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Christmas Rapping

"Christmas Rapping" is a children's play suitable for Christmas. A mix of grades 1 through 6 can perform the play adequately, though using an adult for the narrator might be desirable. The play is approximately 15 minutes in length, although it can be lengthened by inserting some suitable songs for the children to sing between scenes.
The birth of Jesus is depicted as if he were born today in a typical American town or community. Raps and an unusual version of "Silent Night" make this an unusual and humorous play that at the same time causes the audience to focus anew upon the birth of Jesus.

Production Notes:
There are no sets and few props. The play is written so that the cast can be flexible in number from about 10 minimum to 24 maximum. The play depends heavily on dialogue, so it is important that the audience be able to hear the performers, especially since they will be children. Bible quotes are from "The Message" and "New King James Version".

Mary, a typical teenager
Joe, Mary's boyfriend
Sheps (from 3 to 10 children, either sex)
Kings (from 3 to 10 children, either sex)
Angel (either sex, but has enough lines for 2 or 3 angels)
Narrator (can read most of his or her lines)
Unseen Voice (optional)

Angel: white robe

Several school books
Several blank sheets of paper
Framed picture of Joe (optional)
Disposable diaper
Baby doll wrapped in a baby blanket
Fast food hats (1 per Shep)
Several spatulas (optional)
Cell phone or ipod w/ screen (1 per King)
Folding chair
Portable Playpen
Play paper money
Small calculator
Several angel mobiles (cardboard angels painted and covered with glitter and suspended from dowels)
(note: let children make these if possible)

 -Play Begins-

Opening Scene

(walks out to center stage) 
Have you ever wondered what it might be like if Jesus were born in our time? This Christmas? In (name of your town, county, or community)?
Certainly God could have worked it all out. For example, Micah 5:2 perhaps would read: "But you, (your town, county,community), though you are only one among the thousands of (your country), yet out of you shall come forth to me the one to be ruler, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting."
I know it is hard to imagine, but remember that Bethlehem was just an ordinary town no different in its daily routine than the other towns around it. And if, on the day before Christ was born, you had asked one of its inhabitants if anything momentous was about to happen there, he probably would have laughed at the thought.
Let's let the story we are about to see give us new insight on what it must have felt like when an extraordinary event happened to ordinary people.
And now, on with the play.
(goes to his station at side of stage; NARRATOR can read all his lines while at the station)

Scene 1
(Scene opens with MARY, a typical high school student, lounging center stage on the floor surrounded by school books and papers; but instead of studying she is staring at a picture of her boyfriend, Joe. If picture is not used, then have her staring off into space.)
"God sent the angel Gabriel to a virgin girl engaged to be married to a guy named Joseph. The girl's name was Mary. Upon entering, Gabriel greeted her:"
(ANGEL walks on-stage during narration but MARY doesn't notice.)
"Hello! You're beautiful with God's beauty. Beautiful inside and out! God be with you."
(MARY is startled. She gives a little scream and stands up.)
"Mary, you have nothing to fear. God has a surprise for you: You will become pregnant and give birth to a son and call his name Jesus."
But how can I have a baby? I'm engaged to my boyfriend but we're not even married.
"The Holy Spirit will come upon you, the power of the Highest will hover over you; Therefore, the child you bring to birth will be called Holy, Son of God."
(MARY turns away from ANGEL and gazes into space for a moment, thinking. ANGEL exits while she is gazing, so allow enough time for complete exit.)
MARY (matter-of-factly):
(turns back to ANGEL)
(surprised; looks around a moment)
Where'd he go?
Oh man! Joe's going to kill me. And if he doesn't, my parents will. But I feel so excited!
(exits, shouting)
Mom! Mom!
(clear stage for next scene)

Scene 2
(MARY enters carrying her books. JOE walks in from the opposite side and meets her. He is carrying books, too.)
Hi, Joe.
Hey. Got your homework done?
(They look around uncomfortably, not knowing how to say what they need to say next. MARY finally breaks the silence.)
MARY (rapidly and breathlessly):
Joe, you won't believe what happened to me last night! There was this angel, and he told me I was going to get pregnant, and ...
Hold it, Mary. You don't have to explain. I had a dream last night about the same thing. I'm supposed to stick with you through all this.
MARY (with relief):
Oh, Joe.
(JOE puts his arm around her. Suddenly there is a commotion heard offstage. The group known as the SHEPS enters.)
JOE (to MARY):
It's the Sheps.
(to SHEPS)
Hi, guys. Got to get to class.
(JOE and MARY exit.)
The next two sequences involve two groups, the Sheps and the Kings, doing a rap one after the other. The Sheps represent the shepherds, the common man. The Kings represent the Wise Men, more sophisticated and educated. They do not represent gangs, but rather identity groups that exist in all schools. The two groups are not enemies, they just don't relate too well with the other's world. The dress and movements to the raps should reflect their respective worlds. Perhaps the Shep's dress and movements could be casual and easy-going while the King's dress and movements could be more rigid and formal. Feel free to change the words to the raps to better fit your audience.
(the SHEPS take center stage.)
SHEPS (with appropriate motions):
(done as a rap)
We're the Sheps and we're the ones
Who do the work that's gotta be done.
We cook your fries, we make the shakes,
We bag your stuff at the grocery place.
We got some wheels, may not be great,
Long as the payments don't get late.
We make the grade, mostly B's and C's,
But we still like a good (pause) par-tee par-tee.
(At the end of rap, SHEPS give each other high-fives, then the KINGS enter to center stage and the SHEPS move over to the side to watch.)
KINGS (with appropriate movements):
(also said as a rap)
We're the Kings, we have lots of things,
Cause our dad's got money, but we have to study.
We own a router and we know how to route 'er.
We're the best, don't need to guess.
Kings are king...any questions?
Kings are king...that's the answer!
(The KINGS look proud of themselves, while the SHEPS look puzzled.)
(walks to center stage)
You guys are a little weird.
(suddenly looks offstage)
Hey, Principal Herod's coming!
(all hurriedly exit)

