Assignment: Comfort And Joy!

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2 Corinthians 1:3-5 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

Assignment: Comfort And Joy!” (Shorter 2015 Version)
written by Frederick Passmore
copyright 2011 Sheep Laughs Publications

A lonely Christian radio DJ is working the night shift on Christmas Eve. As he plays music and shares a Christmas story he has written, we see an suicidal woman in a hotel room as she tunes in. An angel responsible for getting them together has his hands full as the DJ faces an unbeliever harassing him at the station and a stalker that threatens to harm the woman. The framework play is 34 minutes, with the embedded 18-minute skit titled “Stormy Night, Holy Night” bringing to life the DJ’s story which he reads on the air, for a total of 52 minutes.

Soundtrack key: NO LINES TO LEARN, the Skit Trax supply the narration, background music and sound effects.)

PLEASE NOTE: After some consideration, I decided to rework this script, which has been posted for a couple of years already. Although it has been performed by many churches, I felt that the original 80-minute performance time was too long for some, with too many characters, so I cut out some elements (which are now offered separately as short stand-alone scripts on this site under the titles “The Ultimate Gift” and “The Junk Man’s Christmas Dinner”). The more compact script now includes a completely new drama-within-a-drama entitled “Stormy Night, Holy Night.” This script is also available for separate performance, with its own soundtrack.

This soundtrack is enhanced by three songs by two-time Grammy Award nominee singer-songwriter Archie Jordan. The composer of such famous songs as “What A Difference You’ve Made In My Life” and “It Was Almost Like A Song,” Archie is the recipient of seven gold and three platinum albums, as well as fifteen ASCAP awards. I am blessed and thankful to be able to use his music on this soundtrack, the songs “He’s The Hand On My Shoulder,” “Someone,” and “When Your World Turns Dark.” The writer sings the songs that accompany and underscore scenes, so your performers do not have to sing.

Length of play: 52 minutes.
Number of cast: Ten; there are four main parts, the rest are smaller supporting roles.
Category: Christmas, Dramatic, Full-Length Play, Holidays, No Lines To Learn
Price of PDF script & MP3 Skit Trax: Instant download$19.99 Add To Cart
Price of PDF script & Physical CD: $24.99 plus shipping Add To Cart

Main Characters for Framework Play: the Angel, Afriel. The DJ, Steven Carter. Suicidal Woman, Diane Warren. Other DJ, Donald Shanker. (Smaller parts: Program Director Theresa Page; Diane’s friend, Susan; the Stalker, and The Presence of the Lord.)

Characters for Embedded Skit: “Stormy Night, Holy Night.” A teen girl and her father. (See this script for the notes on it.)

Settings and Props: Hotel room: An end table with lamp, a couple of chairs, a small table. A radio. A small tabletop Christmas tree and box of small ornaments. A Bible, in a small gift-bag. A plastic sword, Roman-type, for the angel. A scroll (which can be as simple as a piece of rolled-up construction paper, or it can be two dowels connected by a piece of white cloth, which can be rolled up. The radio station needs an office chair, a folding chair, and a table with some sound equipment to simulate a station; like a sound mixer, a PC with screen, an office or desk phone. A binder with pages in it. Several wrapped presents. A trash bag filled with crumpled paper. A Christmas wreath. The radio station set is on one side, the living room hotel set on the other. A bottle of “pills,” (M and M’s) a notepad and pen, a bottle of water.

Costume elements: Santa hat and beard. A white robe with gold sash for the angel Afriel, a white robe and red sash for the Lord. You may need a wig and beard for Jesus unless your actor already has this; but most costume wigs and beards look bad. No other special costumes needed, just dress each character appropriately.

Soundtrack: This script is completely dependent on the recorded soundtrack. The pre-recorded CD already has all of the narration, music and sound effects already mixed. Every single line that you read in the script below (except for the stage directions, of course) is on the soundtrack, performed by professional voice artists, mixed with movie-quality background music and sound effects. Idea: Order extra copies of the CD for only $5 each to hand out to your main players to take home and get familiar with between rehearsals! Also as a backup. Call me if you have any questions about this play or the soundtrack that this page does not answer, call me at the number given on the Contact Page.

Story Outline

(Here is a general description of the script; not all details or scenes are here, but it gives you an overall picture of what it is like.)

The play opens in a cemetery at dusk on Christmas Eve, where the main character Steven Carter is placing flowers on his wife’s grave. (A simple stone down in front of the stage, on the level of the audience.) He is observed by the narrator of the play, the angel Afriel, who is assigned to him to watch over him. The unseen angel serves as the storyteller, who relates the events of the play to the audience. As Steven prays, in deep despondence, the presence of the Lord appears to him and puts a hand on his shoulder, comforting him. We hear part of the song “He’s The Hand On My Shoulder” by Archie Jordan during this scene.

