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JOSEPHBW *'*m*f A one-hour old-fashion melodrama about Joseph

SPEAKING PARTS

Character  Sex  Description    Costume
---------  ---  -----------    -------------------------------
BAKER      m/f  Cook           plain blouse, skirt, chef's hat
CANAAN     m    Arab           Sheik's headdress
CUPBEARER  m    Wimp           ornamented midriff blouse, skirt
JACOB      m    Old man        drab tunic, headdress with edging
JOSEPH     m    Boy            white tunic, headdress with edging
JOSEPH     m    Man            white tunic, headdress with edging
NATASHA    f    Black Widow    All black with hooded cape
PHARAOH    m/f  King/Queen     elaborate midriff blouse, skirt
POTIPHER   m    Soldier        breastplate, leather kilt
REUBEN     m    Young Man      drab tunic, headdress with edging
TRADER     m/f  Nomad          drab tunic, headdress
WARDEN     m/f  Bureaucrat     plain midriff blouse, skirt

notes: For several roles above, one player may play two or more
parts

NON-SPEAKING PARTS

1 to 10 Joseph's brothers on stage with Jacob
1 to 10 Joseph's sister, brother's wives, concubines, servants
1 to 10 Male prisoners in prison
1 to 10 Guards and male advisors in Pharaoh's palace
1 to 10 Female attendants in Pharaoh's palace

note: one player may play two or more parts


SYNOPSIS

Scene 1: Canaan: Joseph prophesies, brothers sell him into slavery
Scene 2: Potipher's house: Potipher's wife tries to seduce Joseph
Scene 3: Prison: Joseph interprets Baker's and Cupbearer's dreams
Scene 4: Palace: Joseph interprets Pharaoh's dreams, saves Egypt


PRODUCTION NOTES

This play has four scenes, but may be performed without set
pieces or scenery, because the dialogue tells the audience where
the action takes place. If your venue has no control over
ambient light, the optional light cues can be replaced by
a bit-player carrying a sign saying, "A little while later".
Please write me after your production and share any changes to
the script and what adaptations contributed to the success of
your play, so that others may benefit from your experience.


NATASHA'S ROMANIAN ACCENT

W pronounced V
V pronounced W
R pronounced (guttural r)
short i pronounced eee
short u pronounced ooo
h pronounced (like you're clearing your throat)
th pronounced Z
ing pronounced eeenG (hard G)
"How wonderful, darling" = "Hhhhhhow Vonderrrrfoool, DarrrleenG")

note: If the actress doesn't master this accent, I suggest that
no accent is better than a bad accent.



                   JOSEPH AND THE BLACK WIDOW
                          by Bob Snook


(Optional introduction to the Melodrama format)

DIRECTOR -- Hello and welcome to our play. This play is an old
fashioned melodrama. For those of you who've experienced an old
fashioned melodrama, you already know that this is audience
participation drama. You are expected to cheer the hero who is
dressed in white and boo the villain who is dressed in black. In
our play the hero is the Biblical character Joseph, the favored
son of Jacob, and the villain is a fictional character, the
black widow named Natasha. Whenever our hero Joseph smiles at
you, you should cheer and applaud his goodness and purity. On
the other hand, whenever the black widow smiles at you, you
should boo and hiss at her to let her know you don't approve of
evil. Just remember, the smile is your cue. Don't let us down.

Enjoy the show.


(Scene 1: Canaan)

NATASHA -- (enters stealthily wearing black hooded cape, pulls
down hood, smiles broadly to audience, acknowledges boos) Thank
you so much for your kind reception. I am new to the land of
Canaan, but it appears that my reputation has preceded me. I
want you all to know that I take great pride in the death and
destruction I left behind.

I came here to the land of Canaan to find myself a new husband.
I have only two qualifications for a husband: he must be filthy
rich and he must have a very short life expectancy. If he
happens to be filthy rich, I will take it upon myself to shorten
his life expectancy. (laughs fiendishly)

Speak of the devil, here comes the richest man in the land of
Canaan. And he just happens to be a bachelor.

(straightens, smooths clothes, primps, poses seductively)

CANAAN -- (enters, dejected, passes by) Wo is me. Wo is me. Wo
is me.

NATASHA -- (irritated) Excuse me.

CANAAN -- (stops, turns) Yes?

NATASHA -- (points over shoulder) They told me your name was
Canaan.

CANAAN -- It is.

NATASHA -- But you just said your name is WO.

CANAAN -- My name is Canaan. Wo is my condition.

NATASHA -- I would say your condition is very very handsome.
(traces finger over Canaan's jawline seductively) You are a
bachelor, no?

CANAAN -- I am a bachelor, yes.

NATASHA -- What a remarkable coincidence! I became a widow
recently, so I happen to be available for a limited time only.
Have you thought about marrying?

CANAAN -- I'm in no mood for marrying. I'm too miserable.

NATASHA -- Well, what would it take to get you into a mood for
marrying?

CANAAN -- Nothing.

NATASHA -- Surely there must be something I can do. It would be
a waste of a very handsome man for you to go on being a
bachelor.

CANAAN -- There's nothing you can do. Nothing.

NATASHA -- What seems to be the problem?

CANAAN -- The Lord God has promised to take my land from me and
give it to Jacob and his family.

NATASHA -- Jacob? So, a man named Jacob will acquire your land?

CANAAN -- That's right. Now you can see why I'm so miserable.

NATASHA -- So, let me get this straight. The land of Canaan will
no longer belongs to Canaan?

CANAAN -- Wo is me.

NATASHA -- So, very soon you will no longer be the richest man
in the land of Canaan?

CANAAN -- Wo is me.

NATASHA -- This man, Jacob, he's a bachelor, no?

CANAAN -- No. He's an old man. He has four wives and thirteen
children.

NATASHA -- (pacing) Curses, foiled again!

CANAAN -- Wo is me.

NATASHA -- (approaches) Tell me, if a terrible accident were to
happen to this Jacob, which of his sons would inherit the most
of his wealth?

CANAAN -- Well, by Hebrew law, the oldest son usually inherits a
double share if the father dies.

NATASHA -- (turns to audience, smiles broadly) A double share
you say? (turns) What's the name of this oldest son?

CANAAN -- His name is Reuben.

NATASHA -- And this... Reuben... he is a bachelor, no?

CANAAN -- Yes.

NATASHA -- And you could arrange an introduction, no?

CANAAN -- Not today.

NATASHA -- Why not? What's so special about today?

CANAAN -- Jacob is a prophet of the Lord God.

NATASHA -- A profit you say? He makes a profit? (turns to
audience, smiles broadly)

CANAAN -- Yes. He predicts the future.

NATASHA -- Oh, that kind of prophet.

CANAAN -- Rumor has it that Jacob is going to make a prophecy
today concerning one of his sons.

NATASHA -- Excellent! I'm looking forward to it.

CANAAN -- Oh, you can't be present.

NATASHA -- I can't?

CANAAN -- No. The Hebrews are God's chosen people. When they
make pronouncements, it's just a family affair.

NATASHA -- (to audience) We shall see about that.

CANAAN -- In fact, here they come now. (exiting) We should clear
out.

NATASHA -- (follows) You're right, of course, darling. We don't
want to intrude in family business.

(Jacob and family enter opposite)

JACOB -- I suppose you're all wondering why I called this family
meeting.

REUBEN -- As a matter of fact, we were wondering, Father.

NATASHA -- (reenters stealthily with hood up, stands in the
shadows)

JACOB -- I had a dream last night. In my dream I was given the
design of a brightly colored cape. I was told to create the cape
exactly as designed. I was told that I was to give the cape to
one of my sons. And when the son who receives the cape puts the
cape on, he will prophesy important events concerning our
family. (unfurls cape, showing audience the brightly colored
side) Here is the cape of prophecy. I hereby present this cape
to...

