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MAGIC    5'?m3f Pharisees' tradition vs commands of God

(scene: on stage a blackboard, white board or flip chart. Two
"students", Liz and Ashly, are planted among audience)

WANDA -- (enters with class materials, crosses to podium) Good
morning, class, and welcome to the new term. Before we get
started, let's all be sure we're in the right class. This is
Accounting 322. The prerequisite for this class is accounting
321...

LIZ ---- (stands, points to booklet) Excuse me, but the class
schedule says this is supposed to be Performing Arts 292.

WANDA -- Thank you, I was just going to explain that. Accounting
322 is an interdisciplinary program called accounting for the
Pharisees. It requires a great deal of showmanship and an equal
measure of slight of hand. (moves to flip chart, picks up pen)
Let's do a quick review. In Accounting 321, the prerequisite for
this course, we learned the principle that (writes) 10% = 20%.
And (writes) 10% = 0%. The secret to these percentages, of
course, depends on... (downbeat with hand)

WANDA, LIZ, ASHLY -- Who holds the box?

WANDA -- That's right. The secret is "Who holds the box". Let me
repeat the demonstration from Accounting 321. (picks up shoebox
with large slot in the lid, and the word "donations" printed on
it, picks up an impressive stack of currency) When a pharisee
goes into the temple, (crosses to corner of stage) he wants as
many people as possible to see his generousity. Therefore, when
he give his 10% to the temple, he must never do it alone. (holds
money over box)

LIZ ---- (stands points at Wanda) Oh, look, she's giving ten
percent of her income to the Lord!

WANDA -- (drops money into slot, points to LIZ) This person who
drew your attention to my donation is known as a SHILL. A
shill's job is two-fold. First, he draws everyone's attention to
your generousity. Second, he momentarily draws your attention
AWAY from the box. (crossing to opposite side) I'll explain the
importance of that in just a moment. (points to numbers on flip
chart as she crosses) The important thing to a Pharisee is that
it looks like he's giving more than 10% of his income. So, he
gives the same donation several times, but using several
different SHILLS. (When Ashly diverts attention, removes money
from box through a large hole in the upstage side of the box)

ASHLY -- (stands and plays a fanfare on kazoo, points) Look!
She's giving another ten percent of her income to the Lord!

WANDA -- (drops money into slot, crosses back) The importance of
a SHILL cannot be overemphasized in Pharisee accounting. It now
looks like I have given 20% of my income to the Lord,... (points
to flip chart 10% = 20%)  (turns box around to show audience the
hole, removes money, holds it up for all to see, slides money
into pocket or into blouse) When, in fact, I have given the Lord
nothing at all. (points to 10% = 0%) To review, the secret of
Pharisee accounting 321 was...

WANDA, LIZ, ASHLY -- Who holds the box? (Liz and Ashly make
their way to opposite corners of the stage)

WANDA -- This semester in Accounting 322, we will move on to a
more advance form of accounting, known as the tax shelter. The
tax shelter is a fine piece of showmanship and slight of hand.
To accomplish huge savings of personal wealth, one needs only to
write a document known as a PLEDGE. (pick up folded piece of
paper, hands it to Liz)

LIZ ---- (opens and reads paper briefly) Ladies and Gentleman,
we here at the temple are proud to announce that (pats Wanda on
shoulder) this wonderful and generous Pharisee has pledged her
entire estate to the temple. Let's give her a warm round of
applause. (leads applause)

WANDA -- There are three main advantages of pledging your entire
wealth to the temple. First of all, when it comes to paying
taxes to the Roman government, I can merely refer the tax
collector to my representative at the temple. (points to Liz)

LIZ ---- I'm sorry, this Pharisee can't pay any taxes. Her
entire estate is now owned (holds up paper) by the temple and
the temple is exempt from taxes.

WANDA -- (crosses back to Ashly) There is another huge advantage
to pledging your entire estate to the temple...

ASHLY -- (crosses to Wanda playing an old lady with a cane) My
dear daughter, your father and I have used up all of our
savings. We have no money left to live out our retirement with.
Can you help us?

WANDA -- Oh, I'm sorry, Mother. I pledged all my wealth to the
temple. I have no money to give you.

ASHLY -- But... But the Bible says that you are to honor your
father and mother and care for the needs of your family.

WANDA -- Gee, Mother, would you have me take money away from the
Lord?

ASHLY -- (turns, exits) I suppose not. I suppose your father and
I could sit by the city gates and beg for money.

WANDA -- (to audience, crossing back to Liz) Using Pharisee
accounting, a person can virtually eliminate those pesky
obligation to his government, to his family and even to his God.
Yes, I said even to his God. Here's how. You see, once again,
Pharisee accounting uses a person known as a SHILL. (points to
Liz) After my parents have starved to death, I can merely make a
small payment, known as a bribe, (pulls wad of money from pocket
or blouse, hands it to Liz) and reclaim my entire estate.

LIZ ---- (hands Wanda paper) Pledge?! (exits counting money)
What pledge?! I don't remember any pledge.

WANDA -- (exiting, tearing paper into small bits) Isn't
accounting wonderful?

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