Synopsis: Wealthy and beautiful Lucia is always doing good for the poor. Her loving work is known far and wide, but all is not well. Lucia’s faith is under fire. When her mother betroths her to an unbeliever, Lucia must make a choice. Will she stand for what’s right or will she choose the safe road?
Running Time: Approximately 1 hour
Play Type: Christian Historical Fiction
Cost: Free. To be used for the glory of God.
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Lucia: Female. Strong, beautiful, and brave. She has a strength of character and voice that make her beautiful.
Claudia: Female. Servant. Clumsy, yet she has a good heart.
Stephan: Male. Strong, temperamental. But helpful when called upon.
Demas: Male. Mean and manipulative. Care for no one but himself.
Serena: Female. Lucia’s mother. Dignified, proud, and uncaring of what Lucia wants.
Tabitha: Female: Stephan’s mother. Skeptical, practical, but still listening.
Matin: Male. Elder in the village. Loves power and hates the Christians.
Captain: Male. Mean and obeys all the orders of Matin.
Martha: Female. Mother, kind, and gracious.
Priest: Male. Dignified, mean, and hateful.
Courtyard – All in late Biblical style. Stone walls and floor.
Lucia’s Room – Stone, maybe a small window. Wood bed, table, and a chair.
Serena’s Home – Small dirty shanty. Messy with a small bed and table.
Underground Cavern – Dark. Made to look like one of the catacombs.
Courtroom – Polished room with pillars.
[Lights up. In courtyard of Lucia’s home. Circa 300 A. D. In the Middle East.]
Song: Hearts United by Celtic Cry
[Lucia sits writing. Claudia walks in.]
Claudia: Lady Lucia?
Lucia: Yes, Claudia?
Claudia: [Looks around the room and begins cleaning and knocking over things clumsily] Mistress sent me to tell you to prepare for guests. Sorry. She asked you to put on your best dress. Goodness, things are dirty in here. [Knocks something over] I need to get this clean. Goodness. I am so sorry, my lady.
Lucia: Just calm down Claudia. [Lucia gathers her things and straightens things] Why all the fuss?
Claudia: It’s mistress. She has been making a fuss over everything. She nearly tore me to pieces for knocking over a water pot. I would be careful, my lady. She is in one of her moods.
Lucia: Mother has her days. Don’t worry about it, Claudia. Just clean up in here and calm yourself.
Claudia: I don’t know, my lady. This time seems different. There is something going on; I know it. Just take care of yourself.
Lucia: I will. But I am equally sure that everything will be fine.
Claudia: I think I hear someone coming.
Lucia: I’ll go dress. Tell them I will be out in a few moments.
[Exit Lucia. Claudia stays and tidies the room. Enter Demas and Serena.]
Serena: [Talking to Demas] You are most welcome in our home. We can never thank you enough for all that you are doing.
Demas: Yes, yes. I am most glad that I found you willing to do as I have asked.
[Serena turns to Claudia]
Serena: Servant, go get us some wine.
Claudia: [Bows] Yes, Lady Serena. Also, Lady Lucia said that she would be out as soon as she has dressed.
Serena: [Impatiently] Yes, yes. Now go get us the wine.
[Claudia leaves hurriedly]
Serena: I think my servants are becoming lazy. Lucia is no help with them.
Demas: Don’t worry, my lady. I will take care of Lucia. She is a bit strange, but she is the most beautiful woman in this village.
Serena: The only thing that has yet to be decided is the bride price. I want to be fair, but you must understand that a woman in my position …
Demas: I understand. I plan to offer you a bride price that will restore your house to glory that it had when your husband was alive.
Serena: My poor Justin. He was terrible with money. We were left nearly destitute.
Demas: A sad turn of fate, but no matter. Soon you will be rich and your daughter will be my wife. Leave it to me to get all these foolish notions out of her head.
Serena: Foolish notions? Whatever do you mean?
Demas: You don’t have to play dumb. It has been widely rumored that Lucia has been become a follower of that man. The one they called Christ. And that she has been …
Serena: [Interrupts] I assure you, Demas, Lucia has her faults, but she isn’t involved with those Christians. She is somewhat strange, but she will be happy to settle down with you.
Demas: You don’t need to get so defensive, my lady, I trust they are only rumors.
Lucia: I was told you wanted to see me.
Serena: Yes, Lucia dear. You know Demas.
Demas: [Bows slightly and kisses Lucia’s hand] We have met before at the harvest celebration.
Lucia: [Warily] I remember you. What brings you to our house?
Serena: Demas has agreed to marry you.
Serena: It has all been arranged. You will be married in high summer. The bride price is settled. Isn’t this wonderful?
Lucia: But mother….
[Claudia enters with the wine]
Claudia: Here is the wine, my lady.
Serena: Finally. It took long enough.
[Claudia passes out the wine. Each take a cup.]
