(not including music)  all rights belong to Tanis Harms –
.             refer to
www.church-skits.com

RUNAWAY – written by Tanis Harms, © 2016

PREMISE:      As Shelly emotionally runs away from
.             her husband and children, she finds herself
.             in a dreamlike state, meeting up with
.             two alter-egos. As one tries convincing her
.             that it is okay to remain self-centered,
.             the other uses parables to demonstrate
.             the need for change.
STYLE:        drama with vignettes (musical option)
TOPIC:        serving with humility
SCRIPTURE:    Luke 15:11-32
NOTES:        for CAST, SET, PROPS, MUSIC


SCRIPT:               INTRODUCTION
.                  STAGE RIGHT - HOME

(SHELLY sits in a chair, packed suitcase beside her.
She wipes her eyes and tries to hold back her sobs as
SOUND TRACK is heard, representing her memories.)

SOUND OF:
SHELLY’S VOICE   What do you mean “you’ll be late”?...
.                You realize, you’re never at home!...
.                I feel so unappreciated...
.                Why do I have to do everything
.                around here!?  I just want to...

(As SOUND TRACK ends, SHELLY sighs.  Looking down
at her suitcase, she decides to leave – without it.
As she moves toward center stage, she continues
to dab at her eyes.  At stage right, RICK steps out,
listening, wondering.)

RICK     Shelly?...  Shelly?  Are you there?

(RICK listens for another moment, shrugs, and is about
to exit, when he looks down and sees the suitcase.  
Now concerned, he exits while calling out.)

RICK     Shelly!

(After this scene, suitcase is removed from spot.)
.                                                      2
.                  STAGE LEFT – “STAGE”

SONG 1: if you are going to sing or play a song,
this is a good point to do so.  One suggestion is
“Another Suitcase in Another Hall” from “Evita”,
“Knowing Me, Knowing You” or “Chiquita” by Abba.
SHELLY can sing this from center stage,
echoed by CARRIE and CINDY at stage left...
or someone else entirely can sing.
If there are dancers, they can use stage left.

.                CENTER STAGE - STRUGGLE

(CARRIE and CINDY see SHELLY fretting and approach her.
CINDY is more coy, while CARRIE is sincere and caring.)

CARRIE   You’re not running away, are you?

CINDY    I’m sure she’s not running away.
.        She’s just trying to find a life –

SHELLY   I just want – what everyone else wants.

CARRIE   A wife and mother needs to consider their-

CINDY    What?  Duties?  Men get to run away
.        all the time.

CARRIE   How does that make it right?

CINDY    At some point, a person, any person,
.        has to focus on what is best for THEM.
.        So, what would that be, dear?
.        What would be best for you?

CARRIE   Hm, what would that look like, exactly?
.        One always assumes it will be better?

SHELLY   Well, I’ve always wanted – to – ugh,
.        it sounds so stupid.

CINDY    What?  Nothing is stupid.  What is it?
.        (suddenly knowing exactly what it is)
.        You - want to be an actress in Hollywood!

SHELLY   How – did you know?
.                                                      3
CINDY    It’s obvious.  There’s just something
.        so special about you!  You have it!
.        You have the “it-factor.”
.        I can spot that a mile away.

CARRIE   So you want to run away from yourself?

CINDY    What are you talking about?

CARRIE   Acting involves being someone else
.        if only for a moment-

CINDY    Acting – is fun – and glamorous.
.        It’s a chance to be the star
.        of your own show!

CARRIE   Drama and acting can also be used
.        to make an important point-

CINDY    Boring!  We like the dramas where
.        the hero always wins.

SHELLY   It would be nice to be considered FIRST,
.        for a change.  I just want what is mine.
.        And I just want to do what I want - with it!
.        Without accountability and all the questions!

CINDY    Awesome.  So, let me be your agent.
.        I have a pretty good mind for these things.

CARRIE   In that case, let me be your PR director.

CINDY    Phaw!  Who needs that?

SHELLY   I actually think that might be a good idea.
.        I think.

CINDY    (to CARRIE)  You just tread carefully.
.        I’m on to you!  Make sure it’s what
.        SHE wants, and not what YOU want.
.        (to SHELLY)  PR directors are always
.        concerned about the reputation.
.        I’ll be the one concerned about
.        getting you exactly what YOU want:
.        glamorous roles to play,
.        a good time, fame and fortune!
.                                                      4
SHELLY   That sounds agreeable.

CINDY    Of course it is.

CARRIE   Well, let’s get started then, shall we?
.        Why waste any time on something
.        as big as this?

