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The Vigil

The Vigil
Your Price: $15.95 CDN
Author: Ladislas Fodor
Publisher: Samuel French
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 109
Pub. Date: 1975
ISBN-10: 0573617554
ISBN-13: 9780573617553
Cast Size: 6 women, 18 men

About the Play:

The Vigil is a full-length courtroom drama by renowned classic movie screenwriter Ladislas Fodor. The dramatic Easter story translated into a modern setting in a small town American courtroom. It probes deeply into the facts concerning the Resurrection and centres on the allegation that Jesus body had been stolen from the grave, rather than his having been raised from the dead. The principal tenet of the Christian faith is on trial – who will be victorious?

The Vigil is set in a modern courtroom, but the theme is far from modern. The action occurs between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. The defendant is one Elias Jacobson, the gardener from the Garden of Gethsemane in which Jesus of Nazareth was entombed. He is charged by the Romans with stealing and hiding the body in an attempt to make people believe he has risen. Numerous witnesses involved in the great drama are called to the stand, all with critical facts to add to the story of what did happen on that night. Each tells in everyday language what he saw and the way he reacted. With a large cast of Biblical figures contributing evidence both for the prosecution and the defence, the familiar story achieves stirring suspense. In an electrifying, scene, Mary Magdalene steps down from the stand and reenacts her meeting with Jesus in the Garden. The climax is a dramatic showdown in court between the two opposing factions. The audience is in the role of jury, and is left at the end to consider the verdict. Was the body stolen, or did Jesus rise?

The Vigil premiered in 1948 on Broadway at the Royale Theatre in New York City, and, later that year, premiered in the UK at the Embassy Theatre in London and transferred to the West End at the Prince of Wales Theatre. While the play is rarely performed professionally, is regularly performed in church and community theatre productions.

Cast: 6 women, 18 men

What people say:

"Fresh, fascinating, disarming ... [with] one well drawn character sketch after another." — New York Journal American

About the Playwright:

Ladislas Fodor (1898-1978) was a Hungarian-American author and screenwriter. He first worked as a journalist in Budapest and beginning in the early 1920s, wrote several comedies for the stage, which were also translated into German. He emigrated to France and from there to the United States where he was involved in Hollywood as a co-author of several screenplays.