I. IN THE CITY "Look! Here Comes the Procession" II. OUTSIDE THE UPPER ROOM "Who Sups So Early Tonight?" III. THE GARDEN OF GETHSEMANE "How Dark It Is!" IV. IN THE WOODS "Suddenly It Is Spring!" V. EASTER "As It Began to Dawn"
You may follow either one of two staging plans to make this cantata into a simple, but effective musical drama. The first plan requires a singing choir of Junior or Junior High age and a small acting choir which may be composed of choir members or nonchoir members. The arting choir is responsible for pantomiming the text in a staging area while the music is performed by the singing rhoir from the choir loft. The acting choir may join in the singing at the conclusion of Parts IV and V if additional brilliance is desired for the climaxes. Another small group of participants will depict some of the persons mentioned in the text (Jesus, the disciples, and the crowds mentioned in Part 1). These performers may be either young people or adults. No singing is required of this groupunless you so desire.
The second plan, better suited to the smaller church, uses only one choir which pantomimes the text simultaneously with the singing of the cantata. An additional small group of acting participants (nonchoir members), who do not need to sing, may also be utilized.
In the following staging directions for Plan 1, the arting choir is referred to as Group 1, and the additional participants as Group 2. In Plan 2, the singingacting choir is referred to as Group 1, and the other acting participants as Group 2.Part 1: In the City
Lights vp full The "crowds of people" (Group 2) enter carrying palm branches. The children (Group 1) follow behind, attempting to see what the excitement is about. Since it may be impractical to present Jesus and the disciples in a "riding" procession, Group 2 may stand so that the palm branches supposedly hide the procession from view, as the children (Group 1) attempt to peer over the shoulders of those in Group 2. The children point out the stranger (p. 4) and express their surprise and puzzlement. Both groups may join in the "hosanna" refrain if you so desire. Lights ovt at conclusion.Part II: Outside the Upper Room
Lights vp half. The children (Group 1) enter by two's and three's (p. 8). One or two may carry little lanterns. They point out the light and beckon to the landlord (pp. 8-9). The landlord enters. Jesus and his disciples (Group 2) enter slowly as the landlord finishes singing (p. 11). The children cluster around Jesus, some kneeling at his feet. He smiles and places his hand on their heads as if in blessing. Group 2 then slowly leaves (pp. 12-13), followed by Group I (pp. 13-14), while the landlord slowly exits in another direction. Lights out at concluision.Part III: The Garden of Gethsemane
Lights up very slorely during introduction to soft brightness. Jesus and his disciples (Group 2) enter slowly, as if climbing a path (p. 16). They arrange themselves on the ground in various sleeping positions. The children (Group 1) enter timidly (p. 17), as if fearful of the dark sky and the silence in the garden. Finally, they sit on the ground, watching. Jesus arises and moves to one side where he kneels in prayer (p. 21). The children turn to watch him and pantomime the text (pp. 22-23). They shiver as if with cold and apprehension (pp. 24-25), gather their cloaks around them, arise slowly (pp. 26-27), leave, sadly and quietly, one by one. Lights fade ont as they leave.Part IV: In the Woods
Lights np full and hright. The children (Group 1) come in gaily, swinging their hands and skipping. One or two may carry recorders or pipes. Others carry baskets and pretend to look for flowers (pp. 28-31). A mother helps them make a garland of flowers. Suddenly, they all stop and point in surprise to the place wkere a tree has been (p. 32). Then they gather around the mother while she explains its absence. The children are sorrowful (pp. 33-34). She comforts them (pp. 34-35) and then searches in a pile of leaves for acorns, which she places in their hands. Their mood then changes to joyous exultation (pp. 38-39). As the mother joins them in singing, she places her arms around those nearest her. Lights out.Part V: Easter
Lights np slowly to half hrightness as the children (Group 1) quietly enter the garden carrying sheaves of lilies in their arms. They gently place them by the tomb or at the base of a cross (pp. 40-41). Lights s~p to full brightness (p. 42) revealing the figure of an angel. The mother enters to stand with the children, and all join in singing "Do you hear the glorious . . ." If so desired, the cast and choir may leave as the congregation sings a recessional hymn.
PROPERTIES--A very effective and simple device may be used to suggest the different scenic backgrounds for the dramatization. Two sets of reversible banners or standards mounted on poles (such as those carried by the Guilds or standard bearers in Medieval times) may be held by members of a non-singing group. When placed side by side, the banners will form a continuous scenic effect.
The first set, representing the sky in daytime and at night, should be soft blue on one side; the other side should be deep blue with scattered stars. The second set, also reversible, should depict the flowers and trees for the garden scenes, and the woods with the "raw, ugly place in the earth" for Part IV. The banners should be held at two levels with the ones depicting the sky higher than the second set.
The banners may be made very simply from heavy colored felt or construction paper, with the pole inserted between the two sides of felt or heavy paper. The size of the banners should be about 5 feet long by 2 1/2 feet high, starting from about waist height off the floor. The poles should be about 8 feet high and rest on the floor for easy balancing.
Only a few other properties are needed for the dramatization. They are: Part I: palm branches, Part II: one or two small lanterns; Part III: cloaks or shawls; Part IV: a pile of leaves, acorns, baskets, flowers, and two or three pipes or recorders, if desired; Part V: sheaves of lilies.