REUBEN -- (proudly steps forward)

JACOB -- Joseph.

JOSEPH -- (steps forward)

REUBEN -- What?! I'm the first born son! The cape should be
mine! According to Hebrew law the rights of the firstborn are
supposed to go to the oldest son!

JACOB -- You're right, Reuben. The oldest son USUALLY inherits
the rights of the firstborn. But it's not an unbreakable law. My
brother Esau was the oldest son of my father Isaac, but Isaac
bestowed the rights of the firstborn upon me.

REUBEN -- But Joseph is not even close to being the oldest son!

JACOB -- (putting cape on Joseph) It is done. Joseph gets the
cape of prophecy.

JOSEPH -- (struts and twirls cape, unfurls cape revealing both
sides to audience, smiles broadly, stands in superhero pose)

JACOB -- Joseph now that you're wearing the cape of prophecy, do
you have a word of prophecy for us?

JOSEPH -- Yes. I have a vision. In my vision, my brothers and I
are out in the wheat fields binding sheaves of grain. Each of us
bound one sheaf of grain and we all put our sheaves in the
middle of the field. Suddenly my sheaf of grain rose and stood
upright, while the sheaves of my brothers gathered around mine
and bowed down to it.

REUBEN -- Are you saying that you not only intend to prophesy
for us, you also intend to rule over your older brothers?!

JOSEPH -- Listen, I have another vision. In this vision the sun
and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.

REUBEN -- Eleven stars! Joseph has eleven brothers! He intends
to reign over us! He intends to rule over us like a king!
(exiting) It's not fair! It's just not fair!

(all family members complain vigorously as they exit opposite)

NATASHA -- (crosses to DC, pulls down hood, smiles broadly to
audience) I have some good news and some bad news. The bad news
is that Joseph is too young to marry me. The good news is that
if an unfortunate accident should befall the boy, his older
brother Reuben will take his rightful place as firstborn son.
Oh, and, by the way, Reuben just happens to be old enough to
marry... me. (laughs fiendishly)

REUBEN -- (enters downcast) What's so funny?

NATASHA -- I was just joking how ridiculous that young boy looks
in that new cape of his. The boy is too young to be wearing such
an important looking cape. The cape should be worn my somebody
older.

REUBEN -- It should have been mine.

NATASHA -- (dramatically) Oh, really?!

REUBEN -- Yes. According to Hebrew law, the oldest son inherits
the rights of the firstborn.

NATASHA -- Well, I must say that if handsomeness was the
deciding factor YOU would win the prize.

REUBEN -- You think so?

NATASHA -- No doubt in my mind.

REUBEN -- I don't think we've met.

NATASHA -- My name is Natasha. I am a poor unfortunate widow.

REUBEN -- You have an accent. You're not from Canaan, are you?

NATASHA -- No. I'm from... I'm from somewhere else. But enough
about me. Let's talk about you, Reuben darling. (strokes
Reuben's jaw line seductively with side of finger) I'm told that
the Lord God promised to give the land of Canaan to your family.

REUBEN -- That's right. How about a little kiss?

NATASHA -- There will be plenty of kissing AFTER the wedding.

REUBEN -- Wedding?! Who said anything about a wedding?!

NATASHA -- (traces finger over Reuben's face seductively) A
respectable girl like me can't be seen kissing a man unless he
intends to marry her.

REUBEN -- Oh. In that case, will you marry me?

NATASHA -- Oh! This is so sudden. Give me time to think about
it. Yes, I will marry you.

REUBEN -- Well, now that we're planning to marry, how about a
little kiss?

NATASHA -- (closer and closer) Oh, yes, how about a little kiss.
(sidesteps)

REUBEN -- (puckers and almost falls on face)

NATASHA -- There was just one thing.

REUBEN -- One thing?

NATASHA -- My family back home comes from royalty. I had my
heart set on marrying a firstborn son.

REUBEN -- But I am the first born son!

NATASHA -- That's not what I just saw. It looked to me like your
father passed you over for the rights of the firstborn.

REUBEN -- Does that mean I don't get my kiss?

NATASHA -- UNLESS something terrible were to happen to Joseph
and YOU resumed your rightful position as firstborn son.

REUBEN -- Something terrible?

NATASHA -- (traces finger over Reuben's face seductively)
Perhaps, just perhaps, your brother Joseph could have a little
tiny accident.

REUBEN -- An accident?

NATASHA -- Well, at least it has to LOOK like an accident. A
big, strong handsome man like you could arrange a little tiny
accident, couldn't you?

REUBEN -- You're really beautiful. Kiss me. (puckers, lunges,
nearly falls on face)

NATASHA -- (sidesteps) Immediately after the accident.

REUBEN -- And then I could get my kiss?

NATASHA -- I was thinking that maybe your brother Joseph could
be eaten by a wild animal.

REUBEN -- How could I arrange to have him eaten by a wild
animal?

NATASHA -- Well, he doesn't have to actually be eaten by a wild
animal. It only has to LOOK LIKE he was eaten my a wild animal.

REUBEN -- Ah, I don't get it.

NATASHA -- You're not the brightest candle in the chandelier,
are you, darling?

REUBEN -- Huh?

NATASHA -- What I'm trying to say is, if your brother
disappeared and if you showed your father Joseph's cape stain
with blood....

REUBEN -- Blood?! You want me to draw blood?!

NATASHA -- (to audience) Do you see what I put up with? And you
thought this was an easy way to make a living. (to Reuben) No,
darling, you don't necessarily have to draw blood. You could
poison your brother and smear his cape with chicken blood.

REUBEN -- Poison?! That's murder!

NATASHA -- Call it punishment for stealing your right of the
firstborn. (traces finger over Reuben's face seductively) You do
want a kiss, don't you, Reuben darling?

REUBEN -- A kiss. Yes. I'll do anything for a kiss. (puckers,
lunges, nearly falls on face)

NATASHA -- (sidesteps) Good. (exiting) Let me know when the
little pest is dead. (smiles broadly to audience)

REUBEN -- (to self) Wait a minute. What did I just say? (to
audience) What have I done?! I just promised I would murder my
own brother! I can't do that! He's my brother! Besides, Joseph
is a prophet of God. If I kill a prophet of God, I will be
severely punished! There is no way the Lord God would allow me
to get away with killing a prophet of God! (paces) Oh, dear,
here Joseph comes now. (points) What shall I do? What shall I
do? (snaps fingers) I have it! (points offstage) There's a
caravan of merchants on the way to Egypt. I will have them sell
my brother Joseph as a slave in Egypt. That way, he will
disappear and everyone, including my beautiful Natasha, will
think he's dead. (shouts toward exit with hands near mouth) Hey
you. Yes you. (beckons)

TRADER -- (enters carrying large sack) You wanted to see me?

REUBEN -- Yes. You're with the camel caravan of merchants that's
going to Egypt, no?

TRADER -- Yes. You have something to sell? (holds sack open
expectantly)

REUBEN -- Yes. Follow my lead and I will reward you handsomely.
(takes, holds sack out of sight)

TRADER -- Whatever you say.

REUBEN -- (loudly and gleefully) Joseph!

JOSEPH -- (twirls cape to invite admiration and applause, smiles
broadly to audience, superhero pose)

REUBEN -- Joseph, my beloved brother, I love that beautiful new
cape of yours!

JOSEPH -- Isn't it elegant? (turns to trader) This cape was a
gift from my father Jacob. I was the only son to get this cape.
I'm father's favorite son, you know.

TRADER -- Oh, how nice for you.

REUBEN -- Joseph, about your cape? (inspecting back of cape)

JOSEPH -- (turns) What about my cape?

REUBEN -- It's so elegant. It seems a shame to wear it in public
when it has a hole in it.

