A PDF of this script is downloadable from here:Easter Sunday Morning Drama.
Cast: Narrator, Pilate, Sleeping soldier/s, 2 Angels, Mary, a group of 3 or 4 women, 3 ‘Dead’ People, Peter and John
It is vital that the audience have no idea who is playing Jesus until the very end of this piece.
If possible have two angels hidden somewhere on or near the stage area before beginning.
Enter Pilate, he takes a moment to walk up and down, eyeing the audience before speaking.
Pilate: All right you lot! Pilate here. I’m in charge, now listen up. So, you want to go and see the body? What good will that do? It’s over. Why are you just prolonging the agony. Accept the truth – your leader’s dead. I saw him with my own eyes. It’s no good pretending. Whatever he might have told you before, he’s gone now. Move on. There’s nothing to see.
I’ve appointed soldiers at the tomb, so it’s dangerous, I don’t want strangers tramping all over the place. There’ll be trouble. There’ll be a riot. You should just go back to bed. Go on…
(He waits then sighs)
Can’t you just accept what has happened? Stop fooling yourselves. Why are you here anyway? Have you thought it through? You know already what you’ll find at the tomb. Will it make any difference to you? Will it affect you in any way at all? Or will it just be another Sunday?
Oh, why do I get the feeling I’m wasting my breath…
He wanders off shaking his head. When he has gone one or two soldier/s walk/s on and lean/s against a wall. He yawns and falls asleep. An angel then either walks on, or, if hidden somewhere suddenly appears and addresses the audience. The soldier/s sleep through the whole thing.
First angel appears and speaks to the audience.
Angel 1: What are you doing here?
Second angel appears.
Angel 2: He (or she) said, what are you doing here?
Narrator walks on stage with a clipboard containing the narrative
Narrator: Early on Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb…
Angel 1: (To the narrator) What are you doing here? (with emphasis)
Narrator: (Indicates the audience) We’ve come to see the tomb.
Angel 2: There’s nothing in it.
Angel 1: You won’t find a body.
Angel 2: Ooh look out – she’s coming! Quick hide. (They hide again)
Narrator: Early on Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance.
Mary hurries on, looks at imaginary or real tomb, then suddenly screams and backs away, very upset, muttering, ‘No…no…no…’
Angel 1: (Appearing again) What are you doing here?
Mary: (Startled) Me? I… I… I came to see the body, but it’s gone! Someone’s taken it away. Do you know where it is?
Angel 2: (Appearing again) Why are you looking in a tomb for someone who is alive? He isn’t here! He has risen from the dead!
Mary: What… what?
Angel 1: Don’t be so surprised. We know you’re looking for Jesus, the Nazarene, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He has been raised from the dead! Look, this is where they laid his body. (Indicates in the real or imaginary tomb)
Angel 2: Don’t you remember what he told you back in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of corrupt people and be crucified, and that he would rise again on the third day?
Angel 1: Now go and give this message to all his disciples, including Peter: Jesus is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there, just as he told you before he died!
Other women arrive on stage, all talking at once.
Women: Mary! Mary! What’s going on? What’s the noise? What’s happening? Why’s the tomb open? etc
Mary points them towards the tomb
Angel 1: (To the women) What are you doing here?
Narrator: (To the angel)Oh, for goodness’ sake! Don’t start that again!
Mary: He’s gone! His body’s gone. I don’t know what to do.
The women look into the tomb.
Women: Come on – let’s get some help. Let’s tell Peter and the others.
The Women leave. Mary stays and sits staring ahead, confused and lost. As she sits quietly thinking, 3 ‘dead’ people walk on stage, stretching and yawning and doing exercises. They are heavily made up looking pale, with grass and leaves sticking out of pockets, necklines and ears etc. They look disorientated. Mary does not look at them.
Dead Body 1: You haven’t got any food have you? I’m starving!
Dead Body 2: No! I haven’t eaten a thing for two decades.
Dead Body 3: I haven’t eaten for three decades!
Narrator: At the moment when Jesus died the curtain in the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart, and tombs opened. The bodies of many Godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead after Jesus’s resurrection.
Dead Body 1: (Licks lips) Mmm… fresh air… haven’t had that for a long while.
Dead Body 2: I think my rigor mortis is wearing off. (Does some exercises)
Dead Body 3: Hey, why don’t we pop back into town and see our families. It shouldn’t be too much of a shock for them… should it??… (They wander around)
Narrator: They left the cemetery, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people.
Dead Body 1: You don’t think we’ll scare people do you?
Dead Body 2: You do look a bit rough actually.
Dead Body 3: Well you look like death warmed up!
They wander off. Mary remains sitting quietly on stage staring out towards the audience.
Narrator: Meanwhile the women returned to the disciples and told them the news. All the men were terrified and were hiding from the authorities – only the woman had been brave enough to come out. But when Peter and John heard this news they got up immediately and ran through the dark straight to the tomb.
Peter and John run through the audience and onto the stage. John looks into the tomb, but Peter pushes him aside and goes in.
Narrator: John hung about outside, not daring to enter but Peter went straight on in. He saw the grave clothes and was perplexed. John however started to believe. They returned home deep in thought.
They walk back through the audience.
Narrator: However, unable to sit still, it wasn’t long before Peter was running back again, when others brought more news of angels and resurrection. He looked but he could not see. He considered it for a long time – yet still he could not work it out.
Peter runs back on stage and has another look at the tomb. Then he leaves again scratching his head. The Narrator then walks towards Mary.
Narrator: Mary stayed at the tomb alone, and that morning she met Jesus there, but her grief blinded her at first and she didn’t see who he was. She thought he was the gardener.
Mary walks past the narrator and stands staring alone.
Narrator: Later that day two others met him on their journey to Emmaus, but again their grief and confusion and misconceptions blinded them. They spent a long time with Jesus – a very long time – and yet they did not realise who they were with. And this still happens today. We meet the risen Jesus in many places, and yet often cannot see it and do not realise what has just happened.
Narrator turns and stares at Mary. He lays down the clipboard.
Mary: (Turns and stares at him) Jesus? Jesus – is it you?
Narrator: (Turns and smiles at Mary) Mary…
Mary runs to him and hugs him. The women and Peter and John come rushing through the crowd to the narrator. They gather round him.
Narrator: (To the actors and then to the audience) Can you see now? Can you see what has happened here? Can you see the good news of God – right here, right now? The kingdom has come! Keep your eyes and your ears open so you don’t miss it. Come on, I’m hungry. Let’s get some breakfast.
They walk away together. The others follow.
Upbeat music plays as they go, and continues to play for a minute or two to give the audience time to reflect.