Demas: [Holds up his cup] Here’s to a joyous and happy union between our two families.
Serena: Here, here.
[All drink. Lucia looks worried.]
Demas: I must go. I have some business matters to take care of.
Serena: Then go, and may the gods be with you.
Demas: Until later then. [Turns to Lucia] I will come back soon, my love. Good-bye.
Lucia: Good-bye, Demas.
[Demas tries to take Lucia’s hand and kiss it. Lucia pulls her hand away. Demas leaves.]
Serena: That was rude!
Lucia: Mother, how could you? You know that …
Serena: Quiet! I don’t want to hear anything out of you. You have been allowed to have your own way for too long. I don’t want to hear another rebellious word out of you. I’m going to go to the market. You will stay here. Do you understand?
Lucia: Yes, mother.
[Serena exits. Lucia is stunned. Claudia comes forward.]
Claudia: Are you well, my lady?
Lucia: No. Don’t you realize what this means?
Claudia: Maybe it’s for the best, my lady. Maybe you should reconsider your vows.
Lucia: I can’t, Claudia. Don’t you see what that would mean?
Claudia: I know your mother. I know that she won’t back down this time.
Lucia: Then we will have to find a way out.
[Lucia rubs her forehead trying to find an answer. Lights down.]
[Lights up. Lucia walks down a street on the poor side of town. She knocks on a door. Tabitha answers.]
Tabitha: My Lady, what are you doing here?
Lucia: How many times have I told you, Tabitha? My name is Lucia.
Tabitha: It’s not right for a woman of low birth to speak to a lady like that.
Lucia: Please, you know that I see you as a friend. Honor my friendship by calling me Lucia.
Tabitha: Very well.
Lucia: I brought some clothes for your children.
[Lucia hands Tabitha a bag]
Tabitha: Thank you. Their clothes have been looking a little shabby of late. You are so good to help us.
Lucia: I’m glad that I can.
Tabitha: I hear that someone is going to be married soon.
Lucia: Where did you hear that?
Tabitha: These things have a way of getting around. I just listen to the talk of the town.
Lucia: [Sadly] It’s more than talk, I’m afraid. My mother has betrothed me to Demas.
Tabitha: So what is wrong? He is wealthy and handsome.
Lucia: He is a pagan. He hates followers of Christ.
Tabitha: Maybe he will change.
Lucia: I’m afraid not. He is too stubborn. Besides, I made vows to God that I would never marry. I have dedicated my life to God. Demas would take it all away.
Tabitha: Are you crazy? You can’t go against your family and tradition just because of a vow.
Lucia: Can’t you see, Tabitha? My life is not my own. I belong to God. He has chosen for me to remain unmarried for my whole life. I can’t break that vow.
Tabitha: Like I said. I think that you’re crazy. You could no more go against your mother’s will than you could hold back the tide. I say you should forget about your visions.
Lucia: I can’t.
Tabitha: And there may be another reason. [Looks around cautiously] I heard from some talk at the market that the elders aren’t very happy. At the last meeting they were discussing what to do about the Christians.
Lucia: More talk. What is it to me?
Tabitha: It’s more than talk, Lucia. They are tired of the Christians. They see them as a threat to their power. They are talking about taking more action.
Lucia: What if they do? I am not afraid of them.
Tabitha: If they find out that you are a Christian, they could choose to make an example of you.
Lucia: Whatever happens will be God’s will. Until then I will do what is set before me.
Tabitha: Stephen, it took you longer than normal to get the bread. What have been doing?
[Stephen hands the bread to his mother]
Stephen: [Curtly] I had some other things to do and the bread shop was busy.
Tabitha: Fine. Never mind that there is work to be done in the vineyards and that the children take up all of my time. My son should…
Stephen: Mother, I’m not in the mood to talk about what I should or shouldn’t do.
[Stephen exits hotly]
Lucia: Maybe he had a hard day.
Tabitha: He has been out of sorts all week. I don’t know what to do with him anymore. I think something is bothering him, but he won’t tell me what it is.
Lucia: Don’t worry. Time will tell.
Tabitha: In the meantime you had better head home. I fancy your mother won’t be happy when she figures out where you have been.
Lucia: She seldom is. It makes no difference to me. I am doing what I am called to do.
Tabitha: Then by all means do it, if you are so determined. [Tone softening] Only be careful.
[Lights up. The courtyard at Lucia’s house. Lucia enters. She is met by Claudia.]
Claudia: [In a whisper] My lady, I need to talk to you. [Gestures for Lucia to come closer] Hurry.
Lucia: What’s wrong?
Claudia: Your mother has taken your chest with your dowry. She made quite a mess. It took me all afternoon to clean up after it.
Lucia: Never mind about the mess. What do you mean taken?
Claudia: She went into you room earlier and stripped out everything that was valuable.
Lucia: Did she say why?
Claudia: No. She went on a rampage. I don’t know where anything is.
