READERS THEATER The Handmaid of the Lord by Katherine Paterson

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The Handmaid of the Lord Readers Theater Production by Katherine Paterson. VOICE 1 People think when your father is the minister that you get. special favors like you were God s pet or something Rachel for one. knew absolutely positively that it was not true God didn t love her. better than Jason McMillan who was getting an entire set of Mighty. Morphin Power Rangers for Christmas God didn t love her better than. that Carrie Wilson who was getting a new Barbie dollhouse with two. new dolls outfits included Not that Rachel really wanted a Barbie. dollhouse or Power Rangers either for that matter but it was the. principle of the thing Carrie and Jason were getting what they asked. Santa Claus for, VOICE 2 Ministers kids never got really good presents at Christmas. She should know that by now It didn t count if you were naughty or. nice Gregory Austin had pulled the fire alarm last Sunday and made the. fire trucks come in the middle of church service but he was getting his. own personal computer His daddy had said so Her daddy told. everybody they were supposed to be God s servants Like Jesus was He. didn t even mention presents, VOICE 1 So no good presents Rachel had given up on that But a big. role in the primary classes Christmas play that shouldn t be too much. to ask for She was by far the best actress in the second grade. VOICE 4 When she was five she had been part of the heavenly host of. angels It was a terrible part The costumes were made of a stiff gauzy. stuff that itched something awful Afterward Mrs MacLaughlin who ran. the pageant yelled at her right in front of everybody. The Handmaid of the Lord Readers Theater Production by Katherine Paterson. MRS MACLAUGHLIN Rachel Thompson Angels are spiritual beings. They do not scratch themselves while they sing You had the. congregation laughing at the heavenly host I was mortified. VOICE 3 Last year Mrs MacLaughlin had taken a rest from directing. and Ms Westford had run the pageant Ms Westford believed in equal. opportunity so for the first time in the history of First Presbyterian. Church girls had been shepherds and wise men That was okay with the. girls but the boys were mad They didn t like the itchy angel costumes. at all And a lot of the fathers complained, VOICE 2 But Rachel had been a much better shepherd than those. stupid boys She didn t care what anyone had said afterward She knew. what the Bible meant when it said the shepherds were sore afraid. When Mr Nelson shined the spotlight at them to show that the angel of. the Lord was about to come upon them Rachel had shown everyone in. the church what it meant to be sore afraid,RACHEL Help Help Don t let it get me. VOICE 1 The congregation laughed So did Gabriel and all the. shepherds and the entire heavenly host Mary laughed so hard she. started choking and Joseph had to whack her on the back. The Handmaid of the Lord Readers Theater Production by Katherine Paterson. VOICE 2 Her father said later that it had been a brand new insight on. the Christmas story and her mother said Never mind dear they. weren t laughing at you But she knew better No one in the whole. church understood what the story was really about When the Bible said. sore afraid you were supposed to be scared Rachel had been trembly. VOICE 4 She knew in her heart that she was the only kid in the pageant. who felt that way Not even the second and third graders who got all. the big parts did them right If you couldn t have a scratching angel you. sure shouldn t have a Joseph yawning so wide you could drive a tractor. trailer straight down to his tonsils, VOICE 5 It had been a hard year Her mother had been tired and.
pregnant for most of it and then when David finally was born she d. gotten tired and busy Now at the end of the worst year of her entire life. Christmas wasn t going to be any better Even the carols were against. her All those songs about the City of David, VOICE 4 Couldn t we make up a Christmas song about the City of. VOICE 2 But her mother just smiled and kept on singing about David. The Handmaid of the Lord Readers Theater Production by Katherine Paterson. VOICE 1 It made her more determined than ever to have a good part in. the play one in which she would not scratch or yell or wail Mary She. would be Mary She was old enough this year She was the best actress in. the second grade Surely even if she was the minister s daughter Mrs. MacLaughlin would pick her She d be so good in class that Mrs. MacLaughlin would just see that nobody deserved to be Mary more than. Rachel did, VOICE 3 Besides her little brother had already been chosen to be Baby. Jesus She ought to be Mary Jesus shouldn t have a stranger be his. mother It might scare him, MRS MACLAUGHLIN This is our first practice I m glad to see so many. of you here because we have a lot of parts in this play. RACHEL Mrs MacLaughlin,MRS MACLAUGHLIN impatiently What is it Rachel. RACHEL I know I m the minister s kid and that when I was little. MRS MACLAUGHLIN Yes Rachel, RACHEL Well I ve studied the part really hard and since my brother.