JOSEPH -- A hole?! This cape is brand new. How could it have a
hole in it? Where? (examines cape)

REUBEN -- It's in the back of the collar. (points) But you're in
luck.

JOSEPH -- How's that?

REUBEN -- This person here just happens to be an expert taylor.
She can mend your cape immediately.

JOSEPH -- She can?

TRADER -- I can? (looks to Reuben)

REUBEN -- (nods obviously) She doesn't usually do such small
jobs as fixing holes, but...

TRADER -- ...But for such an elegant cape, I'll make an
exception. Here, take it off for a moment and I'll repair the
hole.

JOSEPH -- (shrugging off cape) Good idea!

REUBEN -- (forces bag over Joseph's head and shoulders, then
throws arms around him) I'm sorry about this, little brother,
but it's you or me.

JOSEPH -- Reuben! What are you doing?!

TRADER -- (exiting with cape) This cape will fetch a handsome
price in Egypt. How much do you want for it?

REUBEN -- Oh, you can't have the cape!

TRADER -- (stops) I thought you said you had something to trade.

REUBEN -- You can sell my brother Joseph as a slave. But I'll
take the cape.

TRADER -- You're selling your own brother into slavery?!

REUBEN -- It's a long story. Just take him and sell him into
slavery in Egypt.

TRADER -- Why can't I have the cape too?!

REUBEN -- I need to smear the cape with chicken blood to show it
to my father so he'll think that Joseph was eaten by a wild
animal.

JOSEPH -- No! No! Reuben, you can't do that! No!

REUBEN -- (forces Joseph offstage)

TRADER -- (forcing Joseph offstage) Come along, slave.

REUBEN -- (reenters with cape) Now all I have to do is smear
this cape with chicken blood and everyone will think that Joseph
is dead. (sees Natasha coming) Oh, oh! (hides cape behind back)

NATASHA -- (enters wearing a wedding veil, humming the wedding
march, marching down the wedding aisle,sings) Reuben, darling! I
am ready to marry you!

REUBEN -- (enters carrying cape) Good. How about a little kiss?
(puckers, closes eyes, nearly falls on face)

NATASHA -- (sidesteps) As soon as you confirm that your brother
Joseph is dead.

REUBEN -- Everything is taken care of. It was a bloody mess.

NATASHA -- (reaches) Let me see the blood.

REUBEN -- (retreats, keeps cape behind back) The blood?

NATASHA -- (approaches) The blood on the cape

REUBEN -- (retreats) Oh, yes! The blood on the cape.

NATASHA -- (reaches for cape unsuccessfully) Yes. You said it
was a bloody mess. There should be blood on the cape. (fakes one
way, moves the other way, snatches cape when Reuben turns,
examines cape) Where's the blood?

REUBEN -- The blood?

NATASHA -- Yes, you said it was a bloody mess. Where's the
blood?

REUBEN -- Oh, did I say it was a bloody mess? That's not what I
meant.

NATASHA -- But you did draw blood.

REUBEN -- Not exactly.

NATASHA -- How could he die if he didn't bleed?

REUBEN -- Well...

NATASHA -- Did you poison him?

REUBEN -- Not exactly.

NATASHA -- Then how did he die?

REUBEN -- Well...

NATASHA -- Joseph is dead, isn't he?

REUBEN -- Not exactly.

NATASHA -- (crosses by Reuben, pushes cape forcefully into his
arms) Where is the little brat? (rolls up sleeves) I'll kill him
myself!

REUBEN -- He's gone.

NATASHA -- (stops, turns) Gone?! Gone where?

REUBEN -- I sold him into slavery in Egypt.

NATASHA -- (exiting) If you want something done right, you've
got to do it yourself.

REUBEN -- (follows) Where are you going?!

NATASHA -- To Egypt!

REUBEN -- Don't I get a kiss goodbye?

(optional light cue: blackout)


(Scene 2: Potipher's house in Egypt)

NATASHA -- (enters, smiles broadly to audience) I looked all
over Egypt for that kid, Joseph. After years of looking for him,
just as I was beginning to despair, I finally tracked him here
(motions broadly to surroundings) to the house of Potipher, the
captain of Pharaoh's palace guard. And there's a silver lining
in this cloud. Joseph has grown up. He's no longer a boy. He's
old enough to marry. The problem is, in order to get close
enough to Joseph to get him interested in marrying me, I had to
marry his boss. It's just a MINOR inconvenience. (laughs
fiendishly, sees Joseph coming, covers mouth, primps)

JOSEPH -- (enters wearing plain colored cape, carrying basket
full of clothes, bows to Natasha, puts basket on floor) Welcome
to the house of Potipher, Madam. My name is Joseph, I am
Potipher's slave.

NATASHA -- Well! Didn't the little boy grow into a handsome
man?!

JOSEPH -- I'm sorry if you came looking for Potipher, madam. He
is not at home at the moment. May I give him your name?

NATASHA -- My name is Natasha. I live here.

JOSEPH -- I'm sorry, I thought I knew all of Potipher's family.
How are you related to my master Potipher?

NATASHA -- I'm his wife.

JOSEPH -- But my master Potipher is not married!

NATASHA -- He is now, darling.

JOSEPH -- I am the head slave in my master's household. I attend
to all the details of my master's life.  How is it that he could
have been married without my knowing about it?

NATASHA -- It was a rather sudden decision. I have a rather
seductive charm.

JOSEPH -- I see.

NATASHA -- Actually, Joseph, darling, marrying your master was
not my first choice.

JOSEPH -- It wasn't?

NATASHA -- No. My first choice was to marry YOU.

JOSEPH -- Marry? ME?

NATASHA -- I offered to buy you out of slavery from Potipher.
But you are apparently such a good manager of his household that
he did not want to let you go. So, in order to get you, I
married Potipher. (slides side of finger over Joseph's jawline)
Isn't that a romantic thing for me to do, Joseph, darling?

JOSEPH -- (circles basket backward) Um. Mrs Potipher, what are
you doing?

NATASHA -- (approaches) Call me Natasha. All my friends call me
Natasha. (slides side of finger over Joseph's jawline) You want
to be my friend, don't you, Joseph, darling?

JOSEPH -- (circles basket backward) No. Yes. No.

NATASHA -- (approaches) Well, which is it, big boy?

JOSEPH -- (circles basket backward) My master Potipher trusts me
with all his possessions and all of his household. I have been
faithful. I would never...

NATASHA -- (picks up basket, hands it to Joseph) Never what?
(slides side of finger over Joseph's jawline) Just what did you
have in mind, big boy?

JOSEPH -- Um. I have to go.

NATASHA -- (grabs Joseph's cape) Go where?

JOSEPH -- (exits carrying basket, leaving behind his cape)
Somewhere. Anywhere!

NATASHA -- Curses! Foiled again! (smiles broadly to audience)
You know, I don't usually take rejection very well. But this
turn of events might turn out well after all. I shall revert to
the original plan to murder Joseph and marry his older brother.
When Potipher hears my story of how Joseph attacked me and then
left behind his clothes (offers cape to audience), well, let's
just say that Potipher is the captain of the palace guard. He
carries a very sharp sword. Why should I murder Joseph myself,
when I can get someone else to do it for me?! (laughs
fiendishly, looks to exit, stops laughing suddenly, begins
weeping)

POTIPHER -- (enters) Natasha, my darling, what's wrong?

NATASHA -- Potipher, my darling, your slave Joseph, that's
what's wrong.

POTIPHER -- What happened?! What did he do?

NATASHA -- The worst thing that could happen to a bride on her
wedding day. You're slave Joseph attacked me and tried to take
advantage of me! It was all I could do to fend him off.

POTIPHER -- That's not possible! Joseph is the most virtuous man
I have ever known. He's honest. He's loyal. He keeps his word.
He works diligently. He genuinely cares about the welfare of my
household! I trust him with my life! How could such a virtuous
man do such a terrible thing?

