Summary: This was a script that my drama class wrote for a Fall festival on October 31. We wanted a funny, yet biblical, look at the day. We thought we could accomplish that by pointing people back to what else happened on that day (ie, October 31).
Style: Light-hearted. Duration: 15min
Actors: 9M, 1F
POPE: Vain, pompous, dramatic! Exaggerates everything.
WATSON: Is excitable, bumbling and clueless, every once in a while, he gets it right.
HOLMES: Brooding, melodramatic, and sarcastic. Arrogant, but subtle.
OLD WOMAN: Wearing a festive sweater. Pathetic, and needs a giant handkerchief.
TETZEL: Billy Mays/Sham-wow guy hybrid. : )
MAFIA MEN: Serious. Very serious.
JACK SPARROW: Captain Jack Sparrow. The end.
TEACHER: The only legitimately serious character. Not melodramatic, serious and truly worried about Luther.
LUTHER: Slightly sarcastic, but bold. He needs to be believable, and relatable.
(Spotlight on Watson, sitting DSR)
WATSON: (sitting down to write case file) Hmmm, Case #413-The Ninety-five Theses. The night was October 31, 1517. Little did Holmes and I realize how much this particular case would change our lives. . .
(Spotlight on Watson fades as stage lights come up dimly)
(Hooded figure nails Ninety-five Theses to church door in Wittenberg.
Pope opens door. He’s in obvious preparation for bed with a mud mask, bathrobe, and toothbrush.)
POPE: Hello? Hello? Is there anyone out here? Hmm, I thought I heard someone knocking. (Pulls paper off door) What’s this?? (Quickly reads through and throws a hissy fit) Help! Help! A terrible crime has been committed!
WATSON: (Excitedly running onstage) A crime? A crime? A crime?
HOLMES: Calm yourself, Watson. (To Pope) Excuse me sir. . . who are you?
POPE: Who am I? Don’t you know who am? I’m the Pope!
HOLMES: If you’re the Pope then I’m the Easter Bunny.
POPE: Are you daft, man? I’m the Pope!
HOLMES: You claim . . .
POPE: I am the Pope! (Waving brushes)
HOLMES: You claim…
POPE: I am the Pope!
HOLMES: Could you please describe the nature of the crime that has been committed against you?
HOLMES: Could you please elaborate on the particulars of the heinous atrocity that has been perpetrated against your person?
HOLMES: I am trying to investigate . . .
WATSON: Just tell him what happened.
POPE: Well, I was getting ready for my beauty rest, I heard this pounding upon the door, and saw a masked man with a knife, and he tried to break in! But I brandished my papal toothbrush and he ran away. He left behind this list of death threats against my person.
(Watson reads through theses)
WATSON: This doesn’t look like threats to me . . .it looks like a list of things this man doesn’t like about the Roman Catholic Church.
HOLMES: Tsk, tsk, dear Watson. That is because you know nothing about the interpretation of criminal evidence. (Reads paper) Why this looks . . .like a list of things this man doesn’t like about the Roman Catholic Church.
POPE: WHAT? Not like the Roman Catholic Church? This is madness! What is there not to like? We build magnificent buildings, we sell you heaven, not to mention at a discount, we also have the bones of three Apostle Peters!
WATSON: I thought there was only one Apostle Peter?
POPE: (Whisper) We’re covering our bases. . . However, arguing about the apostles will not solve this crime. I demand that you find the villain responsible!
WATSON: Are you sure there is really a crime here?
HOLMES: If a citizen complains of a treachery it is our duty to investigate. Come along Watson; we have work to do.
WATSON: Can we use our Handy Dandy Notebook??
HOLMES: Yes Watson, let’s go get our Handy Dandy Notebook!!
Both break into Handy Dandy Notebook song!
(Watson sees a banana peel)
WATSON: What is that? A clue?
HOLMES: (picking It up) It looks like . . .like . . .
WATSON: A banana peel?
HOLMES: Well, yes, Watson. . but did you notice the spots on this peel? It appears as though it was bought from the –er . .. cheaper variety. The person who ate this banana obviously could not afford much.
WATSON: Sherlock! Over there! What is . . . that?
HOLMES: (Tosses the peel at Watson and picks up the apple) This apple is disgusting. It’s rotting before our eyes.
WATSON: Are you implying it came from the same place as this? (Holding up banana peel)
HOMES: You are correct, Watson.
WATSON: What are those?
HOLMES: (Throws apple at Watson. Opens bag and eats a worm) Why these gummy worms are sour!
