Shows R

Herod interrupts the Jubilation to discuss the latest situation with his secretary. The Wise Men have not returned so he assumes they have not found their so-called new King. Meanwhile the Wise Men, influenced by Gabriel, decide it would be impolitic to inform Herod of the fulfilment of their prediction, and start their journey home. Herod, to quell his fear, sends his henchmen to investigate the Wise Men's progress. In the temple in Jerusalem Simeon, the elderly priest who the Holy Spirit promised would see the Son of God before he dies, is conducting a blessing service. Parents present their children to God and make their offerings. Mary and Joseph bring the baby Jesus to Simeon, who recognises the Christ child and ecstatically blesses him. The old man can now die peacefully, but not before he is interrogated by Herod's spies. Back in the stable, Mary sings to her baby, with the realisation that one day she will lose Him to His higher purpose. Joseph suggests they stay in Bethlehem because God might like them to as further fulfilment of the prophecies that the Son of God will be barn of the family of David. But their plans swiftly change when the innkeeper's Wife arrives, hysterical because her husband has been arrested by Herod's henchmen for questioning - they have traced the Wise Men's movements to the stable, and heard about the birth. In Jerusalem Herod interrogates the Innkeeper and realises that he is too late - the baby and the parents, as well as the Wise Men, have escaped. So he utters his cruel solution to the threat to his throne: every male child of two years or under is to be killed. The chorus is stunned by this news, and Mary echoes their feelings by questioning how a loving God con allow such evil and suffering in His world. Gabriel arrives to aid the Holy Family's escape to Egypt, and, surrounded by the lamentation of bereaved mothers as Herod's soldiers carry out Herod's decree, they set off. A soldier stops them and plunges his sword through their travelling beg in case they have a baby concealed. But Mary hat hidden the baby Jesus under her cloak. They flee to Egypt. Herod dies. The threat to Jesus' life is. thus removed, and Gabriel tells Mary and Joseph they can return from exile to Nazareth where a new beginning awaits them. The chorus all herald the dawn of a new tomorrow in a final universal message of hope. CHARACTERS The size of the cast is variable (depending upon how much doubling is used) within the suggested framework of the actors never leaving the basic set, but all play the chorus, who assume individual roles by putting on a different hat or cloak. Each member of the chorus need not be identifiable with only one character in the story, adopting roles as necessary and could consist of any number of either sex. It would thus not be strange to find, say, a male character in the story played by a female member of the chorus. The characters they play are as follows (as a guide, the original cast's voice ranges are indicated in brackets): Evangelist (Baritone) Mary (A mezzo Soprano) Joseph (Baritone) The Angel Gabriel (Tenor) King Herod (Baritone) Secretary to King Herod (Tenor) Melchior (Tenor), Caspar (Baritone), Balthazar (Baritone) - The Three Wise Men Gib (Tenor), Jon (Baritone), Daw (Baritone) - The Shepherds Simeon (Baritone) Roman Soldier (Tenor) Innkeeper (Non-singing) Inkeeper's Wife (Non-singing) Herod's Spies, Soldiers, etc. Dependent upon the numbers of the company available, say in a school or society production: TOWNS FOLK, COURTIERS, SHEEP, TRAVELLERS, WORSHIPPERS and PARENTS IN THE TEMPLE, ACOLYTES, HEAVENLY HOST etc