1001 Nights with the King (A satirical Purim Play)

Okay, so I started this in 2008.  A certain person – you know who you are – said he was looking for a Purim play that was humorous.  Thanks for inspiring me to finish it.  You need to write the opening/closing song.  🙂  Sorry about the spacing.  Since some of it was copied from another file, it must have kept the spacing and I can’t fix it.
Purim

Purim (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Scene 1:
 INT DAY
We see a beauty shop with a sign that reads “HADDASSAH’S SALON OF EXQUISITE BEAUTY – Voted Best of Kingdom by Susa Times for 3rd year straight.”  There are 3 chairs with patrons chatting and reading gossip magazines, “The Susa Enquirer.” Haddassah is doing a pedicure. One lady has highlight foils on her head and another has masque on her face and is lying back.
Receptionist:
(ring)
Hadassah’s Salon of Exquisite Beauty voted, “Best of Kingdom,” by Susa times for the 3rd year straight. Well, Haddass is pretty booked up all week, but I can squeeze you in Wed at 3:15 if all you need is a root touch up. No, I don’t have anything sooner. Yes, of course, we only use the finest Caspian Sea products. (annoyed) No, we don’t do laser hair removal but I can get you a referral if you like.
We hear from the tv in the salon:
This is Sima at KSUSA, broadcasting live from Kingdom Hill. Since Queen Vashti’s shameful removal as queen, following a drunken banquet last winter, King Xerxes has ruled alone. Now, it’s Spring, and love is in the air. Persia’s number one bachelor is on the lookout to share his throne, and warm his bed with the most beautiful maiden in the land. By royal decree of the king, all beautiful young ladies are hereby ordered to post their profiles on PersianVirgin.com within 30 days. Anyone caught photoshopping will have their right hand cut off and their wifi privileges suspended indefinitely. Please, no phone calls. So, all you lovely ladies – and you ambitious moms and dads too, here’s your chance to play who wants to be a multi – multi- multi-millionairess. Dariush, back to you on the Macedonian war front.
Dariush:
Thank you, Sima. Troops amassed at the border…..
Shahnaz
(getting pedicure)
I ran into Vashti the other day. I caught her coming out of Walmart in downtown Susa. She pretended not to see me.
Googoosh:
How did she look?
Shahnaz:
(Shaking her head)I almost didn’t recognize her. Always on the “best dressed in the kingdom” list. She’s really let herself go. Her roots were all grown out and – she is waaaay overdue for her botox treatment if you ask me.
Parvaneh:
Too bad Persia’s not a community property state. I heard she didn’t do too well on the settlement.
Googoosh:
Should have had a prenup if you ask me. My brother Omar said…..
Parvaneh:
Well, Zerk the jerk could have had her head instead of just her expense account. Can’t trust men….

Shahnaz:

That just was soooo disrespectful- treating Vashti like a common woman, expecting her to parade her beauty before those drunken slobs to gape at – even if they are world rulers…..

Googoosh:

(smirk) Blitzed world rulers…But, she could have handled it differently…so Zerk wouldn’t lose face…

Parvaneh:

Even if his face was already lost in his wine barrel….

Laughter

Googoosh:

She probably regrets it now….

Hadassah/Esther:

Poor Vashti, she used to come in here often. It’s not an easy life. I wouldn’t want to be in her shoes….

Shahnaz:

Sure…all 3,000 pairs of them.

(laughter) They all murmur and agree.

Mordechai bursts in, out of breath:

Where’s Hadassah?
Receptionist:
Mr. Mordechai, Do you need a trim or a back wax?  Someone will be with you from the men’s salon in a min……
He rushes past her into the salon, the women all gasp, covering themselves.
Mordechai:
Hadass, Hadass, you’ve got to get ready, now….we…(ring)
Receptionist:
Hadassah’s Exquisite Salon of Beauty, voted best in the kingdom for 3 years straight, how can I help you?
We hear from phone:
You have been selected to receive 5,000 rials off your mortgage…..
Receptionist hangs up the phone loudly.
Esther:
Uncle Mordie, (she ushers him into the reception area) What’s wrong? Are you ok? Did any of those hair plugs fall out?
Mordechai:
We’ve got to go to the palace. You’ve been ordered by Hegai, the chief eunuch…we have to hurry….
Esther:
Uncle Mordie, I’ll be off work at 5. I’m in the middle of a pedi, a highlight and a facial. Sarai called in sick today, so I’m double-booked…..
Mordechai:
You don’t understand. We have to go now. (Out of breath)
Esther:
Calm down Uncle Mordie. What’s so important that we have to go to the palace right now? Did you get a speeding ticket with your new chariot again?
Mordechai:
The decree, remember…
EEsther:
Oh, have they found someone already?
Mordechai:
Yes its….
Esther:
Is that what you’ve come all the way here to tell me? Who’s the lucky lady?
Mordechai:
Haddassah, sit down. I posted your profile on PersianVirgin.com. You are among those selected for the finals.
Haddassah:
You didn’t photoshop it Uncle…remember…..
Mordechai:
No! Of course not. (indignantly)
Esther:
But me? It can’t be. I’m, I’m, I’m not…..
Mordechai (looking worried)
Hadassah, no, don’t tell me…..The ladies gasp collectively, murmur among themselves…
Mordechai:
Haddass….
Esther:
It can’t be, I’m not, because I’m not….(shaking her head) I’m not…..beautiful.
Mordechai (wiping his brow)
Of course, you are beautiful. You are the most beautiful young maiden in the land…
Esther:
You’re just saying that……
In the background, we hear the 3 clients murmur about how lovely Hadassah/Esther is and how she doesn’t even know it.
 
