Cast: Stage Manager (SM); Flo & Doris (two cleaners); Innkeeper (IK) & Wife; 2 Rats; 3 Kings; 3 Shepherds; Dog & Donkey; Mary and Joseph
SM Right you lot get into position – we need the shepherds, kings, Mary, Joseph, donkey, sheep, dog, rats, innkeeper and his wife.
(The cast make an awkward tableau)
SM Good – that should be okay. Nice traditional picture. The real meaning of it all That’s what Christmas is all about. Flo and Doris – you can’t be in the picture.
Flo They might have had a couple of cleaners. I mean it would have been dirty in that stable.
Doris It would have been filthy – full of cockroaches and scorpions and things.
SM Don’t be ridiculous. There would not have been cleaners in the stable.
IK There wouldn’t have been an innkeeper either.
IK There’s no innkeeper in the Bible. It’s a nice idea but he’s not mentioned.
Flo See! If the innkeeper’s allowed in then we’re staying.
SM All right then.
Doris We can stay?
SM NO. You’re all out. Flo, Doris and the Innkeeper.
IK But it’s the only bit I’m doing. I’ve told my kids I’ve got a big part.
SM Sorry. Off you go.
IK Well, the wife can’t stay then.
IK The innkeeper’s wife – if there wasn’t an innkeeper he wouldn’t have had a wife. Lucky fella…
Voice (off stage) I heard that!
SM All right. Innkeeper’s wife, sorry Petunia, you’re out.
IKW Ooh good, I can get home and watch White Christmas…
Rat1 Can we go too then?
Rat2 Well we don’t look like rats – we’re too big.
Rat1 We look like mutant rats. We’re massive.
Rat2 We must have been eating GM crop leftovers.
SM All right – you do look a bit stupid.
Rat1 No we don’t. You look stupid.
IK There wouldn’t have been any kings either.
SM Are you still here?
IK They were actually wise men – but they didn’t get there till two years later.
SM (Sighs) Right! Kings – you’re fired.
(Donkey starts to leave too)
SM Where are you going?
Donk I don’t want to be a donkey.
Dog Can I be a donkey – I don’t want to be a dog.
Donk Can I be a dog then? We’ll swap.
SM No one’s swapping!
Shep1 Actually I don’t think the shepherds had sheepdogs then.
SM Right! All the animals out! Now! All of you… Dogs, cats, rats, bats, sheep, horses, cows, wolves, llamas, badgers, ferrets, guinea pigs, gerbils, mice…
Shep1 There probably would have been some mice…
SM Shut up! Right! We should be left with Mary, Joseph and the shepherds. Anyone else got any complaints?
IK Actually – some people think it wasn’t in a stable at all.
SM Are you still here?
IK Joseph would have been well known in his home town, they’re very big on hospitality in that part of the world. It’s unlikely he’d have been left out in the cold.
SM You’ll be out in the cold if you don’t be quiet. (Shepherds start to leave) Where are you going?
Shep1 We’ve got football practice. We’re playing the Baptists on Boxing Day and they’re vicious.
(Everyone drifts off just leaving Mary and Joe, SM buries his head in his hands, then looks up again, when everyone’s gone)
SM You’re still here then? You haven’t got a good reason to flee the stable?
(They shake their heads)
SM Mary and Joseph and a baby – not much of a Christmas tableau is it?
Mary No – but it is the best bit.
SM Yea – I suppose it is.