Kickstart A New Play and Film to be Produced in Sandersville

 

A new Christmas play by Sandersville writer, Wm. Hovey Smith is now a Kickstarter project that is seeking local and world-wide support to video “A Visit from Auntie Thresa Clause” in Sandersville. Kickstarter allows “backers” to contribute as little as $1.00 towards artistic projects, but they will not be billed unless the project is fully funded.

 The funding goal is $10,000 to allow proper staging, costumes, sets and filming of the play. Once filmed, it would be published on YouTube where it can be seen by anyone. The objective is to attract attention for a TV production or Short Film.  Funding is open from March 1-February 3, 2012. If $10,000 is not pledged, the project will be discontinued.

 If the project is funded there will be an “actors call,” with every effort being made to produce the video using local actors, videographers and resources.   

Auntie Thresa Claus

This play introduces a new Christmas character, Auntie Thresa Claus, who is Santa’s not-so-very-nice sister. She is summoned to the Jay’s home by the inadvertent act of Jennifer, their youngest child. The Jays are having a hard time. The dad has been laid off from his job and is picking up odds-and-end work around town and the mother has only a part-time job. Nonetheless, they skimp on things for themselves and get an air rifle for Jimmy and a princess dress for Jennifer.  At dawn on Christmas Day, Auntie Thresa Clause arrives. If she is refused, she has the power to take everything having to do with Christmas out of the house – presents, decorations, the meal, everything. Having already consumed four Christmas dinners, she decides that she would only like a little English plum pudding with rum sauce. Jennifer gets a silver coin that has magical qualities on Christmas day in her slice and gets one wish. Her wish converts old Auntie Thresa Claus into young Princess Thresa Clause, who only wants to bring joy to the world’s children. Thresa Clause finishes her pudding and departs Johnson City with a new outlook on the Christmas season to join the universe of  Christmas-related characters.

  To pledge go to http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/hoveysmith/a-visit-from-auntie-thresa-claus  or go to “kickstarter.com” and search for “Hovey Claus” or Google any combination of “Hovey Thresa Claus” and that will bring up material about the play and links to it.

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Revised Ending Transforms Auntie Thresa Clause to Princess Thresa Claus

 

Auntie Thresa Clause soon to be Princess Thresa Claus

Not having a single subscriber after the first few days of the Kickstart launch of “A Visit from Auntie Thresa Claus” caused me to take a fresh look at the play to determine what others might find objectionable about it.

     Although the play is reasonably “true to life” in that the events in the play logically follow from the circumstances, Auntie Thresa Claus comes off as a very scary character with no redeeming qualities. Although the Jay family does extricate themselves from their predicament, Thresa Claus is left unscathed to pose a threat to every child’s Christmas forever.

     Every since Charles Dickens’ “Christmas Carol,” there have been scary or unsettling episodes in Christmas plays. Dr. Seuss’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” introduces the potential of someone taking away everything having to do with Christmas. However, both authors redeem their characters, while I have not.

     There is a device in the play that I could use to improve the character of Thresa Claus and also convert her into a beautiful Christmas Princess that such as a young girl might imagine. Jennifer can do this when she makes her wish on the magical coin that is baked into the plum pudding.

     This would completely reverse Auntie Thresa Claus’ not-so-nice aspects and introduce Princess Thresa Claus into the universe of Christmas characters. I think that this resolution of the play would have better acceptance than the present ending, could be staged without adding scenes or sets and leave the viewer better satisfied with the result.

     A counter argument would be that this would be a departure from reality, but what Christmas play is not? It seems likely that a Christmas play must leave the audience feeling better than they came in to be successful. Dark Christmas plays, which mine is on the verge of being, would appear to have a very limited audience.

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A Visit from Auntie Thresa Claus goes live on Kickstarter.com.

Small town America.

  Small town America is an interesting place to be creative, but is a terrible place to produce creative dramatic works because of the tiny market and potential draw. Thanks to the suggestion of Brad Saul who owns WebTalkRadio.net, the network that airs my radio show  “Hovey’s Outdoor Adventures,” I looked at Kickstarter and decided that this would be the ideal way to fund a stage production of A Visit from Auntie Thresa Claus from which a video or short film could be made.

  I had read the play on both VoiceAmericaSports and WebTalkRadio as part of Christmas programs in 2009 and 2010, and I had a strong desire to see a stage or video production. The problem, as always, is money. Living on a retirement income, I certainly did not have it, and “The Great Recession” hit Georgia particularly hard, and has not gone away.

  Both stage and movie versions of the play had already been written and periodically passed around at film festivals, but were getting nowhere. All of these other creative people had their projects to go after, and were not interested in anyone else’s.  You can read much more about the characters and plot in previous post on this blog. The good news is that my submittal to Kickstarter easily passed all of their requirements, I had artwork and audio materials already produced, and it was fairly easy to work up all of these into a proposal and make a new YouTube video to support it.

