A-Big-Secret

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2 characters. 1M, 1F; 14 pages in length. Approximately 15 minutes running time. An angelic Nativity story written by Morton Benning.

A Big Secret is a comedic Nativity play for two actors. When Dulcian, a neurotic angel, is given a special assignment by God, he accidently drops it in the river – making it illegible. Dulcian rushes off to find the archangel Michael to figure out what this very big secret is all about. When he returns, he’ll reenact everything that occurred with his angel friend, Ophelia.  This hilarious tale explains why the birth of Christ happened in such an unusual way, illustrating the sovereignty of God even in the face of utter incompetence.

Morton Benning is an author of speculative fiction who lives in Adelaide, South Australia. His first novel, Playing God, and his fantasy anthology The Tale of Alathimble Spaide and Other Such Nonsense are available from Stone Table Books and Wipf and Stock Publishing. His other Nativity play, Something Like A Christmas Play, can be found on Drama Notebook’s Script library.

Excerpt from the play:

CAST OF CHARACTERS

Ophelia (female) tends to be direct, overly casual and somewhat blunt.
Dulcian (male) is very animated, overly emotional and prone to panic.

*NOTE:
OPHELIA and DULCIAN are angels. Both characters occasionally play other characters in the story, most notably, Michael the archangel, who is pushy and overly officious – even militaristic.

Recommended Props

  • mobile phone
  • headphones
  • ruined “special-assignment-instructions” paper
  • a simple “human disguise” (maybe a fake nose or a silly hat)
  • optional militaristic hat for Archangel Michael.

COSTUMES
Costumes should suggest the angelic nature of the characters.

OPHELIA 
(On the phone – mid conversation) …So I said to him, “three more of those, and we’re gonna wish we hadn’t given away the peanut butter!” (Laughs hysterically)

DULCIAN
(Frantic) Oh crumpets! Oh crumpets! What am I gonna do?

OPHELIA 
What? What’s going on?

DULCIAN
Ok, the-

OPHELIA 
Hang on. (to phone) I’ll call you back later, my roommate has gone mental or something, bye. (back to DULCIAN) Ok, now calm down, and tell me what’s going on.

DULCIAN
Right. (pause for composure) Right. (pause) I don’t know where to start!

OPHELIA 
Perhaps you should just tell me what’s wrong.

DULCIAN
Everything!

OPHELIA 
Ok, (singing) let’s start at the very beginning…Together… a very good place to sta-

DULCIAN
(shaking himself out of it) DON’T DO THAT! I’m really not in the mood.

OPHELIA 
Alright, I can see that you’re very upset. Maybe if you tell me what happened we can do something about it.

DULCIAN
I was given a special assignment.

OPHELIA 
You mean a Special Assignment?

DULCIAN nods affirmative.

OPHELIA 
Wow, that’s fantastic! You see, I told you that you would one day. You just had to wait for the right…

DULCIAN
You don’t understand.

OPHELIA 
Why? What’s wrong?

DULCIAN
I lost it.

OPHELIA 
You mean He gave it to someone else?

DULCIAN
No. I dropped it.

OPHELIA 
Well, that’s okay, we’ll just retrace-

DULCIAN
In the river.

OPHELIA 
Ah.

DULCIAN
I caught it and tried to dry it off a bit, but I can’t read it anymore. What am I gonna’ do?

OPHELIA 
It’s okay, we’ll just go and ask Him for another copy, He’s very forgiving.

DULCIAN
I know, but I feel bad going back. It was really important, there’s some big secret which no one is supposed to know about; it’s a surprise. He trusted me with something really special. I said that He could count on me to take care of it. I said that I would do my best and I promised that I would make Him proud of me, and that He’d be glad he chose me for the job.

OPHELIA 
Can’t you remember what it said?

DULCIAN
I hadn’t read it yet.

OPHELIA 
You promised to do it without reading what you were being asked to do first?

DULCIAN
It’s HIM. He knows whether or not I can do it, otherwise he wouldn’t have asked me.

OPHELIA 
You were trying to impress Him with blind faith, weren’t you?

DULCIAN
No. Yes. Okay, maybe a little bit.

OPHELIA 
(sigh) Okay, let’s take a look at it then.

DULCIAN
(grumbling) I don’t know, He’s the God of the universe, and He can’t be bothered inventing waterproof paper. (brings the paper out)

OPHELIA 
Oh look! This is ruined! I can’t read this. It’ll be okay, just go and get another one!

DULCIAN
No, no, it’s alright, you can help me, we’ll figure it out. What does that bit there say, the word with the long skinny “f”?

OPHELIA 
That’s a “t”

DULCIAN
Hang on, I see “Michael”. That’s his name there, you see, Michael, and there too. (excited) Maybe I’m supposed to be working with the archangel Michael.

OPHELIA 
Nah, it couldn’t be, not a first assignment.

DULCIAN
It is! It is! I remember, this is a very important job, it was a surprise, a big secret. He told me so.

OPHELIA 
Right, okay, what you need to do then, is go and find Michael and follow him around until you can figure out what he needs you to do, maybe you can get someone to tell you what to do
without actually admitting that you have no idea.

DULCIAN
What do you mean?

OPHELIA 
Well, you could ask something like… I don’t know, um… If there’s a donkey there, you could ask “do you think it’s better for me to stand behind the donkey or in front of it?” Then if he says, “it’s easier to block its path from the front and when it talks, the rider needs to be able to see you,” then you will know what to do.

DULCIAN
Could that really be what I’m supposed to do?

OPHELIA 
Don’t be silly, I just made that up as an example. Why would He ever want to make a donkey talk to a human? They’d never say anything useful, they only complain all the time.

DULCIAN
Right, I’m gonna’ go and find Michael, do you want to come too?

OPHELIA 
No, you have fun.

* * * * *

OPHELIA 
(Listening to i-pod, playing air guitar and singing) Woo hoo!

DULCIAN
What are you doing? Quick! Get up! Get dressed!

OPHELIA 
Why? What’s going on?

DULCIAN
You have to come see this!

OPHELIA 
Tell me first.

DULCIAN
No I– look , it’ll take too long. It’s quicker if you just come and see for yourself.

OPHELIA 
You remember what happened last time? With the genealogy list?

DULCIAN
How was I supposed to know he was writing a genealogy in Hebrew?

OPHELIA 
He was a Hebrew scribe.

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