Part 16 - Letters and Memories

by Jane And Mark Lewis
Copyright 2013 Jane And Mark Lewis. http://www.pottedjam.org Email: sketches@pottedjam.org

Contents

Background

Capernaum Street grew out of our desire to write our own "soap opera"-style series of sketches which would be based on a UK soap opera (in order to feel familiar and engage people) and have cliff-hanger endings (to encourage people to come back for "next week's exciting episode").

Then one of the series we were doing in our Family Services was on the life of Peter. As Peter was a "Northerner" (as far as those in Judea were concerned) we decided to write a series tenuously based on Coronation Street. As Peter lived in Capernaum, the title of Capernaum Street wasn't too difficult to come up with! We were then faced with the constraints familiar to many church drama groups - a lack of resources and a Hollywood special effects budget. These seem necessary given the miracles Peter witnessed. 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 his experiences to his wife Elizabeth (OK we made up the Elizabeth bit but we know Peter 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 effects!

Capernaum Street was born and the format has remained (more or less) the same ever since. Each episode Peter returns from his day with Jesus to recount everything that's happened to Elizabeth in an "up-North"-kitchen-sink-type-Coronation-Street style. In the later sketches (including this one), that occur after Jesus' ascension, we've slightly modified this format to adjust to Peter's new role.

This sketch was written for York Community Church's 20th Anniversary as our Capernaum Street sketches have been tried and tested on the long-suffering YCC congregation over the years.  The theme of the service was Memory and remembering what God has done so we thought about how exactly did Peter come up with the ideas for his letters....(in particular this is based on 2 Peter)

(Note: the Part numbers refer to the order the sketches were written in and not necessarily the order of events in Peter's life!).
 

Rating

Characters

  • Peter, apostle of Jesus.
  • Elizabeth, his wife.

Peter should be dressed to suggest "fisherman". (E.g. wellies, big woolly jumper, water-proof jacket, etc.)
Elizabeth is a house-proud housewife and should be wearing a house-coat, 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 the characters are recognisable though by the later sketches from Acts and this one in particular it doesn't really fit with the situation!).

Staging

The scene is a room in a house. Peter is sat at a desk....

We use three devices to create a consistent "look and feel" to the Capernaum Street sketches:

  • The characters are always dressed the same in every sketch (see above).
  • For each performance we project the Capernaum St. sign (illustrated above) on the data projector.
  • We use, what turned out to be, a very successful device for indicating the start and end of each sketch: the Theme Tune. We both play the first few bars of the theme tune to Coronation Street on kazoos.

Script (as performed)

Part 1

[Theme tune]
[Peter is sat at a desk scribbling notes. Then scrunching up the paper and throwing it away - ideally aimed at the youngsters in the front row of the congregation...]
Elizabeth:  [entering] Oh Peter, there you are, What are you doing?
Peter:  I'm writing a letter...
Elizabeth:  My goodness.  Things must be serious.  The first one took you long enough!  Letter-writing isn't your cup of tea is it dear?
Peter:  No I know. Paul is much better at it that me...[idea strikes] Oh, actually, that's not a bad idea I might mention his letters actually because that sort of fits. His letters are very good, very clever but some people try to distort them...
Elizabeth:  I don't follow? What on earth are you writing about?
Peter:  I want to write and encourage all the churches we're in contact with. Basically because of all these false teachers that are springing up all over the place - telling people things that are just plain wrong about Jesus.
Elizabeth:  Oo I know! I was telling that Lydia next door, you've got to be careful people are making all sorts of nonsense up. You can't believe everything you read on Witter, [disdainfully] "hashtag trendy-new-teaching". So yes you should write Peter - because you were there - you saw it all. First hand like.
Peter:  I know, I know, but I'm struggling with what to focus on. There's so much I could say but I'm not great with letters as you know. I'm a fisherman, well I was ... but I'm no writer!
Elizabeth: Oh Peter don't be silly.  You've had all the experience you need! Why I remember when you first started going around with Jesus it must be...what 20 years ago?...and I thought.  Oh my goodness Peter's gone all religious, he'll come back a nutter. But Jesus was the real thing - you've seen him do amazing things!
Peter:  Absolutely amazing things Liz.
Elizabeth:  You used to come back here... well not here exactly here ... our old place, and you'd tell me all about what you'd seen: miraculous catches of fish
Peter:  Walking on water.
Elizabeth:  People healed.
Peter:  Jesus telling a storm to be quiet.
Elizabeth:  And that time on the mountain you told me about.  You said Jesus was transformed right in front of your eyes and shone like the sun.
Peter:  Yes you know that is a great idea Liz.  I was there.  I did see it - I know that Jesus is the Son of God because I saw his glory on that mountain and God spoke to us! I'll remind everyone about that - me and the other lads weren't making up cleverly invented stories like some of these "so called teachers" are doing we saw it with ours own eyes!
Elizabeth:  And weren't Moses and Elijah there too?
Peter:  Yes they were but I...oh! [another idea strikes] Moses and Elijah. The Law and the Prophets. Think about all the prophecies that Jesus fulfilled Liz.
Elizabeth:  Oh yes.
Peter:  I can write and remind everyone about all the prophecy in Scripture.
Elizabeth:  Yes that's a great idea Peter - my you are really getting inspired aren't you? I expect that it is what it was like for all those prophets - they were carried along by God's Spirit as he spoke to them.
Peter:  Pardon Liz? What do you mean?
Elizabeth:  Oh now don't tell me I need to explain a sailing analogy to you Peter.  When you're sailing you're being carried along by the wind, you know wind - like the Holy Spirit. I expect that as those prophets of old were speaking or writing their prophecies down they were being, you know, blown along by the Holy Spirit. [blows on Peter for affect]
Peter:  Liz that's brilliant.  Right I need to get all this down....
Elizabeth:  That's lovely dear, I'll go an make you a nice cuppa to keep you going...
Peter:  Thanks luv! [Starts writing]....
[Theme tune]


Copyright 2013 Jane And Mark Lewis. http://www.pottedjam.org Email: sketches@pottedjam.org

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