Extracts From “Passion”
For a printer friendly version of this file Click Here.
Publicity Photo for Passion, featuring Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and Simon-Peter from the original cast.
Act One: Foundations.
There are two Christs positioned motionless on the stage as the lights come up. One is set in an orthodox Christian manner, as a messiah image. The other is positioned as a "man of the people", a revolutionary activist. Jesus sits at the front of the stage in a relaxed and unposed way. His manner throughout the scene is one of light-hearted welcoming. He is genial, approachable, reassuringly human, and never sickening or over sweet. The actor is required to display an astonishing lack of messianic qualities in this man for the deception of this early dialogue to work.
Christ1: [Revolutionary] Good evening ladies and gentlemen. My name is Jesus Christ.
Jesus: You can laugh at that, if you want.
Christ1: I was born on
Jesus: I mean, it's a pretty outrageous thing to say really, isn't it. "Good evening ladies and gentlemen, my name is Jesus Christ.". Takes a lot of front.
Christ2: [Orthodox] Good evening ladies and Gentlemen, my name is Jesus Christ.
Jesus: And where do you go after that? It's the name see... there's so much weight attached to the name.
Christ2: I was born in a stable in the town of
Jesus: So many people with such firm opinions.
Christ1: Soon after I was born, my father, Joseph, had to go into hiding from Herod. He had been involved in the Pharisee uprising.
Jesus: I mean, this stuff happens and then two thousand years later you try and understand it?
Christ2: My father was our Lord, the one true God. My conception was a symphony played on rays of light by creatures of pure truth.
Jesus: You can't. You can understand the life of a man from the past with about as much ease as a man from another world. It's all changed so much.
Christ1: He remained in hiding until Herod's 70th birthday. Then he returned to us.
Jesus: All the relevances, the codes and clues and primitive symbols, they've all changed.
Christ2: Kings and shepherds visited my cradle and knelt in praise.
Jesus: [ nervously, without complete surety, as if this is something he wants both us and himself to believe, but without proof ] But not us, I suppose. We still feel the same ways, walk the same paths, go round and round the same old circles: love and hate, fear and arrogance... maybe that's always going to be true, maybe we all feel the same way for ever, maybe it all feels the same way. By "it" I mean everything, all of it, from the smallest particle to the furthest star. You know what I mean: [ self conscious at the weight of the word ] God. Maybe God has all the same passions. Oh yeah, by the way, my name is Jesus Christ.
And we are in the house of Joseph and Mary, parents to Jesus. Joseph is a plain and simple man: he is intelligent, but uneducated, puritanical about the pursuance of his own personal morality which is founded in realism. Mary is a warm wave, a force for peace and calm, selfless and loving she is the perfect counterpoint to her husbands cold view of the world. Although their intense romance is long since over, they are still very much committed to each other and still think of each other with the same love and respect. They have been watching Jesus as he finishes his last speech.
Joseph: He's talking to himself again.
Mary: There's nothing wrong with that. It's normal.
Joseph: I didn't do it.
Mary: You did Joseph, you just don't remember it. You block it out. I remember up until I was thirteen I thought that I could fly, I was sure I went flying, when I was a child. And then one day your brain gives in and you have to tell yourself "No, I didn't fly. Of course I didn't fly.". But every time you do that you kill the little child that thought it could do everything, anything, that no task would be too great for, no undertaking too vast. Well that's how it is with Josh, he can see angels and fly and work miracles; the miracle of the garden that becomes a jungle, the miracle of falling out of high trees and somehow getting up with nothing more than a grazed knee, the miracle of imaginary friends and enemies so real that you can talk to them. He's young Joseph, let him have his youth.
Joseph: [Knowing this will annoy her but thinking it too important to just let pass] There's no time for youth in this country any more. There's no room for the weak, the dreamers. This is a time for men of action, men of strength. The whole country, the whole world; it's about to fall, it's cracking at the seams... the people are hurting and crying out for change, and it won't be poets and dreamers who change the world Mary, it never has been, it'll be men like me, armed against an armed opponent.
Mary: [she has heard this speech many times before] Fight, fight, fight. Man of action. The world isn't built on action, its foundations lie on philosophies, on ideas and dreams. Joseph, men of action sometimes help to carry an idea, but that's all they do, and when the action is over, when the fight is won, what use are you then, eh? When we tire of action, and fighting, and hating, what then? Joseph, your world is too cruel.
