Nick of Time

A musical by Robin & Delwyn McKenzie


Three teenagers interested in time travel inadvertently bring the historical St Nicholas, bishop of Myra, to the 21st century. Nick is disappointed to find out that people have made him into the center of the event and corrupted the true message of Christmas. The kids try to take Nick back to his own time and place, but end up in Palestine more than 300 years too early. There they meet a group of travelers who turn out to be wise men from the east. Trying again, they end up in Bethlehem on the eve of the first Christmas. Back in the 21st century, the kids briefly recap the return of Nick to his home and their own return to the present. They also discuss some of their discoveries.


(minimum 5m, 3f)
Wise man 1
Wise man 2
Mrs. Morris (Mom)
Extras (non speaking)
shoppers/mall staff
extra wise men
passer by


Scene 2 - In the Morris's home: a few weeks later

Mom: Isn't there anything else in your lives, you two, besides that computer game.

Julie: Sure, Mom, there's plenty.

Barry: But this is really educational. I'm learning all about history through it.

Julie: And geography. It's really educational.

Mom: It's just that I get a little concerned when you spend all your time indoors. Why don't you invite some friends over to kick a ball around or something. What about that nice boy Arnold.

Barry: Arnie's never kicked a ball in his life.

Mom: Well it doesn't have to be football. You could get out and climb a tree, or go fishing or something.

Julie: I don't think Arnie has ever climbed a tree before, either.

Barry: Though if he did he could tell you the genus and species of it.

Julie: Or caught a fish.

Barry: Though if he did he could tell you the genus and species of it.

Mom: Arnold seems such a nice boy, and I haven't seen him around for weeks.

Barry: No, he's been real busy with a project.

Julie: He's building...

Barry: Shh!

Julie: He's working on an experiment.

Mom: Well, I hope it's something to get you kids out of the house for a time.

Barry: That's exactly what it is, Mom.

Mom: Good, 'cause sometimes I just wonder...

Song: Get out of the house

[a knock is heard] Now who could that be? [goes to answer door]

Arnie: Hi, Mrs. Morris. Is Barry at home?

Mom: He's always at home. Why don't you take him away somewhere.

Arnie: I'll do my best.

Mom: [calling to kids] Barry, Julie! Arnold is here. Go right in, Arnold. You know where to find them.

[Arnie crosses over to them. Mrs. M exits]

Mom: [calling to kids] Barry, Julie! Arnold is here. Go right in, Arnold. You know where to find them.

Julie: Hi, Arnie. How's it going?

Arnie: I think I may have cracked it.

Julie: You were thinking that two weeks ago.

Arnie: Yes, that's when I made a breakthrough with the how. Now I think I've cracked the how of the how!

Barry: What do you mean?

Arnie: I've made a molecular hyper-oscillator and programmed the control paradigms from Softendo Time Traveller to it.

Julie: What do you mean?

Barry: He means he's made a time machine.

Julie: Have you?

Arnie: I believe so. At least I think I've got a workable prototype. But it's lacking one thing.

Barry: What?

Arnie: Do you guys have a video camera?

Julie: Sure. What do you want it for?

Arnie: Well, first I made a shoe disappear and return, and then I made Leviticus disappear and return.

Julie: Your hamster! How could you!

Arnie: How? The same way I made the shoe disappear and return. But the point is, neither the shoe nor Leviticus could tell me what they experienced. Now I could try sending one of you, but it's a bit risky and I don't think your mother would like that.

Barry: She wouldn't mind, as long as it got us out of the house.

Julie: I think she would.

Arnie: But if we were to send a video camera, we could verify that it didn't just disappear and return, but actually went to where and when we sent it.

Julie: I'll go get it. [exits briefly]

Barry: So where is this machine?

Arnie: It's right outside.

Barry: How did you get it over here?

Arnie: My uncle dropped me off. It's fairly small and actually quite light.

Julie: [returns with camcorder] Here it is!

Barry: So let's go attach it.

Arnie: Are we likely to be disturbed?

Julie: Only by Mom - she's out back, weeding the garden.

Arnie: Maybe we'd better bring it in here.

Barry: You mean it doesn't have to be outside.

Arnie: No, anywhere is okay.

[Barry and Arnie exit briefly and come back with a large box on which is mounted a notebook computer. They place it center stage.]

Arnie: I've fitted a camera mount to the top, so the camcorder should be secure during transition. [takes camcorder and screws it in place] Where shall we send it?

Julie: What about somewhere in Asia Minor- it has so much history - somewhere like Ephesus.

Arnie: [typing in GPS coordinates on notebook] Let's see, that would be 37degrees 57.73 minutes North, and 27 degrees, 16.72 minutes East. And the time?

Barry: How about the year 312, just before Constantine became emperor and changed Istanbul from Byzantium to Constantinople.

Arnie: A very turbulent time. Sounds good. [types some more] Okay... [looks at watch right... Okay. [finishes typing] I've programmed it to be there for an hour to give plenty of time for videotaping and then return here at the instant it leaves.

Julie: So it will actually seem like it never left?

