Pastors, Bible Study Leaders, Educators:
Would you give me a few minutes of your reading time?
Briefly explore a sample lesson of a new Christ-centered, Bible study, The Life of Christ. This 54 week study will enrich the spiritual life of your congregation. It offers a wide variety of great resources and visual aids from the Internet. Thank you for your time and thoughtful consideration.
Blessings to you this day.
Ed Markquart, Author of this website.
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The Seven Deadly Sins
A Contemporary Adaptation of C.S. Lewis' Screwtape Letters
By Members of Grace Lutheran Church, Des Moines, WA
David E. Cox, David Head, Darlene Malmo, Edward F. Markquart,
Dramas for Lent
The Problem of Evil
The First Deadly Sin: SLOTH
The Second Deadly Sin: ENVY
The Third Deadly Sin: ANGER
The Fourth Deadly Sin: LUST
The Fifth Deadly Sin: GLUTTONY
The Sixth Deadly Sin: PRIDE
The Seventh Deadly Sin: AVARICE
For several years, we at Grace
Lutheran Church have experimented with and used a variety of
preaching-teaching forms that differ from conventional pulpit
sermons. Perhaps the most enjoyable and effective of these has been
the chancel drama in which members of the congregation have joined
in the creation and presentation of mini-dramas.
The Lenten season has been a particularly workable setting in
which to undertake these efforts.
We have used puppet shows,
monologues, dialogues, news conferences and dramas. We have found
that these different forms have had overwhelmingly positive
responses. That is, the
dramatization and characterization of well-known Biblical stories,
themes and personalities have brought new life into old
ďfriends.Ē This has been particularly effective with young
people, new members and those who have become a bit stale in their
faith. Second, the
involvement of congregational members in research, creation and
presentation has been significant for them personally and also has
been an extraordinary witness to other members of the congregation.
Third, there has been a sense of excitement and anticipation
in the congregation that has shown itself in standing-room-only
attendance at the Lenten worship services. Finally, for me as
pastor, I have discovered that the laymanís theological thought
and reflection can be both challenging and enlarging.
I cannot get by with ďpat answersĒ for I am then beaten
about the head and shoulders by those who are involved with the
production of the plays.
Pastor Edward F. Markquart
Grace Lutheran Church
Des Moines, WA
essential that each character is played by the same person
throughout the series, thereby personality-identities develop. The following are notes on the individual characters:
Good Angel: The Good Angel should have
dignity, bearing, compassion and strength. In the original cast, the
role of the Good Angel was played by a woman, and the Bad Angel by a
man. As a result, the
dialogue between them occasionally reflects that sexual difference.
Should a male be chosen for the part of the Good Angel, some
modifications of script would be necessary.
In the scripts, G.A. will stand for the parts of the good
Bad Angel: The Satanic figure needs to have a degree of menace.
As conceived in these scripts, he is haughty, sarcastic,
calculating and without respect for humans or God.
Periodically he gives way to bursts of temper. In the
scripts, B.A. will stand for the parts of the bad angel.
Fred: This is the good and decent person who for the most part looks for,
finds and supports that which is good, godly and just.
Like all Christians, he is given to human weakness and
occasionally falls short of both Godís and his own expectations.
But there is never any doubt about his roots and orientation.
Elmer: This is a difficult role.
The person chosen for this role must be able to play the part
with abandon. He must
be a caricature of all the seven elements of sin, since his part
demands that he show the dark side of humanity, sometimes overtly,
Jane: Versatility is a
requirement for this part, because she plays a multiplicity of
roles. A more
experienced actress is needed.
She needs to be able to win sympathy and identification from
the audience. She has
an innate sense of justice, kindness and faith that is subjected to
the daily challenges of life.
During this series of plays, there were two planes of existence: the human
and the divine. The
divine characters can see, hear, understand, observe and react to
what is occurring on stage among the humans.
The humans, on the other hand, are totally oblivious to the
divine conversations. Any
time that the Good Angel (Gabriel) and the Bad Angel (Satan) are in
dialog with each other, the three human characters are not aware of
the divine conversation.
During the action on stage between humans, the Bad Angel will make a
sudden loud noise (clap his hands, strike the pulpit), and the
humans will freeze in place. Time
and movement stop and then a separate dialogue will begin involving
the Bad Angel. At the
end of their dialogue, Satan again makes a loud noise and action on
stage continues between the humans.
In each play, there will be a ďdivine dustingĒ. At a crucial moment, Fred will come near the ever-present
Good Angel and she puts ďangel dustĒ (glitter) on him. The
dusting effect is heightened by an accompanying bell sound from the
organ. This indicates
that the power of God is working on him and Fredís next speech
reflects the Wisdom of God (the Word of God) directed at the
specific human situation. This
Wisdom is in the form of plain and ordinary human conversation.
These chancel dramas will be played out in a variety of physical settings.
Your imagination will be required in fitting the play to the
environment, but with the exception of the ďGluttonyĒ script,
the settings are sparse and uncomplicated.
At Grace Lutheran Church, we worked around a setting that
included a communion rail, a large cross, a pulpit and a large
table. The play within
a play Ė that involving Fred, Jane and Elmer Ė took place almost
exclusively within the boundaries established by the communion rail.
The Good Angel was at all times positioned within the ďholy
of holiesĒ, standing on a foot-high stool or on a ladder
appropriately draped with white fabric, near but above the action of
the humans. She is constantly watching and reacting to them.
The Bad Angel was always restricted to prowling and posturing
outside the communion rail. He too, is watching
and responding to the human dilemma.
In the ďGluttonyĒ script, there was a requirement for a
restaurant/bar setting and the pulpit was removed to make way for
one of the tables. Within your setting, you may be blessed with more
open and flexible space and therefore be able to employ a more
theatrical set. Our
space was limited but provided no production problems.
The Influence of C. S. Lewis
C. S. Lewisís SCREWTAPE LETTERS
inspired this series of chancel dramas.
In the LETTERS, we listen in on Screw tapeís conversation
with Wormwood, his agent. Through
the LETTERS, we are exposed to Screw tapeís thoughts and
motivations. Likewise, in this series of dramas, the audience hears the
conversations between Satan and Gabriel and watches their influences
on Fred, Elmer and Jane.
The thought and phrasing of C. S.
Lewis are interlaced throughout the plays.
We utilized his humor, e.g., Satan ďgoing out for lunchĒ
exuding, ďIíll be damned!Ē
We borrowed Lewisís concept of ďpatientĒ Jane on whom
both Fred and Elmer are working.
We use his apologetics from SURPRISED BY JOY: a Design to the
universe logically presupposes a designer; a moral design
presupposes a moral designer. But
most importantly, we retained his concept of Satan being a lesser
power than God. In the
preface to SCREWTAPE, Lewis indicates that if we place Satan in
face-to-face combat with God, we imply Satan has power equal with
Godís. This is not
true. Satan is not
equal to God; rather he is simply a fallen angel, equivalent in
stature to Gabriel or any of the other archangels.
Consequently, in these chancel dramas, God is never in direct
combat with Satan. It
is a battle between two lesser powers:
Satan and Gabriel.
In these chancel dramas, the most
troublesome character was Elmer.
At some point Elmer works almost as a direct agent of Satan.
During a ďfreezeĒ Satan will call him over for further
consultation. At the
end of the ďfreezeĒ Elmer then enters back into the action with
Jane and Fred. At such
times, Elmer doesnít seem to be fully conscious that he is working
as an agent of the devil, but he is. Elmer becomes the
personification of temptation to draw another person (Jane, the
patient in the middle) into doing evil.
(Making a stately, flowing
entrance) I am an angel. I am a messenger of God. You remember me.
Iíve been in all of your coloring books in Sunday school.
I have been present at the unfolding of Godís will
throughout history. I stood guard at the gates of the Garden of Eden.
I brought messages to Abraham and Moses, to the kings and
prophets of the Old Testament.
And I appeared before Mary and Joseph and shepherds during
the birth of Jesus. In
fact, when Jesus was in the wilderness, I ministered to him. I
brought messages to the Apostles Paul and Philip. And sometimes we
angels bring messages to you. I
was created in God, through God, and for God.
I am an angel.
(Making a purposeful, dramatic entrance) I am an angel.
I also appear throughout your history. I was in the Garden of
Eden and I too was in the wilderness.
I am still present in peopleís lives, influencing their
imaginations and affecting their actions.
I was also created by God, but we had a ďfalling outĒ and
I am no longer the slave of Heaven.
I am the ruler of hell.
I am called Satan, Lucifer, Beelzebub, I am the Prince of
I hear you over there, Satan, prowling around like a roaring lion
waiting for someone to devour.
We all have our hungers, Madam, but you do not do justice to my
style. I do not need to
roar much any more, for there are so many who so easily find that my
little offerings, my little appetites, provide spice to their
otherwise drab and dreary lives.
Indeed, there are many that doubt that I even exist.
A case in point is that classroom over there.
The learned professor is a current acquaintance of mine and
he is planting seeds of doubt about my Ė our Ė existences in
that lovely ladyís mind. When
he succeeds, as he surely will, my lunch will be prepared and I need
not roar anymore. Shall
Yes, let us watch for there is one of us with her.
(The Professor) Class, to summarize my lecture this evening, I have
five specific points I would like to have you note.
The first point is this: It is illogical to assume that there
are other forces such as Satan in the world.
On the other hand, it is logical to assume that there is
nothing except that which can be seen. The second point: God as a concept or figure within human
consciousness is more a product of wishful thinking and a reflection
of pagan escapism. The
third point: the concept of demons and angels is for the realm of
fantasy, not reality. Point
four: the concept of
good -relating to light, and evil -relating to darkness, are not
more than our irrational fears of childhood rather than an absolute
cosmic force involved in our lives.
The fifth and last point: it would be better for us to be
honest with ourselves and go through life as realists rather than
dreamers (Pauses and looks at watch) I do see that our time is up, so
weíll continue this discussion at another time. Class is dismissed. (Begins
(Raising hand wildly) Professor, could you wait just a minute?
I am really confused by this lecture today.
Could you tell me just a little more?
Could I have some of your time?
My dear, I really do have another appointment.
I think that you, being a college student should be able to
use your mind and your intellect.
You struggle with these problems for a while.
Perhaps you can come up with some answers.
Good day. (Professor
exits and goes to stand near Satan)
Oh boy! (To self) And I
need this philosophy credit. Why
did I sign up for this turkey for a professor? (Turning to Fred) Got a minute, Fred?
I sure do, Jane. What
I donít know. Iíve
never taken Philosophy before, so Iím really confused.
Iím not sure that I understood what he said.
Well, what do you think you just heard him say?
One thing especially bothered me.
I think he said there really is no God and no Satan either.
Iíve spent my whole life believing that God has been
present with me, directing leading, comforting, and strengthening me
and that there has been another power, an evil power, pulling me
away from God. Is that
Thatís what I heard him saying - the belief in God is childish, a
fantasy, and so is a belief in the power of evil. I think that
basically the Professor is a materialist. Philosophically, the only
thing he believes in is that which he can see, touch and feel.
I see. But thereís something else.
If he believes that faith in God is childish, irrational,
stupid, perhaps my friends have similar thoughts about Christianity.
So some of them think the same way?
How can I share my faith with them if that is what they are
thinking? Oh, boy?
What do I believe!
