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Angel Squadron

by Peter White


     

Angel Squadron - a modern nativity
... a modern take on the traditional nativity ...

     

Synopsis

'Angel Squadron' is a very modern Nativity and tells the Christmas story from the point of view of the angels, who feature prominently throughout the story. Angels are found in Christian, Jewish and Muslim beliefs, and are described as supernatural beings, intermediate between God and humans.

The author wanted to produce something that boys in particular could enjoy, and the style is something of a homage to the 'Battle of Britain' type films prevalent in the 1960s. It's a lot of fun but also very thought-provoking, covering as it does parts of the Christmas story that are often neglected in traditional ‘tea-towel’ Nativity plays.

The premise of this marvellous musical is that the 'angel squadrons' are carrying out 'secret missions' briefed by the 'Supreme Commander'. It takes place at the angels ‘airfield’ and on earth, in and around Bethlehem at the time of Jesus’ birth. The musical clearly represents the Christian understanding of Christmas and also has an evangelical element. It was first performed at Christmas in 2005 at Billericay Baptist Church in Essex.

The show has two versions - the original one act version running for about 1 hour 15 minutes with 14 songs, and, a newer two act version with 24 musical items running for about 1 hour 40 mins (exc interval).

Both versions can be performed if required with a cast as large as 80 members between the ages of five and sixteen. Musically 'Angel Squadron' is quite diverse including an R&B rap, a reggae song, a spoof 60’s spy theme, a ‘rat pack’-style song and a closing rock-style number.

Gender Roles : Angels are spiritual beings and therefore have no gender, however the lead roles of Astra and Celeste have been written as male and female respectively, and other roles have, for convenience, been assigned a gender. Creative Directors should though not be restricted by this convention. All the angel parts are completely interchangeable with only the ‘human’ roles (which figure less prominently) presenting more of a challenge. With a little alteration, the script could easily be adapted for an all male or all female cast.


Characters

Principals (6m, 3f, 3m/f)
  Cadet Astra - a young Cadet Angel, a superb flyer with a ‘gung-ho’ attitude to match, (think ‘Top Gun’).
  Cadet Celeste - a young Cadet Angel with a voice like an angel, has her heart set on a solo career.
  Cadet Stratus - Celeste’s ‘best mate’ (m/f).
  Wing Commander Gabriel - has a commanding presence.
  Chief Of Staff - Gabriel’s personal assistant (m/f).
  Squadron Leader Nimbus - an experienced campaigner, the ‘Old Man’ who the squadron look up to.
  Flight Lieutenant Aurora - the dream specialist (m/f).
  Elizabeth - non-speaking role, but needs to be good singer, preferably with dancing abilities.
  Mary - non-speaking role, but needs to be good singer.
  Wise Men 1, 2 & 3 - all need a good sense of comic timing.
 
Support (5m, 11m/f)
  Flight Controller - an offstage voice, a typical 1940’s BBC announcer (m).
  Narrators 1, 2 & 3 - need good reading voices and a good sense of rhythm (m/f).
  Shepherds 1, 2 & 3 - all need a good sense of comic timing (m/f).
  Air Vice Marshall Michael - delivers lines with the spoken authority of Sir Lawrence Olivier (m).
  Flightt Lieutenant Solar - flying ace, good sense of humour, awfully posh accent, Astra’s immediate superior (m/f).
  Choir Master - a one scene cameo, but should command the stage (m/f).
  Navigation Officer - cameo role (m/f).
  Intelligence Officer - cameo role (m/f).
  Cockney Angel - cameo role, chirpy, short, from East London, insufferably optimistic (m).
  Met Officer - cameo role, but crucial to the plot (m/f)
  Zacharia - non-speaking role (m)
  Joseph - non-speaking role, but needs to be to display pathos (m)
 
  Extra’s - Angels, Shepherds, Traders etc. The song ‘Born In A Stable’ offers opportunities for a number of non-speaking, non-singing cameo roles.
 

Songs

One Act Version  
  1) Angel Squadron March Angels
  2) Astra Groove Astra and Chorus
  3) Celestial Rap Celeste and Chorus
  4) God’s Secret Agents Four Angels
  5) Angel Squadron (Reprise) Angels
  6) Who Am I? Mary
  7) Never Too Old Elizabeth and Mary
  8) Brand New Day, Part 1 Aurora and Chorus
  9) Born In A Stable Soloist and Chorus
10) Gloria Michael, Gabriel and Chorus
11) We Three Kings (segues into) Wise Men 1, 2 and 3
      Go Back
Aurora and Chorus
12) Brand New Day, Part 2 Aurora and Chorus
13) Astra & Celeste Rap (Reprise) Instrumental
14) Ten Thousand Angels Company
   
Two Act Version  
  1) Angel Squadron March Angels
  2) Astra Groove Astra and Chorus
  3) Gloria (part)  
  4) Created To Sing  
  5) Celestial Rap Celeste and Chorus
  6) God’s Secret Agents Four Angels
  7) Ground Control Rap #1  
  8) Angel Squadron (Reprise) Angels
  9) Ground Control Rap #2  
10) Who Am I? Mary
11) Ground Control Rap #3  
12) Never Too Old Elizabeth and Mary
13) Brand New Day, Part 1 Aurora and Chorus
14) Born In A Stable Soloist and Chorus
15) Ground Control Rap #4  
16) Gloria Michael, Gabriel and Chorus
17) The Big Wing  
18) We Three Kings (segues into) Wise Men 1, 2 and 3
      Go Back
Aurora and Chorus
19) Brand New Day, Part 2 Aurora and Chorus
20) Ground Control Rap #5  
21) Angel Squadron (Reprise)  
22) Whispered Prayer  
23) Astra & Celeste Rap (Reprise) Instrumental
24) Ten Thousand Angels Company

     

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