kafj: headshot of KAFJ looking over right shoulder (Default)
Narrator
David
Bathsheba (silent)
Hercule Poirot
Job
Job’s wife
Friend 1
Friend 2
Angel of Death
(again, this particular angel of death wears what looks like an oversized pepperpot, carries a sink plunger, and says 'exterminate' a lot.)

NARRATOR picks up clipboard/notes and steps forward to address audience.

Narrator: Now, the history of the kings of Israel is very much like the history of the kings of any other nation. Some kings were good, and some kings were bad. And, as a general rule, when Israel had a bad king, bad things happened to Israel. Observe.
Now, David was a good king – most of the time. When he was bad, however, he was spectacularly bad.

DAVID wanders across stage

You’ll have heard about the regrettable incident involving Bathsheba. But I’ll tell you about it anyway. Bathsheba was a beautiful lady, and King David just happened to see her in her bath, and fall in love with her.

DAVID chases BATHSHEBA (who has towel, shower cap or similar bathing equipment) across stage, eventually catching her.

There was just one problem. Her husband.

David: But I’m the King! I can do anything I want!

Narrator: [nods knowledgeably] A common mistake to make. But, as it happens, simply being King doesn’t give you a free rein. A pity, but there you go.

David: I don’t care! I love her!

Narrator: That’s not a good enough excuse, either.

David gets annoyed; has tantrum; stamps foot and walks off.

Narrator: Unfortunately, David didn’t quite get the point about not doing whatever he wanted. Here’s Hercule Poirot to explain one of the most cunning crimes of the Old Testament.

Enter HERCULE POIROT

Poirot: [ludicrous Belgian accent – will have to speak particularly slowly and clearly in order to be understood] Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, I have the somewhat dubious honour of presenting one of the most daring and clever murderers I have encountered in my long and glittering career. [to Narrator] Oh? You already said that? No? [back to audience] This, ladies and gentlemen, was almost the perfect crime. The murderer killed his victim when the two men were in two completely separate parts of the country. There was no possible way to link the two. The unfortunate Uriah –

Narrator: [breaks in] If I could just stop you there, Monsieur Poirot. I should explain to our audience that Uriah, the victim of the murder, was the husband of Bathsheba and an officer in King David’s army.

Poirot: [icily] Thank you. As I was saying, the unfortunate Uriah found himself at the mercy of a ruthless and desperate man. The motive – to cover up another crime – adultery! The murderer – King David!

Very staged gasp from all.

The means – ah, now, ladies and gentlemen, this is where our murderer was so cunning. Where would you hide a tree? In a forest! Where would you hide a pin? In a pincushion! Where would you hide a murder? In a massacre! Yes, all that the murderer had to do was to place Uriah where everyone was being killed – at the very front of the battle. And who was in a better position to organise that than the King, who inspired absolute loyalty in his troops? It is a simple crime: the victim goes into battle. He is killed. And who is to connect that death with the King? Who is even to see that this is a murder? Ladies and gentlemen – the perfect crime!

Bows and exit.

Narrator: Except, of course, there’s no such thing as a (imitates Poirot) ‘perfect crime’ when you remember that God is your judge. God knew that David had sinned, and God ensured that David wasn’t going to get away with it. He was punished; he was forgiven; he was a good king for several years, and then he messed up again. This time the Lord gave him three options for punishment. [Enumerates on fingers]
Option 1: Three years of famine in the land.
Option 2: Three months of fleeing from enemies.
Option 3: Three days of plague.

David: So it’s a bit of a heads-you-win, tails-I-lose situation, then. Very well. Let us fall into the hands of the Lord – for his mercy is great – but not into the hands of men.

Narrator: So David went for Option 3:

Angel of Death offstage: A plague!

Enter ANGEL OF DEATH. It crosses the stage a few times, going EXTERMINATE continuously.

Narrator: Until the Lord decided that enough was enough, and said to the – er – Angel of Death – “Enough! Withdraw your laser gun!” David was quite upset, too.

David: I am the one who has sinned and done wrong. What have these poor people done? Let your hand fall upon me, instead.

