Plays


BBC Newsjack

Newsjack is a BBC Radio 4 Extra comedy show which accepts unsolicited scripts and jokes from members of the public. I submitted 2 sketches to every episode of Series 18 of Newsjack (2 is the limit), but only one was accepted for broadcast - the first one I wrote. Despite the fact that later sketches were funnier and better structured, it was only this one which seemed to capture the producers' imaginations. I'm not complaining though - I grew up listening to BBC Radio comedy, and so hearing my name in the writing credits of one was the culmination of a lifelong dream. I can only hope I get so lucky again.

The text and audio of the sketch, which is about the Shipping Forecast, are reproduced below. Note that the text is the sketch as submitted, but that the audio is what was actually broadcast and is rather different.

 

The Shipping Forecast

NB: The news story on which this sketch was based can be found here.

ANGELA: The Met Office announced this week plans to introduce slang words for weather into forecasts to make them more accessible. Listen, I’m all in favour of there being regional voices on the BBC but where will it end?

FORECASTER: And now the shipping forecast issued by the Met Office on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. Viking, North Utsire, South Utsire: Southerly four or five, completely pissing it down, good. Forties, Cromarty: Variable, one fat lady – number eight, spitting a bit, poor. Plymouth, Biscay, Trafalgar, Fitzroy: Southerly, one little duck – number two, lovely weather for the time of year although it’s colder than it looks, I’d take a jumper if I were you, good. Lundy, Fastnet, Irish Sea: Southerly, knock at the door – number four, veering westerly, man alive – number five…

ANGELA: (SHOUTS, INTERRUPTING) Bingo!

FORECASTER: …A bit mizzly turning into a real pea-souper later. Fair Isle, Faeroes: Mate, it’s blowing a gale. I mean, I wouldn’t want to go swimming in it. Lovely weather for ducks, though, know what I mean? Moderate or good. And the general synopsis at 1830: You probably ought to take your coat off or you won’t feel the benefit when you go outside.


Landlubbers Holiday Club

When we originally announced our 2017 holiday club, we thought we were going to use Scripture Union material as we had done in previous years, and so advertised a 'Land Lubbers' theme using their branding. However, as we approached the summer we realised that we wanted to use a different set of Bible stories and the more we looked at the Scripture Union materials, the less we found we could use. In the end, I rewrote all of the up-the-front material pretty much from scratch. This included short character skits which introduce the theme of each day, as well as a series of sketches which tell an ongoing story throughout the week for which I conceived completely new characters and scenarios.

Below is an example of one of these daily dramas. The premise of the sketches is that three characters - Katy Cutlass, Tiffany Jones and Alexander Boris De Pfeffel Wilson (aka 'Posh' Wilson) - are trying to get their "pirate's licenses". They are guided in their efforts by Pirate Paula and occasionally rescued by Captain Chris (who - in the best Sunday school tradition - is our Christ analogue).

This sketch, which was written to be performed on Day 3, illustrates a session on 'Jesus Our Guide'.

 

Day 3 - At Wits End (NB - Each sketch had a pun title based on one of the Pirates Of The Caribbean movies!)

Enter KATY holding A BOWL OF WASHING UP, WILSON holding A FEATHER DUSTER and TIFFANY holding A BROOM. They position themselves around the deck and start doing chores.

ALL: [singing] A pirate’s life for me, a pirate’s life for me…

TIFFANY: [singing] ...A bottle of rum to warm my tum…

ALL: [singing] ...A pirate's life for me.

TIFFANY pushes her BROOM into the ground and pushes it rhythmically back and forth a few times. Then she points the broom at KATY and they resume singing.

ALL: [singing] A pirate’s life for me, a pirate’s life for me…

KATY: [singing] ...A bottle of rum and Wilson is dumb…

ALL: [singing] ...A pirate's life for me.

KATY pulls TWO SPOONS out of THE WASHING UP BOWL and taps them on the side to play a little drum solo. Then she points the spoons at  WILSON and they resume singing.

ALL: [singing] A pirate’s life for me, a pirate’s life for me…

WILSON: [singing] ...A bottle of rum, I miss my mum…

ALL: [singing] ...A pirate's life for me.

WILSON turns the feather duster around to hold it like a guitar and mimes along as SFX OF AN ELECTRIC GUITAR SOLO plays.