Joseph: [getting angry now] My world is the real world. And it is the world my son will grow up in, not some fantasy place populated by ridiculous people with impossible dreams. The boy will need strength, not to change the world, just to live in it.
Mary: [with infinite love, instantly defusing the tension] Oh, but Joseph, there are so many different types of strength.
Jesus: It was their clash which tied them up, my parents. When two people fall in love it can be painful, even agonizing. But when two philosophies fall in love the destructive potential is enormous. After all, one amateur philosopher is more than sufficient to keep a whole room entertained if they're any good. But two? Two's just a bit of a nightmare.
Joseph: I have to go to the city for a few days.
Mary: What for?
Joseph: You know what for.
Mary: [in exasperation] Joseph, please...
Joseph: Mary. Don't.
Mary: [After a pause born through having had this discussion throughout their lives] Okay. Just, be careful.
Joseph: [With a smile] I'm always careful.
Jesus: That was why they were together, you see: they loved each other enough not to judge each other. They knew that they couldn't demand without losing. My parents understood love, and how to use it. And they were never too afraid to trust it.
Mary: Jo? How would you feel about me coming with you?
Joseph: Are you serious?
Mary: Yes, me and Josh. It might be good for him.
Joseph: You know, I would like you to come, both of you, but I'm worried about the danger. This state doesn't fuck around with its enemies. [With venom] It wipes them out, publicly obliterates them. That's why it's lasted so long. Not because it's so violent, but because it's so public. A dead hero is a martyr; a humiliated hero is a fool. [A pause. She has heard it all before. Then, honestly:] I just don't want them getting to you.
Mary: Then you'll have to be especially careful won't you.
Jesus: John, come quickly.
John: [as he enters] What?
Joseph: Well, I think I can handle that.
They kiss; a long, familiar, tender kiss, not passionate, but loving.
And John the Baptist, a man approaching thirty, is sitting with Jesus at the temple sharing his memories. He is a childhood friend and confidant of Jesus, they have studied together in the temples and laughed together socially. They are very close, sharing an honest and genuinely supportive friendship. This is not to create the impression of two bores sitting discussing philosophy: They both enjoy life, and choose each others company because they both stop each other from taking themselves too seriously. Their conversation is light and gentle, but carries the weight of shared secrets. Jesus has talked with John at great length during his recapitulation.
Jesus: This is it... this is when it started.
Jesus: The trip to
John: The temple.
John: So you went in.
John: And the priests found you.
John: And they fed you, and they healed your cuts.
Jesus: No. You did that.
John: I did?
Jesus: Yes. Don't you remember?
John: No. It all seems so long ago now.
Jesus: [exasperated] But John, if you forget... then you...
Jesus: You lose it.
Jesus: All of it. Faith, God... power.
John: Oh right, that's easy for you to say, a descendent of David. That's pretty much a licence to rule.
Jesus: A ruler is nothing without the trust of his followers, and that is earned, not given.
John: Sorry, but that's not how it is. You have a birthright, you're of David's line. You could be a messiah. You could be the messiah.
Jesus: Anyone can be a messiah. That's the point.
John: You're wrong Josh. Not everyone gets to play that part.
Jesus: Maybe that's because no-one wants it. Anyway, quiet, I'm listening to the priest over there, remember?
Theme from a serious fast and slick news program is performed by the cast. At the end of the music, which is stern and highly pompous, the lights come up on the host, positioned behind a desk. This sequence is very fast and all location jumps are immediate like television news cuts. The host speaks in a fast newsy BBC type voice with probably a touch of action film trailer, whilst the reporter, Gavin, takes his news much too seriously and in a voyeuristic manner. Just like the real news. This sequence should be very slick and fast.
Host: Good evening. The headlines tonight: Rabbi in
Bite: [Cured Man]...it was incredible, he just, sort of, I don't know... touched me...
Host: John the Baptist arrested on direct orders from the Queen.
Bite: [Soldier] ...and then the order arrived, this morning, "Bring me the head of this turbulent priest"...
Host: And panic in the fishing industry as people just walk away from their jobs.
