Naked Disciple Music and Lyrics by John McDermott
You heard that Jesus lived and died, do you know the rest?
Naked Disciple focuses on the life and Passion of Jesus Christ as seen through the eyes of Nadi, 23, who was Jesus’ best friend and co-worker in the carpentry business in 27AD. 6 years later, Nadi bumps into Jesus in Jerusalem days before Jesus’ Passion, and soon realises that his best friend is in fact the Messiah. Nadi, his girl friend Chloe, and his brother Levi, witness Jesus’ Passion and death alongside the disciples. This is their account of events…
Naked Disciple has a wide selection of new, fresh and contemporary music in it. There are rock themes with distorted guitars and classical music with harps and flutes.
Nazareth, Israel, 27AD. Jesus and Nadi work in the carpentry workshop. Jesus sings “Simply Pray” to remind Nadi there is more to life than work and money. After Roman guards threaten to kill Nadi’s parents if they do not reveal the location of their son Levi, Nadi leaves to be Levi in Jerusalem, and Jesus goes his separate way. 3 years pass and Jesus is baptised by John the Baptist. Jesus sings “Praise him” as he reads the scrolls in his synagogue. He is then chased out of his hometown.
It is now 33AD in Jerusalem. Mary Magdalene reflects on her life and how it has changed since she met Jesus. She sings “Keep my secret” as she tells Chloe how much she loves Jesus. For three months Levi and Barabbas have planned to kill Pontius Pilate during the Passover. When Jesus enters Jerusalem, he meets Nadi. Jesus sees how lost Nadi is and invites him to join him for his Last Supper. However, Nadi must choose whether to attack Pontius Pilate with his brother and Barabbas or join Jesus. He joins Jesus. Jesus sings “The last Supper” and Thomas sings “Doubts” as he questions that Jesus is the Messiah. It is after the Passover meal that Nadi realises Jesus, his best friend from years ago, is in fact the Messiah. Levi and Barabbas fail in killing Pontius Pilate and are arrested.
Chloe sees Nadi for the first time since he left. They sing “I fell in love today” as they release how much they are in love. Jesus prepares for his Passion by singing “I will come” while Judas sings “The Betrayal” as he gives up Jesus’ location in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Jesus prays in the Garden of Gethsemane while Judas brings the guards to arrest Jesus. Judas sings “Time” as he betrays Jesus. All the disciples panic and start to fight back. During a struggle with a Roman Guard Nadi runs away naked leaving behind his linen cloth. The Roman guards sing “Man of our times” as they mock Jesus before taking him away to be crucified.
Jesus carries his cross to Golgotha and sings “What a life” as he reflects on his life. Crucified beside Jesus on the cross is Levi, Nadi's brother, who is known as the penitent thief. Levi asks Jesus to remember when him when he enters his kingdom. Nadi is happy that Levi has been saved. JESUS DIES.
3 days later and Nadi and the disciples are heart broken. Street vendors mock them by singing “Rise Up” as they imply Jesus was a fraud all along. They leave Jerusalem and go to Capernaum. While they are eating Jesus appears as “The Stranger.” Jesus then reveals himself to the disciples. They sing “Jesus is alive.” Overflowing with joy, they go back to Jerusalem where they sing “Been Believing” at the top of their voices; Jesus was in fact their Messiah. And so, Christianity begins…
Apart from Jesus, the main characters are Nadi, Chloe and Levi. These characters are not named in the Gospels, but there are small references to them. I made up their names and their stories. Nadi is the naked disciple, Chloe is the daughter of Joseph of Arimathea, and Levi is the penitent thief who died beside Jesus on the cross. Levi is also Nadi's brother.
Other cast members include Mary Magdalene, Peter, Thomas, Judas, the other disciples, Barabbas, Roman Guards, Joseph of Arimathea, street vendors and towns folk.
As some people know what happened in 33AD, through the accounts in the Gospels, I had to tell the story in a different way. During some songs, Jesus is in the background performing miracles, he doesn't even sing. Nadi has no idea Jesus is the Messiah up until the Last Supper while Levi is friends with Barabbas who is planning to kill Pontius Pilate. I believe the story is therefore told in a new and exciting way. Naked Disciple also touches on various artefacts surrounding Jesus, including the Holy Grail, the Turin Shroud and pieces of the original cross.
The libretto contains lines from the Psalms and the Old Testament, words Jesus would have said in his daily life. It also contains several Hebrew words, again keeping true to what Jesus would have thought and said. It was important to show the humanity of Jesus and what people at the time thought of him.
The musical explores the relationship between Jesus and Nadi. As they worked together, they knew each other well. So how would Nadi react when he realises the man who made him his lunch several years ago was in fact the Messiah? What would he say to Jesus, how would he act? The main theme of Naked Disciple is family. Levi and Nadi reconcile and Chloe shows her dad who Jesus really is. Joseph then allows Jesus to be buried in his tomb. Although there is death and suffering, there is more love and compassion.
Although it deals with religious themes, it will appeal to anyone who loves a good story, regardless of religion, sex, creed or age. I am positive that after seeing the musical once, audiences will come back to see it again.
The year is 27AD. Nadi, 17, is working with Jesus in the carpentry workshop. It is run by Nadi’s dad. They make a good team and always get the orders completed on time.
