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Our Shpiel

Our Shpiel

Clip Featured in Smith College Jewish Community's

"A Not-So-Serious Passover Play for the Classroom or the Dining Room" by S. Mitchell

CHARACTERS: Slave Narrator, G_d (as a voice offstage), Moses, Aaron, Burning Bush, Pharoah

SLAVE NARRATOR: In Egypt we Hebrews had a difficult life. All day we worked under the whips of the taskmasters, making bricks and stacking them into giant pyramids, using nothing but our bare hands and a mixture of apples, raisins and nuts to bind the bricks together. We ate nothing but horseradish and drank only salt water. The only joy we had came from squeezing our fresh loaves of bread, which were soft and thick and light and fluffy as clouds. We had nothing to hope for. But little did we know that one of us, an escaped Hebrew who lived as a stranger in a foreign land of Midian, would soon return to us as our savior.

MOSES: Here sheep! Here sheep, sheep! Hey, come back! Don't make me chase you-- (Suddenly surprised at the sight of a burning bush.) Oh, my gosh!

MOSES: That little bush is on fire! (He dowses it.)

MOSES: But why aren't you burned, little bush?

G_D: Moses!

MOSES: Here I am.

G_D: Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place you stand on is holy ground.

Moses removes his shoes.

G_D: Moses! Whew! Stinky!

MOSES: Here I am!

G_D: Put your shoes back on, please.

MOSES: Who are you?

G_D: I am the G_d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Benjamin, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher--

MOSES: What do you want from me?

G_D: I have heard the cry of the Hebrew slaves and I've come to rescue them, to lead them out of that land into a good land flowing with milk and honey, the country of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Websites, Hippies, Trekkies, Yuppies, Muppets, Skittles, Ewoks--

MOSES: Get to the point...

G_D: Actually, you are going to do it.

MOSES: Do what?

G_D: You, Moses, will lead the Hebrews out of that land into a good land flowing with milk and honey, the country of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites--

MOSES: Who am I that I should lead the Israelites to freedom? What will they say when I tell them, "The G_d of your fathers has sent me to lead you"? If they ask, "What is His name?", what do I tell them?

G_D: Tell them, "I am who I am."

G_D: They'll believe you, Moses. Then go to the Pharoah and ask him to let you go on a three day's journey into the desert to offer sacrifices. If he says yes, which he won't, you'll go and you won't come back.

MOSES: Good plan. Do you think Pharoah will buy it?

G_D: No.

MOSES: What's Plan B?

G_D: Pharoah won't let your people go unless he is forced. So I will stretch out my hand and smite Egypt by doing all sorts of wondrous deeds there. Lots of people and animals will die.

MOSES: Couldn't you just make Pharoah say yes the first time?

G_D: I cannot. But perhaps Moses can convince him.

MOSES: How will I convince him? What if he doesn't believe me? I need some proof of your wondrous power.

G_D: Do you know any card tricks?

MOSES: No.

G_D: The nickel in the ear trick?

MOSES: No.

G_D: The rabbit from a hat?

MOSES: No.

G_D: Saw the lady in half?

MOSES: No.

G_D: Don't worry. You'll think of something. Now go!

SLAVE NARRATOR: So Moses came back to us, and before long, he and his brother Aaron paid Pharoah a visit.

Moses pushes Aaron ahead of him into Pharoah's room as Pharoah dresses himself. Aaron pushes back, then Moses pushes him forward again, and on and on.

PHAROAH (to the mirror): Today, I'm going to wear this hat. This is a good Pharoah hat. No, I'll wear this hat--this is better. Yes. No, no, this one, it's the best. OK. No, maybe this one is better.

Moses pushes Aaron into the room hard.

AARON: I'm going!

Pharoah turns around.

PHAROAH: Well, if it isn't the freakies who talk to the gods. I've heard of you both. You've got my slaves all riled up. Tell me. Is He planning to make it rain tomorrow?

AARON: Our G_d has called upon us to make a sacrifice to Them in the desert.

PHAROAH: How narcissistic of your god. I like it. So how did it go?

AARON: We haven't done it yet.

PHAROAH: Why not?

