The Homecoming? By Courtney Walsh

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1 Lillenas Drama Presents The Homecoming? By Courtney Walsh Running Time: Approximately 10 minutes Themes: Reconciliation, grace, the prodigal son Scripture References: Luke 15:11-32 Synopsis: It s Thanksgiving, and for many, the reminder of a prodigal child is prevalent. For this family, the potential return of the youngest daughter is a source of tension. The two adult children are fearful their mother s hopes are about to be dashed as they have been so many times before. Still, the mother believes this is the year God will bring her youngest daughter back home. We see the family is being torn apart by this, each with their own differing viewpoint on the situation. In the end, the question is, will their sister/daughter really keep her promise and join them for the first holiday meal in years? Can God really answer prayers that seem so hopeless? Cast: MOM Late fifties/early sixties DAD Late fifties/early sixties JULIA The sister NICK The brother RYAN Julia s husband LAURA Nick s wife SAMANTHA The prodigal daughter Production Suggestions: Props Seven table settings, Thanksgiving centerpiece for the table, serving dishes, food (i.e. easy food, mashed potatoes, canned vegetables, rolls) Setting The action takes place in the dining room, which is adjoined to a sitting room. In these rooms are a large table with seven chairs on the Stage Right side, a couch and an arm chair Stage Left. Costumes Although every family is different, I recommend this family, especially the mother, would be somewhat dressed up for Thanksgiving. The adult kids could be a bit more casual, but they are sharply dressed as is their sister SAMANTHA. Sound At the end of the sketch, there is an option to play a song calling people home as SAMANTHA enters the scene. 1

2 (The scene is Thanksgiving. There s a large table on stage, dressed for the holiday. It s clear MOM likes to keep things in order and decorate (goes all out) for Thanksgiving. To look at them, you would think they were the perfect family, but not everything is as it seems. Around the table are MOM, DAD, two adult siblings (JULIA & NICK) and their spouses (RYAN & LAURA). (As the lights come up, the family is scattered across the stage. Some are sitting, some are standing. They are talking. MOM is setting the table. She is a perfectionist. She wants everything to look just right. JULIA notices this, and approaches her.) JULIA: Mom, everything looks great. Do you need any help with anything? MOM: No, Hon, I think I ve got it all under control. JULIA: I wish you would let someone help you once in a while. We can cook, too, you know. MOM: I know, but this is my chance to do something nice for my whole family. (There is a sadness on her face as soon as she says whole family.) JULIA: Mom, you can t make her come home. MOM: I know, but it s Thanksgiving. She ll be here. JULIA: She s always been stubborn Mom, and you re just going to have to accept that you might not see her at many holidays anymore. MOM: It s been 8 years. If I were going to accept it, I would ve done it by now. (She changes the subject.) Can you round up the troops? We re about ready here. JULIA: Sure. (JULIA walks around, trying to get people to sit down as MOM exits the scene. JULIA stops at her brother, NICK, who is standing by his wife.) NICK: Is Mom upset? JULIA: How could you tell? NICK: Well, it s Thanksgiving and Sam s not here... isn t it tradition? JULIA: When is she going to get over this all ready? NICK: She s her baby; what do you expect? JULIA: Nick, I realize that, but what s the point of sitting around talking about Samantha every time we get together? She s an adult now, and it s been a long time. Maybe we all need to come to the realization that no matter how many times we ask her she s not coming back, especially not on a holiday. LAURA: I don t think your mother is ever going to accept that. (RYAN enters with a soda for JULIA, sits beside her) RYAN: You talking about your sister? JULIA: What do we always talk about when we get together? Mom still thinks she s coming. 2