Narrator: So, you see, David eventually got the point. He appreciated that to be a good king he had to be a good man, and to be a good man he had to keep turning back to God. Not like Rehoboam

Enter ANGEL OF DEATH again.

who turned to false gods. So Jerusalem was attacked.

Angel of Death: EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE!

Narrator: and his son, Abijah, who committed all the sins his father had done before him. And there was war throughout his lifetime.

Angel of Death: EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE!

Narrator: Nadab – Zimri – Omri – Ahab

Angel of Death: EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE!

Narrator: and so on. Of course, there were some good kings, too. Asa, for example, and Jehoshaphat, and David, on occasion.

ANGEL OF DEATH glides off in a huff.

Narrator: Well, of course, that’s all well and good. It makes perfect sense: you sin, you get punished. You don’t sin, you don’t get punished. But it leaves us with a rather difficult question. Why do bad things happen to good people? Take Job.

Enter JOB. He looks smug.

Job was a righteous man. He was quite well-off, too. He had seven sons and three daughters, seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, one thousand oxen and five hundred donkeys – and quite a few servants as well. At least, he did until Satan decided he needed testing. So, with God’s permission, the devil caused a little bit of destruction.

ANGEL OF DEATH crosses stage. JOB ducks.

Angel of Death: EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE!

Job: [looks up] Oh no! My oxen! My donkeys!

ANGEL OF DEATH crosses stage again; JOB ducks again.

Angel of Death: EXTERMINATE!

Job: [looks up] Oh no! My sheep! My camels!

and again…

Angel of Death EXTERMINATE!

Job: [looks up] Oh no! My servants!

and again…

Angel of Death: EXTERMINATE!

Job: Oh no! My sons and daughters! Have you finished yet?

Angel of Death: NO! YOU WILL BE AFF-LIC-TED WITH BOILS!

Enter JOB’s WIFE.

Wife: Eww! Look at you! You’re covered in boils, you’ve shaved your head and you’ve torn your clothes. You’re a mess, Job. Are you sure you want to keep on being righteous? Curse God, and die!

Job: You do talk rubbish. Do you expect to accept good from God, and not trouble?

Narrator: Have you noticed how Job hasn’t sinned?

Job: Woe is me! Woe is me! Alas!

Narrator: He’s still not sinning.

Enter USELESS FRIENDS. They and Job’s WIFE form an accusing semi-circle behind Job, who is now seated in a dejected fashion on the floor.

Job: Alas! Why was I born?

Useless Friend 1: Go on then, Job. What did you do?

Job: Woe is – what do you mean?

Useless Friend 2: Well, God’s punished you, right?

UF 1: So you must have done something pretty bad.

Job: No, not that I know of. I’m innocent!

UF 2: Come on, now. It’ll be a lot better for you if you admit it now.

Job: No! It’s not true, I tell you! I’m not perfect, but I don’t deserve this!

UF 2: [incredulously] Yeah, right.

UF 1: [to UF 2] Let him alone. [to Job] Well, God’s not going to punish a blameless man, is he?

Job: Who are you to question God’s ways? Leave me to mourn!

Wife: I told you. Curse God, and die.

Job: You’re no help! Woe is me!

WIFE and USELESS FRIENDS get bored and wander off.

Narrator: After that, the Lord spoke to Job, and asked him some rather difficult questions, like, Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea, or have you seen the gates of the shadow of death?

Job: Umm… no. [Note: Job is talking to God, not the Narrator, who is not God]

Narrator: Can you arrange the stars in the sky? Do you hunt the prey for the lioness?

Job: No, I can’t say that I do.

Narrator: Did you give the horse his strength, or clothe his neck with a flowing mane? Does the hawk take flight by your wisdom? Does the eagle soar at your command?

Job: No! No! I am unworthy – how can I answer you? I have no reply. Lord, I know that you can do all things: no plan of yours can be thwarted. I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.

Narrator: So that shut Job up. And God was pleased with him, all the same. Job prayed for his useless friends, and God made him prosperous again, and gave him even more oxen, sheep, camels and donkeys, and some more children.

Swarm of people arrive and take JOB off. Not too far, though; they’re all needed in the next song.

[sententiously] It doesn’t really answer the question, though, does it? Why would an innocent man suffer? Job wasn’t the first blameless man to suffer, and he wasn’t the last, either.

