Doubting Thomas: A reader's theater dramatizing Thomas's confession

Staging Notes

Cast: Narrator, John, Thomas

Running Time: Approximately 6 minutes

This reader's theater piece is conceived for a variety of settings. It works equally well as a static piece (read at miavphones with limited gestures) or as a staged reading. In a staged reading, saipts are still carried in a bindei; but movement and gesture patterns are specifically determined. The following rendering of the script indicates only broad movement patterns.



[Narrator stands off to one side. John stands upstage right and motions to Thomas, standing downstage left.]

John: Thomas!

Narrator: He cried hurrying down the crowded market street. Thomas motioned for silence and slunk down an alley.

John: Thomas!

Narrator: He cried again.

John: Thomas! Wait!

[John crosses downstage to Thomas.]

Narrator: Called John, the disciple loved by Jesus.

[Thomas pulls him aside.]

Thomas: Shh! Are you crazy? Be quiet! You'll get us killed. The Pharisees would like nothing better than to see us all go the way of the cross.

Narrator: Thomas, one of the twelve, was afraid.

John: Thomas! I saw! I saw our Lord!

Thomas: What?

John: Thomas, I have seen him! I saw the risen Christ!

Thomas: Don't mock me.

John: I'm not mocking you. It's the truth.

Narrator: John's words tumbled and spilled and rolled and sang out—for his delight was complete. He had seen his beloved Savior!

Thomas: Quiet! How can you be so reckless? People will think the rumors are true. They'll think we spirited away Jesus' body so that prophecy would be fulfilled.

John: It has been fulfilled, Thomas.

Thomas: That's crazy. They killed him three days ago.

John: No crazier than Lazarus, Thomas. He was raised after four days. Thomas, Jesus revealed himself... in the upper room. We have seen him.

Thomas: But I haven't. I wasn't there. He didn't reveal himself to me. Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, put my finger in the marks of the nails, and thrust my hand in his side, I will not believe.

[As the narrator begins to speak, Thomas turns away from John and crosses itpstage— full back to audience.]

Narrator: He could not believe. His sorrow and fear overwhelmed him. He refused to believe that the sightings of Jesus were anything more than manifestations of grief, and he ran. He kept himself apart from the brethren for seven days.

[John crosses upstage and faces full back as well—the two should be about five feet apart.]

John: Thomas! Let me in!

Narrator: John whispered through the door. Thomas cautiously opened it and admitted John.

[At the word "doof John and Thomas turn in toward each oiJw and men out, facing the audience.]

Thomas: Did anyone see you come here?

John: Be at peace, Thomas!

Thomas: Peace! There's little peace to be found. Between the Pharisees and Romans on one side, and you and the others.... I haven't slept in a week.

John: Thomas, we want you to share our joy.

Thomas: I... I don't know what to think.

John: I was there on Golgotha. I was at the tomb. The linen clothes and burial cloth were there—but not Jesus. Simon Peter was there; Mary was there; we all saw. The tomb was empty. He had risen!

Thomas: That doesn't prove a thing.

John: But then, Thomas, in that upper room, I saw his hands. Jesus showed us his pierced side. He came to us.

Thomas: Sure. He came to you. But I am Thomas the lesser. It doesn't matter. Who am I anyway? Second son, second twin, second class. Didymus, the twin. "Hey twin. Hey you!" Why did the Lord bother with me in the first place? Who am I? Nobody.

John: Thomas, we're gathering together tonight to talk and pray. Please, come with me.

Thomas: I'll come, but mind you, that doesn't mean I buy any of this. I meant what I said. When I see it, I'll believe it.

[They both turn mid cross upstage and face away from the audimce. On "peace to you," they both turn. John kneels. Thomas stares transfixed.]

Narrator: So Thomas went and joined the others in the house. The door was closed and locked. Suddenly "Peace to you!" said Jesus, the risen one. Jesus approached Thomas and gently placed Thomas's hand in his side and on the holes in his palms. "Do not be faithless and incredulous, but believe."

[Thomas kneels reverently]

Thomas: My Lord and My God! I do believe.

[End of score]


Rights to produce this piece may be obtained by contacting the author. A $10.00 fee will secure production rights for your organization. This fee is not transferable to other organizations. The author may be contacted at the following address:

Debra L. Freeberg
Calvin College
3201 Burton SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49546

Debra L. Freeburg is a professor of communication arts and sciences at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan.


Reformed Worship 30 © December 1993 Worship Ministries of the Christian Reformed Church. Used by permission.