Between Two Seas
A compelling drama written by Robert Alan Ward
Between Two Worldviews
Between Two Seas is an historical allegory that illustrates the struggle between two competing and irreconcilable world views. Are we creations of God or are we chance collisions of molecules in a purposeless universe that sprang from nothing?
The other impetus for this story comes from my pondering over the past months regarding those who have no gospel witness. How much can they understand about God without a Bible? Can they be saved without ever hearing the name of Christ? For answers I did a careful study of the first three chapters of Romans. I also read Eternity in their Hearts by Don Richardson and In the Beginning by Irina Ratushinskaya, a woman who grew up in the Soviet Union during the days of the cold war. Somehow, without a Bible and despite what she had been taught in school, she found her way to Christ.
18 speaking parts:
1 girl about 4
3 other dolls or babies
Cast of Characters:
Amoenitas teenage girl who longs to know God
Trebonius newly arrived governor
Alexandra wife of Trebonius
Solon a prophet
Alacerius a tyrant
Publius son of Trebonius and Alexandra
Julia widowed mother of Amoenitas
Eletia younger sister of Amoenitas
Marceles rich land owner
Arianna childless wife of Marceles, sister of Julia
Iras head nurse at the hospital
Marcus liberated teen, crony of Alacerius
Hermes male schoolmate
Acerbitas female schoolmate
Phoebe female schoolmate
Laetitia a gift from above
Patricia 4 year old daughter of Iras
the messenger of hope
Between Two Seas
Scene 1 Two Men, two Ways (the governor’s house)
Scene 2 Confiscated (Julia’s home)
Scene 3 The New Enlightenment (the school)
Scene 4 The Mainland (at a park bench)
Scene 1 A Cry into the Night (overlooking the sea)
Scene 2 The Prophecy (on a trail)
Scene 3 Exposure (the hospital)
Scene 4 A Gift from Above (home of Marceles and Arianna)
Scene 1 Imperiled (Julia’s home)
Scene 2 Unexpected Visitor (the prison cell)
Scene 3 A Threat to the Islands (the governor’s house)
Scene 4 The Plague (the prison cell)
Scene 1 The Coming (the seashore)
Scene 2 Two Men, Two Destinies (the governor’s house)
Scene 3 From the Jaws of Death (Julia’s home)
Scene 4 The Departure (the seashore)
Sample of Script:
Scene one Two Men, Two Ways
(the governor’s house)
Narrator: For seven generations the land of my father Andronicus Aequitas had been in our family. “The land is a part of us, he had often said. “To lose our land would be to lose ourselves.” My mother Julia and my father had known each other from their earliest childhood. It seemed only natural when they came of age that their friendship would blossom into love. A year after their marriage I was born, somewhat to the dismay of my father, who wanted a son. They named me Amoenitas. Two years later came my sister Eletia. A son my father was never to have, for four years after Eletia’s birth he was killed in an accident. Thus my mother was left with the task of raising two daughters on her own. During my seventeenth year a new governor came to our islands.
(The lights come up. Governor Trebonius is seated at center stage. Publius enters from stage left.)
Publius: Father, Alacerius and Solon have arrived.
Trebonius: Thank you, Publius. Please send them in. Stay around for our discussion. I want you to get used to the workings of government.
(Publius exits to stage left. His words are heard from off-stage.)
Publius: The governor will see you both now.
(Solon, Alacerius, and Publius enter from stage left. Solon takes a position to Trebonius’ right. Alacerius stands to Trebonius’ left. Publius remains at far stage left as an observer.)
Trebonius: Thank you for coming, gentlemen. I suppose you both know why I have summoned you.
Solon: My father taught me never to presume, but to listen first, and then to speak.
Trebonius: Your father was wise. Very well, I shall try to be wise too. I have been here now for two weeks and what was told me before I came is confirmed. These islands are infested with crime, divorce, addiction, poverty, and unrest. Order must be restored if they are to become a useful part of the empire instead of a thorn in her flesh. It is my job to see that this happens. You two are known as leading men here. Before I take action I want to hear your advice. You may speak first, Solon.
Solon: We need a uniform set of laws that will promote both stability and freedom.
Alacerius: Ha! And how would we come up with such laws?
Trebonius: Alacerius, I will hear you in turn. Please go on, Solon.
(Alexandra enters from stage left. She remains at stage left with Publius and listens to the debate.)
Solon: Alacerius has asked a good question. If there were a Supreme Being who created us, I would assume that such a Being would know what is best for individuals and for society. I would further assume that He would find some way of communicating to us His ways. Finally, in order to give us significance, I would assume that He would give us the choice between obeying His laws, which would make for an orderly society, or flaunting them and suffering the consequences.
Trebonius: Very interesting. Does such a being exist?
Solon: Sir, I have thought long and hard on this. I believe that the answer is “yes.” And I believe that, save for our frailties and our vices, He is like us.
Alacerius: (sneeringly) How would you know?
