Cast of 30.
Duration: around 10 minutes reading time, not including songs, poetry, prayer or jokes.
Two miracles - and some very keen combatants! Our narrator certainly has his work cut out for him on this one!
Narrator: (Wiping his brow) Phew! Those Maccabees! Bit of a lively lot! Let’s look at how Hanukkah is celebrated before we return to them!
Child 10: But we haven’t said what Hanukkah is yet!
(Narrator consults his notes)
Narrator: Oh really? Well, fancy missing that bit out! Please proceed! Now let’s see. Maybe we should start with what Hanukkah means?
Child 11: Hanukkah comes from the Hebrew word meaning ‘dedication’.
Narrator: Ah, Hebrew you say?
Child 11: That’s right. This is, after all, a Jewish festival.
Child 12: That’s because it was the Jewish people who were persecuted all those years ago!
Child 13: Over 2,000 years ago to be precise!
Child 14: It was in the year 167 BC that a certain Syrian-Greek emperor
(Enter Antiochus Epiphanes)
Antiochus: (Interrupting) That would be me, Antiochus Epiphanes!
Child 14: (Continuing) Invaded Judea
Mattathias: (Furiously) And defiled my temple! Despicable what he and his forces did!
Antiochus: (Defiantly) Well, you know what they say? Out with the old, in with the new!
(Mattathias strides over to Antiochus, shaking his fist; Narrator intercepts swiftly)
Narrator: Now, now, gentlemen! What was I saying about no violence today?
Antiochus: (Brushing himself down) Oh you needn’t worry about that! I mean, look at him! (pointing at Mattathias) Not exactly in his prime, right? And just a priest!
Mattathias: Huh! You may laugh! But you were no match for my boys!
*(Music - optional burst of ‘The Boys are Back in Town – Thin Lizzy)
(Enter five sons of Mattathias, brandishing swords)
Jochanan: Here we are!
Simeon: What’s up, father?
Eleazer: Need anyone ‘finishing off’?
Jonathan: We can do that, no probs!
Judah: Never fear!
All five: (Together) The Maccabees are here!
Narrator: Stop! Stop, this minute! You may be heroes of your time – but I want none of your heroics here today!
(Exit five sons, sulkily)
Narrator: (To Antiochus) OK. So let’s hear from you first. What was it you did that got everyone so upset?
Antiochus: (Stroking his chin, thoughtfully) Hmm. Now let me see. Could it have been
Mattathias: (Interrupting) The looting of my temple! Shall we start with that?
Antiochus: OK. Or the
Mattathias: (Interrupting) Sacrificing pigs at my altar!
Antiochus: Your altar? Oh I don’t think so. What did you not understand about that proclamation - All Judaism to be outlawed?
Narrator: Ooh! Sounds a bit harsh!
Antiochus: Harsh times, my man!
(Aside to Narrator) Course, between you and me I never thought setting up that altar to Zeus in the temple would go down too well!
Mattathias: Blasphemy! My temple well and truly defiled!
(Mattathias collapses, sobbing in a heap on the floor)