The workers

By Dan Wilson


A modern setting of the parable in Matthew 20:1-16.


Mr. Parrot, the boss
Ms. Fitzwater, his assistant
Mr. Jones
Mr. Smith
Mr. Anderson


Fitz: They're not going to like this sir.

Parr: Nonsense! What's not to like? No one's being shorted, are they?

Fitz: Well, no. But..

Parr: Case closed. I've made my decision. If there are any problems, I'll be in my office.

Fitz: Yes sir.

Fitz: Here we go.

Smith: Oh boy! Payday!

Jones: Back of the line! You know the routine. I've worked the most, so I get paid first.

Fitz: Uh, gentlemen?

Workers: Yes?

Fitz: There's been a change in the procedure. Mr Smith is to get his paycheck first this week.

Smith: (strutting) Thank you.

Fitz: Here you go, here you go, and here you go.

Smith: Five hundred dollars!

Ander: Five hundred dollars.

Jones: Five hundred dollars?

Fitz: And here I go.

Jones: Now wait just a minute. You've got some explaining to do.

Ander: Yeah. What's with the checks? Smitty only works 15 hours a week and he got paid the same as me.

Smith: So? What's your point?

Jones: The same as you? You both got my paycheck! I work 40 hours a week and got the same pay as you stiffs!

Smith: Well, I guess we know who's more valued around here.

Jo/An: And just what is that supposed to mean?

Smith: It's not the quantity of work that you do, but the quality.

Fitz: Now gentlemen...

Ander: Where I come from those are fighting words.

Jones: Are you insinuating that I don't do good work?

Smith: Not at all!

J/A/F: Good.

Smith: Just that I do great work.

Jones: I don't have to listen to this. Get me the boss.

Fitz: Gladly!

Ander: Yeah, get the boss!

Jones: "Yeah, get the boss." You're in the same boat as smiley over there.

Ander: Huh?

Jones: Look, the computer must have made a mistake and given you two guys too much money.

Smith: What's the big deal? You were getting five hundred before this. You aren't losing any money.

Ander: Yeah, you just don't want to see us get what we deserve.

Jones: Deserve?! I work my tail off for this place. I've been here a lot longer than either of you. I deserve more than you.

Ander: Hey, I've worked hard too.

Smith: I've done what I could. Just because we haven't worked here all our lives we should get less?

Jones: Yes.

Ander: Well I guess the boss thinks differently, or else he wouldn't have given us raises.

Jones: I should've gotten a union job.

Parr: Who said "union"?

Fitz: Mr. Parrot! I told you that... The employees are disturbed about the new payment plan.

Smith: Well, I wouldn't really say that we're upset.

Ander: Well yes, I really would!

Jones: This sir is a travesty of justice!

Parr: Is it now?

Jones: Do you realize that you have either made a gross accounting error or you have deeply insulted my honor.

Parr: That's quite eloquent, but pray tell me how I have done so?

Smith: It's nothing, really.

Parr: No, no. I'd like to hear this.

Ander: You paid us all equally for unequal service.

Jones: You paid them my salary!

Parr: So?

Jones: So, that's not fair!

Parr: You agreed to work for $500 a week, right?

Jones: Yes, but…

Parr: What were you paid this week?

Jones: Five hundred.

Parr: So what's the problem?

Jones: You paid them five... hund…

Parr: May I ask you when it was that I began to be accountable to you in matters of my finances?

Jones: Uh.

Parr: If I want to give them SIX hundred, I can.

Smith: Really?

Ander: Settle down.

Parr: Now, I didn't originally hire these gentlemen at five hundred a week. But I have decided to give them that much.

Jones: But I've worked here longer, and more hours a week.

Parr: Yes you do. And I'm very pleased. But I'm pleased with them as well. I'm the owner, and I have the freedom to give to whoever I want to. Have I injured you by being generous to them?

Fitz: Sir? It's time for your appointment with the board.

Parr: Any questions gentlemen?

Jones: No sir.

Ander: Sir? Will you ever decide not to pay us at all?

Parr: Anderson, am I that kind of guy?

Ander: No sir.

Parr: Thank you.

Smith: No, thank you!

Parrot: Now, Ms. Fitzwater. This is what I have planned for the board.

Fitz: Oh no.


Dan Wilson, all rights reserved.
This play may be performed free of charge, provided no entrance fee is charged. In return for free performance, the author would appreciate being notified of any performance. He may be contacted at