wordsout by Godfrey Rust                                       Welcome To The Real World  7a of 59 →  theme christmas    HOME   



Light of the world
(For two voices, with voice 2 in italics: version for one voice here).

"Let there be light", he said.
Ah, but what sort of light?
That’s where we come in.

Allow us to introduce ourselves:
Senior Consultants,
Cherubim & Seraphim Technical Services.
Sound and lighting engineers by appointment to the Almighty.
Special rates for miracles and plagues.
Discount on all feedings of five thousand or more
and free thunderbolt with each repeat order.
 

No doubt you’ll be familiar with some of our past productions.
We did story of Noah.
Floodlit, of course.
The Tower of Babel.
With subtitles.
And Sodom and Gomorrah
one of our most successful features.
"An epic of biblical proportions" according to the critics.
Not that there were many critics left afterwards.
And of course the Wanderings In The Desert.
Low budget soap opera, but it ran and ran.
Forty years lit by a single pillar of fire
and a seven-branched candelabra.
 

But that was all before privatisation.
Lighting’s a tough business these days.
Lots of competition.
It’s a jungle out there in the desert.
So many options, you see—
sunlight, moonlight, street light, neon light.
Budweiser Light.
You’ve got to be in there
with this new-fangled electricity.
Well, that’s the current thinking. 

And now this new script—
Strangest of the lot.
"The Nativity."
Don't know how he conceived this one.

"Scene 1. Shepherds watching.
Enter Gabriel, with backing vocals."
Need a good clear sky for that.
Quick burst of heavenly host, then blackout.
Music from the Hallelujah Chorus?
No, Handel hasn’t been born yet,
it’ll have to be something by Cliff.
It was much simpler in Moses’ day.
No 747s over
Cairo airport—
anything flying at night had to be an angel.
 

"Scene 2. Wise men searching."
Ought to have direct sunshine,
But these humans can’t look straight the sun.
We'll need the light of faith—
Soft starlight with a single, moving follow-spot. 

"Scene 3. King Herod’s Palace."
Well, someone's taken his grumpy pills this morning!
Torches will do for him.
Lots of flickering flames—
Herod needs to get used to working in a hot place.
Then cue the dream sequence
and the magi leave unnoticed by a side exit. 

"Scene 4. A packed public house."
No problem getting atmosphere for this:
Jukebox playing "Little Donkey."
TV in the corner showing rerun of David v Goliath championship fight.
"Enter distressed couple, woman heavily pregnant.
Unable to get near bar."
Clearly they don’t drink Carling Black Label.
Artificial lights for this one.
People don't want to see too clearly
when they’re enjoying themselves.
And a big glowing EXIT sign:
"This way for a stable relationship. "

"Final Scene. The Nativity."
"Total darkness"?
Well there’s a challenge.
This must be God’s avant-garde period.
We should be grateful at least he doesn’t want us to fill the stage
with children and animals.

Oh.
Why does he do this, just when it needs
a big finale?
Not exactly prime time material—
a closing scene in a shed with one 40-watt light bulb
resting on a sleeping ass.
A show like this will get him crucified in the ratings.
Never mind.
I’ve put in for the contract to light the Book of Revelation.
That’s bound to be a showstopper. 

Hold on, there’s one more stage direction.
"Enter the Light of the World."

Ah.
That should be quite effective.
Yes, that ought to do the trick. 

I wonder if St Michael has any vacancies in merchandising?


(Sir) Cliff Richard is a UK singer with a career of frightening longevity including one of the worst Christmas No 1 singles ("Mistletoe & Wine"). Performers elsewhere may want to choose an equivalent local musical legend.  

St Michael is (was?) the Marks & Spencer retail brand name, famous in the UK but perhaps this line will not mean much in some other places. Suggestions for other angelic wordplays to use as the last line elsewhere are welcomed.

Originally performed by Godfrey Rust and Adrian Jones at the carol service at St John’s, West Ealing in 1992. It can be read with one or two voices, though is more effective with two. A version scripted for two voices is here. The reader holds a pencil and a script attached to a clipboard, marking the script up as s/he goes through it and comments.

Typical performance time 3 minutes 15 seconds.