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The Cool Yule Mule

by Peter White


     

The Cool Yule Mule - a modern nativity
... a modern take on the traditional nativity ...

     

Synopsis

OK, let's get one thing absolutely clear: The Bible never mentions that Joseph and Mary had a donkey. However, it is unlikely that a working carpenter could carry on his trade without one and it's equally unlikely that a heavily pregnant teenage girl would be expected to walk the 72 miles between Nazareth and Bethlehem. So, let's not ruin a good story with the facts and roll with the tradition!

'The Cool Yule Mule' is an action-packed, two-act Christmas musical for the whole family, an anthropomorphic adventure where the animals are the stars. For instance, the story of the Magi is told from the viewpoint of the camels ... not their illustrious owners!

The central character is Max, a wise-cracking mule with attitude, who loves to travel and longs for the open road. This sets the style for the play which pays homage to American road movies such as Smokey & the Bandit. Adults might also spot references to films like Easy Rider, Bonnie & Clyde and other movies you'd probably prefer your children not to see! This premise also sets the tone for the music, much of which has an American 'grass roots' style such as Country & Western, Blues or Rock.

Although it is obviously a work of fiction, 'The Cool Yule Mule' is based closely on the Biblical account and attempts to convey the Christian understanding of the meaning of Christmas. The story is told in flashback by a now ancient (but still very sharp-witted) Max and places the story in the wider context of the life and mission of Christ.

The Cool Yule Mule is fun and entertaining but also thought-provoking. Join Max on his journey as he meets some very interesting characters and discovers that the Supreme Being seems to prefer the company of those who would consider themselves very 'ordinary'.


Characters

Principals (3m, 2f)
  Old Max - (m) a very important character, the story is told through his eyes, has arthritis and poor eyesight but retains the same sharp humour of the younger Max
  Billie the Kid - (f) Caleb’s best pal, young, energetic, has only two scenes but is vital to the plot
  Caleb the Colt - (m) Old Max’s grandson, inquisitive, a quick learner, Old Max’s ‘straight man’
  Young Max (Macca) - (m) the lead role, tons of energy, loads of wise-cracking attitude, in almost every scene
  Arella, the Angel Pony - (f) has two very important scenes, very beautiful, dry sense of humour which is not immediately obvious
  
Support (7m, 5f, 13m/f)
  Carmel the Cow - (f) a one-scene role; totally unadventurous, she’d rather be left in peace
  Honest John or Joy - (m/f) a one-scene cameo; second-hand livestock salesperson, uses East End patter, untrustworthy
  Joseph -(m) a major supporting role, needs to be versatile in order to convey many different emotions
  Centurion -(m) a small part but must have authority, would suit a larger actor
  Mary - (f) non-speaking role with one solo song
  Ludicrus - (m/f) a one-scene cameo; Roman army horse, big, powerful and quietly menacing, sounds a little like Robert de Nero
  Odius - (m/f) a one-scene cameo; smaller Roman army horse, not quite as big but still very powerful and menacing, sounds a little like Al Pacino
  Mr Innkeeper - (m) a Jewish husband, must have good comic rapport with Mrs Innkeeper
  Mrs Innkeeper - (f) a Jewish wife, must have a good comic rapport with Mr Inkeeper
  Woodstock - (m/f) a one scene cameo; a hippy sheep who needs to be really ‘groovy’
  Arthur - (m) a one scene cameo; humourless bureaucratic sheep, perhaps with a Yorkshire or London accent
  Waitress - (f) an outgoing, confident and friendly girl mule
  Frankie the Mule - (m/f) a singing role; a good Frank Sinatra impersonator would be useful
  Simeon - (m) a one-scene role; a mysterious old sage sounding just a little like Sir Alec Guiness
  The Bandit - (m/f) a one-scene role; an affable Country and Western-type camel
  Sugar Bear - (m/f) a one-scene role; another affable Country and Western-type camel
  Snowman - (m/f) a one-scene role; yet another affable Country and Western-type camel
  Temple Guards 1, 2 and 3 - (m/f) a one-scene cameo; the bad guys, need to work well together
  Road King - (m/f) a one-scene role; a horse in the Temple Guard, a Hell’s Angel type, nasty, the ‘leader of the pack’
  Electra - (f) a one-scene role; a horse in the Temple Guard, a Hell’s Angel type, another nasty piece of work
  Fat Boy - (m) a one-scene role; a rather obese horse in the Temple Guard, not particularly quick on the uptake
  Disciple - (m) has one scene of two lines, would suit the novice or shy actor
  Desert Angel - (m/f) an off-stage role via PA; must have a good Deep South accent
 
  Chorus - Villagers, Shepherds, 4 x Traders (also sing a six line solo each), 3 x Magi (non-speaking), Temple Guards etc
 

Songs

  1) Hosannah! Company
  2) Market Day Traders & Chorus
  3) Bit in the Middle Max and Chorus
  4) World Upon My Shoulder Max
  5) On the Road Again Max & Chorus
  6) Judaea Ludicrus & Odius
  7) I Cradle the World Mary
  8) Angel Blues Woodstock & Chorus
  9) The Big J Frankie
10) The Temple Instrumental
11) Long Distance Runners Bandit, Snowman & Sugar Bear
12) Dead Sea Riders Road King, Electra & Fat Boy
13) Stateline Max & Chorus
14) Ride On, Ride On Company

     

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