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Summary: A list of heinous crimes is read out against the accused. What can save him from execution? Keywords: execution, death, sin, redemption.
Style: Light-hearted. Duration: 7min
Actors: 6M/F Characters
Town cryer
Executioner (Felonious a la Shrek)
The accused

(Drummer upstage right, bangs – loud and slow. Lights fade up. Boos & jeers offstage. Procession enters from rear of theatre, through audience  – town cryer, the accused, guard & executioner. Guard handling the accused roughly. When reach stage, accused thrown to ground by guard. Accused kneeling downstage centre, facing stage right. Executioner stands upstage, with guard to his left. Town cryer steps forward to address audience, as if a crowd has gathered)
Town cryer (TC): Hear ye, hear ye. We are gathered to witness the execution of a vile traitor. (Boos & jeers offstage) Pray silence while I read the list of his transgressions. At the age of 6, he stole a cookie from mummy’s cookie jar. (Gasps of shock offstage).  At 12 years of age, he told his parents to “get stuffed”. (Noises off)  When 15 years old, he told --- a rude joke. (Noises off)  Throughout his contemptible existence, he has committed many more such heinous crimes. On account of such wicked behaviour, he has been sentenced (pause, with flourish) to death.
Drummer, executioner & guard:  (in unison, mimicking TC’s flourish) Death! Hoorah!
TC: Let us proceed.
(Executioner raises his axe. Drum roll. As axe begins to fall..)
 TC: Wait for it. (Disappointment from Drummer, Executioner & Guard. To accused) Do you have any last words?
Accused: (throws off chains & mask. Stands) I object.
(More disappointment from executioner & co)
TC: (Disbelieving) On what grounds?
Accused: (Inoccently) I haven’t done anything wrong.
TC: (Incredulous) Nothing wrong? (With each accusation, takes step towards the Accused) Lying, cheating, rebellious, disobedient…
Accused: OK, OK. Maybe my behaviour hasn’t been that good – but that doesn’t mean I deserve to die.
TC: (Turns back & walks towards right) The Law says if you’ve done just one wrong thing – one sin – you do deserve to die. (to executioner) Off with his head!
D, E & G: (With same flourish) Head! Hoorah!   
 (Executioner raises axe. Drum roll. As axe falls, accused lifts head & axe misses)
Accused:  Wait a minute! I …
(Disappointment from executioner & co) I’ve done good deeds – given to charity, helped old ladies across the street ….
TC: The law says that no amount of good deeds is enough to pay the penalty for sin. (to executioner) Off with his head! (Guard pushes Accused back to his knees)
D, E & G: (With same flourish) Head! Hoorah!
(Executioner raises axe. Drum roll. As axe falls Christian runs onstage, preferably from audience. If not feasible, from offstage left))
Christian: Excuse me!
(Frustration from executioner & co)
TC: What now?
Christian: The law says that the punishment for all wrongdoing is death, right?
TC: Yes – (triumphantly) ‘the wages of sin is death’
D, E & G: (With same flourish) Death! Hoorah!
Christian: And who here has never sinned?
(Pause – much looking around & head scratching, as all realise all are sinners)
 Christian: So we all deserve to die.
Executioner:  Off with our heads?!?!
(all look at executioner despairingly. Guard & Drummer simultaneously slap the Executioner) (Christian standing to left of Accused. TC comes to right of Accused, facing Christian)
Christian: Hang on a minute. What if someone perfect, who had never sinned, took the place of us dirty wretched sinners, and took our punishment in our place – you’d have to let this guy go, right?
TC: I suppose so.
Christian: Then give him a chance. Jesus Christ was executed by crucifixion to pay the price for our sin!
Accused: (Lifts head & faces audience) That’s great news!
Executioner: Not for me. Looks like I’m out of a job.
(Consoled by Guard & Drummer)
Christian: That depends. Every one of us has to make a decision – whether or not to accept the way of escape that God has provided.
TC: (to accused) Well, it looks like you have a choice to make.
(Drummer starts roll, slow & quiet, building to crescendo) Pay the penalty for your sin - which is death.
D, E & G: (With same flourish) Death! Hoorah!
TC: …. Or choose everlasting life in Christ Jesus.
Accused: Hmmm… (weighing up decision)
(Lights out, as drum roll ends)
© Copyright Barry Brannen, Burning Issues.
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