NATASHA -- I don't know. But he did. Look. (offers cape) He even
left his cape behind after he attacked me. Do you believe me
now?

POTIPHER -- (exiting) This is unbelievable! What am I going to
do with him?! (draws sword)

NATASHA -- (follows) I suggest you skewer his liver with your
sword. (stops, turns, smiles broadly to audience) I love it when
a plan comes together. (exits laughing fiendishly)

(optional light cue: brief blackout)

WARDEN -- (enters) Madam... Madam Potipher?

NATASHA -- (enters opposite folding a tunic) I'm busy packing.
Come back later. (turns)

WARDEN -- Packing? Does that mean you're leaving, Madam
Potipher?

NATASHA -- (turns, sighs) My business here in Egypt is done. I'm
going back to Canaan.

WARDEN -- Oh, dear!

NATASHA -- Who are you?

WARDEN -- I am the warden of Potipher's prison.

NATASHA -- Potipher is not here.

WARDEN -- I'm not here to see Potipher. I'm here to see YOU.

NATASHA -- What business could I possibly have with the warden
of a prison?

WARDEN -- One of my prisoners wishes to speak to you.

NATASHA -- Prisoners? I don't know any prisoners.

WARDEN -- This prisoner claims that your testimony can clear his
name.

NATASHA -- What is this prisoner's name?

WARDEN -- His name is Joseph.

NATASHA -- Joseph? The slave from Canaan?

WARDEN -- Yes.

NATASHA -- He's in prison?

WARDEN -- Yes.

NATASHA -- He's supposed to be dead! My husband was supposed to
run him through with his sword!

WARDEN -- No. Joseph is such a virtuous man that Potipher
decided to spare his life.

NATASHA -- (paces) Curses! Foiled again!

WARDEN -- Tell me, will you testify on his behalf?

NATASHA -- Not until pigs fly!

WARDEN -- (sings, exiting) Very well.

NATASHA -- Wait a minute.

WARDEN -- (stops, turns) Yes, madam?

NATASHA -- Is it true what Potipher says about you?

WARDEN -- What does he say about me?

NATASHA -- That you enjoy betting on the camel races.

WARDEN -- Oh, indeed! I spend every waking hour handicapping the
humpbacks. Why?

NATASHA -- How would you like to make a little extra wagering
money?

WARDEN -- One could always use a little extra wagering money.
What did you have in mind?

NATASHA -- I'd like your prisoner Joseph to die in prison.

WARDEN -- Die in prison... You're not suggesting... murder...

NATASHA -- For the right price, of course.

WARDEN -- Oh! I could never do that!

NATASHA -- Why not?

WARDEN -- Potipher spoke so highly of Joseph's leadership
abilities that I immediately put him in charge of the entire
prison. That way I get to spend the entire day at the camel
races.

NATASHA -- (paces) Curses! Foiled again!

WARDEN -- (exiting) Well, if there's nothing else....

NATASHA -- (stops, snaps fingers) Warden?

WARDEN -- (stops, turns) Yes, madam?

NATASHA -- Do you have any new prisoners coming to your prison
today?

WARDEN -- As a matter of fact, Pharaoh himself is sending two
members of the palace staff to prison today.

NATASHA -- Excellent! Who are they?

WARDEN -- The palace baker and the royal cupbearer.

NATASHA -- Excellent!

WARDEN -- Why? Do you know them?

NATASHA -- No. Yes. No. What I mean is, I don't know them both.
I don't know the royal cupbearer, but I do know the royal baker.

WARDEN -- (exiting) Oh. Well, I'm off to the camel races.

NATASHA -- Oh, Warden...

WARDEN -- (stops, turns) Yes, madam?

NATASHA -- Before you leave for the camel races, can you leave
word with the prison gatekeeper to expect a visit from... from
the... mother of the royal baker?

WARDEN -- Certainly, madam. (exiting) Good day.

NATASHA -- Good day. (to audience) Again, I have Joseph right
where I want him. I shall disguise myself as the Baker's mother
and bribe the baker into baking some poison bread for Joseph.
(smiling broadly to audience, exiting opposite) At last, Joseph
shall die in prison! (laughs fiendishly)

(optional light cue: black out)


(Scene 3: Prison)

JOSEPH -- (enters reading scroll, smiles meekly to audience)
Things seem to have gone from bad to worse. Here I am in prison
accused of a crime I didn't commit. However, life for me is
better than for most prisoners. The warden has entrusted me with
the running of the entire prison. This is not the kind of
leadership I envisioned when I prophesied that I would some day
be the leader of my people. But the Lord God is faithful. If he
promised that I will some day lead my people, he will make it
happen. Perhaps my leadership as a slave and my leadership as a
prisoner is preparing me for the leadership of my people some
day. I keep my hope up. (sighs)

(looks to exit, then to audience) You'll have to excuse me. Duty
calls. I'm expecting two new prisoners from the royal palace
today.

(Baker and Cupbearer enter wearing chains, followed stealthily
by Natasha who wears a grey wig and toddles with a cane, she
works her way to the shadows upstage and overhears Joseph's
conversation)

Welcome to the prison. My name is Joseph. I'm the warden's
assistant. As you might suspect the accommodations here in
prison are not very good. But I will try to make you as
comfortable as I can. (turns) Now...

BAKER -- (to cupbearer) Joseph. His name is Joseph.

CUPBEARER -- Joseph?

JOSEPH -- (turns) Yes?

CUPBEARER -- Your name is Joseph?

JOSEPH -- Yes.

CUPBEARER -- Are you the slave from Canaan?

JOSEPH -- Yes. Do I know you?

CUPBEARER -- Well, no, but...

BAKER -- We heard a rumor that the slave from Canaan had the
gift of prophecy.

CUPBEARER -- Are you the one?

JOSEPH -- Yes. I have the gift of prophecy. Why?

BAKER -- We had dreams.

JOSEPH -- Excuse me?

BAKER -- We both had similar dreams.

JOSEPH -- I'm sorry, I...

CUPBEARER -- We were hoping that, since you have the gift of
prophecy, you might be able to interpret our dreams for us.

JOSEPH -- Well, I suppose I could... IF your dreams have some
prophetic meaning.

BAKER -- Would you?! Please!

CUPBEARER -- Please! Interpret our dreams for us?!

JOSEPH -- Very well, tell me your dreams. If they have any
prophetic meaning, the Lord God will reveal your future through
me. Who wants to go first?

BAKER -- You go first! I'm afraid!

CUPBEARER -- As you know, I am the cupbearer for Pharaoh, so I
think it's significant that my dream is about wine. In my dream
I saw a grape vine in front of me, and on the vine were three
branches. As soon as the vine budded, it blossomed, and its
clusters ripened into grapes. Pharaoh's cup was in my hand, and
I took the grapes, squeezed them into Pharaoh's cup and put the
cup in his hand. Do you think that means anything?

JOSEPH -- Yes. This is what it means: The three branches are
three days. Within three days Pharaoh will restore you to your
position, and you will put Pharaoh's cup in his hand, just as
you used to do when you were his cupbearer.

CUPBEARER -- (sighs) Oh, thank you!

JOSEPH -- (to baker) Now your dream?

BAKER -- As you know, I am the baker for Pharaoh, so I think
it's significant that my dream is about bread. On my head were
three baskets of bread. In the top basket were all kinds of
baked goods for Pharaoh, but before I could carry the bread to
Pharaoh's table, the birds began to eat it.

JOSEPH -- Oh, dear. (turns) Let me show you to your cells....

BAKER -- Wait! Aren't you going to interpret my dream?

JOSEPH -- (stops, sighs, turns) Are you sure you want to know?

BAKER -- Is it that bad?

JOSEPH -- This is what your dream means: The three baskets are
three days. Within three days Pharaoh will have you executed and
the birds will eat away your flesh.

