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Jonah script

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Closeup, Jonah. Jonah window. Christchurch, Oxford
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Photo courtesy of Marina Bearman.

Scripts for Drama Workshop, Jonah & the Big Fish Rotation, adapted from the New Standard Revised Version 2004, LD McKenzie

Click here for the version for younger children. Here for the script for older children. Younger uses narrator with a few lines for young children. Older has lots more lines for older kids.

The wrong way to Nineveh (for younger children)

(The story of Jonah)


CAST: Narrator, Jonah, God, sailors, fish, king and people of Nineveh, animals of Nineveh.



PROPS: Tent done up like a whale's mouth (or drawn on big paper), sign post with Nineveh and Tarshish arrows, tall potted plant (or viney thing), worm (stuffed sock with eyes), costume totebox.



ACT 1: ONE WAY TO TARSHISH

Narrator:

There once was a man called Jonah. One day God spoke to Jonah.



God:

Jonah! The people of Nineveh are being very selfish. I don't like it. Go to Nineveh and tell the people there to smarten up. Or else!



Narr:

So Jonah did what any of us would do in a difficult situation. He went to the seaside and hopped on the first boat going completely the other direction.

[Jonah starts walking. Up comes sign with 2 arrows pointing opposite directions. One arrow says, To Nineveh. Other arrow says, To Tarshish. Jonah goes to Tarshish.]



Narrator:

But Jonah should have known better. When you're dealing with God, you can run, but you can't hide. God sent a nasty storm which tossed around badly the ship Jonah was on. The sailors were pretty scared.



Sailors:

Oh my gosh!

This is awful!

The worst storm ever!

Throw everything overboard so we don't sink!

Hey, where's that guy, you know the guy...



Narr:

The captain found Jonah taking a snooze below decks.

The captain made him come up and talk to all the sailors.

The sailors felt God had sent the storm because God was unhappy with Jonah. They asked Jonah what they should do to make God happy and get the storm to stop.



Jonah:

You'll just have to throw me overboard. It’s the only way.



Narr:

The sailors were sad about this idea. They tried throwing other things off the ship instead. But the storm didn't stop. So they had to throw Jonah into the sea anyway. So they did.



[Sailors pretend to throw Jonah overboard.]



Narr:

But God sent a big fish that gulped Jonah right down into its tummy. Jonah was safe down there (although he didn't like the rotten fish smell) for a few days.

While he was in the fish's tummy with not much else to do, Jonah made up this little prayer:



Jonah:

Hey there God.

I'm sorry I ran away from you.

I know I can always talk to you in my prayers,

and you will hear me.

Thanks.



Narr:

Right then, the fish opened its mouth and spat Jonah back out onto dry land.



ACT 2: IN THE PUMPKIN PATCH



Narr:

As you might expect, God spoke to Jonah again



God:

Okay now Jonah. This time do what I tell you. Get up and go to Nineveh, and tell the people of that city to smarten up and behave. Or else!



Narr:

This time Jonah did as he was told and went to Nineveh. It was a long way. When he got there, he did what he was told.



Jonah:

Hey all you guys from Nineveh!

In forty days, Nineveh will be destroyed if you don't all smarten up!



Narr:

It worked. The people of Nineveh said they were sorry. Even the sheep and cows and dogs and cats of that city looked sorry to God. When God saw all this, God decided not to destroy the city after all.

But this new decision made Jonah really mad. He went and sat outside the city and stayed in a really bad mood.



[Jonah goes and sits down under the potted plant prop.]



Narr:

God continued to look after Jonah. God made a big plant grow up over him. It was kind of like a pumpkin plant, with great wide shady leaves like umbrellas.

Jonah like it and felt quite comfy and safe in the shade of the plant God sent.

But the next morning, God sent along a worm. This worm chewed up the plant and killed it. The day became hot, and Jonah thought he would die from the heat without the shade of his friend, the green plant.



Jonah:

I'm so sad. My friend, Mr. Green Plant, is gone.



Narr:

Then God gave Jonah a serious talking to. He told him he should smarten up. The way Jonah felt about the plant was sort of like how God felt about all the people of Nineveh. And all the animals too. He liked them all very much. If they all showed how sorry they were, God was happy. The people of Nineveh had learned the lesson God wanted them to learn.


THE END




YOU CAN RUN BUT YOU CAN'T HIDE

(The story of Jonah -- a script for older children)



CAST: Narrator, Jonah, God, sailors, fish, king of Nineveh, animals of Nineveh.



PROPS: Tent done up like a whale's mouth (or drawn or painted on big paper), sign post with Nineveh and Tarshish arrows, tall potted plant (or viney thing), worm (stuffed sock with eyes), costume totebox.



ACT 1: ONE WAY TO TARSHISH



Disembodied voice of God:

Jonah!



Jonah:

Pardon me?



God:

Jonah! It's me. God.

Go at once to Nineveh. Those guys are really bugging me -- not looking after the poor people in the city. Or the hungry. Or the kids. Or the women. I've had it. Tell them to smarten up. Or else!

Jonah.

Nineveh. Hmmmmmm. Right!

[Jonah starts walking. Up comes sign with 2 arrows pointing opposite directions. One arrow says, To Nineveh. Other arrow says, To Tarshish. Jonah goes to Tarshish.]



Narrator:

And that's how Jonah finds himself on the first boat not to Nineveh.

But Jonah should have known better. When you're dealing with God, you can run, but you can't hide. God sent a nasty stormto batter the Jonah's ship.



Sailors:

Oh my gosh!

This is awful!

The worst storm ever!

Throw everything overboard so we don't sink!

