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Theatre / See Amid The Winter Snow

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You can go to the meadow and build your own snowman, pretend he’s Parson Brown for all I care.

It is truly wonderful to see you choose to be here for each other and show up for the town we love so dearly, with so much going on in our town, our world — it’s like a blizzard. And yet you’re here — ... I’m moved. You chose to see amid the winter snow and be here, for each other, and the greater good in which we believe.
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See Amid the Winter Snow is a family-friendly holiday satire play by Peter Fenton, which saw its world premiere in September 2019 at the Philadelphia Fringe Festival and later saw publication with City Limits Publishing in 2020.

The North Pole is a bustling little city deeply tied to its resident power couple: mega-philanthropist Santa and Mrs. Claus, better known as long-serving mayor Maureen Gaines Claus. A spunky Snowman narrates the love story of Mitchell Claus, head of Public Relations at Santa’s Workshop, and Daisy Scarlett, a village schoolteacher with world-changing dreams. Yuletide pandemonium ensues when Mitchell is named the campaign manager for his mother’s critical re-election campaign at the same time a blackmail scandal breaks in Santa’s Workshop. Mitchell and Daisy’s little world starts to fall apart in a hilarious blizzard of current events as their fight to keep love alive takes the shape of a familiar tale.

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See Amid the Winter Snow contains examples of:

  • An Ass-Kicking Christmas: The climax of the play takes place on Christmas Eve and features an axe, a butcher knife, and a rifle used in combat.
  • Bad Santa: Downplayed, as Santa is truly well-meaning, but it’s a little squicky finding out he opened a sweatshop to mitigate the problem global population growth posed for his business.
  • Better Than a Bare Bulb: The Snowman narrator lampshades the play a bunch throughout the script, the most notable example being the entire exchange between Daisy and Wolf, who is dressed in Granny’s nightgown attempting to lure Daisy to her death in a recreation of the plot of Red Riding Hood at Granny’s House in the final scene.
SNOWMAN: OK, stop – I think it’s real important to mention that at no point here did Daisy think she was talking to her Granny. I mean – come on. She knew it was the Wolf but she played along to buy a little time to figure out what in God’s green earth she was gonna do about it.
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  • Big Bad: Romulus Wolf under alias Krampus, naturally.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Played with. When the scandal breaks to the public, the media paints Santa Claus and Mayor Maureen as two power-hungry oligarchs to unite against, though the audience is meant to sympathize with them.
  • Big Eater: Ida-Lynn, who brings an entire smorgasbord of Chinese food home with her and eats “like six” miniquiches off the hors d’oeuvre table in the span of a few minutes.
  • Chekhov's Gift: A minor one, but Mitchell gifts Daisy her iconic coat early on in the play, which becomes notable in the plot shift toward Little Red Riding Hood.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Overlaps with ChekhovsGag when we see Granny’s home intruder lines of defense with the Red Ryder rifle and butcher knife — both come into play in the fight against Wolf in Granny’s living room.
  • Christmas Elves: Naturally, though the elves in this play seem to have fully fleshed out lives beyond just making toys at Santa’s Workshop.
  • Christmas Every Day: Invoked with the Snowman’s description of the North Pole.
SNOWMAN: No matter when in the year you visit, step out on those city sidewalks — in the air, there’s a feeling of Christmas.
  • Christmas Songs: Exaggerated, to the point of parody. Multiple times throughout the script, characters speak in Christmas song lyrics (and these instances are notably never lampshaded):
SCHYLER: Here comes Santa Claus, right down Santa Claus Lane. Lean your ear this way: is jolly old Saint Nicholas carrying a dark secret?
MITCHELL: I had them imported from France. Trés bon, no?
  • The Krampus: Fictional in-universe, but invoked by Santa’s blackmailer, signing their letters with “Krampus”. Discussed when Idalynn asks Santa to explain what the blackmailer means by “Krampus”.
  • Lemony Narrator: The Snowman, in spades.
  • Little Red Fighting Hood: Daisy invokes this trope as she confronts the intruder at her Grandmother’s House.
  • Mrs. Claus: Maureen consciously averts most of the standard trope as a pantsuit politician, long-serving mayor of the North Pole running for re-election. Nonetheless, she is the loving wife of Santa Claus.
  • Santa Claus: Deconstructed. His appearance and motivations are exactly as they are traditionally presented, though he has had to make some tough business decisions as the world has grown — which leads to some unsavory outcomes (See Santa's Sweatshop below).
  • Santa Clausmas: The religious origins of the holiday are not even given a passing mention.
  • Santa's Sweatshop: Played with. Santa’s main workshop at the North Pole averts this trope, but in order to keep up with the growing world population, Santa opened a supplemental factory in China (only mentioned, never seen onstage). Santa himself never refers to it a sweatshop, but Mitchell does.
  • The Three Wise Men: Parodied in the names of the union leaders: Goldsmith, Franken, and Murray.
  • Twisted Christmas: Downplayed, but things get pretty dark when Romulus Wolf’s true colors are revealed.
  • Wham Line: Wolf’s response to Daisy when she tells him that Ebenezer Whitfield is a fool. Lampshaded in the stage directions when it calls for Daisy to be visibly taken aback.
  • Whole Plot Reference: Over the course of the second act, you realize See Amid is a feature-length retelling of Little Red Riding Hood.
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