(Audible dialogue on center
stage ceases. The
dialogue between the Professor and Satan takes place at stage left.)
Well done, Elmer. You have planted well Ė seeds of doubt,
questions, uncertainty, and skepticism.
Your spices are excellent.
I so enjoy planting seed of doubt.
I want her to question everything, and besides, I donít
like that guy with her.
(Good Angel dusts Fred who is
standing near her. A
new insight slowly dawns on him.)
You know, Jane. I just
got an idea. Remember
those stories in the Bible? Especially
the creation story?
There was the devil, Satan. Remember?
Satan was a serpent. In
the Bible, it said that the devil is a liar.
He is a deceiver. His
number one deception is to get us to believe that he doesnít
exist, that there is no power of evil at work in this world.
Well, thatís what the Professor is trying to do.
Heís trying to get you to believe that the power of evil
doesnít exist. It is
all a great deception by Satan.
Satan is once again trying to play his tricks on us, so it
seems to me.
What you say sounds convincing.
But, Fred, this lecture makes me see that a lot of what we
believe seems like fantasy and fairy tale.
Whoís going to believe in a devil with a black cape and
angels in white robes? But,
you know, I have believed in those two powers, the powers of good
and evil. Is it an
An illusion? Jane, look around you.
Look at the wars and starvation.
Look at the barbaric things people do to each other.
Is that an illusion? If
anybody is living under an illusion, itís our fair professor who
doesnít look around and see this cosmic evil force at work in the
world. Heís the one
who is living under an illusion.
At least it seems so to me.
Youíre right...there is evil in
the world. That fact
cannot be denied. And
there is a power of good, too.
How could I let him encourage my doubts like that?
I feel so guilty for even having these doubts.
Doubts, doubts. Jane,
we all have them. God
gave us minds to use. Itís
only animals that donít doubt.
God gave you an exceptionally fine brain and God wants you to
use it. Itís
inevitable that we would have doubts.
Thatís what it is to be a human being.
Itís nothing to feel guilty about, thatís for sure.
But I've been a follower of Jesus my whole life.
How could I be so
stupid to fall into this trap?
Thatís not stupid? Itís
not a matter of intelligence or lack of it to believe in God.
There are very intelligent people who believe in God and very
intelligent people who donít.
Itís a matter of faith.
Faith, Jane. Itís a matter of our deepest intuitions of the heart toward
(Professor Elmer re-enters to
center stage. Bad Angel
returns, remaining at left side.)
Oh, there is the Professor now.
(Jumps up, going to Professor)
Professor, have you got a minute?
Yes, my dear.
If I understand you correctly, you think that the idea of good and
evil is a fantasy. Is that right?
But, Professor, how do you explain that?
There really is evil in the world.
There is injustice. There
is awful violence, hatred, crime, abuse and starvation.
(Action is interrupted by loud
sound. Characters of
Jane and Fred freeze. Bad
Angel, wearing a big, red dinner napkin tucked in at the neck, comes
closer to center stage to talk to Elmer.)
What are you doing in there? Here
I am ready to eat and youíre letting the chicken out of the pot.
Sheís coming right at you.
Sheís confronting you and you know that we do not do well
when that happens. Now
get out of there!
(Sudden loud sound to restart
the action. Bad Angel
goes to side in a huff. Elmer
again turns to Jane.)
The only struggles that I really think youíre having are with your
mind and your misguided emotions.
But I really feel you need...
(Fred comes between Professor
I have an appointment for lunchÖ
Professor, please. You
said it was a matter of logic, but it seems your unwillingness to
recognize the existence of evil is a result of your own blindness
and therefore, is illogical.
I submit that there is a design to the universe.
If there is a
design, logic concludes there must be a designer.
A design logically presupposes a designer.
You were the one who lectured about the sociologist, Margaret Mead,
and she said that was a moral design found in all the cultures of
the world. If there is
a moral design, there must be a moral designer!
(Sudden noise again freezing
Fred and Jane. Satan
returns in a rage)
Now youíve done it. (Pause) Weíre
going to have to go out to eat!
(Jerks napkin from neck)
There are a lot of others out there for us.
And for her, for him (pointing) there will be another time.
For us, for now weíre going to have to get the ďhellĒ
out of here!
(Loud noise restarts action.
Bad Angel storms toward the door, pausing for Elmerís
(To Fred) I think youíre wrong.
You MUST be wrong. You
have your own problems, and I donít have time to discuss this.
I donít have to justify my lecture to you.
I must leave. (Exits)
Strange, how come he got so uncomfortable when we brought these
things up and then he seemed to run away?
know, Jane, it seems to me that a person canít prove God and we
canít disprove God either. We
canít prove the power of evil. We canít disprove it.
We can discuss and argue all day but itís all a matter of
faith. God gets inside
your heart. And when he does, you start to believe.
Maybe when we draw near to God and God to us, doubt and
disbelief run away. Thatís
what happens. Got time for a cup of coffee?
Yes I do. Iíd like to
talk about this some more. (Both
(From her lofty stand) Satan, did you enjoy your lunch?
(Laughs at Satan)
(Throws red napkin toward Good Angel and exits)
The First Deadly Sin: Sloth
(Working at an office-like setting) Letís see where was I now?
Ah, yes, the invoices. (Sneezes,
coughs) So much to get done here.
(Works inconspicuously during Angelís dialogue)
(Enters and takes her place on the stool) I am the angel of the
Lord. I was created for Godís work and Godís use.
I am Godís messenger. Often, the message I carry is a call
to action, ďArise,
go, do!Ē Godís
words are very plain. God
wants you believers to be doers of the Word and not hearers only.
(Pause) Oh look, here comes Elmer Ė late from lunch again.
And look behind him. Satan
again. He doesnít know love or truth, justice or beauty, caring or
compassion. He corrupts
and destroys all that he touches.
Unfortunately and sadly, he is influencing Elmer.
Letís listen to the thoughts.
(Elmer enters, Bad Angel just
behind. They pause near
the rail, Elmer studies office setting and thinks out loud)
Oh-oh. Two oíclock. Lunch
got a little long today. Jane
will be back there working away, being noble. She bothers me. What a goody-two shoes.
She gives the rest of us a bad name.
Iíd sure like to catch her taking the petty cash or
snuggling up to the boss or something.
Iíd like to bring her down a few pegs
And you can, Elmer. Donít
worry about the big obvious sins.
As difficult as it may be for you, try something more subtle.
Promote sloth Ė itís something you know a lot about
She wears you out at work Ė maybe I can distract her a little bit
Ė get her productivity in line with good old Elmer standards.
Good thinking, Elmer. But
donít you have another problem?
She comes off like some saint.
Sheís always involved in some causes like the hungry and
the homeless or teaching Sunday school or just being a help to
somebody. Sheís one
of those Christian do-gooders.
She makes me want to lie down and have a nap.
So she acts on what she believes?
So destroy the will to do and act.
Show her that her efforts are pitiful and puny, that the
problems she faces are insurmountable.
Blind her to the obvious needs close at hand an all around
her. Make hers a faith
without works and she will become no better than you and you wonít
have to fret. Now go.
(Counting and writing) Six of these...
Hi there. Howíre you doing?
Well, welcome back from lunch.
(Checks watch) I
was beginning to think you had disappeared from the face of the
Yes, well, I was slightly detained.
I had a devil of a time getting away.
(Back to work.)
I see. Letís get with it here.
I think youíd be quite interested
in what I was thinking about during lunch.
Actually, what Iím quite
interested in is getting this work done.
You know? The
stuff we were hired by this company to do?
What weíre here for, eight hours a day.
Here, check these invoices, will you?
(Gives him a stack)
You know, I really think what we
talked about at lunch would interest you a great deal with all your
church and social activities and community involvement and these
things. (He thumbs
through the stack and while Jane is pre-occupied with her files, he
slips most of them back in her stack during the next few lines)
(Continuing to work) What are you
My conversation during lunch.
Canít it wait?
(Sneeze, cough) You know we have to get this report out before the end of the
day. Letís talk bout
it tomorrow. Okay?
That fine with me, but I thought
someone with your, ah, (sarcastically) Ďsocial consciousnessí
would be more interested in the worldís problems than you seem to
Well, of course I am interested.
(Puts down pen and papers) Elmer, would you just say it and
get it over with. What is it?
I was thinking at lunch that humans
waste a lot of time, hustling around, so busily scurrying about.
They fret about so many problems in this world about which
they really canít do anything. (Through the next few lines, Elmer is playing with a video
game, eating candy, tossing a coin, drinking water, pacing around,
(Thoughtfully) I donít know.
I never thought of it as a waste of time.
Oh, it is Jane. Come on. You, me,
our presence in this world is really nothing.
Weíre insignificant. Think
about it! Youíve read
the papers. Youíve
seen the newscasts. War,
hunger, pestilence. Millions
of people in this world seem to suffer from those calamities.
The statistics make me sick. Itís
terrible. I think the
problem is that nobody in all the history of the world has been able
to solve these massive problems. Youíre a Christian.
What do your Scriptures say?
ďThereís nothing new under the sun,Ē including
Well, yes, in a way.
Think about it.
None of us, even you Christians, can solve the problems of
the world. And why should we? In the long run, it really doesnít
(Working) Sounds pretty
No, wait a second.
Iíve got an example for you.
Youíre involved in the world hunger program at your church,
arenít you? (Still
Yes, I am.
That makes you feel good, doesnít
At least Iím doing something!
I imagined it would make you feel
good. How much do you
give? A couple of
dollars a week probably?
It doesnít matter.
Think about it.
Your money probably feeds two or three meals to some little
Thatís really fine.
You keep that little one alive for about an extra week.
Then there are millions of others who starve.
That poor fellow youíve kept alive is probably retarded
from lack of nutrition. Itís
a waste of your time and money.
Why should he be kept alive?
Itís a waste to society.
It just adds to the problem.
Admit it. Everything
you do amounts to nothing. What
do you think about that?
Elmer, that is sick!
Iíve always felt it was worth something.
So would it be better to do nothing?
(Fred enters, looking for Jane)
Hi Fred, over here.
Iíve been looking all over for
Come into our office.
(She looks down to continue work.
Fred walks past G.A. and gets dusted with her sprinkles).
Your office is hard to find.
How are you doing, Fred?
Well. Really well.
Elmer, have you met Fred?
Fred works upstairs.
(Comes around from playing and
grabs some invoices) Iím sorry.
I would like to chat a minute but Iím really quite busy. (Acts really busy for a moment)
Whatís up Fred?
I hate to bother you during work,
but our friend, Sarah, is sick.
Sheís at the hospital.
I was there last night when her laboratory tests came back
and itís bad news. Sheís
afraid. I was hoping that you would go to see her.
She mentioned you. She said, ďI
appreciate Janeís friendship.Ē
Do you have time to go to see her?
Well. (Delaying) Iím
sorry to hear that. I
really am a little short of time.
You know I work here for a long shift and Iíve got my
family at home. Time is
Yes, I know.
Weíre all busy. Perhaps if you could call her every day and see her every
other day, you could help her with some of her fears. I know she would appreciate it.
Thatís quite a commitment and I donít know if I have that
much time. (Elmer
starts playing around again)
I know that weíre all short of
time, but right now she is so discouraged.
She is so depressed.
Sarah discouraged and depressed?
She is always in a crisis.
For her those are chronic conditions.
