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Meet Joanna, Herodias, and Salome

Think your family is dysfunctional?

Just wait till you meet the Herods, big players in the the latest musical project.


For writing the musical project,12, Marcus Thomas and I want to be sure that we're building realistic political tensions so the audience clearly sees how the disciples may have been pushed to their breaking points - both in their faith and their relationships among each other - during the three days after the crucifixion.


So, we've got to get to know the main players: the Jewish factions - the Sadducees, Pharisees, Essenes, and Zealots; an interesting priestly family led by Annas with nephew Caiaphas as high priest; and of course, ROME,


But in between Rome and the Jews, stands the Herod family.

Enter a few of the women of our play-...



Herodias came from a line of bold women.

Her grandmother, Salome, divorced her husband, and her mother, Berenice, had married her father in effort to unify the larger Herod family which, due to Herod the Great's five wives and reputation that "It was better to be Herod's pig than his son" (he had a bad habit of exiling and killing them off) was - you could say- toxic. Her efforts were unsuccessful.


Herod had Herodias' father (his son) killed, and it's possible her mom could have been involved. So, without a dad, Herodias was married off to Herod Philip I, but she later left him to marry his brother Antipas. *YIKES*

She and Antipas "ruled" the Galilean territory. Her first marriage produced a daughter...


Salome, famously danced for Herod and earned the thank-you gift of John the Baptist's head.

Salome was married to Herod Philip II, Antipas' half brother, tetrarch of the NE Judean territory. He died in his early 40's and they never had children. She later married Aristobulus, Herodias' brother, and they had three children together.


So what about Joanna?

Her husband, Chuza, worked as the household manager for Herod Antipas. Jesus healed her of either sickness or demon-possession, after which she followed him along with the other disciples. She, Mary Magdalene, and Susanna, helped support his ministry out of their own means. There is a possibility that she - and maybe her husband - moved to Rome later, taking the names Junia and Andronicus.


Now that you know the basics, here's the scene. Enjoy!



Exclusive excerpt from 12...we'll see if it ends up in the final script!


Herodias' quarters - Herodias, Salome, and Joanna

The whole household is packing to return to Galilee since Passover has concluded. Herodias knows Herod has fired Chuza, but Joanna does not know. Personally affronted that her heads of house had aligned themselves with the movement associated with the Baptist, who preached against her marriage, Herodias toys with Joanna while also attempting to secure the future of her daughter, who has already married Philip the Tetrarch.


Joanna is braiding Salome’s hair- Herodias looks through personal items deciding how to pack them- whether to take or give some of them away.




HERODIAS

What do you think of this cuff, Salome? I couldn’t look away from it yesterday, but now I think it clashes with my complexion. Do you want it?


SALOME

No thanks.


HERODIAS

Fine. Oh, perhaps Procla would like it. A little farewell gift before we return to Galilee. Yes, I think so. Her skin could use a pop of color.


SALOME

Ouch! Gentle!


JOANNA

Pardon me, Ma’am.


HERODIAS

Oh, let me. Salome’s mane requires a mother’s touch. Jo, dear. Wrap this up for Procla, and then pack the linens. To Salome Do you and Philip have any news for us yet, my love?


SALOME

Mother-


HERODIAS

I’m only saying, you’ve had plenty of time to give me a grandchild. Wouldn’t you agree, Joanna?


SALOME

I don’t think I’m the problem, Mother.


HERODIAS

Aren’t you dancing for him?


SALOME

Honestly! I’m getting enough of this from Ma Cleo, ok?


HERODIAS

It’s just that you’ve hardly spoken of dear cousin since you got here. I have to know he is taking care of you, my love. The Northeastern territory is well, I trust?


SALOME

He’s more capable than you give him credit for, you know.


HERODIAS

Capable, you say?


SALOME

Mom! The people seem to like him. He travels a lot.


HERODIAS

Has he taken you to Rome yet?


SALOME

He avoids it.


HERODIAS

But he was educated there.


SALOME

So Ma Cleo reminds me daily. Please, Mother. Another subject?


HERODIAS

Joanna, you’re quiet. Tell me, what do you think of a ruler who chooses to spend his time traveling his territory - which is a poor one, mind you - conceiving favor from his people but no child in the womb of his vibrant young wife and withholds from her the entertainments of the empire? Do you think him a worthy husband?


JOANNA

It’s hardly mine to say, ma’am.


HERODIAS

Really? Your teacher was a traveling man, was he not? Frequented the slums, kept around him the least desirable sort of company- beggars, prostitutes, demoniacs. Quite a lot to manage. He and the Baptist had such high and mighty things to say about marriage, but he didn’t have the space for a wife and children, did he?


JOANNA

He considered us his family, ma’am.


HERODIAS