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Summary: A retelling of the Prodigal Son. Could be used as a radio play, or set up in a service with actors gathered around a microphone as if doing a radio play, or as a running series through a service.
Style: Dramatic.  Duration: 10min
Scripture; Luke 10:29-37, Luke 13:18-19
Actors: 3M, 1F, 1V
Dad, Mum,
Steve, Andrew (sons)


Announcer: It's Sunday morning at number 42 and the family are running a little late. Dad is surprised to find Steven half asleep at the kitchen table.

FX : Theme Music.

Dad: I didn’t know you were coming home this weekend Steven. What time did you get in?  I didn’t hear you come in anyway so it can’t have been that good a night on the town. (Laughs weakly). Anyway, first things first. Cup of tea, eh?

Steve : It’ll take more than a cuppa, dad.

Dad : Why? Whatever has happened?

Steve: I wasn’t on the razz. Well, not last night anyway. I was up most of the night talking with Gaz.

Dad : Who’s Gaz?

Steve : He’s a sort of friend of a friend guy – I was crashing at his place last night, and anyway he brought me home early this morning.

Dad: Does he have family round here then?

Steve: No, I don’t think so, I don’t really know much about him.

Dad: He’d have been welcome to stay with us at least for Sunday lunch you know that don’t you?

Steve : Yeah, well, he dropped me in town, and I walked home from there. It was better that way.

Dad : I'm lost.

Steve : So am I.

FX:  Kettle whistle.

Dad : That cuppa.

FX:  Water pouring. Mugs chinking. Door opening.

Mum enters, slightly flustered
Dad : Morning dear, you must have been waiting for the kettle! Just brewed, tea’s in the pot.

Mum : It would have to be this morning we’re late up. I’ve all sorts to do before church and I’ve got to be early, I’m reading the lesson. Oh, Steven I wasn’t expecting you this weekend, was I? Are you coming to church with us?

Steve : No, I don’t think so Mum. Nice to see you, too.

Mum : I didn’t mean that Steven, you know I’m always pleased to see you, but you also know I like to be organised and I’ve so many things to see to this morning, we’ll catch up at lunchtime. You are staying aren’t you?

FX : Rustling of bin liner.

Mum : And is that the only washing you’ve brought this time?

Steve: Yeah, well, not really, I mean ..

Mum : I’ll sort that out for you after church, I’ve got so much to do, and I can’t be late. I’m reading the lesson this morning, you know. It’s the parable of the Mustard Seed. Are you sure you won’t come?

Steve : Parables, that’ll be exciting. I’ll give it a miss - I already know that one. I doubt it would be any help to me.

Mum: Don’t be like that, Steven, it’s the inspired word of God.

Steve: Mum, it’s just a little story and inaccurate at that. Mustard isn’t the smallest seed; it’s the third smallest. Mustard doesn’t grow into a tree, technically it’s a herb, and birds don’t nest in it.

Dad : I think you’re missing the point Stevie-boy, Mighty oaks from little acorns, that sort of thing – you can’t see the wood for the trees.

Mum : Are you sure, Steven? It’s in the Bible.

Steve: I was the one doing botany, Mum.

Mum: Well, I can’t discuss it now, I’ve got to go. I can’t be late. Coming?

Dad: Did you say “was”?

Steve: Do you have to go? It’s important.

Mum: Yes, I do. I’m reading the lesson. If you say you’re going to do something you should do it. There’s a parable about too. Arthur?

Dad: You go on. I’ll stay with Steven. He said “WAS reading botany”.

FX:  Music.

Scene Two

Announcer: At number 42 Mum has returned from church and is busy with Sunday lunch.

FX: Music.

FX: Pots, pans, kitchen mixer, cutlery and crockery throughout.

Steve: So how was church? Any exciting revelations about mustard?

Dad: Steven.

Steve: Sorry, Mum.

Mum: We had a slide of the seed, which is tiny, and of a full-grown plant, which it says is the greatest among the herbs, but it looks like a tree to me.

Dad: We’ve had some revelations here. It seems Steven’s in a bit of bother, but together we’ve come up with a plan.

Mum: When did you get home, Steven? I didn’t have time to ask you first thing.

Steve: Gaz brought me early this morning cos..

Mum: Gaz. Why does everybody have to have silly short names these days. Can’t you call him Gary?

Dad: He's Indian, dear, I don’t think Gary Singh is the most likely name. If he chooses to be called Gaz, we’ll call him Gaz, we owe him that. He was the one who persuaded Steven to come home.

Mum: Persuaded? Why do you have to be persuaded to come home?