CINDY    Huh, maybe she is speaking our language.

CARRIE   I am aware of a few roles in some dramas
.        that would be great for you to play.
.        Let us see a preview of the first one.

CINDY    What is it about?

CARRIE   It’s a lovely story – about - a pearl-

CINDY    Oh, we LOVE jewelry and precious gems.
.        Carry on.

(CARRIE motions toward stage left.)

.                  STAGE LEFT – REASON
.             PARABLE 1: PEARL OF GREAT PRICE

(MAN in a nice suit steps up to MRS. FORBESHIRE who
is dressed richly, and perhaps has an ASSISTANT
with her who can hand her things as she needs them.
MAN holds a tray of jewelry out for her to examine.)

MAN      Here you are, Mrs. Forbebshire.
.        Nothing but the best.

(MRS. F. glances over the jewelry, not too impressed.)

MRS. F.  You don’t say.  Really, are you sure
.        you don’t have anything else –
.        in the back - perhaps?

MAN      There is- something- but-

MRS. F.  But what?

MAN      Not even YOU could afford it.

MRS. F.  Well, now I want it.  I have to see it.        5
.        I want nothing but the best.
.        Please, bring it out at once.

MAN      Yes, ma’am.

(MAN disappears with the tray of jewelry and
returns with an ornate box to hold out to MRS. F.
MRS. F. carefully opens the box and gasps.)

MRS. F.  Can – can I examine it closer?

MAN      Of course.

(MRS. F. takes a magnifying glass from her purse,
then picks up the pearl carefully to study closely.  
Then puts it back in the box just as carefully.)

MRS. F.  It’s – it’s magnificent.  I have never
.        in my life seen anything so exquisite.  
.        I can see its value – must be –

MAN      Priceless.

MRS. F.  (looking at the price tag)  Oh.

MAN      Exactly.  Even YOU could never afford this-
.        unless-

MRS. F.  Unless I was to sell everything I own.

MAN      I don’t know anyone who would ever do that-
.        To put everything into this one investment-

MRS. F.  Yes!  But – then you could say –
.        who WOULDN’T want to do that?
.        I have scoured the world looking
.        for something of great value.
.        And this – this is beyond what I could
.        ever imagine.  You could not find
.        a better investment anywhere else.

MAN      So what are you saying?

MRS. F.  I would be a fool NOT to buy this.  I will have
.        my people liquidate everything that I have.

(MRS. FORBESHIRE turns to ASSISTANT to emphasize       6
the order, and the ASSISTANT pulls out cellphone.)

MRS. F   Everything!  (turning back to MAN)
.        And I will be back as soon as possible
.        to make this purchase.

MAN      I will keep this in a safe place for you,
.        Mrs. Forbeshire.

MRS. F.  Thank you.  (getting on a cellphone)
.        Marty, I need you to start selling!...
.        Everything!  Sell absolutely everything!
.        I have found the investment of a lifetime!

(MRS. F. talks on the cellphone as she exits,
followed by ASSISTANT who is also on a cellphone.)

.                CENTER STAGE - STRUGGLE

(CARRIE and CINDY turn to SHELLY.)

CARRIE   Well?  I think this is a good fit.
.        Is that a role that you could work with?

CINDY    That entire scene didn’t make any sense.
.        We like more than just one gem.  We are
.        material girls – the more things – the better.

CARRIE   The pearl represented something else.
.        The pearl actually stood for-

CINDY    So wait!  It is just one thing, and it
.        doesn’t even have anything to do with bling?

CARRIE   Exactly.  

CINDY    So what are we talking about here, exactly?

CINDY    It’s really more about putting that one thing
.        before all else in your life.  And
.        that one thing is-

CINDY    One moment, let me confer with my client.
.        Shelly, darling, this role really doesn’t
.        seem to be the one.  What do you think?

(SHELLY turns toward stage right - to think.)          7

.                  STAGE RIGHT - HOME

(RICK looks toward SHELLY as if she’s in the room
with him.  This is a scene she is remembering.)

RICK     Why would you do that?  Why would you sign up
.        the children for sports on Sundays?
.        I thought we had agreed to raise our kids
.        with a solid Christian upbringing.
.        They’ll be missing church-

(SHELLY now walks up to stage right, but does not enter
the family room set, as she jumps into the conversation.)

SHELLY   Now and then, doesn’t hurt.  

RICK     Except that it’s becoming more and more-

SHELLY   God understands there is more to life-

RICK     You SAY you’re a Christian,
.        but- the way you talk sometimes,
.        it’s like, it’s not the priority.