3 RYAN: Well, maybe she will; you never know. JULIA: No, she won t. Believe me. How many years has she invited her? Eight. How many times has she come? Zero. She s probably at some bar today. NICK: Hey, we all celebrate in our own way. (They give him a look.) LAURA: I thought she was pregnant? JULIA: Supposedly she lost it. LAURA: You don t believe her? JULIA (a look of disbelief): No. RYAN: She may have lost it wasn t she like 19 when she got pregnant? JULIA: I think she s into drugs too. I ran into one of her old friends awhile back. Poor Mom and Dad. I m sure they think it s their fault. NICK: Can you imagine if she did show up? Man, would that be a trip. She s probably got tattoos and piercings and everything else Mom and Dad used to say she couldn t have. LAURA: I do wonder what she looks like now. Maybe she s gotten her life together; I mean, we should give her the benefit of the doubt. JULIA: Laura, you don t know her like we know her. I hate to say it, but Samantha has always been a disappointment. (MOM enters, carrying another tray of food.) MOM: Now, kids, I want you to all think of something nice to say to your sister when she gets here. I know it could be awkward after all these years. (A pause) NICK: Mom, we really don t think she s going to make it. MOM: Oh? Have you talked to her lately? NICK: No, but we re just going on Sam s Thanksgiving track record. MOM: Well, I talked to her on Monday and she said she would try to be here, so I m thinking that she will. JULIA: That s what people say when they re not planning on coming and they don t want to hurt your feelings. NICK: Hey, at least she cares about your feelings now. That s an improvement. MOM: I appreciate that both of you think you know your sister, but I am the only one who has talked to her, and I think she ll be here. It was... different this time. 3

4 JULIA: You mean she didn t hang up on you? MOM: No, no, she hung up on me. I said something about her boyfriend I guess they re living together and she got angry and slammed the phone down. NICK: I can see how you would feel encouraged by that. MOM: We talked about Thanksgiving before that, Nick, and I think she was really considering it. Besides, I ve been praying about it all year, and I know this is the year God s going to answer. (She exits, to check on dinner.) LAURA: She s really got her hopes up this year. RYAN: Yeah, I m not sure I feel like a part of the family enough to stay and watch this day unfold. JULIA: Well, you re not leaving me here alone, so forget about it. (Pause) Why can t Samantha just be normal? It makes me so mad. I m tired of every holiday ending up with Mom looking miserable and Dad not knowing what to say to her. NICK: But can you imagine if Sam did show up? It would be a mess, to put it lightly. She doesn t even fit in with us anymore. LAURA: I don t know, there s some very strange people where I work. NICK: You work at the hospital. LAURA: Well, when they get hurt, I know about it. JULIA: But you don t have to interact with them on a day-to-day basis. LAURA: No, but I could carry on a conversation with them if I had to. Did you know I saw her at the mall a few years ago? JULIA: Oh, I remember. She didn t even know you, did she? LAURA: No, she didn t come to the wedding. I only knew her from her picture. She looked pretty messed up. RYAN: Well, I ve been around long enough to remember her. I remember the day she left. We were here that night. That was bad just all around bad. JULIA: Remember how Mom went upstairs and just cried? She didn t come out until the next day. RYAN: And your dad sat in his chair, staring at the wall. NICK: I think he was praying. JULIA: A lot of good it did him. NICK: Julia! 4

5 JULIA: I m just saying... NICK: Well, don t say that. It s not God s fault Sam s a mess. I just wish Mom didn t have her hopes up so high, thinking this is the year God s going to answer all her prayers. She doesn t realize how much she s asking. LAURA: Why did Sam leave in the first place? NICK: They found out she was sleeping with her boyfriend. Dad went through the roof. JULIA: It was awful. NICK: So, Sam decided she was sick of their rules. She was 18; she could be on her own. JULIA: She didn t call for two years. Mom and Dad were worried sick. That first Thanksgiving without her home was definitely worse than this one. Mom could hardly stop crying. NICK: Dad didn t say a word. RYAN: Yeah, I remember that. (Pause) LAURA: And you guys really don t think she ll come this year? JULIA: Don t you think she d be here by now? LAURA: I guess so. Everyone else is. (MOM and DAD enter. DAD is carrying the turkey, or some other food item. The four stop talking.) DAD: Well, it s just about ready, why don t we all sit down? MOM: Tom, don t you think we should wait for Samantha? I don t want her to walk in while we re all eating. DAD: How much longer do you want to wait? You told her to be here at 1. It s 2:30. MOM: I know. But I know she s coming. I just don t want her to feel awkward. (A long pause) MOM: Okay, why don t we just go ahead and sit down? We ll hold off on the turkey for a few more minutes. Why don t we go ahead and pray? Tom? DAD: Dear Lord, we take this opportunity to say thank you for all of the many blessings you ve given us this year. We know that you are there for us, watching over us and taking care of us, and we know we are blessed because of you. Thank you, Heavenly Father for our health and our prosperity, for our family and this wonderful country. We know that even in times of uncertainty, you re here to answer our call. We ask that you make us aware of all that we have to be grateful for, not just on Thanksgiving, but everyday. In your name we pray, amen. MOM (stopping him from sitting): And please bring Samantha home safe and sound this afternoon, Lord. Amen. 5