Yes. Thatís true. If anybody is a
complainer, itís Sarah. She
complains to you. She
complains to me. If
anybody has problems, itís Sarah.
But even so, she wants us to see her, to visit her.
You say sheís really sick this time. If
thatís so, I feel inadequate to visit her.
I canít do anything to make her feel better or to get her
well. I canít change
her attitude or her condition.
Listen, Iím just not the person.
If I canít do it right, I donít want to do it at all.
Then none of us can visit or call
because none of us do it perfectly.
But we can all give the gift of listening.
Thatís one of the kindest deeds we can do for someone in
trouble. Sarah does
need us, I guarantee...
Okay... Iíll squeeze the time in
to see her.
(Freezes action with loud sound)
supposed to be pushing sloth, not practicing it!
This fellow is getting to her.
She is beginning to listen, and youíre just sitting there
twiddling your thumbs. You
get back in there and start cooking.
Throw some names at her.
Call her a do-gooder, a bleeding heart liberal.
This isnít working.
Then tell her that itís a
dog-eat-dog world and she had better take care of number one.
Let the others take care of themselves.
You persuade her that in this world, she is flying solo and
nobody else cares.
Got to do something.
One other thing.
Faith without works is dead, dry.
And remember, dead faith, thinly sliced, smothered in a sauce
of sloth is one fine dish!
Action commences. B.A. leaves)
Iím sorry. I
didnít mean to eavesdrop but I have been listening to your
understand your concern for your friend, Jane, but you shouldnít
be visiting in any hospital right now.
You have a cold.
Oh, well, you...
It has affected your performance
here at work. Our paper
work has really gone down with you being sick.
Jane, I think heís right.
If you have a cold, itís not a time to visit someone in the
hospital. Iíll go and
visit her today. You go
home, take some Vitamin C, drink some orange juice, and maybe in a
couple of days you could go and see her.
I could still call her, even with a
Yes, thatís a good idea.
But Iíve noticed something else,
Jane. Youíve really
been tired lately. Youíve
been depressed. (Jane
looks up, puzzled) You
go around and help everybody else in the world, but Iíve never
seen you take care of yourself. Really. I think
that you need to start looking out for your own interests. You donít do that enough.
I would agree that Jane should be
tired after all the work she does in this office. It seems that someone else isnít doing their part!
Even so, when you go and visit someone, help someone like
Sarah, it makes you feel better.
It invigorates you! It
builds you up.
Thatís true in my experience, I
must admit. When Iíve
helped someone, it gives me new energy.
No doubt about it.
A person can feel so much better.
(Sarcastically) Oh, you feel so
much better. What a
line! You have a
bleeding heart dripping all over your sleeve.
ďYou feel so much better.Ē
Thatís nice for your emotions but does it help her at all?
I think not. (To
Jane) You have to look
out for yourself and forget the rest of the world.
Why donít you leave this Freddie friend of yours alone?
Heís really a pain.
(Pause) Do you ever help anyone?
(Pause) I donít have time to.
Iím a very busy man. (Exits
in a huff)
Boy, some work associate you have
Well, listen, Iíve got to get
back to work. Just
remember that Sarah needs us.
Iíll see what I can do.
Nice to see you, Fred.
Good to see you too.
(to herself) Oh boy!
I donít know what to do.
The nerve of that guy!
Coming in here and telling you what to do, and then he
insults the integrity of my work.
Who does he think is? Why
should you have to go visit this hypochondriac anyway?
She may really be sick this time.
It sounds as though she is.
Even if she isnít, one way or the other, I know sheís
alone and afraid. She
just may need some comfort from somebody who cares about her.
Truly my heart is touched.
But why do you have to be Fredís angel of mercy?
I wouldnít do it for Fred, Iíd
do it for Sarah. And maybe, hmmm, Maybe (looking away) Iíd be
doing it because Jesus said so.
Oh, the bells of heaven!
I just heard them! You and your Christian holiness.
Itís just a crock! I
tell you, I donít see why she is your responsibility.
You never take care of yourself and if you keep on going like
this, youíre going to do yourself in soon.
Weíre all going to die, Elmer.
And you can either give your life some meaning or not.
Itís up to you. (Pause) I guess you just donít understand, do you?
I never understand frivolousness on
anybodyís part. (checks
watch) Oh, excuse me, I
just noticed its five minutes to quitting time.
I want to beat the traffic going home.
See you tomorrow. Bye.
He just doesnít get it.
(Thoughtfully) Of course, there is some truth to what he says.
Sarah is a pain at times.
Visiting or calling her every day could be a real drag. (Pause)
Still, she does need someone - someone who cares.
And I do care. (Stuffs
papers into a mailer and exits)
Lord, the sin of sloth is so
pervasive in this world. Itís
a sin that thinks one person canít make a difference; says,
ďitís hopeless, what can I do?Ē
It quits too soon, cares too little, gives up too easily and
sometimes doesnít even get involved.
Lord, what message would you have me bring?
(Pause) I hear you, Lord.
Do! (G.A. exits)
Second Deadly Sin: Envy
Modern living room: sofa,
chair, end table and lamp.
Fred, tie loosened, no jacket, sleeves rolled up.
suit and tie.
dressed as a teen-ager
Books and hair brush for Jane. Newspaper for Fred, on table.
Bad Angel appears only at the beginning
Jane needs the gestures and nuances that are popular with the young
people. Her voice, when she is emotional, needs to reflect the
typical teen-age attitude.
As the scene opens, Fred takes his place at center stage, reading
(Enters down center aisle)
am an angel, a messenger of God and an observer of the world.
God created a paradise for those He loved, a Garden of Eden
in which all that people needed was available to them.
But Satan, that fallen angel, came into the Garden and
tempted them with that which was not theirs to have.
The seeds of envy were sown.
Godís creatures disobeyed, coveting that which could not be
given or guaranteed to them.
from the back. Begins
his talk as he nears the front)
my! You sound frustrated tonight.
Lucifer, itís you again.
Things arenít going well for you, apparently.
Donít despair. Itís
not your fault that your God created humans who are defective--so
gullible, short-sighted, and selfish.
I am trying to correct the situation.
I think it only proper to offer men and women a menu of
things that they might like to have, indeed, what should be theirs
ó if only the world that your God created were a fairer place.
You distort and pervert everything.
You offer nothing of value and nothing that lasts.
You create false wants and false appetites.
Your so-called menu is built on envy that is poisonous to the
You might recall that the name of the game is the soul!
Frankly, your God appears to have made another mistake.
If God were so concerned about Envy, God should have created
everyone as equals, dividing among the people all the looks, wit,
intelligence, success and wealth in the world.
But, no, not in Godís world!
There are all sorts of losers out there and you canít blame
them for wanting their fair share.
You suggest a world of sameness.
How utterly boring! Equality
is important only in the permanent gifts of God, love and grace.
There are no losers on that score in Godís creation.
There you go up on your pedestal again, talking about the
Ďforeverísí, while people are buried in their Ďtodayísí.
With mortals, envy is here to stay.
I find it a very useful and efficient temptation.
I just plant it and it grows by itself.
(Gestures to the stage)
Here, look at this family.
I have created a poem for the occasion.
have planted seeds of envy here,
And so Iím free to go.
You may want to wait awhile,
And watch my garden grow.
exits with loud laughter)
(Entering from side with schoolbooks.
She shows great anger in her stride and attitude)
Aaaaaargh! (Plops books down on table.)
Jane! Jane, what is wrong with you?
Whatís wrong? Ha! Whatís right? Everythingís
wrong. The school is
just grody! The
students make me gag! Barf!
(Finger mockingly put down throat)
And the faculty! The
faculty sucks rotten eggs.
Sucks rotten eggs? That sounds terrible.
My daughter doesnít talk that way.
Youíre just too nice a young lady to use that language!
Oh? If Iím such a nice young lady, why didnít I get the
Outstanding Student Award that Gail Jones got?
(Turns her back, crossing her arms and disgusted)
Who? Gail Jones won? Well,
you were at least nominated. You
were one of the finalists. You
should be pleased that you were a part of the competition.
Itís an honor even to be nominated.
What are you so sour about?
Some honor (Turns back
to Fred) Look, Dad, I
never seem to win anything. I
donít do anything right! Iím
just not lucky. Now,
Gail Jones, sheís lucky! Sheís
got beautiful clothes (gesturing to her body) and she looks
great in them. She gets
good grades, has a (smiling
with a phony grin)
nice personality. She
has everything I donít have!
You know, Jane? Iíve
never heard you sound so jealous.
I canít stand to go to school tomorrow.
Everybody will be there to make a big fuss over Gail Jones.
stuff! (Crosses stage as she starts fussing with her hair)
Iím not going to school.
are too. Iím ashamed
of the way youíre talking. Now
pick up your book. You
sound like a little brat!
Sure! Why donít you get on my case too! Everybody else is. Join
Oh, Jane, you know I love you.
(Moving toward her, dusted by angel Ė change of heart)
(Starting to break down a bit) I feel put down and embarrassed and I
Oh, Jane, Jane...(Hugs her)
I donít feel very good about it, Dad.
I thought I could be the best.
You are the best! Youíre
the best daughter your Mom and I have.
(Hand on hips)
Iím your only daughter!
a wonderful gift to us from God.
We love you sooooo much.
But why didnít I win the award?
did you need to win? For
some reason you need to be better than Gail.
You need to be better than all the other kids.
You need to be the best!
That's a miserable way to live, Jane, always having to be
number one. It's a bad
disease. I know.
My mother had it, I have it, and now youíve inherited it!
Itís a bad way to live.
Oh, Dad. Stop lecturing.
I am not lecturing. Iím
just telling you the truth. Youíll
be miserable. Youíll
always be scrambling to get ahead of somebody, always comparing
yourself, always sizing yourself up against others.
I must admit that I havenít been very happy today.
Itís been terrible.
AND ITíLL GET WORSE. Youíll
turn sour inside and you wonít have any peace.
Envy becomes a deadly disease, always seeking the top and
always seeing someone else who has what you want.
It kills inner happiness kills contentedness within you.
It destroys genuine self-confidence.
Oh, Dad. Sometimes I just get jealous and I donít know what to do.
What can I do? (Plunks down in the
Iím not sure if Iím the person to ask, since I used to get
envious myself when I was younger.
But, I think the first step is to honestly recognize what you
are feeling. Then you
can ask God to forgive you and help you with the problem.
And, be glad with what God has given you.
Look at all the good gifts you have.
Be glad for that. You
can be glad for what God has given
Gail Jones (Jane pretends to barf.)
No, Jane, if you live that way, always jealous of the Gail
Jones of life, you are never going to be happy.
know. It is just so hard. Iíll
have to think about it some more.
pats Janeís back)
Okay, that sounds good.
going to do some homework and cry!
(Sits back down with paper)
Kids! Oh, boy!
Being a parent is tough. (knock heard at door)
Yes, come on in.
Hi, Elmer. How are you
Oh, reeeeeeeeaaaaally fine!
Good to see you, neighbor.
Say, I thought Iíd better bring back your tennis racket.
Hey, this is the best day of my life.
Best day of your life? What
You havenít heard?
You know that promotion theyíve been talking about down at the
Yes, of course.
I got the promotion!
got to be kidding. (shocked)
No, it is mine! I found
out about it this morning.
