Summary: Two sets of characters, modern day and from the time of Jesus, are forced to reassess their lives by the events of the first Easter.
Style: Light-hearted. Duration: 12min
Scripture: John 20: 1-18
Actors: 3M, 1F
Sydney and Lucy (modern day) in the living room.
Romulus and Remus (Roman soldiers) in the garden.
Props: Chair, TV remote, large rock, plate of nacho chips
Setting: The stage is set in two distinct areas: a modern living room, and the garden of Gethsemane. Use as few props as necessary.
(Romulus and Remus are on-stage, frozen until their part.)
(Sydney is sitting in the living room, clicking his remote at the TV.)
Sydney: Dang it, Lucy. The TV is not working. Again.
(Lucy, coming in from side room): O, come on Sydney. That can't be true. We just got it fixed. You've been watching it all afternoon.
Sydney: Sure we got it fixed. But I tell you, it's not working. Here, look.
(They look at the TV together)
Lucy: It looks fine to me, Sydney. Nice color. The picture looks good.
Sydney: But Lucy, look what's on! It's re-runs of quarter-final bowling, from 1964, for goodness sake. It can't be fixed if there's old bowling shows on. And look, on this channel it's some actress nobody can remember trying to sell me eye shadow. I tell you, Lucy. This thing is broken.
Lucy: Are we in the same room? Are we on the same planet? There is a picture on the tube, and I can hear it. It works. It's you who doesn't work.
Sydney: Of course I work. What do you think I do all day? I work at the video store. I get to watch all those movies they bring in. I sit in the back room and watch them all day, and then I put a sticker on them. Yellow sticker for "Sydney's Best" And a red sticker for "Sydney's Stinkers." The customers love it. I'm telling you, I have a lot of fans out there, my dear. They just snap up my selections like there's no tomorrow. They line up at the door, and run for "Sydney’s best." I'm a celebrity, Lucy, Don't tell me I don't work.
Lucy: I didn't mean you don't earn an income, my love. I meant your brain doesn't work very well.
Sydney: My brain? What does that have to do with watching TV?
Lucy: You watch too much of it, sweetheart. You are rotting from the neck up.
Lucy: Too many monster truck shows. Too much baseball. Too much hockey.
Sydney: Hockey. That was it. I was watching hockey, when I accidentally hit the remote and got all these other shows. I can't get back to my hockey, Lucy. I tell you, this TV has got to go.
Lucy: It's on channel 47, my little couch potato. (Lucy clicks the remote, hands it back to Sydney) There, dear. You watch your little hockey game. And I'll get you your little nacho chips. (walks away, turns) And Sydney. One of these days. I hope you will get a life.
(Lucy leaves. Sydney stays watching TV. Shift to Romulus and Remus.)
Remus: Dang it, Romulus. This stone is not working.
Romulus: O come on, Remus. That can't be true. We just got it fixed in place. You've been watching it all afternoon.
Remus: Sure we just got it fixed in place. But I tell you, it's not working. Here, look.
Romulus: It looks fine to me, old buddy. That is a good looking stone. Nice and round and big. Just like the Captain asked us to find.
Remus: But Romulus, don't you see? It's not where it should be.
Romulus: It's not? O, yeah. You're right, Reme. It's not working. This stone has moved.
Remus: Buddy, we got a problem here.
Romulus: You can say that again.
Remus: Buddy, we got a problem here. Why did I have to say it again?
Romulus: Never mind. The problem is, the stone is rolled away.
Romulus: So. It means we're in trouble.
Remus: I guess you're right. We were supposed to guard this tomb where the rock was placed. (slowly, as if he is finally getting it) To make sure nobody stole the body. O dear. Romulus, we should not have had those drinks while we played cards last night.
Romulus: I guess not. I thought you were staying awake, though. You told me you would, and that you'd wake me up for my shift.
Remus: I fell asleep, Rom. I'm sorry. It's just that after all the things that happened these last three days, well, I was just pooped.
Romulus: You are a pathetic little soldier, Remus. A good friend. But you are a pathetic soldier.
Remus: Hold on, let me check. Maybe the body is still inside. (goes to the tomb, looks inside) Nope. Clean as a whistle in there. Nothing but the cloths they wrapped him in.
Romulus: (scratching his head) This is a fine mess you've gotten us into now, Remus.
Remus: Rom, we have to go find that body. They must have come and stolen it last night.
Romulus: You don't suppose the stone rolled away on its own, do you?
Remus: Do you?
Romulus: No. Stones don't think.
Remus: It's a good thing we do, though, isn't it, Romulus?
Romulus: Yes, Remus. We think like there's no tomorrow.
Remus: We sure do, Rom. We think. OK, let's think. You start.
Romulus: Actually, I have been thinking. Really. I've been thinking about this fellow we buried here. Jesus. I gotta tell you, buddy. This guy really made me think. You know, do some soul-searching.
Remus: Be careful, Romulus. You shouldn't do that. You are an elite Roman soldier. You are not supposed to think for yourself. Only think like a soldier. And you are not supposed to have a soul to search.
Romulus: You feel that way if you want. But Remus. I was listening while all those things were happening the past few days. Weren't you?