Esther:
But we’re Jews, I’m a Jew. He won’t want to marry one of our people. He wants a Persian queen. One of the blue-blood hoi-polloi… not one of us.
Mordechai:
We won’t tell them you are Jewish.
Esther:
But he’ll know, my name, your name….they already know you at court…
Mordechai:
That’s why you can’t tell them we are related. You can’t tell them you are a Jew. How about … I’ll call you Esther? 
Esther:
That means “a star” in Babylonian.
Mordechai:
So, be a star for me, for all your people, on the throne of Persia, sitting beside the most powerful man upon this earth, you will sit beside the ruler of the most powerful empire on earth. My queen: (He does a mock bow)
Esther: (whining)
Uncle, you told me one day I would marry a nice Jewish neurosurgeon and live in the exclusive suburb of Kingdom Hill. Now you want to pass me off to Zerk the Jerk….
Mordechai:
Don’t talk like that (looks around)  Walls have ears.
Esther:
But, I don’t want to be a queen. I like my life here, with you, at the salon…..
Mordechai:
Esther, this is not just about you. This is about all of us, about our entire people. Who knows that you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?
Esther:
Look what happened to Vashti:
Mordechai:
I’m meeting with Omar in the morning. He’s writing up a tight prenup. Zerk wouldn’t dare pull anything like that on you, my dear. He’d lose half his kingdom. Vashti should have known Susa is not a community property state.

Mordechai grabs Esther by the hand and pulls her out the door. We hear a timer go off and hear:
Googosh:
Hadassah? Hadassah. My highlights, my highlights are done? Who’s going to do my hair? Hadassah?
Scene 2  (Standing in front of curtain)

Simi:

This is Simi from KSUSA, reporting live from the palace on Kingdom Hill. (in storybook tone) Now the king favored Esther over all the other beautiful virgins of the kingdom, far and wide, from Media to Persia and beyond. There was something special about her: perhaps it was her sweetness, her humility, her purity, her kindness, her simplicity.  Whatever it was, they clicked, he swiped right…and the rest is history, or Her Story (emphatically.)

The king set a royal crown upon her head, with music, dancing, and feasting – he called it “Esther’s banquet,” – the food was to die for…and the fashions…..Nobles came from far and wide. The king proclaimed a holiday throughout the provinces and distributed generous gifts. (She holds up her ring) thank you King Zerkie, Cartier is my favorite!  So, they got married and lived happily ever after. Ooops, I think I got my notes a bit mixed up. But it was a fairytale wedding, and they honeymooned in the Catskills, of course. Then life began to happen:

 

 

 

Curtain Opens:

We see Haman, and two men throwing dice.

Man:

We have cast the pur. The lot falls on the 12th month, on the month of Adar.

He rolls the dice again.

Man 2:

Ah, 14.  The lot falls on the 14th day of the 12th month of Adar.

Haman:

Thank you, my friends. (Evilly) I’ll let you know when I require further use of your, umm, services. (The men bow low before him)

The men:

As you wish, great ruler.

Xerxes walks into the room. Haman bows. We see Haman and Xerxes. Xerxes sits down and begins playing on an X-box. He seems very engrossed, making noises of triumph and disgust.

Haman:

Your majesty, great King Xerxes, ruler of the Medes and Pers…
Xerxes:
(turns towards him, impatient, playing as he speaks) Enough Haman. What do you want?
Haman:
Oh king, I come before you with a matter of great importance to your kingdom.
Xerxes:
You are my second in command. Just take care of it. Why bother me?
Haman:
This issue is so, let me say, grave. I need your authority to solve this problem. There are a people in your kingdom, who live here in peace and prosperity, scattered and dispersed among all the peoples throughout the provinces of your kingdom. Now, good king, these people have customs and beliefs that are different from all the other peoples. They do not obey the king’s laws nor honor the king. It would not be in the best interests of the king, nor to the benefit of his kingdom to tolerate them any longer…
Xerxes:
Just what I need – the press will accuse me of intolerance again….
Haman:
Ah, the press (with disdain) That is why the king must allow me to handle this, let me say, delicate – situation so that the king’s reputation will not be impugned. All the wrath will fall upon me, plausible deniability and all that… And, let the decree be issued to destroy these people, and I will donate 10,000 talents of silver to the king’s treasury for staffing needs to carry out this business.
Xerxes:
Here, take my signet ring. Do with these people as you wish.  And don’t disturb me in the middle of a game again, or I’ll have YOUR head!
Xerxes goes back to his video games.
Curtain closes:
Narrator/reporter:
Then the king’s scribes were summoned on the thirteenth day of the first month, and it was written just as Haman commanded to the king’s satraps, to the governors who were over each province and to the princes of each people, each province, each people according to its language, being written in the name of King Ahasuerus and sealed with the king’s signet ring. Letters were sent by couriers to all the king’s provinces to destroy, to kill and to annihilate all the Jews,  young and old, women and children, in one day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, and to seize their possessions as plunder.
A copy of the edict issued as law in every province was published to all the peoples so that they should be ready for this day. The couriers went out, impelled by the king’s command, while the decree was issued at the citadel in Susa; and while the king and Haman sat down to drink, the city of Susa was in confusion.
Scene 3
Esther is in her chamber. Mordechai is outside the window, wailing, in sackcloth and ashes.
Esther:
Psst, Uncle Mordie dear, what is wrong? Why are you dressed like that?  The hobo look is sooo 550 BCE.  Didn’t you get the money I sent you this month?
Mordechai:
Esther, Esther my dearest. Our lives are over. We are to be destroyed
Esther:
New neighbors are that bad?

Mordechai:

Look, here’s the decree, by that wicked Haman….
Esther: (Reading)
Edict for the Destruction of a People Dangerous to the Kingdom…(she keeps reading, looking alarmed.)

Esther:
Mordechai, oh Uncle, this is horrible. What can we do?
Mordechai:
Go into the presence of the king. Beg for mercy upon us. Plead with him for the lives of our people.  You are the only one who has any influence.
Esther: (Dejectedly)
The king has been playing World of Warcraft practically non-stop since he got it for his birthday. He hasn’t called for me for a month.  Two eunuchs are in prison for interrupting him. Despite threats from the union.
Mordechai:
Do not imagine that you in the king’s palace can escape any more than other Jews. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, and you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to this place in the kingdom for such a time as this?
Esther:
Go, assemble all the Jews who are found in Susa, and fast for me; do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maidens also will fast in the same way. And I will go in, to the king, which is not according to the law; and if I perish, I perish.
Narrator/reporter:
 Now it came about on the third day that Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the king’s palace in front of the king’s rooms, and the king was sitting on his royal throne. When the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, she obtained favor in his sight; and the king extended to Esther the golden scepter. So Esther came near and touched the top of the scepter. Then the king said to her, “What is troubling you, Queen Esther? And what is your request? Even to half of the kingdom, it shall be given to you.”
(aside, it’s already in the prenup)
whispered
 Esther said, “If it pleases the king, may the king and Haman come this day to the banquet that I have prepared for him.”      Then the king said, “Bring Haman quickly that we may do as Esther desires.” So the king and Haman came to the banquet  Esther had prepared.
INT/DAY
Xerxes, Esther, and Haman are seated on the floor surrounded by pillows and low tables.  Servants rush in and out bringing food and pouring drinks.
Xerxes (in a happy, inebriated state)
What is your petition? For it shall be granted to you.  And what is your request? Even to half of the kingdom, it shall be done.
Esther: (to herself)
That’s already in the prenup.
Xerxes:
Excuse me?
Esther:
My petition and my request is: If I have found favor in the sight of the king, and if it pleases the king to grant my petition and do what I request, may the king and Haman come to the banquet which I will prepare for them, and tomorrow I will do as the king says.
Xerxes:
Esther runs the best banquets.  I wouldn’t miss it for the world.  Well, I might miss it for World of Warcraft.
Esther:
I would be sooo disappointed to not be privileged to provide the King and the honored Haman with the rarest delicacies of all the 120 provinces – and the entertainment is to die for.  I promise you.  (smiles)
Xerxes:
Then, we will join you tomorrow night.
Haman:
I look forward to it as well.  You do me great honor.
Esther:
The pleasure is all mine.
Narrator (KSUSA):
Then Haman went out that day glad and pleased of heart; but when Haman saw Mordecai in the king’s gate and that he did not stand up or tremble before him, Haman was filled with anger against Mordecai. Haman controlled himself, however, went to his house and sent for his friends and his wife Zeresh.
Then Haman recounted to them the glory of his riches, and the number of his sons, and every instance where the king had magnified him and how he had promoted him above the princes and servants of the king. Haman also said, “Even Esther the queen let no one but me come with the king to the banquet which she had prepared, and tomorrow also I am invited by her to join the king. Yet all of this does not satisfy me every time I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate. Then Zeresh his wife and all his friends said to him, “Have a gallows fifty cubits high made and in the morning ask the king to have Mordecai hanged on it; then go joyfully with the king to the banquet.” And the advice pleased Haman, so he had the gallows made.
INT/NIGHT

