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TALENTS  5'0m5f The parable of the talents

SCENE 1

(Note: if no suitable keyboard player can be found to play the 
part of Nancy, merely play a tape and scratch all references to 
Nancy)

ZELDA -- (old, hard matriarch, enters, pounds cane on floor) 
Alright, let's take it from bar 16, but this time with more 
extension with the arms and hands. (pounds out cadence with 
cane) 5, 6, 7, 8.

NANCY -- (follows on Zelda's heels, hurries to piano, on cue 
plays a passage from "Dance of the sugar plum fairies")

(three sweaty dancers dance onto stage single file)

ZELDA -- Side and slide and spin and bow and straight and side 
and slide and spin and bow and straight and side and slide and 
spin and bow and straight and...

ASHLY -- (arms out of sync with others)

ZELDA -- Watch the arms, Ashly!

ASHLY -- (looks to other dancers, brings arms back into sync)

ZELDA -- Where are your smiles? This is a happy dance. Let me 
see some teeth. 

DANCERS - (all smile broadly, all in sync)  

ZELDA -- Side and slide and spin and bow and straight and ... 
(pounds cane several times) Stop. 

NANCY -- (stops playing)

ZELDA -- (hands Nancy a check) Nancy, here is your pay check. I 
won't be needing you any longer.

DANCERS - (exchange questioning glances)

NANCY -- Did I do something wrong, Madam Zelda?

ZELDA -- No, Nancy, you did a fine job. I've taught my students 
everything I set out to teach them. So, I won't be needing you 
anymore. In fact, I have a letter of recommendation to your next 
employer sitting on my desk. You may pick it up on your way out.

NANCY -- Yes, Madam Zelda. Thank you. (exits)

ZELDA -- Ladies?

DANCERS - Yes, Madam Zelda?

ZELDA -- My work with you is finished. I chose each of you to be 
my students because I saw great potential you. And I have worked 
tirelessly with you for many months and I did it without pay. 
Now it's time for you to pay me back.

KATIE -- But, Madam Zelda, we have no money. There is no way any 
of us could pay the fee of the world's greatest dance teacher.

ZELDA -- Yes, there is a way. 

JANEY -- But, how?

ZELDA -- You will dance for me.

DANCERS - (exchange glances)

ASHLY -- I don't understand.

ZELDA -- I am a very wealthy woman. I will invest in a separate 
dance production for each of you and you will give me all the 
profits from your ticket sales. My investment in each of you 
will be in proportion to your individual talent. (hands Ashly a 
check) Ashly, here is a check for $20,000. 

ASHLY -- $20,000?!

ZELDA -- It should be enough money to rent the theater at the 
local community college with enough left over for scenery, 
costumes and other production costs if you watch your pennies.

ASHLY -- But what if the production loses money?

ZELDA -- Ashly, you are a very talented dancer. Your talent 
should keep the theater packed for at least a two week run. 
Janey, here is a check for $200,000.

JANEY -- $200,000?! (inspects check)

ZELDA -- Yes, with your talent, you could easily make money in 
the largest, most expensive theater in the city with a lavish 
production.

JANEY -- Yes, Madam Zelda.

ZELDA -- And, Katie, here is a check for two million dollars.

KATIE -- Excuse me, Madam Zelda. Did you say two MILLION 
dollars? (inspects check)

ZELDA -- That's correct, Katie. You are undoubtedly the best 
dancer in the country. People will want to watch you on 
television. This is about how much money it takes to do a decent 
TV production. 

KATIE -- Yes, Madam Zelda. (pause) Madam Zelda?

ZELDA -- Yes, Katie?

KATIE -- Will you be helping us with our dance productions?

ZELDA -- No, Katie. After working intensely with you for all 
these months, I am very tired. I'm going on a round-the-world 
cruise to rest and relax. When I get back in six months, I 
expect to see a decent return on each of my investments. Do I 
make myself clear?

DANCERS - Yes, Madam Zelda.

ZELDA -- Well, get going then. Time is wasting. (exits)

DANCERS - (exit opposite, mumbling among themselves, comparing 
checks)


SCENE 2

ZELDA -- (enters wearing coat, pounds cane on floor) Alright, 
you three, don't keep Madam Zelda waiting.

(all dancers enter wearing long skirts)

KATIE -- (beaming) Sorry to keep you waiting, Madam Zelda. How 
was your cruise?

ZELDA -- It was very relaxing. I'm ready to begin working again. 
So... What kind of a return did I get for my investments in you?

KATIE -- When people heard that I was a student of Madam Zelda, 
they couldn't wait to get me on TV. Xerox and Hallmark Cards 
picked us up as sponsors. Here, (hands Zelda a check) you're two 
million dollar investment is now FOUR million dollars.

ZELDA -- Well done, Katie, well done. Janey, how did your dance 
production come out?

JANEY -- Well, the opening night audience filled only half the 
seats in the theater, (smiles) but when people saw the reviews 
in the paper, they flocked to the theater. It was standing room 
only for the rest of the run. (hands Zelda a check) Your two 
hundred thousand dollar investment is now FOUR hundred thousand.

ZELDA -- Well done, Janey. Well done. Ashly? How about you?

ASHLY -- (hands Zelda a check) Here's your check for $20,000.

ZELDA -- But that's no more than what I invested in you. You're 
a very talented dancer, Ashly. Don't tell me people didn't flock 
to the theater to see you.

ASHLY -- I didn't rent a theater.

ZELDA -- You what?! You didn't do a production at all?

ASHLY -- No. I was afraid it would lose money and then you'd be 
mad at me.

ZELDA -- Ashly, I am a very wealthy woman. I wouldn't have been 
nearly as angry with you for losing my money as I am that you've 
wasted my investment in your talent. There's no excuse for 
wasting your talent. 

ASHLY -- (tearful, turning to exit) I'm sorry.

ZELDA -- Before you go, I want you to know what it really cost 
you to waste your talent. During my round-the-world cruise, I 
met a producer who arranged for a world dance tour for the three 
of you. Katie and Janey now will each receive salaries in excess 
of one-million dollars.

KATIE & JANEY -- (jump and yelp for joy) One million dollars!

ZELDA -- But, Ashley, because you wasted my investment in your 
talent, you will receive nothing. Get out of my sight! 
(wisks Ashly away with her hand)

ASHLY -- (runs to exit weeping)

ZELDA -- Well, you two, let's step into my office, so we can 
sign the contracts.

(all exit opposite laughing, joking)


2013 Bob Snook. Conditions for use:
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