Taylor Made Ministry

"Life Changing Journey" (excerpts)

Copyright 1996, Taylor Made Ministry

This play is about passengers traveling on a bus on Christmas Eve.  To put it mildly, the majority of them have very bad attitudes with dispositions to match!  However, the birth of a baby miraculously changes their lives that night, just as the birth of a certain baby boy more than 2000 years ago changes our lives still today.  Makes you just go , "Hmmmmmmm," doesn't it?

 

Cast of Characters and Descriptions

This play is about people who are taking a bus trip on Christmas Eve traveling to Baltimore, Maryland. It seems like almost everyone wishes they were elsewhere and has the attitude to match - hateful, uncaring, self centered. That is, until a miracle happens to change their lives. They are truly on a "Life Changing Journey."

J.J.: Young Adult, early 20's or late teens

Mary Ellen: J.J.’s wife who is pregnant

Fred Anderson: Old bus driver with a bad attitude

Mr. Curry: Coach Lines Manager

Ticket Seller: Man selling tickets for Coach Lines

Telly: Passenger - waiting for bus to depart

Tim: Young man, tries but cannot seem to please Grandmother

Grandma: Tim’s grandmother, cranky, hateful

Beth: Helpful, laid-back, relaxed attitude

Sarah: Beth’s sister, nervous, pack-rat

Max: Young terminal employee, could also be a passenger, carries packages for Sarah

Brenda: Woman, Chuck’s wife, foster mother - very caring, concerned

Chuck: Brenda’s husband - foster father - caring, sensible

Angie: Foster teenager - former drug user, sarcastic attitude, feels sorry for herself, wants to make life miserable for all, bitter

Heather: Teenager, on her way with her siblings to a wedding in Baltimore, in charge

Ashley: Heather’s sister - a little younger, self centered

Amanda: Heather’s sister - any age, self centered

Todd: Heather’s younger brother, good heart, caring

Teresa: Mother traveling with her young pre-teen children, nervous, aggravated

Jason: Teresa’s son, spoiled, sassy

Jennifer: Teresa’s daughter, spoiled, sassy

Billy: Man on bus, complainer

Trish: Woman on bus, complainer

Al: Man on bus

Rev. Altman : Minister, passenger on bus, kind

 

Dear Director,

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at . I am praying for you and your church to have a great program. As a director myself and the author of the play, I would like to offer this advice that I always tell my cast members. It is wonderful to be a great actor or actress, but the most important thing about a Christmas program is to present the story of Jesus and his love to the audience. If we have a perfect play where no one forgets a line, or misses a cue, it is all done in vain if Jesus is not lifted up.

I would very much like to know how everything is going and when you are having your play. As I am offering this play to you in good faith, please honor my copyright. The price you have paid allows you to present the play without a performance fee at your church only and to make minor changes to the script.

Thank you and God bless you!

Cheryl Taylor

Production Notes:

 

 

Casting Notes-

How many do you have in your group? This was the first play I had directed that I had several adults, and not just teens or small children, but even the "adult" parts can be performed by teens. Our youth group usually does the Christmas play, but that year we asked if there were any adults that wanted to be in it. I was really surprised that we had so many volunteers.

I think that the roles of Mary Ellen and J.J. need to be played by teens with good strong speaking voices. Angie - the sarcastic teen - should be done by one that can show emotion thru her actions as well as her voice. She has to go from one who cares about nothing or no one, to one that is excited to be a part of the Christmas story. No esteem to great esteem! (That's what the Lord does for us, isn't it?) The bus driver has to be gruff and show his bad attitude. Now any of these roles - ticket seller, Mr. Curry, Fred-the driver, etc. - were written for the people I had at church, but you can easily change any of them to women's roles. In fact, a gruff woman driver might be even more funny than a man!

Rev. Altman's role, although not a big role - except when he reads from the Bible - is a serious one. He is the one who brings all the similarities together and sort of "solves the mystery." I wouldn't give this part to a young teen. I would choose an older teen or young adult.

