The King’s Decree vs The King’s Act
A Short Play Titled
"The King’s Decree vs The King’s Act"
SCENE 1 (Rehearsal/ Gossip Scene )
They are dressed in dance costume with (markings on their skin).
LEADER: You all know why we are here. For those who have forgotten, let me remind you.
This is our dress and technical rehearsal ….
DANCER 1: Excuse me o! Please, when is the performance? (Everyone looks at her in amazement)
DANCER 2: What kind of question is that? Are you sure that you are part of our kingdom, kingdom Baybayshort?
DANCER 3: Abeg don’t mind her. She is just seeking for notice.
DANCER 1: What have I done wrong now? Is it not a common saying by our people that anyone who asks question would not miss his/her way?
DANCER 4: Why don’t you ask and find out the names of the lazy youths in the other country?
DANCER 2: Very good. Or she should go to sambisa forest and ask for the remaining missing Chibok girls …
DANCER 3: Or even the Dapchi School girls
LEADER: It’s ok. We have no time. The presentation is tomorrow at the king’s palace before the whole villagers. Now action! (THE MUSIC COMES ON THEY DANCE FOR LIKE A MINUTE THEN 2 WOMEN WITH WATER POT COME ON STAGE).
GOSSIP 1: What are these people doing here? They are in their costumes performing without an audience.
GOSSIP 2: Don’t tell me you don’t know who these people are. They are the Grade II dancers of this our country Baybayshort.
GOSSIP 1: Of course, I know. But why are they dressed like this, performing without an audience?
GOSSIP 2: This must be their last rehearsal for the big performance tomorrow.
GOSSIP 1: Oh yeah, the so called big performance tomorrow.
GOSSIP 2: What do you mean by that? Aren’t you going to be in attendance?
GOSSIP 1: My body will be there, but my spirit will be far away.
GOSSIP 2: What do you mean by that?
GOSSIP 1: Don’t you know that, that so called big performance tomorrow by the king is idol worship?.
GOSSIP 3: Ehen! Look at them! Idol worship! See them! That’s the only thing you two know how to do best. Gossip! You will poke, nose in other people’s affairs, cho, cho, cho, cho, cho!
GOSSIP 2: See o! do you even know what we are discussing?
GOSSIP 3: I don’t need to know what you two are talking about. What I know is enough for me and what I know is that you two are cheap gossips!
GOSSIP 2: You are the biggest gossip!
GOSSIP 3: You two are the biggest, biggest, gossips! (she makes this sound e her mouth while blowing air out)
GOSSIP 1: My sister, let us go and leave trouble alone. When you see trouble, you avoid trouble.
GOSSIP 2: (Resislss) No, leave me, let me tell her a word she will never forget
GOSSIP 1: Let us go please (they leave the stage)
GOSSIP 3: Look at them! First class gossips that’s how they go about poke nosing, chuo, chuo, chuo, chuo! In other people’s affairs (looks in their direction), you should have stayed. It is me who would tell you a word you will never forget (look at their) Brrrr! (makes the sound again and walks off stage) lights out
THE DANCERS AS IN SCENE ONE ARE SEEN PERFORMING. THEY DANCE VERY WELL AND LEAVE THE STAGE. THERE IS A ROUND OF APPLAUSE.
MODERATOR: Another round of applause for that beautiful performance. Ladies and gentlemen, invited guests, this is just the beginning. Fasten your seat belts because today, you have been sentenced to enjoyment. (Every one laughs happily). But before we call another group of performance, let us with a standing ovation receive our dear king Onyebunezzar to formally tell us why we are gathered here. (everyone stands clapping and hailing the king)
ALL: Eze Onyebunezzar! Eze Onyebunezzar! May your days be long!
EZE O: Thank you very much! I will go straight to the point. I expect you to open your ears and listen to these instructions because your life may just depend on it. I repeat, your life may just depend on how well you obey and adhere strictly to what I am about to say. I will not repeat myself twice (To a palace guard) Bring me that (he points to an image. The guard goes carry it with at most reverence while four choreographers stand at four different aisle of the stage. The guard drops the image and returns to the crowd) now listen! All ye people of our dear Baybayshot Kingdom, young or old, rich or poor, man or woman and indeed everyone once you hear this sound (a sound is heard and the four choreographers at the different aisle respond to the sound) or that sound (a different sound is heard and again the choreographers react to the sound) or even that sound (they react too), you are expected to fall down (the four choreographers lie face down on the stage) and worship (the choreographers kneel backing each other but facing the audience from the four different aisle) this great image (they mime too and point to the image in the kneeling position) that I King Onyebunezzar the first (they also mime this) has setup (they stand up and return to the crowd) Anyone who refuses to bow down to this great image, would be thrown into that fiery burning furnace and no one, I repeat, no one would be able to save you from my wrath. Is that clear?
