Between Two Thieves

By Dan Wilson


3 criminals (one of them Barabbas) discuss their prospects of being forgiven the punishment of crucifixion



Guard: Don't get too comfortable. I'll be back for you shortly.

Zech: If I only had a knife...

Simon: What? You'd what? Face it Zechariah, this is the end of the road.

Zech: Not necessarily.

Simon: You've got a plan?

Zech: I wish. I've got a hope though. Every year at Passover, Pilate lets one of the prisoners go free.

Barab: That's a fool's dream.

Simon: There's someone in here with us!

Barab: I guess the two of you are real dangerous types. Don't even check to see if you're alone. Don't even check to see who you're turning your back to.

Zech: And I guess you are? We're in here for stealing from the Romans.

Simon: Zechariah, I think...

Zech: Shut up Simon.

Barab: What makes you think that the people are going to cry out for your release? Who really cares about a couple of petty thieves?

Zech: I suppose you've got a better chance of pardon?

Barab: Pardon? Who wants pardon from the Romans? I've spent all my life killing Romans, attacking from the shadows, hitting them when they aren't looking. There's no pardon for me. You might just accept the fact that you're unforgiven, just like me.

Zech: Look tough guy, we've all done our part against the Romans. I don't want to spend my last hour listening to how bad you are.

Barab: Done our part. Maybe I don't want to spend MY last hour cooped up with a couple of second rate, petty crooks who use revolution as an excuse to steal. Maybe I want to spend it alone.

Simon: Uh, Zech? Maybe we'd better go sit over there.

Zech: He's not gonna hurt us. He's just trying to scare you.

Barab: You don't seem to scare easily. I guess you've faced death before.

Simon: Zech!

Zech: Maybe not as often as you have.

Barab: Have you ever been to a crucifixion?

Zech: Only when the rich are attending.

Barab: I guess you weren't paying much attention to the poor victims of Roman oppression hanging up there, were you?

Zech: Why should the living concern themselves with the dead?

Simon: Great, I get to spend the rest of my life listening to the two of you trying to psyche each other out. Who cares who's the tougher criminal here? We're going to die soon!

Barab: The question is which of us is ready to die?

Zech: I'm ready.

Barab: Good, because the Romans love to hear us scream. They love to see us suffer under the weight of that crossbeam. They love to see us gasping for air, dying a little more with each agonizing breath we struggle to take.

Simon: Oh, man.

Barab: Are you gonna give them the satisfaction? Are you gonna scream like a good boy?

Simon: We might be forgiven!

Zech: That's right. I've got a lot of friends out there. They'll call for me.

Barab: And what about your buddy? Only one can go free.

Simon: Oh God.

Barab: Face it, we're unforgiven, and we always will be. At least we can die like men.

Guard: (enters) Barabbas! You'd better thank the gods for their mercy.

Barab: I will never thank your worthless idols!

Guard: Look, you worthless scum, don't you forget that you can be brought back here in a second if you cause any more trouble.

Barab: What are you talking about.

Guard: You're free. You've received the Passover Pardon from Pilate.

Barab: What?

Guard: Are you, deaf? You're free! Pardoned! Forgiven! Now get your ugly hide out of here.

Simon: Oh, God. That means that...

Barab: It looks like there'll be one less cross this afternoon. Remember what I told you.

Guard: No, they just arrested somebody yesterday. He's taking your place.

Barab: Really, who?

Guard: That preacher guy, what's his name? Jesus.

Simon: What did he do?

Guard: Revolutionary activities.

Zech: What's that supposed to mean?

Guard: Whatever we want it to. I'll be back for the two of you in a minute.

Zech: There goes our last hope.

Simon: Maybe Jesus...?

Zech: Give it up! Barabbas was right. We're unforgiven.

Simon: I've heard...

Zech: If Jesus could save us he wouldn't be under order of execution.

Guard: It's time to go.


Dan Wilson, all rights reserved.
This play may be performed free of charge, provided no entrance fee is charged. In return for free performance, the author would appreciate being notified of any performance. He may be contacted at