BAKER -- That's aweful!

JOSEPH -- I'm sorry, but it will happen exactly as the Lord God
has predicted. Listen, why don't you wait here, while I show the
cupbearer to his cell? Then you and I can make final
arrangements and notify your next of kin. (exits with Cupbearer)

BAKER -- (nods)

NATASHA -- (approaches, whispers) Pssst.

BAKER -- Who are you?

NATASHA -- (finger to lips) Not so loud. It will spoil your
chances for escape.

BAKER -- Escape?!

NATASHA -- (finger to lips) Not so loud.

BAKER -- I'm sorry. Are you saying you can get me out of here?

NATASHA -- One hand washes the other. You do something for me. I
do something for you.

BAKER -- What do you want me to do for you?

NATASHA -- You are a baker. You will bake some bread.

BAKER -- That's it?! You want me to bake some bread?!

NATASHA -- (pulls small pouch from cape) Yes. And I want you to
use this as one of the ingredients.

BAKER -- What's in there?

NATASHA -- Poison.

BAKER -- Poison?!

NATASHA -- (finger to lips) Not so loud.

BAKER -- Who is the poison... who is the bread for?

NATASHA -- Joseph.

BAKER -- Joseph?!

NATASHA -- (finger to lips) Not so loud.

BAKER -- That's not right. Joseph has been good to us. And he's
a prophet of the Lord God. You could get into trouble with the
Lord God himself if you try something like that!

NATASHA -- (turns) Very well. Stay in prison and get yourself
executed.

BAKER -- Wait.

NATASHA -- (stops, turns) Yes?

BAKER -- I didn't say I WOULDN'T do it!

NATASHA -- (smiles broadly to audience) Here. (offers pouch) You
have three days. (turns to exit)

BAKER -- (takes pouch) How do I know you'll hold up your end of
the bargain?

NATASHA -- (turns) Do you know who the warden works for?

BAKER -- He works for the captain of the palace guard, Potipher.

NATASHA -- I am Potipher's wife.

BAKER -- Right. And I am Pharaoh, king of Egypt.

NATASHA -- You don't believe me?

BAKER -- Well, I've never met her, but they tell me Potipher's
wife is a beautiful woman. You're an old lady.

NATASHA -- (raises wig)

BAKER -- Oh. Clever disguise. I thought you were somebody's
mother.

NATASHA -- I am. I'm YOUR mother, at least that's what the
warden thinks.

BAKER -- So, you CAN get me out of here?

NATASHA -- (exits) In three days... IF Joseph is dead. (laughs
fiendishly)

JOSEPH -- (reenters) Who was that I just heard laughing?

BAKER -- Oh, ah, my mother came to visit.

JOSEPH -- (motions toward exit, exiting) If she's laughing, you
must not have told her you were going to die.

BAKER -- (follows) Well, there's always hope. Are you hungry?
How would you like me to bake you some bread? (dangles pouch)

(optional light cue: brief blackout)

JOSEPH -- (enters perusing a paper scroll) Well, the paperwork
is all signed sealed and delivered. Pharaoh has signed your
release and restored you to your position as royal cupbearer.

CUPBEARER -- (follows without chains) Well, thank you for your
hospitality, Joseph. And thank you again for interpreting my
dream. If you need anything, anything at all, let me know.

JOSEPH -- Well, there was one thing.

CUPBEARER -- Name it.

JOSEPH -- Mention me to Pharaoh and get me out of this prison,
because I was kidnapped and enslaved, then I was imprisoned on a
false accusation.

CUPBEARER -- Of course. As soon as I see Pharaoh, I'll tell him
that you were imprisoned for a crime you didn't commit. He's a
just king. He'll see that justice is done.

JOSEPH -- (shakes hands with Cupbearer) Thank you. I'm counting
on you. (exiting) Good bye.

CUPBEARER -- Good bye. Thanks again. (turns to exit)

NATASHA -- (enters, bent over, walking with cane, wearing grey
wig, squeaky voice) Young man, I'm looking for my son, the
baker.

CUPBEARER -- Oh, I'm so sorry, the gatekeeper should have told
you. The baker was executed this morning.

NATASHA -- What a shame. I came to set him free.

CUPBEARER -- You?! How were you going to set him free after
Pharaoh condemned him to death?

NATASHA -- It's a long story. But what about Joseph?

CUPBEARER -- What about him?

NATASHA -- I suppose as long as I have to bury my son's body, I
should bury Joseph's body too.

CUPBEARER -- Joseph?!

NATASHA -- Yes.

CUPBEARER -- Joseph, the warden's assistant?!

NATASHA -- Yes. Please don't tell me he's still alive.

CUPBEARER -- He's still alive.

NATASHA -- I asked you not to tell me that! It's just not
possible that he could have survived!

CUPBEARER -- I'm sorry, but Joseph is still alive.

NATASHA -- (paces, normal voice) Curses! Foiled again!

CUPBEARER -- You seem to be disappointed that Joseph is still
alive.

NATASHA -- You have no idea. That cat has nine lives. Nobody can
be that lucky! Nobody!

CUPBEARER -- He's not lucky. He's a good man. In fact, he's such
a good man that I promised him that I would plead his case
before Pharaoh and have him released from prison.

NATASHA -- Released?!

CUPBEARER -- Yes, now, if you'll excuse me. (turns to exit)

NATASHA -- (blocks path, pokes Cupbearer with cane) Where do you
think you're going?!

CUPBEARER -- Pharaoh signed my release this morning when he
signed the baker's death warrant. It's been a pleasure. (tries
to exit)

NATASHA -- (blocks path) Not so fast, convict. (aside to
audience) If you think this is over, think again. This Joseph
has just been lucky so far. Beginner's luck. But his fate is
still in my hands. And if I let this cupbearer go free, he will
ask Pharaoh to release Joseph. And if Joseph is released, he'll
undoubtedly run back to his family and kill my chances at
inheriting the land of Canaan. Joseph must remain in prison so I
can arrange his death. So, here's what I'll do: I'll make sure
that when the cupbearer leaves, he forgets his promise to speak
to Pharaoh on Joseph's behalf.

(to cupbearer) Do you know who I am?

CUPBEARER -- No. And I'm not sure I want to know.

NATASHA -- I am Potipher's wife.

CUPBEARER -- Potipher? The captain of the palace guard?

NATASHA -- And the supervisor of this prison. (raises wig)

CUPBEARER -- Nice to meet you. (exiting) I'll just be going....

NATASHA -- (blocks path) I'm not finished with you yet.

CUPBEARER -- Was there something you wanted?

NATASHA -- Yes. And if I don't get what I want, the warden will
conveniently misplace your release order and you will rot in
prison for the rest of your life.

CUPBEARER -- I... I'm a very accommodating person. I'll do
whatever you want.

NATASHA -- You will forget all about your promise to have Joseph
released from prison. Do I make myself clear?

CUPBEARER -- Promise? What promise? I don't remember making any
promise. If Joseph said I made a promise, he's mistaken.

NATASHA -- I thought you'd see it my way. You're free to go.

JOSEPH -- (from offstage) Oh, Cupbearer!

NATASHA -- (sees Joseph coming, turns away from Joseph, covers
head) Oh, oh. (points at Cupbearer, then puts finger to lips)

JOSEPH -- (enters) Oh, I'm glad you're still here! I wanted to
ask you a question! Oh, I'm sorry, if I interrupted. Who's this?

NATASHA -- (glares at Cupbearer, nods subtly in Joseph's
direction)

CUPBEARER -- Oh, ah, this is... this is my... mother. Yes,
that's it. This is my mother. She came to welcome me home.

JOSEPH -- Oh. Nice to meet you.

NATASHA -- (nods) Uh huh.

JOSEPH -- Anyway, I wanted to ask you if you noticed any dead
rats around the prison?

