MORDECAI 8'1m1f RT: Esther and Mordecai save the Hebrews

(RT == Readers' Theater: requires little or no memorization,
little or no rehearsal.)

(Esther and Mordecai, wearing tunics, headdresses and sandals,
are seated at opposite ends of the stage, writing as they read
their letters)

ESTHER -- Dear Cousin Mordecai, come quickly! I need help. The
palace guards have come to my village to round up all the single
girls old enough to marry, which includes me. Shall I hide?
Shall I run? What shall I do? Signed cousin Esther.

MORDECAI -- Dear Cousin Esther, don't be alarmed. You must
cooperate with the palace guards. They mean you no harm. King
Xerxes has decreed that Queen Vashti be banished from her throne
and be replaced with a new queen to be chosen from among his
people. Signed, your devoted cousin Mordecai.

ESTHER -- Dear Cousin Mordecai, I'm still a little uncertain. I
don't think I would be eligible to marry the king, even if he
chose me from among the other girls. I am a Hebrew. I am a
citizen of Israel, not Medo-Persia.

MORDECAI -- Dear Cousin Esther, King Xerxes is more interested
in your beauty than your nationality. If I were you, I wouldn't
mention where you come from or who you were descended from.
Here's why. I think God may have chosen you to be the guardian
of our people. As queen over all of the nations conquered by
Medo-Persia, you could have influence with the king in matters
pertaining to the future of Israel and our people. Signed, your
devoted cousin, Mordecai.

ESTHER -- Dear Cousin Mordecai, I did as you asked. I cooperated
with the palace guards and I have moved into the palace with the
other queen candidates. But these people are not Hebrews. And we
have nothing in common. I miss my people. Signed, your lonely
cousin Esther.

MORDECAI -- Dear Cousin Esther, I am writing this letter as I
stand at the palace gate looking up at your window in the
palace. I have stationed myself at the palace gate in order to
be close to you. However, due to palace regulations, noone in
the king's harem is allowed contact with anyone outside the
palace. So, from now on, the only way I can communicate with you
is through letters. However, be assured that I remain here at
the palace gate to be of service to you whenever you need me.
Signed, Your faithful cousin Mordecai.

ESTHER -- Dear Cousin Mordecai, after months of beauty
treatments and charm schools, I was finally introduced to King
Xerxes last night. And guess what! He chose ME to be his Queen!
Imagine me, a Hebrew peasant, now has complete access to all the
king's gold and all the king's privileges! I am so glad you
talked me into cooperating with the authorities! Signed, your
grateful cousin Esther.

MORDECAI -- Cousin Esther, this message is very urgent. As you
know, I have stationed myself at the palace gate every day in
order to be close to you. As a result, I happened to overhear a
plot between two of the palace guards to kill the king and take
over the kingdom. You must warn those close to the king now, so
that he can squash the rebellion before the rebel forces gain
strength. But, whatever you do, please don't mention my name. I
don't want people to find out that you are related to a Jew.
Sincerely, Cousin Mordecai.

ESTHER -- Dear Cousin Mordecai, more good news! The rebellion
has been squashed. The rebels are in jail. I kept your name out
of it. But it makes me sad that I can't give you the credit for
saving the king's life. Anyway, thank you for being so faithful
and standing watch at the palace gate. Signed, Your grateful
cousin Esther.

MORDECAI -- Dear Cousin Esther, another threat looms on the
horizon. But this one is less obvious. An administrator named
Haman is going to be elevated to the office of Prime Minister
soon. This man is ruthless. You be sure to watch your step when
he's around. He'll do anything to acquire more power. He has
recently elevated himself without authority of the King. He has
people bowing down to him as if he is the king himself. But,
because I am devoted to the God of Israel, I could not bow down
to Haman. Naturally, he was furious and vowed to have my head.
I'm not worried about myself, but I am worried that Haman might
also take revenge on my family, and YOU in particular. Be very
careful around Haman. Signed, Your ever watchful cousin

ESTHER -- Dear Cousin Mordecai, I'm not sure if what I did will
help you or hurt you. But I didn't want to stand by and let
Haman kill you. So, I revealed your name to the king as the
person who uncovered the recent rebellion. In doing that, I'm
hoping that Haman will be less inclined to kill you if you're
now a national hero. I apologize in advance if this impulse of
mine makes things worse for you. Signed, your devoted cousin

MORDECAI -- Dear Cousin Esther, I have some good news and some
bad news. The good news is that when you revealed my name as the
one who uncovered the rebellion against the king, you insulated
me against Haman's revenge, at least temporarily. The king was
so grateful that I saved his life, he gave me a hero's welcome,
a parade down main street through the city in front of a
cheering crowd. I don't think it's exaggerating to say that I am
now more famous than Haman himself. The bad news is that it was
Haman himself who the king assigned to lead the parade in my
honor. Haman was furious! He vowed that if he couldn't kill me,
he would wipe out all of my kind. Cousin Esther, do you know
what that means?! That means that Haman has vowed to murder all
the Hebrews here in Medo-Persia. All of them! Using his
authority as Prime Minister, Haman has already put the plans in
motion to begin the assault on our people. He has planned to
mobilize the entire Medo-Persian army to murder all the Hebrews
in a single day. I'm absolutely devastated. I don't know what to
do. Signed, Cousin Mordecai.

ESTHER -- Dear Cousin Mordecai, what have I done! All I wanted
to do was to keep you from Haman's wrath, but all I've succeeded
in doing is endangering our people. I found out that Haman
deceived the king into thinking that the Hebrews were a threat
to the security of the Medo-Persian empire. Haman got the King
to sign the death warrant for our people. In addition, Haman has
constructed a gallows that he intends to use to have YOU hanged.
Oh, cousin Mordecai, all this is all my fault. Isn't there a way
we can stop this massacre? Signed, Esther.

MORDECAI -- Cousin Esther, we still have a chance. Do you
remember when the palace guards were rounding up all the girls
of marrying age to choose a new queen? At that time I speculated
that God himself might be engineering this whole thing so that
YOU might be of influence in safeguarding our people. It is
clear to me now that this is exactly what God had in mind for
you. And NOW is the time for you to act. You must go into the
throne room while King Xerxes is on the throne. And you must
assure him that our people are no threat to the security of the
empire. You must tell him that this whole scheme was just an
overreaction of an insult to Haman. And, if the King still won't
stop the murders, you must reveal to him that YOU yourself are a
Hebrew. Esther, my beloved cousin, I know that I told you
earlier to keep your nationality a secret. But now I'm telling
you that you must make it public. It's the only way to save our
people. If the King loves you as he said he does, he will stop
the murders. I ask you to do this knowing that if the King says
no, you could lose your life as well. Signed, Your reluctant
cousin Mordecai.

ESTHER -- Dear Cousin Mordecai, I think you're right. God DID
plant me here in the palace to protect our people. I went to the
throne room and confronted the king, just as you requested. And,
wonder of wonders, the king not only rescinded the order to wipe
out the Hebrews, he also gave the order to have Haman hanged
from his own gallows. He has decreed that YOU will be his new
prime minister. 

BOTH -- Praise be to the God of Israel.

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