A Maundy Thursday production based on the happenings in, and around, the Upper Room, featuring all of the disciples. The drama centers around Pilate and Herod discussing the problems that Jesus has created. Judas offers his services for payment. Judas asks for assurance that Jesus will not be harmed. Ironically Judas too was betrayed!
Cast: 17 men plus narrator Crowd scene (numbers as available)
Set: Scene I is Pilate’s Palace, very rich and opulent
Scene II is Upper Room, bare with table, chairs.
The action moves to Gethsemane which can be another part of the same stage or can be an area on the main floor of the sanctuary, (optionally Gethsemane could be a separate
Scene III, depending on stage space available).
Props: Purse for Judas Basin and towel for washing feet Swords, clubs for army
Costumes: traditional costumes
Sample of script:
SCENE I – Pilate’s Palace
Scene opens, Pilate is pacing, upset. After a few seconds attendant comes on stage followed by Herod Antipas
Attendant: Your excellency, King Herod is here for his appointment.
Pilate, mock bow to Herod: Yes, yes, so indeed he is. Almost the hour late, but here nonetheless! Well, well, finally, after begging an audience with us, our esteemed friend Herod Antipas sees fit to grace our chambers.
Herod, slight bow in return: May we take the liberty to correct you, friend Pontius Pilate. King Herod does not beg, for “audiences” as you put it, or for any other matter. And as to us being regrettably detained, you may thank Caiaphas and his lot for that!
Pilate: Well, well, “Caiaphas and his lot” is it? We should think that “Caiaphas and his lot” would indeed be “your lot” dear Herod Antipas! Are you not, nominally at least, a Jew? Or is that only at times when being Jewish benefits your cause? King Herod, King of the Jews! Oh my yes, that truly has a definite ring to it! (thinks) Though if our memory serves us right there appears to be a new Jewish king on the horizon, the Nazarene carpenter. (mocking) Beware King Herod lest King Jesus topple you from your royal Jewish throne! (laughs uncontrollably)
Herod, furious: May we suggest that Pontius Pilate not waste time flexing his own muscle until he determines what, if any, influence remains now that his protector Sejanus has been banished from halls of power in Rome. We would assume that the future looks less radiant now that Tiberius has accused the once mighty Sejanus of treason!
Pilate: Our future has never been tied to anyone else, not Sejanus, not Tiberius himself!
Herod: Dear man, you are too, too modest. Why only days ago you, Pontius Pilate, were the fair haired boy, the protégé of none other than Sejanus himself. Let us not toy with each other, sir, your current influence in Rome is in dire question, so do not seek to overestimate your current status based on your once considerable influence.
Pilate: We will handle the ups and downs of our own career. Take care, Herod Antipas, that you not say something which one day you might regret.
Herod: Discretion is ever our byword, fear not. But enough of this senseless bickering, we have greater concerns, both of us, outside these walls.
Pilate: Really? And just what outside these walls might possibly be of concern to Pontius Pilate?
Herod: Enough of this sham, you know very well that the Nazarene on the one side and the temple lot on the other side leaves both of us squarely exposed and in the middle. And I fear that not Tiberius himself could bail us out if that happens.
Pilate: Caiaphas is your cohort, talk with him then!
Herod: Exactly the cause of my delay today. Just a short time ago Caiaphas paid us a visit demanding that we do this and that for his cause!
Attendant: Your Excellency, chief priest Caiaphas asks to see you, I told him you were engaged Excellency but he . . . . .
Caiaphas barges on stage, brushing attendant out of the way, with Judas trailing behind
Pilate: To what exactly do we owe this sudden intrusion? Dear Caiaphas, you are aware we make every attempt to put ourselves at your disposal however at this moment, as you can see, we are predisposed. Perhaps tomorrow we can . . .
Caiaphas: What we have to discuss will not wait a day or an hour. And since my news concerns us all, it is well that Herod Antipas and yourself are here together.
Herod: And this earthshaking news of yours would be . . . .
Caiaphas: A resolution to a common problem, one Jesus of Nazareth.
Herod: Problem? Just who is this problem? What did you call him . . Jesus? No, no, don’t believe I know he to whom you refer.
Caiaphas: Time runs short, we would all be well advised not to squander opportunities with senseless idle chit-chat. Now then, in the matter of the disposal of the carpenter of Nazareth.
Pilate: And your friend here, rather ill at ease it would seem. Hardly dressed to the standards of you and your temple friends.
Caiaphas: He is not “one of us” he is one of them.
Caiaphas: He is, or was, a disciple of the Nazarene prophet.
