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Wiltshire Community History

Folk Play Information

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TitleChristmas Mumming
Alternative Title
WordsWildridge, Chris
Collected FromPotter, Pip
Occupation
Age
Date
LocationMere
CountyWiltshire
Source PrimaryMere Amateur Dramatic Society script
Source Secondary
Recording
 
The Play
Characters [in order of introduction]

Dame Nation - the Betsy or Man Woman
Jack Frost - male, active
Black Ice - smooth, soft voiced
Fairy Good - glamorous, poised
Father Christmas - portly, loud
Snowman - heavy
Dark Knight - small
Woman Police Constable Ballcock - buxom
Blotto - male, drunken, loud, large purple nose
Tipsy - female, drunken, loud, large purple nose

All
Song [tune: 'Pace Egging']

Here's some jolly mummers
And all of one mind
We're all come a-begging
And we hope you prove kind
Yes we hope you prove kind
And give us some cheer
And we'll come no more nigh you
Until the next year

Dame Nation [singing or speaking]

The first to come in
Jack Frost is his name
You can see him quite clearly
And great is his fame.

Jack Frost [contact audience]

I can whiten your windows
And freeze your hot breath
I look bright and lively
But I'm colder than death

Dame Nation

The next to come in
We know as Black Ice
Quite nasty by nature
And never quite nice

Black Ice [skips around audience, no contact]

I can lie on the ground
So you don't know I'm there
If I catches you out
Then you'd better beware

Dame Nation

Fairy Good comes in next
She's so lovely to see
Her bottom is right
At the top of the tree

Fairy Good

I'm never nefarious
I try to be good
I might blow your fuse
But I won't pinch your pud

Dame Nation

The next is the last
Of our greatest in guise
With handsome red trousers
Without any flies [Where do flies go … etc]

Father Christmas [sack of food props]

Some say I'm St Nicholas
Or else Santa Clause
Or maybe Good King Wenceslas
Father Christmas - applause [urges claps, cheers, etc]

Dame Nation

On winter nights as you may know
The wind do blow both sleet and snow
And so to bolster this poor play
For other mummers we sent away

[minor characters in]

Father Christmas

Expecting only the best of persons

Fairy Good

We hardly could've been sent worse 'uns

Dame Nation

We thought Snowman just the thing

Others

Look out Dame he's going to sing

Snowman [twirling slightly]

We're walking in the air etc [sing] [jokes about peas / eyes / Birdseye etc]

Dame Nation

Old mumming plays all brought a fight
So we said send a Long Dark Knight

Father Christmas

Expecting someone proud and tall

Fairy Good

They sent us this [all join in] coo ain't he small?

Dame Nation

To tell our story was hardly possible
Without the aid of just one constable
So they sent us a WC
Her name is Ballcock

Fairy Good

You need a P!

Dame Nation

I do? Where? Etc

WPC Ballcock

Allo! Allo! What's all this 'ere?
I've got a nose for too much beer
I've also got me a breathalyser
When I show it, it might surprise yer! [flourishes bladder]

All [song, tune Tom Bawcock's Eve, Father Christmas flourishing props]

Chorus

A merry place would you believe
Were [Wiltshire] nearing Christmas Eve
To be there then, who wouldn't wish
To sup on several kinds of dish

Fresh lardy cake as they do bake
Pork sausages and pies
Good barley brew that's malted new
And peas with faggot fries

Chorus

Dame Nation

Our cast is nearly at its end
But hark! A screeching round the bend
Suggest some others may arrive

Fairy Good

That's if the [?...s] stay alive
'Safety First' is not their motto [They're crackers etc]

Blotto [carries tankard]

Ah! 'Seasons Greetings' all - I'm Blotto

All

You can say that again

Blotto

Ah! 'Seasons Greetings' all - I'm Blotto

Jack Frost

He's drunk as a skunk

Black Ice

And just as smelly

Blotto

I've room for liquor in my belly [Tipsy appears]
Ah! There she is my own chauffeuse
Mine's a large one [taps nose]

Others

So is hers! [Tipsy enters, carrying flask]

Tipsy

Hello! I'm Tipsy. I'm his driver.