Lucia: I need to talk to her. Where is she?
Claudia: I think she was … [Looks over and sees Serena] She’s headed this way.
Lucia: I will take care of this. You should go. I want to talk to her alone.
Claudia: Be careful. She isn’t in a good mood.
Lucia: I will. Now go.
[Claudia hurriedly exits. Lucia takes a deep breath. Serena enters.]
Serena: [Testily] And where have you been? I thought that I told you I needed your help today.
Lucia: The servants assured me that they would help you. I was needed in the village. I had some deliveries to make and there were…
Serena: Stop! I don’t want to her anymore of your excuses. I think you were trying to avoid me. I will not have that in this house.
Lucia: Mother, you must understand. There was work to be done in the city and Christ called me to do it today.
Serena: Don’t start preaching at me. I’m not in the mood. You have better things to do with your time.
[Serena begins to leave. Lucia looks distressed, but stops her.]
Lucia: Mother, where is my chest?
Serena: [Innocently] You mean your dowry?
Lucia: Yes, my dowry. Where did you put it?
Serena: Servants can’t keep quiet about anything!
Lucia: Where is the chest?
Serena: I have put it where you won’t waste all of it on the poor. We can’t have you being married in rags, now can we? So I put them where they would be safe.
Lucia: Mother, I’m not going to marry Demas. He is a pagan and, what’s worse, he will take away all that I have to serve God with.
Serena: I think it is about time that you give up all that. We are not rich. We can’t let this opportunity slide. You have a duty to our house. You will marry Demas whether you wish to or not.
Lucia: I won’t marry him!
Serena: You will! You are crazy to believe all that Christianity nonsense. It’s all a lie! I forbid you to ever mention it in this house again.
Lucia: How can you say such things? Have you forgotten what happened? How can you turn away from all that He did?
Serena: [Becoming angry] Lucia, keep such thoughts to yourself! You are betrothed and you will marry Demas! No more talk of God or of the past. If you don’t stay at home and prepare for this marriage I will not let you leave this house!
Lucia: Mother! How can you?
Serena: Quiet! I will see you at dinner.
[Serena exits hastily. Lucia is left stunned.]
Lucia: God. Father of Light, where are you? I thought you called me to be a virgin. I thought you called me to love and serve your people. How am I to do that now? My mother is against me. All of my resources have been snatched from my hands. How can I serve and love your people now? What am I to do? Please help me!
[Lucia sinks to the ground. Lights down.]
[Lights up. In an underground cavern, a young mother tries to calm her baby. A lantern burns beside her.]
Martha: Shhh, shhh, you mustn’t cry my child. We could be caught at any moment.
[Lucia enters looking worn]
Lucia: [Whispers] Martha? Is that you?
Martha: It is.
Lucia: God be with you.
Martha: And with you, Lucia. But I fear that all is not well.
Lucia: What do you mean?
Martha: We have been found out. Someone has told the city leaders where we meet and the names of our leaders. Already several have been arrested. I fear they plan to kill them.
Lucia: Who told them? Who has betrayed us?
Martha: I don’t know, but many of us are fleeing to safer places. This is why I asked you to meet me today. I wanted to see you before I left.
Lucia: For where?
Martha: To Damascus. We hope to find some peace. We have heard that there is a growing community of believers there.
Lucia: I will miss you, but things here are getting bad. I have been betrothed to a pagan. My mother has hopes of raising our family fortunes.
Martha: A pagan?! Doesn’t she know of your vows?
Lucia: She knows, but she chooses to disregard them. She is threatening house arrest and all manner of things to force me into this marriage. I am praying that God will provide a way of escape.
Martha: We will pray as well. Better yet, why not come with us? We could use your gifts of healing in Damascus, and you can escape.
[Lucia looks down at the ground as if searching for the answer in the dirt]
Lucia: Martha, I can’t leave. God has called me to serve here. I can’t leave this village in darkness. I must stay and bring light to them. Even if it means trouble.
Martha: Then we will pray for your strength.
Lucia: Tell all the believers that I will be thinking of and praying for them. I can’t come to see them now. If I was away for too long mother would … [Doesn’t finish]
Martha: [Sympathetically] I will tell them. [Pause] I hear someone coming. We must go!
Lucia: God go with you.
Martha: God be with you. Farewell.
[Martha quickly exits. Lucia looks after her for a moment. Lucia, hearing more noise coming, quickly picks up the lantern and exits. As soon as she leaves, Demas, Matin, and Captain enter with torches.]
Demas: I was sure that I heard someone in here, Elder Matin.
Matin: But there isn’t anyone here.
Demas: Nevertheless, I heard someone. I’m sure of it!
Matin: How certain are you that your information is correct? We have been trying to find these Christians for months. How do you know they use these tunnels? They are so filthy and hard to get around in.
Demas: I asked one of their own number to reveal everything he knew. For a price people will do anything.
