Prohibiting Prayer: The Daniel Decree

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Prohibiting Prayer: The Daniel Decree”
written by Frederick Passmore
copyright 2013 Sheep Laughs Publications

Synopsis: A retelling of the story of Daniel and the Lion’s Den from a new perspective. The Chief Scribe to King Darius, responsible for chronicling events in the kingdom, tells the story that he and his son witness and became participants in. Both he and his son learn that they can trust Daniel’s God like he does.

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

In its script form, this is a play with no lines to memorize! One that all ages can be a part of: children, teens, adults and even seniors. You’ll have an easier time recruiting cast members when they hear there are no lines to learn. All of the narration, music and sound effects come on a CD, ready to play!

Length of play: 35 minutes.
Number of cast: 7 males, and as many extras as you have available
Category: Biblical story, No Lines To Learn, Full-Length Play, Dramatic

Price of Script PDF & MP3 Skit Trax:
 Instant Download ONLY: $19.99 Add to Cart

Price of Script PDF and Physical CD: 
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THOUGHT: This would make a good play for Father’s Day use, since the king’s scribe is training his son, and together they learn to have faith in Daniel’s God after being witness to the miracle of his protection while in the den of lions.

Cast: The Chief Scribe Sadalbari; his son Homam, who is a teen or younger boy; the elderly Daniel; the two princes, Artabazus and Mazaeus; King Darius; the king’s guard; and as many extras as you can muster, using the same ones to populate the various scenes. If you have a larger group of people to work with, having them as extras will really fill out the action. You could add parts such as more guards, etc. Any children that wish to be involved can also be extras in the crowd scenes in the street.

Costumes: You will need robes and sashes all for the characters, but add turbans for the two princes and palace cast. The turbans can be plain cloth for everyone but the king; his should be made from shiny gold material. You can do these as simply as you wish, or put more time and effort to make it as impressive as you wish.

Props: A rolled-up scroll, wooden stylus, and board to put it on when writing; another scroll for the decree; a curved Arabic sword for the guard (plastic Halloween costume accessory); a small cloth bag of coins tied with a string at the top; a length of rope; a medallion on a length of jewelry chain.

Settings: Three areas are depicted on stage: the street where Daniel’s house is; the king’s throne room in the palace; and the mouth of the lion’s den. The palace should be in the middle; Daniel’s house and window on one side, and the lion’s den on the other. You may build as much as you like, or build nothing, and let the actions carry the story. Since this is a short mini-play, you do not need to put a lot of work into sets and such. However, if you want to do it up big, by all means, create as much as you would like of the stage areas.

The “street” is located down in front of the stage area, and that is where the action takes place when the scene is happening “in the street.” Daniel’s house is on the stage on one side, the throne room in the middle. The den of lions is on the other. When going from one location to the other, where possible, have them come down from the stage, walk in front on the “street” then go back up on stage to the indicated set.

Consider where your stage or choir area has possibilities for a place where the lion’s den could be, where a person could go down and be hidden from sight for a short while, and let the den be there. If you would like to build a large round stone to roll in front of the area where the lion’s den “hole” or entrance is, think about making one our of cardboard or light plywood, cut into shapes that make a circle and fastened to strips of plywood in the back to reinforce and hold it together. Then have the guard roll the “stone” over the entrance. This is about as complex as you need to get if you decide to go that route. If you already have such a stone left over from an Easter production, (that covered the tomb) you could re-use it for that. If your church has a baptistry, you could use that as the lion’s den and adjust your cast actions accordingly.

Prohibiting Prayer: The Daniel Decree” Plot Breakdown
(A general description of the script; not all details or scenes are here, but it gives you an overall picture of what happens in broad terms.)

As the soundtrack begins with dramatic Arabian background music, we hear the opening narrator (different from the main character narrator) explaining the concept of the play, that the familiar story is being told from the perspective of someone that might have been there as a witness.  The back-story to the event is told in brief, and the narrating character of the king’s scribe is introduced.

Preview a page of the script that contains the scene above by clicking here: Prohibiting_Prayer_Sample_01

As Scene One begins, we are on the street outside Daniels’ house, which is portrayed on one side of the stage. The street is the lower level in front of the stage area.  The narration is now by the scribe. He and his son are walking on the way home on the evening, and they see Daniel kneeling to pray as his custom is each day. The scribe and his son stop, and move back out of the way of the walking extras to talk about Daniels’ faith. The son is interested but his father is cautious as he knows it can be dangerous to follow Daniel’s God if you serve in the king’s court as he does.  From their place on the side of the street, they observe two of the king’s high-ranking princes and advisers as they peer at Daniel and criticize him for being the king’s favorite. The scribe and his son overhear them plotting against Daniel and the plan they hatch to destroy him.