Steve: We’re trying to tell you, I’ve got myself into debt.

Mum: All students get into debt.

Steve: I owe money to people you really don’t want to owe anything to. I dropped out of college; haven’t been to lectures for months, and maxed out my cards, so I borrowed from mates. Borrowing from Peter to pay Paul, you might say.

Mum: Why didn’t you come to us before?

Steve: I thought I could sort it out, get a job, do a deal or two, but it just got worse.  Eventually, some guys started to get heavy, so I didn't dare stay at my flat in case they came round, so I dossed with anybody who’d let me stay.

Dad: Pity they weren’t all like Gaz.

Mum: How long have you known this Gaz?

Steve: Not before last night, I met him around, said I needed a place to spend the night, he took me in. He took an interest and we talked most of the night.

Dad: Gaz told Steven that he was welcome to spend a couple of days with him, but it wasn’t a permanent answer and his best bet was to go back to his family and explain. They’d be disappointed, upset, even angry but they would help him get it sorted out.  And we will, of course, won’t we? He dropped him in town, rather than at the house so that, since Gaz doesn’t know where exactly Steven lives, the trouble can’t follow him here. Well, not before we've paid them off anyway.

FX: Kitchen timer pings.

Mum: That’s the Yorkshire puddings ready. You’re home Steven, and I’m glad you’re home.  Now let's have a proper Sunday lunch like a proper family. Will you give thanks today Arthur?

FX: Music.

Scene Three

Announcer:  At number 42, Sunday lunch is almost over.

FX:  Music
FX: Cutlery on plates, cups saucers etc. maybe chair scraped back.

Steve: That was a wonderful lunch, Mum, as ever. I don’t know how you do it. Is there any more coffee?

Mum: No, but I could make another pot.

FX: Car pulls up

Steve: Not just for me. I’m fine really. Thanks so much both of you.

FX: Door bell rings.

Dad: Sounds like Andrew.

FX: Door opening. Carrier bag with equipment, rattles and put on surface.

Andrew: Just returning the stuff I borrowed. Thanks Mum. (He notices his younger brother) Hi Steve, wasn’t expecting to see you. On the cadge again are you, or did you just smell the free lunch?

Mum: Andrew, that’s not how to welcome your brother home.

Andrew: Sorry Mum, Steve. You OK? Good to see you.

Steve: Andy. But you’re right, of course, you always are. I came to ask Dad a favour. A big one.

Andrew: Dad, you’re such a soft touch. It’s about time little brother grew up and stood on his own two feet. What’s he taken you for this time?

Dad: That’s between us. I don’t discuss your business with him; I don’t see why I should discuss his with you. We’ve made the arrangement. It’s between us.

Andrew: And Mum, of course. Or doesn’t she get a say either?

Mum: Your Father looks after the details, Steven needed our help, and we have given it.

Andrew: Again!

Steve: I suppose you’ve never asked for anything.

Andrew: Not that I haven’t returned.

Mum: Andrew, I’m pleased you have brought my things back...

Andrew: It’s hardly the same, Mum.

Mum: And when we helped you get your own business started, do you really think it was just because we expected to get it back? It was what you wanted, you came to us with your plan and we helped you out.

Andrew: And you did all right out of it too.

Mum: We’ve always treated you fairly Andrew, and it’s unkind to say otherwise.

Andrew: Fair to me. Generous to him!

Dad : That’s not the point. Steven has made mistakes, but we can sort that out and then it’s behind us. You wanted different things, you’re different people. I’ll help you both in any way I can. I’d be a poor father if either of my sons asked for my help and I withheld it. Fish and snakes, that sort of thing. And who is to say that Steven won’t
ultimately repay me? There’s plenty of time for things to completely turn around.  First will be last and all that. I love you both and if that is not enough for you, then I’m sorry. But ultimately that’s all I have to give.

(Awkward silence…)

Mum: (Clearing her throat) Will you stay for a coffee Andrew, I was just about to make a fresh pot?

Steve: Not too proud to have a free coffee, Andrew?

Andrew : Listen to his cheek, Mum, Can I hit him?

Mum: No dear, that’s my job. Arthur, chastise your son.

(All laugh.)

FX:  Music.

© Copyright Richard Heap, all rights reserved. The script may not be reproduced, translated or copied in any medium, including books, CDs and on the Internet, without written permission of the author.
This play may be performed free of charge, on the condition that copies are not sold for profit in any medium, nor any entrance fee charged. In exchange for free performance, the author would appreciate being notified of when and for what purpose the play is performed. He may be contacted at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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