+2 UNIT 5 LESSON 1 POST EARLY FOR CHRISTMAS (ONE ACT PLAY)

By R H WOOD

Note Prepared by Joypeterc.blogspot.com

  • It is a one act play which depicts the humorous incidents  in a village post office.
  • This story takes place in a Christmas season.
  • The theme of the play is centred on a parcel booked by a foreigner in the post office.
  • The news  of bombs in the parcels of some nearby post offices make the people fearful
  • It is this fear that made the panic situation more terrible.
  • They become more fearful by the tickling sound from one of the parcels.
  • The assistant of the Post Office calls the police.
  • The police confirm the presence of bomb in the parcel of the foreigner.
  • They immerse it in a bucket of water to defuse it.
  • The foreigner who returns to take his hat from the post office is astonished to see this.
  • It becomes very humorous when the foreigner reveals the truth that the parcel was not a bomb but a precious time piece.
  • The foreigner becomes angry and goes to meet the post master general to file a complaint.
  • In the end the assistant resigns job in the post office.

SUMMARY OF THE PLAY IN DETAIL: When the play begins we see a postal assistant recollects the previous day’s incidents. She remarks about her curious customers. But we see that this postal assistant never loses her temper. She behaves very politely to the customers. The first customer Mrs.Smith is a lady. She has rheumatical disease. She comes to buy stamps and a postal order. Next customer is Mrs.Jones.  She is an acquaintance of Mrs. Smith. She comes to post her Christmas presents. But she behaves very rudely. We find some other humorous characters who behave in a strange way to the postal assistant. There is the old gentleman and the fussy old lady. They too are funny customers. The deaf old man gives odd responses to the questions of the assistant. The old lady comes to the post office thinking that it is an animal clinic. The farmer in this play reveals the news about the time bomb inside a Christmas parcel in London. He warns that if there is bomb in the parcel, it will make tick sound. People in the post office become fearful. It is at this time, Mrs. Higgins and her son Bertie comes into the post office. Bertie behaves in a naughty manner. The play becomes more interesting when a foreign customer comes into the post office to send Christmas parcel to one of his friends. His repeated questions about the safety of his parcel really makes the story interesting.  The foreigner leaves the post office without taking his gloves. Bertie hears a tick sound from the tourist’s parcel. When others also confirmed it everybody becomes afraid. The farmer affirmed the parcel as real bomb. Then Bertie calls a policeman to the scene obeying his mother. At that time, the tourist again comes to the post office to take back his gloves. He is shocked to see the policeman. He requests the police man not to throw his parcel into the water. Everybody in the post office becomes very much afraid and they hide to escape explosion. At this time the tourist says that it is not a time bomb but just a clock.  The tourist becomes very much angry and goes to complaint about this. The assistant leaves the post office to work in animal dispensary. She is very sure that animals will never do silly things like men.

Model questions :-

  1. Read the following excerpt from the play “Post Early for Christmas” : (SAY 2016 June)

(a)  Mrs. Jones  : I don’t want these presents damaged, miss, so please see that they are handled  very carefully.

     Assistant       : We’ll do our best madam………

(b)  Policeman   : Where are you off to, miss?

       Assistant      :  I am leaving the post office forever……

Now begin the conversation in the following manner.

(a) Mrs. Jones told the assistant that …………and ……………. . The Assistant replied that  ……………….   .

(b) Policeman asked …………………….

Assistant replied that …………………..

  1. A) a)Mrs.Jones told the assistant that she didn’t want those presents damaged and requested to ensure that they were handled very carefully.  The Assistant replied that they would do their best.
  2. b) Policeman asked the madam where she was off to. The assistant replied that she was leaving the post office forever.
  3. The Literary Club of your School decides to enact the play “Post Early for Christmas” in connection with the school anniversary. Prepare a script for announcing the programme climax of the play.

Script:

  1. A) The play, “Post Early for Christmas” has a village post office as its background. When the curtain rises, we can see a farmer who comes to the post office and gives news about the time bomb found in the post office in London. At this news everybody in the post office becomes afraid. At this time a ticking sound was heard from the parcel given by a foreigner. The people calls for the policeman.  People tell the policeman to deactivate the bomb. The policeman throws the parcel into a bucket of water. At this time the tourist re-enters the scene to take his forgotten glows. He tells them not to throw the parcel into water. He reveals the truth that it is a special clock for his friend. He gets angry with the employees in the post office and decides to inform the post master general. In the climax, the people in the post office realize the truth and the assistant leaves the post office to seek work in an animal dispensary.

