The Narrators retell the story as Jesus told it, with the characters mainly miming the story with a few words of dialogue. The cast interact with the narrators whereas, conventionally, they should behave as if they were not there.
Narrator 2: Very shrewd
Narrator 1: Dead shrewd
Narrator 2: Exceedingly shrewd
Narrator 1: Incredibly shrewd
Narrator 2: OK, OK – so he was shrewd - shall we get on with it?
Narrator 1: Right, let’s go. From the top?
Narrator 2: There was once a shrewd manager.
Narrator 1: Shrewd but completely useless
Narrator 2: Cost his Boss a fortune
Narrator 1: Like the time he bought five hundred camels for his boss at the market.
Narrator 2: And what did he do?
N 1 & N 2: Lost them!
Narrator 2: Idiot!
Narrator 1: Useless!
Narrator 2: Useless idiot!
Narrator 1: It was inevitable, really
Narrator 2: What was?
Narrator 1: What happened, of course
Narrator 2: Er… what did happen – I forget
Narrator 1: Great narrator you are!
Narrator 2: Thanks
Narrator 1: Well, along came the Boss one day and said…(N 2 interrupts)
Narrator 2: Tell you what
Narrator 1: What?
Narrator 2: These two (indicating Boss and Manager) don’t seem to be doing anything useful – let’s get them to do this bit.
Narrator 1: Good idea
Narrator 2: Well get on with it then lads!
The Boss: Hello Shrewd-But-Useless-Manager
Manager: Hello Mr Rich-And-Very-Tough-Boss. Your Worship. Sir.
The Boss: How’s Mrs Shrewd-But-Useless-Manager?
Manager: Fine thanks, your Worship
The Boss: And all the little Shrewd-But-Useless-Managers?
Narrator 1: Excuse me
The Boss: Yes?
Narrator 2: Don’t you think, if you’re going to fire him, you ought to be just a tad more brusque and to the point?
Narrator 1: Crisper – just a shade more brutal.
The Boss: Fire him?
Narrator 2: Sack him, dismiss him, give him his cards, terminate his employment.
Narrator 1: Make him the subject of a workforce downsizing decision.
The Boss: Oh, fire him! Why would I do that?
N 1 & N 2: BECAUSE HE’S USELESS!!!
The Boss: Ah! Got you (turning to Manager) You’re fired!
Narrator 1: Perhaps just a shade too brusque and to the point.
Narrator 2: You’re supposed to tell him…Oh, what’s the use? (to Narrator 1) Shall we do this bit?
Narrator 1: Perhaps we’d better – these two are as useless as each other.
Narrator 2: I told you we should have gone for David Jason and Hugh Grant. Still, too late now - You two just stand there for a moment.
Narrator 1: And try not to make the place look untidy.
Narrator 2: So Rich-And-Very-Tough-Boss…
Narrator 1: …told Shrewd-But-Useless-Manager…
Narrator 2: …that he no longer required his services…
Narrator 1: …and called on him to give an account of his management
Narrator 2: Shrewd-But-Useless-Manager was very worried…(Manager mimes looking worried)
Narrator 1: …he was too weedy to dig…(Manager mimes being a big girl’s blouse)
Narrator 2: …and too proud to beg. (Manager…oh, you get the idea)
Narrator 1: Then he had…
Narrator 2: …a cup of tea?
Narrator 1: No, a brilliant idea – have you read the script?
Narrator 2: No, why would I? – it's useless!
Narrator 1: I know that but we professionals have to make the best of the tools we’re given.
Narrator 2: Anyway, so he had a brilliant idea?
Narrator 1: Yeah.
Narrator 2: And?
Narrator 1: And what?
Narrator 2: And what was it?
Narrator 1: He decided to go to all the people who owed Rich-And-Very-Tough-Boss stuff and do a deal with them.
Narrator 2: I’m with you –so that they would owe him when he was on the dole?
Narrator 1: That’s right. So Shrewd-But-Useless-Manager went to his Boss’s debtors
(Exit Manager and Enter Debtor 1 moving to centre stage)
Debtor 1: Ho, ho, ho, ho, ho…
Narrator 2: What are you doing?