(SHELLY clenches her fists, and swings around in anger.)

SONG 2:  “S.O.S.” or “Super Trouper” by Abba,
sung by either SHELLY, CINDY or
“Where Does Our Love Go” by John Elefante
sung by someone else at stage left.

.                CENTER STAGE - STRUGGLE

(SHELLY stomps back to CINDY and CARRIE.)

SHELLY   It’s definitely not a role for me.

CINDY    (to CARRIE)  What else do you have?

CARRIE   This next story takes place at a lavish
.        wedding banquet-

CINDY    Oh, yay!  Would she play the bride?

CARRIE   No, but she would be a guest of honor.
.                                                      8
(CARRIE motions to stage left.)

.                  STAGE LEFT – REASON
.            PARABLE 2: OF THE BANQUET GUESTS  

(A SMALL GROUP of people, nicely dressed, mingle together
at stage left.  POORER people stand at stage right.
DOWDY WOMAN enters and looks around, unable to decide
which group to join.  DRESSY WOMAN enters behind her
and clears her throat arrogantly.)

DRESSY   Excuse me.  You are totally messing up
.        my grand entrance.

DOWDY    Oh, are you the bride’s sister?

DRESSY   No, but we go – way back.  Now, please,
.        it’s embarrassing even to be speaking to you.
.        If you could just move on, I’m going to reenter.

DOWDY    I’m not quite sure where I’m supposed to sit.

DRESSY   Obviously – you look like you belong
.        on that side – with THAT group.

(DRESSY pushes DOWDY to the right side.  DOWDY remains
there, confused, still determining where she should go.
SERVANT walks by with a tray of appetizers.)

DOWDY    (to SERVANT)  Excuse-

DRESSY   Excuse me!  Where is the door attendant?

SERVANT  The banquet is about to begin, so they are not
.        there anymore-

DRESSY   Doesn’t matter – doesn’t matter.
.        So how can I make my grandest entrance?

SERVANT  Everyone will soon be seated.

DRESSY   And just to be sure, which tables
.        are reserved for the guests of honor?

SERVANT  That – side – there.  (points to stage left)

(SERVANT moves on.  DRESSY gives an “I told you so”    9
look at DOWDY.  DOWDY smiles nicely, then chooses to go
stand at stage right.  DRESSY then exits, then
enters again, striking a glamorous pose.)

DRESSY   I – have arrived!

(DRESSY floats over to stage left to join the GROUP,
just as the BRIDE and GROOM enter with waves.  ALL clap.
DRESSY rushes up to shake GROOM’S hand, then kiss BRIDE.)

DRESSY   Hello, darlings.  Congrats.

BRIDE    Who- who are you?

DRESSY   What?  Friend of the family from your
.        father’s side.  How- don’t you recognize me?

(Meanwhile BRIDE looks to the side and sees DOWDY.)

BRIDE    What are you doing there?  I told
.        the door attendant that you were to sit
.        at the table for guests of honor.
.        Come here.

(As DOWDY approaches, DRESSY steps slightly out of
the way, just off to the side.)

DOWDY    Sorry, my car broke down, so I was late.

BRIDE    I’m just happy that you made it!

(BRIDE gives DOWDY a big hug and kiss on the cheek.
DRESSY rolls her eyes grandly.  BRIDE turns to GROOM
with great excitement.  As BRIDE gushes,
DRESSY wilts and gags in disgust.)

BRIDE    This is the lady I’ve been telling you about.
.        She showed me love, even while I was going
.        through my very unlovable phase.
.        With whatever she had, she shared freely
.        of her time and resources, even though
.        she didn’t have much.  She wisely mentored me...
.        She was like – a sister AND a mother to me.

(GROOM shakes and hugs DOWDY.)

BRIDE    (turns to DRESSY)  I am so glad that         10
.        you could also be here with us, but
.        if you could please join the others-

(DRESSY begins to move to stage left again, but
sheepishly changes course when directed by BRIDE.)

BRIDE    (politely pointing right)  -over there.
.        (announcing to ALL)  I want to thank you all
.        for coming to our wedding.  Please,
.        let us move into the banquet hall to sit,
.        and enjoy the wonderful feast
.        that has been prepared for all of us.

(BRIDE holds GROOM’S arm while giving DOWDY another
sideways hug as they exit stage left, leading the way
for the guests of honor.  SERVANT quickly jumps
to the center of the floor to have the other group
follow after the others have already exited.)