Bite: [workmate of Simon Peter] ...one minute they were hauling in the catch and then, well, they just pissed off.
Host: [Slick] Good evening, I'm Clive Psoriasis, this is the news. Stories continue to abound about new Galilee Rabbi Jesus Christ. The Rabbi has already caused a stir by preaching outside of the temples and now things look set to escalate with rumours continuing to fly about this man's extraordinary extra-curricular activities. Our special report tonight by Gavin Westland.
Gavin: Thank you Clive. I'm here in
Man1: [Typical, slightly stupid, "ordinary" member of the public. Casually:] What happened? Well, you have to remember I was insane at the time. Thrashing around and knocking things over, cursing my mother, calling Satan on my children. Apparently, they were at their wits end, when Jesus, that's the Rabbi, arrives. He walks over to me, slowly like, and puts his hands on my shoulders. Then he looks me in the eyes and starts to talk. I can't remember everything he said.
Jesus: [Played completely straight, with force and clarity:] Can you hear me? This must end. You have to come back now. You're alright. You can come back now. They're gone. It's over.
Man1: But I just felt better. It was like having sweaty sheets ripped off, if you see what I mean.. I just felt fresh, renewed.
Gavin: And he's not the only one. Since the Rabbi took up his teaching he seems to have been laying his hands on most of the parish. So is everything strictly by the Scriptures for this "Priest with five fingers"? We tracked down an old flame.
Mary Magdalene surrounded by "journalists" at her front door. She is bitter now, attempting to hate Jesus rather than drown in the hurt she feels from the love she still carries. She is typically self-indulgent, and frighteningly sharp tongued. We see a strong woman here, not a pathetic victim.
Interviewer: [Wolf in sympathetic journalist's clothing:] Mary? Can I ask you a few questions?
Mary: [This is a regular event for her:] Why don't you all just fuck off and leave me alone?
Reporter: [Blunter than his colleague:] Your ex., Mary. Is it true? Can he perform miracles?
Mary: The only miracle that man knows how to perform is breaking hearts.
Photographer: [From the most gruesome of tabloids:] So he wasn't exactly a hit in the sack then, eh love?
Mary: What is this?
Reporter: Mary! Is it true you used to work the streets?
Photographer: Is that how you met him love? Is that how it was?
Mary: [Angrily:] What do you want me to say?
Interviewer: Just tell us about him Miss, in your own time.
Mary: What is there to say? He came into my life, we shared some time, he left, and he's a fool.
Reporter: So you don't think he's the Son of God then, as some people have been saying?
Mary: I don't know what he is. Why don't you ask him? If he says he's the Son of God, and you shallow thinking vultures believe he's the Son of God, what does it matter whether he's the Son of God or not? You've read the prophecies, work it out for yourself. That's all I have to say. [She turns to go in.]
Interviewer: Miss Magdalene, will you be going to see him speak this Sunday?
Photographer: Mary, give us a flash of your thigh, just for the lads, like.
Reporter: Why don't you want to talk about it love? What happened between you? Mary? Miss Magdalene? Mary?
Judas crosses to Peter. He is a keenly intelligent and empathic man, loyal and devoted, with a healthy dose of self preservation. He is not the dark and sinister shape of conventional interpretation, rather a vivid and passionate man, driven by his own morality and respect for Jesus. Once he is beside Peter he speaks quietly as if aware of being watched.
Judas: Peter. Up there.
Peter: I've seen them.
Judas: [With venom:] Cowards! They haven't even got the guts to come down and face him.
Peter: They're afraid. Afraid they've gone too far. They can't understand that he doesn't care what they've done before. They can't understand that forgiveness because they're not capable of it themselves. It's so ironic.
Judas: So much of what he says is. It's like a trap, a no win situation. You won't see it until you believe in it. What if I can't believe in it until I see it? Why should I turn the other cheek? What if they kill my daughter? [Gaining intensity now:] Do I offer them my wife as well? What sort of man won't stand up for himself? What's he going to do when they come for him? Does he think he can really get away with it? The fucking Romans came to my friend's house, Peter. They dragged him and his wife from his bed. They raped her in front of him. The final penetration was with a lance. They lifted her from the floor by the lance and they held onto her arms and pulled her down. Then they blinded him, so it would be the last thing he ever saw. They took him out into the street, blood and tears pouring down his face, and they marched him to the centre of town shouting "Here is a man who thinks he is greater than the state!". He had never killed anyone. He had never hurt anyone. His "crime" was to push one of them off an old man they were beating. His crime was disrespect.