Remus: Nope. Just taking orders.
Romulus: But you were there. We were working together.
Remus: And a crack team we are, too, Rom. Nothing gets by us. (looks at the empty tomb) OK, almost nothing.
Romulus: Don't you remember the day Jesus came into Jerusalem? We were on patrol, watching the crowds.
Remus: Boy, wasn't that a crowd! All those kids and grown-ups, waving branches and throwing their cloaks on the ground. Cheering this fellow on. I must say, we exercised very good crowd control that day.
Romulus: Do you remember what they were shouting, though? "Hail to the Son of David. Hail to the Messiah!" (pause) Kinda makes you think.
Remus: About what?
Romulus: About what those words mean. It means they were welcoming their Messiah. Their saviour.
Remus: That's good?
Romulus: For them it is. For sure. Maybe for us, too.
Remus: I don't get it.
Romulus: I realize that. But then later in the week, last Friday. Remember Friday?
Remus: How could I forget? That was crazy, man. I wish I could have just stayed in bed on Friday. But then again, I wouldn't have gotten to see Mr. Pilate up close. Now that was a thrill.
Romulus: The trial was not about Pilate. It was about Jesus. I was watching him the whole time. He was incredible. He just kept his cool. He stood up to Pilate. Man, he was wonderful to watch. And then when Pilate couldn't find anything to pin on him, and turned to the Sanhedrin and the crowd for a verdict, and the people shouted "Crucify him. Crucify him," honestly there were so many thoughts going through my head.
Remus: You're thinking again. Free thinking. It's frowned on.
Romulus: Remus. Stop it. Remember when he carried his cross? How he struggled with it, so weak from being beaten. And then we got to the hill. Golgotha.
Remus: Now that is a gross place. Just outside the dump. Did you know they heave dead bodies off that hill? Man, that is one regrettable place to have to die.
Romulus: It sure is. But that's where he died. On a cross. I was standing there watching and I overheard these women. I think one of them was his mother. Anyway, they were talking. In kind of whispers.
Remus: Spying. Good for you. You are a good soldier, Rom.
Romulus: (sighs) Thank you, Remus. But it was what they were saying that intrigued me. They were talking about all the things Jesus had said and done - the miracles he had performed, about hope he had given to so many people, how he cared for children, and reached out to those who were wounded, healing some, blessing others. Preaching about the reign of God, when all people will be free. When our sins will be forgiven.
Remus: That's very nice, Romulus. But so what? That's history, man. The guy is dead.
Romulus: Don't be so sure. There's one other thing they kept talking about. Apparently Jesus had told them that he would rise from the dead.
Remus: Get out! Nobody can do that. (looking at the tomb) Can they?
Romulus: Why not, Remus? They said Jesus had already raised at least three people from death while he was alive. One of their sisters was there, in fact. The sister of a guy called Lazarus.
Remus: This is spooky, Rom. I'm getting goosebumps. (looking at the tomb) You don't suppose - nah. No way.
Romulus: But if it is true, buddy. If it is true that Jesus rose from the dead, (loud whisper) then what are you going to do about it?
Remus: (silence, then...) I'm going to have to start thinking. About my life. And do some very serious soul-searching. Heck. This could change my life.
Romulus: It could give you a new one, old buddy.
(Romulus and Remus freeze. Enter Lucy.)
Lucy: Honey, here are your nachos. Honey. What's the matter? You look different. Did something happen? Did the Canadiens actually win a hockey game?
Sydney: I don't know. I lost interest in the game a while ago. I got thinking. You know, doing some soul-searching.
Lucy: That could be dangerous, Sydney. You haven't done that for a long time.
Sydney: I know. But I have today. I was thinking about what you said just as you left for the kitchen. Do you remember what it was?
Lucy: Yes. I said, "Sydney, one of these days I hope you will get a life." Why do you ask?
Sydney: Because after you said that, I couldn't think about anything else. It was like my life just flashed before my eyes.
Lucy: Were you channel surfing again? That can do it, you know.
Sydney: No. This was not TV. It was real life. My life. And I realize I haven't really lived it. I spend all my days in front of this thing. And it is like my whole world. It's my job and my recreation. But it's so artificial. I don't know what the real world is like any more. I haven't felt passionately about anything for such a long time. I just surf past those pictures of starving kids on TV as if they were inconveniences, just one more stop on the way to the game shows. But they are people, Lucy. Aren't they? They don't make them up.
Lucy: Yes, love, they are very real. And they really do have needs. And the news is not entertainment. And there are real people right outside our door. You just never meet them.
Sydney: And I never have to do anything about them, do I? I can spend my whole life like on an island. Like I'm a rock. I don't think God wants me to live like this. Even in my own home. Lucy, I feel like a rock. Even with you. Except for the ring on my finger you would hardly know I was married. I treat you like a servant, Lucy. And I just don't want that any more. Lucy, I want you to forgive me.
Lucy: I don't want it any more either, Sydney. Yes, I forgive you. And I'm sure God does, too. I'm glad to hear you say what you did. Very glad. You can roll that stone away, Sydney. And get a new life.
(c) Copyright Jim Hatherly, all rights reserved.
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