On The Way – a sketch for Advent, with MP3!

Snottis Green

For me, Advent all too easily gets swallowed up in Christmas. I blink sometime towards the end of November and when I open my eyes it’s Christmas Eve. Where did the whole ‘journeying to the stable’ thing go?

In the headlong panic to get to the manger I often rush past the prophets the shepherds and the angels – the hope and the love and the joy and the peace. I need to learn to wait a while, and remember that the point of the journey is often the journey itself, rather than the destination.

Join Bob and Betty on their very strange journey around the lesser-known (and rightly so) attractions of rural England, as they learn why the journey is important.

You can listen to an audio file of the sketch by clicking above.

On The Way

Cast:      Bob, Betty, PA

Props:   Whistle, green flag, ‘Bing-Bong’ sound effect, party decorations (eg bunting), glittery clothes, birthday cake, wrapped birthday present.

PA speaks with a ‘pinched nose’ voice and manages props. The [mumble] sections are ‘Snottis Green’ said very indistinctly.

Between stations, Bob and Betty pretend to be a train and ‘chuff’ around the stage, collecting props from PA person on the way. The final journey is to the song ‘The Wheels on the Bus’.

‘Bing-Bong’ can be a sound file, or sung by the PA person, or can be written on a card for the audience to say. Audience can join in with train sound effects too.

You may reproduce this script for rehearsals in a church or educational context, but please retain the copyright notice and destroy scripts after use.

On The Way

© Fay Rowland 2018 http://www.reflectionary.org

PA:         Bing-Bong. This is an announcement from British Rail, Snottis Green station. The train now standing at platform 3 is the 12:25 departure for [Mumbles], calling at Much Wittering, Lower Down, Great Snoring, Nether Regis and [Mumbles].

[Bob and Betty enter, running]

Betty:    Ooh! Ooh! That’s our train! That’s our train! Come on. We don’t want to miss it.

Bob:       Why? What’s all the fuss about? Where are we going?

Betty:    Oh, it’s going to be brilliant. I just can’t wait! I just can’t wait!

Bob:       What can’t you wait for? What’s so important?

Betty:    Oh, it’s so exciting. It’s going to be wonderful when we get there. I just can’t wait!

Bob:       Well, it looks like we’ll have to wait for a bit. I think there’s a delay.

PA:         Bing-Bong. The train for [Mumbles] will be 2 minutes late departing because of leaves all along the route of the branch line.

Betty:    2 minutes, that’s OK. I don’t want to be late.

Bob:       Late for what?

Betty:    I’ll tell you when we get there. Just get aboard. It’s time to go!

[whistle, flag]

Both:     Chuff chuff chuff chuff [collect decorations]

PA:         Bing-Bong. Much Wittering, this is Much Wittering station. Change here for trains to Long Whinging, Grumpingham and Grouse Moor. Alight for local attractions including the International Brussel Sprout Festival.

Bob:       International Brussel Sprout Festival – is that what we’re waiting for?

Betty:    Er, no. But they do have something here that we need. Look what I picked up from the station shop! [drapes decorations round Bob] Oh, it’s so exciting. It’s going to be wonderful when we get there. I just can’t wait!

Bob:       Well, it looks like we’ll have to wait for a bit. There’s a delay again.

PA:         Bing-Bong. The train for [Mumbles] will be 5 minutes late departing because we forgot to buff the buffers and the sleepers are still asleep.

Betty:    5 minutes, that’s not too bad, I suppose. I don’t want to be late.

Bob:       Late for what? Is the Queen coming to visit?

Betty:    Not quite. I’ll tell you when we get there. Just get aboard. It’s time to go!

[whistle, flag]

Both:     Chuff chuff chuff chuff [collect party clothes]

PA:         Bing-Bong. Lower Down, this is Lower Down station. Change here for trains to Duck Down, Neel Down and Awlfawl Down. Alight for local attractions including the National Library of Sticking Plasters.

Bob:       National Library of Sticking Plasters – is that what we’re waiting for?

Betty:    Er, no. But they do have something here that we need. Look what I picked up from the station shop! [drapes party clothes on Bob] Oh, it’s so exciting. It’s going to be wonderful when we get there. I just can’t wait!

Bob:       Well, it looks like we’ll have to wait for a bit. There’s another delay.

PA:         Bing-Bong. The train for [Mumbles] will be 20 minutes late departing because a large hole has appeared adjacent to the track. The Police are going to look into it.