Peter: [After a pause:] I'm sorry. I don't know what to say.
Judas: Do as he says, Peter. Open your eyes. This is way too big, there are too many people here, it's all happening so fast. Simon. I'm scared.
Peter: So what are you going to do?
Judas: Whatever he asks me to, I suppose.
Peter: Yeah. I think that goes for me too.
And immediately we are in a boat on the middle of a still lake in the midsummer afternoon.
Jesus is standing on the water, John and Peter are in the boat. John is a hardened cynic with a rapier wit. He understands, but he doesn't believe. John is charming enough to get away with everything he says; he provides an inroad for the audience and it is essential that Jesus and he should enjoy the battle of wits. All this section very quickly, with Judas watching.
Jesus: [Completely straight:] I want you to step out of the boat and walk towards me.
Peter: [Nervous, embarrassed:] I can't. I'll drown.
Jesus: Peter, trust me. I'm not drowning, am I.
Peter: No, but you're...
Jesus: [With warmth:] An ordinary man who is stupid enough to be your friend. [urgently] Come on Peter, look in my eyes. I'm trying to teach you something here.
John: Maybe he can't swim.
Jesus: Shut-up John.
John: Only trying to help, [Sarcastic:] Oh great one.
Jesus: [Forcefully:] Peter, look at me. Don't look down, just look at me. Now, take a step towards me. It'll be alright. There's something there to hold you up, just keep focusing on me and walk towards me. Come on Peter, why don't you trust me?
Peter: I do. Oh... shit. [he takes a step over, staring ahead resolutely] oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit
Jesus: [Delighted:] There. See? You're doing it.
Jesus: Trust, faith, removal of doubt.
Peter: Is it a trick?
Jesus: No trick. Don't look down, just trust your experience and keep walking towards me. Don't look down. Just look forwards. And trust.
Peter: But how? How do you stop the doubt?
Jesus: Through experience, and practice, a step at a time.
Peter: What is holding me up?
Jesus: You are.
Peter: And if I don't believe it?
Jesus: [Sternly, a warning:] Then the energy you spend checking will leave you with too little for it to be true.
Peter: I want to know how.
Jesus: [Exasperated, what does it matter?:] Why?
Peter: I don't know. But I have to know how.
He looks down and falls under.
Focus shifts to Judas.
Judas: [To the audience, as is all this scene which has no location:] He falls in because he doubts, you see. He loses his confidence, becomes self-conscious, falls in immediately.
Judas: And so the incident takes on symbolism, to the point where it's impossible to distinguish what the real purpose is.
Jesus: What do you mean?
Judas: I mean in thousands of years, when stories about you have been told and retold who is going to know what actually happened, and what is just there for a lesson.
Jesus: But Judas, what if it's both? What if the lesson and the story are both equally important? What if that's the whole point? Surely they'll be able to see that.
Judas: Do you think that Moses foresaw what the Pharisees would do with his teachings?
Jesus: Good point.
Judas: Sharp as a lance.
Jesus: [He knows this to be true in his gut and has learned to trust it:] You're scared, aren't you Judas?
Judas: Aren't you?
Jesus: No. I know what happens. I've already accepted it. Why should I be scared?
Judas: How can you be so sure?
Jesus: Haven't you heard Judas. The prophecies are coming true. I'm the messiah mate. Perhaps if you spent less time condemning the Pharisees and more time listening to what they can teach you, you'd understand.
Judas: [Changing the subject, he doesn't like being beaten but knows he can't get away with sulking:] You're taking Peter and James and John out today?
Judas: I'd like to come.
Jesus: No Judas. Today isn't for you. Today is for them.
Judas: [Ingratiating:] He's a nice bloke, that Peter. I like him.
Jesus: [Touched by his jealousy:] Judas, you have a part at least as important as his to play. Learn patience.
Judas: I think I'm being very patient.
Jesus: But you expect so much still.
Judas: Not really. I'd kill for you. I'd even die for you. Why is it so wrong to expect a little in return for that type of love?
