Although this post is not typical for this blog, some churches may be looking for simple Christmas plays this time of year. Below is a simple one act and one scene play that I wrote, and my church performed last year. Because it is set in a courtroom, scripts can be put on the witness stand and the lawyers’ benches as a natural part of the scene. Having scripts available reduces the number of rehearsals. We pulled this off with about three rehearsals. The scene set up is easy too since most churches already have a “courtroom” aesthetic and the pulpit can be the judge’s bench. Anyone is free to perform this play for non-profit purposes.
List of Characters: Bailiff, Judge “Judy”, Plaintiff’s Lawyer, Plaintiff (Golda Digger), Defense Lawyer, Townspeople 1 & 2, Defendant (Mr. Shepherd), Bo Peep, Shepherd 2 (Mr. Pasteur). (Note: there are some really small parts for more participation. One could combine townspeople 1 & 2 and give Shepherd 2’s lines to Bo Peep if necessary.)
Stage set up: The stage area is set up like a courtroom. There should be a central, raised desk or podium for the judge and two small tables on the sides for the lawyers and their clients. Another podium should be situated to the judge’s left as a “witness stand.”
Performance Time: 15-20 minutes. Only one scene and one act.
A Christmas Play – Suing a Shepherd
Bailiff: All rise. The honorable Judge Judy presiding. (Lawyers and clients should stand.)
Judge: You may be seated. Let’s get on with this case: Ms. Golda Digger versus Mr. Shepherd. I warn you ahead of time – no nonsense. Will the counsel for the plaintiff state your complaint?
Plaintiff’s Lawyer: Your Honor, my client hired the defendant to watch her sheep for the month of December and the defendant lost a sheep on the night of the 25th. She seeks restitution for the lost sheep and 2 million dollars for emotional pain and suffering.
Judge: Pain and suffering for a lost sheep? Sounds like nonsense, but the show gets better ratings when I yell at people, so proceed.
Plaintiff’s Lawyer: I call the plaintiff, Ms. Golda Digger, as our first witness.
Bailiff escorts Golda to the stand and says, Bailiff: Do you swear to tell the whole truth?
Golda: I do.
Plaintiff’s Lawyer: Ms. Digger, tell the court why you have brought this complaint against Mr. Shepherd.
Golda: I hired Mr. Shepherd to watch my flocks by night, and on the morning of December 26th he reported to me that he had lost one of my sheep – my favorite sheep.
Plaintiff’s Lawyer: Did Mr. Shepherd give you a reason for not doing his job?
Golda: Did he ever! He told me some crazy story about seeing angels who sang a song and sent him into town to find the Savior of the world. Sounds like he has a drug problem if you ask me; he was supposed to be watching my sheep and instead he was blazing it like it was 4:20. Of course when he returned to the flock the next morning, he had no idea where that little sheep ran off to.
Defense Lawyer: Objection your honor. The witness is speculating. There is no evidence that my client has a drug problem.
Plaintiff’s Lawyer: Ms. Digger, tell us about the sheep that Mr. Shepherd lost.
Golda: It wasn’t just any sheep – it was my favorite sheep. It had such soft wool and every time I was near the flock it would sound as if it was saying my name “Golda.” I have never been so fond of a sheep before. (Begin fake crying) Whenever I think of that poor sheep wandering in the wilderness at night, running for its life from the wolves – I just break down and cry and I am an emotional wreck for the rest of the day. I can’t sleep, I can’t work. (Sobs loudly)
Plaintiff’s Lawyer: I can’t imagine the pain you must be suffering. This suffering has incapacitated you, which is why you are seeking compensation for your pain and suffering. Despite this, you originally did not want to sue the defendant, did you?
Golda: No sir. But I saw your commercial that said you mean business and that you could help me get the compensation I deserve. So I called 1-800-I win-win, and here I am.
Plaintiff’s Lawyer: (Turns to the audience) That’s right, 1-800- I win –win. That’s 1-800- I win –win. I will fight for you.
Judge: Hey James Sokolov, if you want commercial time you need to pay for it. Get back on task.
Plaintiff’s Lawyer: Sorry your Honor. I have no further questions. Defense – your witness.
Defense Lawyer: Ms. Digger. Isn’t it true that since the night in question, the defendant has been a different person?
Golda: Yes, he is much happier and care-free since that night, which is why I think he is on drugs.
Defense Lawyer: He is not on drugs, he had a life changing experience that night. Can you confirm that he has offered to pay for the sheep by working off his debt?
Golda: Yes he offered to work off the cost of the sheep, but why would I let some druggie who lost a sheep watch my sheep again?
Defense Lawyer: The fact is you don’t want the defendant to work off the price of the sheep because you want to soak as much money as possible from him by claiming emotional pain and suffering.
Golda: That is not true. How dare you make light of my pain!
Defense Lawyer: Alright. Your favorite sheep -what was its name?
Golda: Um . . . I think it was number 47. (Plaintiff’s Lawyer clears throat loudly). Oh, I mean . . . it’s name was . . . um . . Wooly.
Defense Lawyer: And this beloved sheep, how could you distinguish it from the other sheep – did it have any special markings?
Golda: It was white and covered with wool.
Defense Lawyer: According to my client, the sheep also had a large dark spot on its nose, is that right?
Golda: Oh . . yes. That’s right!
Defense Lawyer: Oh, I’m sorry. I read my notes wrong; the large dark spot was on its hind quarters. Sounds like you aren’t sure what your favorite sheep was named or what it looked like. No further questions your honor.
Judge: You may step down. Call your next witness.
