BEHEADED 4'1m*f RT: Herod has John the Baptist beheaded

(RT == Readers' Theater: requires little or no memorization,
little or no rehearsal. An indefinite number of reporters are
salted throughout the audience.)

HEROD -- (enters wearing ornate robe, crown and sandals, crosses
to podium) I am King Herod Tetrarch of Galilee. I called this
press conference to announce the execution of an enemy of the
state. His name was John son of Zechariah the priest. He was
commonly known around the countryside as John the Baptist. His
body has been wrapped according to Jewish tradition and is now
ready to be picked up by his next of kin. That's all I have.
Thank you for your attention. (turns)

REPORTER -- Your Majesty, may we ask why John the Baptist was

HEROD -- (turns) I told you. He was an enemy of the state.

REPORTER -- What I mean is, what were the exact charges against
him that caused his execution?

HEROD -- Ah, Sedition. Yes, that's it. Sedition. (turns)

REPORTER -- Can you tell us what group John the Baptist incited
to rebellion?

HEROD -- (turns) Excuse me?

REPORTER -- You said that John the Baptist was executed for
sedition. Sedition is inciting people to rebellion. Can you tell
us which group he was supposed to have incited to rebellion?

HEROD -- If you're asking, do I have a list of names? No. I
don't have a list of names. All you need to know is that he was
executed for sedition. (turns)

REPORTER -- John the baptist was in prison for several months,
wasn't he?

HEROD -- (turns) Yes. What of it?

REPORTER -- What prompted you to have him executed after all
this time?

HEROD -- I'm the king. I don't need a reason. (turns)

REPORTER -- What was the method of execution?

HEROD -- (turns) The method of execution?

REPORTER -- Yes. How was he put to death?

HEROD -- He was beheaded.

REPORTER -- Isn't that a little unusual?

HEROD -- Unusual?

REPORTER -- Yes. The method of execution prescribed by the
Hebrew scriptures is stoning. The method of execution prescribed
by the Romans is crucifixion. Why did you choose beheading?

HEROD -- It wasn't my idea.

REPORTER -- Whose idea was it?

HEROD -- My step-daughter's.

REPORTER -- Are you saying that you left the decision of the
method of execution to your step-daughter?

HEROD -- Yes.

REPORTER -- Why did you defer to her?

HEROD -- I liked the way she danced.

REPORTER -- Was alcohol somehow involved in this decision?

HEROD -- I resent the implications of that question! And as a
matter of fact, NO, alcohol was not involved in the decision. I
liked the way my step-daughter danced, and I gave her the choice
of ANY reward she wanted.

REPORTER -- Are you saying that your step-daughter was the one
who decided to have John the Baptist executed?

HEROD -- You know, these silly little questions are really
beginning to irritate me! If you must know, my step-daughter
consulted with her mother, my wife, before she asked for John
the Baptist's head on a platter.

REPORTER -- So, the execution was your wife's idea?

HEROD -- It's not like he didn't deserve it!

REPORTER -- According to my sources in the prison, your wife was
the cause of John's imprisonment in the first place.

HEROD -- What loud-mouth told you that?

REPORTER -- Isn't it true that you had John the Baptist thrown
in jail because he criticized you for your adulterous affair
with your brother's wife?

REPORTER -- Isn't it true that you married your brother's wife
AFTER you threw John the Baptist in jail?

HEROD -- Alright, it's true. What of it?

REPORTER -- Doesn't it look like your wife had John the Baptist
thrown in jail so she could marry you?

REPORTER -- Doesn't it also look like your wife had John the
Baptist killed to silence his opposition?

REPORTER -- Isn't the charge of sedition just a cover-up for

HEROD -- John the Baptist was executed for sedition and that's
all I'm going to say! This press conference is over!

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