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen…….

The Literary club of ABC Public School proudly presents the humorous, entertainer and ever green play, “Post Early for Christmas” on 18th September 2016 in connection with the annual day celebrations of our School. This fantastic play is written by R H Wood, a British Dramatist and it is now directed by our dear teacher Navaneeth, a new- gen director. The play will be staged by the budding actors and actresses of our school. The venue of the play will be at our School auditorium at 2pm.

The play, “Post Early For Christmas” takes place inside a small post office in an English village. All the important incidents in the play centres on a parcel that is mistaken for a time bomb.  This play really makes the people aware of the foolishness they do in their daily life.

It would be really a feast for your eyes. Come and enjoy this play with your friends. You can have your tickets earlier from literary chairman.

Background and setting : Komala curtains

Light and sound : Savanna lights and sounds.

  1. The following conversation from the play “Post Early for Christmas” gives us a picture of the fuss made by the people in a post office, in the name of a parcel. Read the conversation carefully and prepare two sentences giving suggestions to the Assistant so that she can handle the situation without panicking.

Farmer: If we don’t do something, you’ll find out soon enough, ma’am .

Gentleman: What’s all the fuss about?

Old Lady : It’s about a time bomb.

  1. A) Dear Assistant, You should tell the customers not to be afraid of the time bomb.

     Dear Assistant, It’s better to make the people out from the post office. You ought to inform the police about the time bomb.

  1. “Humour is what adds to the spice of life. It reduces the tedium of a tension-ridden existence and makes life healthier. If a sense of humour is developed as a perspective of life, even unpleasant experiences will become less problematic, thereby enhancing physical and emotional well-being. (The Lighter Side)

Write an essay on “Laughter is the best medicine”. (Hints: laughter is contagious-reduces stress response-boosts immunity-combats depression-relieves pain)

LAUGH AND LIVE MORE!!!

Laughter is the best medicine for all diseases. If we have happiness, we can approach all challenges of life in a pleasant way. It adds spice and taste to life. There should be no day in our life without smile.

One sincere smile can make many changes. It can convey many messages. Our smiling face sometimes will act as a boost for others. It will encourage them to do their duties with energy. Here we can see the contagious power of laughter. By smiling we can make new friendships. When we approach one with a good smile, it certainly creates smile on their face too.

Laughter reduces the tension and stress of our life. When we laugh we forget all our problems and it makes our life joyful. Even in an unpleasant condition laughter acts a s a medicine. It helps one to face the challenges of life very easily. If a sense of humour is developed as a perspective of life, we can prevent unnecessary quarrel.

Laughter also boosts our immunity power. By laughing our pleasure centres get activated. It will give us immense happiness and energy. It gives us mental health as well as physical health. If our minds are happy we can treat all diseases in a calm way. Thus laughter boosts immunity and keeps our emotional well-being. That’s why we say laughter expands our life span.

Laughter also helps us to escape from depression. Life is like a coin. It has two sides. Happiness as well as sorrow. It is only when we have humour sense we can treat everything in a balanced manner. It ensures a positive attitude to our life. Smile helps one to get relief from their painful situations of life and to pick up the burden with refreshment.

Let me conclude my essay saying that laughter can make a large difference in our life. It can change our perspective and thus helps to embrace everything that comes to our life. So let’s all laugh and be merry always. .

  1.  “R.H Wood plays are well known for simplicity of language, dramatic settings and subtle presentation of stock characters.” Is this statement true with regard to the play “Post Early for Christmas”? Write an essay.
  2. A) ‘Post Early for Christmas’ is a humorous and entertaining play written by R.H Wood. It is very much appreciable in its characterization and humour. The incidents in a post office create a big bang of laughter in the audience and readers. It is because of the simplicity and presentation of the characters in an appealing manner.

The whole incidents appear to be very common. It is very much related to common life situations. All the dialogues and behaviour of the characters are really funny and interesting. The assistant is the only one who seems to be normal there. Every other character has their own speciality . This evokes smile and laughter in us. The play appears to be very realistic and almost all the characters use simple ordinary language. Each of their words reflect their behaviour.

