Act One, Scene 1

Segment 1.1

(The stage is rimmed with a circular stone colonnade. An expanse of deep blue sky and bright stars is projected above it. As the play progresses, we see the sun rise and set, and clouds move across the horizon. Atop the colonnade, angels and prophets appear. Beneath, on a circular mosaic floor, the scenes unfold rapidly and lyrically, with musical underscoring. Simple structures and props suggest a variety of settings that flow without interruption from one to another. The production begins with the CHORUS, representing angels and heavenly messengers, singing from the colonnade. Below on stage at Zacharias and Elisabeth’s house, designated by a small bench stage right, ZACHARIAS and ELISABETH kneel and pray.)

[Music cue: “Come, Lord Jesus—Opening Act OneMP3, PDF ]

Come, Lord Jesus, to the manger;
May we see Thy tender face?
Great Creator, here a stranger,
Infant in this humble place.
Darkness scatter, morning swell;
Come, dear Lord Immanuel.
Come, Lord Jesus, to the manger;
Come, Lord Jesus, come.

(Zacharias and Elisabeth's home.  ZACHARIAS packs his bag.)



(A small boy, EZRA, runs in.)

EZRA: Good morning, Zacharias!

ZACHARIAS: We're ready Ezra. The bags are there.

ELISABETH: Did I tell you my cousin is betrother?

ZACHARIAS: (to Ezra) Take this, too, son. (to Elisabeth) You mean cousin Mary?

ELISABETH: Yes.  She'll make a wonderful mother.

ZACHARIAS: You're thinking about not having children again.

EZRA: Anything else, sir?

ELISABETH: (near angry) I am not.

EZRA: Sir?

ELISABETH: I'm not thinking about children again.  I never stop thinking about them.

UNDERSCORE BEGINS [Music cue: “I’ll Give God Forever” MP3PDF ]

EZRA: Sir!

ZACHARIAS: Well, you should try.

EZRA: (resigned) If there's nothing else, sir...

ELISABETH: Oh no you don't! Ezra!

Elisabeth kisses him on the forehead.

ZACHARIAS: Enough, now! We don't need any more of that. Run along, boy.

ELISABETH: Goodbye sweet boy!

EZRA: (teasing) Don't worry! I'll be back... soon!

ELISABETH: (fondly) I hope so.

ZACHARIAS: You can't keep hoping forever--

ELISABETH: (turning on him) Listen, Zacharias, you know that...

ELISABETH (cont’d)

I’ve wanted only one thing since I could braid my hair,
When tending to my dolls was just an art.
And now I can’t dismiss it, or drive it from my heart.
How can I stop a thing I didn’t start?

ZACHARIAS: Elisabeth...

I’ll give God forever to make me what I am.
Give my plans and give my dreams,
Give up all my fretful schemes.
I’ll give God this moment to fill my soul with cheer.
I’ll give Him forever more
And that will keep Him near.

(Underscore continues.)

ZACHARIAS: Yes, we must leave it in the hands of the Lord and not worry about it.

ELISABETH: Well then, I won’t worry, but I won’t forget.

ZACHARIAS: No, I wouldn’t expect you to.

ZACHARIAS (singing)
Of course, I’ve dreamt of drawing the lot one sacred day
And stepping forward straight and square and tall–
I pour the holy incense; the plume goes up to God!
I’ve known it, seen it, smelled it, felt it all.

(Underscore continues.)

ELISABETH: Oh, Zacharias, I knew you hadn’t given up hope!

ZACHARIAS: Hope, no, but my demands, yes.

ELISABETH: What do you mean?

I’ll give God forever, but not to do my will.
Give my plans and give my dreams,
Give up all my lofty schemes.
I’ll give God this moment, and if it’s not to be,
Giving Him forever means
I’ll wait and watch and see.

(Underscore continues.)

ELISABETH: Oh Zacharias, it’s not too late for you.

ZACHARIAS: Please be reasonable. Let’s say I’m never chosen to burn the incense–-

ELISABETH (in frustration, throwing up her hands): Ah!

ZACHARIAS: (losing patience) Now come here! Don’t you understand? It’s all right with me now! I have not been chosen, and you have not been chosen to have . . . (suddenly cathing himself, softening) We have not been chosen to have children. But we still trust in the Lord.

ELISABETH: Trust in the Lord, yes, that He will fulfill His promises—

ZACHARIAS: In His due time.

ELISABETH: In His due time.

I’ll give God forever and then give one day more!

ZACHARIAS :What are plans

ELISABETH: and what are dreams?

ZACHARIAS: What is what?

ZACHARIAS and ELISABETH: Not what it seems!
I’ll give God this moment and let Him lead me on!

I’ll give Him forever more,

Until my hours,

Until my days,

Until my years are gone.

(Underscore continues. Ezra runs in.)

EZRA: (teasing) I'm back!

ELISABETH: Son soon?

EZRA: (to Elisabeth) What did I tell you?

ZACHARIAS: (handing him the bag) You forgot a few things.

EZRA: Only a few, sir?

ZACHARIAS: We're going to the temple, Ezra. One must be ready to do God's will, whatever it is, wherever it takes him...

EZRA: If you say so.

ZACHARIAS: I do. That will be all, Ezra...

EZRA: Promise?

ZACHARIAS: All for now!

ELISABETH: (to Zacharias) Well then, I will pray for you. For you, there is still time.

ZACHARIAS: And even if there isn’t, may the Lord bless you . . .

ELISABETH: And keep you . . . as He did Abraham and Sarah, who bore a child in her old age.

ZACHARIAS: Elisabeth . . .

ELISABETH: I know. May the Lord bless you . . .

ZACHARIAS: And keep you . . .  (to Ezra) quiet!

ELISABETH: I heard that!

ZACHARIAS: Come along Ezra!

(They exit.)

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