by Ray Markham
At the local bar, a member of the guard posted at the tomb of Jesus tells a friend his story of what happened..
Matthew 27:64 Ė 28:4; 28:11-15
The soldier [X]
His friend [Y]
People in the bar (non-speaking)
[A bar setting, with several people at the bar at the back of the stage, talking and drinking together in small groups. Enter Y, who is spotted by X.]
X: [moving towards a table at the front of the stage] Over here, Y! (supply
name!) [Turns to barman] Two pints for us please, and another round of
drinks for everyone at the bar!
[They sit down together at the small table]
X: Great to see you again, Y! How are you doing?
Y: Fine, thanks! You seem to be doing better though!
X: What do you mean?
Y: All this buying drinks for everyone! You used to be the most tight-fisted bloke I know; and now listen to you! You come into some money or something?
X: Well, yes ... in a manner of speaking.
Y: Sounds interesting. Tell me about it.
X: [strongly] Only if you promise me youíll keep your trap well and truly shut, OK?
Y: OK, OK! Keep cool! What you been up to then?
X: Well: did you know Iíd joined the SAS?
Y: Yeah, actually I did hear something about it, yeah. Been on any dangerous missions then?
X: Yeah, quite a few actually. Payís quite good too.
Y: So thatís why you can afford to flash your money around is it?
X: Nah ... itís not that good. Itís just that ...
Y: Just that what?
X: Itís just that ... after our last job, we got given what I suppose you could call ... a bonus.
Y: A bonus, eh? Must have been a particularly dangerous mission.
X: Well not actually dangerous; more ...
X: No: you couldnít call it difficult. More ..
X: No ... more ...
Y: Downright Death-Defying?
X: No ... more like Defying Description. And Definitely Daft.
Y: Definitely Daft?
X: Thatís what I said. Definitely Daft.
Y: But the SAS get sent on Dangerous, Difficult, and Downright Death-Defying missions: definitely not Definitely Daft ones that Defy Description.
X: Well we did this time I can tell you Ö although I shouldnít tell you really.
Y: You can tell me! Iíve promised to keep my mouth shut, havenít I?
X: Yeah. All right then. Well hereís what happened. [Leans closer and lowers voice slightly] You heard about that Jesus of Nazareth bloke being crucified last Friday I suppose?
Y: Heard about it? I was there mate! Strange old business, I have to say.
X: Yeah, well, never mind all that. (Theyíll have done about that in another sketch I
daresay.) Itís what happened after everybody had gone home that matters as far
as Iím concerned.
Y: What did happen then?
X: Well, me and my mates in the SAS got this order to attend a briefing, so we assumed we were being sent on an important mission for the authorities.
Y: And werenít you?
X: Yes ... No ... Yes ... it was all very odd.
Y: Come on. Out with it!
X: Itís all a bit embarrassing to say the least.
Y: Why? What did you have to do?
[Pause, then blurts it out]
X: We had to guard a dead body.
Y: [Laughing] Guard a dead body? Why? Were they frightened it might get up and run away?!
X: You can laugh mate, but thatís just about what happened.
Y: What! This dead body got up and ran away, and the whole of the SAS couldnít stop it?
X: It didnít actually run away in front of our eyes, stupid, or we would have stopped it.
Y: What did it do then?
X: [getting annoyed] I donít know. All I do know is that the body of that Jesus who was crucified was put into the tomb we were sent to guard, and it wasnít there later when we looked.
Y: Hang on, hang on. Iím getting confused here. Seriously: why were you sent to guard it?
X: Well, apparently this Jesus had claimed that after he was put to death he would rise from the dead, so the authorities wanted to make sure that he couldnít escape from the tomb unnoticed, or that his disciples couldnít come and steal the body, and then claim that heíd come back to life.
Y: So you were stopping him getting out, and them getting in.
X: Thatís about the size of it.
Y: So how did he get out then?
X: Iíve already told you I donít know!
Y: [slightly mocking] You all fell asleep, didnít you! And while you were all asleep, something happened, didnít it.
X: No ... Yes ... I mean no.
Y: Thereís something youíre not telling me, isnít there?
X: [nervously] Look; you are going keep your trap shut if I tell you what really happened, arenít you.
Y: Iíve said so, havenít I?
X: All right then. We didnít fall asleep. We faced execution if we did. Suddenly, there was this dazzling bright light blinding us all, and a sound like as if an earthquake was happening. We were terrified. And then, just as suddenly, the light was gone and the noise stopped. And when we got our senses back, so to speak, we saw that the rock that had sealed the tomb shut had been rolled away to one side. And not only that: there was no body in the tomb!
Y: So how come you get a fat bonus when you canít even keep a dead body in its place?
X: [Looks around nervously] We were bribed, mate; and very well bribed at that.
Y: Iíd have had you killed, not bribed you!
X: Think about it. Youíre not going to kill your witnesses, are you? The very soldiers who can say that they fell asleep, and while they were asleep the disciples came and stole the body away, and thatís why thereís an empty tomb. And the blinding light and the earthquake noise and everything else just never happened, did it?
Y: Thatís a cover-up! Theyíll never get away with it! The truthís bound to come out sooner or later.
X: Well nobodyís going to hear about it from me, thatís for sure. Iím sticking to the story we agreed. Itís all down to the disciples. So drink up, and have another on me!
Y: Donít mind if I do! [Making their way to the bar] Cheers!
© 2001 Ray Markham, all rights reserved. The script may not be reproduced, translated or copied in any medium, including books, CDs and on the Internet, without written permission of the author.
This play may be performed free of charge, on the condition that copies are not sold for profit in any medium, nor any entrance fee charged. In exchange for free performance, the author would appreciate being notified of when and for what purpose the play is performed. He may be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org