Archive for the ‘theatre’ Category

Scene: same as in Prelude: Darkened stage and three figures cloaked. Upon cue of lights that come on and fade in the backdrop each figure speaks)


The Holy Spirit:


The Word made flesh

Dwelt He a Servant-King:

By the measure of man

Brevity of glory to which

He foreswore, His Holy Father

Lengthened his Reign

And recast Heaven and the Earth

New. Glory and Honour

Forever and ever.


Angel of His Presence:


By blood from body broken

Has he opened the rivers

Where none existed before;

The ingrate and proud rebels

To good counsel sent He

In their dire need of the hour,-

Mercy and Truth kiss each other.


‘I Thirst’ he cried hung from

An accursed cross

Under a brazen sky;

The Christ in life was man

Poured out for many.

But in death for the sake

Of many brethren

The Holy One by His mighty Arm

Would break the jaw of death

Once for all:

King of Kings and Lord of lords.


The Angel of the Lord:


Let the saints sing:

Glory! Glory! Glory!

He brought me up out of a horrible pit,

Out of the miry clay set my feet upon the rock

Of eternal salvation. Glory and Honour

To the eternal God.


Glory! Glory, Glory!


The End


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Lights immediately come up picking out the Three Magi now standing alone on the stage.


I deem three scores off my age

The dimpled grace of the babe

With one smile disentangled:

Verily when heaven sends ray serene

Through air and vapor

Must make crustiness of age

Somewhat easier to bear;

Stars deign their will not for themselves

But follow the higher Purpose;

Not knowing what, can exempt

The earthlings from their rule follow?

I suppose not.

Gods above by all accounts

Straighten all furrows of parental care,

To begin with the clean slate

Of infancy: So deem I its worth:

I made a present of some gold to the infant.

It has put me back in wages of whole year.

Yet I do not feel any poor

I am revived and raring to leave

With a spring in my steps.


How So?



I ventured on this trek, bone-breaking terrain

Over a pack of mules not merely for exercise:

I dream and its ciphers I unlock

On some sure hunch, its art

Has me served rather well with practice.

Inspiration without some element

Of divine breath is dry rot that eats

Into our abstruse knowledge

Little by little

In the end it is our wholesome

Life that has left unseen!.

What is a dream that thrice repeated

Verbatim, but a Higher Art

Source of which, I can least fathom?

Inspiration I presume;

Asleep under the cauldron of starlight

What makes the earth melt in images,-

As insubstantial symbols

Any sleeper with deft swing of line and hook

Fill for his reverie the morrow after?

Some unseen hand throws secret of

His counsel through rivers to reach us

And it was thus set me seek a king

And I found him: King of righteousness

Since whoever we served so far has short-changed

To keep out in the open, come cold come sirocco

Braving our lungs are a ruin..

Thus when the divine Mind traced his Hand

And follow I did and found the babe,

In him is righteousness; Beside I found you both

With the self-same bend of mind

Seeking a higher road.



In age I am your peer

But in art a poor second.

Art of deal is my forte.

My investment with some caravans has

Paid me with merchandise

Exotic and the most desirable

Fit for kings in any corner or clime.

A pound of frankincense I brought along

To present before the King whose birth

A meteor, presaged as clear as bell.

I followed its course and I am blessed

To find the prince of Peace, instead.



Lightly esteem my fellow practitioner

And does disservice to his art:

Doing the right thing is as high as inspiration

And such choices are free from cant

And creed cobbled by bookish learning.

The infant king to whom we did homage

Is the Priest of the Most High.

The gold in my dream thrice predicted

The mitre embroidered with gold

And his faith as sceptre most lethal

He shall judge and your speech in accord

I foresee the Priest-King of the kingdom

To come.



How excellent! King of Salem

Receiving tithes from Abraham

The dream did not mislead me,

Vindicates my premise of the star

Leading me all the way

To the House of Bread

Was predetermined.

Bethlehem must feed thus

Two worlds as contrary as

Solid Earth and Heaven.



My honorable fellow seeker

Methinks the Babe shall grow

Man’s estate and teach the world

With example of his reign,

Serving the kingdom of flesh and Spirit

As one; such peace sets the course of the river

Turn direction from above

To us-wards; as sure as showers

Lightly dropping on the parched land.

Your merchandise is not of any mart

But of a heart outgrown from

Its native intelligence

It serves your better self more than

Money can buy.



Beyond the Ganges I am known

By another name. Far East, East or Near

We are everywhere but nowhere

In particular. In a cosmic void

We shall do well seek a nobler purpose

So all toils we have so far leave their fame

For another to cut and paste upon a silly notion

He has hatched and helpless are we.

