Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Slings and Arrows- 4 Advent Stories

This wonderful story is brought to us courtesy of Jordan Mann.

*SPOILER ALERT* These pieces have spoilers for the end of Season 3.


A cold Montreal wind practically blew Ellen through the stage door, and directly into the colder stare of the stage manager.

“You’re late Miss Fanshaw.”

“Yes I know,” said Ellen.


Ellen sighed, this was becoming routine, a bad routine. “What else is new?," she replied, "Is Geoffrey here?”

The stage manager grunted. “Mr. Tennant is waiting for you, for fight call.”

Ellen squeezed past a rack of costumes onto the stage. As much as she complained about the theatres in New Burbage, they were modern affairs compared to this one. But Theatre Sans Argent needed a home, and as Geoffrey continued to remind her, there were no broken toilets.

Geoffrey stood there, imperious, condescending, annoyed, intense, but smiling, and damned handsome.

“You’re late,” he said.

“I had to get the tree today, and it’s a good thing the apartment’s small. If I had tried to lug a full sized one home in this wind I probably wouldn’t have made it till the curtain call.”

Geoffrey’s smile expanded. It was good to see him like this. Confident, happy, sane.

“Ready to get thrown over the couch Miss Fanshaw?” he asked.

Ellen rubbed her hands together, both in glee, and to bring some warmth to her frozen fingertips. “Bring it Tennant,” she replied as she readied herself for the nightly flip over the hastily slip covered sofa.

The play had been her idea, and for once they could agree wholeheartedly. There was nothing more thrilling than Shakespeare, but after Lear, and Charles they both needed a change of pace.

Geoffrey put on his director’s face, “Private Lives, Act Two Scene One.”

Ellen was smiling as Geoffrey flipped her onto her back. Sometimes acting wasn’t required.


Throughout the capital the legend was spreading. Every time a generalissimo would preen and make a speech, the musicians would appear. Their songs told stories of hope and loss, of dignity and freedom. In the streets people would hum the songs, and in the halls of power the sound of the pan flute was feared.

Occasionally Anna pondered how life had brought her to this place, but then again, she always felt that Granny Conroy would have approved, and that lightened her heart. She also had to admit, managing a revolution involved a lot less paperwork.

Pablo came up behind her and took her hand, she loved that he could be so shy and courtly despite the fact they had been lovers for over three months.

Then she realized that he had placed something in her palm.

“For you my Anna," he said "Is for you to make music with us. Feliz Navidad”

Anna felt her heart swell as she fingered the delicately carved ocarina. It was carved from white stone and had two tiny horns scratched into the surface. It was his pet name for her, La Diablo Bianco.

Anna kissed him. Despite the fact that her life had been turned upside down, despite the fact that her band of musical revolutionaries could never stay anywhere for more than a few days at a time, and despite the longing for a home where it snowed in the winter, it would be a Merry Christmas after all.

“Feliz Navidad mi amore, and no paserat.”


Frank and Cyril sat in the Toronto rehearsal studio. It was another first day, like so many others, but there was always that thrill, the sense of excitement, the anticipation of the impending doom.

"Nice to have Jerry back with us," Frank whispered.

Cyril also went sotto vocce in his reply, "Yes Ducky, and he’s brought the family it seems."

Indeed he had, Jerry had brought his daughters along to the audition, and the director had been so touched that she offered them roles in the production as well. Frank and Cyril could see the beaming pride in his face, not only would he be playing Bob Cratchitt, but he'd get to share his work, his craft and his passion with his three oldest girls.

Frank was about to say something to the effect of, "you might as well change Cratchitt to Appleton in the program and have done with it," when the producer entered. The producer was a stocky man. Respected, but also feared. Apparently he could no longer enter the United States… for tax reasons.

The producer cleared his throat with a volume that defied the laws of sound, and the room came to attention. He paused for a moment and then spoke. "Ladies and Gentlemen… I have some bad news and some good news. First the bad news, Sonia Allegheny will not be able to direct our production of 'A Christmas Carol'"

There were some genuine moans and sighs at this. Sonia was well liked in the Toronto theatre community. A smart, tough, motherly director who helmed solid productions, and even brought brownies to opening night.

The producer allowed a moment for the inevitable sighs and groans, the he continued, "But there is good news, our new director is a true theatrical superstar. A Tony Award winner, internationally respected, and the new artistic director of the New Burbage Shakespeare Festival…"

“Oh bugger” whispered Jerry, Frank and Cyril in unison as the realization dawned.

“Mr. Darren Nichols”

Jerry's face fell like an undercooked souffle, one could almost see him wishing he could usher his daughters from the room before the inevitable doom descended.

Frank turned to Cyril, “Something tells me it’s going to be a long Christmas Ducky.”


Richard Smith-Jones sat behind his desk at the New Burbage offices. Winter was always a quiet time. A time to rest, a time to prepare, and a time to review the budget. He looked over his mementos, the photo of the cast of East Hastings smiling as he held up the “BIG DICK” t-shirt. The framed Canadian Business Magazine with him and Darren Nichols on the cover, and of course the Tony nomination. Technically it belonged to the festival, but he had appropriated it as his own, and no one had dared to cross him.

Besides “East Hastings” had garnered most of the awards that year, even Darren Nichols had won for best director. The musicals won all the prizes except for the one that would have been his to collect- Best Musical.

“Damn Holly, damn John Lennon, Bah-fucking-humbug.”

Without warning the room began to fill with mist.

“If someone is messing around with the Sierra System again they’re going to be fired,” thought Richard. Then he shuddered with cold. This wasn’t chemical fog, this felt real.

The ghost appeared. There were no chains, no rags, no moaning, and yet nothing could have terrified Richard Smith-Jones more.

The ghost spoke, “Hello darling. Apparently I’m supposed to show you the error of your ways, a la Dickens, and lets get this straight from the beginning, I’m not thrilled to be seeing you either.”

Richard Smith-Jones swallowed hard and tried to ignore the fact that he had just soiled his expensive trousers.


Happy Birthday: Jean Racine (1639-1699), Dame Peggy Ashcroft (1907-1991), & Ralph Finnes (b. 1962)

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