A Whale of a Tale - Skit
group magazine: November-December, 1992
From: November/December 1992 Group Magazine
Keywords: Jonah Skit
A WHALE OF A TALE
This simple skit makes the story of Jonah easy to swallow.
BY BOB LATCHAW
BUNCH O' KIDS (to play God, Whale and Ninevites)
Two microphones. One center stage and one stage left. You'll need a chair for Jonah to stand on later in the skit.
(Narrator enters stage left and goes to the microphone.)
NARRATOR: Welcome! This story is about a prophet of the Lord named Jonah.
JONAH: (Pops in proudly from stage right. Struts to center stage microphone.) That's me!
NARRATOR: (chastising) A reluctant prophet of the Lord. (Jonah shrinks back a bit and sits on the floor.) One day God spoke to Jonah. God said...
GOD: (Kids enter stage left and stand in straight line center stage, speaking in unison.) Get up! Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because I see the evil things they do.
NARRATOR: Jonah got up...(Jonah gets up proudly, maybe even flexes his muscles)...and ran away.
JONAH: (disbelieving) What?
NARRATOR: (shooing him off) Jonah ran away! He hopped a ride on a ship going the opposite direction, (rolling eyes) figuring the Lord wouldn't think to look for him there. (Jonah runs around the line of kids and stands center stage again.)
(Two Sailors enter from stage left with thumbs hooked in armpits doing a cocky side-to-side step and whistling the Popeye theme. They stand on either side of Jonah, who looks at them and joins in.)
NARRATOR: To get Jonah's attention, God sent a great wind. (Kids blow slightly. Jonah and Sailors keep dancing.) I said a GREAT WIND! (Kids take a huge breath and blow noisily. Jonah and Sailors put their arms up in front of their faces and grimace as though facing a gale force.)
JONAH: Later, guys-I'm going below to ride this one out! (He sits down between them.)
NARRATOR: The Sailors didn't know what to do. They cried out to their gods to ask for mercy. (Sailors pray with upraised arms, looking up beseechingly.) But the wind continued. (Kids have become bored and are doing things such as whispering to each other and buffing their nails.) THE...WIND...CONTINUED! (Kids hop to it, blowing with vigor. Sailors resume gale position.) The Sailors even tried throwing all non-essentials overboard.
(Sailors look around for something to pretend to pitch overboard. Seeing the Narrator, they approach him menacingly, rolling up their sleeves.)
NARRATOR: (quickly) But then they thought of something! (Sailors stop and think.) Whew! (Sailors walk over to Jonah.)
SAILOR 1: Hey! Why aren't you up here praying with the rest of us? Maybe your god will listen!
SAILOR 2: We didn't have this kind of trouble till you joined us! What kind of troublemaker are you?
SAILOR 1: (angrily) Yeah!
JONAH: (fearfully) I'm a prophet of the God of Israel, who made everything, and I'm running away from him.
NARRATOR: The Sailors were a little upset. (The Sailors bristle at this.)
SAILORS: (glaring at Narrator) A little upset?
NARRATOR: Actually, they were really ticked off!
SAILORS: (nod heads) That's better.
SAILOR 2: (to Jonah) Now, what are we going to do about this situation?
JONAH: (gulps loudly) Pick me up and throw me into the sea, and then it will calm. (Kids resume strong, noisy blowing. Sailors resume gale position.)
NARRATOR: The Sailors didn't want to do that. (Sailors put hands on hips and look at Narrator incredulously, mouths agape.) But after some thought they decided it probably was the best course of action.
(Sailors take Jonah's arms and "pitch" him overboard. Jonah pretends to swim. Kids stop noisy blowing immediately.)
NARRATOR: As promised, the waters calmed immediately. Jonah figured he was doomed, but God made a big fish swallow Jonah.
JONAH: (still swimming) I thought it was a whale.
NARRATOR: Whale, fish-you were swallowed. (Kids make a circle around Jonah.) Time passed.
JONAH: (praying) Lord, I've been in here for three days. I thought I'd die when those Sailors threw me into the water, but you had mercy on me and allowed me to live on in the belly of this fish, which, other than the smell, isn't too bad. Thank you, Lord.
NARRATOR: God heard Jonah's prayers of thanksgiving and had the fish throw Jonah up on dry land.
KIDS: (throw-up sound) Bleah!
(Jonah pops out from the middle of the circle and falls on the ground, wiping off his arms and torso. Kids line up and speak as God.)
GOD: Get up! Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach to it what I tell you to say!
JONAH: Okay, okay, I get the picture!
NARRATOR: So Jonah went to Nineveh. (Kids act like Ninevites-miming rolling dice, drunkenness and fighting.) And after looking around a bit, he preached there. (Jonah gets a chair, stands on it to preach. Kids continue their rowdiness.)
JONAH: (pointing finger in air) After 40 days, Nineveh will be destroyed! (Kids freeze.)
KID 1: (preparing to roll dice) What'd he say?
KID 2: (Kids are still frozen.) I think it was, "After 40 days, Nineveh will be destroyed!"
KID 1: Whoops. (Kids drop their sinful poses.)
NARRATOR: All the Ninevites, from the lowliest beggars to the highest royalty, saw the error in their ways and became most humble. They even stopped eating! (Kids bow low to the ground.)
JONAH: (obviously pleased) All right! Now prepare to experience the wrath of my mighty God!
NARRATOR: God, however, saw their humility and had mercy on them.
JONAH: Oh, great! I knew this would happen! That's why I ran away in the first place! (He jumps off the chair, sits and sulks.)
NARRATOR: After pitching a fit, Jonah rested in the desert outside the city. But God had mercy on him and made a plant grow quickly beside him to provide him with shade. (Two kids pretend to be a plant growing beside Jonah.)
JONAH: (staring admiringly at plant) I love my plant.
NARRATOR: Then God sent destructive insects and hot dry winds and the plant died! ("Plant" dies dramatically.)
JONAH: (standing up, looking up) That's it. No more. Just strike me dead! You took away the only thing I have, so go ahead and take me, too!
GOD: (kids in line) Jonah, are you angry?
JONAH: Read my lips!
GOD: You care so much for your plant, which lived only a few days; don't you see that a whole city is so much more worth being concerned about? I'm their God, too!
NARRATOR: So Jonah finally understood. (Jonah nods grudgingly.) He had learned that...
JONAH: (to audience) You can run, but you can't hide.
NARRATOR: (leading him on, voice rising in pitch) And...
ALL: The Lord is a loving God, with mercy enough for all people.
(All bow.) ˙
Bob Latchaw is a teacher in Colorado.
Copyrightę 1992 Group Publishing, Inc. / GROUP Magazine