by Rick Schneblin

Print this page    

Characters
Sam: You can find a character like Sam in the movie Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure.  However, times change and so does teen rhetoric.  Tailor Sam to reflect the average peer that will view the play.
Samuel: The elderly prophet of God.  Must be able to command respect.
Saul: The tall and handsome king of Israel.  Ages at various points of the play.
Jonathan: Younger version of Saul.
Agag: The Amalekite king.
Witch of En Dor: A witch in it for the money. Doesn't use real demons.
Spectre: The partner of the Witch.  A man dressed up like a spectre.
Two guards: Accompany Saul to see the Witch.  Should wear hoods.
Audience Plant: A member of the cast planted in the audience.
Play requirements:

 - Sets and costumes should be simple and not overdone.

-  Emphasis should be placed on the creation of characters and not a full-on production.  Remember, less is more.  A few minor effects are necessary, such a thunder and lightning.

-  Have fun with it.  The Sam character should be very outgoing teen and should be ready to possibly interact with the audience.

-  Have a question /answer and discussion time afterward with the teen audience concerning future, mature decision-making.

Scene 1

Curtain closed.  Young man: dressed in present day, typical teenage dress; falls stage right and seems to be a little disoriented.[1]. He is carrying a large, crinkled, paper bag.

SAM: Wow, what a trip...(Getting up)…I usually travel the 7th dimension with a little better coordination.  (To audience, a bit disoriented)  Hey man, what day is it?
A.P: Saturday!  [Say actual day of the week.]
SAM: Ah... sorry, I mean the year, OK?
A.P: 2000!   [Say actual year]
SAM: Yeah?  Awesome! Woah! You know how close you guys are to the rapture?(Sam becomes moaded) Uph! Sorry, I guess that's still kind of a secret.  Dude, I could get into real serious stuff with that kind-of-a slip.

Well, anyway, I guess I better introduce myself.  My name is Sam. Well, actually, my name is Samuel.  I'm the old prophetic dude mentioned in the Bible.  No kiddin', I even have a couple of the books named after me!

Anyway, I guess you guys are thinkin', no way! This dude should be in some kind of toga or something.  Hey, no way!

(Using a lot of clarification with hands)

You see, I died a long time ago.  I mean WAY! We're talkin' here about three thousand years! Well, anyway, a radical thing happened; I got this new body that's so awesome that you're only allowed to see what you see now so your minds won't blow out of your skull! And when you walk, its like you walk through walls and other stuff.  And when you run; you go through time! Wherever you want! Its sort-of a cross between Back to Future and Terminator II[2] in its intricate complexities.

Well, anyway, I'm supposed to go back in time to do this gig.  So I thought it would be radical to run forward in time and tell you guys the story of Saul.  See, Saul was a lot like a teenager, even though he was an older dude.  Being a teenager means that you start making your own decisions, and these decisions can really effect your life.  It's all new and exciting, but it can really mess you up, too.  Anyway, let me do this little time­ warp-window thing so you can see it for yourself.

(Sam makes a strange waving movement toward center stage.  Curtain up or lights fade on to reveal an outdoor area.  An old bearded man in third century attire and wearing a talit[3] stands center stage.)

SAM: Check it out! The old dude? That's me! Man, I'm a real geazer, huh? Y'see, I'm a prophet; I tell the king what's on God's mind and stuff.  Sometimes I really give him the Rush Limbaugh treatment.  At this time, I just got through lubing up the first king over Israel. Saul, you know? Anointing him with a heavy-weight oil and all. 20W-15.
SAMUEL: Here my words house of Israel.  I have heeded your voice in all that you said and have made a king over you.  And now behold your king, Saul of Jabesh-Gilead.

(A tall young Saul enters wearing a gold rope crown.)

SAMUEL: And now, I am old and gray-headed...
SAM: No duh...J
SAMUEL: Now, witness against me before the Lord and before His anointed: Whose oxen have I taken, or whose donkey have I taken, or whom have I defrauded? Whom have I oppressed, or from whose hand have I received any bribe with which to blind my eyes? I will restore it to you. If not, then stand still that I may reflect on all the righteous acts of the Lord which He has done unto you and your fathers… Ahem.