Enter PAULA.

PAULA: What's all this racket? Wilson - what have I told you about shredding awesome guitar licks during sea shanties?

WILSON: You said it wasn't historically accurate, Paula.

PAULA: That's right - not historically accurate. What's next? You'll probably start trying to use the parrot to send a tweet!

TIFFANY: Parrots don't tweet they squawk.

PAULA: It's a pirate pun! I've got my eye on you, Tiffany. And you Wilson.

KATY: What about me?

PAULA: Ah Katy. Dear sweet Katy!

WILSON: [to Katy] Is she talking about you?

PAULA: Sweet tempered, friendly Katy.

TIFFANY: [to Katy] It doesn't sound like you.

PAULA: Quiet and gentle, Katy.

KATY: I think you must be thinking of someone else, Paula.

PAULA: The point is, I don't need to keep my eye on you. You could never disappoint me. And that's why I'm making you captain of the practice pirates…

TIFFANY: What!

WILSON: No!

KATY: Ha! In your faces!

PAULA:...for an hour or two.

TIFFANY: Why do we need a practice pirate captain, Paula?

PAULA: I’m glad you asked me that, Tiffany because it gives me the chance to explain the plot. The next task you need to complete so you can stop being landlubbers and get your Pirate's License is a short voyage by yourselves. All you have to do is take the boat and row around the island. Nothing can possibly go wrong. What can possibly go wrong?

TIFFANY, KATY and WILSON: [in unison] Nothing, Pirate Paula.

PAULA: Glad to hear it. And Wilson?

WILSON: Yes Paula?

PAULA: Don't take the plug out of the bottom of the boat this time.

ALL EXIT.

Enter KATY, TIFFANY and WILSON. They are carrying the BOAT from Day 2. They place the BOAT in the middle of the stage and then sit in it with KATY facing forward at one end and the others in front of her facing towards her. TIFFANY and WILSON mine rowing.

KATY: Faster. Row faster. I want to do this voyage faster than anyone's ever done it before!

TIFFANY: Why?

KATY: Well I can't have one of you bozos becoming Paula's favourite can I?

WILSON: Perhaps if you helped we could go even faster.

KATY: Nonsense! I'm the captain. You know what that means?

TIFFANY: It means I don't like you any more?

KATY: No. It means I'm the best and you have to do everything I say or I'll bury you up to your waist in sand and throw seashells into your mouth.

WILSON: You do that anyway!

KATY: Quiet, posh-boy. I've just had a great idea. Stop rowing for a sec.

TIFFANY and WILSON stop miming. As KATY explains her idea she points at what she is looking at and TIFFANY and WILSON look where she is pointing.

KATY: Look. If we go around the island the way Paula showed us, we'll have to go through those huge rocks. But if go that way there's a nice wide channel right through the island. I bet we can use that as a shortcut.

TIFFANY: I don't know, Katy. We can't see what's beyond that bend.

WILSON: Yes, it might not be as easy as you think.

KATY: Shut up! I'm the captain and you'll do what I say.  Now: row!

TIFFANY and WILSON start miming rowing again, faster than before.

KATY: Row like your lives depended on it. If you mess this up for me they just might, you know.

WILSON: I'm still not sure about this.

TIFFANY: And I think this channel is getting narrower already.

WILSON: Those trees ahead seem to be hanging awfully low over the water.

TIFFANY: And I'm almost positive that the water beneath them has turned to rapids.

A SMOKE MACHINE begins billowing smoke from off-stage.

WILSON: Oh no. Fog!

TIFFANY: This is a disaster!

They stop rowing (with oars) and start rowing (with raised voices)!

WILSON: Are you trying to kill us, Katy?

KATY: It's not my fault. Don't blame me.

TIFFANY: Not your fault? What happened to ‘in charge means you're the best and we have to do everything you say’.

WILSON: We're all going to die.

KATY: Well you should have done it better. I didn't tell you to row into the fog.

WILSON: [shouting] Help!

TIFFANY: You did tell us to do that! You literally did!

WILSON: [shouting] Help!

CHRIS: [v/o] Calm down Wilson.

TIFFANY: What's that.

WILSON: It's Captain Chris! We're saved

KATY: I'm going to be in so much trouble!

