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Mid Winter Festival

Michelle Van Loon

Esther, give your uncle a high five. Just to show you the kind of guy Mordecai is… One day, he was hanging around the palace gate waiting to talk to Esther when he heard a couple of guards plotting against Xerxes. Mordecai told the whole thing to Esther. She let the king know, and those guards got hanged. No happily ever after for those guys.

Oh look! (Haman pretends that he's just had a great idea.) Haman over here has finally come up with a foolproof plan. He tells the king that the Jews don't keep his laws. (Haman whispers in the king's ear; the king is shocked by what he hears.) That convinces the king that the only way to deal with them is to kill them all. Nice, huh? While Haman is telling the king his big idea, Mordecai just so happens to tiptoe past the window and hears the whole thing. (After tiptoeing past the chairs, Mordecai stands next to the narrator.)

Mordecai gets a message to his niece about Haman's evil plan. (Esther walks to Mordecai and he whispers in her ear.) He tells her it could be just for such a time as this that she is now queen. This is big stuff. Let's stop and ponder this for 11 seconds. (Time 11 seconds of silence as the actors freeze.) Okay, that's enough!

Esther and Mordecai both know that God will deliver his beloved people somehow; they determine that they'll do their part to follow God's ways. A wild plan forms in Esther's mind. (Esther paces as she "talks" to Mordecai.) Esther says she'll go to the king, even though that breaks every rule in the king's book. She is only supposed to go in to the king if he sends for her. Otherwise, she risks losing her pretty little head. (Esther looks up to heaven and says, "If I perish, I perish.")

Looks like our heroine is going for it! You go, girl!

(Mordecai exits.) Esther pretties herself to see the king. When she walks in, Haman is bending the king's ear about some sort of nasty business. Haman glares at her, but the king is really happy to see her. He extends the royal scepter to her. (Xerxes reaches behind him, grabs the plunger, and extends it toward Esther.) Xerxes says to her, "What do you want, my precious Persian pet? I'll give you anything-a case of nail polish, a trip to the mall, even half my kingdom."

Esther bats her eyes at him, whips out her nail file, and acts like she's thinking about it for a moment. "Well, Xerxes, Sweetie, all those things sound wonderful, but really, I just came here to interrupt your kingly business to invite you to a special dinner party I'm planning. And not just you, Honey Bunch, but your royal thug-oh, I mean, your able-bodied assistant, Mr. Haman, too. I know he's just like your American Express charge card. You don't leave the palace without him."

Both the boys nod. They'll be there! (Esther exits. Mordecai enters.) Esther skedaddles out of there. She has work to do. Haman leaves to get ready when he passes his old nemesis, Mordecai, on the street. Mordecai again does not bow to Haman. (Mordecai exits.) Boy, is Haman mad now! He needs some advice.

(Haman "writes" a letter.) "Dear Ann Landers, I'm the second banana in the kingdom. I have it all, but that roach Mordecai just won't bow to me. It's bumming me out big time. What should I do? Signed, Sad in Shushan."

All of Haman's trusted advisers, including his wife, tell him to build a hanging gallows. Haman likes this idea, and skips around merrily. (Haman skips offstage.)

(King lies down on all three chairs, but can't sleep.) The king, meanwhile, is so "jazzed" about the party that he can't sleep. Some good bedtime reading is what he needs. The king calls for a royal adviser. (Choose a "royal adviser" from the audience. The king sits up and hands the volunteer the scroll from underneath the chair.) The king tells the adviser to tell wonderful stories about his kingly rule. The royal adviser just so happens to open up the scroll and read about the part where Mordecai saved his life. "Wow, cool!" King Xerxes says. He wants to know how this wonderful guy has been honored.

The adviser tells him that the wonderful Mordecai hasn't been honored in any way. (Have the adviser return to the audience.) The king wonders why on earth this heroic man hasn't been honored, and then he falls asleep. (The king lies down to sleep.)

The next day, Haman pops in to see the king. (The king is startled and awakens.) Haman is just bursting to tell the king about his brand-new gallows. He really feels that seeing Mordecai hang would help his digestion at the big feast.

The king won't let Haman say a word, though. (The king puts his hand to Haman's mouth.) He wants Haman's advice on something first. King Xerxes wants to know how Haman would honor someone who'd served him well. (The king paces and Haman smiles big time.) Haman, of course, figures that the king is talking about him.

Haman suggests a nice royal robe for the honoree, along with a parade through the streets of town, with a servant proclaiming something like, "This is the dude the king wants to honor." (Haman gives a thumbs-up sign.) The king loves the idea and tells Haman to do this for Mordecai. Let's just say here that Haman is not a happy camper. (Mordecai enters. Haman takes his hand and says in his grumpiest voice: "This is the dude the king wants to honor." Haman parades him around the audience.) Mordecai gets a nice parade. (Mordecai exits and Haman returns to the stage.) And Haman goes back to the palace, consoling himself with the thought that he still has the banquet.

(Esther enters and moves the chairs into a semicircle. The king moves into the chair at left, and she seats Haman in the center chair.) The first night of the dinner party goes so well that Esther invites both of them back the next night for another banquet. (Esther exits and re-enters with the bag of burgers. She tosses wrapped burgers to Mordecai and Haman, then sits down in the third chair.) King Xerxes and Haman compliment Esther lavishly on her gourmet cooking.

"Well, Poopsie," the king begins. "What is it that your little heart desires? Anything I have is yours-you know that."

It's time for Esther to make a stand. Stand up, Esther! She tells the king, "If I have found favor with you, O King, and if it pleases your majesty, grant me my life. This is my petition. And spare my people. This is my request. For I and my people have been sold for destruction and slaughter."



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