Psalm 104: A Choral Reading for 10
This is a drama script for 10 speakers based on Psalm 104 from the NRSV.
The chorus stands in the front. For the first half line, the speakers begin speaking alone, as if speaking to themselves. Individuals join until a loud cacophony is heard. Then, the reading resumes.
ONE, adding until ALL are speaking [disorganized, repeating]: Bless the Lord, O my soul.
ALL: O Lord my God, you are very great.
The following lines speed up, gaining momentum, excitement, and volume, and suddenly slowing
down at the end. This dynamic, rhythmic change occurs after each pause.
TWO: You are clothed with honor and majesty,
THREE: wrapped in light as with a garment.
FOUR: You stretch out the heavens like a tent,
FIVE: you set the beams of your chambers on the waters,
TWO: you make the clouds your chariot,
FOUR: you ride on the wings of the wind,
FIVE: you make the winds your messengers,
THREE: fire and flame your ministers.
SIX: You set the earth on its foundations, so that it shall never be shaken.
SEVEN: You cover it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains.
EIGHT: At your rebuke they flee; at the sound of your thunder they take to flight.
NINE: They rose up to the mountains, ran down to the valleys to the place that you appointed for them.
TEN: You set a boundary that they may not pass, so that they might not again cover the earth.
ONE: You make springs gush forth in the valleys; they flow between the hills,
giving drink to every wild animal; the wild donkeys quench their thirst.
THREE: By the streams the birds of the air have their habitation; they sing among the branches.
NINE: From your lofty abode you water the mountains; the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work.
FIVE: You cause the grass to grow for the cattle,
SIX: and plants for people to use, to bring forth food from the earth,
SEVEN: and wine to gladden the human heart,
EIGHT: oil to make the face shine,
NINE: and bread to strengthen the human heart.
TWO: The trees of the Lord are watered abundantly, the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.
FOUR: In them the birds build their nests;
SIX: the stork has its home in the fir trees.
FIVE: The high mountains are for the wild goats;
THREE: The rocks are a refuge for the hyrax.
TEN: You have made the moon to mark the seasons; the sun knows its time for setting.
ONE: You make darkness, and it is night, when all the animals of the forest come creeping out.
SEVEN: The young lions roar for their prey, seeking their food from God.
EIGHT: When the sun rises, they withdraw and lie down in their dens.
FOUR: People go out to their work and to their labor until the evening.
ONE, TWO, TEN: O Lord, how manifold are your works!
ONE, TWO, FOUR, EIGHT, TEN: In wisdom you have made them all;
ONE, TWO, FOUR, SEVEN, EIGHT, NINE, TEN: the earth is full of your creatures.
SIX: Yonder is the sea,
SIX, SEVEN: great and wide,
SIX, SEVEN, EIGHT: creeping things innumerable are there,
FIVE: living things both small
FIVE, SIX, SEVEN, EIGHT, NINE: and great.
NINE: There go the ships,
TEN: and Leviathan that you formed to sport in it.
TWO, THREE: These all look to you to give them their food in due season;
FOUR: when you give to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
ONE: When you hide your face, they are dismayed;
TWO, THREE, FOUR, FIVE: when you take
FIVE: away their breath, they die and return to their dust.
SIX: When you send forth your spirit,
ONE, SIX, TEN: they are created;
TEN: and you renew the face of the ground.
ONE, TWO: May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
THREE, FOUR: may the Lord rejoice in his works—
FIVE: who looks on the earth and it trembles, who touches the mountains and they smoke.
SIX, SEVEN: I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
SIX, SEVEN, EIGHT: I will sing praise to my God while I have being.
NINE: May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the Lord.
TEN: Let sinners be consumed from the earth, and let the wicked be no more.
ALL(quietly, meditatively): Bless the Lord, O my soul. (louder) Praise the Lord!