CHRIS: [v/o] Don't worry about that now. Listen very carefully. I need you to follow the sound of my voice. Just row forward carefully.

TIFFANY and WILSON start rowing again.

CHRIS: [v/o] There's a tree coming up, I want you to duck in 3...2...1...DUCK!

ALL duck down.

PAULA: [v/o] Quack!

TIFFANY: What was that?

PAULA: [v/o] It's a pirate pun.

KATY: Paula's there too? Oh I wish someone else had been put in charge.

CHRIS: [v/o] I told you not to worry. Now look can you see this?

A TORCH begins flashing from off stage.

KATY: We can see it.

CHRIS: Good. Just head towards the light. You're almost there.

THE SMOKE MACHINE stops billowing smoke.

TIFFANY: The fog is clearing. Perhaps we won't die after all.

WILSON: I wasn't scared. I knew we'd be alright.

KATY: Speak for yourself.

Enter PIRATE PAULA and CAPTAIN CHRIS. PAULA is holding a torch which she switches off as they walk on. TIFFANY and WILSON stop rowing.

CHRIS: Hello you three.

PAULA: Thought you'd take a little short cut did you?

KATY, TIFFANY and WILSON climb out of the boat.

KATY: It looked so easy.

PAULA: But it turned out to be harder than you thought, eh?

KATY: Are you really cross?

PAULA: That depends…

CHRIS: Are you going to do it again?

KATY looks down and shakes her head.

PAULA: Then I'm not cross. Or at least, I won't be for long.

TIFFANY: But how did you find us?

CHRIS: You're not the first practice pirates to try taking that shortcut. In fact, if you hadn't that really would have been a first.

PAULA: But sometimes the rules are there for a reason and I think you've learned that now.

TIFFANY, WILSON and KATY: [in unison] We have.

CHRIS: I’m glad. Right, back to the boat everyone.

Exeunt ALL.

CHRIS: [as they exit] I think we’ll take the long way back.


Safari Sparks Holiday Club

Our 2018 holiday club was developed in-house and written by me - more details can be found here - and we involved our youth team, who traditionally do the daily sketch early in the process. I came up with the idea of a Just-So Stories or Tinga Tales type story each day and the youth came up with what the 'How this happened' would be, the four main characters, and how the story would tie in with the day's teaching theme. I took their three titles (How The Giraffe Got A Long Neck, How The Monkey Became Addicted To Bananas, and How The Parrot Learned To Talk) away and came up with the final scripts for them to perform.

This is the second of the three - designed to illustrate the theme of 'God helps us to be strong'. The sketches make heavy use of existing music and onscreen visuals, which are reproduced here for illustrative purposes, as well as some rather dodgy puns for which no apology is given.

 

The Lore Of The Jungle:
Episode 2: How The Monkey Became Addicted To Bananas

On screen, THE RIDE OF THE FRYING PANS ANIMATION plays.

Enter LION, holding a PACKET OF MEAT. She is reading the cooking instructions on them.

LION: (READING) Place the steaks over a medium heat in a flying pan. (BEAT) A Flying pan? Haven’t seen one of those about. (TO AUDIENCE) Have you?

LION allows children to shout that they just saw one.

LION: Well there doesn’t seem to be one here now, so what do I do? (READING) Oh, here you go - ‘if you do not have a flying pan, simply pop the steaks under the gorilla.

LION walks to the side of the stage where A STUFFED GORILLA sits. She places the packet underneath and walks back to the middle of the stage.

LION: Right, now that’s sorted we can get on. All this talk of food reminds me of a story. It’s a very old story about a monkey, a picnic and a big, old butt-load of bananas. So let’s head back in time once more to see what happened.

LION walks to one side of the stage. A SMOKE MACHINE puffs smoke onto the stage, and the LIGHTS FLASH. On the screen, a clock winds backwards. BACK IN TIME by HUEY LEWIS AND THE NEWS plays. Enter GIRAFFE, MONKEY and PARROT holding A PICNIC BASKET, HIKING STICKS, ETC. They act out as LION narrates.

LION: Giraffe, Monkey and Parrot had been on a hike all morning. By lunchtime, they were very tired and decided to stop for a picnic. One by one, they took each thing out of their picnic basket and passed it around.