Captain: [Looking at the ground and pointing] Sir, look. There are footprints in the dirt.
[All examine the footprints]
Matin: I can see just fine Demas.
Demas: There were people here.
Captain: They must have heard us and left.
Matin: It’s useless to follow them now. This tunnel dead ends into the market. They have gotten away from us.
Demas: You must station some of your men here.
Matin: You let me worry about such things. For now we had better head up above ground. Continue to keep your eyes and ears open. Report to me any more information you find out about the Christians.
Demas: I will. They are a careless people. They can’t escape us for long.
[Lights up. Lucia is in her room sewing. Serena walks in.]
Serena: What are you working on?
Lucia: Mother, why do you ask when you know what the answer will be?
Serena: I had hoped that you were finally coming to your senses.
Lucia: I’m not making anything for the wedding, if that’s what you mean. I am making something for … a …friend.
Serena: [Irritated] I should have guessed as much. You are always wasting your money on your friends.
Lucia: I would hardly call loving those around me wasting my money.
Serena: Love! Huh! You are making our house the laughingstock of the village.
Lucia: [Puts down her work to face her mother] Is that all you care about? How everything looks to others? You are so worried about how things appear that you are missing out on love.
Serena: You are ruining our good name and are a disgrace to this house. Stop what you are doing or …
Lucia: [Interrupts] Better that than be a disgrace to God. I will not give in. I will not deny Christ. I will not marry Demas.
Serena: [Angry] Enough! You have gone too far! You will stay in your room until you have come to your senses!
Serena: I have spoken. You will not leave your room until you marry Demas!
[Serena exits the room hotly. Lucia is left stunned. Claudia walks in.]
Claudia: Lady Lucia, are you well?
[Lucia doesn’t respond]
Claudia: Lucia? What happened?
Lucia: My mother has confined me to my room until I give up my resolve not to marry.
Claudia: How could she?! You are a grown woman, not a child that has to be told what to do. Look at that mess. Don’t they ever clean in here?
[Claudia begins to clean]
Lucia: I know full well that I am grown, but she is determined. I saw that look in her eyes. She isn’t going to relent.
Claudia: I told you so. She has gone mad.
Lucia: I just thought that she was incapable of such behavior.
Claudia: What are you going to do?
Lucia: I don’t know. I cannot turn aside from what God has called me to do. But I feel so helpless. I thought that I was doing the right thing, but maybe … [Doesn’t finish]
Claudia: Don’t give in, Lucia. God will provide a way of escape. We just can’t see it yet. He has plans for you. Somehow you will be able to keep your vows and remain true to His call.
[Lucia turns to Claudia surprised]
Lucia: Claudia, where did that come from?
Claudia: I let Christ into my heart last night. I have seen what a difference He has made in your life. After years of resisting and fighting, I laid down my life for Him to take. He filled me with His presence and with His love. I have such joy and peace. I …
Lucia: You don’t have to explain. I know how you feel. That joy was and is still mine.
Claudia: Don’t fret about your mother. Our God is strong. He will break through these walls. We must have faith.
Lucia: Yes. We must.
[Lights up. Lucia paces in her room thinking. Enter Claudia with a tray of food.]
Claudia: Come, my Lady. You must eat. [Trips] One of us needs to keep up our strength.
Lucia: Not now, Claudia. I have too much to think on.
Claudia: Don’t let your present circumstances depress you. Have you lost all hope?
Lucia: I know that I shouldn’t. But sometimes I can’t help myself. I’m going crazy shut up in this room. I long to be out helping others.
Claudia: Don’t worry, my lady. God hasn’t abandoned you. There will be a way out.
Lucia: You’re right. God still has something for me to do. We shall see what happens.
Claudia: In the meantime you need to eat or you won’t live to find the way out. [Sets down tray and knocks over a vase]
Lucia: Very well. I had better eat it before it gets thrown all over the room.
Claudia: I’m sorry. I will pick that up right away.
[Both laugh. Lucia begins to eat. A crash is heard outside and Stephen bursts into the room looking worried and frightened.]
Lucia: Stephen, what…?
Stephen: Lady Lucia, you must come. Mother is in bed with a fever. I fear she is close to death. She is so weak she can hardly move.
[Lucia thinks only a moment]
Lucia: Stephen, go to the physician. Tell him to give me the fever herbs. [Lucia hands him a few coins] Hurry! I will go to Tabitha as soon as I can slip away safely.
[Lucia begins to gather things into a bag. Claudia follows her wanting to help. Stephen exits.]
Claudia: What can I do?
Lucia: Go get some strips of cloth and some wine. There’s not a moment to lose.
[Claudia leaves. Lucia continues to gather things.]
Lucia: [To herself] I can’t stay. I need to help her. No matter what.
[Claudia hurries back in with the wine and cloth]
Claudia: Here they are. What about Lady Serena? She won’t let you leave. What can we do?
