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Summary: Anything can happen on an Easter morning.
Style: Dramatic.  Duration: 10min
Actors: 2F, 4M, 1VO
Scripture – LUKE 24: 1-12


Roman guard
Offstage voice


(Setting - Outside the tomb Easter morning)

 Guard: Halt! Who goes there?

Mary: Do not worry, sir. We mean no harm.

Guard: This place is off limits. That’s why I’m here. To protect it.

Joanna: From what, pray tell?

Guard: From - intruders, grave robbers - followers. You know? Trouble makers.

Mary: I guess we are now trouble makers, Joanna.

Joanna: I suppose we are, Mary. But sir, what trouble could two women be? All we’ve brought is these ointments and spices.

Guard: For what? A party? You don’t look dressed for a grand occasion. Actually it’s so dark out here, I can hardly see what you’re wearing. Ladies, with all due respect, this is a tomb. A dead guy is buried in that tomb. And if you ask me, that is not a place for a party. Honestly, what are you doing here?

Mary: It’s not for a party at all, sir. We are here to anoint the body. He was our friend. - we - we were his followers. Maybe that wasn’t a wise thing to say, but it doesn’t matter any more. Frankly, I don’t care who knows. Certainly not you. You couldn’t do to us any worse than you did to Jesus.

Guard: Don’t go blaming me for your deluded friend’s death. I wasn’t on duty when he got strung up to die. I was sleeping it off at my friend’s house. And for the last two days I was off fishing. I just got on shift a couple of hours ago. But I will tell you this - was I glad to miss that crucifixion! I suppose you two were there, weren’t you? Wringing your hands over this guy’s death.

Joanna: Please don’t be so heartless, sir. Have you never lost someone you loved? Yes, we were there when he died. And there weren’t many of us. Just a few women. Nearly all the men took off, afraid I suppose. I can’t really blame them. We were all afraid. Wouldn’t you have been?

Guard: I am a Roman soldier, lady. I am trained not to be afraid. Not to grieve. Not to have feelings.

Mary: O, really? I doubt your training has taken all that away from you. It’s in your bones, sir, in your soul. Feelings are gifts from God.

Guard: Stop the darn preaching, woman! Get out of my sight!

Joanna: Mary, I think it’s getting to him. He’s afraid of finding he has emotions.

Guard: I am not afraid of finding I have emotions. O, for the love of Mars, this is crazy. Here I am talking to a couple of love-sick grieving women. I’m just glad the Centurion isn’t around to see this. It could cost me my job. Look, party girls, with all your little vials of ointment, why don’t you just go ahead and do what you came for. Then leave as quickly as you can. And make sure nobody sees you. Go on. Get going. I’ll pretend I didn’t see anything.

(The women move to the tomb, stop, look at each other.)

Joanna: Mary.

Mary: I know, Joanna. I see it, too. The stone is rolled away.

Joanna: What does this mean? This is spooky. I mean it’s so dark still. Eerie. Maybe we should go back.

Mary: I wonder. No, I think we should go in and find out what happened.

Joanna: Aren’t you afraid?

Mary: Maybe I should take some lessons on fearlessness from that soldier back there.

Joanna: (laughing) You’re right. Let’s go. Let’s have a look.

(The women enter the tomb, then come out.)

Mary: Joanna, this is worse than I could imagine. It’s not enough that they crucified Jesus. Now some grave robber has come and taken his body. O God. O God. (weeps)

Joanna: Mary, what are we going to do? What can we say? Should we tell the soldier what happened? He’d never believe it. We could end up in jail.

Mary: I don’t even know how we could tell the others. Thomas. Peter. Salome. Jesus’ mother. O God, I could only imagine what she would say. What she would feel.

Voice: Why do you look for the living among the dead?

Mary: Joanna, did you say that?

Joanna: No. I did not. And it’s too dark to tell where it came from. O, Mary. What in the name of God is going on here?

Voice: He is not here. He has risen from the dead.

Joanna: Who is that? Come out, show yourself.

Voice: Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again. Do you remember?

Joanna: Who is that speaking? (pause) Mary, I don’t know what is happening, but I think we are being addressed by an angel. Does that really happen? To us?

Mary: We have seen strange things before, Joanna. We have seen the blind and the lepers healed. We have seen thousands fed with a few loaves and fishes. Why not an angel? Angels spoke to Mary and Joseph, Elizabeth and Zechariah, wrestled with Joseph. An angel looked after Jesus in the wilderness for forty days. Why not an angel?

Joanna: OK. Why not an angel? But it’s what he’s saying! Why look for the living among the dead? Remember what he said about being crucified and risen after three days? How can you remember something like that when something like this has happened?

Mary: Joanna, try to remember. It may seem like a lifetime ago, after what’s happened these last few days. But he did say those things. I heard them myself. Several times. I didn’t know what he meant at the time, I’ll admit it. I didn’t understand a lot of what Jesus said. But this I do remember. Raised to life after three days! Glory to God, it has happened. Joanna, it’s true. He’s come back to life again. The tomb is empty.

Joanna: I think we should tell the others.

Mary: But what about the soldier?

Joanna: Do you want to end up in jail?

Mary: OK. Not the soldier.

(Mary and Joanna move quietly past the soldier, to the side aisle, where James and John are standing.)

James: I can hardly bare to face the day, John.

John: Me too. I’m afraid to go out there. I know it’s been three days, but honest to God, James, I’m terrified. It’s over. Everything is over.

James: It’s dawn. Sun’s coming up. Do you want something to eat.

John: I can’t eat. I have no appetite. For anything.

Mary: (bursting in) James, John. You won’t believe this. The tomb is empty. He is risen. Joanna and I were just there. It’s incredible.

John: Incredible would be a good word for that, all right. Mary, I think you’re sleep deprived. In denial. You’re so grief stricken you’d believe anything.

Joanna: It’s not just Mary. I saw it, too. The tomb is empty.

James: Maybe we do need some breakfast. A good strong cup of coffee would do you some good.

Joanna: O never mind. We know what we saw, even if you two won’t believe it. After all we’ve been through. Honestly, you’d think we would trust each other by now. Come on, Mary. Let’s try to find Peter. Maybe he’ll believe us.

(They leave, move to center stage, where Peter is walking along.)

Peter: Mary, Joanna, what are you doing out here so early in the morning? O yes, I remember, you were going to the tomb to embalm the body. God bless you both. (pauses, looks more closely at them) But you don’t look like I would have expected. You seem different, somehow.

Mary: Believe me, we are different. Peter, there is no body in the tomb. He is risen. We saw an angel, or at least we heard one.

Joanna: And he reminded us of what Jesus had said. Do you remember? That he would be crucified and on the third day rise from death! Do you remember?

Peter: I do, though it seems in the mists of time, and I never really understood it - until now. Let’s go get the others. They’ll want to see for themselves.

Joanna: Save your breath, Peter. They’re not coming. They won’t believe us. Maybe if you see, maybe then they’ll believe.

Peter; OK let’s go.

(They move to the tomb, Peter looks in)

Peter: Nothing in there but the grave clothes. You’re right.

Mary: So what now, old friend? What do we do?

Peter: We go and tell the others. We drag them if we have to. They’ve got to see for themselves.

Mary: But they’re probably having breakfast.

Peter: Then we’ll bring the food here. We’ll have a feast to the God of life outside the tomb of death.

Mary: Maybe we could even invite that guard. I’ll bet he’s hungry by now. Maybe even he might believe.

Joanna: What a place for a party!


© Copyright Jim Hatherley, 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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