Style : Lighthearted. Duration : 12min
Actors: 2M, 1F
Scripture: Genesis 6 and 7
A Neighbor (of Noah’s)
Ham (Noah’s son)
Shem (Noah’s son)
Japheth (Noah’s son)
An Insurance Salesman
Setting: Noah’s backyard
Notes: In this very short piece people come to talk to Noah. Noah does not respond in words. In fact, he doesn’t speak at all until the end of the play. He just keeps working away, painting a board, which he will finish by the end of the piece.
I think the best casting has adults playing the speaking roles and a child (boy or girl) playing the role of Noah (with a ill-fitting “Santa” beard). Costumes should be creative amalgam of typical church play “ancientwear” and modern elements.
Neighbor: Noah. How’s it going? (Noah nods). Beautiful day, isn’t it? Well, there are some clouds over there, but I don’t think they’re going to do much.
Working right through the lunch hour, I see. Good. (Pause) Listen, Noah. Since we’re next-door neighbors, some of the other folks in the neighborhood have asked me to have a word with you. Frankly, they’re …well … concerned. They’re concerned. Not me so much, but them. What with all of this “construction project” (he does “air quotes”) and with your little…well… “zoo.” Frankly, some of the neighbors – not me, mind you – but some of the neighbors, well…they think you might have…well…gone off the deep end a little. Not me, like I say! I just think you might be experiencing some … well … stress, you know? Do you think that might be a possibility? (Noah just looks deeply into his eyes.) Or not.
I mean you have to admit, it is kind of … unusual. I mean building a boat this size right in your backyard. What do you expect to be doing with a boat this big? And, how do you plan to get it to the water? Have you thought about that? Getting it to the water? That’s quite a distance. And yet you work on the thing day and night. Believe me, I know. I’ve heard you out there hammering and sawing at all hours. Dinner time. Bed time. Any time. My entire backyard is full of sawdust. This is what has people concerned for you, Noah.
And what happened to that beautiful stand of cypress trees? I realize they were on your property. But if I’m not mistaken, a lawyer acquaintance of mine once told me that it might be against the law to cut down that many cypress trees at one time, even if they are on your property.
And, let’s face it, Noah: The animals are a problem. Look, the Neighborhood Association lets you have a dog, or a cat. Or, even that nice old lady down the street has a ferret. That’s OK. We’re open-minded. Even a ferret or two is OK. But this! This! You have farm animals, and wild animals, and every other kind of animals roaming all over the neighborhood! Two of each kind! Seven of some of them! I mean, have you ever gotten up in the morning and seen a zebra in your front yard eating your geraniums? I have rhinoceros tracks in my lawn this deep! And you should have seen the “surprise” I stepped in this morning when I went out to get the paper. You know, those hippos eat a lot!
Don’t you have anything to say for yourself? (Noah says nothing.) OK. I was sent here to reason with you, but apparently that’s impossible. But, you listen to me, Noah, son of Lamech. You’re destroying this neighborhood, and we’re not going to stand for it! This neighborhood has covenants, rules, and you’re expected to keep them. (Noah just looks heavenward.) Oh, I see. You just listen to your God. I get it. You just keep His rules. Yeah, I’ve heard about you and your God. Well, we’ll just see how well your God protects you when I drag you before the neighborhood Rules Committee. Don’t worry, you haven’t seen the last of me. (Noah just keeps working while the Neighbor storms off.)
Ham: Dad, have you seen the female giraffe? She was right there, eating the neighbor’s roof. And, I swear I just took my eyes off her for one second. And she was gone! Just like that! Oh, wait, there she is. Never mind. (Ham runs off).
Surfer Dude. (He has long hair and is carrying a Genesis version of a surfboard.) That is some awesome boat, man. I was on my way to the beach when I see this humongous thing that looks like a huge house, man. And I go, ‘Man, I gotta go see the dude who’s building this huge house, man. And I get closer, and I go, ‘Whoa, that’s not a house, man, that’s a boat! And I’m all like ‘Cowabunga,’ I gotta go check this out!
I mean that is one big, gnarly boat. Do you know how big that thing is? Whoa, what am I saying. Of course you do. You like built it. Duh! What is that, like about 300 cubits long? And about, what, 50 cubits wide? I’m guessing about 30 cubits high? Am I close? (Noah just stares at him, astonished.). Oh, yeah, I know. It’s a gift. I’m not real smart in a lot of ways, but I’m pretty good at sizing things up.
Man, what you can do with a boat that big! I mean, you’ll be out there on the lake. And all the other people will like all be in their dinky little rowboats, man, and then here comes you come in this mongo like…thing. And they’ll all be like ‘Whoa, Dude.’ And you’ll be all like ‘Later, dudes and dudettes.’
I bet that thing can make some righteous waves, man. I want you to let me know when you go out in that thing. I haven’t been able to find any waves yet. I want to try this thing out (He holds up his surfboard.).
Shem: Hey, Pop. I forget. How long is a cubit? (As Noah raises his hand to begin answering. When Shem sees the raised arm, he remembers.) Oh, yeah, elbow to fingertip. Got it. (runs off)
Noah’s Wife. Noah. Aren’t you going to have any lunch, darling? I’ve made a lovely sandwich for you. It would be a shame to see it go to waste. Not hungry? (To Surfer Dude) Young man. Are you hungry? I have a lovely sandwich that’s just going begging.
Surfer Dude. Oh, no thank you, ma’am. I had a humongous lunch. I’m totally stuffed. If I ate any more, I’d, like, totally hurl, ma’am. But, thank you, anyway. That’s very kind of you.
Noah’s Wife. Noah, really. You need to take a break. You’ve been working all night and all morning without stopping. I’m concerned. I know you don’t like to hear this, but you’re not a young man anymore. You’ll be 600 in a few days.
