I WAS JESHUA’S FRIEND

A Historical drama in two-acts
Adapted by Alfred Vassallo 
from the book “Judas My Brother” by Frank Yerby

SYNOPSIS 

Pontius Pilate was Procurator of Judea. This is a loose adaptation from Frank Yerby’s book, JUDAS MY BROTHER, involving the Rabbi know as JESHUA, and a good friend to SIMEON who tries everything in his power to save him.

CHARACTERS 

PONTIUS PILATE                    
5th Procurator of Judea

CLAUDIA                        
An attractive Roman Woman, Pilate’s wife, mistress to Livius an admirer of Jeshua.

LIVIUS                            
Centurion and Claudia’s lover and Pilate’s a confidant who is also debauched and recklessly brave a man in his twenties.

JESHUA                            
A 33 year old Jew

SIMEON                            
a Jewish man in his 30s a very good friend of Jeshua
                                       
SHELOM
An old woman in rags
                        
MENACHEM

High priest in the Sanhedrin
                        
CAIAPHAS
High priest in the Sanhedrin
                        
JOSEF of ARIMATHEA
High priest in the Sanhedrin

NATHAN
A Priest in the Sanhedrin
                            
WITNESSES - JUDEAN GENTRY  - PEASANTS as CROWDS


SCENERY 

Location

The action takes place in and outside of Jerusalem.

Act One
Scene One:                       One afternoon in Pilate’s courtyard
Scene Two:                       The next early morning in a field outside the walls of Jerusalem
Scene Three:                    The next evening in Pilate’s courtyard
Scene Four:                      In front of the Sanhedrin court of law

Act Two
Scene One:                       The Sanhedrin’s court
Scene Two:                       Early morning in Pilate’s courtyard
Scene Three:                    Early morning in Pilate’s courtyard

Time

It is the Passover, a major pilgrimage holy day, and in the past Jews had exhibited a tendency to revolt against the Romans.

 

 

ACT ONE
Scene One:- PILATE’s House

(CLAUDIA is sitting on a stone bench at the back of the stage and LIVIUS is standing by the PILATE’s throne)
 
LIVIUS                                          
Why are you so silent?
 
 
CLAUDIA                                          
No, I’m not.
 
 
LIVIUS              
Yes, you’re intensely silent. You’re facing me squarely and I know that defenceless quiver of your mouth. What I cannot understand, and you know I am not a man who gets confused quickly, why is it that you are hit by love in one minute and the next minute you are very frightened of being with me. 
 
CLAUDIA              
If he catches us we are both dead.
 
LIVIUS                                          
A risk worth taking.
 
CLAUDIA 
                                         
I wish I had your courage.
 
LIVIUS              
You have been lying in my arms and kissing you for this last hour and you remain just as cool, almost serene fresh as a daisy. (He goes sits beside her and cuddles her) I feel exulted. Making love to you now will be perfect. 
 
 
CLAUDIA                                          
(Whispering and move his arms away) No, LIVIUS, please no.
 
LIVIUS                                          
You said you loved me!
 
CLAUDIA                                          
I do love you. I love you so much that….
 
LIVIUS                                          
Prove it.
 
CLAUDIA                                          
By letting you make love to me now?
 
LIVIUS                                          
Of course not.
 
CLAUDIA                                          
(Undecided) Then prove what?
 
LIVIUS                                          
That you really love me!
 
CLAUDIA                                          
I do. I love you LIVIUS but my husband is the procurator and your confidant.
 
LIVIUS                                          
(Ignoring the danger) Do you mean it that you love me?
 
CLAUDIA                                          
(Sad) I always mean what I say.
 
LIVIUS                                          
Then why all this sadness. So undecided?
 
CLAUDIA                                          
Because when I am alone tonight I shall open my veins.
 
LIVIUS                                          
(Stunned) You mean it don’t you. You face says it all. Why, CLAUDIA, why?
 
 
CLAUDIA              
(Strong) I swore before Isis that I’d stay faithful to my husband. I promised her that if I broke my vow, I will take my life. (Assuredly) LIVIUS for you I have broken my vow and I have to pay the forfeit.
 
 
LIVIUS                                          
You are mad!
 
 
CLAUDIA              
(Lustfully) I suppose I am. (Kissing him passionately) At least I have broken my vow for someone I truly love at last. 
 
LIVIUS              
(Believing her, stands and moves away from her) No. The devil is me! Go away from me now. I am not worth it. Your life is very precious. 
 
 
CLAUDIA                                          
I cannot, not now.
 
 
LIVIUS              
You will lose me anyway my love if you cut your veins. (Goes and sits beside very serious) Will you, CLAUDIA, will you run away with me?
 
 
CLAUDIA                                          
We can’t…Pontius will find us. 
 
 
LIVIUS              
He will never find us. We will run away, I shall take you away from where no one knows us. I promise I’ll protect you always until I die.
 
 
CLAUDIA                                          
LIVIUS my love….
 
 
LIVIUS                                          
Shall we do it then?  Shall we vanish from Jerusalem?
 
 
CLAUDIA              
(Emotional) Oh, bless you LIVIUS. Of course, I‘ll come with you. When shall we leave?
 
 
LIVIUS              
As soon as I sort out the money my love. (Urgent) Though on second thought we’d better go there now before he has time to find out.  We go to the port tonight and we take a ship to Athens.
 
 
CLAUDIA                                          
No, not Athens LIVIUS, Rome!
 
 
LIVIUS                                          
(Surprised) Rome?
 
 
CLAUDIA              
Yes. Listen to me my dearest. I’ve lived all over the countries we occupied. As a centurion’s daughter, I’ve had to. There isn’t a city in the Empire that strangers can come to without their presence being noticed within the first week. Except for  Rome! The capital swallows thousands of newcomers daily. Think about it LIVIUS,  nobody would dream that we dare to go since I am the Procurators wife. Who would believe the wounded bird should return to his own nest. 
 
 
LIVIUS                                          
(Sarcastic) That is great! And the first sight the Roman soldier’s catches the eye of me they’ll………
 
 
CLAUDIA              
(Sweetly) Since you are cleanly shaven they’ll think you are in danger yes, but if you let a beard grows they think you’re a Greek or Cypriot. For that matter, my pale hair and my white skin are as much trouble as you. Where else, except for Gaul, 
Britain or Germany wouldn’t my blonde hair be noticed? Rome is full of the Greeks and Cypriots. We could lose ourselves there easily, LIVIUS, my husband wouldn’t even dream to look for us in Rome. 


