free solo stage play script monologue

 

BILLY GRAHAM BINGO

 

by

 

D. M. Larson

 

Copyright © 1991

All Rights Reserved*

 



 


 

 

Cast of Characters

 

Preacher: A pastor of a church whose

service is interrupted by a

WOMAN who has a few things to

say about how he runs things.

 

Girl: A blind but faithful follower

of the PREACHER.

 

Woman: A not so blind and not so

faithful person who is

dissatisfied with the church.

 

Janitor: A person whose actions speak

louder than words.

 

*The janitor can be played by a male or female

 

 

 

Time and Place

The modern church.

 


 

Scene 1

(Lights come up on a table surrounded by a maze

of benches. In front of the table is a

JANITOR, down on his knees scrubbing the floor.

The PREACHER enters and bumps into table. PREACHER

is wearing the dark sunglasses of a blind person.

He is trying to get up on the table)

 

PREACHER

Where...where are those steps?

(Tries lifting his leg up onto table, but it's too high)

How am I supposed to get up here, anyway?

 

JANITOR

(Sees PREACHER'S dilemma)

Come, I know a way.

 

PREACHER

Bless you, brother, bless you.

 

 

JANITOR

(Gets down on his hands and knees)

Step on my back.

(PREACHER does so and is on table)

 

PREACHER

Thank you ever so much, brother.

 

JANITOR

Just doing my job.

 

PREACHER

And a fine job it is, too.

(Condescendingly)

It's good to see that someone is willing to do that kind of work.

 

JANITOR

Iím always like to be where Iím needed the most.

 

PREACHER

Well, good for you. Anyone who could do such work with joy should be admired.

 

JANITOR

Thank you, sir.

(Resumes scrubbing)

 

(A WOMAN enters. Ignoring the maze and stepping over the

benches as she makes her way to the table)

 

(Next comes a GIRL toward the maze; she carries a Bible and is

blind. She immediately starts bumping into benches, trying to make

her way through the maze to the table)

PREACHER

(When GIRL hits her first bench, PREACHER looks

around for her but can't see with the glasses on)

Are you all right?

 

GIRL

Yes, but I seem to be having a little trouble getting to my seat.

(Runs into another bench)

 

WOMAN

Iíll help you.

(Starts to rise)

 

PREACHER

No, I am in a better position to help from up here.

(WOMAN shrugs and sits)

 

PREACHER

Try a little to your left.

(She runs into another one. WOMAN gives PREACHER a disgusted look)

To your right.

(She hits another. WOMAN rolls her eyes)

 

JANITOR

(Gets up from scrubbing)

Excuse me, sir.

 

PREACHER

Yes?

 

JANITOR

You might be able to see better without your glasses off.

 

PREACHER

(Takes them off. Amazed at his new found sight)

Say. That is a lot better isn't it?

(While PREACHER is amazed by his new found sight,

JANITOR helps GIRL to her seat)

 

GIRL

Thank you for your help.

 

PREACHER

(Before JANITOR can speak)

You're welcome.

(JANITOR returns to his scrubbing)

 

PREACHER

(Smiles)

Let us pray.

(He and the GIRL bow heads)

 

WOMAN

You mean let you pray. How come you never let anyone else pray?

(PREACHER is disturbed by her comments now and

throughout the play, but he always tries to

continue)

 

PREACHER

We pray to you Lord for our President...

 

GIRL

(Very enthusiastically)

Yes, Lord!

(GIRL nods in agreement the whole time)

 

WOMAN

Speak for yourself. I want the man impeached.

 

PREACHER

And for our mayor.

 

GIRL

Oh, yes. Amen.

 

WOMAN

Our mayor? What should we pray? That the people overlook his drug problem or that his wife doesn't find out about his affair?

 

PREACHER

God bless all who have...

 

WOMAN

Fine. Go ahead and say your prayer, but I'm going to say my own. So there.

(WOMAN bows her head)

 

PREACHER

As we begin our service today, I want you to listen to my words.

 


WOMAN

Here we go again. It's always the same. He talks, we listen.

(Yells)

Come on! Let's have a little group interaction here!

 

PREACHER

(He is growing more and more upset at WOMAN)

It is God's will that you listen to me.

 

WOMAN

And when did God tell you this?

(Aside)

They probably had dinner together the other night.

 

PREACHER

(Getting angry)

For if you don't heed my words...

