Theme: A story of the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus as told by Mary’s mother, Jesus’ grandmother. Getting the news that an unwed daughter is pregnant is shocking, but being told that the father of the baby is . . . God? How would she react? Likely she too would have to travel to Bethlehem for the census so would likely be there for the birth, what about all the happenings through Jesus’ life? She might even have been there for the crucifixion. The resurrection? Possible.
First Baptist Church of Rockwood, TN staged this drama, "it turned out well and the cast enjoyed it."
Cast: Total 8 male, 9 female, 2 young boys (by actors with small roles in multi parts)
Mother, main character in all scenes (some may be pre-recorded)
Young Mother, teen to 20’s, in Scenes I to VI
Young Mary, Scenes I to VI
Adult Mary, Scenes VII, VIII, XIII, XIV (could be played by Young Mary)
Joseph, Scenes I to VII
Soldier, Scenes II, III, XII, XIV
Jonathan, (Innkeeper & Carpenter), Scenes III, IV, XIII, XIV
Jonathan’s Wife, (IKW), Scenes III, V, VI
Simon (as a boy), Scenes IV, V, VI
Simon (as a man), Scene XIII
Gamaliel, (ages between scenes), Scenes VII, XIII
Young Jesus (age 12), Scene VII
Adult Jesus, Scenes VIII, X, XII, XIV, (voice only Scene XI)
Mary (sister of Lazarus) Scenes X, XIII, XIV
Martha, Scenes X, XIII, XIV
Judas, Scene XII
Husband, (Mary’s father) Scene I
Simeon, old man, Scene VI
Anna, old woman, Scene VI
Ruth, older woman Scene I
Peter, Scenes IX, XII
Thomas, Scene IX
Angel, Scene XIV
Shepherds (3) in Scene IV
Servant, Scenes VII, XII
Host, Scene VIII
Set: This can be a blank set throughout or can be dressed up as desired and able.
A bright Resurrection backdrop would be useful for the final scene.
Sound: Wireless mics as available
Suggested, optional songs have been noted, or delete or substitute as desired
Sound Effects: thunder, hoof beats on road, crowd noise, sound of coins falling
Lighting: Spotlight to isolate different acting areas
Props: lectern or firm stand for journal, large journal, cradle, doll as baby, bag of coins, wash basin, goblet, (pewter or gold), loaf of bread
Special Instructions: Scenes have been indicated however these are to indicate characters and lighting. The drama can be run as one continuous scene or as desired.
The character of Mother is very heavy, we have written in a journal on display throughout, this only to serve as a set piece and to prompt actress between speaking parts, NOT TO BE READ FROM but for prompting.
INFORMATION behind the writing of this script:
I received an email from a DramaShare member, asking for a drama on “the mother of Mary.” This interested me since, although this woman was never mentioned in the Bible, she obviously existed and would have had quite an amazing life.
A follow-up email from our member showed that it was a typo, what she meant to ask for was something on the mother of Jesus. But the idea so enthused me that I continued.
I enjoy writing about Biblically possible, but fictional, non-reported situations, such as “A Meeting Between Two Mothers” which tells of a meeting between the mothers of Jesus and Judas after the crucifixion. So this project offered another “what if” scenario. NOTE I am not trying to re-write the Bible, my aim is that I, and those who read, perform or view this story will be motivated to further investigate the Bible and to deepen their faith.
Time: 70 minutes plus songs
Sample of Script:
Mother comes onstage, looks around downstage, “sees” the audience, smiles, reacts
Mother: I can see I have guests . . . Shalom! . . . Welcome!
pauses, as though listening to a question
Mother: Who am I?
Just an old woman, living with family in Nazareth.
pauses, as though listening to a question
Mother, giggles, slaps her thigh:
What is my name?
(giggles again, enjoying it)
Strange you should ask . . .
