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THE DEPARTMENT STORE WINDOW

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Actors 1 Window dresser
2 Window washers
Several mannequins—an angel, 1 or 2 shepherds, Mary, Joseph, 1 or 2 Wisemen, 2 sheep (Use the pastor or youth pastor here—the kids will love it.)

Equipment The scene: A store window
Manger, hay, doll in manger (baby), other nativity scene props, such as shepherds’ staffs, gifts for the Wisemen, etc., and window-washing equipment

Action The scene opens with the mannequins at the back of the stage with their backs to the audience, in bare feet and dressed in the appropriate robes (wearing shorts, no pant legs showing). The two window washers are stage front and have sponges, squeegees, buckets, overalls, caps, etc. They are washing a huge window that covers the whole front of the stage. These two characters should be chosen for their ability to be real hams (spitting on the window when they can’t get a spot off, etc.). After a few minutes, one goes off stage and washes the window from the inside, matching the other’s motions. The actors should have a lot of fun with this part and draw laughter from the audience.
After a little while, a woman window dresser enters from backstage with a pencil behind her ear and a clipboard under her arm, dressed obviously like a businesswoman. Ignoring the window washers at first, she drags a large box to stage right that is full of scarves, crowns, halos, and other nativity props. Just off stage, out of sight but easily accessible, should be two chairs, the manger, a doll, staffs, etc. (the larger props). The dresser then steps backward (toward the audience), takes a look at what she has to work with, and then goes to the mannequins and drags some backward to stage front. All mannequins must lock their knees, feigning dead weight and staying absolutely still. One of the shepherds can be brought out first and positioned to the right of the stage near the front. As she tries to adjust him into position— hands, head, legs, etc., she realizes she could use the help of the window washers. She mimes talking to the one on the inside. He agrees and she motions the other one to come inside. Both washers join her and drop all their equipment backstage before continuing.
As the dresser has the washers drag mannequins one by one to places she indicates (see diagram), she meanwhile adds a sash here, a headpiece there, a scarf here and there—never dressing one mannequin completely—so that the audience is not aware of the nativity scene yet. The whole procedure of positioning the mannequins takes quite a while, and the key to its success is the ability of the window washers to ham it up while the dresser seeks to seriously arrange her display. Every time her back is turned or she is involved with a mannequin, the washers goof around by sticking fingers of mannequins in their noses, raising their arms and holding their noses, etc. The more laughs the better. The washers would be doing this between dragging around the mannequins as directed by the dresser. As the dresser keeps discovering their antics, she keeps shooing them to the side, shaking her head and putting the mannequins back in position. The dresser should also change her mind a few times and have the washers move mannequins back or forward a few inches as if she is really arranging a display.
When Mary is brought out, the dresser should have a chair brought out for her to sit on. The last mannequin to be brought out should be the angel. The angel should be one of the last to be completely dressed in a white robe and with a halo on her head. Then she should be lifted up (knees locked) on another chair by the two washers. A word of caution: As this pantomime can take quite a while, be careful not to have the angel spread her arms out to the side too soon or she will not be able to hold that position. The same goes for the other mannequins. Keep everyone in easy positions until just before the end when some last-second adjusting can be done.
Only after all the characters are positioned, place the final headpieces on the mannequins, then get the gifts, staffs, and have the washers bring out the manger and doll. The dresser motions her thanks and shoos the washers, taking the box with them, off stage. The dresser does any final arranging needed and when clearly satisfied, leaves the stage.
The house lights go off. The spotlights come on, and a soloist then sings two verses of “0 Holy Night” or “Silent Night.” The impact is dramatic.

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