Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Greatest Villains: Act I, Scene 8

Scene VIII

Lights up at full as the party emerges back onstage (in front of the closed curtains), with Solomon looking glum.

GOLIATH: Do not take his crude construction of syllables too deeply into your cerebral cortex.

SOLOMON looks up at him, still glum and now slightly confused. GOLIATH smiles.

MARTHA: He means stop moping.


SOLOMON: Ah! Well, this doesn’t help my self-esteem. I have trouble deciphering Goliath of all people…


SOLOMON: Sorry... I just feel like less of a king today. You know that guilt that you get when you break a promise unintentionally?

JC: Yeah?

SOLOMON: And how you get the feeling inside of you, the urge to do great again, to conquer the demons you summoned?

JC: Yeah?

SOLOMON: I don’t have that. I just have the down part.

GOLIATH: If it helps, you’re still a hero to me.

SOLOMON: Great. The person here with the best vocabulary uses the worst possible word.

Cheering can be heard behind the curtain.

JC: What’s that noise…

SOLOMON: (in horror)…Oh My Tom Cruise.

MARTHA: What now?

SOLOMON: Well, in case you haven’t heard, I’m facing the world’s toughest re-election as king this year. And I forgot that my opponent is holding a rally in town.

MARTHA: Isn’t he…

The curtain opens to reveal a huge crowd (at least 30 people) gathered around a stage with a podium on it. In the background, there’s a huge poster of a tall man with slicked black hair, and the name PONTIUS PILATE written on it. Displayed all over the stage, hanging from every possible surface, is a symbol with the campaign slogan “Pontius! Pontius! We want Pontius!” written on it.  The crowd keeps chanting “Pilate! Pilate! Pilate!” until PONTIUS PILATE enters the stage to rapturous applause. He starts pantomiming a speech to an enraptured audience as the focus shifts back to the party.

MARTHA: Oh. Time to scram then.

Everyone begins to leave except for JC, who clears his throat to make them stop and look at him.

JC: I’d love ta help ya out, but I remember who tha last person on tha list was.

SOLOMON: … you’ve got to be kidding me.

JC: ‘Fraid not. Condemning tha Lord ‘n savior of tha world ta a horrible death don’t look good on most resumes, but my boss ain’t an ordinary boss.

SOLOMON starts pacing and looks distraught.

GOLIATH: You have it within you, Solomon. You can talk him into it with me at your side.

SOLOMON: I wouldn’t last a minute! It’s hopeless! Didn’t you see the beggar rip me apart? And she’s a commoner, for crying out loud! I’ve seen enough attack ads to know asking for a private conversation won’t help. And the moment I step on stage, I die!

MARTHA: What kind of talk is that? (Pulls SOLOMON aside) Look, I’ve been in your shoes. I’ve had to deal with ungrateful customers- and sisters- before. But guess what throws them off every time? Just smile and ask them what they’d like. You don’t even have to mean it sometimes.


MARTHA: Ok, that didn’t work with my last customers, but it’s not that hard, wise-guy.


MARTHA: Where was I? Right! Look, I haven’t found redemption from others yet. It’s hard. But I still believe it’s out there. You just need to grab it.


MARTHA: Oh, just get off your lazy butt already!

She pushes a protesting SOLOMON onto the stage. There’s complete silence as everyone stares at him.

SOLOMON: Ummm… hello Judah?

After two beats, the crowd goes into a bloodthirsty chorus of shouts and curses. Some try to climb on the stage, but are stopped by bodyguards. PILATE calms them down with a few gestures.

PILATE: Good people of Judah: please… calm yourselves. It’s only the man who taxed you so heavily that you rebelled against him and began a bloody civil conflict…

The crowd starts acting up again, but PILATE once again calms them down.

PILATE: However… as he is my opponent this election, I hope to beat him fair and square, just for you. So let’s not have any trouble. I’m sure Solomon has something very important to say.

He hands the microphone he was using to SOLOMON.

SOLOMON: Hello. Umm… so… what do you want?

The crowd is dumbfounded for a while.

BYSTANDER: Stop picking on us!

Affirmations spring up throughout the crowd.

SOLOMON: I haven’t been picking on you. Stop complaining.

The crowd goes berserk again.

SOLOMON: (to his friends) Was that too harsh?

JC, GOLIATH, and MARTHA facepalm simultaneously. Eventually, an annoyed PILATE gets the crowd to simmer down.

SOLOMON: I’ll try again. What do you want?

BYSTANDER 2: Give up the crown!

There’s a silence as SOLOMON searches for something to say.

MARTHA: (under her breath) C’mon, just say it…

SOLOMON: (As if an entirely new person) I met someone today who once believed in me and had woken up. Woken up to the war and poverty I have brought upon you with my selfish ways. I am no longer fit to rule, and will pass on the crown to one of my sons for the remainder of my term.