Father Christmas

Blimey mate! You're some survivor.

Dame Nation

Constable Ballcock, do your duty [WPC Ballcock accosts Blotto]

Blotto

Whassis? The League if Health and Beauty?

WPC Ballcock

Just blow in this, that's my instruction
Before you take in more decoction

Blotto

De - what?

WPC Ballcock

Coction

Tipsy

Liquor [Botto licks WPC Ballcock]

WPC Ballcock

Blow!

Blotto

And blow you too - I've got to go [And when you've gotta go etc]

Dark Knight

I, Dark Knight, will stop you short

Snowman

By my snowballs, you'll be caught

Black Ice

I shall make you slide and slither
You won't know whether you're hither or thither

Jack Frost

And I shall spread such rime and hoar
You won't know after from before

Dame Nation

Here, Fairy Good, what will you do?

Fairy Good

Oh, I'm too nice to back you up

Father Christmas

Oh 'Good for nothing' are we then?

Fairy Good

Ooh how I hate you horrid men [to Dame Nation, - and you and you]
But stay! I have it! ['Lucky you' etc] Don't despond!
I'll drop the [drunkard] with my wand [strikes Blotto, who falls]

Tipsy

Oh, Blotto, sir, you're down[after trying to dose Blotto]. You're dead
I'll drive for Santa Claus instead
He's got enough in there to pay me [peers into sack]

Faher Christmas

Away, you toss pot!

Tipsy

Ooh - you slay me ['Geddit'? etc]

Father Christmas

He needs no rest but restoration
Another song is meet, Dame Nation

All [song, tune 'Way down to Lamorna', after Cyril Tawney]

Chorus

It was down in our town square
I never shall forget
The frost was bright as diamonds
And the evening turning wet [wet, wet]
I saw a loaded car come screeching round the corner
Skid right and left in a deep snow drift
Don't say we didn't warn yer

[Three verses - optional, see notes]

Blotto [raising head]

What brings me round - a heavenly choir? [he is splashed from tankard by Fairy Good]

Fairy Good

Come on, you pratt, stop pulling our wire

Dame Nation

Now we've achieved his restitution
It's time for a special contribution [indicates audience]

Father Christmas

And if you're mobile - stay on the wagon
Set em up [Landlord / waiter / steward] mine's a flagon

All
Song [tune Pace Egging]

Here's some jolly mummers
And all of one mind
We're all come a-begging
And we hope you prove kind
Yes we hope you prove kind
And give us some cheer
And we wish you a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Notes

Performed by Mere Drama Society, Christmas mumming, 1888, 1989.

The script was written by a member of the society, Pip Potter, and is copyright to him, and were provided by Adrienne Howell, Chairperson, 2010.

Optional song verses

Chorus

It was down in our town square
I never shall forget
The frost was bright as diamonds
And the evening turning wet, wet, wet
I saw a loaded car
Come screeching round the corner
Skid right and left in a deep snow drift
Don't say we didn't warn yer

Verse 1

If you go on the booze
And all your sorrows drown
Don't drive a car or ride a bike
At least not through our town
You could really end dead drunk
And I won't be a mourner
Or left alive, never more to drive
Don't say we didn't warn yer

Chorus

Verse 2

I freely will allow
I've known the odd bad shunt
With car and van and bicycle
From back and side and front
If I'd been as a newt
And going like the devil
I wouldn't be here for a drop more cheer
And singing all this drivel

Chorus

Verse 3

So now you've heard this song
Let's have some Christmas cheer
And never lose your presence of mind
To whisky, wine or beer
And though you don't get tight
There's plenty on the loose
Back on the road another pie-eyed load
Could really cook your goose.

Chorus
 
Print Play Verse
 
Notes
Performed by Mere Amateur Dramatic Society, December 1988 and 1989.

The script was written by a member of the society, Pip Potter, the copyright is his, and was provided by Adrienne Howell, Chairperson, 2010. Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.

Transcribed and edited by Chris Wildridge, 2010.

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