You! You! (unbelieving)
I donít believe it. Iím
so surprised. I just canít. . .
I know you were kind of counting on the promotion yourself.
Yes, youíre right.
I was surprised too! (in a boastful manner) I canít imagine
why they felt I was more qualified than you (buffing nails on his
qualified? I trained
you! I trained all the other young people in the corporation.
Why did they want me to train all you young rookies?
It was because I know
the job better than anyone else.
You are more qualified?
Fred, you know I donít doubt your work record.
You did train me and you trained me well.
Yes, youíd better believe it.
But, after all, you came into the company without a college degree.
There are other facts to consider too.
to self) Why would they do this to me?
about my age? (Defensively)
Youíre past fifty-something.
Iím only forty.
Think about it. Youíre
older. Iím younger. Iíve
got my degree. I have
more energy. I can
handle a lot of stress, the problems of the plant.
Sure, sure. More
strength. More energy. More education.
What about my maturity and wisdom?
Donít they mean anything?
My experience in the business.
You may be younger, but Iím certainly more efficient.
I know all the short cuts.
I canít believe this!
I was counting on that promotion.
I was talking with Norm just the other day...
I suppose you mean Norman Blakeley, the chairman of the board.
Yes, Norm really likes my ideas.
Norm recognized by talents a long time ago when I married his
Sure, sure he did. Now
on, Fred. Weíve been
friends a long time. You
know Iíve contributed greatly to the plant. I didnít come over
here to get you angry or make you my enemy.
Weíve been friends and neighbors too long for that.
In fact, Iím really going to need
support. You have so
much wisdom and insight to share with me so we can get
job done. Can we do it
together, Fred? Iím
counting on your help.
Iíll do the job Iím paid to do!
(a slight bitter edge to his voice)
Whoa! Canít talk about it. Later.
I really have to run. Brendaís
planning a little celebration tonight.
This is such an exciting evening for us.
See you tomorrow. (goes
Yeah, Ďbye. (Elmer
leaves) (to himself)
I donít believe it. Iíve
worked for that company for thirty years.
I trained all of those people.
I deserve that job. I
need it with kids heading for college.
That young punk! (Shakes head) Jane was right. This
whole world sucks rotten eggs!
Oh, yes, Jane.
Dad, sometimes youíre just totally awesome.
Iíve been thinking about some of the things you said and I
realize that God does make each person special.
Everyone has his own gifts.
Even Gail Jones has some gifts.
And I have some gifts, too.
And you! You have some very special gifts.
You know what, Dad? I
Those two conversations. You
donít know how much I needed to hear that!
You are a real blessing to me, to my whole life.
Maybe Mom needs some help in the kitchen.
Letís go see her. (They
start to exit)
the best Dad I ever had. (Both
Iím glad! (Exit)
Satan, you planted those seeds of envy in this family.
But there was a stronger planting.
It is called love.
Third Deadly Sin: Anger
Old house. Living room
Jane, Fred and Elmer are all dressed as adults in casual clothing.
Old photo album
Two coffee mugs
Notes: A phonograph
could be used to play a little Christmas music while Elmer and Jane
look at the photo album, then slowly turned down.
Fear not. I am the
angel of the Lord and I do Godís bidding.
(Places the sword upon the altar and turns again to face the audience)
I want to talk about anger.
The sights and sounds of anger are frightening and ugly.
Human history echoes with hatred, rage and revenge.
We hear the bombs in Ireland and Lebanon.** the howls of the
mobs in Iran.** We
shudder at the ďHeil HitlerĒ of Nazi Germany (**Use current
examples). We look with horror at the mass murderer, the wife beater,
the child abuser. We
know the malice of the liar and the gossip.
We grieve for those who hate themselves so much that they
would do themselves harm. (Angel
takes her place on the pedestal)
God gave us the capacity to feel and to experience anger.
But when that emotion becomes the tantrum of someone who
can't get his own way, or forces out love and forgiveness, then it
causes harm and even death. It creates grief and separation. Inevitably, even in good families, anger bubbles up and
spills over. Without
care, anger can last a lifetime and cause permanent, almost
irreparable damage. Iím
afraid that his family, brought together after a long time, carries
the deep wounds of anger.
with Jane on a settee, is looking at old photographs in an album)
You know, Mom
and Dad were a handsome couple when they were young.
Yes, arenít they beautiful!
Tonight, though, they donít look good at all.
They look old, tired and ill.
know. They are not doing well.
But did you notice how happy they are to have us all home for
Merry Christmas to you, Jane. (Entering
with eggnog only for him and Jane.
Gives an eggnog to her and keeps the other for himself. Elmer
starts to reach for one before realizing Fred didnít bring one for
Merry Christmas. Itís
been five years since we have been together.
Thatís too long.
Five years. Itís
incredible that weíve been separated so long.
Iíve missed us being together, Jane.
Some of us might say five years are not enough, Fred.
What do you mean by that crack?
Oh guys! Come on. Let it
go for awhile. (Standing) Itís
Christmas Eve, the folks arenít well and Dad may mot have another
Christmas. How about a
little peace on earth?
There is peace as far as Iím concerned.
Iíll just keep my mouth shut and there will be peace.
Now what do you mean by that?
Just what I said. Itís
good that you keep quiet. I
didnít mean anything. Iím
not trying to start a fight tonight.
Itís Christmas Eve.
Now thatís enough. Do
you know something thatís always irritated me about this family?
The way YOU TWO bicker.
Oh, come on, Jane.
I get angry with both of you from time to time, but the anger
passes. This thing
thatís going on between the two of you seems to have no end.
Itís ridiculous. Donít
you see what it does to you? To
carry this kind of anger? Fred,
Iím, sure it contributes to that miserable ulcer of yours.
Stop lecturing, Sister.
And Elmer, your business is suffering because of the anger in your
life. This anger is a
poison. It not only
hurts everyone around you, it poisons you too. Is it so enjoyable that you just canít let it go?
sometimes it is enjoyable to watch the number one son squirm.
What do you mean by that?
Come on, Fred. You
know, Iíve been just an addendum to this family for years.
Youíve resented me since my birth.
Every time you think about me, you resent me.
Youíre ten years older.
Youíre the number one son.
You get all the birthrights.
Well, itís true. Mom
didnít resent me when I was born.
She didnít think I was some sort of mistake.
Jane never has either. (To
Fred) But you have!
Youíve always resented me and Dad has too. You two are in
league. Think about it.
When you were born, what did he name you?
Fred, Jr.? Ten
years later when I was born, what did he name me?
The first, the one, the only.
Do you know what
itís like to go through life being named Elmer?
Elmer Fudd, as I recall. I
remember all the little kids on the block called you ďElmer FuddĒ.
cut it out!
It wasnít the kids, it was you.
Only you. ďFat
Little Elmer FuddĒ. I
You were kind of a fat little kid.
Fred! (Throws up her hands and sits down)
Fred, its no news to me that Iím the number two son in this
family. Mom used to
give me hand-me-down clothes all the time. Do you know what itís like to wear ten-year-old
hand-me-downs? I mean,
penny loafers were out! And
you old pants used to bag in the rear end.
Why do you dredge up all of this?
Elmer, you always complain too much.
You had it so soft. Why,
Mother used to hang me up on the wall and throw darts at me.
You had life utterly soft by comparison!
And you had it so tough, I suppose.
Letís talk about college.
Yes, letís talk about college.
Your four years, for example. All
And then it was my turn. Mom
and Dad didnít have anything left for my college education.
You donít have any reason to resent Fred.
You could have called me and I would have loaned you some money.
Ha! I could have called you?
I went to see you and you know what you said to me?
brother, youíre on you own.Ē
I remember that real well.
Thanks for the big bucks.
You accuse me of being cheap when the real issue was that you
were spoiled rotten. Spoiled! You
didnít take the opportunity.
You have a selective memory.
Youíre an irresponsible pain in the neck.
I canít believe it. It
breaks Mom and Dadís hearts.
sound less angry and more pained)
Fred, I donít know what I have to do to tell you what I
felt all my life. All
these years Iíve been trying to make something of myself, to prove
to myself that I was a worthwhile human being.
And I have...for myself.
You've never thought that about me.
You are my big brother, for heavenís sake!
I worshipped the ground you walked on.
I looked to you for advice.
You were my hero. All I wanted was some time with you.
You wouldnít give me the time of day.
I just wasnít worth your time.
(Starts walking away to stage left) Thatís
what I remember. (Back
what Iím angry about!
(Silent pause) Are you
Yeah, I guess I am.
Would you be willing to hear what I have to say?
What for? The record is
clear. Nothing is going
(Going to Elmer and placing her
arm around him)
Elmer, Iíve never heard you say these things before.
Iíve said them all my life. No
one every listened. Iíve
always been alone in this family.
(He keeps his back turned while G.A. sprinkles Fred, and he
experiences as ďheart changeĒ)
Elmer, some of those things you said are true.
When I was growing up, I thought you were a pest.
I thought you were impossible.
In fact, being honest, they were probably just a part of
growing pains that all normal kids go through.
That doesnít do much good now.
You know, Elmer, the worst thing I did was to plain ignore you, to
not love you the way you wanted to be loved.
I didnít love you like a brother.
I was the older one. I
knew your deepest need. I
should have known better, but I didnít...I was wrong.
I donít know what got in the way but I am sorry.
You are apologizing? To
me? Youíre sorry?
I donít believe it. (Pause)
Fred, I donít believe you.
Itís too late.
Itís not too late. We
still have time.
No, no, I donít agree.
Elmer, listen to what he is saying.
Youíve been waiting for this moment your whole life.
Donít let your bitterness keep you from hearing what he is
saying to you.
No. Iím sorry but I just donít believe him. Fred, your apology is too easy.
You couldnít even look me in the face.
No, itís just been too long in coming.
Iím going out to get some air.
I did mean it, Jane. I
do mean it. I meant what I said.
I believe you really are sorry for what has happened in the past.
And heíll probably believe it eventually.
He gets to me so fast.
Donít let his bitterness get to you, not now when things could be
Youíre right. We
should have made up long ago. Jane,
what can you do when someone is so deeply hurt and angry.
What can I do?
You want the relationship to be right, donít you?
And it sounds like you want to start talking about some of the past
hurts - get rid of them.
Yes, we need to.
So? Talk about them together.
Do it. Listen.
We carry a lot of stuff.
Yes, we need to...for Mom and Dadís sake.
No, not for their sake, but for your sake.
For your peace of mind.
For both of you. It may take a while, but youíve got to be patient.
Give Elmer time. But never stop offering the forgiveness to each other.
I hope that a miracle can happen.
Itís going to take a miracle.
I pray that it can. I
do love Elmer. I know that deep down Elmer loves me. Letís go find my brother.
Iíll bring him an eggnog.
really celebrate. I
think heís outside somewhere.
and Fred begin to exit)
(Coming center stage from the
side) I really enjoyed seeing those two brothers hate each other for
all these years. Anger
is so delicious. How
satisfying it is to see people who love to hate.
is your work, Satan. You
take an emotion and twist it out of control.
Your kind of anger is destructive.
Itís self-serving, not God-serving.
You kind of anger hurts the person who is angry and the
people it touches. It
has neither mercy nor forgiveness.
You anger is not just, not true.
Why tell me? You
stood up there and watched. You
could have at least thrown a few ten-cent proverbs their way.
Or are you even weaker than I thought?