.                CENTER STAGE – STRUGGLE

(CINDY turns to look at CARRIE and SHELLY.)

CINDY    How embarrassing.  Wait, I don’t understand.  
.        Which was the leading role?

CARRIE   The guest of honor...  The poor woman.

CINDY    Ichhh.  No, we want glamor WITH the honor.  
.        (to SHELLY)  Right?

CARRIE   It is better to consider others more important.
.        You know, being humble, and self-less-

(SHELLY turns toward stage right to think and remember.)

.                  STAGE RIGHT - HOME

(At the desk, RICK is upset at what he sees on the bills
in his hands.  Shopping bags from high-end stores
sit on the floor where the suitcase had been previously.)

RICK     Shelly!  What is happening?  Last I checked,
.        we did not have any debt.

(SHELLY steps closer toward stage right)
.                                                     11
SHELLY   We’ll pay it off.  Right?  You were saying
.        you might get that promotion.

RICK     MIGHT!  That’s not a guarantee.  And-
.        which is it?  Do you want me to work more –
.        or do you want me to spend more time
.        with you and the kids?

SHELLY   I want both!  You’re the provider!
.        I’m sure you can figure that out-  It’s
.        the only thing you really do around here.
.        You have perks and bonuses at your work –
.        Well, I need some of that, too!
.        (turns around to fume)

SONG 3: “I am the City” by Abba,
sung by chorus at stage left;  or
“Money, Money, Money” by Abba
sung by RICK & SHELLY as words makes sense to roles.

.                CENTER STAGE – STRUGGLE

(CINDY escorts SHELLY back to CARRIE.)

SHELLY    I definitely cannot play that leading role.

CINDY     That’s right.  She needs to put herself first!

CARRIE    But the ones who are truly considered “first”
.         show more strength in character.

CINDY     Yeesssss?

CARRIE    Like in this leading role.
.         (motions to stage left)

.                  STAGE LEFT – REASON
.            PARABLE 3: THE GRATEFUL SERVANT

(BONNIE and EVA enter and approach BOSS, who sits
at a tiny table looking over some paperwork.)

EVA      (fishing for gratitude)
.        We have finished tending your garden
.        and maintaining the yard.

BONNIE   Anything else you’d like us to do            12
.        before we move on to-

EVA.     It is unbearably hot out there,
.        but - I made sure that we did
.        a thorough job of pulling all the weeds.
.        I know how you like us to
.        keep on top of that detail.

BONNIE   But we’d like to know if there’s
.        anything else you’d like us to do
.        before getting your dinner-

EVA      Oh, I sure hope you like the way
.        I polished the silverware.
.        It is so shiny, you can see yourself.

BONNIE   I beg your humble forgiveness.
.        Please, tell me what you would like me
.        to do next.

BOSS     For now, just fix dinner and serve that
.        to me in the dining room.  Then,
.        you can clean up and have your own meal.

BONNIE   Thank you so much, sir!

(BONNIE bows slightly as BOSS exits.  EVA looks over
at BONNIE with disdain.)

EVA      What’s with the humble begging for
.        forgiveness?   And - thank you?
.        You THANKED HIM?  He should be thanking us!

BONNIE   Hardly.  Without him, we would not have
.        a job.

EVA      But we do such thorough work for him.
.        At least I do.  Is it too much to get
.        a “thank you” every now and then?

BONNIE   Is it not enough to get a paycheck?
.        Why should he thank us for something that
.        we are supposed to be doing anyway?

EVA      Common courtesy!

BONNIE   That is why I thanked our boss.              13
.        Common, sincere courtesy!  I am
.        very thankful for my job!

EVA      But we go way above and beyond
.        what is asked of us.

BONNIE   Really?  Because right now, we are
.        suppose to be preparing his dinner.
.        Instead, we’re just standing here,
.        wasting time by arguing and complaining.

EVA.     But- just a tiny thanks?

BONNIE   He gives us a yearend bonus.

EVA      You’re making me look bad, here.

BONNIE   I’ll be going to the kitchen now.
.        You can go set the table.

(BONNIE and EVA exit.)

.                CENTER STAGE - STRUGGLE

(CINDY looks to CARRIE.)

CINDY    Well, that was just disgusting.

CARRIE   Which part?

CINDY    What is wrong with getting a “thank you?”

CARRIE   Nothing is wrong with GETTING a “thank you.”
.        We just should not EXPECT a “thank you.”

CINDY    But it is good to hear someone saying
.        “job well done!”

