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Summary: The story of Herod and his reaction to the news of Jesus’ birth.
Style: Dramatic     Duration: 12 min.
Actors: 1M, 2M/F

Characters:
Herod
Servant (male or female)
Innkeeper (male or female)

Script:

(King Herod is sitting in his throne room, looking grim)

Herod- Servant!

Servant- (comes in quickly) Yes, milord?

Herod- Has there been any word on those travellers?

Servant- (hesitantly) Um, no milord.

Herod- (angrily, servant flinches) What! How could they have just disappeared like that!

Servant- (afraid) But...but, we have sent out our finest scouts milord, so it will just be a matter of time.

Herod- Time? Time? I don’t have time, you fool. If I did do you think I’d be so anxious to find them?

Servant- (meekly) No, milord.

Herod- Good. So you’re not completely stupid. Now leave .

Servant- (fearfully) Yes milord. (rushes out)

Herod- Do not return until they have been found!( sits on his throne for a few seconds, gets up and starts to pace)

A newborn king
How can this be?
There is NO KING
No king but me!

They say this Boy
will rule these lands.
He’ll have to pry them
From my cold dead hands!

(wondering)
Will he raise an army,
To attack from the west?
Or will he send assassins
To slay me as I rest?

(angry)
He can’t have it. I won’t let him!
This throne and crown are mine.
I will protect my legacy.
I will preserve my line.

I must find Him. He must die!
And die he must today.
The house of Herod will survive
There is no other way.

Herod- (plops down) But how? (Servant enters meekly)

Herod- (angrily) You again? This had better be for a good reason. Have they found them?

Servant- No milord. B-but we have someone who might know where they are. Would you wish to see him?

Herod- Of course I want to see him! Send him to me immediately. (sits anxiously)(Servant exits, then enters with a well-dressed man)

Innkeeper- (lavishly) Oh mighty King Herod, Restorer of the Great Temple, may you reign until...

Herod- (interrupts him) Yes, yes, what have you to say?

Innkeeper- Oh my king, I am but a lowly innkeeper from the coast of Joppa.

Herod- And...?

Innkeeper- Some time ago, guests arrived to stay at my inn. They were richly dressed and spoke in a foreign tongue. I think from one of the Eastern lands.

Herod- (interested) Indeed. Tell me more.

Innkeeper- They tried to hide their speech from me by speaking in their native tongue. But they did not know that I know many languages from dealing with guests from different lands.

Herod- So what did they say?

Innkeeper- I heard them constantly speaking about a special child and finding him. It seemed very urgent to them. I think I heard Bethlehem being mentioned too.

Herod- (to himself) Yes, these are the ones I seek. The Wise Ones.

Herod- (to Innkeeper) Very well. Continue.

Innkeeper- Then one day I heard them talking in their room frantically. The conversation involved someone warning them not to return to the king.

Herod- What! So then what happened?

Innkeeper- (hesitantly) Well...they...

Herod- Out with it!

Innkeeper- (afraid) They left.

Herod- They did what? Where did they go?

Innkeeper- They didn’t tell me, my king. Perhaps they returned to their own land?

Herod- How dare they. Tried to deceive me, did they? (plops down defeated)

Innkeeper- Pardon me, milord, but...

Herod- You’re still here? What is it?

Innkeeper- I do not wish to sound greedy. But don’t you think that I deserve a fitting reward for the help I provided?

Herod- (stares a while) A fitting reward you say. As you wish. (Herod drags Innkeeper next to exit) ) Guards! Take him down to the Kennels and throw him to the dogs. There is your fitting reward.

Innkeeper- (shocked) What? No! Wait please! I did good...I..I...I...

Herod- You stroll into my palace bringing me news that I should have had ages ago. And yet have the nerve to solicit money from me! Yes, you have gotten what you deserve! (throws Innkeeper through exit) Take him away! (Innkeeper heard screaming- Herod sits)

Servant- (after a while) Milord!

Herod- What is it? Do you wish to join him?

Servant-No, no, milord. I just would like to hear your orders concerning the child seeing that the men have taken flight.

Herod- My orders? (thinks) Very well. Write this down. (Servant begins to write)

Gather my finest soldiers,
1000 at the most.
March them down to Bethlehem
As well as down the coast.

They must search among the children.
Not one must be left.
And those of them 2 years or less.
Must be put to death.

Servant- (shudders) M- milord, could you repeat that?

Herod-

You heard me, I said kill them all.
Not one of them leave alive.
If I am to keep my kingdom
The boy child must not survive.

(Servant shocked, bows and runs out)

Herod- A newborn king, how can this be?
THE END

© Copyright Brian Alleyne, all rights reserved. The script may not be reproduced, translated or copied in any medium, including books, CDs and on the Internet, without written permission of the author.
This play may be performed free of charge, on the condition that copies are not sold for profit in any medium, nor any entrance fee charged. In exchange for free performance, the author would appreciate being notified of when and for what purpose the play is performed. He may be contacted at:
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