Jesus: Because if it isn't freely given, it isn't love. Judas. I appreciate your love. I'll never ask you to kill for me. But I won't be tied down by your expectations. I'm well beyond that now. Look around you and listen. The people are speaking my name, they're singing my melody. I think it's time.
Judas: To go to Jerusalem?
Jesus: Yes. We'll leave tomorrow. I want to spend today with Peter, James, and John. I'll spend this evening alone. We'll leave at first light.
Jesus is hard now, efficient, carrying out his protest impeccably. He is totally self assured and stronger than we have ever seen him. His loathing for the situation drives him, but he is being deliberately over-dramatic to bring the story to a close. This is something John has not worked out, yet.
Judas: [Loud, loving it:] You heard him. Kick them over!
Jesus: [Utterly enraged:] How dare you! You welcome me here with palms and then you desecrate my temple.
Changer: [Scared but not terrified:] It's just money. It's to go to the Pharisees. They won't take Roman coins?
Jesus: But you will, won't you my friend. You'll take this, this... filth. [He sends money flying. Catches one coin.] How can you? How dare you worship this God before any other? In a world based on love, money will be worthless, for nothing will be unavailable. My God is the creator. This God is the destroyer. [Building to a climax:] This God is the wrecker of lives. Thou shalt have no other Gods before me. None. None. No false idols. No higher priorities. Love. Love. Love. Is that really so hard to understand?
Changer: Love doesn't put the food on the table.
Jesus: Love always puts the food on the table. This stuff just takes it away again. People shouldn't pay to visit a house of God. God isn't just for the rich, although they certainly need it more than most. In two days we can tear down this temple and build it again. In two days we can tear down Jerusalem... tear down the world.
Changer: And what will stand in it's place?
Jesus: Heaven. Of course.
Changer: So will you do it?
Jesus: Not without your help.
Changer: [Finding this nutter amusing, scoffing at him:] Then it'll never happen.
Ciaphas [Arriving and angry:] Joshua!
Jesus: [Don't call me that any more, you're not my master now:] Jesus.
Ciaphas What are you doing?
Jesus: I'm stopping the world. I'm changing it all. We're starting again. Now. This is a new day.
Ciaphas [To John, he doesn't want to get personally hurt:] You... stop him. What does he think he's playing at. He's got enough enemies already, what does he want with more?
John: He's the messiah, maybe he's just trying to get a fair fight.
Jesus: Tear down the old walls! Destroy all the old Gods!
Ciaphas [Incredibly commanding, but still totally ignored:] This has to stop.
Judas: The guards! The guards are coming!
John: [He suddenly gets it] Oh yes... Yes! Beautiful! Beautiful! [He starts laughing loudly]
Jesus: Bring it down... let it all come down... No more false gods!! [He continues throughout the last speech] No more false gods!! Bring them down!! Destroy them all!! Smash the idols!! Kick over the statues!!
Ciaphas [To the Romans, arriving from the audience:] No! This is a house of God, you can't come in here! You can't shed blood here! He's our man. We'll deal with it. There's nothing to see here now. Nothing to see. Just another crazy man, thought he was God. We'll look after things now. Don't worry, it's all under control. It's all going to be alright.
Jesus walks until he reaches the mount of Olives. He waits and thinks. We can see his thoughts tire him, like a train, racing over every last detail of the final moves. He can't stop his mind, his life, or his future. He wants an escape, just temporarily. He has sent for Mary through Nicodemas, they have not seen each other directly for some time. They have not spent time alone together, not touched since before the desert. He has neither forgotten her or stopped loving her.
Jesus: [Pleased:] You came.
Mary: Yes. Of course. It's not often you get a calling from God.
Jesus: I'm no God.
Mary: Sssh. [They embrace, Jesus finally relaxes:]
Jesus: What do you think I am Mary?
Mary: You know that.
Jesus: Yes, but I need to hear it again, just to be sure, it's been so long.
Mary: [Cold:] Just a few years.
Jesus: You look, beautiful, wonderful, heavenly.
Mary: You look knackered, done in, destroyed.
Jesus: Oh, cheers.
Mary: You're welcome.
Jesus: Have you missed me?