CARRIE   Sure, sure, but - this was talking more
.        about the attitude of a serving heart.
.        If you are serving with a humble attitude,
.        then you would not expect a “thank you,”
.        but you would be eager to serve
.        and give of yourself more.

CINDY    See, this is what I was afraid of-
.                                                     14
CARRIE   What is wrong with trying to have
.        an upstanding reputation?

CINDY    Well, it is STILL nice to be thanked!
.        Right?

(SHELLY doesn’t answer, but looks toward stage left.)

.                  STAGE RIGHT - HOME

(RICK enters carrying a tool kit.  SHELLY sees him
and steps closer, remembering.)

SHELLY    Where have you been?  I have supper
.         to make and you still haven’t fixed
.         the garburator!

RICK      I had to run to the hardware store-

SHELLY    Well, how long will this take?  

RICK      No idea, but I will work as fast as I can.

SHELLY    I have a lot to do around here,
.         if you haven’t noticed.

RICK      (as he exits with his tool kit)  I have.

SHELLY    (yelling after him from where she stands)
.         I doubt that, otherwise you’d be thanking me
.         way more than you do.  Which is never.

(SHELLY turns away shaking her head.)

SONG 4:  “Say it Now” by The Afters,
sung by someone else at stage left

.                CENTER STAGE - STRUGGLE

(SHELLY turns sheepishly back to CARRIE and CINDY.)

SHELLY    That’s – not me.  I – pretty much –
.         never thank my husband for how hard he works.  
.         And I rarely thank God for anything
.         He has done for me.

CINDY     Don’t feel bad.  I can see the wheels       15
.         turning around in your head, there.  
.         You need to stop beating up on yourself.  
.         You’re not that bad.  Nobody’s perfect.

(CINDY thinks of her defense angle and turns to CARRIE.)

CINDY     Now, let me just say, I really do not
.         appreciate the direction you’re pointing
.         us in.  It’s beginning to feel a lot
.         like woman-bashing!

CARRIE    These stories can apply to anyone –
.         man or woman.  But right now, it is
.         all about you, yes?  We ARE talking about you
.         and what sort of lead role you should have.

SHELLY    Maybe I don’t really want to focus on me.

CINDY     Right, we do not want to keep hearing about
.         which attitudes need to be changed in one’s
.         personal life.  Or how we need to be – serving!
.         Blah-blah-blah- When do we get something?
.         When can we exercise some power?  Give us
.         a role which has a real go-getter-type-woman!
.         We just want to get to all the good stuff.

CARRIE    Well, there is this role, here-

.             PARABLE 4: THE FRIEND IN NEED
.                CENTER STAGE - STRUGGLE

(The set is dark.  There is knocking at the door.
DIM LIGHTS come up.  Knocking continues.  WOMAN,
in housecoat, creeps up to the door, curious but wary.)

WOMAN     Who is it?

FRIEND    It’s me, Tonya.

WOMAN     It’s two in the morning.

FRIEND    Please, open the door.  I had unexpected
.         company drop by.  Their car broke down,
.         so they need a place to stay for a while.

WOMAN     Well, they can’t stay here.
.                                                     16
FRIEND    No-no, they’ll be staying at my house.  
.         I just need to feed them.  I’m completely
.         out of food right now.  Do you have
.         any food to spare?  Even if it’s just
.         a few loaves of bread?

WOMAN     Tonya, can it not wait until morning?

FRIEND    With all their issues, they did not eat
.         all day.  I can’t send them to bed hungry!

WOMAN     Tonya, please come back in the morning.

(WOMAN begins to walk away.  Knocking continues.)

FRIEND    Pleeeaaasse?  I’m not going to go away until
.         I get something!

(WOMAN stops to think, then decides to open the door.)

FRIEND    Thank you – thank you – thank you.
.         You have no idea how much I appreciate
.         all of this.

WOMAN     Did I have any choice?

FRIEND    Not much?

WOMAN     Follow me to the kitchen.
.         (leads FRIEND off stage)

.                CENTER STAGE - STRUGGLE

(CINDY turns to CARRIE and SHELLY.)

CINDY     That’s it?  What does that even mean?

CARRIE    That you are persistent in prayer.  
.         Asking God to help.

CINDY     Then who is the lead in this role?

CARRIE    The woman begging for food.  Notice how
.         persistent she was.  A real go-getter.

CINDY     Why was a woman playing the other part?
.                                                      17
CARRIE    Think about it.  A sleep-deprived woman
.         would not give her friend a stone instead
.         of bread.  God is far more generous.

