Sunday, September 10, 2006
The Five Minute Exodus (with Pirates)
The Five Minute Exodus (with Pirates) was our first official sketch for the children's program at our church. It was an overview sketch, previewing the entire semester (which is covering the exodus and up through Joshua as per the Group curriculum). We thought the kids could use a refresher course on some of the beginning parts of Exodus, so we added in the 10 plagues, too. (Plus, it just makes a fun scene.) I added my own little theological thoughts about Jesus at the end. This sketch was also a follow-up to our teaser announcement on Sunday morning to get the kids excited about the program.
If you are looking to do something like this at your church, here's how the dirty details of our process. Amy and I emailed our drama team (InnerMission) a week prior with the schedule. I heard back from four people, and I wrote under the assumption that they might not all make it. Thus, the Israelite lines can be one person, with the narrator picking up some. Also, the Rock and Pharaoh can be the same person if you just give Pharaoh's last line to the Rock.
Last year, we started our drama ministry with regular rehearsals after choir, but we ran into scheduling trouble. Plus, that rehearsal schedule had us occasionally meeting when there was no specific "gig" in the pipeline. We used those times to discuss drama in general, practice acting, and pray together. But sometimes it felt compulsive rather than necessary. (Compulsive prayer? Yes, remember we had all just spent time in devotion and worship during choir practice for an hour and half.)
We now rehearse for specific sketches one week prior at the same time as the performance. We met August 23 (for an hour). Since this was a new group, we also squeezed in an additional performance after Monday night choir practice (another 45 minutes). Then we met 20 minutes prior to the performance on August 30 to run through it again and get all the blocking fresh in our heads.
In the future, I don't anticipate needing quite so much prep time, but we are a new group. And this is a new format for them. At Oakhills we would meet 1 1/2 hours prior to performance, assign parts, block, memorize, and go. It was pretty wild sometimes--but some of us had worked together for 10 years under the leadership of Jeff Pickens. (Great man, we love you, Jeff.) Next time, I'll try to remember to get some photos with our recently refurbished digital camera.
Feel free to use the sketch at your church, but please see my two stipulations.
Cast: Teacher, Bumblemonkey, Pharaoh/Rock, 1-3 Israelite(s), Moses
Props: Moses’ Staff, 2 Paper Sacks, Bottled Water or Squirt Gun, Stuffed Animal, Rope, Whip, Pirate hat/accessories, 3-5 Bible robes
Teacher: (enters and talks to kids from podium stage right) Good evening, kids. My name is (your name) and I’m here to tell you all about FW Friends tonight! Does anyone know what FW Friends stands for? (wait for answer). That’s right! Faith Weaver Friends. That’s what we are here. We are friends helping each other weave a stronger faith. And do you know how we weave a stronger faith? (wait for answers) That’s right, we study the Bible! This Fall we’re going to be studying the story of Moses and Joshua.
Bumblemonkey: (entering) Arrrrgggghh!
Teacher: Not you again.
Bumblemonkey: (seizing the teacher) I be Captain Andrew Bumblemonkey, and I took ye captive on Sunday.
Teacher: I remember. Well, Captain Andrew—
Teacher: Right. That worked okay to get people’s attention on Sunday, but now we’re trying to have a Bible lesson.
Bumblemonkey: For the FW Friends, I know, Ma’am. But ye wouldn’t let me help educate the young sprogs, so I had to take ye captive.
Teacher: (to the audience) Look, feel free to just ignore him…
Bumblemonkey: (nonplussed) Free!? Ye be no longer free, Ma’am. Ye be my captive.
Teacher: You can call me your captive all you want, Andrew—
Bumblemonkey: Captain Andrew Bumblemonkey!
Teacher: —But God has set me free. Just like he set the Israelites free.
Bumblemonkey: God has set ye free, ye say?
Teacher: That’s right.
Bumblemonkey: (considers this) Drivelswigger! Sounds like trick. (to the kids) What think ye, sprogs? Could God set her free? (wait for their answer) I don’t know.
Teacher: It doesn’t matter what you know or don’t know, Andrew.
Teacher: Whether you will admit it or not, God has set me free.
Bumblemonkey: Arrrrggghhh! Tell ye what I’ll do. You have five minutes to convince me. Then (serious) ye walk the plank.
Teacher: You promise to be quiet for five minutes while I tell the Bible story of Exodus.