Mary: [Annoyed at his lack of an apology:] No. [But she just can't hate him:] Of course I have, what sort of question is that?
Jesus: I've missed you too. Sometimes. [To her eyes:] Sometimes I wake up in the mornings and I've been dreaming about you and I hate myself for what happened and I want to call your name out, bring you to me.
Mary: You could have. I'd have come.
Jesus: I couldn't. I was... distracted.
Mary: [A beat, then:] Why did you ask to see me now then?
Jesus: Because it's all done now. There's nothing left for me to accomplish.
Mary: It was Joseph who brought me your message. The Aramathean.
Jesus: [Impressed by Nicodemas' choice:] Oh, Nicodemas sent him. That would make sense. How is he?
Mary: Well. He told me to tell you you're an arrogant sod but he's prepared to help. [She is genuinely impressed by his bravery even if she finds it a little stupid:] How many of them know?
Jesus: None of them. Only you, him, Nicodemas, and a couple of others.
Mary: Are you scared?
Jesus: Terrified. I don't like pain. I don't want to endure it.
Mary: [After a deep breath, knowing what she's starting:] Can I help you?
Jesus: You can hold me, tell me you love me, lie to me a bit.
Mary: [As she embraces him] Shit.
Mary: All the way here I said "Not again. Don't let him do this to me again."
Mary: [Already feeling weak:] Make me love. Make me hurt. Make me cry.
Jesus: Please, don't cry, not for me.
Mary: I'm not crying for you, I'm crying for me. You're not the centre of my world any more. I'm the centre now. I think so, anyway. It's so hard to tell.
Jesus: [Reassuringly:] It's not the end, it's just an end.
Mary: Really? I hope so but I don't think so.
Jesus: Do you love me?
Jesus: Then trust me.
Mary: Well how can I when you just keep ruining everything?
Jesus: [Kissing her. Soft pecks to the face and neck.] I need you. Tonight. You're the only one that can help me tonight.
Mary: I know. I need you too. [Tortured:] But it just hurts so much the next day. I don't know whether I can go through with it. I don't even know if it's fair of you to ask me.
Jesus: Well, no-one said it was supposed to be fair.
Mary: You did.
Jesus: No, I said "Wouldn't it be good if we made it fair." That's a different thing.
Mary: [To see if he can be swayed:] Are you going to do this for you? Do you really feel like you need to do this for you?
Jesus: I'm doing it for everyone. I don't know if that includes me, but it's sort of irrelevant.
Mary: Josh, is this our only time. Is this it? A few stolen kisses and blind fumblings on a cold mountian. Is this it?
Jesus: [Strongly:] No. No. This is where it starts.
Mary: Or where it ends.
Jesus: There isn't much time left. Hold me, please Mary, I don't want to talk any more.
Mary: Oh. Oh damn you. Damn you Joshua. I hate you. I really hate you.
They kiss, passionately, and lock into an embrace that suggests they are making love. And back in the tent Peter is stirred by the noise of the guards arriving outside.
He leaps to his feet and shakes the others. Jesus also hears them and breaks from Mary to run back to the tent.
Peter: John! John! Wake up. They're here.
John: What? [Suddenly awake:] Shit, get the swords. Wake the others. Romans! Romans!
Jesus: [Arriving:] Nobody panic. Nobody fight.
John: Ignore him, pick up your swords, this it it folks... Party time.
Judas: Well, [He kisses Jesus:] I did it. You bastard.
Jesus: Thank you. Don't feel bad.
Judas: Good advice. About as practical as everything else you say. I love you.
Jesus: I know that. You know I wouldn't have asked you if I didn't know that, don't you?
Judas: Oh, shut up.
Jesus: [To the guards:] I'll come straight away.
John launches an attack. He cuts the ear from one of the Roman guards.
Guard: Oh no! Oh god no! Please, oh God! The pain. Uh. Uh. Help me, oh God, call for help!
Jesus: [Angry:] Put the sword down John. [He heals the Roman's ear, it takes considerable effort and leaves him tired. To John:] Always, always love.
Guard: [Almost speechless:] How.....?
Peter: [With hatred, to invoke guilt:] He's the messiah. That's what he does.
Guard: I don't understand.
Jesus: You're not supposed to, you're just supposed to take me to see him.
