by Fred Passmore
This script is written in the Sheep Laughs Records unique "Play/Act" format. This means you perform to the pre-recorded CD soundtrack, with no lines to memorize! One that all ages can be a part of: children, teens, adults and even seniors. You'll have an easier time recruiting cast members when they hear there are no lines to learn.
Note: This is the full version of the 13 minute play, with the framework that has Grandpa telling the story to a group of children. If you ONLY want the story of Jericho, in a shorter 7-minute isolated form, go here to read it and buy the single download of the MP3!
Synopsis: In a script that is performed without actor lines, only narration supplied on the soundtrack CD, Storyteller Grandpa is relating the Biblical events of the fall of Jericho to a group of children. As he speaks, our imagination brings it to life, and we see parts of the story acted out by the teens and adults. Told from the perspective of some inhabitants of Jericho watching from the wall as the Israelites march around for the 7th time on the 7th day. They laugh and mock them and Rahab who is there in the city. But when the walls fall, they're not laughing any more.
Setting: The stage is divided between the Storyteller's area, and the Jericho Wall scene.
Time to perform: 13 minutes, the time of the narrated soundtrack. But by the time you introduce it, realistically it will be about 15.
IDEA: painted backdrops can add a lot to a stage set without building much. Here is a page from another site that offers some ideas and tips on using this proven theatrical device. One suggestion is to paint large cardboard boxes and stack them up in front of the stage, with the performers on the stage looking over the top boxes. When the "shaking" sounds start on the soundtrack, have the actors react as if in an earthquake. THEY are the ones that cause the boxes to be knocked over as they fall against them, and onto them, and in general knock them down as they react to the sounds.
Characters: Grandpa, the Storyteller. The Storyteller's Wife. The Children that are listening to the Storyteller; at least 5 or 6, but the more you have to use, the better. David McAllister, the Narrator Kid. Rahab, the harlot. A group of Mockers of Jericho, at least 5 or 6. more if you have them. Several members of Rahab's family, among whom are her mother and father which are older adults, younger men who are her brothers, and some young female relatives. The two spies that made a covenant with Rahab, which only come in at the end.
CASTING NOTES: these short series of plays are designed to allow all ages to participate. The kids can be in the group of youngsters that listen to the Storyteller; the teens and adults can act out the story, and an older man can play the Storyteller. An older lady can also play his wife.
Extras: You may cast as many extras as you wish for the listening group of kids, the wall crowd, and Rahab's family.
Special Costumes: Robes for all the Biblical characters.
Props: A length of red or scarlet rope. (A tie-back for a maroon or burgandy satin swag curtain would be great for this. Otherwise, a dyed or spray-painted rope will do.) A fogger machine would be great to enhance the wall destruction scene.
Performance time: 12 minutes and 30 seconds, which is the length of the performance segment on the soundtrack CD. If you forego the support of the CD, which has all the dialog, music and sound effects, and decide to do the narration and other voices yourself, live as the actors perform, expect it to take a good deal longer. But it's really written to do along with the prepared CD.
PERFORMANCE NOTES: All of the action takes place with very little audible sound from the players. They semi-mime everything, talking, laughing, anything that is done, all nearly silently, as the Narrator tells the story. It's like watching a film with the sound turned down low, as a voice-over narrator tells what is happening. All of the sound and dialog comes from the CD. The CD also includes the background music and sound effects mixed in with the narration. It's 100% complete.
Now, you can make some natural sounds as you perform; the kids can express excitement, background talking between the extras can go on; but all at a very LOW volume. It should compliment the CD playing, not distract from it or override it.
IMPORTANT! In every case, the "Actions" description is given in the script just before the narration that describes it. But you DO the actions during the next paragraph. This takes knowing your moves, and rehearsing with the CD; so that you are doing it in-synch with it as it is told, not lagging behind it and reacting to it.
When the narrator is telling of dialog that your character is saying, you do not have to lip-sync it. Just act as if talking at the same time he is telling in general what was said. After all, the audience is hearing the narrator tell the story, and they are only "seeing" you in their imaginations. So, silently and naturally mouth the words that approximate what the narrator relates that your character is saying. You want it to look natural and mostly match what they know you are saying.
REHEARSAL NOTE: Until your actors get used to what they are supposed to be doing, you should have a person reading the narration lines, and the director telling the actors what to do. Once they know, then you can progress to playing the CD as they rehearse. If you try to do it to the CD too early, you'll just have to stop it every few moments.
Promotional materials: Click here for a graphic which you can use to make a poster for your performance.
Soundtrack: This script is written specifically to be performed to the recorded soundtrack. Every single line that you read in the script below (except for the stage directions, of course) is on the soundtrack, mixed with professionally-recorded background music and sound effects. All you will need to do is act along with the CD.