After a hard day’s work, Jesus, Nadi, Nadi’s mum and dad, and Nadi’s friend Chloe sit down to eat their Passover meal. Then suddenly the door bursts open. Some Roman Guards drag them outside. They ask Nadi’s mum where her son Levi is. He has been accused of stealing from the Romans. If they do not give up his location they will be crucified. Nadi’s mum does not know and remains silent. Jesus approaches the guards and asks them to leave them alone they know nothing. The guards do so.
Nadi decides to leave Nazareth his family and Chloe and go to be with Levi in Jerusalem.
The year is 30AD and Jesus is being baptised by John the Baptist. Jesus’ mission is about to start.
Now it is 33AD and Jesus and Nadi bump into each other in Jerusalem. They are so pleased to see each other again. There is lots of catching up to do. Jesus notices that Levi is friends with Barabbas. This can only lead to trouble. Jesus asks Nadi to join him, but Nadi is not sure.
Mary Magdalene is friend’s with Chloe, Nadi’s friend from before. But now Chloe is a beautiful young lady, she looks like a princess. She is the daughter of Joseph of Arimathea, one of the wealthiest men in Jerusalem. Nadi ‘s heart skips a beat when he sees her again. Chloe also has feelings for Nadi.
On the evening of Jesus’ Last Supper, Levi and Barabbas have planned an attack on Pontius Pilate. Nadi is with them. But he has his doubts. Jesus walks by Nadi and asks him again for him to join him for his Last Supper. Nadi agrees to do so. Levi and Barabbas continue to wait for Pontius Pilate.
Jesus has his Last Supper with his disciples. Judas is set to betray Jesus. Nadi stats to think something is different with Jesus, who are all these people, and why are the Jews so afraid of Jesus.
Outside, Lavi and Barabbas attack Pontius Pilate, but there are too many guards. They are arrested. Jesus, Nadi and the disciples watch as they are arrested. It is now that Nadi sees Jesus for who he really is, the Messiah. How can this be? His friend who made him lunch in the carpentry workshop is the Son of God. And the Son of god must be put to death. Nadi is scared but Jesus asks Nadi to pray with him. They must no be afraid.
Judas reveals Jesus’ location in the Garden of gethsemane to the Sanhedrin. And so the Passion is set.
Jesus greets Judas in the Garden. Judas explains why he has brought the Roman Guards; he can’t wait forever for Jesus to reveal who he truly is. He has to show the Jews that he is the Son of God.
The guards enter the garden and the disciples wake up. There is a small fight. Nadi stands up for Jesus, but during the fight, a guard grabs onto his clothes and Nadi escapes by running away naked. He is the “Naked disciple.” Nadi returns to Jesus with some borrowed clothes. Jesus is arrested and is taken away.
Chloe pleads with her dad, Joseph, to free Jesus. Joseph asks Jesus to tell the truth, that he is NOT the son of God, only a prophet. He does not want Jesus to die.
However, Jesus’ fate is set. He is sentences to death. He carries his cross to Golgotha. He is nailed to the cross.
Beside him is Levi, Nadi’s brother, who is also called the penitent thief. Levi has heard about Jesus from Nadi. He asks Jesus to remember him when he enters into his kingdom. Jesus says he will be with him in Paradise. Jesus’ last miracle is saving Levi.
Then Jesus dies.
He is brought down from the cross and placed in the tomb.
The next day Nadi, Mary and the disciples walk through the market square. They are lonely, sad and confused. The people mock them, saying their King is dead, they were wrong to believe in Jesus.
They decide to go to Galilee.
Whilst cooking fish on the beach, a stranger approaches and asks to join them. He has been away and has not heard of Jesus. The disciples tell him about Jesus.
Then the stranger breaks bread. It is Jesus. They are all amazed. Nadi is the first to recognise him. Jesus reminds them that he had to die, and now they are his apostles, sent out to preach the Good News to the world.
They return to the market Square revitalised and ready to start their mission. And so Christianity begins and the story ends…..
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"...the hard work you have put into this extraordinary work. Playing all the instruments, writing the book, lyrics and score and indeed notating it yourself is a monumental achievement of which you should be very proud. What is usually a broad collaborative effort you have undertaken it seems all by yourself, and that requires recognition and praise.
...What is impressive though and commendable is your decision to write a sung through piece. Some of the music is truly beautifully melodically and harmonically and this coupled with the almost drum and bass motifs with piano is extremely interesting. "
-A Stage Kindly review
Sample songs from Naked Disciple - in order
1.1 SIMPLY PRAY 2:450:00/2:45
1.2 GOD HAS A PLAN 5:280:00/5:28
1.4 THE BAPTISM 1:190:00/1:19
1.5 PRAISE HIM 2:300:00/2:30
1.6 REUNION 4:200:00/4:20
1.7 KEEP MY SECRET 5:310:00/5:31
1.8 THE FIGHT 1:060:00/1:06
1.9 LAST SUPPER 1:580:00/1:58
1.10 DOUBTS 1:380:00/1:38
1.11 THE ATTACK 1:340:00/1:34
1.12 I WILL COME 4:400:00/4:40
1.13 BETRAYAL 1:230:00/1:23
2.1 JESUS PRAYS 0:460:00/0:46
2.2 TIME 5:310:00/5:31
2.3 THE ARREST 1:300:00/1:30
2.4 MAN OF OUR TIMES 2:290:00/2:29
2.5 LAST CHANCE 0:330:00/0:33
2.6 SWEAR WITH ME 4:170:00/4:17
2.7 WHAT A LIFE 3:490:00/3:49