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LE-10 "In Their Own Words II"

Excerpt from "Barabbas"

Barabbas - Man of any age can play the part. He wears green fatigues, may carry a short knife or holster. He could have a beard or mustache.

The drama takes place in a small room. A table and chairs are center stage. Papers, pamphlets, a wine bottle, and a glass are on the table. The drama begins as Barabbas enters and speaks directly to the audience.

Barabbas: "Give me liberty or give me death." "I regret that I have but one life to lose for my country." "When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another . . ." Exciting words, aren't they? Words that every red-blooded American has memorized by heart. You like to idealize those words, to freeze them on a page in a book, to abstract them from the men who spoke them, to divorce them from the bloody revolution they helped to create. But you cannot.

You talk of freedom, peace, and justice! You deplore riots, terrorism, and bloody violence. You call Hancock, Henry, Hale, and Washington patriots, but in reality they were nothing more than violent revolutionaries. Whether you want to admit it or not, I am cut from the same cloth as those men. I am a freedom fighter. I am Barabbas.

Who my parents were and where I came from is of no real significance to you or to my story. What is important is how I was born and raised. I am a Jew, a Jew who was weaned on stories of David the outlaw, mercenary, and King, and of the Maccabees who freed Israel from Greek rule. Your patriots talked of inalienable rights, of equality, of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Well, that's all I want for my people, my country, and myself.

For nearly a hundred years, we enjoyed freedom, and then the Roman legions marched through here with nothing but world domination on their minds. We had to conform to their way of thinking, their form of government, their demands, and their burdensome taxes. There was no way that we could resist the overwhelming power of their armies, but as a freedom-loving people there was no way we would abandon our dream of liberty and independent rule. So we decided to resist them in the only way we could. Pockets of resistance were formed throughout the country. You call them terrorists, radicals, or extremists. I call them freedom fighters, patriots, or the underground. (He pours himself a drink.)

We called ourselves Zealots, because we would fight zealously for our freedom. The Romans called us the Brothers of the Short Sword. Our tactics were simple. We would strike quickly and hit them hard. We would ambush Roman patrols or assassinate Roman soldiers who were separated from their comrades while working crowd control. A slashing blow across the back of the neck, or an upward thrust through the back of the ribs, left many a Roman soldier dead before he hit the ground.

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Excerpt from "Claudia Procula"

Claudia Procula - Young woman in her twenties or thirties. She wears a dressing gown.

The drama takes place in a sitting room. A table and chairs are center stage. The lights are turned low as Claudia enters carrying a candle.

Claudia: (She enters with a lighted candle, sets it on the table, and sits down. She stares into the flame as she speaks.) "To sleep: perchance to dream; ay there's the rub; For in that sleep of death what dreams may come, When we have shuffled off this mortal coil, Must give us pause." (Sighs) Oh, how I would love to sleep. To sleep the sleep of the innocent. To dream of pleasant afternoons by the Mediterranean, with a bright blue sky, and a warm radiant sun. "To sleep: perchance to dream . . ." (She looks up at the audience.)

It has been a long time since I have slept well. When sleep has come to me, it has brought horrible nightmares (She shivers.) . . . a crowd, an innocent man, and bloodshed. (She pauses and settles down.) Excuse me for going on like this. I am Claudia Procula. You know me better as the wife of Pontius Pilate, Governor of Judea, and as the granddaughter of Tiberius Caesar.

I was sixteen when I first saw Pilate at a birthday party for my grandfather. I noticed him right away, but I was certain that he didn't even know I existed. He was articulate, confident, had a wonderful sense of humor, and he looked so handsome and dashing in his uniform. He had just returned from a military campaign, and his exploits were the talk of the Senate. I couldn't stop looking at him, and several times our eyes met.

But I thought little of it until the following day when my servant girl announced that a soldier was here to see me. I couldn't imagine who it might be, and when I walked into the foyer, there stood Pilate, the man of my dreams. (She looks thoughtfully into space.) "Perchance to dream." (Coming back to reality.) I'm sorry, but this has been so difficult for me. Pilate and I talked for the whole afternoon, and it seemed as if I had known him forever. We met on several other occasions, and the more we talked, the closer we seemed to grow. Always the gentleman, he treated me with respect and dignity.

Being the granddaughter of Caesar, I was privy to much information. Our home was always filled with political talk. And the more I listened, the more it seemed to me that Pilate's name kept coming up. Would he be promoted from Captain to Field Marshall, or would he take a political appointment? Some even dared to compare him to Julius Caesar, military man and politician.

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