In self-denial the world turns

To which we are inspired fools to give some direction.

All labour of man is profit

For another to spend but even to dust

He shall in the end sink!

The mighty river you spoke

By my reckoning is the celestial

Ganges, that holds two banks

In so many cosmic cycles

You would have traversed it

You come to know all there is to it

As well as never touching its centre

Being swept farther each day.

But one Supreme Mind wills

To which I place my self.

This babe to whom I paid obeisance

Might reward me as yet.

I made a present of a pot

Of myrrh of most bitter balm

To cleanse the dead for life beyond,

The royal infant is no exception.

Lo I lay my life to Truth

Of the life in death must close

So another cosmic cycle we continue

Fellow travelers some to bliss

And some to bitter despair.



Cosmic Time may hold its breath

While I,- my feet bites

With some sand in my shoe

And it is more pressing.

(Putting on his shoe)

To the present, my fellow pilgrims

Do we present ourselves

Before Herod or make ourselves scarce?



Herod did not invite us

But the Highest gave a pass

By which we undertook this passage

We shall take order from none

But from the higher Mind above. Let us leave.

(Light dims)

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Act II

Scene 4

(The Nativity Scene- a tableau- Shepherds standing while the Three Magi silently produce their gifts. Mary seated with the baby and a wicker basket rather commodious stand aside. Joseph stands solicitously watching over them. Backdrop suggest an extension to a terraced building to which a lean-to and a few beasts of burden and a donkey rest at farther end, a few rafters protrude into the stage to give similitude of the scene being enacted in the open. Expanse of the morning sky can be seen .

The wash basin presented by the shepherds against which a heap of humble gifts cheese, packages tumbled about. Two loaves of bread and home made wine among presents to the holy family.

On the left corner stand three figures The Spirit of His presence, the Holy Spirit and Angel of the Lord in shadows

Lights dim

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Scene 3


Late night.

(Palace interior: a podium over which a baldachino of purple supported by four polished shafts topped with silver highlights the importance of the person seated on a curule seat. The tetrarch is ill at ease. His left foot resting on a cushion would indicate his life of indulgence has taken a toll on him. He groans watched by the courtier alone in the hall. A series of chairs is set against the backdrop except where two doors with pediments after the Roman fashion at farther ends. Pilasters break up the wall.)


A knock is heard. A sharp look by Herod sends the courtier scurrying to escort the visitor.

(Obsequiously) Most Serene Herod seeks solace

And your words had always worked well

With his worthy father.

(Leads the visitor) How shall I introduce you,

By formal title,-

Luciphor, the morning star

By your power of the Air, you lord over?

You deserve no less,

You verily lay human hopes to ruin;

Or is it as the builder of brave new worlds?


The Lord of the Flies:


Is the dread I warrant. Let that pass.

As the Dispeller of Present difficulties

I am at home here.

(The Tetrarch hails him and the courtier hastens his steps.)


Hail worthy Counsellor,

I called for you, indeed.


The Lord of the flies, (with touch of irony)

The laurel that adorns

Your brow shakes still,-

And rustle of it had in a trice set me

Pay a visit, O Antipater;

Hail fellow well met,- Ho, aah, steady now!

Your secure throne, my fee

For favours done for your sire.

I was the Dispeller of his doubts

The weed killer that would have

Otherwise fruits of his noble

Stratagems lay wasted;

But no physician can feel comfort

If his panacea is untested.

I offer power over men and events,

Test me now, the Greatness

Of your father’s name

Iron out the crease of your laurel;

I direct the course and renew fading hopes

Of fruits of earthly fortune

Plucked by none other;

From my counsel drink and slake

Your throat:

Drink deep it is elixir of joy

To have the power unparalleled

To which you alone is fit

And I am at your service.



How frightful I ought to be

Of this Royal birth?

And it is dinned to me

This morning by Three Wise Men

Whose charts and jargon

Have me stupefied.

A new Kingdom of the Spirit!

Lord of the Flies:




Bah you said. You are already

In the know, You wise dispeller

Of doubts.

(Luciphor with an exaggerated bow)


The Lord of the Flies:

Such wayward foundling

Accompanied by celestial signs

And night visitors hovering

In mid-air whip up vapour

A dumb-show just the same!

In place of smoke and mirrors

These ill-sprites have set forth

A bait filched from some hovel

To keep the pot boiling for

The disenfranchised by their own stars

To seek further, believe me Herod

This is not the last of it I assure you.