LIVIUS                                          
(With a burst of laughter) You clever little thing. 
 
              
(Enter Pontius PILATE, taking off his robe and goes and sits down in the 
throne) And why do you think my dearest wife is so clever?
 
 
CLAUDIA              
(Stands and go to him) I was telling LIVIUS how when I was a child I used to       
escape my father’s house to attend the chariot races.
 
 
PILATE              
(Stands and kisses her on the cheek) You’ve never grown up CLAUDIA. Now go and do something else, I have serious business to discuss with my brave century on here.
 
 
CLAUDIA              
Since I’m not needed I shall go. 
 
 
PILATE              
(He pats her behind) Off you go then! (CLAUDIA dances off out)
 
 
LIVIUS                                          
What is so important?
 
 
PILATE              
It is the time when the Jews rebel. You know that most of the population feel intense hatred for us, and any small dispute could quickly develop into a riot or uprising.
 
 
LIVIUS              
That’s not news my Lord.
 
 
PILATE              
Is that what you think. What have we learned them?  They are trouble, especially during the annual Passover festival which is in a few days. These people will come here from all over the country. For that reason alone, I have to be very wary, and that is why previous governors always made it a point to be in the city at this time.


LIVIUS              
We caught one of their leaders and he’s waiting to be tried.
 
 
PILATE              
Yes him, Barabbas. He will be tried and he will be crucified. After he will crucify some more and more but the problem with is fanatics will stay haunting us until we leave their forsaken country.

 

LIVIUS              
He is a very violent man, a brigand and not only a rebel leader but he’s a zealot and his people are frightened of him.
 
 
PILATE              
Do you think that by killing him we will satisfy his people?
 
 
LIVIUS              
Worth a thought.
 
 
PILATE              
Nothing will satisfy these people. Nothing at all, all they want is to do is to hate us and disrupt our administration once and for all.
 
 
LIVIUS              
But he’s the heart of the rebellion.
 
 
PILATE              
Good. So I shall keep the heart locked up where it doesn’t hurt anybody. If I kill it I will risk anger the rebels more. I cannot afford that. Now listen to me, as I was coming from Cesarea Maritima I noticed a huge crowd outside the walls of Jerusalem I want you to investigate them right away.
 
 
LIVIUS              
I can assure you, my Lord, those crowds are harmless.
 
 
PILATE              
Crowds are always trouble, especially Jewish crowds.
 
 
LIVIUS              
But they are there to listen to a holy preacher.
 
 
PILATE              
Preacher?
 
 
LIVIUS              
Yes, a new prophet, he arrived in Jerusalem a few days ago.
 
 
PILATE              
How do you know all this?
 
 
LIVIUS              
I have a good Jewish source who happened to be a good friend of mine.
 
 
PILATE              
Friendly with the Jews eh?


LIVIUS              
He is not like them. SIMEON doesn’t mind us, he’s got his own problems.
 
 
PILATE              
Just as long you think he can help our cause.
 
 
LIVIUS              
More than that, he is friendly with the rabbi; apparently, they come from the same village. Nazareth, that’s it.
 
 
PILATE              
And you can trust him?
 
 
LIVIUS              
Completely.
 
Blackout
 
 Scene Two: In a field outside the walls of Jerusalem

 
JESHUA              
(Sitting on the ground playing with some wildflowers with his hands) It is not often that I see these days SIMEON.
 
 
SIMEON              
I’m a busy man like you JESHUA. I don’t sit on the roof of the house and gaze at the sky like you, I have to work hard and you know that Elizaveta is heavily pregnant?
 
 
JESHUA              
Of course, I know. (He laughs) How’s the perfect lamb? Does she still beat you up if you don’t obey her?
 
 
SIMEON              
She’s a good woman my Elizaveta. Well, she sends her love and would like you to come to supper.
 
 
JESHUA              
Not for a while, I have a journey ahead of me.
 
 
SIMEON              
Into Jerusalem?
 
 
JESHUA              
Yes. 
 
 
SIMEON              
Why? Why Jerusalem?
 
 
JESHUA              
My final work will finish in Jerusalem. I have to go to is my destiny.
 
 
SIMEON              
You should have a long rest. You’ve been travelling for all these months. No proper shelter, no proper food, only your followers. How many have you got now?
 
 
JESHUA              
Twelve, but as you said they are my followers. Soon I release them from that and they will become my right hand. 
 
 
SIMEON              
You should find a woman and have your own children. You don’t have to care for everybody.
 
 
JESHUA              
I envy you, SIMEON. The foxes have holes, the birds have their nests, but I have no place to lay my head on…..


SIMEON              
JESHUA do you know why I came to fetch you now?
 
 
JESHUA              
I thought you were keen to see me? Is that so?
 
 
SIMEON              
Of course, but Elizaveta and her parents are worried sick over you going up to 
Jerusalem.
 
 
JESHUA              
So you’ve come to dissuade me?
 
 
SIMEON              
Yes! (Realising) No! I came to try to safeguard you when you get there.
 
 
JESHUA              
I know that I can make a believer of you yet. Come and sit beside me and we can consider the matter between us now. For you are right SIMEON, you can help me.
 
 
SIMEON              
(Surprised) How?
 
 
JESHUA              
In varied ways. First I would like to ride ahead and find lodgings for me and my men. Not in Jerusalem exactly, but maybe in Beth Anya.
 
 
SIMEON              
I think that is very wise. (JESHUA stares at him and says nothing) I don’t think you consider the implications of my remark?
 
 
JESHUA              
I don’t have to. I’d suggest you try the house of NATHAN Ben Yusuf? You know him don’t you?
 
 
SIMEON              
Yes, of course. If for some reason NATHAN cannot take you in then what?
 
 
JESHUA              
Go and try the house of Miriam and Martha. They’ll be glad to have us. But I’d prefer NATHAN’s. SIMEON, I don’t care for wagging tongues ordinarily, but what I have to do in Jerusalem is too important to allow it to be distorted by scandal-mongers.
 
 
SIMEON              
You are right of course. The scandal is too great in you staying alone in the house of two lonely women.

 


JESHUA              
Precisely. 
 
 
SIMEON              
And should the devout sisters fail you how about getting you a room in the house of SHELOMith and her husband? 
 
 
JESHUA              
(Shaking his head and without explanations) No
 
 
SIMEON                                          
All right. (Stand and walks around) What else can I do for you?

