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ESTHER   9'2m1f Esther stops Haman from wiping out the Hebrews

XERXES -- (impatient moans, groans for several seconds, then...) 
Darling? Esther? My queen? Esther, are you awake?

ESTHER -- (sleepy) I am now. What do you want, Xerxes?

XERXES -- I can't sleep. I've been tossing and turning all 
night, and I don't know why. My darling, Esther, you are so 
incredibly beautiful. I think I know what will make me get to 
sleep...

ESTHER -- Me too. I'll read to you.

XERXES -- Well, that wasn't quite what I had in mind, but...

ESTHER -- ... I've noticed that you get drowsy whenever the 
court scribe reads the daily entries from the royal archives.

XERXES -- That's because it's so boring. The same old 
who-gave-what-to-whom, the same old who-got-married-to-whom, the 
same old who-came-to-the-party. You know, Esther, you're so 
incredibly beautiful. I'd much rather...

ESTHER -- You just lay back and close your eyes...

XERXES -- ...But, darling, I'd really would rather...

ESTHER -- Now, Xerxes, do you want to get to sleep or not?

XERXES -- Well, yes, but...

ESTHER -- Then, lay back on your pillow and close your eyes.

XERXES -- Oh, alright, but if this doesn't work...

ESTHER -- Oh, here's an entry in the archives I'll bet you 
haven't heard.

XERXES -- Okay, I'm relaxing and my eyes are closed. let's hear 
it.

ESTHER -- Hmmmm. It says here that uncle Mordecai discovered a 
plot to kill you and take over your throne. When did this 
happen?

XERXES -- Oh, that was a few weeks ago, while they were 
preparing you for the wedding. I didn't tell you because I 
didn't want to ruin the wedding. This Mordecai was an old guy 
who parked himself outside tha palace gate. He overheard two of 
the palace guards talking about the plot and reported it to me. 
We caught the culprits just as they were about to spring into 
action. We were so busy with the trial and with our wedding we 
completely forgot to publicly acknowledge fellow... this...

ESTHER -- Mordecai.

XERXES -- Yes, but I would have sworn I heard you call him UNCLE 
Mordecai.

ESTHER -- Oh, ah, I, ah,... yes, I did, didn't I? Well, I guess 
he's been hanging around the palace gate for so long that the 
women in the harem are beginning to call him uncle Mordecai.

XERXES -- Yes, now that you mention it, I can picture the old 
guy in my mind. He started hanging around the palace gate 
several weeks ago... right around the time that you came to live 
in the palace. Isn't that a coincidence?

ESTHER -- (beat) Coincidence? Yes, oh, ah, yes, ah, of course. 
So, tell me, Xerxes, shouldn't you publicly acknowledge this 
Mordecai for saving your life?

XERXES -- Yes. Yes, I suppose I should. Yes, I shall do 
something nice for him first thing in the morning. Yes, that's a 
good idea. I'll do something nice for him. I'll have my 
administrator, Haman, give him a hero's welcome to the palace. 
Yes, first thing in the morning. But right now, I'm still not 
sleepy. Esther, did I ever tell you how incredibly beautiful you 
are?

ESTHER -- Speaking of Haman, Xerxes, did you know that Haman had 
a gallows built near his house?

XERXES -- A gallows? What, you mean as in hanging?

ESTHER -- Yes. But he apparently wants to make a spectacle of 
the hanging. He built the gallows 75 feet high.

XERXES -- Well, who is he hanging? I wasn't aware of anyone in 
my kingdom who deserved hanging.

ESTHER -- I'm sure he'll explain it to us all at our little 
banquet tomorrow.

XERXES -- Oh, yes, I guess that's why I was tossing and turning 
all night. When you came to the throne room I promised that you 
could have anything you want. But you're being so mysterious 
about it. I was wondering why you wouldn't tell me what you 
want from me.

ESTHER -- Please have patience, Xerxes, I realize that your 
offer of up to half your kingdom is a generous one. And keeping 
my king waiting for an answer is rude, but please have 
patience. I will tell you what I want at the banquet tomorrow.

XERXES -- Do you think you have to get me all softened up with 
with wine before you ask me? I already told you you can have 
anything you want. Just tell me so I can get some sleep.

ESTHER -- Xerxes, what do you think of Haman?

XERXES -- You're not going to tell me, are you? You're going to 
make me lie awake all night wondering what you could possibly 
want from me.

ESTHER -- Can you trust Haman?

XERXES -- My chief administrator? Well, I hope so. I gave him 
my signet ring. He can use it to order anything he wants done 
in my whole kingdom. But let's not talk about him. If you're not 
going to tell me what you want from me, let's talk about you 
and me. Did I tell you how incredibly beautiful you are and how 
much I'd like to...

ESTHER -- Did you know that Haman ordered the deaths of 
thousands of people in your kingdom?

XERXES -- (growls) Humbug. Alright, if you want to talk about 
Haman, we'll talk about Haman. Yes, I knew. He told me that we 
needed to get rid of some trouble makers in the kingdom. So, I 
gave him my signet ring so he could arrange too get rid of them. 
Now, where were we? Oh, yes, did I ever tell you how incredibly 
beautiful you are?... 

(footsteps fading)

Esther, where are you going?

ESTHER -- (afar) I have a banquet to prepare for.

