“Dead is Dead” – A Script for Easter

I was asked to write a Good Friday script for our school’s chapel. It’s entitled “Dead is Dead.”  My actors did an incredible job with it – about a disillusioned couple the day after the crucifixion. To celebrate Easter, I’ve included the full script of “Dead is Dead” below. Would love your feedback on it.

If you celebrate, I hope you have a great one!

_________________________________________________________________________

Dead is Dead

by

Mark W. Sasse

Characters

Jabez, husband of Naarah, follower of Jesus

Naarah, wife of Jabez, follower of Jesus

Daughter, of Jabez and Naarah

Roman Soldier

Setting: At their home in Jerusalem the day after the crucifixion of Jesus.

Jabez is sitting eating some bread, giving it to her child. Child runs off to the side of the stage and is playing in the dirt. The JABEZ is standing in a contemplative pose.

NAARAH

Do you want something to eat?

(He shrugs it off.)

I remember the first time I saw him. He had a single loaf of bread in his hand.

(in thought)

On the hillside. The crowd was massive, and I pushed my way in. I was just curious, nothing else.

JABEZ

Curiosity is better left alone unless you want a dagger in your heart.

NAARAH

I refuse to believe it was all for nothing.

JABEZ

It doesn’t matter what you believe when yesterday is still seared into our memory. We saw it with our own eyes, and that’s the end of it.

(The girl runs up from behind and tugs on the arm of her papa.)

GIRL

Papa, papa. Come here. Come here.

NAARAH

But it doesn’t make any sense. How can it be finished? There’s more to it than just yesterday. Our eyes have seen things, and you know it. It’s not like the first unbelievable thing we saw was yesterday.

GIRL

Papa, papa.

JABEZ

(gruffly to girl)

Not now. Can’t you see your mother and I are in a conversation?

(The girls runs off and starts digging and playing in the dirt off the side of the stage.)

Why did I let you drag me into this?

NAARAH

Don’t blame your lack of faith on me.

JABEZ

Faith is now the last thing we need. We have given everything for him. And now what are we going to do? We’ll be outcasts. That bread in your hand might be some of the last you’ll ever have.

 

NAARAH

Stop it.

JABEZ

How could we have been so foolish?

NAARAH

I came to you and told you what I saw. That’s all. The rest was your decision.

JABEZ

And what exactly did you see? Perhaps your heart was a little too emotionally involved to see things objectively.

NAARAH

I’m not going to let your bitterness cloud my vision. I was on that hillside, and he took that loaf of bread and a small fish and fed thousands with them. Emotion doesn’t fill an ox cart full of bread. Tears have never multiplied fish. It happened, and you know it happened. Because you saw what he did for the blind beggar.

(He turns away disgusted.)

Don’t turn away from me. You know what I’m talking about. How many times did you pass him in the streets as he sat near the well in his ragged clothes? And you saw the rabbi heal him. I know it. I saw the faith in your eyes when you came home that day.

JABEZ

(emotion)

Where is faith now? Nailed to a bloody, wooden cross.

(The daughter comes back over to him.)

GIRL

                (pulling on his arm)

Papa! Come over here and look.

JABEZ

Not now!

(Daughter walks away again.)

NAARAH

It may not all make sense, but I refuse to believe it was all for nothing.

JABEZ

Yes, I saw with these very eyes what he did to the blind beggar, and I can’t explain it. But those same eyes witnessed something very different yesterday. Stop blinding yourself with reckless faith. Stop seeing what you only want to see. He’s gone.

NAARAH

But perhaps …

JABEZ

Dead is dead. It’s no different if he had fallen into a well or been bit by a viper or the Roman Legion sliced off his head. Either way, dead is dead, and we’d both be much better off if we can admit that fact. Jesus of Nazareth is dead. And life doesn’t come from death.

GIRL

Papa …

JABEZ

Not now!

GIRL

Someone’s coming.

(He looks and sees a Roman soldier coming at him quickly.)

ROMAN SOLDIER

Jabez!

(Jabez tries to run, but knocks into his daughter who falls to the ground. He stops to pick her up and Naarah comes to get the girl as the soldier punches Jabez to the ground.)

I should slice you here, and I would if it were up to me.

(Standing over him with a sword to his throat.)

JABEZ

What have I done?

ROMAN SOLDIER

Your neighbors have let it be known that your household was part of the rebellious movement of Jesus of Nazareth.

JABEZ

Please don’t hurt my family.

ROMAN

I am here to make one thing perfectly clear, and let the pointed edge of my sword re-enforce it. The governor of Judaea will crush anyone who perpetuates rumors or prophecies about the Nazarene. He is dead, and all thoughts of rebellion are buried in his corpse, or the likes of you will be buried alongside him. Do I make myself understood?

JABEZ

Yes.

ROMAN

Stand to your feet.

(Jabez slowly stands)

I just need to make sure you understand.

(He smacks him twice and Jabez staggers to the other side of the stage and falls on his face near the place the girl had been playing. Naarah and the girl are crying, and they go to his side.)

I think we understand each other now.

(The soldier exits.)

NAARAH

Jabez. Are you all right? Oh, God our father help us. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of God. Jabez.

(He starts to move.)

Jabez.

(She helps him to sit up.)

He’s gone. It’s okay. He’s gone. Are you all right?

JABEZ

No matter what happened yesterday, I’m not going to let Roman tyranny rip the faith out of me.

NAARAH

                (smiling)

No, I suppose you wouldn’t.

GIRL

Papa, I want you to see something. Look!

(She points out to a place in front of them.)

The olive seeds we planted. Remember, you said they were no good. But look, they are sprouting, papa!

(He looks out on the plants and reaches for them.)

JABEZ

That’s impossible. I stopped watering those a month ago.

 

NAARAH

Look at them!

(Jabez starts laughing.)

JABEZ

A miracle in the desert. Life indeed coming from death.

(Holding on to each other.)

Maybe we should wait and see what tomorrow will bring.

 

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