We see a darkened room with an oil lamp burning. A servant is sitting near the entrance to the room. 

Xerxes:
Hegai, Hegai, where is my chief eunuch? Hegai!  Can’t sleep. I don’t know why I can’t sleep. Usually, I sleep every night like a…. like a conquering tyrant, but tonight I toss and turn…

Hegei: (running in and bowing)

 

At your service oh great king, ruler of all Media-Persia…
What is your wish my king and liege, my…
Xerxes:
 Xerxes: (interrupting) Enough! I can’t sleep. Can you find something to read to me that will help me sleep?  That new herbalist potion Ambien didn’t work.  I feel worse than ever, exhausted but can’t sleep.

Hegai:

Of course your majesty. I be the man. Well, sort of…..Does your majesty consider that gaming so late at night might be preventing the sleep you so desire…
Xerxes:
Don’t go there.  Just do something!  Or back to harem toilet duty for you – seniority and union regulations be accursed…
Hegai:
(He walks over to a basket and picks up a scroll.)  Let’s see, “Susa Enquirer,” no… , “Work-outs for Royals,”  Oh, the, “One Minute Monarch,”…. naa…. How about this, “The Annals of the king?  It’s the minutes of the last staff meeting…Two courtiers fell asleep during the meeting, so this might just do the trick.
Xerxes: (wearily)
Just go ahead.
Hegai:
Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s eunuchs who were doorkeepers,  had sought to lay hands on King Ahasuerus; they conspired together to kill him.  Mordechai the Jew, who sat daily at the King’s gate, overheard their plot and reported it, saving the life of the King.
Unemployment rose 2% and the UPE- Union of Palace Eunuchs agreed to a new wage and benefits package averting a strike….
Xerxes:
Okay enough.  What reward has been given to Mordechai for this service?
Hegai:
Uh, nothing your majesty.
Xerxes:
Nothing?  Who is in the court now?
Hegai:
Haman is here, my King.
Xerxes:
Call him in.
Hegai runs out.  Haman runs in:
(Bowing low, exaggeratedly)
Your majesty. I am so pleased you are up at this hour and we have this opportunity to converse alone.  I wanted to speak to you about Mo….
Xerxes:  It can wait.  Now, Haman, I need your advice.  What should be done for a man who has done a great service to the king, and the king wishes to honor and reward him?
Haman:
( to himself)  Whom would the king desire to honor more than me?
Haman:
For the man whom the king desires to honor, let them bring a royal robe which the king has worn, and the horse on which the king has ridden, and on whose head a royal crown has been placed, and let the robe and the horse be handed over to one of the king’s most noble princes and let them array the man whom the king desires to honor and lead him on horseback through the city square, and proclaim before him, “Thus it shall be done to the man whom the king desires to honor.”
Xerxes:
Sounds good to me.  Go right now, don’t delay…
Haman grins broadly
Xerxes:
And do this for Mordechai the Jew who sits at the gate.
Haman looks distraught, then angry, then composes himself, bowing before the King and rushing out.
Narrator (KSUSA):
Reporting live from the palace.

So Haman took the robe and the horse, and arrayed Mordecai, and led him on horseback through the city square, and proclaimed before him, “Thus it shall be done to the man whom the king desires to honor.”

Then Mordecai returned to the king’s gate. But Haman hurried home, mourning, with his head covered. Haman recounted to Zeresh his wife and all his friends, everything that had happened to him. Then his wise men and Zeresh his wife said to him, “If Mordecai, before whom you have begun to fall, is of Jewish origin, you will not overcome him, but will surely fall before him.”    While they were still talking with him, the king’s eunuchs arrived and hastily brought Haman to the banquet which Esther had prepared.