(Begins a long oration)

When Jacob had gone into Egypt, and your fathers cried out to the Lord, then the Lord sent Moses and Aaron and brought your fathers out of Egypt and made them dwell in this place...

SAM: Hold it! Stop!

(Entire scene freezes with Samuel's finger in the air and mouth open in mid sentence.)

SAM: Let's skip this three-hour commentary on Cecil B. DeMille and get to when Saul got ants in his pants.

(Sam waves again toward center stage.  Saul, dressed in period armor, is alone and pacing back and forth.)

SAM: Ah! Here we are, now check it... told Saul to chill-out for seven days and I would do a burnt offering for him.  He didn't know it at the time, but the Lord was testing his heart to see if he would spaz-out or not.  Watch.
SAUL: (Calling loudly toward offstage left) What is that? Has he arrived? Not as yet!? Then prepare the wood for the burnt offering to expedite the sacrifice upon his arrival.

(Grumbling to himself) Not as yet.  Not as yet.  Samuel, where are you? You said seven days.  "Hear me", he says, "I will come unto you in seven days in Gilgal and there I will present to the Lord a burnt offering."  Well, it's been seven days and the soldiers are beginning to desert me and go home! Look at the sky, we are nearing sundown.  The eighth day is almost upon us.

(Saul continues to pace and become more anxious.)

SAM: Check it out guys! The worst possible time to ever make a decision is when you're all worked-up.  If it looks like the only way out of a situation is to get on the stick and take charge, watch out! You're in the flesh, man.
SAUL: (Calling offstage left) Officers! Prepare for me a bullock for the burnt offering and place it upon the wood.  For Samuel has delayed his coming and the Philistines are upon us!
SAM: Actually, I wasn't late at all.  The Lord told me to wait until just before sundown.  So I sat under a tree on the top of the Hill of Moreh looking down at Saul, who was gettin' all pent up and surly.  I was all up there just whistlin', and cutting my toenails because they were becoming all long, twisted and gnarly and encapsulated with all sorts of camel muck and...

(Stopping himself from rambling) Oh, sorry... anyway, Saul lit the fire of the burnt offering, which should have only been done by a prophet of God - Bummer.

(Saul looks offstage left.  An orange flickering glow reflects off his armor.)

SAUL: (Lifting his hands toward heaven)  And now, if your anointed has pleased the Lord God of Samuel with this burnt offering; grant me, I pray, victory over my enemies.  Give unto your servant triumph over the Philistines who have polluted the land of our fathers. Have I not performed all that you have asked of me as king over Your people, Israel?
SAMUEL: (Shouting from offstage right) Saul! Saul!  (Entering from stage right) What have you done?
SAUL: (Busted)  Samuel! Uh... The people were scattering from me! You... you did not come within the days appointed! The Philistines! Yes, the Philistines have gathered together at Shunem down in the valley of Jezreel! That's it!

So I said to myself, "The Philistines will now come down on me at Gilgal, and I have not made supplication to the Lord." Therefore I felt compelled, and offered the burnt offering in your stead.

SAM: (Calling toward Saul)  Stoopid!
SAMUEL: You have done foolishly.  You have not kept the command of the Lord your God, which He made unto you.  For now the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever.  But now your kingdom shall not continue.  The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has made him to be commander over His people, because you have not kept what the Lord has commanded you.

(All freeze on stage.  Sam walks among frozen characters.)

SAM: Ok, so Saul does this bogus move.  He got all anxious and wound up inside because all his soldiers were leaving him.  You know, like if someone is going to beat the stuff out of you after school and none of your friends want to deal with it? Don't get all anxious, man, its time to pray and ask God to give you a chill pill and have Him do the doin'. And whatever the outcome, give Him praise.  Even if you get a knuckle sandwich, at least you can be a good witness.  It's sorta like that. (Sam pauses and shakes off the moment)  Woah. Sorry, I got a little carried away.

Well, let's check out Saul a few years later.  He's been doin' pretty good with his army, bagging the Philistines and all, but not as good as his son Jonathon who was one righteous warrior.

(Stage clears.   Jonathan enters from stage left bearing a sword and a rod.)

