In this play, six witnesses to the Sermon on the Mount recreate the experience for an early assembly of Christians. In their recreation, witnesses take turns acting as Jesus, audience members, and narrators of the story. Though much more entertaining and humorous than most translations of the Sermon, Jesus’s words in this version follow the original Greek word-for-word as much as possible so we can hear Jesus’s words in the order that He spoke them. This word order demonstrates the warmth and cleverness that Jesus used to draw people into His message. To capture the feeling of being at the Sermon, the play uses terms that replicate what listeners of Jesus’s era would have heard. This allows audiences today to hear these words in an exciting new way. The play uses many devices from classical Greek drama, but it is designed to be fun both for experienced actors and novices since the characters are, for the most part, novice actors themselves.
Playwright Gary Gagliardi Talks About his Play
"We Saw His Sermon on the Mount"
What inspired you to write this play?
My work on translating Jesus's words daily for over the last 15 years at ChristsWords.com. So much was in them that a standard translation misses, I wanted to give people a more complete picture of what He said, especially His humor and warmth.
What's your favorite part or line in the play? Why?
Tough questions. Since most of the lines in the play are based on Jesus's words, it is like asking what part of his teaching I like best. In general, my favorite part is His repeated routine, like the idea of tossing out the trash that clutters our lives. He uses it over and over again, but it is completely lost in translation.
Where did the characters come from? Are they based on people you know?
The male characters are all based on my own perspectives at various stages of life, young, middle aged, and old. The two older female characters are based on my wife, Rebecca, while the younger one is based on my daughter, Amanda.
What did you try to achieve with this play?
I want people to understand that Jesus's success in drawing crowds wasn't some mysterious miracle. The secret is in his words as they were heard by the people of His era. I want to bring people the excitement and fun of hearing Jesus speak at the time.
Do you have anything else you'd like to add?
Just that this play is just the beginning of the story of Jesus's words. There is a lot more to learn about his teaching and his world from what has been capture in the Gospels. I hope to reveal that in an entertaining way in future plays.