 


JESHUA                                          
Buy me a young donkey. A colt. 
 
 
SIMEON                                          
I don’t need too. I give you one from Elizaveta parents. It will be our gift.
 
 
JESHUA                                          
Your family is very kind to me SIMEON.
 
 
SIMEON                                          
(Suddenly it clicks in his head about the donkey and laughs out loud) 
JESHUA
 
JESHUA                                          
(Amused) What is it now?
 
 
SIMEON              
(Reciting) Rejoice, heart and soul, daughter of Zion! Shout with gladness, daughter of Jerusalem! See now your King comes to you; he is victorious, he is triumphant, humble and riding a donkey…….
 
 
JESHUA               
(Stands and moves towards him) You know your prophets well SIMEON.
 
 
SIMEON              
From the book of Zechariah.
 
 
JESHUA               
Leave the donkey in a place that I will tell you later. That is all I ask for you. Leave the rest to me. Except for one other thing.
 
 
SIMEON              
Anything Jeshua
 
 
JESHUA              
Could you without any fuss and bother to procure me and my men for one night in a house for Passover. Big enough for 13 people.
 
 
SIMEON              
Yes my, I own a house like not far away of Bet Anya. But that is why you asked me, you knew that already.
 
 
JESHUA              
(Serious) No, I didn’t mean that house.
 
 
SIMEON              
Why not, it’s exactly what you want.
 
JESHUA              
(Firmly) No SIMEON. If anything should go wrong, I don’t want you to suffer because of me.
 
 
SIMEON              
Nonsense. Anyway, no one knows that the house belongs to me and that is the truth.
 
 
JESHUA              
Is that all the truth?
 
 
SIMEON              
No.
 
 
JESHUA              
Do you want to tell me?
 
 
SIMEON              
It was given to a friend of mine by his friend. LIVIUS, he a centurion with the Roman guards. It was given to him by CLAUDIA, the procurator's wife, and since he did not want to make it obvious he signed the deeds in my name.
 
 
JESHUA              
(Puts him in his place) So you’re the devil’s advocate?
 
 
SIMEON              
I won’t meet you but I will send a servant to the wells at Beth Phage, the House of Wild Flags. He’ll be waiting for you. Follow him and he will lead you to it. I will be waiting for you there.
 
 
JESHUA              
No, if there’s trouble I don’t want you near me.
 
 
SIMEON              
Would you deny me the joy of eating the paschal lamb, the bitter herbs, the unleavened bread and drinking the beautiful wine with you my dearest friend?
 
 
JESHUA              
No, I won’t deny you, but you mustn’t. Believe SIMEON, please. I would like you to be there with me but this Passover supper is for me and my men only. I hope you’ll understand.
 
 
SIMEON              
I’m not happy about it but I understand. If you say so you must have a good reason.
 
 
JESHUA              
I have.
 
 
SIMEON              
JESHUA, you keep mentioning trouble. Why? Are you expecting trouble?
 
 
JESHUA              
(Evading the question) I’m not sure. Do you remember the Wisdom of Solomon? 
Let us lie in wait for the virtuous man, since he annoys us and opposes our way of life. 
 
 
SIMEON              
You’re not worried, are you?
 
 
JESHUA              
I shall be looked after. My father will take care of me.
 
 
SIMEON              
JESHUA your father is dead? 
 
 
JESHUA              
(He takes him by the shoulders) Not my earthly father SIMEON, my heavenly father. You have never understood my mission……
 
 
SIMEON               
How can I? Why do you talk about your heavenly father? What about your father Joseph?
 
 
JESHUA              
God spoke to me, SIMEON. When I was baptized he hovered above my head in the form of a dove. I heard his voice, I was his beloved son in whom I am blessed.


SIMEON              
I still don’t understand….
 
 
JESHUA               
(He sits down again and looks up at SIMEON) You see, you, your family and others will reduce me to an earthly king, to diminish the Romans and overthrown without lifting a finger, but my mission is greater than that.
 
 
SIMEON              
(He kneels on one knee) What is your mission?
 
 
JESHUA              
To usher in the Kingdom of my Father, because I say to you SIMEON, that there are some here who will not die before they see the Kingdom of God come to 
power.
 
 
SIMEON              
JESHUA you’re…..(Stops)
 
 
JESHUA              
Yes SIMEON, why did you stop?
 
 
SIMEON               
I was going to tell you that I’m not interested in the Kingdom of God. I don’t care about that, all I care is to see the Kingdom of Israel free from the Romans.
 
 
JESHUA              
I’m not going to be angry with you, because you are confused. But that will come too. My mission is also part of that.
 
 
SIMEON              
And without bloodshed?
 
 
JESHUA              
Yes.
 
 
SIMEON               
(Stands and moves away in despair) You are mad! They will kill you! They will stone you to death; probably they sent you to the Romans and crucify you. Don’t you care how many people you are going to hurt? What about your mother?
 
 
JESHUA              
I pity you, SIMEON. It’s hard to live without faith isn’t?
 
 
SIMEON              
(Whispering) Yes. (Then to his face again)  But to die for a piece of monumental folly is harder. It seems to me that way anyway.
 
 
JESHUA              
(Stands up) Let’s go for a walk. (They walk to the exit while JESHUA speaks) I won’t die, SIMEON, not as you think anyway, I’ll promise. Now after supper ride on and prepare the way for me. I can still depend on your help, can’t I? 
 
 
SIMEON              
(Both exit) Yes, of course, I won’t let you down.
 
 
Blackout

 


Scene Three: The next day in the evening in PILATE’s courtyard.
 
(LIVIUS is lying on the stone bench facing the sky. Enters SIMEON and calls)
 
 
SIMEON              
Is that how you pass your evenings, lazing about? I thought you’d be hunting down some misguided Jews?
 
 
LIVIUS              
(Stands and greets him) SIMEON my friend.
 
 
SIMEON              
The servants let me in and told me that I’ll find you here.
 
 
LIVIUS               
It’s always good to see you. Sit down, do you want some wine? Oh, why not. (He pours from a jug into two smaller jugs) Jewish wine is a good wine.
 
 
SIMEON              
Any wine is a good wine. (They laugh and drink) How’s CLAUDIA?
 
 
LIVIUS              
Fine, I have got some news and you may be able to help me. You know I have missed you. There have been times when your insight of your compatriot’s minds had been priceless. Where have you been these few weeks? 
 
