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MANNA    6'1m1f Moses parries complaints, feeds Hebrews

MOSES -- (old Jewish man, enters with walking stick, cup 
dangling from waist band, tired, sits on large rock DC, puts 
down walking stick, fans self)

ETHEL -- (jewish grandmother, enters, crosses to Moses) Moses! 
You're just person I wanted to see!

MOSES -- (under his breath) I wish I could say the same.

ETHEL -- What was that, dear?

MOSES -- Nothing, Aunt Ethel. How are you?

ETHEL -- I would be better if I had a place to sit.

MOSES -- (struggles to stand, motions to rock) Oh, be my guest, 
Aunt Ethel.

ETHEL -- Thank you, Moses, dear.

MOSES -- Your welcome, Aunt Ethel. Now, how are you?

ETHEL -- You shouldn't ask.

MOSES -- What is it now, Aunt Ethel?

ETHEL -- Now, Moses, I don't want to be the one to complain, 
because God knows how much I put up with around here, but...

MOSES -- Aunt Ethel, please, it's too hot out here in the desert 
for all this complaining.

ETHEL -- Oh, far be it from me to complain. It's just that a few 
of those others are saying how it would have been better if were 
still slaves back in Egypt, than to die out here in the hot sun.

MOSES -- Aunt Ethel, stop exaggerating. We're not going to die. 
The Lord is in full control of the situation. Didn't He just 
show you 10 plagues, AND open the Red Sea AND drown the entire 
Egyptian army?

ETHEL -- Well, yes, but that was yesterday. What if he doesn't 
show up today and we'll all die of thirst. You know, some of the 
others don't cherish the thought of having our dead bodies 
picked apart by vultures.

MOSES -- Aunt Ethel, please. Go tell THE OTHERS that the Lord 
will provide, as he always does.

ETHEL -- I'd like to, Moses, but I'm so thirsty and weak, (fans 
self) I don't think I can make it.

MOSES -- Alright, Alright! The Lord has heard your grumbling.

ETHEL -- Mind you, I'm not the one to grumble. It's just that 
the others...

MOSES -- Alright! (picks up walking stick, raises it over his 
head)

ETHEL -- (stands, backs away to opposite side of the rock) 
Moses! You wouldn't strike an old lady, just for passing along 
the complaints of others, would you? 

MOSES -- Aunt Ethel, I'm not going to hit you. I'm going to hit 
the rock. (hits the upstage side of the rock, points) Here. 
Drink this.

ETHEL -- Moses, dear, the sun must have baked your brain. I'm 
not going to drink a rock. Well! Look at that! Water is flowing 
from a rock! Well, now you know what those others are going to 
say.

MOSES -- I'm sure you'll tell me.

ETHEL -- They'll say, "Ethel, what good is all that water when 
there's no cup to drink it with?"

MOSES -- (detaches cup from his belt, offers it) Here, use mine.

ETHEL -- (dips cup behind rock, drinks, speaks while drinking) 
Thank you. (glub) Oh! (blub) That's so... (glub) That's so...

MOSES -- Thirst quenching?

ETHEL -- (wipes mouth) That's not what they'll say.

MOSES -- I'm dying to here what THEY'll say.

ETHEL -- They'll say, "What good is for us to have a few days 
added onto our lives with all this water, only to die of 
starvation." That's what they'll say and they'll be right. Or 
haven't you noticed there's nothing to eat around here?

MOSES -- I've noticed, Aunt Ethel. I've noticed and so has God.

ETHEL -- You know, all there is to eat out here in the desert is 
locusts. Well, if you think I'm going to eat locusts with my 
constitution being what it is...

MOSES -- No, I'm sure that the Lord won't want a woman with your 
constitution to eat locusts.

ETHEL -- Mind you, with my faith in the Lord, it isn't me who's 
worried about where our next meal will come from.

MOSES -- It's the OTHERS, I know.

ETHEL -- That's right.

MOSES -- The Lord has heard your grumbling. Your food will come 
tomorrow morning.

ETHEL -- What's happening tomorrow morning, may I ask?

MOSES -- You'll see, after the dew.

ETHEL -- Do what? What do we have to do?

MOSES -- No, it's not what you do. It's under the dew.

ETHEL -- You, know when you're out in the hot sun like this, 
it bakes your brain, so you stop making sense.

MOSES -- Aunt Ethel, tomorrow morning after the morning dew 
evaporates, the Lord will provide food.

ETHEL -- What is it?

MOSES -- That's correct.

ETHEL -- What's correct? What is it?

MOSES -- That's it exactly.

ETHEL -- (looks around) Where is my nephew Aaron. We need 
someone else in charge here.

MOSES -- Aunt Ethel, the name of the food is "what is it?". But 
you can call it MANNA, if you like.

ETHEL -- Oh, Manna! What is it! That's a very clever play on 
Hebrew words.

MOSES -- That's right.

ETHEL -- So, what is it?

MOSES -- Do we have to go through that again?

ETHEL -- No, I mean, what's it made of.

MOSES -- Well, it'll come in flakes, but it'll taste like bread. 
You add a little water to make a dough, then you can bake it or 
boil it.

ETHEL -- Oh, like bagels. I would die for a bagel.

MOSES -- (aside) Only in my dreams.

ETHEL -- What?

MOSES -- Nothing. 

ETHEL -- Like I've always said, Moses, my boy, the Lord always 
provides.

MOSES -- I'm sure you did. But let me caution you Aunt Ethel. 
You may only collect a one-day supply of manna at a time. If you 
collect more than you need, the leftovers will rot and stink.

ETHEL -- Like your Uncle Morris after he's had corned beef and 
cabbage. (fans self) Whew!

MOSES -- So, each person will only be allowed to one omer.

ETHEL -- I'd never marry even one Arab, even if I was starving.

MOSES -- Not, Omar, Aunt Ethel. An OMER. 
         
ETHEL -- I knew that. (pause) What's an omer?
         
MOSES -- One tenth of an Ephah. 

ETHEL -- Oh! One tenth of an Ephah! (pause) What's an Ephah?

MOSES -- Just don't collect more manna than you and Uncle Morris 
can eat in one day.

ETHEL -- Never. First, I'll collect the manna from heaven, then 
I'll feed my Morris, then I'll push him outside with the other 
rotten smells.

MOSES -- (turns to exit) Good. See you later, Aunt Ethel.

ETHEL -- There was just one more thing.

MOSES -- (turns back) What now?

ETHEL -- Not from me. It's from...

BOTH --  ...those other people.

ETHEL -- Yes. The first thing out of their mouths when I tell 
them all about the manna from heaven, they'll ask, "what goes 
with it?"

MOSES -- What are you talking about?

ETHEL -- What? No meat for dinner?

MOSES -- Aunt Ethel, we're in the middle of the desert. What do 
you want from me?

ETHEL -- Mind you, I wasn't asking for myself...

MOSES -- Alright, alright! The Lord has heard your grumbling. 
He will give you quail for dinner. How's that?

ETHEL -- Quail? Just quail? No beef? No lamb? Just quail? Mind 
you, I'm not asking for myself. I rather enjoy poultry. But 
those other people, they'll complain and they'll grumble until 
they get to the promised land. It's a good thing we're only 
going to be out in the desert for a few days, right? (pause) Why 
are you looking at me like that? We are going to be out here in 
the desert for just a few more days, right?

MOSES -- (turns moves to exit) All I will tell you is the Lord 
had heard your grumbling.

ETHEL -- (follows) You're hiding something from me.

MOSES -- And then he heard you grumbling again.

ETHEL -- What are you hiding.

MOSES -- And again. 

(both exit)


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