Jonah and the Whale

(A slightly warped retelling) By Ed and Zach Deforest


A very low-budget (and slightly warped) retelling of the story of Jonah.


Two narrators


Pictures of various whales, map of Old Testament lands, Tape player, toy boat, toy whale, three milk crates, small plastic person.


Bare stage with both narrators sitting on milk crates. Tape machine on milk crate.


(N2 starts tape. Tape plays singers doing first verse to the tune of Gilligan’s island.)
“So listen up and I’ll tell you a tale
a tale of a stubborn prophet
God wants Jonah to go to Nineveh
But he don’t want to go, No he don’t want to go.
N1: (stands) Wait!. We don’t have the rights to use that tune.
Tape player: Sorry about that. How about…..
N1: No, We don’t have the rights to that either. This is a very low budget skit. What till you see the props.
N2: (turns off tape player. Says to audience) We are here to relate the tale of Jonah and the whale to you. It is a fascinating tale of God’s soverigenty and Jonah’s disobedience, along with Jonah’s subsequent obedience. The  geography includes Ninevah, the capital city of Assyria - the ruling world power at that time. The prophet Nahum stated that Nineveh was guilty of evil against God, exploiting the helpless, and performed witchcraft and idolatry. The time was about 760 BC. This map will help pinpoint the location of Nineveh. (gets map and points to location)
N1: Wait!. Just wait a minute. Too much information. We just need to tell the tale. Ok?
N2: (sadly) OK. But I just have a few questions. Why did God want Jonah to go to Nineveh? Why did Jonah not go? Is Nineveh a city or town? What about the fish? Was it a whale or some other cetacen?  How did Jonah survive three days inside the whale? What did he eat?
N1: Stop!!  These questions and others, I hope,  will be answered with the telling of the tale. May I start the tale?
N2: Yes.
N1: Jonah was a prophet. Possibly a student of Elisha. He was just minding his own business when he heard a voice call to him. (pause) He heard a voice call to him. (looks pointedly at N2)
N2: Sorry.(In a deep voice) Jonah I am calling you.
N1: Thank you. So, the Lord called Jonah and asked him  to go to Nineveh. And Jonah was sore afraid.
N2: What is sore afraid?
N1: Very scared.
N2: Thank you.
N1: You’re welcome. Now, Jonah was sore afraid. So, he hightailed it out of Joppa. Which is located where?
N2: (juggling, looking around)What?
N1: Since you like maps, where is Joppa located?
N2: (Happy) Joppa is located on the coast of Judah. It was a seaport.
N1: Thank you! Jonah was going to Tarthish. (N2 jumps up and goes to map) I do not need to know where that town is located. Thank you very much. (N2 sits looking sad) He booked passage on board a boat. He was attempting to run away from God. While on board God caused a great wind to come upon the water. (looks at N2) sound effects and props please.
N2: (Gets a toy boat and moves the boat up and down while making wind noises. Looking throughly disgusted)
N1: Thank you. The sailors were sore afraid. I really like saying that. Sore afraid. (pause) Well, the sailors started throwing their cargo overboard and crying out to their gods to save. (pauses and looks at N2)
N2: (starts throwing little bits of cargo off the ship. “Save us” Still looking disgusted)
N1: While this is happening, Jonah is asleep is the bottom of the ship. The Captain comes to find Jonah and asks Jonah to pray to his God and ask Him to stop to storm. The sailors next decided to draw straws to see who would be tossed overboard. Guess who lost?  Our boy Jonah. The sailors were not happy with Jonah. They asked him who he was and why this had happened? Jonah replied that he was a Hebrew and worshipped the Lord, the God of heaven who made the earth and sea. The sailors were now more sore afraid. (pauses and looks at N2.)
N2: (acts very afraid)
N1: Thank you.  Jonah asked the men to throw him overboard because he had caused the storm by his disobedience. But the sailors tried to row the ship back to shore. But the storm grew in strength. (pauses and loooks at N2.)
N2: (Makes louder wind noises and rocks boat more violently)
N1: So the sailors had no choice. They tossed Jonah overboard (pauses and looks at N2)
N2: (Tosses a small plastic person overboard, maybe with a slight scream)
N1: Thank you. Immediately the storm stopped. Jonah was swallowed by a big fish. (pauses and looks a N2)
N2: (Motions toy whale eating toy person. Maybe with a cut off scream)
N1: Thank you. Jonah was in the belly of the whale for 3 days.  While in the belly he prayed a prayer of thanksgiving to God that he had not drowned. Then God spoke to the fish and the fish spewed Jonah out. (pause and looks at N2)
N2: You're joking!
N1: No.
N2: (resigned - motions whale spitting out Jonah)
N1: Thank you. Now…
N2: Excuse me.
N1: Yes?
N2: What type of fish was it that swallowed Jonah?
N1: I have no idea. A big one. Now…
N2: I have an idea. It was probably a rorqual whale, (shows pictures of various whales), a toothless whale and the largest of the the whale species. They are found all over the world. There is a documented account of a British sailor in 1891 who was a harpooner  on board the whaling ship Star of the East who was swallowed by a whale and found alive in the belly of the whale 3 days later. (May cut rest of story or may add rest of story) The sailor, James Bartley, was in the front of one of the boats and he sighted the whale and drove his harpoon into the whale. The whale dove and flipped Bartley’s boat. Bartley was hit by the whale’s tail and landed in the whale’s mouth. The sailors on the ship found the dead whale the next day and proceeded to cut up the whale to get to its blubber. This took 2 days. As they cut open the stomach they spotted James Bartley, barely alive. They nursed him back to health and he lived to a ripe old age.
N1: Thank you for that fascinating story. May we get back to Jonah?
N2: You may.
N1: Thank you.  Now, Jonah had a change of heart when God again called him to go to Nineveh. (pause and looks at N2)
N2: (In deep voice)Jonah, go to Nineveh and proclaim the message I will tell you.
N1: Jonah makes his way to Nineveh. (pauses and looks at N2)
N2: (Makes walking motions with toy person)
N1: Jonah enters Nineveh and proclaims Gods message. (pauses and looks at N2.)
N2: Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.
N1: The king of Nineveh believed Jonah and dressed in sackcloth and ashes. (pauses and looks at N2.)
N2: No way will I wear sack cloth and ashes.
N1: OK. The entire city repented their evil ways and God had mercy on the city of Nineveh. This ends our presentation of the story of Jonah and the whale. Thank you.
Copyright Ed and Zach Deforest.
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