ALL: Yes sir!
EZE O: Is that clear?
ALL: Yes sir!
EZE O: Now, the party can continue! (music comes on and people begin to dance until they leave the stage. Gossip 1, 2 and 3 are left behind gossip 3 is busy doing some stage business. Gossip 1 and 2 do not notice her presence. Gossip 1 drags gossip2)
GOSSIP 2: Come, come, my sister. Did you enjoy the performance? I told you that today would be a great day I enjoyed every bit of it (all the while Gossip 2 is absent minded). What’s your opinion on the King’s announcement?
GOSSIP 1: What’s so special about the event or what the King said?
GOSSIP 2: (Shocked): shhh! Be careful what you say you can get yourself into very serious trouble. Don’t you know that the word of the king is like the word of God? As for me o, life is too sweet, I don’t want to die now. I will do exactly what the king has said.
GOSSIP 1: Idol worshipper!
GOSSIP 2: This is not idol worshipping. After all isn’t it said that you give to Ceaser what belongs to Ceaser and to God what belongs to God.
GOSSIP 1: Idol worshipper! (GOSSIP 3 UNABLE TO WAIT ANY LONGER INTERRUPTS THEM)
GOSSIP 3: Hmm! Na wa o! Look at them! Chuo, chuo! Chuo, chuo, chuol! They go poke nosing into other peoples affairs. Whom are they calling idol whorshipper now? Tell me!
GOSSIP 2: Look at this woman o! why do you keep following us like a fly following a tailless cow? Monitoring demon!
GOSSIP 3: First class Gossip!
GOSSIP 1: Abeg! Let me start going.
GOSSIP 2: My sister, wait for me please.
GOSSIP 1: Who’s your sister? Abeg go your own way let me mind my own business o! (She leaves the stage)
GOSSIP 3: (Laughs mockingly) Ha!ha!ha! come and see o! two first class gossips fighting themselves!
GOSSIP 2: Hmm! What did I do wrong? I thought she was my friend (looking in Gossip 1 direction) there’s nothing I will not see in this life. As for you (To Gossip 3), one more word from you and I will give you the beating of a life time.
GOSSIP 3: Brrrr! First class Gossip! (Gossip 2 gives her a hot chase and they leave the stage)
IT IS A PRESET. THE KING AND THREE ELDERS ARE SEATED
ELDER OYE: Our brothers say when the heart overflows it comes out through the mouth. Our hearts are overflowing with what our eyes have seen so our mouth must speak it.
ELDER OKWU: Yes, our most reverend king. The flagrant show of disrespect and unpatriotism by an unscrupulous few which our instruments of sight have beheld.
ELDER DIKE: What is wrong with you? What is the meaning of what you have just said? Infact we were wrong to allow you come with us.
ELDER OKWU: Are you now regretting your choice of me as an emissary? I speak in flowery tongues, oh yes! It is of no fault of mine that your medula oblagata cannot translate the meaning to your instrument of hearing for proper comprehension.
ELDER DIKE: Will you just shut up and let reasonable people talk!
ELDER OKWU: (Stands, offended). I will not take this sitting who are you to tell me, a reputable homo sapien with impeccable qualities to shut up?
ELDER DIKE: And what are you going to do about that? (THEY BEGIN TO ARGUE. ELDER 1 TRIES TO INTERVENE TO NO AVAIL UNTIL THE KING INTERVENES)
EZE O: (Clears his throat): what is the meaning of this? Why are you elders behaving like children in the town squares? I know for sure that you did not leave the comfort of your homes only to come here and argue like little children who are crying foul over a lost game.
ELDER DIKE: My king, you are very correct. We came here to discuss a very important matter with you but this uneducated illiterate who cannot present a matter in a simple and clear terms, has refused to keep quiet and let others speak.
ELDER OKWU: I repeat, it is no fault of mine that your medulla oblagata cannot translate the meaning of what I say to your instrument of hearing for proper comprehension.
ELDER OYE: Don’t take my silence for granted. (to elder Okwu) you are constituting a nuisance to this honourable gathering. (to the king) Eze O, with your kind permission let us throw this man out of this place so we can have our meeting in peace.
