It’s that time of year when nativity plays abound. I don’t often get schmoozy and schmaltzy about how cute kids are, but honestly, little kids plays just do it for me. Laughing and crying at the same time I tell ya.
Anyhow, it got me thinking about how inaccurate the plays are. I mean for starters, I don’t know who wrote “The Little Drummer Boy” but I’ll tell you one thing, the ox and lamb definitely do NOT keep time. And, although I’m a big fan of percussion, if I’d just given birth, there’s no way in hell I’d want a noisy drummer boy around. How selfish, can’t he see there’s a newborn trying to sleep?
Back to the inaccuracies. I propose it’s time someone wrote a more accurate script because I have a feeling this is how it really rolled…
(ENTER ANGEL GABRIEL. MARY IS CHILLING, PERHAPS READING SOME PERISHING SCROLL)
Mary: Whaaaat the…. Who are you? Or should I say, what are you?
Gabriel: (Loudly and very formally) I am Archangel Gabriel and I would have thought my wings would have given you a clue.
Mary: Right. No need to speak so loudly, I’m right here next to you. Um, sorry, but if it’s not too much trouble, could you stop waving those wings around. You’re dangerously close to the new urn I just bought. It’s not just decorative you know. I actually have to fetch water in it.
Gabriel: Oh hel…um, oh shoot. Sorry, I get a bit carried away.
Mary: What can I do for you today?
Gabriel: (under his breath…As if! Did she not just hear me say I am an ANGEL?) Well, Mary (condescending tone), I am actually here to do something for you today. Soon, you will have a baby. Well not soon, in about 9 months time. And you will call him Jesus and he will be our Saviour.
Mary: There must be some mistake. I don’t know how to say this, but, I can’t be pregnant. I’m, um…. a virgin. (softly)
Gabriel: Sorry, I didn’t get that. You’re a what?
Mary: A virgin alright, a virgin (much louder)
Gabriel: Oh! Oh, how foolish of me. I left out the important part. You’ve got an immaculate contraption.
Mary: A what?
Gabriel: Dang, I think I said that wrong… what’s it called again. Oh yes, you’ve had an Immaculate Conception. You are able to bear a child without first having to….
Mary: OK, OK, I get the idea. Lucky me. How do you expect me to explain this to Joseph? I am married you know, this isn’t just about me.
Gabriel: Shoot, yes. Well, you look like a bright girl, I’m sure you’ll think of something. Um, perhaps I could leave you a feather from my wing. You know, as proof that I’ve been here and all.
Mary: Looks very similar to a pigeon feather but whatever.
Gabriel: Righto then, my work here is done for now. Good luck with the whole pregnancy thing and don’t worry about the puffy ankles. They eventually go down.
Mary: (under her breath) How would you know, eejit.
(Louder) One question though. Do I really have to name him Jesus? It’s just that Joseph was at school with a guy called Jesus and I tell you, he was a real arseho… um, sorry, not a cool guy. He’s not going to like naming our son that one bit.
Gabriel: (sighing) Mary. I’m the messenger and I think you have a fair idea of who sent me. He gave clear instructions and I wouldn’t suggest messing with him. Know what I mean?
Mary: You know what? Whatever. Its not like I’ve had any say thus far so thanks for the awesome news but I’d like to finish my scroll before my ankles start to swell.
(SHEPHERDS SETTLING IN FOR THE NIGHT)
Levi: Ish! Hey Ishmael, check out that star dude. It’s moving closer and getting bigger.
Ishmael: Dude, you been smoking that pipe of yours again? You’ve got to stay off the strong stuff; it’s starting to mess with your head.
Levi: Ish, don’t be an arsehole, just listen to me. I swear, that star is moving and getting bigger and closer.
(GABRIEL SWOOPS DOWN AND LANDS NEXT TO THEM)
Ishmael: By Jove! Whaaat the?
Gabriel (under his breath) Always the same blinking response! Uneducated Philistines, don’t they know an angel when they see one?
Jove: (sounding sleepy) Did someone call me? Whaaaat the?
Gabriel: (under his breath) Again with the “whaaat the!”
(Loudly) Um, as you can see, gentlemen (as if). I am an angel. Archangel Gabriel to be exact, and I’m here to tell you that your Saviour that has been born this very night in Bethlehem. You will find him in a stable…
Levi and Ishmael: Dude, no need to be so loud. The sheep are sleeping man. Who was born in a what?
Gabriel: A Saviour. Sa vior. In a stable. Sta ble. You know, where they keep livestock.
Jove: What the heck is our Saviour doing in a stable?
Gabriel: All the inns were full. I know you types don’t pay much attention to current affairs but its there’s that whole tax and be counted thing going on right now, so they had to make do.
Ishmael: (under his breath to the others) Poor woman who had to give birth in a stable.
Jove: (under his breath) No shit dude. That’s barbaric!
Gabriel: Righto then, if you’re all clear on this then I’ll be off. Think you can find your way there?
Levi: With all due respect dude, I know you’re like an angel and we’re just mere mortals but we’re like shepherds. We know how to mission.
(THREE WISE MEN SITTING ROUND PLAYING BACKGAMMON)
Gaspar: Good move Balty. Now I’m going to kick your derriere!
Bathasar: You havn’t beaten me in backgammon since the last plague old chap. Don’t see it happening today.
Melchior: Childish banter. Can’t you two just play like civilized adults? We’re wise men, godammit. Magi, not schoolboys!
Gaspar: Mel, don’t be such an old fart. I’m over this whole being wise the whole dang time. When we’re alone it’s cool just to shoot the breeze. You know, decompress a little.
GABRIEL ENTERS – WINGS FLAPPPING LOUDLY
Gaspar, Balthasar, and Melchior: Whaaaat the….?
Gabriel: (under his breath) I’d have thought this lot would have inkling. But nooooo. (Sighs loudly and speaks in a bored voice) I am angel Gabriel and I bring you good news.
Bathasar: My horse won the race? Powerpocket boys, told you that horse is headed for big things.
Gabriel: No no NO! This is bigger than winning the races. This is about your Saviour, who has been born this very night in Bethlehem.
Melchior: Bethlehem? Isn’t that were that whole tax and be counted thing is happening? Bit of an inconvenient time and place don’t you think?
Gabriel: (condescending) Some people are above inconvenient times and places. Did you not hear me say the word “Saviour”?
Bathasar: Alright, alright. No need to be snippy about it. What would you have us do?
Gabriel: (getting impatient) Go and see him of course. Saviour, Saviour, I said Saviour. What’s wrong with you people? Don’t you want to be the first people to meet your Saviour?
Melchior: Alright, alright. I suppose you have a point old chap. Well leave shortly.
Gabriel: See that you do. And be sure to bring some pressies. I can’t imagine the shepherds thought to take anything for the family. A home cooked meal might be nice.
Gaspar: Not really our thing you know, we’re wise men, not chefs.
Gabriel: What e ver. Just make it count ok. It’s unlikely you’re going to get another shot at this whole being saved thing in a hurry.
Gaspar: Jolly good show. I wonder old chap, don’t suppose you know what your wingspan is? Might be useful to know that.
Gabriel: (very condescending) I’d have thought, old chap, that the size of my wingspan pales in comparison to the news I’ve just brought you. Good day to you all. (DEPARTS)
Melchior: Bit of a scratchy fellow, don’t you think? Not really what I imagined. He’s obviously chosen the austere formal approach over kind, cute and lovable.
Gaspar: Mel, you’re such an idiot! The kind, cute and lovable ones are the cherubs.
Melchior: (under his breath) Wise arse.
Gabriel: (whilst flying back to heaven) Pfffft! Barbaric Philistines, the whole lot of them.
(IN CHORUS) And so concludes our real rendition, we hope you’ve enjoyed our play. We saved you the birthing scene for sure, but at Easter we’ll have our say.