Much of the funny moments in the play are created by the gentleman and the old fat lady. They make the readers laugh with their comic dialogues. But farmer appears to be a different one. He involves in everything around him and misleads every one. Thus he makes controversies in the play. He frightens everybody in the post office by mentioning of a time tomb. The tourister also creates laughter with his dialogues. He appears to be a strange man from a foreign country. But in fact he was an innocent man without any wrong. The presentation of the characters in the play has helped to treat a normal event very seriously. The final scene clearly shows us the pathetic condition of the postal assistant who suffers too much from the customers. She even makes a comment that animals are more sensible than humans.

The dramatic settings also adds flavor to the play. All characters act in a realistic manner as to make the audience enjoy the play well. Even the board kept in the post office ‘Post Early for Christmas’ itself serves as a message of the play. It helps us to do everything earlier to avoid any delay and disappointment in life. The mistaken parcel as a time bomb and the related events are presented in a wonderful manner. As a whole everything in the play gives us a visual treat. Therefore it is justifiable to comment that R.H Wood plays are well known for simplicity of language, dramatic settings and subtle presentation of stock characters

Prepared by Joy Peter C

POST EARLY FOR CHRISTMAS PREPARED BY SAJEENA SHUKKOOR, HSST (ENGLISH), TRIVADRUM

I. Character Sketch

(1) Assistant

The young lady Assistant is the most important character in the play Post Early for Christmas. She is polite and gentle. She is not annoyed when the deaf old gentleman mistakes her words repeatedly. She is not angry even when her customers are angry at times. Quite often people mistake her Post Office for an animal clinic, bar or a chemist’s store. But she patiently handles the situations without any fuss. She is punctual in her work. She believes in posting early for Christmas. She is concerned about her customers. She is reasonable and accountable. She has high moral obligation. When her customer’s parcel is damaged she feels responsible for the mishap and leaves the job. Thus the Assistant is a memorable character in the whole play.

(2) Mrs Smith

Mrs Smith is polite and gentle. She is punctual. She believes in posting early for Christmas. She is very cordial and friendly. She expresses her happiness in meeting Mrs. Jones after a long time and engages in friendly talk with her.

(3) Mrs Jones

Mrs Jones is impolite and rude. She is not punctual and she sends her presents in the last minute. When the Assistant suggests that she should have posted it earlier, she replies that it is her own affair. Her character is disgusting.

(4) Deaf Old Gentleman

Deaf Old Gentleman is a character who creates much of the fun in the story. Since he is deaf he

repeatedly mistakes the words of the Assistant. But he is rude and impolite. He is not aware of himself. He is proud and pretentious. Actually he tested the patience of Assistant who is polite to the core. In the meantime he becomes too much impatient.

(5) Farmer

Farmer is the character who created and precipitated the crisis in the play. It is he who announces the newspaper report about a time-bomb discovered in a London Post Office. He pretends as an expert and informs the Assistant how to detect time-bombs. Later it is he who identifies the ticking noise inside the parcel given by the tourist. He makes a fuss over an unnecessary matter. He does not go into the details of it. He does not try to unfold the truth behind the ticking noise and easily comes into the conclusion that it is a time-bomb. He tries to be a master in the situation and frightens everybody.

(6)Fussy Old lady

The fussy Old Lady is not aware of her surroundings. She mistakes the Post Office for an animal clinic. But once she realizes that it is a Post Office she says sorry. Then she buys stamps as an act of courtesy. She is polite and gentle. She lacks general awareness too because she does not know what a time-bomb is.

(7) Mrs. Higgins

Mrs. Higgins is the mother of the naughty child, Bertie. She is quite nagging. She always chides her son. Her language is not refined and good. But she scolds the boy for having poor grammar. She is fussy and gives too much importance to trivial matters.

(8)Bertie

Bertie is a naughty child who always plays mischievous pranks. He always annoys his mother with petty demands for engines and ice creams. He is untidy and careless. It is he who first notices the ticking sound of the parcel. When the Policeman was called up, he at first asks whether Bertie has done any mischief. Thus his naughtiness is notorious.

(9)Foreign tourist

The Foreign tourist and his parcel is the pivot of the action of the play. He is mysterious looking with his strange accent. He gives extra importance to his parcel. He is careless and he leaves his gloves. He is a law abiding citizen. When he sees that his parcel is damaged he goes to complain the Postmaster General.

