And Mark Lewis. http://www.pottedjam.org Email:
Part 14 - Cornelius
by Jane And Mark Lewis
Capernaum Street grew out of our desire to write our own
series of sketches which would be based on a UK soap opera
(in order to
feel familiar and engage people) and have cliff-hanger
people to come back for "next week's exciting episode").
Then one of the series we were doing in our Family
was on the
life of Peter. As Peter was a "Northerner" (as far as
those in Judea
concerned) we decided to write a series tenuously based
Street. As Peter lived in Capernaum, the title of
wasn't too difficult to come up with! We were then faced
familiar to many church drama groups - a lack of
resources and a
special effects budget. These seem necessary given the
Then we had the idea - what if Peter "came home from
work", as it were,
from his "day job" as a disciple of Jesus to relay all
to his wife Elizabeth (OK we made up the Elizabeth bit
but we know
had a wife because he had a mother-in-law - see Mark
1:30). This would
mean only two people were required and no special
Capernaum Street was born and the format has remained
less) the same
Each episode Peter returns from his day with Jesus to
that's happened to Elizabeth in an
style. In the later sketches (including this one), that
Jesus' ascension, we've slightly modified this format to
Peter's new role.
This sketch was originally written to be part of a
series to follow on from the re-written version of Part
Tabitha. It proved to be a very difficult
to write because the whole premise of the story in Acts
10 and 11 is
based on the Jewish food laws. How could we get
this across when
all the cultural references in Capernaum Street are
we settled on the running gag being that Peter and
refer to traditional English foods as if they were
"weird & wacky
foreign foods". To vary the format a little we
also split the
sketch into to mini-parts to cover both Peter's dream
and the events at
Cornelius' house separately and to allow some sense of
between the two. We should also point out that
there was an
epidemic of E.Coli in Germany in the news at the time
contaminated salad vegetables (hence the topical
at the end of the second sketch).
Given we've broken from the normal format we've
draft of the sketch for reference as this was done in
Peter-coming-home-from-work style. But, basically, we
thought it was
pretty poor hence the major re-write. But here at Potted
JAM we like to
share everything warts and all so we've included it in
case it is
useful for someone.
(Note: the Part numbers refer to the order the sketches
in and not necessarily the order of events in Peter's
- Peter, apostle of Jesus.
- Elizabeth, his wife.
Peter should be dressed to suggest "fisherman". (E.g.
woolly jumper, water-proof jacket, etc.)
Elizabeth is a house-proud housewife and should be
have her hair in a scarf and have a duster to wave
around for emphasis.
(Note: We've always stuck with the same costumes so that
are recognisable though by the later sketches from Acts
really fit with the situation).
Part 1: The scene is a room in Simon the Tanner's house.
asleep in an easy chair or sofa.
Part 2: This is a telephone conversation so Peter and
at opposite sides of the stage. If the easy chair/sofa is
on-stage then Elizabeth should stand near this to indicate
she is still
at Simon's house whilst Peter is away (in Caeserea).
We use three devices to create a consistent "look and
- The characters are always dressed the same in every
- For each performance we project the Capernaum St.
on the data projector.
- We use, what turned out to be, a very successful
the start and end of each sketch: the Theme Tune. We
both play the
few bars of the theme tune to Coronation Street
Script (as performed)
make us a bacon sandwich luv, snore.
Elizabeth: Peter wake up, wake up.
Peter: [wakes up with a start]
Elizabeth: Peter you were
talking in your
I? I was
having that dream again.
Elizabeth: Peter, I keep
telling you it's
not a dream, it's a nightmare. You were on about "bacon
what if someone was to hear you?
Peter: Liz I
ignore it. Every time this sheet comes down with all sorts
foreign food that we aren’t allowed to eat. A voice says
Peter. Tuck in." Then I say "No surely not. Lord I would
you by eating the wrong food". Then the voice says,
anything wrong that the Lord has made right".
Elizabeth: It's just a dream
sure it doesn't mean anything.
Peter: No I
nasty feeling it does mean something. This happened
Liz. Three is a bit of a significant number for me –
Elizabeth: Yes I know.
there's something significant in the foods you
saw. What did you
see apart from the bacon sandwiches?
and wacky foods, sausages, gammon steaks, roast pork,
It's all food from pigs – they're unclean.
there's more. There was seafood - cockles, whelks, scampi
Elizabeth: Jellied eels.
Jelly & eels,
eels in Jelly? Jellied eels!! Eugh!
Elizabeth: Worse? How could
anything be worse.
hardly bring myself to say. I saw.......
Peter: [clearly struggling with the
It's too horrible.....
Elizabeth: Oh Peter.
I'm here. You can tell me.
saw...... A prawn cocktail [holds
in his hands]
that's obscene! Dream or no dream, I am not having prawn
in this house.
knocking then] Open up in the name of
seek a man called Peter.
Elizabeth: See now look what
you've got the Romans after you!
