Fire in the Rain

  • Cast Number: 6
  • Run-time: 60 minutes
  • Bible Reference: Acts 27-28

Paul’s event-filled sea voyage to Rome.
The Roman centurion Julius, Publius (who was the Roman governor of the island of Malta), and Paul were brought together on this voyage which would change all of them, and the entire world, and the effects have been felt up until this day.
But there were others in this story . . the sailors, the soldiers, the other prisoners, and those on the island of Malta where the shipwreck happened. How were they impacted?
In addition to those persons mentioned above, this story focuses on some fictitious characters who have also been “crafted” from the Biblical story.
Uses original music and an optional video package for intro and for each of the three songs.

Cast: 6+ (at least 3 of which will be male)
Narrator (likely female, made up to be old)
Paul (likely middle age)
Centurion Julius (any age)
Governor Publius (any age)
Martha (likely late teen or older)
Islander1 (male or female any age)
Islander2 (male or female any age)
plus any number of non-speaking roles

Set: as little or as much as you wish or are able. Bare stage would work well however backdrops of ship and sandy beach would assist the staging

Lighting: spotlights to accentuate acting locations

Sound: tape of sound of storm (DramaShare members can find SFX in Technical Help)
3 songs to be downloadedTo preview these songs click here.

Costumes: traditional, Roman uniforms for Julius and Publius

Props: snake, twigs for fire

Special Effects: PowerPoint slides of storm, pictures of Jesus in ministry and on the cross, etc., can be shown during the playing of the songs. As well have a map of the voyage route showing their location at that point
Optionally there could be a “human video” (mime to music) of the actions of the songs as they are played.
NOTE: permission to use songs limited to use as part of “Fire in the Rain” performance

Sample of script:

lights up on side stage where narrator stands
narrator shivers, pulls coat close around to keep warm

Narrator: A cold, miserable wind.
A storm rolling in from the northeast! . . .
Some of the worst storms seem to come from that quarter it seems.
(looks around, thinks, remembering)
Reminds me of the voyage to Rome, long years back . . .
“Fire in the rain”!
(shakes head, thinks, a wry smile)
Why would I think back to that now?
Most folks involved are likely long gone dead now.
Let’s see there was Martha, she died, serving, preaching the word on Malta.
Julius, he was hanged by the Romans, for treason against the state.
Publius, he was martyred in Athens.
And Paul, . . (smiles) . . Paul, he got his wish, martyred, now with the Lord as well!
Sailors, surely they will be in watery graves. Sailoring is not a vocation that promotes longevity.
And as for the Jewish prisoners, most knew in advance they were on a one-way voyage to death by the cruel hands of the cruel Romans, their death taken care of as soon as the Roman hierarchy had ensured that both Roman royalty, and Roman rabble alike, had paraded past, and seen “Roman justice” in action.
So, it would seem likely that of the lot that started out that voyage from Adramyttium, likely I am the last alive. . .
And I old, and I am feeble, and I am soon to join with all the others, in the grave.
(remembering, shakes head, wipes away a tear)
I remember the scene, on the docks, being driven, as sheep to the slaughter, onto the ship.
The scene, burned into my memory . .
But more, the smell . . the smells of the cargo, moved on board by an army of sweating slaves, encouraged to move more quickly by the whips in the hands of cursing slave masters.
The smell of the unwashed bodies of prisoners who received less care than did the animals who also were given passage on this ship . . animals destined to go to slaughterhouses no less intimidating than those to which the prisoners were bound, the difference being that the carcasses of the animals would not be desecrated, burned and carved up to satisfy the sadistic minds of their killers.
Ahh yes, a boatload of animals and near-animals, sailing in their destiny of death, going through their voyage of rain and storm, . .
About to encounter . .
“Fire in the rain”!

light up on main stage

Paul, Martha and many other prisoners are herded on stage by Centurion Julius

Julius: Come along then, move! . .(pointing off stage) . You soldiers back there, move these prisoners along!

Julius pushes Paul forward, Paul falls to the floor

Paul, angry: Stop your pushing!

Julius: Perhaps you do not realize you are speaking to Julius, centurion in the Imperial regiment! I suggest that prisoners learn to keep their lips buttoned and their anger to themselves!

Paul: It will serve you well to remember, . . . Centurion Julius in the Imperial regiment . . , that, while I may be under order to return to Rome for trial before Caesar, the fact remains that I, Paul, am a Roman citizen, and, as such will not be treated like foreigner or slave.

Paul rises from the floor, brushes himself off

Julius, smile: A Roman citizen are you?

Paul: That I am, and as such it may serve you well to treat with respect a Roman citizen who hasn’t even been found guilty!

Julius: And what brings our well bred Roman guest to be a prisoner on this pleasure ship bound for Rome?

Paul: I stand accused of speaking out for the hope in the resurrection of the dead. And as a Pharisee I can justify no other belief. The Sadducees and the Pharisees in the temple could not agree on anything . . . except their distaste for my message . . and here I am.

Julius: You mean that I am to be responsible for you on this dangerous winter voyage to Rome, simply as a result of a senseless debate between you Pharisees and your Sadducee cousins?

Martha: He lies! . . He is also guilty of defiling the temple, and of trying to lead the people to disregard the teachings of our fathers’ Moses and Abraham.

Paul: “Defiling the temple?” . . That was a lie made up by those in the temple. I brought Trophimus the Ephesian to Jerusalem but he did not enter the temple.

Martha: So you say! . . . And I suppose you did not speak against the law either?

Julius: Wonderful! . . So I not only have a Pharisee priest but also a Sadducee zealot woman on board! . . Let me make one thing clear . . I will tolerate not one iota of outburst while you are under my authority!

Martha: Best you so inform his eminence, the once Pharisee! . . Saul, or Paul, or whatever his name may be this week.

Julius, to Paul: A man of many names is it?

Paul: I am Paul, a Roman citizen and servant of the Lord Jesus, he who was crucified, dead and buried, but on the third day arose from the grave, overcoming death. And today he sits on the right hand of God in heaven.

Martha: Sacrilege! The Nazarene was a fraud, an imposter!

Paul: Woman, you don’t know what you are saying! . . I have encountered, with my own eyes, the Messiah. . . I met him on the Damascus road. And don’t just take my word, . . . Aristarchus, the Macedonian from Thessalonica is with me, to be support and comfort for me in Rome. . . He will tell you of the Saviour!

Martha: I have heard that well rehearsed story a thousand times! . . Spare me the repeating!

Paul: Jesus is real, woman! . . .Come, let me tell you about him.

Martha: Thanks, but no thanks!

Julius: In case you forget this is a prisoner transfer, not some sort of a floating theological debate platform. Keep that in mind if you will, both of you. . . Now then, the prisoners are loaded, the cargo is all in place, take your last look at Adramyttium town. It could be a long time until you see it again . . more likely never!

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