Jonathan: Come, let us go over Gibeah to the uncircumcised Philistine garrison that is at Michmash; it may be that the Lord will fight for us.  For nothing restrains the Lord from saving by a mighty army or by a small company.

(Jonathan freezes, casting his sight toward heaven.)

SAM: That's faith, man.  Jonathan is totally fighting in the spirit.  He's sayin' that whether he's got a lot going for him or not, the Lord is still the head honcho. Now contrast that with what Saul says.  I mean this guy blows it.

(Saul enters from stage right.)

SAUL: Cursed is the man who eats any food until evening, before I have taken vengeance on my enemies!

(Saul freezes.  Jonathan begins to grow weary.)

Jonathan: Behold, I have been fighting for days at Beth Aven and I am weary for lack of food. (Jonathan places his rod upstage.)  Ah, but a little honey from this hive will brighten my countenance.

(As he brings the end of the rod to his lips.  Jonathan freezes.  Saul again begins pacing.)

SAUL: (Toward heaven)  Oh God of Samuel, shall I go down after the Philistines? Will You deliver them into the hand of Israel? Look, I have been asking for seven days now with no answer.
SAM: Ok guys, here is the thing.  If you're prayin' and prayin' and God seems to be givin' you the cold shoulder; it could be that you've blown it somewhere, and that could be anything.  Saul made a stoopid curse that made his entire army weak with hunger.  Jonathan didn't know about the curse, ate a little honey, and then ended up with a bad rap. Always remember that being careless with your words and decisions doesn't just mess you up, it wastes all your friends around you too.

Now by this time you may be thinkin', "Hey, if the Lord would be clear concerning His will in my life, I'd do what is right, I'd make the right decision." You know, I thought the same thing.  So God gave me a specific chore to pass on to Saul.  Listen up...

(Samuel enters stage right and Saul from stage left.  Both move toward center stage.)

SAMUEL: Saul, the Lord sent me to anoint you king over His people, Israel.  Now therefore, heed the voice of the words of the Lord.  (Samuel raises his finger)  Thus says the Lord of hosts: "I will punish what Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him on the way when My people came up from Egypt.  (Finger comes down to Saul's face) Now, go and attack Amalek, completely destroy all that they have, and do not spare them.  (Fingers now count for every charge)  Kill the men...Kill the women...Kill the children...Kill the babies…Kill the oxen, the sheep, the camels, and the donkeys."
SAUL: (Turning toward audience and looking up)  All the Lord says I will do...

(All Characters freeze.)

SAM: Hold it! Stop! No way! No way, man! What do you mean, kill all the women and children and babies? That's bogus! How can a God of love make such a bummer deal?  Hey, check it out, I was there!  San Francisco has nothing on the Amalekites.  They were doin' some pretty gross sexual stuff, man.  They were gettin' weird with their kids and their animals.  And they began spreadin', around all sorts of heinous sexual diseases.  Blech, I reeaally don't want to go into it, its got me ready to hurl some major chunks man- No lie.

(Saul draws his sword and crosses behind Samuel and exits stage right.)

SAM: (Sam shakes off the gross feeling)  Ok, so Saul goes out with a definite word from the Lord as to what to do.  It's like when you read the Bible and it says for example "Do not be unevenly yoked with unbelievers," and yet you go out and get frisky with a non-Christian.  Get real! God made it totally clear in his word, man.  Next thing you know, you start rationalizing your squirrelly behavior with stuff like...(Sarcastic)  "Oh, maybe if I date him, he'll become a Christian." or "Deep down she really loves God in her own way" or "I know he's a Satanist but at least he prays."  Yea right, time for a reality break. Ok, check out Saul and his lame excuses.

(Saul enters from stage right with blood stained armor.  Saul's arm is around the neck of king Agag.  Both are laughing and exchanging stories.  Saul urges Agag to remain stage right as he moves to Samuel who is still at center stage.  The sounds of sheep and oxen are heard offstage.)