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

As they try to hurry home, the scribe runs right into one of the princes, who recognizes him from the palace. The evil adviser tries to bribe the scribe to enter something damaging about Daniel in the official records, but he refuses. This infuriates the prince and after threatening him and his family, he stalks off. The scribe points out the danger they are now in because of Daniel, and they head home, the father worried over the threat.

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

Scene two is in the Throne Room, which is in the middle of the upper stage. The scribe and his son enter and stand beside and slightly to the rear of the throne. The two princes enter and stand off to the side down below as they wait for an audience with the king. The king. with his guards, enters to a dramatic piece of Arabic music that underscores his dignity and royal status as absolute ruler. After he is seated, the king motions the princes to approach. They open with flattery, then propose a new law that will prohibit making a petition to any man or god other than the king for 30 days, under penalty of death. Full of pride, the king signs it, and then leaves. The princes are smiling with evil intent as he leaves and the one that threatened the scribe makes a point of looking at him smugly. The son begs his father to go and warn Daniel of the new law, and they leave to do so.

Preview a PDF page of the script that contains the scene above by clicking here:Prohibiting_Prayer_Sample_02-1

Scene three begins with the scribe and his son hurrying to Daniel’s house, and they run into him in the street in front of it. After a friendly greeting with his old acquaintance, Daniel inquires as to why the scribe seems upset. He explains to Daniel what has happened and urges him to flee the city until the decree is expired in 30 days.  Because it concerns his worship, Daniel feels he cannot hide, any more than he can change his life-style. He reassures the scribe that God will be with him, and if the scribe trusts God as well, he will protect him also. He promises to pray for him as he leaves to go in his house. Just then the two princes come to see if Daniel will break the new law, and as they expected, he prays as usual, to their glee. The scribe and his son go home and his boy expresses faith in Daniel’s God.

Preview a PDF page of the script that contains the scene above by clicking here: Prohibiting_Prayer_Sample_03

Scene four takes place in the Throne Room, in the center of the stage. The scribe and his son are waiting on the king, as are the two princes. After the king arrives. the two princes remind the king of his new edict, then reveal that Daniel has broken it and must die. Angry at being so easily manipulated, the king determines to find a way to spare Daniel. Knowing that the scribe is friends with Daniel, he quietly suggests that he go to him and warn him secretly to escape by leaving the city. The scribe tells him that he has already tried that, and Daniel refused to leave. Calling his interpreters of the law, he works all day to find a loophole, but cannot. In the evening, he finally orders a guard to get Daniel and take him to the mouth of the lion’s den.

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

Scene five begins at the lion’s den area on the other side of the stage. The scribe and son arrive, just before the king and his guard bring Daniel to it. As Daniel is lowered in, the king makes his first confession of belief in Daniel’s God as he tries to reassure Daniel that his God will deliver him. The stone is rolled over the mouth of the pit entrance, and sealed sadly by the king. After he leaves, the scribe and his son talk about Daniel’s faith, the price he is paying for being faithful, and whether his God will help him, and by extension, them as well. His son expresses faith, and his father does also, as they go home to pray for Daniel and themselves.

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

We see the king pacing back and forth as the time passes overnight, and when the morning finally comes, he hurries to the den, along with the scribe and his son. He has the stone rolled aside, and calls out hopefully yet fearfully to Daniel to see if he is still alive. When he finally answers the king, he is brought out with much rejoicing in a powerful and emotional moment. After confessing that God delivered Daniel, the king examines him for injury and finds not even a scratch. Before leaving for the palace, the king commands his guard to go and get the two scheming princes and throw them and their families to the lions. The guard leaves to do so (but we do not see that happen).

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

In the last scene, back in the Throne Room area, the king crafts a new decree, that all should worship and honor the God of Daniel. He then promotes Daniel to the top position as his most trusted adviser. And he gives the scribe a change in job description; he is to chronicle all the days and words of Daniel from now on. The scribe and his son rejoice at their new freedom to worship God as Daniel does, and together they go with him to his house to pray and thank God for his mighty deliverance. As the original song “He Has Made Us Glad” plays, we see them rejoicing and praising the Lord together.

Preview a PDF page of the script that contains the scene above by clicking here: Prohibiting_Prayer_Sample_04


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