When I Am Free
A Mystery in a Prison Cell


Picture this!  A live stage play combined with several widescreen film features.  The audience is seated, anticipating the start of the play.  As they study the stage setting, there is a Roman prison cell, center stage, and a black tapestry curtain on the right.  The house lights dim.  The theater is now dark.  They hear water dripping and a mysterious piece of music begins to play. 

The black tapestry opens, revealing an ten-foot wide theater screen.  The opening film sequence follows the silhouette of a prison guard, slowly making his way through the dank corridors leading to the darkest prison cell in all of Rome.  Credits and the title scroll, much like the opening credits of a major motion picture, building a sense of intrigue.  Then this historical notation: 

“Rome — AD 67.
The church is suffering severe persecution by the command of Ceasar."

The music continues as these words scroll across the screen...

"What you are about to witness takes place in the deepest,
darkest prison cell under Nero's palace.

Welcome to Hell's Waiting Room. "

The curtain closes on the movie screen.   Lights come up on the prison cell.

Act 1:  Meet Octavius, a Roman merchant from Cyprus, and Timaes, a Greek Christian destined for Nero’s torch pole.  Octavius repeatedly tells Timaeus to shut up.  Timaeus keeps talking.  Before long Timaeus senses there is a great mystery behind this gruff, overbearing merchant man.  By the middle of Act 1, Octavius reveals a secret that causes Timaeus to think he knows what is really going on.  For the next 45 minutes an intricate plot unfolds — an intriguing combination of heart-wrenching facts, running gags, and secrets revealed. 

By the end of Act 2, Timaeus (and the audience) will be shocked to discover that...   Ooops!  Don’t want to spoil the surprise!  We can only tell you this:  The audience will gasp when they discover the “truth.”  The actors freeze, the stage lights dim, the black tapestry opens for a dramatic film flashback — the horendous crime that has plagued this man for 30 year.  When the stage lights come up again on the two prisoners, Timaeus responds to his cellmate’s anguish with a clear, gentle statement of grace and forgiveness through Jesus Christ.  The audience will feel a deep sense of satisfaction as the scene fades to black.  But wait!  There’s more!

Act 3:  After a brief intermission, the houselights fade, and these words appear on the movie screen, “Three Days Later.”  As the theater lights illuminate the prison cell, the two men are seated across from each other.  Their conversation reveals a new-found friendship, leading to another shocking moment which is likely to catch the entire audience by surprise, resulting in a dramatic chain of events leading to the Grand Finale.

This stageplay presents both the grace of salvation and the grace of a changed life.
One of our proofreaders commented:  “The play could have ended with Act 2.  That dramatic climax is totally satisfying!  But as I read through Act 3, I realized the story would not be complete without the second surprise.  There is no anti-climax here, but rather the elevation of the climax to the highest level possible — the Grand Finale.”