Jerome McDonough has the gift of telling a significant, dramatic story in terms so simple that every group can present his plays effectively, from the rankest amateurs to the most artistic professionals. Typical of his unique style, this play is very simple to stage yet strikingly effective, with very poignant moments relieved by equally funny scenes. O' Little Town is an ideal Christmas play for all groups. God watches earthly preparations for Christmas, and He is appalled. Everyone is self-centered and/or money-centered—a sorry picture of how God's creatures celebrate His Son's birthday. Then God spots a young couple hitchhiking into a city. The wife is very pregnant, and the husband tries desperately to find a place for her to have her child ... but there is no room for them. God remembers a similar scene from long ago. O, Little Town is a modern parable ... the Bethlehem story as it might happen if Jesus were born today (there is, however, no suggestion that the baby born in this play is a messiah). The chorus members form a "living cyclorama" or backdrop behind the action, keeping their backs turned to the audience when not performing. They don in symbolic bits of costume (such as a hat) to portray each role. They also handle all props and all scene changes. The props and costume pieces lie on the stage floor behind the chorus when not in use. The only scenery required is a few folding chairs and a bench. Thus the play is suitable for staging anywhere—in the chancel or fellowship hall of a church, on a lawn or a tennis court, in a large classroom, as well as on a conventional stage. Production notes in the script give full details.
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