Bumblemonkey: (moves in closer) Aye.
Teacher: Exodus in, um, five minutes then.
Bumblemonkey: Aye. (stands over her shoulder)
Bumblemonkey: Captain Andrew Bumblemonkey, Ma’am!
Teacher: Captain Andrew Bumblemonkey, then. Could you at least stand over there.
Bumblemonkey: Oh, aye, Ma’am. (He goes to stage left.)
Teacher: Here we go. (Israelites enter) Exodus starts with the Israelites in captivity in Egypt.
All Israelites: (enters, waves) Hi, we’re the Israelites.
Bumblemonkey: But there’s only three (or whatever number you have) of you!
Israelite 1: We didn’t have enough actors.
Teacher: (ignoring them) Now a new pharaoh came to power in Egypt.
Pharaoh: (enters with small whip) I’m the wicked pharaoh of the west. (Israelite cowers)
Teacher: (Pharaoh paces in front of the Israelites and snaps the whip at them) Pharaoh was mean to the Israelites because he thought there were too many of them. He ordered the slave masters to treat them harshly and even drown their baby boys in the river.
Bumblemonkey: (to Pharaoh) Ye dirty dog. (to the Teacher) Four and a half minutes left.
Teacher: Skipping a bit, (Moses enters and goes to front center) God called Moses to lead Israel out of captivity.
Moses: Hi, I’m Moses. God appeared to me in the burning bush.
Israelite 2: (steps forward) Hey, you’re one of us! (steps back)
Moses: That’s right. (to Pharaoh in a big voice) Pharaoh, let my people go!
Pharaoh: (as Wicked Witch of the West, comes front center next to Moses) Going so soon? I wouldn't hear of it. Why my little party's just beginning.
Teacher: When Pharaoh refused, (Moses goes to stage left) God sent 10 plagues against Egypt.
Moses: Their rivers turned to blood.
Pharaoh: (the plague lines go very quickly, Pharaoh is tortured front center throughout) Ewww.
Israelite 3: Then frogs came.
Moses: And lice. (Pharaoh scratches head)
Israelite 1: And flies. (Pharaoh swats at head)
Moses: And their livestock died. (Pharaoh turns and moos)
Israelite 2: And they got boils. (Pharaoh scratches arms)
Moses: And hail destroyed their crops. (Pharaoh mimes getting rained on)
Israelite 3: And locusts ate what was left.
Moses: And darkness came. (Rock turns out the lights)
Pharaoh: (serious) And then the worst of all, every first born son in Egypt died. Including my boy. (to Moses) Take your people and go. (Pharaoh turns his back and goes up stage. Rock turns the lights back on.)
All Israelites: We’re free! (move to front center with Moses)
Teacher: But Pharaoh changed his mind by the time Moses and the Israelites reached the Red Sea.
Pharaoh: (as Wicked Witch again, pointing) I’ll get you my pretties, and your little dogs too!
Bumblemonkey: (to the Teacher) Four minutes left.
Teacher: But the Lord said to Moses, “Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water.”
Moses: (Moses raises staff) So I did.
Israelite 1: (Moses and Israelites walk to stage left) And we walked across on dry land.
Teacher: Pharaoh led his army across the Red Sea after them. (Pharaoh runs in place in stage center) And the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the waters may flow back over the Egyptians.”
Moses: (Moses raises staff) So I did.
Israelite 2: And the waters rushed back.
Israelite 3: And swept the Egyptians away.
Pharaoh: (dramatic death scene, turn in circles and fall spread eagle on the stage) I'm melting! I'm melting! Ohhhhh.. What a world! What a world!
Teacher: (clears throat) And swept the Egyptians away.
Pharaoh: Oh, right. I’m leaving. (gets up and exits; Israelites and Moses move to center stage).
Bumblemonkey: (to the Teacher) Three and a half minutes.
Teacher: Now the Israelites were in a desert and had no food.
Israelite 1: If only we had died in Egypt.
Israelite 2: (to Moses) You brought us into the desert to starve.
Moses: God told me he would send bread from heaven for us to eat. (Israelites and Moses mime that it is snowing)
Israelite 3: (after a pause) Wow! It’s like snow.
Israelite 1: It tastes like wafers made with honey.
Israelite 2: What is it?
Teacher: The Israelites asked. So that is what they called the bread: “What is it?” or in their language “Manna.” And in the evening God sent quail.