I wish you’d say something. We don’t talk anymore. I mean, literally. We don’t talk. Or, at least you don’t talk. I talk. You don’t. You just come out here to be with your boat. You know, darling, if you wanted a hobby, you could have taken up woodworking. I could support that. Or, even a boat, I wouldn’t have minded that. I mean, a boat of a reasonable size. But a boat that’s 300 cubits long! And, for heaven’s sake, what is a cubit, anyway?
Shem. (Interjecting). Mom. It’s from here (points to elbow) to here (points to fingertip).
Noah’s Wife. Thank you, Shemmy. You’re so smart. (turning back to Noah) I mean, people are talking, Noah. I go to the market and I hear other women whisper: ‘There goes Noah’s wife, poor dear. You know, her husband is the one with the kakamaymie boat and all the mishugganah animals.’ I’m hearing this. I’m not exaggerating. I hear them saying ‘You’d expect a man who is nearly 600 years old to act with a little more sense.’
Japheth. Father, promise you won’t get upset, but I think I’ve lost your best hammer. No, that’s not right. I’ve misplaced it. I remember laying it down when I was putting up the roof. And then it wasn’t there anymore. You know, I bet one of the monkeys took it. That’s it! I’ll go look among the monkeys. Don’t worry, Father, I’ll get it back. You’ll be proud of me!
Insurance Salesman. Excuse me, sir? I represent the Mesopotamian Insurance Company, one of the oldest and most respected firms in the business. We offer just the finest insurance products to people like yourself. And by ‘people like yourself,’ I mean smart people who care enough about their family to make sure they’re always protected.
Now, Noah… You don’t mind if I call you Noah, do you? Noah, for a limited time only, our company is prepared to offer you something that we at Mesopotamian are all very excited about. It’s a policy of flood insurance. That’s right, flood insurance. Now, I know what you’re thinking: What’s a flood? Well, my friend, a flood is when water covers the ground. And that water may rise until it covers your entire house. Well, what are you going to do when that happens? Just pray for a miracle? Well, sir, if you have our insurance policy, your entire family is taken care of, and you don’t have to waste your time worrying about praying. All this protection can be yours for a very small premium. I’ll tell you Noah, all of your neighbors are really keen on this policy. They’re buying them up like they’re going out of style. So, what d’ya say? Can I sign you up?
Neighbor. (He is pulling a wagon with a HUGE book in it.) Well, I’m back, just like I said I would be. And, just in case you didn’t believe me about the neighborhood rules, I brought the rulebook with me. (He begins to read.)
OK, here we go.
“There will be no construction activity after 9:00 PM.”
“All construction projects must be approved by the review committee before work begins.”
“No animals, other than normal household pets, will be allowed in the neighborhood.”
(From this point on, the Neighbor, Surfer Dude, Wife, and Insurance Salesman begin talking at once (scripted on the following pages, although improvisation is encouraged). They build to a loud crescendo until…)
CRASH OF THUNDER
NEIGHBOR’s FINAL SPEECH:
“No playing of musical instruments after 9:00 PM, as it may disturb your neighbors.”
“No cooking of fattening foods at any time, as some neighbors may be on diets.”
“No singing after 9:00 PM, as it may make your neighbors feel self-conscious.”
“No public displays of affection, as it may embarrass your neighbors.”
“No discliplining of children, as it may damage their self-esteem.”
“No painting of anything with the color red.”
“No praying in public, as it may make neighbors feel that their gods are unworthy.”
“No use of the phrase ‘under God’ in public proclamations.”
SURFER DUDE’s FINAL SPEECH:
Man, you have some very strange neighbors. How do you put up with it? Nothin’ but rules, man! Rules on top of rules! That is so totally bogus, man! They should realize that that’s no way to live. Man, it’s like my parents. When I was growing up, it was always like “Clean your room,” and “Take out the trash,” and “Cut the yard.” As soon as I was old enough, I was, like, outta there! And now look at me, I’m a free man! I belong to nobody but me. Just me and my waves … as soon as I can find some. It’s like they say, all work and no play … and however the rest of that saying goes.
NOAH’S WIFE’S FINAL SPEECH:
Noah, come in dear. Just for a few moments. You can lie down and rest your eyes. Just for a few minutes. I’ll put a cold cloth on your forehead, just the way you like. Would you like that, darling? Noah, who are these men, and what do they want? Gentlemen! Gentlemen! Can I get you something to drink? A nice, cold beverage? How about lunch? Have you had lunch? A nice sandwich?
INSURANCE SALESMAN’S FINAL SPEECH:
This is a limited-time, introductory offer. We won’t be able to continue offering this kind of protection at such a low cost. The time to act is now, Noah. Your signature on this policy buys you peace of mind. You’ll be able to sleep nights knowing that you have purchased for your family the best protection money can buy. So, what’ll it be, Noah? Just ask your neighbors. They’ve already signed up.
(After the thunder, everyone is silent for long moment.)
Noah. (Looks up. He rises quietly and calmly and says…) It’s time.
Neighbor: I think I left my window open (He hurries off.)
Surfer Dude. I’m outta here. (He exits.)
Insurance Salesman: Well, by gosh, I’m sorry, Noah. Our offer has now officially expired. Sorry we couldn’t do business (He leaves in a hurry.)
(Noah motions for his wife and sons to enter the ark. He is the last one to board. Before he exits, he goes to pick up the board he has been painting. He holds it up so that audience can see it. It shows a rainbow and says “In God We Trust.")
© Copyright Mark Scanlan, all rights reserved. The script may not be reproduced, translated or copied in any medium, including books, CDs and on the Internet, without written permission of the author.