Solon: We are here. The world is here. I submit the obvious. Since we could not have created ourselves, we must have been created. I believe in one God because there appears to be one plan in His creation. Everywhere I see order, the evidence of one intelligent designer. As the universe appears to be limitless in energy, He must be more powerful still. And as we cannot see the end of the universe, I conclude that He is an infinite, eternal being.
Trebonius: But those characteristics do not speak of laws or morality.
Solon: Ah, but they do, for one of infinite power must by definition have the ability to call us into judgment for breaking His laws. As for what those laws might be, I assume that they would be in keeping with His character. We know that He is trustworthy and consistent. Night follows day as day follows night. Spring follows winter. Always it is the same. From that I would deduce that He would want us to be reliable towards one another, as He is towards us. We are to speak truth to one another and to keep our commitments—in marriage, in business, in every area of life. And what is the greatest instinct within us?
Trebonius: For most men I would assume that it would be self-preservation.
Solon: Truly. The problem is that when wrongly applied, self-preservation breeds selfishness. But God has given us the gift of life. If He has given us the gift of life, then we ought to give others that same gift. I believe the operative word would be “love.” If I love others, I will not kill them or steal from them. Rather, I will work so as to preserve myself and then to help preserve others. If most others lived the same way because we honored the same God, it would produce an orderly, free, and prosperous society.
Alacerius: And do you live up to such lofty standards yourself, learned Solon?
Solon: Perhaps well enough for earthly society, but far from what I know to be the standards of our Creator. It is the afterlife I fear. I know that I am unworthy of Him, but know not how to make myself worthy.
Alacerius: You may rest easy on that question. No such creator exists!
Trebonius: Why not, Alacerius?
Alacerius: If this god of whom Solon speaks exists, why can’t we see him? And if he is good, as Solon affirms, why does he allow so much pain and suffering in the world? There is no god. To make laws based on a fictitious personage would not create Solon’s orderly society. It would do just the opposite. Our freedoms and our happiness would be restricted by the unnecessary curbing of our desires. We should look to seeable, knowable nature for our laws. A lion is least dangerous when he is fed. Were we to provide for everyone’s needs there would be no need to commit crimes.
Trebonius: Where would we get the means to care for everyone?
Alacerius: Through taxes, of course. I recommend the immediate abolishment of Feoderata Civitas. We then levy high taxes on the rich, bringing them down to a basic needs level, in order to bring the poor up to that same level. The rich lose their power to plunder the poor and the poor lose their need to steal, as there would be no poverty.
Solon: I fear that such a system in practice could only result in poverty for all. Why should the rich continue to produce when they know that their earnings will be confiscated? Why should to poor work to better their lives when they know they will get something for nothing?
Alacerius: Nonsense! People will be free and happy in my collectivized system. All we will need is more governmental resources to enforce my vision of a fair, just and equal society. We will need to disarm the populace, purportedly to prevent them from harming one another, but more importantly to keep some from resisting our reforms. If we can make such a system work here, it will become a model for the empire. And you, Governor Trebonius, would receive the credit and rise high in that empire.
Trebonius: You have both well argued your positions and given me much to consider. I will take time now to ponder your very different views on how to cure our societal ills. Good day gentlemen.
(Alacerius and Solon both gesture respect and exit to stage left. Trebonius turns to his wife Alexandra and to his son Publius.)
What do you think, Publius? Both were very persuasive.
Publius: Solon seems the far better man. There is something sinister about Alacerius. But as to who has the better idea, I don’t know. Quite honestly, I don’t ever want to be in your position as a magistrate, who has to make such decisions.
Trebonius: So ruling holds no appeal to you?
Publius: None at all. I don’t ever want to hold the power of life and death over people. I am not wise enough for that kind of power.
Trebonius: Then you are wiser than you think. What are your thoughts, Alexandra?
Alexandra: I prefer the way of Alacerius, as long as we keep our wealth. You must show the people that you are in charge. Acquiescing to made-up laws from some fictional sky-king will make you look weak.
Trebonius: An easier way to go, no doubt—a way that would garner more support from the empire. But I agree with our son’s assessment. Between the two, Solon seems the far better man. Do not better men ponder better ideas?
Alexandra: Weaker men hide behind the myth of virtue and gain nothing. Stronger men get results and rise to the top. I married a strong man. Be the man I married.
(Trebonius ponders for a moment.)
Trebonius: Publius? You say that you would never want my job, as you lack the wisdom to make decisions such as this. Very well. Then I have another job for you that will be of immense help. I want you to live amongst the people. Let it not be known that you are the son of the governor. I want you to go to school with people your age. Get a job when summer comes. Make friends. Go to their parties. You will be my eyes and ears amongst the common people as to how whatever decision I make is working. Send me a report through the postal system once a week. Do not come here unless I send for you. You will leave secretly tonight, with enough money to last until the summer.
Publius: I will do my best, father.
Trebonius: I know you will. Come, let us enjoy our last family meal together for a long time.
(Everyone exits to stage right. Lights fade.)
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