Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Christmas play: The friendly beasts


(Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus)

SCENE: Outside a stable in Bethlehem. There are various implements lying about and a large heap of hay. Donkey is lying asleep on the hay. He is snoring loudly.
Enter Cow one and Cow two.

COW ONE: Whooo, Whoo is that?

COW TWO: Moo, moo to you too.

COW ONE. Not moo, WHO.


COW ONE: Yes, Who, over there on the hay. Who is it?

COW TWO: It looks like a donkey.

COW ONE: Yes, It does look like a donkey. Hey you! Are you a donkey?

DONKEY: (waking up) What’s that? What’s that noise? Can’t anyone get any rest around here?

COW TWO: Are you a donkey?

DONKEY: Of course I’m a donkey. Got eyes haven’t you?

COW ONE: Well if you are a donkey, what are you doing here? This is a cow’s stable.

DONKEY: It can’t be. Cows don’t have stables.

COW TWO: Neither do donkeys.

COW ONE: It used to be a stable for horses.

COW TWO: But they moved the horses when the innkeeper built new stables last year.

COW ONE: So it is our home now.

DONKEY: Not any more. You will have to share it with me and my family.

COW TWO: A whole lot of donkeys?

DONKEY: Of course not. My human family. They are settling in now and don’t want to be disturbed, so will you just go away so I can go back to sleep.

COW ONE: What cheek! Who are you to boss us around? Where do you come from anyway?

COW TWO: You are the one who should go away. Shoo. Shoo.

DONKEY: Don’t shoo,shoo ME. I’m a very important donkey I’ll have you know.
I’m Joseph the Carpenter’s donkey.

COW ONE: Never heard of him.

DONKEY: That shows how ignorant you are. He is the best carpenter in the country and an important man in Nazareth.

COW TWO: Nazareth? That’s a long way away.

DONKEY: Yes. It is far away. We had a long journey and the roads were so crowded. It was traffic jams all the way and then we had to search for accommodation when we got here. The inns were full up. I’m quite exhausted.

COW ONE: Did you have a heavy load?

DONKEY: Well, Joseph helped with that, but I had to carry Mary almost all the way.

COW TWO: Who is Mary? Why couldn’t she walk?

DONKEY: Mary, my other human. Poor Mary, I couldn’t expect her to walk. She is going to have her baby very soon. We got here just in time. I wouldn’t be surprised if the baby were born this very night.

COW ONE: In the STABLE! Whoever heard of a human born in a stable!

DONKEY: Shocking, isn’t it. There was no other accommodation to be had at all. I can tell you this is not the sort of thing WE are used to and it’s all because of the census.

COW TWO. The censers? Aren’t those the things they use for incense in the temple?

DONKEY: Haw haw, Hee haw! And they call DONKEYS stupid! Census, silly – the time when everybody gets counted. Joseph and Mary have come here to be counted.

COW ONE: Why can’t they be counted in Nazareth?

DONKEY: Search me. Some Roman Government red tape.

COW TWO: Perhaps no one in Nazareth can count.

DONKEY: NONSENSE. Just because we live in the country, a long way from Jerusalem doesn’t mean we are as ignorant as cattle.

COW ONE: (belligerently)What do you mean, as ignorant as cattle!

DONKEY: All right, all right. Keep your horns on. I take it back. No need to get upset.


DONKEY: Hello. What are you doing here?

COW TWO: Why aren’t you up in the hills where sheep belong?

SHEEP: I’m not sure. I only know an angel appeared and sent us all down here.

COW ONE and COW TWO: An angel?

DONKEY: (amazed) An angel sent a whole lot of sheep here?

SHEEP: Well, the angel sent our shepherds here and, of course they couldn’t leave us sheep alone, so we came too.
(the noise of hoofs can be heard)

COW ONE Oh no! Not that old horse again with his boring old war stories.

COW TWO: He never lets you forget that he was once in the cavalry.


HORSE: He-ay-ay What’s going on here? Just passing my old stable. Saw it full of people and animals. Some sort of gathering What?

SHEEP: Something very exciting is going to happen. A very special baby is going to be born here. That’s what the angel said.

HORSE: Just like a sheep. Believe any wild story you hear. Angels and babies in stables! What a lot of nonsense!

SHEEP: It’s TRUE. There really was an angel. I saw it myself.

DONKEY: (looking towards the east) What’s that I see? Three camels? I can’t believe they are coming here. Stuck–up creatures. they think they’re too good to mix with the likes of us.


COW ONE: Hullooo. What have you come here for?

CAMEL: I’ve come to check out the accommodation and I must say it is not up to standard at all. We three camels have been traveling for weeks over the mountains and the desert, to come here and we really expected something much better. I don’t know what all you domestic livestock are doing here, but we expect you all to move out at once and make sure you leave everything neat and tidy when you go.

COWS: MOVE OUT! We’re not moving out. This is our home. We were here first.

DONKEY: Who do you think you are? You can’t chase everyone out. Don’t you know that a very special baby is going to be born here tonight?

CAMEL: A special baby? What is he going to be? A top camel driver?

DONKEY: No. I don’t think so, but something very important. (thinks) I know! When he grows up he will be the most famous donkey rider in the world! He will ride through the streets of Jerusalem and everyone will come out to see him and cheer him on

COW ONE: A donkey rider! What’s special about that? Donkey riders aren’t important.

COW TWO: No the most important people are the dairymen that look after us and feed us. I think he will be someone who provides food for hundreds of cows or if not for cows, at least for hundreds of people.

COW ONE: Or perhaps a thousand

COW TWO: Or five thousand.

COW ONE: Or ten thousand.

DONKEY: That’s enough. Don’t get carried away.

SHEEP: I don’t like to disagree with you cows, but really the most important people are shepherds. What would any of us do without them? How would we know where to go if they didn’t lead us? I think this baby will grow up to be a great shepherd.

HORSE: I’m a military horse. Served in the army since a colt so I know what I’m talking about. Soldiers are more important than donkey riders, cowhands or shepherds. Go on horseback don’t you know. Must be more important. I think he will grow up to be a mighty warrior and a conqueror, destroying evil rulers and bringing peace and all that.

CAMEL: None of you know anything. Do you think WE would have traveled all the way across the desert for anyone less than a prince. No, If this is the one we have come to see, I know for certain that this baby will grow up to be a great king. No doubt about it. No doubt at all.

HORSE: (half convinced) You are just saying that. Where’s your evidence, Sir? You have no real evidence have you?

CAMEL: No evidence? New stars don’t just appear in the sky for nothing. My masters, who are very, very wise men, have been watching the sky all their lives and they saw this baby’s star.

DONKEY: His star? What star?

CAMEL: That star over there in the sky. Look it’s rising now!
The star is seen behind the stable shedding light on Joseph and Mary and the baby in the manger. An angel stands beside them


DONKEY: The one who will ride a donkey through Jerusalem,

COW TWO: The provider of food for thousands.

HORSE: The mighty warrior who will bring peace

SHEEP: The good shepherd

CAMEL: The wise king

ANGEL (Stepping forward) Yes. He will be all these things and more. This baby is JESUS, the Son of God, the SAVIOUR of the world.