[Lucia thinks a moment]
Lucia: Go get me one of your tunics and a head covering. Quickly!
[Claudia leaves quickly]
Lucia: [Drops on her knees and prays] Father of light. Please help me. Help me to get out of here and help my friend.
[Claudia enters with clothes in hand and gives them to Lucia]
Claudia: Here they are. [Begins to arrange things] What are you going to do?
[Lucia puts the servant’s clothes over her own]
Lucia: I will leave the house disguised as a servant. By the time my mother realizes I am gone, I will be safely away.
Claudia: What will I tell her?
Lucia: Tell her that I have gone to help someone in need. But don’t tell her where I’ve gone. I can’t have her come and take me away. I will come back as soon as I can. Until then stall mother.
Claudia: I will do my best.
Lucia: You always do. [Lucia closes the bag and slings it over her shoulder] I need to go. Pray for me.
Claudia: I will. [Pause] Lucia, be careful.
Lucia: I will.
[Lights up. Tabitha’s house. Tabitha groans in pain on the bed. She tosses and turns. Lucia bends over her, cooling her forehead with the towel and trying to make her comfortable.]
Tabitha: [In a hoarse voice] My lady, lady, what are you…
Lucia: [Soothingly] Shhh, don’t try to talk. I’m here to help you. Stephen has gone to get some herbs. You will be better soon.
Tabitha: I can’t…Please, I know…
Lucia: Don’t try to talk. Rest and we can talk later.
[Tabitha turns over and closes her eyes. Lucia pulls the covers up around her. Lucia cleans up the house. Stephen runs in.]
Lucia: [In a whisper] Stephen, be quiet. She is resting.
Stephen: Sorry. I got the herbs.
[Stephen hands Lucia the herbs. Lucia gets a bowl and begins to prepare them for use.]
Lucia: Wonderful. As soon as she wakes up I will give them to her.
Stephen: I can’t thank you enough. No one else would help us.
Lucia: I’m glad you came to me.
Stephen: Weren’t you afraid to come? I know that your mother forbade you to leave, and your betrothed has been breathing out threats against you.
Stephen: Demas knows well that you are a believer, and he knows that you plan to refuse him on those grounds.
Lucia: I am not afraid. He cannot hurt me. God watches over me.
Stephen: But what if they have you arrested, and then you …[doesn’t finish]
Lucia: Stephen, my life is not my own. No matter what happens to me, I am in His hands.
Stephen: But what if they hurt you?
Lucia: I know the One who heals.
Lucia: Stephen, I have seen God heal. I know that they can do nothing that He can’t make right.
Stephen: When? How did He heal?
[Lucia motions to two chairs. They sit down.]
Lucia: When I was a little girl, my father was very devout follower of Christ. The church would often meet in our home. It was perfect. Then, when I was eleven my father died, suddenly. I was lost without my father, my mentor in my faith. I floundered around for many years not sure of what I believed. Everything seemed so meaningless. What was I supposed to do? [Pause. Lucia looks pained.] After my father’s death, Serena changed. Overnight she was transformed from loving wife to angry widow. She lashed out at all the believers that came to our home and told them to never come back. She blamed them for my father’s death.
Stephen: But they didn’t hurt your father.
Lucia: That didn’t matter to Serena. She was angry. To make matters worse, when I was fourteen she became sick. We tried everything to cure her. Nothing worked. [Pause] In desperation I cried out to God for help. For weeks I prayed with no answer. Then one night I had a vision where God told me to go to a field a day’s walk from the city with my mother. The next day I had some of the servants carry Serena to the field. It was just before dusk when we arrived. We were all exhausted. Night fell and we lay down and were soon fast asleep. Then in the middle of the night something startled me. [Almost as if she is remembering a dream] An angel appeared to me. She told me that my mother had been healed. She told me that God had called me to live my entire life for His glory. I was never to marry, but to give my money to the poor. That night I knew I had found my purpose and my Savior. I made my vows and have given Him my all ever since.
Stephen: So that’s how Serena was healed. We knew she had gotten better, but we had no idea how.
Lucia: Sadly she now refuses to acknowledge God. She says it must have been some magic of the gods.
Stephen: Doesn’t that grieve you?
Lucia: I am grieved that she doesn’t know the truth. I pray for her every day. Beyond that all I can do is live out my calling.
Stephen: But how can you do it when your mother and everyone is against you?
Lucia: Not everyone is against me. There are believers that encourage me.
Stephen: But how can you be so brave in the face of danger?
Lucia: Because I know the One who has called me. He is faithful. He died and rose again for me. And He healed my mother and gave me a purpose. How can I do any less than give Him everything that I have?
Stephen: You are a strong woman, Lucia. But I don’t think I can be as brave as you are.
Lucia: You can be. Entrust yourself to the One who is stronger than you. Let Him change you, and you will become the man you want to be.
