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WRITING  7'3m2f Daniel interprets the writing on the wall

KING -- (enters, crosses to podium carrying two gold goblets 
high in the air) Aren't these lovely goblets that I stole from 
the temple in Jerusalem, my queen?

QUEEN - (enters, follows) The god of Israel will be angry with 
you, King Belshazzar. Have you not heard of the terrible things 
that happen to those who defy the will of the god of Israel?

KING -- Nonsense, my queen. What was your first name again?

QUEEN - Do you have so many wives and concubines that you can't 
remember my name?

KING -- Of course not! Don't be silly. Just give me a hint.

QUEEN - You disgust me. I hope the god of Israel seeks vengeance 
upon you.

KING -- You dare to speak to me that way?! Why I am the most 
powerful ruler in the world. You should feel privileged to 
merely sit next to me at this sumptuous feast. (hands her one of 
the goblets, holds his high) Now drink to me. For I am more 
powerful than this god of Israel, whom you would flaunt in front 
of me.

Now, about your name, does it begin with A? B? C? D? Tell me 
when I get close. E? F? G?

QUEEN - You disgust me.

KING -- You'd better be nice to me or you'll lose your turn with 
me in b... (looks at rear of audience, gasps, points) What's 
that?!

QUEEN - (looks) What?

KING -- That! Over there by the lamp stand!

QUEEN - It's a hand writing on the wall.

KING -- I know it's a hand! But did you notice that there's no 
body attached to it?

QUEEN - Your knees are shaking and knocking together, 
Belshazzar. Could it be that the greatest king in all the world 
is afraid?

KING -- (clears throat) Me? Oh, no. I'm shaking because... 
because it's just a little chilly in here. Aren't you chilly? 
(shouts) Guards! Close the doors and windows. It's getting 
chilly in here. Oh, and by the way, (points) kill that hand!

QUEEN - You're too late, Belshazzar. The hand is already 
finished writing and disappeared.

KING -- So it has. (laughs nervously) Well, now it seems to be 
a trifle warm in here. (shouts) Guards! Open all the doors and 
windows. It's getting too hot in here.

QUEEN - Noone else is complaining about the temperature, 
Belshazzar. Are you sure you're not getting sick?

KING -- I'm fine. I'm fine. It's probably the wine.

QUEEN - Or maybe it's the wine goblets that you drank from. They 
WERE the property of the god of Israel, you know.

KING -- Do you have to keep reminding me of that?! I can't read 
what that hand wrote on the wall, (points) can you, my queen?   

QUEEN - You can't read it because it's written in a foreign 
language, my king, probably the language of the God of Israel.

KING -- Will you please stop referring to the god of Israel?! 
Anyway, it's only four words. How hard could it be to translate? 

QUEEN - If it's the language of the god of Israel, there's only 
one man in your kingdom who can translate it, and that's Daniel 
the prophet. (exiting) I will go and fetch him for you.

KING -- There you go again, with that god of Israel talk again. 
I never get any respect around here. Let's see, who do I know 
who can translate this message?

NAT --  (Romanian gypsy, enters, sneaks up to King) Hiya, KinG, 
Baby.

KING -- (screams) Aah! Natasha! I've told you a million times 
not to sneak up on me like that!

NAT --  Humblest apologies, my KinG. (bows) I sensed that you 
veeshed to see me. I am your encanter, your astrrrologer, and 
yourrr dewinerrr. Would you like me to dewine forrrr you?

KING -- No, I've had plenty of wine tonight, thank you.

NAT --  Do you mock ze vay I talk?

KING -- You sure talk funny.

NAT --  We dewiners always talk thees way. Do you veesh me to 
Trrranslate ze wrrrritinG on ze Vall, king Belshazzarrrrr?

KING -- No, I want you to translate the writing in the wall. 
(points)

NAT --  Zat eez vat I asked. (steps to edge of stage, squints at 
back of audience, strokes chin) Let's have a loook. Uh huh. Uh 
huh. Uh huh. Uh huh.

KING -- Well, can you translate it?

NAT --  Uh uh.

KING -- Well, what I am I paying you for?

NAT --  Forrr about seeeex months. And my contrrract has 
expirrred. For a few morrre rrrrubles, I cooould come up weeth 
someseenG.

KING -- Now is no time for contract negotiations! Get out of my 
sight. (flicks her away)

NAT --  (bows, backs to exit) As you weeesh, yourrrr majesty.

KING -- There must be SOMEONE in my kingdom who can translate 
those four little words.

QUEEN - (enters) His name is Daniel. I summoned him while 
you were wasting your time with that Rrrromanian Dewiner. 
(ushers Dan in, exits) 

KING -- Wary well. I mean, very well, then send him in.

DAN --  (strides in singing) Here I come to save the day!

KING -- Knock off the heroics, kid. Just tell me what the words 
mean. (points)

DAN --  (looks to back of audience) "Mene mene tekel peres." 
"Mene mene" means god has numbered the days of your reign.

KING -- What does that mean?

DAN --  It means pack you bags.

KING -- Oh, oh.

DAN --  "Tekel." "Tekel" means you have been weighed on the 
scales of justice and been found wanting.

KING -- What does that mean?

DAN --  It means pack light and leave fast.

KING -- Well, I can't leave before I hear the meaning of the 
last word.

DAN --  "Peres." "Peres" means your kingdom will be divided and 
given to the Medes and the Persians. Well, king, I think it's 
time to bend between your legs and kiss your...

QUEEN - (enters carrying purple robe and gold chain) ...What 
Daniel trying so eloquent to say, my king, is that you should 
clothe him in purple and put a gold chain around his neck.

DAN --  Oh, that won't be necessary.

QUEEN - (steps up to Daniel, puts chain over his head) It is to 
me. I'll explain, later.

DAN --  Oh, very well. Unaccustomed as I am to receiving public 
accolades, I hereby....

KING -- Knock of the rhetoric kid. Just take the robe and the 
chain and scram! (flicks him away, Queen exits with Dan)

NAT --  (enters with Darius, points at King) Ahha! Therrre is 
KinG Belshazzar!

KING -  Darius, King of the Medes. Natasha, how could you...

NAT --  You didn't rrrenew my contrrract, Belshazzar, baby. So, 
I negotiated a three year, no cut contrrract weeth the Medes and 
Perrrsians. Now, Darius, run him thrrrrough!

KING -- (backs to exit, persued by Darius with sword) After all 
I've done for you, Natasha. I took you off the streets and made 
you what you are today. You ungrateful.... (screams from 
offstage)

NAT --  (shouts) Belshazzarrr is Dead. LonG live King Darius, 
(Darius reenters with Dan and Queen) KinG of the Medes. (Grabs 
Dan's arm, strolls) And now, Daniel baby, how about a leetle 
prrrivate lesson on TrrranslatinG.

DAN --  I'm sorry, I won't have time. I have already been 
appointed to run the new government of King Darius.

NAT --  Currrses foiled again. (exiting arm in arm with Darius) 
Vell, King Darius, let's see if therrre is a cushy government 
job for me, huh?

QUEEN - (grabbing Dan's arm) My hero!

DAN --  Why, thank you your highness. (to proud) I was just doing 
my duty.

QUEEN - (seductively, exiting with Dan) Come with me, Danny boy, 
and I'll show you where you can hang your purple robe.


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