From the Play
From Ferdinand’s Visit to the Manger
SETTING: Christmas Eve: 1600’s Steyr, Austria; Bethlehem at the time of Jesus’ Birth. These can be in a Church, on stage or outdoors.
COSTUMES: 17th Century European, masks and tails for the animals and imaginative interpretations for the trees.
MUSIC: Can be performed live or pre-recorded.
AT OPENING: Ferdinand, Rennie, Trees, and Philip. Before them is a Christmas Tree which bears an image of the Holy Family. Also on stage are Bad Boys and Dog, Nuns, holding apples and rulers, Sister Rafaella holding Christkindl Figure, Father Gabriel, Mary and Joseph.)
NARRATOR 1: Back in the 1600’s, in Steyr, Austria, there was a young musician named Ferdinand Sertl.
(Ferdinand enters; Rennie, standing upright, reaches out to Ferdinand)
NARRATOR 2: Ferdinand was also a local tower watchman who had a pet lamb named Rennie.
(Ferdinand greets Rennie, who wags his tail.)
NARRATOR 1: Ferdinand loved this name which means “reborn.”
(Bad Boys point and laugh at Ferdinand and Rennie)
RENNIE: That’s right, my human, Ferdinand, is lucky that I own him. After he left the orphanage, I felt sorry for him; he has this habit of quivering. Shaking, really. Sometimes he slurs his speech and becomes very spacey during one of these spells. So, one day I showed up at his door and insisted that he give me a home. I never imagined that both of us would receive a Christmas miracle.
RENNIE: Each Christmas, I love to tell our story.
(Sister Cotilda and Nuns give apples to Ferdinand and Bad Boys)
RENNIE: On Christmas Eve, the villagers enjoyed the custom of decorating the village trees with apples…
(Bad Boys place apples on Christmas Tree and the dog, wags tail and leaps about. Ferdinand, because of shaking hands, cannot place apple on Tree. Bad Boys make fun of Ferdinand. Rennie growls at them.)
NARRATOR 2: The apple-laden trees became known as “Adam and Eve Trees.” The red color of the apples serves as a reminder that the blood, which Christ shed on the Cross, overcame Adam and Eve’s sin.
(Bad Boys, especially Clovis, laugh and push Ferdinand)
RENNIE: Then Clovis shouted at my human.
CLOVIS: What’s wrong with you? You’re so stupid! You don’t know how to decorate a tree!”
(A fight ensues which is broken up by Nuns waving Rulers)
From MARY’S QUILT : A “Living” Nativity, for Performers of All Ages
SETTING: This play can be performed at the Altar, in the Sanctuary, on a stage, or outdoors. The outline of a stable and a pathway are needed. Rocks and grasses provide a backdrop to the pathway leading to the stable.
COSTUMES: Traditional with robes, veils, crowns, leggings and wrapped feet. Elmore, the Ram can wear white pants and long sleeve shirt with a sheep’s headdress and tail.
MUSIC: Use instrumental versions of traditional carols before, and “Angels We Have Heard on High” at the end.
VOICES: Characters may speak their lines, or be voiced by a Narrator.
NARRATOR 1: In the hills outside a city called Bethlehem, on a cold Midwinter night, a shepherd named Nathaniel and his son, Lucan, watched a brilliant new Star rise in the Eastern sky.
(Star effect as The Shepherds and animals watch.)
NARRATOR 2: Because both Nathaniel and Lucan were deaf, in one ear, they could not hear the arguing of Elmore, the pet ram, and the Sheepdogs.
(Nathaniel and Lucan comically check their deaf ear)
LMORE: Baaaa! I’m telling you, something special is happening tonight.
SHEEPDOG: Yeah, I agree, but something doesn’t smell right.
ANOTHER SHEEPDOG: Let’s go check it out. (exit)
NARRATOR 1: After the new star appeared in the sky, King Herod decreed that a census be taken for his entire kingdom.
(HEROD enters and moves forward as he pounds his fist into his hand)
KING HEROD: Who are they kidding? These Wise Guys think a greater King than I will be born? We’ll see about that!
NARRATOR 2: It was also the time of year for the Hanukah Faire, with celebrations and athletic competitions. People were traveling great distances to get home.
KING HEROD: I have a plan! I’ve ordered a great census of every man, woman and child in the Kingdom. That’s right, everyone who is anyone will arrive in their home town by tonight. This is how I will find, capture and kill this “King” who is predicted to take my Kingdom.
NARRATOR 1: The plan of Herod eventually led to the killing of every male child under the age of two, later known as the Slaughter of the Holy Innocents.
NARRATOR 2: Hanukah Faire and the Census combined to make a great deal of profit for some such as food vendors and innkeepers. There was a lot of excitement about the competitions. A young Shepherd named Lucan entered his pet ram, Elmore in the “Finest Wool” contest.
( Mr. & Mrs. Innkeeper enter, as Mrs. Innkeeper gestures “show me the money!”)
MR. INNKEEPER: Our Innkeepers Union is overjoyed that Herod’s census will bring us plenty of business.
MRS. INNKEEPER: The more the money, the better I like it! Just make sure we only rent out rooms to the wealthy. None of that “helping” attitude you like to show.
MR. INNKEEPER: But, my Dear, what if someone special comes that needs a room?
MRS. INNKEEPER: I wouldn’t even rent to Herod the Great unless he could pay! I’ll keep an eye on you!