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Acting
Acting UpThe Network
By Glenn A. Hascall

THEME: Witnessing

CATEGORY: Light-hearted

SYNOPSIS:

A spy spoof using all phrases Christianese. AGENT X, AGENT Q and AGENT W (disguised as a waitress) are working to decode what is being said by two Christians, and leave with more questions than they started with.

CAST:

TOM, JERRY, WAITRESS, AGENT X, AGENT Q and OFF STAGE VOICE that will simulate a computer voice (can be played by AGENT Q actor if disguised well enough).

PROPS:
  1. Cafι tables
  2. Menu
  3. Hand-held electronic device
  4. Watch
  5. Small (in the ear) earphones
  6. Plates and silverware
  7. Order pad for a restaurant
  8. 2 coffee cups
  9. Chairs
  10. Other props as desired.
SETTING:

A small restaurant where spies meet to talk. They are interested in two men who speak in their own special code language – unknown to the two, there are other ears listening with a translation device.

SCRIPT:

(AGENT Q, AGENT X and WAITRESS walk onto stage first as part of their covert operation – Agent Q adopts a phony British accent)

AGENT Q: (Looks around before talking) Agent X, This is Agent W, she'll be your backup for this operation. You understand what you are to do?

AGENT X: Yes, I am supposed to observe two men who may have links to the underground – a Christian underground network. But what if they talk in code?

AGENT Q: Yes, well, we expect that they'll be speaking in Christianese. So we have taken the liberty of providing you with a pocket translation device (hands a small electronic handheld game to AGENT X). This will allow you to decode their conversation. If you need anything use your watch phone.

(AGENT Q and WAITRESS exit)

(Silence for a few seconds)

AGENT X: (Speaks into his watch – a small headphone with wire should be placed in the ear) This is Agent X checking in. (Pause) That is affirmative headquarters, I have turned on the translation equipment, I am in place and expect visual contact soon.

(TOM and JERRY walk onto stage looking around nervously, settle down at table – AGENT X hurriedly hides behind a menu)

TOM: (Looks around before speaking) I have a prayer concern – this past weekend during the church pot luck I noticed Sister Trina seemed to be enjoying the fellowship – a lot!

OFF STAGE VOICE: Prayer Concern: Translation: gossip. Fellowship: Translation: Organized gluttony. Full translation in context: Sister Trina is the subject of gossip due to an incredibly large appetite at the most recent church function. A hint of either diet plans or outright ridicule seems to be implied.

(AGENT X Clicks a few buttons on the hand held electronic device – AGENT X responds to the words from the OFF STAGE VOICE and writes things down on a note pad).

(Waitress walks on stage)

WAITRESS: What can I get you?

TOM: I'll have the special with a cup of coffee.

JERRY: (Seems taken with the waitress) Me too.

WAITRESS: I'll be right back.

JERRY: She sure had a sweet spirit about her.

TOM: The Lord works in mysterious ways. (Jerry looks hurt).

OFF STAGE VOICE: Sweet Spirit: In context: She's cute. Mysterious way: You don't stand a chance – unless you believe in miracles.

TOM: A workday is scheduled at the church; we need someone to help pull weeds. How about it?

JERRY: You know I'd like to help, but I just don't feel led. But I'll pray about it to see if it's God's will. (Pause) If it is, then Lord willing I'll be there.

OFF STAGE VOICE: Don't feel led: Translation: Find someone else – there is no way I am gonna pull weeds on my day off. (Pause) Pray about God's will: Translation: I'm certain God will agree with me that I should just stay home. (Pause) Lord willing: Translation: I'll only be T there if God physically places me there against my will.

TOM: Come on Jerry, we're only talking about a few weeds.

JERRY: I'm just not certain that's my spiritual gift.

OFF STAGE VOICE: Not my spiritual gift: Translation: It's time to look up some unsuspecting person in the church directory because I will not be there – now stop asking!

TOM: (Pause) Do you remember Gary Henderson?

JERRY: (Not thrilled) Yeah!

TOM: Leadership is thinking about asking him to work with the Jr. High.

