Ten Plays: Short, easy dramas for churches
By Rosalie Sugrue
As featured on Maren Tirabassi’s Gifts in Open Hands blog.
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Praise for Ten Plays
Review by John Meredith in Touchstone – November 2014
“The pattern of Sunday worship is generally fairly predictable, but congregations appreciate something different at family services and especially at Advent and Christmas.
This is scarcely surprising, since the birth of Jesus and the events leading to it shattered the expectations even of those who had long been watching and waiting for the appearance of the Messiah. We have become accustomed to nativity plays featuring grumpy innkeepers and shepherd boys on hillsides, but these 10 plays take us to quite a different realm.
After making suggestions about an Advent wreath and candles, Rosalie offers five meditations that may be used during the four Sundays in Advent, two meditations being read on one of these Sundays. The meditations titled ‘Christmas women’, are the voices of Elizabeth (Mary’s cousin), Anne (Mary’s mother), a woman traveller (one of many women on her way to Bethlehem for the census), the inn-keeper’s wife, and Anna (the prophetess).
These meditations are complemented with an Advent prayer for two voices. There are no bland words here, for the challenge is to think about what the coming of Jesus means for us in our world and what we need to do about it.
These Advent meditations are followed by a play titled ‘No Room,’ designed to promote the work of Christian World Service at a time when the annual CWS Christmas Appeal will be presented to many congregations. The play features two modern day families who learn that making room for Jesus includes making room for asylum seekers and that giving to CWS can help make lives better for people living in dreadful conditions.
There is also a play using 13 characters from the Christmas story with an activity of creating stick-puppets.
For Easter, the other major festival of the Christian Year, there is a play reading based on five women named in the Easter story.
Those looking for something different for Bible Sunday, Waitangi Day, Anzac Day or Wesley Day will also find it here.
One of the appealing features of this collection is the prominence of women throughout. The drama ‘Mahlah and Sisters’ draws attention to five little-known young women in the biblical narrative. Their stand for justice translates effectively to women’s rights and equal opportunities in today’s society.
In another play, voices of women from biblical times and early New Zealand history who used their initiative to build peace and harmony are heard in monologue.
As is stated on the cover, these are short easy dramas. Few props, staging or costumes are required.
Most of the plays work best with a combination of adults and children and lend themselves to reading without the need to learn scripts. All are readily adaptable for different physical settings and availability of characters.
They are highly commended as a resource for any church or group seeking imaginative ways of presenting gospel ideas and aspects of faith in action. Ten Plays is also available as an ebook.”
Endorsement by Andrew Gamman – Refresh Ministry, Methodist Mission Resourcing
“This collection of dramas by Rosalie Sugrue will be welcomed by church leaders. At a time when the church is struggling to fully engage people, she has provided us an extra resource for those special seasons and occasions that will add interest to worship services as well as to other church events. The relevant themes and easy scripts have the ability to involve people of all ages and stages. Rosalie’s ready-made dramas have already had wide acceptance for their appropriateness to the New Zealand context and their ability to easily capture the imagination of those in our congregations.”
About these Plays
Lay preacher Rosalie Sugrue’s short plays and meditations are ideal to present in church. They encourage us to engage with Bible and historical characters, and explore important themes. Staging is simple. Few props or costumes are required.
Unless marked [adults] these play readings are suitable for children to present. Most work best with a combination of children and adults.
For your convenience, you can download a password-protected PDF version of the text of the plays to print for rehearsal and performance. See below. A password to access the PDF is given at the end of the eBook.
Summary of the Plays
- Mary Jones’ Walk — for a family service or Bible Sunday in July. Relive the story of the 15-year-old Welsh girl who walked 25 miles in search of a Bible and by doing so helped inspire the founding of Bible Society.
- When The Treaty came to Mangungu — for a Waitangi Day celebration in early February. An historic event told from the perspective of Rev John Hobbs’ 11-year-old daughter Emma.
- Easter Women [adults] — for Lent, March/April. Listen in on five women who may have shared a room on that Saturday night so long ago: Mary of Nazareth – the mother of Jesus, Mary Magdalene alias Mary of Bethany, the ‘other’ Mary, Joanna and Salome.
- ANZAC Day — for the Sunday closest to 25 April. Two children learn more about their family connection with World War One. Suitable for presenting in church when reflecting on war.
- The Wesley Saga — for any Wesley Celebration or Wesley Day, May. A rhyming romp through the family history of Samuel and Susanna Wesley, sons John and Charles and their sisters.
- A Peace Presentation [adults] — any time, or Peace Sunday, early August. Monologues of two women from the scrolls of Hebrew Scriptures and two from the pages of New Zealand history. Ordinary women who by wit and will were each peace achievers.
- Mahlah & Sisters — a justice issue Bible story for any time of year. Five capable daughters successfully lobby for women to be able to own land.
- Christmas Women [adults] — multiple uses during Advent. Five meditations of women sharing their encounters with Mary for use in advent worship: Elizabeth (Mary’s cousin) talks with Anna; Anne (Mary’s mother); Woman Traveller; Inn-keeper’s Wife; Anna (the prophetess).
- No Room — for Advent, Christmas & Christian World Service celebrations. Makes a thought-provoking link between refugees arriving by boat at Christmas Island and Mary & Joseph finding no room at the inn.
- A Christmas Story — for Advent and Christmas. 13 stick puppets. Theme: God is with us.
About the Author
Rosalie May Sugrue is a wife, mother and grandmother. She is a retired teacher and motellier with a background in Bible study.
Rosalie is a past National Programme Convenor of the NZ Methodist Women’s Fellowship; a past Vice President of NZMWF, is currently Wellington District Convenor of MWF and co-facilitator of Kapiti’s Afternoon Fellowship; a past President of the NZ Lay Preachers Association; the inaugural Facilitator of the NZ Methodist Lay Preachers Network, a past member of the Churches Agency on Social Issues; and a past member of the Community of Women and Men in Church and Society.
Retired to the Kapiti Coast Rosalie has been active in MWF, National Council of Women, Victim Support and U3A. She has plays, poems, prayers, Bible puzzles and articles published in many church magazines in NZ including a regular Bible Challenge puzzle in Touchstone. She also has work included in devotional anthologies in Canada, the UK and the US.
Recently, Rosalie co-authored a novel with her son Troy. The League of Lilith is a modern day thriller that juxtaposes women in pre-quake Christchurch with the lives of women in Scripture. Her latest writing venture Sophia & Daughters is a book of meditations and prayers centred round the extended stories of 29 wise women in the Bible.
Download PDF to Print
For your convenience, after you have purchased a copy of the eBook, you can download a password-protected PDF version of the text of the plays without further charge.
This will enable you to print copies to give to the performers for rehearsal and performance.
Click here to download the PDF Ten_Plays_Kindle
Then enter the password provided at the back of the eBook to open your PDF.