GIRAFFE: (TAKING A SANDWICH FROM THE BASKET) Let’s see - sandwiches…

GIRAFFE passes the SANDWICH to PARROT who takes a bite and passes it to MONKEY.

MONKEY: What flavour is it?

GIRAFFE: Pickle.

MONKEY: Bleugh!

MONKEY throws the SANDWICH into a BIN at the side of the stage. The bin must have a CLEAN BAG inside so that food is not spoiled by going into it.

MONKEY: I’m still hungry.

GIRAFFE: (TAKING AN OPEN PACKET OF CRISPS FROM THE BASKET) How about some crisps?

GIRAFFE passes the CRISPS to PARROT who takes one and passes them to MONKEY.

MONKEY: What flavour are they?

GIRAFFE: Pickle.

MONKEY: Bleugh!

MONKEY throws the CRISPS into the BIN.

MONKEY: I’m still hungry.

GIRAFFE: (TAKING A PICKLE OR MINI CUCUMBER FROM THE BASKET) OK, well what else do we have? Ooh, a pickle!

GIRAFFE passes the PICKLE to PARROT who takes a bite and passes it to MONKEY.

MONKEY: What flavour is it?

GIRAFFE: Cheese and onion.

MONKEY: Bleugh!

MONKEY throws the PICKLE into the BIN.

MONKEY: I’m still hungry.

GIRAFFE: Well, what happened to all the food?

MONKEY: I threw it away.

PARROT makes a shocked face.

GIRAFFE: You threw it away? Why?

MONKEY: It was horrible.

GIRAFFE: But that was our lunch!

MONKEY: It wasn’t my lunch because I didn’t eat any of it. But I’m hungry - when am I going to get something to eat?

GIRAFFE: Well there’s nothing left. You should have eaten what we gave you.

MONKEY: But I’m so weak! Look…

MONKEY flexes his arms and wobbles his legs to show how weak they are. PARROT feels his muscles and sticks out her tongue. As the fest of the conversation goes on, PARROT rubs her tummy hungrily, then goes and gets the food out of the bin and eats it while listening and reacting to what they are saying.

GIRAFFE: Then you should have eaten your lunch.

MONKEY: But I couldn’t eat it because it was horrible. All food is horrible - I don’t know why people eat it.

GIRAFFE: Because otherwise they get hungry and weak.

MONKEY: (REALISING) Ooh. Is that why I’m hungry and weak?

GIRAFFE: Probably. What did you have for breakfast.

MONKEY: Nothing - breakfast is horrible.

GIRAFFE: Well what did you do for dinner last night?

MONKEY: Omelette.

GIRAFFE: Well there you are then.

MONKEY: But I didn’t eat it - omelettes are horrible. I’m starting to wonder why I bother making them at all. But like I always say - can’t break an egg without making a few omelettes.

LION: By now, things were getting silly. Something had to be done. Fortunately, there was one animal who was wiser than the rest…

GIRAFFE (TO LION): Not this again.

LION: An animal who was as clever as they were strong and handsome.

MONKEY: If this goes on much longer I might eat her!

LION: An animal who just happened to be a licensed nutritionist.

PARROT scratches her head and then pulls out AN A3 PRINT PHOTOGRAPH OF THE SAFARI SPARKS MAIN LEADER (or other suitable leader!).

LION: Wrong, my silent friend. The animal I’m talking about is...me!

LION throws her hands in the air and jumps triumphantly around the stage as the first few lines of MAMA SAID KNOCK YOU OUT by LL COOL J plays.

GIRAFFE: So what are we going to do with Monkey?

MONKEY: I’m so weak!

LION: Well it seems to me that all you need is a boost of carbohydrates, fibre and potassium, not to mention a healthy dose of Vitamins C, B-6 and Magnesium.

MONKEY: You don’t mean…?

GIRAFFE: Can it be…?

PARROT covers her eyes in shock and anticipation.

LION: That’s right! You just need to (SLAPS THIGH) Have a banana!

MONKEY, GIRAFFE and PARROT: (SLAP THIGHS) Have a banana?

(PARROT only slaps her thighs, she doesn’t say the line.)

LION: Yes. (SLAPS THIGH) Have a banana!

LION reaches into her pocket and pulls out a FOAM BANANA SWEET.

MONKEY: But I don’t like…

LION: Can I just stop you there. All you need to do is (SLAPS THIGH) Have a banana!