Aaron is silent. Moses whispers in his ear.

AARON: We have to do it in the desert.

PHAROAH: You live in the desert. Go into your backyard and make your sacrifice.

AARON: It's not that simple. Our G_d wants us to do it far away from here.

PHAROAH: Really.

AARON: Yes, sir. About a three day's walk.

PHAROAH: I see. So what I think I hear you saying is, you want to take all of my slaves out on a sort of field trip.

AARON: A holy sacrifice.

PHAROAH: Right, a holy sacrifice. In the desert.

AARON: Yes!

PHAROAH: Three days away from here.

AARON: Exactly!

PHAROAH: And I suppose you'll be needing to pack a few things.

AARON: Well...

PHAROAH: For your three-day hike in the desert.

AARON: Well, yes!

PHAROAH: So you can make it back here safe and healthy enough to pick up right where you left off.

AARON (excited): Absolutely, yes!

PHAROAH: OK.

AARON: Great! OK, then. We'll see you in a few days!

MOSES: You'll hardly miss us!

PHAROAH: Wait.

AARON: Sir?

PHAROAH: I'm assuming you have a Plan B?

AARON: Huh?

PHAROAH: In case I'm not the fool you think I am. You Hebrews are going nowhere.

SLAVE NARRATOR: G_d had indeed made Pharoah obstinate. He ordered the taskmasters to increase our work and punish us with greater cruelty. And though Moses and Aaron returned to him each day with various amazing feats to prove their holy authority, Pharoah simply ordered his own magicians to explain these tricks away.

MOSES: G_d, it's not working. We told him everything you said. We tried a few card tricks. We turned my staff into a snake. But nothing works. And the slaves--they think I'm only making things worse for them.

G_D: Yes, I expected this. It's time I showed them the awesome power of the Lord. It is time I smite Egypt with my wondrous deeds! Go back to Pharoah, lads, and warn him of my wrath.

SLAVE NARRATOR: So with G_d looking on, Moses and Aaron returned to Pharoah.

Pharoah is looking at himself in the mirror again, deciding on an impressive royal pose, changing his mind again and again, when Moses and Aaron approach.

PHAROAH: Boys, welcome back! Have any new tricks to show me?

AARON: Pharoah.

PHAROAH: Yes.

AARON: Let my people go.

PHAROAH: OK.

AARON: OK?

PHAROAH: No.

AARON: If you don't, you will witness the awesome power of the Lord.

PHAROAH: I see. Could you be more specific?

AARON: If you don't let the Hebrews go free, we will pack our things and lead them away. And when your taskmasters try to stop us, they will find themselves frozen, unable to move. And we'll walk right by them, smiling, laughing, and they won't even be able to blink. They'll be stuck, frozen like giant blocks of ice, and--

G_D: Stop!

Time stops. Pharoah, Aaron and Moses all stop moving and speaking.

G_D (anxious) : Moses, Moses!

MOSES: Here I am!

G_D: Tell Aaron I can't do that. I can't freeze people.

MOSES: Well, what can you do?

G_D: I will turn all their waters to blood.

MOSES: Ugh! I pass out at the sight of blood.

SLAVE NARRATOR: And so Egypt was colored red with blood. The fish in the river died, the Egyptians had to dig to find clean water to drink, and Moses was woozy for many days. After a week, G_d commanded Aaron to stretch his hand over the waters of Egypt and the country was overrun by frogs. This time, Pharoah sent for Moses and Aaron.

AARON: Now, Pharoah, you have seen the awesome power of the Lord!

PHAROAH: Yes, and the frogs were cute at first, I admit, but all the ribbeting is driving me crazy. Make them disappear and I'll let your people go.

Aaron and Moses turn to go.

PHAROAH: Wait!

AARON: Yes?

PHAROAH: Forget it. Can't leave.

AARON: If you don't let us go, the Lord will punish you even more severely.

PHAROAH: How?

AARON: How?

MOSES: How?

G_D: How?

AARON: Why, he'll make the ground beneath your soldiers' feet turn to glue, so when you try to follow us, their feet will get stuck, and then they'll reach down to free themselves and their hands will stick to their feet, and then they won't be able to do anything, and we'll laugh and laugh and--

G_D: Stop!

