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A short history of time: Act 2 - by James Archer

An evening of sketches presenting the gospel from Genesis to Revelation


See  separate pages for Act 1 and Act 3.





Kiss and Make Up


The Walrus and the Carpenter


Using Your Loaf by Nigel Forde, from Laughter in Heaven, published by Hodder & Stoughton


Fresh Bread by Stairs & Whispers Theatre Company, from Drama for All the Family, published by Kingsway Publications


Take This, including a song from Songs and Hymns of Fellowship


For the Good of the Team, by Paul Burbridge and Murray Watts, from Lightning Sketches, published by Hodder & Stoughton


Song - Were You There? American Folk Hymn, in Songs and Hymns of Fellowship


Nailed! by Barbara Sumner, from Drama for All the Family, published by Kingsway Publications






(If there has not been an interval, Gabriel stays in the background for Kiss and Make Up, in which he speaks the part of the Voice of God.)


Kiss and Make Up

(Enter Joseph, bitter, angry and dejected.  Sits down, head in hands stage front.  Enter his Father backstage.)


Father    Joseph!  Joseph! (No response.  Puts his hand on Joseph’s shoulder)  What’s the matter, son?  Had a tiff with Mary?

Joseph   (Without looking up)  It’s off, Dad.  It’s all off.  (Abruptly gets up and starts pacing to and fro across the stage.  Father sits            down and wait for him to speak)  The slut!  The little bitch! The …..

Father    (Breaking in)  Joseph, what has she done?

Joseph   I went to pick her up after work.  She was stunning.  Radiant.  Grinning like a Cheshire cat.  She’d got some amazing               news for me.  Wait till we get home, dearest; I’ll tell you there.  Sits down on my lap.  Looks straight into my eyes.                     Joseph, my love, she whispers, so husky;  Joseph – I’m pregnant!

Father    (Standing up)  Good God!

Joseph   (Bitterly)  That was her excuse too.  As if the truth wasn’t bad enough, she has the brass to claim she’s still a virgin!  Some             cock and bull story about God being the father.  You know the stuff.  Seeing angels in the lunch break.  Overpowered               by the shadow of the Almighty.  Believe that and I’ll believe anything.

Father    I wouldn’t have dreamt it of her.  She hasn’t got the brains to make it all up!

Joseph   What could I do, Dad?  Brazen hussy!  No sense of her shame!  I tore the ring – my ring – off her finger, and hurled it –             smash – through the window.  She understood then.  Started blubbing her eyes out.  Clinging to my sleeve.  I couldn’t                 bear it any longer.

Father    She could be stoned if the priests find out.  We must keep this secret, Joseph.

Joseph   Oh yes – until she’s out like this (indicating pregnant belly) and all the town’s awhispering.  And who’ll get the blame?                 Me!  For not doing the decent thing by her!  But Dad, how can I marry a woman I can’t trust?  My back’s not even                     turned and she’s out on the town with God knows who!

Father    And his baby.  (Pause)  How about an abortion?  (Joseph shudders.  No answer.  Joseph sits down)  I’m sorry, son.  It’s               a rum one.  But trust your Dad – he’ll think of a way out.  (Pause.  Starts to go, then looks round wistfully)  Goodnight,                 Jo.  (Exit)  (Pause)

Voice of God (Gabriel)  Joseph!  (Joseph starts)  Yes, you.  Joseph Davidson!

Joseph   Is that you, Lord?

Voice of God   Joseph, it’s all right.  Everything she told you is true.  You must call the boy Jesus.

Joseph   (Running from stage)  Mary!  Mary!  Will you forgive me?


(Gabriel comes down onto stage with a smile on his face. He speaks to the audience.)


Now Jesus went about the countryside, teaching the people with picture stories, like this: 


(Gabriel acts as narrator throughout The Walrus and the Carpenter, during which three actors mime the parts of the Walrus, the Carpenter and the Architect.)


The Walrus and the Carpenter

The Walrus and the Carpenter

Were walking hand in hand;

The Carpenter admired the view

Of miles and miles of sand;

“If I could build a mansion here,

It would be very grand.”


No sooner had he had this thought,

Before he’d thought it through,

Than he decided it would be

A glorious thing to do,

And in the sand his foolish plan

To build a house he drew.


The Walrus was a wiser chap;

He went to ask a man,

An Architect, a man of brains,

To come and check the plan,

To see if it were sensible

To build a house on sand.


The Carpenter had lost no time;

He’d got his nails and wood,

And when the Architect arrived,

The house already stood,

Just waiting for the Carpenter

To move in when he would.


The Architect was horrified,

But all that he could say

Was, “Let us hope it still survives

After a rainy day,”

And manfully he tried to hide

His worry and dismay.


The Carpenter was very proud

Of his new place to keep;

He boasted on his cleverness

In building it so cheap;

And when his friends had gone away

He sang himself to sleep.


The Walrus and the Architect

Walked on a mile or so,

And rested on a rock that was

Conveniently low,

Wondering what would happen

When the wind began to blow.


The Architect said, “Build your house

Upon a solid rock;

Dig deep foundations underneath,

Build on them block by block.

Don’t copy from your foolish friend;

He’ll get a dreadful shock.”


The Walrus did as he was told,

Despite the toil and cost;

He dug six feet into the rock

To stop his house being lost.

