By Neil Dodgson
Death is final for all except the Christian.
This play has four speaking parts:
Death - major speaking part
Flunky 1 - Death's 'assistant', major speaking part
Christian - medium-sized speaking part
Businessman - minor speaking part (one line)
It also has four important non-speaking parts:
Flunky 2 - Another flunky to Death
Housewife - A middle-aged housewife
Dropout - An eighteen year old dropout/gang member
Girl - About seventeen years old
And then there are parts for as many other people as you like - preferably at least three more to make up the 'crowd'.
A crowd of people are milling around on stage (all except Death and the two Flunkies). They talk in whispers. The named characters above should be near the front.
These people are all dead and are therefore without hope. The only characters from the crowd who should display any form of life are the Businessman - whose hope is quickly squashed by Death - and the Christian. Every other member of the crowd must be fairly lifeless - especially in the second part of the drama.
Enter Death a la Darth Vader (i.e. impressively) flanked by the two Flunkies. Flunky 1 carries a clip-board. Death mounts a podium/chair/low table (anything to give him a bit extra height). A deathly silence falls over the crowd who all turn to look at Death.
Death: I am Death. I have taken all of your lives. You are all dead.
[ Welcome to Eternity. ]
(A person in the crowd reacts to this with horror, shock etc.)
Death: (to person) Don't look so surprised. It had to happen to you sometime. (To crowd in general) Good grief, the way some of you carry on as if death didn't exist amazes me - after all, the only thing certain in your miserable lives is death...
(Death regains control of himself and carries on with the speech) Anyway, now that you are dead you are completely under my power. What I say, goes.
Businessman: (barging forward to stand in front of Death) RUBBISH ! I've always done what I've wanted to do, no-one tells me what to do - I'm rich, I'm powerful, I'm important...
Death: (interrupts) You're dead. None of that stuff means anything now. You can't bring it with you when you die - you have no money, you have no power, you have nothing. (to Flunky 2) Get him out of my sight...
(Flunky 2 takes Businessman by arm and leads him away. The Businessman is too shellshocked by what Death said to do anything but follow. Flunky 2 returns during Death's next speech.)
Death: (to crowd, menacingly) Does anyone else want to argue ?.....(Pause...) Right, no-one else says a word until I say so. Line up to be inspected.
(Death gets down from podium and consults with Flunky 1 so that audience can't hear them. Meanwhile Flunky 2 sorts crowd into some sort of order. The crowd should finally end up arranged like this:
(Everyone in the crowd has their eyes front - they do not react in any way at all unless the script indicates. Death and Flunky 1 move to Housewife. Flunky 1 consults his clipboard.)
Flunky 1: This woman was a "nice" middle-class house-wife. She never achieved anything much. She died of a heart-attack in the middle of the night. (surprise:) Oh, here's a good bit - she was an atheist and didn't believe in life after death.
Death: (to Housewife) Didn't believe in life after death, eh ? Well I bet you feel a real wally now, don't you...
(Housewife hangs her head and stays looking at the floor for the rest of the drama. Death and Flunky 1 move on to the Dropout.)
Flunky 1: (consulting clipboard) This guy was a dropout. He didn't have many friends - most people avoided him.
Death: (anxious to hear the gory details) How did he die ?
Flunky 1: Someone didn't avoid him. She hit him - with her car - splat !
Death (interested): really.....how old was he ?
Flunky 1 (consults clipboard): eighteen
Death (to Dropout): So young! You must have thought you had your whole life ahead of you, then suddenly SPLAT...
(Dropout hangs his head and stays looking at the floor for the rest of the drama. Death and Flunky 1 move on to the Girl.)
Flunky 1(consulting clipboard): This is another youngster. Seventeen year old girl. Committed suicide. Overdosed on sleeping tablets.
Death (to Girl, thoroughly enjoying himself): Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. You thought nobody loved you, didn't you - well you were wrong, they did. You thought you'd make them sit up and take notice if you killed yourself, didn't you - well they have - but it's not done you any good has it ? You people just don't realise that death is not an end to your problems, it's only the beginning... (laughs nastily)
(Girl hangs her head - or drops to the floor (dead faint) and lies there for the rest of the drama. Death and Flunky 1 move on to the Christian.)
[From this point on the Christian becomes 'alive' in stark contrast to the rest of the crowd, who do not move or react to anything at all.]
Flunky 1 (consulting clipboard) : This guy...
Christian (butting in) : Hi there !
(Death and Flunky 1 are startled - no-one has ever interrupted them before.)
Death (Death can't believe this): What did you say ?
Christian : I said 'Hi there !'
Death (getting angry): Listen, you sniveling little weed, I have complete authority over you - you can not talk unless I command you to.
Christian : But I am talking...
Flunky 1 : He has a point there - he is talking
Death (angry, to Flunky 1) : You can shut up as well.
Christian (to Death before Death can say any more) : Well, I think I'll be off now. (Christian turns to go)
Death (absolutely cannot believe what is happening): You can't go, you're dead, I've taken your life from you.
Christian : You can't have taken my life from me - I gave my life to Jesus Christ a long time ago - you can't stop me going - you have no power over me because He has already beaten you.
(Everyone except Christian hangs their head.)
Christian (as a parting shot before he leaves): Goodbye, I'm off to join Him in Paradise..... (Christian walks off stage confidently.)
©1988, The Terrace, Palmerston North, New Zealand.
Permission is given for any Christian group to use this play provided it is not used in order to make money. Permission to use this play in any other way must be sought from Neil Dodgson. He may be contacted by email at Neil.Dodgson@cl.cam.ac.uk .