 
SIMEON              
Looking after my wife. Soon it will be her time.
 
 
LIVIUS              
Another son. Another enemy! (Laughs) Not if he’s friendly as you are.
 
 
SIMEON               
I am different from the rest of the Jews because I am not fanatical. I see reason and I can conform quickly. I don’t like you here governing my country and the quicker you leave the better, but since you are my lords and masters, then what’s good in fighting you?
 
 
LIVIUS              
Thinking like a Jew and Speaking like a Roman. 
 
 
SIMEON              
I no longer work under the delusion which makes the zealots the most dangerous enemy you people have. I hate those handfuls of bearded idiots dressed in prayer shawls and led by their faceless god to overthrow the mightiest empire in the world. I don’t love Rome LIVIUS. I hate the slavery you impose on us, but I am a 
Semite with lots of patience. 
 
LIVIUS              
You’ve got a rough tongue in your mouth my friend but an honest one. 


SIMEON              
You know I don’t lie. I believe we should wait until your policies will destroy all your powers. I don’t mean now, or in the near future, but one day, maybe a hundred years from now who knows. Power cannot last forever. 
 
LIVIUS              
I know that you are very intelligent SIMEON. (Sighs) If you’d come to me protesting your great and abiding love for Caesar, or for me personally I shouldn’t have believed a bloody word of it. But now you force me to….
 
 
SIMEON              
And I know that you are intelligent too that I don’t waste my time in lying to you. And I didn’t come here either to protest against Rome or your Procurator. That is why I am here tonight. I need your help badly, I need you to use your influence.
 
 
LIVIUS              
You’re serious, are you?
 
 
SIMEON              
Yes, LIVIUS. You know my good friend JESHUA, the holy man who travels a lot.
 
 
LIVIUS              
Yes, PILATE mentioned him a couple of days ago, and when I went to investigate there was no sign of him at all and the crowds vanished.
 
 
SIMEON              
He’s gone mad. He has fallen into the delusion of believing himself of being the Messiah. 
 
 
LIVIUS              
Messiah? What’s that?
 
 
SIMEON              
The son of God and he’s coming up to Jerusalem with his disciples. Don’t worry about that. I can handle rebels at any time. I show them who’s in charge. You don’t understand. You don’t need soldiers to stop him. You don’t even need one. He conceives of himself as a suffering sacrificial lamb, prepared to die to lead our people to virtue, not to war. He doesn’t want any violence. Bad enough he has got all the Pharisees against him already and I know they won’t stand for his different interpretation of the Law. 
 
 
LIVIUS              
I cannot help him from the Pharisees?
 
 
SIMEON              
I’m not bothered about them. I’m trying to save him from you, the Romans. They fear that he will provoke a revolt. So I need your help.
 
 
LIVIUS              
How?
 
SIMEON              
When he arrives here with his disciples one of several things could happen. Maybe nothing will happen which sincerely I hope for. And second, the people led by the zealots will flock to him and proclaim him king thus forcing you to crucify him. 
 
 
LIVIUS              
You cannot crucify a mad man! The procurator will never accept that for an accusation.
 
 
SIMEON              
But if his enemy can produce false proof of his preaching against Roma and Caesar….
 
 
LIVIUS              
That surely would be reason enough…..
 
 
SIMEON              
My fears precisely. You don’t want to crucify this harmless idiot. He’s a dreamer. A peaceful man. I want you to influence your superiors to protect him from his enemies.
 
 
LIVIUS              
There is something more to this, I’m sure. You’re a cunning devil and you haven’t told me everything.
 
 
SIMEON              
I have told you the whole truth. Compete and naked truth. If you don’t believe I’m sorry. Why don’t you plant one of your spies amongst him? That would be easy, even I wouldn’t be able to pick him out. That way you can surely get at the truth of my claims.
 
 
LIVIUS              
I never do that SIMEON. Because you proposed to me, shows how futile it will be…..
 
 
SIMEON              
But you’ll do it anyway?
 
 
LIVIUS              
Oh, come on let’s have another sip of this wine…..
 
 

 

Blackout
 

 
Scene Four: In front of the Sanhedrin court of law
 
 
SHELOM              
(Sitting on the ground crossed legs beside a small fire. SIMEON comes running in and looks over the closed gate that leads into the Sanhedrin court) You’re too late young man.
 
 
SIMEON              
Late for what?
 
 
SHELOM              
He’s going to die?
 
 
SIMEON              
Who? Who’s going to die?
 
 
SHELOM              
You don’t know? Is that not why you’re here to see him convicted?
 
 
SIMEON              
No, I came here to talk to Josef of Arimathaea, did he go in?
 
 
SHELOM              
Yes, he went in with Nicodemus. So you haven’t heard that they have captured JESHUA and arrested him?
 
 
SIMEON              
No. When, how?
 
 
SHELOM              
You ask too many questions, young man.
 
 
SIMEON              
That is why I came here, to ask Josef for his help. 
 
 
SHELOM              
So you are one of his disciples?
 
 
SIMEON              
No, that I’m not. But I am a very good friend. 
 
 
SHELOM              
As I told you he is going to die. They’re going to kill him.
 
SIMEON              
What did he do?
  
SHELOM              
This morning he created havoc. They will kill him, The Zadokin, the High Priest, PILATE, and the Romans. One of them will, only…
 
 
SIMEON               
Only what, out with it woman.
 
 
SHELOM              
They’ll have to turn the people against him first. Won’t be that hard I think. The faithless bastards. They will think of a way and mark my words.
 
 
SIMEON              
But he did so much for his people. He loved more than he loved himself.
 
 
SHELOM              
They think he favors the Romans. He’s not too smart. He’s too naïve, full of love…..
 
 
SIMEON              
I have to try something, I have to get him out of their filthy clutches.
 
 
SHELOM              
You’re a dreamer like he is.
 
 
SIMEON              
What did he do this morning? I thought he was preaching on the mount?
 
 
SHELOM              
He was but then he went to the temple.
 
 
SIMEON              
Did he?
 
 
SHELOM              
Yes, and I wish he didn’t.
 
 
SIMEON              
Why not?
 
 
SHELOM              
Because when he was in the Temple he found men selling cattle, sheep, pigeons and the men sitting at their tables collecting the money from their sales. He made a whip from cords and drove all the animals out of the Temple, he overturned the tables of the money-changers and scattered their coins; and he ordered the men to take them out of there. He warned them no tot make my Father's house a  market place! 

 

SIMEON              
So they were witnesses?
 
