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Thursday, December 6, 2007

A Christmas Play

A One Act Christmas Play
Dr. Lester CN Simon

Scene: The reception area of a small hotel in Antigua.

Jonathan: Joseph, I know it’s none of my business but I think you should do a paternity test on the child.
Joseph: There is no point in doing a paternity test. I know the child is not mine, in one way. But in another way, the child belongs to me and to all of us.
Jonathan: Yea right. So; since the child belongs to all of us, all of us want to know who is the real father.
Joseph: I know who is the real father and you know who is the real father.
Jonathan: Yes, but if you do the paternity test we can see what the DNA of the real father looks like. I made a call to the lab and they said that you and the child can do the test. The mother does not have to take the test since it is the father we are concerned about.
Joseph: We?
Jonathan: Yes, we. You said the child belongs to all of us.

Another worker enters.

Mizpah: Good afternoon. I see you two are busy chatting away as usual. Might I remind you that we are here to work? Look at how untidy the place looks. The reception area must be immaculate. It is the first place where the visitors stop.
Jonathan: That’s the very same thing we were discussing, Mizpah: The conception of immaculate reception; or is it the reception of immaculate….
Mizpah: Jonathan. I think you should leave Joseph alone and mind your own business.
Jonathan: But Joseph said it is everybody’s business; just like tourism.
Mizpah: Yes, and knowing your big, long mouth, the beach is just the beginning too.
Jonathan: Precisely. Imagine how many tourists we would get if the child not just walked on the beach but walked on water and came to one of our celebrity weddings and turned water into wine.
Mizpah: Pity you will not come forth after you drop down dead from all this foolish, ungodly talk.
Jonathan: What’s so wrong about Joseph and the child doing the test? The mother doesn’t have to know.
Mizpah: The mother is the legal guardian of the child. The lab cannot legally and ethically do the test without her consent.
Jonathan: That’s even better. All three of them can do the test. We will find out who the father is and who is the mother. You know what that means Joseph?
Joseph: Since you are the expert and you will tell me anyhow, tell me.
Jonathan: We might just find out that no DNA at all came from the mother. If none of the DNA in the child came from the mother it means that the entire DNA of the child must have come from the real father.
Mizpah: That would mean that the real father exists as male and female. Looking at such a DNA test result would be like looking into the very soul of....……I can’t even think about it. Drop the whole argument. Nobody is going to harass the young mother to consent to any DNA test. She has had enough to bear already.
Jonathan: I notice whenever arguments come up about man and woman business, you Mizpah are always defending women. I have to start watching you day and night.
Mizpah: Start watching me? I look like your daughter? Listen, Jonathan. Mind I don’t put my tongue on you.
Jonathan: Please Mizpah. Don’t threaten me. I am not one of your female friends. All I am saying is that good King Wenceslas is not the only one looking out. Do you hear what I hear? Your chestnuts are roasting on an open fire.
Joseph: This thing has gone too far; much too far.
Mizpah: Well talk to your friend Joseph. I work here during the day. Only shepherds watch their flocks by night; so tell Jonathan to just drop me at the foot of the cross.
Jonathan: It’s just a joke. Let’s get back to work.
Mizpah: You insult me and then call it a joke? Joseph; please talk to your friend, otherwise when I am done with him, he will want more than two front teeth for Christmas. I don’t understand you men. Every time women defend each another, it’s one big argument about power and sexuality. All I am saying is to let the young mother rest. She carried so much for so many. Nobody is doing any DNA test for paternity, maternity, fraternity or anything else. Nobody. Tell him Joseph.

After an awkward moment of silence.

Mizpah: If women don’t look out for each other, who will? My name, Mizpah, means watchtower. You read in Genesis that God said, “Let us make man in our image”. What do you think “us” and “our” mean? They must mean male and female. And yet, throughout the ages, the role of women, from biblical times to now, has been played down. Deliberately. Do you know there is a Gospel of Mary and that there are other Gnostic Gospels? Do you know there was a big, historical quarrel between Christians, with some calling themselves orthodox and branding other Christians as heretics? There was a deliberate attempt to wipe out virtually all the feminine imagery of God from orthodox Christian tradition, as the brilliant historian, Dr. Elaine Pagels noted. The revered Gnostic texts were omitted from the selected, canonical collection called the New Testament. Do you know that?
Jonathan: All I know is that Nietzsche, the philosopher, wrote that there was only one Christian, and he died on the cross.
Mizpah: And who brought him into this world? And who was there to the very earthly end at the foot of the cross with him?
Joseph: Enough. Let the whole thing rest. Please. All I have to say to you Mizpah and to you Jonathan is simply this: Mary Christmas. Mary Christmas to you.

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