The music and sound effects for this script are on the Combo Package #13 CD, along with the tracks for "A Midnight Dreary," another "Play/Act" format script.
Click here to listen to a 5 and-a-half minute Windows Media preview of the entire soundtrack CD, with short clips from each track!
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"The Jokers Of
by Fred Passmore
Copyright 2008 Sheep Laughs Records
(Begin Track #1: "The Jokers of Jericho" complete with narration.
(ACTIONS DURING THE NEXT PARAGRAPH: Grandpa's Wife comes onstage and is straightening up. In response to a light knocking, she goes to the door on the side of the stage and opens it to several children who are there. She welcomes them warmly, some with hugs, and they sit down on the floor. This happens several times, as more children arrive. As they sit, they are forming a half-circle facing the as-yet-empty Storyteller's chair. It faces away from the audience, and toward the children.)
Narrator: David: My name is David McAllister. This is part of a continuing series that I'm writing which recalls the stories told by legendary local storyteller that we only knew as Grandpa. As a kid in the mid 70's, I enjoyed listening to him relate Bible stories on the radio, and that's where I learned much about God and the things that happened in His word.
The imagination is a wonderful thing, a gift from God. It's not only for children, although they use it the most. With it, we can see things we have only heard about, but never actually seen with our eyes. It is through our imagination, or eyes of faith, that we see the things we read about in the Bible; both in the past, and in the future. I hope that as I tell my story, that your imagination will help you to see it as I did all those years ago. Let's go back in time now... and let the scene come alive as you picture in your mind's eye the memories I am relating.
(ACTIONS DURING THE NEXT PARAGRAPH: The main character, David McAllister, walks down the aisle toward to stage. He seems to be deep in thought, his hands in his pockets. He goes to the door, and Grandpa's wife lets him in. She is particularly warm with him, as she seems to be her favorite. She then brings out a tray of hamd-baked cooklies and offers them to the gathered children. All take one and munch on it. Then Grandpa himself enters from the side. He waves to the children with a smile, and moves slowly to his chair, sitting down in it facing the kids.)
And there I am, heading to Grandpa's house on a Saturday afternoon. You see, he was more special to the kids in my neighborhood, because he lived there! We knew him personally, and just about every Saturday afternoon we'd gather at his house and he'd share his stories in person. If I looked a little down, it's because I had a problem. There were three things I hated most about school.... the annual dance, the weekly math test, and the daily bullying by Elliot Goolsby. Elliot made fun of me for going to church, for not doing the stuff the other kids did, and for not believing what they taught us in science class about evolution. Just the day before he and some of his pals had used my books to play kickball. Even the home-made cookies that Grandpa's wife made for us couldn't cheer me up. Well, not very much.
Then Grandpa held up his hand until we all got quiet, and he began that week's story. I can still remember it today, even after all these years...
Grandpa: How many here have heard about the battle of Jericho? I see some of you have. Well, it's a story in the Bible... a true story, as all of them are... about how the Israelites, the chosen people of God, overcame an insurmountable obstacle by obeying God. The events of this story are found in the book of Joshua, chapter 2, verses 1 through 16. Now, Joshua had been made leader by God after Moses brought them to the edge of the Promised Land that the Lord had given them. But, the people that already lived in the land didn't just up and leave, nosiree. The Israelites had to drive out the sinful pagans who had been judged unfit by God to live there any more. The city of Jericho was protected by high walls on every side. No army could climb it or bring it down. But God had told Joshua to march around the city once a day for six days, with musicians blowing their ram's horns and worshiping the Lord. On the seventh day, there were to march around it seven times, and then blow on their trumpets when given the command. And all of the people were to shout when they heard the trumpet. As we join the story, the seventh time around the city is almost finished.
(ACTIONS DURING THE NEXT PARAGRAPH: The actors walk onto the casually onto the stage and look down toward the audience. They are pointing and laughing at the spectacle, enjoying the scene.
Grandpa: Now, I can just imagine what the people living in Jericho thought of all this. It must have seemed crazy to them. Can't you just hear them standing around on the wall, mocking the Israelites as they marched around all day?
I bet some of them gathered to have a party on the wall, and the entertainment and the music was provided by the marching Israelis. Yessir, this was real fun. Can't you just hear them, yelling down at them, taunting and jeering?
(ACTIONS DURING THE NEXT PARAGRAPH: The actors gather at the edge of the stage and look over, seeming to look at the marching groups below them. They cup their mouths and mime yelling down to the marchers, as they point and laugh.)
"Hey, you fools! Do you think that by marching and playing music you can make us give up? Right, like we're just going to give up because you play so badly! ! Your God is as silly as you are!"
(ACTIONS DURING THE NEXT PARAGRAPH: While some look over the wall, others talk among themselves about how great their city is. Each of the two speakers motions around at the things they are talking about. The hearers agree heartily.)