Betty:    20 minutes? Oh dear. I don’t want to be late.

Bob:       Late for what? Is it Strictly Come Dancing?

Betty:    Only in my dreams. I’ll tell you when we get there. Just get aboard. It’s time to go!

[whistle, flag]

Both:     Chuff chuff chuff chuff [collect birthday cake]

PA:         Bing-Bong. Great Snoring, this is Great Snoring station. Change here for trains to Bunk Bedford, Reading-under-Duvet and Nighttime-Super-Mare. Alight for local attractions including the remains of the world’s largest apple orchard.

Bob:       The remains of the world’s largest apple orchard (Cor! That’s not very appealing!) – is that what we’re waiting for?

Betty:    Er, no. But they do have something here that we need. Look what I picked up from the station shop! [hands birthday cake to Bob] Oh, it’s so exciting. It’s going to be wonderful when we get there. I just can’t wait!

Bob:       Well, it looks like we’ll have to wait for a bit. Guess what – a delay!

PA:         Bing-Bong. The train for [Mumbles] will be 40 minutes late departing because a wagon of blue paint has derailed and collided with a wagon of red paint. Both are now marooned.

Betty:    40 minutes! Oh no! I really don’t want to be late.

Bob:       Late for what? Are we going to the Great British Bake Off?

Betty:    Sadly, no. I’ll tell you when we get there. Just get aboard. It’s time to go!

[whistle, flag]

Both:     Chuff chuff chuff chuff [collect present]

PA:         Bing-Bong. Nether Regis, this is Nether Regis station. Change here for trains to Great Butt Oaks, Bishop’s Bottom, and Buttover Top. Alight for local attractions including the Grand Final of the Watching Paint Drying Championships – the record is currently 47 days, but we’ll gloss over that.

Bob:       The Grand Final of the Watching Paint Drying Championships – is that what we’re waiting for? Please say no.

Betty:    Er, no. But they do have something here that we need. Look what I picked up from the station shop! [hands present to Bob] Oh, it’s so exciting. It’s going to be wonderful when we get there. I just can’t wait!

Bob:       Well, it looks like we’ll have to wait for a bit. I think there just might be …

PA:         Bing-Bong. The train for [Mumbles] will be 3 days late departing because a snowflake has been sighted. Alright, not here exactly; it was at the North Pole, but it was definitely a snowflake.

Betty:    3 days? Oh this is just getting silly now. we’re going to be so late.

Bob:       Late for what? And where are we going anyway? All I can hear is [Mumbles]

Betty:    Yes, that’s right. It’s the next station.

Bob:       But WHERE?

Betty:    You’ll find out soon, here comes the replacement bus service.

[Ting-Ting, ‘All Aboard’]

Both:     [sing] The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round, etc

PA:         Bing-Bong. Snottis Green, this is Snottis Green station. Change here for trains to Great Dripping, Nostril Magna and Nostril Parva. Please note that trains to Lesser Pickington may be running on old bogies. Alight for local attractions including The Biggest Birthday Party in the World.

Bob:       Snottis Green? Snottis Green? Now, I’m not one to be picky, but that’s where we started!

Betty:    I know. Isn’t it great? I have been waiting and waiting and waiting to get here.

Bob:       Waiting for WHAT?

Betty:    The birthday party, of course. That’s why we have fancy decorations and snazzy clothes and cake and presents. Hadn’t you figured that out?

Bob:       Sooooo we just went on a huge train journey, through Snodgrass-under-Sludge and Paddling-in-the-Marsh or wherever, just to get back to where we started?

Betty:    Yup.

Bob:       Aaaaand the thing we were waiting for was here all the time?

Betty:    Yup.

Bob:       You mean we’ve waited and waited and waited for something we could have done without all the waiting?

Betty:    Oooooh no. The waiting was important! Almost as important as the arriving. If we had not done the journey we would not have been ready.

Bob:       Oh I see. We needed the journey to get ready for The Biggest Birthday Party in the World!

Betty:    That’s right.

Bob:       But whose party is it?

Betty:    I’m glad you asked that. [walking off] It all started with the prophets, then there were shepherds and angels …

© Fay Rowland 2018 http://www.reflectionary.org

Credits

With thanks to Steve Dawson for a lot of additional material.

S. Dawson Esq. would like to point out that, as a former train driver, he in no way condones the disparagement of the rail system. However, he supplied many of the jokes, so I don’t really think he has a leg to stand on.


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