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LIONSDEN 7'2m2f Daniel and the Lions' den: a melodrama

(scene: bare stage except podium DC with paper and pen)

NATASHA -- (devious Romanian Gypsy, enters, remains near wings, 
raises arms to audience) KinG Belshassarrr is dead. LonG live 
KinG Darius!

DARIUS -- (wimp, enters) Thank you, Natasha. You're too kind. 
Please don't make a fuss.

NATASHA -- So, now that yourrr kinG, how about a cushy 
government job forrr me? Let's say top administrator?

DARIUS -- Oh, I'm sorry, Natasha, there are only three top 
administrator jobs in all of Babylon and all three of those jobs 
are filled. Perhaps you'd settle for the job of satrap?

NATASHA -- Satrap!? Satrap sounds like a gadget that collects 
grease under my kitchen sink!

DARIUS -- It's not such a bad job.

NATASHA -- (paces) So, just suppose that one of yourrr top 
administrratorrrs werrre to... have an accident?

DARIUS -- Well, I suppose you'd be next in line for the job but, 
Daniel is doing such a great job as top administrator that I was 
thinking about putting him in charge of my whole kingdom and 
doing away with the other two jobs.

NATASHA -- (to audience) Currrses, foiled again. (steers him to 
exit) Listen, yourrr majesty, why don't you go and trrry on 
yourrr new mantle for the inaugurrral parade.

DARIUS -- Good idea. I'll see you later. (exits)

NATASHA -- (shouts to exit) Miss Trueblood?

TAMMI -- (Betty Boop, enters from same side with memo pad) Yes, 
mam? Would you like me to take a letter, mam?

NATASHA -- No, I need you to dig up some dirt on this hotshot 
administrrratorrr named Daniel.

TAMMI -- I'm afraid that would be impossible, mam. 

NATASHA -- Impossible?

TAMMI -- Daniel's reputation in Babylon is impeccable. People 
have been trying to defame him for years, but, because he's 
devoted to the god of Israel, they could find neither corruption 
nor negligence in any of his dealings.

NATASHA -- (to audience) Currrses! Foiled again! (paces) There 
must be something we can do to get rid of this, this, this...

TAMMI -- Hunk? Isn't he gorgeous? All the girls in the steno 
pool voted him the man we'd most like to hang around the hanging 
gardens of Babylon with. But, he's so devoted to his god, the 
god of Israel, that he won't marry a Babylonian girl. He won't 
even go out with us. (pouts)

NATASHA -- That's it!

TAMMI -- That's what?

NATASHA -- The god of Israel!

TAMMI -- Oh, I already asked. He won't convert. He says he'll 
only marry a Hebrew girl.

NATASHA -- I'm not talkinG about converrrtinG him, silly girrrl. 
I'm talkinG about feedinG him to the lions! (flicks her away)

TAMMI -- (to audience) That's no way to get a guy to marry you. 
Daaa. (exiting) I'm only a secretary and I know that.

NATASHA -- (to audience, crossing to podium) The silly girl has 
no idea what office politics is all about. (writes)

DARIUS -- (enters) Well, my new mantle fits just fine, Natasha.

NATASHA -- Aaaah, King Darrrrius, just the man I wanted to see. 
May you live forever.

DARIUS -- Why, thank you, Natasha.

NATASHA -- Yourrr majesty, the otherrr satrrraps and I were all 
sayinG how perrrfect we thought you werrrre. How worthy to be 
praised.

DARIUS -- Thank you. You're too kind.

NATASHA -- (resumes writing) We werrre thinkinG that perrrhaps 
it would be apprrroprrriate for us to worrrship you.

TAMMI -- (enters secretly, stays near wings, listening)

DARIUS -- Me? Worship me? I'm flattered.

NATASHA -- In fact, we thought that it ought to be against the 
law to worrrship any other god but you. What do you think of 
that?

DARIUS -- What a great idea.

NATASHA -- (picks up his hand, presses pen into it) Then sign 
right here. (points to paper)

DARIUS -- (signs) Okay, here you go. (picks up paper, tries`to 
read it) What did I just sign?

NATASHA -- (snatches paper from Darius' hand, holds it high as 
she ushers him to exit) This is your official decrrree that says 
anyone caught worrrshippinG any otherrr god within the next 
thirrrty days vill be thrrrown into the lions' den. (both exit)

TAMMI -- (to audience) Oh, dear. I'd better hurry and tell 
Daniel about this. (sneaks to opposite side of stage, bumps into 
Daniel at exit) Daniel!

