By Michelle Pitman
A woman hangs a painting of Jesus on the cross on her livingroom wall, to the derision of her husband. Later he comes to appreciate its value.
Job 19:25-26 and Romans 4:18-25
A narrator, man and a woman.
[Note that a fourth character - a more elderly man - may be used for the second soliloquy part of the drama if desired.]
The language in this drama is essentially in an Australian dialect but can be adapted to any colloquial speech as desired.
The set is of a small sitting room in an average home including a couple of easy chairs. Place a small bureau near one wall and a hanging device overhead for the picture of Jesus. The picture of Jesus is preferably one of his face with the crown of thorns at his crucifixion but if unavailable - any crucifixion artwork will do - be sure to adjust the script slightly where necessary to accommodate this though. You will need a photo in a frame of the woman to sit on top of the bureau. A knitting bag with various assorted knitting paraphernalia and a small gold leaf edged bible. The elderly man may or may not have a hat or cane depending on the actors preferences. A large newspaper is also used in the early part of the script as a prop foil for the John character. Lighting props may or may not be used but are definitely preferred for the soliloquy section of the drama for effect.
(Mary enters carrying a large picture of the crucified Christ's face. She moves over to the bureau and contemplates a section of the wall above it. She notes the nail of a previous picture and prepares to hang the new picture on it.)
John: [Looks up from his paper]. What's that? [Leans forward peers over his paper at what his wife is hanging on nail on a wall]
Mary: A picture! [She arranges the picture until it is straight].
John: What of?
John: You goin' all religious on me are ya? [Flicks paper noisily].
Mary: No…Yeah…. Maybe! [She stands back and looks at the picture pensively].
John: [Pushes paper down and peers at Mary] Why in blazes do we need a picture of Jesus on the wall?
Mary: I like it!
John: [Gets up and goes over and looks closely at the picture, recoiling somewhat at the subject matter] 'S'bit gruesome!
Mary: [Defensively] It's just his face, it's not like I bought a picture of the whole crucifixion.
John: He's wearing blimmin' thorns on his head for goodness sake!
Mary: Well….. That's probably because he actually did!
John: Pretty stupid if you ask me. [Makes his way back to his easy chair to pick up the paper again and flop into the chair dismissively]
Mary: [Mary sits in the other chair contemplating the picture from afar] It's not stupid so much as very sad and somehow rather beautiful, I think.
John: So explain to me why you want a sad, but [does a mime of quotation marks twice on the following word] "pretty" picture of Jesus wearing thorns on his head hanging on a wall.
Mary: I ….don't know …. It makes me feel good somehow. [Mary proceeds to get some knitting out of the bag beside her easy chair and arrange the wool and needles].
John: Oh now I know you're losin' it! [Goes back to reading paper].
Mary: [Knitting furiously] Oh get a grip John! Jesus was a real bloke, you know. He did actually wear a crown of thorns and die on a cross you know! He IS the Saviour of the World, you ninny!
John: Still don't see how havin' his picture on the wall makes it look…..nice but?
Mary: Well…. Think of it as "inspirational" then
Mary: Inspirational! You know? Inspiring! Hopeful! That sort of thing!
John: Hopeful? How does a stupid sad-sack picture of Jesus become "hopeful" all of a sudden?
Mary: [Angry and defensive] It's NOT a stupid picture, and it's not all of a sudden! It's not even the picture that makes me feel this way… it's more the information… the message if you like…. behind it.
John: Bah! You've lost me! [Tries to go back to the paper unsuccessfully - Mary has him more intrigued now than anything else but his demeanour is trying to disprove this fact].
Mary: It's like… I know when I look at this picture that if I acknowledge Jesus as being MY saviour, then I'll be okay. My future, that is. I will be safe with him because he wore those thorns for me. I know I deserve those thorns more than he ever did.
John: [A little more gently and concerned] You're talking like a flamin' lunatic now luvvy! The bloke died somewhere around the year dot or something.
Mary: Yes, I know! But he also rose again too, remember… three days later! Easter! [Exasperated]. Oh you're just being belligerent now!
