27 January 1997

Carpenter: Act 5 - Passion

The first three scenes are silent, mournful hymn playing in the background, perhaps "The Wondrous Cross" or "Sacred Head Now Wounded".

Scene 1: Jesus before Pilate and Herod

Lights on stage left, Pilate sitting on throne. Lights on stage right and center, Satan in shadow upstage. Enter centurion, soldiers and Jesus. Jesus is dressed in a torn purple robe, and has a crown of thorns on his head. Blood is streaked over all visible skin. Pharisees and townsfolk file in behind. All move stage left. Lights off stage right.

Pilate addresses a question at Jesus, but he does not respond. He addresses another, sharper question, and Jesus responds calmly.

Pilate directs statement to Pharisees. Caiaphas comes forward and bows before Pilate, says something. Pilate says something, and waves his arm dismissively toward stage right. Others begin moving that direction.

Lights on stage right, Herod standing. Lights off stage left.

Soldier throws Jesus down before Herod. Herod laughs, addresses several comments and questions to Jesus, who remains silent. Eventually, waves casual arm toward stage left. Others move that direction.

Lights on stage left, off stage right. Pilate holds heated debate with Caiaphas, addresses several comments toward shouting crowds. Eventually, he calls offstage, and a servant brings a bowl of water, in which he washes his hands.

Exeunt all but Pharisees, who move stage right.

Scene 2: Judas' Remorse

Lights on dimly stage right, off stage left and center. Brightest light is behind stage, making silhouettes in this scene and next.

Judas holds bag of silver toward the Pharisees. Caiaphas holds up a hand in refusal. Judas pushes the bag of silver toward them more forcefully. Caiaphas again refuses. Judas throws down bag of silver, and runs into outstretched arms of Satan, where he disappears into his cloak.

Scene 3: The Crucifixion

Dim lights on stage left and center. Stage left, Jesus, carrying a cross, is ushered in by soldiers, led by centurion. A group of jeering townsfolk follow closely behind. A smaller group follows quietly at a distance, with the disciples.

The soldiers march Jesus across the stage. When they reach stage right, he stumbles and falls, and is unable to rise with the weight of the cross. The soldiers grab Cyrene and make him carry the cross.

Soldiers march Jesus upstage. When they reach the carpenter's bench, they lay the cross on the bench, and Jesus on the cross, then pound in the nails. Then they raise up Jesus on the cross, backlit, while the people jeer.

Burst of thunder, light show. The people cower and run, leaving only the centurion by the cross, and the disciples and Magdalene at a distance.

Silence, lights off.

Scene 4: John 3:16

(Jn 3:16-18)

Backlighting on. A group of townsfolk come, help soldiers take down Jesus' body, carry it offstage.

Exeunt all but Nicodemus. Lights on center stage. Nicodemus comes forward, addresses audience. Music off.

Nicodemus: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.

Lights off.

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