 

WOMAN

That's how we got the term "preachy."

 

PREACHER

(To WOMAN)

You will go to hell!

WOMAN

Same to you!

 

PREACHER

(Angry)

Eye for an eye...

 

WOMAN

What ever happened to all the joy in worship?

 

PREACHER

Tooth for tooth...

WOMAN

Why can't there be fun pastors who look like they're enjoying what they're doing?

 

PREACHER

...taking revenge upon your brothers...

 

WOMAN

(To pastor)

Ya' know. Stuff like that really turns people off.

 

PREACHER

That's what Hell is made of...

 


WOMAN

I think people might listen if you stopped telling them they were going to hell all the time.

 

PREACHER

For hell is a death beyond death.

 

WOMAN

And what's the preoccupation with death anyway? Maybe if you started talking about the good side for once, maybe you might get through to someone for a change.

 

PREACHER

And if you don't change your ways Hell will be your final resting place...

 

WOMAN

I mean isn't a preacher supposed to be here to help you?

 

PREACHER

You'll become slaves to sin.

 

WOMAN

Not constantly reminding you of how horrible you are. How does he know what's inside me anyway? Only God can know that.

 

PREACHER

(Tired. GIRL has fallen asleep)

Turn from your sins before it's too late.

(He is silent. JANITOR looks up, concerned)

 

WOMAN

Dead congregations. I've never seen so many of them in my life.

 

JANITOR

(To PREACHER)

Is there something wrong?

 

PREACHER

This is so hard. I don't know if I can do it anymore.

(Points to GIRL)

She's sleeping.

(Points to WOMAN)

And she's really getting on my nerves.

 

JANITOR

I have faith in you. I know you have it in you.

 

PREACHER

Thank you.

 


WOMAN

All churches need is a little life.

 

JANITOR

Then let there be life.

(JANITOR gives GIRL a nudge)

 

GIRL

(She leaps up, full of fire)

Send 'em all to hell now Lord!

 

WOMAN

No, no. Not like that.

(GIRL sits, embarrassed)

I don't want one of those fanatic churches, just a place where people come together and enjoy themselves.

(JANITOR has returned to scrubbing)

 

PREACHER

The church should be a place where we meet together and worship God.

 

WOMAN

A place where there's joy expressed in song and thanks to God.

 

PREACHER

For if we don't do this we may fall into sin.

 

WOMAN

I remember when I was a kid, we used to pass notes to each other during the service to fight off the boredom.

 

PREACHER

The church shall be a model of sinlessness.

 

WOMAN

Many of the notes were probably things that shouldn't have been written in church, though.

 

PREACHER

We must cast out the sinners and embrace the holy.

 

GIRL

Throw out the sinners, Lord!

 

WOMAN

(Setting up a joke)

What do you get when you kick all the sinners out of a church?

 

PREACHER

(To GIRL)

Thank you for your enthusiasm.

 

WOMAN

(Indicates the empty benches around herself)

A very small congregation.

 

PREACHER

And at this church we pride ourselves in having a pure congregation.

 

WOMAN

When I got involved with youth group, I found that my friends at school were better influences than the church kids were.

 

PREACHER

So tell all your friends there is a church free of all the troubles of the world.

 

WOMAN

And then there's those prim and proper church folk you see being very good church goers on Sunday and when you see them the rest of the week, you really wonder if anyone believes anymore. Shouldn't everyday be our holy day?

 

PREACHER

Our church knows the way.

 

WOMAN

I've tried so many churches and it's always one thing or another that turns me off about them...like all that speaking in tongues.

 

GIRL

(Jumps up)

Knick-nack paddy wak, give a dog a bone. This old man came rolling home.

 

WOMAN

It's just plain weird.

 

PREACHER

Uh, thank you.

 

WOMAN and GIRL

(Together)

You're welcome.

(GIRL gets a glass of water from below bench)

 

WOMAN

Then there are those Baptist churches.

 


PREACHER

At this church, we give you a chance to "turn away from your sins and be baptized."

(GIRL tosses glass of water in her face. JANITOR

gives her something to dry herself with)

 

WOMAN

Ya' know, the ones with the big clear glass containers behind the pulpit. High up so everyone can see the baptizee. I'm afraid the only thing I thought about the whole time was swimming. Oh, well. Different strokes for different folks, I suppose. Excuse the pun.

 

PREACHER

Here we have the answers to life's nagging questions.

