written by Fred Passmore
copyight 2012 Sheep Laughs Publications
Synopsis: this play is written with the purpose of presenting a shorter version of the Easter events, one that is easier for a church to do than the full-scale story with many people, sets and costumes. Those are minimal in this play. A mother is having a discussion with her adult son Jason about giving his heart to the Lord and changing his lifestyle. He is resisting, has been for years, but she is continuing to pray for him. She gives him a CD to listen to, that dramatizes the events of the Easter story. He promises that he will listen, and she leaves. He puts on the CD and starts listening, but falls asleep. However, in a dream he begins to see the events as described on the narration, as if he were there personally. He sees certain scenes acted out, with him a part of the crowd, but in some cases, like the scourging and the crucifixion, he is only looking toward the audience and we do not see it, only hear it (the audience's imagination will do the rest). Then we see Mary at the tomb, and see the Lord's encounter with her. After he wakes up, Jason is anxious to accept the Lord, and he prays to do so. He tells his sister, then his mother. She is rejoicing over his salvation at the end.
For a more in-depth description, but a short breakdown of the play's events, for faster initial review without reading the entire script, go here.
No lines to learn! This is like "The Christmas Family" and "Redemption In The Wings," in that a CD supplies all the narration, music and sound effects. Note that in the script (and therefore on the soundtrack), the play is not mentioned as happening at any specific time or holiday, such as Easter or Mother's Day. It can be done any time, even Christmas. Simply have a decorated Christmas tree in the son's old room, and you make it obvious that the events are taking place during the holiday season. And what better time for a life-changing glimpse of what Jesus did for our salvation? The length of the soundtrack (and therefore, the play) is 52 minutes.
Important: Permission to perform this particular script is given only if you are using the soundtrack. It was written to go with the narration, background music and multiple mixed sound effects, and performing it without that would be a mis-use that results in a lessened impact.
Framework roles: Jason Donner, the main character, who is in his early-to-mid 20's. His mother Sandra, who also plays the part of Mary the mother of Jesus; she is in her mid-50's. His sister, Sharon, in her mid-twenties, who also plays the part of Mary Megedelene. Storyteller Grandpa, an elderly man, anywhere from in his 60's on up.
Main Biblical roles: Jesus. Peter. Judas. John. Pilate. The Centurion. Smaller parts: the High Priests (there are two) and several of the Sanhedrin. Servant Girl, Temple Guard. You may also have other extras in various roles, such as other women, soldiers, elders and such. It really depends upon the amount of people you have available, and costumes.
Costumes: Casual clothes for the Donner family; Biblical robes for the people in the scriptural scenes; Roman armor for the Centurion. Jesus requires three changes of clothes: his original robe, a bloodied version with a crown of thorns and a purple robe thrown over his shoulders for the scene after his scourging, and a different robe when he appears to Mary in the garden.
Props for framework scene: A small suitcase, a laptop PC with carrying case, a bottle of water, a CD in a case; a box of books and manuscripts.
Props for Biblical scenes: a rope at least 6 feet long; a spear for the Centurion; a small cloth bag for the coins given to Judas; a metal or ceramic basin for Pilate to wash his hands in;
Settings: For the framework in modern day: A small area on one side of the stage (the one closest to a stage door) decorated as a bedroom. There should be a table, a lamp and a couple of chairs. If you can have a small bed, all the better, but if not, a comfortable chair. For the Biblical scenes, occupying the rest of the stage area: a background wall (or canvas) painted to look like an ancient and weathered stone wall, with a window. Really, the backgrounds for the Biblical sequences are not important, since the main character is seeing the events in a dream, which changes locations several times. The audience uses their imagination, and the focus is on the people in the scene, not the backgrounds. For example, the scenes happen in the outer courtyard of the High Priest's building; inside the same building; Pilate's Hall; Golgotha's hill; and the Garden Tomb. It would be impractical to try and portray those locations with changing backgrounds. See why this play is easy to do? All you need are actors and costumes. They don't even have to learn lines, only rehearse according to the script and the soundtrack.
Note: all scriptures that are read during the course of the narration are from the New King James version
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 effects, background music and dialog comes from the CD. The performance time of the play is 52 minutes.
Now, you can make some natural sounds as you perform; 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.
In every case, the "Actions" description is given in the script just before the narration that describes it. But you DO the actions AS the narrator tells it, in synchronization. You act out the motions described, as he is telling it. 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.
There are some small actions mentioned in the narrative that are not laid out in the "actions" parts; just do what it being described however it is revealed. Use your acting ability to come up with little additional things to fill in... and hit the points as they come. Be creative! Since you don't have to learn dialog, you can concentrate on your acting through what you are doing visually, as the narrative provides the dialog. Don't let the action onstage come to a complete standstill during the narration; if nothing is particularly directed for you to do through the narration or script, invent some little bits of business to do that are in keeping with the narrative events. Then when it's time to do what the narrative is saying, you can easily move into 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 as part of a flashback, 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; keep it real so that if your lips are read it will make sense.
Note: This play is intended to be performed to the pre-recorded soundtrack. There is nearly constant music mixed in with the narration to properly portray each scene, with numerous sound effects, and trying to do it without the CD will result in a far less effective or moving performance than it was intended to be. That is not recommended. I also do not make available a version with just the music and effects, since the narration is so tied into the mixture. Attempting to use your own narration would mean recording all the lines (a task of several days) with two different people, then editing them down and attempting to fit them in with our pre-existing music and effects, work requiring many hours of mixing. Trying to do the narration live would also be difficult and hurt the script, since the special music and sounds it needs would not be there. For this reason I suggest you use the CD as supplied, and make it easier on yourself and everyone involved. You can preview the CD below and hear for yourself the excellent quality of the production.
Promotional images: Click here to open a color image of the script artwork to use in your advertisements and bulletins. Click here for a black and white version. Once the image is loaded, right click on it and select "save image as" from the drop-down menu, then select the folder where you want to put it. Close the window to return to this page.
Soundtrack: This script is completely dependent on the recorded soundtrack. The pre-recorded CD already has all of the narration, music and sound effects already mixed. Make it easy on yourself: get the CD! Every single line that you read in the script below (except for the stage directions, of course) is on the soundtrack, performed by professional voice artists, mixed with movie-quality background music and sound effects. All you will need to do is act along with the CD.
The soundtrack to this script is on the Soundtrack CD #16: "The Legacy."
Click here to listen to a 13 minute Windows Media preview of the entire soundtrack CD, with short clips from each track!
Order the CD for $20 plus shipping by clicking here: Add CD To Cart
Idea: Order extra copies of the CD for only $5 each to hand out to your main players to take home and get familiar with between rehearsals! Also as a backup.
Buy JUST the MP3 files for digital download for $15. Click to Add to Cart and get the instant download!
Click here to view a printable order form to place your order through the mail.
by Fred Passmore copyright 2012 Sheep Laughs Publications
Begin Track One. (Note; the CD will play straight through once started; the track numbers are for ease of cueing up during rehearsal. Note that although there are a great deal of sound effects and much music mixed in with the dialog, most of it is not noted in the script unless needed, since it plays along with the action and the dialog.)
Narrator #1 (The Storyteller Grandpa): The universe is full of the wonders of creation, and bears testimony to the creativity and power of our mighty God. There is no end to the universe, and so, no end to the wondrous happenings to be found there. Come with me now on another journey into the limitless realm of discovery, visible to you through eyes of faith and the power of the imagination.
I'm called Storyteller Grandpa, and I'm happy that you've joined me. As I relate the events of this remarkable tale, I invite you to picture in your mind's eye the scenes I'm describing. You might be surprised, as you actually begin to see the people and places come to life right in front of you. Today's story is titled simply, "The Legacy."
Actions during the next paragraph: A woman in her late 40's to early 50's enters the room and begins to dust. She stops and picks up a framed photo of her son from when he was much younger and gazes at it for a moment. We learn from the narrator things about the son while she is looking at it and remembering. She runs her fingers across it as if brushing hair from his eyes. She sits down in the chair, still holding the photo, then closes her eyes and begins to pray.
