Here’s a reader’s theatre setting of Mark 6: 14-29, the story of the beheading of John the Baptist. It is based on the New Living Translation.
This reading is set for four voices. Voice 1 (the narrator) could be either male or female. Voice 3 (Herod) should be male; Voices 2 and 4 should be female.
Reader’s Theatre: The Beheading of John the Baptist
One: Herod Antipas, the king, soon heard about Jesus,
because everyone was talking about him.
Some were saying,
Two: This must be John the Baptist raised from the dead.
That is why he can do such miracles.”
One: Others said,
Three: He’s the prophet Elijah.
One: Still others said,
Two: He’s a prophet like the other great prophets of the past.
One: When Herod heard about Jesus, he said,
Four: John, the man I beheaded, has come back from the dead!
One: You see, Herod had sent soldiers to arrest and imprison John
as a favor to his wife, Herodias.
She had been his brother Philip’s wife,
but Herod had married her.
John the Baptist had been telling Herod that it was against God’ law
for him to marry his brother’s wife.
So Herodias bore a grudge against John, and wanted him dead.
But she couldn’t do anything without Herod’s approval.
Herod respected John and protected him,
for he knew that he was a good and godly man.
He enjoyed listening to John,
even though what John said often disturbed him.
But on Herod’s birthday, Herodias’s chance finally came.
Herod gave a large party,
and invited high-ranking government officials, army officers,
and other leading citizens of Galilee.
His daughter came in to dance for them,
and her dancing pleased Herod and his guests a great deal.
So Herod told her,
Four: Ask me for anything you like, and I will give it to you.
You can have anything you want, even up to half my kingdom!
One: The girl went out and told her mother what Herod had said.
Two: What should I ask for, mother?
Three: Ask for the head of John the Baptist!
One: So the girl hurried back to the King, and said,
Two: I want the head of John the Baptist, right now, on a tray!
One: The king deeply regretted what he had said;
but because of the vows he had made in front of his guests,
he couldn’t refuse her.
So he immediately sent an executioner to the prison to cut off John’s head.
The soldier beheaded John in the prison,
and brought back his head on a tray.
He gave it to the girl, who took it to her mother.
When John’s disciples heard what had happened,
they came to get his body and buried it in a tomb.