They already know Godís words:
ďLet not the sun go down on your anger.Ē
(Pause) ďBe angry,
but donít sin.Ē Jane
knew, Fred was finally remembering and Elmer was still shouting so
loudly that he couldnít hear it yet.
Thatís the special quality of anger.
When out of control, it closes out everything else.
But youíre talking about anger and I donít want you to
lay that on me. Anger is natural.
Anger is hereditary. Anger
comes from your God. Let
me point out a few examples. Look
at what God did to my lovely cities of Sodom and Gomorrah!
Where not even ten righteous people could be found!
What about Egypt and the Pharaoh trying to keep order in that great
A pharaoh who would not let Godís people go.
Look what happened to ordinary people at the temple who were simply
tying to make a buck.
Godís house is not to be a den of robbers!
thatís it? That is an
opinion, a judgment. Iím
talking about anger. (Crosses
arms and turns back on angel of God.
Good Angel comes down)
Almighty God is great in love and mercy and God is very slow
to anger. (Pause,
turns to sword) Yet
His righteous anger can be kindled...at injustice and evil.
(She picks up the
two-edged sword, carrying it before her as she slowly nears the Bad
Angel...not threatening, but deliberate.
She stands behind the Bad Angel but is unseen by him) I
have carried out His judgments many times.
Sin, whether it is disbelief or disobedience, must be paid
for...So what about you, Satan?
What do you think Godís judgment on you will be?
(Turns around to see the sword close at hand.
In panic, he bolts out, saying) Well, Iíll be damned!
I am an angel of the Lord.
Fourth Deadly Sin: Lust
I am an angel. I am
Godís messenger and I do Godís work.
(Entering) Where is the sword?
Do you have the sword?
Not at this moment.
(Aside to the audience) She has to tell the truth.
(To Good Angel) Now, about the last time that we met...
I am sorry that I had to run so suddenly.
I was afraid that there was going to be a death in the family.
(pause) I didnít
think that you looked well the last time we met.
I hope you feel better tonight because weíre going to talk
about Ďpleasuresí and I wouldnít want you to have a headache.
That must mean you want to talk about lust.
Lust is a deadly sin with its roots in the flesh...in the
needs and pleasures of the flesh.
That is what Iíve been saying for all these ages, that your God is
against pleasure, against having a good time, even against the
natural and normal instincts of people.
donít understand do you, Satan.
These instincts are gifts from God.
Like all of Godís gifts, they have a best use.
When theyíre used wisely and in a healthy fashion they
become true pleasure. When
you talk about true pleasure, you are walking in Godís territory!
Wait just a minute! Now
you are saying that God is in favor of pleasure.
Yes, God is.
A moment ago you said Ďthe pleasing of the flesh is sinfulí.
Make up your mind.
Itís the difference between love and lust.
Lust is impatient, selfish and shortsighted.
It almost always hurts someone, if not immediately, then in
the long run. Lust
leaves you empty. But
you should know that, Satan, for you are always hungry.
But love on the other hand is kind, thoughtful, and patient.
It is an act of giving, not taking.
Love builds and grows and satisfies.
Platitudes, platitudes, platitudes!
Humans are simply animals.
When they are in heat, they donít think.
There is a classic case right here.
(Points to scene and moves off to the side. Jane and Elmer enter, hugging and enraptured)
Jane, Jane, let met tell you, thereís nobody in the whole world
Weíve only been going together six months.
You canít feel that strongly about me.
Oh, I do. I mean,
youíre the most special girl Iíve ever met in my whole life.
Oh, Elmer. Iím not sure how I feel yet.
I know how I feel. Iíve
never met a girl like you before in my life.
Youíre it! We
can communicate. Weíre
able to talk about the neatest things.
is so special, I wouldnít want to ever
Itís just a little too fast.
(Backing away) Itís
too much too soon. Really,
Elmer, sometimes on our dates we get too carried away and become too
physical and itís...itís not
Oh, come on now, Jane (coming
closer and hugging again) God gave us emotions and passions and
feeling of pleasure and they are good.
I think that itís something for us to use and enjoy.
Get with it!
I just feel uncomfortable about it.
You know that I was brought up being taught what was right.
(Turning from him)
Hey, so was I. And
Iíd like to teach you whatís right, too.
Come on, Jane. Tonight
Mom and Dad are out of the house.
We can listen to some records and maybe make some pizza,
study a little bit, get a little more comfortable with each other.
What do you say? Huh?
(reaching out to Jane)
No, no, no. (Throws
Elmerís arm down) No,
Iím not going to. It
might get out of hand. Iím
afraid of what would happen.
(edge of irritation In his voice) Come on, Jane.
Everybodyís doing it!
No! Everybodyís not doing ďitĒ.
Iím not! Iím
not ready for this. Are
you, Elmer? Are you ready for a lifetime commitment?
Come on, Jane. We just
want to have a little fun!
No! Forget it!
(starts to leave)
I have studying to do.(Exits)
Not just for a few hours? Oh,
enters from other side)
Elmer, what are you doing standing all alone here in the classroom!
Was that Jane I saw leaving just now?
Yeah that was Jane.
You are some Casanova, Elmer. You
have a way of getting gals like no one Iíve ever seen before.
Electric Elmer! First
it was Jennifer, then Mary and now itís Jane.
You get around, Elmer. I
canít understand how you it.
Talent, Fred. You got
to know how to use the charms.
Thatís the whole thing.
Man to man and friend to friend, I really kind of like Jane.
Is she...? Ah,
that is, does she...? You
know! Actually she
seems nice...not your type!
Ah, lay off, Fred! She
is ďreally goodĒ...if you know what I mean.
(Elmer combs hair and preens)
Really good? What do
you mean? (Jane starts to re-enter, seen by the audience but not
obvious to Fred and Elmer. When
she sees the two she stops to listen)
Every girl has her principles, especially those church types.
Every girl has a game she plays before she will give in. You just have to know how to deal with them.
Learn what rules they go by and then just bend them.
(Gives appropriate Ďbendingí gestures) The church types are an interesting challenge, but they all
cooperate eventually. (Gloating) I bet you could even learn to do that. Even you, Fred.
Really, do you think I could? Thatís
manipulating people, Elmer. But
you know, what you say about Jane really disappoints me. I thought
more of her than that.
Just have to use a little more charm, Old Boy.
Janeís like all the rest.
I think youíre afraid of girls, Fred.
I think you have a problem.
Youíre probably afraid of herpes or getting some girl
pregnant or something.
You wouldnít be afraid of that?
Bur more than that, it doesnít seem right.
It seems that you are using those other girls and that
youíre using Jane. Donít
Oh, youíre back.
You creep! You jerk!
(Slaps Elmerís face)
Honey, I think you misunderstood something here.
Oh, no! I understood! You
donít love me! You
were telling all those lies. Lies!
Lies? Oh, honey, youíre wrong.
You know how much I care for you.
Ah, yes. The great big 18-year-old stud!
I heard you bragging about your conquests. Itís all a pack of lies!
You think youíre such hot stuff.
Jane, I do care about you. I
really am certain that you...
I donít believe any of it. I
want you to tell Fred the truth.
(Bad Angel makes a loud sound, freezing action)
See what I mean? Rack
one up for me.
That wasnít for you. Elmer
got caught up in his lies and was shown for what he is.
Letís ignore Elmer. Elmer
is a one-dimensional klutz! Heís
got a big mouth and a terrible line.
What about Jane? She
held true to her values and now sheís found someone who thinks of
her as a person, not just an object.
Do you mean Fred? Heís
as exciting as three-day-old bread.
He has no idea about the world, women or wants.
Thereís nothing boring about decency.
And Jane. Jane.
Sweet, innocent, young and restless Jane. I wonder what the television soaps would say about her.
fingers and organ plays ďNadiaís ThemeĒ from the Young and
Restless soap opera) Jane, tugged by feelings she doesnít understand, torn
between desire and fear. (snaps fingers, organ stops)
She needs to read Cosmopolitan.
That will tell her whatís expected of her.
Satan, you twist and distort everything.
You take that which is of value and you cheapen it.
You canít stand to see a good relationship between two
people who love each other. So
youíre always attacking them, even in marriage.
Marriage? Man and women
are animals. So
whatís the big deal? Inside of marriage or outside of marriage,
people are animals!
No, they are sons and daughters of God.
Theyíre next to angels.
They have a moral design to live by.
wouldnít know anything about moral designs. This world is driven
by lust. Itís a big business Ė everywhere you look. Itís on
everyoneís mind, teenagers through adults. Maybe we should let
this trio (indicates the three on stage) age about thirty years and
then see what happens. Elmer will be out of the picture and Jane and
Fred are together. Perhaps it will be one of those marriages made in
heaven. (diabolical laugh.)
(Three characters unfreeze and
change their outer attire. Jane
switches from teenage sweater to a smock or apron; Fred takes off
his letter jacket and
puts on a suit coat; Elmer takes off his school jacket and puts on a
suit coat and hat. Elmer
then exits, Bad Angel makes loud sound and the
Fred, donít turn the TV on tonight, huh?
Letís talk. We
need to talk about some things that are troubling me.
Oh, Jane, I had such a long day at work.
Iím, so tired. I
just need to sit here and collapse on the sofa and do nothing but
vegetate in from of the TV tonight.
You and your work! You
know, honestly, Fred, it seems that you use work as an excuse to
avoid any kind of intimacy.
Here we go again! Round
and round, always nagging, always complaining, always whining...when
all I want to do is watch a little TV.
But you donít understand. Weíre
not sharing our lives anymore.
I get so tired of going over this speech every single night of our
lives. Itís the same
story every night.
Canít you see how miserable I am?
You donít understand how empty I feel inside.
I understand what I need to understand.
No, you donít. Why,
you havenít even touched me for days.
We havenít made love for weeks.
Weeks? Months, I would say. You
always have some excuse or other.
Itís been so long that Iím starting to think that maybe
youíre having an affair with someone.
Why would you think that?
Well, something is wrong. I
canít quite figure out what it is, but Iíve watched enough TV
shows to realize that people sometimes have affairs at times like
this in their lives.
You are impossible! Canít
you see whatís happening to a good marriage in a Christian home?
Donít give me that religious garbage!
Religious garbage? Your
faith has always been important to you.
Whatís wrong with you, Fred?
Is this the kind of a marriage God wants us to have?
Iíve had enough of this conversation tonight.
I am going to the bedroom and watch television.
Good night. (begins to exit)
(half to herself) I should have married Elmer!
At least he talked!
(overhears) Elmer? Youíve
got to be kidding. Heís
a klutz if I ever saw one. Elmer
may have been a teenage dude, but as an adult, he is a dud.
obviously distraught. Then
she stops to pray) Oh,
Lord Jesus, help us. Our
marriage has soured. Help!
Help us Lord. Fred
has turned away from me and I donít know what has come between us.
I know Iím at fault too.
Help me to erase my bitterness and my emptiness.
(telephone rings Ė Jane answers)
Hello, this is Jane speaking.
Elmer? I told
you not to call here. You
and Annette? No, no, donít leave her.
She needs you. She
needs your love and understanding.
I know how that is. No,
I canít see you. I
canít see you tomorrow either.
I canít. No,
itís not because I donít need someone. I need someone more than you realize, someone who will listen
and care. No, Fred is
okay! Heís a good
man. Heís just so busy with his work, I guess.