Narrator #1 (The Storyteller): Bereavement has a way of causing us to draw closer to those loved ones that remain... both for common comfort, and also to show our love and appreciation for them, as we are reminded of the brevity and uncertainty of life. As Sandra Donner entered her grown son's old bedroom, now used as a guest room, she makes sure his room is ready for his visit. But seeing Jason's old pictures takes her back to his younger days, when he lived at home. He was a visual learner, always quicker to understand things he had seen or experienced, rather than what he read or heard about. He was creative, also; a trait he had inherited from his father, and it expressed itself in earlier years in drawing his own original comic book characters. His father, an author of Christian children's books, had always hoped that Jason would work with him, but his son had his own ideas, and ambitions... which were at odds with his father's vision for their future. As his mother thought about the situation that was now bringing them together again, she knew that much was riding on crucial decision that had to be made. As with so many other times, and difficulties, she went to the Lord in prayer. Pouring out her concern to Him, she prays for the Lord to draw Jason to Himself, and somehow make his love, and atoning sacrifice, more real to her son. Entreating the Lord to open the eyes of his heart, she asked that somehow, the Lord would make the story come to life in his heart, so that he would desire to come to Him, and then, live for Him.
Actions during the next paragraph: After her prayer, the daughter Sharon comes into the room. She and the mother hug, then talk for a moment about the son's imminent arrival and why he is coming.
Narrator #1: As the mother finished her prayer, only the most recent of many, many others, she was joined in the room by her daughter Sharon, who lived nearby. The last time her brother came into town, they had not parted on good terms, and the same problems were still hanging in the air. Before he had passed away nearly six months ago, their father had been offered a large sum of money to sell the rights to his characters to a Hollywood company that wanted to develop a movie based on them... but with no Christian message. He refused, and left the rights to the property to his son, with his wishes that he continue to develop it using his own talents, and keep it in the family. His son, however, wasn't interested in preserving his father's legacy, and was planning on selling the rights, and investing the money in his own graphics design business. Jason was coming to town to meet with the conglomerate's representatives, and sign the papers that sold all rights to his father's work. While the mother was content to pray about it, and trust the Lord for the final outcome, his older sister Sharon wasn't about to let her brother get away with selling out that easily.
Actions during the next paragraph: The mother looks at her watch, and reacts to the lateness of the hour. The two women get up, but as they talk on the way out, the mother stops the daughter and asks her not to make a scene on the drive home. The daughter reluctantly agrees to wait. They then leave the stage.
Narrator #1: Looking at her watch, the mother realises that it's a little past the time that they needed to leave to pick up her son at the airport. Now they woud have to hurry to make it, she exclaimed, as she stood up. Her daughter commented that on the ride home, she intended to confront Jason about what he planned on doing. The mother begs her to wait at least until they have gotten home before bringing it up, and she promised that she would.
Actions during the next paragraph: The stage is empty for a few moments as the narrator relates the passage of time. After a few moments, the son comes in, carrying a suitcase in his hand, with a laptiop case slung over his shoulder. He sets them down, and putting his hands on his hips, looks around the room where he grew up. He picks up a couple of the framed photos and looks at them as he is introduced by the narrator.
Narrator #1: After picking him up at the airport, the drive home was uneventful, if a little quiet. There was a tension in the air as his sister made the effort to keep her thoughts to herself, at least for the time being, and the mother made small talk to fill the awkward silences. Now, they had arrived back home, and Jason came back into the room where he had grown up. The last time he was here was his father's funeral. From here on out, I'll let Jason himself tell you what happened on that life-changing afternoon.
Actions during the next paragraph: Jason puts the carrying case on the table, and unzips it, folding back the top. As he does this, he smiles at the thought of the money coming his way. He then yawns and stretches, and rubs his temples.
(Note: the narration by Jason begins here.)
Narrator Jason: Well, it had been a tiring trip, but in spite of the delays, and the trouble I sensed brewing in the car during the ride home, I was glad to be here, in my familiar old room. Later in the afternoon I had a meeting with some representatives from the company interested in Dad's material, and the sum of money they had offered him --and now me-- was pretty amazing. The things I could do with that money! I would finally have the capital to start my own company. All I wanted to do now was rest a little from the trip to be fresh and alert for that meeting later.
Actions during the next paragraph: His sister comes into the room, carrying another small travel bag and a bottle of water for him. He opens the bottle, lifts it to her slightly as if in a toast, sips some, then puts it on the table. He then takes the laptop out of the bag and puts it on the table also, opening it up and starting it, not looking at his sister who is standing behind him with her arms folded, her lips tight as she controls her desire to tell him off.
Narrator Jason: But, as my sister Sharon brought the last bag into the room, I could tell whatever was simmering on the back burner of her mind was about to boil over. I figured she would start in on me in her own good time without me asking what she wanted to talk about, so I took my laptop from its shoulder bag and turned it on. I wanted to check my email and google the directions to the corporate office where the meeting was to take place. I didn't even get logged onto the house's wireless server before she started in on me.
Actions during the next paragraph: As Jason looks at the laptop's screen, tapping the keyboard, his sister reaches over and pushes down the laptop's screen, making sure she has his full attention. He looks up at her, then sits back, as if resigned to being forced to listen. She has her hands on her hips, and paces back and forth as she unloads her complaints.
Narrator Jason: First, she wanted to know if I was still going to accept the offer, and assured her nothing had changed my mind. As far as I was concerned, this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I wasn't about to pass up something that could make my future much more secure. Sharon questioned how I could so callously sell off a lifetime's work by our father, when he wanted me to continue his dream. I replied that the decision was purely from a practical standpoint. And that one could not live on dreams, especially someone else's. She retorted "oh, but you can live on someone else's money when those dreams are betrayed and sold out, can't you?" I admit that stung a bit, but I had dreams of my own. I tried to explain that the entertainment company would take Dad's characters farther and make them more famous than they had ever been under his direction. His legacy would live on, I stressed. Wouldn't she be proud to see his name as the creator of the property when it was adapted for the big screen?
Actions during the next paragraph: Sharon pulls out a chair opposite him on the table, and leans forward. She is not as angry now, but tries to reach him on a personal level. Jason listens patiently, and seemingly with understanding, as she tries to get him to see why they should keep it in the family.
Narrator Jason: This seemed to change something in her demeanor, and she sat down across from me. Quietly, she stressed what she felt was an important thing to understand. It was never about money to our father, she began. It was about using his characters and stories, in whatever form they took, to reach people --especially children-- with the message that was most important to him... the love of God, and the hope that is in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This soul-less conglomerate, as she labeled it, would change the deepest meaning of his writings, and reduce them to simple entertainment... devoid of any Biblical truth and spiritual content. That, Sharon concluded, would break his heart... and why he would never sell out.
Actions during the next paragraph: After her final terse statement to her brother, Sharon leaves the room, walking past their mother, who reaches out to her, and they touch hands briefly in passing. Jason begins getting into his laptop again as his sister leaves. His mother Sandra has in her hand a book and a compact disc, and she walks over to the table and sits down. Jason, registering her presence, looks a little exasperated as he realises she is here to talk and isn't going to leave readily.
Narrator Jason: In a tag-team move every bit as smooth as anything seen in professional wrestling, Sharon handed me off to our mother, who was coming fresh into the battle with an already weary opponent. Okay, that's not really fair, I guess they didn't plan it, and neither of them are my enemies. But I was tired and ready to chill out a little before the most important meeting of my life, and I felt as if I had been backed into a corner. With than attitude, I was a little defensive when Mom settled in to talk.
Actions during the next paragraph: Jason resignedly closes the laptop cover, realising he isn't getting out of this. He leans back in his chair, lifting his hands in a motion that indicates "go ahead," then crosses his arms as if already resistant to what she might say. His mother earnestly speaks to him, and as she speaks the truth in compassion, he leans forward in his chair and clasps his hands down in front of him, looking down. Her expression and motions show her concern for his soul and his life, as she pleads with him.
Narrator Jason: Prepared as I was for her to continue the argument for keeping the ownership of Dad's writing in the family, she surprised me by encouraging me to look at my spiritual state. She urged me to turn with my whole heart to the Lord, so that the path of my life would become plain, and fruitful. She told me that she regretted seeing me chasing after wordly ambitions, that carried with them no eternal and lasting benefit. She went on to point out that I would never find happiness and satisfaction until I turn my life over to Jesus, and find out His will for me.
Actions during the next paragraph: Jason has leaned back in the chair, looking off to the side as he listens. When she is done speaking, she reaches for the book and CD that are on the table, and slides them over to him. He picks them up and looks at them as she asks him to listen to the CD. He balks, because he is tired, but after hearing her last statement he reluctantly agrees to listen to it.