Israelite 3: Manna and meat, but what’s to drink?
Teacher: God told Moses to go to the rock at Horeb . . .
Rock: (enters, wearing a paper bag on head) Hi, I’m the rock at Horeb.
Teacher: . . . and strike the rock with his staff.
Moses: So I did. (Moses hits Rock on top of head with his staff)
Bumblemonkey: (to the Teacher) Two minutes.
Teacher: And water came out. (Rock hands out bottled water to everyone or Rock squirts Moses with a water gun.)
Rock: (lifting bag to peak out) Can I go now?
Teacher: Sure. (Rock exits) Then Moses met God at the top of Mount Sinai.
Moses: (to Israelites) Wait here. I’ll be back after I talk to God. (Walks out into the audience and guides the students through their lines)
Teacher: On Mount Sinai God gave Moses the Ten Commandments. (Commandments read aloud from cards by oldest students, preselected. Give each student a copy of the next ten lines, with their line highlighted.)
Student 1: You shall have no other gods before Me.
Student 2: You shall not make for yourself an idol.
Student 3: You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
Student 4: Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Student 5: Honor your father and your mother.
Student 6: You shall not murder.
Student 7: You shall not commit adultery.
Student 8: You shall not steal.
Student 9: You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
Student 10: You shall not covet anything that is your neighbor’s.
Teachers: Meanwhile the Israelites created a golden calf to worship. (Hands Israelites a stuffed animal, they worship it in a silly way.)
Israelite 1: Well, Moses took so long.
Moses: (angry) So God sent a war and a plague that killed many people.
Israelite 2: (nonchalant) Bummer.
Moses: And I ground the golden calf into powder and made the people eat it. (Moses throws the stuffed animal off stage/out of room.)
Teacher: Then God wrote down the Ten Commandments for Moses again. He told the people to build him a house.
Moses: (Front center, deliver to audience) The Living God will inhabit his tabernacle. He is not a manmade idol.
Teacher: So the Israelites built the tabernacle exactly as the Lord commanded them. (Israelites mime superfast hammering and sawing) And Moses assembled the tabernacle exactly as the Lord commanded him. (Israelites give “tabernacle pieces” to Moses) And no one could enter it because the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. (Israelites and Moses step back from front of stage) The End. (Moses and Israelites take a bow)
Bumblemonkey: (to the Teacher) And time to spare, Ma’am.
Teacher: Whew. We did it, kids! (Rock and Pharaoh reenter; Moses, Israelites, and Rock rejoice)
All: Yea! You’re free!
Bumblemonkey: (move to center stage) Heave to, there Ma’am. You still be walkin’ the plank.
Israelite 1: (step up to Bumblemonkey stage right) But she told the story of how God set us free.
Bumblemonkey: Aye, that she did. But she did not show how God has set her free.
Moses: (step up to Bumblemonkey stage left) But don’t you see? The Tabernacle prefigured the temple.
Teacher: That sort of means the Tabernacle was an early version of the temple.
Rock: (taking bag off head and stepping forward with Pharaoh) And the temple prefigured Jesus himself.
Israelite 2: (stepping forward) Jesus said he would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days.
Moses: He was talking about his death, burial, and resurrection.
Rock: (stepping forward) His body was the temple.
Israelite 3: (stepping forward) And now the church is his body.
Teacher: (stepping forward to front stage center) Jesus Christ has set me free just like God set the Israelites free. (pulling Bumblemonkey forward to front stage center) Just like he can set you free, Andrew.
Bumblemonkey: Ain’t I free already? Flyin’ the sheets and sailin’ the seas?
Pharaoh: As long as you’re a captive to sin, your ship is just a floating prison.
Bumblemonkey: Aye, it do feel that way sometimes.
Moses: Andrew, we’ve all been just where you are. But…
Moses, Pharaoh, Rock, and All Israelites: Jesus set us free.
Bumblemonkey: Yer offerin’ me an act of pardon and grace?
Teacher: Why don’t we all go outside, and we can talk about it some more. (Cast agrees and exits)
Teacher: Kids, I hope you enjoyed the five-minute Exodus. It’s just a preview of all the wonderful things you’re going to learn during FW Friends. (And we didn’t even get to the talking donkey!) I’m going to go talk to Andrew now. I think next time you see him, he’ll be a reformed pirate.
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