The pigman's story - by James Archer
Drama based on the story of Legion from Mark 5, set on the hills above the shore of the Sea of Galilee.
Cast: Ham, a pigman; Jo, his young apprentice; Pigs, scattered through the audience; off-stage, the voice of Legion.
The pigs and the voice of Legion will need to practise to work out what sounds to make!
Ham (Jo is revealed sitting on a stool. Ham, standing up, asks the children to come up) ……. because I want to tell you a story, about the day when I lost my job, the day that changed my life. For years, I had looked after pigs on the hills above the Sea of Galilee – that’s why my friends call me “Ham”. (Sitting down on another stool, moving into action) On this day, a young lad was working with me …… (indicates Jo)
Jo It was my first day of work. I’d always wanted to work with pigs, and they were snuffling peacefully in the sun near the top of the cliff …….
Pigs (Peaceful snorting into the ground as they dig for roots) Oink! Oink! Oink! Oink! Oink!
Ham ….. when suddenly ……… (a bloodcurdling scream is heard offstage. Ham stands up clutching his chest in horror, then relaxes a bit. Jo jumps up and hides behind him)
Jo (Terrified) Wh..Wh..What on earth was that???
Ham Oh, that’s OK. It’s just the madman who lives in the caves down by the sea. Legion, we call him.
Jo Does he do that often?
Ham Every few days, when he’s upset. He breaks his chains and no-one can handle him. You never quite get used to it.
Jo It doesn’t look like the pigs do either.
Pigs (Distracted) Oink!! Oink!! Oink!!
Ham They’ll be all right. I wonder what’s disturbed him.
Jo Look, there’s a boatload of Jews coming ashore.
Ham This’ll be fun. He’s warming up to his usual welcome. Let’s see how long they last (another scream offstage).
Jo He’s running towards them. He’s got nothing on! Some of them are running for the boat.
Ham One of them’s standing firm.
Legion (Offstage, at the top of his voice) What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Promise you won’t hurt me.
Jo He’s talking to him.
Ham He’s pointing up towards us.
Jo (Looking round) The pigs!
Pigs (Continuous squeal) Ooiiinnkkkk!!!
Ham (Rushing off to the side, arms wide) Stop! Stoooop!! Stoooop!!!
Jo (Holding him back) It’s no use. They’ve gone crazy! (On the piano the racy bit of the William Tell Overture as the pigs gather pace, then a rumble low in the register as they crash into the sea and drown)
Ham (Peering over the cliff) My pigs! My pigs! All drowned! What am I going to tell the boss?
Jo You tried your best. There was nothing you could have done.
Ham He trusted me to look after them, and look what’s happened.
Jo Look, the madman. Someone’s given him their coat. He’s chatting to them perfectly normally.
Ham It looks like his madness went into the pigs. That man’s a sorcerer.
Jo “Son of the Most High God”, he called him.
Ham He’s waving at us.
Jo Let’s go down and see him.
Ham (Reverting to story-telling mode) ….. so we went down, and Legion hugged me like a long-lost friend. “Ham, meet Jesus, he’s made me well again.” I could see it was all true – he was back to his old self, but something extra too. Well, the boss wasn’t too impressed – he’d lost his whole herd. He gathered the town council, and they asked Jesus to leave the region. So he did; just walked back sadly to the boat. Legion begged to go with him, but he said, “No. Stay here and tell them what the Lord has done for you.” And when Jesus visited the following year, we all welcomed him as our friend.
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