I donít know. I seem to need more than he can give me.
No, I canít leave him!
You just want to hold me?
I could certainly use that.
I need someone to love me!
Iím so confused. No. No.
I canít do that to Fred and I canít do it to myself.
(Jane hangs up.
Fred enters, unnoticed by her as she stands over the phone.
G.A. dusts Fred)
Jane? Iíve been thinking. What
you say is true. I
donít know how I got so far off the track.
I seem to have forgotten what is important in life.
What is important in your life?
You. You are. I love
you, Jane. I do love
Then why do I feel so desperate sometimes about our relationship?
problem is that I just get so busy, so distracted, so preoccupied
with myself and my
work. I guess the
Ďloveí inside of me gets put on hold sometimes.
I feel as though I fail you emotionally so often.
I have not met your needs.
Oh, Fred, youíre a good person.
Thereís no doubt about that.
I love you, Fred. I
canít tell you now important you are in my life.
But I do need to know that I am an important part of your
life too. I want to
know about your feelings, your problems. Then we can talk about them.
Iím not good at talking about those things.
I am probably worse at listening.
I know you want me to, but Iím just not good at it.
But itís so important. Weíve
got to learn to do it. Weíve
I know. I agree.
Fred. Hold me. (Jane
and Fred embrace)
I love you so much. Please
be patient with me. Please?
I will. I want to make it work.
Letís go down to the kitchen and make a pot of coffee.
And talk. (Fred and
Marriage based on love and forgiveness has no room for you, Satan.
But love, forgiveness, they take so much work.
Soon these two will tire and seek the e4asier road, my way.
Satan is partly right. Love and forgiveness take hard work, constant
work. It take commitment to work through problems, remembering that
you are not alone in this for God is there. God cares. The capacity
to develop enduring love is one of Godís greatest gifts. Marriage
may not be made in heaven but love is. (Exit)
Fifth Deadly Sin: Gluttony
Scene: Restaurant with a bar off
to one side.
is dressed as a waiter: black pants, white shirt, cummerbund.
Each time he enters, he adds one more item of the
Ďdevilísí apparel. Fred,
Jane and Elmer are dressed as working people would in a restaurant.
Props: Card table to simulate a
dining room table, complete with cloth, table settings. Another high table for Jane to simulate a bar.
Wine carafes and glasses.
The white wine can be water and the red wine can be fruit
juice. Tea will simulate scotch.
Food for a spaghetti dinner.
Special notes: While Jane is drinking alone, she can file her nails, check her watch
over carefully, removing it and replacing it, read the menu, look in
her compact and purse, etc.
I am an angel of the Lord. (pause) Have you seen
(pause) Is he out there? (pause)
Apparently not. Tonight
we are going to talk about the
deadly sin of gluttony and I thought he would come roaring in
here shouting, ďEat, drink, be merry, for tomorrow we die.Ē
He is the ultimate glutton you know.
Because of this he would have us make food and drink our God
and eat and drink until we harm others and ourselves.
Then he could feed on our misery.
Heís like that. Gluttony
is a sneaky sin. It
starts out so innocently, with fun and frolic, but it has a hook.
And when the bait is taken, itís hard to shake free.
I wonder where he is. (points
to stage scene) Do
you know what we have here? Would
you believe the Royal Pitchfork Restaurant?
Iíll bet Satan is waiting around here somewhere.
(enters from side, dressed as a waiter.
He goes to Jane who has been seated throughout the Good
Angelís speech at a bar-like setting) Oh, I hope I didnít
neglect you. I was
doing some last minute duties in the kitchen.
What was it? Chablis?
If my memory serves me right.
(Getting half a liter of wine from side)
Iím glad you remembered.
Youíve been in couple of times this week.
If I donít know what somebody wants by the third time, my
reputation would turn to ashes.
I find this a nice place to stop after work.
(B.A. pours her a
Do you want it all?
Yes, leave it please. (B.A.
set down carafe. Jane
drinks throughout the scene) (Fred
and Elmer enter)
Good evening, gentlemen. Ah,
Hello there. Good to
Iíve got your table waiting for you.
Please, have a seat (Elmer
and Fred are seated at the restaurant table)
Bring on the food and drinks, a shovel and a straw.
Letís go, Iím hungry.
Hmmmm-hmmmm. Me, too.
Do you have a recommendation?
Would you like a menu? (Starts
to hand a menu) I
personally favor the sole.
You know, one of these days I am going to order the halibut instead
of the sole.
You are too witty. No,
donít bother. Just
bring us two of your specials.
(Handing menus back)
Two specials, coming up. Your
bread and wine are already at your table. The salad will be in a minute. (Leaves)
Well, Fred, itís good to come here for your birthday.
I should say! Itís
not every year that I turn 49.
Iíve got new for you. You havenít seen 49 for years.
Oh well, Iím forever young. Say,
Elmer, that Ďspecialí that you ordered Ė what is it?
Itís all you can eat. Bread,
salad, spaghetti, meatballs. Then
he usually throws in a surprise at the end.
(B.A. returns with a
big salad and one item of the BAD Angel costume)
Oh that looks good.
Here you are gentlemen.
Thanks, it looks delicious.
and Elmer banter about the food as they begin to eat voraciously,
both making pigs of themselves with their shoveling food
in rapidly, spilling and smacking their lips and continue to
do so throughout the
By the way, Fred, I got a kick out of going to church with you last
Sunday. It was a real
experience for me.
I was glad you came. You
havenít been there for a long time.
Actually, I was surprised you showed up.
The truth is, I enjoyed church. But you know what?
There was something that bugged me about the Parish Education class
you took me to Ė the one about World Hunger.
Films like those annoy me.
What was wrong with that film? Iím on the World Hunger committee and I helped to select it
because I thought it was educational.
Whatís educational about bloated bellies?
Whatís important is that you learn the truth.
Elmer, you need to learn the truth about World Hunger.
Did you know that a billion people are starving to death on
this planet? Did you know that? And
did you realize that twelve million children starved to death last
year? Did you realize
No, but that all sounds like someoneís trying to lay a guilt trip
on me. I have worked
hard to earn my standard of living.
I like my vacations and my nice home and a trip whenever I
want to go. I donít
like guilt trips just because I have money to live the way I do.
That film wasnít supposed to put you on a guilt trip.
The purpose of it was to make you more responsible.
People like you need to be more responsible in fighting world
himself as he talks with bread stick)
Iím not responsible for world hunger.
Iím responsible for myself.
Let those poor slobs in those other countries be responsible
for themselves. Is it
my fault? You only go around once in life and Buddy, itís my turn.
so glad you have an older brother like me who is a little wiser in
the ways of the world. As
usual, youíre wrong on several counts.
The first is that you donít go around just once.
When you die and meet God face to face, youíre going to find out itís a longer trip than you
And the second thing?
Just because youíre born in the breadbasket of the world doesnít
mean you are to indulge yourself.
You are to share with starving people.
characters continue to load their mouths and talk with them full)
The worldís a banquet.
Letís enjoy the feast.
(Waiter, with another item of apparel added, enters with a
huge bowl of spaghetti and meatballs
and serves the men)
Your problem is that youíre basically a Hedonist.
Yum, yum. Look
at this gorgeous food.
Oh boy, let me at it! (they
continue to banter about the food, the birthday or whatever come to
mind, generally small talk as action moves toward Jane.
Elmer and Fred Ďmouthí the words silently so as not to
detract from Janeís scene. They
slowly quiet down)
Enjoy! (walks over to
Jane at the bar)
Howíre you doing? A
little more wine?
I believe Iíll have some scotch.
Oh ho, weíre getting serious then, huh?
That must mean itís either a bad day or youíre planning a
Letís just say I have some problems.
But...theyíre not your problems so donít be concerned.
My fifteen-year-old daughter came home at three oíclock
this morning. Can you
believe it? Fifteen
years old? That
frightens me! And my
husband! What did he do? Laugh!
He thought it was funny.
(Empty laugh) Ha!
Kids will be kids.
They certainly will! Then
my husband and I had a few words about it.
Know what I mean? Iím not eagerly looking forward to going home tonight.
I donít know what to do.
(Pause) Bartender, can you help me?
No, I canít help solve your problems, Love, but the house can buy
a drink. That will help
you forget them...at least for the night.
Hmm, what about tomorrow?
Oh, excuse me, Iím needed in the kitchen. (exits)
(Attention drawn back to the men when they start raising
their voices again, chatting about the food.
ďMore spaghetti?Ē ďMore
Say isnít that Jane? From
Yes, thatís Jane alright.
I thought so. Iíve
been watching her. Sheís
been wolfing down booze over there.
Is she some kind of lush?
Oh, donít be
so hard on her. Her
personal life is difficult right now.
Sure, a typical Christian. Go
to church on Sunday, tell all the rest of us how to live, then on
Monday, youíre just like the rest of us poor slobs. Thatís why I donít like Christians...like that woman over
Donít be so hard on her. She
and Tom, her husband, are friends of mine. And like I said, sheís going through a rough time right
now. I feel sorry for
people like that who donít realize theyíre addicted.
Would you believe it, Elmer? That
itís possible for people to be addicted and not even realize what
theyíre addicted to? (still
gulping down food)
Yes, itís really tragic about people like her.
Say, Fred, youíre slowing down on that spaghetti.
Get some more.
Sure, Iíd like some more. Thanks.
Just donít tell my doctor.
He said to me, ďFred, youíve got to lose thirty
youíre going to have heart attack if you donít start taking care
of yourself.Ē ďFred,
cut out the salt.Ē ďFred,
cut down on the boozeĒ. What
a bore life would be if I followed his advice.
brother, something most interesting is happening here.
Once again you are pointing out to me a familiar little quirk
of yours, you and your Christian friend over there.
What are you talking about?
Faithful Freddie, the hypocrite.
Here we go again. The
hypocrite thing again.
Here you are, wolfing down every bit of spaghetti you can get; the
wine, the bread and everything else.
And all the while you are telling me to simplify my life
style. ĎEast less,
drink less, drive lessí. Indeed!
You are a fraud!
Well! You certainly
have a way of ruining a birthday meal, Brother. (Angry silence)
(Good Angel scatters angel dust on Fred) But you
know...in a way...(Puts down
fork)...you are right. (Hands
to head) Whatís wrong with me?
Sitting here like a food junkie, stuffing in the food as fast
as I can. O Lord,
whatís happened to me?
Say Iím not your confessor! All
I ask is that you donít preach at me anymore.
You and Jane over there arenít much different, are you?
Youíre both addicted.
(B.A. enters with an overly large banana split, devilís
food cake or other
dessert. He has added
another piece of his Ďdevilishí attire)
The traditional dessert at the Royal Pitchfork is Devilís Food
Delight, but after hearing and seeing you two eat, I was inspired to
create Ďle pig troughí.
No Iím going over to talk to Jane.
That lush? What for?
I just realized something about myself and I need to talk to my
friend Jane about it.
Huh! The best thing you
can do for her is buy her a drink.
(Fred walks to Jane as Elmer starts to eat the dessert.
Elmer eats more quietly and does not distract from the scene between Fred and
Hello there, Jane.
Oh no! I was hoping I
wouldnít see anyone I knew in here
I know what you mean, but after all, weíre friends.
Whatís going on with you?
Do you really want to know?