CUPBEARER -- As a matter of fact I did. Lot's of them.

JOSEPH -- Gee, I wonder if it was the bread.

CUPBEARER -- Bread? What bread?

JOSEPH -- The royal baker baked me some bread. But I wasn't
hungry, so I left it sitting on the table. And I think some rats
ate it. I wonder...

NATASHA -- (grabs Cupbearer's arm, forces him to exit)

CUPBEARER -- (exiting) Listen, we've got to go. I have to get
back to the palace. Duty calls.

JOSEPH -- (exiting opposite) I wonder if it was the bread.

(optional light cue: blackout)


(Scene 4: Pharaoh's palace)

PHARAOH -- (enters with entourage, wearing Joseph's colorful
cape) Ah, the royal cupbearer returns!

CUPBEARER -- (enters opposite, kneels) Your majesty, I regret my
offense for which you sent me to prison and I thank you for your
mercy in sparing my life.

NATASHA -- (enters bent over, walking with cane, wearing grey
wig, remains inconspicuous)

PHARAOH -- You may rise.

CUPBEARER -- (stands) Thank you, Your Majesty.

PHARAOH -- I trust that your brief stay in prison was not too
unpleasant.

CUPBEARER -- No, Your Majesty. As a matter of fact, because of
Joseph, my stay was quite pleasant.

PHARAOH -- Joseph?

CUPBEARER -- Yes.

PHARAOH -- That's not the name of the prison warden.

CUPBEARER -- Oh, no. Joseph is a prisoner who has high moral
character and tremendous leadership skills. The warden entrusts
him with the running of the prison. Actually, I'd like to talk
to you about this man Joseph, Your Majesty.

NATASHA -- (stands erect and stern, draws a dagger from cape,
dramatically pantamimes the slitting of her own throat)

PHARAOH -- What about him?

CUPBEARER -- (intimidated by Natasha) Oh, ah, it's just that...
ah... the warden should be commended for his efficient use of
manpower. That's all.

PHARAOH -- Oh. I was led to believe the warden had a gambling
problem. I would have fired him by now if I was feeling up to
it.

CUPBEARER -- Your Majesty is not feeling well?

PHARAOH -- I haven't been sleeping well.

CUPBEARER -- Is there something disturbing Your Majesty?

PHARAOH -- As a matter of fact, there is. I had a dream the
other night.

CUPBEARER -- A dream, Your Majesty?

PHARAOH -- Yes. It was very disturbing, so disturbing, in fact,
that it woke me up. And when I finally got back to sleep I had
another dream, a different dream.

CUPBEARER -- A bad dream?

PHARAOH -- Not a scary dream, just a disturbing dream. It woke
me up again. I think these dreams might have some sort of
prophetic meaning.

CUPBEARER -- What an amazing coincidence, Your Majesty! The
royal baker and I had disturbing dreams of our own just three
days ago.

PHARAOH -- Do you know anyone who might have the gift of
prophecy who might be able to interpret my dreams?

CUPBEARER -- Yes! As a matter of fact,...

NATASHA -- (stands erect and stern, dramatically pantamimes the
slitting of her own throat)

CUPBEARER -- (intimidated by Natasha) As a matter of fact, I
can't think of anyone right at the moment.

PHARAOH -- Oh. Well, perhaps I should consult with my royal
magicians and diviners.

NATASHA -- (stands erect and stern, nods obviously, dramatically
points to self)

CUPBEARER -- Now that I think of it, there was one person I'm
aware of who might be able to interpret your dreams.

PHARAOH -- Oh, really? Who?

CUPBEARER -- There's this old woman I saw visiting the prison
when I was there. She seemed to have some sort of gift.

PHARAOH -- Bring her to me.

CUPBEARER -- Well, wonder of wonders! There she is now. (points)

NATASHA -- (approaches) Your majesty, my great powers of
prophecy have driven me to come to your palace. I sensed that
you might need me.

PHARAOH -- (turns) Oh! My cupbearer was just talking about you!

NATASHA -- (holds fingers to head dramatically) I sensed that
you had a dream. No. Two dreams. I sensed that you need me to
interpret your dreams.

PHARAOH -- Amazing! Let me tell you my dreams....

NATASHA -- Not so fast, Pharaoh Darling. First we take care of
my fee.

PHARAOH -- Your fee?!

NATASHA -- Surely you didn't expect me to interpret your dreams
for nothing.

PHARAOH -- This is unbelieveable! The future of my kingdom and
the world are at stake and YOU want to talk about money?!

NATASHA -- Well, we could negotiate. Perhaps a small down
payment and easy monthly payments.

PHARAOH -- Captain of the Guard! Take this woman to prison!

POTIPHER -- (enters, escorts Natasha to exit)

NATASHA -- (to audience) Curses, foiled again!

PHARAOH -- The nerve of that woman! Using a gift from God to
make money! Send for my magicians and diviners!

CUPBEARER -- I have a better idea, Your Majesty.

PHARAOH -- You do?

CUPBEARER -- (looks both ways to make sure Natasha is gone) Yes,
I just remembered that there's another person who has an even
greater gift of prophecy.

PHARAOH -- There is?! Who?

CUPBEARER -- The prison warden's assistant I talked about... The
one with tremendous leadership skills... his name is Joseph and
he has inherited his father's gift of prophecy.

PHARAOH -- He could interpret my dreams?

CUPBEARER -- He interpreted my dream and the dream of the royal
baker. He predicted that the baker would be executed and that I
would be restored to my position as royal cupbearer. He even
predicted that it would happen in three days. And both
predictions happened exactly as he predicted.

PHARAOH -- If he's a prophet, why is he in prison?

CUPBEARER -- He was falsely accused.

PHARAOH -- Very well. I hereby pardon this prophet Joseph. Bring
him to me!

(optional light cue: brief blackout)

CUPBEARER -- Your Majesty, the Hebrew prophet Joseph.

JOSEPH -- (enters, smiles to audience, kneels) Your majesty. I
am in your debt. How may I serve you?

PHARAOH -- I had two dreams. I need you to interpret them for
me.

JOSEPH -- I am but a conduit for the Lord God. It is he who will
interpret your dreams through me. Let me hear your dreams.

PHARAOH -- I dreamed I was standing by the Nile River, when out
of the river there came up seven cows, sleek and fat, and they
grazed among the reeds. After them, seven other cows, ugly and
gaunt, came up out of the Nile and stood beside those on the
riverbank. And the cows that were ugly and gaunt ate up the
seven sleek, fat cows.

JOSEPH -- And the second dream?

PHARAOH -- In my second dream, Seven heads of grain, healthy and
good, were growing on a single stalk. After them, seven other
heads of grain sprouted--thin and scorched by the east wind. The
thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven healthy, full heads.

JOSEPH -- The dreams of Pharaoh are one and the same. God has
revealed to Pharaoh what he is about to do. The seven good cows
are seven years, and the seven good heads of grain are seven
years; it is one and the same dream. The seven lean, ugly cows
that came up afterward are seven years, and so are the seven
worthless heads of grain scorched by the east wind: They are
seven years of famine. God has shown Pharaoh what he is about to
do. Seven years of great abundance are coming throughout the
land of Egypt, but seven years of famine will follow them. Then
all the abundance in Egypt will be forgotten, and the famine
will ravage the land. The abundance in the land will not be
remembered, because the famine that follows it will be so
severe. The reason the dream was given to Pharaoh in two forms
is that the matter has been firmly decided by God, and God will
do it soon. And now let Pharaoh look for a discerning and wise
man and put him in charge of the land of Egypt. Let Pharaoh
appoint commissioners over the land to take a fifth of the
harvest of Egypt during the seven years of abundance. They
should collect all the food of these good years that are coming
and store up the grain under the authority of Pharaoh, to be
kept in the cities for food. This food should be held in reserve
for the country, to be used during the seven years of famine
that will come upon Egypt, so that the country may not be ruined
by the famine.

