My daughter has this book called Mixed-up Fairy Tales and she loves getting them all wrong – e.g. Prince Charming… bit into… seven dwarves… fell asleep and turned into… a bowl of porridge.
That sort of thing. So I figured why not have a go with the Good Book – can you spot the deliberate mistakes here?
Adam and Eve ate a multicoloured dreamcoat belonging to the Queen of Sheba who lived inside a whale. Nearby a talking donkey climbed the tree of knowledge, blew his trumpet and made the the house on the sand fall down.
That’s how it goes isn’t it?
Actually you could have a go at making up your own. Or maybe you feel like your life is currently like a mixed up Bible story, with all the wrong bits beautifully dovetailing together. One of the encouraging things about the Bible is that it’s often told by people whose lives are well-mixed up, not nice and tidy and successful like some of those Christmas newsletters you sometimes see.
All this muddled living reminded me of a version of the Christmas story I cobbled together a while back for a show.
The Christmas Remix
Four pregnant women (PW1-4) discuss the true story of Christmas. As they talk other actiors walk on and illustrate the story.
PW3 Look at that – the angel Gabriel on top of the Christmas tree.
PW4 It’s a fairy.
PW3 The angel Gabriel?
PW2 No. On the tree. It’s not an angel. Angels live in the realms of glory.
PW3 How d’you know?
PW2 I went to the right school. (Holds up exercise book)
PW3 Yea but you didn’t do any lessons. You hung around behind the bike sheds with half the rugby team.
PW2 No. (Pause) I think you’re confusing me with er… you! Now listen, I’ll tell you the real story of Christmas. (Reads from book) Joseph was Jesus’s dad and he had a technicolour dreamcoat.
Joe walks on and a servant puts a bright coat on him.
PW2 Joseph was a carpenter and one day God told him to build an ark.
Joe looks up and looks shocked.
PW3 What’s an ark?
PW2 It’s that thing Indiana Jones went looking for. Anyway Joseph built an ark but then he had to cross the Red Sea with it. So he waved his hammer and the water dried up.
Servant gives Joe a hammer, Joe waves it.
PW4 Why would the water dry up if he’d just built an ark to sail on it?
PW2 Good question. Because he’d hidden his baby son Moses in the bulrushes and he would have been drowned.
Servant brings on a baby and hands it to Joe.
PW4 I thought Jesus was Joseph’s son.
Enter Mary. Servants hands Mary a baby. Joe and Mary stand side by side with babies looking confused.
PW2 No Jesus was Mary’s son. Concentrate! And Mary had to go to Bethlehem to visit her cousin Elisabeth who was married to Philip.
Elisabeth and Philip walk on wearing crowns and they link arms. Servant throws a baby at them.
PW2 They had an only child called John. John’s brother was James and they were fishermen.
Joe and Mary leave. James and John walk on and mime fishing with rods. They pull in a big fish. Enter Jesus who pulls Jonah on with him.
PW2 And when Jesus grew up he told them to throw their nets over the side and come fishing with him. And they caught a whale, and Jesus took Jonah out of its mouth and Jonah climbed a tree and took Jesus to his house for tea.
Jonah climbs up James and John and Jesus waves at him.
PW4 Wait a minute – I thought it was Zaccaeus who did that.
Zac comes on and also climbs on James and John.
PW2 Oh he was just copying Jonah. And anyway Zaccaeus was a tax collector who killed a giant with just a bag of five smooth coins.
Zac jumps down and James jumps on John’s back and Zac mimes throwing a coin at him.
PW2 But that was illegal so he was thrown into the lion’s den and a ladder from heaven came down with angels climbing up and down it.
Zac climbs on John.
PW2 So he climbed up the ladder and met Daniel who rescued him and took him through a fiery furnace where they met Your Shed, My Shack and A Bungalow.
Three people walk on and wave holding copies of The Shack.
PW3 Sounds like a firm of builders?
PW2 They were! You’ve heard this story before haven’t you? They were building their houses on sand.
All mime digging.
PW2 And there was an earthquake and all the graves opened up and dead people came out and the curtains were torn in two.
All pull out tissues and rip in two.
PW4 Whose curtains?
PW2 All the curtains in the world. All torn in two. So Adam and Eve sowed some fig leaves together because they felt a bit exposed.
Adam and Eve walk on look shocked and cover their bodies with their hands.
PW1 And what happened to them?
PW2 God invented a car and drove them out of the garden of Eden.
Zac mimes driving Adam and Eve offstage.
PW2 So they built a tower and climbed up it and met this giant at the top. The giant was called Goliath and he was big and friendly and he took them on this boat full of animals to Evan.
James jumps on John and shakes hands with others with a big cheesy grin.
PW3 To heaven?
PW2 No to Evan – Evan Baxter – he was a congressman who had built the boat. He was married to Joan of Arc and they had two sons. One of them ran away and buried his talents in the ground.
All mime digging again.
PW4 Sounds painful.
All look in pain.
PW2 It was! He ended up in a pigsty looking after sheep. One of the sheep ran off so he killed the fat calf and had a party.
All dance badly.
PW2 The boy’s name was David and he was the wisest king who ever lived. He found a good Samaritan who’d been mugged.
PW2 So he took him to an inn, but there was no room, so he put him in the stable. And they had a baby and they put him under the Christmas tree.
Throw three babies on, all nurse them.
PW2 Don’t blame me – I know it sounds amazing – but that’s the story of Christmas. It says so in the Bible.
All look at the audience and nod and grin.
PS. Of course, the main mistake in all this mixed up storytelling is Joseph’s coat – it wasn’t technicolour. Probably more like a posh brown thing with big sleeves…