Yes. I do. Whatís the
problem? How are things
with you and Tom.
havenít been going well between us.
It seems every event in our lives lately is a
cause for another major argument.
For one thing, he thinks I drink too much.
And the kids. Oh my! Theyíre
getting so independent that they seem to have no regard for either
of us anymore. Itís
pretty hard to accept that! I
donít know what to do?
My boss at
work has been on my case lately too.
That adds up to failure and failure makes
me feel worthless and empty. This
stuff (gesturing with glass) helps to fill the void.
Yes, but Iím a foodaholic. I
inhale food, shovel it in. You
see, I have this nervous knot in my stomach and I seem to think I
can calm those nerves with food.
Then I get so disgusted with myself after I pig out.
I feel so rotten inside.
I eat compulsively, voraciously.
Itís like I canít stop.
I donít control myself.
I CANíT control myself.
Ah thatís the way I feel the morning after this stuff.
It seems that Iím a foodaholic and youíre an alcoholic.
Both of us are addicted.
Weíre church people. You
teach Sunday School. I
have the Childrenís Choir. We
bear the name of Christian, Christ-followers.
He who came to save us from all these addictions.
(Pause) How can
that be? Can addicts
really be Christians? Donít
Christians have it all together?
If we gotta be perfect, you and I are in big trouble and so is
everyone else. One
thing I know about God is that God loves all of us.
The whole life of Jesus centered on his loving and caring for
sinners and addicts, people like us.
I know. Iím glad to
be reminded of that again. What
can we do?
I think we have to be honest. Stop pretending you donít have a booze problem and I will
stop pretending that
I donít have a food problem.
Weíve got to get honest with ourselves and admit it to
ourselves and to others.
Others? What will
they say? I suppose
there are some friends, Christian friends, who have been there
before and can help us. Weíre
not the only ones.
Yes, there are people in church who are recovering addicts.
I know many of them could help us.
And we do need to pray, ďGod, get me off this stuff.Ē
Godís always been there before when Iíve needed help.
It seems the hardest part is admitting I canít do it on my
own. I need Godís
You donít belong here, Jane.
No, I donít.
This bartender is no help.
This stuff (glass) is no help.
This place is the
Listen, Iíll call you tomorrow. How about if you and Tom and I get together and talk.
Letís take the first step.
What do you say?
Okay! Iíll do it.
You call tomorrow. (Jane starts to exit)
I will. Good-night.
(Returning to table) Well, Brother, thereís not much left here for
me. Guess Iíll go.
You kind of took your time over there.
I started to come to my senses a bit.
Thanks for remembering my birthday and for opening my eyes.
Opening your eyes? What
are you talking about? (Gulping
down one more spoonful) Sure
you donít want some of this ice cream?
Oh, (chuckling) no, no,
thanks. Goodnight now.
ĎNight! (Fred exits)
(Returns, fully costumed) Whereís your friend?
He went off with that lush.
Wonderful! Misery loves
company. They can feed
otherís tales of woe.
I have to be going too. Iíll
probably see you tomorrow night with someone else.
That would be delicious! Good-bye.
(Elmer exits, B.A. pours a glass of wine, turns to the audience and
raises his glass to them) What about you?
What do you want? A
good time? Get away
from it all? Fill that
ache in your belly? My
place never closes. Come
on down and see me sometime. (Exits)
(Coming down from pedestal
and looking about the restaurant)
You canít find what you
need here (gesturing right).
This is empty (gesturing left).
Look up! Look
elsewhere! Jesus said,
ďIím the bread of life. Anyone
who comes to me shall never hunger.
Anyone who believes in me shall never thirst.Ē
Sixth Deadly Sin: Pride
I am an angel of the Lord. I
am His messenger. Tonight
weíre going to talk about pride, the most basic of sins.
Sinful pride causes us to think too highly of ourselves, to
trust in ourselves too much and to neglect and disregard others.
Pride is one of Satanís favorite temptations.
Speak of the devil, here he comes.
What do I hear you saying up there?
My temptation? Who are you to talk about pride?
Every week you come sashaying down this aisle, and what's the
first thing you do? Get
up on a pedestal. Now
who or what gives you that right?
What special merit do you have?
What makes you superior to me?
I did not ask to be put here. I only do what God asks of me.
I am His servant. I
use the gifts and the talents that He gave me in the way that He
would have me use them. I
do not claim this pedestal as my right.
So now you claim humility! Iíll
tell you something. You
show me a truly humble soul and Iíll show you a loser.
Donít you understand?
It is pride that makes this world go around.
It is false pride that sets nations, people, and families
against each other.
Itís all a power struggle and your God started it.
He is the one who demands that all knees shall bow to Him.
I refuse to do that and I have taken it as a personal
responsibility to persuade people throughout the ages that they can
be at least equal to God and therefore need not bow to Him.
I preached that in the garden and I preach it now.
You lie, Satan. The
only thing you taught Adam and Eve and humans since is disobedience,
which brought death into the world.
Youíre prideful, boastful, corrupt.
Iím sure you had a hand in this little game over here.
(B.A. goes to side)
(Entering with Fred and
Elmer) Whatíll we do tonight?
Letís do something.
How about playing some games?
Iíd love to play Scrabble
Scrabble is too slow-moving.
It takes brains.
(to Fred) He doesnít want to play it.
Hereís this new game I bought yesterday.
Oh, whatís the name of it
It looks interesting and I thought weíd like it.
Itís called ďLutes and Ladders.Ē
Lutes and Ladders? Does
that ever sound childish!
Hold it a minute. See,
Fred? ďLutes and
Ladders Ė Adult VersionĒ.
(Looking inside the box)
Thereís no board in here. Ah,
here are the directions.
It says weíre supposed to get out some step ladders, one
Step ladders? This
is a dumb game.
(Looking behind them to the ladders) Here they are, how about that!
(Others look) Letís
Aw, I donít know about this.
The directions say weíre supposed to stand on the floor, each in
front of their step ladder and draw cards to choose a discussion
topic. The object of
the game is to (reading) ďtop
the story of the person before you.
If you can do that you climb up one step on the ladder.
The first person to the top of the ladder wins.Ē Weíre supposed to roll dice to see who goes first.
Oh, this is indeed a stupid game, ďtop the story of the person
before youí. Letís
play cards. How about
Clue, Monopoly, something like that?
Letís give it a try. It
might be interesting. (Teasing)
Who knows, you may even be lucky enough to win.
Thatís the spirit. Here
is the die.
Alright, give me the die. Six,
I want a six.
Fred, you got a three. I
can beat that. (He
rolls Ė as the three roll to determine order of play, there is a
great commotion among them to get the highest number so each can be
first) (Shakes) Aha! A
four! I beat you!
Jane, you got a four? You
My turn. Come on, Baby!
Oh, I got a six! I
(The three each claim a
ladder and stand next to it, bantering about how they will outdo
What are the directions again?
Weíre supposed to chose a topic? Iíll draw from this stack of cards. (draws)
Our topic is pride.
Jane & Fred:
The card says, ďSay something about yourself that gives you pride.
Remember you are supposed to answer truthfully.
Remember that yourself, Elmer. Try to be honest (under
his breath) for once.
The first one to
top wins the game. Hmm,
pride. Ah, I have
(All three characters are outrageously boastful in their
parts Ė hamming it up with broad gestures as they give their
Where I work, people look to me as being very competent.
I can be counted on and I like that about myself.
Iím proud of that. People
look to me for help and that makes me feel good.
Iím competent, so Iím going up a step.
(takes a step up)
Okay, Iíll give you that. You
are competent. However,
I have talent. Itís
been given to me. Iím
gifted. I can sing, for
example. I sing in
choirs and I sing solos, and (Taking
step up) Iím very good at it.
This is a foolish game. I
donít even want to play. But
if I have to, I guess I can think of something. (Pause) Okay,
Iím a decent and honest human being.
And Iím sincere in my commitment to Christ, the values of
the Christian community, and my life of discipleship.
This is a lot more important than your competence or your
singing ability, so I will definitely take one big step.
That is BORING!
Jane, you know my life isnít boring.
I havenít even gotten started. Iím not only competent, I am industrious.
I can outwork anybody, anyplace, anytime.
Youíre a religious person, Fred, and thatís good.
And Jane, youíre talented and that has its place in the
world, but real hard work is what makes the world keep going.
Thatís why I am important.
(Takes two steps up)
Hey. . . didnít he . . .
Cheater! You took two
Youíre supposed to play fair.
Maybe Iím better than you are. If you think youíre so good, come up higher.
Well! Itís my turn
and I will come higher because I can write.
I write devotionals, stories, and plays. (Up one)
And I write music too. AND
Iím something that neither of you can ever be.
I am a warm . . . caring. . .WOMAN.
(Up one step)
Ugh! Who would want to
be a woman?
Oh, my turn, my turn. I
know my commitment to God is good, and I donít look down my nose
at other people like the two of you.
At least...I am humble. (Up
one step) BESIDES, I give more money away to charity in terms of
total dollars AND percentages than either of you do.
My generosity is something that God sees and... HE says my
generosity is worth at least another step.
(Up another step)
Ugh! Mr. Humble!
Well, neither of you can even hold a candle to me.
Iím not only competent and industrious but Iím a
professional, a professional engineer.
(Up one step)
I have intelligence, wit, charm, and knowledge, and that
makes me successful. That makes me admired.
And because of that, folks, Iíve got something to tell you.
I win the Game! (Sits
on top of the ladder)
Oh, No. No you donít.
Thatís not fair. You
started first! I
didnít get a chance to say I have beautiful children!
We have a wonderful relationship.
And thatís better than....(Cradling
an imaginary child)
Wait! I didnít get a
chance to say that I spend less money on pleasure - I visit the poor
Ė go to the homes of the elderly.
I do all that, and I worship Jesus.
(Throws arms in the
(Then Fred, Jane and Elmer start shouting their
accomplishments at the same time, with appropriate broad gestures;
Elmer giving the victory sign as he claims to be number one; Fred
praising the heavens with arms outstretched; Jane cradling a child.
It sounds like a babble of words.
The Bad Angel makes aloud noise and action freezes on stage,
with all three characters caught in their gestures.)
(Pause and then quietly)
I love it when a plan comes together!
Silence, Satan! Look at what youíve done.
What an ugly scene! Itís
like the Tower of Babel. (She
comes down from her pedestal, in front of ladders to look)
What would you have me do? This
is the way the world is. When
youíre best, when youíre on top, why not proclaim it?
Does your God think so little of humans that He does not wish
them to take pride in their talent (gestures to Jane), or their work
(to Elmer) or in their
faith. (to Fred)
Again you pervert the truth. Humans have great value.
God made them in his image.
He wants them to use their talents to the fullest.
Thatís what these people are doing!
So whatís the big deal!
Whatís the big deal! Theyíre
supposed to love their neighbors as themselves.
These people have put themselves above their neighbors!
Thatís not what God wants.
(Angel prepares to sprinkle Fred with her magic dust)
What do you think youíre doing? Stop that!
(throws the dust up, but since Fred is near the top of the ladder,
it falls down upon G.A. She
tries again, but it falls short again.
Then she turns to the audience)
Do you suppose this is why God made people a little lower
(Laughing as he exits) Itís so hard for God to
reach the proud. (Makes
loud sound while Angel is pulling Fred down)
(pulls Fred down from the ladder and sprinkles him)
back to pedestal)
Whatís going on?