  Thus not only can the potential funder see the video, he can actually go to YouTube and hear my reading of the original 2009 version of the play at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fg4xAcbCQ0. This reading may be freely downloaded by anyone who contributes $1.00 or more.  In the new version of the play, Auntie Thresa Clause is transformed from an old lady into a beatutiful Christmas Princess Thresa Claus who only wants to bring joy to the world’s children, thanks to Jennifer’s wish on the magical coin baked into the plum pudding.

Thresa Claus. See previous posts for the full-length version.

Those who contribute $25.00 or more they will receive a 5X7 print of Auntie Thresa Claus that is signed by me. Although this may be wishful thinking, I think that Thresa Claus may grow in popularity, and like The Grinch, become a part of  Christmas traditions.

  The first five who contribute $100 or more will receive a pair of tickets to the performance and filming, a back stage visit and go the the post production party where they can meet the author, director,  video crew and cast.  

  To make a donation go to the following Kickstarter link :  http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/hoveysmith/a-visit-from-auntie-thresa-claus.  Donations may be as small as $1,00. The donation period is from March 1 to April 2, 2012. After that, donations to support my books, blogs, videos and other activities may be made using the Pay Pal button on my website, www.hoveysmith.com.

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A Visual Visit from Auntie Thresa Claus

  Auntie Thresa Claus, Santa’s not so  nice sister, is a hard supervisor of  North Pole’s elfs who wants to get presents as well as be involved in their distribution. Each Christmas she visits six families around the globe and gives out the presents. If she likes a present she gets to keep it. If refused, she has the power to take all the presents and anything associated with Christmas away. She is summoned to join the Jay family Christmas by a unknowing act of Jennifer, the Jay’s young daughter.

 

  James Jay is the father. He was previously discharged from the factory where he worked for the past 25 years. He continued to support the family on reduced circumstances by doing handyman jobs around the town. However hard things were, he was determined to provide a good Christmas for his family including getting the children one nice present each and a warm scarf for his wife.

  Jay is surprised when he comes home on Christmas Eve to find Jennifer on the front porch reciting a charm which when said at the wrong time, invites Auntie Thresa Claus to come, rather that keeps her away. Thresa Claus does come on Christmas morning at sunrise and must be invited in. She joins the family for breakfast and then announces that it is time to give out presents. James tries to give her his present, a watch that his wife purchased for him, but she refuses. “There are others,” she said.  

 

  June Jay has a part-time job at a department store and has now become the family’s chief breadwinner. One advantage that this job has is that she can get store items at reduced prices. She knows that Jennifer wants, more than anything else, an expensive princess dress at the store. Using her employee discount and the store’s Christmas-club account, she has been paying on it for months.

  For days before Christmas the house has been decorated, the tree put up and Christmas Eve finds the family making ready for the Christmas meal. A fat goose has been donated by James’ brother and this will be the centerpiece of the meal along with dressing and sweet potatoes. A special dish that is cooked is an English-style plum pudding that has a small silver coin in it that has magical powers on Christmas day. Whoever gets the coin in their slice may make one wish.

  The kids have been helping getting the meal ready, and Mrs. Jay explains why she cooks a special meal for Christmas  and makes many of the same dishes that her mother and grandmother served their families.

 
 

  Both Jimmy and Jennifer wake up in a cold house on Christmas morning to the sounds of their dad pouring coal into the pot-bellied stove in the living room. They rush down to make sure that their presents are still there, knowing that the presents may be opened only after the family is assembled. Jimmy is assured that is Daisy Red Rider air rifle is still in its long thin box under the tree. He had been wishing for this for a long time, and had been pleased to find that his dad had brought home a suitably shaped box that made a satisfying “thunk, thunk,” sound when it was shaken.

  Before breakfast Auntie Thresa Claus arrives at the door. James must let her in, and after breakfast, she announces that she is to give out presents. She selects both the air rifle and princess dress. Both children must say that they give them to her of their own free will or else they will keep their one present, but everything else in the house will be taken away. Tearfully, both children give up their presents to their, “Dear old Auntie Thresa Claus.” 

 

 Thresa Claus announces that she is already full from consuming three Christmas dinners that day, but decides that he would like a little plum pudding to finish up. The putting is brought out and cut. James attempts to find the magic coin because he knows that only one wish will reverse the day’s events. He fails. The coin appears in Jennifer’s slice.

  Jennifer thinks hard about her wish. She makes an appropriate wish and finds herself back on the stoop of the house on Christmas Eve with her dad walking down the sidewalk. She grabs him and blurts out that “Auntie Thresa Claus will not come. She will not come.”

  In a new ending for the play, Jennifer wishes the old  Auntie Thresa Claus to  become as beautiful a princess as she can imagine who only wants to help the world’s children celebrate Christmas. After being transformed, Thresa Claus returns the kids presents, and leaves to help the next family on her list have an enjoyable, instead of a dreadful, Christmas. The new production will incorporate this revision

  “A Visit from Auntie Thresa Claus” is available as a short story, stage play and screenplay. A radio reading of the short story may be heard over VoiceAmerica Sports Radio and WebTalkRadio.Net. To hear the story, go to my website www.hoveysmith.com and activate the show links just below the banner. The VAS show is the only November show listed and the WTR show is listed as the “Christmas Show.” Copies of the stage play may be ordered from the website. If demand is sufficient, a CD recording of my reading of the short story can be produced. 