JERRY: I don't know, Tom. I have a check in my spirit about him.

OFF STAGE VOICE: Check in my spirit: Translation: I think the man in question is an idiot.

(Waitress brings coffee out to the men)

JERRY: Thank you.

TOM: Yeah, thanks!

WAITRESS: (Smiles) You're welcome. (Walks off stage)

JERRY: Perhaps we should tell her about our singles ministry.

OFF STAGE VOICE: Singles Ministry: Translation: Often used as a euphemism for she's pretty; I wonder if she's available?

TOM: Say we missed you at the Men's Supper the other night.

JERRY: I meant to be there, but God led me to do something different.

OFF STAGE VOICE: God led me to do something different: Translation: This phrase is generally used as justification for doing something distinctly unlike what may have been expected. This is usually accepted without confrontation by a second party and is rarely questioned because the name of God was invoked. Although His name is often invoked for less than honorable motives.

TOM: Are you traveling to the city this weekend?

JERRY: Yeah, I'm meeting up some friends.

TOM: I know you've had some trouble in the past, I'll be praying that God will grant you traveling mercies.

OFF STAGE VOICE: Traveling mercies: Translation: Resist road rage.

(WAITRESS brings out plates for men)

WAITRESS: Is there anything else I can do for you?

TOM: I think we're fine.

(WAITRESS walks back out as the men begin to eat)

JERRY: Bless her heart.

OFF STAGE VOICE: Bless her heart: Translation: A reiteration of a previous use of the Christianese term, "She has a sweet spirit" – or she's cute.

TOM: The latest sports magazine said that there were five believers on your favorite team.

JERRY: That's true; I guess you could say that I am living victoriously in that knowledge.

OFF STAGE VOICE: Living victoriously: Translation: I chose the right teams and won the betting pool at work.

JERRY: Well, I'd like to encourage you in your pilgrimage

OFF STAGE VOICE: Encourage you in your pilgrimage: Translation: I think it's time for us to leave.

TOM: You may be right. Well, Blest be the tie that binds.

OFF STAGE VOICE: The tie that binds: Translation: If it weren't for God, I'd have nothing in common with you.

(JERRY and TOM leave the stage quickly – a few second pass and WAITRESS and AGENT Q walk onto the stage and over to AGENT X)

AGENT Q: Did we learn any useful information?

WAITRESS: (Looks at the table recently occupied by Tom & Jerry) Christians don't tip well.

AGENT Q: Your report, Agent X.

AGENT X: If the translation equipment was working correctly then it seems that these Christians have the same fears and failures as the rest of us but are not as willing to talk about those issues without cloaking them in a language only they can understand. It seems that speaking this language somehow makes them feel better about the issues they face. They even seem to be able to cloak insults, gossip and suggestion in the various phrases of Christianese.

AGENT Q: That's what I was afraid of. It's difficult to understand them and then to have such nefarious double meanings to the phrases they use makes it almost impossible to get to the bottom of what they stand for.

WAITRESS: (Looks through her order pad) Sources indicate that these men once knew how to speak without using these mysterious phrases, but somewhere along the line they adopted this sub-culture language and it seems the only friends they have now are those that also speak this strange dialect.

AGENT X: I wonder if there is more to their religion than what we heard today?

AGENT Q: We can only hope, Agent X. We can only hope.

Fade to black
Glenn Hascall is a twice-published author, avid amateur photographer and a happy Papa and Hubby. He is the Director of Christian Media, Inc, and in his spare time, he sleeps. To find out more about his ministries, visit www.kcmi.cc You may reach Glenn at glenhascall@writesoon.com.

LIFE LESSONS FROM 2004:
I have learned that learning to be a good writer is a long, continuous – and often painful – journey. But I guess the most important lesson that I’ve learned is that God has a plan for my writing. I don’t know what exactly that plan entails, mind you (kinda like seeing through the glass darkly), but a plan nonetheless, even if that plan simply involves the most important purpose to our writing, if nothing else – glorifying Him. (John Hunt)


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