I am in a play in a couple of weeks. It is the nativity play told from the point of view of the shepherds. I have been in this play, many times. Sometimes I have played Mary, sometimes the angel, a few times a shepherd.
This year I am playing the first innkeeper. You know the one - no room at the inn. Well, they all respond with no room at the inn, but in varying ways.
Because of peoples' schedules the two cast members who play the other two innkeepers are not always present which means during rehearsal I have often played all three innkeepers.
It is eye-opening, or maybe, soul-opening.
The first innkeeper, Rufinous, is supposedly a friend of Joseph's. Even though he is a friend, and even though he sympathizes with their plight, he does nothing to ease their situation.
The second innkeeper, Servilus, is just mean. Mean through and through. No sympathy. Only driven by money.
The third innkeeper, Titus, also has no room at the inn, but seeing their plight tries to make a bad situation better by offering them the stable.
The three vignettes take place in a matter of minutes. It is so odd to play the three different characters and have to shift my attitude, voice, body language to portray their attitudes.
I think there are times for all of us when we exhibit the attitude of all of these innkeepers. I know I have.
I know I have walked by someone who needed help,someone who considers me a friend, and because of my own situation kept walking. I know there are times when I have helped a little when I could have helped more. I know there are times when the economics of a situation stayed my attempts.
This is the beauty of the nativity story. I believe there are times in our life when we are all of the characters in the story. The young, frightened Mary, the responsible, but helpless, Joseph, the simple shepherds, the wise magi, the innkeepers, and yes, even the angel, who watches it unfold knowing there is a bigger mystery behind it all.
The story, whether you are Christian, or not, is an archetype, an allegory if you will.
It is in every one of us.
It's in every one of us
To be wise
Find your heart
Open up both your eyes
We can all know everything
Without ever knowing why
It's in every one of us
By and By.
(Ann Mortifee, Journey to Kairos - one woman show, 1979)
Click here to hear a sample of this song (#9) - it is so beautiful.