Every age must throw up a Caesar

Born to greatness that never peeps out

For spirit was willing; to pillage and plunder

He had no stomach for.

This baby is no exception

Whose life is like a waking dream.


Herod :

The Son of the Most High

Shall then evangelion of prophets

A farfetched tale?

That his baptism of fire

From taint of want and wretched plight

Has been kindled alreardy, is it a lie

Told then?


The Lord of the Flies:

If your carnal body be pallid

With craven fear many a man

Shall lay among

Ashes of their hopes.



Fire within is felt, but how?

Does it start with the navel of being

Blazing outward in blazes Or..


Lord of the Flies:

Stop, Stop

I have heard enough. The jargon has some

Merit beyond the Ganges among the

Beggarly crew who wear ashes of their worth

On their forehead. A big zero!

Their navel gazing begins and ends same

Place: you wanna bet?

(Draws a big zero in air)

A big zero!

The same goes for star-gazing. Oh noble sire

Of Herod the great! Between rolling sky

And flesh of all walking the air is thick

With fear, similar coagulation of blood

From a body wounded. It is a net

With which I the Prince of the Power

Air, weave, a net to catch the lesser mortals

From bootless combat.

Here is no Bread and Circus!

O Herod learn the use

Of Princely craft of cut and thrust

No applause from hoi polloi

But the pride of leaving none other standing

Is worth the enterprise;

That you alone standing the Master

Of the Age,-

Death is for others!

But the immortal You shall

Write the rules and the ages

To come shall follow the precept.

Grasp brazenly from me

This power, brute but fecund to

Engender a lineage till end of time worshiping

Your walk to fame.

With my Power you shall remove this royal birth

Before it take root.


Herod (clapping his hands in delight)

Bravo, I love this part,

Pluck this tender plant before

The Kingdom of Spirit could find feet;

I have sought the Three Magi to lead

Me where the Christ lay in his infant state

Dare they not refuse my will;

Soon as he is found so his reign

Must nip in bud, I must!


The Lord of the Flies:

You are a fast learner:

Such pedagogy that I teach

Is for Here and Now

Kingdom of Power I know but of spirit

What a balderdash!



What will you now?


The Lord of the Flies:

I shall simply bide my time

And take measure of the lay of the land

And watch the fools weave ropes for

Their necks

So I have the wherewithal

To oblige them in their error

Oh My most apt pupil

You will hear from me. Who-aah!

(Herod beckons the courtier to accompany him to the door They exit)


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Scene 2  late in the day

Jerusalem- the following scene takes place just prior to the events described in Ac.1 sc.2

(Palace complex of Herod Antipater in the backdrop. Two columns faux marble with Cortinthian capitals enclose a pavilion in the foreground. A parclose with roman motif is laid diagonally across cutting the stage in two halves. Hastily laid so the delegation of the Chief Priest may observe their purity.

The golden garments of the chief are impressive and tassels of his gown arranged neatly. He is aware of his rank. He sits immobile as one page on the left of a table takes out a scroll from the chest and gives it to the scribe standing. Josias and Simon two elders are seated on the opposite side on a low stool in deference to the Chief Priest who is awaiting someone and stroking his white luxuriant beard is only sign of inward uneasiness).

Chief Priest:

Did we not give notice of pressing demand of our presence elsewhere?

Josias the elder:

(Uneasily) Any moment from now, our man ought to appear.

(Elias stops rummaging the chest for a scroll)


These Herodians for sure know the art of sitting on the fence.

(The page resumes his search).

Mattias the scribe:

We are paying them to keep that way.

The war is going badly for the tetrarch.

Chief Priest:

When our blessed Hope comes

He shall not come singly. Battle ready

The Messiah King comes from mount Paran,

And with ten thousands of saints:

From his right hand wings the fiery law for them.

Mattias, by our reckoning we owe nothing

To a client king who is tardy with time

While we a have a flock

Under our watch, they need our counsel.



(Deferentially to the Chief Priest)

What prodigious memory

Your age so lightly carries?

(clears his throat)

Moses Servant of the Most High

Chose to obscure the point

That our very counsel is harried

By this Pagan occupation.

Shall we be rid of this pestilence

Blown from the South decimating

Our most revered customs and

Tradition of our Ancient Order?

(Flourishing a scroll).

Here we have Moses in his words

The Book of Devarim,

Copied and compared from the Sacred

Torah and it says thus:. “The LORD thy God

Will raise up unto thee a Prophet

From the midst of thee, of thy brethren,

Like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;”

(Chief Priest stops him with his forefinger even as a courtier comes from the left with Festus the Palace chamberlain. The Priest stands up and turns toward him.)