 
Shalom              
Witnesses? You must be joking, there were hundreds of them.
 
 
SIMEON              
Oh no that is bad news. My heart has stopped. They have to hand JESHUA  over to the Romans. They have to?
 
 
SHELOM              
Why?
 
 
SIMEON              
There is only one thing in his favour Tomorrow is the eve of Passover. The Sanhedrin is forbidden to meet on a Shabbat or even on the eve. They have to postpone this fake trial until next week. But that is not the worst of it….
 
 
SHELOM              
What is the worst then?
 
 
SIMEON              
They can acquit him today and if they do they have to pass sentence tomorrow. Which also means they have to turn him over to the Romans.
 
 
SHELOM              
I know what you mean. I’ve never heard of anybody being stoned on Preparation Day?  They won’t do that. The streets are empty look at them. Everybody’s at home preparing the matzoth, the herbs, and the wine. Except me of course, I can hardly find a piece of bread to eat. Where are they going to get the stoning party from? 
 
 
SIMEON              
They have to bind him over until the Festival is over. I have only one chance. LIVIUS!
 
 
SHELOM              
Who?
 
 
SIMEON              
Never you mind. Thank you, woman, and stay warm. 

 


END OF ACT ONE

ACT TWO
Scene One:- In the court of the Sanhedrin

(At the back a huge chair where CAIAPHAS sits and two other chairs on opposite side seated on them are MENACHEM and Arimathea. On the extreme left standing still with his hands tied with a rope is JESHUA. On the right we find peasants standing following the trial)
 
CAIAPHAS
(Addressing )
Father of the court. Perhaps it would be appropriate at this time to explain matters to the witnesses. I am sure your testimony will be based upon mere supposition by which I mean circumstantial evidence, or, hearsay, or on the statement made by other witnesses, or you may say yourselves, “We heard it from a man who is trustworthy”. I tell you that none of these is acceptable, but only which you saw and heard yourselves. Do I make myself clear?
 
(The peasants agrees and make sounds, like ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘I understand’)
 
Perhaps, too, you are not aware that before this trial is over, we will investigate your testimony, by examination and cross-examination. I tell you, therefore, be careful of what you say. Have you understood all this?
 
(Again The peasants who now are terrified agrees and make sounds, like ‘Yes my Lord’ or ‘I understand’)
 Now move back, move back. (Looks around him) Call the first witness. (Sits)
 
(The usher brings forward two peasants (street beggars of the lowest form)
 
MENACHEM
(Stands) With what do you charge the prisoner?
 
Peasants
(Together) With blasphemy!
 
MENACHEM
(To CAIAPHAS) My Lord father, before the witnesses proceed with their testimony, it seems to me, considering the social strata from which they come, that they should be warned and instructed in the proper manner of testifying to this particular offense, lest themselves fall accidentally into the very crime of which they accuse the prisoner. (Pointing to JESHUA) Do you agree with my Lord? 
 
CAIAPHAS
Agreed! Please do instruct and warn them honourable father of the court.
 
MENACHEM
(To the peasants) When charging a man with blasphemy, you may not repeat his exact words, for if he has blasphemed, you would repeat the offence and become guilty of it yourselves. Therefore in every instance where he pronounced the Divine Name you must substitute it for a common name Yose, which have the same letters but which is totally inoffensive. (Forceful) Is that clear?
 
Peasants
(Looking at each other terrified, nods) Yes my Lord father. 
MENACHEM
What precisely is the nature of the blasphemy that you charge the prisoner Yeshua called ha Nostri with?

 
Peasant One
(Scared) He said I will destroy this temple made by human hands and in three days I will build again but not with my hands.


Arimathea
(Stands with anger) My Lords, is this a court or a lunacy commission? 
(At this remark the court is rocked with laughter)


CAIAPHAS
There is much reason I the Lord Arimathea’s question. My Lord MENACHEM will you instruct the witnesses as to what constitutes blasphemy under the law.


MENACHEM
You should know that blasphemy, consists solely of cursing one Name of the Almighty with another which is why we substitute the formula, “May Yose curse Yose” for it. Therefore this charge you made against the accused is nonsense. The Sanhedrin is not concerned with the vain boasting of a fool. The day you find him busy at the Temple’s walls with a ram pick and iron bar then return to us. (Laughter from the crowd) Or is it your intent to prove him insane? If so this court will gladly entertain testimony to that effect, but, you must know also since madness negates responsibility, he must then be freed. (To CAIAPHAS) My Lord, these witnesses have proved nothing illegal against this prisoner.


CAIAPHAS
Could the charge of seducing people in believing false idols be proved? Thus he claims he’s a prophet who entices people to idolatry?


MENACHEM
Yes my Lord indisputably, but...


CAIAPHAS
(Snapping) But what?


MENACHEM
It would take too long. Tomorrow is the Eve of the Passover, my Lord. We all know on a Shabbat, on a festival such as Pesach the court is forbidden by law to meet. What I mean is to get this case over and done with before the evening sacrifice, the charge has to be simpler and more easily proven.


CAIAPHAS
(To Arimathea) The Lord father is absolutely right. (To the usher) Bring forward the next witness.
 
(Forward come Peasant Three who is more educated and his clothes show it)


Peasant Three
My Lords, I am here to obey your commands.


CAIAPHAS
What do you charge this man with?


Peasant Three
(Sure of himself) I charge the prisoner JESHUA a Nostri called the Nazarene with a false prophecy on the score of publicly abrogating Mosaic law!


(There is an uproar in the court!)
 
Arimathea
Are you sure about this?


Peasant Three
Of course, I’m sure I heard him with my own ears.


Peasant One
(Comes forward) That is what I meant my Lord. I saw him and his disciples gather corn on a Shabbat. That is work is it not? When scolded by one of our leaders he told him that the son of man was ruler over the Shabbat.
 
Peasant Two
(Joins in) He healed a man of a withered arm on the Shabbat too. When he was reprimanded he said in mockery, “Is it permitted to do good or to do evil on the Shabbat to save?


Arimathea
May I remind the court, honourable and respected Lords, what is this? It is only the Laws of the Shabbat may be suspended for the purposes of preservation of human life overrides virtually any other religious consideration. Everyone in here knows that the Shabbat not only can be but must be broken to save a human life.

