Where was the Lion? by Dawn Ziviello

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Cast of Characters In Order of Appearance:

NOTE: Most characters, can be double-cast as time allows (for costume
changes). It adds depth to the story if these parts can be played by
the same actor: Dad/Lion or Mom/Newscaster, Lucy/Grace. But, it is
not necessary.

Lucy….....................................A young girl (6 or 7 years
old). (If a boy plays the part, his name should be “Luke”)
Dad/Mom….............................A male or female (16-40 years
old)
Shepherds…...........................Three people, can be men or
women
Angel of the Lord…...............Soloist, Can be either a man or
woman, age is flexible
Heavenly Host…....................Singing parts: Can be either
actors dressed as angels or a church or youth choir. The larger the
group, the better.
Lion…......................................Man or teenage boy, age
is flexible
Newscaster…..........................Female, age is flexible
Cameraman…........................Non-speaking role, Can be male or
female, age is flexible
Three Folks and a Tub:
(Butcher, Baker, &Candlestick maker).......Men, &/or Women, age is
flexible (age 15 and up)
A Pair of cliché
blind mice…...........................Small singing parts, One male,
one female. Age is flexible.
Mothers-in-law of the Three Kings:
Broomhilda, Grimelda, &Millicent…............3 Women or teenage
girls, age is flexible (Millicent must be able to ROAR)
The Three Kings—singing parts…................3 Men or teenage
boys, age is flexible. Must be fairly good singers.
Coffee Cart Owner…...................................1 male or
female, age is flexible (15 and up)
A flock of sheep…........................................At least
3-5 children, boys and girls or youth choir. More is better!!
Mother Sheep…...........................................Assertive
maternal figure, age is flexible
Mother Sheep's Sister…..............................Confidante to
mother sheep, age is flexible
Lamb 1….....................................................Boy or
girl (4-7 years old)
Lamb 2….....................................................Boy or
girl (4-7 years old)
Grace, the Little Sheep….............................A young girl
(4-6 years old)
Mary….........................................................Non-speaking
role, Woman or teenage girl (16-20 years old)
Joseph…......................................................Non-speaking
role, Man or teenage boy (16-30 years old)
Baby Jesus…...............................................Male or
Female infant is preferable, but a lifelike doll can be used.
Assorted animals &travelers…....................Singing,
Non-speaking roles, As many as the Director likes or as space allows.


SCENE 1:

Opens with Lucy: (Wearing a shirt with a lion on it—like “Nala” or
“Simba” from The Lion King or any other Lion shirt—could even be a
“Lions” sports team, if it suits the area, and worn blue jeans) Lucy
is setting up the Nativity scene in the living room on a coffee table
(center). There is a large cardboard box that is filled with many
Nativity characters which are wrapped in newspaper. (Use many extra
sheep, donkeys, cows, etc… This should be a large collection of
nativity pieces from multiple sets) The room is decorated for
Christmas. Down SL is a basket of toy blocks and stuff that a young
child would play with. On the floor, Lucy has built a block tower and
placed a toy lion on top of it. The Lion figure should be large enough
to be easily seen from the audience, but small enough to fit at the
Nativity. When the scene opens, the manger is already partially set
up. Lucy is looking for something in particular inside the box and
isn't finding it)

LUCY: (digging in the box) "It must be in here somewhere. I'm
sure we had one last year. Hmmm, maybe it's under all this
paper…”

DAD/MOM: Enter SR (talking as he walks onstage). So, are we all
decorated for Christmas tomorrow? (Then, noticing child is searching
the box) What are you looking for, Lucy?

LUCY: I'm looking for the Lion. Didn't we have a lion in the
manger before?

DAD/MOM: (Amused and curious) A lion? I'm pretty sure we
didn't.

LUCY: (with confidence) But, there must have been a lion there to meet
the baby Jesus.

DAD/MOM: (Encouraging. Curious to see where this is leading) Why
do you say that?

LUCY: Well, the lion is the king of the jungle. (still looking in
box of paper while talking) He's the most important animal in the
world. I just know an important animal like that would want to meet
Jesus. They have a lot in common.

DAD/MOM: Like what?

LUCY: Lot's of stuff. Like, they're both called "kings" and
they both rule over their territory, they are powerful, and they start
off small and cute….and they….

DAD/MOM: (Interjecting and impressed) “Wow! You've given this a
lot of thought, haven't you?”

LUCY: Yeah. It's taking me a long time to set this thing up.
Anyway, don't you think there could have been a lion there?

DAD/MOM: Sure. I don't see why not. After all, history isn't
always 100% accurate. (Walks over to Luke/Lucy and places a hand on
the child's shoulder looking down at the Nativity with their backs to
the audience)

Curtain or exit.


SCENE 2:

Out in a meadow, three shepherds are resting against a large tree or
rock. It is late at night and the stars are out. Two of them are
keeping watch for wolves and lions; one is asleep during this part of
the rotation. The two are very drowsy and having a hard time staying
up. Their heads loll to the side, and they intermittently jerk awake
or bop each other in the head with their staffs. Their conversation
doesn't make much sense at first as they drift in and out.

SHEPHERD 1: (mumbling) So, what do you think the beavers flying for
breakfast?

SHEPHERD 2:Yep, yep, I'll have that with bread (staff drops and bops
S1 in the head, he startles and bumps S3 who stirs and mumbles
something inaudible)

SHEPHERD 1: Hey ouch, you hit me (quickly dozing again)....try to be
more….cheerful… (drifting off…)

SHEPHERD 2:Happy, happy nighttime.

