CAST: CALEB (in his 50’s), JACOB (40’s), ABNER (30’s), and LEVI (20’s).
(Lights up. A country general store. JACOB sits at a pickle barrel down-stage right, CALEB stands at the store counter downstage left, while LEVI and ABNER are playing checkers up centerstage)
CALEB: Brother, does thee have all thou needs for thy harvest?
LEVI: Two new sickles, horse collar, sorghum, molasses, and hardtack – I reckon that’s enough for now.
ABNER: Jacob, thou art truly a barn-raising wonder!
JACOB: Shucks, Abner, ‘tweren’t nothing special for a good God-fearing Christian.
CALEB (pauses a moment, then says): Brothers, may I ask thee a difficult question?
LEVI: Speak freely, Brother Caleb, we are all friends here.
CALEB: Well, I’m troubled – I’m afraid one of us has strayed from our baptismal vows …
ABNER: Who among us has done this? Speak, so that we may shun him and begin the healing process …
CALEB: … Abner, it’s you. (the other three gasp)
JACOB: Commence the shunning!
(CALEB, LEVI and JACOB turn away from ABNER)
ABNER: See here, Caleb! How have I strayed from the path?
CALEB: I heard you listening to a radio.
ABNER: Untrue! Just what do you think you heard?
CALEB: A strong male tenor. A beautiful singing voice. Clearly evil – it must have been a radio program.
LEVI: Tenor? Singing? Yea verily Brother Caleb, you don’t understand …
JACOB: Young Levi, what do you know of this?
LEVI: Brother Abner came up with the most wonderful idea for the fall social. Abner, tell them!
ABNER: We wanted to surprise you, but … you know the English have these plays … they call them “musicals” …
JACOB: If it’s English, it can only be trouble.
LEVI: No, no, not at all! Listen …
(LEVI clears his throat and sings):
“We know we belong to the land / And the land we belong to is grand!”
(ABNER joins in)
LEVI and ABNER: “And when we saaay / Yeeow! Ayipioeeaaay! /
We’re only sayin’ / You’re doin’ fine, Oklahoma! / Oklahoma OK!”
JACOB: Blasphemy! Shun them!
(JACOB turns away, but CALEB doesn’t)
To be continued …