Mary and James Meet Joseph of Arimathea- A Drama

Mary and James Meet Joseph of Arimathea

A Drama for Good Friday (Act II)*

April 2, 2010

 

 

Drama Setting: After the crucifixion of Jesus, Mary, his mother, and James, his brother, go in search of the tomb to see where they have laid him. They encounter Joseph under the now empty cross and ask if he knows where they should go. Joseph explains who he is and how he, too, knew Jesus.

 

Characters:     Mary, mother of Jesus, dressed in a fine robe and shawl—or all black

 James, brother of Jesus, dressed in a rough, hooded robe—or all black

Joseph of Arimathea, dressed in a fine, robe—or all black with “gold medallion”

 

*Note on Combined presentation: This drama begins where the previous 2009 drama, “Mary and James Under the Cross” ends. The two may be performed together, with this drama (Act II) serving as a natural continuation of Act I, both telling a post-crucifixion Good Friday story. A short interval between acts, perhaps with music, allows time to contemplate the meaning of Act I and prepare for Act II.

 

The characters may read their parts, seated or standing in a “reader’s theater” format; however, delivery of lines from memory with staging of the three costumed characters on an essentially bare stage is preferred. 

 

                                          SUGGESTED TWO-ACT PROGRAM

  • Act I “Mary and James Under the Cross” (2009)
  • Interval (with music)
  • Act II “Mary and James Meet Joseph of Arimathea” (2010)
  • Depart in silence

 

 

Introduction: Scriptures with Song

 

“Were You There” verse 1

 Mark 15:16-20

“Were You There” verse 2

  Matt 27:33-36

 “Were You There” verse 3

 Luke 23:44-46

“Were You There” verse 4

 John 19:38-41

“Were You There” verse 5

 

Final draft 6

3-10-2010

 

Curtain rises: Joseph enters slowly stage right (from side aisle), coming from the tomb where he has just laid the body of Jesus. He sits in silence, recalling how Jesus has been crucified– the terrible scene he just witnessed. Mary and James, looking for Jesus’ tomb, enter stage left (from side aisle).  They stop to rest, when they see Joseph, seated under the empty cross.

 

Scene 1

 

Mary (M)        [clinging to James] Where are we? 

 

James (J)        We’ve come back to his cross, Mother.

 

M         Oh, James, we’ll never find Jesus now…

 

J           Rest here a moment…

 

M         Yes, I need to catch my breath.

 

J           [seeing Joseph, whispering]…Quiet, Mother, there is someone else here…

 

M         [carefully, looking intently]… Who do you think he is? 

 

J           He’s not a soldier…they have all gone…[stepping out, calling out to Joseph who is lost in thought]…Sir…

 

M         …He did not hear you…

 

J           …[crossing two more steps with Mary]… Sir…

 

Joseph of Arimathea (JA)      [still seated, startled]… Who’s there?

 

J           I am James of Nazareth… this is my mother

 

JA        What brings you to this place…[harshly]…this place of death?

 

J           We are looking for a tomb…

 

JA        There is no tomb on this hill…[standing, with anger]…this is a place of execution.

 

M         [guardedly,  pulling James back]…I am afraid James…let’s go back…

 

J           [to Mary]…Let me talk to him…[to Joseph]…and you, Sir, why are you here?

 

JA        …I had to see the cross once more…[looking up in anguish]…and remember him…his awful…

[outburst of sobbing]…awful death…

 

J           We were looking for the tomb where they put my brother…

 

M         Can you help us?…[overcome with weeping]… My son, Jesus, was executed here today…

 

JA        [moves stage left] …Your son? Your brother? …[more tenderly] …You must be Mary…

 

J           She is Sir… [with more force] …where did they take him?…

 

JA        [crossing to James and Mary]… I can help you find his body…

 

M         [pleading] …Please lead us there

 

JA        It is not far…

 

M         Thank you Sir.

 

[pause]

 

Scene 2  

 

J           [crossing further to right] …We are so worried…with all these hundreds of crosses… [gesturing]

 

M         …We thought he might have been dumped in a common grave.

 

JA        I had the same concern… [reflecting to himself]… So I helped Jesus down from the cross.  Oh, Nicodemus helped also…but I held him [slowly pantomimes the movements, weeping, sits again] as he was lifted down to the ground…

 

M          [clutching James, amazed]… He touched Jesus’ body?