(All three shepherds fall into a deep sleep, snoring loudly with
distinctive sounds and rhythms.)

ENTER LION. He's as cocky as can be. He struts and flexes,
striking a body builder pose whenever he can.

LION: (sarcastically) I'm glad to see they take their job seriously;
otherwise I might have to work for my supper (A few cast members gasp
from backstage). Oh don't worry, I already ate tonight. In fact,
I'm stuffed. I think I'll lie down and catch some Z's.
Mmmmm….Z is for Zebra. He was delicious!

(Lion does a circle, kneads the ground, then lays down. He licks his
front paw then luxuriously rolls onto his back with his back legs up
in the air and twitching slightly as he drifts off.)

(Suddenly with a great burst of light and a trumpet fanfare (can be
live or recorded), the Angel of the Lord bursts forth from the
heavens. This effect can be done in whatever way suits the particular
venue and budget)

The Shepherds jump to their feet clumsily, knocking one another about
as they try to stand and make sense of what they are seeing.

LION: (after the Shepherd's commotion, slowly rolls to his stomach,
raises his chin, and without opening his eyes says) No autographs
please. I haven't had my cat nap yet. (He opens one eye, then the
other when his sees the Angel of the Lord) Now that's something you
don't see in the jungle every day.

ANGEL OF THE LORD: (Broadly) Fear not! For behold, I bring you good
tidings of great joy which shall be to all people. For unto you is
born this day in the city of David a, Savior, which is Christ the
Lord. (Luke2:10-11) (Upon hearing this message, the Shepherds fall to
their knees and prostrate themselves. The Lion looks on quizzically)


HEAVENLY HOST: (this part should be as profound as possible with
choir members standing suddenly from the audience, balcony, or
both) from Handel's Messiah-“Glory to God, Glory to God, Glory to
God in the Highest, and peace on earth.” (the song may be done in
full from this point forward if there is a sufficient choir.)

LION: (Head banging to the beat) Wow, they really know how to rock in
heaven!

Heavenly Host and Angel of the Lord dim/exit, and the star appears in
the East for the Shepherds to follow. (In the initial production, the
star was projected over the stage onto a hanging screen. But, the
Director can do whatever the venue/budget allows.)

SHEPHERD 3: (Comically) So, is everybody awake now?

SHEPHERD 1: What should we do?

SHEPHERD 2: Well, I don't know about you, but I'm parking my
sheep at Grandma's and going to meet this Christ child.

SHEPHERD 3: Ok, but can we grab a coffee on the way? I'm still
tired.

SHEPHERD 1: Come on!! (All shepherds exit right)


SCENE 3:

Lion is onstage musing about what he has just seen and heard.

LION: Hmmm, sometimes it's just so hard to tell the Shepherds from
the Sheep. Well, I guess I'd better pack up my things and head on
over to Bethlehem. The little guy is going to want to meet me…you
know, King to king…

Abruptly from behind the Lion's resting place, and practically on
top of him, the Newscaster appears with the cameraman. If possible,
it should look like they are popping out from a place that is too
small to hide two people and a TV camera. The Lion is startled and
reacts like a defensive fraidy-cat. He shuts his eyes and holds his
paws up like he's being attacked. He quickly recovers his composure
and tries to cover up his cowardice.

LION: (Coughing and returning to his macho self) I didn't know they
had cable way out here….

NEWSCASTER: (Ignoring him and speaking to cameraman) Do I look ok?
All right, let's shoot it.

LION: (As cameraman raises camera—again frightened) Hey don't
shoot!! C'mon, I didn't know that zebra was yours.

The cameraman turns on the bright, TV light

LION: (whining) Ow! That's bright. You're going to scare away
the angels.

NEWSCASTER: (Ignoring him and speaking to the camera) Good evening,
and welcome to W-G-O-D. Tonight we begin our reality series "The
Birth of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior." Right now, we are on
the outskirts of Judea looking toward Bethlehem just like the many
travelers who are setting out to meet Jesus for the very first time
LIVE! (As the Lion listens, realizing he's in a live broadcast, he
stands in the background preening himself feverishly as he prepares to
be on TV). Join us this week as we follow the Star in the East and
meet the other stars as they come out along the way to join in the
celebration as it unfolds. Here with us now is a Mr…..
umm….Mr….. Oh dear! What is your name sir?

LION: “Lion.” You don't get out much do you? (He's playing to
the camera like a stand-up comedian or class clown. The Newscaster
ignores his jabs)

NEWSCASTER: Mr. Lion, are you going to meet Jesus in Bethlehem?

LION: Well, I did have other plans, but I figured that seeing as I am
royalty too, it's only right that…...... (Newscaster cuts him off,
and he glares at her)

NEWSCASTER: You heard it here first folks. The King of the Jungle
does plan to go to Bethlehem tonight! (She motions "cut" to the
cameraman and instantly changes her personality into the news chaser
she is) That's a wrap. Let's see if we can climb up there and
get a look at those angels-they're always so evasive! (This is a
moment for some great physical comedy. If there are columns in the
room, the Newscaster can run, jump, grab, and slide down the column.
It's really funny if the Newscaster is in heels. Cameraman tries to
assist her, but it's clear it is going to be a disaster.)

LION: I don't need to stick around to see how this is gonna turn
out. I'm heading to Bethlehem with the rest of the "stars".
(exit right)

[end of extract]

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