The Opening Scene of Life of Brian (Three camels are silhouetted against the bright stars

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***** The Opening Scene of Life of Brian ***** (Three camels are silhouetted against the bright stars of the moonless sky, moving slowly along the horizon. A star leads them towards Bethlehem. The WISE MEN enter the gates of the sleeping town and make their way through the deserted streets. A dog snarls at them. They approach a stable, out of which streams a beam of light. They dismount and enter to find a typical manger scene, with a baby in a rough crib of straw and patient animals standing round. The mother nods by the side of the child. Suddenly she wakes from her lightish doze, sees them, shrieks and falls backwards off her straw. She's up again in a flash, looking guardedly at them. She is a ratbag.) Mandy: Who are you? Wise Man 1: We are three wise men. Wise Man 2: We are astrologers. We have come from the East. Mandy: Is this some kind of joke? WM1: We wish to praise the infant. WM2: We must pay homage to him. Mandy: Homage!! You're all drunk you are. It's disgusting. Out, out. WM3: No, no. Mandy: Coming bursting in here first thing in the morning with some tale about Oriental fortune tellers... get out. WM1: No. No we must see him. Mandy: Go and praise someone else's brat, go on. WM2: We were led by a star. Mandy: Led by a bottle, more like. Get out! WM2: We must see him. We have brought presents. Mandy: Out! WM1: Gold, frankincense, myrrh. (Mandy changes direction, smooth as silk.) Mandy: Well, why didn't you say? He's over here ... Sorry this place is a bit of a mess. What is myrrh, anyway? WM3: It is a valuable balm. Mandy: A balm, what are you giving him a balm for? It might bite him. WM3: What? Mandy: It's a dangerous animal. Quick, throw it in the trough. WM3: No it isn't. Mandy: Yes it is. WM3: No, no, it is an ointment. Mandy: An ointment? WM3: Look. Mandy: (sampling the ointment with a grubby finger). Oh. There is an animal called a balm or did I dream it? You astrologers, eh? Well, what's he then? WM2: H'm? Mandy: What star sign is he? WM2: Capricorn. Mandy: Capricorn eh, what are they like? WM2: He is the son of God, our Messiah. WM1: King of the Jews. Mandy: And that's Capricorn, is it? WM3: No, no, that's just him. Mandy: Oh, I was going to say, otherwise there'd be a lot of them. (The WISE MEN are on their knees.) WM2: By what name are you calling him? (Dramatic Holy music... ) Mandy: ... Brian. Three Wise Men: We worship you, Oh, Brian, who are Lord over us all. Praise unto you, Brian and to the Lord our Father. Amen. Mandy: Do you do a lot of this, then? WM1: What? Mandy: This praising. WM1: No, no, no. Mandy: Oh! Well, if you're dropping by again do pop in. They take the hint and rise.) And thanks a lot for the gold and frankincense but ... don't worry too much about the myrrh next time. Thank you ... Goodbye. (To Brian) Well weren't they nice ... out of their bloody minds, but still... (In the background we see the WISE MEN pause outside the door as a gentle glow suffuses them. They look at each other, confer and then stride back in and grab the presents off MANDY and turn to go again, pushing MANDY over. Here, here, that's mine, you just gave me that. Ow!

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