Herod: What’s your name, disciple?
Judas says nothing, looks around frightened
Caiaphas: His name is Judas, not that it matters. He is here offering to deliver the Nazarene to us.
Herod: And who is saying that we somehow need assistance in capturing the Nazarene.
Pilate: Oh yes, of course, leave it to Herod Antipas to capture the Nazarene! Mighty Herod, whose soldiers have been led on a merry chase throughout Galilee, and never once have they come close enough to the Nazarene to lay a finger on him.
Herod: Perhaps we should have taken lessons from your soldiers who bludgeoned hundreds of Jews in the temple, creating a situation from which your reputation will never recover.
Pilate: The mob simply got out of hand. At any rate, just how will you deliver your leader, Judas?
Judas: He must not be hurt.
Herod: What drivel is this? Caiaphas I thought I heard you to say that this man was a former disciple of the Nazarene. Look at him! Seems to me he “is” a disciple, concerned whether this self appointed prophet be . . hurt!
Pilate: Hurt? Surely you don’t think for one moment we would so much as harm a single hair on his royal head!
Pilate and Herod laugh uproariously
Caiaphas: Leave it in my hands Judas, we will see to the welfare of the Nazarene.
Pilate, takes Caiaphas’ hands, examines them: Yes, Judas, surely you know you can with confidence place your leader in these soft, gentle hands. After all, if you can’t trust the chief priest, tell me, who can you trust?
Judas: He must not be hurt. He must be . . be . . refocused. He has so much to offer, but he must be refocused.
Caiaphas: And refocused shall he be. Leave that to me. You go on ahead, rejoin your group before questions are asked. And meet us at sunup outside the city walls, just as we discussed. We will look after it all from there.
Judas: You promise he will not be hurt.
Herod, nudges Pilate with elbow, winks: Everyone knows Caiaphas is a man of his word.
Caiaphas: Go along then. Oh and here is the payment as agreed upon.
Judas takes the small purse from Caiaphas, makes as if to take the money out
Caiaphas: Don’t worry, it is all there, ever penny.
Judas: Remember, . . . .
Caiaphas: Go along now, he will not be hurt if you do your part.
Judas looks about him, hesitatingly goes to the door, looks back, Caiaphas gently motions him to leave, Judas leaves stage
Herod: Can he be trusted?
Pilate: Can anyone be trusted? Certainly none of us here.
Caiaphas: Judas will do his job as he has been paid to do.
Pilate: Paid? Seemed a very light purse. What is the going price for selling out on a Messiah nowadays?
Caiaphas: We agreed on a fair price, thirty pieces of silver.
Herod: Caiaphas my friend, you amaze me! Such a bargain! I would have been prepared to offer 10, no, 100 times that amount!
Caiaphas: We will make the arrest at day tomorrow, just outside the walls, at Gethsemane. I want that both of you provide troops.
Pilate: Troops? To capture an unarmed man among a handful of deranged and unarmed idiots and fools? Use your own temple police.
Caiaphas: My temple police will be there. As will troops under your command. The Nazarene must be captured and killed.
Herod: Killed? And what value is there in having the Nazarene killed? Have him beaten, dispatched to the desert. His disciples will scatter and he will never be heard of again.
Caiaphas: I said, he must be captured and killed. And it must be done now, but not during the feast, lest the people riot.
Pilate: Dear Caiaphas, you act as though all you have to do is speak and we will support your every wish.
Herod: Exactly, I will have you know Caiaphas, that . .
Caiaphas: No, I will have both of you know that it is no secret both of you are at the lowest point in your careers. One hint of trouble here and you will both be joining Sejanus enjoying the pleasures of banishment to some remote island. I can cause my people to support you . . or. . . I can cause my people to resist your every move. Now then, what will it be?
Pilate: I refuse to be . . .
Caiaphas, screaming: I want no response other than yes or no! For the final time, what will it be?
Herod and Pilate move as though to react, then look down
Caiaphas: Much better! Now you and your best troops will be at Gethsemane at dawn tomorrow.
Pilate: Yes, I will be there. But take care not to overstate your own influence and authority. It is the Romans who control the Jews, and so it shall always be. I would strongly advise that you not confuse the winning of a minor skirmish with the triumph of the overall war.
Caiaphas: War? Are you saying that we are at war?
Pilate: Yes, dear Caiaphas, we are at war indeed. And make no mistake, ultimately Rome shall be victorious. Now out of here before I decide to deal with you as the parasite you truly are!
The complete script, plus all 1,600+ other DramaShare scripts, are available at no charge to DramaShare members, non-members may purchase the individual script.