Speaking parts: 1 m, 3 w, 2-3 girls. Nativity non-speaking roles for 3 m, 1 w, 2 teen boys. Also children’s choir, optional handbell choir or other musicians.
"Finding Joy" tells the poignant, but funny story of Lucy, a grandmother struggling to find joy this first Christmas after her husband has passed away. Surrounded by her daughter and grandchildren, Lucy tries her best to decorate. Unwrapping the nativity pieces, an angel appears and takes Lucy into the world of the holy family where joy and difficulty also walked hand in hand. As the show closes, Lucy is able to take over her late husband’s tradition of reading the Christmas story from Luke, and we see the holy characters come to life in a touching and beautiful blend of drama and music. Eleven carols suggested; optional handbell choir. Performance time: About 45 minutes.
LAURA MANNING TURNER
TALKS ABOUT HER PLAY “FINDING JOY”
Q: WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE THIS PLAY?
A: I had lost one of my grandmothers and in our church that year we had several members pass on. I knew it was going to have a profound effect on that coming Christmas season - how it would feel to our church community and to particular families. In fact the original actress who was to play the daughter of the widow (Lori - whom I named the character after) lost her mother when we first began rehearsing and she had to step down. It got me thinking about how sadness is just as much a part of Christmas as joy is. From the very first Christmas, when the order of events didn't quite unfold like Mary and Joseph had hoped, people have had to figure out how to find joy amidst unexpected news or even profound loss. My husband's mother, named Carol because she was born on Christmas day, was killed in a car accident when he was a young man. She was a church pianist with a beautiful voice. Every Christmas there is still a sadness that has to be dealt with, but joyful cries from her offspring rise even higher year after year!
Q: WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE PART OR LINE IN THE PLAY? WHY?
A: "Christmas is coming with or without you." This line stands out to me because it captures the idea that God is constant in his seeking and arrival in our lives. He comes whether the tree is decorated or not, whether there is a nice place to give birth or just a barn. Whether we are sad or trying to find joy. He comes and he hopes we will find joy in him.
Q: WHERE DID THE CHARACTERS COME FROM?
A: The grandmother is named after my own Grandmother Lulu who died in 2010. But in the play it is the deceased grandfather who is more like her - a complete Christmas nut like I am! The daughters are composites of my own who are now 10 and 6.
Q: WHAT DID YOU TRY TO ACHIEVE WITH THIS PLAY?
A: I tried to encourage people to understand that it is OK to be sad at Christmas as they struggle to create new traditions and mourn the loss of old ones, but not to close themselves off from finding joy ever again.
Q: DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO ADD?
A: I would like to thank the staff and congregation at Providence Baptist Church for their support and encouragement along with my family that is always in my corner.