WATSON: Mr. Holmes, these are sour gummy worms.
HOLMES: Why yes, I believe you’re right. Very well, then.
(They see and old lady with hole in shopping bag)
WATSON: Excuse me, madam. Do these belong to you?
HOLMES: We wouldn’t be so inclined to arrest you for the crime of littering if you’d spare a moment to let us ask you a few questions.
OLD WOMAN: (Snatches them back) What are you doing with those! Those are mine! See, here’s my name inscribed on the back.
HOLMES: May we ask you some questions?
OLD WOMAN: I don’t see why not.
WATSON: Where were you on June 22nd, 1517?
HOLMES: (Elbow Watson, in a whisper) It’s October 31st.
WATSON: (Continuing on) October 31, 1517!
OLD WOMAN: (Sniffling) I was at the market, but all I could afford is this rotting fruit and ratty old bag with a hole in it. (Holding up bag)
WATSON: (Probing, accusingly) Why couldn’t you buy better fruit?
OLD WOMAN: Well, poor Henry died last year and I’m trying to lessen his years in purgatory by buying indulgences. I just bought five indulgences from the church and it cleaned out my checking account.
HOLMES: Hmm, indulgences. Where have I heard that word before?
WATSON: (Pulling papers out of pocket) Wait, it was on the list that the villain left behind! Let’s see- Flour, Sugar, Paprika, Oatmeal-- oh, that’s the wrong list. (Finally, pulling the correct paper out) Aha! Here it is! “Hence those who preach indulgences are in error when they say that a man is absolved and saved from every penalty by the Pope's indulgences.” What does it mean, sir?
HOLMES: Excuse me, madam, but we need to find someone to explain these “indulgences” to us.
OLD WOMAN: Maybe I can—
HOLMES: (Interrupting) Watson! Let’s be off!
WATSON: But where?
OLD WOMAN: Ahem, maybe I can help. I bought my indulgences from a man named Johann Tetzel. Perhaps he could explain them to you.
HOLMES: Just what I was going to suggest. As I said before, Watson! Let’s be off!
(Holmes and Watson hear Tetzel talking loudly in the distance. )
TETZEL: (filming infomercial for Indulgences) INDULGENCES! Buy your INDULGENCES here! If you buy it NOW you’ll receive the limited time offer and get TWO indulgences for the price of ONE! That’s a 40 dollar value yours FREE! Do you have a loved one stuck in purgatory? Imagine the FIREY TORMENT! You can’t put a price on that! Your loved one, HANGING ON THE EDGE of the pits of HELL, it’s up to you to pull them back and send them on their way to Heaven! It your choice to pluck them back from the edge with your INDULGENCE! Buy it now! Don’t hesitate, his offer only valid for the next FIFTEEN MINUTES!
(Holmes and Watson walk over to where Tetzel is filming his infomercial.)
(Jack Sparrow wanders in.)
JACK: Sir, excuse me sir…I need to buy another indulgence.
TETZEL: Mr. Sparrow, you’re back so soon! Taking advantage of our limited time offer?
JACK: That’s CAPTAIN Jack Sparrow to you! And yes, yes I am.
TETZEL: Oh, is this one for your….grandmother?”
JACK: No, no, no… this one’s for me.
WATSON: Excuse me! Excuse me sir!
(Watson hurries over to Jack and Tetzel.)
WATSON: If you don’t mind, may I ask WHY you’re buying an indulgence?
JACK: Well, you see… what had happened was… there was this ship, and there was this captain... and said ship was bestowed upon said captain for the purpose of acquiring some gold for er… said captain.
TETZEL: Get to the point Jack!
JACK: That’s CAPTAIN Sparrow! Anyway, as I was saying, said ship contained said captain and… well..long story short, I sold my soul to Davy Jones.
OFF STAGE VOICE: Sparrow you can’t hide from me!
JACK: Make that an express order?
TETZEL: Alright, here you go. Don’t forget to tell all of your friends!
HOLMES: You say your indulgences release one from purgatory. Can you explain to me what this purgatory is?
TETZEL: (gasp) Might you be an infidel that you ask such a question? Everyone knows that the Bible teaches us that purgatory is a place of torment that all people are sent if they are not good enough.
HOLMES: I think I remember reading something about this in the list of the 95 things the man doesn’t like about the church.
TETZEL: Oh you mean that list of death threats to the Pope and the church! Yes, the Pope told me about that.
