“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


Mark W. Sasse


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.


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.


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


I refuse to believe it was all for nothing.


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.)


Papa, papa. Come here. Come here.


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.


Papa, papa.


(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?


Don’t blame your lack of faith on me.


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.



Stop it.


How could we have been so foolish?


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


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


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.



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

(The daughter comes back over to him.)


                (pulling on his arm)

Papa! Come over here and look.


Not now!

(Daughter walks away again.)


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


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.


But perhaps …


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.


Papa …


Not now!


Someone’s coming.

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



(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.)


What have I done?


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


Please don’t hurt my family.


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?




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.)


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.)


(She helps him to sit up.)

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


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



No, I suppose you wouldn’t.


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.)


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



Look at them!

(Jabez starts laughing.)


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.


“A Pinch of Fate” – My Play Opens in Sydney, Australia Today

I’m very excited (and very sad because I can’t be there) to have my short play, “A Pinch of Fate, A Shot of Destiny”, opening tonight as part of the Short & Sweet Theatre Festival in Sydney, Australia. It will be performed five times from Feb 4-8 at The Fusebox, Factory Theatre, Marrickville. The piece is being directed by Tara Gallop-Brennan.

Sydney’s festival is billed as the largest 10-minute play festival in the world. My play was fortunate enough to make the “top 80”, so we’ll see how it does. Here are the actors in some of the promotional shots. This is Hilary Park. She plays the “narrator.”

Hilary Park headshotShe’s not a normal narrator, however, She is, I guess you could say, the Grim Reaper who has come for her daily conquest. On this particular day, she is planning on taking Rebecca with her. Rebecca is scheduled to be hit by a bus. However, as fate would have it, Mitch was running late and happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time (at least in the narrator’s perspective) and ended up saving Rebecca from her appointed destiny. Well, this deed makes the narrator angry indeed, and she plots to wrestle back the day from Mitch’s intervention. But wait, what’s that flirting going on between Rebecca and Mitch. Can destiny be changed? Does fate actually have an unexpected turn? Not if the narrator can help it. Here’s Rebecca (Eden Scott) and Mitch (Matthew Archer):IMG_6837


I do hope that the play has fate and destiny on its side and will be enjoyed by many this week. Do go on out this weekend and see it for me if you are in Sydney.

Break a leg, guys!


Almighty Might! October 23-26!

I’m very excited to head to KL on Thursday next week to watch my short play “Almight Might” take part in the Short & Sweet Theatre KL. It’s a powerful short piece about a man who decides to stand in front of the presidential palace and wait for the coming revolution. The full script is actually posted in full on my blog HERE. You can read it, if you like. Or if you will be in KL this week, stop by KLPAC from Wed – Sat to catch the performance.
almighty might

Last Night of Short & Sweet Theatre Penang



Here I am backstage with the cast of “‘No’ in Spite of Itself” written by yours truly and directed by Jackie (on my left). This awesome cast are all part of THE RLT PLAYERS who will be performing in the same venue in November.2013-09-11 22.30.42 And here I am with the cast of “Noticed” written by Jackie (on the right) and directed by yours truly. (That’s my daughter on my left and Ysabel on my right. They’re awesome!)2013-09-11 22.29.26One more night starting at 8:30PM @ PenangPAC.


Finishing Touches on New 10-Minute Musical

I’ve had the privilege twice to work with musically talented Shion Beak on short musicals. Here’s how it works:

  • Me, extremely challenged in music, come up with a musical concept, lyrics, and basic melody.
  • I make a (very) rough recording of it.
  • I give it to Shion, and she does her magic, sending back a multi-layered, multi-instrument track which always makes my jaw drop.

She finished her part on the musical in early June. It’s entitled “Captured in Time and Space”, basically 4 songs rolled into one with a common chorus repeated 4x that gives it cohesiveness. The premise is quite simple. Three individuals who face different obstacles calling out to the heavens asking for help “Where you want me to go? What you want me to say? I can’t go alone.”

This weekend I just finished recording, with my daughter, a track with sample vocals to send to KL’s Short & Sweet Musical Festival later this month. We’ll see if it will be chosen to be put into production. Hopefully it will. Shion and I are sharing the composer credits, while I’m the sole lyricist.

Eventually, it will be part of Season 3 of the RLT Players – my amazingly fun drama troupe that performs short plays and musicals.

I’m really happy with how “Captured in Time & Space” turned out. Any choreographers out there who want to work with my RLT Players this fall?

Thought I’d ask.

Lyrics and sample music to follow at some point!

Writing Excerpt: Traffic Jam on a Highway more Taken

This writing excerpt comes from a 10-minute play I wrote which was performed by my amazingly fun drama group – The RLT Players.  The hotshot reporter is interviewing renowned social critic Patricia Cantstandstill to get her take on the strange phenomenon taking place all over town with everyone just stopping their daily routines in order to just “be”.  Let’s listen in:

Hotrod:  Now, some critics have said that a society that goes nowhere leads only to unproductive lives and stagnation.  How would you counter their critique?

PC:  That’s typical, backward, last century kind of thinking.  That’s like saying that life has some grand purpose or design, and we need to work hard to achieve, try, produce, arrive.  That’s traveler mentality. But being mentality is just about being.   And so what you are seeing on Highway 1 is a massive outpouring of traveler indifference.  The government got it right.  It’s that beings no longer feel the need to arrive at destinations because destinations were only false illusions in the first place.  And so travelers or beings by the thousands have just stopped their cars, forgot about their cares, and are just being.

Hotrod:  But what about their responsibilities?  Their work, their school.

PC: That’s all traveler mentality.  It’s not important.  Just be.

Hotrod:  Fascinating stuff, Dr. Cantstandstill the author of “Traveling – the Art of Not Standing Stand – is Soon to be out of Fashion.”  So doctor, I suppose you need to just go be somewhere.

PC:  No, actually, I have a 4 o’clock appointment with my publicist, and then I have a book signing tonight from 6-9 downtown.  So all those who are going to go and meet me tonight, it might be a good idea to find an alternate route since Highway 1 is all blocked with beings.