What Exactly Is It?

This is a 2-act, 1-actor full theatrical, historical fiction
presentation of approximately 1 hour, 48 minute duration in 
which the character of Simon Peter tells his story - of 
the life and times, and the Passion, Death, and 
Resurrection of his close friend, Jesus, the long-awaited 
Messiah.
  
Small fictional stories have been created only to help 
bring alive the true historical picture of Jesus,  
. . . as accurately as we can know it today. In no instance 
will any fictional account contradict what is known as fact. 


What Will It Consist Of?

The First Act will take about 50-60 minutes.  

It is followed by a 15-minute intermission, during 
which Simon Peter will remain onstage for informal 
questions, comments, or discussions with any 
audience members who may want to chat, or perhaps 
examine some of his props:  a map of Palestine, 
a large drawing of the 1st century city of Jerusalem, 
a quaint bonfire pit, a crown of thorns, a flagellum, 
Veronica’s cloth, and the cross itself.

The Second Act is about 30 minutes, during about ten minutes of which five hearty audience members will help Simon Peter demonstrate a typical Roman crucifixion, by “crucifying” a brave sixth audience member, using a fairly realistic-looking, 14’ high wooden cross. 

A “stage” or platform area of at least 20 foot width and 6 foot depth is sufficient for Simon Peter and props.  The altar area, or sanctuary of the church, is most often used.  No podium will be used, although an armchair on stage is used occasionally.  In addition, the cross requires an adjacent floor space roughly 10’ x 21’.  


Will This Involve a Cast of Thousands, 
                            ...like “The Ten Commandments”?

No, there is only one cast member…but he is an absolute saint!  And his whole family,  the Scripture on Stage crew, helps him out up there, with stage lighting, music, props and setup.


What is a Suitable Audience for This Program?

This program is written primarily for an adult audience.  

The concepts addressed, the manner of the telling, and the humor that is used will very likely be lost to most young children.  High school and junior high students have enjoyed and benefited from it as well.  It is written, however, to address questions that adults, and many teens, often have about the historical Jesus.  Younger children simply don’t have these questions yet.  Some past audience members have even suggested that the crucifixion scene in the second act is perhaps a little too intense for some young children.  We certainly wouldn’t attempt to prohibit young children from attending, but please accept this as a caution that they may not find it “entertaining” enough to hold their interest for ninety minutes of “sitting.” 


How Much Does the Program Cost?

Unfortunately, as you probably well know, live theater is terribly expensive. We used to have to ask for $500 to cover our costs of bringing our program to a community.  We found, however, that that kept us out of a number of communities who simply couldn’t afford it, and we couldn’t afford to do the rather elaborate program at a financial loss.


A Simple Free-Will Offering Seems to Do It!

Today, however, there is no charge for the program, but we do ask your help in trying to cover our costs. We do ask for a $100 good-faith deposit before we can reserve the date(s) for you, but we will give that right back to you immediately following your first performance. 

Believe it or not, although we have been able to reduce our costs some into the future by the gradual purchase, rather than rental, of some of our own theatrical lighting, sound, and other equipment; the continued expenses for equipment purchase, rental, replacement, and then our printing costs, all still cost us several hundred dollars per performance to bring the program to you.  

However, I am very pleased to tell you that every parish that has brought us in during the last fifteen years has been so overwhelmingly supportive of what the evening brought them that we have never yet had to take money out of our own pockets to subsidize ourselves.  We like to take that as a stamp of approval on the program, and for that we are eternally grateful!  We’re convinced somebody’s watching over us.  

All of that is only possible, however, with the community’s help,  through our rather simple, absolutely-no-pressure Free-Will Offering. We simply place about 4 small tables around the room--our “Newspaper Stands,” on each of which rest:

One sealed collection basket, 

A small stack of each of our two historical fiction newspapers, The Jerusalem Star ($3) and The Bethlehem Star ($2),

The “suggested donation” price card for each of the items 


We never push this, by the way, but merely mention briefly, during the first Act, that these items are available; and that they can obtain any of them by merely taking one or more from the table and depositing their payment for the items taken in the sealed basket at that table. This remains an honor system that is purely voluntary, and these transactions are undertaken by audience members before and after the program and during the 15-minute intermission. We do ask the audience members to support our work with such a purchase, but only through the program insert. It in this way that our programs are entirely funded.  