A curt bow and Festus:


The Chief Priest:

(stiffly), “Shalom. Is your master free to hear us? The matter brooks no delay. Hike in temple taxes must stop!”


Festus the Chamberlain:

The King is not concerned with the temple but with the war effort.

(He looks at the courtier for confirmation. He nods vigorously.)



Most unwelcome interruption

Alas, but no use

It was dropped in our midst

By three Magi who sought the tetrarch this morning

Birth of the King of the Jews

They insist with audacity

My Master would buy time

But without success. The import of it

Has almost thrown our Serene Master

With much hand-wringing

Accepted he as of substantial merit.


The Courtier:

Their palaver in utmost secrecy

Bodes ill for us.

Our Serene Master shall allow

Hearing and let the three know

Who runs the show in Galilee and Juda.

The three soothsayers of most fertile

Mind have scanned starry sky so much so

They shall wrest truth from happenstance.

They have like hounds from heaven followed

A meteor and so much so I gleaned

From intelligence exchanged;

In their estimation

I dare say malediction heaped on our tetrarchy

Brooks no allowance but force applied

With no tinge of mercy

To which the tetrarch by fame

Beyond doubt stands nonpareil.



Can you imagine? King of the Jews and what next?




And the upshot of it was

The Tetrarch nearly fell off

His curule seat, and for me

He called with alarm.

He would however hear from the Sanhedrin

Their edict sealed with the Holy Writ:

Mark therefore his words, Tell us,

“Where Christ should be born?” .

(The two scribes look to the Chief Priest who nods) and they promptly speak one voice as though well rehearsed:

“In Bethlehem of Judaea:

for thus it is written by the prophet,

And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda,

Art not the least among the princes of Juda:

For out of thee shall come a Governor.”

That shall rule my people Israel”.


Chief Priest.

“Digest Well, O Festus

The Holy Writ for the Tetrarch

Serves a sign and a lesson.”

(Turning to his delegation,)

We shall tarry

No further here; the sense and purport

Of Holy Law is sere and ill-kempt

By this misspent visitation of

Three Magi, Festus we are ill at ease here;

We shall do well at the seat of Moses

Where the covenant rules sovereign

We be but guardians and commiserate

Your Most Serene Tetrarch follow

Our precepts and holy life,-

Earlier the better for all

Time Presses, Come!”

(Lights dim as the delegation exit.)

(Simon the elder and Elias the page remain.)



Our worthy master has been strangely quiet.

Tell me uncle, What has knocked the sound from its perch,-

The warbler of most learned and abstruse knowledge

Must be wounded,

Is it the Sanhedrin or Festus?



Knowing you as I do I shall merely tell this:

Our fathers only sold for twenty silvers

But darling son of Mother Rachel

Benefited royally from that exchange.

He grew to judge the right from wrong

His seat being next to the Pharaoh,

Did great disservice to our nation.

Was our servitude among the brick-kilns

Of Misraim fit for our crime or was it

For the sell out of our own flesh and blood

To the band of Ishmaelite exacting its pound of flesh?

(Waving a purse) Here is what Festus has paid in all secrecy,

It sits heavy and its sting is sure shall come as before,

We have not the lesson learnt well, I fear

For betraying this King of the Jews,

Whoever he is and wherever he may be born

Shall pierce our very vitals when it comes.

The Tetrarch shall happily pay, It is how it is, my boy!

I fear the worst for the babe

Whose only crime is that he was not

Cut out for our world: treason and greed like maggots

In the very soil from which we are formed,

Have become more frisky with age

We are feeding it Boy, and we are damned

Despite of our erudition and nimble sophistry-

And this was what our little embassy today pulled off

Before our eyes. I fear the worst.



Silence is well spoken

In this Age of apostasy.

But what do you intend with the purse?



I shall hand it over tonight

To the Chief Priest, what else?

(Stage darkens)





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Act- II


Scene as in Ac.1 Sc.1- Prelude



(Spot of light on the top half of the backdrop steadily grows and a crescendo,- amidst the full light a crash of thunder is heard. The Word displayed in simple and legible letters. While it appears three solemn figures take their position below. Light picking each out while he speaks.)

The Spirit:

“In the beginning was the Word,

And the Word was with God,

And the Word was God.”


Angel of the Lord:

Holy Father, the New Age flown

On the wings of light

With this decree

Commemorates the Law,

Everlasting Covenant

And it behoves the Son;

The vapors of chaos part

As enthralled by sound of it,

Shall ever your Holiness revere;

Where it impinges heat

Of your Power must singe;

Shall Wisdom dispel

Darkness to everlasting gloom?

