I have read a number of articles recently on making Christmas decorations and scenes, so I've decided to lay out how to direct a nativity play casted by hamsters.
I ought to let you know that this venture is not for the fainthearted or the frugal. Directing a cast of hamsters can be exhausting, and the little critters aren't cheap either. I mean, even when playing a minor role a hamster will expect you to pay through your nose.
The Cast (all hamsters are assumed to be Syrian)
Mary : One heavily pregnant hamster. You want her to be roughly 16 days pregnant on the day of the big production.
Joseph : A male hamster.
Baby Jesus(es) : Played by one of (or all of) the babies in the mother hamster's womb. There are some complications which need to be considered, but I'll cover this below.
The Three Kings : Three male hamsters. For diversity's sake, one should be black, one brown and one white.
The Shepherds : Three male hamsters.
Flock of sheep : 30 white baby hamsters.
The Donkey : A large male hamster.
The play should move very fast, as hamsters are very restless creatures. It starts with Mary and Joseph arriving at the stable. Mary should be riding on the donkey. From experience, I should warn you that the donkey typically does not like this, and Joseph and the donkey often end up fighting over Mary.
Upon arriving in the stable, you want Mary to give birth to the baby Jesus(es). Timing is everything. A Syrian hamster will give birth any time after 16 days, so you will want to delay the production until she is just about ready.
Note, while a Syrian hamsters' litter sizes average 6-8 pups, they can be as large as 20. You have two options. Either have one baby Jesus, and sneak the rest of the babies out the back, or have multiple baby Jesuses, which is historically inaccurate. If you go with the latter, bear in mind that the stable could get pretty chaotic.
It is important to have an extra pair of hands available to keep the baby Jesus(es) from being eaten by Joseph or the donkey.
Now it is the time for the shepherds to arrive with their flock of sheep. You will need another pair of hands to prevent the shepherds from eating the sheep. Actually, make that several pairs of hands. The shepherds should be wearing tiny little headscarves, which can be made cheaply from an old tea towel.
It is wise to place the set on a thick plastic sheet, as the flock of sheep tend to wee everywhere, which is extremely unprofessional, and smelly to say the least. Whatever you do, don't place the stage on your parent's new carpet, or your grandma's antique cabinet. Hamster wee is very acidic.
The time has come for the three kings to arrive. They should be wearing little pointed hats, which are easy to make from paper. Little pointy booties are also an option, although hamsters find these difficult to walk in. If you go down this route, be wary that the three kings can become quite aggressive if they keep tripping up on stupid pointy boots.
At this point you want the cast to prepare for the final bow. This is extremely difficult to orchestrate, and the stable will be chaotic and full of "activity". If you are not vigilant, the kings, shepherds, Joseph and the donkey will end up fighting furiously. Watch out for any escaping sheep.
I should add that a consent form should be filled out by every member of the cast, excluding the baby Jesus(es), who will be covered by their mother's signature.