 
MENACHEM
It is true what Lord Arimathea has declared that saving a human life commands us to profane the Shabbat but in this case, the danger was non-existent. The cripple was not dying and lived for many years with his handicap. If there was a cure, as the witness suggested and I doubt it profoundly, the prisoner could have waited until the next day because there was no mortal danger. But and this I believe wholeheartedly that JESHUA a Nostri both profaned the Shabbat and abrogated the Law. Two serious crimes which are punishable by death.
 
(An uproar from the crown is heard again)


Arimathea
(Pointing at JESHUA) Look at him now. He stands there like an idiot and talking to himself.
 
MENACHEM
Are you going back to insanity?


CAIAPHAS
My Lords, my Lords calm down. This is no place to argue. We are here to prove that either Joshua a Nostri broke the Mosaic Law or not. We do not achieve anything by  picking at each other.


MENACHEM
I sincerely apologize my Lord father.
 
(A Judean Gentry moves forward from behind the crowd)


Judean Gentry
With the Lord's permission, I have something to say.


Arimathea
Is it relevant to this case?
 
Judean Gentry
Definitely my Lord


CAIAPHAS
Then proceed you have our attention.


Judean Gentry
First, it surprises me most, my Lords, that no Judean witness like me came forward to charge the prisoner with an act of openly and flagrantly defying and abrogating the Law of Moses.


MENACHEM
And you have?

 
Judean Gentry
Certainly. That is why I came in front of you. My Lords, I saw him and heard him myself in the Holy City. When he entered the Temple he went into a mad rage. He cleansed the Temple. Cleansed it from beggars and thieves, that what he described it. He called the Temple a den of thieves. 
(Uproar)
He took a whip from one of the money-chargers and started to whip everyone, destroying everything he saw in his sight. He said his father’s temple was not a harem.


CAIAPHAS
(Intrigued) He actually called it his father’s temple?

 


Judean Gentry
Yes my Lord father. Then on the same day a wayward wife, an adulteress, if you please, was taken because she had been found naked and in bed with a foreigner, a Greek. She herself admitted her guilt, confessed that she had left the house of her husband, a respected citizen, to indulge in lewdness and the practice of harlotry. But my Lords and distinguished judges as they were about to stone her, the prisoner intervened.


MENACHEM
How did he intervene?

 
Judean Gentry
How can I describe it? He used some kind of sorcery, yes a practice of the black arts, because of he, JESHUA and Miriam a woman of somewhat uncertain fame among us...


Arimathea
(On his feet with rage) No! The last remark is out of order. The mother of the accused is not on trial here. Witness I warn you do not confine your remarks to the case at hand, your testimony will be disallowed and you yourself fined.


Judean Gentry
I crave the court's pardon. I went too far, I realise now.


Arimathea
Proceed then.


Judean Gentry
When JESHUA intervened by some mysterious force which seems to me as sorcery....


Arimathea
You are assuming again.


Judean Gentry
The prisoner forced the stoning party to release her.


CAIAPHAS
How did he do that?

 
Judean Gentry
He did nothing!


Arimathea
Did nothing? 

 

Judean Gentry
I mean he said, “He who amongst you is without sin throw the first stone.”


Arimathea
Is that all he said?

 

Judean Gentry
Yes, and one by one the accusers dropped the stones on the ground and left the scene. That is all my Lords.


CAIAPHAS
You may go to your place now. (Stands) Has the prisoner anything to say. (JESHUA doesn’t answer) Can you provide witnesses to your defence? (There is no answer) It seems obvious to me that he hasn’t got any!


Arimathea
Then my Lord father I bid you to charge the prisoner.

 

MENACHEM
It is written in the book of Deuteronomy: (Quoting) But the prophet who shall speak a word presumptuously in My Name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die. And if you say yourselves, how shall we know the word which the Lord has not spoken? When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, and the thing which he promised does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. (He holds his breath) The prophet has spoken presumptuously and you shall have no fear of him. This court claim that JESHUA spoke in the name of other gods, except in so far he commanded or permitted other men to worship him, boasting that he had some special relationship with the Almighty. But he did constitute the crime of enticement. Yes my Lords, enticing to idolatry, with which we have not charged him, being, as it always is difficult to prove. Therefore it is very clear that the accused has spoken many a word in the Name of the Lord which the Lord has not commanded him to speak. But since the proof of that charge is the fulfillment of prophecies which our great-great-grandchildren will live to see fulfilled. But in the interest of justice, the court will not press their charge, for should one prophecy be fulfilled before the world comes to an end we shall have condemned him unfairly. This charge, however, we do press against the accused, that he JESHUA ha Nostri publicly did prophesy to uproot not only the Torah but the Laws that have come down from Moses on Mount Sinai. (Pauses) For without exception, our greatest sages have declared that any attempt to overthrow the Sacred Law also constitutes False Prophecy and is also punishable by death. For it is written – “All I command, you must keep and observe, adding nothing to it, taking nothing away.” You have heard the last witness set forth how even here in Jerusalem, the prisoner openly defended the adulteress, thus again did JESHUA set aside one of the sternest of our laws. We also charge him of profaning the Shabbat by curing people of illnesses which in no way threatened their lives. This man, (Pointing at JESHUA) I contend, if acquitted and allowed to follow his mad course, which includes, I’m told, the megalomaniacal pretension of being our nation’s Messiah, a charge we have not brought against him as being too ridiculous to warrant the attention of the court, will soon have our cities and our beloved countryside flaming in revolt. A revolt that all of recent history demonstrates we cannot win. Therefore I declare that it is better that one man should die than that the whole world should suffer. My Lord fathers I have spoken. (He sits exhausted)

 


Arimathea
(Stands) My Lord CAIAPHAS, My Lord MENACHEM, and other fellow priests, the prisoner is charged and condemned. Bust as you all know sentence cannot be passed upon him until tomorrow because of the Passover. I would like to remind the court that all delay must be avoided. JESHUA ha Nostri is charged on two counts; carrying two different kinds of execution. If he is a false prophet he should be strangled; if he is a profaner of the Shabbat he must be stoned.  Therefore since one method of putting him to death negates the other or violates the other, it seems to me they cancel each other out and the prisoner should be freed. (Sits)


Menachen
(Stands) Let me congratulate my esteem colleague Lord Arimathea on his knowledge and his zealous effort to safeguard us against error. Permit me to point out that this conflict it is more apparent than real, for if my colleague cares to renew his indisputably profound  acquaintance with the Holy Writ, he will discover that it will provide a specific manner of carrying out the execution of a false prophet at all. It merely says in one instance; “He shall be put to death”; and in the second; “That prophet shall die”; Now our elders, ever merciful men have provided that whenever the method of execution is not stated in the Law the culprit must be strangled because it is the least cruel manner of putting a man to death. There we have no conflict.