Or dismal Night of man’s loss

Find way to Salvation by the word?


Angel of His Presence:

Ancient of the Days has in such

Division eternal word compact


Man is self-same as His Son

by the Law co-opt

To the Holy Communion

Where the Word is in all

And through all: Hallow

The worlds on the make where

The Word is Speech, and Heard.


The Spirit:

Night is void without Light

And Day unto Day declaims symbols

Of his Word.


The Angel of the Lord:

Fiat Lux!

Thus Holy Father spoke

The sun from chaos shall emerge

On decree, from thought to word.

What is solidity of the Earth

But His word from cocoon

Grown with determined


Little by little without haste

And without pause

So shall from decree to fulfillment

Make worlds fertile where

Arrow of Time from bowshot gives

Seasons its glad revival.

Let the Sun the retinue

Of stars the moon and meteors

In His providence exult,

As Darkness is not for itself

Deigned but for higher state

To which death is but a token

Of morning declaim its new birth.


The Spirit:

Without Hope faith must feed

On itself and Without Day

Night shall soon wear out

Her glad rags to feed worms

In charnel house of its own make.

Everlasting covenant is

Death in life subsumed:

The Slain Lamb has with this Law


Night for Life in His body

Shall this be manifest.


Angel of His Presence:

The ground with which

The first man is formed

Is body, and man of all ages

And climes shall take measure

To it for good or bad

Of God the Son decreed

Before Time, before Space

A lowly body nevertheless;

(A murmur and it grows into hubbub and steadily it goes on voices not distinct but somewhat a processional)

Angel of the Lord:

(solemnly) “Write, Blessed are the dead

Which die in the Lord from henceforth:

Yea, it is written

They are dead but alive before the Lord

They may rest from their labors;

And their works do follow them”.

Do you see Abel, Isaiah and Jeremiah among them? Their names were written in the Book of Remembrance. Even before they were conceived. The Everlasting Covenant has so recorded…

(A cry could be heard distinct and sharp intake of breath and gasp: “Eloi Eloi lama sabachthani?”)

Among the souls dead, stands the Son of man. The carcass around whom eagles shall gather, shot through the arrow of Time for the glory of the Word. ‘Hear him!’ Ecco Homo! Savior of the world,

The Great Shepherd of souls

His passion has thus

In the symbol of lamb

The will of his Father manifest.

Round off the article of Law

With death to its perfect conclusion.

Total Victory is sum of eternity

In your Will contain.

(Image of a scroll is flashed with words:

The Book of Life )

The Spirit:

Without shedding of blood

There is no redemption.

With this the Son of man would die

As was the Word expressed

Meaning of it by Prince of Life

Chose, upholding divine decree

So his death was predestined

As any man who in body conformed

To his death has secured

Life eternal:

Thus in Everlasting Covenant the rede

Of Law fulfilled.

(lights dim)




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Scene 5.

Interior of the inn

( As the Three Magi leave light in the right corner lights up. Some four shepherds are arranging their knapsacks and bags in readiness while two are admiring a brand new basin and one gives his considered opinion.)

One shepherd:

The Idumeans know their wares.( Knocks on the side to hear the ring.) “Tin as said. You were not cheated in the deal.”

(Laying it aside on the table) A rattle would have fit better.”


“The gift is for the parents. I know his mother.

For washing the baby it is just the thing she would need.”

(Next to them two are relieving their surge of emotions )


Our eyes have seen the King in glory

Angels seraphs and cherubim

I know not which is which

But awe overwhelms me

From head to toe.


The other:

One week without let up

Light dazzling white

Bursting through the tent of blue.

Cock-a-hoop I am

It holds a meaning.


The first:

Sure we are on furlough;

We shall seek the child

Born to delight the Name

I dread to mention,-

But let angels preserve us!

Babe in a manger! No less!

(The Lord of the Flies drawing near)

The LOF:

Pardon my speech. I just couldn’t help hearing.

‘Babe in a manger’, you said.

Is there some birth I ought to know?

Infant in purple anointed with oil

I have heard king’s household celebrate:

Pomp and their circumstance

Of birth

However do not allow

The crown nest on the jejune head…


The shepherds (in horror):

Speak kindly master

In plain words,

what we have seen and how you phrase hold no connection.

Before false dawn broke

We saw angels,

A week has passed. Still it is true;

So is what hymn they sang.

We heard as we hear you.

But you seek from us is neither

Here or there.


