An Outdated Christmas Pageant

  • Cast Number: 20
  • Run-time: 80 minutes
  • Bible Reference: Luke 2

Is Christmas irrelevant and outdated in this modern age? This easily staged drama uses a Christmas pageant, a conversation between Jesus and a not-entirely committed believer, an argument between Jesus and Satan over who “owns” three people and revisits a view across the road from a stable on a silent night 2,000 years ago.

Does the Christmas story have any meaning today, or simply a mystical myth concocted two centuries ago with no more impact or meaning than the story of Santa Claus?

This 80 minute drama in segmented form allows rehearsal and preparation with small groups. 

A choir is suggested, although optional and traditional carols are suggested, (others can be used).

 

Cast:

(most except for Jesus could be either male or female)

 

            Park Bench Cast

                        Uncle Johnnie – older person

                        Don – late teen to mid twenties

                        Ann -  late teen to mid twenties

 

            The Christmas Pageant

                        This could use a minimum of ten to any large number of actors

 

            He Set Me Free

                        Man

                        Devil

                        Jesus

                        Person #2

            Person #3

The Visitor
           
Girl
            (VOJ) Offstage Voice Of Jesus

 

                        For A Moment That Night

                                    Uncle Johnnie
Thaddeus

 

Set:                             Set design & decoration can be as elaborate or basic as desired / required.

 

Lighting:        Lighting will add to the flow of the drama as we have used lighting to separate and announce each segment.

 

Props:                         light post, park bench, snow, newspaper, plastic chair, lightweight plastic chain, small signs for pasting on MAN, bed, magazines, books, fast food cartons, TV remote, Johnnie’s hat.

 

Costumes:      Biblical characters likely traditional
Pageant characters in modified bath robes, cotton beards, etc.
He Set Me Free characters: Devil in black, Jesus white others green
All current day characters in current day attire

 

Sound:           wireless mikes would be useful.
Well known Christmas carols can optionally be used or replaced

 

Special Considerations:
It is important that each upcoming segment is in place and ready to go when cue comes up.  Make sure that the movements are quiet and that all actors are frozen/silent when not performing.

 

Time:                          80 minutes

 

Sample of script             

 

Johnnie comes onstage to park bench, knocks snow off with newspaper, sits 

Woman & children walk by, wave, say “Merry Christmas”, walk on

Johnnie sits, reads newspaper, Don & Ann come onstage, don’t notice Johnnie.

 

Johnnie:           Hey, Don, over here! . . .  Hello Don, Merry Christmas! 

 

Don:                            Oh, Uncle Johnnie, didn’t see you.  How are you?  Oh, and this is my friend, Ann.  Ann, I’d like you to meet my Uncle Johnnie.

 

Johnnie:           Good to meet you Ann.

 

Ann:                Hi, sir.

 

Johnnie:           Oh, don’t worry about the “sir” thing.  Just call me Uncle Johnnie, everyone does.

 

Don:                How are you, Uncle Johnnie?

 

Johnnie:           Fine.  Fine.  And you, how about you?

 

Don:                            Oh, OK I guess.  At least I will be by the time I get Christmas out of the way.

 

Johnnie:           Out of the way?  You talk as though Christmas is nothing more than an inconvenience.

 

Don:                            And?  In my life right now it’s a big inconvenience.  I can’t wait until it’s over.

 

Johnnie:           Oh, my, my, that’s not a good way to think of Christmas.  Christmas is to celebrate, to enjoy.  Not to dread.

 

Don:                            That may be, in a perfect world.  But in case you hadn’t noticed, it’s not a perfect world that we live in.

 

Johnnie:           Yes, yes, matter of fact, I have noticed that.  But I can’t quite see Christmas being the cause of the world’s imperfections.

 

Don:                            Look, I’ve got to go, I have to get back to study for my final university exams.  I’ve been up all night studying, only got two hours sleep.

 

Johnnie:           Don, that’s not good!  That kind of cramming isn’t going to help get better marks, you are going to be too exhausted to think.  Look, you and your friend sit down here with your old uncle, and we’ll watch the Christmas In The Park celebration.  There is supposed to be some carols and the kids are going to do an old fashioned Christmas pageant.

 

Don:                            Old fashioned Christmas pageant?  Do they still do those? A bit outdated would you say?  Anyhow, I don’t have the time.  Besides, if I sat down, I would likely fall asleep.

 

Johnnie:           Might be the best thing that could happen to you at the moment.  But, anyhow, I do insist, sit, for a few minutes, please. I think you’ll enjoy this . . . what did you call it? . .  Oh yes, . .  this outdated Christmas pageant.

 

Don:                Well, OK, for a minute.  But it’ll be your fault if I flunk engineering.

 

Johnnie:           Fine, I’ll take the responsibility for whatever happens.  Just sit.  Enjoy.  ‘Tis the season!

 

Don and Ann sit down, lights down on park bench, up on stage where carolers sing Silent Night.  Following carol, lights down on stage, up on park bench.

