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The parable of the unforgiving servant - by James Archer




Based on Matthew 18:21-35

Scene: narrator at lectern; Queen and her Chancellor on the dais at court; two members of the royal household, Jane Brown and Paula Smith, initially offstage, with Paula sitting in the congregation near the front; citizen in the congregation near the exit.

Narrator      Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times should I forgive my brother when he sins against me?                    Up to seven times?”  Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy times seven.  For the kingdom of God is                  like this:

Queen        Chancellor, bring me the books.  It’s time we settled the accounts with the staff.

Chancellor   (bringing books)  Yes, your Majesty; here they are, your Majesty.

Queen        Right, let’s have a look.  Who owes us more money than anyone else?

Chancellor   Jane Brown, your Majesty.  One million two hundred and fifty thousand pounds, your Majesty.

Queen        One million two hundred and fifty thousand!  What idiot lent her that much?  Send her in!

Chancellor   Yes, your Majesty.  (Fetches Brown)

Queen        Ah, Brown.  You owe us some money, I believe.

Brown         Yes, your Majesty.  That’s right, your Majesty.

Queen        Well, it’s time you paid.  Where is it?

Brown         I haven’t got it on me, your Majesty.

Queen        Then bring it tomorrow.  If not, I’ll sell all your possessions at the Jumble Sale on Tuesday to pay for it.

Brown         (On her knees, pleading)  Give me more time, your Majesty, and I’ll pay it all back.  Honest I will.

Chancellor   What!?  At seven pounds seighty an hour?  Tell us another one!

Queen        (To Chancellor)  You’re right.  She’s got no chance.  Give me the books and a pen.  (Opens book, with the pen puts                  a line dramatically through the page)  Cancelled.

Chancellor   But you can’t do that!  Every Tom, Dick and Harry will be expecting the same treatment!  The public finances will be                   ruined!

Brown         (Kissing Queen’s feet)  Oh thank you, your Majesty, thank you!  I can’t thank you enough ……………………………                   (etc until stopped)

Queen         (Interrupting)  That’s enough.  Hop it before I change my mind!

Brown          (Exit running.  Gets most of the way out, remembers she has seen Paula Smith sitting in the front row, returns, and                       grabs her.  Queen and Chancellor remain on dais as bystanders)  Hey, Paula!  You owe me twelve pounds fifty!

Smith           I haven’t got it on me, Jane.

Brown          (Shaking Paula violently by the shoulders)  Don’t mess with me, sunshine!  Cough up!

Smith           I’ll pay you back tomorrow!  Honest I will!

Brown         D’you think I was born yesterday?  That’s what every cheat says.  (Slaps her in the face).  Get out of my sight, you                    miserable wretch, and (as Paula leaves) make sure you bring the lolly round tomorrow.  (Goes to leave)

Queen        Arrest that woman!  (Brown arrested by Citizen as she tries to leave)  Bring her here!

Citizen        (Frog-marching Brown to the dais)  Citizen’s arrest, your Majesty.

Queen        (To Citizen)  Thank you.  (To Brown)  You wicked creature.  I cancelled all your debt because you begged me to.                      Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your workmate just as I had mercy on you?  (To Chancellor)  Chancellor, pass the                  books again.  (Chancellor passes books and pen.  Queen writes in book.)  Re-instated.  (To Citizen)  Take her off to                  prison.  She can rot there until she has paid back every penny that she owes.  (Exit Citizen with Brown.  Others                          freeze)

Narrator     Jesus said, “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.”

Printable and editable Word version

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