Lord of the flies asks permission “May I?” He takes the basin revealing it is empty, “Watch me hide my purse”. He does so with a flourish.

(After a pause)

How good is your vision?

All in Unison:

” We saw indeed your purse there.”

(The shepherd watch intensely as he upturns the basin.

To his confusion a white dove emerges from within)


The Lord of the flies:

“What is this?” (mutters)

(Exits in high dudgeon.)

Stage is darkened except for three figures as in the prelude.


Scene 6

(A dove hovering in sky is flashed before the backdrop

While the figures speak. Light picks out the speaker without distracting the image of the bird overhead. )


Who hath believed our report?

And to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?



Faith is a wayward child, it is thus

Our father in blissful state,

Ate the sinful fruit,

Despising the pulsating breath

As wings of the Spirit beat

Time with his native heart.


Taint of past must like bilge

From the hold thrown out;

New age with bow of heaven

Presage the passage of Mercy

And awful Judgment

For the unbelieving.

All honour and glory

To the Father of lights.

All creation even this hour

We are forever found in a circle

Of Light never put out even

Though the night pitch black

Resists the grace newly stirred

In the foundling’s form.

All honour and glory

To the Father of lights and

On men peace unstinted.



The light shone from gloom

Settled, O prophet of most

Lambent wit, graced with passion

As oracle you and I are

One single weathercock

By the breath of our Benign Sire

Spelling and Holding fast

East, west north south

Of man’s salvation with

Selfsame child the Holy seed.

He shall bruise the head

Of the loathsome enemy.

Of this I spoke

What the pulsating breath

As wings of the Spirit beat

Time with my native heart.



The Word has gone out and the vine

Struck veins of intransigent

Heart of loam

Besmirched by sin of man.

Behold the heart is most sinned when faith

finds its tendril passage


It was thus the infant came to man’s estate

A tender plant hemmed by thorns

And thistles of ingrate man’s neglect.



Yes indeed. O Prophetic Eye

You speak it pluperfect

The Word has writ foretime

And it shall indeed the case be.

This holy seed was the Word made flesh.

I know he shall grow up as a tender plant,

And as a root out of a dry ground

He hath no form nor comeliness;

And when we shall see him,

There is no beauty that we should desire him.

 He shall be despised and rejected of men;

A man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows:

Yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

 But he was wounded for our transgressions,

He was bruised for our iniquities:

The chastisement of our peace was upon him;

And with his stripes we are healed.


The chorus (reprise)

Glory Glory Glory

To Father in Heaven

Who decreed

and duly thus delivered

Hark ye, Hark Ye All men:

On Earth, peace

And Good Will

Toward All

(Curtain drops)


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At the Inn

Scene 2

Interior of an inn.

In the vicinity of Bethlehem

(Through two open windows the barren landscape can be seen. At the rear where the doorway is, runs a rutted dirt road. A mule tethered to a pole partly visible. At a diagonal the broad way to Egypt is the only raison d’etre for this rundown inn. It is occupied and babel of sounds offstage. The innkeeper without looking at the figure who has just come in, cheerily, “No lodging! For tippling pull up a chair.”

The stranger who comes in: “Hola! I bring in custom.” He looks around and groans, ‘Such sorry stuff!’(He stops and is about to leave)


“Master, this is a public house! Stay!

I refuse no shepherds who have cash to spare.

I welcome aliens, minstrels, vagabonds.”

The publican draws near:

(In confidence)

“There is something strange

A royal birth I hear,

The king is as clueless

As I am a publican

A little bird tells me

A little of this and of that gossip

Faults of our constitution,

E’en though cast iron,

Require some polish now and then;

And I tease you with this trifle.

(A guffaw in response. Inn keeper wheedles,)

Pull up a stool and make our

Prattle cheer you, my good sire

With your order add some fare

As we can serve on the side.


The Newcomer:

“Cut out the cackle, I send custom

And you take it amiss

Their devilry is how you and I differ.

In their gossip you frown and

Treat it as sorry stuff.

Some shepherds just went in

So did three charlatans,

Almanac trotting prattlers

They have not yet seen me

But I have some dispute with them

So set my order in their midst.

While I palaver, hide if you will

I raise Cain, throw chaff,- and it serves me

If their pate is straight I shall addle a little

But diddle them all for a lark.


Innkeeper (quaking):

“ Have mercy sir, I run a business

Strictly on the good side of law.

My name is not in the register

Of the Royal Prison Warder.

Not entirely spotless but I dread

What you are up to…

(The Newcomer dismisses it with a wave)



The Newcomer:

I see no prison ahead for you.