Narrator Jason: Pushing the book and compact disc she had brought in across the table to me, she asked me to at least listen to the contents before taking the final step at the meeting this afternoon. I complained that I was tired, and wanted to get in a short nap at least, before getting ready for the meeting. The CD was a production by my father that dramatized the events of the Lord's suffering, she informed me. It was his final project, and had just been published shortly after his passing. Whatever I decided then, she said, she would accept without argument. I figured getting her off my back about it was worth at least that much effort, so I promised I would listen to it.
Actions during the next paragraph: The mother stands and walks over to the door. She pauses to look back, and she watches as he puts the CD into the CD player on the table. When the music on the CD begins, she nods gratefully and leaves, closing the door behind her. Jason sits back down (in the chair if it all that is on stage, but on the bed or couch if one is used) and puts his hands behind his head and stretches out his legs in front of him as he looks up and listens. His narrative continues as the introductory music is heard playing.
Narrator Jason: As my mother made her exit, I put the CD in the player and started it. At the very least, I could relax some while I listened to it. I had already made up my mind though, that nothing would change my decision.
(Director's note: after they have left the stage, have the actresses that are playing the mother Sandra and her daughter Sharon get into their Biblical costumes so as to be ready when they go back out to play Mary the mother of Jesus and Mary Magdelene. The robes can go on over their regular clothes if you wish.)
Track 2 begins here.
Actions during the next paragraph: Jason picks up the bottle of water again and sips from it, putting the lid back on it and setting it on the table. He looks at his watch, and leans back again to listen as we hear the CD narrative continue.
Narrator on the CD: (The same Storyteller from the opening scenes of the play.) Jesus, as God the Son, was as much God as was his Father. Indeed, he had always existed, and in fact created everything in the universe in the beginning. (Voice of God: "Let there be light.") But in all things, he was obedient to his father, and as a result his father exalted his name above all others, and put all things under his authority. According to his father's plan and will, he came to earth, born in a human body to a virgin, and grew to adulthood with no sin. Now the time had come that had been planned from the start; his suffering and death to atone for the sins of man. This is the story of that day, when the giver of life gave up his own... to redeem mankind.
(Music comes back up and plays some here.)
Actions during the next paragraph: As Jason listens, his eyes grow heavy, and several times he almost dozes, then rouses himself. Finally, though, he loses to his fatigue and falls asleep as the CD continues to play. As he slips into sleep, the sound changes from the tinny CD player speakers to that of full and real-sounding audio. When this happens, we see people in Biblical costumes begin to come onstage, passing him where he is resting, and walking to the other side of the stage. They are talking urgently one to another.
Narrator on the CD: Earlier during the previous evening, Jesus had been betrayed by Judas and arrested in the garden of Gethsemene where he was praying. Deserted by his disciples, he had been put on trial at night, which by the Jew's own law was illegal. While waiting to see the outcome of the trial, Simon Peter had quietly slipped among the crowds in the courtyard..
Actions during the next paragraph: Jason wakes, rubbing his hand across his eyes, then he looks up and sees the people in the room. Surprised, he sits up suddenly, looking around at the various people. confused, he stands, and moves forward on the stage from where he had been reclining. Looking back and forth at the people, who ignore him, he can't figure out what is happening. He rubs his hand across his face, looks down at his feet, lifts his arms and looks at them, then at the surroundings again. He slaps his own face to make himself wake up, to which he reacts with pain. Rubbing his cheek, he shrugs, then sets about seeing where he is. Jason moves closer to the crowd to better see what is happening. We see Peter in the crowd move to join several others as they warmed themselves by a fire (which we do not see, he is facing the audience along with several others and holding up his hands to it as they are). As he stands there, we see a young woman near him look at him suspiciously, and she leans over to whisper something to the person beside her as she points at Peter. They also look, and when Peter notices their gaze, he turns away a little and puts the hood of his cloak over his head.
Narrator Jason: I suppose I must have dozed while listening to the story, because the next thing I knew I was awakened by the sound of people in my room. At first I was just dumbfounded at the sudden appearance of oddly-dressed strangers that seemed to be refugees from a Hollywood Biblical epic. Was this some kind of trick by my sister? No, I ruled that out as soon I looked around and realized I was no longer even in my room. I seemed to be in the middle of some ancient structure, a courtyard of some kind, lit only by torches on the walls. It had to be a dream, I reasoned. A really, really vivid dream. Since I hate to be pinched, I slapped myself... immediately regretting it as my face stung. It didn't help, either. I was here for the duration. But where, or when, was "here?" From the looks of it, it seemed to be in ancient times, in the Middle East. The scene seemed familiar, somehow, as if I had been here before. Then, as I watched events unfold, I began to recognize what was happening. I had heard this story before... but now, it seemed, I was in the middle of it!
Actions during the next paragraph: Peter is still standing with the people at the fire, and the young woman moves next to him to get a better look. When she does. she questions him, and he shakes his head "no" as he denies being a follower of Jesus the first time. Another of those around the fire confronts him, and he turns away, shaking his head harder, only to run into another person that accuses him. Pulling his robe more tightly around himself, Peter strongly reacts, shaking his head and seeming to shout as everyone looks at him. He hears a rooster crow, and stops, then when it crows again his face shows consternation. He goes to leave the area, and runs right into Jesus who is being brought through the hallway by the temple guards. They stop and look at each other, Jesus with a sad look, and Peter with a wide-eyed stricken look. When Jesus is roughly prodded by a guard to keep moving, Peter turns sharply away and hurries away from them. He has one hand on his face in grief, and is hardly able to stand.
Narrator on the CD, The
Stroryteller: (From this point on, the narrator ONLY
reads Scriptures to tell what is happening.) New King James
Having arrested Him, they led Him and brought Him into the high priests house. But Peter followed at a distance. Now when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat among them. And a certain servant girl, seeing him as he sat by the fire, looked intently at him and said, This man was also with Him.
But he denied Him, saying, Woman, I do not know Him.
And after a little while another saw him and said, You also are of them.
But Peter said, Man, I am not!
Then after about an hour had passed, another confidently affirmed, saying, Surely this fellow also was with Him, for he is a Galilean.
But Peter said, Man, I do not know what you are saying!
Immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times. So Peter went out and wept bitterly.
Actions during the next paragraph: Jason is in the path of the blindly fleeing Peter, who stumbles into him. He grabs the distraught disciple's shoulders and steadies him, as Peter sways and tearfully mumbles to himself. Jason questions him, and Peter wipes his eyes to look at him as he answers sorrowfully.
Narrator Jason: Having witnessed Peter's three-fold denial, I reached out and grabbed onto him. "Why did you do it," I demanded. "Why did you say you didn't know Him?" This accusation only made his guilt and grief more acute, and he broke down as I steadied him. "I promised him I would stand beside him even unto death," he sobbed. "Only hours ago, and now look what I did. I swore I never even knew him. Me! Peter! And not just once, but three times!"
Actions during the next paragraph: Peter tries to shake himself free, but Jason continues to detain him, grabbing him as he tries to bolt and swinging him around to put his face next to Peter's tearful countanence. Peter pulls back and wipes his eyes again as he answers. His eyes are haunted as he faces the fact that he was afraid. Hanging his head as he confesses, when he is done he covershis face with both hands in anguish, then yanks loose from Jason's grasp and hurries away.
Narrator Jason: You're one of his closest friends and desciples," I exclaimed. "How could you do this?" "Because I was afraid of what it would cost me," he admitted with self-loathing. In anguish, he said he could never forgive himself for abandoning Jesus when he needed his friends to stand up for him the most. With that, he pulled away from my grasp and ran away into the night.
Actions during the next paragraph: As Jason watches Peter fleeing the scene, his face shows distress. From the opposite direction, an elderly man dressed in overalls, like a farmer, walks slowly onstage in his direction. As Jason considers what he had just witnessed, the farmer, whom we learn is the Storyteller that introduced the play, speaks to him. Jason hears his words, but only looks up as if hearing them in his mind... he then turns around, susprised that anyone is actually speaking to him, and stares at the man who has now reached him. The Storyteller smiles enigmatically at him as he stands with his hands in his overall pockets, or with thumbs hooked in the overall shoulder straps.