Jericho, the walled city, was a fortress in which the inhabitants lived in total confidence that no army could harm them. Relying upon their own efforts and work, they boasted proudly about their safety from disaster. "Who do these people think they are, coming out of the wilderness and expecting to take over our city and land?" "These walls took years to build, and when the gates are closed, no-one gets in. We have our own crops inside the walls, our cattle, our own water supply. All we have to do is wait til they tire of marching around!"
(ACTIONS DURING THE NEXT PARAGRAPH: Rahab walks onstage, clearly looking for someone, and the mockers look at her. One of them, a young man, doesn't want to be seen by here and tries to hide from her on the other side of the group. As she circles, she eventually sees him and motions to him. He shakes his head, he wants to stay with his friends.)
I know they had their fun, because everyone around them believed like they did. Well, I have to say, not everyone. There was one woman, named Rahab, who wasn't joining in with the crowd. Rahab didn't have a good reputation, but that wasn't why they mocked her. Word had gotten around that she had acted kindly toward some Israeli spies, and in general sympathized with their faith. Rahab had hidden the spies when the town leaders tried to find them, and they could prove nothing against her.
"Hey, look, there's Rahab! I heard she played hostess to some spies from that camp out there! Rahab, what are you going to do when they get tired and go away? Are you going to climb down by that scarlet rope hanging from your window?"
(ACTIONS DURING THE NEXT PARAGRAPH: Rahab moves to the young man and urgently whispers something to him. The young person reluctantly moves to the side with her, a little away from the crowd, and she silently moves her lips as though speaking urgently to him, with imploring gestures. She motions to the marching army below, and then to the heavens above, and to her heart. Her impassioned plea seems to soften the young relative, and they look back at their friends wistfully. Then, with Rahab's encouragement, he allows her to draw him away with her as she leaves.)
Rahab didn't listen, because she believed that the Lord God of Heaven and Earth was with the children of Israel. And she put her trust in Him and had helped the spies escape, and they had promised that she and her family would be spared when the defeat of Jericho came. Only one young relative remained, her cousin. So far she had not been able to reach him with her heartfelt pleas. But this last effort touched their heart, and they saw she was in earnest. As they left together, Rahab hurried home to make sure all of her family was there. "Where you rushing off to, Rahab? You think the wall is going to fall or something? Hey, kid, don't let her make a fool out of you too! Come back and party with us!"
(ACTIONS DURING THE NEXT PARAGRAPH: After waving off the leaving youth, three or four of the revelers join arms and march to and fro, parodying the marchers below, then fall over laughing hysterically as their small audience laughs with them at the joke.)
Yep, those mockers had their day and they had their say, but sooner or later, those that mock God and disbelieve His Word are doomed to fall. Right in the middle of their party, a strange quiet fell as the marching suddenly came to a halt. The crowd on the wall watched as the priests in the army surrounding the city raised their ram's horns to their lips and waited.
(ACTIONS DURING THE NEXT PARAGRAPH: Upon sensing the change in the army below, the revelrers pause and more closely observe the scene. They draw nearer to the edge and look around. A couple of them, the main mockers, act out the dialog below.)
"Why, look, everyone!" said one would-be comedian." They're going to give us a concert!" "Right," replied a buddy," they're so full of hot air, they might just blow us off the wall!" Everyone roared at the joke. "Why, this ought to be good!" And buddy, what happened next was good. Just, not for the inhabitants of Jericho!The silence stretched on... even the birds and the crickets went quiet. The jesters on the wall even got quiet as the unnerving silence got deafening. The wind died down, and it seemed as if the earth itself was holding it's breath.
Then... then... at a signal from Joshua.... every man in the line began to blow their ram's horn trumpet with all their might!
(Sound effects: trumpets blowing and getting louder! Then the sound of a mighty crowd, shouting loudly, is heard.)
And as the priests blew the ram's horns, all the people in the army shouted at the top of their lungs! A mighty roar went up from the children of Israel, as if every man, woman and child among them was praising their God with one voice.
(ACTIONS DURING THE NEXT PARAGRAPH: The wall-top mockers are filled with terror as they look around for the source of the rumble. Soon they are having trouble standing as the ground begins to shake. If a fogger is used, now is the time to use it, emitting enough smoke to simulate dust kicked up by the crumbling walls, and to heighten the impact of the scene.)
The city people were perplexed! What did this mean? Suddenly the air was filled with a rumble... the walls began to shake as though a hundred angels were pushing on it! The lookouts on the wall were filled with fear and began to cry and scream as they were knocked from their perch!
(ACTIONS DURING THE NEXT PARAGRAPH: They are holding onto one another and trying to keep from falling over the edge, but several loose their balance and fall over. The others fall backward and are crawling around, trying to escape as the walls begin to crumble.)