CINDY     Well, at least there was some
.         real drama there, that was okay.  
.         There just was not enough – face-time!  
.         (to SHELLY)  But - you could swing that?
.         Looking after loved-ones makes sense.

(SHELLY turns toward stage left, remembering.)

.                  STAGE RIGHT - HOME

SOUND TRACK of kids calling out:

MARK’S VOICE:   Mom! Mom!  I’m waiting for you
.               to tuck me in!

AMBER’S VOICE:  Mom!  We’re waiting for you to
.               read us a story and pray with us.

(RICK enters and SHELLY approaches a bit.)

RICK      Shelly?  The kids are calling for you.

SHELLY    I’ve been with them all day, and I’m so tired.
.         I believe it’s your turn anyway.

(SHELLY turns away, so RICK shrugs and exits.)

RICK      (as he exits)  I’m coming, kids.  Looks like
.         you’re getting a story from Dad tonight.

SONG 5: “Don’t Miss Now” by Downhere or
“One of Us” by Abba, sung by someone else

.                CENTER STAGE - STRUGGLE

(SHELLY returns to center stage and shakes her head
at CARRIE.  CINDY shrugs.)

CINDY     I don’t know, that one’s been the best, so far.
.         You know, as far as not being totally lame.
.         (to CARRIE)  What else you got?
.         What about a role with a business woman?
.                                                      18
(CARRIE motions toward stage left.)

.                  STAGE LEFT – REASON
.            PARABLE 5: THE UNMERCIFUL SERVANT

(MAGGIE and NANCY enter and stop to chat.)

NANCY     So, Darlene did not ask for any
.         of that money back?

MAGGIE    Not at all.  Not one cent.

NANCY     Just how much did you owe her?

MAGGIE    One and a half million dollars.

NANCY     What?  That is a ton of money!

MAGGIE    Well, remember, I wanted to open
.         my accessories boutique?

NANCY     Yeah, but, she paid for the whole thing?
.         Why not just give you enough for
.         a down payment?

MAGGIE    My credit rating was not good enough
.         to get a loan.

NANCY     Why would Darlene take such
.         a huge risk on you?

MAGGIE    She’s a friend!  More than you, it sounds.
.         How dare you call me a risk!

NANCY     You – have a poor credit rating.

MAGGIE    I could turn that around.

NANCY     Have you?

MAGGIE    What?

NANCY     Turned it around?  Is your boutique
.         making any money at all?
.         Are you showing any profit yet?

MAGGIE    Noooo.  Hey, it takes time                  19
.         to establish a business.

NANCY     Not that much time.  You’ve had this
.         a couple of years, now.

MAGGIE    What can I say – times are tough.

NANCY     Or, you are a very bad manager
.         of time and money.

MAGGIE    Wow.  Are you sure you’re my friend?

NANCY     Hey, I’m just saying-

MAGGIE    Oh, look, here comes Gwen!

NANCY     You sound angry.

MAGGIE    I am.

(GWEN enters and MAGGIE pounces on her.  At the
same time, DARLENE enters, and stops to watch.)

MAGGIE    Gwen!  Remember, last week,
.         you borrowed a hundred dollars from me
.         to help pay your rent.

GWEN      Yes.  I am still working on that.
.         Sorry.

MAGGIE    Well?

GWEN      You’re not expecting that back
.         right away?

MAGGIE    Immediately!  I want to have
.         my nails done this afternoon.

(GWEN frantically searches her purse while talking.)

GWEN      I’m sorry.  Could you wait until next week?
.         I’ll try to scrape up the money by then.

MAGGIE    That’s a hundred dollars out of my pocket!
.         It’s mine, and I want it back right now!

GWEN      Maggie, please, understand.  I just lost     20
.         my job.  I’m starting a new one next week-

MAGGIE    Not soon enough!

GWEN      There’s nothing I can do about it.

MAGGIE    Well, until you pay me back, I’m going
.         to make your life so miserable,
.         you won’t know what hit you!

(GWEN rushes off crying.  MAGGIE angry, but pleased
with herself, turns around and comes face-to-face
with DARLENE, who stands there knowingly.)

MAGGIE    Dar-  Darlene.

DARLENE   Maggie.  I can see that you do not appreciate
.         anything I’ve done for you – at all.

MAGGIE    No – I – do appreciate –

DARLENE   You will now pay me back.

MAGGIE    I can’t do that!
.         I don’t have the money!

DARLENE   You can sell your boutique.

MAGGIE    But – that’s - like my baby.

DARLENE   You’ll be hearing from my lawyers.

MAGGIE    No!