Narrator Jason: As I watched Peter retreating into the darkness outside of the courtyard, I wondered how this could happen to someone who knew Jesus so intimately. As I pondered this, I heard a voice that I thought at first was in my head. "Is it really so hard to believe," it asked, "that someone would behave that way in such a situation?" Then I realised someone really was addressing me. The individual I saw standing there was dressed as out-of-place and time as I was... he looked like an elderly country farmer just come in from the field. And somehow, he looked and sounded so familiar, even though I could not recall ever having met him. When I asked him who he was, he replied kindly that we had spent many hours together as I read my father's books.
Actions during the next paragraph: Jason moves to look more closely at the old man, and reacts with amazed recognition, his expression showing pleasant recollections as they come to mind. When the Storyteller tells him who he is, the old man takes his arm in his as they talk, and leads him down from the scene of the courtyard, and toward the front of the stage. The extras in biblical costumes begin to slowly leave, one at a time, until the stage is empty behind them. Stopping, they turn toward each other and converse.
Narrator Jason: As I moved closer and searched his face, memories that seemed associated with this person surfaced unbidden; of being with a group of youngsters, going together on amazing adventures, and looking to him for wisdom and guidance; of events from the Bible being brought to life from his words. "Yes," he revealed... "I am the Storyteller." "But you're not real," I said in disbelief, "You're only a fictional character in my father's books!" "I was real enough to you when you read them," he said, "and I was real to your father as he wrote about me. I embodied the things he believed and held dear... You might say he spoke through me. I delivered his words. To better know the father's words, is to better know the father," he said.
Actions during the next paragraph: The Storyteller lifts his hand to indicated the stage behind them as he speaks. A serious expression plays across Jason's face as the truth of his words sinks in. As he is thinking, and we hear the narration tell about it, a man in a robe walks slowly onstage, his steps unsure. He seems disoriented and distracted. Jason does not spot him immediately, but is focused on speaking with the Storyteller. The stranger turns as he slowly, looking behind him as if afraid he is being followed, and due to this does not see Jason behind him as he backs up.
Narrator Jason: Motioning back to the courtyard, he referred to what I had seen and heard there. "Why does Peter's denial of his Lord seem so hard to understand?" he wondered. I said that is seemed strange to me that someone who believed in Jesus so strongly, who had been the first to confess that Jesus was the son of God, could deny knowing him to total strangers. "Don't judge him too harshly," he cautioned. He explained that although Peter knew who he was, and believed in him, the Spirit of God was not yet living in Peter in the fullness he would come to know after the Lord's sacrifice, resurrection, and Pentecost. I recognized myself in what he said; I knew in my heart who Jesus was, but I had not yet experienced His salvation, and I didn't have his Spirit within me to lead and guide me. As this realization hit me, I looked up to see the Storyteller watching me kindly. I admitted to him that I knew now that I was capable of doing the same as Peter, for I had also been afraid to stand up for Jesus when it came down to it.
Actions during the next paragraph: The man runs into Jason, whose back is to him. They both spin to look at each other, Jason with surprise, the other with a fearful expression. As Jason sees the man is unsteady on his feet, he reaches out to help steady him, and they talk. As the man asks him what he knows of Jesus, Jason lowers his eyes, as he realises he doesn't know Jesus. But at the last line about betrayal, Jason sharply looks up at the man who he now knows is Judas.
Narrator Jason: Just then I was jostled by someone not watching where he as going. Seeing his frightened demeanor, and seeming weakness, I offered a steadying hand. He grabbed my arm and looked at me with wild eyes. "They've sent him to Pilate to have him crucified!" I assured him that I knew, and that Jesus had been betrayed by a friend, one that he had trusted. I wondered what kind of person could do that to someone like Jesus. Reacting as if I had struck him, he pulled back and demanded, "What do you know of him? Did you see his miracles? Were you there when he called Lazarus from thetomb?" I could only say no. "Well, I was..." he said, "and that's what makes it even worse. I knew he was innocent, and yet I... betrayed him."
Actions during the next paragraph: Jason looks at the man in horror as he recognizes him. He points at the man as disgust shows in his face. Judas reacts as if hit, then looks around to see who else might be listening. He covers his face with his hands as he cries.
Narrator Jason: A sudden chill ran up my spine as I realized who the stranger was. "You're the traitor...Judas!" The broken man before me jerked as if I had slapped him, and he looked around as if expecting to see other accusers. "So word has spread already, has it? Is my name destined to be remembered only because I betrayed Jesus? And why? For profit. For silver!"
Actions during the next paragraph: Judas takes a small bag full of something heavy from inside his robe and holds it in front of him. At the end of his speaking he turns sharply and hurries offstage.
Narrator Jason: As he brandished a small bag of coins, Judas looked at it as if contained the evil that was the cause of his grief. "I never thought it would come to this," he groaned. "And you know what? Jesus knew what I was about to do. And he gave me a chance to change my mind. I didn't listen, I didn't believe he could know. And now the silver can't save me. The money means nothing to me." Judas straighted with hopeless resolve, and said he was going to return it, and try to undo the terrible sin that he let the devil trick him into committing.
Actions during the next paragraph: Jason watches him go with a mixture of revulsion and pity on his face. The Storyteller, who has been standing back a little, comes to stand beside Jason again, looking after Judas also. When Jason notices him, he speaks while still watching the direction that Judas left in. After a moment, he turns to the old man and they converse. Meanwhile, in the background, the actors portaying the chief priests and the elders of the Sanhedrin are coming onto the stage, slowly, one after the other from opposite side from where Judas left, meeting in the middle and speaking to each other in a group.
Narrator Jason: As I watched the traitor hurry off, I became aware of the Storyteller moving up behind me, also watching. I don't know whether to despise or pity him, I commented. Probably both, he surmised. One should despise the greed, but pity anyone that destroys their life with wrong choices. I always painted Peter and Judas with the same brush before, I recalled. I condemned both equally. But I see now there was a huge difference between them, I confided to the old man. Peter loved Jesus, but he let fear get the best of him in a weak moment of danger. But Judas, I observed, had plotted and planned in order to get gain at the expense of a friend. "There is something far worse than acting out of fear," said the grandfatherly figure, "that the heart of man is capable of... when he acts out of selfish avarice and greed." As his words sunk in, I wondered if I was capable of that as well. The thought horrified me.
Track 3 begins here.
Actions during the next paragraph: Seeing the Storyteller's motion to look behind him, Jason sees the people on the stage as they are speaking to each other. One speaks, as the others listen, then another speaks in his turn. A temple guard, holding a spear, comes in to speak to them, and when they give permission, he goes back partway offstage, where he motions curtly to someone. Judas enters, obviously upset and guilty. The guard sneers at him as he passes him. Most of the group keep their backs to him, not even looking at him, but several turn to regard him with open contempt as he approaches.
Narrator Jason: But just then my thoughts were interrupted by the Storyteller bringing my attention to the action taking place behind me. I could see a group of men, whose finery and demeanor seemed to indicate authority and importance. They were in the middle of what seemed to be an intense discussion. At that moment, a temple guard entered to relay a request by someone to see them. With their permission, he went out and brought back a furitive man, whom I recognized as the one I had just encountered.
Actions during the next paragraph: Judas speaks with visible anguish to the elders. With a dismissive motion, the chief priest delivers his retort. Judas responds by throwing the bag of coins at their feet, and turning around sharply, shoving the temple guard out of his way, like a man with nothing to lose. The guard starts to react with violence, but a sharp word from the eldest of the chief priests halts his action. He is dismissed with a wave of the priest's hand, who then bends over to retrieve the bag of blood money. We see a discussion about the money between the men, as they all walk offstage in the same direction.
Narrator Storyteller on
the CD: (Reading from Matthew 27:3) Then
Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was
remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the
chief priests and elders, saying, I have sinned by
betraying innocent blood.
And they said, What is that to us? You see to it!
Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself.
Actions during the next section of dramatic music: (There are no words spoken during this scene, as the actions and the dramatic music carry it.) Judas aimlessly staggers away from the priests as they leave, and he is in a daze, leaning against the back wall as if unable to stand or walk without some kind of support. As he moves down the wall, his hand encounters a length of rope, coiled and hanging from the wall where animals could be tethered. Looking at it, he seems to make up his mind, and take it down from the wall, holding it in his hand and staring at it. Judas looks up, then slowly begins to walk offstage, passing the two men seemingly without seeing them. He walks slowly offstage in the direction of the audience, tying a slip knot in the rope as he walks, coming down in front and going down the center aisle through the congregation toward the back door, where he exits with his head hung low.