But I came to give a new direction

A lesson to take in the world of uncertainties

Peace and Prosperity shall have your shop closed:

You nod in your smug comfort,

And someone would do you in.

I am the Lord of the flies.

If it is bedlam you seek

My presence simply would

Make your gorge rise yet, but

Cerberus like you watch

Lest you should miss a trick

And you save your neck by it.

Peace and Prosperity

Bah, Chutzpah! Such is the world

These smart Alec deal with duds

To get their light-fingers

Cut your purse.

I am the Lord of the flies,

Go and do as I bid,

A table right in midst

Of shepherds and the Magi.

Revels are to my account.

(Innkeeper hastily retreats while the customer strikes a lordly stance.)



Another part of the inn.

(Through the window three horses before a trough can be seen. There is a enclosed courtyard part of the property intended for the horses of lodgers and for the innkeepers household. Shepherds are finishing their noon meal, At the other end three magi have their sheaves of scrolls spread over the table. In the middle Lord of the Flies has kept his feet over the table.)

Lolling on his chair he rocks his crossed feet to and fro, and stares at the ceiling, idly muttering a ditty:

“Jump the frogs, so fly gnats/ through air

Flail my right, roll up sleeve

What have we, double six or what?”

Lord of the Flies puts his feet down sits straight and in a trice cups his hands and shakes.

(This brings all eyes to him. Ceremoniously he opens his hands to show a grasshopper.)

“It is time you attended me. Bohu!”

(At this the three Magi look at each other)


“Bohu, said he!”

Melchior the other Magi:

“He is a Chaldean Soothsayer. Tohu wabohu makes sense. But in this case?


The Lord of the Flies

“Pardon, sirs. Did I by any chance interrupt your cogitation? Why should one call a grasshopper? If I can materialize him merely by wishing, what is in a name?

Pshaw! Mere play of words.. (To the insect) Shoo, go away!

(He looks at the trio and smiles broadly.) Half rising:

You venture forth seeking some celestial confirmation.

Stars above are in flux:

The cauldron is all full

A-whirl all brightness /like a whirligig

Round and round it spins

Spill them out ? No sirs, all stay put!

Just the same

A cauldron thrown face down!

(Standing up he declaims)

All that starlight roiling pulsating

Gnats from some pond hop

Chirp; and there goes

whirring cicadas

Firespitting critters in celestial miasma!

But they are reigned in

Just the same

What is the idea I ask you sirs?

Why not make the day last eternity?

No no, the cauldron is all full

A-whirl all brightness

But not enough to let

Night its well-earned rest?

Doesn’t it occur it to you, sirs


The Man upstairs has goofed?”


Magi Gaspar:

If I dispute with you, I earn your displeasure. If I agree the gods over there

must surely dismiss me

For an arrant fool!

Why I for the pleasure of winning

your good graces deny the truth?


Lord of the Flies:

What is truth, friend? .

(He sits down with the three.)

“Will you give me the pleasure of your company?

(He takes out a wineskin on the sly. He winks)

I never travel without my comforter.

(The three magi stand up in horror. Pack up their scrolls and close their baggage.)

We run on King Herod’s errand. Pardon if we refuse the clear wine, cooled

It is man’s art

Done to perfection.



In Shirz, wine is heaven’s pleasure

But to delay time is sin unpardonable. We will leave.


The Lord of the Flies:

But not before having answered a single civil question?

It is as unpardonable as wine in excess.

Is it not?


What is the question?


The Lord of the Flies:

Your scholarship at the king’s disposal

Shall cause such stink. I foresee it.

A bloodbath hangs at the end.   What shall take blame in such case-

Your scholarship or the Royal authority?


The Three Wise Men:

We scan the heavens, we write charts and

Point to the Morrow

From today’s case.

But what a question you ask?

To be in the shoes of Future

And take blame for it now

No man can,

Gods don’t why should we then? (They hastily leave. )



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Scene 1


(A pasture with a pen at the distance and the flock behind a makeshift fence. On a pole King Herod’s standard can be seen. Clear night sky and corner lighting up before dawn. In the foreground two groups of shepherds either sitting or standing leaning on their staff, one or two at mid-distance standing watch with their crooks as spears.)

One in the mid-distance looks around.

One shepherd:

‘We stare as hounds of the night-

Nothing a-stirring

What pother

Herod has stuck us here,

So king’s ease is our bother-

I feel a chill coming already (clears his throat)

(Spits out) Not a sneak-thief in sight’.


Second shepherd:

King Herod can sleep this night.