But you shall find out about that . . . soon enough!
walks to lectern, holds up large Journal
Mother: All my long life I have kept a record where I wrote happenings . . . a journal you might say.
pauses, as though listening to a question
Mother: You want to know how I, a Jewish woman of no consequence in my society . . . would know reading and writing?
(giggles, hand to mouth as though sharing a secret)
Listen . . . You will for sure enjoy this!
I was born into a family of some wealth.
My mother, . . . some called her a liberal . . . never felt being born a female meant women should be second class citizens. So, unbeknownst to anyone, my mother arranged secret tutoring for me.
Isn’t that a riot?
Mother expected much from me, and much for me. . .
Used to say . . . .
Chazak u’varuch . . . Be strong and blessed, have courage!
So all of my life I wrote the happenings here . . .(taps journal), . . in my journal.
I will tell you of my life.
Forgive me, my mind grows faint in my old age, I forget, so as I tell my story, I may have to refer to my journal.
(pauses, frowns, sad)
I shall begin with the announcement that changed the course of the life of my family.
Listen closely, I will tell as I remember it . . .
Oh yes, I do remember, every bit of that announcement! . . . And how my former friends reacted afterward!
mimes “seeing unseen women” walk by, follows with her eyes as women pass and go offstage, frowns,
Mother moves a few steps downstage
Mother: Oy vey!
Some things never change!
The brazen contempt of these women!
What you have just witnessed has happened to me . . . ever since . . . since . . .!
(short pause, thinks)
That’s what it was you know!
I was shunned. . . . An outsider in my own home town!
Once leading citizens in our town, influential, highly regarded, my husband and I had some wealth.
My husband . . a leader in the temple, teacher, man of influence, looked up to.
With his position and prominence I too was seen as a person of note.
A happy family . . . my husband and I and . . and our …daughter.
Our beautiful daughter, just celebrated her 13th birthday, whole life ahead of her. Spoken for, to be married to a young man, a business owner here in town, an up-and-comer for sure.
Seemed nothing could go wrong for us. Until that tragic day!
I shall never forget the look in my husband’s eyes when our daughter announced the news . . .
(steps back a few steps, folds hands over bowed head, light down on mother, up on center stage. Young Mother (YMother) & Husband are seated, Mary & Joseph come quickly onstage)
Mary, excited: Mother! . . Father! . . We . . Joseph and I . . We have news! . . . Incredible news!
Joseph: We wanted you to be the first to know!
We . . . . That is . . . Mary . . . will . . . .
Mary: I am going to have a baby!
Father: Yes Mary, your mother and I are counting on you having a child. . .
YMother: Many children actually dear, many for me to rear and spoil!
B'sha'ah tovah, may it happen in the proper time
Father: Yes, in due course, after the wedding, after a proper time of . . .
Mary: No! . . . Father, you don’t understand . . .. I am . . . pregnant!
YMother: Lord God Yahweh! . . . Take me now!
Father: Silence woman! . . . Joseph . . . how could you, I . . .
Mary: No Father, you don’t understand! . . . Joseph is not the baby’s father . . .
Father: I expected more of . . . (pauses, thinks, very angry) . . . Then who . . . Tell me his name and I shall rip out his heart with my bare hands!
Mary: The child is the very own son of God! . . . Isn’t that exciting . . . I am to give birth to the son of God, the promised Messiah!
Joseph: It’s true, the angel spoke to Mary, and to me as well!
YMother: May the Lord God strike me dead right now! . . . Bad enough the two of you dishonor this house, this family, with your despicable deed . . . But you profane the name of God with this outrageous story!
Father: Joseph, I will hear no more! . . . You will continue with the betrothal plans and there will be no more said of this matter! . . .
YMother: No one need know, Mary can spend some months with my sister Elizabeth until after the child has been born, no one needs to know. . .
Mary: Mother, too late for that . . . When Joseph and I were on our way here we ran into your friend Ruth . . . and I told her the news . . .
Joseph: Yes, we were so excited, the news just shot forth from us and . . .