Actions during the next paragraph: Jason and the Storyteller, having watched him leaving, converse briefly. Jason thinks to himself and shivers slightly as he is hit with a realisation.
Narrator Jason: How, I mused as the tragic figure faded into the early morning mist, could the regret caused by greed have brought a man to this; taking his own life. But the Storyteller reminded me of the words of Jesus: "The love of money is the root of all evil." The treasurer that handled the money for the band of disciples, had let the money begin to handle him. He didn't receive an offer of money to betray the Lord... he went to the Jewish leaders first and offered to lead them to Jesus for pay. Judas, he concluded, calculatingly, and with much forethought, sold out Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. Suddenly, a painful thought stung me... hadn't I been considering such a thing myself only a short while ago? I shivered as I felt very cold inside... and I knew that I had heard the same tempting voice that Judas had heard. He had heeded it. What was I going to do?
Actions during the next paragraph: In the background, three people come onstage; Mary, the mother of Jesus, (who is in her mid-50's) being helped by John the young disciple (who is a teenager), as well as Mary Magdelene, who is in her late 20's or early 30's. Mary is weak, and stops to rest for a moment, helped tenderly by John and the younger Mary.
Narrator Jason: As I considered this, I saw three people making their way through the courtyard; two women and a young man. They also looked familiar to me; especially the two woman... very familiar, in fact. As they stopped to let the obviously exhausted older woman rest, the Storyteller informed me that we were looking at Mary, the mother of Jesus, the disciple John, who was the youngest of the band of followers, and Mary Magdelene. I wondered where they were going, and he said I should ask them.
Actions during the next paragraph: As Jason approaches, he kneels down on one knee and addresses Mary. John moves to keep him from Mary, as he is watching out for her. But Mary, seeing Jason's face, relaxes and holds up a her hand to John. He backs off, but still staying next to her, as she looks back at Jason and listens. She answers his questions as John keeps watch and the other Mary stands behind her and offers her support. She relates where they have been and are going, and at one point, in obvious emotional pain, grips his shoulder as she speaks. Both John and Mary put their hands on her shoulders to console her.
Narrator Jason: As I moved to speak with them, , they looked up at me in concern; John seemed to think I was going to bother Mary; but as she looked in my face she motioned for him to let me approach. I told her my name, and said that I was sorry to intrude. I said that I knew who she was, and had always admired her for her willingness to allow God to use her to bring His son into the world. She smiled at this, as she knew that I understood the truth of the matter, as well as any of her friends. I asked her what was going on, and what they were doing. Apprehension came back into her eyes as she told me that they had been following Jesus as he was taken around Jerusalem that night. They had followed him to the courtyard of the council, where they had seen the unjust trial; they had followed him to Pilate's hall, then to Herod's palace, and now they were going back to Pilate's hall where he had been taken. She felt that he would be condemned to death, although her companions tried to assure her that he had to be released, because the people would demand it. They reminded her of how only a week ago the crowds had greeted his entry into Jerusalem with shouts of acclaimation. But she had heard him speak often of his coming suffering and death, and she was praying his Heavenly Father would give him the strength to do his Father's will... and her the grace to somehow bear it.
Actions during the next paragraph: With a nod to John, she rises with his help, and they begin to make their way to Pilate's Hall. Jason stands back and watches them go, as he is rejoined by the Storyteller. After speaking to him for a moment about his own mother, he reacts to being suddenly in a different location; He and the storyteller move to the side to observe as several people begin to come onstage in the background. It is Pilate, coming in with Jesus, who is guarded by a Roman soldier. Seeing Mary, John and Mary Magdalene again, they hurry across the stage to join them as they watch Pilate present Jesus to the crowd.
Narrator Jason: As I watched them rise to go, I couldn't help but be reminded of my own mother. As I explained this to the Storyteller, I recalled how often I had heard her pray for God to give me strength to do His will... and I was suddenly ashamed of how little I had been concerned with doing it, or even finding out what it was. But I was brought back to the moment as the Storyteller brought my attention to the scene that was beginning to transpire in front of us. Without my noticing it, we had seemingly been transported to a different location, which, from the figures coming in, I surmised to be Pilate's Hall. Behind us was a huge crowd that had gathered to witness the proceedings; which everyone by now knew to be where the fate of Jesus would be decided.
Actions during the next paragraph: Pilate stands in front of the crowd (which is the actual audience watching the play) and tries to tell them there are no grounds for his condemnation. Jesus stands beside him, looking down humbly, and his hands are bound. When the crowd shouts instead for the release of Barabbas, he turns to the Centurion and gives an order, and Jesus is led away offstage.
Narrator Storyteller on the CD: (Reading from Luke 23:13-25)
Then Pilate, when he had called
together the chief priests, the rulers, and the people, said to
them, You have brought this Man to me, as one who misleads
the people. And indeed, having examined Him in your presence, I
have found no fault in this Man concerning those things of which
you accuse Him; no, neither did Herod, for I sent you back to
him; and indeed nothing deserving of death has been done by Him.
I will therefore chastise Him and release Him (for it was
necessary for him to release one to them at the feast).
And they all cried out at once, saying, Away with this Man, and release to us Barabbas who had been thrown into prison for a certain rebellion made in the city, and for murder.
Pilate, therefore, wishing to release Jesus, again called out to them. But they shouted, saying, Crucify Him, crucify Him!
Then he said to them the third time, Why, what evil has He done? I have found no reason for death in Him. I will therefore chastise Him and let Him go.
Director's note: Keep in mind, the Storyteller does not react the way Jason and the others do; he watches with interest, but since his voice is the one heard reading the scriptures, he stays nuetral when everything is happening. Jason is the one dreaming and why everything is happening, but his subconscious projection of the Storyteller stays calm, and watches Jason and his reactions more than anything else.
Actions during the next paragraph: Jason, the Storyteller, the two Marys and John, all slowly face the audience as if seeing Jesus brought out in front of them to the middle of the courtyard. The audience does not see the scourging, they only hear it, and see the reactions of the witnesses onstage. Horror plays across their faces and they all wince with each fall of the whip on Jesus' back. Mary covers her face with her robe's hood, turning her head away as if unable to bear it. But she does turn back and forces herself to watch through her tears. Jason looks away several times, and turning his back on the scene, covers his face with his hands as he realises how much Jesus must love him to go through it. But the Storyteller gently takes him by the shoulders and turns him back around, toward the audience where the scourging is happening. Seeing the whip fall again, Jason closes his eyes and shakes his head, but the Storyteller holds him by one arm, the other around his shoulders, and his lips form one silent word: "Watch." Jason lifts his head, tears in his eyes, and does watch as it continues. We see sympathy in his face and sorrow that Jesus had to go through this.
(Note: It is during the following narration that the actor playing the Lord goes backstage and quickly changes into the other robe prepared beforehand, which is covered with blood stains, and the stage blood applied to his face. The purple robe is also put over his shoulders, and the crown of thorns put on his head.)
Narrator Jason: As we watched helplessly, Jesus was led to the scourging post, where his robe was roughly taken from his muscular carpenter's back. We saw the one that brought the sinner freedom from bondage, chained to the post by sinners. A burly soldier brandished the nine-tailed Roman whip, each of the tips embedded with nails, bits of bone and shards of glass. Uncoiling it, he judged the distance and drew back his arm to begin. As it cut through the air, the first blow fell upon the back of Jesus, immediately drawing blood.
As the horrible punishment continued, my heart was broken, and I murmured to the Storyteller, as much to myself, that couldn't anything be done to stop this injustice. Jesus wouldn't let you if you had the power, he replied. He recalled to my memory that Jesus told Peter when he was arrested, that he could call a legion of angels to rescue him if he wanted. He was voluntarily enduring the torment of the brutal lashings that tore his skin and muscles, because he loved man, and was willing to go through it to redeem him. I didn't know how anyone could suffer such agony and not call a halt to it if one had the option.
How many times the lash fell, I don't know. I lost count. The Roman flogging was often fatal, and as Jesus slumped at the post, and struggled to stand, it was easy to see why many died from it, due to shock and blood loss. Unchaining Jesus, the soldiers then put on a crown of thorns one of them had made during the scrouging, pressing it hard down upon his brow. Another threw a purple robe over his shoulders, and they mockingly bowed, saying "Hail to the "King of the Jews!" They then all took turns striking him in the face and pulling his beard. After their fun, they took Jesus back to Pilate's judgement hall.