ELDER OKWU: (To the king): My king, these mere mortal men should be called to order. I would not tolerate any further abuse on my person. It is most ridiculous and unacceptable.
EZE O: I will give you this last chance. If the three of you are not ready to go straight to the point and tell me why you came here to see me, then I will understand that you are ready to face my wrath for wasting my time.
ELDER OYE: Igwe, we are sorry. Pardon us!
ELDER OKWU: I tender my most humble and sincere apology and pledge my unalloyed support to you, to the Crown…
ELDER OYE: My king, let me go straight to the point. Not too long ago, you made a decree that all the people of Baybayshort, and indeed everyone upon hearing this sound (the sound comes up as previous scene and the two other elders try to imitate what the choreographers did in previous scene) or that sound or even that sound, must bow down and worship the great image which you have set up.
ELDER DIKE: And whosoever does not fall down and worship the great image which you have set up, would be thrown into the fiery burning furnace.
ELDER OKWU: Fortunately or is it unfortunately? Well, I will have to ponder on that. But my king, the point is that, it has come to our notice that there are three men from the other kingdom whom you appointed as chief of different communities to oversee the affairs of this Baybayshort kingdom; these men, have blatantly refused, I repeat, these men have blatantly refused to bow down in utmost adoration and humility to the great image which you have made.
EZE O: And who are these men?
ELDER DIKE: They are Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego
EZE O: (Furious) All hell has been let loose! Who dares to disobey my instructions, me the great king of Baybayshort!
ELDER OKWU: My king, this is a very serious matter o! By disobeying your instructions, they see you as a worthless and weak king (They other elder are shocked and nudge elder Okwu to be quiet)
EZE O: And you elder Okwu, if you do not watch your mouth, you shall feel the weight of my wrath too. Are you all sure of this allegation?
ALL: Yes Sir!
EZE O: Are you sure?
ALL: Yes Sir!
EZE O: Are you sure?
ALL: Yes Sir?
EZE O: Guards!
GUARD (Kneels): Yes, your Highness!
EZE O: God and call me Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego! Tell them to meet me here in two days time
GUARDS: Yes Sir! (exits)
EZE O: We shall meet here in two days time.
ELDER OYE AND DIKE: O King may you live forever.
ELDER OKWU: May your domain be eternal and long lingering. (They depart. Curtain!)
THE THREE MEN OF GOD. THEY ARE DRESSED IN WHITE FLOWING CAFTANS
SHADRACH: I greet you brothers in the name of Jehovah God, the most powerful and Holy name.
MESHACH AND ABEDNEGO: We greet you in return dear brother.
SHADRACH: The King has summoned us. We need to review our activities as Chiefs of our different communities in this Baybayshot kingdom.
MESHACH: You are right dear brother. I will speak for myself. As a Chief of my community, I have executed my duties without fear or favour, I have brought development to the people of my community. I have nothing to fear.
SHADRACH: Then what do you think wound be the reason for summoning us? Like you all know, the king’s summon is not to be taken lightly.
ABEDNEGO: That’s true, the king would usually not summon anyone except the person has committed a great offence.
MESHACH: I think I have an idea why the king has summoned us.
BOTH: Then let us hear it.
MESHACH: It maybe because we do not bow down to the image which he made.
ABEDNEGO: How can that be? Who would have reported us to the king?
SHEDRACH: Meshach is right. I remember someone telling me that my days are numbered, very soon, he will take over from me as Chief of my community.
ABEDNEGO: Oh! So someone or a group of persons want us dead. The game is up!
MESHACH: Chief Abednego, don’t tell me you are losing faith. Besides, it is just a suspicion we are not sure of the main reason why the king has summoned us.
SHEDRACH: Don’t give him false hopes. I am convinced that it is for that reason the king has summoned us. (stands) I shall never bow down to that image made by the king. I shall worship and bow down to only Jehovah God. (stretches out his hand forming a fist) I resolve to live for God, or die for God.
MESHACH: I live for God or I die for God (stretches out his hand too)
ABEDNEGO: (Delays a little and does the same) I live for God, or I die for God.
THEY SAY THIS REPEATEDLY AND USE IT TO DO A CHOREOGRAPHY WITH THE AID OF A DRUM) LIGHTS FADE.
IT IS A PRESET. SHEDRACH, MESHACH AND ABEDNEGO WALK IN AND TAKE THEIR SEATS. SHORTLY AFTER WARDS EZE O ARRIVES
ALL: Eze Onyebunezzar! Eze Onyebunezzar! May you live long!
