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Summary: The Magi, having traveled across Arabia from Babylon, inquire about where to find the new-born king of the Jews. They visit Nazareth and approach the Court of King Herod and have to cope with who this Saviour really is – and whether he is worth the risk.
Style: Light-hearted.   Duration:  10min
Actors: 5M, 1F, 1N + V

Characters:
The 3 Magi - Caspar, Balthazar, and Melchior;  with their 3 Camels
The 2 Wise Men – hangers-on, quitters
The Nazareth Crowd [Mary and Joseph’s hometown]; Anna
Narrator: To read two passages of scripture        

Scene 1

(Setting: Nazareth.  One spotlight on front stage. Camel silhouettes are on stage behind screen.
(3 Magi {Caspar, Balthazar, Melchior} walk regally up the main aisle and on to stage. They look about, talking sotto voce among themselves. The 2 WISE MEN trail along.)


B:     Where exactly ARE we? Is this the place?

C:     Those pirates we met up with last week said we’d to come to a place called Nazareth if     we stayed on the inland road.

M:     It’s a pity those pirate women found that ship to hijack – I was really starting to like them –

C:     All goes to show – this following-stars business isn’t for those who’re following the latest craze…

B:     Speaking of which, chaps – back to the subject in hand. Is this NAZARETH then? And is THIS where we will find the infant king?

C:     Probably not, Balthazar – our star that we’ve been following indicates the Line of David.     King David’s family is centred two or three days’ march south – near Jerusalem.

M:     Well, seeing as how none of us managed to remember to bring a map, gentlemen. I’m going to ask somebody. I KNOW, I KNOW – IT MEANS I’LL HAVE TO GIVE UP MY ‘MAN-CARD’ FOREVER!

B:     You ass, Melchior! Just what can you ask? ‘Excuse me, have you seen the King of the Jews?’
 
M:     Well, that’d be a start, instead of standing in this dark street going nowhere, knowing     nothing.

2WM: HEY! Wait for us! [SFX tyres squealing]

(C and B and 2WM freeze. Lights on front stage. M walks to the Nazareth Crowd in front right seats – has sotto voce conversations {rhubarb rhubarb, waves at sky etc} until Anna is pushed to front by the crowd. Narrator/director cues Anna)

Q - A:     Yes, Sir, I think I know who you may be looking for.

M:     Good. Excellent. We’ve come from Babylon, following the thrice-crowned star Regulus,    whose rising has led us to believe that a new ruler of the Earth has been born in Israel.

Anna:         Well, I don’t know about all that, but my daughter, Mary, has just left.
She’s off to Judea, for the Census, And she’s pregnant. 8 months gone.
I told her not to go, But she and Joseph were on about angels and visions and dreams .
They’re sure their baby will be a Saviour

M:     Good! Good! We, too, have had such visions. So have they gone to the Royal Palace for the birth?

Anna:     Well, I don’t know about all that, but Joseph’s people come from Judea - they’re from the line of King David, you know. If you want to find them you’ll need to go to Jerusalem then find your way to Bethlehem.

M:     Excellent! Outstanding! You wonderful woman! May your name be blessed forever!

Anna:    Well, I don’t know about all that. I just hope they’ll be all right. That King Herod is a terror. He murders anybody he sees as a rival. Ten wives he’s had – killed the first 9! You mark my words:  these are dangerous questions you’re asking!

M:     Madam, you appear upset about your daughter. Tell me what you want, what you really,
really want: [INTO Spice Girls “Wannabe” routine]

Anna:        I’ll tell you what I want, what I really, really want!
        If she wants to be a mother
        She’d better get with the trend
        Making babes is forever
        Motherhood never ends
And that’s all I have to say about that,
        A zig a zig ah!

M:    Um. Yes. Really!? [to C & B] They have very odd dialects around here. A cigar what?
 
[the following is a sotto voce conversation while all OTHERS FREEZE]

Wise Man A:  Did you hear that? King Herod  [spell it out] M - U – R – D – E – R - S people!

WM B:     And he’s murdered 9 of his wives! What chance will WE have?

WM A:    Exactly! He’s likely to feed us radioactive sandwiches and crocodile tea! And he’s not likely to be HAPPY to hear of a new-born king when he’s not quite dead himself!

WM B:    Precisely, my dear Wiseman! In fact, I’m beginning to get cold feet about this.

WM A:     Same here! Discretion might be the better part of valour, if you ask me. No point             putting ourselves in danger for some child. We’re supposed to be WISE after all!

WM B:    And when you think about it, there’s an abundance of holy people bounding about. [points to people in the congregation] Let’s find a SAFER one!

WM A:    Yes, wise. Very wise! Let’s find our own way. A safer way.

BOTH TOGETHER: [heavy and pompous sarcasm] After all – there are many roads to God!

[they scuttle off out of the church  – others UNFREEZE ]

M:     Danger? Schmanger! Madam, we have journeyed hundreds of leagues, at precisely the wrong time of the year, specifically to witness these cataclysmic events. Danger?  Fiddlesticks! We’re Babylonians!  No tin-pot dictator ever stops an Iraqi for long! Many thanks, dear lady – here – take this token of our appreciation. It’s myrrh from Africa: worth more than its weight in gold. Bought it from a pirate woman.

Anna: Well, I don’t know about all that, but I’ll be saying ‘no’ to your offer. You hold on to it; you may need it yourself. Tis a terrible dangerous thing you’re doing. God’s angels go with you.
    
(Bows and farewells. Melchior returns to C and B. They trek around the stage.)

Scene 2 – OUTSIDE Herod’s Court

B: [worried]: Well, this is our last chance to change our minds, chaps.

M:    Herod’s castle gates!  Looks dreadfully dark in there!

C:    Just stop that fearful talk – you’ll frighten the camels!

M:    I don’t think it’s the camels that we have to worry about. It’s our own necks.

B:    Yes, we may be nobles in our Eastern Lands, but we have no authority here. This Herod – if he takes a dim view of our star trekking, we might just be made to . . . disappear!

C:    Come, come, my dear old alarmed alumni! Let’s face it. We set out knowing this could be a dreadful business – do you not remember the words of the Daniel scroll? “His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” That’s what the prophecy said. Nobody expects a cataclysmic shift in power to happen without danger.

B:    No, no, I concur.

C;    And here we are. Facing yet another danger. Asking a vicious murderer for directions to the end of his grasp on power.

M:    Yes, I agree, master. The question is: will it all be worth the risk? Is finding this Saviour     of the World worth giving up our lives for, if that’s what’s required?

C:    Choose now, my companions. Either this Son of Man is the Lord of all creation – in which case we need to follow this star to Hell and back. Or he’s some sad little Christmas Card sideshow, and a sick joke at that. You decide. Are we mere admirers? Or Followers? As for me and my horse, or rather camel, we will follow him.
 
Blackout or freeze

NARRATOR:
Numbers 24:17 – a prophecy of Balaam – given about 1500BC: “I see him, but not here and now. I perceive him, but far in the distant future. A star will rise from Jacob; a sceptre will emerge from Israel.”

Micah 5:2 – a prophecy given about 700BC: “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah.  Yet a ruler of Israel will come from you, one whose origins are from the distant past.”