Bonfire night by James Archer

 

 

Cast:  Two narrators, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, King Nebuchadnezzar.  The narrators double up as the crowd, the soldiers, councillor, God, as appropriate.

 

The narrators need to ham the story up as if on Jackanory. The list of people which N1goes through so many times is like a shaggy dog story, with thought being given to the emphasis to make sure that no one forgets who they all are – the children can be encouraged to help him out at times.  Whilst the narrators can work mainly from the script, N2 will need to know his lines as the councillor in the middle.  The two narrators should each have a microphone.   The four actors are part mimers with some words added in, and need to exaggerate the actions.  It should be both gripping and comic.  The king is on stage throughout.

Printable and editable Word version

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Once upon a time, in the days when God’s people were prisoners in the land of Babylon, there were three godly young men (at this time, each of the three comes across the stage acting like a waiter taking food to the next room, in order, so that the narrator can point them out) called Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, whose names told how important God was to them. They were servants in the royal palace. 

The king (narrator points him out) wanted them to forget the Lord and to fit in with the customs of the people of Babylon, and he insisted that they have new names.

If this had happened today, he might have called them Hussain, Mohammed and Abdullah, but because this was a long time ago, he called them Shadrach, Meshach and Tobedwego.

Tobedwego?

No, that doesn’t sound quite right. (Checks script)  Abednego.  Sorry. 

Anyway, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were capable and honest, and were soon promoted to the City Council.

Now the king wanted to show off how rich and powerful he was, so he built a gold statue of himself ninety feet high….

NINETY FEET HIGH!

….and summoned all the royal family, the government, the judges, the leaders of the armed forces and the business tycoons to come to an opening party to admire it.  

He laid on a huge barbecue, a fantastic fireworks display and a massive bonfire.

So the royal family, the government, the judges, the leaders of the armed forces and the business tycoons put on their smartest clothes and came to the party to admire it.

Then the king, who loved cruel games, said to them:

Let’s have a game of musical statues.  When you hear the music, everyone has to fall on their knees and worship the gold statue.  The last person to fall on their knees becomes the Guy on the bonfire.

So half way through the fireworks, the king turned to the band master and said:

Time for the Royal Fireworks Music.  (Music Group strike up)

When the music started, the royal family, the government, the judges, the leaders of the armed forces and fell on their knees (N2 falls on his knees and prostrates himself) as quickly as they could and worshipped the gold statue….

(still on the floor, gradually looks around as he speaks and gets up warily) …. because none of them wanted to be the Guy on the bonfire. 

The king’s soldiers seized a councillor from the county of Chaldea (N1 seizes N2) because he was last to fall on his knees, and dragged him off towards the bonfire.  But as he went, he cried out in terror:

“I’m not the last.  There are three people who still haven’t bowed down and worshipped the gold statue.” 

Who are they?

“Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused to come to the party, so that they wouldn’t have to bow down to the gold statue and worship it.” 

Then the king was furious. 

I’ll give them a real roasting.

And he told his soldiers to go and fetch them (King points offstage.  N1 goes and brings Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego on stage.  They stand before the King but facing out towards the audience). 

Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you refuse to bow down and worship my gold statue?  When the music starts, if you do not fall down and worship my gold statue, you will be put straight onto my giant bonfire.  What use will your God be to you then?

It is true, your Majesty. 

You can threaten us as much as you like, your Majesty. 

But we will not bow down and worship your gold statue. 

Our God is able to save us from your fire.

But, even if he doesn’t……

….. we still will not bow down and worship your gold statue.

Then the king was even more furious. 

Get some paraffin and pour it onto the bonfire so that it gets even hotter.  That will teach them a lesson.

So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were trussed up and strapped onto the top of the bonfire (N1 and N2 tie up S, M and A).    

And the fire was lit. 

Whoomph!!! It got so hot so quickly that the man who lit it was burned to death.

And everyone gathered around the bonfire to watch the fun (Rubs his hands in glee.  A bit of a pause while the narrators watch the fire.  S, M and A stand up and start walking around front of stage, and are joined by N2).

AAARRRGH!!!! 

“What is it?”

Didn’t we put three men, all trussed up, onto the bonfire?

“Of course we did.”

Look, there are four men, walking around in the middle of the fire, unbound and unhurt.  And the fourth one looks like the Son of God!  Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out!  (S,M and A stop walking and approach the King.  N2 withdraws discreetly)  Are you OK?  Unharmed?  Not even smelling of fire.  How great is the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who sent his angel to protect them from the fury of the king when they refused to bow down and worship the gold statue.

So he summoned the royal family, the government, the judges, the leaders of the armed forces and the business tycoons, and he said to them:

Listen to me.  No one must say or do anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, because he is greater than any other God  (All freeze).