CAIAPHAS
My Lord MENACHEM is right. We have merely an unspecified death sentence and a specified one. Whichever of the two we choose are legally justified. Since we cannot assemble a strong party or the public executioners on the eve of Passover our own servants shall do the deeds.


Arimathea
No! Lord CAIAPHAS I disagree! This is not a point of law. It is rather a matter of caution of elementary prudence. We dare not execute the man in secret for when it is spread abroad, as inevitably it must be, the wild rumours will make rioting among tumultuous certain. On the other hand, if we stage a public execution, carried out by our own executioners we disfavour from people in all walks of life. I confess I see no way out of this, practically difficult…..


CAIAPHAS
Honourable fathers, we should calm down. Since we all agree that the prisoner is guilty, allow me to handle the matter. (He stands down from his chair and moves to JESHUA calmly) Tell me, are you JESHUA ha Nostri, the one who is called the Nazarene? (JESHUA doesn’t answer) Are you JESHUA son of Josef and Miriam? (Doesn’t answer) Are you JESHUA the son of God?
 
(There is a huge reaction from the crowd)
 
JESHUA
(Calmly and with power) I am him. And you will see the Son of man seated in the right hand of Power, and coming out of the clouds.

(There is a huge uproar and we hear the word ‘Blasphemer’ a lot of times.)  

 
CAIAPHAS
I wonder what our Roman friends would think of this man’s claim to be our King?

End of Scene One

 


Scene TWO
Scene Two:- Early morning in PILATE’s courtyard.


(PILATE sitting on his throne angered. LIVIUS is standing beside him)
 
PILATE
What do you make of all this LIVIUS?


LIVIUS
I think the man is mad, I have no inclination in him.


PILATE
I agree totally. I think I was right in ordering flogged. That should teach him a lesson and maybe he’ll come to his senses.


LIVIUS
Was does the High priest wants from you?


PILATE
They want to kill him the bastards. Of all the countries we occupy, Caesar had to give me this forsaken country try to govern. How can you govern fanatics? That’s what they are. All of them and that include your friend, what’s his name?


LIVIUS
Simeon


PILATE
As if I haven’t got enough problems of my own. Call your friend and let’s get it over with.


LIVIUS
Straight away my Lord. 
 
(He exists and comes back with SIMEON. LIVIUS goes beside PILATE and SIMEON stand on the side)


SIMEON
Ave, representative of Caesar. I am honoured to be of some help.


PILATE
Are you really? Helping Romans what is it you really seek?


SIMEON
I seek justice as you all do.


PILATE
Bravely said.

 
LIVIUS
I told you, my Lord, SIMEON is not a fanatic like them. He’s more modern.


PILATE
Modern? (Handing SIMEON a scroll) I want you to tell me exactly what it says word by word. I don’t trust your members of the Sanhedrin. 


SIMEON
(Truthfully) Neither do I. (Takes the scroll and reads it quietly)


PILATE
(To LIVIUS) Unless I know exactly what they want from me I cannot act.


LIVIUS
It is obvious isn’t it?


PILATE
Yes it is, but these cunning foxes they always have something that they hold back. Don’t you see LIVIUS they’re using us. They have a purpose and we are part of it.


LIVIUS
A rebellion?


SIMEON
(Lowering the scroll) On the contrary, I think they want you to avoid one.


LIVIUS
What does it say then?


PILATE
Word by word SIMEON.


SIMEON
I can assure you I won’t miss one. It states that JESHUA ha Nostri a native of Nazareth, a Galilean, has been found guilty of perverting the people against its rulers, both Jewish and Roman. They also found him guilty of stirring up people from his native Galilee and continuing his preaching of sedition all the way to Jerusalem itself. They accuse him of blasphemy.

 
PILATE
Of what?
 
LIVIUS
Swearing against their God my Lord.


PILATE
Nonsense. Continue SIMEON


SIMEON
He is gravely accused of declaring himself the Christ. The Messiah.


PILATE
The Messiah! Now, where did I hear that word before? What is it exactly?


SIMEON
The anointed one. The deliverer of the Jewish people and so on and so on.


PILATE
King?


SIMEON
Yes. King of the Jews!


PILATE
(Goes and sits down) Now that’s very interesting. If he is a king he must have a kingdom. Israel, so after all maybe he is not mad.


SIMEON
He’s a different kind of king! His kingdom is a fantasy. Believe me, I know.


PILATE
How do you know?


LIVIUS
SIMEON is a very good friend of the accused.


PILATE
Are you now?
 
 
LIVIUS
I told you before my Lord when you sent me to investigate him.


PILATE
Yes, I remember. Is he the same person? A king eh? Is there anymore SIMEON?
 
SIMEON
Well my Lord…..


PILATE
Is there or isn’t there?


SIMEON
Yes, there is. They found him guilty of opposing the taxes of Caesar. (He gives PILATE back the scroll). That is all my Lord.


PILATE
Being a good friend of the Nazarene do you believe all this?


SIMEON
No. Not at all. He never opposed the taxes. In actual fact I heard him saying it myself to a huge crowd.


LIVIUS 
What did he tell them?


SIMEON
Very simple really. He told them to give Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to give God what belongs to God.


LIVIUS
He must be mad.


PILATE
Not this time LIVIUS. He’s clever our simple JESHUA, very clever indeed.


LIVIUS
What do you mean? I don’t understand?


PILATE
What he actually said to his people that his God is not nearly as interested in our money. But what he really meant was the reason they might give Caesar is not because of the sovereignty of Caesar, but instead because of the sovereignty of his God that makes giving to Caesar worthwhile. Withholding from Caesar, then would follow from the same set of reasons. Tell me LIVIUS do you think a madman could think a philosophy like this?


LIVIUS
I’m not sure my Lord.

 


SIMEON
My Lord, I know JESHUA pretty well, we grew up together in the same village. Since he was a child he was always weird. He used to go to the hills and stays by himself for hours. When I used to ask him what he’d been doing all that time, he used to look at me intensely. “I was talking to my father!”


LIVIUS
But there is nothing wrong with that.
 
SIMEON
Yes, there is. His father was nowhere near him. He was in his shop working hard, fixing tables and chairs.


PILATE
Strange.