 

JA        As I said…

 

J           [anxiously interrupting]… But why were you here?

 

JA        I watched the crucifixion from over there…[pointing]…I could not leave until I helped him…

 

M         Who are you? You are not one of us…

 

JA        I may be a stranger to you…but not to your son, Jesus.

 

M         [with surprise]…You knew Jesus?

 

J           What is your name, Sir?

 

JA        [standing]… I am Joseph.

 

M         [approaching Joseph]… Where do you come from?

 

JA        I was born in Arimathea…a small village…[pointing]…a day’s journey…

 

J           [with more force]… Then why were you here on this day?

 

JA        My home is in Jerusalem now…I followed Jesus’ movements here this week…I was concerned that he would inflame the authorities…even be captured…

 

M         But you were not with Jesus in the Temple…

 

JA        I heard from others…[with authority]… Do you not know me as a member of the ruling council?

 

M         [fearfully pulling James left, whispering]…O, James…this man was one of those the Roman governor called to decide Jesus’ fate…

 

J           Let me talk to him more, Mother…[addressing Joseph]… Sir… Joseph of Arimathea…if you and the council helped condemn Jesus to death on this cross…[looking up]…why are you here now?

 

JA        I assure you James…Mary…I did not agree with the other members of the Sanhedrin…[forcefully]…I did not consent to this execution.

 

M         [with anguish, collapsing to steps]…But you let him die…[pointing accusingly]… my son died at your hands…

 

JA        No, Mary, never…[kneeling, explaining to Mary]… Pilate made that fateful decision…not me…not the council… the Roman governor was hoping to keep the people from rioting…the call to crucify is Rome’s way of dealing with anyone who resists them…

 

J           [speaking down stage] … But we still don’t understand…why he had to die…

 

JA        [stands to address James] … Pilate knew that killing Jesus was the easiest way to destroy his movement.

 

M         [wails, cradles her “baby”]…Jesus was not a terrorist…I don’t understand…[ still rocking” baby”]

[pause]

 

Scene 3

 

J           [to top step with Joseph]…So you, a Jewish leader, were watching as he was killed on a Roman cross…watching helplessly just as we were…but there must have been more…what brings you here now?

 

JA        Because I feel I am…really…one of Jesus’ followers.  I’ve been a “silent disciple” …following what Jesus taught and preached …but because of my position …[to Mary]… I was unable to show my admiration for your son, Maryand… [to James]…to reveal my belief in your brother’s message, James.

 

J           [with amazement]  …You heard him teach about the Kingdom of God? [as Mary returns to conversation]

 

JA        I was with Nicodemus when he asked Jesus: “How can a grown man be reborn to enter the kingdom of God”

 

M         [standing, as if to herself]…”When you are born of the spirit”, he said…

 

JA        Yes, I became a follower then…I have hope for the Kingdom of God…a reign of peace instead of a reign of fear. In that belief I consider myself one of Jesus’ disciples.

 

J           Yes, you are a disciple…[touching Joseph]…[then turning down stage]… I wonder: how many others there are like you?

 

M         [with renewed energy]… Joseph, you said you know where they have laid my son.

 

JA        Yes, Nicodemus and I took him to my tomb…carved in a rocky hillside not far from here…[pointing]

 

J           …Thank you…

 

JA        …I was fearful the Roman soldiers would leave him hanging there…[gesturing up]…I went to Pilate and asked for his body…and he gave me permission…

 

M         [more friendly] … That was very bold of you.

 

JA        [thoughtfully] Mary, it was my duty…to take care of…[weeping]…to do what I could to…

 

J           [touching Joseph] …We understand, Joseph.

 

JA        [slowly regaining composure]…I purchased a linen shroud…the women are caring for the body as is our custom…washing it with oils and spices…

 

J           We thank you Joseph…you are truly one of us.

 

M         [dreamily] … I want to see Jesus one more time…before they close the tomb.

 

JA        I will take you there…[moves down steps] …but we must be careful of the soldiers.

 

J           Let us go, mother…[following Joseph]

 

M         Please help me James… I am weary.

 

J           Let me help, mother.

 

JA        [walking together] Come this way friends.

 

[all exit stage right, down side aisle]

 

Curtain falls

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