A man often becomes depressed around Christmas, and so one December afternoon, he visits his psychiatrist, who advises he dispel his sadness by throwing himself into some arduous and time-consuming labor. “You should direct a play,” claims the mental health professional. The man takes up said directorial duties, but finds the cast interested only in revelry, mockery, vanity and dissension. He scolds, he encourages, and yet finds them unresponsive and the mood of the production falters.
Will the show go on?
To raise their spirits, the depressed director sets off to buy a Christmas tree with his only confidant. The lot of trees is full of glorious, splendid false idols, but also a single, meek, lowly sapling, which the director buys in defiant protest of the rest. Returning to the hoi polloi, the director is derided for his lack of taste. Begging the aid of a watching cosmos, the director demands to know the hidden and esoteric meaning of God’s incarnation. His only friend quotes a short passage from a sacred text, but this only depresses the director who carries his tree like a cross back home, where he finds his materialistic, lecherous and fame obsessed roommate has festooned the place with garish accoutrements.
Nearly too heartbroken to go on, yet the director summons a moment of courage and attempts to decorate his own cross with something celebratory, and yet the oppressive weight of just a single bauble destroys the fledging, childlike life of the director’s tree. “I’ve killed it,” bellows the director, who then exits silently, stoically, presumably to take his own life.
Whilst in the thralls of a roving bacchanal, the cast of the play unwittingly discovers the corpse of the director’s tree and is suddenly moved to clown the dead thing with glittering vulgarities which the lecherous roommate had used to lampoon the Christ. Awed by the spectacle, the abomination of something real become something false, the horde begins singing, at first quietly, a sacred and venerable hymn of the Galilean tradition. On the precipice of the act of suicide, the director hears the paean sung softly and quits his death chamber to discover the secret of its origin before departing for the next world. Bowled over by the absurd spectacle of his cross blasphemed as though an idol of the flesh, the director inexplicably surrenders to the sad and irrational zeitgeist (did the sphinx not also take its own life once defeated?) and begins singing the hymn, as well.