 

WOMAN

It's no wonder I don't go to church anymore.

 

PREACHER

Search no longer. We can help.

 

WOMAN

About the only "official" church I go to is the big Anglican Cathedral up on the hill on Christmas Eve. But, even then, I can't stand all that stand up, sit down, fight, fight, fight.

 

PREACHER

Our church is the way to find freedom from sin.

 

WOMAN

I'm not saying church is bad or wrong. It's just not for me.

 

PREACHER

Those outside the church will surely be lost.

 

WOMAN

In fact, I find more Christian conversation now than when I went to church.

 

PREACHER

The church can be your protector from the troubles of the world.

 

WOMAN

If I had to say where my church was, I'd have to say it`s in nature. There's no where else that I can feel so close to God.

 

PREACHER

Come, join us, and let the church community protect and shield you from life's dangers.

 

WOMAN

The building almost seems to separate us from God. In nature, it seems like there's almost nothing between me and God. Out there, I can be close to what God created. There's so much love wrapped up in a little squirrel or a tree. Buildings are so cold and separate. Nothing like God at all.

 

PREACHER

The church is the key to eternity. Amen.

 

GIRL

Amen.

 

PREACHER

(Smiles to GIRL)

Amen.

 

GIRL

(Responds happily)

Amen.

 

PREACHER

(They begin to speak it as a language)

Amen.

 

GIRL

Amen.

 

WOMAN

Enough already!

 

PREACHER

(Nervously)

Now, for today's sermon.

(Looks for his sermon in his robe)

Where did I put those...I know I put my sermon in here somewhere.

(PREACHER begins pulling several objects from his

robe. It's like a nightmare)

 

WOMAN

Boy, am I hungry.

 

JANITOR

(Takes a bag of sunflower seeds from his pocket)

Here.

(Gives them to her)

 

WOMAN

Thanks.

(He continues working. She takes a few and holds

the bag out to him)

 

JANITOR

No, keep them all.

 

WOMAN

Are you sure?

 

JANITOR

That's about all I have to give and I like to give what I can. What's the good of something if you keep it all to yourself?

(He works still)

 

WOMAN

Good point.

(Bites at a seed)

It sure is hard to get the seeds out of these little shells. The flavor is much more natural this way though. I think they lose something when they go through all that processing. Taking the shell off for you, adding seasonings. Some people like them that way. They just leave a bad taste in my mouth.

(She drops the shells on the floor as she eats the

seeds. JANITOR picks them up without complaint)

 

PREACHER

(Smiles)

I'm still looking.

 

WOMAN

(Still eating seeds)

There`s been a question that's been bugging me.

 

PREACHER

I'm hot on the trail.

 

WOMAN

I believe in God and I believe in Jesus' teachings and purpose, but I still wonder who exactly Jesus is. Was he a prophet, a great teacher, or the Son of God? I wish Jesus would have come right out and explained who he was. He calls himself the Son of Man, but that's about it. Others call him Messiah and the Son of God. Jesus doesn't deny those claims but he doesn't elaborate enough either. I believe Jesus existed, but how much of the story could just be a story? I'm not sure what to think anymore.

(Looks at the GIRL who has been watching the

preacher contentedly during the lull in the sermon)

Maybe I think too much. Perhaps I could learn something from my brainwashed friend over there.

 

PREACHER

I'm hot on the trail. Remember, patience is a virtue.

 

WOMAN

Don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to insult her. I guess it's better to be a fanatic than not know what to believe.

 

PREACHER

(Smiling)

Where is that sermon...

(Pulling a cross out)

...here's a cross.

(GIRL screams and falls to her knees blubbering.

PREACHER tries to get her to stop)

No, please...don't...I mean it's only...I don't it's not only a cross...but you don't have to do that.

 

WOMAN

Good grief.

(During the following speech the PREACHER moves

the cross as if it were the handle that controls a

puppet, the GIRL being the puppet. He doesn't

want to do this but he can't seem to get her lose)

The cross is almost treated as an idol now days. Now, don't get me wrong. The idea behind the cross is important, but some people seem to forget the meaning. I see all kinds of people wearing crosses; people I think wouldn't want anything to do with its meaning. It's merely a symbol that makes nice earrings and necklaces to some. It's like Christmas and Easter; they're still around, but the meaning has almost been forgotten.