Debtor 1: I’m hoing.
Narrator 2: Hoing?
Debtor 1: Yeah – it says in the script (approaches N 1 and points to script) Look – ‘enter Debtor 1, hoing’. Clear as day, that is.
Narrator 1: Give me strength!
Narrator 2: ‘Enter Debtor 1, hoeing’, not ho-ing – it means using a hoe; you’re a farmer for pity’s sake!
Narrator 1: Here use this (hands Debtor 1 a hoe) Idiot!
(Debtor 1 hoes. Enter Manager)
Manager: Morning, Debtor 1!
Debtor 1: Morning Shrewd-But-Useless-Manager – if you’ve come about those six hundred sheep I owe Rich-And-Very-Tough-Boss, you’re wasting your time – I haven’t got them.
Manager: Keep yer wig on Squire, keep yer wig on. Retain your toupee. I’ve come to offer you a deal – if you settle quickly like.
Debtor 1: (suspiciously) Oh, yeah? What sort of deal?
Manager: Well, Squire, how may sheep have you got?
Debtor 1: Dunno – every time I try to count them I go to sleep.
Manager: Well, roughly how many? 10? 50? 500?
Debtor 1: 'Bout 300, maybe three-fifty.
Manager: Well there you go then, call it a round 300 – he was robbing you blind anyway. Here’s your bill – got a pen? (Debtor 1 hands him a feather) Lovely jubbly (writes) There! 300. Now, if you’ll just let me have the sheep, I’ll be on my way. Don’t bother to wrap them, I’ll eat them now (laughs at his own wit and repeats the line)
Debtor 1: Thanks, Shrewd-But-Useless-Manager, I really owe you one – if you ever need any help, you know where to come.
Manager: Might just take you up on that, Squire. Well au revoir.
(Exit Debtor 1 and enter Debtor 2 stage left driving an imaginary chariot)
Manager: Morning, Debtor 2. Nice chariot.
Debtor 2: Thanks, Shrewd-But-Useless-Manager, just finished it this morning. Lovely mover: 4 horse power with automatic manure collection, driver’s airbag, sun roof – well no roof at all come to that. 0 to 60 in four and a half minutes. What can I do you for?
Manager: It’s about the three chariots that you owe to my Boss, Mr Rich-And-Very-Tough-Boss…
Debtor 2: You’re off your trolley, Mate – I’ve only got this one. And that little runabout the Missus uses, of course. Do you know how long it takes to put one of these little sports efforts together? It’s not like those Ford boys with their assembly line of family saloons yer know.
Manager: Hold your horses! Hold your … Oh, you are holding them! Look, Squire, here’s the bill – three sports chariots. Let’s just make that one sports chariot and one little runabout, low mileage, one careful lady driver in the person of Mrs Debtor 2. How’s that? To be quite honest, the extra chariot was my commission on the deal.
Debtor 2: I don’t know what to say, Shrewd-But-Useless-Manager!
Manager: Just say ‘Here’s the keys, Squire’ and we’ll be done. And remember who your friends are.
Debtor 2: Oh, I will! I will!! Anything you need, you only have to ask.
(Debtor 2 shakes Manager’s hand warmly and exits)
Narrator 1: Then Rich-And-Very-Tough-Boss returned…
Narrator 2: …and saw what Shrewd-But-Useless-Manager had been doing and was furious with…
Narrator 1: No he wasn’t – read the script!
Narrator 2: (Unenthusiastically) Oh, yeah, the script.
Narrator 1: He was pleased with Shrewd-But-Useless-Manager because he had acted shrewdly.
Narrator 2: Had he? How do you work that out?
Narrator 1: You’ll have to think that out for yourself, won’t you – or maybe you could break the habit of a lifetime and listen to the sermon.
The Boss: What an absolutely, thoroughly, jolly nice bloke. Only thing is, I can’t work out whose money he gave away.
© Trevor Fletcher, all rights reserved
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