 

Johnnie:           Beautiful!  Just beautiful, isn’t it Don?

 

Don:                Yeh, I suppose.

 

Johnnie:           You didn’t enjoy the singing?  I thought they were really good.  It’s the choir from church.  Sorry you dropped out of the choir, Don.  We miss your strong voice.

 

Don:                            Want to tell me where I would get time for choir?  My plate is rather full, between university and two part-time jobs.

 

Johnnie:           Maybe too full, son.  Haven’t seen you in church in months.  Surely you have time for that.

 

Ann:                            Church?  You didn’t tell me you went to church, Don.

 

Don:                            Look, Uncle Johnnie, fact is I don’t have time.  Besides, I really don’t see any relevance in church in today’s world, it’s simply outdated.  I know church is important for you, and always has been, and that’s great.  But it’s not for me.

 

Johnnie:           Outdated?  Really?

 

Don:                No, sorry, it isn’t.  It’s like the carol they just sang.

 

Johnnie:           “Silent Night.” . . .  Yes, beautiful!

 

Don:                            Beautiful, maybe; relevant, no.  “Sleep in heavenly peace”?  When’s the last time you’ve felt anything even close to “heavenly peace”?

 

Johnnie:           Well, fact is, I’ve felt heavenly peace just listening to that carol, and also from sitting here with you, Don.

 

Don:                            Get serious!  There is nowhere you can go in this world and feel a sense of peace.  If it’s not actual warfare going on, it’s countries getting ready for war.  Even right here at home, if what we are going through is heavenly peace, I say, no thanks!  Peace is an outdated dream that only exists in minds which refuse to see reality.

 

Johnnie:           Possibly.  Or those who rely on their own man-made peace.

 

Don:                            Look, I know what comes next, “Peace comes for the Lord”, yadda-yadda.  No, thanks!  Clean, crisp, Christian clichés just don’t cut it with me anymore!

 

Johnnie:           Couldn’t agree more with you, Don.  Clichés aren’t going to cut it for anyone, and they never did.  But Christian truth and Christian principles are not clichés, and they will stand the test of time.

 

Don:                            Good, you believe that Uncle Johnnie.  But don’t expect me to have any hope.  There is no relevance in Christianity, or Christ, or God, in today’s world.

 

Johnnie:           If I believed that were true, then I, too, would have no hope.  And so, if you can see no relevance in Christianity, or Christ, or God, in today’s world, I don’t blame you for having no hope.  There is no other hope.

 

Don:                            Look, I can see that the Christian possibility is right for you.  I’m sure you never questioned your faith in God.  I am happy for you.  But in this day and age, society has moved beyond myth.

 

Johnnie:           The Christian possibility? You know, you talk as though your generation is the first to question, to doubt, to learn, to discover, or to grow.  And I take exception to that kind of hypocrisy.  You need to know that for two thousand years brilliant minds have been questioning, studying, investigating, probing, yes, and denying, God’s existence.  And I will have you know that even I once believed that God was not only irrelevant, but non-existent. . . . (giggles) . . . Can’t remember exactly but likely I used your word . . .  “outdated” . . . from time to time.

 

Don:                God, non-existent?  You?  I can’t believe that you . . . .

 

Johnnie:           . . . . you can’t believe that I would go on anything but blind faith? Don, I think you need to realize that most of us, at one time or another, have doubts.  Some, like you, seem to be afraid to really explore their faith, and they end up taking the easy way out, by simply throwing out the “God is outdated and not relevant” smoke screen.

 

Don:                            Look, I have a right to . . .

 

Johnnie:           You, my beloved young man, have a right, not to mention a duty, to sit and listen to me.  And to watch the pageant. . . . (pats Don’s back, giggles) . . And I am gonna watch real close for the outdated part, likely it’ll come along soon!

 

Lights go down on park bench as pageant begins on stage.

 

The Old Christmas Pageant segment

 

The intent of this narrated Christmas pageant is to recreate the Christmas pageants which have been a staple of church and school Christmas concerts for many generations.  This requires that it appear as amateur, while at the same time presenting a good, serious depiction of the Christmas story.  Therefore, costumes used would be robes and make-do costumes.  Some suggestions would be to have robes slightly too large, have actors carefully fight with the arm length, etc.  (Note – do not overdo this). The effect would best be realized using younger children as actors.

Basic, obviously amateur, sets would be used in the background.

Narrator reads following selections from KJV account from Luke 1:1-2:20.  Narrator will need to follow along the miming of the pageant.

 

Narrator speaks in darkened stage

Lights gradually up beginning at “most excellent Theophilus”,

 

 

Narrator:          Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, that thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.

 

lights full up

an angel standing with Mary

actors will mime and react appropriately to the words of the angel.

 

Narrator:          The angel Gabriel was sent from God unto the city of Nazareth in Galilee, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. 
And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. 
And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

 

Mary, thinks, frowns, pauses, smiles

 

Narrator:          Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?  And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

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