Stephen: I don’t know if…
[Stephen stops as he sees Tabitha move. Tabitha stirs and looks around.]
Lucia: [Goes over and kneels down beside her with the herbs] Tabitha, everything is going to be all right.
Tabitha: Thank you for coming.
[Lucia lifts up Tabitha’s head so that she can take some of the herbs. Lights down.]
[Lights up. Back in Lucia’s courtyard. Claudia cleans.]
Claudia: There, everything is clean. I hope that Lucia will be pleased when she returns.
[Serena enters. She is enraged at Claudia.]
Serena: [Angrily] Where is she?
Serena: Don’t you talk to me like that! Where is Lucia?
Claudia: If she wanted you to know she would have told you. Please be careful, Mistress, I just finished cleaning in here.
Serena: Don’t you start smarting off to me. She didn’t come to dinner last night and she is not in her room this morning. Where has she gone? Tell me where she is or you will be flogged!
Claudia: [Scared] Please, no! I … Please …
Serena: Then tell me where she is! At once!
Claudia: She went to help someone in need. They had a fever and were at the point of death. She had to go.
Serena: She was told not to leave! She will pay for her wrong! She will stay here and marry Demas before the week is out.
Claudia: My lady! Don’t you see Lucia will never bend to your will? She has given her heart to another. She has sworn to follow Him. She will not relent or give up. No matter what you do to her.
Serena: [Exploding with anger] How dare you?! You will…
[Knock from off stage. Serena turns and cools slightly, but still seethes.]
Serena: Get the door. Be quick about it. I will deal with you later.
[Claudia hurriedly exits and soon returns with a Captain and the elders]
Matin: Where is Lady Lucia?
Serena: Elder Matin. What an honor to have you here.
Matin: Save your flattery, woman. Where is Lucia?
Serena: She isn’t here. What do you want with her?
Priest: Search the house.
[The Captain steps forward and begins to search]
Serena: You can’t search this house. I am…
Captain: It doesn’t matter who you are. Your daughter is charged with treason and subversion. I have my orders. [Captain continues to search]
Serena: [Horrified] Treason!
Matin: She has been mixing with that sect of traitors who call themselves Christians. We have tolerated this sect long enough. It is time they be eliminated.
Priest: You would do well to distance yourself from your daughter’s activities.
Serena: As far as I’m concerned, she is a disgrace to my house and not worthy of her good name.
Matin: Good, you would do well to keep this attitude.
Captain: She’s not here, sir.
Priest: Then we will go and look for her. She must be somewhere in the city.
Matin: Captain, take some of your men and find out where she is and report to us as soon as you find her.
Captain: Right away, sir.
[Captain leaves. Lights down.]
[Lights up. Back at Tabitha’s house, Tabitha sleeps comfortably. Lucia feels her forehead. Stephen stands close beside her.]
Lucia: The fever has broken. She should get better soon.
Lucia: She will be tired for a few days, but then she will be fine.
Stephen: How can I ever thank you?
Lucia: You don’t need to.
Stephen: But I must do something to show you how grateful I am. You have been so good to us. I know that it will cost you. I have done …
Lucia: Don’t worry about me, but if you want to do something go get some bread. She’ll be hungry when she wakes up.
[Stephen rises and heads for the door]
Stephen: Very well. I’ll be back soon.
Lucia: Oh, Father, please help him. Let him see You in my life. Thank you for healing Tabitha and…
Demas: [Demas interrupts from off-stage in a mocking tone] Talking to yourself, are you Lucia?
Lucia: Who’s there?
Demas: Your betrothed.
Lucia: [Alarmed] Demas, what are you doing here?
Demas: You don’t look happy to see me.
Lucia: This isn’t your house. You have to be invited!
Demas: Is it wrong for a betrothed to come see his love?
Lucia: My mother may have made promises for me, but she had no right. My life has been given to another.
Demas: You can stop all such foolishness. [He takes her hand. Which makes Lucia uncomfortable.] I may go where I please and do what I please. But your time is running out. The trap is closing in.
Lucia: [Gets out of Demas’s grasp and steps back] What do you mean?
Demas: The elders have been observing your activities. They are on their way here to arrest you.
Lucia: For what?
Demas: For causing subversion and for openly declaring yourself to be one of those Christians. If convicted, you will be executed.
Lucia: If there are charges, I will answer them. What happens to me is in God’s hands.
Demas: There is a way for you to escape from all this. A way for you to be free from all these charges.
Lucia: How? Through you?
Demas: If you will consent to marry me, I will make sure that you are released from all charges. I am highly favored among the elders. They will take my word. Give yourself over to me, and let us be done with all this foolishness.
[Tabitha stirs, and seeing a strange man, tries to get out of bed]
Tabitha: [Weakly] Who are you?
Lucia: Tabitha! Wait …
[Demas turns, and seeing Tabitha, hits her. Tabitha falls to the ground unconscious. Lucia tries to go to her friend. Demas stops her.]
