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Monday, December 21, 2009

A Charlie Brown Christmas

A Charlie Brown Christmas Play was performed at an undisclosed residential treatment facility somewhere in the two Virginias. The American cartoonist, Charles M. Schulz would have been proud. Would loved to have known his thoughts on our performance of his, “Charlie Brown Christmas.” Please note that although we performed a Christmas play that I’m not advocating for any one religion. Children at facility had practiced for this play since Thanksgiving. The kids helped with making the stage props and decorating the ballroom. They put in months and months of hard work for a spectacular 20-minute performance.

Scripts for the play were found online. However, it left out a few parts. We added a few lines and a few characters, too. We had the soundtrack to the Charlie Brown cartoon, which was good for the scene where all the children dance.

Here are some photos of the props for your enjoyment:

Here is the sign that was posted outside of the ballroom for the play.

It reads:

You're invited to A Charlie Brown Christmas Play Performance. Date: Mon. Dec. 21st, 2009. Time: 12:30. Location: Ballroom. Free cookies.

Here is a close-up picture of Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree and the sign.

Fully decorated stage prior to the performance featured in picture above. Snoopy’s dog house is on the far left with the commercial pink Christmas trees. Snowflakes created by the children hung from the ceiling. Shroder’s piano is front and center. Behind it is a brick wall covered with snow. “A Charlie Brown Christmas Play” sign is attached to the screen. There’s a secret behind the screen. A larger tree is hidden there. Peanut characters take the Charlie Brown Christmas tree behind the screen to decorate it. The screen is raised and a fully decorated tree is there. Charlie Brown comes around the corner and says, “Hey, what’s going on here?” The children all yell, “Merry Christmas Charlie Brown” and they sing “Hark the Herald Angel.” Lucy’s psychiatric booth is on the far right of this picture, too.

Christmas tree decorated. Of course, you’ll notice it is a different tree. It was more colorful than shown in picture. It had fiber lights that were different colors, which, in my opinion were very pretty. Camera flash prevented these colors. One of the children had hidden the “Charlie Brown tree” under the table. This tree was shown when the screen was raised giving the impression that the children had quickly decorated Charlie’s tree. It was a surprise that shocked the audience. They didn’t know about that little trick.

Shroder’s grand piano featured above. This amazing little prop was fully designed and created by my crafty co-worker, Paula B. RN.

Snoopy light decoration featured in picture above. Teacher, Kim H., picked this decoration up for the play.

Lucy’s psychiatric stand with can for collecting nickels featured above. This prop and the can was completely designed and created by my good friend and co-worker, Melissa W., the children’s individual therapist. Had a better picture, but accidentally deleted it. It showed the sign that says, “The Doctor is Real In,” just like the cartoon.

Christmas trees! Do they resemble the ones in the Charlie Brown cartoon? Hope so. They were created by the children, of course. Look closely and you’ll see Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree behind the pink tree in the center.

Snoopy’s dog house. It’s been decorated. You can see a “first place” ribbon on it. This prop was created by the children, my co-worker, Melissa W. (individual therapist) and myself, (recreational therapist).

Eleven characters were in our performance, including: Woodstock, Snoopy, Pig Pen, Frita (with naturally curly hair), Rerun, Charlie Brown, Linus, Shermy , Sally, Shroder, and Lucy.

Therapeutic Benefits of Play

Therapeutic benefits for play. Of course, children are at our residential treatment facility for therapy. They’re there to get help. Although this play was designed to be fun and entertaining, it also served a greater purpose in accordance with the kid’s therapy needs. The play allowed the children to work on several of their own needs.

Each kid in the play had therapeutic goals that were achieved through the use of this “play/ recreation activity.” Goals varied according to individual needs of the child. Here is an example of one goal: a.) increase confidence and esteem as evidenced by performing in front of a live audience. Here is an example of another goal: b.) increase teamwork and co-operation as evidenced by working together with peers to practice for play and to create stage props.

Other skills enhanced by this play included: socialization, creativity, leadership, to learn to listen more attentively, be aware of what’s going on, be responsible and prepared. The kid’s also had greater acceptance of self. Some children who have difficulty with speech even improved their verbalization through the repetition of lines.

Here are a few YouTube Video-Clips of the classic Charlie Brown Christmas cartoon for your enjoyment, too:

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