A Modern Talent-show Farce
Author: Robby Van Arsdale
Major Theme: The free gift of Jesus Christ is to everyone
Source: (The parable of the Workers in the Vineyard) Matthew 20:1-20
Repeating Cast: 4 Female, 3 Male, and 2 indeterminate (counting the RPotP)
Sample: First and Final plays in The Day’s Wages
The richest person on the planet (RPotP has just announced a talent show, and whoever wins will receive a fabulous prize! First, all the contestants have to get to Oregon, so it’s going to be a modern-day Oregon trail/Pilgrim’s Progress, with absolutely no mention of dysentery or Vanity Fair.
In the first play, we meet Mark/Sophie Cage, a magician-turned-car-salesman who loses confidence in their magic tricks. On the other hand, there’s Jo, who’s maybe way too overconfident in her juggling. As contestant after contestant is easily handled by the Tall Stranger (two people in a long overcoat), even Jo’s wild confidence can’t take the day. Instead, it’s the magician who saves the day. Jo teams up with them to go to Oregon to compete in the main talent show.
In the second play, we meet Melizabeth and Danthony. They’re friends, but Melizabeth is constantly mean to Danthony, because his talent isn’t as good as her orchestral conducting. It takes a giant storm that he has to save her from in order to convince her that his talent is just as powerful: an irresistible handshake.
In the third play, Uncle D(iablo), an old man and suspicious innkeeper is trying to lure passers-by into his inn. They’re all on their way to Oregon, but they keep succumbing to his charms. That is, until Quentin, an Instagram influencer who tries to escape. Uncle D shows his true colors, and tries to corner her until our friends Melizabeth and Danthony show up. Even as three, their talents are useless against Uncle D until Danthony tries something new: he prays. Uncle D slithers away, and the three friends rush to Oregon, now terribly late.
In the fourth play, the Richest Person on the Planet leaves her employees to get ready for the contestants who are about to arrive. The RPotP’s last gift is a gigantic tree seed and a promise that they’ll return when the tree’s branches cover the glade. Hana and Paulo struggle with figuring out what sorts of things to add to the glade that might please the RPotP, but Edgar decides to shape it into a more comfortable place for himself with a comfy chair, cans, bottles, and a polluting generator. As the tree grows, the employee’s approaches grow further and further apart until Edgar chops down the tree so he can have a better view. The woodland creatures take care of him, and Hana and Paulo are left to wait without knowing exactly when the RPotP will return.
In the fifth play, the contestants (including Mark/Sophie and Jo) gather to face off against each other in the final showdown, but Hana and Paulo can’t give them any guidance for what to do. They keep trying to tell the group stories that the RPotP has told them, but the contestants misunderstand each time. Put a horse (camels aren’t as easy to get costumes for) through the eye of a needle? You can’t understand unless you become like a little baby again? The contestants take these literally until they’re tired of waiting. Everybody seems to give up on the RPotP ever getting back. And just when they’re about to give up, who comes through the door, but, you guessed it, the RPotP, just in time. Melizabeth, Danthony, and Quentin join, and the RTotP tells them that their fabulous prize is to live for free with them in Oregon. They’ve bought the whole state, and they’re planning on buying a few others for good measure so they can give their fabulous prize to everyone.
RPotP: “It seems like it would be impossible to offer a prize
like this to more than one person, but just like sewing
with a horse, I am offering the prize to everyone. And
if you’re having trouble understanding it, become like
a baby and relearn what’s possible.”