SAUL: (Giddy)  Blessed are you, Samuel! I have performed all that the Lord has commanded of me.
SAMUEL: (Angry)  What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?
SAUL: (Busted)  What? The soldiers... Uh, they have brought them from the Amalekites.  For the people, they spared the best of the sheep and the oxen, to… uh… uh… to sacrifice! That's it! To sacrifice to the Lord your God.  But I, I was involved with utterly destroying the rest.
SAMUEL: (Gritting teeth)  Be quiet!
SAM: I was peayodeed, man.
SAMUEL: I will tell you what the Lord said to me last night... (Finger again points to Saul) "When you were humble in your own eyes, were you not head of the tribes of Israel? And did not the Lord anoint you king over His people? Now the Lord sent you on a mission, and said, 'Go, and utterly destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are all dead.'  Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord? Why did you swoop down on the spoil, and do this evil in My sight?"
SAUL: But I have obeyed the voice of the Lord and have completed the mission on which the Lord sent me, and brought back Agag king of Amalek.  (Points toward Agag who stands waving) I have totally destroyed the Amalekites.  But the people, they took the sheep and the oxen to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal.
SAMUEL: Is the Lord delighted in burnt offerings and sacrifices or in obeying His voice? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.  For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.  Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king!

(Saul crouches in repentance to Samuel.  Samuel turns to exit as Saul grabs the hem of his garment.  As the garment rips (use velcro here) all freeze.  Samuel freezes as he looks back at the crouching Saul.  Agag, in the background, freezes with his hands protecting his neck as if anticipating his end.

SAM: Aw man, Saul ripped my best robe.  That was it. God ripped the kingdom away from him and decided to give it to a lowly shepherd. You know, everyone today is running their gums about self-esteem and positive this or positive that.  But hey, the Lord made it clear that when we are weak and humble, He is strong and awesome. You wanna know something else? Our excuses are not worth diddly-squat cause God looks right into your heart, man.  And He knows whether you're pulling His chain or not.

(Sam moves within the scene.)

SAM: Ok, now, Saul's bogus behavior causes him to be axed as king.  Agag got the ax because he was just a low-life with a crown, only he loses his head in the process. But you know what is really going on here? Saul is making so many rash and pitiful excuses that he is gradually getting worse and worse as far as the sins of the flesh.  God said, "Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft."  And you know what witchcraft is? It's sorcery! And in the Greek language, that word is pharmakia , the word we use for pharmacy or drugs! Bad decisions and rebellion against God's Word leads us eventually into drugs and witchcraft! No lie man! Watch! It eventually happened to Saul...

Scene 2

The scene opens in a gloomy cave.  In the center of the cave is a boiling cauldron. (Dry ice and hot water) It is located in front of a sinister curtain.  Red, green and orange light flash slowly from inside the pot.  An old crone in a tattered robe and hood is throwing in various ingredients into the brew.

SAM: See this crony lookin', chick? She's one of the only remaining witches left at En Dor in the lower Galilee area of Israel.  See, back when Saul was makin' some righteous decisions, he told all the witches and sorcerers to take a hike.  But now, Saul has gotten so wiped out in his head, he's actually going to come to her and get even more twisted. See, by this time I've already croaked and checked in with the Lord.  So Saul is all in a panic again and wants to talk with me.  Get that! I'm dead and he wants to have a conference call! Guh, what a loser.

(The witch draws her hand upward.  The lights inside the kettle begin to dance wildly.  Thunder begins to rumble.)

WITCH: Guardians of the abyss and keepers of the nether-region; open the gates that bar your presence and give audience with your wayward legion.  Spirits of the dead, cluster near and give unto me, he of whom I call.  Gather one and gather many, assemble in this hall. Hear me now, forgotten ones! Awake from earthen bed! Your presence here is in demand...(A long pause is made and the evil theatrics are quenched.  The witch snaps her fingers as she tries to remember the forgotten line.) Your presence here is in demand... Uhrm.. Hmm
SPECTRE: (From inside the cauldron) Arise oh sullen dead!
WITCH: (Looking in Cauldron) What?
SPECTRE: Arise oh sullen dead!
WITCH: (Looking in Cauldron) Oh.  Yes! (Back in evil character)... Ariii-se oh sullen dead!

(At this, a robed, hooded skeletal figure with a long gray beard rises out of the cauldron.  He is lit with eerie lighting.)

