Mary, the mother of Jesus, and John the disciple were instructed by Jesus at the cross to be “mother” and “son” to the other. Now years later they remember the birth of Jesus, and the life that lead to the cross. Along the way there are flashbacks where we meet the angel Gabriel, Joseph, the innkeeper and his wife, the wisemen, shepherds and a Roman soldier.
Useful for Christmas or any time of the year.
Cast: of 18 or more, with 16 speaking roles and 2 offstage male voices, plus as many crowd persons as available
Set: mainly a blank set except for the stable scene. The flashbacks can be on a separate stage, or on a part of the stage which is set aside by lighting, or can be behind a scrim
Lighting: at least one spot and a small light for the star
Sample of script:
Mary walks onstage carrying a candle or lantern of some sort. She lights it and sits at a table, running her fingers across its surface fingering the workmanship, she is deep in thought. John walks in and speaks...
John: Mary? (pause) Mary...are you alright?
Mary: Oh....John.....yes...I was deep in thought . . . in a memory.
John: What is it Mary?
Mary: It was 34 years ago, on this very night. Today would have been his birthday. (big sigh) Thirty four years . . . . (closes eyes) Seems so long ago, yet in some ways . . . yesterday...
John: Tell me about it Mary, I want to know. Begin at the beginning. I want to know everything . . . . every detail. It is good that these memories do not die.
Mary looks at John, smiles, ruffles his hair
Mary: John, John, dear John. You are so dear to me!
John: Did he not instruct me to be your son, and you to be my mother?
Mary: Yes, indeed he did, from the cross. (pauses, remembers) . . . “Dear woman, behold your son.”
John: And to me . . . “Behold your mother.”
John goes to Mary, puts his arms around her
John: I want to know every detail, from the very beginning, in the stable.
Mary: The stable was not the beginning, far from it. That night was in many ways the culmination, the zenith of that which had been long prophesied . . . the coming of the Messiah.
John: How did you know these things?
Mary: Know? What was I to know, and how? I was a mere child, recently pledged to marry Joseph, the handsome carpenter. All I knew I learned at my mother’s knee, and all I cared was that I was so, so in love with my Joseph.
John: So then, Joseph taught you what was about to happen?
Mary, laughs: No, no not Joseph, for he fought his own lack of comprehension. (thinks) No, it was the angel Gabriel who came to me, explained what was to happen, and how God had chosen me.
lights up on main acting area, Young Mary (YM) is sitting, lights intensify, Gabriel comes on stage
Gabriel: Good morning!
You're beautiful with God's beauty,
Beautiful inside and out!
God be with you.
YM stands, frightened
Gabriel, smiles reassuringly: It’s alright Mary, you have nothing to fear.
God has a wonderful surprise for you: You will become pregnant and give birth to a son and call his name Jesus.
He will be great,
and be called “Son of the Highest.”
The Lord God will give him
the throne of his father David;
He will rule Jacob's house forever . . .
no end, ever, to his kingdom.
YM, confused: I don’t understand . .. How? I've never slept with a man.
Gabriel: The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
the power of the Highest hover over you;
Therefore, the child you bring to birth
will be called Holy, Son of God.
YM: But . . .
Gabriel: Amazing, isn’t it? But did you know that your cousin Elizabeth conceived a son, old as she is? Everyone called her barren, and here she is six months pregnant! See, Mary, nothing is impossible with God.
YM: I see it all now:
I'm the Lord's maid, ready to serve.
Let it be with me
just as you say.
lights down on main acting area
John: If that had been me I doubt I would have been so compliant.
Mary: John, your time for doing the will of God has not yet completely come . . . but come it will.
John: And what of Joseph . . did he take this news as well as you?
Mary: Well?Let us say Joseph . . . struggled. . . Joseph did not take the news particularly well.
lights up on main acting area, Joseph is pacing,
How could she?
I trusted her . .
Yet, even so, . . .
The solution is obvious . . I will quietly divorce her . . .
Oh. . . my Mary . . . why did you . . .?
lights intensify, Gabriel comes on stage
Gabriel: Joseph, son of David, don't hesitate to take Mary as your wife. The baby she carries is God’s own son, it was God's Holy Spirit which made her pregnant. The child she gives birth to, a son, you, Joseph, will name him Jesus, that is ‘God saves’ for he will save mankind from their sins.
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