Under the Influence of a King

  • Cast Number: 26
  • Run-time: 90 minutes
  • Bible Reference: Luke 2
The new Prime Minister, (the first female, and first of African origin), of one the most powerful countries in the world, and her staff, struggle with governing the nation. The PM’s mother and her friend come to visit at Christmas and by so doing set everything, and everybody, on a Christian, but helter-skelter, course. Being under the pressure to lead and govern is compared to Esther in the Old Testament, and we see Esther, Mordecai and Esther’s granddaughter Sarah talk about their triumphs and failures.
Then Mary, the mother of Jesus, and John the disciple, (who were instructed by Jesus at the cross to be “mother” and “son” to the other), remember the birth of Jesus, and the life that lead to the cross. Along the way there are flashbacks where we meet the angel Gabriel, Joseph, the innkeeper and his wife, the wisemen, shepherds and a Roman soldier.
The PM and her staff examine how the examples of Mary and Esther affect them in governing “under the influence of a King”.
More or less actors are possible.
Useful for Christmas or any time of the year.

Cast: 26+
25 speaking roles:
- Nancy Thomas
- LuAnn Bayer
- Monica Jones
- Julie Carter
- Chief (Terry Frost)
- Esther Wright (Prime Minister)
- Bernice Wright (Esther’s mother)
- Daphne Caruthers (Bernice’s friend)
- Hadassah (Esther in the Bible)
- Mordecai
- Sarah (Hadassah’s granddaughter)
- Mary
- John
- Young Mary (YM)
- Joseph
- Angel Gabriel
- Innkeeper
- Innkeeper’s wife
- 3 shepherds
- 3 wisemen
- Roman soldier at the birth

- offstage male voice of Centurion
as many crowd persons as available

Set: some desks and office type equipment with computers, phones, etc.
mainly blank sets except for the stable scene
The flashbacks can be on a separate stage, or on a part of the stage which is set aside by lighting, or can be behind a scrim

Costumes: Biblical costumes for the relevant scenes, standard office wear for those in PMO

Props: papers, pizza boxes

Special instructions:
This script was written to refer to a fictitious country, thus “Prime Minister” was used, and the setting being the “PMO” (Prime Minister’s Office). If so desired this can be changed to “President” and “Strategy Room”.

Sample of script:

people at work in office, Chief walks in, everyone appears more busy, uneasy

Chief: Where are my briefing reports?

Nancy: On your desk sir.

Chief looks, picks up papers, throws papers all over the floor

Chief: I have had enough of this incompetence! How many times have I told you that the morning briefing reports will be on green card stock!

Nancy: Sorry sir, our network printer is down, we had to print on the standby printer and it won't handle the heavier card stock paper since . . .

Chief, very annoyed: Are you trying to tell me that the briefing time for the Prime Minister will be delayed simply because the incompetents in the PMO did not have the foresight to have a two hundred dollar printer properly serviced or replaced?

Nancy: All regularly scheduled service has been done on all office equipment as always sir. The breakdown could not have been anticipated, it is a new printer and . . .

Chief: Enough excuses! The media won’t accept excuses when they come in for the Prime Minister’s weekly news conference, and I won’t accept excuses either. Now if you are not sufficiently competent to carry out simple tasks please let me know and I will hire someone who can . . . now where is my agenda for today?

Nancy: On your PDA as you requested sir. If you will recall you said you didn’t want hardcopy agendas laying around, you want all agendas distributed electronically.

Chief: Very well then, so long as they are accurate and all stakeholders have their copy.

Nancy: They are word for word what you dictated, and sent out on your Security One database distribution list.

Chief: Keep trying Ms. Thomas, who knows, we might just gain efficiency in the PMO yet. The question is only whether we gain that level of efficiency here in the Prime Minister’s Office with present staff, or whether employee turnover will be necessary. (turns to leave) If anyone wants me I will be in the Media Room reviewing media coverage on the PM’s senate speech yesterday.

LuAnn: I sent an executive media recap to the Prime Minister; I integrated the highlights of all the coverage, national and international.

Chief, turns back, angry: Oh did you really now . . . what is your name . .?

LuAnn: LuAnn, LuAnn Bayer sir.

Chief, in her face: And exactly who requested that you prepare an . . . executive recap . . Ms. Bayer?

LuAnn: Sir, it is on my job description that I prepare a daily executive media recap for the Prime Minister.

Chief: Now let’s get something straight here . . Ms. Bayer . . . When I want you to prepare something for the Prime Minister, I tell you what . . I will ask you . . .Is that quite clear, Ms. Bayer?

Nancy: Just a minute Terry . . .

Chief: “Terry.” Would you tell me Ms. Thomas, just why might you be calling me “Terry”?

Nancy: As I recall, that is how Esther introduced you, and I would prefer that you call me Nancy, not Ms. Thomas.

