Gideon and the Angel

By John Fewings

Summary

This scene is taken from a full-length musical, "Gideon", written by John Fewings (with musical assistance from Paul Carlile and Chris Wormald). Although part of a longer work, the sketch does stand on its own.

Characters

Gideon
Angel

Costume

Gideon is dressed in knee-length tunic tied with a belt. The angel is dressed in a white three-piece suit, with white shirt, white tie, white carnation. He/she should look distinctive, perhaps with a particular hairstyle, but not outlandish. Definitely no trace of wings or halo.

Script

(Gideon is working onstage (stacking sacks, sweeping up, or whatever). There is a wooden box or bale of straw for Gideon to sit on later. The angel enters in a grand and dramatic way; preferably with a somersault or bouncing on from an offstage mini-trampoline. There is a flash and a puff of smoke. Failing the acrobatic entrance, the angel could stand amidst the smoke, juggling. The angel is a little "vain"- Gideon does not notice the flash, or the smoke, or the newcomer until the angel speaks; then he is too busy to take much notice. The angel is a little "put out", feeling that he merits more attention.)

Angel: (With a cool wave of the hand) Hi! Gideon: (Still working) Oh ... hello.
Angel:  (A little sarcastic) Don't bother to stop.
Gideon: I'm sorry, but I've a lot to do (Bends to lift, sack)
Angel: (Haughty) There's no need to bow.
Gideon:  I wasn't going to ...
Angel: There's no point standing on ceremony.
Gideon: (A little annoyed) Now listen ...
Angel: After all, angels are merely servants.
Gideon: (Stops working, incredulous) Angels? You're an angel?
Angel: (Formally) Luminous Presence at your service. My card. (Proffers card)
Gideon:  (Humouring the "angel") Pleased to meet you.
(Turns to the audience and taps forehead to indicate the newcomer- is "nutty". There is a very brief pause)
Angel:  You don't believe me, do you?
 (Gideon is about to answer, affirmative of course, but the angel puts his finger to Gideon's lips)
Angel: "Thou shalt not bear false witness." Do you believe I'm an angel?
Gideon: Quite frankly ... no. I mean, I'd like to ... don't take it
 personally ... but, well, where's your halo .. and the wings?
Angel: (Slaps hand to forehead) Every time! Why do they all ask about the wings. (Explaining slowly, as if to an idiot) Listen. Have you ever met an angel? No. So how do you know they have wings? You don't. As for me ... I am an angel, so I do know about it. We - don't have - wings. (aside) Well, sometimes the de-luxe version...
Gideon: Look. I don't want to appear sceptical, but do you have any way of proving that you're an angel?
Angel: We have certain ... "abilities"
Gideon: Such as?
Angel:  Prediction.
Gideon: I beg your pardon.
Angel: You know ... telling the future. For example, I can tell you exactly what you're going to say next.
(During this next sequence, timing is essential. The angel says his
own lines, but also Gideon's ... in unison, word perfect.)
Both: Don't be silly. Even I don't know what I'm going to say next.
Angel: It's just a little skill you develop.
Both: But you could have guessed, couldn't you?
Angel: Uh-huh.
Both: It's just not possible.
 I don't believe this.
 I'm dreaming (Angel shakes his head)
 You're a lip-reader. (Angel shakes head)
 A mind reader (Angel shakes head)
 An angel?! (incredulous) (Angel nods)
 O.K. So you are an angel (Angel shakes Gideon by the hand)
 Look, can we stop the stereo? It's just a bit confusing.
Angel: Sorry, I forgot.

(They both stand there. The angel picks fluff off his suit, inspects his nails, etc. Gideon is expectant.)
Gideon: Well?
Angel: Well what?
Gideon: Define "angel".
Angel: An angel is a spiritual being, a messenger from God ... (suddenly realises) The message! (Fumbles in pocket; takes out telegram and reads formally.) Gideon, son of Joash. STOP The Lord is with you. STOP Stop moaning. STOP  Do something. STOP Get busy.on idol. STOP Lead attack on Midian. STOP
(Gideon has sunk down onto the box, despairing and in disbelief. Initially the angel is quite pleased with himself now thar he has delivered the message, until he realises that the message has not been received as he expected. He becomes more "human" and sits down beside Cideon.)
Angel:  Come on now ... this is a privilege.
Gideon: You don't understand. I'm just nobody. I'm not special. I can't do anything. Who's going to listen to me?
Angel: (Stands. Scratches head. Looks at telegram. Looks at Gideon. Looks puzzled. Walks a few steps away then turns.) Do you need a hearing aid?
Cideon:  (Puzzled) Pardon?
Angel:  It's just as I thought. You didn't hear it.
(The angel breathes deeply, extends the telegram and reads once more, formally ... and louder.)
Angel: Gideon, Son of Joash. STOP (Looks at Gideon to see if he is taking it in.) The Lord is with you. STOP (Looks a little smug. Gideon is a little puzzled) Why are you so worried? With a promise like that, how can you fail? THE LORD IS WITH YOU. None of our past heroes has been  "special". It's the Lord that's special, Of course YOU can't do anything. But HE CAN. Listen.