John: No I'm not… I'm just not getting you is all! Why in blue blazes do you want to be reassured you'll be okay in the future? We all gonna die someday Mar-Mar me girl. What's the use in fussin' over yer future when youse is gonna be worm food anyway.
Mary: [Pauses and looks at her husband at first annoyed and then softening to a loving smile. She then laughs lightly resigned to her husband's behaviour]. There's more to life than that, John dear. I actually believe I'm not worm food, thankyou very much. I have a soul and I'm going somewhere after I die. I know that in my heart of hearts. I just feel reassured that when I look at his face, in this picture, that if I place my loyalties with him, then the place I go after this life will be where he is. Jesus is about love you know… pure love!
John: [Laughs but is a little frustrated and somewhat embarrassed by this intimate conversation]. Orright! Orright! No getting' mushy on me now. If you wanna believe in heverlastin' life an' all that, that's up to you, but don't you go thinkin' that I'm goin' to be a paid up bible-bashing Jesus freak anytime soon just coz we got his blimmin' face hanging in our lounge room! [Fade]
Narrator: Many years later.
[Enter John, a much older gentleman now. He slowly moves across the space and stands to look up at the picture of Jesus. The room is dimly lit and a bright spot of light shines on the picture of the face of the crucified Jesus on the wall. The following words are full of emotional distress and pain but contained within a man determined to keep his emotions under control]
[Sadly] "Why'd you go an' take her, mate? I loved that girl with my life and now she's up and died and left me. What am I gonna do without her? [Moves to sit on the edge of Mary's old easy chair and looks down at her knitting bag still beside the chair even after all these years.]
[Strokes Mary's knitting bag slowly] Is she with you? [Looks up at the picture] If she's with you then I'll bear it, I think. She loved you too, you know. [Picks up knitting bag and starts to search it's contents]. Not the same way as me of course, but she really seemed to get to know you over these past few years. [He pulls a bible from the knitting bag and looks at it closely] Became a fully paid up member of your Christianity Club she did! I never did go for it much, but I liked some of the changes you made in my Mary, I have to admit.
She was always optimistic about you - kept saying that faith was about being certain of the hope of the resurrection and all that. Never did quite get what she meant until now. . [John strokes the cover of the bible and holds it tightly in his hands]. It's nice knowing that death isn't the be all and end all and that I'll see Mary again someday.
[Long Pause] Yeah… if she's with you, then I can bear it. [Another small pause] She was right, you know! Havin' your phyz on this wall does make me feel better somehow. [John puts the bible and knitting bag down and gets up to move to a small photo of his wife on a bureau under the picture on the wall. He picks it up and looks at it closely, touching the face of it with his fingers]. I guess it's like photos of people you love, ain't it? [Points to the picture of Jesus on the wall] That's as near a photo of you as we is gonna get - and this here photo of my beloved Mar-Mar is as near as I'm gonna get to her again until the day I die. Difference I guess… at least according to Mary… is you're still here! [Pause as he contemplates this revelation]…. Phew! Now there's a thought to do a bloke's head in! [Shakes head and looks at the photo of Mary again]
[Pauses and appears to come to a decision] You'll think of me too when it's my turn, won'cha Jesus me old mate, eh? I reckon I can be optimistic about who you are and what you did on that cross. I don't have a whole lot of other options right now, and as they say… Hope isn't hope until it's all you got left! [Turns to leave the room and then stops about half way]
[Turns his head back toward the lit picture of Jesus on the wall] Tell you what! I'll shout you a jug or two of your finest at that banquet in heaven if you'll accept my apologies for not…er….um…. likin' your face all these years eh? [Smiles at the picture and then turns again to walk slowly out of the room]
© Michelle Pitman 2006, all rights reserved.
The script may not be reproduced, translated or copied in any medium, including books, CDs and on the Internet, without written permission of the author. This play may be performed free of charge, on the condition that copies are not sold for profit in any medium, nor any entrance fee charged. In exchange for free performance, the author would appreciate being notified of when and for what purpose the play is performed. She may be contacted at: email@example.com