Summary: In this monolgue, the repentant thief on the cross alongside Jesus tells his story, and gives a dramatic description of the process.
Style: Heavy drama. (Note: the descriptions are graphic, and not suitable for children.)
Duration: 5min
Actors: 1M

Production note: A song, Save Me, sung by the thief, can be obtained from the author, whose address is at the foot of this script.

Repentant thief


The cross, the torment, the beatings, please, let it all stop! This torture—crucifixion––was really like. It’s a living hell. My lungs...I need air...I can’t breathe. I press my body weight upon the nails in my feet so I can suck in enough air to survive a little bit longer.

No one, no human, no animal, not even the worst criminal should be subjected to this horror.  My arms are screaming from the weight of my body, and my chest heaves with heavy panting. My shoulders feel like they have pulled loose from their sockets—I am going in and out of consciousness. Please, let it end.

Stupid! I let them catch me. I trained myself to be a shadow in the night. Nothing was safe from my hands. I could be so very cold-blooded––but I was nowhere as pitiless as these savage Roman soldiers.

Why did I let my guard was down? One moment of carelessness, and they surrounded me—smashing my face to the dirt, kicking my head. They beat me unconscious. I woke to an unimaginable nightmare...excruciating pain racked my entire body and head. I thought sweat was pouring down my face, but it was my own blood. Terror gripped my soul.

Was it hours or days? I could not tell. The dark prison was dirty and damp. All around me, I smelled death. Then they came to my door. 

“Get up, come with us!”  They pushed and prodded me like I was lamb being led to slaughter.

My god, I was being led to my death. 

They laughed and mocked as they pulled me from the cell. One yelled, “The world doesn’t need the likes of you.” If my hands hadn’t been tied, I would have taken three or four of them down.

They dragged me out of the pitch black and the blinding light of day pounded my vision like a thousand suns. At first I could not see...but I didn’t need to. I was going wherever they would lead me. My vision returned just in time to see three of them bring a splintery wooden beam toward me and hurl it upon my shoulders.

I would prefer that hideous, gruesome cell a thousand times over to where I am now. I push up, drag in air. “Help me! Finish me!” The soldiers only laugh.

When they raised me on my cross, the horrific impact seemed to displace every joint. Splinters gashed into my naked back. I moaned then. As I cry out now, hours later.

How much more––? “Steal something now, you vermin!”

I turn my head away from the mocking soldier, just enough to see two other men hanging on crosses. I recognized one—a thief like I am. The other man I didn’t know.  A woman at the foot of his cross screamed again and again, “Jesus, Jesus, my beloved son...I love you...I love you!” Her pain seemed to rival mine.

I’ve heard that name. Jesus. I saw crowds following him in the market square. They said he was a good man and he even healed people. So why was he here, next to me?

 The other thief yelled at Jesus. “If you are the Christ, get yourself down from here...and us too! It should be no problem—if you are the king.”

I ground out my words. “We deserve this punishment, he doesn’t. He has done no wrong.”

My eyes met Jesus’, and beneath his blood-stained, swollen face I saw something that silenced me. Love—I felt love. Could he be the Savior, could he really be the King of the Jews? Something deep within me cried louder than thunder: he is the Lord of heaven and earth.

“Jesus…” I fought to steady my quavering voice. I had to say this: “Please remember me in your kingdom.”

He pushed down upon the nails in his feet, drew breath, “Son, today, you will be with me in paradise.”

Love and hope welled up within me—more powerful than all of my pain and fear. And I knew. He spoke the truth.

Jesus saved me before my last breath.


© Copyright Michael Farley, 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: