The Great Veggie Heist of Artesian Valley

By Glenn A. Hascall


An easy to produce sketch that invites members of the audience to help perform without preparation. This story demonstrates the difference between mercy and grace, and shows why they are both needed. Presented in a humorous way. Set in the 1800's with allusions to present day society. All actors hold scripts. (An almost-readers-theater-script).


Narrator is the only cast member not selected from the audience.
Miriam, Mother, Man are all audience members.
NOTE: No actual acting is needed for this script to work. Draw members from the audience, hand them a script and ask them to read their character's part.


NARRATOR: Once upon a time, many many years ago, there was a peasant girl named Miriam who lived in a small village.
MIRIAM: Hello.
NARRATOR: Her widowed mother had spent much time instructing the girl about the proper way to behave.
MOTHER: Girls never call boys on the phone.
MIRIAM: That is so next century.
NARRATOR: And Miriam learned right from wrong.
MIRIAM: Never cheat, lie, swear or steal.
NARRATOR: One summer, Miriam's family became quite destitute.
MOTHER: We are quite destitute.
MIRIAM: So I've heard.
NARRATOR: A region-wide drought caused the family's garden plot to wilt, then die.
MIRIAM: Would you just look at that corn, mother.
MOTHER: Yeah and verily it hath perished.
NARRATOR: There would be no vegetables to put up and savored through the cold months ahead. Food became very difficult to find.
MIRIAM: Mom?  Where's the fridge?
NARRATOR: It hath not yet been invented.
MIRIAM: No wonder the food's so hard to find.
NARRATOR: At first, Miriam missed the taste of fresh corn and carrots. Then she craved them.
MIRIAM: (Over dramatic) I am such a destitute waif. I shall soon fade from this earth without the aforementioned produce.
NARRATOR: Rough translation - she was hungry. (Pause) Each day Miriam had to venture further from home to find water for her family's needs.
MIRIAM: Haven't they ever heard of indoor plumbing?
NARRATOR: And every day she desired what she had always taken for granted.
MIRIAM: Like a big pot of pinto beans. Um!
NARRATOR: Then the day came when Miriam discovered an artesian well.
MIRRIAM: Would you look at that?
NARRATOR: Water sprang forth providing fresh, clean, cold water from deep under the ground.
MIRIAM: Water - does a body good.
NARRATOR: She followed the stream as it flowed from the well and discovered a beautiful garden filled with sweet corn, potatoes, carrots and cabbage and a generous variety of vegetables more numerous than she had ever seen.
MIRIAM: Would you look at them veggies?
NARRATOR: She could almost taste a fresh pot of homemade stew made from the abundance of these beautiful plants. The longer she looked at the garden, the more she desired the crops.
MIRIAM: (Urgent) I gotta have 'em.
NARRATOR: After entertaining the idea for far too long, Miriam hurriedly loaded her apron with as much vegetables as she could carry and then she returned home glancing furtively behind her, knowing she had stolen - knowing that what she had done was wrong.
MAN: Where did you get those vegetables?
NARRATOR: A man's voice startled Miriam.
MIRIAM: I, uh...
NARRATOR: she stammered...
MARIAM:  I found them.
MAN: In the middle of a drought?
NARRATOR:  The man queried.
MAN: I think not.
NARRATOR:  He challenged gently. (Both man and Miriam look a the Narrator) Miriam wrestled with defiance...
MIRIAM: I was hungry...
NARRATOR:  then anger...
MIRIUM: Doesn't he have anything better to do then look for vegetable robbers.
NARRATOR: Followed closely by a rather feeble attempt at justifying her act of thievery.
MIRIAM: I was just thinking of dear old mom.
NARRATOR:  In the end she could do no less than admit that she had indeed stolen the garden produce.
MIRIAM: I did?
NARRATOR: You did.
MIRIAM: I was afraid you were going to say that.
MAN: I know that you took my vegetables.
MIRIAM: Sure, cause the loudmouth guy over there told you.
MAN: No - well yes, I did here him say that, but I saw you take them.
NARRATOR: the man stated.
MIRIAM: YOUR vegetables?
NARRATOR:  Miriam blustered.
MAN: `'Tis true. I have worked hard all summer growing these crops and I had grand plans for them.
NARRATOR:  The man added significantly.
MIRIAM: I am so ashamed.
NARRATOR: Miriam bowed her head. (Miriam looks around and then, embarrassed, bows her head)  The man was warmed by Miriam's act of contrition.
MAN: (Addressing the Narrator) I think we can take it from here.
NARRATOR: Oh, well, if you need me I'll be out the back. (walks off stage)
MAN: Where were we.
MIRIAM: In the middle of an act of contrition I believe.
MAN: Yours or mine?
MIRIAM: Would you believe me if I said - yours.
MAN: No!
MIRIAM: OK then it was me.
MAN: I think you mean I.
MIRIAM: So it was you!
MAN: No it was you.
MIRIAM: You're confusing me.
MAN: Indeed. Well, then, let me say this - I am willing to extend to you either mercy or grace. Which is your desire?
MIRIAM: Are they not the same thing, sir?
MAN: They are not, my lady."
MIRIAM: Then please explain what mercy grants?
MAN: If I were to endow mercy, you would be completely forgiven for taking my vegetables.
MIRIAM: (Seems relieved) Then this is what I most desire.
MAN: Perhaps, yet you will hear the matter of grace. Should I extend grace, you would be invited to come and gather any vegetables from my garden that you like at any time you like. It would be as if you were a member of my family with all the rights of a daughter.
NARRTOR:  (Off stage) Miriam marveled at the gifts offered to her. She knew that she did not deserve the man's kindness and yet she longed in equal measure for both mercy and grace.
MAN: (Annoyed - Clears his throat)
NARRATOR: Sorry! Old habits - you know...
MIRIAM: Sir, I do not deserve either mercy or grace. I should claim in all honesty that I am in no way deserving of the rights of a family member. Still, I could not return home with a pure heart without an equal measure of both.
MAN: My dear child, you shall indeed have both - Mercy and Grace. For in my mercy I will not exact a punishment that you justly deserved and in my grace I will give to you what can never be earned. (Pause) Will you accept my gift?
MIRIAM: (Pause - then humbly) Yes.
(All cast walk off stage)
NARRATOR: (Still off stage - rattle a door if available) This door seems to be stuck. Could someone let me out of here? (Pause) Hello? Hello.
(Fade to black)
Copyright 2003 by Glenn A. Hascall
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