Style: Light-hearted. Duration: 10min
Actors: 10M, 1M VO, plus 2 male non-speaking if resources permit.
Peter - Focused, measured, a clear leader, though perhaps a little weary
Bartholomew - Somewhat self-satisfied, pleased with having been made H&S officer Andrew - Dynamic, warm
Thomas - Uncertain, introspective
Matthew - Brisk, controlling
James 1 - Down to earth, but a little narrow of vision
Matthias - Innocent, enthusiastic
John - Superior, sees himself as the voice of experience
Philip - Quiet, nervous
Simon - Pompous, mildly self-absorbed
James 2 - Non-speaking
Thaddeus - Non-speaking
The disciples are meeting in the Upper Room at Pentecost. They are seated (facing stage front) on a bench at a table. There is a loaf of bread and wine flask at centre. Each has a wine goblet and each has a plate other than Simon. Matthew has a clipboard by his side.
Peter: Right, order please, gentlemen. I am pleased to welcome you all to the 8th meeting of the Disciples’ Committee. Today, we……
Bartholomew: Sorry, Mr Chairman, but in my new role as Health & Safety representative, may I confirm that we have completed a full risk assessment for this meeting?
Barholomew: Well, we need to consider the risks inherent in holding a congregation of people such as this, especially as it’s upstairs in a city dwelling, which is clearly not the safest of places.
Andrew: I would have thought there was more chance getting mown down by an itinerant donkey on the way here rather than… I dunno….stabbing myself on a stylus.
Barholomew: Yes, and that’s exactly the sort of thing we should be documenting. Don’t you agree, Thomas?
Thomas: Errm – I’m not sure
Peter: Look – we haven’t done a risk assessment, OK? I mean, I don’t remember Jesus entreating us to draw up some sort of safety plan when we were in Gethsemane, and that was an ever-so-slightly-more-dangerous gathering.
Barholomew: Yes, but you see in many ways that just proves my point. When we…..
Peter: Enough! Now before we start with our formal agenda let’s take some time to pray. These are important days and we need to get our priorities right.
[Bows head, holds up hands] Almighty God, our beloved Lord Jesus has taught us that we can come to you as children to a Father. And this morning we do that at this challenging time. We pray for your guidance, we pray for your…
Peter: [Looks up, scowls] What?
Matthew: Sorry, Peter… I mean, er, Mr Chairman….. It’s just that in my position as Facilities Manager I would point out that we do have a booking in the Upper Room for the Jerusalem Guild of Jam-Makers at 9 o’clock, and we do have rather a full agenda.
Matthew: Er, well, I was just wondering whether we should, er, hurry it along a bit?
Peter: [Sighs] I really don’t think…..[Resigned to defeat, briskly] Right – come on then. Point number one – determining our purpose. Andrew?
Andrew: Yes, thank you Peter. Right, well we’re all still a bit shell-shocked of course. But the Lord has instructed us to continue our work, and so I’ve put
together a plan for spreading His good news. Next week, James and I will be travelling over to…..
James Sorry Andrew. I did have a quick look at the plan on the scroll you prepared, and, well this isn’t a criticism, and I’m just trying to help, but it would seem that we’re going to be spending a lot of time out and about and speaking to people, and I’m concerned that there’s a lot of work that needs doing here.
Peter: Such as?
James Well, we’re doing quite well on renting this house out, and that needs to be managed. I’ve got a whole “Conditions of Hire” agreement to finish.
Barholomew: And we need to submit all sorts of documents to the insurance people.
Andrew: Well, yes, but surely we shouldn’t lose sight of why we’re together. Of what our mission really is?
James Well, of course not, but if we can get all this sorted out, then we can support ourselves financially, and perhaps in time, even start supporting others.
Matthias: But I thought we were meant to be sharing everything among all the believers already and having faith that our Lord, in His abundant grace, will ensure that our true needs will be met.
John: Well, and of course with all due respect to you as a relative newcomer, Matthias, we have tried doing that before, and frankly, it just didn’t work. Some people will always take advantage of that sort of setup, and so that’s why we’ve moved on a bit and it seems to work very well.
Matthias: But I thought that the Lord told us that….
John: Yes, but when you’re as experienced as we are, you will learn how to do things in the most efficient way.
James So anyway, Andrew, all I’m saying is that maybe we should focus on getting organised here first before we start going out and about.
Philip And all that speaking to other people is a bit scary. I mean, a lot people have said to me, and I think that they may have a point, that belief is a very personal thing and not something to look to discuss with others unless they really want to.
Peter: Hang on a minute, aren’t we rather losing the plot here? Anyway, moving on. Point number two – seating arrangements in the Upper Room. Matthew?
Matthew: Yes, I’ve been considering the possibility of replacing this rather uncomfortable bench with individual chairs.
John: Oh no – I thought we agreed we weren’t going to do that. I’m sure we all rather like this bench – it’s served us very well so far. And we would never get enough chairs round the table.