(10)Policeman

The Policeman is irrational and insensitive. Instead of enquiring about the genuineness of the parcel, he also easily jumps into the conclusion that it is a time-bomb. He is haughty and arrogant. If he had been a little bit sensible he could have avoided damaging the clock.

II. Humour in the play. Humour is not always innocent and harmless. Sometimes humour is roused at the cost of creating inconvenience to others. This is the type of humour created in the play Post Early for Christmas. The play evokes humour in the form of funny characters, witty dialogues and humorous situations. Situational humour is in plenty. The whole act is set in a Post Office. Much of the humour lies in the situations when the Post Office is mistaken for a bar or a chemist’s store or an animal clinic. In the beginning of the play itself the Assistant refers to the funny people in the world and gives us an idea what would be in store for us as funny characters. She says that a man came and asked her where he could get a stamp from.WThe dialogue with Deaf Old Gentleman evokes laughter. He always mistakes the Assistant’s words. It becomes more humorous when he finally says that the Assistant is deaf. Bertie, the naughty little boy’s character also rouses fun. He always annoys his mother with demands for engines and ice creams. When his mother Mrs Higgins asks about his grammar, he replies that she is at home, watching television. This is also humorous. The mother who is not good in grammar tries to correct her son’s grammar wrongly is also a situation for laughter. Fuss created over a parcel which is mistaken for a time-bomb is the most noticeable humorous situation. This becomes the climax of the play. Thus the characters, their traits and dialogues and incidents bring about humour in the play.

III. Aptness of the title

The title Post Early for Christmas refers to the main action of the play. The customer Mrs Smith says to the Assistant she believes in posting early for Christmas. To this the Assistant agrees that parcels are damaged in the last minute rush. When the Foreign Tourist comes to send the parcel he expresses his regret for not posting early. But the Assistant consoles that if it is a present it is well in time. This Christmas present – a clock is mistaken for a time-bomb and is damaged. The theme of the play centres round the unnecessary fuss over trivial matters. The message of the play is clear that we should not jump into a conclusion without thinking seriously. The title does not suggest the theme and message. But the main action of the play is posting Christmas presents on time. Hence the title is apt and appropriate.

IV. Questions related to the situations.

(a) Mrs. Jones: When I post my Christmas presents is my own affair. What does this tell us of Mrs Jones?

Mrs Jones is rude in her behaviour. Actually the Assistant tells a good thing in a very polite manner. But Mrs Jones reacts very impudently.

(b) What is the context of Bertie saying “She is at home Ma, watching the television”?

Bertie as well as his mother, Mrs. Higgins is weak at grammar. But Mrs Higgins asks him about his knowledge in grammar. She actually points out that he is not good at grammar. Bertie makes fun of this question and answers that she is at home watching television.

© How does the Farmer frighten the people?

The farmer frightens the people informing about a newspaper report. He says that a bomb disguised as a Christmas present is discovered in a London Post Office. He warns that any suspicious looking parcel should be reported at once to the local police station. As an expert, he says that a time-bomb can be identified by its ticking noise before they explode. When Bertie, the little boy notices the ticking noise from the parcel, the Farmer immediately identifies the same and jumps into the conclusion that it is a time-bomb. Thus everyone becomes panicky.

(d) Tourist :“I will sue you all, you blundering idiots”. What makes the Tourist say so? What makes him decide to see the Postmaster General?

The Tourist comes back to take his gloves which he leaves in the Post Office. He finds that his parcel is mistaken for a time-bomb and gets damaged. He has brought that beautiful clock all his way from Switzerland. He is shocked to see it ruined. So he decides to complain to the Postmaster General.

(e) Assistant: I am leaving the Post Office forever. Why does she leave the Post Office forever?

The Assistant is reasonable and accountable. She is concerned about her customers. She has high moral obligation. It is at her Post Office a parcel is mistaken for a time-bomb and damaged. She also becomes a party to its damage. So she feels the guilt. When her customer’s parcel is damaged she feels responsible for the mishap and leaves the job. She thinks that working in animal dispensary is better because animals don’t do such silly things.

PREPARED BY SAJEENA SHUKKOOR, HSST (ENGLISH), TRIVADRUM

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From teacher text

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