Those Who Are Humble...
A/N: Oh man, I'm going to regret writing this sometime or another, but the plot bunny has been biting for waaaaaay too long. Alack, alack.
So, here's the deal: I just did a production of Godspell as Judas/John the Baptist. The show went very well, but the one thing that never really seemed natural was the connection between Jesus and Judas. Yes, they were friends, but how? Why? How much of what was shown in the play caused Judas to betray Jesus, and what was left to audience interpretation?
Also, what has always amazed me is the distinctive differences of Jesus' and Judas' relationship between Godspell and Jesus Christ Superstar: one relationship is based on a bond formed by their differences, while the other is based on a bond created by loneliness and uncertainty about the future. JCS's relationship has been experimented with plenty; I thought I'd try my hand at the other.
And so, I bring you this little snippet of action. I can imagine it being between "All for the Best" and the seed parable. Also, this will be more based upon the version and the actors we used. (Haha, the Jesus in the movie scares me.)
Read on! Huzzah!
(Disclaimer: Godspell and the song "All for the Best" do not by any means belong to me. They belong to John-Michael Tebelak and Stephen Schwartz, and they are pretty awesome people. The characterization of Jesus, Judas, and the Apostles are of my own interpretation. There's no point in suing me, thanks.)
"It appears someone got here before us."
The playground they had stumbled on smelled of fresh paint, and it looked the part as well. Joyous streaks of green and red and gold jumped from the various pieces of equipment seated on the sandlot; the sand itself had been inadvertently painted as well, adding a speckled quality. The chain-link fence encasing the playground had been painted a bright red, and streamers randomly attached to the metal waved in the acrylic-tainted breeze.
An Apostle broke away from the group to speak to Jesus. She asked who might have done such a thing. Jesus said, "An anonymous fellow must have done this kind act. And of course, their humble nature will be exulted for future charitable work." There was general agreement within the group.
It did not take very long for the Apostles to split up in favor of play. Several ran to grab the swings that lined the back wall, while the rest formed a game of tag around a jungle gym. Watching their antics, Jesus smiled weakly and left the confines of the fence. There was a small, wooded area to the right of their overly-decorated sandlot; he decided to slip through the trees for some much-needed meditation. He could feel a small headache beginning to break through his skull.
A few minutes passed, and the Apostles hardly noticed their Master's disappearance. However morbid the thought, Jesus chuckled inwardly. Their indifference would help them when he had to leave. Whenever that would be. Jesus wasn't too sure. From his seat on the grassy earth, he looked back at his followers and their games. It didn't take long to figure out who else was missing from the picture.
He heard a twig snap behind him. He turned around…
…and there was Judas Iscariot. Trying to sneak up on him. The man began to open his mouth, began to say something, but nothing was brought forth. Jesus assisted him; he smiled and patted the ground beside. Judas sat down next to his friend and stared at the playground.
"Such a wonderful sight, this is," Jesus said. "They are in perfect harmony."
Judas nodded. "Yes…yes, it is." Smirking, he looked at Jesus and ruffled his master's brown hair. "And to think you started it all." In return, Jesus playfully pulled on Judas' ponytail.
"Do not presume I started anything at all, my friend. Such kindness and devotion was already in their hearts," he said, gesturing to the Apostles. "It only needed to be persuaded."
Judas rolled his eyes. "Yes, yes, whatever you say." He dropped his head and began to draw in the dirt. "What a shame. It won't last." His last words slipped out almost nonchalantly.
"Mmmm. I understand completely. In fact, it is something of much-needed discussion."
Judas' head perked up, his eyebrows furrowed. "We do not… It doesn't need to be discussed. Does it?"
Standing, Jesus gestured to his friend to follow him. The two walked hurriedly out of the wood until they were back to the sandlot. Jesus began to clench a small area of the chain-link fence, but Judas grabbed his shoulder and forced him off. "No! They," He looked directly at Jesus and pointed to the Apostles, "shouldn't know of this. Not yet."
"Judas, my friend, they will not pay the least bit of attention. Look."
It was true. In the second that Judas had turned his gaze away from the Apostles, they had formed a large circle around a teeter-totter and were performing a parable. Incoherent screams of glee could be heard, and the sound of rhythmic clapping was getting louder and louder. No notice was or would be given to the two figures on the other side of the fence. With that proven, Jesus tenderly placed his hand on Judas' shoulder whilst slowly walking the perimeter of the fence.
"Now, tell me what you know of our position. Please."
"Well, I do know that this…following cannot last very long," Judas said. He sighed and continued, "I can guess how it will all end. Very easily, in fact."
"Mmmm…yes." Suddenly, Jesus stopped walking. He placed both hands on Judas' shoulders and looked him straight in the eyes. He was still smiling, albeit smaller. "You will have to betray me."
Judas broke the gaze and shrugged Jesus' hands off of him. "I know, I know."
"It is your own right to do–"
"What if I don't want to!" His head snapped up. Judas clenched his teeth and, with all the intensity he could muster, regained his glare at Jesus, blue, flaming eyes meeting calm brown ones.
But it was only a few seconds after the outburst that the man realized his brashness. His body relaxed slightly, but he hung his head in apology. His frame sagged to the ground and weakly leaned against the fence. Sitting down to meet his friend's aid, Jesus took Judas into his arms, coaxing him off the fence. "Do not worry," he then said, still smiling. "No one heard you shout."
"That isn't the point. You of all people should know that." By this time, Judas had taken Jesus' arms off of him. He had turned his body toward his friend but refused to meet his eyes. Jesus cocked his head and raised Judas' head by his chin.
"Peace now. Blessed are they that mourn…" Judas resisted the urge to roll his eyes and instead settled on a smirk. Please don't start that again, he thought. I'd rather you argue with me or hurt me or kill me, but please don't lecture me. Not at a time like this.
"…for they shall be comforted." Jesus nodded, taking his hand away from the other man's face. "This is not a lecture, dear Judas, but a promise." Judas, meanwhile, wondered about the chance of Jesus being able to read his thoughts. He soon brushed the idea aside. Jesus abruptly stood; he reached out a hand to help Judas to his feet. They continued walking.
"You will betray me when the time is right," Jesus began. But Judas was getting sick of this. He stopped their walking again. "And when will that be?" he said to Jesus, trying his best to keep a cool demeanor. "I don't want to. I doubt I'll even want to when the 'time is right'!" "You will recognize the moment," Jesus said. "And you will have to. Understand?" Judas hesitated to answer.
"…I'm going to Hell for all of this, aren't I?"
"Now, let us not linger on that."
"But will I?"
Jesus smiled. "You will join us in the Kingdom of my Heavenly Father, Judas. Immediately or otherwise, this is true. There is no mistaking such a fact.
"Now," he continued, "you know what you must do, whether you wish to or not. There will be a call for rebellion, and you will answer. Do you understand?" Again, Judas was reluctant to give any sort of answer. Nonetheless, he nodded hastily. Jesus, gloomily reassured, kissed Judas on his cheek. After a pause, Judas himself gave a small laugh and affectionately returned the sign.
"Now go," Jesus said, gesticulating to the Apostles. He added with a chuckle, "Go learn your daily lesson." With that, Judas left Jesus' side and ran to the entrance of their playground. He was out of range of hearing when Jesus began to sing to himself, his headache fading.
"…who is the land for?
The sun and the sand for?
It's all for the best!"
…that turned out to be sappier than I otherwise imagined. Ah well.