Plaintiff’s Lawyer: I call two townspeople who witnessed Mr. Shepherd’s actions that night.
(Bailiff escorts them to stand) Bailiff: Will you tell the truth or so help me, I will pistol whip you?
Townspeople 1 & 2: We will.
Plaintiff’s Lawyer: Did you see Mr. Shepherd on the night of December 25th?
Townsperson 1: We did
Plaintiff’s Lawyer: And what was he doing?
Townsperson 2: He was running around shouting for joy that God sent his son to save the world, and that he saw this child just as the angels said he would.
Plaintiff’s Lawyer: Did he seem at all concerned about the sheep that he had left in the fields?
Townsperson 1: Not at all. I had never seen him that happy before. He was more concerned with telling everyone what he had seen; he didn’t seem to care about the sheep anymore.
Plaintiff’s Lawyer: (Looks dramatically at the audience ) He didn’t seem to care about the sheep indeed. Negligence. I have no further questions your honor and no further witnesses.
Judge: Defense counsel; do you wish to call any witnesses?
Defense Lawyer: I would like to call the defendant, Mr. Shepherd, to the stand.
(Bailiff escorts him to stand) Bailiff: Do you swear to tell the whole truth or Judge Judy will swear at you?
Mr. Shepherd: I will.
Defense Lawyer: Mr. Shepherd, please tell the court what happened on the night of December 25th.
Mr. Shepherd: We shepherds were living out in the fields, keeping watch over our flocks that night. An angel of the Lord appeared to us, and the glory of the Lord shone around us, and we were terrified. But the angel said to us, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” When the angels had left us and gone into heaven, we said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So we hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When we had seen him, we spread the word concerning what had been told us about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what we said to them. Shortly after, we returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things we had heard and seen, which were just as we had been told.
Defense Lawyer: Amazing! Anyone in your position would have left the sheep for such a miraculous event. But you still offered to pay off the price of the sheep didn’t you?
Mr. Shepherd: Yes, but I am poor and don’t have that kind of money on hand. It would take a couple weeks to pay it off. But let’s not lose sight of what is important here. God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son so that whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life.
Defense Lawyer: Well said. As you can see your Honor, something life changing and world changing happened that night. My client was not negligent; he was responding to the eternal. No further questions.
Plaintiff’s Lawyer: Where is this young woman and her special child whom you allegedly saw? We could not locate them anywhere.
Mr. Shepherd: I heard that they fled to another country because they feared the current government.
Plaintiff’s Lawyer: Sure a lot of people, like Hollywood stars, said they would leave the country when the new government came to power, but they never did. You don’t know where this young woman and child are; do you?
Mr. Shepherd: No, I don’t know for sure, but the word is that they fled to Egypt because king Herod was after them.
Plaintiff’s Lawyer: The bottom line is that they are not here to corroborate your story – how convenient! Isn’t it true that you made this whole story up to cover your own reckless debauchery!
Mr. Shepherd: No, what I said was true. I am sorry to have lost the sheep, but what was going on was so much bigger than that sheep or even my life.
Plaintiff’s Lawyer: No further questions.
Judge: Any more witnesses?
Defense Lawyer: The defense calls another shepherd as well as the defendant’s little sister, Bo peep to the witness stand.
(Bailiff escorts Mr. Pasteur and Bo peep to stand) Bailiff: Do you swear to tell the truth?
Bo peep & Mr. Pasteur (shepherd 2) : I do.
Defense Lawyer: First, let me ask you Mr. Pasteur. You are a shepherd and were there that night, correct?
Mr. Pasteur: That is correct.
Defense Lawyer: Can you corroborate the defendant’s testimony? Did you see the angels and the young woman and the Christ-child?
Mr. Pasteur: Yes, it was amazing! I would never have imagined that God would announce to shepherds that he was fulfilling his promise to send the Messiah. Kings and peasants are all equal before the most high God. So yes, I saw the angels and the Christ-child right where the angels said he would be.
Defense Lawyer: Thank you Mr. Pasteur. Now, Little Bo peep, can you describe your brother’s behavior after that night?
Bo peep: Although his story is incredible, I have never seen my brother so focused and happy before. He used to be somewhat mean to me and lazy. Since that night he has been so kind and forgiving and helpful. He says that God has given him so much, even though he doesn’t deserve it, so how could he not give that same type of kindness and forgiveness to other people. I wasn’t there that night, but something special happened.
Defense Lawyer: Thank you Bo Peep. No further questions. Your witness.
Plaintiff’s Lawyer: Ms. Bo peep, am I correct in saying that your family has a history of losing sheep?
Bo peep: Well, um . . .
Plaintiff’s Lawyer: In fact, your brother is a lot like you, little Bo Peep who lost her sheep and didn’t know where to find them. You thought you could just leave them alone and they would come home, wagging their tails behind them – but this is the real world not some nursery rhyme and when you leave sheep alone they get lost. Like sister, like brother!
Defense Lawyer: Objection your honor. Bo Peep’s past record has no bearing on this case, and we do not dispute that the defendant lost the sheep.
Judge: Alright, I have heard enough evidence to reach my verdict, and we are coming up to a commercial break. Would the plaintiff and defendant please rise? As far as the plaintiff’s suit, your claim of emotional pain and suffering is ridiculous, and the defendant’s offer to repay through work seems fair. I order the defendant to work off his debt by this time next year. It is clear that something incredible happened that night to cause Mr. Shepherd to leave his sheep. It is not the place of this court to order people to look into that event, but it sounds important enough to warrant serious consideration and thought. Court is adjourned.
Play written by : Joseph Greene, (c) 2017.