An exhilarating adaptation by Gillette Elvgren. Although this play can be performed as a 1-man show, it can also be performed with more actors, if desired. Even though there is one main speaker, the play is populated with humans and demons whom Scapegoat bullies and cajoles.
Scapegloat, the nefarious demon, leaves no stone unturned as he berates his neophyte students through role-playing, song, humor and audience participation. He is a master of the art of spiritual warfare and would like to impart his “wisdom” to his charges.
Part preacher, part salesman, part snake-oil salesman, Scapegloat wheedles and intimidates:
SCAPEGLOAT: Come, come. It’s time for show and tell. That’s right, an accounting is due my little demonettes. Dismal, you first. What’s that? Oh, no. So, as you so charmingly espouse: “they’ve tied the knot at the ol’ hitchin’ post o’ life.” That’s Charlie and . . . and. . . what’s her name? Ah, Christy. I’m afraid it’s back to conjuring bed sores and arthritis for you, Dismal .
Now, then. Don’t pout. All things can work together for evil for those who’ll detest our Founder. Come here, sit down. At my feet.
In Scapegloat’s world, God, sometimes referred to as The Founder, is the Enemy, against whom he is waging war with human souls as his intended spoils.
From the Play
A desk with an ornate Victorian plush/stuffed chair with a footstool. a skull as a paperweight, piles of dusty books, faded red velvet drapery, shafts of grainy light, a coiled snake adorns one desk leg. A curtain, painted in rusts, with bolts and plating patching up possible holes and leaks, frames the rear of the room, with clotheslines running down from the curtain poles with various letters of parchment hung by bony clothespins. Characters will enter through here.
SCAPEGLOAT enters. Steam punk look to him, also professorial, checking a large pocket watch, blowing off steam. He wears an Oxfordian robe, open in the front. He approaches audience.)
THIS LITTLE PLACE OF MINE
Oh, I see you there,
Shades in shadows,
You’re in the right place,
Third door on the left,
Welcome my friends, to circle level seven,
Where how you’re accepted depends
On how far you are from heaven.
I see mischief makers here,
A huddle of miscreants,
And there a score of cheats,
But let me make it clear,
We’ve got a plethora of seats. . .
Reserved in. . .
(He looks sort of like a maitre de, with a menu that he opens.)
This little place of mine
Please come in and dine,
On the froth of malevolence
The curds of self pity,
With a drizzle of greed
Garnished with rage aplenty.
We boast a roast,
Sliced thick or thin,
Blackened, boiled, braised, brined,
Served up sizzling, hot as sin,
The fallen failings of humankind.
SO, come on in, to. . .
This little place of mine,
Take a seat, or please recline,
Make yourself at home,
While Scapegloat gives advice,
On greed, betrayal, and vice.
So listen up, make sure you’re noting. . .
How to encourage gloating,
Or the finer ways of cutthroating,
Lying and accusing,
Deceiving and abusing,
Draped in the most devious turncoating.
Do you catch my drift?
Perhaps an example or two.
(He lifts up the skull.)
They’ll all end up like this,
So what? Who cares?
For it’s the soul that we grave,
As OUR payment from the grave,
No credit allowed.
Yes, we’ll add the debits up,
And we’ll all gorge and sup,
Sipping from Hyssop’s cup
At the final judgment’s feast.
And leave. . .
This little place of mine,
Where you sipped on my favorite wine,
The drippings of my own strychnine,
And jawed on my aged woodbine,
The street is wet out there,
You wanderers in the night,
And brimstone chokes the air,
No home, no rest, the moons red light,
To mark the empty path,
That leads to. . . despair. . .
But enough of this
I’ll call Dismal here,
Student from the subbreeds,
And you’ll see and note as we pursue,
Our nefarious, neigh, notorious deeds,
In charting the downfall,
Of them, up there, that
You’re patience, please, as I call. . .
SCAPEGLOAT: (to audience) You’re late. Time’s running. . . out. Down. About. You’ve all taken the devil’s good time at my expense.
Oh, I know where you’ve all been. Cutting your demon teeth on mini-marts and Malls. Reaping piddling rewards in the nooks and crannies of greed’s pale shadow. Yes, I’m talking to you Zmeu, the pride you take in getting those mall cave dwellers to check out the fatspacular display of their corpulent selves in the store windows, scarping up fizzy drinks– big gulp, tiny gulp, who cares? A waste. And you Akatash, don’t look so smug, humming ‘Better Pick a pocket or two” as you entice a teeny bopper to blag a comic book , and get him caught red handed stuffing it down his front. Minor leagues.
When what you should be doing is sharpening their human appetites to the point of addiction; building egos the size of cathedrals, and getting them to plug into those fiber-optic digital thingies even more, wallowing in the concatenation of their mindless chatter, engrossed in me, moi, mir and menya. . .Greasing even their dullest dreams with dollar green fantasies, persuading them to become their own American Idoldoms, and finally. . .becoming more. . . like us. . . But. . .
(Sound of old style phone ringing. He pulls an archaic phone out of the desk and puts earphone to ear, covering up the mouthpiece with his hand.)
Excuse me. Be-elzebub calls. Note how I acquiesce. Drip praise. Jockey for po-si-tion.
SCAPEGLOAT here. Yes Sire, I know. What’s that? Theme of the month? Ah, ‘Sin’. Most assuredly. Yes, yes, and Praise our Master, he was brilliant back then. Snakes, serpents, a dragon or two–his ‘possessed’ progenitors. And that tree, so easy to twist. But the ‘pinch of the game’ is to be rooted in sin. It shall be done.
(He hangs up.)
Sin. It’s always sin. One color on Be-elzebub ’s palate. Black sinscape. And here I am , teaching Sin 101. No. When The End Times are looming? No, again. Attention should be paid. The Jews are returning to their homeland; the anti-Christ is suckling at this moment in some Turkish ‘yurt’, and the demon troops must be marshaled; but as for us? Endlessly assigned to suburban troglodytes who are already half lost as it is.
(He grabs a letter off the line.)
Be-elzebub calls it ‘Building a firm base’. ‘Finding the common denominator’. ‘ Bringing down the least of these’. Balderdash.
If you want to say something, raise your cloven hoof please, Dismal. Oh, you’ve been doing what Be-elzebub espouses, have you? Alright, we’ll start with you.
(He grabs a file.)