Mary and James Under the Cross, A Drama for Good Friday

A Play by RB Sperling with E. Lindsay and C. Toaspern

Scriptures: Four readers serve as four different “witnesses” to the crucifixion of Jesus, reading from the four gospels:
Mark 15: 1-14 Matthew 27: 24-32 Luke 23: 32-38 John 19: 25b-30

Drama Setting: After the crucifixion of Jesus, witnessed by Mary, his mother, and James, his brother, Mary approaches the empty cross; James discovers her there. Devastated by the death of her son, Mary seeks solace in the last place she saw him. James, fearful of encountering the centurions who crucified his brother, seeks temporary protection in his mother’s arms. Together they try to understand what the future may hold for them.

Characters: Mary, mother of Jesus, dressed in a fine robe and shawl
James, brother of Jesus, dressed in a rough, hooded robe

Curtain rises: Mary slowly enters stage left; she stops center stage looking up at the empty cross; she collapses under the cross in anguish; she begins weeping. James enters quickly stage right, as if looking for someone; then he sees Mary and speaks.

 

 

Scene 1 – The Meeting

James Mother, is that you?

Mary [weeping] It is me, James.

J [moving closer] Oh, Mother, what are you doing in this place?

M …I cannot leave…

J [moving away] And I cannot stay…

M [to herself ] I need to be close to him

J [to himself] But I fear the soldiers…

M …Let me stay a while longer…

J …What if they arrest me?

M …They beat him so…

J …What if they beat me?

M …the King of the Jews?… my sweet son?…

J [pause, looking at the cross] My big brother…hanging there…

M …Such a terrible death…

J … I have to get away…

M [reaching for James] I am glad you found me

J [reaching for Mary] I searched for hours

M I feel he is still here…with me…

J They have taken him down…

M [ looking at the cross] His body is gone…what have they done with it?

J Joseph has it…Pilate said he could take it…

M …I need to help the women prepare the body…

J [urgently] Let’s go look for the tomb…

M [standing] Wait, I want to remember…how you held me when Jesus was on the cross…

J [holding Mary] Let’s go, Mother…

M …He was in such great pain…but still he comforted the two dying men…

J …There’s nothing we can do now…

M …He was always thinking of others

 

 


Scene 2 -The Fear

J [extended pause, looking around fearfully] Oh, Mother, I am so afraid

M [reaching, with motherly care] James, let me help you

J [more agitated] They killed my brother…I don’t want them to kill me…

M What do you mean, son?

J Who else will Rome kill?

M [holding James] We don’t know…

J [crying out] But it could be one of the twelve…it could be me…

M I don’t think they need another victim [pointing to cross]…they made their point

J [pause, remembering] It all happened so fast…we were with Jesus last night at supper…

M …He washed our feet as a servant…

J …We didn’t know what was going on there [pointing off stage] …in the garden…

M [calmly] He seemed so calm…I think he knew what fate awaited him…

J …The soldiers just dragged him away…so much confusion,,,

M [looking up] My first born-is gone…

J [suddenly agitated] Maybe Peter or John will be next. They were close to Jesus…close as brothers…

M …But Jesus was your leader-the Romans think by killing Jesus they have killed his
spirit, his ideas…

J [sadly] All the others-they have run away in fear…

M …Hiding from the soldiers…like you

J Without Jesus we are scattered…I must find them…

M [sitting] Please stay with me a while longer, Son

J [sitting] Yes, Mother

 

 

Scene 3 -The Way

M [extended pause, trying to help James] You remember what Jesus taught you?

J [with confidence] I will always remember, Mother

M The importance of love…even loving your enemies…

J [looking at cross] How can I love those soldiers?

M [reflectively] Jesus loved everybody…hated no one

J [standing] But now he is gone…what will I do?

M He was such a wonderful teacher…and we thought he would always be with us…

J …Who will lead us now?

M You will find a way…you’re his younger brother…you can do it…

J …But I am not ready…

M James, we will depend on you…

J …Me?… Finish the work Jesus started in Jerusalem?

M Remember he said, “Follow me…I will make you a new kind of fisherman”…

J [pause, reflecting] To help others find a way…a way to God

M You will find your way, James…but how will I?

J [sitting] Oh, Mother, you know you are one of us

M I can tell others the stories Jesus taught us

J [pause] The way to God…that’s what he taught us

M We can help each other, James…what a comfort you are

 

 

Scene 4 -The Departing

J [preparing to leave, looking up] That cross reminds me of the way he died…

M [holding back] It helps me remember the way he lived…

J [trying to leave] I must leave this place, Mother…

M [wanting to stay] I feel him here with me…I cannot leave…

J [urgently] I must find the others…I cannot stay longer…

M [both move to leave, pause] One last look James…

J [urging Mary] Mother I cannot wait…

M [turning from cross, wanting to James] James, will you help me find his tomb?

J Yes, but we must go quickly

[exit together quickly]

Curtain Falls

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RB Sperling with E. Lindsay and C. Toaspern
3-7-09

Review & Commentary

2 thoughts on “Mary and James Under the Cross, A Drama for Good Friday

  1. This is one of the brilliant works that will grow the Church of God. I have given the scripts to the Servers of the Cathedtal of St John the Evangelist in Mthatha to start their preparations as they perform on the Good Friday after the stations of the cross and before the last Seven words of our Lord.
    Thank you for your resources.

  2. Good day,thank God i storm over this piece online,an excellent script,please can i have a copy of it as soon as possible from you?If yes thanks in anticipation.

or, use the form below to post a comment or a review!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>