It should be noted as well that this also meets a need that many have expressed to us of providing some “memento” of the program.  We like to think, in fact, that either of the two newspapers, and maybe even more either of the two CD fictional radio programs, themselves make a pretty nice item for further education, reflection, or maybe even additional inspiration for many on their own time after the program.


But May We Help You to Help Us?

The impact of almost any program of this type is heavily influenced by the size of the crowd in attendance.  

This is intended to be an educational and spiritually inspirational evening.  Like anyone, I suppose, we’d certainly like to reach as many people as we can with what we have worked pretty hard over the years to prepare for them. But, much more than that, it is always the case that a larger crowd makes for a much much better program for everyone attending. With more people, nobody in the audience feels queasy about belting out a laugh when they feel it, or maybe even releasing a tear or two when they feel that. The larger crowd always takes the nervousness out of the evening for the audience. Besides, with more people present, somebody’s bound to get some of the jokes!

Consequently, then, if you would permit, I would like to help you in the effort to attract as many people as possible by making a separate announcement about the program during each of the Liturgies on the weekend of the performance.  

I do this sort of tongue-in-cheek, introducing myself as “one who was at the program last year, or last week, etc., and who has been asked to tell everyone briefly about it.” True enough, ...sort of.  

My “announcement” takes about two minutes, and seems to get people to laugh a little, and occasionally even to applaud. More importantly, it seems to be quite successful in getting people to come to the program. I’ve only done this for the last few years of programs, but they have increased in attendance each time, from an average of about 300 formerly, to audiences averaging about 600 now during our programs. And I’ve been told each time that it was a direct result of having made the announcement in the light-hearted, but enticing manner that I did. In fact, we simply cannot perform our program without our being able to make this announcement at the Liturgies just prior to the date of the program. 

In addition, in the western suburban Detroit area, where we have done most of our programs, there are now a fair number of people who have seen the program before, and now return, wherever we are, to see it again. I send out flyers and pre-designed bulletin ads to all local parishes with the listings of where we’ll be during the current Lenten season. We’re certainly grateful that this helps. My hope, of course, is that this website may help us in this effort as well.


What Do You, the Hosting Community or Parish, 
        Have to Do to Bring this Program In? 

Very little, actually, ...as it should be.  This’ll be the Easter season; you have enough to do already! We bring nearly everything we need, and set it up ourselves and take it down. But you’re welcome to help. But we’re okay without you, too.

We’d ask you to help us out with 11 items:

Publicity:
Post our ad flyers wherever you think appropriate for people to see and be made aware of the upcoming program

Find a spot in your parish bulletin for our Bulletin Insert advertisements, either our quarter-page, half-page, or full-page ad.

Allow me to make a 2-minute promo announcement at each of the Masses during the weekend immediately preceding the performance(s), as discussed above.

Parish Equipment:    
A microphone for Simon Peter—a hook-over-the-ear mic works the best; but a lavalier (clip-on) also works pretty well for us,

An armchair “onstage” for Simon Peter’s use during the program, 

A table and 2 chairs for our light/sound mixing crew and their equipment - a 6’ folding table works fine, or even a card table,

4 card tables for our “Newspaper Stands,”

Access to the church for at least 3 hours on the morning or afternoon of the evening’s performance to set up and test our light and sound equipment and our props,

Volunteer Helpers:
A “Master of Ceremonies”: someone to introduce the start of the program, and remind the audience about cell phones, photos, etc.    

A House-Lights Volunteer to turn off/on the house lights at the start and close of the program, and for the intermission.    

Six young men of your community (20-50 years old or so?) to demonstrate the crucifixion in the second act. 

For a little better clarification, if you decide to invite us in, we’d ask you to take a look at the document on this site called, “What Must We Do to Bring the Program In?”  Or, if you’d like, I can provide it to you in hard copy as well.  


Anything Else We Need to Know?

I think that about covers it; but, please, if I did leave something out, just go to Contact Us here on this site, or maybe even just give me a call on the cell at 248-219-1348.

Thanks!

John DzwonkowskiThe_Jerusalem_Star.htmlThe_Bethlehem_Star%21.htmlThe_Bethlehem_Star%21.htmlmailto:johnd@scriptureonstage.com?subject=email%20subjectshapeimage_1_link_0shapeimage_1_link_1shapeimage_1_link_2shapeimage_1_link_3
A Two-Act, One-Actor Full Theatrical Live Dramatic Presentation of the Story of the Passion, Death, & Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth from the Point of View of One of His Closest Friends, the Apostle Simon Peter
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