Scene 3
(Scene opens with empty stage.)
And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Joe's parents that Joe and Mary would be staying with them. So Joe and Mary moved in. While they were there, the time came for Mary to give birth. She gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped him in a blanket, and they lived in a trailer in the back yard because there was no room for them in the house.
(After the narration above, MARY walks in and gazes with loving eyes at the baby in her arms. JOE walks in with a disposable diaper, holds it up in different positions while facing the audience, and tries to figure out how it works. MARY watches him, shaking her head in amusement. After watching for a moment, MARY says:)
Joe, come with me and I'll show you how those things work.
(all exit)

Scene 4
(SHEPS, wearing fast food hats and some holding spatulas, are lounging around: some standing, some lying down. It is almost closing time and there are no customers.)
Now there were Sheps working at their jobs, keeping watch over their fries by night.
As many Sheps as want them can be given a line or two typical of the ones that follow.
Isn't it closing time?
I hope so. This place is empty.
What a day! I just want to go home and go to bed.
SHEP 1: Is there a french fry in my hair?
(the ANGEL enters)
"Suddenly, God's angel stood among them and God's glory blazed around them. They were terrified."
SHEP 2 (loudly):
I am terrified!
(SHEPS all cower together.)
Don't be afraid. I'm here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born. This is what you're to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a trailer.
"At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God's praises: Glory to God in the heavenly heights, Peace to all men and women on earth who please him."
(During the above narration, ANGEL gets angel mobiles and walks around stage, then exits.)
As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the Sheps talked it over:
Wow! I'm not sure about this!
Don't be chicken! Let's check this out!
(all hurriedly and excitedly exit)

Scene 5
(scene opens with empty stage)
Now after Jesus was born in the days of Herod the Principal, the Kings hastily called an emergency meeting.
(KINGS come rushing hurriedly on-stage, one at a time, from different sides. They are holding a cell phone and are excitedly talking to each other, showing each other their screens.)
As with the Sheps, additional lines can be added for more Kings than shown below.
I guess you all know why we are here. The same thing has happened to each of us.
Yeah! I was in my room when my cell phone suddenly rang and a map appeared on it!
So did mine! And it was the same map as his!
(pulls out calculator)
I've calculated that if we all eat one banana we will have enough energy to make the trip.
Did you take into account the slopes and curves along the way?
(showing him the calculator)
Of course!
KING 3: How about wind resistance?
(pointing to calculator)
Look! There it is right there.
(He holds up cell phone and turns himself first one way and then another. Finally, he ends up facing an exit and dramatically announces:)
Kings! We're following this map!
(He marches offstage. Others follow him.)

Scene 6
(Scene opens with MARY sitting in a folding chair behind a portable playpen. The baby is in the playpen. JOE is standing next to MARY. JOE is reaching down and playing with the baby. MARY is watching them. They do this long enough to establish the mood.)
The Sheps found Mary and Joe, and the baby lying in a trailer.
(SHEPS come in respectfully, somewhat awestruck. They gather round the playpen, staring at the baby.)
The Kings followed the map until they came to the child. And when they entered the trailer, they saw the child with Mary his mother.
(KINGS enter. SHEPS move out of the way. KINGS gather around the playpen and look at the baby.)
And they gave gifts: ones, fives, tens and twenties.
(KINGS take money out of their pockets and convince JOE to take all the bills. JOE reluctantly takes it. MARY gets baby, and stands with JOE behind playpen.)
(SHEPS and KINGS line up across stage in front of playpen, leaving gap in front of playpen. They do a song-chant with motions to "Silent Night", followed by an ending rap done by just a few of the group.)
The words to the song are sung at a quick pace, each note consisting of just a single beat or two. No note is held out. No piano or instruments are used. Use movements easily done. After the last phrase of the song-chant, all immediately turn and extend arms towards the baby and shout the word: "Yeah!"
(After the song-chant, all on stage mingle together in friendship and good will. After a long moment, one person or a small number of people break from the group and come forward and perform the following rap while everyone else freezes. Rappers should look loose and relaxed but with no coordinated movements since the words are what are important at this time.)
We hope you all enjoyed the play,
How it would be if Jesus came today.
It might seem diff'rent but it's really the same,
No matter the scene, we had to be saved,
From all our sin, there was no other way.
The Son of God, to earth he came,
To give his life upon a tree.
Eternal life, for you and me.
(last three words said louder and louder)
(All SHEPS and KINGS and ANGEL kneel at playpen and freeze, looking at the baby. JOE and MARY, holding baby behind the playpen, are standing frozen, looking at the baby. Pause long enough to have audience's attention fully on the frozen scene. If possible, turn off stage lights and spotlight the scene. Then from offstage, have UNSEEN VOICE, or NARRATOR, dramatically read Luke 2:6-16 from the New King James Version.)

-End of play-

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