Sean Walsh

I live in Dublin, Ireland. Sometimes. Most times I live in my head, quite unaware of my surroundings – if you know what I mean… If you succeed in tracking Sean Walsh, please let me know, ok? I've been searching for him for years…

At the Praetorium: Intro

Published on Saturday 15th June 2013 by Sean Walsh

Good Friday revisited? Indeed…

I set myself the task of telling it from the prisoners’ point of view… and as the Colonizer might have viewed it… No Jesus, no disciples, no saints or angels, no pharisees…

‘Can be performed on a conventional stage or In the Round, in modern dress or as costume drama… The parallels with today’s world would be all the more obvious were the piece performed in modern dress; to mount it as a costume drama might well lessen the relevance – or so I reckon…

At the Praetorium… At. Above. Beneath… Behind the scenes. Off stage. Conjecture. Dramatic license. Irony. A storyline that could never be dismissed as Incredible… ‘never far from the authenticity of the official records. What might have happened, could well have been the case…

The piece is based, for the most part, on the Passion narrative according to Matthew. The Evangelist does not name Pilate’s wife so I resisted giving her a fictitious one; I simply refer to her as the Woman. (Her name was unimportant; her dream – in terms of the ancient world – was of significant importance.)

Re the thieves who were crucified with Jesus:

Tradition has named the repentant, “Dismas” and the unrepentant, “Gestas” but this is not scriptural. In Mark’s Gospel (14:32) and in Matthew’s Gospel (27:44) both are reported as berating Jesus. John’s Gospel (19:18) mentions their presence without stating that they berated Jesus.

Only in Luke’s Gospel, 23:39-43, is there reference to a repentant thief; but neither are actually named.

 SCENARIO

The eve of a great feast – and a great Event…

Jerusalem, the HolyCity of a Chosen People, lies sleeping…

The full moon of the Passover, high in a cloudless sky, brings into cold and sharp relief the Temple… casts light and shadow on the narrow streets of the inner city….

Through these streets the elders of the Sanhedrin are hurrying to the house of Caiaphas, the High Priest…

While in the upper room of a private house the prophet from Nazareth sits down to break bread with his disciples…

In the upper city the cry of the watch rings out from the turrets of the Praetorium, the Roman fortress, symbol and sign of conquest…

Beneath the Praetorium, in the dungeons, three men lie in chains, awaiting execution:

Dismas, a thief, perhaps the greatest thief in all history – who stole Paradise even as he suffered the death penalty.

Gestas, a man who may die as he has lived.

And Jesus bar Abbas, held for murder and sedition, of whom so little is known, so much surmised in literature and drama even to the present day…

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