INT/DAY

Back in the banquet room, Esther, Xerxes and Haman dine and are waited on by servants.

Xerxes:

So, my dear queen, you have been keeping me in suspense long enough.  What is your request?  I shall grant it, even to half my kingdom.

Esther:

(to herself)  That’s already in the prenup.

Xerxes:

What was that my love?

Esther:

If I have found favor in your sight, Oh my king, and if it pleases the king, let my life be given me as my petition, and my people as my request; for we have been sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be killed and to be annihilated. Now if we had only been sold as slaves, men and women, I would have remained silent, for the trouble would not be commensurate with the annoyance to the king  – to interrupt his gaming, especially since the release of the new Warlords of Draenor multiplayer expansion.

Xerxes:

Who would presume to harm my queen and her people?  Where is he?

Esther:

A foe and an enemy – this wicked Haman.  (pointing)

Haman looks petrified.  The King walks out to think about what to do.  Haman begs Esther to spare his life.  He pulls on her robes causing them to be disarrayed.  He falls upon her on the low couch.  Just then, the King returns.

Xerxes:

(Bellows)  Will he even assault my queen with me in the house?

Servants come in and drag Haman away, kicking and screaming.

Servant:

Behold indeed, a gallows is standing at Haman’s house fifty cubits high, which Haman made for Mordecai who spoke good on behalf of the king!

Xerxes:

Hang him on it!

Narrator/reporter:

KSUSA reporting live from the royal palace.

 In that day King Ahasuerus gave the house of Haman, the enemy of the Jews, to Queen Esther; and Mordecai came before the king, for Esther had disclosed what he was to her. The king took off his signet ring which he had taken away from Haman and gave it to Mordecai. And Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman.  Esther spoke again to the king, fell at his feet, wept and implored him to avert the evil scheme of Haman the Agagite and his plot which he had devised against the Jews. The king extended the golden scepter to Esther.  Esther arose and stood before the king. Then she said, “If it pleases the king and if I have found favor before him and the matter seems proper to the king and I am pleasing in his sight, let it be written to revoke the letters devised by Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, which he wrote to destroy the Jews who are in all the king’s provinces. “For how can I endure to see the calamity which will befall my people, and how can I endure to see the destruction of my kindred?”So the King said to Queen Esther and to Mordecai the Jew, “Behold, I have given the house of Haman to Esther, and him they have hanged on the gallows because he had stretched out his hands against the Jews.
“Now you write to the Jews as you see fit, in the king’s name, and seal it with the king’s signet ring; for a written in the name of the king and sealed with the king’s signet ring may not be revoked.”

So the king’s scribes were called at that time in the third month (that is, the month Sivan), on the twenty-third day; and it was written according to all that Mordecai commanded to the Jews, the satraps, the governors and the princes of the provinces which extended from India to Ethiopia, 127 provinces, to every province according to its script, and to every people according to their language as well as to the Jews according to their script and their language. He wrote in the name of King, and sealed it with the king’s signet ring, and sent letters by couriers on horses, riding on steeds sired by the royal stud.

The king granted the Jews who were in each and every city the right to assemble and to defend their lives, to destroy, to kill and to annihilate the entire army of any people or province which might attack them, including children and women, and to plunder their spoil, on one day in all the provinces of the King, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month (that is, the month Adar). A copy of the edict to be issued as law in each and every province was published to all the peoples so that the Jews would be ready for this day to avenge themselves on their enemies.

A copy of the edict to be issued as law in each and every province was published to all the peoples so that the Jews would be ready for this day to avenge themselves on their enemies. The couriers, hastened and impelled by the king’s command, went out, riding on the royal steeds; and the decree was given out at the citadel in Susa.

Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal robes of blue and white, with a large crown of gold and a garment of fine linen and purple; and the city of Susa shouted and rejoiced. For the Jews, there was light and gladness and joy and honor. In each and every province and in each and every city, wherever the king’s commandment and his decree arrived, there was gladness and joy for the Jews, a feast and a holiday. And many among the peoples of the land became Jews, for the dread of the Jews had fallen on them.

Ending song.  Her name was Esther….  (Based on the song, “Her name was Lola, she was a showgirl….”  Replace with, “Her name was Esther, she was a Jewess…” *** Benyomin, you are the musician, you write the songs, okay?

Note:  I used several online English bible translations and modified the wording.

 

 

Characters:

Esther

Mordechai

Xerxes

Haman

3 salon patrons – could have 2

Hegai

KSUSA reporter

servants/Haman’s friends

Since some can play dual roles, probably 7-10 actors would be needed.