Elizabeth: [to an
Centurions came and took him! That's not good is it – I
from him for 3 days. [Her phone rings -
the ringtone is, inevitably, the Coronation St. theme
Sorry Martha that's the phone got
Elizabeth: Peter! Are you alright?
Where are you?
Liz. I'm still in Caeserea….
Elizabeth: Caesar's there? Are you
– I’m in Caeserea. Never mind. but I want to tell
you all about
what’s happened ...
Elizabeth: I've been really
everything happened so quick. The men who turned up
were from a
Roman soldier called Cornelius.
Elizabeth: Never heard of him.
not. But listen - you know I had that dream, well
Cornelius had a
Elizabeth: About weird food?
Don't tell me
he runs one of those fancy Italian restaurants!
Peter: No in
dream an angel appeared to him and told him to send for
Elizabeth: Really? Well
preaching must be improving if you have angels
recommending you! Wait
until I tell that Martha next door!
daft Liz! Anyway… When I arrived Cornelius ushered
me in and
there was a roomful of people – he'd invited loads of
people around. So
there I was in a room of … well….foreigners….all lookin'
Elizabeth: Well what did you do?
moment it all clicked. My dream!
Elizabeth: You told them your
jellied eels and prawn cocktails??!
Don't be soft. I suddenly realised what it all
God was telling me not to dismiss people I thought God
interested in. He loves all people everywhere –
whatever they eat
– and its not our job to exclude people when God wants to
Elizabeth: Oh I see. So
what did you
guess. I told them all about Jesus! All about his
life and death
and resurrection and everything I've seen. And
suddenly the Holy
Spirit came upon them and they all started praising God
and speaking in
heavenly languages. So anyway I need to stay on as
I've a few
baptisms to do.
Elizabeth: Oh No!
I'll be back soon. [Laughing]
to get used to trying out some new weird foreign foods
though. Apparently we're having something called "Toad in
Elizabeth: Oooh that's
it's battered frogs legs!
Peter: No I
it’s made with sausages!
Elizabeth: Now you be careful,
Dream or no dream
you have to watch what you eat! Have you seen the
news I’m not
even buying imported vegetables at the moment, let alone
Liz – I looking forward to coming back for your
home-cooking and a nice
cup of tea.
Peter! You're back at last. I was so worried
you rushed off in such a hurry I wondered what was going
wondered too to be honest.
come on then what happened in Caeserea? Who were
those men that came?
actually it all started before they arrived.
You see I had this dream.
Elizabeth: A dream?
really, really weird. I was feeling
hungry – and in my dream this sheet came down and it was
all full of
well – foreign food.
voice from heaven said – "Peter Grub's up. Tuck
in." But I said, "No Lord that's not right I've never
eaten any of that
voice said. Do not call anything I give you
impure or unclean. And this happened three times.
Elizabeth: Oh dear.
I've got a bit of a history with three
times. Well I hadn’t had a chance to tell you all
this when those
blokes turned up from Caeseara asking me to go to see
Elizabeth: Oh right
turns out this Cornelius is a foreigner too. A
Roman centurion no less.
Elizabeth: Oh dear we've had enough
getting in trouble
with the authorities already Peter.
no. This is amazing. No an angel had appeared to
him and said go and send to Joppa for a chap called Peter.
Elizabeth: But that's you!
know. So these men arrive from Cornelius and I
felt the Holy Spirit say – Its OK Peter you should go with
So that's why we left in a hurry. Anyway we got to
Caesarea and this
guy Cornelius greets me by bowing down in front of me.
Roman soldier bowing down to me. So I told
him to get up straight-away obviously can’t have him doing
then he'd invited everyone he knows around to hear what I
had to say –
all his friends and family. So there I am in the
room of, well
foreigners, and Cornelius tells me about the angel and why
he sent for
me and says – so we’re all ears what have you got to say
Elizabeth: No pressure then
exactly. Anyway so I thought well in for a
penny in for a pound so I told them all about Jesus!
I told them
everything that he did and taught, I told them all about
his death and
resurrection and the fact that they can be forgiven…. And
well whilst I
was speaking the Holy Spirit came on them all and they
in heavenly languages and praising God.
Elizabeth: What foreigners
then I realized y'see – that’s what that sheet
was all about it was God telling me that I shouldn’t be
foreigners are all impure and unclean – God loves them
same. We've always excluded people that don’t fit in
to our way
of thinking but Jesus has shown that he wants to include
Elizabeth: Oh I see. Anyway
you must be
starved – would you like
something to eat?
a bacon butty
Elizabeth: Bacon!! We don't
That's…oh I see….!
know Liz – when in Rome!
Elizabeth: This is going to
take a bit of
getting used to and no
will – but I know it’s the right thing Liz
Elizabeth: Well I don't know
about you but
Both: ...a nice cup of tea...
Elizabeth: [smiling] I'll put the kettle on…
Copyright © 2011
Mark Lewis. http://www.pottedjam.org
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