It Was All Right On The Night

By Jeremy Moodey


A humorous re-telling of the Christmas story done in a Joyce Grenfell-style monologue.  The point is that all the business of a Nativity play can sometimes obscure the central message.


Nativity play director
Child (plus two non-speaking companions)


(A slightly camp director walks onto stage with a clipboard. He is about to comment on the dress rehearsal of a nativity play. He addresses the audience.)
OK darlings, quiet please! Now that was a wonderful dress rehearsal, children, but I'm sure we can make our nativity play even better for the mummies and daddies when they come tomorrow. So, if you'll all sit down, I'll just go through my notes, OK?
Now, first of all...
Er, Joseph, please don't do that to Mary. It's not very nice. I have told you before. Just don't do it. Thank you.
(Looking at clipboard)
Now, where was I? Ah yes. Angel Gabriel! Lovely bit with Mary right at the beginning. If you can flap your wings a little less, because it makes all the scenery shake and there's nothing about an earthquake in the script. Also, you do know that Mrs Hitchins on the piano wears a wig, and we don't want the hurricane caused by your angelic flapping to cause any accidents do we? And please remember, if you can Gabriel, that the line is "highly favoured lady" not "highly flavoured gravy". OK? Thank you.
Erm, ah yes, Mary, very touching that bit on the donkey, I like that. Do remember that if you're pretending to be pregnant you only need the one small cushion down the front of your tummy.....(pause) well, I just think that two in your vest, one in your knickers and two up your trouser legs is a little, er, shall we say excessive?.....(pause) I'm sure your mummy did look like that when she was expecting your little brother, but it does look a little odd on stage. So just the one cushion please, OK? Thank you.
What's next? Ah yes, the innkeeper. Now...
Er, Joseph, I have asked you, please don't do that to Mary. It really is not very nice. Thank you.
Now, innkeeper. I know you are a bit sad not to be Joseph this year, but I don't think that is an excuse for completely ruining the play for everyone else.....(pause) well, did you really need to tell Mary and Joseph that there is plenty of room in the inn?......(pause) I'd love to do an alternative nativity play as well, but not this year, OK? Mrs Snodgrass has gone to a lot of trouble to build the stable and all those animal models, and the mummies and daddies won't have a chance to see them if you've just booked Mary and Joseph in for a twin bedroom with en suite bath and satellite TV......(pause) (getting angry) Innkeeper, I am not prepared to argue. Just stick to the lines, OK? There is no room at the inn. Thank you.
Right, now, Mary again. When I asked for you to bring in a doll for the baby, I was looking for something a little different in size from your Barbie......(pause) no, I don't mean a Polly Pocket, I mean something a little bigger. Don't you have a big doll at home?......(pause) you do, but your horrible big brother pulled its eyes out. Hmm, I see. Look, I'm sure we'll find a bigger doll from somewhere.
Joseph! If you do that to Mary one more time I will swap you with one of the sheep and then you won't have any lines to say at all. Do you understand?
Now shepherds. Shepherds are supposed to guide their flock of sheep along with loving concern, not kick them up their backsides. Could you please be a little more, er, shepherd-like? And if anyone, and I mean anyone, refers to washing their socks again, I will personally see to it that they never appear in another nativity play again. Understood? Thank you, gentlemen.
Now, animals, can we just get the noises right? At the moment you all sound like hyenas with tummy ache. Just remember: pigs go oink, cows go moo, sheep go baa, and camels go.....(pause - thinks)....hang on, what noise does a camel make? Hump, I suppose. Anyway, try and make the right noises.
Child: Excuse me, sir.
Director: Yes, what is it?
Child: Can I ask a question?
Director: Very well, come up. (Child troops up with two companions)
Child: Why do we actually perform a nativity play?
Director: Well, what a funny question. I don't know, it's traditional, we've always done it. You know, lots of chances to make silly animal noises, all you need for costumes are some old dressing gowns and tea-towels. It's a nice story, I suppose.
Child: But it's not just a nice story, is it sir? I mean it's actually true, isn't it? God really did send his Son into the world, and that is the most amazing thing that has ever happened. Isn't that why we perform nativity plays?
Director: Er...well, yes, if you put it like that, I suppose it is. Look, I'm sorry but I don't what part you are.
Child: Wise men, sir.
Director: Hmm, wise guys more like. While we're on the subject of wise men, do you really need to come on whistling the theme tune to Match of the Day. (Patronisingly) I mean, I don't think the wise men were football fans you know.
Child: Excuse me, sir, but I think they were.
Director: Oh really, and why is that?
Child: Didn't they sing "We three kings of Orient are"?
(Note to non-English readers:  Orient is an English football team. I suggest you substitute an appropriate joke to fit your own situation.)
© Jeremy Moodey 2003, all rights reserved.
This drama may be performed free of charge, on the condition that copies are not sold for profit in any medium, nor any entrance fee charged. In exchange for free performance, the author would appreciate being notified of when and for what purpose the play is performed. Contact Jeremy at  j_moodey<at>