If you haven’t been reading this blog long, you might not know that while science is my main interest, I do have some others. One of them is acting. For a brief time, I was a professional actor, but nowadays, acting is just a hobby. For example, I perform in community theater productions. In fact, I am currently preparing for the role of a gangster in Cole Porter’s classic Kiss Me Kate. It’s a fun role and allows me to sing what I think is the best song in the show, “Brush Up Your Shakespeare.” I also write and perform in dramas at our church. As a result, I have a category named “Christian Drama,” where I post some of the church dramas that I have written.
Yesterday, our pastor (Marc Adams) preached a sermon on Grace, one of the most important aspects of Christianity. His sermon had three main points, and the first one was “Grace gives me relief from yesterday.” It emphasizes how Christians need not be slaves to their past, because grace allows us to move on from our previous sins. I wrote the following drama to illustrate this important idea.
As is the case with all my dramas, feel free to use this in any way you think will edify the Body of Christ. If possible, I would like a credit, but that’s not nearly as important as using it to build up the church! If you do decide to use this drama, the genders are not important. You can change them and their names to fit the actors you have in your church. If you use a boy rather than a girl, just substitute “handsome” for “pretty” when Ralph says he would remember if they had met before.
(The lights come up on a panhandler (Ralph). He should be at least 40, but the older the better. His clothes are very old and very dirty. His hands and face are dirty, and his hair is disheveled. He holds a torn, dirty paper cup that has some coins in it. Once the lights are up, another man enters. He is at least 30, but not over 50. He is well-dressed and is walking as if he is late for an appointment.
As the man passes Ralph, Ralph shakes the cup so the coins rattle. This stops the man, but the man doesn’t do anything.
Ralph shakes the cup again, and the man sighs. The man pulls some coins out of his pocket, puts them in the cup, and starts to move on.
After a couple of steps, the man stops again. He is conflicted, but eventually turns back to Ralph, steps towards him, and speaks.)
Man: Excuse me. May I ask you a question?
Ralph: Well, you gave me money. I guess I owe you something.
Man: Why are you here? What brought you to panning for money?
Ralph: Oh…you don’t want to hear my story. It’s long, and it’s sad.
Man: (still conflicted; he is late for his meeting, but he feels he has to know) I can’t believe I am saying this, but yes. Yes I do.
Ralph: (sighs) Alright. You asked for it. I wasn’t always on the street. In fact, I was once a very successful man. I had lots of money, lots of fun, and lots of booze. I also thought I was indestructible, so when I drank my booze, I would often drive. For a long time, that wasn’t a problem. Then one night, maybe I had more than usual. Maybe I just wasn’t paying attention. Anyway, I ran a red light and hit another car. I was fine; just a few scratches. But when I got out of my car, I saw that the other one was upside down! I ran to the car, got down on my belly, and looked inside. There were two people in the front seat – a man and a woman. They were clearly dead. There was a little girl in the back seat. She was in a car seat and was screaming, so I knew she was alive. I wanted to pull her out of the car, to offer some measure of comfort, but I was so horrified by what I had done that all I could do was lie there on my belly and stare into those little brown eyes. As she screamed, I kept thinking, “I killed your parents. I killed your parents.” Eventually the police came. They took me away, of course, so I never learned what happened to that little girl.
I ended up going to jail for five years – five lousy years. I didn’t care. I thought I should be dead after what I had done. When I got out of prison, I honestly tried to start a new life, but I just couldn’t. I kept coming to the conclusion that I don’t deserve a good life, since I had killed two people and ruined a little girl’s life in the process. So, for the better part of the past 5 years, I have been here on the street, waiting to die.
Man: Wow. That is a sad story.
Ralph: I warned you.
Man: And all this happened ten years ago?
Ralph: Yes. Hard to believe it happened right here.
Man: (surprised) In this town?
Ralph: On this very corner. It’s why I come here. This is the place where I ruined everything.
Man: (he realizes something) This might sound a bit odd, but can I ask your name?
Ralph: Sure. Ralph Simmons.
Man: (resolving to do something) Thank you. Thank you, Ralph. Telling me your story has done more than you know.
(The man leaves, and Ralph watches him go, clearly confused. The lights fade out and then come back on, simulating the passage of time.
The man enters again, but this time he is accompanied by a young lady, Cindy. She needs to look about 12-15 years old. The girl is very nervous. Ralph is staring in the other direction and therefore doesn’t see them. As they approach, Cindy hesitates, and stops the man. He looks at her in an understanding way, but encourages her to keep going.)
Man: (to Cindy) It’s okay. Trust me.
Man: (to Ralph) Hi Ralph.
Ralph: (turning to see him) Oh…you again.
Man: Yes. Me again. I wanted you to meet someone.
Ralph: Who would you want me to meet?
Man: (indicating Cindy) Ralph, this is my daughter, Cindy.
(Cindy reaches out her hand to shake his, but Ralph pulls back, stopping her. This confuses Cindy.)
Ralph: (angry) I see what’s going on here. (looking at Cindy) She looks like she’s about ready to start learning to drive, and you brought her to the derelict to show her the consequences of drinking and driving. (pointing a finger at Cindy and waving it) Don’t drink and drive, kid. It ruins your life. (he turns his back to Cindy and the Man.)
Man: (gently) No, Ralph. I really want you to meet her.
(Ralph turns back, confused)
Man: Please say hello to my daughter, Cindy.
Ralph: (halfheartedly) Hello Cindy.
(Cindy reaches out her hand again, and Ralph halfheartedly shakes it.)
Cindy: (trying to be sincere) Hello Ralph. It’s nice to meet you.
(Ralph stops shaking her hand and doesn’t respond. There is a brief uncomfortable pause.)
Man: Actually, Ralph, you’ve met Cindy before.
Ralph: (looks at her) No I haven’t. She’s a pretty little girl. If I had met her, I would remember that face.
Man: (looking right at him and talking slowly) It was a long time ago, Ralph. (pause) Ten years ago. (pause) You met her right here, on this corner.
Ralph: (realizing this is the girl, he drops his cup, spilling the coins. He becomes horrified) What are you thinking bringing her here? Are you trying to make me even more miserable? (he turns to leave.)
Cindy: (a mix of sincerity and strong emotion.) No! He wants you to see that I’m okay.
(Ralph turns back to them.)
Cindy: He…we want you to see that you didn’t ruin my life. I don’t remember much about my birth parents, but that’s okay. God gave me new parents (indicating the man), and they are wonderful. I’m okay Ralph. I’m really okay.
Ralph: (a bit relieved, but still a bit angry) Look, kid, I am glad that I didn’t completely ruin your life, but I…(stumbling on the words)…I killed your parents. There’s nothing I can do to make up for that.
(Ralph turns away again, but the man stops him.)
Man: Actually, Ralph, there’s someone else both of us want you to meet.
(Ralph turns and sighs, clearly not wanting to meet anyone else.)
Man: It’s our pastor. After you told me your story, I talked to Cindy, and then we both went to talk with our pastor. He says he can get you a job. He can also find you a place to live and help you get back on your feet.
Ralph: (hopeless) That’s really nice of you. Really. No one has been this nice to me in a long time. But you don’t understand. (turning away but not walking away) I don’t deserve a good life.
Cindy: (Walking over and putting her hand on his shoulder) None of us do, Ralph. But we can have one anyway. It’s called “grace.”
(a quick blackout)