Demas: Never mind about your friend. You haven’t answered my question. You don’t want to get hurt, too, do you?
[Demas moves toward her. Lucia inches away.]
Lucia: Leave her alone!
Demas: There’s no need for all this fuss, my love.
Lucia: As I have already told you, I will never marry. You are cruel and heartless!
Demas: [Presses Lucia against a wall] Foolish, so foolish. You think you are so strong, but you can’t stand up to me.
Lucia: [In a firm tone] Get away from me now.
[Demas grabs her hand and tries to pull her close. Lucia struggles. Lucia loses balance and falls. Demas is about to pounce on her when Stephen enters.]
Stephen: [Alarmed] Who are you? [Seeing Lucia on the ground] Lucia?!
Lucia: [Desperately] Help me! He’s …
[Stephen lunges for Demas. Demas backs away. A brief fight ensues.]
Demas: This is none of your affair. Stay out of this!
Stephen: Fine, then I will tell the elders of all that has gone on here today. Now leave my house before you can’t leave at all.
Demas: Ah, so now we switched sides, have we?
Lucia: [Stands up] Sides?
Demas: Your Stephen here has been providing us with valuable information about the Christians. He has been keeping an eye on you for us. Well, the Captain will be here soon. I will leave you to weasel your way out of this one.
[Demas leaves with a black eye and some bruises]
Stephen: Are you well?
Lucia: I am now. Stephen, why? Why would you betray us?
Stephen: He promised to give me money. But he never gave any. I was so wrong. I thought I was helping my family. Now look at the mess I have made.
Lucia: It’s not too late to help us. [Looks over at Tabitha and points] Your mother!
[Both go and kneel down beside Tabitha and try to revive her]
Lucia: Demas hit her.
Stephen: Is he the man that your mother betrothed you to?
Lucia: Yes, but I am not going to marry …
Stephen: I know. [Remembers] But we can’t talk now. You must run. I saw the Captain asking questions about you. It’s only a matter of time before they get here. You have to run. I will take care of mother.
[Lucia thinks a moment. Then she turns with firm resolve.]
Lucia: No. I will not run.
Stephen: What do you mean? You have to run.
Lucia: No. I will stay.
Stephen: [Confused] But if you are arrested …
Lucia: Stephen, don’t you see? God has chosen for me to stay here, even if it means death.
Stephen: But they … Please, Lucia, run before it’s too late!
Stephen: Please, I …
Lucia: Stephen, it is useless to reason with me. My mind is made up. You may not understand now, but one day you will.
[There’s a long pause. Tabitha stirs.]
Tabitha: What’s going on? I thought I heard … where is …
[Lucia and Stephen helps Tabitha up and over to the bed.]
Lucia: [Soothingly] Shh. It’s all right. Everything is going to be all right.
Tabitha: What was all the …
[Tabitha is stopped short by loud voices and the sudden entrance of Captain, Matin, and Priest]
Matin: Everyone stay where you are.
Stephen: You have no right to …
Matin: Be quiet, boy, you’re not the one we came for.
Captain: Is she the one? [Pointing to Lucia]
Priest: Yes. That is her.
Captain: [Steps forward and grabs Lucia] Lucia, by order of the Syracuse council, you are under arrest.
Lucia: If you have come for me than let these others go.
Matin: They are no threat to us, take her.
[Captain begins to take Lucia away Stephen steps forward and stops them]
Stephen: [Forcefully] No! You can’t take her; she has done nothing wrong!
Priest: We’ll let the court decide that. Now get out of the way!
[Priest knocks Stephen to the ground. Matin, Captain, and Priest exit with Lucia in tow.]
Lucia: [As she is leaving] Be strong, Stephen.
Stephen: Oh, what have I done?
[Lights up. In the town hall. The Priest, Matin, Serena, Claudia, Stephen, Tabitha, and Demas gather to see the trial. Matin stands in the middle of the hall. Captain comes up to him and whispers so no one else can hear.]
Captain: She has been beaten as you requested, sir.
Matin: There is no change? She still refuses to give up?
Captain: She still refuses. She seems even more determined.
Matin: Well she is in for a rude awakening. Go back to the prison and bring Lucia.
Captain: Right away, sir.
[Captain exits. Matin steps forward and quiets the assembled crowd.]
Matin: Good and honest citizens of Syracuse, we are gathered here today to decide what to do with Lady Lucia. She has been stirring up unrest among the people; she has been stealing from her own mother; she has violated the law by refusing to marry; and furthermore she has become a follower of that man Jesus of Nazareth. Today we must decide what will be done to punish her for these crimes. [Toward the door] Bring Lady Lucia in.
[Captain comes in with a bloody Lucia. She is chained and looks weak. She falls to the ground from exhaustion. Captain roughly picks her up and makes her stand up before Matin.]