(Elmer and Jane continue as before, shouting their successes
as Fred watches)
Iím at the top, Iím Number One.
I know how to communicate with my family and others.
Hey, Elmer, Jane, stop it! Stop
stop) This is nonsense. Look
at the way weíre behaving. This
is a stupid game. Weíre
putting each other down. That
isnít Godís will for us. Letís
It. . .mmmm. . .doesnít help our friendship, does it?
And this ladder goes nowhere.
Iím coming down (Comes down)
Iím not! I enjoy
looking down on both of you for once.
Iím finally number one.
Iím in a category all by myself.
Itís only a game, Elmer.
No, itís not just a game. Itís
life. Iíve always
wanted to be up here. Iím
finally king of the mountain. Iím
master of my own fate and captain of my soul.
Why should I come down?
And now that Iím up here, I can get what I so richly
deserrrrrrr. . . (Falls,
crashing to the floor. Jane
and Fred rush to care for him)
Elmer! Are you
all right? Oh, my!
This is a dangerous game. People
can get hurt.
I donít think itís too much fun to put ourselves above others.
(Start helping Elmer up)
Itís just not the way to do it. Letís play something else.
(Helping Elmer, they
all exit, leaving Good Angel alone)
says, ďWhen I was a child, I spoke like a child, thought like a
child, and reasoned like a child.
But when I became a mature person, I gave up my childish, self-centered, prideful ways.Ē
Seventh Deadly Sin: Avarice
the open areas of the stage. No
special setting is required.
large envelopes with the names of the three printed in large
letters. In each
envelope, an invitation and a questionnaire.
Pencils or pens.
Whenever one of the three central
characters is not involved in the conversation, he or she needs to
be working on the questionnaire and actually filling in answers.
Angel enters and places three large envelopes conspicuously on the
stage. Each has a
boldly printed name on it of the three characters.
In each is an invitation and a questionnaire to be filled out)
I am an angel of the Lord. I
am His messenger. I
have here an invitation that says, ďYou are invited to a party. Everything you need will be provided. The party begins when you arrive and ends whenever you want
to leave. It will be a
divine experience. To
participate, you first must complete the enclosed form dealing with
your possessions. You
must pay the price of admission.
The party will cost all that you have.Ē
What nonsense! What
absolute, utter nonsense. Who
is going to be interested in an invitation like that?
A party that costs all that you have?
Let me make a suggestion.
Donít order too many party favors.
Even I can understand paying a fair price for something of value.
But, to give up everything?
Even the most important things in your life, to go to some
speculative party? No
Under the circumstances, itís a fair price.
We shall see about that. Here
comes our magnificent trio now.
I see that Elmer is in the lead where he should be.
Heíll talk some sense into this group.
(The three enter singly, down the center aisle, spaced a
Hey, whatís this? Itís
got my name on the envelope.
I wonder who put this here. You
have one too?
Yes, Nobody ever sends me mail.
What are you doing?
Oh, Jane. There is one
here for you as well.
I wonder whatís inside? (All
open the invitation) Itís
To a party!
Looks like fun.
But look at the price! It
costs all you have. Thatís
too rich for my blood.
Letís take a look at the form, or whatever it is weíre to fill
out. (Jane starts reading the form)
Dig this first question. List
your valuable possessions. Ha!
Thatís going to be easy for me.
I donít have any.
Elmer, donít give us your Ďpoor little meí routine.
Fred, next to you and your money, Iím practically penniless.
Youíve got to be kidding. Most
of the world will never have the things we do, including you
Fred, once again you are so predictable.
Come on, youíre dying to tell me what my many blessings
Okay, I will. Do you
drive to work?
That means you have both a car and a job.
You are two ahead of most people in the world.
Have you looked at number two? How did you acquire these valuable possessions?
Boy, I hope the IRS isnít around.
This list may not coincide with my tax form.
Hey, Jane. Everybody
cheats on taxes. I did a couple of things on the shady side.
Iím on the
up and up. I am honest
in my reporting. I
worked hard for everything I
I earned it.
Oh, look at number three. Have
you seen that? ĎHow
do you use your possessions?í
This is a weird questionnaire.
Why would anyone want to know that?
And what difference does it make how I use the things
that I own?
I left that one blank. All
Iíve got of value is my coin collection. My business is my business.
Why do you collect coins if you canít use them and donít even
Everyone knows the true values in life are acquired by that great
five-letter word Ė money. My
money. I use my money
to buy the best things in life.
Thatís M-O-N-E-Y. (Spells
Elmer, you canít buy happiness with money.
Some of my rich friends have miserable marriages and
miserable children and miserable ulcers.
You can buy some pleasures to make life easier, but you
canít buy happiness.
Nonsense! With money, I
can buy a house.
You can buy a house, but you canít buy a home with loving people
inside of it.
And you canít buy happy children. You canít buy a wife who truly loves you.
How about the fine things of life, like art and jewelry?
How about those?
You can buy those, but you canít buy an appreciation for beauty.
How about comfortable furnishing...a comfortable bed?
You can buy a bed, but not a good nightís sleep.
You canít buy wisdom.
IĎve got one for you. Food
and medicine, you canít deny that one.
You can buy food and medicine, but not a healthy body.
You canít even buy a cure for arthritis.
I give up on you two. If
I had the chance, I could prove to you that youíre both wrong.
I mean, give me money, lots of money so I could bathe in
it...walk through heaps of hundred dollar bills.
Iíd love to rollllll around...stuff it in my mattress...and
lie in it. Mmmmmm,
Delicious!! (Wild gestures to act out the above) What a good nightís sleep Iíd have.
You may think it would help you to sleep better, but for many,
itís something they lose sleep over.
(Pause, looks at
see here. Question four. How
much time and money do you spend caring for and protecting your
property? Hmmmm. These questions are strange.
I donít spend any time or money on them.
Iím going to put down zero.
That sound good. Me
Oh, wait a
minute. We all have
insurance, donít we? So
I think we need to put that
Yes, and I suppose I could add the cleaning bill for my swimming
Boat storage, for that scummy little boat of mine.
Bank fees, brokerage fees, and wages for the hired help.
Yes, and thereís updating and decorating and remodeling.
When you start to think about it, we spend a lot of time and money
just taking care of all the things we have. (All three start to
mutter to themselves and talk at once, as they fill out their forms)
I wonder how many
hours of polishing...
I canít quite remember what I paid my accountants last year...
(Back to table to write)
Letís see, thereís insurance fees on the car.
Four times eight, carry the...
(Makes a loud noise and the three freeze on stage)
(Looks up from his paperwork) Yes?
What are you doing? (He
is perturbed, whispering over shoulder)
This is a special form I received. It came with an invitation.
Iíve never asked myself questions like these, such as, list
your possessions. How
did you get them? Iíve
never had to answer questions like these.
It makes a person think.
Thatís what you have got to stop. Thinking! It
only confuses you. You
are under my control, since you chose my way years ago.
Now do what you must do and do it quickly
(Makes a loud noise and
the action continues)
Whose business is it anyway how much time or money we spend on our
What I have is what Iíve earned and itís my right to do
with it what I want. Letís
forget this questionnaire. Okay?
I know what you mean, but the form is rather interesting.
Besides, the party may be fun.
Yes, but did you remember the cost of getting in?
The bottom line? Look at it again. ĎI
hereby transfer ownership of all the above to the party givers.í
This is difficult to sign. I
have a lot of everything, a lot to lose.
I donít have much, but Iíve worked hard.
Iím not signing it all away.
Itís too much to ask.
Jane, you arenít signing, are you?
It sounds so final doesnít it? I donít know.
(Loudly from off stage) Elmer?
I know Iím not going to sign it. This form is a waste of time.
Letís go to the Mall.
Theyíre having a great sale this week.
Do you want to go?
Consider this for a minute. This
may be the only time weíll ever receive this invitation, our last
Ah, come on, we always can have a second chance.
Donít you think?
There! Iím done!
Have you finished yet, Jane?
Almost, but Iím reluctant to sign it.
I was too, but
I signed it because I want to go to that party and see what itís
like. I want
to be there!
What if itís all for nothing?
So? So what? Everything
we have came from God in the first place.
Weíve all been
given far more than we ever deserved.
Why not give it back to God?
Besides, I like the big adventure.
Come on Jane, sign it.
(Grabbing imaginary Ďtreasuresí in the air and clutching them
to her) But all my
things? (Looks down at
her empty arms wrapped in front of her)
All my things. (Nodding
and beginning to smile) Yes.
Theyíre all as empty as the air that I clutch to myself.
Yes, Iíll do it! I
want to sign. I want to go to the party!
(Fred and Jane turn and sign the document, quietly chatting
and comparing pages, their backs turned to Elmer and oblivious to
(Looking out at the congregation) Maybe it would be fun to go. (Good Angel sprinkles Elmer)
Wait now, you stop that. That
one belongs to me. (G.A.
defiantly sprinkles Elmer a second time) You
stop that! Elmer, come
I know it sounds childish, but I want to go to the party.
I have this invitation. Fred
and Jane are going.
Itís a trick, a trick, Elmer. You wonít fit in. They
arenít your kind of people.
It canít be a mistake. Look,
my names on it.
Elmer, Iím losing patience with you!
Iím going to spell it out for you very, very carefully.
(B.A. turns his back to Elmer, faces the audience and exits slowly so
that his comments are aimed at all, not just Elmer) You are a worthless human being because you are a sinner!
Youíve been slothful and envious.
Youíve been full of anger, lustful and gluttonous, greedy
(B.A. turns back to face Elmer)
Youíre not worth saving.
Oh yes he is!
Besides, who would invite you to a heavenly party?
Someone has. I know I
am all these rotten things but I want to go to the party.
Youíre making a mistake, Elmer. Theyíre going to take everything that you have, everything
I donít care. I want
You canít get rid of me this easily, Elmer.
You canít! I
will be back! (exits)
I really want to go to the party.
But I canít.
Iím such a sinner. I
Elmer, Iím a sinner too.
So am I, Elmer. None of
us are good enough to go to the party, but weíre invited anyway.
Well, if you think theyíll let me in, I want to go.
Good! Good, Elmer!
(All three hug)
(While Elmer signs)
All of us are going. What
Yes, Iím so nervous.
(The three line up and give their form to the Good Angel,
all-visible to the audience. She
takes them, one at a time an says their names as she looks at each
separately and smiles)
Elmer. Iím so
glad you came. I see
you have your forms and theyíre all filled out.
Now I give them back to you.
I donít understand.
I thought this was the price of the party.
Donít you realize your place at the party has already been bought
and paid for? Itís
not free. Jesus paid
the price for you on the Cross.
On the Cross of Christ!
(She hugs each
separately as the file by her on their way to the exit)
(Fred and Jane exit together, as do Elmer and the Good Angel.
The three are joyously skipping and chattering and trying to
avoid tripping and falling. ďItís
free. The Partyís
bought and paid forĒ ďIím
invited to the party,Ē etc.)
Youíre not going to let me in?
(P.S. The bad angel was feeling quite neglected
and left out of the party and so he penned these words: (B.A. sits
in the church parking lot with much wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Patrons drive over him. B.A. is not available for the next
Iím returning all of these things to you with the understanding
that you will use all of these gifts from God wisely; that you will
gratefully share them with those in need.