Hey Joe!

A musical by Robin & Delwyn McKenzie


A musical relating the story of Jonah and his voyage to Ninevah. Suitable for performance by schools.

Note: This document contains only the first 3 scenes of the script. The full script (+ music) may be purchased by contacting the authors, whose email address is at the foot of this document. A royalty is required for performance.

Cast (in order of appearance):

Thug 1
Thug 2
Other Ninevites (maybe 4)

1st Mate

Worms (3)


Scene 1: Nineveh

[With Nineveh song instrumental background, King and Secretary looking out over street scene. Passers-by engage in shopping, walking, etc. Among them are some engaged in pocket-picking, mugging, etc. King and Sec. walk downstage as the music fades]

King: [contented sigh] Ah, Nineveh! What a beautiful city, bustling with commerce, bursting with energy, and with no small number of diversions to boost the burgeoning tourist trade. Did we send out those travel scrolls I mentioned, Secretary?

Sec: Not yet, Your Majesty. There were ...er... one or two delays. The ...er.... Ninigate" corruption scandal had to be hushed up, if you remember. Then the ...er... delicate matters you told me never to mention again happened. And of course the crime wave is increasing all the time. So you have not yet actually given the...er... go ahead to have them written... as it were.

 King: I haven't?

 Sec: No, Sir.

 King: Well, we can't have that, can we? The tourist season is nearly upon us! Those scrolls need to be in every travel agency from Babylon to Alexandria by yesterday. I'll have to write something myself. Have you a tablet?

 Sec: Why? Do you have a headache, Majesty?

 King: No, but you will when I hit you with it! The tablet in your hand, imbecile. I hired you to take dictation! Scratch the following travel brochure draft:

 Come to Sunny Nineveh, ...erm... Fun Capital of the Middle East. ...erm... Spend a fortune in one of our many casinos.

 Sec: How about: "Try your luck in one of our many casinos," Majesty?

 King: Yes, yes, that is a little less obvious. Next line ...erm... Eat yourself sick in one of our gluttonous restaurants.

 Sec: How about: "Dine in the splendor of one of our gourmet restaurants," Majesty?

 King: Yes, yes, I suppose that is a little better. Next line ...erm... Check out the downtown night life ...during the day, lest you get mugged. ...erm... ...erm... I'm not really very good at this, am I? Do you have any suggestions, Secretary, of how we could spice this up a little. Make this fantastically decadent city a little more attractive for tourists?

 Sec: How about a tourist brochure put to music? Perhaps something like this...

Song: Nineveh

[at end of song a clandestine meeting is being held in one corner of the stage]

Officer: [speaking in hushed tones, not looking at Crook] How did it go then?

 Crook: [speaking in hushed tones, not looking at Officer] Sweet as a date. You did a great job of keeping everyone looking the wrong way, officer. I think we'll keep you on.

 Officer: You'd better. So how much did you make this time around?

 Crook: Not as much as we hoped for, but enough to keep us in the lifestyle we've come to enjoy.

 Officer: Where's my cut?

 Crook: Shhh, not so loud! One of your friends might hear you. I've heard word there's one or two of you cops who aren't bent yet. Keep your voice down. Here you go - a copper for the copper. [secretly hands Officer a coin]

 Officer: Okay. But it better be more next time. I had to bribe so many of them last night I only just broke even.

[exit in opposite directions]

[in another corner of the stage a market scene]

Merchant: Idols ... Idols ... special this week on Ishtar. Buy an Ishtar, get a Nabu free. Incense ... incense ... get your incense here. Special price today: only half a drachma an omer.

 Shopper: Half a drachma? You crook! That's twice the price you were selling it for last week!

 Merchant: That's inflation for you. And anyway, what does the price matter? How can you put a price on devotion? If you want to offer incense to the deities, it has to cost you something or it's no sacrifice. The more you pay the bigger the sacrifice. Am I right?

 Shopper: You're a thief and a crook! You're a scoundrel and a shyster! But ... you're the only incense seller in town at the moment, so I guess I have no choice. And we all have our religious duties. [hands over a coin]. I certainly can't afford to anger the gods again this month. Not a third time.