In just a few seconds, the large stones that made up the wall begin to crack and crumble, and the fortress they trusted in starts to fall apart like a house of cards, as if pushed from within by mighty unseen hands!
(ACTIONS DURING THE SOUND EFFECTS SEQUENCE OF THE FALLING WALL: The panicking townspeople are falling down off the wall and some are running to get off of it into the city. Several of them fall with the wall as it collapses. This is illustrated visually by their actions.)
Yes, the walls of Jericho, that impregnable city, collapsed, in a miraculous display of God's power. Those that survived the devastation were overtaken by the rushing Israelis who stormed in and destroyed the city. Everyone was killed.... except for Rahab and her family.
(ACTIONS DURING THE NEXT PARAGRAPH: Rahab and several others come back out, emerging from the cloud of dust, slowly walking out holding onto one another, and looking about in amazement. They are tearfully happy to be alive, and lift their hands toward heaven to give thanks to the God of Israel for sparing them for Rahab's sake.)
The only part of the wall left standing was the section that her apartment was built on. And as she and her family slowly came out of it and looked around at the devastation, they were overcome with gratitude for Rahab's faith in the God of Israel, for it has spared them all.
(ACTIONS DURING THE NEXT PARAGRAPH: Rahab brings out a section of red rope and holds it high over her head as she triumphantly leads her family off the stage and down the center aisle. Her mother and father are beside her, and following are her brothers and other family members. The cousin she convinced to come is among them. Coming up from the back to meet them are two young men, the spies that Rahab had helped. They meet with Rahab, who bows to them with a grateful heart, and they escort her and her family safely out of the city, moving back down the aisle and out of the room. One of the men in particular stays close to Rahab, helping her, and is obviously smitten with her.)
As they walked alive out of the city to greet the incoming army, Rahab holding aloft the red rope she had hung out of her window, a sign of the covenant she had made with the spies, and with God. They were met by the two young men who had spied out the land, and were given a safe escort out. And as they went on to join the tribe of Israel to worship God, little did Rahab know that she would be in the bloodline of the coming saviour. Rahab had went from harlot to heroine, and would one day be known as an ancestor of the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Sometimes you and I have to live down some of the things we did before we were saved by the Lord. Rahab had lived a sinful life before she helped the spies, and yet God used her as part of the bloodline of his son, the Messiah. If God can use Rahab, he can use you too. If we put our faith in Him, and not look to our own strength, He will bring us and our loved ones out of this old crumbling world into his own glorious never-ending Kingdom. Would you all bow your heads and pray along with me for a moment?
(ACTIONS DURING THE NEXT PARAGRAPH: All the kids bow their heads and pray.)
Dear Lord, we thank you for having your word of truth which we can read and hear. We thank you for the things you did back then, to show us how to live today. And we thank you for the things you are doing in our lives, and will do in days to come, that will help others to come to you. Thank you for your promises and for your power to overcome. Bless the young ones who have come to you, as they did in the Bible when you walked the Earth in Jerusalem. In Jesus Name we pray, Amen.
(ACTIONS DURING THE NEXT PARAGRAPH: The children look back up with smiles. The Storyteller lifts his hands to dismiss them.)
Thank you, my young friends, for coming and listening to my stories! I hope you will all come back next time, and bring a friend with you!
(ACTIONS DURING THE NEXT PARAGRAPH: The children, after clapping, all stand and begin to walk off in groups , excitedly talking about the story they just heard. The Storyteller also rises, more slowly, to leave the stage. The Narrator Kid goes up to him, and they speak, and Grandpa puts a hand on his sholder as he encourages him. They shake hands, and part. Grandpa goes offstage in one direction, and David leaves the way he comes in.)
Narrator: Wow... what a story! Rahab had to put up with a lot because she believed, but one day she walked into a new life because she had faith and obeyed. I guess if she could do that, maybe I could hang on when Elliot and his friends made fun of me for being a Christian. Cause I know that one day, they won't be the ones laughing. God will keep him promises. All this happened years ago, but the stories told by the Storyteller Grandpa still live in my memory as vivid as they day I heard them. And now that I'm an adult, I can tell you from experience that it is worthwhile to live for the Lord.
I'm David McAllister, and although I'm grown now and have kids of my own, the lessons learned back then still guide my steps today. There are a lot of other stories I have to relate, and I hope that you'll join me again soon as we revisit them together. Because we move confidently into the future on stepping stones of faith laid in the past. May the Lord bless and guide you as we make this journey toward Heaven together.
(ACTIONS DURING THE ENDING MUSIC: David slowly walks down the center aisle, a slight smile on his lips, as he is feeling much better now. He goes out the back as the song is ending.)
(The play ends as the song "Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho" comes up and finishes.)
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