To present in play form a Christmas legend from Russia.
Preparation and materials
Baboushka – The play
Music from the Baboushka song can be playing in the background before the action begins.
Baboushka is on one side of the stage, cleaning her house and dusting her furniture. Some villagers are standing looking up at the sky.
Long, long ago, in the village where Baboushka lived, there was a special feeling in the air.
High in the sky there was a bright star shining. It twinkled and glittered and all the villagers came out of their houses to see it. They stood looking up at the sky.
All the villagers, that is, except Baboushka. She was far too busy cleaning and dusting her house.
Her house was the cleanest in the village and her cooking was famous throughout the land. She hadn’t time to stand around chattering about a star.
She was so busy that she didn’t hear a procession coming nearer.
Suitable fanfare music. Three kings bearing gifts enter, followed by a servant. The villagers watch as the servant knocks on Baboushka’s door.
What do you want?
My masters have travelled a long way, following that star. We have been told that your house is the nicest and cleanest house in the land. May we rest here for a while, please?
Come in, my royal masters.
Sing verse 1 of the Baboushka song, while she dashes around serving them food and drink.
Where are you going?
Sing the chorus, ‘Oh Baboushka, we’re following a star’.
We are going to find a newborn baby king.
We have been following the bright star up there in the sky. It will guide us to where he has been born.
We have gifts for him. See, here are gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Why don’t you come with us, Baboushka, to see this special baby king?
I’d like to, I really would. But I’ve too much work to do and besides, I don’t have a gift to give him.
Sing verse 4, ‘I will, my royal masters’.
Well, think about it, Baboushka, and don’t leave it too late. We’d better be on our way now. We must follow the star.
Your work can wait, can’t it, Baboushka? Why don’t you come with us?
Perhaps I’ll try and catch up with you later on. Goodbye.
Goodbye and thank you.
Kings and servant exit. Sing chorus from verse 4, ‘We dare not wait for you’.
Baboushka goes back to her cleaning. She notices a basket of toys on the floor that had belonged to her son. She cleans and polishes them.
There, now, these toys are fit for a baby king. I will go and find him after all.
Baboushka sets off. She travels a long way. She asks people she meets on her journey if they have seen the procession of kings who were following the star.
Have you seen the kings?
Oh yes, they went that way. (Point.)
Baboushka travels on. She is tired and weary. (Exit Baboushka.)
In the town of Bethlehem there was great excitement. A special baby had been born, in a stable because there was no room at the inn. His cradle was a manger. His name was Jesus.
Assemble the nativity scene on the stage.
The kings present their gifts. Shepherds come from the hills to worship the newborn king.
The shepherds and kings exit, leaving Mary and Joseph alone on stage.
An angel appears.
You must take the baby Jesus into Egypt because Herod the king wishes to kill him.
Mary exits, carrying the baby, with Joseph supporting her.
Baboushka arrives at the stable, but it is deserted.
The innkeeper enters.
Excuse me, have any kings been here? And where is this newborn king? I have a gift for him.
I’m sorry, you’re too late. They’ve all gone. You’ve had a wasted journey.
Baboushka begins to cry. An angel appears.
Don’t cry, Baboushka. Although you haven’t seen him, you have felt him in your heart. The best gift you can give him is the gift of your love.
Baboushka left the stable, but she has never stopped looking for the baby Jesus. At Christmas time in Russia she leaves presents at the homes of sleeping children so that people will remember that the baby Jesus was born to bring peace and love to the world.
Sing verse 6: ‘Through all the years I seek him’. The whole cast assembles on stage to sing the chorus, ‘Baboushka, Baboushka, we find him in our heart’.
Finish the assembly/performance by all singing the Baboushka song and thinking about the words.