He turns and points at Pilate who is now on the stage, a slick civil servant type, looking down his nose at Jesus. He is the epitome of a reasonable man. Like a Conservative MP on Question Time or a public relations officer for an environmentally threatening company. He is the public face of Rome, calm, composed, and very very "acceptable".
Jesus: And you're supposed to send me to him. [Indicating Herod, who is sitting frozen insanely waiting.]
Pilate: Not yet. Herod doesn't like to be disturbed for no good reason. Maybe we should talk. I'm a very powerful man. I give very powerful orders. I say when people get nailed up, and when they get taken down.
Jesus: I know. So do it.
Pilate: You want to die that way?
Jesus: No. But it's going to happen. You can't stop it, and neither can I.
Pilate: Well, actually, that's where you're wrong. I can stop it. Do you remember that man we left up for five days.
Jesus: How could I forget. We heard him screaming in the night, begging the soldiers to break his legs, kill him before sundown.
Pilate: But they didn't. Do you know why?
Pilate: Because I told them not to. That's why. I had the control. Now do you want to talk?
Jesus: No. Not really. I just want this show-trial over and done with.
Pilate: Show trial?
Jesus: Of course. The verdict was reached a long time ago in Rome.
Pilate: [With an evil smile:] You know, Herod is going to love you!
Jesus: You think so.
Pilate: Oh yes, absolutely. He loves a smart alec. Likes to, soften them up.
Jesus: Is that supposed to scare me?
Pilate: Listen to me. You might be the King of the Jews, I don't know. You might be the most powerful man on the planet, in spiritual terms. But Herod knows how to break you. Herod knows how to break anyone. And what's more, he enjoys it. That's the difference between he and I. I do what I have to do, because someone has to do it. But him, he and his wife, they enjoy it Jesus. That's how they got where they are, and that's why they'll stay there.
Jesus: Well, he hasn't met me yet.
Pilate: Yes, but then, you haven't met him, either.
Herod bursts insanely to life with his repugnant wife entering the room to watch the torture, they are bloated representations of an over-rich decadent society which is rotten from the top down. He is part child prodigy, part psychopath. She has none of the child, she is a degraded and disgusting woman, only achieving her sexual pleasure through another's pain.
She is broken now, a pale reflection of what she used to be. She is close to a complete collapse.
Mother: [Slightly dislocated:] I went to the cave, to grieve. Every day. Just sat there, thinking about it all, how fantastical it seemed. I mean, when you think about your child's future it's never this is it? Maybe famous doctor, or ground-breaking scientist, world-shaking writer or record-breaking athlete. But not messiah. Comes as sort of a shock, that one. I think I was going mad.
Mary: [With compassion:] You were.
Mother: Was I? Yes, I suppose I was. At first.
Mary: You thought he was an angel. That's pretty mad.
Mother: Well when the cave was open. I didn't know what to expect. I thought maybe they'd robbed the body, were about to desecrate him even further.
And we are in flashback.
Nicodemas: [Appearing from inside the cave] Don't be afraid.
Mother: [She falls immediately to her knees to pray rapidly, madly, throughout the rest of the scene:] Our-father-who-art-in-heaven-hallowed-be-thy-name-thy-kingdom-come- [Rest of scene continues here:] thy-will-be-done-on-earth-as-it-is-in-heaven-give-us-this-day-our-daily-bread-and-forgive-us-our-trespasses-as-we-forgive-those-who-trespass-against-us-and-lead-us-not-into-temptation-but-deliver-us-from-evil-for-thine-is-the-kingdom-the-power-and-the-glory-for-ever-and-ever...
Mary: [Controlled, professional:] I'm listening.
Nicodemas: He wants you to find the others, as many of them as you can. Tell them to meet him at Galilee, he has something he needs to say to them.
Mary: [Enquiring about his health:] Is he..?
Nicodemas: No more questions. Get the others and get them to Galilee. Mary?
Nicodemas: [This is what Jesus has told him to say:] If you have anyone to say goodbye to... well, you know.
Mary: There's no-one. That's sad, isn't it.
Nicodemas: No, that's very beautiful, very very beautiful.
Mary: Come on Mother, time to go.
Mother: [She is now in a complete state of breakdown] Amen. Amen. Amen.
For a full script e-mail email@example.com