The Carpenter just laughed at him,

And kept his fingers crossed.


At last the Walrus’ house was built,

A humble little place.

His puffed-up neighbour looked at it,

And snorted to his face,

“It’s dark and poky; next to mine

That house is a disgrace.”


The summer calm was soon behind,

The winds came on to blow;

The rain came pouring downwards

On the rock and sand below,

And in no time streams and rivers

Had begun to overflow.


The Carpenter was worried,

Since his house was badly planned;

He wished he’d dug foundations,

Or had built on solid land,

But the timbers creaked and shuddered

As they shifted in the sand.


The gale blows unabated,

And the rains the mansion lash;

The rivers flow right through it,

And the roof falls with a splash;

The timbers start to splinter,

And they tumble with a crash.


The Walrus was relaxed,

And stroked his long and ugly tooth;

He didn’t have to worry,

As he’d built a proper roof,

And listened to the Architect,

Whose wise words were the truth.


(Gabriel continues with the story.)


Jesus not only told stories which illustrated the kingdom of God, he also proved his power and authority by performing amazing miracles.  As the prophet had foretold about the promised Messiah, the blind received their sight, the lame walked, lepers were cured, the deaf could hear, and even the dead were raised.  Huge crowds followed Jesus around.


(Gabriel sits as boy comes on stage to perform Using Your Loaf.  A telephone is needed centre stage on a stand.)


Using Your Loaf


This is a monologue by a boy on the phone to his Mum explaining why he is late and without the five loaves and two fish he had bought.


[Text of drama]


 (Gabriel continues the story)


Now, some people were not very happy about what Jesus was doing.  First of all, there were the tradesmen – after all, if you are listening to the Teacher, you aren’t spending your money in the shops.  Listen to what happened in the market place.


Fresh Bread


Jesus wanders through a marketplace offering New Bread to the crowd, much to the dismay of the baker.

[Text of drama]


 (Jesus comes centre stage and for most of Take This he stands stock still facing the audience.  The narrator is Gabriel, and the action is imagined except where specified.  Judas is seated in the audience.)


Take This

One evening, Jesus was having dinner with friends.  A woman named Mary took a jar of costly perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped them with her hair.  But Judas Iscariot, one of the disciples, objected:  “That perfume was worth a fortune,” he said.  “It should have been sold, and the money given to the poor.”  Not that he cared for the poor, but, as keeper of the money bag, he often dipped into it for his own use.  Jesus replied, “Let her alone!  She did it in preparation for my burial.”


Then Judas went to the chief priests and asked, “How much will you pay me to betray Jesus to you?”  And they gave him thirty pieces of silver.  From that time on, Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.


On the evening of the Passover, Jesus sat eating with the Twelve.  He said to them, “I tell you the truth, one of you is going to betray me.”  Puzzled and distressed, each one asked, “Surely you don’t mean me, Lord?”  Even Judas said, “Teacher, surely you don’t mean me?”  And Jesus replied, “Yes, Judas, I do.”


Jesus then took bread (acted) and, after he had given thanks, he broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you.”  And he took the cup (acted), gave thanks, and offered it to them, saying, “Drink this, all of you; this is my blood, which is shed for many for the forgiveness of sins.”


(Jesus takes the cup down to Judas, and speaks the final line himself)


“Judas, this is my blood, which I shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.”


(As Jesus returns the cup to the table, and then exit, singers start to sing Broken for Me from Songs and Hymns of Fellowship quietly)


Broken for me, broken for you,

The body of Jesus, broken for you.

He offered his body, he laid down his soul,

A perfect atonement so we could be whole.

Broken for me, broken for you,

The body of Jesus, broken for you.


(As singers depart, Gabriel continues the story.)


Even less happy were the religious authorities.  Not only did Jesus draw the crowds, but he claimed to be God, challenged their traditions, and called them hypocrites, blind guides, whitewashed graveyards, a brood of vipers.  Hardly very tactful, was it?  But true.  They tried to trap him with trick questions, but his answers made them look even more foolish.  The last straw was when he hit them in the pocket, evicting the crooked cattle dealers from the temple and telling them it was a place for prayer.  Really, how could anyone be so naïve?  They had to act quickly.


(Gabriel withdraws, taking the bread and the wine as he goes, and does not reappear until after the interval.)


For the Good of the Team


A conversation between Caiaphas, a football trainer, and Pilate, his chairman, about Jesus, the star player who plays his own way; the end up by suspending him.


[Text of drama] 


(As Pilate and Caiaphas leave, a solo unaccompanied lament (from Songs & Hymns, omitting the final verse) starts up, with more voices coming in for the second verse)


Were you there?

Were you there when they crucified my Lord? 

Were you there when they crucified my Lord? 

Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble. 

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?


Were you there when they nailed him to the tree? 

Were you there when they nailed him to the tree? 

Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble. 

Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?


Were you there when they laid him in the tomb? 

Were you there when they laid him in the tomb? 

Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble. 

Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?


(Silence on stage as the singers depart.  The silence is broken by a loud cackle from Wormwood as he and Satan enter for Nailed!)




Satan and Woodworm, another devil, celebrate the crucifixion of Jesus until they realise from Isaiah 53 that God has nailed them.


[Text of drama]




See separate page for Act 3                Summary

Editable and printable version

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