PHARAOH -- You truly are a prophet of the Lord God! But who on
earth is great enough to lead this country through the famine?!

CUPBEARER -- I will remind Your Majesty that Joseph is not only
a prophet of God, he has also proven himself to be a great
leader in the prison and in the household of the captain of the
palace guard.

PHARAOH -- Then it is Joseph who shall lead this nation through
the famine! Joseph, I declare that you are my prime minister.
(removes ring from finger, holds it high) With this ring, you
shall mark the royal seal on all your declarations. (slips ring
on Joseph's finger) With this ring in your possession, everyone
in the nation of Egypt will obey you as they would obey me.
(removes cape, puts it on Joseph's shoulders) This cape I give
to you as an acknowledgement of your great gift of prophecy.
Citizens of Egypt, bow to your Prime Minister!

(all bow)

JOSEPH -- (struts and spreads cape to show colors, turns to show
audience cape colors, smiles broadly) Citizens of Egypt, what
men meant for evil God meant for good. The leadership skills I
learned through years of slavery and bondage will now be used by
God to save the nation of Egypt. May God bless the nation of
Egypt. (exiting) There is much work to do in preparation for the
famine. Let's get to work!

(all except Pharaoh exit behind Joseph)

NATASHA -- (enters stealthily without wig, smiles broadly to
audience) You can't get rid of me that easily! Unfortunately,
the old woman who was escorted by Potipher to prison was
carrying a very sharp dagger. And Potipher just happen to cut
himself on it. Three times. In the back. (laughs fiendishly,
sees Pharaoh offstage, straightens clothes, primps, turns to
Pharaoh, bows) Your Majesty.

PHARAOH -- (turns) Yes? Aren't you the wife of the captain of
the palace guard?

NATASHA -- Unfortunately, Your Majesty, that is no longer true.

PHARAOH -- How so?

NATASHA -- Potipher met a horribly tragic death. (smiles broadly
to audience, turns to Pharaoh) That old woman, who claimed to be
a prophet, killed him and escaped. Now, alas, I am a poor widow.
(back of hand to forehead dramatically)

PHARAOH -- Oh, I'm sorry.

NATASHA -- Your majesty, while I was at the prison tending to my
dead husband, I noticed that two of the palace guards came and
escorted Joseph, the warden's assistant, out of prison.

PHARAOH -- Yes, that was an order from me.

NATASHA -- May I assume that you had Joseph executed? (smiles to
audience)

PHARAOH -- No.

NATASHA -- No?!

PHARAOH -- No. As a matter of fact, I just pardoned him and
promoted him to Prime Minister.

NATASHA -- Prime Minister?!

PHARAOH -- Yes.

NATASHA -- (to audience) Curses! Foiled again!

PHARAOH -- Joseph is a prophet of the Lord God and he predicted
a famine for the land of Egypt.

NATASHA -- So, the royal cupbearer told you about him?

PHARAOH -- Yes.

NATASHA -- (brief show of teeth to audience, sighs, turns,
smiles) Your majesty, did you know that your new prime minister
is now old enough to marry, but has no wife? (smiles broadly to
audience)

PHARAOH -- Oh! That's not right! The prime minister of Egypt
must have a wife to be at his side.

NATASHA -- Well, then, since Joseph was a slave to Potipher
before he was imprisoned and since I inherited all of Potipher's
possessions after his death, I think I might know the perfect
wife for Joseph.

PHARAOH -- Me too.

NATASHA -- Oh, really? (primps) Who did you have in mind?

PHARAOH -- Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On.
(exiting) I shall arrange it at once.

NATASHA -- Wait!

PHARAOH -- (stops, turns) Yes?

NATASHA -- What about me? Wouldn't I be the logical choice to
marry Joseph?

PHARAOH -- No.

NATASHA -- No?!

PHARAOH -- No. As the prime minister of Egypt he must have an
Egyptian wife. You are a foreigner. (exits shouting) Bring me
Potiphera priest of On.

NATASHA -- Curses, foiled again! (regains composure, smiles to
audience) You haven't seen the last of me. I still have the land
of Canaan in my pocket if I play my cards right. When life gives
you lemons, you make lemonade. That's what my third husband
said... just before he died of food poisoning. I'll miss him.

JOSEPH -- (enters followed by several secretaries taking notes
with quill pens) ...We'll need 3000 horses, 1500 wagons, 5000
laborers,... (stops) Natasha!

NATASHA -- (bows) Congratulations on your promotion, Prime
Minister.

JOSEPH -- What are you up to?

NATASHA -- Mr Prime Minister, I came to warn you of an imminent
threat from the land of Canaan.

JOSEPH -- I'm from Canaan! What threat are you talking about?

NATASHA -- Did you know that your father and your brothers all
plotted to kill you?

JOSEPH -- That's where you're wrong! My father gave me a cape of
many colors, just like the one I'm wearing, as an expression of
his love for me.

NATASHA -- You WERE his favorite son, until you started
flaunting your vision about ruling over your older brothers AND
your father. After that you were a marked man. They all wanted
to kill you, while I had been admiring you from afar. It was I
who suggested that they sell you into slavery instead of killing
you.

JOSEPH -- That was years ago. Why are you telling me this now?

NATASHA -- To warn you.

JOSEPH -- To warn me? About what?

NATASHA -- When the famine hits, your father and his entire
family will come here to Egypt to buy grain from you. When they
find out you're not just a slave, you'll be a threat to them.
they'll kill you for sure.

JOSEPH -- You had me thrown into prison. What difference does it
make to you if they kill me?

NATASHA -- Potipher was jealous of you. He wanted to kill you.
But I saved your life by suggesting that he spare your life and
send you to prison instead. I have loved you since the first
time I saw you in Canaan. I followed you here to Egypt to be
near you. I married Potipher in order to get close to you. And
I'm still in love with you.

JOSEPH -- I doubt it.

NATASHA -- Ask Pharaoh if I didn't just ask him to marry you.

JOSEPH -- You did that?

NATASHA -- Yes, my darling.

JOSEPH -- Well, I'm sorry. A commitment is a commitment. I am
committed to marry the daughter of the priest of On. Marrying
you is out of the question.

NATASHA -- That doesn't stop me from loving you and wanting to
protect you from your family.

JOSEPH -- How do you intend to do that?

NATASHA -- I suggest you change your name.

JOSEPH -- Change my name?!

NATASHA -- Yes, I suggest the name Zaphenath-Paneah, which is
Egyptian for "preserver of life".

JOSEPH -- But why change my name?

NATASHA -- For the element of surprise. When the famine hits,
your family will inquire about who is in charge in Egypt. If
they hear the name Joseph, they will renew their plot to murder
you. But if an Egyptian leader named Zaphenath-Paneah invites
them to be his guest at a banquet in a heavily fortified banquet
room surrounded by armed guards, they won't suspect a thing...
until we swoop in and... (smashes fist to palm)

JOSEPH -- We?

NATASHA -- (turns to audience) I'm on YOUR side, my darling.
(smiles broadly)

JOSEPH -- Why don't I believe you?

NATASHA -- Alright, perhaps my actions are not motivated
entirely by love. After the famine, Pharaoh won't be needing you
as prime minister of Egypt anymore. And, with your brothers out
of the way, you can go back to the land of Canaan and claim your
rightful inheritance. You'll need a prime minister of your own.

JOSEPH -- And you think I would choose YOU as my prime minister?

NATASHA -- It's the least you can do after I saved you from
certain death at the hands of your brothers and again at the
hands of Potipher.

JOSEPH -- I don't know. There's something fishy about this.

NATASHA -- Wait til the famine hits. When you see your brothers
and remember what they WANTED to do to you, (exiting) you'll do
the right thing.

