"This play addresses issues of bullying, cheating, name-calling (including use of the word “gay” as a taunt), and in-group exclusion. It does so head-on with focus upon a young person who must choose between following her Yester Tov or her Yetser Ha-ra in dealing with these issues. The battle within us between our good impulse and our bad impulse is always an on-going one. These impulses have names in Jewish tradition, Yetser Tov—the good impulse—and Yetser Ha-ra—the driving impulse that can be creative and energizing but that can also turn to the bad or even evil. That tradition views Yetser Ha-ra as a particularly strong impulse within us and holds that only by constant study of Scripture, prayer, and the regular doing of good can one fully reach for his or her Yetser Tov to control properly his or her Yetser Ha-ra.
The play actually offers two endings for the congregation to choose between through an on-the-spot congregational vote as the play is progressing—though the ending in which the protagonist’s Yetser Ha-ra prevails, if chosen in the vote, is “rewound” to the go to the ending in which her Yester Tov prevails. (The students thought of the idea of “rewinding” themselves by moving backwards the way a DVD does when it rewinds. When the Narrator says, “rewind,” this is what happens. This was a big hit with the congregation! ) In fact, the play was very popular among both our students (who loved acting in it) and our congregation.
The play strives with both humor and great seriousness to address circumstances unfortunately all too real in many young people’s lives—bullying, cheating, name-calling, and in-group exclusion. In so doing, it seems to resonate with our young people’s own experiences and offers a way to address constructively what they face regularly. This statement appeared right under the play’s title in the church bulletin for the service in which it was performed: “This play addresses difficult issues of bullying, cheating, name-calling, and in-group exclusion. It may open a door for discussion with your children in whatever way is most age appropriate and helpful to them. Your clergy and staff are available to answer any questions you may have.”
This is the third of three sermon plays (of which each can be performed without having seen the previous plays) in the “Temptation Trilogy” that feature the characters “Hari” and “Tovi” who act like invisible shadows to the character, Max. They are like the “angel” and “devil” often depicted in cartoons with each whispering over the right or left shoulder of a person (like their subconscious).
Cast Needed: 25 +/-
Youth Group Members
Stagehands (as needed)
(Many parts, and especially narrators, can be doubled)
Time Length: 30-45 minutes
Age Level: Youth
Audience: All ages
Skiturgies is a collection of dramas, pageants and other church programs. The complete collection can be reviewed at www.skiturgies.com. There are pieces for Advent/Christmas, Lent/Easter, After Pentecost, and general times throughout the year. Skiturgies pieces are downloadable. The purchase price includes full right to reproduce material for everyone involved in the presentation.