  If interested in publishing the short story or producing the play or screenplay contact me at hoveysmith@yahoo.com.

To go directly to the show page click on the following URL. Listen now at:  http://webtalkradio.net/shows/hoveys-outdoor-adventures/.

  Merry Christmas, 2010

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Promo Video: A Visit from Auntie Thresa Claus

Auntie Thresa Claus

To expose my new one-act play, “A Visit from Auntie Thresa Claus,” to a wider audience, I made a 3-minute introductory video that outlines the play. What the video does not show are the important elements in the play that present the meaning of Christmas,  the importance of family traditions and why we maintain them, sacrificing for others, working together for common aims and that sometimes giving up something that is very much wanted can have a desirable result. 

  The video is now available on YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZaAMcJHME7s&layer_token=d66982ace467e676 .

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Performance Fees, Play Availability and Contracts

  Copies of the play may be obtained ($14.00) including shipping, from the author at http://www.hoveysmith.com.  One time performance rights for groups for which no admission is charged are ($150.00) and no filming or audio recordings are permitted. For groups charging admission the performance fee is a one-time payment of ($150.00) plus 10 percent of ticket sales. Inquire to www.hoveysmith@bellsouth.net for performance rights and contracts.

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A Visit from Auntie Thresa Claus

 

Auntie Thresa Claus

A Visit from Auntie Thresa Claus

A play in one act.

A struggling family’s Christmas is threatened by Santa’s not-so-nice sister, but is saved by the unselfish act of a young daughter.

  Set in any town U.S.A. between 1935-1950, the Jay family is struggling to have a nice Christmas. The parents, who only have part-time jobs, pool their resources to purchase a much-wanted first BB rifle for the son and a frilly princess dress for their daughter. Thanks to the gift of a Christmas goose, a traditional dinner is planned. All is threatened by the accidental summoning of Santa’s not-so-nice sister, Auntie Thresa Claus, by the youngest child. Thresa Claus appears on Christmas morning and threatens to take all of their presents, the Christmas meal and decorations away unless she is welcomed and allowed to choose the Christmas presents she wants. She selects the children’s presents. The children must say that they give them to her of their own free will or everyone else looses their presents as well as everything in the house that relates to Christmas. Reluctantly, they yield their presents to “Dear Old Auntie Thresa Claus.” She decides to stay for some English plumb pudding and rum sauce. An ancient silver coin that has magical powers on Christmas day has been baked into the pudding . Jennifer gets the coin in her slice and makes her wish. She takes back the charm that summoned Thresa Claus. Time shifts back to Christmas Eve when she enthusiastically greets her returning father with the happy news that “Auntie Thresa Claus will not come. She will not come.”

About the Play

Set in Jaytown U.S.A in the early 1900s, A Visit from Aunti Thresa Claus takes place on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. As Christmas day dawns the Jay family recives and unexpected visit from Santa Claus’ not-so-nice sister, Auntie Thresa Claus. She has been unknowlingly summoned by Jennifer, the youngest member of the family.

Auntie Thresa Claus has magical powers, like her brother, Santa Claus. At the workshopshe is a hard mistress of the elves who pack and address the presents. Each Christmas morning she visits six families around the globe. If she is refused hospitality, she has the power to take all the Christmas gifts, decorations, and food away. When she is invited in, Thresa Claus gives out the presents. If any of the presents appeal to her, she kepes them for herself. Should a present not be freely given, then she departs with all the Christmas trappings, leaving only the single gift that was refused.

Christmas Eve finds the Jay family under financial stress after the father, James, lost the factory job that he held for 25 years. June, the mother, still has a part-time job at a department store. Between the income from odd-jobs that James does around town and his wife’s paycheck, they have just enough for two much-wished-for presents for their children, James and Jennifer, and small gifts for themselves.

Thanks to a goose given to them by James’ brother, the will still plan a Christmas dinner complete with the baking of a traditional English plum pudding baking with an old coin that takes on magical powers on Christmas day. Despite the disruption of their Christmas morning by their unwanted visitor, Jennifer manages to make everything right again by wishing on the ancient coing and reversing events. 

This play can be expected to evoke many memories from the adult members of the audience while also appealing to children.

The Cast 

Auntie Thresa Claus

A thin, older lady with a biting tongue.

James Jay

A workman in his mid-40s, who started working at the local factory after schol and has worked there all of his adult life.

June Jay

About 10 years younger than her husband, is a thin, attractive housewife who now works part-time at the department store jobs now that her children are no longer infants.

Jimmy Jay

A precocious, active boy of about 9 years old.

Jennifer Jay

About 4-years-old, active and curious.

Clerk One

A young man at Blackstone’s Hardware Store

Clerk Two

A young lady who sells scarves at the department store..

Clerk Three

An older gentleman who is in charge of the layaway department at the store.

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