The Prodigal Son - a big story with participation
Here's a loud big-audience story. It's a version I used at a children's festival in Rochester Diocese, and it would work in a school assembly or church service where you want everyone to feel involved.
It's a very simple retelling of the Lost Son story from Luke 15, during which you ask the audience to join in chorally with the actions. If you want to organize them a little, you could ask half of the group to play the part of the older boy and half to play the part of the younger boy, but it will keep everyone involved better if everyone plays both parts. It will rely on you throwing yourself into the storytelling and acting it out with them with lots of energy. You might like to explain that any walking, jumping or dancing needs to be done without going anywhere, that is, on the spot! If space doesn't allow for this, you could use your fingers as actors and act it out on the palm of your hand, just sitting down where you are.
There was once a farmer who had two sons. They all worked on the farm together.
But one day the younger son got fed up. He threw down his spade
THROW IT DOWN
and stomped up to his dad. He said:
I CAN'T WAIT FOR YOU TO DIE!
GIVE ME MY SHARE OF YOUR MONEY NOW!'
And his dad handed over the money. The boy jumped for joy.
MONEY! MONEY! MONEY!
And he set out on a long journey away from home.
He got to a great city in a foreign land and went on a wild spending spree. New clothes... MODEL CLOTHES
Lots to drink... MIME DRINKING
Wild parties... MIME DANCING
Until the money ran out. And all his friends left him,
And the only job he could find was cleaning out pigs,
HOLD NOSE IN DISGUST
And he had nothing to eat.
And he slaved there miserably for ages until one day he came to his senses.
And wondered how he got into such a mess.
RAISE SHOULDERS IN A QUESTION SHRUG
He decided to go home and say sorry to his dad and maybe his dad would let him work for him again.
RAISE FINGER AS IF YOU'VE HAD A GOOD IDEA
And so he set out on the long journey home.
WALK ON THE SPOT
But his dad was looking out for him. And when he saw his son walking miserably towards him, he felt so sorry for him, that he dropped his spade and he ran to him. His son fell to his knees.
FALL TO KNEES
He tried to say sorry,
But his dad pulled him up and gave him a big hug.
MAKE FACE AS IF BEING SQUASHED
He shouted: 'Get him some clean clothes! Put a ring on his finger! Get him some new shoes! Get lots of food ready so we can party! My son was dead but now he's alive! He was lost but now he's found!'
And everyone began to party.
Everyone except the older son, who was still digging away. When he found out why they were having a party, he was furious.
PULL FURIOUS FACE
He stamped his foot
and stayed outside, sulking,
STAND IN A SULK
Until his dad came out to see what the matter was.
The son said,
IT'S NOT FAIR!
I'VE WORKED FOR YOU ALL THIS TIME
AND HE GETS THE PARTY!
IT'S NOT FAIR!'
But his dad said, 'Son, you're always with me, and all that I have is yours. But we had to have this party because your brother was dead and now he's alive. He was lost and now he's found.'
And everyone shouted, 'Hip hipâ€”