WITCH: Oh evil spectre, are you the one whom I seek.  (Silence) Be not taciturn, oh restless spirit.  For yon loved ones wish council from one who has been cast into the underworld.  (Pointing to no one in particular)  Spirit guide, mediate between the dead and the living; they have given quite a price for this incantation.  (Loses evil tone.  Thunder ceases. ) Now at this point, you look at the client who should be standing right about here.  (Designates an area)
SPECTRE: (Looking in various directions) Right about where?
WITCH: (Irritated) Over here! Follow my voice!
SPECTRE: (Confused) Where?
WITCH: Over here!
SPECTRE: (Pointing to mask) I can't see a thing with this mask on.
WITCH: Well, it won't work without it.
SPECTRE: (Removing mask) It's not working now! I could barely find my way to the cauldron this time. Why don't you use a real demon to impersonate the deceased like you use to.  They have all the inside information, and they have better special effects too!
WITCH: No! Never again! Each time they show up they give me gooseflesh.  They always bring a little hell with them each time I use them.  You can never trust them and they smell! No, forget it! Now let's try it again.
SPECTRE: Wait! Wait! Give me a moment here to get ready. (Putting the mask on, he awkwardly crouches back down into the cauldron.)
WITCH: (Looking into pot) I hope your exit will be a little more convincing than that!  The masked head sticks out of the curtain that is located behind the cauldron.
SPECTRE: Hey! This isn't easy! Why don't we switch places!
WITCH: (Irritated) You want to switch places? If King Saul shows up, he'll kill the first necromancer he finds.  That's me!
SPECTRE: (Satisfied) Ah! Point well taken.

(The masked man disappears behind the curtain.  As the witch prepares for the second rehearsal (stage right facing cauldron), the masked man is seen walking out from behind the curtain and exiting stage right.  He seems to be having trouble with his cloak.  The witch is unaware that he has left.  The sound of men approaching is heard.  The witch is alerted.)

WITCH: (Loud whisper in cauldron) Shh! Someone is approaching! Now, remember what your suppose to do, and if you forget... wing it!

(Saul and two of his guards enter stage left, cloaked in hoods and faces unseen.  From the center, Saul comes forward as the other two stay behind to guard cave entrance.)

SAUL: (Voice disguised.) Are you the diviner of En Dor?
WITCH: (Witchy tone) Perhaps. Perhaps not.  Who inquires?

 (Saul holds out a small coin bag, which is promptly taken by the witch.)

WITCH: But of course, who am I to be nosey?
SAUL: Please conduct a séance for me, and bring up the one who I shall name to you.
WITCH: Male or female?
SAUL: Male.
WITCH: Old or young?
SAUL: Old.    
WITCH: (Shouting towards the curtain) YOU WISH ME TO CONJURE UP AN OLD MAN?
SAUL: (Shouting back)  YES!
WITCH: (Confidential)  Look my young friend, between you, me and Frick and Frack over there, you know that king Saul has cut off all the mediums and spiritists from the land. So, tell me, is this a trick? Huh? You intend to snare me like a bird in the net? Hmm?
SAUL: (Reassuring her) As the Lord lives, no punishment shall come upon you for this service.  Perhaps you require a bit more earnest?

One of the guards shows her another coin purse.  She tries to take it but he grabs it and holds up his finger in demand for action.

WITCH: Whom shall I bring up for you?
SAUL: Bring up for me, the dead prophet Samuel.
WITCH: (Shouting toward curtain) YOU WISH ME TO CONJURE FORTH THE PROPHET SAMUEL!?
SAUL: (Shouting back) YES!

(Sam was asleep, but wakes up with a start.  The witch begins to throw ingredients into the pot.)

SAM: Oh wow, that's my cue!  (He immediately opens his paper sack and dons the contents: A period robe, a long gray beard and a talit.) This is the gig I was telling you about.  The Lord made arrangement for me to put on my old gnarly self and tell Saul to get a life.  This is the only time in history that the Lord ever does this.  Pretty radical, huh? Scuse me...

(Sam runs behind the cauldron and gets into position.  The witch moves stage right and faces the pot.  The opening of the scene repeats.  The witch draws her hand upward.  The lights inside the kettle begin to dance wildly.  Thunder begins to rumble.)

