This article was originally published by The Mennonite

Another awkward silence: A dramatic reading for congregations

This post contains a script written and performed by Jessica Schrock Ringenberg at Zion Mennonite Church in Archbold, Ohio. It was written with “a spin and a nod to Jay Reiss’ ‘Awkward Silence.'” Download the script to perform in your own congregation. 

(Setting: Dining room table and chairs. Menus. Jessica and Sue enter opposite sides of the stage.)

 Jessica: I am so excited. Today I’m going to see my best friend since childhood.

Sue: Today I get to see my soulmate!

Jessica: We’ve been through everything together.

Sue: Grade school.

Jessica: Junior high.

Sue: High school.

Jessica and Sue: JUNIOR COLLEGE!

Jessica: She’s not just my best friend, she’s more like my sister…

Sue: We haven’t seen each other in years!

Jessica: It’s been years, but we are so close that we always pick right up where we left off!

Sue: You know when you’re with that person and it’s just natural? We think the same things…

Jessica: …believe the same way…

Sue: …have the same values…

Jessica: …finish each other’s sentences!

Jessica and Sue: It’s scary how alike we are.

(Jessica sits down first at table. Sue comes in moments later. There is a warm embrace!)

Sue: JESSICA!

Jessica: SUE!

Jessica and Sue: Oh, I’ve missed you!

Sue: I remark on how good she looks!

Jessica: I tell her how she hasn’t aged a year!

Sue: I tell her I love her outfit!

Jessica and Sue: Have you lost weight? (Laughter)

 Sue: We laugh because it’s just like old times.

Jessica: So much like old times, we still…

Jessica and Sue: …finish each other’s sentences.

Sue: We laugh!

Jessica: So much laughter!

Sue: I ask her about her job.

Jessica: I remark on how much her children have grown.

Jessica and Sue: We laugh at how much we are still so much alike.

Jessica: (Looking at her watch) We’ve already been here for two hours…

 Sue: …and it feels like only five minutes.

Jessica: I lean in and say something really witty and wise.

Sue: I lean in and respond in a hushed tone.

Jessica: The conversation is turning serious.

Sue: I think how grateful I am to have someone just like me as a friend.

Jessica: We are feeling so comfortable again with each other and so I say, “How about the presidential election?”

Sue: I respond, “I know can you believe it.”

Jessica: I remark on how important voting is.

Sue: Again, I agree with everything she says.

Jessica: We discuss the importance of values.

Sue: We completely agree on the need for healthy families, good economy and education.

Jessica and Sue: We are both opposed to war.

Sue: Then I say, Well you know how I vote…

(Said at the same time.) Sue: REPUBLICAN. Jessica: DEMOCRAT.

 Sue: Awkward silence.

Jessica: I am embarrassed…and shocked.

Sue: I’m shocked and try to quickly move back to the topic of values.

Jessica: I think about how hard it is to listen to her talk values when I know what side she’s on.

Sue: Suddenly I feel like she doubts that I truly have values.

Jessica and Sue: I feel judged.

(Awkward silence)

 Jessica: Awkward silence.

Sue: Suddenly I don’t feel safe in this conversation.

Jessica: I feel like I have to put up my guard.

Sue: This is not as much fun anymore.

(Awkward silence)

 Jessica and Sue: Awkward silence.

Jessica: I try to say something funny.

Sue: I give a half-hearted laugh.

Jessica: I wonder how my soul-sister could be so wrong about things?

Sue: I wonder where she went wrong in her values?

Jessica: I can’t believe how much she has changed.

Jessica and Sue: Can we even be friends anymore?

Jessica: I say I probably should let her go.

Sue: I agree.

(Jessica and Sue stand up and give each other half-hearted side hugs and return to their original place opposite sides of the stage.)

 Jessica: I leave in sadness wondering why things have to be this way.

Sue: I liked it better when we shared all of the same values, hopes and dreams. I wonder…

Jessica: I wonder…

Jessica and Sue: …at what point did any of them change?

 (Both pause and then exit.)

Image from Free Stock Images. 

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Jessica Schrock-Ringenberg

Jessica is on the pastoral team at Zion Mennonite Church in Archbold, Ohio where she lives with her husband Shem and three children. Although she graduated from Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Elkhart, Ind.; Goshen (Ind.) College; and Hesston (Kan.) College her upbringing was less than typical Mennonite. This gives her

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