When Steven leaves, the Lord beckons to the angel to join Him, and when he does, the Lord gives him a scroll that contains all the details of his new assignment. Afriel is charged with helping someone else in need to come to salvation by helping her be exposed to Steven’s radio ministry, and protecting her from a threat to her life.

Preview a PDF page of the script that contains the scene above by clicking here:Assignment_Comfort_And_Joy_sample_01

Preview the section of the soundtrack that is heard during the scene above by clicking on the player below.

The next scene takes place at a local motel where the next important character is introduced. (This part of the set is one the left side of the stage.) Diane Warren is coming back into her room after some Christmas shopping with an old friend. Diane has been living in a big city, but a recent divorce from a husband that had been unfaithful, and was involved in some shady deals, caused her to come back to her small hometown and try to reconnect with her past and possibly find some peace. Her old school friend had come to visit her, and as they bring in the shopping bags they talk about other old friends, and they set up a table-top Christmas tree as  they catch up on what has been happening to them since she left. Her friend suggests that she call her old boyfriend Steven, who is now working at a local Christian radio station. But his faith, and his seemingly small life goals, were part of what caused her to drop him, to pursue a more exciting and prosperous life in the big city. Now, with all that has happened, she is reconsidering many of her life choices. She turns down an invitation from her friend to come eat Christmas dinner with her family, as she wants to be alone to think. After her friend leaves, she settles in to watch some Christmas movies on TV and try to relax. But her thought and feelings begin to lead her down a dark path, one that the angel will have to try to influence her to leave.

Preview a PDF page of the script that contains the scene above by clicking here: assignment_comfort_and_joy_sample_02

Preview the section of the soundtrack that is heard during the scene above by clicking on the player below.

At the radio station where Steven works, we see him come on for his evening shift. (This set is on the far right side of the stage.) Although it is Christmas Eve, he has volunteered to work so that others can be home with their families. He relieves the previous shift’s worker, who is also the station’s program director. After he gives her a small gift, a binder containing some of his original fiction, she encourages him to share with the listeners some of his Christmas stories that he has written but never tried to have published. He considers it, although he doesn’t have much self-confidence about his  writing ability. After she leaves, Steven gets to work lining up his music selections for the evening. As he does, we see a stealthy intruder in a Santa hat and beard sneaking into the studio. It is his co-worker Donald Shanker, from across the hall at the secular sister station, out to heckle Steven some more over his beliefs. Surprising Steven and startling him, the ersatz Santa dumps the contents of a big trash bag all over Steven, inundating him in paper trash, then laughing hysterically over the joke. After needling him some more, the guy leaves.

Preview a PDF page of the script that contains the scene above by clicking here: assignment_comfort_and_joy_sample_03

Preview the section of the soundtrack that is heard during the scene above by clicking on the player below.

Back at the motel side of the stage, we see Diane absently watching TV as she thinks. The angel Afriel, tasked with getting her to listen to the story that Steven is preparing to read, tries to suggest the radio to her on a subconscious level but she isn’t open to it. Finally, he interrupts the TV signal and she turns to the radio for some background noise. After tuning, she stops on the right station. But the angel senses in his spirit that there is some danger to Diane, from outside of her room. Checking it out, the angel sees a suspicious man lurking in the shadows watching her window. doing some research on his scroll, which as access to all of Heaven’s records, he discovers that the man has been paid by Diane’s ex-husband to intimidate her into into being too frightened to testify against him in his upcoming trial.  The criminal outside was given the word to use violence against her if need be, and was just waiting for the chance to do so. Intent on watching the stalker, the angel is missing the background action that Diane is going through, as she lays out a handful of pills on the table and gets some water, then starts writing a note. The angel is finally alerted to the inside danger she is posing to herself, and he hurries to her side, desperately trying to get through to her and stop her. The thoughts he is suggesting to her aren’t getting through in her mental state, and she picks up the handful of pills… only to pause when she hears the voice of her old boyfriend on the station. Intrigued by what he is saying, she puts down the pills and leans back to listen as he begins reading the story that he has written.

Preview a PDF page of the script that contains the scene above by clicking here:assignment_comfort_and_joy_sample_04

Preview the section of the soundtrack that is heard during the scene above by clicking on the player below.

(The next section is performed in the center of the stage. It depicts the events in the story that Steven is reading, entitled “Stormy Night, Holy Night,” brought to life in Diane’s imagination. You can read more details about this 18-minute  scene in the stand-alone version here, as well as preview some script page and listen to several soundtrack audio previews. it is part pf this script package, however.

The story in brief: A father and teen daughter take refuge in their basement from a coming storm. The storm building in the young girl’s mind and heart, stemming from the loss of her mother over a year ago, coincides with the tornado that hits the town. Featuring another powerful song written and sung by songwriter Archie Jordan, this easy-to-do mini-play needs only two actors, yet is full of drama and has a touching end that will move you.

