March 31, 1964   no responses

A Short Drama in Three Acts with Epilogue

by

Anthony Napoli and the Holy Spirit

Produced by the Sacred Heart CYO (Catholic Youth Organization)

Directed by William and Lillian Andersen  (a drama teacher and his over-weight wife)

Scenery by Joey Joe, the school janitor

Costumes by Beulah Politti, and her staff of old Italian ladies

Music by Miklos Rosza as adapted and taped by Fr. Dominic Leo, the parish priest.

PLACE:              Action takes place in two different areas and times:

TIME:                 Newburgh New York – 1964

                                Backstage and dressing rooms of Gallo Hall in the basement of Sacred Heart School

                             Jerusalem – 30 AD

                                 The Upper Room, Golgotha and a Tomb

CAST OF CHARACTERS

JUDAS……………………………………………………………………………………………… Anthony Napoli

Judas played by Anthony is 16 years of age with a lean, dark and hungry look similar to a young Basil Rathbone.

CHRISTUS…………………………………………………………………………………………………Marc Burnett

Marc is 17 years old with red hair, porcelain white skin and rounded muscles and plays The Christus as a  teenage Jeffrey Hunter.

MARY MAGDALENE………………………………………………………………………………….Betty Davis

Betty Davis is her real name; 15 years old but has been around. She would have played Rizzo in Grease if she were born later. – “If she coulda been, she woulda been.”

ANGEL………………………………………………………………………………………………….…Louie Falco

  Louie is a beautiful 14-year-old Italian boy who later became a hairdresser.

ROMANS, PRIESTS, APOSTLES……………………………………………………….…Teen youth of the CYO

  Boys and girls 14 – 17 years old, all straight or so we assume.

Authors Note:

It is the weeks before Easter. Anthony after attending the parish’s Passion Play the previous year is in rehearsal for this year’s production.  A passion play is a staging of the last days of Jesus Christ, usually from the Last Supper to the Resurrection.

Sacred Heart’s Passion Play is held in the school basement, called Gallo Hall. The hall was named for one of the founding pastors and is also the site of Saturday Night Bingo, School Talent Shows, Class Assemblies and Social Events.

The spectators sit on metal fold out chairs set theatre style with a center aisle facing a typical small grammar school stage.  The CYO, Catholic Youth Organization, produces the production and the cast is comprised of the parish club teens – sons and daughters of second generation Italians.

The hall is darkened and lots of colored gels should be used to set the stage. There is no scenery to speak of beside a long draped table for the Last Supper; a large wooden cross for the Crucifixion and a paper mache tomb made from a large refrigerator cardboard box for the Resurrection.

All the music is from the LP collection of Father Leo. It is comprised of cuts from the soundtracks of the film scores of Miklos Rosza’s “King of Kings” and “Ben Hur”. It has all been copied to an unwieldy cumbersome TEAC tape machine and is played over the school sound system. 

Beulah and her old Italian ladies of the church have made colorful costumes for the temple priests; plain rough canvass robes for the apostles; leather skirts for the Romans and a white cotton vestment with matching loincloth for Jesus. Wigs and beards are fashioned from strands of knitting wool and mop rope.

William and Lillian Andersen, a married couple that teaches at the local Junior High School, direct more like traffic cops. They move the crowds around the stage to make tableaux vivants. Lillian loves her pizza breaks during rehearsals. William likes to teach the boys how to apply stage makeup.

 The style of acting and mise en scene should be reminiscent of Luchino Visconti – operatic and passionate not unlike a silent movie staring Gloria Swanson and Ramon Navraro. Think Vincente Minnelli and his staging of “The Nativity” for the Christmas Show at Radio City Music Hall minus the camels.     

                                                                                                                                        

ACT I

SCENE ONE

Dressing Room off stage of Gallo Hall

ANTHONY

Hey Marc, does my beard look all right?

(ANTHONY looks back in the mirror and sees MARC taking off his t-shirt)

MARC

Hell, yeah it looks like Anne Marie’s pussy but upside down!

ANTHONY

How would you know?

                            (Adjusting his beard)

MARC

I know more than you think I know…

(Giving a knowing look)

Here, can you make sure my makeup is covering the back of my neck?

