Three storylines intertwine beautifully to tell the Christmas story. It’s 1917 in the small town of Bridger Falls where a widower and his five children get ready to celebrate Christmas in their comfortable home. Watching them from outside a window is a lonely little boy, Jacob, who’s trying to help support his mother while his father, Will, fights the war. The second setting is a bunker overseas where Will witnesses to two other soldiers fighting in World War I. As if sending us back in time, a third setting takes us back to Bethlehem where we relive the Christmas story as told through the scriptures. In each scene, many of the characters feel lost and uncertain. Yet ultimately they handle the hardships through their faith, even if, like the two soldiers, their faith is brand new. The play ends with a spirit of hope through the message of the manger. An ending freeze of all three settings draws a parallel of time periods that span over two thousand years for “upon this night,” we are all connected. Suggested songs help bridge the scenes. The main characters offer actors a great range of emotions to portray, while minor characters allow actors of all ages the opportunity to participate. Although the action takes place in several locations, minimal staging is just as effective as a more elaborate approach. Performance Time: About an hour.
PLAYWRIGHT TERRI DILL TALKS ABOUT
“UPON THIS NIGHT”
Q: WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE THIS PLAY?
A: One night as I was standing outside in our front yard I looked up and was overwhelmed with the sight of the stars and the moon. I knew God was giving me this moment as a gift and He inspired me to use this image for my next play. I began to think about the birth of Christ and how this same universe was present during that time as well. I began to write about a poor newspaper boy, in tattered clothes, selling papers on the street corner. I knew a child such as this would wonder if Jesus could see him and if he cared about him. I feel all my plays are God-inspired and God-directed. He wanted "Upon This Night" to be written.
Q: WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE PART OR LINE IN THE PLAY? WHY?
A: My favorite part is when Will is in the bunker with the other two soldiers. In many ways, Will is me. He wants everyone to truly know God. He is passionate about the message and is not afraid to share his faith.
Q: WHERE DID THE CHARACTERS COME FROM? ARE THEY BASED ON PEOPLE YOU KNOW?
A: All the characters of "Upon This Night" where people I pictured would live in this small, make-believe Minnesota town of Bridger Falls. I didn't have anyone in mind as I developed their characters. Each character plays an important part in the story. Even though the play takes place in the early 1900S, they have the same concerns and needs that we do today.
Q: WHAT DID YOU TRY TO ACHIEVE WITH THIS PLAY?
A: I wanted to give the audience something to think about. I wanted them to be right there in the bunker, or standing on a street corner and asking God, "Do you see me tonight?" I wanted them to be in the stable with Mary and Joseph and witness the Christmas story as it would unfold before them. The character Will says everything about God and the Bible that I want people to hear. It was my hope that this play would start many on a faith journey.
Q: DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO ADD?
A: Our Drama Ministry came about ten years ago. Our first play was from Eldridge, "A Touch of His Robe." It changed the lives of everyone who participated. God used this ministry to reach all of us. He is at the center of all we do. He inspires us and directs us. He has blessed our drama team in so many ways. I am looking forward to this newest chapter in my life, that being this great opportunity in working with Eldridge Publishing.