JOSEPH -- (continues to far exit) Where was I? Oh yes, 5000
laborers. We'll need 1000 masons to lay bricks for the grain
storage bins, 1500 carpenters, 200 barges for the river....

(light cue: brief blackout)

CUPBEARER -- (enters backward) Stay away from me!

NATASHA -- (follows threatening with dagger) Do you know what
happens to people who double-cross me?

CUPBEARER -- I'm afraid to ask.

NATASHA -- Did you hear what happened to Potipher?

CUPBEARER -- You did that?!

NATASHA -- (nods) And you're next, unless I get a little
cooperation.

CUPBEARER -- I... I'm a very accommodating person. I'll do
whatever you want.

NATASHA -- Joseph's family is on their way here from the land of
Canaan. Joseph is arranging a banquet for them in the banquet
room. I want you to escort them into the banquet room and then
post several armed guards at all the doors. When Joseph arrives
and reveals his true identity, he will pull his sword and take
revenge against his brother Reuben. That's your signal to send
in the guards. When the guards begin swinging their swords, I
want YOU to murder the daughter of the priest of On. (thrusts
dagger toward Cupbearer)

CUPBEARER -- (sucks in stomach to avoid dagger) I think I'm
going to be sick.

NATASHA -- (nose to nose) It's them or YOU. Which will it be?

CUPBEARER -- Them.

NATASHA -- I thought you would see it my way.

CUPBEARER -- (exiting backward) Can I go now?

NATASHA -- (follows) If you fail me this time, you will wish you
had stayed in prison. (thrusts dagger)

CUPBEARER -- (sucks in stomach to avoid dagger) I think I'm
going to be sick. (exits)

NATASHA -- (turns to audience) This is my best plan so far. With
Joseph's entire family eliminated, Joseph will inherit ALL of
the land of Canaan. On the other hand, if Joseph remains here in
Egypt as prime minister, I will be his devoted wife. (exits
laughing fiendishly)

(light cue: brief blackout)

CUPBEARER -- (enters backward) A royal welcome to our guests
from the land of Canaan. Your host prime minister
Zaphenath-Paneah will be here to greet you shortly. Please make
yourselves comfortable while I arrange... while I arrange...
(exiting holding stomach) I think I'm going to be sick.

(Jacob and family enter, mill around)

JOSEPH -- (enters opposite wearing beard and mustache) Welcome
to Egypt, my Hebrew friends. I understand you have come to Egypt
during the famine in order to buy grain from us. (tilts head at
Reuben) Is something wrong?

REUBEN -- I'm sorry. I didn't mean to stare. You look familiar.
Have we met?

JOSEPH -- Oh, ah, (looks left and right) I'm not sure. I haven't
decided yet.

REUBEN -- You haven't decided whether we've met?

JOSEPH -- Ah, no. Actually, I'm not feeling well. (turns away)
Let me see if the Royal Cupbearer can be your host during the
banquet. (shouts) Cupbearer?!

JACOB -- (points to Joseph's cape) That cape!

JOSEPH -- Excuse me?

JACOB -- That cape you're wearing.

JOSEPH -- (turns) This cape?

JACOB -- It's amazing!

JOSEPH -- It was a gift from Pharaoh, King Of Egypt.

REUBEN -- Amazing!

JOSEPH -- What's so amazing?

REUBEN -- It's exactly like the cape of prophecy our father
Jacob gave to our brother Joseph.

JACOB -- Yes it is! (points, approaches) Exactly. (reaches)

JOSEPH -- (turns away) Excuse me, I'm not feeling well.

REUBEN -- Just one question.

JOSEPH -- (not turning) Very well.

REUBEN -- Do you know a boy... He would be a man by now. Do you
know a man from Canaan named Joseph?

JOSEPH -- (pauses) Why do you want to know? (draws sword)

NATASHA -- (enters hurriedly) Excuse me, Mr Prime Minister, the
guards outside are getting a little anxious... (nods head
sideways toward exit) they want to know when they should...
(pounds fist into palm) serve the main course, if you know what
I mean.

REUBEN -- Natasha?! What are you doing in Pharaoh's palace?

JOSEPH -- (turns, shouts) Honored guests, I have an announcement
to make.

NATASHA -- (exiting) I'll have the guards draw their...
utensils.

JOSEPH -- No! Wait!

NATASHA -- No?

JOSEPH -- No. I can't.

REUBEN -- You can't... what?

JOSEPH -- I invited you Hebrews here to the palace to have you
killed. But I can't.

JACOB -- You were going to have us killed?!

JOSEPH -- Yes.

JACOB -- Why?!

NATASHA -- Don't explain. Just give the word and they'll be
dead.

JOSEPH -- No. What they planned for evil, God planned for good.

JACOB -- We... planned evil? What are you talking about?

JOSEPH -- My name is not Zaphenath-Paneah. (removes disguise) My
name is Joseph.

REUBEN -- (gasps) Joseph?!

JACOB -- (approaches) Joseph?! My son! You're alive?! (hugs)

JOSEPH -- I know you all wanted me dead, but...

REUBEN -- No. That's not true. I was against it. It was Natasha
who first suggested killing you.

NATASHA -- (exiting) I have to powder my nose.

JOSEPH -- Stay right where you are! (points sword at Natasha)

CUPBEARER -- (blocks Natasha's exit)

NATASHA -- (raises dagger, turns, notices Joseph's sword) Oh,
look! I found this dagger! Would you like it?

CUPBEARER -- (grabs Natasha's wrist, takes dagger)

REUBEN -- Did Natasha tell you it was OUR idea to kill you?

JOSEPH -- Yes.

REUBEN -- It was Natasha's idea. I think she just wanted to
marry me to inherit the land of Canaan.

JOSEPH -- She wanted me to kill you for the same reason.

NATASHA -- Listen, I can explain.

JOSEPH -- You don't have to explain. It was always about money,
land and power for you. But you're not going to get any of it.

NATASHA -- Curses! Foiled again!

JOSEPH -- As a matter of fact, I'm not only going to spare my
family from death, I'm going to protect them from you. I'm
inviting my family to stay and live here in Egypt under the
protection of the Egyptian government for at least a hundred
years. (smiles broadly to audience with fists on hips, superhero
pose)

CUPBEARER -- Mister Prime Minister, does this mean the guards
can put away their... utensils?

JOSEPH -- Yes.

CUPBEARER -- Thank God!

JOSEPH -- Yes, indeed. Let us thank the Lord God. The Lord has
protected us all from the famine and from the evildoers around
us. He has promised to make us Hebrews a great nation one day.
And he will keep his promise! Praise be to the Lord God. (smiles
broadly to audience, superhero pose)

(all but Natasha cheer)

CUPBEARER -- (shouts) Dinner is served! Right this way, please.

NATASHA -- (moves toward opposite exit)

CANAAN -- (enters) Excuse me madam, I'm looking for the Prime
Minister... Natasha?!

NATASHA -- (approaches) Canaan, darling! What are you doing here
in Egypt?!

CANAAN -- There's a famine in the land of Canaan. I came here to
Egypt to buy some grain.

NATASHA -- Canaan darling! You don't have to BUY grain. If you
will marry me, I will GIVE you my allotment of grain.

CANAAN -- You know I'm not in the mood to marry anyone because
my land has been promised to Jacob and his family.

NATASHA -- Yes, well, all that has changed, Canaan darling.
Jacob and his family will be living here in Egypt for at least a
century. You and I will have the land of Canaan all to ourselves
for at least a hundred years... (turns to audience and smiles
broadly) or until one of us has a little accident. (exiting with
Canaan) Tell me, Canaan darling, do you like fresh baked bread?
(pulls small pouch from waist band, dangles it, smiles broadly)

(optional light cue: blackout)

2013 Bob Snook. Conditions for use:
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