Live from The Last Hurrah, a staged reading of Lydia Hadfield’s latest production. A tale of a woman in search of gifts who comes to learn much more about Christmas than she could have ever anticipated.
A Christmas Play
Written by Lydia Hadfield
A 13 Tweet story & lullaby
Oncet thar war ae Humble Beast, innocent of gnawledge of Chrizmby, Kris Kinglejaws & Krunk Claws and their waeys. De Beast snoozled in peace
From sweet embraze of warm winter sleepins de Beast falls into de cold clutches of consciousness by rudely awakens most rudely (sore rudely)
Und horrid patesmack whar delivered upon de Beast’s head by a grumple of grave countenance. Yuz, the terrible Kris Kringlejaws waked d Beast
“Awaken!”Screamt Kris Kringlejaws, walloping de Beast most fierce. “Ow!” Cried Beastie, “Why” “Crimbus is NIGH!”answered the jawsome Kris
“Observeth the Crimby with sanctimonious revere or suffer!” Screamt Kringlejaws, “Jeebzy Lurd died 4u!” “Observeth how?” whimpered de Beast
Kris: “Begin by spreading ❤ + ! throughout the land!” “Oh…that sounds nice,” Beastie mused. “Shuttup! I’m not finished yet!”snarled Kris
“I pile all Crimbyrelics on yr back! Tinsel, glitter, presents, figurines in all materials to remind others of our piety, ornaments, stuff-”
Kringlejaw loaded, strapped and be-burdened the one happae and gentle Beast with “trappings, bamboozlery, wishes, losses 40% off signs-”
Beloaded with bejingles the Beast roared through the snow/to bring Crimby Crimby wherever he go/at first it was fun/but it got ugly quick-!
whan they ran inter Krunk Kringle and hiz eejitfriend, Nick. They 2 leapt onto the burdend Beast’s back! “Yah!” dey Screamt. “Onwart! Attak!
Faster d Beast tore thru d townes! Leave he giftes and relicks but also panick! Krunk Klaus he threw Bottles! In thar wake they disaster’d!
Til exhaust they collapse, in froze glitterknell. Long do they sleep til they hear CrimbyBell! They rise w/the sound + charge on in Crimbiz!
The 3 goad d Beast with sharp jinglespurs! to Bringge us <3+!+fresh hell. Onwardx2! Into the night! Be not 2 afraide my childe, sleep tight.
–Faithfully related by Damne Lydia Hadfield
I never would’ve thought, I’d end up in the police station on Black Friday. Not even if someone gave me a million dollars to believe it. The first person I called was my dear friend Denise to tell her that’s where I was- and I had to tell her, you know, so she’d get true story, not whatever rumors were floating around. It was the most ridiculous little thing! Some people said I bit a child, but they don’t know the whole story. Anyway, when I called Denise up to explain that I was calling from the police station and might miss her Heifer fund charity party-guess what’s the first thing she says? She says, “Oh my god. Were you involved in the rice cooker riot at the Paradise Loft?” That’s the first thing that comes to her mind! And I thought she knew me!
Anyone who knows me knows I know that the Loft’s rice cookers are nothing to fight over. That place is good for free trade bath care products and nothing else. And I thought, how could Denise think I’m that kind of person? For over five Black Fridays, I’ve hit the stores online. Right after midnight. I’m done at 3 or 4 in the morning. Same sales. Smaller carbon footprint. That’s what I say. I wasn’t out shopping. I even have the groceries delivered. I was just out walking for exercise. In a park, no less.
It was around noon and I was still fairly tired from shopping online until 4 am. I was exhausted in fact and quite hungry. So I decided to reward myself with a little treat, and bought a hot pretzel from the stand in the park. I found the nearest bench. I was really very hungry. Starving! Then! In a matter of seconds! This family with a dozen skinny children piles onto my bench! I’m about to take my first mouthful when this little girl tries to grab the pretzel right out of my hands! Now, her unstable mother later claimed that the little girl wanted to take a closer look at my ring! Ha! The mother claims that I bit the girl’s hand then clutched my pretzel to my chest! Ridiculous. Utterly ridiculous. I wouldn’t have clutched some salty thing to my new tracksuit. What really happened is this little girl was reaching for my pretzel just as I was taking a bite out of it! She practically stuck her fingers in my mouth! My luck, a policeman just happened to be patrolling this section of the park when this crazy bitch –excuse my language– when the girl’s mother was raving, practically abusing me, and there’s this little brat screaming, crying, bleeding…Ugh! Well. Bail was settled quickly enough, but the whole incident was an outrageous waste of an afternoon.
I was pretty rattled, truth be told! But the thing that really made me feel uncomfortable was what Denise said on the phone. I mean, I was at the police station, Denise was accusing me of being in a rice cooker riot and suddenly I felt like I was just a few misunderstandings away from having my whole character re-branded! So, right there, in jail, on the phone with Denise, I ended up buying like thirty Heifer fund chickens for some village. Just to feel a little more in control. Because if you don’t own your own character what do you have? Right? That was the thing that really struck me. Thankfully, even with the economy and all, I still have some financial integrity. There were murmurs, of course. There was that 5 minute news spot. The Givers Gold Circle nearly shunned me…However, as they say! “Anything irreplaceable is not worth having anyway.” I made a good showing at all the usual fundraisers and events. My holiday parties were their usual triumph. All the silly little rumors died down pretty quickly, I can tell you that. We’ve all recovered very well.
“Whin Novembra goes deep an yer getting down to the grimbles. Well then. Comes a time to please and thank goodness if a bear eatcha you got kin and community to mourn yer scraps.”