Silence. Then, rapturous applause and cheering from the crowd. SOLOMON is amazed and stunned. MARTHA, GOLIATH, and JC help escort him off of the stage. PILATE and the rest of the crowd slowly leave.

JC: Solomon, that was fantastic!

GOLIATH: Indeed, that was most brave of you!

MARTHA: Took you long enough! …Solomon? Are you awake?

SOLOMON is still in a daze. In a little bit, he snaps out of it.

SOLOMON: … sorry, you were talking?

MARTHA: Do you remember anything that just happened?

SOLOMON: Let’s see… got onstage, got booed, got nervous… don’t remember anything after that.

GOLIATH: (uncertain) You surrendered your throne, I believe.

There’s a pause as SOLOMON begins to realize what he’s done.


He begins running around the stage shouting at the remaining stragglers from the crowd (who seem to be ignoring him).

SOLOMON: No! Please! Come back, it was all a joke, just a stupid joke… I’m still your king, I’m still your king…!

Everyone remaining from the crowd eventually leaves except for ONE PERSON, who SOLOMON grabs by the SHOULDERS.

SOLOMON: You! You have to tell them that I was joking! Tell them there’s an imposter! Get a message back to my palace so I can declare today opposite day! I’ll do anything for you, just help me!


SOLOMON: What? Tell them… oh, never mind.

ONE PERSON: Oooooooo-qué.

ONE PERSON leaves as SOLOMON, dejected, returns to the rest of the group.

SOLOMON: Sigh… Well, we’ll have the gold we’ll get from the devil. At least I was of sound mind when I made that decision.

MARTHA: …that was the stupidest thing I’ve heard you say yet.

SOLOMON: What did you say?

MARTHA: That was your greatest moment! You saw the real problem at hand and took care of it! It was just like old times!

SOLOMON: I don’t even know what I was saying!

JC: Probably means ya spoke from tha heart instead of tha stomach then.

SOLOMON: But… I don’t know, maybe God put those words in my mouth! I could have been possessed for all I know!

JC: That ain’t his style. He always gives ya a way out, sure, but ya always decidin’ if ya gonna walk the walk.

SOLOMON: So, devil-henchman, how do you know so much about God?

JC: (shrugs) I read a lot.

SOLOMON: Goliath, you’re with me, right?

GOLIATH: Of course!

MARTHA: Goliath, we talked about this beforehand. I thought you agreed with us.


SOLOMON: But… then… ahhhh, never mind!

MARTHA: Listen. I didn’t believe it when I first saw you. But, after that, I know why you’re called Solomon the Wise.

PILATE storms up to the group with his bodyguards beside him.

PILATE: Solomon! That crowd was putty in my hands until you showed up! Why would you do that?

SOLOMON looks to his group, who nod approvingly to him.

SOLOMON: (to PILATE) I’d like to say that it was a ploy, but there’s no point hiding from it. Somewhere, apparently very deep down, it was what I knew was right to do.

PILATE: That makes no sense though. Don’t you know that seventy-five percent of voters won’t vote for someone who can’t be voted for?

GOLIATH: … that makes my head hurt.

PILATE: Well, I guess I should thank you for making my road to the kingdom that much easier. This still doesn’t change the fact that you’re a tyrant who should be exiled for your crimes against the people.

MARTHA: You shouldn’t talk. Look what you did to my teacher.

PILATE: (referring to SOLOMON) Look what he did to mine! You were impressive once, Solomon. There was a lot of pressure on you to not help the common good, but you were strong enough to cave into our demands.

SOLOMON: Let’s end this here. None of us want to have the other one dig up our past.

PILATE: I won’t mind! I did the right thing, condemning Jesus to die! Well, not everyone agreed afterwards. But they agreed with me then!

SOLOMON: That’s exactly it! We need to move on. This is how. (Pulls out the letter, gives it to PILATE) I’ll leave it up to your freewill.

“Freewill,” plays again, this time starting at 3:59. Lights dim as PILATE and the group pantomime reading the letter and discussing it. Spot on emerging SOLOIST 3, with SOLOISTS 1 AND 2 at each side.



Spot off, lights up.

PILATE: I will choose free will.

PILATE shakes hands with SOLOMON and starts socializing with the group as the curtain closes and the music plays till the end of the song. End scene.

1 comment:

  1. The sheer number of scenes is starting to make me think this story would work better on the screen than on the stage. If you can trim and combine some scenes, it might still work as a play. I also wonder if you truly need all these villains; you might be straying into "X-Men 3" territory where trying to include everyone prevents you from fully developing them all.