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Reply to "DRAMA and PUPPET Workshop Lessons and Ideas for Prodigal Son"

The Prodigal Son

Drama Newscast Outline


Summary of Lesson Activities:

Student fill out a "mad-lib" script and set up a newscast about the Prodigal Son.


Scripture Reference:

Luke 15.



Leader Preparation:

  • Read the story ahead of time.
  • Gather the materials.

Supplies List:

  • Mad Lib script




Opening - Welcome and Lesson Introduction:

Ask the students to tell you the story of the Prodigal Son. As they do, write it out on the board. See what's missing and help them fill it in. Ask them summarize in a sentence what Jesus wants to teach us by this story. (These written comments will help their interviewing activity. Write big). NOW....together read aloud the story in Luke 15 and fill in on the board what they forgot.


Dig - Main Content and Reflection:

2. Hand out the Starter Script worksheet (see below).
Work with students to fill in the script with appropriate comments and "mad lib" words and phrases. Depending on class size, certain roles may have to be shared. Much older students should be brought in to help younger ones. Much older students can "morph" the story into a story about God, the church (older brother) and those in need of acceptance (could be a variety of people youth choose).

Discuss with each character what they might say. Ask other students to comment on what someone might say. 


An Older Kids/Pre-teen version of this script ADDED an additional character: GOD, ...who had a microphone. At several points of dialog. the teacher says or signals "stop" and God offers God's "opinion" on what's happening, what the characters should be saying. This role should be played by a savvy student.


Following the completion of the script, due a "dry-run" of the TV show. Then videotape it, play back, and enjoy.

Prodigal Son Script

Characters Needed:

Older Son 
Younger Son 
Interviewer 1 
Interviewer 2
Interviewer 3 
News Anchor (could be split between two students) 
Younger Sister 


News Anchor: 
We interupt today's special 6 hour presentation of ______________________(boring bad documentary movie), to bring you this special news bulletin. 
We have just heard rumors that _____________'s (man's name #1) youngest son ____________ (caveman name) is on his way back from living a wild and dissolute life in ______________ (name of mall) where he was _____________ (something really gross and weird). Word on the street is that the younger son has wanted to come back home and live with his family ever since he woke up and realized ____________ (what made the younger son realize he had been bad). 
For more on this breaking story, we go live to our ace reporter in the field, ________________(name of a vegetable, and name of a movie monster). 

Interviewer 1: 
Thank you __________(name of a famous newscaster). I'm standing here in ______________ (name of a really bad place) with the youngest son of _____________(man's name #1) ___________(caveman's name). Tell us ____________(caveman's name), what has life been like out here and why do you want to go back home? 

Younger Son: --Younger son has to come up with his own answer.-- 

Interviewer 1:
Well that's an amazing story. Tell our viewing audience, do you think you will be accepted when you get back home? --Younger son answers-- Well, we've heard that you spent your entire inheritance in wild living. How to you think that's going to go over with your father? --Younger son answers-- 
Who do you think will give you the most trouble upon your return home? ---younger son answers---- 

Well we happen to have your brother live from your father's home in ________________ (name of a happy place to live). Let's go back to the studio for that report. 

News Anchor:
Thank you ___________ (vegetable,monster). It's an amazing story that's unfolding. Will the younger brother be accepted when he returns back home. Will the father kick him out or not let him in at all? For more on what the younger son can expect we go live to our other ace reporter ________________ (name of tool, name of insect). 

Interviewer 2:
I'm standing here in ______________(name of father's happy place to live) with both the father and older brother of the Prodigal Son who as you have heard, is coming home soon after years of wild living and spending his father's inheritance.Dad, tell our audience, will you welcome your youngest boy back home when he arrives? 

Dad: ---Dad has to come up with his own response.-- 

Interviewer 2: Well, how will you welcome him if he comes home and hasn't changed his ways, will you still love him and let him stay at home? 

Dad: ---Dad has to come up with his own response.-- 

Interviewer 2: Standing next to me is the older brother __________ (name of animal, name of state). What's your take on all this, I mean, aren't you the least bit put-out about this younger brother of yours coming home? Aren't you worried he'll break your father's heart again and take even more money and waste it? 

Older Brother: --Older Brother has to come up with his own response.--- 

Interviewer 2: Dad, how will you be able to bring these two sons together again into one big happy family. What will you do? 

Dad: ---Dad comes up with response--- 

Interviewer 2:
Well that's it here in _____________ (the happy place to live), back to you in the news room. 

News Anchor:
What a touching story, full of emotion and drama. What's that? We're now getting in reports that the younger son has come home and the father has run out to greet him. We go quickly back to _________________(the happy place to live) for this breaking story. 

Interviewer 3:
Interviewer 3 now has to NARRATE the scene taking place in SLOW MOTION of the younger son coming home and being greeted by his father and a party getting under way (continuing in slow motion). Then we see the older brother coming up to the party and arguing with the father then running off (slow motion). 

Interviewer 3 then says:
"So as you can see, part of the family has accepted the son's return, but the older son still won't. How it will turn out, nobody knows. Back to you in the studio. 

News Anchor:
It's a heartbreaking and heartwarming story all at the same time. How will the story end? We simply don't know. We now return you to your regularly schedule special presentation of ______________________ (name of Sunday School teacher) and the Wild world of ___________________ (name of favorite food). 


At this point in the WHPC-TV production, the kids stop to talk about HOW they could END THE STORY. Then they come up with an ending and videotape it. 



End with a prayer.


ie..."what we actually did, and how we'd change it next time:

We ran out of time in our 40 minute class. Needed to reduce the SCRIPT. Grades 3-5 had a good time but since this was our first Rotation of the school year some of our third graders struggled to read the script and Bible. Pick your readers carefully with such a long story!

I did something different for the youth -- "The Luke Springer Show" --a take-off of Jerry Springer (afterall...the father and his two sons were a dysfunctional family too!). After reading through the scripture and talking about them for a bit, we assigned parts, created a talk show set --complete with audience, and had a ball. I made sure to pick one of the better "talkers" to be Luke Springer. Every body had a slip of paper with some suggestions about how they might act. Each wrote something they wanted to be sure to say. Even the audience members got into the act taking up sides in the controversy. We closed with a "special surprise guest" in our audience --Jesus himself-- who brought the whole thing to a close. We had a lot of fun whoopping it up like they do on Jerry Springer and all the kids knew exactly how the show was going to go. 
I learned that our youth can jump right in to formats and equipment like WHPC-TV....and in fact, it's easier to do the class with them than with younger kids. 

For the younger kids class teens come back and help us provide content and structure. 

Suggestion for Really Young Class: They won't be able to handle the script. Break up the story into small sections and dramatize each before a videocamera. Let different children take on the roles with each new section. They enjoy seeing themselves on videotape. Recruit some teens to help. 

Set-up Notes:
We have a videocamera on tripod, and a WHPC-TV branded cloth over a table to make the "anchor desk." We also have two microphones which hooked up to small guitar amplifier and had the video camera's microphone pick up the sound from the amp. Use a background drop cloth to create the "interview areas." PAUSE the camera then re-position it between the exchanges of the newscaster and interviewers. Kids below 3rd grade may not understand how to operate the camera. The teacher is the director. Creating a video broadcast can take up to 20 minutes. Leave time to talk and view the video! 


A lesson by Neil MacQueen.


A representative of reformatted this post to improve readability.



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