Issue ten of ArtServe magazine contains an article about using puppets and puppetry as a way of spreading the Gospel and encouraging people to think about key messages. The author, the Revd Tudor Roberts, explained how one member of his troupe Puppets Alive is a 14 year-old boy called Joel who has a real talent for scriptwriting. Joel has kindly given us permission to share a couple of his scripts here.
Puppets Alive – Summer Sketch
1, 2, 3 and Purple-haired dude (aka, Jesus) are all people puppets
1: Hellooo there boys and girls and you lot at the back! My name is (puppet’s name) and I am here to tell you a story about what happens in heaven in the summer.
(1 moves to far right – back of stage)
1: Once upon a time … Nope. Can’t start with that, it’s too boring. Umm … ha! Welcome … to the … um … place where the story takes place. Action!
(2 and 3 appear)
2: Ahhh, heaven in the summer! Not a degree too hot or cold.
3: Too right! Just perfect …
2: Wait! (shakes head quickly in disbelief) Is that who I think it is?
(2 and 3 both look towards the other side of the stage, where ‘Purple-hair dude’ pops up)
3: It’s Jesus …
2: But with purple hair!
3: (Quietly) Sshhh! Not too loud!
Jesus: (Notices 2 and 3) Why, hello, friends!
2: Uhhh …
(2, 3, and Jesus freeze, whilst 1 reappears)
1: As you can see, (Puppet 2’s name) and (Puppet 3’s name) did not know what to do. Because, well, if you met your idol, wouldn’t you be shocked?
(1 disappears, and 2, 3 and Jesus unfreeze)
Jesus: What’s wrong? Shy? Here, come closer.
2: Yeah, whatever you s-say, Je-Jes-Christ …
Jesus: Hush, young ones. Have you forgotten?
3: Forg-g-gotten what, sir … I mean … yeah … what?
(1 appears, and 2, 3, and Jesus freeze)
1: Yes, they do seem to have forgotten it. A most important fact about Jesus. Jesus isn’t a celebrity, although he is famous. He’s just everyone in the world’s friend. There’s no point being shy, just trust that he’ll be nice! Now, let’s see what happens when (Puppet 2’s name) and (Puppet 3’s name) remember that Jesus is friendly …
(2, 3 and Jesus reappear and 1 disappears)
2: I remember now! Jesus, will you accept us as your friends?
3: Yeah …
(Long pause, in which Jesus pretends to think about it)
Jesus: Of course! All you had to do was ask! Now, I believe it is time to, ah-hem, (In a posh accent) Part-ay!
(Rise again, JLS cover plays, and two animal puppets join. 1 reappears and 1, 2, 3, Jesus, and the two animals dance along to the music and sing.)
(Music stops after about 20 seconds. Puppets bow, and go ‘down the lift.’)
[End of Sketch]
© Joel Langley, 2014
Puppets Alive – Sketch 2
Jacob, the yellow, white-haired puppet
Esau, the yellow, pink-haired puppet with the blue T-shirt.
Isaac (Julian Puppet)
Rebecca (Female puppet)
Isaac: Good news! Good news! Gather round, all you congregation folks! I have had … (pause for effect) … a son!
Rebecca: And hard work it was! This here (motioning to Isaac) is my husband Isaac (sighs) and I am Rebecca, mother to Jacob and Esau.
(Moving up and down stage, left and right, as if looking for something)
Isaac: What’re you looking for?
Rebecca: Our kids! Where have the silly things got off to?
Isaac: I’d be more concerned about who would be heir to me. Jacob’s smarter, but Esau’s first in line … Jacob will do something about that, probably, because if –
Rebecca: And I’d be more concerned about the fact that Esau’s brought back a dead bird, like a cat with a mouse, and Jacob’s stuck up a tree, again.
(Esau enters, moving slowly towards Isaac, carrying a small parrot puppet in his arms. Jacob appears clinging to the top corner of the back screen)
Esau: Look what I got, Dad, look, look!
(Jacob starts swaying from left to right)
Esau: (noticing Jacob) What’s he doing?
Isaac: Probably trying to get down from the tree by swaying around.
Jacob: (Nauseously) I think I’m gonna hee-ho.
Esau: Mum! Jacob needs helping!
(Rebecca moves over to Jacob)
Rebecca: Right! 1 … 2 … 3!
(Jacob and Rebecca fall behind the screen, wailing as they go)
(Esau turns to Isaac)
Esau: By the way, yesterday, when I came back from hunting, Jacob made me my food, but as long as I gave up my right to be your heir. I did, so now Jacob is your heir!
Isaac: Nonsense, you must have been dreaming!
Esau: But –
Isaac: No buts!
(Esau and Isaac exit, as Jacob and Rebecca re-enter)
Rebecca: Quick, quick! I overheard your brother and your father talking. And you should be the next heir, but Isaac will not allow it! I have a genius plan (giggles maniacally). Your father is old and blind, so trick him into thinking you’re Esau!
Jacob: But Esau’s hairy, and I have smooth skin, surely Dad will notice!
Rebecca: He won’t touch you, don’t worry –
Jacob: But if he does … then what?
Rebecca: Wear Esau’s fur robes when he’s out hunting. You’ll certainly fool the fool!
(Rebecca disappears, as Isaac reappears)
Isaac: Who is it?
Jacob: It’s me, Dad, Esau.
Isaac: You don’t sound like Esau.
Jacob: Umm … (changing to a deeper voice). Yes, I do.
Isaac: Hmm … come, let me feel your arm. If you are hairy, then you are Esau, if not, then you are Jacob.
(Jacob moves closer, and Isaac strokes Jacob)
Isaac: Yes, you are hairy.
Jacob: Well, I am a puppet.
Isaac: What do you want, Esau?
Jacob: For you to promise me the right to be your heir.
Isaac: I promise.
Isaac: Excuse me?
Jacob: Uhhh … Thanks, Dad.
(Jacob leaves, as Esau arrives)
Isaac: Who is it?
Esau: It’s me, Dad, Esau.
Isaac: What do you want?
Esau: For you to promise me the right to be your heir.
Isaac: I already have.
Esau: No you haven’t!
Isaac: I must have been deceived!
Esau: Well, you can still give me the right, can’t you?
Isaac: I’ve already given it. Sorry, son.
(Jacob and Rebecca appear. Jacob, Esau and Rebecca gasp)
(East Enders ‘Drum’ theme plays, or is made by human voice)
© Joel Langley, 2014