Thursday, July 12, 2012

Purim Morsels

I was recently asked to put together a script for a "dinner theater" version of the story of Esther that was used in Junior (5th & 6th grade) Bible camp Tuesday night--and I got to play Mordecai, too (with a Brooklynesque Yiddish accent, naturally. If you're familiar with VeggieTales, think Pa Grape.) Much of the later script was cribbed from previous shpiels, as is about half of Act 1. However, if you read my blog much, you'll probably appreciate the (I think) humorous repartee. Incidentally, it played well to that age group.
Prologue: Haman & Mordecai, center stage
Haman: (not friendly) Hello, Mordecai.
Mordecai: (cooly) Evening, Haman.
Haman: What? Aren’t you going to bow to me–the king’s favorite official?
Mordecai: Haman, as you know, I am a Jew. I bow to my God and to my king. No one else.
Haman: It is King Xerxes who has commanded it. Everyone else does it. Why not you?
Mordecai: (shrugs) I’m not everyone else.
Haman: Aha! So it IS true! You think you’re better than everyone else! You think you’re better than me!
Mordecai: Don’t take it personally. We Jews have a law against pork. With a name like HAMan, I can’t be too careful!
Haman: It’s pronounced "Haman," you uncultured son of a sheepherder!
Mordecai: Well, that IS true! Papa DID own a nice flock! And Grandpapa, as well! What about your ancestors, Haman? What did they do?
Haman: Never mind that! If you honor the king, you will obey his decrees! You must bow in my presence!
Mordecai: You’re bringing me presents?
Haman: Alright, I’ll make it easy for you. If you’re not going to bow, the least you could do is kiss my royal ring!
Mordecai: You want I should kiss your ring, Haman? Forget it! I wouldn’t even kiss your hat – and I LIKE your hat!
Haman: Mordecai, you MUST bow down to me, and show me proper respect!
Mordecai: Sorry, no can do!
Haman: And why not?
Mordecai: As I said, I’m Jewish. And we have a law against bowing down to idols. And when it comes to being idle, no one does it better than you!
Haman: Oho! So now I’m lazy?
Mordecai: If the pillow fits, Haman...
Haman: That’s it! I will make you pay for that! You–and your whole family!
Act 1:
Story teller:
Welcome, friends, to the exotic land of Persia. It is 470 B.C., And King Xerxes rules here in the capital city of Shushan. I believe you may have already met Mordecai. He is part of a large community of Jews who call Persia home, and he has gained a position as a palace official. King Xerxes has recently named Haman as his prime minister, given him a ring so that he can sign documents with the king’s royal seal, and commanded that everyone bow down when they greet Haman.
His majesty has lately taken a new bride. Esther is her name. She’s young, beautiful, charming–AND she’s the winner of the Miss Persia beauty pageant! Or, as we like to call it: "Who wants to marry a royal heir?" "The Bachelor: Royalty Edition." "Persian Bridal." What His Highness does NOT know, is that Esther isn’t really Persian–she’s Jewish! Her real name is Hadassah, and Mordecai is her uncle!
This is where the intrigue begins to thicken! Because Mordecai the Jew refuses to bow down to the prime minister, Haman has convinced the king to have all Jews destroyed. The royal decree has been published, and in less than a year, on the 13th day of the 12th month, every citizen of Persia has been granted the right to kill any Jews they know of, and take their possessions!
But try not to think about that, right now. Enjoy the king’s hospitality, while you can. Oh, and try not to make too much noise. His Majesty is trying to sleep.
Enter Xerxes in his pj’s.
Xerxes: Servant! I can’t sleep. I need a bedtime story. Bring out the royal record book.
Storyteller: Yes, your majesty. If that doesn’t put you to sleep, nothing will. Where did we leave off? Ah, here we are.
8:35 The royal breakfast is served. Toast and scrambled eggs with pomegranate juice. His highness found it "yummy" but pronounced the toast "a bit dry."
8:56 The royal breakfast dishes are taken away.
9:05 The palace cleaning crew begin sweeping and dusting.
Xerxes: Skip a bit, would you?
Storyteller: Very well.
10:00 Two people arrive to buy pet licenses for their Persian cats, "Fluffy" and "Mr Num-nums."
10:08 They leave with licenses in hand
10:35 The royal mid-day snack is interrupted by a woman paying her speeding ticket.
10:41 The royal mid-day snack continues. The apples and peanut butter are described by His Highness as "Awesomeness in my tummy."
Xerxes: It WAS really good.
Story: 10:59 Queen Esther bursts in to the throne room announcing a plot on his majesty’s life.
Xerxes: Wha?
Story: Yes. Two of the guards at the palace door, Bigthan and Teresh, were plotting to assassinate his majesty. The plot was uncovered by Mordecai the Jew, who managed to get word to the queen. The assassins were caught and hanged for their crimes.
Xerxes: Wow! So, Mordecai saved my life! What did I do to thank him?
Story: Let’s see... Nothing was done to thank him.
Xerxes: Nothing?
Story: (checks the book) Nothing.
Xerxes: Wow. We really should do something to thank him! What should we do...? Hmmm...
Story: Hmmm...
(looks over to side of the stage where Haman is) Oh! Haman is here!
Xerxes: Oh good! Come in, Haman!
Haman: (enters) Your Majesty, I have a plan–
Xerxes: That’s great! You’re always full of ideas! In fact, Haman, what should be done for someone that I want to honor?
Haman: Your Majesty, I’m flattered! Well, this is what I would do: dress me – er that man – in one of your royal robes. Set him on one of your horses. Put a crown on his head, and then have one of your most noble princes lead him through the city streets while shouting, ‘This is what is done for the man the king wants to honor!’ But that’s just off the top of my head.
Xerxes: I like it! Let’s do all of that! And Haman, YOU get to be the man...
Haman: Yes!
Xerxes: ... who leads the horse and makes the proclamation! Do all of that – for Mordecai the Jew!
Haman: What?
Xerxes: And Haman, don’t leave anything out!


hmsnow.novelist said...

I was reading too quickly at first and somehow got the idea that most of Acts 1 had been cribbed from your previous material. My first thought: how old ARE you? :)

Also: I know that, traditionally, the audience is supposed to make appropriately disapproving noises when Haman's name is mentioned. One year at camp, the leaders decided to attempt the same sort of thing with the story of David, Abigail, and Nabal. It went pretty well, up until the narrator read the line, "In the morning, when the wine had gone out of Nabal" and the crowd made a drawn-out hissing noise. You know how adolescents are. They connected concept and sound effect, naturally (perhaps a little TOO naturally), and started howling with laughter. It took quite some time to regain control of the lesson.

Rocket Scientist said...

Really funny! Wish there were a video. :D

Allen's Brain said...

HM Snow, Wow. Just, Wow.

Rocket Scientist, There may be some video footage. I'll ask around. Love your pulp art avatar, BTW.