Chief, calm: Oh really?
Perhaps I ought to tell you something Ms. Thomas!
This is a new regime within the PMO, and a new Prime Minister. And in this new regime, and with this new Prime Minister, she shall be referred to, and spoken to, as Madam Prime Minister.

Nancy: But sir, she asked that we call her Esther . . .

Chief: Let me, if I may, acquaint you with realities . . .
In this new regime, and in this new Prime Minister’s office, it is I, the Chief, who is in charge. Are we all clear on this fact?

Chief looks from one person to another, each slowly looks downward

Chief: Now then, if, at any time you are unsure of what should be done, please don’t research some dusty job descriptions, or Policy and Procedure manual. Instead, simply think, “What would the Chief want?”Understood?
There will be some changes here, and some new personnel. (looks around) There is a distinct overweighting from a . . female . . point of view.

Nancy: You mean including Madam Prime Minister?

Chief, now furious: I will never, never allow insubordination in this office, is that understood?

Nancy, trying to restrain anger and hurt: Yes sir, that is completely understood.

Chief, icy smile: Wonderful! That being the case, let us all get back to work. Please ensure that each of your little jobs are done well and efficiently.
(turns to leave, pauses, turns back)
Oh, and one other matter.
In the PMO there shall be a unified voice for all that goes on. If anyone is asked a question, that question will be referred to myself.
Is that clear?
(looks around, smiles)
Fine then, back to work people.

Chief leaves the stage

Julie: And a Merry Christmas to you too!

nervous giggling around the room

Monica: Four years with him as a boss will be entertaining.

Nancy, stern: That is quite enough! The chief may not be the sweetest personality on the hill, but we didn’t sign up to be a part of this new government to have someone whisper sweet nothings to us.

LuAnn: I know Nancy, but it will be impossible to work here if he doesn’t back off a bit. Do you think you could talk to Esther?

Nancy, annoyed: You heard the Chief instruct us that we refer to the Prime Minister as “Madam Prime Minister” and that’s exactly what we will do! And with all Madam Prime Minister has to think of as she goes through her transition to office, no way I will burden her with the minor, frivolous troubles in the PMO.

LuAnn: So is it Ms. Thomas too?

Nancy, giggles: Nahhh, Nancy will be just fine. But let’s remember it's “Chief” and it's “Madam Prime Minister” OK? (thinks) That will take some remembering for me, Esther Wright and I go back a long, long way.

Monica: What is Esther, err, Madam Prime Minister, what is she really like?

Nancy, smiles, remembering: Esther is an incredible lady. She is strong, she is decisive, she is opinionated, she is hard-nosed. Yet she is one of the kindest and sweetest, most moral women I have ever known.

Monica: The last politician I worked for would say that those qualities are a recipe for disaster in politics.

Julie: Fact is that four years at the top in politics will make a crook out of the most honest person, is what they say.

Nancy, emphatically: Anybody who says that for sure don’t know my friend Esther.

Julie, looks around: We actually made it didn’t we? Esther actually got elected. . . Prime Minister of the country! Wow!

Nancy, satisfied smile: Prime Minister Esther Wright! . . . Sounds good, doesn’t it? . . . First woman prime minister ever!

Julie: First prime minister ever with African background . . . .

LuAnn: Do you just realize it, this country’s very first black prime minister . . . ever!

Monica: First female . . . first black . . . She faces incredible difficulties.

Nancy: I don’t see it that way Monica. I believe that the country is ready for a female prime minister, a black female prime minister. In the polls almost 68% of the white voters supported Esther.

Monica: I think the white voters will continue to support Esther. It's the black voters that concern me.

LuAnn: Check the polling results Monica, almost 80% of black voters supported Esther, her support is strong and getting stronger.

Monica: I know a thing or two about politics LuAnn. I have been in this game a lot of years. And one thing is sure, when someone new, with a new agenda and background makes a breakthrough in the electorate, there's a long line of folks who believe that it was their influence that made it happen. And once that person is in office the long line expects that it's payback time.

Nancy: Esther’s supporters are above all that.

Monica: Really? (holds up a stack of phone messages) Care to take a look at the list of messages from supporters asking, demanding an audience with Madam Prime Minister. . . .(reads) “on matters of extreme urgency, at her earliest convenience”. . . Payback time, my friends, has come!

LuAnn: It's our job to protect her from people like that.

Monica, holds up a message: Let’s see . . . this one is from Senator Edward Mason . . . as I recall, he was the one that nominated Esther. . . . (holds up another) Oh yes, and Congresswoman Frances Brown, head of the party. . . . Just remember one thing ladies, we work in the throne room of power, just steps away from what is the greatest power in the world . . but we are powerless. Our function is to facilitate the powerful Masons and Browns, while at the same time trying our best not to do or allow those things which would bring these prime minister to an untenable position.

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