Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Annunciation: A Modern Retelling

Australian Catholics asked me to write a piece for them imagining what if the Annunciation happened today. You can find the link to the actual piece here. I've done my best to paste it below, too.

(Lingo note: 'The Chaser' is a TV program in Australia that specializes in pranks on politicians and others. And a "galah" is an incredibly loud and obnoxious parrot to be found all over the country.)



HOW I MET YOUR FATHER 


(SETTING Perth, Australia. A home in an outer suburb. Today. MARY, 17, is on the phone to a GIRLFRIEND.)


MARY
It is not weird.

GIRLFRIEND
(on speaker) It's weird.

MARY
It's not like we're getting married today.

FRIEND
Still weird.

MARY
You just don't like him.

FRIEND
He wants you to get married when your lives are just beginning. Of course I don't like him

MARY
Well, I think we're going to be very happy together.

FRIEND
Maybe for the first two minutes.

(The doorbell rings.)

MARY
I gotta go.

FRIEND
Just one word to think about.

MARY
Is it 'weird'?

FRIEND
Yep.

(Mary hangs up and hurries to the front door. Opening it reveals AN ANGEL, tall, three sets of bright multicolored wings, stands at the door, barely fitting under the awning.)

ANGEL
Hail, Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee!

(His voice booms through the neighborhood. Mary stands there, dumbfounded.)
ANGEL
(more normal voice) You are Mary, right?

(The angel checks a map he has.)

ANGEL
It's very hard to pick out the right house in this neighbourhood.

MARY
Uh...yeah, I'm Mary. And you are...?

ANGEL
I'm an angel of the Lord, sent to tell you...

MARY
An angel.

ANGEL
Look at me. What else would I be?

(Mary stares at him, then looks past him outside.)

MARY
This is a bit for The Chaser, isn't it?

ANGEL
It's not.

MARY
I don't believe you.

ANGEL
Really, it's not. Although funny story about the Chaser boys, not long ago they got past St Peter at the Pearly Gates and shot a hilarious bit following Jesus around.

MARY
'Jesus'?

ANGEL
Whoops, sorry, putting the cart before the horse. Jesus is the son you're going to have.

(Mary stares at him, dumbfounded.)

ANGEL
Mary?

MARY
Get off it.

ANGEL
Do I look like I'm having a laugh?

MARY
Have you seen yourself? You look like the world's biggest galah.

ANGEL
Silence!

(His voice echoes through the neighbourhood. Trees shake.)

ANGEL
Look, I'm sort of squished out here. Could I come in and explain?

(Mary steps aside. His wings knock things left and right as he walks.)

ANGEL
Whoops. Sorry about that. Was that expensive? God will pay for it.

(Mary sits on a couch. Angel stands before her and cracks his neck.)

ANGEL
So much better. So here's the thing: Mary, God loves you.

MARY
Okay...

ANGEL
Like, a lot.

MARY
Isn't that his job?

ANGEL
Yes, it is. He loves everyone. But you're his favourite.

MARY
Seriously?

ANGEL
Yes. And he's sent me here to tell you he loves you so much, you're going to conceive in your womb, and you will...

MARY
Wait... what?

ANGEL
I know, the language is a little stilted. But that's what he told me to say.

MARY
You know I'm engaged, right?

ANGEL
Oh we're talking to Joseph, too.

MARY
I bet that will go well. 'Hail, Joseph, full of whatever, your soon-to-be wife is going to be having God's baby.'

ANGEL
We're pretty sure he's going to punch the angel in the nose. But then he'll calm down. Slightly.

MARY (sarcasm):
Oh well then, I guess it's no worries.

ANGEL (misunderstanding):
Ah, good. So, here's how it's going to work: the Holy Spirit is going to come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.

MARY
That sounds absolutely terrifying.

ANGEL
Yeah. God really doesn't know how to put things sometimes.

MARY
I've never even had, you know, relations.

ANGEL
I know. It's a lot.

MARY
It is!

(Mary paces)

MARY
You could choose anybody. Choose Princess Kate! Or even Pippa!

ANGEL
They're not you.

MARY
Me? I'm a kid. I don't even know how to do my own laundry yet.

ANGEL
You're a kid getting married. Which tells me, you're already willing to take a big leap of faith. Think of this as just leaping a little bit more.

MARY
Just a little bit more? We're talking about the Son of God!

ANGEL
Okay, how about this: since he's the Son of God, maybe he'll grant you three wishes.

MARY
What, like a genie?

ANGEL
Exactly.

MARY
Does it work like that?

ANGEL
Actually, no. For most of his life he'll actually be pretty ordinary.

(Mary thinks deeply.)

MARY
Will he have a happy life?

ANGEL
Oh, he'll be very happy with you. You'll do fine.

MARY
No, I mean, if he's with us, will he have a good life?

(The angel thinks about this.)

ANGEL
Sometimes it won't look like it. But yes. In a strange way, he will have the happiest of lives.

(Mary considers this.)

MARY
Well then, okay. Let's do this.

(The angel cheers. Every item of glass in the house shatters.)

MARY
Just so you know, when I've had the baby, you are not to come visit.

ANGEL
Understood.

THE END


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