Actions during the next paragraph: Pilate comes back onstage, with the Centurion leading Jesus, who can barely stand. The soldier holds Jesus by the arm to help him stand. Pilate lifts a hand to indicate him, and speaks to the crowd. The actions and dialog is described below. Jason, the Storyteller, the two Marys and John watch the proceedings from one side, along with any extras. The crowd is in the direction of the audience watching the play, and so that is the direction that Pilate faces when addressing the crowd, which the audience only hears. No need for a lot of extras to try to create the mob. This also puts the audience in the position of the crowd that was there on that day.
Narrator Storyteller on the CD: Pilate then went out again, and said to them, Behold, I am bringing Him out to you, that you may know that I find no fault in Him.
Then Jesus came out, wearing the
crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said to them,
Behold the Man!
Therefore, when the chief priests and officers saw Him, they cried out, saying, Crucify Him, crucify Him!
Pilate said to them, You take Him and crucify Him, for I find no fault in Him.
The Jews answered him, We have a law, and according to our law He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God.
Therefore, when Pilate heard that saying, he was the more afraid, and went again into the Praetorium, and said to Jesus, Where are You from? But Jesus gave him no answer.
Then Pilate said to Him, Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?
Jesus answered, You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.
From then on Pilate sought to release Him, but the Jews cried out, saying, If you let this Man go, you are not Caesars friend. Whoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar.
When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus out And he said to the Jews, Behold your King!
But they cried out, Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!
Pilate said to them, Shall I crucify your King?
The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar!
Then he delivered Him to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus and led Him away.
Track 4 begins here.
Actions during the next paragraph: Pilate watches as the Centurion leads Jesus away to be crucified. A servant brings a basin and holds it, in which Pilate symbolically washes his hands. and then dries them on a cloth draped over the servant's arm. They leave in the opposite direction. Note: there is no need to have actual water in the basin. It is held up in such a way that the audience can't tell that the actor playing Pilate is dipping his hands in an empty basin. Mary, upon hearing the death sentence, nearly faints, and John supports her as Mary Magdelene comforts her. Jason and the Storyteller move away from them toward the center front of the stage to discuss what they have just seen. After a moment, Mary lifts her head, and with resolve, stands with help from John and Mary. Despite John trying to persuade her not to go, she pushes ahead, and he and Mary Magedelene accompany her. Jason watches her go with the Storyteller.
Narrator Jason: As Jesus was led away to be crucified, Mary nearly passed out with grief... but as she was comforted by Mary and John, she summoned the inner strength to follow and be a witness to Jesus' obedience and suffering unto death. If he could willingly go to the cross for the world, the least she could do, indeed, all she could do, was to be with him in prayer, and bear in her own heart the pain of seeing it happen. I could see in her my own mother... and I understood for the first time how much my own mother loved me, and poured out her heart praying for me. I had thought it a waste of time, and never wanted to hear about it, but I knew now that it was only her prayers for me that had brought me to the place of seeing this...the even greater love of God. In the distance I could see Jesus shoulder the cross they put upon him, and begin his painful journey uphill to the summit outside of the city.
(Director's note: after the actor portraying Jesus goes offstage, have him change into a clean robe with a red sash over the shoulder. The stage blood should be completely cleaned away, and the crown of thorns removed. The next time he is seen at the end of the Biblical scenes, he should look fresh and clean, with only small circles of makeup on the front and back of his wrists to indicate the remaining wounds, which remain as a testimonial. )
Actions during the next paragraph: The stage now empty, Jason and the Storyteller walk down toward the front and talk over what they just saw. Jason shows disbelief and anger over the statement by the Storyteller about Pilate, and condemns him for his lack of character. His hand motions and body language underlines his passion about this. He turns his back on the old man, and with tight lips tells why he feels no compassion for the Roman governor. He chops his hand into the open palm of the other as he makes his points, but when the Storyteller turns his own words against him, he spins around to look at him with shock, and consternation. Near the end of the narration in the next paragraph, the two Marys and John, the chief priests and the Sanhedrin, and other extras, as many as you have the cast and costumes for. They are all assembling to see Jesus crucified. They are facing the audience as they look at what is happening, and we are seeing only them and their reactions, not the cross.
Narrator Jason: The scene faded, and once again I found myself alone with Storyteller Grandpa in the boundless limbo of my dreamscape. He asked a question that seemed to be going in one direction but ended up unexpectedly in another. "Don't you feel sorry for him? He wanted to do the right thing, he tried, but in the end he was forced to let events take their course. Pilate had it tough, don't you think?" Staring at him, I asked if he was crazy. Feel sorry for Pilate? Lacking the courage to stand up for his convictions, he allowed himself to be swayed by the mob, who had been goaded into shouting for his blood by the religious leaders. Fearing for his position, he bowed to their demands, no matter how unjust. So what you're saying, wondered the old man, is that Pilate, like you, allowed his desire to protect his own interests to dictate his actions, is that right? I snapped that he was right, but then it hit me that he had included me in his statement... but before I could come up with a retort I realized... he was right! I had done the same thing with my decision. I had listened to the voices of self-interest that said to put my own agenda first. As I stood speechless at the sudden reversal, I heard the sound of a crowd growing louder. I began to be aware that I was standing on a hill with the Storyteller, with the walls of Jerusalem behind us. A crowd had gathered to watch the execution of Jesus, among them the enemies that had brought him to this.
Director's note: In looking at the cross, they all look upward, as if he is in front of them. Designate before hand a spot somewhere above the crowd that they all focus on, to make it more realistic, and not have each actor looking at something different. The point they focus on should make their gaze directed at a place just over the heads of the audience about 25 feet away, since they are not right under the cross, but standing a little ways off from it.
Actions during the next paragraph: On the soundtrack we hear the nails being driven into Jesus' hands and feet, and the raising of the cross, until it drops into the hole dug for it. Jason and the Storyteller watch, drawing near to Jesus' mother, Mary Magdelene and John.
Narrator Jason: Having reached the crest of the hill, Jesus was stripped of the bloody robe, reopening the wounds still bleeding from the scourging. Forcing the unresisting man down in the rough-hewn timbers, his arms were tied in place by one soldier as another came forward with the bag of spikes and a hammer. Of all I had seen so far, this was the hardest to bear, as I saw the large rusty spikes being driven through his flesh; first, into the lower part of his hand, between the bones of his wrists. His feet were positioned together, and another spike driven through them both at once, pinning them to the angled footrest. The cries of the women watching rose like waves of grief flooding their hearts as each blow was delivered. Finally, the cross was hoisted into the air, and dropped into the hole dug for it... and there the King of Creation hung suspended between heaven and earth... his life's blood flowing down to drop onto the very earth from which he had created man.
Actions during the next paragraph: Several soldiers come onstage along with the Centurion. He is holding some material under an arm. He tosses it on the ground, and other two sit down and begin to cast lots for Jesus' clothes. The Centurion is watching as they divide the clothes among themselves, then he looks upward sharply as Jesus prays for his Father to forgive them. He realizes that Jesus is talking about them, specifically. His face shows disbelief, then he bows his head. Jason moves to stand nearer to him.
Narrator Storyteller on the CD: Narrator Storyteller on the CD: And they put up over His head the accusation written against Him: THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS. With Him they also crucified two robbers, one on His right and the other on His left. So the Scripture was fulfilled which says, And He was numbered with the transgressors. Then Jesus said, Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.
Narrator Jason: As Jesus asked his Father to forgive those that had crucified him, I understood for the first time that he was referring to the Roman soldiers that took part. They were doing as ordered, and had nothing to do with him being condemned unjustly. So, he entreated his Father to forgive them for the terrible act they were committing in ignorance. I could tell that hearing the prayer for forgiveness coming from the lips of Jesus, suffering in agony, touched something deep in the Centurion's calloused heart.
Actions during the next paragraph: Jason is standing beside the Centurion, who looks over at him. The officer speaks first, and they converse briefly.