SIMEON
A few days ago told me the same thing again. I told him he should be careful because if he keeps preaching the way he did they will accuse him and finally sent him to death. He turned to me and told me not to worry because his father will take care of him. But his father has been dead for years now. How the hell can he take care of him? If he’s not mad I am the insane one.


PILATE
(Stands) I have heard enough, SIMEON, I thank you for your help in this matter and LIVIUS will see you out now.


SIMEON
Glad to be of some help. May I ask you something, my Lord?


PILATE
(With a sarcastic smile) How can I refuse?
 
 
SIMEON
Have you seen JESHUA yet?


PILATE
Briefly! Why? I gave orders to flog him. That should wake him up.


SIMEON
I hope so too. When you interrogate please, don’t misjudge him entirely. Remember he is not right in the head, I know believe me.


PILATE
I am a just man SIMEON and if he’s innocent of his crime he’ll be freed no doubt about that. If I think that he’s mad, tell me what do you do with a madman? I will exile him for his protection.

 

SIMEON
Very wise my Lord. I thank you on behalf of his friends.


LIVIUS
Let’s go now my Lord is very busy.


PILATE
(As they’re leaving) Send me JESHUA right away.


LIVIUS
Yes my Lord.
 
(PILATE goes and sits on the throne. After a while, we see JESHUA with his robe torn and blooded. He enters wearing a crown of thorns on his head. PILATE stands opposite him and stares at him without emotion. 


PILATE
(Moves closer to him and moves behind him and speaks) Tell me JESHUA, what have you done? Why do you think they’ve brought you here to me? (JESHUA stays silent) Don’t you want to speak to me? (JESHUA stays silent, PILATE moves and faces him) Look at me. What do I have to do to persuade that you are in danger and I am here to help you? (JESHUA remains silent) It seems to me that you are more dangerous than your accusers. Tell me JESHUA where is your kingdom?
 
 
JESHUA
My kingdom is not of this world. If I was king of this world no one will be able to lay a finger on me. But my kingdom is not of this world.


PILATE
In your own words, you’re declaring yourself a king? (JESHUA stays silent) Are you king? King of the Jews?

 
JESHUA
You said I am I look for the truth but instead, I find I’ll get cursed. My task is to bear witness to the truth. For this I was born; for this I came into this world and who listens to my voice will know the truth.


PILATE
(Moves around and pauses) What is the truth?  (Long pause) I see no reason to punish you unless I find you evil. I can see that you are harmless but then again you could be making it up. (Pause) Why do you upset me so much? I know what you are JESHUA. I’ve seen a lot like you. You are foolish, ill-advised and made yourself important, but in reality, you are nothing. Not a kind at all just a fool. (JESHUA stays silent. PILATE walks up and down a few paces) JESHUA if you won’t talk to me you’re going to suffer. (Yells) Why don’t you tell me something so that I can help you? Don’t you know U have your life in my hands?


JESHUA
You have no authority over me at all, except what was given to you from my father. That’s why those who handed me over to you are guilty of a greater sin.

PILATE
I shall wash my hands of you. If you don’t want me to help you than I have no other choice. I can’t help you anymore even if you are innocent of the crimes brought before me. (Shouts for LIVIUS) LIVIUS….LIVIUS….


LIVIUS
(Enter in a hurry) Yes my Lord anything the matter?


PILATE
No take this Jewish bastard away and crucify him.
 
End of Scene Two
Scene Three: Late afternoon in PILATE’s courtyard.

 
(LIVIUS, CLAUDIA and SIMEON are all sitting. SIMEON is exhausted and very emotional)

 
CLAUDIA
I feel sorry for his mother really. Him too of course, but he’s dead and she still amongst the living.


SIMEON
What does a mother feel inside when she sees her son beaten and crucified? All I know that she stayed with him till the end.


LIVIUS
A brave woman.


CLAUDIA
Brave indeed. Do you know I used to go and hearing preach? Secretly of course, but I went three or four times. I’m sure that once he was preaching about me.


LIVIUS
He didn’t even know you. What made you think that?


CLAUDIA
He said, “You have heard the saying do not commit adultery?  I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery within his heart. If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it away from you; for it is better for you to lose one part of the body than for your whole body to go to hell.”


LIVIUS
You’re imagining things.


CLAUDIA
Am I? What you and I are doing is adultery. So why did he say when I was there?


SIMEON
Coincidence my Lady. I know your husband did his best to save him, and I have to accept the fact that JESHUA wanted to be killed somehow. For what purpose I haven’t got a clue. He was asking for trouble all the time.
 
 
LIVIUS
I heard PILATE questioning him and I’ve never seen my Lord questioning a prisoner like that before. He stayed calm and tried to help him out. He really did, I think in his heart he felt guilty for having him flogged. 


CLAUDIA
Not guilty enough to stop him from being crucified.


SIMEON
When I saw him hanging there, helpless and humiliated, I shuddered. I had never endured such horror. He was my friend and did nothing to help him. I should not have helped him to come here to the centre of trouble.


LIVIUS
From what you told me he had a mind of his own.
 
SIMEON
I wept, sweated and vomited blood. I died sixty times a minute for each of those three hours he was hanging on the cross. I lost my strength completely. I behaved like a woman. I shook, quivered, raved, babbled, screamed, tore the earth with my bare fingers. That’s when I heard him utter the words, “Eli, Eli lamah sabacthani”.
 
 
CLAUDIA
Was he blaming his god for slaughtering him?


SIMEON
Could be, but maybe I heard wrong and said something else like, “lamah asabtani’ why did you forsake me. There was too much noise and the wind was howling.


CLAUDIA
What are you going to do now? Your wife is expecting, isn’t she? You should be beside her.


SIMEON
She’ll be all right. She’s as tough as a fox, my wife. Anyway, I had to come and thank you LIVIUS. Giving me permission to move the body and bury him privately was a huge favour.


LIVIUS 
It was nothing. What are friends for?

 


CLAUDIA
It shows though that good friendship can exist in mixed races too.


SIMEON
Do you mean between a Roman and a Jew?


LIVIUS
Precisely. (They all laugh) Now when you've gone over your grief of JESHUA, I want you to help me.


CLAUDIA
(Quickly) Help us!


LIVIUS
We’re fleeing to Rome. What do you think?


CLAUDIA
Will you help us?


SIMEON
Why not! (He laughs out loud) I’m the devil’s advocate, that what JESHUA once called me.
 
 
END OF ACT TWO