JAC Publishing & Promotions

On the Expectation of White Christmases by Brian C. Petti

ISBN #1-60513-171-7
JAC #2012-0027

Cast of Characters
  • MARY (11): Earnest, headstrong, stubbornly loyal, naive
  • NANA (50+): Cantankerous matriarch of the family, biting, sarcastic, demanding of respect. Nana is rail thin, dressed in a housecoat (her uniform), with a cigarette dangling perpetually from her lips. She is decidedly not open and inviting. The house, and especially the kitchen, is her exclusive domain. Nana was born in the county Cork and retains her Irish brogue.
  • GRANDPA (50+): Nana’s opposite— open, deferential to his wife, protective of his granddaughter. He is nearing retirement age, but is possessed of an elfin glint in his eye that defies age. He is as thin as Nana and also speaks with a brogue, but is warm and friendly in all the ways she isn’t.
  • KATHERINE* (late 30s-40s): Caring mother to Mary, but weak and less than courageous—defers to Nana out of self-preservation. She appears younger. is overweight (but by no means fat) and has a full, open, inviting face.
  • LIZZIE* (28): Hurt, angry, skeptical before her time due to her abandonment by her father, mother of two with a marriage that is threatened by her drinking. She appears older, lacking the vivacity one would normally associate with her age. She already has two children of her own and, like her mother, married young.
  • NARRATOR (late 30s-40s): Mary as an adult, wizened, but retaining her innocence
  • JACK (late 40s): World War II veteran who has not been able to keep his life together, guilt-ridden, scarred, has a drinking problem

*Lizzie and Katherine can sometimes look (and act) like contemporaries rather than mother and daughter.
** The Narrator can be double cast with Katherine, if necessary.

The Setting
A suburb of New York City, 1975

On the Expectation of White Christmases takes place in 1975 suburban New York from Christmas Eve through Christmas Day. It tells the story of Mary, an 11-year old girl who is waiting for her long estranged father to show up for a Christmas dinner reconciliation. Mary lives (quite uncomfortably) in her Irish grandparents’ house with her mother Katherine. Her Nana, the unquestioned authority in her home, is decidedly against the prospect of hosting a dinner for the man who abandoned her daughter and pulls no punches in letting Mary know exactly what she thinks of him. As the family waits for the missing father to appear, an unforgettable Christmas night ensues.  With equal parts humor and pathos, On the Expectation of White Christmases explores the trials of familial love, hope and redemption.

"This magnificent work deserves a great success on the national scene - it's the first play to focus on the life of the Irish in New York, addressing the sad dysfunction and piercing humanity." - John Paul Keeler, Columbia County

Brian C. PettiPlaywright Biography
BRIAN C. PETTI has been produced Off-Off Broadway (Masquerade, Before the Parade Passes By, Hindenburg-the Musical) and regionally (Next Year in Jerusalem, The Measure of a Man, On the Expectation of White Christmases) by such companies as Ten Grand Productions, The American Theater of Actors, Inc. and The Duplex Cabaret. Masquerade was staged at Cherry Lane Theater in NYC and Next Year in Jerusalem was the winner of the Humboldt State University National Play Contest in California, where it received a student production. Recent productions include Banshee at the NYCFringe Festival and Echoes of Ireland, which was produced in Ireland by the Skibbereen Theatre Society. The Measure of a Man and On the Expectation of White Christmases (forthcoming) are also published by JAC. Visit Brian C. Petti's blog at Pettiplays, or review his other works on Doolee.com.

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On the Expectation of White Christmases by Brian C. Petti

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