is the Baby Jesus I thought well it would probably mean a lot to him. if well if his big sister could be Mary, MRS MACLAUGHLIN Unfortunately your sister is too old to be in the. primary grades pageant, The Handmaid of the Lord Readers Theater Production by Katherine Paterson. RACHEL I don t mean Elizabeth Mrs MacLaughlin I mean well. what s the matter with me, VOICE 1 There was a burst of laughter in the room Everyone was. laughing at her Rachel s face went scarlet, RACHEL Shut up I m serious I know the story better than anybody. here and it s my brother, VOICE 5 Everyone laughed harder Even the little ones who were.
going to be itchy angels were giggling, MRS MACLAUGHLIN Rachel dear Of course you know the. Christmas story after all your father is our minister but but Mary. is a very difficult role,RACHEL I could do it, VOICE 1 But she knew it was no use People weren t supposed to. laugh at Mary And everybody laughed at her when they paid her any. attention at all, MRS MACLAUGHLIN Carrie how would you like to be our Mary this. VOICE 5 Carrie Wilson She had blue eyes and blond curls all they way. down her back and didn t look at all like Mary And that fake smile It. made Rachel sick to her stomach Mary was the handmaid of the Lord. for heaven s sake not some Barbie doll, The Handmaid of the Lord Readers Theater Production by Katherine Paterson. VOICE 2 Rachel could hardly listen as Mrs MacLaughlin went down. the list telling everyone what they were supposed to be She knew now. she wouldn t even get a speaking part Mrs MacLaughlin didn t like her. Nobody liked her Not even God Finally Mrs MacLaughlin stopped. VOICE 1 Rachel looked up She hadn t heard her name She didn t want. to say anything because maybe her name had been called when she. wasn t listening and then Mrs MacLaughlin would have something else. to fuss about But she couldn t stand it She raised her hand. MRS MACLAUGHLIN Yes Rachel,RACHEL About my part, MRS MACLAUGHLIN Yes Rachel This year you have a very.
important part,RACHEL I do,MRS MACLAUGHLIN Yes You will be our understudy. RACHEL Our what, MRS MACLAUGHLIN Since you know the story so well you will be. prepared to substitute in case any of our actors become ill or unable to. RACHEL Substitute You mean I don t have a part of my own. The Handmaid of the Lord Readers Theater Production by Katherine Paterson. MRS MACLAUGHLIN You have all the parts in case Why suppose. for example Gabriel should lose her voice You would step in and be our. Gabriel Or if our Mary were to suddenly have to visit her grandmother. in Ohio you would have to step in and be our Mary, CARRIE My grandmother s coming here for Christmas Mrs. MacLaughlin, VOICE 1 Rachel wasn t stupid She knew what Mrs MacLaughlin was. doing She wasn t keeping Rachel from having a big part She was. making sure that Rachel wouldn t have any part at all. She told her mother that she was never going back to Sunday school. again in her whole entire life But of course she went back Ministers. children have to go to Sunday school It s the law or something. VOICE 5 And then a miracle happened, VOICE 2 One week before Christmas Carrie Wilson who wore the.
world s prissiest little blue leather boots slipped on the ice in the mall. parking lot and broke both her arms,VOICE 4 Both her arms. VOICE 1 Rachel was overcome with exceeding great joy God did love. her He did One arm might count as an accident but two arms were a. miracle God meant business No matter how determined Mrs. MacLaughlin was to keep her out of the play God was going to make. sure not only that she got in but that she got the most important part in. the whole shebang She was going to be Mary the handmaid of the Lord. The Handmaid of the Lord Readers Theater Production by Katherine Paterson. VOICE 3 She went early to the dress rehearsal so Mrs McLaughlin. could try the costume on her It fit perfectly Well it would have fit. practically anybody Those robe things weren t exactly any size but. Rachel took it as a good sign when Mrs MacLaughlin sighed and. admitted that yes it did fit, RACHEL Don t you worry Mrs MacLaughlin I m the understudy I. know the part perfectly, VOICE 1 Which was a little silly since Mary didn t say a word just. looked lovingly into the manger while everyone else sang and carried. RACHEL I know you worry Mrs MacLaughlin but nobody is going to. laugh at me this year I promise, VOICE 3 She was so happy the glorias just burst from her But she had. to get them all out before seven o clock She couldn t let a stray gloria. pass her lips when she was behind that manger God might understand. but Mrs MacLaughlin sure wouldn t, VOICE 5 She was all dressed in the sky blue robe sitting quietly.
