Will the Real Jesus Christ Please Stand Up?
Published by Dramatists Play Service
7 Male 1 Female
At the request of the director they are bearded and dressed in Biblical robes, although they are all of varying types and sizes. As they await the director's arrival they talk of their careers and discuss the order in which they will be auditioned, the first man to arrive invariably deferring to the others as they ask to be next
When the director and his assistant come in it is decided that each actor should improvise something. They retire and then come out one at a time, and the director's patience ebbs as each applicant is more awful than the last
One actor stumbles through a Biblical quotation in a meaningless singsong; one makes mincemeat of the Gettysburg Address; another launches into an off-key hymn; and the fourth begins to tell a joke - at which point the harassed director calls a halt to the entire proceedings
He explodes at the fifth actor, who has been waiting patiently for his turn, and dismisses him without a hearing. The actor accepts this with the silent good grace which has characterized him throughout, but as he leaves there is a world of meaning in the gentle smile which plays across his kind and dignified features
First presented on ABC-TV's Directions '65. An imaginative and gently ironical play which tells of the problems encountered in casting an actor in the role of Jesus for a "Biblical spectacular" on television