(PREACHER still can't get the imaginary strings

off the GIRL. JANITOR sees this, takes some

scissors from a pocket, and cuts GIRL loose from

the imaginary strings)

Wouldn`t it be sad if one day, sometime far in the future, a child asked her parent where Easter came from and the mother wouldn't know?

(GIRL has returned to her seat, the janitor is

cleaning again, and the PREACHER has put away the

cross and has his Bible open, upside down again)

 

PREACHER

Please turn with me to I Corinthians chapter 11 and 14.

(GIRL carefully picks up her Bible and turns the

pages as if they were made of the most delicate

china)

 

WOMAN

Same with the Bible. Look at how carefully she turns the pages and how beautifully kept it is. She treats it as if it were a baby. I bet she never even touches it unless she has to. Personally, I stick with the proverb that "a worn Bible is the sign of a healthy heart."

 

PREACHER

Today we will study Paul's view on women.

 

WOMAN

(Sarcastic)

This should be good.

 

PREACHER

First of all Paul says women should cover their heads, for their hair causes men to sin.

 

WOMAN

(Jumping up pointing to GIRL)

So where`s her head covering?!

(GIRL, ashamed uses her Bible to cover her head.

WOMAN looking at GIRL)

It's very stylish. This may catch on as well as those cross earrings and necklaces.

 

PREACHER

And as we clearly see in chapter 14, women should keep silent in church meetings.

(WOMAN emits a rather loud "raspberry")

And if women wish to ask something, they must wait until they get home to ask their husbands.

 

WOMAN

Yeah, right.

 

PREACHER

Now Paul had his reasons for this and this is what the Bible says about women.

 

WOMAN

 

PREACHER

For as it says in II Timothy, all scripture is inspired by God.

 

WOMAN

But, it was written by humans and humans are not perfect...

(Looking at PREACHER)

...contrary to popular belief. The writers of the Bible couldn't help but let their own personal beliefs seep into their writings. That's why different parts of the Bible can be almost contradictory at times.

 

PREACHER

The word is God's word...

 

WOMAN

As interpreted by humans.

 


PREACHER

So we must consider all this when reading when reading Paul and...well...

(WOMAN is staring at his coldly)

Where is that sermon?

(Searches again)

 

WOMAN

I'm sorry, but there's a problem when people get too caught up in believing the Bible word for word. I believe in what the Bible says for the most part, but I try to keep in mind there's some cultural stuff in there that's changed after two-thousand years. I sure have had a lot easier time reading the Bible since I've understood all that. It doesn't make it harder to believe; it actually makes it a whole lot easier.

 

PREACHER

Oh, well. I guess there's no sermon. But remember all that we talked about today and I want you to keep that message with you as you leave here.

 

WOMAN

Don't worry, they'll forget it by morning.

 

PREACHER

Take it and put it in your pocket for safe-keeping.

 

WOMAN

And remember to check your pockets before doing laundry.

 

PREACHER

Thank you for coming to worship with us this fine Sunday and may God be with you.

(GIRL comes up quickly and tugs on his robe)

Oh, wait a minute everyone. I believe we have an announcement to make.

(He kneels and she whispers to him)

Oh, thank you for reminding me.

(GIRL smiles)

Our regular service at seven has been cancelled so we can once again bring you Billy Graham Bingo, back by popular demand.

(GIRL cheers)

 

WOMAN

I think I'll pass.

 

PREACHER

Now, how am I supposed to get down from here?

 


JANITOR

I know a way.

(JANITOR bends on his hands and knees)

Step down on my back.

 

PREACHER

Are you sure?

 

JANITOR

Positive.

(PREACHER steps down)

 

PREACHER

Thank you.

(Taking GIRL by the arm)

I'll walk you home.

GIRL

Oh, thank you. Thank you ever so much.

(PREACHER and GIRL exit, bumping into benches as

they go along. WOMAN watches them shaking her

head)

 

WOMAN

There they go. Off to another week of nothing, only to return to a weekend of something.

(To JANITOR)

Thanks for the seeds.

 

JANITOR

My pleasure.

 

WOMAN

They sure hit the spot.

(She turns to go, speaks as she exit, slowly

stepping over the benches)

I'm always so darn hungry when I come to these things. Give me a church with a snack bar and then we'll be in business.

(She exits L. JANITOR is alone, still cleaning as

he was before, continuing even though no one else

is there. The lights fade to black)

 

END OF PLAY


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