HOLMES: Ahem, as I was saying, number 27 on this list says, ahem, lets see AHA! There is no divine authority for preaching that the soul flies out of the purgatory immediately the money clinks in the bottom of the chest.
WATSON: And I’ve never read anything about purgatory in my daily Bible studies.
TETZEL: I always suspected you were an infidel! Don’t you realize laymen like you can’t understand the Bible. That’s why the Pope made reading the Bible illegal!
HOLMES: The Pope made the Bible illegal?
TETZEL: You shall be arrested!
HOLMES: Let’s go Watson!
(Holmes and Watson begin to run off stage)
WATSON: I’m starting think this villain isn’t such a bad guy!
(A comical chase scene ensues among the audience as 4 guards/Mobsters armed with squirt guns leap from behind Tetzel’s indulgence stand)
(Guards chase Holmes and Watson around audience, up and down isles, etc.)
(Holmes and Watson use audience members to distract guards, and find a prospective “suspect” from audience. Watson grabs audience member, and pulls them on stage, while someone pulls chair on stage for suspect. When suspect sits down, Watson proceeds to “interrogate” suspect using a cell phone light.)
HOLMES: Watson…WHAT are you doing??
WATSON: The bright light will hurt his eyes and make him answer more truthfully!
HOLMES: Where did you get such a preposterous idea!
WATSON: I…Yes sir. (puts away cell phone)
HOLMES: What is your name Sir/Ma’am?
HOLMES: Did you or did you not threaten the Pope with a knife?!
WATSON: DID YOU? DID YOU?
HOLMES: Were you or were you not lurking around in the dark outside the Pope’s residence?
WATSON: WERE YOU? WERE YOU?
HOLMES: Watson! Do you mind??
(waits for audience member to respond)
HOLMES: Do you or do you not…
WATSON: BRUSH YOUR TEETH BEFORE BED?!?!
HOLMES: Watson! What does that have to do with this investigation?
WATSON: Nothing…but good hygiene is important!
HOLMES: This man is obviously of no help to us. He can go, Watson.
WATSON: Are you sure? He has the look of a criminal to me.
HOLMES: Watson, didn’t you fail your PAOP 101?
WATSON: Which one was that?
HOLMES: Putting Away of Perpetrators Class.
WATSON: (Sheepishly) Oh, . . .
HOLMES: (To suspect) You may go. Let’s see. What information have we gathered so far? 1. Someone nailed this list to the church door. 2. Old woman spent all of her money on indulgences. 3. Johann Tetzel is hawking these indulgences to the townspeople. 4. Indulgences release one from purgatory. 5. Purgatory is an in-between heaven and hell. 6. Both indulgences and purgatory are mentioned in this list. 7. Neither indulgences nor purgatory are found in the Bible. What’ve we got now, Watson?
WATSON: Absolutely nothing, sir.
HOLMES: It occurs to me that the man responsible for writing this—oh now, we need to give this list a name—let’s call it the “Ninety-Five Theses”
WATSON: Oh, I like that.
HOLMES: It occurs to me that whoever wrote this Ninety-Five Theses must have been educated. He also apparently has knowledge of the Bible.
WATSON: But reading the Bible is illegal.
HOLMES: Except for monks. Which leads me to believe that the man that wrote this must be a monk.
WATSON: How does that help us?
HOLMES: We should head to the local monk school and see if any of the teachers remember who may have written this.
WATSON: Isn’t it called a monastery?
HOLMES: (Just looks at Watson) To the monk school!
(Holmes and Watson walk to the monk school. The teacher has just finished his last class)
TEACHER: Can I help you, sirs?
HOLMES: We were hoping to ask you a few questions about one of your students.
TEACHER: I just finished my last class for the day.
HOLMES: Please read through this Ninety Five Theses. We believe it may have been written by one of your students.
TEACHER: (reads through, suspiciously) Why are you trying to find out?
WATSON: The Pope has sent us on this secret mission.
HOLMES: That’s of no bother to you.
TEACHER: I know who wrote this, but I can’t tell you. Especially if you’re working for the Pope.
HOLMES: This man has been accused of attempted robbery against the Pope. He doesn’t deserve your protection.
WATSON: However, we’re starting to realize the Pope may not be telling us the whole truth.
TEACHER: Nothing that man says is truth! Luther was just the only one that was bold enough to publicly--
HOLMES: Aha! So it was Luther! Luther what? Luther Smith? Luther Johnson? Luther Herdenbrinkerberg?
TEACHER: You can’t get anything more out of me!
WATSON: Just as a point of interest, what would happen if we turned this Luther fellow over to the Pope.