("'Ave you 'eard", the angel's "song", is spoken rather than sung, in a rhythmic "rapping" fashion. The chorus is a quickfire, exchange. it may be possible for Gideon to "act out" some of the stories.)

'Ave you 'eard .... that story?
(I feel like the man on "Jackanory")
About Noah .... who built the Ark,
The people thought he did it for a lark.
Then it rained .... and it poured
Noah simply shouted, "All aboard!"
Then it rained .... a lot more,
The people thought the weather was a bore.
Noah pleaded .... they wouldn't hear,
As the Ark sailed away they raised a cheer;
"He's a nut-case .... I'll be bound"
So they hurled abuse and jeered and they drowned
CHORUS: Gideon: Eee 'eck!
 Angel:  By gum!
 Cideon:  Golly gosh!
 Angel:  Well I never!
 Cideon:  Is it true?
 Angel:  It's in the Bible.
 Gideon:  What d'you know?!
 Angel:  Quite a lot
 Gideon:  Is that so?
 Angel:  I tell the truth.
 Cideon:  Gospel truth?
 Angel:  Of course.
 Cideon:  Hallelujah!
 Angel:  Praise the Lord!
 Gideon:  Amen.
 Angel:  Another verse?
 Gideon:  If you would.
Angel: Well ... here goes ...
 
You'll know .... needn't ask it,
How they hid the baby Moses in a basket
In the reeds .... of the Nile
And the princess came and found him in a while.
In the palace .... as he grew
Moses knew that he was really still a Jew,
So he told .... the Pharaoh
He would have to let the people go.
He said, "No! .... You dirty dogs"
Didn't know about the boils and the frogs
And the gnats and the flies and disease;
Nine plagues brought Pharaoh to his knees.
Say the truth .... with bated breath
Then the Lord sent out an angel ... of death!
Chorus:
 
You'll 'ave 'eard ....
I'm sure you know,
'Bout Joshua and the battle of Jericho.
They just walked .... round and round;
The army dragged its feet upon the ground.
Still they walked .... a little more;
This sponsored walk was really quite a bore.
So they jogged .... for a bit;
After all they might as well keep fit.
And still they walked .... around the wall;
If it didn't stop, upon the ground they'd fall.
Trumpets sounded .... they gave a yell,
They were shocked and amazed ... the walls fell!
Chorus:
'Ave you 'eard .... that tale?
The one about Jonah and the whale.
The Lord said
Gideon: (interrupting) Excuse me! Stop! Hold it!
Angel: (innocently) Yes?
Gideon: You did say "whale", didn't you?
Angel: Whale? Did I say "whale"'? Really? Whale?' Well, perhaps
Gideon: You did. You said "whale". Know what I'm going to say next?
Both: The Bible doesn't say it was a whale; the Bible says it was a fish.
Angel: But "whale" rhymes with "tale" and "fish" doesn't rhyme with anything. Couldn't I? Just this once ... ?
Gideon: (Shakes his head emphatically) You'll just have to think of something. After all, you ARE an angel.
Angel: (Thinks melodramatically, then comes up with ...)
'Ave you 'eard . ... like me
The one about Jonah and the creature from the sea
The Lord said .... "You'll go far;
In fact I'm sending you to Ninny-vah."
But Jonah fled .... aboard a boat,
Till his angels told the Lord he was afloat.
So the Lord .... sent a squall
With thunderings and lightenings and all.
"Throw me over' .... Save the ship!"
So the sailors all obliged him, toodle pip!
Gobble gobble .... munch munch,
There was this fish that swallowed Jonah for his lunch.
To Ninny-vah .... it took him off,
Coughed him up upon the beach, "Cough cough!"
Chorus:  (with revised ending)

Gideon: Hallelujah!
Angel: Praise the Lord!
Gideon: Amen
Angel: ... And AMEN.

Angel:  So you see, you don't have to be clever or brave or strong; you just have to trust the Lord.

(Gideon is about to protest - but the angel places a forefinger to Gideon's lips. Gideon sighs.)
Angel: Oh well, I must fly ... figure of speech, you understand. (The angel begins to leave.)
Gideon:  'Bye! The Lord be with you!
Angel:  And with you! (He winks and exits.)
Gideon:  (Shakes his head, sighs deeply) And with me ... even me

..............................
(c) Copyright John Fewings, all rights reserved.
This play may be performed free of charge, on the condition that copies are not sold for profit in any medium, nor any entrance fee charged. In exchange for free performance, the author would appreciate being notified of when and for what purpose the play is performed. He may be contacted at: 50 Howdale Road, Hull, HU8 9JZ, UK. Email: fewings@fewings.karoo.co.uk