Narrator Jason: Noticing me standing beside him, the Centurion inquired in a hushed, respectful voice if I were a friend of the dying man. The question caught me off guard as I realised I could not really call myself his friend. I had never done or said anything in my life to honor or show friendship to him. In all honesty I had to admit - to my shame- I was not... but I knew much about him. This was apparently enough, and he asked me what manner of man this was, that never condemned his killers, and never even tried to defend himself, although judged innocent by his examiner Pilate. The officer admitted he had never, in all his years as a soldier, seen anything like it. "He forgave me for nailing him to the cross," he confided in an awed whisper. "I was responsible for carrying out the unjust sentence against him," he said with emotion, "and he prayed for me. Me! A soldier of Rome, whom the Jews hate. Yet his own people had us put him to death. Their own Messiah. I didn't believe it before, but now I do." As we looked at Jesus, pushing himself up on his pierced feet to try and take a breath, I murmured that I believed it too.
Actions during the next paragraph: A small group of people passing by, who have stopped to look at the scene, mock Jesus, and laugh as they walk on. The group of elders and priests that have been watching with satisfaction now goad Jesus. They motion with their hands as they question and challenge him, laughing at their own jokes. Jason, the Storyteller, the Centurion and his other followers including Mary watch this with sorrow.
Narrator Storyteller on the CD: And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads and saying, Aha! You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself, and come down from the cross!
Likewise the chief priests also, mocking with the scribes and elders, said, He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him. He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, I am the Son of God.
Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us. But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong. Then he said to Jesus, Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom. And Jesus said to him, Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.
Actions during the next paragraph: Jason has been watching the interchange, and moves closer to the front of the stage to gaze up at the Lord. The Storyteller stays behind, only watching. When we hear the line about Jesus looking at him, he sinks to his knees, still looking up. Then he bows his head, and drops down with his hands on the ground, sobbing. Mary moves to him, standing beside him and putting a hand on his shoulder for a moment. Then, Mary moves to stand before Jesus, looking up at him. Jason stands also, and moves back to stand with the Storyteller on the side.
Narrator Jason: The forgiven thief seemed to be transformed by the words of forgiveness and acceptance from Jesus, and as I watched a look of peace settle in his face, even while dying, I could see that I was likewise going to be found on one side or the other of Jesus. There was no middle ground, no area for nuetrality, I now knew. Which side I was on would decide my destiny and fate... and I knew, in my soul, that decision time was upon me. And then... my heart skipped... as Jesus turned his head and looked directly at me. As I involuntarily sank to my knees, His eyes seemed to pierce through my soul, and I knew in an instant that he knew me like no-one else did. And more, that he loved me more than anyone ever could. What he was going through proved that, more eloquently than any words could ever express.
Actions during the next paragraph: Mary's eyes are full of tears and her face shows her sympathy for Jesus' suffering. She reaches up with both her hands as if she longs to hold him, and comfort him. When Jesus speaks to her and says to behold her son, she looks at John. John, who is looking up also, looks at Mary when Jesus says to behold her as his mother. He embraces her, and she leans on his shoulder for strength, and in acceptance of him as her son. John leads her away from the cross and over to the side where they resume watching.
Narrator Storyteller on the CD: Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, Woman, behold your son! Then He said to the disciple, Behold your mother! And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.
Actions during the next paragraph: The lights, if on a dimmer switch, should be brought down slowly until the stage is darker. The scene is carried by the sounds, music and narration. Jason, both Marys, John, the Centurion and any others on stage all look up at Jesus (or where He is supposed to be) with varying appropriate emotional reactions. Jesus' friends and family drop their heads in grief when He breathes His last. After Jesus gives up His spirit, everyone reacts to the brief earthquake, shaking and then falling down. Everyone-- except for His friends and the Centurion-- flees in terror. The Centurion removes his helmet and bows on one knee when making his confession.
Narrator Jason: At noon, when the sun should have been at its brightest, the sky began instead to grow dark, as if the sun itself was going out, on this darkest day in man's long history of wickedness. The crowd was frightened by this strange and unprecedented phenomenon, which was not an eclipse... the sun was simply darkening, with no clouds or mist obscuring it. The speed of the passage of time seemed to ebb and flow, and the next three hours that Jesus spent on the cross was compressed in my dream state into a series of scenes. Finally I sensed that the end was near.
Narrator Storyteller on the CD: Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is, My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Some of those who stood there, when they heard that, said, This Man is calling for Elijah! The rest said, Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to save Him.
After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, I thirst! And they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, It is finished!
And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit. Having said this, He breathed His last.
(Note: On the soundtrack, intense wind and earthquake sounds are heard here.)
Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.
So when the centurion, who stood opposite Him, saw that He cried out like this and breathed His last, he said, Truly this Man was the Son of God!
Track 5 begins here and plays through to the end.
Actions during the next paragraph: The stage lights gradually come back up, as all actors leave sorrowfully, except for the Storyteller and Jason. As they move from the side of the stage to the front and center, they discuss what happens between the last scene and the next.
Narrator Jason: As the terrible, yet amazing scene passed from before my eyes, and again I found myself in limbo with the Storyteller, I carried with me the image of it as it had been burned in my memory forever. The Storyteller related to me how that one of the soldiers had pierced Jesus' side with a spear to make certain he was dead. And also how Joseph of Arimathea had went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus, which he placed in his own tomb before the Sabbath began. Seeing my downcast look, he smiled and reminded me that this was not the end. He recounted how on the third day, the women had come to the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus, and encountered an angel who told them Jesus had risen. Mary Magdelene had then rushed to tell Peter and John, who were even now hurrying to see for themselves. Looking around, I found myself in the very garden, standing before the open tomb. Seeing figures coming into the garden, we retreated to the side to observe.
Director's note: the empty tomb, like the cross, is not seen by the audience; rather, when the actors look into it, they are looking forward in the center of the stage toward the audience, putting the audience in the position of observing as if from inside the tomb. If the stage has steps down, then have the actors step down on them when "entering" the tomb.
Actions during the next paragraph: John hurries onstage, and stoops over to look inside the tomb (facing the audience). Peter comes up a few seconds later, followed by Mary, and he also looks in, then takes a few steps further as he stoops to go through the low entrance. He then stands straight to look around in wonder. John then comes in also, ducking through the low entrance. They discuss what they see (but silently while the narration continues) and then they go back out. They hurry off, leaving Mary, who is weeping.
Narrator Storyteller on the CD: Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb. So they both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first. And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there, and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed. For as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. Then the disciples went away again to their own homes.
Actions during the next paragraph: Mary does not see Jesus come up behind her. He has his robe's hood up and his face is partially hidden. Only glancing back at him, through tear-filled eyes, she does not recognise him until he says her name. She freezes upon hearing it, then turns rapidly around to look at him, as he lowers the hood. She falls on her knees toward him, holding onto his feet in worship, but he tenderly lifts her up and speaks to her. (Note: if you hold to the teaching that Mary's touch would have ceremonially made him impure, because he had not yet ascended to Heaven to present his blood on the Mercy seat, --but was about to-- simply have him hold up a hand before she can touch him.) When he is done, she hurries offstage excitedly, with a joyful expression. Jesus puts his hood back up and leaves in the opposite direction.
Narrator Storyteller on
the CD: But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping. And
as she wept... ...she turned around and saw Jesus standing there,
and did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her,
Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?
She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.
Jesus said to her, Mary!
She turned and said to Him,Rabboni! which is to say, Teacher.
Jesus said to her, Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.
Actions during the next paragraph: Mary, in passing Jason and the storyteller, pauses only a moment to speak, then hurries off. The actor playing Jesus puts the hood back over his head and leaves in the opposite direction. Watching her go, the Storyteller comments to Jason. Jason turns to him, and they talk as they move to the middle of the stage again, then stop. They talk some, shaking hands, and the old man walks off, down from the stage, and down the center aisle through the audience toward the back door. Jason backs up, watching him go, until he is back on the side of the stage where his room is set up. He wearily makes his way to the chair (or small bed) and collapses into it, his head lolling to the side as if falling asleep.
(Director's note: after they have left the stage, immediatelt have the actresses that are playing the mother Sandra and her daughter Sharon quickly take off their Biblical costumes, and get back in their regualr clothes, so as to be ready when they go back out in a few moments.)