(ANTHONY applies some Max Factor tan makeup on MARC’s bare nape and shoulder)

ANTHONY

Let me do your back now so it will be easier later for the crucifixion. We don’t want a white pasty Irish Catholic Jesus on the cross.

(As ANTHONY’s hand moves over the small of MARC’s back, it gets quiet. MARC catches ANTHONY’s eyes in the mirror.

(BETTY DAVIS abruptly enters, dressed as MARY MAGDELENE)

BETTY DAVIS

Have you seen my jar of oil…(she stops) …Hey, what’s going…?

(Silence)

ANTHONY

W-w-w were just going over lines.

MARC

 “One of you shall betray me”

BETTY DAVIS

Yeah?  Well get it over it Mary! (She chortles)


SCENE TWO

The Upper Room

CHRISTUS

Take and eat. This is my body. Take and drink. This is my blood of the new covenant.

                            (All share the bread and wine except for Judas)

MARY MAGDELENE

I am not worthy even to wash thy feet.

                            (She washes his feet and uses her hair to towel them dry)

CHRISTUS

Verily I say into you, before a cock crows three times, one of you shall betray me.

APOSTLES

Is it I? Lord, is it I?

              (Judas does not answer but knocks over a cellar of salt and runs off)

   (Cue the “Way of the Cross” from “King of Kings”)


ACT II

SCENE ONE

Dressing Room

ANTHONY

It’s gonna feel cold.

(He rubs his hands to warm them up as he slowly applies Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Oil lotion all over MARC’s chest)

MARC

Hey watch it! You’re dripping it all over my costume!                        

ANTHONY

What costume? (Laughs)

(At this point MARC is wearing only a white loincloth)

MARC

Do my legs too.

(ANTHONY gets down on his knees and starts to apply the lotion, starting at the calves and eventually moving up MARC’s legs)

MARC

Do I look sweaty enough? I love the way the light shines on my body when I hang up there.

ANTHONY

No, Shh! You need more.

 (Shaking the bottle to get some last drops of the oil out)

Hold on, I missed a spot.

(Applying some to his inner thighs)

(Their eyes meet)

(Silence except for the off stage music cue of the “Way of the Cross”

theme from “King of Kings”)

(ANTHONY’s hand flutters up lightly touching the outer rim of MARC’s garment. He holds his breath and his finger still. Both do not move for a few beats)

 

MARC

 Line… Line    What’s’ that line? Damn …“Into thy hands I commend my spirit” Oh yes.

                            (Breaking the freeze, he runs off almost late for his entrance)

ANTHONY

“Lord, I am not worthy”

                            (Cue the ROMANS and the TEMPLE PRIESTS)

SCENE TWO

Golgatha

CHRISTUS

They know not what they do.

(Hanging on the cross, his feet resting on a little wooden platform to hold him up)

TOWNSPEOPLE

Crucify Him!

(Shouted out very angrily doing the citizens of Oberammergau proud)

ROMANS

Isn’t he one of them?

(Some CYO macho boys dressed in leather skirts point at Judas)

HIGH PRIEST

For 30 pieces of silver, he betrayed him with a kiss!

                            (Eerily looking like Fagin from “Oliver Twist”, he spits at Judas)

 

JUDAS

I have sinned against God and Man!

(Judas runs out in great despair, hands in air like a Yiddish actor playing the storm scenne in “King Lear.”)

CHRISTUS

Into thy hands I commend my spirit.

(With a great sigh)

(Cue the thunder)

                            


ACT III

SCENE ONE

Backstage

MARC

Whew, I am glad that’s over till next year.

                            (ANTHONY helps MARC down from the cross.

                            He grabs him around the waist and lowers him)

ANTHONY

Damn you’re heavy. You smell like a baby’s bottom.

(As the descent continues, ANTHONY slips slightly and holds him tight in his arms as they gently crash onto the stage floor. They lay still for a moment like a Pieta)

MARC

“In three days I will rise again”…

             

ANTHONY

                       (Prompting him)

“Lo today you will be with me in paradise!”

(They both laugh and rise)

(Cue the Resurrection)


SCENE TWO

A Tomb

MARY

I have brought my oils to anoint my Lord but they have rolled the rock away and there is no one in the tomb.

