Amber has invited her whole family to her new home to have the "perfect family Christmas." She has decorated her house, carefully planned the meal, and even ironed her shoelaces! Once her brother, sister, parents, and curmudgeon of a grandfather show up, though, nothing goes right. When a last-minute accident prevents Amber from making Christmas dinner, it falls upon her kitchen-challenged siblings to take up the slack, with hilarious results. Just when the dinner can't get any worse, it ends up with a twist or two that makes it, indeed, the perfect family Christmas.
PLAYWRIGHT MICHAL JACOT TALKS ABOUT HIS PLAY
MERRY CHRISTMAS, DEAR GRANDPA
1. What inspired you to write this play?
"Merry Christmas Dear Grandpa" revisits characters from "Happy Birthday Dear Grandpa," one of my favorite scripts. The trio of grandkids and their grandfather have some terrific interaction, and I wanted to explore their family dynamics some more. It's kind of like finding a favorite toy or game from years ago - you can't resist the urge to play with it again. And I've always had a soft spot for holiday plays; Grandpa and his family seemed like the perfect fit!
2. What's your favorite part or line in the play? Why?
The storyline where Amber breaks her wrists and the chaos that follows. This came about as the result of a real incident; just before Thanksgiving, my wife Laurie broke both of her wrists in a fall, and our holiday season, as you can imagine, was pretty disorderly. When she healed up, I wrote "Merry Christmas Dear Grandpa", and every time it's performed somewhere, it's Laurie's payback for having to deal with that miserable situation!
3. Where did the characters come from? Are they based on people you know?
Grandpa is pretty much exactly like an elderly gentleman I knew a long time ago. The others are made up of bits and pieces of people I know, including myself. Sadly, Amber's obsessive nature and Keith's penchant for telling jokes that fall flat come from me; I have been known to sort my potato chips by size, and tell jokes that cause nothing but awkward silences. I'm a lot of fun at parties. (See, kind of like that joke.)
4. What did you try to achieve with this play?
Holiday plays are always fun because everyone is in a good mood and ready to celebrate the season. And, like "Happy Birthday Dear Grandpa", I wanted to create a script that is funny, that the cast and crew would enjoy working on, and one that the whole family could enjoy.
5. Do you have anything else you'd like to add?
Scott Haan, one of your other playwrights at Eldridge, is one of the tallest people you will ever meet. (Hm, there's that awkward silence again.)