The Parable of the Loving Father

  • Cast Number: 5
  • Run-time: 20 minutes
  • Bible Reference: Luke 15

God's love is shown through a father's love and forgiveness for a prodical son.

A drama presented as a mime performance with a male narrator.

Characters
• Levi (father) - late middle age
• Jacob (younger son) - late teens, early 20's
• Eli (older son) - mid to late 20's
• Number of support actors
In addition to the father and the two sons, the cast may be as large or small as available actors dictate. Same actors can be used as townspeople, Joseph's friends and guest at the feast however provide change of costumes to separate these characters. Although there are no spoken lines to memorize, this is a very challenging drama to stage since it is critical that the mime presentation be very thoroughly rehearsed. Chose actors who are very expressive in their gestures.

This drama can be performed on stage or in an outdoors setting. If performed outdoors have a backdrop and at least three portable screens to shield actors when not performing.

Conduct of Characters
Father must be able to express a wide range of emotions, from near-pompous serenity to heartbroken humility. Jacob will portray a carefree fun loving spirit in the earlier scenes and a broken, humble image in later scenes. Eli will be an unsmiling, sour character throughout the drama.

Costumes
Period costumes could be used, however a very interesting effect can be attained through the use of contemporary costumes. In either case a ripped, soiled costume should be used for Joseph in the pigpen and homecoming scenes.

Sample of script

As drama opens, the stage is empty.

Narrator's voice:
My name is Levi. I am not well known by name, but on many occasions the story of myself and my sons has been told. The story of our family is best known by the title, 'The Parable of the Prodigal Son'. But I want to tell you how it really was.

Levi comes on stage, he should display a certain dignity and aloofness as his position of a community leader in the Jewish would demand. Levi will quietly and slowly wander about center stage, deep in thought. He will react to each "thought" from the narrator. Particularly Levi will react in a smiling, loving manner as each reference is made to his family. As reference is made to Levi's possessions he will spread out his hands as though pointing to the fields, flocks and herds. As he refers to his friends and neighbors he will smile and look to each side as though looking at unseen people.

Narrator's voice:
I was a well known Jewish landlord, others would refer to me as rich and well respected. Often my friends and neighbors would come to me, requesting my counsel and advice. While I was pleased to help in any way I could, still it overwhelmed me to experience this respect. God had blessed me so wonderfully. Fertile fields, healthy flocks and herds and, most precious, a wife and family whom I adored. My eldest son, Eli, was strong, industrious and hard working. My younger son, Jacob, was handsome, loving and greatly loved by all who knew him. I'm not saying that I had no problems, sometimes Eli was given to fits of temper. And Jacob was somewhat of a dreamer, this sometimes caused his older brother to feel that Jacob was not doing his part of the work around the farm. But, still, I considered myself, very fortunate. Most of all I loved my family.

Joseph comes on stage, Center Left), with two or more of his friends, they should be (noiselessly) laughing, slapping on another on the back, drinking from a flask.

Narrator's voice:
Young Jacob often talked of leaving the farm, he wanted to see the world. I asked him to enjoy the great bounties around him, to be satisfied with the great blessings which the Lord God Jehovah had provided so abundantly. I wasn't pleased with some of the friends with whom he associated, I felt that they were a bad influence on Jacob. But you fathers will know that there is only so much that a parent can do.

Eli comes on stage, (Center Right), stares contemptuously at Joseph and his friends. Eli shakes his finger at Joseph, points Offstage Right at the "work" that Joseph should be doing. Eli, sad look on his face, looks back and forth between his two sons, spreads his hands out as though to keep his sons apart. Eli then bows his head in prayer.

Narrator's voice:
His older brother often became frustrated with Jacob. Eli demanded that I force Jacob to do his fair share around the farm. I tried my best to maintain harmony between my sons. I prayed to God for both of my sons.

Joseph's friends whisper in Joseph's ear, point toward Levi and shove Joseph over to Levi. As Joseph approaches Levi, Joseph holds out his hand as though asking for something. Levi reacts with great sadness, bows his head. Eli reacts with great anger, shakes his fist at Joseph.

Narrator's voice:
Then one day Jacob came to me with a request which struck a chill into my heart. Jacob asked for his inheritance. Those of you unfamiliar with Jewish tradition and culture may not fully realize the significance of Joseph's request. His request was not for a loan, (which I would have most willingly provided to him), but his inheritance. In our culture what Jacob was saying was, 'Father, I wish you were dead'.

Levi holds Joseph's shoulders in his hands, displays attitude of pleading. Behind Joseph, his friends are waving to him to come with them. Eli stands back, shaking his head. Finally Levi bows his head in attitude of sorrow and resignation.

Narrator's voice:
Naturally I did all I could to persuade Jacob to stay with friends and family who would love and protect him. Although I loved Jacob dearly, I only too well knew his character and I knew the dangers which lie ahead for my headstrong son. But in spite of my pleading Jacob was determined that he must leave to seek his own life. There comes a time when a loving father must let the prodigal go, and this I did with great sorrow and heaviness of heart.

Eli holds out his hands, first toward Downstage Right through Center, (as he indicates Eli's larger portion) and then toward Downstage Left, (as he indicates Joseph's smaller portion). Eli scowls, pulls his cloak tightly around himself, moves to extreme Upstage Right, stares off Stage Right. Joseph and his friends smile, congratulate each other, rub their hands together as they receive their portion.

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