Time stops. Pharoah, Aaron and Moses all stop moving and speaking.

G_D: Moses, Moses!

MOSES: Here I am!

G_D: Tell Aaron I can't do that. I can't turn the ground into glue.

MOSES: Well, what can you do?

G_D: I'll, I'll, I'll turn the dust of the earth into little gnats, which will go "bzzzz" over the land!

SLAVE NARRATOR: And so the land and air were swarming with gnats. But Pharoah refused again. And then came flies. And the pestilence. And the boils. And again Pharoah called Moses and Aaron to his chambers.

Pharoah, stands in front of his mirror, his face covered with boils. He grimaces at his reflection as Moses and Aaron enter.

PHAROAH: Oh, thank G_d you're here. Make these things go away. I've tried everything. Facial masks, Buff Puffs, exfoliants, zinc supplements, hypnosis, feng shui, everything! Clear my complexion and I'll let you Israelites worship in the desert for FOUR days if you want to.

AARON: OK. We'll begin packing.

They turn to leave.

PHAROAH: Wait!

AARON: Yes?

PHAROAH: If I change my mind?

AARON: If you change your mind?

PHAROAH: What would happen?

AARON: Well, if you don't let us go, the Lord will rain down on you millions of little round balls, and when you try to chase after us, you'll slip and fall down. And you'll try to get up, and you'll slip and fall again, and we'll be laughing so hard--

G_D: Stop!

Time stops. Pharoah, Aaron and Moses all stop moving and speaking.

G_D: Moses, Moses!

MOSES: Just try it, G_d!

SLAVE NARRATOR: And so the Lord drowned the land in a downpour of hail, so fierce that every animal and plant was struck down and the crops were ruined. A plague of locusts followed. And then Pharoah called upon our heroes again.

PHAROAH: OK. I'm pretty sure I'm going to let your people go this time. But just supposing I don't?

AARON: If you don't let us go, your people will be blinded by darkness--

Aaron pauses and looks to Moses. Moses looks up to the heavens, but G_d is silent. Moses shrugs at Aaron.

AARON: And when they try to chase after us, they'll bump into each other and fall down and then get up and run the wrong way, and when you hear our giggling, you'll reach for us, but you'll only grab each other by accident!

MOSES: Can you do that, G_d?

G_D: Yes, I think I can do that one.

AARON: Alrighty then.

SLAVE NARRATOR: But Pharoah proved wishy-washy again. And Aaron and Moses promised Pharoah the worst plague of them all.

AARON: If you don't let us go, the Lord will make Hannukah last eight months instead of eight days, and every night our children will wander through the villages singing ( singing in an annoying voice), "I have a little dreidel, I made it out of clay, And when--"

PHAROAH: No!

G_D: Moses, Moses!

MOSES (exasperated) : What is it?!

G_D: I like the dreidel song.

MOSES: Then YOU think of something!

G_D: Mark your doorposts with the blood of a lamb.

MOSES: Not more blood!

G_D: The angel of death will pass over the homes that bear this mark. And take the living spirits of the first-born Egyptians.

SLAVE NARRATOR: And so it came to pass. And this time, not only did Pharoah give us permission to leave, but all of Egypt helped us pack and rushed us out toward the Red Sea.

Pharoah rushes Aaron and Moses as they pack their things.

PHAROAH: Here, I had my soldiers wrap up your bread!

AARON: But it hasn't had time to rise.

MOSES: And your rushing us leaves us no time to cook our ceremonial feast!

PHAROAH: You'll have to get it catered! Now get out of here!

Moses and Aaron leave.

PHAROAH: Wait!

No response.

PHAROAH: Wait! I think I might change my mind!

Still no response.

SLAVE NARRATOR: Pharaoh did change his mind, and he sent his people to hunt us down as we made our way toward the Red Sea. I think you know what happened next. Four hundred thirty years of oppression came to an end.

AARON: What are you talking about?! We're eating sandwiches of mortar on flat bread!

SLAVE NARRATOR: Stop complaining. ( He raises his arms in celebration. ) Next year in Jerusalem!

AARON: Yeah, right!