Narrator Jason: As Mary began to leave, in a rush to share the wonderful news with the disciples, she paused only for a moment when encountering us to tells us breathlessly, "He's alive! Jesus is alive, and I have seen him!" And off she went. Watching her go, the Storyteller remarked that Mary was the first evangelist to share the testimony of the good news from personal experience. Then he reminded me that Jesus had said that blessed were those that believed their testimony, without having seen him personally. With these words, I somehow knew our time together was at an end. I thanked him for being my guide and commentator through this unique experience, and that once again he had taught me a valuable lesson. As we shook hands, I admitted that I somehow felt closer to my dad for having known him. He repeated his earlier statement: that to better know the father's words, is to better know the father. That goes for God's word as well, he said. With a lump in my throat, I told him that I regretted not caring for my father's legacy before, and I wished somehow that I could let him know I now saw it's worth, and would preserve it. To my surprise, the Storyteller said "he knows." "How?" I wondered. "He always knew." he shared. "That's why he entrusted his life's work to your care... he always believed you would do the right thing. He had faith in you, and God's providence. And when you have faith and believe, you know." With that assurance, he took his leave of me. It was amazing to suddenly realise that I didn't want to see him go, and I would miss him. It was an even greater surprise to understand, with a sudden clarity, that it was really my father I was going to miss; because that was who I heard when he spoke. As I watched him go, it seemed to me as if I could see him disappearing amid a field of wheat that made the rolling hills look as if they were paved with gold. I was suddenly aware that I was drained of strength, and more, was back in my room. I wondered if I was awake now, or still asleep and dreaming. The question became academic as, exhausted from the emotion of all that I had witnessed, I faded into dreamlessness.
Actions during the next paragraph: Jason lifts his head, awakening, and sits up, considering what he has experienced. Then, slipping to his knees beside the chair (or bed) and putting his forehead on his clasped hands, he prays with fervor.
Narrator Jason: How much longer I slept after the dream, I don't know... but when I opened my eyes, the first thing on my mind was an urgency to consciously make things right between me and God. On my knees, I prayed for the Lord Jesus to forgive my life of sinfulness, and to come in as my savior. I confessed to him that I believed that he had died for me, and had risen from the dead. I had prayed before, but only when I needed a favor from God... but this time, I only wanted Him. And I wanted Him to have me... all of me, and to do His work, not my own. I wasn't afraid to pray that now, as I had always been before, because I knew, for the first time, that Jesus really loved me. And a love like that, you can trust to make the best decisions for you. I never really understood that before, and had only followed my own understanding and selfish desires. I seemed to see in my mind the action of removing a crown from my own head, and inviting Jesus to sit on the throne of my heart. And as I placed the crown on His head, making him King of my life, I felt a peace I had never known.
Actions during the next paragraph: Jason lifts his head and one hand toward Heaven in worship as he finishes his prayer, his eyes still closed. His sister enters the room, obviously still upset. She has a box of paper and books, which she sets on the table, and Jason looks around at her as she begins taking out the books and papers which she arranges on the tabletop, not even looking at him yet. They are his father's books and manuscripts. Jason rises, and goes to the table. She wants him to see what he is selling away before he does it. Moving to the side of the table and sweeping her hand over the collection, she makes one last plea to him as he listens patiently with a slight smile. Jason, while listening to her, picks up some of the material and looks over it.
(Note: "The Storyteller" takes over the narration at this point.)
Narrator #1 (the Storyteller): As Jason basked in the joy of Jesus' presence in his life, he heard footsteps in the room behind him. He halfway expected it to be me, the Storyteller, smiling in approval... but instead he saw the serious expression of his sister Sharon as she began unpacking the contents of a box. Arranging the books and manuscripts on the table, she told him that she wanted him to have a look at their father's work before selling them away forever for mere money. As she displayed the collection of his writings, Jason could hear in her voice the deep concern over their father's legacy. The difference now, from before when she had talked to him, was that he now shared it with her. He took pride in seeing the covers of his books, and knowing how many lives he had touched and influenced for the Lord. "Wasn't that worth preserving," she pleaded?"To sell off the rights to a company that only wanted the characters, and not their values and beliefs," she stressed, "was akin to betraying everything our father had worked for."
Actions during the next paragraph: Jason puts down the material, and turning to his sister, tells he that he agrees with her. She is taken aback, and stares in surprise. He talks to her about his change of heart, and tells her what he is planning and how he wants her to be a part of it. As he is talking, she sits down in the chair as if in shock over his sudden change of heart. He earnestly tells her his plans, and she smiles, putting her hands on her hips, then laughs as she replies. She picks up one of the books and holds it up as she tells him she had planned on smacking him with it. Jason laughs at this, and she puts down the book, and reaches out to him, simply placing one hand on his shoulder and squeezing it to let him know she was proud of him. Just then their mother comes in, obviously distressed and worried. Jason moves to her, taking her by the hand.
Narrator #1: When Sharon stopped for a breath, Jason told her simply that he agreed with her. Starting on another leg of her argument, she suddenly did a double-take as what he said sank in. She wanted to know if she had heard him right, and he assured her she had. He had come around to seeing things the Lord's way, he said, and that he knew what he had to do concerning their father's hard-earned legacy. He was not going to sell the rights, he assured her, but was going to devote himself to taking it further. He informed her that he was going to call and cancel the meeting where he had been going to sign over the rights. As the reality of his sincerity finally reached her, she began to smile in relief and happiness, and then she laughed. She had come in here with the intention of making an impact, she said, and if that had meant smacking him upside the head with one of dad's books, she had been ready to. Just then Sandra, their mother came into the room, and they turned to her. It was easy to see that the stress of the last few months, and her worrying over Jason, had taken a toll on her. That was at an end now, though, as he prepared to tell her all about his life-changing experience... his ultimate decision... and about his soul's salvation, for which she had travailed in prayer so long.
Actions during the next piece of music: Jason, having taken her by the hand, begins to tell her what he has done. Although he is talking, we do not hear him, or any narration, during this part. The actions and the music communicate what is happening. This scene is very important! The mother is looking at Jason's face with a dawning wonder as he relates what he has seen in his vision. She looks over at her daughter, who is standing beside her, and she nods in confirmation with a smile. Looking back at Jason as he tells her more. he eyes are growing bright with emotion as she listens. Finally, as he tells her he has been saved, she breaks out into tears, and puts a hand to her mouth, almost biting her knuckles to try and contain herself. At last Jason embraces her, which she returns with a tearful embrace, and Sharon wipes a tear while watching them. The mother, inbetween sobs, tells her son how happy she is over this, and he wipes some tears from her cheek gently. The mother looks over to her daughter and holds out a hand, and she joins the embrace, the mother in the middle, and the son on the other. The mother looks up to heaven as her children lay their heads on her shoulders, and her lips move as she repeats "Thank you, Jesus" over and over. Her eyes close as she praises the Lord.
Actions during the next paragraph: After holding them close another moment,Sandra releases them, but still keeps a hand on each of their shoulders. Jason makes his announcement about taking them out to dinner to make plans, which causes the two ladies to smile and agree enthusiastically. Then he holds out his arm to his mother, which she takes, and one to his sister, as she moves around to his other side and puts her arm in his. While talking, they slowly walk offstage. The stage is empty for a moment as the Storyteller closes the play.
Storyteller narration: As their mother clung to her children, her heart filled with rejoicing, Jason told them that he wanted to treat them to dinner at a restuarant where they had gone many times as a family with his father. There was much to celebrate, he told them, and they had plans to make on how to run the family business, together. As they left arm-in-arm, Jason began to realize that the legacy left behind by his father was not so much his writings or fictional characters, but that of a victorious faith, and a life lived for the glory of Jesus. That legacy was now inherited by his son... through obedience to the father's will, which he learned by seeing Jesus' obedience to His Father's will. May we all likewise strive to know the will of our Heavenly Father, and submit ourselves to it, as Jesus taught us by example and deed. Then, our own legacy will be one worth preserving, and passing down.
This is Storyteller Grandpa, bidding you goodbye for a time, until we gather again to take other such journeys into the limitless realm of discovery, powered by imagination, and visible through eyes of faith. God bless you, and may His presence dwell in your heart richly.
Track 6 begins here.
Note: After the play ends, there is a reprise of "Jesus Loves Me," for your cast to come out and take their bows, if you wish. I suggest having each cast member on one at a time, and have someone on a mic introduce them and identify which part they played. "The part of Jason Donner was played by...(name)." Then they move to the side and another one comes on, until all are introduced and on stage. They then all hold hands and take a bow. If you do not wish to have the cast introduced, pause the CD before Track 6 begins.
This script is copyright 2012 Fred Passmore and Sheep Laughs Records.
(Inform me of your intention to use this script, or tell me what you thought of it, by going to the Contact Fred page of this site.)
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