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Thursday, March 30, 2017

#ThursdayThoughts Guest Post by Elizabeth Honaker

Good Morning Friends,

Whew, it is good to be home! I absolutely love to travel but it's always nice to return to the roost LOL!

Today's guest is another brand-new-to-me author brought to us by Prime Star Publicity, so please welcome Elizabeth Honaker.....

Elizabeth Golibart Honaker hails from Sparta, Tennessee, where she teaches writing support and English at Motlow Community College. Her undergraduate degree is in Liberal Arts, and her first MA is in Theology. This has given her the breadth and scope to write over fifteen full-length passion plays in the last twenty years – seven of which are in print with others being prepared for publication – as well as dozens of shorter scripts, short stories, and poems on Christian topics. Her first historical fiction novel, Come Before Winter, was published in 2014. In that same year, she completed her second MA in English and Creative Writing (Fiction) at Southern New Hampshire University.

When she is not writing or tutoring, she spends her time devising new home projects for Allen, her husband of 45 years. She also enjoys communicating with her two wonderful grown children and buying (and making) trinkets for her four lively grandchildren. She is passionate about sharing Christ, missional activities, and her local church. She also loves gardening, sewing, piano playing, and Star Trek as time permits.

You can connect with Elizabeth on her Facebook page, Bread of Life Facebook page, her blog The Interpreter's House and on LinkedIn

Now let's see what Elizabeth has to share with us today....

A Cup of Significance

            The very essence of Christian drama is action, and the vehicle for that action is the Word of God. Both are essential in trying to convey meaning to an audience that – perhaps – has heard the Gospel message numerous times. But there is a third component, which God, in His grace, bestows on the earnest performer: significance.
            By this, I do not mean a sort of spiritual “feel-good” mentality – although many, many performers under my direction have testified to it (and that is a good thing). I mean the little signs and wonders that God gives to affirm that He is present in the toil and sweat of the production – the equipment, the costumes, the scenery, the props, etc. I will offer you one example, though there are many.
            A remarkable thing happened the year that Mel Gibson showcased his The Passion of the Christ (2004). I had written a play entitled Truth and Light, focusing on Jesus and his interaction with  Pontius Pilate and Pilate’s wife Claudia Procula (this is her traditional name; the Bible does not mention it), and the pre-production tasks were going badly. There were seemingly-endless problems: not enough actors, weather-delayed rehearsals, costume issues. One Saturday, my husband and I spent an entire afternoon in a large crafts store searching for the right sort of material for Pilate and his missus; I have to confess that, though the props were still missing key items, I was more distracted by my upcoming sewing tasks. My forward-thinking husband, however, suggested that he explore the store for one item that we both considered crucial: Pilate’s cup (you’ll see why in a moment). As I was waiting in line for fabric cuts, he showed me a rather unique vase that we both agreed would be perfect as the aforementioned cup. We bought it and used it in rehearsals.
            Just before Easter, I was feeling extremely depressed: as soon as one problem was solved, another one arose to take its place. We had just finished one disastrous all-day dress rehearsal on a Saturday and we definitely needed another before the “big presentation.” To take my mind off of the potential “flop,” I bought us Sunday afternoon tickets for the Mel Gibson movie; soon, husband, daughter, and I were ensconced in theater seats on a Sunday afternoon. It sounds crazy, but I thought it would take my mind off my own troubles.
            But it didn’t. As soon as the opening credits started, I couldn’t help feeling envious of the resources and collateral that Gibson and his cast and crew obviously had, when I struggled to buy the simplest things for our troupe. I really shouldn’t have felt that way – because, deep down, I knew that this movie and my humble play were both offering people Christ’s life-giving Water – but I did. And then it happened: significance. For there, on the screen, was the very same “cup” (just a slightly different color) that Allen and I had bought just a few weeks previously – and it was being handled by Pilate and his wife in this big-budget production!! Suddenly, I caught a sense of God’s reassurance that all the work done in His Name is noticed – by Him, if not by humans. The Lord went to a great deal of trouble to help me see what all Christians who do His work have in common: approval by the Highest Judge in heaven and earth!!