MONKEY: I might need some help.

LION: Come on everybody. One...two...three...(SLAPS THIGH) Have a banana! Again: One...two...three...(SLAPS THIGH) Have a banana! And one for luck. One...two...three...(SLAPS THIGH) Have a banana!

MONKEY eats the banana. WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS by QUEEN plays as MONKEY walks to the edge of the stage and picks up a LARGE ROCK which is lying there, holding it above his head. As the music stops he puts it down.

LION: And so it was…

MONKEY(Tugging on her sleeve):  That was delicious. Are there any more?

LION gives him another FOAM BANANA. MONKEY eats it immediately.

LION: And so it was…

MONKEY (Tugging on her sleeve): Can I have another one?

LION gives him another FOAM BANANA. MONKEY eats it immediately.

LION: And so it was…

MONKEY(Tugging on her sleeve): Hey, Lion?

LION: (SHOUTING) WHAT???

MONKEY: You got any more of those bananas?

LION gives him THE WHOLE PACK OF FOAM BANANAS. MONKEY starts eating them - giving one each to GIRAFFE and PARROT.

LION: And so it was that monkey became addicted to bananas. Giraffe said that she was glad it was over…

GIRAFFE: Well, I’m glad that’s over.

LION: ...Monkey said, ‘Om-nom-nom’...

MONKEY: (EATING) Om-nom-nom.

LION: ...and Parrot didn’t say anything, because Parrot (DRAMATICALLY) DIDN’T KNOW HOW TO TALK!

DRAMATIC STING SFX plays.

LION: But the story of how she came to is another tale for another time. So now you know, if you didn’t before, how Monkey came to be addicted to bananas the only question is - is this a true story or am I...lion?

Exeunt ALL.


Sketches For Church

I'm occasionally asked to throw together a sketch to be used in a church service. These two give a good idea of the whole spectrum - the first is very silly, the second much more serious. Coincidentally, both sketches were written to be performed on Easter Day.

*

Dragons' Den

I was on my way back from work on the bus and our minister texted me to ask if I could come up with some ideas for a sketch in which Jesus pitches the Easter story on Dragon's Den (aka Shark Tank in the USA). I've always found Dragon's Den faintly hilarious anyway, so was able to write this before I got home.

The script relies on have a microphone set up either outside or at the back of the hall for Evan Davis' voiceover, and a screen onto which you can project images and video but most churches are set up with this sort of thing nowadays. If you do use it in your church, I'd love it if you dropped me a line and let me know how it went!

 

THREE CHAIRS set up in a row angles to the audience. As the opening video plays, DUNCAN BANNATYNE, DEBORAH MEADEN and PETER JONES enter and sit in the chairs.

On screen the DRAGONS DEN OPENING TITLES play. When it has finished the screen should be blank or have an appropriate STILL IMAGE.

Enter EVAN DAVIS.

EVAN DAVIS: First to pitch this week to Dragons Duncan Bannatyne, Deborah Meaden and Peter Jones is former property developer Hovis McAllister, who thinks she might have spotted a lucrative gap in the market with her improvement to something we all eat every day.

Exit EVAN DAVIS.

Enter HOVIS MCALLISTER.

HOVIS MCALLISTER: Hello Dragons. We've all been there: you want to have a sandwich but all your knives are dirty. You can't be bothered to wash up because you’ve had a busy day of former property developing, so you end up listlessly pawing at the bread, eating it in great handfuls and licking the butter straight from the tub. That's why I invented this: sliced bread.

IMAGE OF SLICED BREAD appears on the screen.

DUNCAN BANNATYNE: This is outrageous. Why is it sliced? If I want to eat some bread, I'll just eat it. You're solving a problem that simply isn't there. I have to say I don't like it, I don't understand it, so I'm out.

EVAN DAVIS (v/o): Hovis’ idea of an over-processed, bread-adjacent, food-like consumable is given short shrift by Duncan Bannatyne who neither likes nor understands it so he's out. But does Deborah Meaden want to jump in at this point, because she thinks she's spotted something which Duncan may have missed?

Deborah Meaden: I want to jump in at this point, because I think I’ve spotted something which Duncan may have missed. I actually like this idea quite a lot. Frankly, is the best idea I've heard since...do you know? I literally can't think of an analogy. I'm going to make you an offer for half the money for 25% of your business. But that only works if Peter is prepared to come in with me.

