At first Maxwell wasn't interested in creating a one-man play on Peter because he seemed so average in comparison to people like Paul and John the Baptist. "But the more I started looking into the heart of Peter, the more I realized there is not another character in the Bible who is more universal in nature....more vulnerable and humble than Peter," says Maxwell. "Haven't we all done exactly what Peter does? How many times do I have to put my foot in my mouth? Will I ever learn? And yet God loved him so much, He made him the head of His church."
"At first I had to make myself put up with Jesus," says Peter in his monologue. "All that talking, and always right." Peter loves to tell stories, and he regales the audience with his first encounter with the power of Jesus, while fishing on the river. Later, he sees Jesus turning water into wine at Cana, raising Lazarus from the dead, and "snatching demons" out of a man, then "chunking 'em into a herd of pigs." Peter's story weaves together the events leading up to the trip to Jerusalem, the night in the Garden of Gethsemane, and Peter's gut-wrenching denial.
In the rich tradition of its highly successful tour of THE PRODIGAL, Fish Tale Group Theatre annouces it’s second touring production! MARTHA is a provocative and entertaining play written by John Maxwell based on the story of Martha and Mary (Luke 10: 38-42). Who are these sisters who seem to have two very different views of the world? How does God speak through both of them. with a powerful message of self worth? In this very funny and moving one-act play, we see both sisters fleshed out and fully human. “The play was inspired by the book A MARY HEART IN A MARTHA WORLD”, says Maxwell. “On the surface it seems to be such a simple little scene, but like most of the Bible, nothing is simple. The themes that underline it are universal, and it was fun to present this story in such an entertaining way.”
Joseph appears in this production as an average man who is astounded that anyone would want to learn about him. "It's usually my wife who gets the press in this family," he says. He relates what it was like for Mary and him to receive the news that they were to be the parents of Emmanuel, the Son of the Most High. How do you raise a little boy who is unlike any other child who ever came into the world? And the obstacles don't end there. No one in the community understands who the father is. King Herod wants to kill the baby because of the prophecy that he will lose his throne to a newborn King of the Jews. "It was only through the will of God and a pesky angel that the baby survived at all," says Joseph.
The performance of Joseph, Father to the Stepson is meaningful year-round, but it especially resonates with audiences during Christmastime. "I think it's a really fascinating way to look at the Christmas story," says John Maxwell. "Drama does not let you keep stories of the Bible in a safe place in your closet; it forces you to think about them, to make decisions."
Between the lines of Paul's apostle letters lies a zealous man who once persecuted the followers of Jesus. On the road to Damascus, Paul is surrounding by a blinding light and falls to the ground as he hears the voice of God calling his name. After this startling turn of events, Paul becomes an evangelist for Jesus and his unconditional love.
In this monologue, the Romans have given Paul one last chance to tell his story to his churches (the audience) before he's put to death, and these parting words are an important way to ensure that the churches live on. Paul explains that during his early life, he was an intense, scholarly man who held the Jewish cultural belief that through hard work comes reward. He was angry at the Christians because he disdained their beliefs in mercy and grace. But after Paul's life-changing conversion, he began to spread God's message of all-forgiving Grace. He leaves his churches with the wisdom that will sustain them once he is gone: "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I have become as a sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal."
Barnabas recounts his transformation from a rich young ruler to a selfless follower of Jesus. When Barnabas asks Jesus, “What must I do to follow you?”, Jesus replies, “Give all you have to the poor.” Once Barnabas witnesses the feeding of the 5,000, he finally understands God’s abundance. He begins to give his wealth away and, for the first time, experiences the joy of giving. He eventually realizes, “The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it.”
Originally commissioned by The Church of the Redeemer in Brookhaven, MS, this monologue was presented as a kickoff to the church's stewardship campaign. Since then, John Maxwell has given the performance throughout the South. Because Barnabas gives personal testimony about the life-changing importance of giving to the Church, this monologue is perfect for stewardship season.
This delightfully humorous performance begins with the local pastor standing in front of the congregation and reading from the first chapter in the Book of Mark, which describes John the Baptist as a "voice in the wilderness." Suddenly, a homeless person bursts in from the back of the church. He runs up the aisle, yelling, "That's me! That man is reading about me!"
John the Baptist has been hitchhiking across the country for two months talking about Jesus, his cousin. He says of Jesus, "We wanted something else. What we GOT was the Son of God." Jesus was not a warrior preparing his people for a battle to restore the Throne of David. Instead, he was a common man who ate with sinners and owned only the clothes on his back. John tells the congregation that they all keep waiting for the Kingdom of God to come, but they should be actively preparing for it by doing what Jesus did: serving those in need.
Maxwell wrings the drama from the Biblical text about John the Baptist and reveals John's perspective to the audience in new and thought-provoking ways. Maxwell says of John the Baptist: "He was essential to Jesus' early acceptance. Peter, Andrew... all of them listened to John...and some were even disciples of John before Jesus was baptized. Also, he's so much fun. John the Baptist is 'out there.' He holds no punches and will go anywhere and do anything if he thinks it's what God wants him to do. He's the paradigm of Sainthood."
"The Prodigal" is a modern dramatic telling of the parable of the prodigal son, set in the Mississippi Delta. Told through John Maxwell's eye for authentic dialogue, effortless comedy, and cutting drama, "The Prodigal" is perfect for fans of The Religious Monologues.
"The Prodigal" is John Maxwell's four character one-act play inspired by Henri Nouwen’s book "The Return of the Prodigal Son." The production has been touring to full audiences who have responded with overwhelming praise. “What started out to be a modest tour of a few churches in the Jackson area is turning out to be much more than that, Maxwell says. “The story just packs such a whallop. It's what so many of us claim in our own personal redemption." The play is about thirty minutes long and is followed by a lively question/answer after. The story takes place in the Mississippi Delta and the older brother is a daughter. But it’s themes are all there, just as they are in the Bible. It’s a story that’s two thousand years old and it holds up today just as powerfully as it did then.
This monologue probes the mind of history's most infamous traitor, sharing the compelling story of a man who had every good intention, but through his own arrogance and disillusionment with Jesus made a devastating mistake. Or was it fate? Judas looks over the audience and laments, "Everyone in this room owes their life to me for what I did that night!" In a plea to God for leniency, he says, "I didn't ask for this! You used me!"
Judas explains his actions this way: he truly thought he was advancing God's plan for Jesus. He believed with absolutely certain that Jesus was the promised Messiah who would expel foreign invaders and restore the Throne of David. By setting Jesus up to stand trial, Judas expected that Jesus would save himself by revealing his divine power and starting a holy war. Clearly, things did not go according to plan. Judas admits after seeing Jesus on the cross: "I might have made a mistake. A terrible, terrible mistake."
Maxwell says about writing this monologue, "Judas is someone every Christian is forced to deal with around the Easter celebration. What do you do with the most reviled villain in the Bible? There is a case to make for him. Was he responsible for his destiny?"