(DARLENE exits in the direction that GWEN left.
MAGGIE swings back to NANCY.)

MAGGIE    Unbelievable.  Did you see what she did?

NANCY     Hey!  I cannot blame her, one bit.

MAGGIE    You’re on her side?

NANCY     Yeah!  You – are on your own.

(NANCY exits, leaving a bewildered MAGGIE.)
.                                                     21
.                CENTER STAGE – STRUGGLE

CINDY     Whoa.  Intense!  I guess most people
.         can relate to the topic of money.

CARRIE    Although, it’s not necessarily about money.

CINDY     Yeesss.  I get that.  But, this role
.         is still not right for Shelly.
.         I mean, it was gritty, but -
.         this did not put the main character
.         in a good light – at all.

CARRIE    It is about forgiving others as you have
.         been forgiven-

CINDY     Nobody is perfect, but sometimes people
.         hurt you in ways you just cannot forgive!
.         I’m sure, Shelly will agree with me.

.                  STAGE RIGHT - HOME

(SHELLY sneaks onto the set and turns the laptop toward
her to start typing out a message with a smile.  
RICK suddenly enters and SHELLY quickly closes the lid
and backs away, back to her spot just outside the set.)

RICK      Who are you emailing at this time
.         of night?

SHELLY    No one!  

RICK      Are you sure-  Shelly?  It’s like –
.         you’ve been drifting away-

SHELLY    You are going to judge me?  
.         YOU are the one married to your work!

RICK      I want to work on this.  I AM trying.

(SHELLY turns her back on RICK, and he finally leaves,
unless he’s singing.  SHELLY slowly hangs her head
in shame.)

SONG 6:  “Runaway” by The Afters, sung by RICK

.                CENTER STAGE – STRUGGLE              22

(SHELLY returns to center stage.)

SHELLY    I – cannot – really relate to this story.

CINDY     That’s right.  Moving on then.

CARRIE    Well, maybe this one will speak to you.

.                  STAGE LEFT – REASON
.                PARABLE 6: THE LOST SHEEP

(SHEPHERDS 1-3 lounge around on the ground,
some are eating.)

S 1       Hey, where’s Jesse?

S 2       He left to look for that sheep.

S 1       You’re talking about the one
.         that keeps giving us the slip?

S 2       That’s the one.

S 3       I told him to forget about it, already.
.         Right?  I mean, how many times can you
.         go looking for the same little sheep?

S 1       I guess, as often as it’s needed.
.         You can’t say Jesse doesn’t care.

S 3       That’s an understatement!

S 1       Well, imagine if you were the
.         little lost sheep.

S 3       I would not be going off on my own.
.         I know where my food comes from!
.         I know who looks after me and keeps me safe!

S 1       What if it was one of your own children?

S 3       Well, that’s completely different.

S 2       Let’s not get carried away here.

S 1       Still, each sheep - is worth quite a lot.    23
.         Could YOU afford to pay for one?
.         Are you going to pay the replacement price
.         to the owner?

S 3       No way.  We certainly don’t make enough
.         money to do that.

S 1       Anyway, you can count on Jesse.
.         He always finds them and brings them back,
.         no matter how far they have strayed.

(SHEPHERD 4 enters carrying a sheep, stuffed or real.
SHEPHERDS 1-3 jump up with excitement to pet the sheep.)

S 1       You found it!

S 3       (tenderly)  Silly little thing...

.                CENTER STAGE - STRUGGLE

(CINDY goes from gushy to insulted.)

CINDY     Aw, cute little sheep, but – what?
.         Is her role supposed to be the sheep?
.         (to SHELLY)  Do you really want to play
.         the role of a stupid sheep?

CARRIE    It is really about someone being part
.         of a family but finding themselves lost.

(SHELLY turns to look at stage right but finds that
as she tries to walk over – she can’t.)

.                  STAGE RIGHT - HOME

(RICK sits on the sofa reading a Bible.
MARK and AMBER enter.)

AMBER     Where’s Mom?

(RICK looks up, wondering what he’ll say.)

RICK      Ahhh... she needed – a break.
.         Here, why don’t you join me.

(MARK and AMBER sit down beside RICK.)
.                                                     24
MARK      Could you read us a story?

RICK      Sure thing.  Anything in particular?

MARK      Ahhh, how about the story about
.         the pro – prodig-

RICK      Prodigal son?

AMBER     Is that the one where the son runs away,
.         but then finally comes back?

RICK      It is.

(RICK flips through the pages to find the story,
while the children watch attentively.)