Wow so true, Elizabeth! 

Elizabeth has graced us with the first act & scene of her play, Read it below....

Act IV, Scene 1 Cleopas and Bilhan face the awful truth and the possible dissolution of their hopes for the future.
Scripture references: Matthew 27: 32 – 51 / Mark 15: 21 – 37 Luke 23: 26 – 37 / John 19: 28
  The stage lights rise on the road to Calvary, Friday morning. The stage is bare, but a backdrop can show the city wall of Jerusalem. Some WOMEN enter downstage left, crying softly. They go to stand upstage center. Other bystanders enter from downstage right, including SIMON OF CYRENE. They line the pathway downstage right, but they remain silent. CLEOPAS and BILHAN enter downstage left and stop just left of center. They are fearful and sad.

BILHAN (looking down the center aisle): Do you see the crucifixion party yet?

CLEOPAS (also looking): There is a mob coming this way.

ANDRONICUS marches arrogantly down the center aisle, carrying a whip.

JESUS carries his cross slowly down the center aisle, followed by SOLDIER #1. He stumbles and falls half way. SOLDIER #1 catches the cross.

ANDRONICUS whips JESUS to get him to rise, but the soldier sees that it is no use and grabs SIMON OF CYRENE by the arm and shoves him towards the wooden cross.

ANDRONICUS (shoving him towards the cross): You! Carry that to the place of execution!

JESUS has gotten to his feet, breathing hard. SIMON stops, looks at JESUS’ face, then back to ANDRONICUS.

ANDRONICUS threatens to use his whip, and SIMON takes possession of the cross, shoulders it, and walks out downstage right. ANDRONICUS follows him.

JESUS walks to downstage center and stops.

SOLDIER #1 stands still downstage right, looking towards JESUS but saying nothing.

JESUS turns to look at the women, who cry louder. JESUS (weakly, struggling for breath): "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me; weep for yourselves and your children. (The women quiet down.) For the time will come when you will say, "Fortunate are the barren women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!" You will call the mountains and the hills to cover you. For if the Righteous and Truthful One is condemned now, at the height of these people's power and strength, what do you think will happen when they are powerless to stop any evil at all?"

JESUS starts to move downstage right. CLEOPAS (reaching out to him, passionately): Jesus, if You are the king of Israel, the Christ, save yourself! Save Israel!!

There is a pause as JESUS looks at him for a long moment. Then he looks out over the audience.

JESUS: Father…

ANDRONICUS re-appears and pulls JESUS roughly after him off downstage right.

SOLDIER #1 marches behind him. The bystanders exit after them, followed by the weeping WOMEN.

BILHAN and CLEOPAS move to center stage. CLAUDIA starts to slowly walk down the center aisle, a covered chalice in her hand.

CLEOPAS (angrily): Is He just going to let them crucify Him?

BILHAN (turning towards stage left, very sad and confused): Maybe He has no power…

CLEOPAS (arguing): He has power to make the blind see! He has power to multiply loaves and fishes to feed five thousand men! How much more power does it take to knock down a few soldiers?

CLAUDIA: He has made Himself a prisoner of evil power so that we may be brought into truth and light.

BILHAN: My lady, this is no place for a refined woman like yourself. You are heading into a den of evil…

CLAUDIA (looking towards downstage right, as if seeing Jesus): It is nothing compared to the evil He faces.

CLEOPAS (putting out a hand to block her path): You must not go!

CLAUDIA (turning to look at him intently): You cannot block God's truth. I have paid much to learn this. Let me pass.

CLAUDIA reaches out and slowly lowers CLEOPAS’ hand so that she can pass. Then she walks off downstage right. BILHAN and CLEOPAS look off downstage right for a few moments. They cringe as the noise of hammer against nail is heard throughout the place, followed by human groans. BILHAN and CLEOPAS react to the following offstage dialogue, sometimes cringing, sometimes looking to "see" what is happening.