6 (They all sort of look at each other.) JULIA (hesitating): Mom, she s not coming. MOM: Don t say that, Julia. NICK: She s right, Mom. There s no way Samantha is going to show up here. JULIA: You need to just face it, Mom; it s not your fault. MOM (this hits her hard): Oh, really? Well, whose fault is it, then? No, tell me because I would really like to know. Did you drive her away? Did you aggravate her so much that she had to leave home 8 years ago and only call every few years to tell us she s still alive? No, that was me. That s what I did. DAD: Peg, please. MOM: Well, I don t know who else to blame. NICK: Why don t you blame her? MOM: Because I m her mother. I m supposed to know how to take care of her, and I didn t. I failed. I messed up and everybody knows it. JULIA: Samantha is an adult, Mom. MOM: Well, she wasn t when she left. And my only prayer this year has been to have her home with us by Thanksgiving. That s today. And if God doesn t answer my prayer, then I don t know how I can go on believing that He hears me. DAD: Don t bring God into this, Peg. MOM: Well, you re not going to fix it. I can t fix it, obviously. DAD: She ll come back when she s ready when the time is right. MOM: It s been eight years, Tom. What have you done to reach out to her? What have any of you done? JULIA: Mom, it s Thanksgiving. MOM: Well, we re all here, so why don t we get into it. JULIA: Because I don t feel like talking about Samantha anymore. That s all we ever talk about, and I m tired of it. She doesn t believe in God, Mom. You can t change that. You can t make up her mind for her. MOM: Don t you say that to me. Don t you tell me that my daughter doesn t believe in God. JULIA: Mom, you can tell by the way she lives. MOM: Well, I don t accept that. I m not giving up on her just like I wouldn t give up on any of you. 6

7 JULIA: Last time I checked I wasn t 19 and pregnant. NICK: And I m not out doing drugs somewhere. MOM: Don t judge your sister, you don t know what she s been through. JULIA: I know she brought it all on herself. MOM: It doesn t matter. None of that matters. What matters is that she comes back home. JULIA: Mom, I hate to say it, but you re living in a dream world if you think she ll be back. MOM: Stop being so negative about everything! JULIA: It s not negative. It s the truth. MOM: It s not the truth. You don t know what this is like for me. None of you do, and I m tired of trying to explain it. I m tired of being the only one who cares about what happens to your sister. She s family, and you should all be ashamed of yourselves for not trying harder. JULIA: Well, you should be ashamed of yourself for not caring about the rest of us for the last eight years. MOM: What did you say? JULIA: You re so caught up with Samantha that it doesn t matter what Nick or I do it s not important because Sam s not here to share it. Get over it, Mom, she might as well not be your daughter anymore. (There is a lull in the conversation. RYAN and LAURA have kept completely silent and now wish they could fade back into the woodwork. MOM is still very upset. DAD is quiet. As they sit in silence, there is a knock at the door. Seeing that no one else is going to answer it, RYAN stands and exits. The family sits in silent anticipation. Seconds later, RYAN enters followed by SAMANTHA. She is very put together and very beautiful. She doesn t say anything. If you choose to use music, begin it now. JU- LIA sits at the end of the table, corrected. She doesn t know what to say. SAMANTHA stands there for a few moments. She feels awkward. MOM has sort of been in shock, staring at her... she now stands and hugs her. During the song, SAMANTHA hugs the rest of the family. NICK silently introduces LAURA and RYAN gives her a hug. She ends up across the table from JULIA, who doesn t quite know what to do or say. Finally, after hesitating, she hugs her. They all then return to their chairs and welcome SAMANTHA to their meal. The song stops and an altar call is given.) The purchase of this sketch entitles the purchaser to make photocopies of this material for use in their church or nonprofit organization. The sharing of this material with other churches or organizations not owned or controlled by the original purchaser is strictly prohibited. The contents of this sketch may not be edited or reproduced in any other form without written permission from the publisher. Please include the copyright statement on each copy made. Questions? Please write, call, or Lillenas Publishing Company Drama Resources P.O. Box Kansas City, MO Phone: Fax: Web Site: 7

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