(A blinding light shoots out of the tomb and a handsome boy appears all in white)

ANGEL

Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here? He is risen as He said!

(He stands akimbo like  Donatello’s David)

                           

CHRISTUS

                       (Suddenly appearing upstaging the Angel, hands raised to the heavens)

  (MARY draws near to Him)

Do not touch me! I have not yet ascended to my Fathter.  Remember me. I will be with you always even onto the end of time.

MARY

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

(She drops the jar, swoons and runs off stage almost knocking down ANTHONY standing on a chair with a rope around his neck)

 

(A brilliant magenta gel shining on the Risen Christ overcomes the shadow of Judas dangling from a tree)

JUDAS

I am damned!

                       (The 30 pieces of sliver roll down stage)

(Cue the “Alleluias” from the finale of  “Ben Hur”)

Fallen Angel


EPILOUGE

Dressing Room

MARC

Grab me a towel pal.

 (He tries to wipe the baby oil encrusted makeup from his back)

ANTHONY

Hey dummy, you missed a spot.

              (ANTHONY towels his back)

   (He sings softly)

“Oh Lord, I am not worthy…

Another openin’, another show

 From Philly, Kansas and Balti –mo”

Hey, I think you need to take a shower to get the rest.

MARC

My Dad is out of town– wanna go up to my house and hang? You can help me get this crap off.

ANTHONY

Sh-Sh-Sure

(Quietly ANTHONY cleans MARC off. Taking his time, turning over the towel over and over, restoring MARC’S skin from Max Factor #5 tan to his natural Carrara Marble white, He notices his blue veins, light freckles and wisps of red hair on his arms.)

(Continues to sing lightly)

“A chance for stage folks to say hello

Another openin’ to another show.

Strange dear, but true dear

When I’m close….”

(He stops as BETTY DAVIS slinks in dressed in a new Montgomery Ward A-Line dress; shorter than she was allowed to wear at school)

BETTY

Hey Marc! You were great tonight! You shined! Mrs. Andersen has invited me out for some pizza? Wanna come along?

                            (She poses in the doorway)


MARC

Wow, Yeah!      

(Stunned at the transformation from Mary Magdalene to Teen Dream)

I am starving!  Yeah lets do it.

                            (BETTY and MARC start to exit but stops…)

Hey Tone, do you mind…?

                            (A long embarrassing pause)

ANTHONY

Oh s-s-s-ure, go ahead, I am tired anyway.

(Singing under his breath)

“That’s why the Lady is a tramp.”

MARC

“Night Anthony.

ANTHONY

‘Night Judas. 

“Same time, next year?”

MARC

Huh?

                               (ANTHONY doesn’t answer as MARC and BETTY exit)

(ANTHONY stands there alone, holding the towel and the empty Baby Oil Lotion. He takes the noose off around his neck and starts to take off his shirt, changing out of his costume)

ANTHONY

(He sighs, standing like Ave Gardner as Julie LaVerne on the dock at the end of the movie “Show Boat”)

“Fish gotta swim

 Birds gotta fly…

I gotta…”

A FIGURE

(And suddenly there was a figure in silhouette appearing in the doorway, framed by the bright lights from the stage)

Where is Marc?

ANTHONY

“He is not here.”

(Silence)

(ANTHONY wipes the sweat off his brow. It is red from the makeup)

A FIGURE

Hey, you missed a spot on your back. ( he draws near)

(A drop of Baby Oil Lotion has dripped on a magenta gel and fills the air with an incense of innocence)

(Father Leo has forgotten to turn the TEAC tape player off and the “Alleluias” from “Ben Hur” can still be heard offstage)

CURTAIN

 

******************************************

2008

POST SCRIPT

The following year, Anthony decided to write his own Passion Play called, “The Road to Golgotha.”

I discovered a copy of the script in that bottomless cardboard box my sister found in the family attic this past summer.

He made Judas a sympathetic character that acts with Jesus to fulfill his plan of redemption.  How curious that it is so similar to the controversy over the recently discovered “Gospel of Judas”. Both have the same basic premise.

The CYO never performed it. 

After re-reading the script, I thought it best that is stay unpublished and remain on the bottom of the box of ones youthful attempts. However, it inspired me to write the above Pirandellian  “Mystery Play” based on true incidents.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>