For pittance we keep our stance

But our station leave no allowance-

We take the hit for him every night;

Stalking pestilence, frost, hail and dust storm. These are our care,

Toiling and snivelling

We spit blood, for all we attend king’s flock.

Third :

Hungry I am; On king’s business I could relish a mutton leg right now

Saved from oven …

First shepherd:

I smell fragrant lilies from north…

Third shepherd

Surely you are hallucinating, as I am with hunger.

Among whining and puling yokels

We tread with churlish pride; But the honour of office

Has never killed the wolf around the throat

Thirst is the thing I fear.

All together:

Our fires are out and our satchels are empty; soon the light shall break out, Another night done.

(A gasp from all)

The sky is all of a sudden flooded and strains of music at distance come louder. The shepherds make gestures wildly finally pointing to distance.

A grand fanfare of trumpets. They stagger and slump down totally disoriented, They shriek musically:

“A burst of stars,/ My eyes have seen!

Are they angels/ My eyes have seen!

Clad in white and their form/ terrible, terrible!

Why are they here?/ trouble, trouble!”


Suddenly stillness cuts sound. (They form themselves into a circle.)

They screech: Oooh! To its accompaniment they snap their fingers in a steady beat-

(They chant):

Hover’ng, and, we are shivering

Not with cold, Not from hunger;

Heavenly choir we are all ears

Light of salvation, shine on.

(They kneel without breaking the circle in fear not daring to look up)

(Darkened stage)

Luke 2:8-20


(Angel of the Lord in a blaze of light alone while kaleidoscopic colours bright flash round and round; and staccato beat of drum punctuated by strains of majestic music is heard in the background.)

(Off stage)

Do you hear footfalls,

I fear the worst!

Night in thousand pieces break loose

And the starburst right before our eyes

Lo and behold! Gate of heaven

Swung open. Blessed Patriarch

Will you descend or climb?

My blood runs cold!


The Angel:

Fear not! Give Heed

The Shepherd

Of your souls shall speak anon,

What the Holy One has before time

Decreed and Dispatched

For your solace, Assuredly.


Shalom, Shalom Shalom

Angel of the Lord:

For unto you is born

This Day, In Bethlehem

Christ the Babe shall be found;

Seek no further than

The manger,-it must be thus

For flocks to find rest

So shall your souls sate;

Manger is not the thing,

Nor swaddling bands but

The Babe is sent under your care

Look to your weal

As God’s gift your own.

(A choir sings):

Glory Glory Glory

To Father in Heaven

Who decreed

and duly thus delivered

Hark ye, Hark Ye All men:

On Earth, peace

And Good Will

Toward All

Glory Glory Glory

To Father in Heaven

Who decreed

and duly thus delivered

By your leave.” Music stops and light fades.


(dim lights come on)

Shepherds lurch unsteadily,

“It is time

We followed our star:

Light of salvation like a wave

Broke upon us.


One shepherd:

Together we move

To Bethlehem We follow

The star that is gone

Leaving an afterglow

Never shall we shake this off

Are we not blessed?


Oafs we are but blessed


(They exit)




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Scene: Darkened stage and three figures cloaked. Upon the cue of lights that come on and fade in the backdrop each figure speaks.)

First figure:

I know this must be heaven

And how do I base my firm rule

But from truth, as adamantine?

No sense or thought fell its sheen as yet

Faith, as simple and as untameable

I remain.


Second figure:

Angel of the Lord, upon the Word

I know the One eternal Sovereign

Whose voice has gone fleet-footed

Through gloom and o’er the foam

Of waves spent o’er lands and clime

Of every shade of fertility

So man may well augur Our Lord’s favour.

(Turning to the third figure)

O Spirit eternal, illumine our darkling surmise

Faith in Truth speaks as of old

And yet as fresh and clear

No age its adamantine visage ruin

What errand I run with no words expressed

He is happy in his state. What of you?


Third figure:

No gestures by fits and starts

but glide my way with the very breath; I wave across

The starry fields before me create

To which Faith do vouch as the Will of our Father.

Or Take those fields swept aside in numberless eons,

Possess He happily for purpose

His airy throne of crystalline vault

And beneath emerges through gloom

An opalescent foot-rest,

The world to which He has His Son sent.

Anon shall you state your mission there,

In your wake the host of angels make your

Embassy complete.

I am happily settled to be the Mover

And bid Father’s boon,-

His Sovereign Mercy like a shower scatter

Over His blessed creation;

Across worlds with holy purpose

We ride but with ease;

The chariot of winds bear us aloft or careen

With clouds tossed by breath of divine fire

Our time has come. Follow me,

(The Spirit of God exits).


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