The Wakefield Second Shepherd's Play

full set

The Long Beach Shakespeare Company 2007
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full set stage right detail scene angels nativity set nativity scene  

This is a little-known 14th century pageant play. About 85% of the show is a sort of a slap-shtick melodrama - centering around the three shepherd’s and a sheep thief and his wife; and then it does a completely serious and beautiful turn around for the ending which is where the shepherd’s arrive at the nativity. For the overall look of the show I just wanted to go for something that would be seen in a pageant - almost childlike. I used bright colors, basic forms, and simple detail. The majority of the show takes place out in the fields where the shepherds are, and then in Mak’s (the sheep thief) house. The areas are delineated by levels, but really the only thing that separates them is the paint treatment - and the fact that Mak’s house has a door and a few simple pieces of furniture. The lighting is kept pretty bright and colorful. The Angels appear in a quiet, and dark, sequence where they sing above the sleeping shepherds - while the star lights up from behind a scrim - and then it is off to the nativity scene. The wall of Mak’s house opens, and a platform moves out (maneuvered from off stage) holding Mary and the manger - all the while the lights (now soft and warm) are slowly fading in and cast members are singing “We Three Kings”. It ended up being a very fast and funny show where it was supposed to, and a beautiful scene of the nativity when the transformation came.