If you have too many parts and not enough people, you can take out the parts of Heather and her family (most of their lines are before getting on the bus). If any of them say anything on the bus or in the barn, just give that line to someone else. This will reduce the cast by about 4 or 5 people.

Props_-

I told the audience before the play that they would have to use their imagination as we didn't really have a bus on stage! The back of the bus (a large drawing) was the wall on the right side of the stage. The front of the bus was the altar, facing the audience. Because our stage has three different levels, it made it easy to see everyone on the bus. We also used some cinderblocks to set the back seats up a little higher. We just used regular folding chairs, two on each side of the bus, with an aisle about 2 feet wide. The bus was about 11 feet across I guess. The seats in the front were those wooden chairs from the kids SS classes. This helped the audience to see everyone on each level.

The bus driver was in front, right at the altar. For him, you could go into more detail by actually having a steering wheel mounted, or brake and gas pedals, etc. One church that bought this play used the round lights that you just tap to turn on. They were very creative with their bus. They also have several men in their church who work for Ford Motor Company, so on the front of the bus they hung a "Chevy" license plate. (You have to remember that the bus did break down! They thought this was really funny!)

We just pretended like there was a bus, which sometimes I think made it funnier than having actual equipment!

For the back of the bus, we just used a drawing of the things you would find in the back of the bus (see illustration). This, just like anything else can be as elaborate or as simple as you prefer. We used several sheets of white paper ( like butcher paper), taped them to the wall and then colored it in. You could work harder and cut out a scene out of cardboard ( a refrigerator box would probably work), or even a piece of plywood. This depends on how much work you want to put into it.

For the ticket booth we used an old puppet stage. For the barn scene, we just turned it around, covered it with an old blanket (that looked like it belonged in a barn!) and used it as a partition (the baby was born behind it.)

Bible

Two Thermos bottles

Styrofoam cups

Ticket Booth

Signs - with a few bus schedules on it in the terminal, and a large one that says Taylor Bus lines. These must be removed for the 2nd scene when they are on their trip.

Bus - chairs set up in certain pattern

Barn accessories - horse saddle (if available), bridle,

old blanket, hay, etc.

Suit cases, duffel bags

Gameboy

Clean Blankets

"Wise Men Mechanics" on the back of shirt ( You can have someone make you an iron-on from their computer, write it on with a marker, or just pin a sign on a shirt to save time.)

Large Flashlights

Costumes -

About costumes - I think the only ones that were dressed differently were the bus driver and Mr. Curry, the bus boss. The bus driver wore a blue jacket, a bow tie, and a hat. It wasn't anything exceptional, though. Mr. Curry just wore a suit and tie. Everyone else just wore regular clothes with a light jacket. (A heavy coat on a hot stage might cause heat stroke for your bus passengers!)

Sound Effects -

At the end of the first scene when the bus was leaving, we played a tape of an engine starting (you might find one on a sound effects tape, or just record the sound of a large vehicle's motor). When the motor started everyone on the bus bounced up and down a little like they were actually in a moving vehicle. Then the curtain closed while they were doing this. My son still talks about how funny this was, and I remember the audience enjoying it. I don't think they expected it!

You can be as creative as you like as far as sound effects go. The only other sound effect that we used was a tape of a baby crying for the birth scene. A squeaky bus door would be effective, too.

We will be praying for you and your program. If possible, e-mail me the time and date of your program and I will include it on my web-site. Also write me if you have any questions or problems that I might help you with. Thanks again and God Bless!

Cheryl

 

 

Act I - Scene I

(The scene begins with Mary Ellen and J.J. arriving at the bus terminal. The actors will begin their dialogue as they begin down the aisle, finishing as they near the first pew.)


Mary Ellen: Oh, no. Look at the crowd. Hurry up, J.J. - C'mon!

J.J.: Mary Ellen, slow down, will ya? You shouldn't be
moving so fast in your condition. To tell you the truth, I didn't know you could move so fast!

