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SANBALAT 6'2m*f RT: Nehemiah rebuilds the walls of Jerusalem

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

SANBALLAT -- (enters with Tobiah wearing tunic, headdress and
sandals, crosses to podium)

Good Morning. My name is Sanballat and this is my co-captain
Tobiah...

TOBIAH -- How's it going, heh?

SANBALLAT -- As all of you know by now, an out-of-towner named
Nehemiah came to Jerusalem recently and began stirring up the
local Jews. The reason we called this meeting is to announce
that our people have decided to declare war on Nehemiah and his
Jewish co-conspirators.

REPORTER -- Your people?

SANBALLAT -- Excuse me?

REPORTER -- You said that OUR PEOPLE have decided to declare
war.

SANBALLAT -- That's right.

TOBIAH -- Darn tootin'!

REPORTER -- Can you tell us who your people are?

SANBALLAT -- Who we are?

REPORTER -- Yes. What nation do you represent?

SANBALLAT -- Yes. Of course. We represent the Horonites.

TOBIAH -- No we don't! We represent the Ammonites.

SANBALLAT -- It was my idea and since it was MY idea and I'm a
Horonite....

TOBIAH -- What am I, chopped liver?!

REPORTER -- You'll excuse me for saying so, but it doesn't sound
like you've given this declaration of war much thought.

TOBIAH -- How would you like a poke in the eye?!

SANBALLAT -- (restrains Tobiah) What my co-captain Tobiah is
trying to say is that our forces are multicultural and diverse.
But we are united in our opposition to the outsider Nehemiah and
his Jewish co-conspirators.

REPORTER -- Can you tell us what Nehemiah has done to provoke a
declaration of war?

TOBIAH -- He's a Jew. What else do you need to know?

SANBALLAT -- What my co-captain is trying to say is that
Nehemiah is not a local resident. He's from the Medo-Persian
capital. He came here without our permission. And now without
our permission he has begun rebuilding the wall around
Jerusalem.

REPORTER -- Can you tell us why Nehemiah needs your permission
to do anything?

TOBIAH -- You want a fat lip?!

SANBALLAT -- What my co-captain is trying to say is that we were
here first.

REPORTER -- You just told us that Nehemiah has started
REbuilding the wall around Jerusalem.

SANBALLAT -- That's right.

REPORTER -- Who built the wall around Jerusalem originally?

TOBIAH -- I don't know. Who cares?

REPORTER -- Wasn't it the Jews themselves who built the wall
around Jerusalem in the first place?

SANBALLAT -- Yes. But that was years ago. But they deserted the
place. We've been here for years. We have squatters rights.

REPORTER -- What gives you squatters rights?

SANBALLAT -- Excuse me?

REPORTER -- Let me put it this way. Jerusalem and the
surrounding areas are governed by the Medo-Persian empire. Did
the emperor give the land to you?

SANBALLAT -- Well, no.

REPORTER -- On the other hand, Nehemiah came to Jerusalem with a
letter from the emperor giving THE JEWS the right to occupy and
rebuild Jerusalem.

TOBIAH -- He did?! I didn't know that!

SANBALLAT -- Excuse us for just a moment. (huddles with Tobiah
for a few seconds, turns to audience)

We'd like to alter our declaration of war to make it a
declaration of... of building code violation.

REPORTER -- Building code violation?!

SANBALLAT -- That's right.

REPORTER -- What building code are Nehemiah and the Jews
violating?

SANBALLAT -- Have you seen what's left of the wall around
Jerusalem?! It's nothing but rubble.

TOBIAH -- Nothing but rubble.

SANBALLAT -- There is no way the Jews can build a safe and legal
wall out of rubble.

REPORTER -- Well, apparently it's not ALL rubble. At last
report, Nehemiah said his wall has been restored to more than
half it's normal height.

TOBIAH -- Those Jerks! They can't to that!

SANBALLAT -- What my co-captain is trying to say is that we and
our culturally diverse people who live around Jerusalem will
take it upon ourselves to test the wall at various places around
the city and see if it is structurally sound.

TOBIAH -- What my co-captain is trying to say is that we and our
culturally diverse people who live around Jerusalem will take it
upon ourselves to knock down the wall wherever we can.

SANBALLAT -- That's not quite the way I would have stated it,
but as concerned citizens we must make sure the wall meets the
building code.

REPORTER -- Before you go trying to knock down the wall, you
should know that Nehemiah is wise to your scheming.

TOBIAH -- Scheming?! Was that an insult? Would you like to step
outside and say that again?

SANBALLAT -- What my co-captain is trying to say is that we are
interested in peace and harmony just as much as anybody. Can you
tell us what measures our good friend Nehemiah has employed to
repel an attack on the wall?

REPORTER -- According to my sources, after the wall grew to
half-height, Nehemiah changed the building strategy. From now
on, only half of the labor force will be working on rebuilding
the wall. The other half will be lying in wait with bows,
arrows, spears, and swords to repel an attack.

SANBALLAT -- Excuse us for just a moment. (huddles with Tobiah
for a few seconds, turns to audience)

We'd like to alter our declaration of building code violation to
make it a friendly invitation to Nehemiah to come to have peace
talks with us.

TOBIAH -- Yeah. Peace talks. We'll meet with Nehemiah on neutral
ground.

SANBALLAT -- Yes. According to our local prophet there will be
centuries of peace ahead if Nehemiah will come to the peace
talks.

TOBIAH -- But he has to come alone and he has to come without
any weapons, according to our local prophet.

REPORTER -- Nehemiah predicted you would try such a trick.

TOBIAH -- A trick?! You think this is a trick?! I'll show you a
trick!

SANBALLAT -- What my co-captain is trying to say is that we are
interested in peace and harmony. We have bent over backwards to
accommodate Nehemiah and the Jews. But it's obvious that
Nehemiah and the Jews are not interested in peace. Therefore,
we'd like to withdraw our friendly invitation to Nehemiah to
come to peace talks with us.

TOBIAH -- That's right. He is hereby UNinvited.

SANBALLAT -- And we will have the peace talks without him.

(both exit)

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