You . . told . . . Ruth? . . . That . . . gossip, that . . person, the entire neighborhood will know by now! . . . How could you?
Father: One thing is sure . . .
Ruth bursts on stage enraged, confronts Mother and Father
Ruth: I hope you are proud of yourselves! . . . I have always questioned your parenting, now your lack of decency and respectability! . . . The child should not be allowed to live . . . should be taken to the town gates and stoned!
Father: That is enough Ruth! . . . The terms of the betrothal will go ahead.
Ruth: You expect the good people of this town will just allow everything to go back to normal? . . . I can assure you that won’t happen! . . . My husband Eli has some power in the temple, I shall insist you be removed from office there. None of the townspeople will patronize your store, I assure you!
And as for you woman . . . Never expect to be spoken to again!
lights down on stage, actors freeze except Father & Ruth who quietly leave, lights up on Mother
Mother: It was as though an arrow had penetrated my heart. I couldn’t accept my daughter’s improbable, impossible announcement . . .
“I am . . . pregnant!”
And it was as if she expected me to say “mazal tov” . . . Congratulations!
The most devastating part was our daughter spoke with a firm, almost proud voice. My first thought was . . . Oh Mary, my beautiful Mary . . . How could you?
I thought of the man responsible for all this . . and my heart burned with loathing!
How could Joseph do such an unspeakable thing?
(paces, shakes head, wrings hands)
To add insult to injury . . the story Mary told, that this child growing within her was . . . the son of God! . . . And that this child was the long-awaited Messiah!
This only made me more angry, that my daughter was speaking so irreverently about the Lord God Yahweh!
From that day on I was shunned, isolated! No one in town ever spoke my name . .
In a society where everyone is known by their first name . . .
I became a no name woman in a first name world.
And if I was referred to at all, it was with contempt and scorn.
Mother moves a few steps, thinks, pauses
Mother: Those months weren’t easy. The women I used to know as friends now crossed the street when they saw me coming.
Worse for my husband . . . no longer invited to serve in the temple.
Business associates no longer came to him for advice.
Clients took their business elsewhere.
His store vandalized, one night burned to the ground.
And then he took ill, fever, a week later I was a widow.
Not one of our former friends came to pay their respects.
But Joseph was kind, strong, . . like a solid rock in the stormy sea.
lights down on Mother, up on stage Joseph, Mary, YMother
YMother: And so it is then. . . Woe is me, I am an old woman without husband or support!
Mary: Mother! . . . You have me!
How could I overlook that? . . . A child about to have a child should provide me with mountains of support!
Joseph: Yes, Mother, you do have Mary, and myself as well! You shall stay here with us.
YMother: You talk foolishness Joseph! You know full well if I were to be in your home your business would evaporate like dew in the morning.
Joseph: I am not without reputation or standing, in the town or in the temple. It will be as I said, you will be here, beginning immediately.
YMother: I will not be taking handouts from family! . . . If I am to rely on others for my bread I will do so at the city gates, calling out for handouts as other beggars do.
Joseph: No one here is a beggar, each of us has our job to do! You will assist my pregnant wife and when that is complete you will assist in my carpentry shop. Now I have heard enough, it will be as I said!
YMother: But . . .
Joseph: I am the head of this house, all within this house will follow my instructions!
Mary, giggles: You will find that the opinions of your son-in-law are not open to debate!
Soldier’s voice offstage
Soldier: Hello this house! . . As a representative of Rome I demand entry!
Joseph: And what does Rome want of this house?
Soldier comes on stage
Soldier: Rome is giving you an invitation you can’t refuse. . . . Quirinius, Roman governor of this underwhelming land, is pleased to request your presence at a census.
Joseph: A census?
Soldier: Sorry, I shouldn’t have expected uneducated residents of this backwoods community of Nazareth to understand words of more than one syllable.
(mock sign language)
A census is a means of counting the number of people in the area.
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