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John 21:1-14

Fish and Ships - a drama

Cast of Characters:

NARRATOR: Afterwards Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Tiberias. It happened this way: Simon Peter, Thomas (called Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. "I'm going out to fish," Simon Peter told them, and they said, "We'll go with you." So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

[enter Turbot & Pike miming swimming actions and mouth opening and shutting - throughout the drama, when the fish are not actually speaking, they should be still be opening and shutting their mouths and making gentle swimming movements on the spot]

TURBOT: Evening, Pike

PIKE: Evening, Turbot

[enter Carp]

TURBOT: Evening, Carp

CARP: Evening, Turbot. Evening, Pike.

PIKE: Evening, Carp.

[enter Haddock]

HADDOCK: Evening, Pike.

PIKE: Evening, Haddock.

HADDOCK: Evening, Turbot. Evening, Carp.

T & C: Evening, Haddock.

[enter Skate]

SKATE: Evening, all.

P/H/T/C: Evening, Skate.

SKATE: Turned out wet again I see.

HADDOCK: You're not wrong, Skate.

SKATE: I knew it would. As soon as I set fin out of bed this morning, I said to myself, We're in for a wet night.

PIKE: It's like my old gran used to say - wet before seven, wet after eleven.

CARP: And my uncle always said - blue water by day, a wet night's on the way.

TURBOT: You can always tell by the seaweed.

PIKE: What can you always tell by the seaweed?

TURBOT: When that seaweed by the rock there is swaying in the current, it means its going to be wet all day.

HADDOCK: It's like that pop group.

TURBOT: What pop group?

HADDOCK: Wet wet wet.

T/C/P/S: Oh shut up, Haddock.

[they swim around again for a while]

SKATE: So what are we going to do tonight?

PIKE: Anyone fancy a swim?

C/H/T/S: Yeah / OK / Alright / Good idea

[they swim around a bit more]

[enter Net]

NET: Hello, fish.

HADDOCK: Hello, there, who are you?

NET: I'm a net.

SKATE: That's a pretty name - Annette.

NET: No I'm not Annette, I'm a net.

CARP: You're not a fish then.

NET: No I'm a net.

PIKE: Can you swim?

NET: Not really.

TURBOT: So what are you doing down here?

NET: I'm here to catch some fish.

HADDOCK: What for?

NET: To take you up to the boat.

PIKE: What's a boat?

SKATE: Dear me, Pike, you really are ignorant. What do you think that wooden thing up there is that's been hovering over our heads all night?

PIKE: I thought it was some sort of strange brown rock.

TURBOT: Over our heads?

PIKE: Yes, what's wrong with that?

TURBOT: Rocks sink to the bottom of the lake, they don't float on the top.

PIKE: Well, I don't see why a rock shouldn't be allowed to float if it wants.

SKATE: But it isn't a rock, it's a boat.

NET: That's right, and I've come to take you up to it.

CARP: I was in a boat once.

HADDOCK: Were you?

CARP: Yes. I didn't enjoy it at all. I spent an hour flapping around on an uncomfortable wooden bench. I was glad to get out and back into the lake.

NET: But our boat's not like that. It's got nice padded seats. Not uncomfortable at all.

CARP: I don't care. You won't catch me going into a boat again.

NET: (to Pike) What about you? Don't you want to try it?

PIKE: (backing off) I don't think so.

NET: Come on, it'll be fun. There's all kinds of exciting things going on.

HADDOCK: Like what?

NET: Well, every week the boat needs an overhaul - what we call a 'service'. And then sometimes we tie up the boat whilst everyone has a hot drink. We call that a 'coffee mooring'. And the ladies have their own special time for polishing up the oar - we call it 'the ladies Bright Oar'. And of course there's the scraps of cloth we tie to the mast - 'Jumble Sails'.

TURBOT: Thank you but no, thank you. We're happy here in the water. We don't want anything to do with boats.

[Net feebly tries to catch a few fish with comments like oh please / come on / give it a try / what about you etc. but the fish easily swim out of her reach with comments like no thanks / no way / not today thank you etc. until eventually....]

NET: Oh, I give up. It's been like this all night. They keep sending me down into the lake and I haven't managed to persuade a single fish to come with me. I've had enough. [exits]

CARP: Thank goodness she's gone. We don't want to end up in a boat with her.

HADDOCK: Still, it might have been interesting to see what a boat was really like.

CARP: I tell you, I've been there, done that. It's dull dull dull.

PIKE: But are all boats the same?

SKATE: No - I've heard there are lots of different boats.

CARP: The one I was in was a Methodist boat. Very dry it was. No drink allowed in it at all.

SKATE: But I've heard the Baptist boats are very wet. Great puddles of water splashing everywhere.

HADDOCK: I once swam past one of those huge stone Anglican boats. I must say it looked very impressive from the outside, but I bet it was cold and draughty inside.

TURBOT: And there seem to be more and more of those houseboats about these days, zipping around like nobody's business, grabbing fish left, right and centre.

CARP: And I'm staying well clear of the lot of them.

TURBOT: Let's swim over there out of the way in case Annette comes back.

SKATE: Good idea

[they swim over to the right hand side of the stage]

NARRATOR: Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realise that it was Jesus. He called out to them, "Friends, haven't you any fish?" "No," they answered. He said, "Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some." When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish. Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, "It is the Lord," he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards.

[enter Net right next to the fish]

NET: Hi there.

CARP: Not you again.

SKATE: We thought you'd given up trying to catch us.

NET: I have. I'm only back in the water because Jesus said so.

PIKE: Who said so?

NET: Jesus

PIKE: Is he some kind of fisherman then?

NET: I suppose so. I couldn't really tell. He was talking from over there on the shore.

TURBOT: You must have heard of Jesus, Pike. He used to live somewhere near here.

PIKE: Oh, that Jesus.

HADDOCK: Didn't he get into trouble down in Jerusalem recently.

SKATE: Yes, I'd heard he was put to death.

CARP: I heard that too.

HADDOCK: (to Net) So how come Jesus is giving fishing lessons when he's supposed to be dead?

NET: Search me. All I know is that he's standing over there shouting out instructions.

CARP: Get away with you, you're having us on.

NET: I'm not, honestly. If you listen you can hear him for yourself.

[they all tilt their heads as if listening]

TURBOT: I can't hear anything.

CARP: Neither can I.

PIKE: I thought I heard something.

SKATE: It's probably your imagination.

HADDOCK: No, Pike's right. I'm sure there's a voice coming from the shore.

PIKE: Why don't we all swim over for a look?

SKATE: It's a long way.

TURBOT: We could get a lift in this boat.

SKATE: Good idea, Turbot. (to Net) Will your boat take us to meet Jesus?

NET: I think so.

CARP: What do you mean you think so. Don't you know where the boats heading?

NET: Well, yes I suppose we must be heading for the shore soon, and that's where Jesus is.

HADDOCK: Fair enough - I'm willing to give it a go. What about you, Skate?

SKATE: You can count me in. I want to get a closer look at this death-defying Jesus character.

CARP: I might just come along to keep you company.

TURBOT: Me too. I'm curious what sort of person it is who can't even be stopped by death.

PIKE: Don't forget me.

[they are now all crowding around net]

NET: Wait a minute. Wait a minute. I don't know if I've got the strength to haul all of you up together.

TURBOT: I'm sure Jesus knows what he's doing. If he can conquer death, he can certainly give you enough strength to cope with a few fish.

NET: All right, hang on tight then. Jesus, here we come.

[they join hands and Net drags them off]

NARRATOR: When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread. Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish you have just caught." Simon Peter climbed aboard and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn.

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