The P.T. Barnum Code

By John Cosper


A barbed look at both the Da Vinci Code and some Christians' responses to it.


Jason- A Christian
Rob- Jason's neighbor
Aimee- A teenager


(The scene takes place at the box office of a movie theater, which hasn't opened yet. Aimee is first in line. Rob is behind her. Jason enters.)

JASON- Hey, Rob.

ROB- Jason, hey, what's up?

JASON- Nothing much. Helen and I are catching a movie tonight, so I thought I'd get our tickets before the rush.

ROB- I hear ya, man. This place is crazy on Friday nights. What are you seeing?

JASON- "Apocalypticon."

ROB- "Apocalypticon"? Haven't heard of that one.

JASON- It's a new Christian movie about the end times, starring Sandy Patti and that guy from that 80's TV show "Riptide."

ROB- "Riptide"? I loved that show.

JASON- You and Mena should come with! It'll be great.

ROB- Not tonight. Mena's got her heart set on seeing Tom Hanks tonight.

JASON- Tom Hanks? You don't mean you're seeing...

ROB- Yup, "The P.T. Barnum Code."

JASON- Rob... you can't see that movie!

ROB- Why not?

JASON- Because it's terrible!

ROB- Terrible? Tom Hanks is in it, Ron Howard directed it. It got great reviews.

JASON- But it's a steaming pile of lies! Do you know what that movie is about?

ROB- Sure, I read the book.

JASON- You did??

ROB- Yeah. it's a great story about a cryptographer discovers a secret society of televangelists hiding a dark secret about Jesus.

JASON- Rob, that book claims Jesus was a circus clown!

ROB- I know, shocking, isn't it?

JASON- It's insane!

ROB- I know. If I hadn't read the book, I never would have dreamed Jesus wore grease paint and a clown nose and delighted children with his witty antics. Or that he married the bearded lady. Or that his son was Jo-Jo the dog face boy. Or that his greatest miracle was only--

JASON- A card trick, I know.

ROB- You read the book too?

JASON- No. I read about it in the church bulletin.

ROB- They printed that? What an enlightened church you attend.

AIMEE- Excuse me, what movie was that you were talking about?

ROB- "The P.T. Barnum Code."

AIMEE- That sounds so cool. I was gonna see Will Farrell's new movie, but maybe I should see that instead.



JASON- Absolutely not! You cannot see that movie!

AIMEE- What are you, trying to be my mother or something?

JASON- Just a man who loves Jesus and believes in the truth!

ROB- Jason, the story was based on facts from the author's research and interviews with people in the circus community.

JASON- But it's all wrong!

AIMEE- How do you know?

JASON- Because... it's in the Bible!

AIMEE- Can you prove the Bible's right?

JASON- (getting angry) I don't have to! The Bible's the Bible! And it's right. That book is wrong!

AIMEE- But how can I know that?


ROB- Whoa, Jason, buddy, calm down. It's only a movie.

JASON- It's not just a movie, Rob. I can't calm down, and I can't stay silent when Tom Hanks and Ron Howard are desecrating the name of Jesus!

AIMEE- Whoa. Look, pal. My mother took me to church as a kid. The pastor was a crook and a liar. I don't know your church, and I don't know your Bible. But I know that Tom Hanks and the guy from Happy Days would never deceive me!

Jason, Aimee, and Rob freeze. You can go to a blackout here, or go on with the optional ending, where the 3 main characters stay frozen and an actor who is Not Tom Hanks enters.

NOT TOM HANKS- Hi. I'm Not Tom Hanks. The dramatization you just saw was a work of fiction that could never happen in real life. Hollywood is a place of great moral fiber, and would never spew lies about Jesus. And even if they did, we all know Christians are well-educated, thoughtful people who not only know their Bible, but the over-whelming evidence to support our faith outside the Bible. And therefore, Christians would never, ever counter a silly, work-of-fiction movie by simply screaming and yelling "because the Bible says so." Thank you.


© John Cosper Jr
All rights reserved. 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.
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