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Nonviolence Playlets - compiled by Walter Wink - page 16 / 29





16 / 29

Creditor: “Not a single penny.”

Judge: “How long has this been going on?”

Creditor: “Two years already.”

Judge, to Debtor: “How come you haven’t paid anything back?”

Debtor: “Well, Judge, you know how it is.  The drought, crops failing,

wife sick, we haven’t even had enough to feed ourselves, much less to

pay it back.”

Judge, to Creditor: “I get these excuses all the time.  Seems like they

could be a little more original than that.”  To Debtor: “Can’t you pay

her anything?”

Debtor, turning pockets inside out: “I don’t have a penny.”

Judge, to Creditor: “I’m afraid you’ve got a bad loan.  There’s nothing

I can do but make him give you his cloak.  But you know what Deuteronomy

24:10-13 says: you can go to his house every morning and make him give

you his cloak, but you have to return it to him at nightfall so he has

something to sleep in against the cold.”  Then, turning to the Debtor,

the Judge says: “OK, give her your cloak.”

Debtor: “But Judge, it’s cold out there.  I’ll freeze.”

Judge: “You should have thought of that before you took out the loan.

Come on, come on, I’ve got lots of cases this morning.”

Debtor: Reluctantly, he peels off his cloak and hands it to the

Creditor.  While the Judge and the Creditor comment on how unlikely it

is that he will ever pay it back, the Debtor goes through a

transformation.  Until now he has been servile, hangdog, with low

self-esteem, having internalized the System that seizes the cloak right

off the poor man’s back.  Now, suddenly, the worm turns.  “Well, wait a

minute, if you’re going to take my cloak, you might as well take my

shoe” (gives one shoe, then the other, very methodically).  “Yeah, and

my socks” (one after the other).   (The Debtor should have as many

layers of clothing on as possible so as to draw it out.  So he continues

to peel off  his clothes till he has on nothing but his pants.

Meanwhile, the Creditor is becoming increasingly embarrassed, even

mortified, while the Judge is telling the Debtor to stop, that

Deuteronomy 24:10-13 says nothing about all these other pieces of

clothing.  The Debtor ignores both of them.  Finally, he takes off his

belt.  Then he puts his hands on his pants, pauses, and with a great

flourish, unbuttons his pants and drops them.  At that point the leader

yells “Cut,”and the two actors leave the stage to thunderous applause,

only a little miffed at his not going the “full monty.”

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