M.E.: We've got to catch that bus before it leaves!

J.J: (about to change his mind about going) I would love to be with my parents for Christmas, honey, but if we don't make it, they'll understand.

M.E: But your mothers been so sick lately, I just....

J.J.: I know. I feel the same way. But you are my main
responsibility now and since you're so huge....

M.E: Huge?! Jay!

J.J.: Oh, I'm sorry, but pleasantly plump just doesn't work anymore.

M.E: You're lucky I'm too tired from running to bop you right in the nose!

J.J.: Let me rephrase that. It worry's me to be out on the road with your due date so soon.

M.E: I still have another month to go. Dr. Tackett said
I shouldn't have any problems.

J.J.: O.K. I guess you should know how you feel.

M.E.: Oh, here's the ticket window. Let's get in line.

(End of first act)

NOTE: The actual script will look much better due to the fact that text on web pages is very difficult to get lined up in the proper form. If you would like a hardcopy of the excerpt, please let us know.

(Next Excerpt taken from Act II)

ACT II - Scene I

(As the curtain opens the bus is onstage with a few people already on board. Fred, the bus driver, is taking tickets and standing by the bus door. Those with speaking parts do so in front of the stage and then go to the right to enter.)

Announcer: May I have your attention please. Taylor Bus Lines # 26 is now boarding at gate #3 - destination: Baltimore, Maryland. (repeat)

Tim: Here it is, Grandma. Gate # 3. Here let me help you. (reaches for her arm)

Grandma: I don't need your help, you little purse snatcher. I can make it by myself! (walks wrong direction - grumbling- Runs into Beth)

Beth: Oh, honey. I think you're going the wrong way. Here let me help you.

Grandmother: Oh, thank you baby doll. You are so sweet to help a feeble old lady like me. I can't get this grandson of mine to help me at all.

(Tim just shakes head and sighs. Tim and Grandma enter the bus)

Sarah: Now Sis, did you remember to bring the hairdryer...

Beth: Yes.

Sarah: your toothbrush...

Beth: Got it.

Sarah: your makeup....

Beth: Yep.

Sarah: your travelers checks....

Beth: Yes! Sarah, you're driving me crazy with your worrying. You're making me a nervous wreck!

Sarah: I'm sorry, but I like to be organized. When things don't run smoothly, I get a migraine. Oh, no, I hope I didn't forget my Excedrin!


Excerpt #3
Act II, Scene II (two hours traveling on the bus)

Sarah: This snow is really coming down. I hope the bus driver can see the road better than I can.

Beth: They're trained to drive in all kinds of whether. You know - Through rain, or snow, sleet or hail...

Max: That's the mailmen, lady.

Beth: Oh, yeah. Sorry.

Al: The bus is making some sort of weird noise. Listen. Ker-plunk. Ker-plunk. Ker-plunk.

Brian: Sounds more like Ba-Bomp, Ba-bomp, Ba-bomp to me.

Sarah: Huh, oh. The bus is breaking down. Oh no. What are we going to do? We'll be stranded in a snowstorm, maybe get robbed and mugged....

Ben: Shut up lady. We're just having a little engine trouble. Looks like we're pulling off the road.

Fred: Folks, we are having a problem with the bus. Let me check it out and as soon as I figure out what the problem is I'll let you know. I'll need a couple of volunteers to help me.

(Fred, Billy, and Tim get off the bus. They look at the engine area, as the passengers talk or fuss among themselves. Tim walks away from the bus and then comes back.)

Fred: O.k. folks. It seems like we've got a serious problem with the bus, and with the road. This snow is beginning to come down faster and heavier, causing a decrease in visibility. We won't be going anywhere for a while. Keep your windows closed and try to keep real warm.

Sarah: You mean we're stuck here.

Fred: Yes, maam. For a little while anyway, until we can get some help.

Sarah: I knew it. We're going to die in this snowstorm.

Beth: Sarah, lighten up. You're scaring everybody!

(Excerpt End)

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