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 the same 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.
This is the third in the Capernaum Street series and covers the events from the Last Supper (specifically Peter's declaration to never fall away, through to his denial and ultimately Jesus' crucifixion (Matt 26:31-27:56, Mark 14:27-15:41, Luke 22:33-23:49, John 13:37-19:37). This sketch is different because it is intended to be very dark and humourless. Peter should be played as utterly despondent and dejected with Elizabeth's attempts at comfort sounding hollow. Peter thinks Jesus is dead and gone and the last thing he did was to deny his friend and run away - he has absolutely no idea the resurrection is 'round the corner' This contrasting tone works best if the audience are already familiar with Capernaum Street and so are expecting the sketch to be light-hearted - its not a good sketch to use to introduce the characters. Parts 3 to 5 form an Easter mini-series. (Note: the Part numbers refer to the order the sketches were written in and not the order of events in Peter's life).
We use three devices to create a consistent "look and feel" to the Capernaum Street sketches:
[Peter enters looking despondent. He sits at table at buries his head in his hands. Elizabeth is off-stage]
Elizabeth: [from off-stage] Peter … is that you? [pause] Peter? … Peter? is that you?
Elizabeth: [entering] You're back.
Elizabeth: What's wrong.
Peter: Its over.
Elizabeth: What's over?
Elizabeth: Why - what's happened?
Peter: Haven't you heard!? He's dead. Jesus is dead.
Elizabeth: What that nice prophet Jesus? No!
Elizabeth: [Gasps] Wait until I tell Martha next door. She'll be horrified. What happened?
Peter: They arrested him yesterday and they crucified him this afternoon. He's dead - its over.
Elizabeth: They - whose they?
Peter: The Romans of course, well, no, it was the chief priests and just about everyone else who put them up to it.
Elizabeth: Crucified him??!! But he was so, so good, so so kind. Why would they want to crucify him?
Peter: Because he said he was the Son of God.
Elizabeth: But how could they kill him if he was the Son of God.
Peter: [shrugs] You tell me love. But whether he was or not he were my best friend - and I let him down.
Elizabeth: No - I'm sure you did all you could.
Peter: No I didn't, all I did was let him down - completely.
Elizabeth: I'm sure its not that bad Peter
Peter: No, its worse. Look you just don't get it do ya. I Let Him Down. At supper yesterday he said that I would deny him, of course, I said I would never leave him, I said I would never let him down - I said that I would die for him. Yet when it came to it I ran away just like all the others. But worse than that I followed them all the the high priests house - I was hanging around outside, dunno why really, people started saying "You're with that Jesus aren't you" , "Yes you are, you must be you're from up North". And I said - "Don't be daft" - I never knew him". Me best friend, Elizabeth, me best friend and I said I never knew him.
Elizabeth: Oh Peter - it'll be alright.
Peter: No it won't! That's it. I'm completely useless. I make a pile of stinking rotten fish look tasty. I don't even have the courage to top myself like Judas.
Elizabeth: Oh Peter - you mustn't talk like that! You've got to look … on the bright side …
Peter: [Exploding] The Bright Side!!!!??? There is no bright side love. He...is...dead, Elizabeth. Its hopeless. It's over. What a waste. [Peter leaves]
Elizabeth: Oh No! What are we going to do now?
[Theme tune - slowly/mournfully]
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