 Merchant: You won't be sorry lady. It's good stuff. The gods will smile on you. Can I interest you in an idol? Perhaps Anu or Adad. Or Ishtar maybe - she's on special this week.

 Shopper: No thank you. I already try to serve too many as it is. [exits]

Merchant: See you next week then. Incense ... incense ... get your incense here. Libations ... special deal today ...

[in another corner of the stage two thugs talk with a woman]

Woman: I've already told you: I don't have any more children!

Thug 1: I never said you did. But I'm sure you can help us locate another orphan who won't be missed.

 Thug 2: Before the new moon.

 Woman: There aren't so many around any more. And people are beginning to look at me suspiciously. Like they know I'm somehow involved in this ... this kidnapping ring.

 Thug 2: Well you are, lady.

 Woman: I know and I can't get to sleep at night any more.

 Thug 1: Calm down, calm down. You think we hurt the little tykes? Hey, how many times we gotta tell you: after we take delivery we send them to a real nice place.

 Woman: Yeah, well that's just a euphemism. I know they are really destined for the altar.

 Thug 1: You don't approve of child sacrifice? It's what made our nation great.

 Woman: I never said I don't approve of it. I only said that being so involved in "candidate selection" makes me lose some sleep.

 Thug 1: Yeah, well you get a good enough share of the takings. Buy yourself something to help you sleep at night.

 Thug 2: I think you just fishin' for a heavier cut. Well if you don't want the job we can find someone else to help us round up a brat or two.

 Woman: Look, I never said I don't want the job, okay? But it is getting harder to find them. Kids are starting to run when they see me coming.

Thug 1: I tell you what, we'll make it five drachmas for the next one. What do you say?

 Woman: All right. You've got yourself a deal, but this might have to be the last time.

 Thug 2: It won't be the last. And no matter you help or not we'll find another kid for the next sacrifice.

 Thug 1: How else can we really please the gods?

 Woman: I've heard there is a god down south who hates it.

 Thug 2: That's just the Hebrew god. An' he's not here, so why should we care about him?

 Woman: I guess you are right. We must keep serving Ashur and the other deities.

 Thug 1: As for that Hebrew god, how would any of us even know what he is thinking?

 [blackout on stage, light on choir only]

Song: O Wayward Ones

Scene 2 Gath Hepher, outside Joe's place

[As lights come up Joe is sitting down, writing]

Zeb: Hey Joe!

 Joe: Hey Zeb, where you been? Ain't seen you lately.

 Zeb: Here and there. What are you up to?

 Joe: Who me? I'm just working on a sermon.

Zeb: Something comforting I hope. Or are you going to beat us over the head with a long list of do's and don't's?

 Joe: Hey, would I ever do a thing like that?

 Zeb: You always do -- but only because we need to hear it.

 Joe: Yeah, well we're the Lord's people. We need to keep on the straight and narrow.

 Zeb: Going to put in some good illustrations like usual?

 Joe: You'll have to wait and see.

 Zeb: Oh come on, Joe, you normally try out all your good ideas on me first.

 Joe: Well okay, Zeb. I guess I was thinking about using an example of those cursæd Ninevites and all their wickedness.

 Zeb: "Ninevite," sounds like something you spread on toast! Perhaps you'd better refer to them as "those abominable Assyrians," or maybe "those disgusting heathen from Nineveh," or something even more descriptive.

 Joe: Yeah, I like that. It's not just the Ninevites I hate, it's all the Assyrians, every last one of them. They come swooping down into Israel, raiding and looting. Their armies are getting bigger and they're becoming a real threat to our northern borders. I'd love to see God really smite them!

 Zeb: So, you're sermon is going to be about compassion?

 Joe: Yeah - compassion for us law-abiding, God-fearing people of promise, who are nothing like those evil-doers north of the border -- and a prayer for swift annihilation of the Assyrians, especially those in the capital, Nineveh, where I hear they not only organize raids into our fair country, but do countless abominable acts against even their own people! And another thing, they're into idols big time! I tell you, they're gonna reap it.

 Zeb: Sounds good to me. Preach it, brother!

Joe: I will. You got it!