Arnie: Exactly.

Julie: So how will we know if it really went?

Barry: [sarcastically] The vid-e-o-tape.

Arnie: Yes! We mustn't forget to switch it on. [switches to record] And now the moment we've all been waiting for. Julie, you want to do the honors?

Julie: What do I have to do?

Arnie: Just hit 'enter.'

Julie: Right. [hits 'enter'] Nothing happened!

Arnie: The videotape will reveal all. [switches off and unscrews camcorder. The three go over to sofa, sit and look at camcorder screen. Suddenly the box begins to move and a figure (Nick) in bishop's garb crawls out. There is a lengthy pause.]

Julie: Oh my goodness, what have we done?

Barry: Looks like we have a stowaway.

Nick: [looks around bewildered, then sees the three on the sofa and addresses them] charis humin

Julie: What did he say, Barry?

Barry: It's all Greek to me.

Arnie: My thoughts exactly.

Julie: Wait a minute, I've got an idea. Remember that BELT you were working on? Well, you left the prototype here. [gets up, crosses to computer desk and brings over headphones.] Shall we try it?

Arnie: Why not?

Julie: [cautiously approaching Nick and speaking slowly Hel-lo. Me friend. No hurt you.

Barry: He's not a moron, Julie! Well, he may be, but at least give him the benefit of the doubt.

Julie: [still speaking slowly and miming I put this on you. You speak, we hear; we speak, you hear. Understand? Comprenez vous? You savvy? Capiche?

Barry: Just put it on him, Jules.

Arnie: Here, let me help you. [puts device on Nick]

Julie: [still speaking slowly] Hello. My name is Julie, and this is my brother, Barry, and our friend, Arnie.

Nick: Grace to you all. I am Nicholas, Bishop of Myra.

Barry: [amazed] So you can understand us?

Nick: I do not know what is happening so that I understand your tongue, but it pleases me that I do.

Barry: Alright, now we're cooking with gas! You the man, Arnie baby!

Nick: Although some of your tongue still sounds barbarian.

Julie: Please excuse my brother. He is the family half-wit. "Now were cooking with gas means are making some progress finally.">

Nick: And "You the man, Arnie baby?"

Julie: That means, "Well done, Arnie."

Nick: I see. Thank you for explaining.

Arnie: Tell me, your grace, how did you come to be here?

Nick: You may call me Nicholas. As to how I came to be here, I was hoping you could enlighten me.

Arnie: We will try to, but first, please tell us what happened before you came here.

Nick: Certainly. As you are no doubt aware, for the past nine years, the Emperor...

Barry: That would be Diocletian?

Nick: Correct. The Emperor, Diocletian, has been ruthless in persecuting the faithful. I myself have been imprisoned, beaten, branded and tortured with pliers, but the good Lord has spared my life thus far. I was on a visit to Ephesus when a Roman garrison disrupted our meeting. Many were arrested. I went out the back way and hid in this strange looking box. After a few minutes all was quiet, so I crawled out again and here I am! Astounding, quite astounding!

Julie: Please forgive us, Nicholas. We are the ones responsible for you being here.

Barry: We were conducting an experiment, just to see what life was like where you come from.

Nick: Was like? Surely you mean is like.

Arnie: For us was, for you is. You see, the box you arrived in is a vehicle for travelling through time... It is now more than 2000 years since Christ was born.

Nick: This must be a dream or a vision. Christ was born 300 years ago! Surely if you are speaking the truth, I must be dreaming.

Julie: You're not dreaming, and we are telling the truth.

Nick: Then this is really another age? A time after my own?

Barry: Yep, sorry. We didn't expect anyone to get into the box.

Julie: And we'll do our best to get you back to where you came from.

Nick: That is most kind of you. I am very anxious to see what happened to my friends who were arrested. [pauses in thought] However, while I am here, I would like to learn a little of what the world is like in this age - your time, so long after my own.

Song: What The Future Will Hold

Barry: We can show you around for a day or two before we send you back, so you have time to really understand the 21st century.

Julie: But we must get you some different clothes first. Otherwise everyone is going to stare at you. People don't generally dress like that here. I mean now. Here and now. Is it okay if you don't wear your hat, or do bishops have to keep them on when they go out?

Nick: It is no problem to me. Actually I sometimes take it off to allow poor street children to play with it. My fellow bishops think that scandalous, but I think that is what Jesus would do.

Julie: Great. You'll probably fit some of Barry's clothes. And then we can show you around. We'll take you Christmas shopping! I know you're gonna love the mall!

Nick: Them all? All of whom?

Julie: The mall. It's like a... a market! Oh, never mind, you'll see.

Scene 3 - At the mall: same day

Song: Got To Get A Present

[During song shopkeepers are dressing windows, shoppers are frantically buying and wrapping presents, everyone is hurrying. A Santa is ho-ho-hoing and looks rather bored. As song ends, Barry, Julie, Arnie and Nick enter.]

Julie: Well, Nicholas, what do you think?

Nick: I think this must be the palace of a great king.

Barry: No, it's not a palace.