EVAN DAVIS (v/o): Deborah Meaden had made an offer for half the money for 25% of Hovis’ business. But that only works if Peter is prepared to come in with her. Peter Jones hasn't said anything yet, so does he still have some reservations, just not about the business?

Peter Jones: Hi, I'm Peter. I haven't said anything yet, but still have some reservations, just not about the business. Frankly, your tie doesn't match your shoes, and your haircut is an insult to thinking persons everywhere.

NB: If HOVIS MCALLISTER is not wearing a tie, this line could be changed to ‘your handbag doesn’t match your shoes' or something else appropriate.

EVAN DAVIS (v/o): Peter has reservations about how Hovis presents herself. Is it possible that this entrepreneur’s dream of a bread empire could fail to rise?

PETER JONES: Hi, I’m Peter. Having said all that, I like the product and would be very happy to invest in this business with Deborah.

HOVIS MCALLISTER, DEBORAH MEADEN and PETER JONES act out what EVAN DAVIS says:

EVAN DAVIS (v/o): Having accepted the offer, Hovis smiles and shakes hands first with Deborah and then with Peter. She punches the air in victory, leaving the Den with an offer having used her loaf to make some bread, despite both dragons taking a healthy slice of the business.

Exit HOVIS MCALLISTER.

The screen goes back to the STILL IMAGE.

EVAN DAVIS (v/o): Our next budding entrepreneur hoping to be the toast of the Den is former undertaker Pamela Croissant with another food based innovation she thinks could be a best seller.

Enter PAMELA CROISSANT.

PAMELA CROISSANT: Picture the scene: you go to the corner shop to buy some lunch. You buy a cake as a bit of a treat to reward yourself for a great morning of former undertaking, but when you bite into it: disaster! It’s stone cold. My innovative new product solves this by warming the cakes up to make them Hot Cakes!

Hot Cakes.jpg

IMAGE OF HOT CAKES appears on the screen.

DUNCAN BANNATYNE: Wait, wait, wait. I like cold cakes. I’ve always eaten cold cakes. You’re solving a problem that simply isn’t there so I’m going to go ahead and say I don’t like it, I don’t understand it, so I’m out.

EVAN DAVIS (v/o): After a lively, confident, self-assured, professional, slick and innovative pitch, Pamela’s idea has met with a cold reception from Duncan Bannatyne who neither likes nor understands it, so he’s out. But will Deborah Meaden want to jump in at this point, because she thinks she's spotted something which Duncan may have missed?

DEBORAH MEADEN: I want to jump in at this point, because I think I’ve spotted something which Duncan may have missed. I actually like this idea quite a lot. Frankly, I think these things could sell like...do you know? I literally can't think of an analogy. I'm going to make you an offer for half the money for 25% of your business. But that only works if Peter is prepared to come in with me.

EVAN DAVIS (v/o): Deborah Meaden has once again made an offer for half the money for 25% of Pamela’s business, because that’s what she literally always does. However it only works if Peter Jones is prepared to come in with her. But he seems to think that Pamela is missing some fundamentals for her business to be a success.

PETER JONES: Hi I’m Peter. I think you’re missing some fundamentals for your business to be a success. You don’t have a website, you don’t have a patent, and from what I’ve seen you don’t even have an oven. That said, I think your cakes sound delicious and would be very happy to invest in this business with Deborah.

PAMELA CROISSANT, DEBORAH MEADEN and PETER JONES act out what EVAN DAVIS says:

EVAN DAVIS (v/o): Deborah goes to shake Pamela by the hand, but Pamela misinterprets the situation and goes in for a hug. The whole thing is very awkward so Pamela runs away waving her arms in the air. But she got her investment - if she hadn’t made a deal she would have been a hot, cross bundertaker, but she made her dough and walks away with two dragons who are cherry bake-well positioned to take her idea to market.

Exit PAMELA CROISSANT

The screen goes back to the STILL IMAGE.

EVAN DAVIS (v/o): Last to face the Dragons is former carpenter Jesus Christ with an innovative soteriological idea he thinks could be very good news for the right Dragon investor.

Enter JESUS CHRIST.