 Zeb: Of course that's only my humble opinion. The Lord may have different ideas. Look, I'll be back in a minute, Joe – gotta see a man about a donkey. [exits]

Song: Hey Joe

Joe: I can't believe it. Nineveh! Of all the places! Ninevites! Of all the people! I know they're wicked. Hey, everyone knows that. I know if they don't repent, they're gonna reap it big time. And I can't wait to see that. But if God wants me to preach to them, they just might repent. And that would be terrible! That would be awful! That would be dreadful! If they repented I bet God would forgive them. He's like that. Then they wouldn't get what's coming to them. And if they didn't get what's coming to them, people would think I'm a false prophet. No one would believe me any more. Better I don't go there in the first place. Then they would get what's coming to them! And I want that. I Want That. I WANT THAT! [enter Zeb]

 Zeb: What do you want, Joe?

 Joe: Oh ... Zeb. Hi, Zeb. I want ... er ... I want ... er ... a vacation! I think I'm going to be going away, like real soon. Like now. [starts to exit]

 Zeb: Hey, wait a minute buddy, what's the hurry? You look like you've got something on your mind. You look like you're going on a mission.

 Joe: No, Zeb, I think I'm going fishin'. [exits. Zeb shrugs and exits the other way.]

 [blackout for scene change]

Song: Gotta find me a boat

Scene 3: Joppa/on board

[As lights come up a ship is being loaded. Several crew members are involved under the captain's supervision]

Captain: Look lively, me hearties, we've got a tide to catch.

 1st Mate: Almost finished, Skipper.

 Ahab: What you got in these sacks, Cap'n? They weigh a ton.

 Captain: Never you mind what's in them. You just keep loading them. And get a move on.

 Ahab: Aye aye, Skip.

 1st Mate: She's going to be a little low in the water, Captain. And Tarshish is a long way.

 Captain: Not to worry, Number One. A little less free board, a little more profit. And anyway, at this time of year we shouldn't have any storms to contend with.

1st Mate: That's true, Sir. And we don't have any passengers adding to the load. [enter Joe]

 Joe: Ahoy there!

 Captain: Yo, what do you want?

 Joe: When are you sailing?

 Captain: Next tide.

 Joe: Any room for one more passenger?

 1st Mate: Well, we're pretty loaded.

 Joe: I'll pay double the usual fare.

 Captain: In that case, welcome aboard, sailor. [Joe ascends gangplank and trips] Though you sure don't look like one.

1st Mate: You know where we're heading?

 Joe: No idea.

 1st Mate: And you are willing to pay double to get there?

 Joe: As long as it's far away from here, it'll suit me just fine.

 Captain: It's far away all right. Ever been to Tarshish before?

 Joe: Never even heard of it. Where is it?

 Captain: Far side of the Great Sea.

 Joe: Nowhere near Assyria, then.

 Captain: About as far away as it's possible to go without falling off the table. Ha ha ha.

 Joe: Sounds good.

 Ahab: All cargo loaded, Cap'n.

 Captain: Very timely me lad. Almost high tide. Number One, prepare to cast off.

 1st Mate: Aye Aye, Sir. CAST OFF FORE AND AFT!

 Bildad: Casting off afore.

 Caleb: Casting off aft.

 Joe: Captain, is there somewhere I can lay my head. I'm dog-tired.

 Captain: Too much Dramamine, hey? Ha ha ha. Certainly, Mister erm?

 Joe: Nah, Joe Nah.

 Captain: Number One, show Mr. Nah below.

 1st Mate: Aye aye, Skipper.

 Joe: Call me Joe, Captain. And thanks, you've no idea how free I feel now we are under sail, where nothing can go wrong. [exits with 1st Mate]

 Captain: Pipes, play us a tune. [a sailor picks up a fife and plays]

Song: A Sailor's Life

[Storm music begins to play. (Cloth) Waves undulate across front of stage.]

Caleb: The wind's getting up, Skipper.

Captain: Aye aye. Better reef the jib.

 1st Mate: REEF THE JIB!

 Bildad, Doeg: Aye aye, sir.

 Caleb: The wind is reaching gale force, Cap'n.

 Captain: So it is. Better lower the mainsail.