DANIEL -- Miss Trueblood, what are you doing here? (shields 
himself) Oh, if you're here about...

TAMMI -- ...Oh, I'm not here about marriage, Daniel. But, when 
you hear my news, you will probably change your mind.

DANIEL -- What news?

TAMMI -- King Darius has just signed a decree making it illegal 
to worship any god other than himself. Now, will you marry me?

DANIEL -- I would sooner die.

TAMMI -- Well, thanks a lot. (pouts)

DANIEL -- No, I'm not talking about you.... I'm not talking 
about.... Oh, nevermind. (paces) I need guidance. I must get 
down on my knees and ask my god, the god of Israel for guidance. 
(to Tammi) Miss Trueblood, would you mind? I need to be alone. 
(kneels, bows low)

TAMMI --  (pouts, exiting) Oh, sure, just push away the only 
woman who really loves you.

NATASHA -- (Enters with Darius in tow, they cross to Daniel) 
Rrright this Vay, KinG Darrrius.

DARIUS -- You still haven't told me where we're going, Natasha. 
Say, this is Daniel's house, isn't it? (points to exit)

NATASHA -- Yes, it is. (points to Daniel) Ahha! Look at that!

DARIUS -- Oh, dear. It looks like we've arrived while he's doing 
his morning pushups.

NATASHA -- He's not doinG pushups, yourrr majesty. Obviously, 
Daniel is VorrrshippinG another god.

DARIUS -- Well, maybe he's looking for a contact lens.

NATASHA -- Contact lenses haven't been invented yet.

DARIUS -- Oh. Ah, Daniel, what are you doing on your hands and 
knees?

DANIEL -- I'm worshiping my Lord, the God of Israel.

NATASHA -- Ahha! Therrre, you see? I told you so. I guess it's 
off to dee lion's den veeth heem, heh, Darrrius, baby?

DARIUS -- But he's my top administrator. I was going put him in 
charge of my entire kingdom. I can't throw him into the lions' 
den.

DANIEL -- Why, thank you, King Darius. (stands)

NATASHA -- Oh, no, you don't HAVE to thrrrow him into the lions' 
den, KinG Darius. (swaggers away) You COULD be known as the kinG 
whose word (turns) isn't worth a plugged rrrubel.

DARIUS -- Alright, then, throw him to the lions. 

NATASHA -- (pushes Daniel out exit, follows) Splendid! 

DARIUS -- I think I'm going to be sick. (exits, holding abdomen)

NATASHA -- (enters arm-in-arm with Darius) Good morrrninG, KinG 
Darrrius. Did you sleep vell, last night?

DARIUS -- You know very well, I didn't sleep a wink. How could I 
let you trick me into throwing my top administrator to the 
lions?

NATASHA -- Vile ve're on the subject of top administrrratorrr, 
yourrr excellency, vee should talk about my new job.

DARIUS -- Not now. (turns) I have to see if there is anything 
left of Daniel after a night in the lions' den. (shouts to 
exit) Guards, open the lions' den. 

DANIEL -- (enters) Good morning, King Darius.

DARIUS -- Daniel! (looks him over) There's not so much as a 
scratch on you!

NATASHA -- Vell, I'll be dipped in icky stuff!

DARIUS -- How did you survive?

DANIEL -- It was my god the God of Israel who saved me.

DARIUS -- Then, I will worship your god as well, and so shall all 
of my kingdom.

NATASHA -- So, I suppose that now vould not be a good time to 
negotiate my new contrrract?

DARIUS -- No. But now would be a good time to feed the lions.

NATASHA -- You vouldn't!

DARIUS -- I Vould. (pushes Natasha toward exit, shouts, follows 
her out) Take her away!

NATASHA -- (to audience, exiting) Curses, foiled again.

TAMMI -- (enters) Oh, Daniel, my hero! You survived the lions' 
den! Now will you marry me?

DANIEL -- (looks at his watch, exiting) Oh, gee, look at the 
time. I'm late for the office. 

TAMMI -- (follows, exiting) Daniel, where are you going, my 
love? I wanted to tell you about the wedding plans. Daniel?


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