EZE O: Yes, the others! Elders oye, okwu and dike (the elders walk in) oh, here they come.
THE ELDERS: Eze Onyebunezzar! May your days be long
EZE O: You may be seated. You kept us waiting.
ALL: We are sorry your highness.
SHADRACH: We received your message, your highness and as people who hold you in high esteem, we had to come early enough so we do not keep you waiting…
ELDER OKWU: Point of order! Are you in anyway trying to question the loyalty of the three elders to Eze Onyebunezzar just because we arrived a little behind schedule?
MESHACH: We didn’t intend to offend anyone. We were just stating the obvious.
DIKE: Listen to me, you cannot turn the tables around. We are here to judge your matter and no matter whatever you do, you cannot turn the table around.
ABEDNEGO: Now, that’s the point. Why are we here? We want to know the exact reason for the King’s summons.
EZE O: (Clears his throat): Is it true O Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods neither do you worship the great image which I have made? Now, I will give you a last chance to change your minds and that’s because the three of you are very outstanding Chiefs and I don’t want to lose you. But where you fail to bow down to the great image which King Eze Onyebunezzar have made, you will roast in the burning fiery furnace.
SHADRACH: O king, we do not need any last chance. We are not scared of your threat because we know that Jehovah God we serve can deliver us from the burning fiery furnace and He will deliver us from your hands O Eze Onyebunezzar (the elders express shock at such boldness)
MESHACH: Even if He allows us to be burnt in the fire, let it be known unto you O king Onyebunezzar that we will not worship your gods neither will be bow down to the image which you have made.
ABEDNEGO: Yes, king Onyebunezzar, we have resolved to live for God, or die for God
EZE O: (in rage): Guard!
GUARD: (Comes in): O king, live forever.
EZE O: Send your men to heat up the fire seven times.
GUARD: Yes, Sir (Runs our and after some time runs back in with big ropes. He is shivering with fear) (After a while, screams are heard an, then the guard run in fright), (Panting) Oh king, Oh king, the men who went to heat up the fire were burnt to death due to the heat)
EZE O: Tie them and take them to the fire.
GUARD: Please, Oh king, I don’t want to die I have been a loyal servant to your all these years, please spare my life.
EZE O: You are going to die anyway either by hanging or fire if you disobey the king’s orders. (the guard reluctantly goes to tie them. They do not resist
SHED, MESH,ABED: We live for God or we die for Him.
(THEY ARE LED OUT. SHORTLY AFTERWARDS SCREAMS ARE HEARD. THERE IS SMOKE COMING FROM THE FIRE AREA. MINUTES ROLL BY AND THE SMOKE IS REDUCED, THE KING THEN SEES FOUR MEN WALKING IN THE FIRE. THE KING IS SURPRISED)
EZE O: Guard! (A guard runs to him, keeping a respectable distance) what is this I see? I thought we threw three men into the fire?
GUARD: Yes, O king, Shedrach, Meshach and Abednego were thrown into the fire.
EZE O: Now, look, they are walking freely in the fire and I see another man, making them four men and this fourth man looks like He is the son of God.
GUARD: Yes, oo! You are right. The fire did not hurt them. (The king rushes closer to the fire)
EZE O: Shedrach, Meshach and Abednego, servant of the most High God, come forth and come to me. (the three walk out of the fire to meet him.) Guard! God and make an announcement. Invite all the people to the palace immediately. (One of the guards leave and immediately people begin to come to the palace.
EZE O: Blessed be the God of shedarach, Meshach and Abednego who has sent His angel and delivered His servants Shedrach, Meshach and Abednego from my wrath, the burning fiery furnace such that the fire could not hurt them. Therefore, I make a decree, that every people, nation and indeed everyone beginning from I, Eze Onyebunazzar worship no other God than the God of Shedrach, Meshach and Abednego because there is no other God like Him. Now, those three elders who came to report these men, they will be thrown right now into the burning fiery fire.
THE THREE ELDERS: Please have mercy.
SHEDRACH, MESHACH AND ABEDNEGO: Please, forgive them.
EZE O: You are forgiven. But let it be known that anyone who speaks against the God of Shedrach, Meshach and Abednego will be thrown into the fire with all his/her family members. Let the drums roll. (Some dancers come on the stage and do a dance. Other win them after the dance, they take a bow and leave)
The story was taken from the Holy Bible Daniel 3 and adapted to suit the Nigerians traditional society. It was written by Angel Perfecta Eze.
Copyright © by Angel Perfecta Eze.