ROCK NATIVITY Musical in two acts Book & lyrics by David Wood: Music by Tony Hatch and Jackie Trent Wimbledon Theatre, London - 23 February, 1976 THE STORY ACT I All the cast, the size of which is variable, are assembled to retell the Christmas story in the form of a modern equivalent of the mediaeval mystery play. They all play the chorus, and individually become the characters in the story as required. The play opens with the traditional picture of the nativity scene in the stable at Bethlehem. The Evangelist recalls the prophesies of the Old Testament and the Chorus sing a hymn of praise, leading to a flashback of how the story started. In Nazareth Gabriel makes his visitation to Mary, who sings the Magnificat. Joseph returns from working on the house he is building for himself and Mary to live in after their marriage. He is disturbed and bewildered by the news of Mary's pregnancy, but Gabriel's explanation and Mary's obvious sincerity convince him that God lies made him part of His unprecedented plan; he is to become guardian of God's only-begotten Son the King of the Jews. But Herod is the earthly King of the Jews, and in Jerusalem defends his right, by decree from Rome, to remain 10. Far away in Persia, the three Wise Men discuss their predictions: the stars point to the birth of a King, a spiritual leader, a universal magnate. As they talk, Saturn, Jupiter and Mars appear to align with each other in the sky, creating the brightest star the Wise Men have ever seen. They decide to follow it; it will lead them to where the new King is born. Back in Nazareth, Herod announces Caesar's decree that every citizen must report for a census and taxgathering in the town of his birth. Joseph and Mary, who is heavily pregnant, have to set off for Bethlehem. They are joined by many other travellers on the road. On arrival, they pass through the census point. As a soldier interviews them, Mary nearly collapses. All the accommodation in Bethlehem is already taken, but an innkeeper and his wife take pity on Joseph and Mary and allow them to shelter in their stable. Joseph makes Mary at comfortable as possible and reaffirms his love for her and his determination to carry out God's will. The Wise Men arrive in Jerusalem and have an audience with Herod. They abruptly declare that they are searching for a new King. Herod immediately smells a plot to dethrone him, but suggests they try Bethlehem. where the prophecies once foretold the birth of a ruler of Israel, and cunningly invites them to report back their findings. After the Wise Men's departure he reflects on the dangers of being a King. At night, on a hillside above Bethlehem, three shepherds bicker about life under Roman occupation. After a comic interlude in which they sing of the irony of shepherd's counting sheep to go to sleep, they react terrified and amazed to Gabriel's arrival summoning the faithful to worship Christ the King. born this night in a manger. Putting two and two together, the shepherds set off to look in all the stables of Bethlehem until they find Him. Jesus has been born in the stable. Gabriel leads in the Wise Men and the Shepherds who present their gifts and sing of the wonder of the birth. contrasting the majesty of its meaning with the simplicity of its circumstances. ACT II Everybody jubilantly sings of the glory of the Christmas story.