Andrew: Well I don’t know – personally I find this bench rather inflexible – I mean what if we wanted to sit in a circle for a change?
Peter: Look, I think we have rather more pressing issues to attend to. Let’s pause there for our breaking of bread. Now I have the loaf here, so…..
Simon Excuse me, Mr Chairman.
Peter: [Suspiciously] Yes??
Simon [Looking around the table. Indignantly] I appear not to have a plate
Matthew: Oh, yes. I’m afraid there seems to have been some petty pilfering. You know, I really have tried very hard to make it clear that people shouldn’t be borrowing our things, but some still seem to think they can just saunter off with our supplies whenever they fancy.
Peter: Well, that goes back to our sharing point, doesn’t it?
John: Yes, but more importantly goes back to my point about some people taking liberties with it. Frankly if it were up to me, we wouldn’t do any of this allowing other people to use our house. Don’t you agree Thomas?
Thomas: Well, er, I don’t really know.
Peter: Well, we have experienced the amazing grace of our Lord. Perhaps we just need to share some of that with those we entertain?
Simon Well I don’t really care what we do – we can apprehend the pilferer, put them in prison, or share all the grace you like, but the point is…..I haven’t got a plate.
Andrew: Look, just have mine. [Passes plate to Simon]
Peter: Right, now… if we’re all ready??
Barholomew: Hang on
Peter: [Groans, holds head in hands] What now?
Barholomew: We haven’t run through the fire evacuation procedures.
Peter: Oh, for goodness’ sake, Bartholomew! Please…. Right, let us gather our thoughts in unity…
[There is a dazzling light. All stand up, look toward the source and shield eyes]
Barholomew: Wow – where’s that light coming from? That could cause serious damage to someone’s eyesight – someone turn it off!
[Peter moves slowly toward the light]
Jesus (voiceover) Peace be with you
Peter: [falling to knees facing toward light] Lord! Lord!
Jesus: Hello Peter – come on, stand up. [Peter gets slowly to his feet] My friends. Listen to me, the time is coming when….
Matthew: Ahem, er, Lord?
James: Matthew, ssshh!!
Jesus Yes, Matthew?
Matthew: Well, er sorry Lord, but…well you see we have agreed that we will limit these meetings strictly to one hour only.
Matthew: Well, er, well it’s just that it’s five-to already, and well…… er could you come back…say, about the same time next week?
Jesus: I’m afraid that I did have other plans…in the grand scheme of things.
Matthew: Well yes, and it’s jolly nice of you to come to see us again in this way and all that….Now let’s see…..[Picks up clipboard and starts to study it, continuing through dialogue]
Thomas: Is that really Jesus?
Andrew: Oh good grief, Thomas – we went through all of that last time.
Thomas: Did we?
Barholomew: Lord, may I apologise for Matthew’s…shall we say….short-sightedness.
Jesus: That’s OK
Barholomew: Thank you Lord. But actually I have a quick question.
Barholomew: Have you filled out the visitors’ book?
Peter: [Sharply] Bartholomew!
Barholomew: [Protesting] Well someone’s got to be responsible around here!
Peter: Lord, please forgive them. It’s so wonderful to see you….
Matthew: [Looking up from clipboard, oblivious of others’ exchange] Yes, as I thought
- we do have a slot on next week’s meeting, where we had hoped to hear from the Samaritan delegation – would 10 minutes be enough, Lord?
[All straighten up sharply looking at Jesus]
Jesus: [Quietly] Just…..stop. As I have said before. If you’re tired, worn out, then come to me. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you, but teach you to live freely and lightly. Remember this as you continue your work. Now listen, I have an important instruction for you. Soon I will leave you, as I must return to my Father….
Barholomew: [Sharp intake of breath] Ooh- now that sounds like a journey absolutely fraught with risk. Have you…..
Peter: Bartholomew – will you be quiet?!
Jesus: [Unfazed] But when I go, do not leave Jerusalem…
James: [Smug] See – told you. [registers Jesus’ patient stare] Sorry, Lord. Er, do carry on.
Jesus: Thank you. Stay here in the city and wait for the gift my Father has promised. John baptised with water, but you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit. You will be clothed with power from on high. Now, peace be with you.
Andrew: I wonder what he meant – “the gift my Father has promised”?
[All mime being blown by a strong wind]
Matthew: Wow – that’s quite a gale – did someone open the window?
Andrew: [Sharp intake of breath, points to what is a great ball of fire, then draws large sphere shape with hands] Look – the flames
[All look toward the flames, awestruck, then mime watching flames move to above their heads, looking up, flapping their hands above their head]
Barholomew: Er, Peter….
[All others pick up goblets of water and throw water on Bartholomew. If circumstances prohibit throwing water, all mime throwing and freeze in position as Bartholomew shields himself and freezes.]
© Copyright Ian Wishart, 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.
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