Lydia Hadfield tells the tale of Thanksgrimby on The Last Hurrah 11/22/15
Learn more at LastHurrahLive.com
If you fail to shed a tear by the end of Boys Don’t Cry, your fellow queers will shame you and beat you with pillows. They will doubt the depth of your sadness. You will be defensive, then chastened, then aroused. They will note your inappropriate enjoyment of pillow battery. They’ll suggest that perhaps you’d be more welcome within another movie night subculture.
You make the mistake more than once. When asked the question, “Did you cry at the end of Cinema Paradiso?”you will reply honestly, “No.” You can not know that before you enter the room, the questioner declared that non-weepers “do not have a soul.” The rest of the film club will eye you with suspicion. You later encounter the coeterie in a coffeeshop, munching muffins and chewing over Louis Malle, hot americanos in hand. Their eyes avoid yours like Woody Allen fans overlooking scandal. Finally, the film clubbers will feign wide-eyed surprise, “Oh. We thought you had other plans.”
Your insistence that the seat of your soul is your long-suffering cinephilic heart, not your desertified eyes, will fall on unhearing ears.
You will not yet learn. You will stand on a buddy’s shoulders and open the sliding door on the second story balcony of the locked university building. Gleefully, you shall lead your comrades into the college lecture hall to watch the group’s first communal Netflix selection: Legends of the Fall .
“Well. That was corny,”you will sigh as the credits roll.
You mistook the nature of the noises to your left. You thought that the soft choking coming from your companions was the result of popcorn gone wild wrong down a windpipe. You yourself frequently choke on popcorn and rarely cry during movies, but it turns out, you are the exception. Exceptionally snobby and heartless, it is decided.
You clinch the impression when you add, “The Beckett on Film Collection would look amazing on this screen.”
Later, you will return to the lecture hall to view Krapp’s Last Tape. Alone. The collegial Netflix pool will shrink by one; its briny waters remain far from your dry pair of eyes.
You will not be invited to see any romantic movie ever again. Not after what happened when you went with friends to The RomCom That Shall Not Be Named. Not only did you not cry. You were loud and critical. In flashbacks of the event, you will visualize stuffing popcorn down your gullet to silence your past self “Shhhhhh, angry teenage me. Be quiet. Quietly grow a more nuanced pre-frontal cortex,” you whisper into the night.
Instead, in the moment, you will go on and on about how the couple in the movie isn’t believable. The script is manipulative and dumb. Your friends take this to mean that you think they are manipulated and dumb, because the movie made them cry. Which is not what you mean. Okay, admit it: It’s sort of what you mean. And that’s more than sort of mean. These friends will not be around when you sort this out.
If you’re lucky, much later in life, you may find yourself in a loving relationship with someone who has never dragged you to a tearjerker. This person understands your desire to watch Downfall in bed. Importantly, they agree that one should never watch movies about Hitler while naked, and obey your command to hunt around the room for something ‘pajama-like’ to wear– though they, as a rule, always recline nude. You will wait a certain amount of time after the movie has ended to cuddle, and will not cuddle before. All the film-watching companions you have alienated over the years do not compare to this partner and the satisfaction of this situation. This person understands that you are not soulless, heartless or pointlessly stoic and cynical. In fact, you are nicer now than you ever have been. Also, you are enjoying an evening rich in darkness, moral complications, emotional quandry and artistic depth.
However, perhaps the weepers of the past will have the last laugh. You are, after all, exactly where they imagined you: Dry-eyed on a Saturday night, sitting up straight, a luger-length away from your lover, watching 3 hours of film about Nazis.
It doesn’t matter that it is not for lack of trying, working hard, or otherwise abasing yourself to find other rooming arrangements that you awoke one morning to discover yourself transformed into a giant leech. What matters is that people will ask. Relatives probe. Prospective employers gauge. Dates are curious. Your dentist mindlessly inquires. All will judge you ruthlessly, regardless of whether they have a subscription to That Magazine and its latest investigation of your financially doomed generation. You cannot possibly gurgle the dread phrase one more time.
Luckily, I have 9 euphemistic responses that will serve you well, whomever may ask,“So, where are you living now?”
A quick catch-all, best delivered when passing through and quickly exiting a room:
1) “No-income housing.”
For coworkers, ex-next-door-neighbors, lucky sots with paid internships, and peers with 401ks:
2) “I rent a room from some nice old folks in town.”
Impress a prospective lover or literary-minded companion:
3) “Did you know that Samuel Beckett spent time in a mental hospital and lived with his parents? Let’s just say I’m halfway to being a genius…”
Respond to friends in social services or medical professions:
4) “Group home with family systems based arrangement.”
In reply to acquaintances at your local anarchist/coffee shop/bike repair/[tool]library/vegan scone atelier:
5) “Millennial squat.”
This one’s for your punny, environmentalist pals:
6) “In the tree from which I sprung. I must bough to my parents’ authority. I wood leaf if I could, but my income is like the American Ash– hopelessly besieged by the emerald borer beetle of student loan payments.”
For religious acquaintances, do-gooders and people concerned about why you’re walking down the sidewalk looking disheveled, crying in the middle of the day:
7) “I am not homeless, I am homefull. I runneth over with home.”
Best delivered with a haunted air that quashes further questions:
8) “Let’s just say, I dwell where three generations brush their teeth in one bathroom, at the same time.”
When you must be nakedly honest and to the point:
9) “I work two days a week as a ghost tour guide.”