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PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art 25.1 (2003) 95-110

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The Birth of the Christ Child
A Divine Comedy

Marlena Corcoran

Act I

Digital.Director steps forward into the radiant spotlight and clears its throat.


Digital.Director says, "Don't be afraid!"

Digital.Director says, "I bring you glad tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people!"

Digital.Director says, "The Birth of the Christ Child," by the Plaintext Players!"




One.of.many.angels claps.

Digital.Director says, "This play has three parts":

The Prologue in Heaven.

The Drama on Earth.

The Audience in Hell.

Digital.Director says, "This means you."


One.of.many.angels snickers.

Digital.Director says, "In this, the Prologue, we will settle certain theological issues of first importance, such as":

Why are we doing this?


Digital.Director adds, "Also certain dramaturgical issues, such as":

Why are we doing this???

Digital.Director looks around at the Audience.

Digital.Director says, "So . . . does anybody have any questions?"

Can I go to the bathroom?


Just what you thought. It just goes on and on.

In one corner, a pretty big angel is fanning its wings, reading what appears to be a script. [End Page 95]

Heaven is, as you always suspected, beautiful and probably beyond your means.

Some other kinda weird angel, which appears to be smoldering at the edges, comes up behind him and scares him.

First.Angel says, "Not again!"

Smoking.Angel says, "O o (again?)"

First.Angel says, "It's the same old story."

Smoking.Angel says, "Which story?"

First.Angel says, "It's enough to make the angels weep."

Smoking.Angel brushes some embers from the hem of its smoldering robe.

Littlest.Angel says, "Can I play, too?"

First.Angel says, "You know, the one with the child, and the manger, and the animals, and the rest."

Smoking.Angel says, "Oh no, not THAT again!"

One.of.many.angels sits in a lazy boy watching reruns on a big-screen TV on a cloud.

Smoking.Angel glares at a particularly supercilious angel, who is penciling in his eyebrows.

Smoking.Angel [to Recording.Angel]: "I hope you're getting this, because not even God will believe it."

Recording.Angel readies his twenty-monk team of transcribing scribblers.

First.Angel says, "Every year, the same routine!"

Smoking.Angel says, "First.Angel, why can't you let that story alone? Give it a rest?"

First.Angel says, "I got my orders."

One of the Kindergarteners seems to have a big mouth.

Smoking.Angel says, "You always say that."

First.Angel says, "Well, at least—at least it's a play that even Kindergarteners can perform."

First.Angel looks around for the usual suspects.

Recording.Angel fixes his tin-foil halo.

One Kindergartener picks a bugger and eats it.

Smoking.Angel says, "It's a play only Kindergarteners WOULD perform."

A hungry Kindergartener makes loud eating noises.

Lotsa.angels run around whistling up some manger nonsense.

Recording.Angel is recording all he can bear to remember.

Smoking.Angel says, "You're never going to get anywhere with this silly play, First.Angel. It's laughable!"

Kindergarteners say, "It's our favorite!" [End Page 96]

An.especially.artistic.angel works up an elaborate wax doll and places it carefully in the manger.

Smoking.Angel points at the wax doll and grimaces.

First.Angel [to Kindergarteners]: "I told you to keep away from the props!"

Smoking.Angel says, "Oh good, a puppet show."

Wax doll HIM, wax doll HER . . .

One Kindergartener is playing with himself.

Don't speak German in Heaven.

First.Angel says, "Well, but everybody kinda likes it. It's in every store window, and—"

Smoking.Angel [to First.Angel]: "You really think they'll get it right this time?"

Recording.Angel points to his last full notebook, sealed with a sticker that says, "Do Not Open Till Judgment Day."

Smoking.Angel [to Recording.Angel]: "Just make sure you spell my name right."

Recording.Angel writes, "Snokkly.Angel."



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pp. 95-110
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