Matin: Lady Lucia, you are charged with stealing, causing unrest, and breaking the law. What do you say for yourself?
Lucia: Whatever crimes I may have committed were only against men. But I have never wronged God.
Matin: Very well. Let the trial begin. I call Lady Serena to come forward.
[Serena steps forward]
Matin: Lady Serena, you are called to testify as to the charges brought against your daughter.
Serena: I find her guilty of all charges. She has been nothing but a disgrace to my house ever since she became a follower of Christ. She has stolen from me time and again, and she refuses to obey me in regard to marriage.
Matin: Is there anything else?
Serena: Only that I disown her. She is no longer my daughter!
[A murmur sweeps through the crowd. A distressed look passes over Lucia’s face. Yet she says nothing. Matin looks pleased.]
Matin: Thank you Lady Serena. You may step down.
[Serena steps back into the crowd. Demas steps forward.]
Demas: May I address the court?
Matin: Does it pertain to the business we are dealing with?
Demas: It does.
Matin: You have permission to speak.
Demas: [Addressing the crowd] I find that Lucia has not only denied my proposal of marriage, but she also commits great crimes against our citizens. She goes around stirring up trouble teaching the people to rebel against their leaders. She also promotes desecration of the temples and worship of only one God. She is a criminal of the worst kind, and I say she should be punished most severely.
Matin: Have you anything else to say?
Matin: You may step down.
[Demas steps back. Matin looks out over the crowd.]
Matin: Are there any among you who want to testify for the court about Lucia?
[Silence for a moment. Then Stephen steps forward. Lucia brightens a little.]
Stephen: I would testify before the court.
Matin: What is your name and position?
Stephen: My name is Stephen son of Mark. I am a carpenter.
Matin: What do you have to say about Lucia?
Stephen: Only that she has done none of what she has been accused of. She is kind, honorable, and loving. More so than anyone in this court. Lucia saved my mother’s life and the lives of many others. She is not guilty of any crime!
Matin: [Angry] No more of this talk or you will be whipped!
Stephen: Whip me if you will. I will still speak the truth. I betrayed them once in secret, but I will not do so here. I have found one greater than fear.
Lucia: Thank you. Stephen.
Matin: Be silent! Leave this court.
Stephen: [To Matin] You may silence me, but you will never silence her.
Matin: [Motioning to the Captain] Captain, take this man out of the court at once!
Captain: Yes, sir.
[Stephen is escorted out of the court. Matin tries to gain his composure. Lucia smiles at the praise of her friend.]
Matin: He doesn’t know of what he speaks. [Pause] I call the priest to come forward and give us his opinion in this matter.
[Priest comes forward]
Matin: As an esteemed member of the community and a devout priest we ask what we should do with Lucia.
Priest: [Measuring his words carefully] Not only are these Christians rebellious and subversive. They also blaspheme against the gods. I have seen with my own eyes how Lucia spurns all of the gods. She has made the gods very angry. If allowed to continue she will make wrath fall on all of us. She will be the cause of ruin and misery for all. [Pause] Therefore I say that she should not be allowed to live. As long as she remains alive the gods will never look on us with favor. She must be killed!
Matin: Thank you, good priest. You may step down.
[Matin turns to the crowd]
Matin: You have all heard the testimony against Lucia of Syracuse. What do you think?
[Shouts of “She is guilty” sound from the crowd]
Matin: Lucia you have been found guilty of all the charges brought against you. You are condemned by this court to death. But so all men will know that we are fair and just we will give you one last chance. Say that you are guilty and that you will renounce Christ. Only then will we let you live.
Lucia: I have not wronged any man or woman. I am not guilty of any of the charges that you bring against me. The only time that I have broken a man-made law was when it conflicted with the law of God.
Matin: Will you deny Him and save your life?
Lucia: NO! I will never deny Him. He is God. He sits enthroned in heaven. He has become everything to me. I will never deny Him. No matter what you may do to me!
[Lights down. All leave the stage.]
[Don’t turn on the lights]
Narrator: [From off stage] Lady Lucia was killed later that day. With that they thought they extinguished the light that Lucia held out, but they didn’t. Her light continued to shine. In the years following her death, her story was told and retold. As a result many myths and legends sprang up around Lady Lucia until her life was surrounded in mystery. Not much is known about her. Only one thing is known for certain. Lucia was killed in 303 A. D. for refusing to deny Christ.
[Have Lucia come forward in a clean white dress. All of the blood has been removed. She is no longer weak but radiant. She holds a white candle in her hand that illuminates the darkness. Have the narrator continue talking even while this is going on.]
Narrator: But her light was not snuffed out. Her deeds for the Kingdom of God and her love for her Savior still shine brightly as a witness of a woman who loved and served her God with everything that she had. Every year on December 13th women all over the world wear white and carry candles in Saint Lucia’s honor. The light of her witness still shines in a dark world.