Preview a PDF page of the script that contains the scene above by clicking here:assignment_comfort_and_joy_sample_05

Preview the section of the soundtrack that is heard during the scene above by clicking on the player below.

Back to the main story, we are back in the motel room as Diane has been listening to the story read by Steven on the radio. The events in the story, which were based on Steven’s actual experiences to a large degree, also reflect how she has been feeling, and the turbulence in her life and the emotional storms she has been going through. The Spirit of the Lord was working in her heart, and as Steven explains the path of salvation and leads his listeners in praying the sinner’s prayer, Diane kneels beside her chair and opens her heart to the Lord. As she does, we hear the vocals to the song “I Surrender All” to underscore the powerful scene.

Rejoicing in her salvation, and another mission accomplished, the angel is now free to act on her behalf to protect her from the stalker, who has begun to move closer to break into her room. Going outside, and appearing to the lurker in his true form with a drawn sword, the angel frightens the man into holy terror, and he flees off haphazardly into the night, running into the path of the police car, which begins to give chase (this is related by sound effects and narration).

Preview a PDF page of the script that contains the scene above by clicking here:assignment_comfort_and_joy_sample_06

Preview the section of the soundtrack that is heard during the scene above by clicking on the player below.

Back at the radio station, Steven is finishing reading the story on the air when the other DJ comes back in to heckle him some more. Donald belittles Steven’s belief that he is here for a reason, and says that the only reason that exists is to earn a paycheck. Just then a knock is heard at the studio door, and Donald lets in Diane, who has come to see Steven. Ignoring Donald, she moves to see her old flame, and begins to share with him how his story saved her life, and cause her to come to the Lord. She felt that telling him face to face would let him know how the Lord was using him where he was. She also wants to take some copies of Steven’s writings and share them with the publisher for whom she works. Steven is affected by finding out first hand that the Lord is using he and his talents, and as the scene progresses they begin to sense the attraction they once had for each other again. She gives him a gift, the table-top Christmas tree given to her by her friend, and together they begin to decorate it. During this scene, we hear the song “Someone” by Archie Jordan which underscores the reconnection they are beginning to feel.

Preview a PDF page of the script that contains the scene above by clicking here:assignment_comfort_and_joy_sample_07

Preview the section of the soundtrack that is heard during the scene above by clicking on the player below.

After the song, Donald comes back into the room and confesses that hearing how Steven was making a difference in people’s lives prompted him to do some reconsidering, and he apologizes to Steven, telling him that he has a lot to think about now, and wanted to wish his a Merry Christmas, now that he is seeing things differently. Diane takes a call on her cell phone, and then she reveals that she had called her old school friend, whom they both knew, and asked her to bring some of the leftovers from her Christmas dinner, and she is now outside waiting to be let in. She comes in, and Donald helps her with the bags of food, and Diane and Steven set up the break room table with the dinner items. Shortly they all sit down to eat, and Steven relates his thankfulness to the Lord for the miraculous events of the evening, and how everything turned out for the good of all involved. As he leads in prayer, we hear a reprise of the song from the beginning, “He’s The Hand On My Shoulder,” and we see the Presence of the Lord come in and stand behind Steven as he prays, with a hand on his shoulder as before. After a wrap-up by the narrating angel, we leave the scene as a blessed Christmas Eve dinner is enjoyed by all, with the Lord Jesus as an unseen Guest.

Preview the section of the soundtrack that is heard during the scene above by clicking on the player below.

Read some of the testimonials about the script from just a few of the many users:

Mr. Passmore,

We did your play “Assignment: Comfort And Joy!” this past December at our church in DeFuniak Springs, FL.

It was great! I thank you for writing it and putting it out there for us. I have received feedback from manyl people that it ministered to them in all areas of the play (scenes). With such a large cast I was concerned about how many people that would be in the audience, but we had a FULL house! I also had more people step up and join our drama team ?

Thanks again,
-Michelle Hibbs, WEO Church

Dear Fred,

We have been doing your “No Lines To Learn” plays for a number of years now, every one of them that you have posted so far, and we love them! The audience does too, and our attendance has grown each year as word of mouth has spread about the amazing plays we have been doing. It’s easier to get actors, and for them to learn their parts, with your CD soundtrack format, and the audience has no trouble hearing lines like other plays. I have seen our actors break down and cry, and crack up with laughter, many times just during the rehearsals, the material is so powerful. I loved seeing the audience reactions when we did your latest script, “Assignment: Comfort and Joy,” they had such a good time, and I heard many compliments for weeks afterward. Please keep writing these kind of scripts and making new CDs, so we can keep “wowing” the audience each year!

-Kathy Sanders,
Collins Full Gospel Church. Collins, GA

Okay, if you liked the story breakdown, and enjoyed the Skit Trax previews, and were encouraged by the testimonials of those that have done it, buy the complete script and soundtrack here! 

Get the script PDF (to print out) and audio tracks (to burn to your own CD) here.
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