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PLAGUES  4'1m*f RT: ten plagues of Egypt

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

PHARAOH -- (enters wearing midriff blouse, skirt and sandals,
crosses to podium) Good morning. I am Pharaoh king of Egypt. The
reason I called this press conference is to report the state of
the union. I don't have to tell you about the trying times we
Egyptians have endured at the hands of Moses and his God. After
ten plagues, our once great nation is now in shambles. So, it is
with a combination of anger and relief that I announce that I
have acquiesced to the demands of Moses and his Hebrew people.
Yesterday, I gave orders to my army and to my slave drivers that
they were to release all the Hebrew slaves and force them out of
Egypt. The slaves have left the Egyptian mainland and are now in
the Sinai peninsula and are now on their way to the desert of
Arabia.

REPORTER -- Your majesty, as you know slave labor is the
cheapest source of labor known to man. Paying people to do what
the slaves did for free will be very costly. Have you given any
thought to the economic impact of releasing the slaves?

PHARAOH -- I had to make a choice between the lesser of two
evils. You saw what devastation the plagues caused to our
economy. The plague of blood destroyed all the fish in the Nile
river. The plague of locusts destroyed our crops. The plagues of
insects destroyed our livestock. The plague of hailstones
destroyed our homes, and worst of all, the plague of the
firstborn destroyed our children. I am now convinced that if I
had not given in to the demands of Moses, the plagues would have
continued and our nation would be reduced to nothing but sand.
What good is cheap labor if there are no Egyptians left to
benefit from them?

REPORTER -- Your Majesty, what do you say to your critics who
say you were soft on the slaves because of your personal
relationship with Moses?

PHARAOH -- That's ridiculous! Moses hasn't been a member of the
royal household for forty years! I didn't even recognize him
when he came into the palace the first time. I have no
obligation to him!

REPORTER -- Is it true that if Moses hadn't fled to the desert
of Arabia forty years ago, he would now be Pharaoh instead of
you? And that he actually did you a favor by fleeing to Arabia?

PHARAOH -- Well, it's true that Moses was adopted by my mother
before I was born. As such, I suppose that being the oldest son,
he was first in line for the throne. But...

REPORTER -- Is it true that giving in to Moses was payback for
letting you have his throne?

PHARAOH -- No! That's not true. That's not true at all! I did
what I thought was best for the nation! Nothing more!

REPORTER -- Your Majesty, it is a traditional belief in Egypt
that the Pharaohs are gods with supernatural powers. Yet, some
of your priests and some foreigners in religious circles have
interpreted the plagues and your lack of response to them as an
admission that the power of the Pharaohs is all smoke and
mirrors. How would you respond?

PHARAOH -- As you know, we Egyptians have dozens of gods. We
Pharaohs are just some of those gods. While it is true that the
plagues of Moses exposed ten of our gods as powerless to stop
him, there were dozens more gods that were not challenged. If we
have put our trust in false gods, the plagues may actually have
done us a favor by exposing them as false. But as for me, I can
assure you that I have not lost my power as a god.

REPORTER -- Aren't you afraid that releasing the slaves will
have the appearance to the surrounding nations and to your
political enemies that you're turning soft, even powerless?

REPORTER -- Isn't the release of the slaves an invitation for an
invasion or an uprising from within?

PHARAOH -- (pauses, pounds podium) Alright! That's enough! I
already told you I did what I thought was best for the nation of
Egypt! And now I will demonstrate that I still have the power of
a god. I will demonstrate that I have not gone soft, as you
suggest. You people are about to see that I don't play
favorites! You're about to see how I treat deserters! I hereby
announce that I will lead the Egyptian army into the Sinai
peninsula and I will take my revenge upon those slaves of Israel
before they cross over the Red Sea to Arabia. I will kill every
man, woman and child, including my adopted brother and I will
let their dead bodies rot in the sun. That's all I have to say!
(exits)

REPORTER -- Thank you, your majesty.

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