TEACHER: He’d be burned at the stake.
WATSON: Just for an attempted robbery? That’s harsh.
TEACHER: Is that what the Pope told you? He only said that so you would take on this case; the Pope is the real thief.
(Sherlock and Watson lean in, while Watson pulls out notebook)
HOLMES: What do you mean by that?
TEACHER: The Pope and Tetzel have been selling those indulgences to the townspeople, claiming that they are “Biblical”, but they’re nothing more than rubbish! Anyone who has read the Bible themselves knows that belief in Jesus Christ is the ONLY way to Heaven.
HOLMES: So this man Luther is speaking the truth?
TEACHER: But need I remind you that if the Pope were to find out he is the author of this list…there would be very grave consequences.
WATSON: We have to find him! We MUST warn him that the Pope is looking for him! We can’t let them get away with this!
HOLMES: You’re right! We must find Mr. Herdenbrinckerburger!
HOLMES: You know...Mr. Hum (mutters the rest under his breath).
TEACHER: You mean…Martin Luther?
WATSON AND HOLMES: YES! That guy!
WATSON: Thanks for your help sir!
TEACHER: Any time…but make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into!
HOLMES: Come along Watson…we have work to do!
(Watson and Holmes exit the school, and see the Pope walking across the stage dragging a man along with him.)
POPE: Well look who I have here. Seems to me Mr…”Easter Bunny”, I can do your job better than you can!
HOLMES: Is that who I think it is??
WATSON: MR. HERDENBRINKERBURGER?
POPE: Uh..no..this is MARTIN LUTHER!
WATSON: That’s…what I meant…
HOLMES: Well Mr. Pope…how did you manage that?
LUTHER: Wait a second. You didn’t find me. I turned myself in!
POPE: NOT IMPORTANT!
WATSON: Why did you turn yourself in, Mr. Hurdenbrinkerburgerschlein?
HOLMES: That’s NOT his name!
LUTHER: Oh, no worries, I get that a lot.
(everyone including Pope stares awkwardly as Luther)
LUTHER: I was never trying to hide, you two are just excruciatingly bad detectives. In fact… I was sitting… on the steps… of the Pope’s home. All day.
HOLMES: Aren’t you afraid of what the Pope is going to do to you now?
WATSON: HE MIGHT BURN YOU At THE STAKE! Dun dun dun duunnn
POPE: Oh, good idea! I hadn’t even thought of that! I was thinking about locking him away in CHINESE HANDCUFFS for the rest of his life!
WATSON: (horrified squeal) NOT THE HANDCUFFS!
POPE: No, no, I like the stake idea MUCH better.
WATSON: PHEW! That would have ended badly.
(Everyone awkwardly stares at Watson.)
LUTHER: (Points to Watson) You…don’t speak.
HOLMES: Why didn’t you try to hide?
LUTHER: For the same reason I posted that list on the door of the church…
WATSON: SO IT WAS YOU! (points to Luther)
LUTHER: I thought I told you not to speak. Anyway… I did it because I am not ashamed to proclaim the gospel of Christ! The Pope is deceiving these people, and someone must stand up for the Word of God. I trust that God will take care of me.
POPE: Alright boys…start building the fire!
HOLMES: Excuse me… “Pope”…isn’t a man supposed to have a trial before he is condemned? Is he not innocent until proven guilty?
POPE: FINE! Have it your way! Off to Worms! Then to the stake!
WATSON: STEAK? I LOVE STEAK! HOLMES THERE’S STEAK!
(Holmes pulls out duct tape and puts it over Watson’s mouth)
HOLMES: Bu… but you can’t take him! He speaks the truth!
POPE: Should I prepare THREE stakes?
(Watson yells muffled under tape and raises his hand)
HOLMES: No, now is not a good time for us.
LUTHER: Come help me spread the truth!
HOLMES: I think you can handle it. Let’s go, Watson!”
(Watson continues to yell)
(Scene switches back to Watson at desk DSR. Stage lights fade as spotlight on Watson brightens)
WATSON: How often Holmes and I wish we had joined Luther that night. He was right. God did protect him. If fact, Luther never was burned at the stake by the church for his supposed heresy. God used Luther’s courage and boldness to not only proclaim the truth of the Gospel in Germany, but eventually, that message would be spread to the whole world. If only we had had enough courage that night . . .
© Copyright Courtney Neuber, Lakin Lanier, Carlee Burnette, Reagan Dobbs, Amber Johnston, and Katie Haley, 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 authors.