RISEN: Death could not hold him [Easter multi-act script]

A full-length Easter focused drama program with a large cast, sound effects  and can include an audience communion service.

Setting: A large white 'sheet screen' hangs mid way back on the stage, above it is a projector screen.
If you have enough distance behind the sheet you could also project background images of the initial scenes on the 'sheet screen' from behind. A low table is set with for the last supper. Other disciples and guards can be added for a fuller effect.

1.  The Greatest Entrance (1min)

Lights fade down to 25%, Upper room setting on screen.
Disciples enter behind audience, arguing loudly and walking down the aisle to the front.

[Peter] You have to be joking, John, there is no way Jesus will put YOU in charge of the armies, you couldn’t win an arm wrestle with the assistance of an ox.

[John] Oh Peter, you may have the strength of an ox, but you’ve got the intelligence of one too! Jesus knows you need brains, not brawn to lead an army.

[Judas] Augh, you two can have your legions of soldiers. Just remember to wipe your feet when you come into my palace.

[Peter] Your palace?

[Judas] Well, as the responsible one around here, Jesus will no doubt make ME custodian of the palace.

[Peter]  Judas, there’s no way you’ll be custodian.

Jesus walks down the aisle.

[Judas] [whispers loudly] Shhh, He’s coming.

[Jesus] I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you I will not eat it again until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.

2.       Foot Washing / Last Supper

<Speaker talks about the Passover/footwashing while the acting continues.> (2min)
Actors recline silently.
Jesus stands up from the table, lays aside his outer garment, and ties a towel around his waist. Jesus pours water into a basin and begins to wash a disciple’s feet and to wipe them with the towel that is wrapped around him.
Once Speaker is finished, Jesus prepares to wash Peter’s feet: (1min)

[Peter] Master, you shall never wash my feet.

[Jesus] If I do not wash you, you can have no fellowship with me.

[Peter] Master, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!

[Jesus] The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you. One of you will betray me.

Disciples look at one another, uncertain of whom he spoke.

[John] Master, who is it?

[Jesus] It is he to whom I will give this bread when I have dipped it.

Jesus dips the bread and gives it to Judas

[Jesus] What you are going to do, do quickly.

Judas leaves through left door.

<Speaker comments about what happened and also about bread and wine being acted.> (3min)

While Speaker speaks, Jesus silently breaks the bread, blesses it and gives it to the remaining disciples. Followed by Jesus taking the cup of wine, giving thanks and hands it to the remaining disciples. Then they get up and exit right door before the Speaker finishes and the scene is changed.

3.       Gethsemane (2min)

Jesus and Disciples enter and immediately stop. Stars on screen, cricket sound fx.

[Jesus] Remain here and watch.

Jesus moves to far left side of stage then falls on his knees, and face down, prays in distress. Disciples fall asleep slowly.

[Jesus] Abba, my Father, all things are possible for you. If it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.

Jesus returns to Disciples.

[Jesus] Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
Jesus stares out left door.

[Jesus] The hour has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.

Judas, Guard and Servant enter left door.

[Judas] Rabbi! [kisses Jesus]

[Jesus] Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss? Friend, do what you came to do.

Jesus addresses the guard.

[Jesus] Whom do you seek?

[Guards] Jesus of Nazareth.

[Jesus] I am He.

Mini descending sub-woofer sweep rumbles as Jesus says “I am He”, like a shockwave.
All on stage, including the Disciples, stumble backward away from Jesus (but not overacted), then get up again.

[Jesus] Whom do you seek?

[Guard] Jesus... of.... Nazareth.

[Jesus] I told you that I am he. So, if you seek only me, let these men go.

Guard grabs Jesus. Peter draws his sword and strikes at the high priest's servant, whose head tilts towards the audience, so the sword cuts off his right ear (the one not on the audience side) and servant hunches over holding his head.
[Jesus] Put your sword away. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so? Shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me? No more of this!

Jesus touches the servant's ear and heals him, servant calms and is a little stunned.
Guard stare stunned for a moment, Jesus puts his hands out, as if to remind the guard to bind him.
All the disciples flee various side doors/aisles (not left door). Jesus immediately led through left door.
Judas lingers a little and leaves, unsure if it was a bright idea.
<Speaker talks about what just happened> (1min)

4.       Judgement and Crucifixion (1min)

Jesus and guard come in from left door, Caiaphas enters a pace or two from right door.

[Caiaphas] Have you no answer to make, against these accusations?

Jesus remains silent.

[Caiaphas] I put you under oath by the living God, tell us if you are the Messiah.