 Ahab, Caleb: Aye aye, sir.

 Caleb: The wind is reach ... .[everyone falls over]

 Captain: Whoa that was a big one. Reef the topsails!


 Ahab, Caleb: There aren't any topsails, sir.

 Bildad: It's getting rougher, Skipper.

Captain: We'll need to jettison some cargo. Number One, see to it. I'm going below.


 Bildad, Doeg: Aye aye, sir. [throw sacks offstage]


 Ahab, Caleb: Aye aye, sir. [throw sacks offstage]

 Bildad: It's still getting rougher, Sir.

 1st Mate: I can see that.

 Doeg: So what should we do now, Sir.

 1st Mate: Don't ask me. Better call the Captain.

 Doeg: Aye aye, sir. [calls down below.]

[Captain enters with Joe]

 Captain: I can't understand how anyone could sleep at a time like this, Joe. This is the worst storm I have ever encountered in thirty years of sailing.

 Joe: I was tired, man. [yawns] Too tired to think. But now I'm awake what's all the fuss about? Hey, the mountains are moving!

 Ahab: Those are waves, landlubber.

 Captain: Yes. I'd suggest you keep a firm grip on something, Joe.

 1st Mate: All precautions actioned, Skipper. What now?

 Captain: We can only pray. Call on your gods, men, whoever they may be that you each worship. Perhaps one of them has power over this storm.

 [All sailors fall on knees, or prostrate themselves, wailing and moaning]

 Caleb: You're not gonna believe this -- it's still getting rougher, Sir.

 Doeg: "A sailor's life has its ups and downs."

 1st Mate: Someone must have done something incredibly bad to anger the gods so much. But who could it be?

 Captain: I think you're right, Number One. And there's only one way to find out. Where are the lots?

 Caleb: Right here, Skipper.

 Captain: Okay. Everyone take one from the bag.

 [They each draw a lot]

 Did everyone get a lot.

 Doeg: No I only got one.

 Captain: Okay, call out what you got.

 Sailors A,B,C,D, 1st M, Capt: Mermaid ... mermaid ... mermaid ... . mermaid ... mermaid ... . mermaid ... .

 Joe: Sea serpent. [All gasp]

 Ahab: Who are you?

 1st Mate: Where are you from?

 Bildad: Who are your people?

 1st Mate: What line of work are you in?

 Captain: What gods do you serve? And what have you done to anger them so?

 Joe: I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord God of heaven, who made the sea and the land. Remember I told you I was running away? Well, the Lord God is the one I am running away from.

 1st Mate: Do you realise what you have done to us all?

 Captain: Number One, that attitude isn't going to help any of us! Joe, you have admitted responsibility. Now tell us what the right course of action is. What do we need to do to stop this storm?

 Joe: While I remain on board, the ship is doomed. You'll have to throw me over the side to save yourselves.

 Captain: We are not murderers, Joe!

 Joe: Nevertheless, that is what you'll have to do.

 Captain: Number One, have the men row their hardest – maybe we can make it back to shore.

1st Mate: Aye aye, Sir. MAN THE OARS! [sailors take up rowing positions] H E A V E... H E A V E ...
H E A V E ... H E A V E

Caleb: I know this is absolutely impossible, but it's still getting rougher, Sir.

Doeg: A miracle!

Captain: A miracle is what we need now. I guess we have no choice. Joe! You'd better come here. [lays a hand on Joe's shoulder and prays] O Lord God of the Hebrews, who made the sea and the land, please don't let us drown for taking this man's life. Don't hold us guilty for killing an innocent man. All of this happened because you wanted it to. We commit ourselves to your care and this man, Joe, to your will. [Captain and 1st mate throw Joe overboard]

[Storm music ceases, instant change to next track. Waves flatten out. Sailors all fall to their knees and sing.]

Song: Who are You


© Copyright Robin and Delwyn McKenzie, all rights reserved.
This document contains only the first 3 scenes of the script. The full script (+ music) may be purchased by contacting the authors at the address following. A royalty is required for performance. Details can be obtained, or a copy of the full script and music may be purchased, by contacting the authors at: accentmusicschool@gmail.com