.                CENTER STAGE - STRUGGLE

SONG 7:  “Lift Me Up,” “Light Up the Sky” by The Afters,
“A Better Way” by Downhere, “I’ll Find You There”
by The Kry, or “I’ve Been Wrong” by The Elms,
or “We Will Find Our Way” by John Elefante
sung by someone else

(SHELLY looks down sadly.)

SHELLY    That is – actually me.

CINDY     What?  The sheep?  NOOOooooo!
.         Whatever you are thinking – stop it!

CARRIE    Why?

CINDY     It’s making her feel bad.  it’s making
.         her feel – guilty.

CARRIE    That’s actually not a bad thing.  
.         If you HAVE done something wrong,
.         you should feel guilty.  Then you know to
.         deal with it – THEN you have a reason
.         NOT to feel guilty anymore, otherwise,
.         you are just stuffing those guilty feelings
.         down – or – trying to run away from it.

SHELLY    How do I deal with so much guilt?
.                                                     25
CARRIE    Shhh, no more of that talk, now.

SHELLY    But, I want to stop running.

CARRIE    There’s one more role you need to see.

.                  STAGE LEFT – REASON
.             PARABLE 7:  THE WICKED TENANTS

(LANDOWNER sits at a desk, looking over paperwork
when ASSISTANT enters.)

ASSIST.   Bad news, sir.

OWNER     (sadly)  Again?

ASSIST.   At your vineyard.

OWNER     I spent a lot of money fortifying it,
.         and hiring skilled servants, so that
.         everyone would stay safe.

ASSIST.   Obviously, the crimes are being committed
.         by those living and working within
.         your estate.

OWNER     What is it this time?

ASSIST.   This last servant that you sent - they –
.         beat and killed him.

OWNER     How many does that make?

ASSIST.   You have lost a lot of servants
.         in this way.

OWNER     Yes.  Well, I know what I must do then.

ASSIST.   You’re not going to go?

OWNER     I will send my son.

ASSIST.   I fear – they will-

OWNER     You don’t believe they will respect him?

ASSIST.   Just knowing how those people think–        26
.         they will think... They will think
.         that if they kill the heir-
.         then everything will become theirs.

OWNER     Go, get my son.  Go on.  It’s the only way.

(ASSISTANT exits with hesitancy and returns with SON.)

OWNER     I need you to go- see to the people-

(SON nods obediently and begins to leave.)

ASSIST.   But, you know what they will do.

SON       This is something I must do.

(SON exits.  LIGHTS dim.)

OWNER     (whispering)  They will reject and kill him.

STAGE

SHELLY    That is certainly not a role for me.

CARRIE    Nor is it meant to be for you.  
.         There was only one who could accomplish that.  
.         And you already know Him.

CINDY     And he already let her down.

CARRIE    This is not talking about Shelly’s husband,
.         either.

SHELLY    Of course.  I cannot expect my husband
.         to take the place of God.  He’s only human.
.         And for me to be the – star – or focus –
.         of my life – I will only let myself down.
.         God should be the focus of my life –
.         God is the one who sent His Son
.         down to die for us – I put my faith in that.
.         So as a child of God- my Heavenly Father
.         will never let me down.

CINDY     Except that - it’s too late.  Shelly has
.         already grown apart from her husband.

CARRIE    There is always forgiveness.  And then,     27
.         when you both draw closer to God,
.         you both will draw closer to each other.

(SHELLY nods her agreement.)

CINDY     What?  Are you having a change of heart
.         now?  If you’re not going to listen to me
.         as your agent, then-

SHELLY    I don’t want you as my agent anymore.

CINDY     What?

SHELLY    You do not have my best interest at heart.
.         You’re fired.

CINDY     Whatever.  (leaves)

SHELLY    I will make my own decisions.

CARRIE    Here is a story with two different roles.
.         Which role do you wish to choose?
.         The one who SAYS they will obey –
.         but doesn’t.  Or the one who says
.         they will NOT obey – but does.
.         In the end, they choose to do the right thing.

SONG 8:  “This is What Love is” by John Elefante,
“Here Waiting” by Abandon and/or
“I am Yours” by The Afters and/or
“My will” by DC Talk
“Forever Reign” by Newsboys
“Just Reach Out” by Petra

.                  STAGE RIGHT - HOME

(During the song/s, SHELLY goes to stage left where RICK,
MARK and AMBER are praying.  SHELLY hugs the children,
then turns to RICK, first hanging her head in shame.  
RICK reaches out to take her hand.  They exit
arm in arm.  CHILDREN hug a parent from the side
as they do so.)