JESUS CHRIST: I’ve got some news for you Dragons. Some good news.

DUNCAN BANNATYNE: I like the sound of this…

JESUS CHRIST: My idea is to take away the sin of the whole world…

DUNCAN BANNATYNE: Brilliant. Right up my street…

JESUS CHRIST: And offering eternal life to those who believe in me…

DUNCAN BANNATYNE: Love it. Love everything about it...

JESUS CHRIST: By dying on a cross and returning to life after three days.

Easter.jpg

IMAGE OF THREE CROSSES appears on the screen.

DUNCAN BANNATYNE: WHAT? I don’t like it, I don’t understand it so I’m out.

DEBORAH MEADEN: Let me tell you where I’m at. For once I actually agree with Duncan. I can’t see this getting any return from now until the very end of the age. So I think, unfortunately, I’m out too.

PETER JONES: Hi I’m Peter. Hang on guys. I think we must have missed something here. You don’t really die do you? You only pretend for a few days.

JESUS CHRIST: No. The plan is to actually die so that when I come back to life it breaks the bondage of sin and death on a permanent basis.

PETER JONES: Hi I’m Peter. I’m not sure about this at all. The whole idea seems like a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles if you ask me. Don’t know why I put it like that but the point is, I’m out.

Enter EVAN DAVIS.

EVAN DAVIS: So despite foxes having holes, and birds having nests the Son of Man leaves the den without any money and without a dragon investor. But perhaps the Dragons missed something important. For though it might seem like foolishness to those who are perishing, to those who are saved by his idea it could very well be the power of God. Next week on Dragons’ Den more entrepreneurs will seek investment from our dragons but only one near the beginning, and the one at the end have any chance of finding it. Good night.

Exeunt ALL.

Mary Magdalene

This was one of a few pieces I wrote over Easter 2018 about Mary Magdalene - the other was an entry in the Writing The Bible series.

The commission was to link the end of a video telling the story of Good Friday to the beginning of an Easter service by dramatising Mary's meeting with the risen Jesus in the garden. I decided that having the actors perform from their seats would be easiest, especially as there was to be minimal rehearsal time, so the script is designed more as a 'play for voices' in the style of Under Milk Wood. In performance, the dialogue moves quickly with Mary's inner monologue and outer speech spilling over each other.

 

Voices in darkness…

MARY (INNER VOICE): I watched them take the body down and lay it in a borrowed tomb. By the time it was done, the Sabbath had fallen and so the dignity of a proper burial had to wait. All through that day and into the night we mourned, but I rose early on the next morning - before the sunrise - and took the spices to anoint the body. But the tomb was empty.

The speakers, especially, the two Mary voices, should feel free to overlap one another. The effect is to have thoughts spilling over one another.

MARY (OUTER VOICE): Come quickly.

MARY (INNER VOICE): Where have they taken him?

MARY (OUTER VOICE): They’ve taken the body.

JESUS: Mary...

MARY (OUTER VOICE): Who’s there?

MARY (INNER VOICE): It’s the gardener.

MARY (OUTER VOICE): What have you done with him?

JESUS: Why are you crying?

MARY (OUTER VOICE): They killed him.

MARY (INNER VOICE): They murdered him.

MARY (OUTER VOICE): Tell me where he is.

JESUS: [Cutting across her thoughts] Mary! Why do you seek the living among the dead?

MARY (INNER VOICE): I don’t understand.

MARY (OUTER VOICE): I don’t understand.

MARY (INNER VOICE): I saw him die.

MARY (OUTER VOICE): Who are you?

JESUS: Who do you say I am?

MARY (TOGETHER): [beat] Rabboni!

JESUS: I have come back to you, just as I said I would.

MARY (OUTER VOICE): Teacher...

JESUS: But do not cling to me.

MARY (INNER VOICE): Don’t leave me.

JESUS: You must go and tell the others.

MARY (INNER VOICE): I don’t want to go.

MARY (OUTER VOICE): What should I tell them?

JESUS: Tell them what you saw.

MARY (INNER VOICE): He is risen.

MARY (OUTER VOICE): [Calling] Peter...

MARY (INNER VOICE): He is risen.

MARY (OUTER VOICE): [Calling] Everyone…

MARY (INNER VOICE): He is risen.

MARY (TOGETHER): He is risen indeed.