Enter ANGEL OF DEATH, unseen by NARRATOR.

Come to that, why would an innocent man willingly give his life – well, we’ll find that out…

Angel of Death: EXTERMINATE!

NARRATOR falls exterminated to floor. Exit ANGEL OF DEATH. Everyone else comes back for song. The Narrator could be miraculously resuscitated.

(copyright Kathleen Jowitt 2006)
kafj: headshot of KAFJ looking over right shoulder (Default)
Noah
An Angel

An official looking angel/angelic looking official is seated at a desk (if at all possible. If not, at least give the poor boy a clipboard) being bored. He has been here for quite a while. He drums his fingers on the desk (or clipboard) and so on.

Enter NOAH

Angel: Aha! Finally! First man back on earth after the flood! Name?

Noah: Noah.

Angel: Noah what?

Noah: What do you mean, Noah what? Noah.

Angel: You don’t have a surname?

Noah: No. Don’t think so. What is a surname?

Angel: (sighs) Never mind. What was your father’s name?

This confuses Noah. He looks blank for a moment, then counts on his fingers.

Noah: Adam begat Seth begat Enosh… begat (mutters) begat… begat… Jared begat Methuselah (triumphantly) begat Lamech!

Angel: So you’re the son of Lamech?

Noah: Yes.

Angel: (writes) Noah… Lamechson.

Noah: What’s all this bureaucracy about anyway? Surely I’m the only man left on earth? (Angel pretends to be very interested in the form he’s pretending to fill in.) I mean, the Lord destroyed the earth, didn’t he? Wiped out pretty much everything there? Forty days and forty nights of rain, right? Lovely weather for ducks, as they say, but not such a great step forward for mankind.

Angel: That’s a matter of opinion. Very dark, wasn’t it? You always know God’s up to something when it goes dark. Creation… and then there was that thing with the curtain in the temple – but you wouldn’t know about that yet. Anyhow, my point is, the darkest hour is just before dawn. As they say.

Noah: Well, it’s not my point. What I was getting at was, any man left alive is either a Mr Noah or a son of Mr Noah. Mr Ham Noahson. Mr Shem Noahson. Mr Japheth Noahson. Likewise, any woman…

Angel: (cuts in) Yes, yes, I get the point. (sighs heavily) (aside) What I want to know is, what’s it going to be like at the Last Judgement? (to Noah) When did you arrive?

Noah: Just now.

Angel: Purpose of visit: business or pleasure?

Noah: Well, business, I suppose. I got the idea that the Lord was going to tell me, when I’d moved in.

Angel: (shocked) Moved in? Permanently? Immigration? But – you mean you want to live here?

Noah: Well, there’s nowhere else, is there?

Angel: Here, on this earth that we’ve just been to all this trouble to clean up? Almost as much trouble as Creation, let me tell you! We don’t want humans here. I don’t know, what did I chuck Adam and Eve out of Eden for?

Noah: I can’t help that. Look, can’t you get a move on? I’ve got a sacrifice to the Lord to make here. If the Lord chooses to forgive us that’s his business. (short pause) You should have had a letter about me.

Angel: (finally sees relevant paper) Oh, you’re that Noah. The one righteous man. I do apologise, my dear chap. (aside) All the same, it seems a bit risky, leaving the future of the human race in the hands of one man. I mean, look what happened with Adam. Still, if the Lord says… (to Noah) Well, that all seems to be in order. Do you have anything to declare?

Noah: Apart from examples of every animal on earth, male and female, two each of unclean beasts and seven each of clean, you mean? (aside to audience) Not to mention the rabbits: we only started off with two, and there’s getting on for a hundred now.

The Angel has been looking increasingly alarmed all through this speech; frantically writing on his clipboard, searching through papers, etc.

Angel: You’ve got to be kidding me. Bird flu… foot and mouth… I’ll have to quarantine the lot.

Noah: (concerned) Hey, cheer up, mate – the Lord told me to take all that lot with me – it’s all official and – and – would you just look at that rainbow! That’s a sign from the Lord, that is – you’re never going to have to deal with the destruction of all mankind again!

(copyright Kathleen Jowitt 2006)

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Kathleen Jowitt

April 2015

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