looking down into the empty manger Mrs MacLaughlin hoarse from. yelling at the heavenly hosts was giving last minute directions to the. wise men when suddenly the back door of the sanctuary opened. MRS MACLAUGHLIN Why Mrs Wilson Carrie, The Handmaid of the Lord Readers Theater Production by Katherine Paterson. VOICE 1 Rachel jerked up in alarm It was Carrie standing in the. darkened sanctuary her fake fur trimmed coat hanging off her. shoulders both arms bound to the front of her body. MRS WILSON My brave little girl insisted The show must go on I. talked to Dr Franklin and he said it would be the best thing in the world. for her She was so distressed about letting everyone down that it was. having a negative effect on the healing process, VOICE 1 Two mothers yanked the beautiful blue robe off Rachel and. draped it over Carrie s head, MRS WILSON See It was meant to be It totally hides the casts. VOICE 3 Rachel slunk off the platform and slumped down in the first. pew No one noticed All the adults were oohing and ahing about how. brave Carrie was to come and save the play, MRS WILSON Oh yes she s in terrible pain But she couldn t bear to. disappoint you all, VOICE 4 No one cared that Rachel was disappointed Not even God Of.
course God had known all along that Carrie would show up at the last. minute and steal back the part God knew everything and he had let. Rachel sing and rejoice and think for a few days that he was on her side. that he had chosen her like Mary to be his handmaid But it was just a. big joke A big mean joke She kicked the red carpet at her feet. MRS MACLAUGHLIN Off stage off stage everyone Time to line up in. your places, The Handmaid of the Lord Readers Theater Production by Katherine Paterson. VOICE 1 Where did you go when there wasn t any place for you She. looked around People were beginning to arrive for the service She. slipped farther down in the pew She didn t want her family to see her. They d find out soon enough that God had fired her. VOICE 5 She saw her mother carry David up the far aisle The baby. was sucking happily on his pacifier, VOICE4 David will be a good Jesus Everyone will say so. VOICE 5 Mrs MacLaughlin was waiting at the door to the hall She. took David and said something to Mom who cocked her head in a. doubtful manner Was she telling Mom that Rachel wasn t going to be. Mary after all If she did maybe Mom would come over and take her on. her lap and tell her she was sorry No Mom didn t even look her way. VOICE 2 The play went well None of the angels cried or scratched. Gabriel knew all her lines and said them loud enough to be heard almost. to the back row The wise men remembered to carry in their gifts and. nobody s crown rolled off Joseph did not yawn and Mary gazed sweetly. into the manger It was all perfect Perfect without her Rachel felt like. weeping and wailing like the Rachel in the Bible,VOICE 5 And then suddenly a miracle occurred. The Handmaid of the Lord Readers Theater Production by Katherine Paterson. VOICE 1 Baby Jesus began to cry Not just cry scream Yell his little. lungs out Carrie Wilson forgot about being Mary She turned absolutely. white and her eyes went huge like she was about to panic She would. have probably got up and run but with her arms bound under her robe. she couldn t move She looked at Joseph,CARRIE Do something. VOICE 3 Joseph s face went bright red but he didn t move a muscle. VOICE 5 It was all up to Rachel She jumped from her pew and dashed. up the chancel steps She was still panting when she got to the manger. READERS THEATER The Handmaid of the Lord by Katherine Paterson The Handmaid of the Lord is one of many short stories in Katherine Paterson s A Stubborn Sweetness and Other Stories for the Christmas Season This Readers Theater script of The Handmaid of the Lord was written by Katherine Paterson for the Children s Literary Lights Readers Theater performance at the 2013 Library

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