By Peter Marshall
Less of a modernization, a slight satire - more of a dramatization of the parable of the wise and foolish builders.
Wise Man: Very old and "Einstein" looking, may have grey beard.
Foolish Man: "Cool" businessman type, sunglasses, silver smile etc
Narrator: Normal person, no extra comments, lots of expression
Weather: Wind, rain, snow, financial recession.
Wise man may have a long beard and a scroll, which he unravels to use as blue prints for his house.
Foolish man - sunglasses, big ideas and basically a nice smile.
Weather - card with "RAIN", "WIND", "SNOW" could be made, and the audience requested to make particular noises, e.g. RAIN - SHWUSH SHWUSH; WIND - WHOOOOOOOOO; SNOW - SPLUT SPLUT SPLUT. You could also try "SAND" - "BLUB BLUB SQUELCH" and "ROCK" "HOORAY ! !"
It may be possible to have "sunny music" and "cold, dreary" music for the sunny beach and rocky terrain appropriately, with yellow background and green leaves for the beach, and grey lighting for the rocks. There must be a noticeable change when the foolish man's house falls down - ie no more nice music. This is replaced by the cold, dreary music for the foolish man, and sunny music for the now happy wise man.
Wise man with white clothing- could be an old sheet!
Rich man must be wearing a suit with very flashy tie and disgusting shirt.
Wise man and Foolish man give each other glances across the stage, and the narrator just stands in the middle. Weather would approach from each side for each person.
If audience prompt cards are to be used then the audience must be told now.
Narrator: There once were two men. One was called Mr A K Allenforstright Junior De Montfort, manager of a very large company somewhere in London. He was, of course, rich. Tell them how rich you are, Mr A K Allenforstright Junior De Montfort.
Foolish Man: Very.
FM: No, very. I'm very rich, not quite rich.
N: No, I know you're very rich I was just saying quite to express my agreement with your statement.
FM: I knew that.
N: Sadly he was also not very bright. The second man however was called Gilbert J Hummingway and had absolutely no thing of special value except his brain. He was very very wise.
Wise Man: Yes.
N: I knew you'd agree.
WM: So did I. Isn't that extraordinary? I wonder if there's some strange biophysical telepathic extremely wonderful type personality matrix thingy here that caused us to think the same thought in exactly the same 70th of a second?
N: No, I just think it was a coincidence.
WM: WONDERFUL! How did you come to such a marvellous conclusion?
N: It's in the script. Look... erm.. bla bla.. second. And I say, "coincidence".
WM: Oh, okay then.
N: Now, it happened that one day in 18 BC both these men wanted to build a house.
Foolish man: A what, sorry?
N: A House, you know - walls, rooms, ceilings etc?
FM: Oh! Of course! A house. I knew that.
N: So, they each set off in search of a nice pretty spot to build their house.
[The FM and the WM must act out particular movements, eg, the WM could test the soil, use plans, have a geological survey etc, whereas the FM drinks cocktails and lounges around. When his name is mentioned again he sits up straight and presents us with his "spot".]
N: The foolish man picked a nice spot just somewhere off Honolulu which was sunny, warm and generally a very nice place to build a house. He ordered his bricks, concrete and cement. His house was to be built on sand.
FM: And very nice sand it is too. Very soft and hot.
N: The wise man, however, found a very large hill just outside Edinburgh, which was not very nice at all. He ordered his bricks and cement. His house was to be built on rock.
WM: It's nice rock. Lots of moss and strange furry animals hiding in the caves.
N: When they had both finished building their houses the foolish man ordered a cocktail, put on his suntan lotion and sunbathed, happy with his new house.
FM: Oh, what a lovely house.
N: The wise man however just sat alone in his house, working out the best angle for a large tree in his rockery.
WM: Roots down, or up, I wonder?
N: There are two endings to this drama. Ending one starts now.
Just then a storm brewed up on the rich man's island. It started to blow a gale.. (WIND cue card) And it started to rain.. (RAIN cue card) And the rain turned to snow.. (SNOW cue card) and the weather beat and bruised the foolish man's house, and the foolish man's house fell flat!
[At this point the foolish man collapses]
The foolish man sat alone, and he had lost all his money because his house was not built on a firm enough foundation. The wise man however, had by coincidence a very similar storm.
It was very windy, and it began to rain. The rain turned to snow, but the wise man's house stood firm because it was built on a firm foundation.
And very nice it is too.
*** Alternative ending ***
Just then a beach tanned blonde with wavy hair and ..
Weather :You were saying?
N: Walked past the rich mans house. Having lots of glass in his house he saw the blonde straight away and was ripped from his seat by a terribly evil temptation. And so, his destruction was sure.
Foolish man : (grin) My destruction is sure.
Weather :You realise that's completely the wrong ending for this parable?
N: Well, it was either a blonde babe or a seventy three foot gorilla to come and crush the houses flat, but that involves a large gorilla costume, fake blood, sound-effects and more importantly, insurance for the actors.
Weather: Oh. So you took the cheaper option - in more ways than one.
Weather: Oh. Okay. Is that it then?
N: No.. I have a few lines left..
Weather: Oh, okay. Off you go.
N: Coincidentally, a very strange thing happened. An identical blonde walked past the wise mans house. But being a biologist he had seen his fair share of blonde beauties and was not at all interested in the sex symbol.
Weather: Excuse me but just being a biologist doesn't mean he wouldn't be interested in blondes with ...
Wise man: Thank you.
N: Can I finish please?
Weather: Oh! Sorry.. please.. continue..
N: And so his poor and humble nature had saved him from the path of destruction and the slippery slope of sexual involvement.
Weather: Oh well. At least he had his house.
© Peter Marshall 1994
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