In My Place

  • Cast Number: 4
  • Run-time: 18 minutes
  • Bible Reference: Matthew 27:26
Easter, Barrabus receives unmeritted forgiveness and grace when he is released and Jesus bears his punishment.

Cast:
Mary - Deaf Mute Girl, age about 8 – 9
Barabbas - Father of Mary (Robber, Murderer, Mercenary)
Anna - Mother of Mary, wife of Barabbas
Claudia - 12 year old sister of Mary

Setting
All of the play takes place in the family's living room. There should be as much rich trappings as possible to indicate that Barabbas is financially successful. Large pillows are placed on the floor throughout the room. An opening to represent a door is partially covered by a rich colored blanket at down stage right.

CostumingAll characters should be in Biblical dress. Anna and Mary should be dressed in brighter colours, Claudia in somber but rich colour (earth tone). Barabbas should be in a dark, preferably black, colour.

Conduct of Characters
Claudia is a quiet introspective young girl who is old enough to be aware of her father's trade and to be ashamed of it. She shows great love and empathy for Mary, hesitating love coupled with sympathy for Anna but obvious disgust, hatred for her father Barabbas.
Barabbas is a very large man with a booming voice and an overbearing attitude to indicate that he is used to being in charge and in authority, this with everyone except for Mary for whom he shows a very obvious gentleness.
Anna is constantly in between Claudia and Barabbas as mediator, trying to create harmony.
Mary is a happy young child who is unable to speak, she communicates in sign language. Since Mary can not speak it is essential that each person she is signing to look fully at Mary each time they are signed to, and that they slowly, as though thinking through the message, repeat back the theme of the message which was signed, after which they will go on with their own lines where relevant. It is critical that the audience not be left in any doubt as to the "lines" which Mary has signed.
Books on signing are available from public libraries, also check with schools as many have programs for speech / hearing impaired. Coaches, (or even an actress for the role of Mary), will likely be available.

PropsGold coins in a brown cloth bag, a broom, some flowers and a vase, a small round table

Sample of script

The scene opens with Claudia sweeping the floor, rearranging the pillows, etc. Anna and Mary enter through stage right door. Anna is talking just before they enter, Claudia looks up as they enter, she smiles at Mary and brushes Mary's hair as Mary goes by. Mary excitedly pulls on Claudia's dress to get her attention and signs to Claudia.
Mary signs: See the lovely flowers which mother and I picked.
Mary is carrying a handful of flowers which she hands to Claudia who puts them in a vase on the table.
Claudia: Yes Mary, I do see the lovely flowers which you and mother picked. Oh how they light up this room.
Anna: Thank you Claudia, my daughter, for tidying up around the house. Your father has been gone for four days now and I expect him home soon. He will be pleased to see the house so spotless.
Claudia (aggravated): It is not for the thieving murderer Barabbas that I clean the house. My wish would be that he be captured by the Romans and would never darken our door again.
Anna (upset): Do not dare say such a thing of your father, show him the respect which he is due.
Claudia: Respect? For a murderer, for a thief, for a mercenary, for one without the slightest feeling or love for anyone except himself? No I will have no respect ever for the likes of Barabbas, nor will I ever refer to him as my father.
Anna: But it's your father that he is. And, look around you, your father looks after us well. And he does show great love for your sister Mary.
Claudia: Yes, I'll admit he does have love for Mary. But what he should show is shame for his evil ways.
Anna (grabs Claudia by the shoulders and shakes her violently): I warned you never to talk about your father in that tone ever again. Never again! Since you have taken up with your new friends there is no living with you.
Claudia: My new friends are followers of the Messiah , the Nazarene. They have shown me what it is to live in love and in harmony with God. And the more I learn of the teachings of Jesus, the more I realize just how unrighteous is the lifestyle which your husband, all right my father, Barabbas, leads and which we accept. Mother, you know last night for the first time I met Jesus Christ face to face. He was healing the sick who had been brought to Him. And He looked deep into my eyes and said, 'Would you that I would heal you as well child?' I responded that I had no physical deficiency. He replied that the Son of God had come to heal not just the bodies but the souls of men. You see mother, He looked right into my very soul and clearly saw the torment. And He forgave my sins and He made me feel, - new!
Anna: I have heard of this Nazarene. I have heard that He has even raised men from the dead. I once suggested to Barabbas that we might take Mary to Jesus that she might talk.
Claudia: Oh Mother that would be wonderful.
(Claudia kneels down and cradles Mary in her arms), signs and talks at the same time: I would like to take you to see Jesus that you may hear and speak.
Mary signs: Who is Jesus? How can He make me speak?
Claudia signs and talks at the same time: You ask who Jesus is and how He can cause you to speak? Dear sister, He is the Messiah. And all things are possible with Him since He is the very own son of the Lord God Almighty.
Mary signs: Father has taken me to the best doctors in the land, they say that there is no hope.
Anna signs and talks at the same time: Yes dear daughter, I know that your father has taken you to the best doctors and that they say that your case is hopeless. But Claudia believes, and I do too, that the Messiah has the power to work miracles.
Mary, excited, signs: It would be so good to speak, may I please go to see the Messiah?
Anna: We will discuss it with your father when he returns.
(There is a noise outside and Barabbas' voice is heard offstage).
Barabbas: You will stand guard exactly as I have told you. It will be a swift and a painful death for anyone foolish enough to disobey me.
Barabbas enters the door, drops a bag on the table, it knocks the vase of flowers to the floor. Mary begins to cry and kneels down to rescue the flowers.
Mary signs: Father you have broken my lovely flowers.
Barabbas laughs: Broken your lovely flowers you say. Well what is in this bag will buy many things for you my darling, things much more beautiful than plain desert flowers.
(Barabbas dumps the gold coins on to the table).
Claudia: How can you bring blood money into this house? On this money is the stench of the blood which was spilled to obtain it. Who did you murder to get this money Barabbas?
Barabbas : You will have some respect child. But to answer your question it was a stupid merchant who pranced about as though he were a rich king. When I found that this was the full extent of his possessions I took both his possessions and his life.
Mary, excitedly pulls on Barabbas' coat until he bends down to her, signs: Oh father, mother and Claudia are taking me to see the Messiah that I may speak.

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