[Jesus] I am. It is as you have said. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.

[Caiaphas] What further witnesses do we need? You have heard his blasphemy. Take him away.

<How Deep the Father's Love (live recreation of Deep Still's version - Authentic celtic hymns & songs of praise ; vol.2) Item starts immediately after “take him away”> (5min)
Piano, Irish whistle or Soprano sax, and female soloist.

Jesus led away through right side door.

Piano intro < 0:30
Stage silhouette light fades on. Action is at 80% speed.
V1 0:30 to 1:30
Guard leads Jesus out. Walks around him. Spits in his face and slaps him.
The guard strips him.
V2 1:30 to 2:40  
Flogs him and puts a robe on him.
Puts a crown of thorns on his head and kneels before him, in mockery. Strikes Jesus on the head and takes robe off while Pilate speaks.

Break 2:40 to 3:15 30sec
Pilate - comes out right door.
[Pilate] Shall I crucify your King? I find no guilt in him.
Key audience members stand and shout:
[1] We have no king but Caesar!
[2] Crucify him!
[3] Crucify him!
[1,2&3] Crucify him, Crucify him!
[also have many vocal audience members spread randomly in the audience worded up to join in, so after the first two "Crucify Him" calls, that's their cue for everyone worded up to start calling out, making an outraged mob scene.
Pilate hods his hand up to stop crowd, leaves and goes into the silhouette, gives the "ok to proceed".
V3 3:15 to 4:05
Pushes Jesus down, and then lies Him on the cross (setting actor up ready for raising also,) and audibly nail hands and feet.
Repeat 4:05 to peak 4:15
Raise the cross with Jesus on it in the seconds leading to the peak of the song. Singer pauses for 5 seconds as we reflect the meaning of the visual.
Guard stands for a moment, looking, motionless, then walks off to right side.
Outro 4:16 to end 5:15
After last song words are sung, but piano still playing:
[Jesus] It is finished! Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.
Jesus bows head and the earth shakes with a powerful earthquake and thunder rumble for several seconds.

Guard walks onto stage through right door, stunned, and addresses crowd:
[Guard] Surely, this man was, the Son of God!

5.       Audience Communion (10-15min)

<Speaker speaks about communion and bread and wine handed out together to audience>

Jesus remains on cross in silhouette through this

<O Sacred Head instrumental during handout>

Audience partake of communion.

End communion with prayer.

6.       RISEN

Song leaders (and optional choir) take to stage immediately after prayer.
Invite to stand and sing When I Survey The Wondrous Cross - (Hymns for Praise and Worship version) (4min)

Organ intro
Jesus still on cross in silhouette.
V1 Men

V2  Ladies  

Minor Key
Silhouette light fades out and the cross is ‘secretly’ removed and taken to foyer for a static exit display. Jesus changes into resurrection costume, stone put in place ready to create a shadow.
V4, then key change
Silhouette light comes on again at key change in middle of verse, black circle tombstone. If Choir present, they begin singing powerfully at the this final key change.
end of verse “...my all.”
Angel landing, like a super hero dropping form heaven, fist to the ground, causing a mini earthquake from arriving with such speed, Woofer sound FX.

repeat final line
Angel stands, puffs chest, looks around slowly (to show silhouette wings).
‘...my alllll.’
Angel raises hand and stone rolls away with a rolling rumble sound fx.
‘...myyyyy alllllllllll!’
Angel bows and Jesus raises arms in love toward audience.
Silhouette light out at end of song.

<Song leaders - brief mention to “be seated” - Soloist stays on stage (moves to side) ready to sing >

Both Mary’s enter stage and exit down the aisle towards back of church, enthusiastically calling, and eye-balling audience members while the song introduction plays.

[Mary 1 & 2] He’s risen!  He’s alive, we’ve seen him!
Item Because He Lives (Amen) | West Coast Choir sung item music comes is as soon as possible after previous song, even as Mary 1 & 2 are still in action. (5min)

< Speaker - closing message and prayer > (2min)

Voice-over/music track (1min + 5 mins postlude music)

Audience lights fade up 100% once the 'RISEN' slide is reached. 


Performance: Lilydale Seventh-day Adventist Church - April 19, 2014


All items on this site are written by Scott Wegener, a multi award-winning Australian creative writer, specialising in fun Christian dramas and articles. He believes in looking on the lighter side of life while still valuing the eternal seriousness of life's decisions. This site is essentially a place Scott stores his works, sometimes without much copy-editing (do forgive any spelling/grammar creativity you spot on this site that comes free of charge due to his slight dyslexia).