynn works as Santa's executive assistant and is in charge of checking the Naughty/Nice lists regionally. She is particularly good at coming up with creative ways to get a desired outcome in dynamics with other elves, such as setting up Mitchell and Daisy by betting him an ice cream sundae and working as a part-time interior designer for Whitfield to get to know him better and figure out if he is the one blackmailing Santa Claus. She is an excellent motivator and has a character tic of playfully punching others in the arm. IDALYNN doubles as VARIOUS TOWNSPEOPLE.
Male, 65-79 Years Old, Any Ethnicity, Straight
This Santa Claus is to be a very traditional depiction of Santa Claus taken a step closer to reality, stuck trying to keep up with the world in the 21st Century. He is the kind, jolly Santa Claus we know from countless straight depictions, but this iteration takes a look at his business practices - has anything changed since the modern legend of Santa Claus was originally told in the 1800's? Yes, yes it absolutely has. The global population boom over the centuries has driven Santa to a tough decision: either become an unfair employer of his working elves, overworking and underpaying to meet quota to bring toys to all the good children of the world, or outsource his labor. He chose to quietly bought a factory in China to supplement the toys produced by the elves and chose to not tell anyone else - including his son, Mitchell, and his personal assistant, IdaLynn - in the name of keeping Christmas magic alive. At the start of the play, Santa is being blackmailed by someone under the alias Krampus who knows Santa's outsourcing secret. SANTA CLAUS doubles as WHITFIELD and VARIOUS TOWNSPEOPLE.
MAUREEN GAINES CLAUS
Female, 55-69 Years Old, Any Ethnicity, Straight
The pantsuit-clad long-serving Mayor of the North Pole and Santa Claus' wife and co-conspirator. She is intelligent, poised, and has run unopposed for her entire career as Mayor of the North Pole until the current election, when she is challenged by Ebenezer Whitfield. She taps Mitchell to be her campaign manager and begins to monopolize his time as the campaign grows more demanding. She loves Santa and Mitchell both deeply as a wife and mother - and likes Daisy a lot, as well. This depiction of Mrs. Claus is supposed to evoke images of female political figures like Hillary Clinton, Angela Merkel, or Elizabeth Warren and be a departure from traditional, underdeveloped depictions of Mrs. Claus. MAUREEN doubles as GRANNY and VARIOUS TOWNSPEOPLE.
Male, 30-45 Years Old, Any Ethnicity, Any Sexual Orientation
The dapper mastermind behind Ebenezer Whitfield's campaign. Wolf approached Whitfield to run for mayor to be a puppet for him and just needed to find a way to ensure a defeat for Maureen Gaines Claus. The public relations crisis the Claus family faces seems like the perfect storm for Wolf to rise in power. Perhaps too perfect. Wolf runs into a problem and begins to unravel when one of our heroes stumbles upon his notebook, containing his true intentions, at the beginning of the second act.
Male, 35-50 Years Old, Any Ethnicity, Any Sexual Orientation
Whitfield is a delightful elf who does not have much business running for Mayor. He earnestly cares about the North Pole but really does not grasp the intricacies of the office and the responsibilities thereof. He decides to run for mayor at Wolf's behest and is along for the ride not knowing the true intentions of the elf he believes is working for him. WHITFIELD doubles as SANTA CLAUS and VARIOUS TOWNSPEOPLE.
Male, 25-32 Years Old, Any Ethnicity, Straight or Gay (Depending on Snowman's Gender Identity)
A well-manicured hotshot TV reporter known to be quite unprofessional on camera but knows he can get away with it - because he is that good-looking. Schyler drives the scenes where the media coverage of the election and scandal takes center stage. SCHYLER doubles as VARIOUS TOWNSPEOPLE.
Female, 80-89 Years Old, Any Ethnicity, Any Sexual Orientation
Daisy and IdaLynn's scatterbrained grandmother, prone to lengthy, tangentially related stories about people she knows and how they sort of relate to the topic at hand. She is very concerned about her home being broken into and is rarely seen in anything but her nightgown and nightcap. GRANNY doubles as MAUREEN and VARIOUS TOWNSPEOPLE.
SPOILERS BELOW. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!