Pepita and the Poinsettias

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7+ Characters, flexible casting, approximately 7 minutes long. Christmas play about the legend of the poinsettia by Olivia Arieti.

Little Pepita wants to present the baby Jesus with a special gift on Christmas Eve, but she has no money. An angel greets Pepita and her cousin, telling them that simple gifts from the heart are all that one needs. Pepita picks some humble weeds from the roadside which burst into brilliant red blooms. Poinsettias have long been used to decorate the holiday season. In Spanish, they are known as Flores de Noche Buena, or “flower of the holy night.” This play brings to life one of the legends that surround this beautiful, red plant.

About the Playwright:

Olivia Arieti is a US citizen, with a degree from the University of Pisa. She lives in Torre del Lago Puccini, Italy, with her family and her four dogs. Olivia loves writing drama, especially for young audiences. Her plays have been published by Heuer Publishing, Brooklyn Publishers, Desert Road Publishing, JAC Publishing & Promotions, Green Room Scripts, Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, Drama Notebook, Lazy Bee Scripts, Smith Scripts, Off the Wall Plays. Her poems and short stories have appeared in several literary magazines and anthologies in the USA, UK, and AU.

Excerpt from the play:

CHARACTERS:
PEPITA, a young girl
PEDRO, Pepita’s cousin
FATHER GONZALES, a priest
MRS. GARCIA, a villager
MR. GARCIA, her husband
CARMELA, a villager
ANGEL

At Rise: It is Christmas Eve. FATHER GONZALES is preparing the manger outside of the church. PEDRO is helping him.

PEDRO
This is a very special night, Father.

GONZALES
Indeed. A long, long time ago, a king was born in a little manger and an angel announced his birth to all the shepherds. At once, they set forth to adore him and bring gifts.

PEDRO
Is that why our villagers bring presents tonight?

GONZALES
Exactly. Placing gifts here at the manger is our way of honoring him, Pedro. (Holding the doll that represents the baby Jesus) Would you like to put the baby Jesus in the crib?

PEDRO
Yes, father! (Gently places the baby Jesus on the crib)

GONZALES
Well done. He is the reason for all our celebrations.

PEDRO
Now everything is ready. People will be coming soon.

GONZALES
Say, where’s your cousin?

PEDRO
Pepita is at home; Her folks are sick, so she has to look after her little brothers.

GONZALES
Go and fetch her, otherwise, she’ll be late for the service.

PEDRO
I’ll go right now, Father.

PEDRO exits. MR. and MRS. GARCIA enter.

MRS. GARCIA
What a beautiful manger you’ve put up this year, Father Gonzales.

GONZALES
So pleased you like it, Mrs. Garcia.

MRS. GARCIA
I’ve woven this blanket for the Baby.

MR. GARCIA (proudly)
The wool is the best there is.

MRS. GARCIA
And the name, Jesus, is embroidered with golden filaments. (Places blanket at the manger.)

GONZALES
A most appreciated gift. Thank you.

MR. GARCIA (haughty)
Too bad most of our villagers are poor and can’t afford presents as expensive as ours.

GONZALES
Our Lord welcomes humble gifts as well, my dear Mr. Garcia. As long as they are offered with love.

MR. GARCIA
Of course, of course…

GONZALES
Let’s go inside and prepare for the service.

MR. GARCIA, MRS. GARCIA, GONZALES exit. PEPITA, PEDRO enter. Perhaps they are on the opposite side of the stage or even in an aisle.

PEPITA
I can’t come, Pedro, I have nothing to give to the baby Jesus.

PEDRO
I assured Father Gonzales you’d be there.

PEPITA
I tried to weave a blanket, but the yarns got tangled. (Starts weeping.) If only I had money to buy a present.

PEDRO
Your presence will be gift enough, Pepita, trust me.

Bright light. ANGEL appears.

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