JESUS (offstage): Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing! The sound of an ugly crowd, shouting in mocking tones, is heard.

VOICE #1 (offstage): He said He was the Christ! Look at Him now!

VOICE #2 (offstage): Look at the crown the "King of the Jews" is wearing!

VOICE #3 (offstage): Come down, King! Come down and save Yourself! Then we will believe in You! Ha, ha!

VOICE #4 (offstage): Where are Your robes, King? You look pretty naked to me!!

CLAUDIA re-enters downstage right, still holding the chalice, but it is uncovered now. CLAUDIA (explaining to BILHAN and CLEOPAS): He refused it. He refused to dull the pain. I urged Him, and even tried to have the soldiers make Him drink it, but He just turned away. (Pause, looking out over the audience) And then there was that look! The same look I saw in my dream…!

BILHAN (walking over to her, to place a reassuring arm around her): What look was that, my lady?

CLAUDIA (looking back downstage right): The look Jesus gave as they started to crucify him. (Explaining to the others and to the audience) I stood right there as Jesus stretched out His hands for the nails. The soldiers tell me that usually the prisoners struggle, spit, scratch – anything to avoid the inevitable. But in the end, they do it. The nails split the skin in a moment, and then there is an awful moment of anguish and fear. Crucifixion is so final. (with tears) Jesus didn't struggle. He stretched out His hands, and in His eyes, I saw a tremendous resignation. And …love, the kind of love one feels for a poor, suffering child…

JESUS cries out. All three look intently downstage right.

JESUS (offstage): Eloi! Eloi! Lama sabacthani!

CLEOPAS: He is calling Elijah! Maybe He has chosen to reveal His power at last!

JESUS again calls out. JESUS (offstage): I thirst!

CLAUDIA (looking at the chalice thoughtfully): Maybe He will drink it now. She starts to move slowly towards downstage right, but BILHAN, looking right, grabs her arm to stop her.

BILHAN (gently): You're too late. The soldiers have stuck a sponge full of sour wine in His mouth. He's turning away His head. His face is gray. It's near the end.

Again, JESUS calls out. JESUS (offstage): It is finished! Father, into Your Hands I commit My Spirit. Earthquake sounds, lightning and thunder effects.

BILHAN puts a protective arm around CLAUDIA. They move as if shaken by an earthquake. Then there is calm.

CLEOPAS (with great disappointment in his voice): It's over. He's dead. There's nothing left to hope for.

ANDRONICUS marches in from downstage right. He approaches CLAUDIA and salutes her. ANDRONICUS: Mistress Claudia, you should not still be here. Let me escort you home.

CLAUDIA looks at BILHAN and CLEOPAS. CLAUDIA (handing them the chalice and looking back towards the "cross”): Remember Him. Remember me. Remember the price of Truth. CLAUDIA proceeds slowly up the center aisle, followed by ANDRONICUS.

 Lights fall to BLACKOUT.

Thank you so much, Elizabeth! As Easter approaches we are all more aware of the sacrifice our Lord and Savior made for mankind. Check out Elizabeth's novel, Come Before Winter on Amazon in Ebook and Print!

Well Friends, I certainly hope you enjoyed today's guest post and that you'll stop by each week for Tuesday Treasures, Thursday Thoughts and Saturday Spotlight

Until next time, take care and God Bless. 


Jacqueline Seewald said...

Wishing you much success with your writing, Elizabeth!

Alicia Dean said...

Oh my gosh, what an incredible story! It's amazing how God works, isn't it? Very impressive, 15 passion plays? Wishing you much success!

Mizz Liz said...

Y'all are SO kind! I love writing these plays -- even the challenges show forth God's mercy and grace! I would solicit your prayers for the present production "The Brother's Basket," which will be presented on Holy Thursday 2017. (It also is available on Amazon.com, by the way :)And thank you, Pamela, for hosting me on your blog -- it is truly an honor.

Kara O'Neal said...

Gosh. Wow. This was beautiful. Thanks for sharing.