Nick: Then it must be a temple. I see statues, but I do not recognise which gods they represent. What god is this temple built to honor?

Arnie: Materialism - that's what my uncle says, anyway.

Nick: Mater Yalism - Mother Yalism - she is a goddess, then.

Barry: This is kind of a like a market, Nicholas. People come here to buy things.

Nick: But I see those people adorning her statue. [points to widow dressers with mannikin] They are not buying.

Julie: They are encouraging people to buy, by making the market pretty.

Nick: I see. I will just observe and try not to presume I know. [wanders off a little, looking at everything

Julie: Hey guys, I've got a couple of things to pick up.

Barry: Me too. What say we meet back here in ten minutes? Arnie, you'll keep an eye on our guest, or have you still got some last minute Christmas shopping to do?

Arnie: Sure, I'll watch him. I gave up Christmas shopping for Lent. [Barry & Julie exit, Arnie joins Nick You're not too tired yet, Nicholas? It's been a long day.

Nick: Yes, I am a little tired. 1,700 years is a very long day. Perhaps I could sit down here for a moment [sits on bench

Arnie: Are you hungry or thirsty or anything?

Nick: I am quite thirsty. Is there water here in this palatial market that looks like a temple?

Arnie: Yes, but we can do better than that. Have you ever had a smoothie? Probably not. Just wait there. [Arnie exits. After a moment or two, Nick gets up and goes over to Santa Nick: Peace to you, red man.

Santa: Ho ho ho.

Nick: Tell me, are you a merchant or a buyer? Or do you simply make the market pretty?

Santa: Are you blind, or something - I'm Santa, of course! I'm here to do what santas do everywhere: look fat, give out candies and say "ho ho ho."

Nick: I think you are making a joke. Maybe my friends were jesting as well. Tell me, Santa, are you really a priest of the goddess Mater Yalism? You are dressed better than anyone else here. Do you always dress this way?

Santa: I don't know anything about no goddess, buster. I just get paid to dress up in this monkey suit each Christmas.

Nick: Ah Christmas! I understand Christmas - the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. So you have some connection to Christmas?

Santa: What planet are you from? I'm Santa! At least I'm meant to be Santa [Nick still looks puzzled...Santa Claus? Father Christmas? Saint Nick?

Nick: My name is also Nick, and I too am one of the saints - sanctified by the blood of Jesus. Is that why you wear red - to remind everyone of his shed blood, even at Christmas time when we think of his birth?

Santa: Look, fellah, I do it for the money. You don't think I enjoy looking like a glass-house tomato do you?

Nick: I think you are still jesting. I will have to ask my friends, but you look very nice in your tomato clothes, Mr. Nick Santa Father Claus. [returns to bench as Arnie comes back with drink

Arnie: Here's your smoothie, Nick.

Nick: Thank you, Arnie. [sips it It's very sweet and very cold. Where did you get the snow from? [Julie and Barry enter with parcels]

Julie: Hi guys. What have you been up to while we bought out the town?

Arnie: Nothing. Just got Nick his first smoothie.

Nick: It is like everything I never tried before. I wonder if the other Nick would like it.

Julie: The other Nick?

Nick: Nick Santa, who calls himself the Father of Christmas, and wears a tomato suit because of the money. He says he is also one of the saints, but I suspect he is really a priest of the goddess Mater Yalism.

Barry: That guy over there? He's dressed like that to look like Santa. You know Santa Claus who lives at the North Pole and comes by reindeer each Christmas Eve giving gifts to children. That's what Christmas is all about to most people here.

Julie: I don't think he knows the story. Santa Claus is also called Saint Nick, who was really...who was he, Arnie?

Arnie: If my memory serves me right he was a bishop from Asia Minor, who survived a terrible storm at sea and went directly to the church to give thanks, not knowing that the church leaders were about to appoint the first one to walk through the door as the new bishop, the youngest bishop ever.

Nick: But that was I, when they appointed me bishop of Myra. You mean this Saint Nick in his red robes, is supposed to be me, Nicholas, Bishop of Myra? But I fear he is not even a believer. He didn't seem to know anything about the real Christmas, the birth of Christ. I sincerely hope you all know more than he in this matter. Do people still celebrate the Messiah's birth in this age?

Julie: Those who believe do - we do at home and at church, but most people don't, like we're not allowed to be too religious in school or some other places.

Nick: This is what I greatly feared. When the Son of Man comes again, will he find faith on the earth?

Barry: But there are many of us who do believe.

Arnie: And who want to learn more and grow in faith. Perhaps you could tell us some of your experiences.

Barry: And stuff like how people celebrate Christmas in your part of the world.

Julie: Have you ever been to Bethlehem, Nicholas? [they begin to exit together

Nick: Yes, in fact I was returning from there when the storm hit, just before I was made bishop.

Julie: Awesome.



Copyright Robin and Delwyn McKenzie, all rights reserved.
This document contains only the 2 scenes of the script. The full script (+ music) may be purchased by contacting the authors at the address following. A royalty is required for performance. Details can be obtained, or a copy of the full script and music may be purchased, by contacting the authors at: