Sunday, 19 December 2010

The Inevitable Nativity Play

In line with post-modern practice, we encouraged all the little children of the Beaker Community to attend as whichever character from the Nativity they wanted to be, for our "Nativity from Scratch". We love this kind of make-it-up-as-you-go-along, random informality. We counted without Beaker children. Or maybe it was just a bad throw of the statistical dice.

No shepherds. Not after those chants last year. Three wise women. No wise men, obviously. Not round here. No Marys. Who wants to try and live up to Mary? Three Josephs, all played by girls. Two wolves. One Herod, but little Arnulf insisted on playing him as a  tortured, ambivalent soul who actually quite likes children but thinks a Messiah will cause rioting on the streets of Jerusalem. The normal collection of animals, of course. A horse, a rabbit, a few chickens - who sells chicken costumes? - an ent and a zebra. Just what you'd expect in a turn-of-the-millennium Jewish stable.  Still, full marks to the narrator, Young Keith, for improvisation.

[Young Keith]: And it came to pass, in the time of Emperor August, when Qui-.. Qui... Quiribilus... some bloke was governor of Syria, that an edict was sent out that everybody should go up to their dad's city to register at a census.
And Joseph was a carpenter in Nazareth. And he took his two wolves up to Bethlehem to be registered, as otherwise the Old Testament would be wrong.

And when they came to Bethlehem, his wife Mary, who you can't see at the moment, had a baby. And they called him Jesus. And they laid him in a  manger. And the wolves protected him. In fact, they ate the other animals in the stable [fight breaks out]. And the chickens.... oo, the chickens beat up the wolves! Who would have thought that?

And there were zebras abiding in the hills. And a host of.. smurfs? Who booked the smurfs? Where are the angels? OK, OK, smurfs. A host of smurfs appeared to them, and told them there was gnus of great joy. And the gnus and the zebras went down and found the stable. And the chickens... oo, the chickens beat up the zebras as well. You don't mess with those chickens, do you?

And there were wise women a-dwelling in the woods.  And they saw a star - which looked rather like Hnaef's laser pointer - which led them towards Bethlehem. But they took a wrong turning on the Jerusalem ring road, and went to ask Herod for directions. And Herod told them he didn't like their tattoos very much, and their so-called spells were rubbish. But he was most concerned when he heard about the new king.

[Herod] To be, or not to be? Is that a question? Whether tis nobler in the mind to put armed police on the streets to cope with rebelling students, demanding that there's a new king in town? Or should I send the boys round to Bethlehem? And yet will I not go down to posterity as a man who, thinking he was doing right, was in fact a monster? I HOPE YOU'RE LISTENING, CAMERON!

[Young Keith] But the chickens and all the Josephs and Jesus went down to Egypt, where there were plagues of frogs.  But Herod applied for an extradition, and Joseph was locked up. But due to a clever lawyer and a denial-of-service attack on the pyramids, the Egyptians eventually let him out. So Herod invaded.

And Herod and his plague of frogs fought against Joseph and his chickens, in the kind of Apocalyptic event you don't expect to find in Nativity stories, apart from the one in Revelation 12. And Joseph and the chickens beat Herod and the frogs.  So Joseph and his wife (who you can't see at the moment) and all the chickens and the little baby Jesus could go back and live in Nazareth, which is a kind of anti-climax unless you read through to the end of the story. The end.

1 comment :

  1. Well it's a fairly free translation but a lot more interesting than the original in many ways.

    Perhaps you could have a go at Easter next


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