XERXES -- Esther! (door close) Oh, well, I guess I'll read a few 
more entries in the royal archives. That usually works. (yawns) 
Weddings. Funerals. (yawns) Births (yawns) Roy... royal 
visitor... royal vis... (snores, pause)

ESTHER -- Xerxes. Xerxes, my king wake up.

XERXES -- (snort) Huh? Oh, you mean I finally fell asleep?

ESTHER -- You slept like a baby. 

XERXES -- It must have been the archives. You were right, my 
darling. (yawns) What time is it?

ESTHER -- It's after noon. It's time for the banquet.

XERXES -- The banquet! Where is the banquet? I have to get 
dressed!

ESTHER -- No, no, my king. Stay right where you are. The banquet 
is just for the three of us. I've summoned Haman to come here. 
(clap, clap, shouts) Bring in the food and the wine. And ask 
Haman to come in.

XERXES -- Ah, yes, Haman.

ESTHER -- I don't mean to desparage your choice of a chief 
administrator, Xerxes, but I think Haman is a snake.

XERXES -- Esther!

HAMAN --- (mumbles, afar) Of all the nerve asking me to lead a 
horse through the city. Me, the chief administrator!

XERXES -- Haman, are you upset about something?

HAMAN --- (near, snake-like, emphasizing his S's) King 
Xerssssessss, how nicccce to sssssssee you again. 

XERXES -- (aside) Now that you mention it, Esther, I've never 
noticed that Haman's tongue is split up the middle. (aloud) 
Haman, did I notice that you were upset about something?

HAMAN --- Who me? Noooo. I just had to lead Mordecai's horse 
through the city streets shouting at the top of my lungs what a 
great hero he is. Now, he looks like a hero and I look like a 
footman.

XERXES -- What are you talking about?

HAMAN --- She tricked me!

ESTHER -- I did not.

HAMAN --- You did too. You asked me what I would do to 
acknowledge a national hero and I told you. But, you said...

XERXES -- What's going on here, darling?

ESTHER -- Well, you were asleep, darling, so I, knowing how 
badly you wanted to recognize Mordecai as a national hero, I 
just asked Haman to go ahead and do what he said he'd do. He put 
a purple robe on Mordecai and lead his horse through the streets 
shouting to all what a great deed he had done. I'm sorry you 
missed it Xerxes.

HAMAN --- She tricked me! You didn't tell me who the national 
hero was until I had already committed to doing it.

ESTHER -- Mordecai saved Xerxes' life. Didn't he, sweetie?

XERXES -- Well, yes, he did, but... Did I miss something?

HAMAN --- Yes, Mordecai was one of the trouble makers that I was 
going to hang. Now, we have to go to all the trouble to 
discredit him in order to hang him. I may even have to delay the 
hanging. And it's all HER fault!

ESTHER -- Uncle Mordecai is not a trouble maker.

XERXES -- There, you said it again.

ESTHER -- Said what?

XERXES -- You called him UNCLE Mordecai.

HAMAN --- Yes, why did you call him UNCLE Mordecai.

ESTHER -- I'll tell you about that later. Right now, I want to 
announce what I have decided that I want from my dear sweet 
husband, King Xerxes.

XERXES -- Anything you ask, my darling, up to half my kingdom.

ESTHER -- I want you to spare all those who Haman calls 
troublemakers.

HAMAN --- Troublemakers, that's what they are! And I've already 
sent out the order to have them killed in the king's name.

XERXES -- Why would you have me cancel an order that has already 
been sent out, my darling?

ESTHER -- They're not trouble makers at all. Haman is just angry 
because Uncle Mordecai would not bow down to him, as he does to 
you. He wants to hang Mordecai to show everyone that they should 
bow down to him also.

XERXES -- Is that so, Haman?

HAMAN --- They're troublemakers, I tell you.

XERXES -- Why would he bow down to you? You're just an 
administrator.

HAMAN --- Everyone else bows down. They know what's good for 
them. They know I have the power of life and death over them. 
But these Hebrews, they only bow down to their king and their 
God. They're all trouble makers. They must be put to death.

ESTHER -- Just because they won't bow down to you?

HAMAN --- Yes. Yes. If you must know. Yes.

XERXES -- How do you know all this, Esther?

ESTHER -- Well, that was the other thing I wanted to announce 
today, my king. Mordecai is my uncle. I am a Hebrew too. So, if 
you want hang them, hang me too.

HAMAN --- You what?!

XERXES -- You're a Hebrew? I had no idea.
           
HAMAN --- (afar) Curses, foiled again.

XERXES -- Just a minute, Haman. You're not going anywhere. You 
were going to hang innocent people. (shouts) Guards, take Haman 
to the gallows he just built and hang him. Tell everyone in the 
country that he who exalts himself will be humbled.

HAMAN --- (afar) Your majesty, I didn't finish my wine yet.

XERXES -- (shouts) Get him out of here. Oh, and bring me 
Mordecai. He's probably hanging around the palace gate.

ESTHER -- Surely, you won't harm the man who saved your life, my 
king.

XERXES -- Certainly not. With Haman gone, I will need a new 
chief administrator. What better choice than one who saved my 
life?

ESTHER -- Oh, Xerxes, how can I ever thank you.

XERXES -- Guards, leave the room. The queen got her wish, now I 
get mine.


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