WITCH: Guardians of the abyss and keepers of the nether-region; open the gates that bar your presence and give audience with your wayward legion.  Spirits of the dead, cluster near and give unto me, he of whom I call.  Gather one and gather many, assemble in this hall. Hear me now, forgotten ones! Awake from earthen bed! Your presence here is in demand; ari-se Samuel- ari-se, oh sullen dead!

(The spectre of Samuel (played by Sam) rises out of the cauldron.)

WITCH: Oh evil spectre, are you the one  whom I seek.  (Silence) Be not taciturn, oh restless spirit.  For this one... TO YOUR RIGHT! Wishes council from one who has been cast into the underworld.

(The two hooded guards grab each other in fear.  Saul falls on his knees, leaning back in apprehension.  The masked man enters from stage right behind the witch, still fiddling with his robe.  All three of the cloaked men point to the masked man. The woman turns to look at what they are pointing at; sees the skeletal masked man and screams.  The masked man screams in response to her scream.  The three cloaked men scream in unison in response to his scream.  There is a slight pause.  The witch slowly turns her head toward the spectre as it dawns on her that the figure above the cauldron is not her partner but a real apparition.  She jumps into the arms of the masked man and points at the cloaked man.

WITCH: Why have you deceived me? You are Saul!

(The cloaked figure removes his hood.  It is an older Saul.  He stands and addresses her.  The guards remain on their knees, clutching each other in fear.)

SAUL: Fear not, diviner of En Dor.  As I promised, no consequence shall befall you this night. (To Spectre)  Samuel?
SAM: Hey dude!  (To audience in whisper) Oh wow, I blew it!  (Sam clears his throat and begins again with a deep, serious, quivering, specter-like voice.) Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?
SAUL: I am in deep distress; for the Philistines are making war against the kingdom and God has departed from me and does not answer anymore.  Therefore I have called you, that you may reveal to me what I should do.
SAM: Why then do you ask me, seeing the Lord has departed and has become your enemy? The Lord has done for Himself as He spoke by me; for the Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hand and has given it to your neighbor; a shepherd by the name of David.
SAUL: Why has the Lord become my enemy? Have I not fulfilled all that was required of me in leading his people to victory?
SAM: Because you did not obey the voice of the Lord by executing wrath upon the Amalekites, and by sparing their king, Agag and taking for yourself the best of the oxen and sheep.  Therefore the Lord has done this thing to you this day.  Moreover the Lord will also deliver Israel and you into the hand of the Philistines.  Tomorrow, you and your sons will be with me.
SAUL: What, in the cauldron?
SAM: (Flustered) NO! In death! DEATH! (To audience, thumbing toward Saul) Man, what a toad.

(All freeze except Sam.  Sam removes the costume, gets out of the cauldron and walks among the set and characters.)

SAM: Well, that's it.  I mean this guy Saul had so much awesome potential.  And while he was this humble dude who didn't think of himself as being all that great; man, God lifted him up to be this excellent king! Then he blew it by getting', all into himself.  The Bible says, "Anyone who thinks he is something, when he nothing, deceives himself." Pretty and much that was Saul all over.

Ok, so, take my advice brethren.  Do some awesome decision-making, and make sure you check'em out with God first.  That way you can't go wrong... You all know its crazy out there; and the Devil's out to really do a number on you.  So be cool, ok? (Beat) All right! Well, I gotta go... In a few days I gotta meet Saul and get him all moved in to his new graveside condo.  He loses big time to the Philistines on Mount Gilboa and ends up doin', a major swan dive on his sword.

(Sam repacks his paper bag.) But until then, I think I'll just pump ahead a few months to the rapture, it's my favorite moment in history to watch and I dig flyin', over... (Thunder and lighting causes Sam to cower.) Hey! I didn't tell'em what day it was or anything! Oh wow! I blew it! I'm outa here!  (Sam runs out covering his head.)

(Cast comes to life and all come on stage to take their bows; ending with Sam.)

THE END

 

[1]   Note: The given dialogue is provided as a basic guideline and can be modified to fit the current teen-slang

[2]   Use two current movies that illustrate time travel and future technology

[3]   Prayer shawl or mantle