Hey, where's that guy, you know the guy...



Captain:

He said he was going down below to take a nap. I'll go get him. [goes and wakes up Jonah.]



Hey buddy! We need ya. All of us sailors are praying our little hearts out and tossing stuff overboard to stay afloat. You better get up and pray to your god too. Any port in a storm!



Narr:

Meanwhile the sailors had gotten desperate. They pulled straws (not a very reliable method) to see whose fault the storm was. The answer came up Jonah. So they asked him some tough questions.



Sailors:

All right buddy. Look here. What do you know about all this? Where do you come from? What's your country? Who are your people?



Jonah:

I am a Hebrew. I worship the Lord, the God of heaven who made the sea and the dry land.



Sailor:

Dry land. Sounds real good to me!



Another sailor:

Hey, didn't you say earlier that you were running away from your God. What in heaven's name did you do to cause this storm. Oh wow. This whole thing is really freaking me out.



Yet another sailor:

So, you got any bright ideas on how to get us out of this situation WHICH YOU CAUSED!



Jonah [heavy sigh]:

There's only one thing to do. Pick me up and toss me into the sea. Then the storm will stop.



Sailor:

Oh great. This is our only choice? No way. There's gotta be some more stuff we can chuck off this boat first. [Sailors throw more stuff overboard.]



Oh rats. It’s not working. Time for a prayer, boys [Sailors stand together for moment, then say together]:



Dear God. Don't let us die because of this guy. And don't blame us if he dies. Amen. Okay, men, heave ho. [Sailors toss Jonah overboard.]



Narr:

As we said, you can run but you can't hide from God. The minute Jonah hit the water, a large fish came up and swallowed him.

Jonah stayed in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights (which was rather unpleasant).

Jonah had time for a little prayer:



Jonah:

Hey there God.

I know that when times get tough, you're there for me.

Even when I'm in over my head,

and I've run away from you.

I can always call out to you,

and you will hear my prayer.

I can always ask forgiveness,

and say thanks.

And you will hear me

and look after me.



Narr:

At those very words, the fish opened its mouth and hurled Jonah out onto dry land.



ACT 2: IN THE PUMPKIN PATCH



Narr:

As you might expect, God spoke to Jonah again. God still felt the people of Nineveh needed to clean up their act -- you know the usual -- stop making war on neighbouring countries, look after their poor and hungry citizens better, look after their women and children better, all that jazz...



God:

Okay now Jonah. Do what I tell you this time. Get up and go to Nineveh, and tell the people of that city to smarten up and behave. Or else!



Narr:

This time Jonah did as he was told and went to Nineveh. It was a fair hike. When he got there, he belted out his message hither and yon:



Jonah:

Hey all you guys from Nineveh!

In forty days, Nineveh will be destroyed if you don't all smarten up!



People of Nineveh:

Oh my gosh. This guy is so right. Let's proclaim a fast. Okay. Everyone big and small, is going to wear shabby clothes to show how sorry we are.



King of Nineveh [wearing fancy robe & crown. Court person whispers something in his ear]:

Right on. It's about time we started cleaning things up around here. [Takes off robe and crown, puts on shabby cloak]. There. That's better.



Time for a decree. I decree that all humans and all animals in the kingdom will fast. That means we won't eat or drink anything for a little while.



Animals [various sheep, cows, dogs, etc.]

Moo!

Baa!

Arf! That seems a little ruff. What did we do wrong?



King:

Furthermore, all humans and animals in the city will wear shabby clothes like mine to show they're sorry.



Animals:

Why should I cover up my nice spotted coat?

I'm already warm and wooly enough. This is a baaaaad deal for us!

Ruff. Definitely ruff.

King:

And one more thing. All people and animals in the kingdom will pray to God and turn from their evil ways. Then God might change his mind and not destroy our city.



Animals:

Since when did chewing your cud become evil.

I sure hope God understands sheep prayers.

Ruff!



Narr:

When God saw that all those people and all those animals really and truly were sorry, God did in fact have a change of heart and decided not to destroy the city.

Jonah however was not happy with this turn of events.



Jonah [to God]:

Yeah, right, sure. Now you've gone and done exactly what I knew you'd do. Went and forgave them. That's why I never wanted to come here in the first place. I knew you would be too forgiving and not go through with it. These guys would never be punished for all the bad stuff they've done. If this is how you run your world, I don’t even want to live here anymore!



God:

What is your issue?!!!!!!!!



Narr:

Jonah headed off in a sulk to the city limits and watched the city to see what would happen.

God continued to look after Jonah. God made a big plant grow up over him. Some say that plant was a bean. Some say it was like a pumpkin plant, with great wide shady leaves like umbrellas.

Whatever it was, Jonah like it and felt quite comfy and safe in the shade of the plant God sent.

In the morning, though, God sent along a bug. Some say it was a worm. This worm chewed up the plant and killed it. Then the day became hot, and Jonah thought he would die from the heat without the shade of his friend, the green plant.



Jonah:

I'm so sad. My friend, Mr. Green Plant, is gone. I have nothing to live for anymore.



God:

All right Jonah. Straighten up. Get some perspective. Take a look at yourself. See how miserable you feel about losing that vegetable I sent to make you feel all cool and shady.



Jonah:

Yeah.



God.:

Well, think how I feel. Nineveh is a big huge city full of people. They're allowed to learn from their mistakes. Why shouldn’t I care about all those people. And all those cute little animals too.



Jonah:

Gee whiz. You're so right. I never thought of it that way. That would be why you're God and why I'm not!



THE END

All original text 2004 - 2014, LD McKenzie

For a brief site ed's bio, click here:

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