The Thompsons like to celebrate Christmas and the birth of Jesus by displaying a nativity scene on their front lawn, much to the dismay of their homeowners’ association president, Mrs. Matthews. Citing "rule 763" she wants the display taken down – immediately! Mrs. Matthews gets her wish when she discovers that the Thompsons’ nativity figures have been stolen by local troublemakers. As Mrs. Thompson's oldest son Joey sets out to find the figures, he meets Maria, a troubled young girl who has wandered onto his yard looking for shelter. With the help of three wise friends, a stressed-out Sunday school teacher, and the family’s good-natured pastor, Joey finds the missing figures and a whole lot more. He and everyone else discover the meaning behind the figures which is God’s enduring and encompassing love for us. This is a large cast, gender-flexible play with humor in a modern setting. With very few props, this a play is easy to produce on any budget. About 35 minutes.
PLAYWRIGHT TRACY WELLS TALKS ABOUT HER PLAY
A WAY … IN A MANGER
Q: WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE THIS PLAY?
A: I was inspired to write this play because we had recently switched churches and the new church we were attending was in need of Christmas play for the youth to perform. Some friends who knew I was a playwright suggested that I write the play. I had never written a Christian play before, so to me the task was daunting. I spent a few weeks tossing ideas around, but none seemed to be right. Then one day the idea for “A Way...In A Manger” came to me and I couldn't be happier with the result.
Q: WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE PART OR LINE IN THE PLAY? WHY?
A: My favorite part of the play is when Maria, Joey, Enlightened to the Third Power and Miss Shepherd come together to form a tableau of the nativity scene. What I wanted to do here was to bring the nativity scene into the modern day and to put younger characters that kids and teens can relate to, in a scene we all know and love.
Q: WHERE DID THE CHARACTERS COME FROM? ARE THEY BASED ON PEOPLE YOU KNOW?
A: The characters mostly came from my imagination, with the exception of one. Pastor Dave is the pastor at the church we now attend. He is warm, caring, and affectionate--even to visitors at Sunday service! He has a way of making everyone feel welcome and his sermons are filled with jokes, some better than others. In writing this script I thought that a pastor like Dave would be someone the kids could relate to, like the kids at our church love our own Pastor Dave.
Q: WHAT DID YOU TRY TO ACHIEVE WITH THIS PLAY?
A: In writing this play, my main goal was to convey to the audience the way the actual participants in the real nativity story must have felt the day Jesus was born: Mary had a daunting task of bringing Jesus into the world, Joseph was her protector and partner, the wise man traveled far to bring gifts, the young Shepherd saw a star and traveled through the night, not sure why. And though the story of the original nativity is so great and powerful, we, as God's people, find ourselves in scary and unknown situations as well. I wanted to bring the story of the birth of Jesus into a context that kids and teens today could understand.