Saturday, October 19, 2013



·         - The Judge
·         - The Woman
·         - The Clerk of the Court
·         - Two guards (non-speaking)

Table, chair, carafe, glass, black robe, wig, gavel, whip.


Scene: A courtroom. Table up on chancel steps. A chair behind it facing the congregation. On the table, a flask of water, a glass and a gavel.

Clerk:               All be upstanding for the Judge… etc.

Clerk runs up and down aisle as necessary, continuing to instruct everyone to stand and making sure everyone does so.

Enter Judge at rear of church. He makes his way to the front with a swagger. Sits down on the chair and raps the gavel.

Judge:              Be seated. The Court is now in session.

Waits for everyone to sit, pours a glass of water, takes a swig direct from the carafe, burps loudly, then jadedly sweeps his eyes over the congregation.

Judge:             (Condescendingly) Ah, the usual scruffy rabble, I see. What’s it going to be today? (Imitates whiny voice of a supplicant) “Please, your Honour, me neighbour won’t cut his hedge.” And “Please, your Honour, the…”

Judge is interrupted by a woman shouting from the back row:

Woman:           Please, your Honour, me Landlord’s stolen me goat. I’m just a poor…

Judge cuts her off with a rap of his gavel.

Judge:             Silence in court! So, what have we got on the agenda today?

Woman:          I tell you ‘e’s taken me goat. I’m just a poor widow…

Judge:            (Raps gavel) Silence in court! I won’t warn you again, Madam. (Clearly irritated by now) Can we have the first case, please! Some time before Christmas would be good if you can manage it!

Guards drag someone out of the congregation and frog-march them up to the front… this should be improvised based on those present. The following exchange is just an example.

Clerk:            Your Honour, this [man] was seen during the hours of daylight [wearing an offensive waistcoat calculated to induce eye-strain and nausea on the part of innocent bystanders. It is further alleged that he did....
                       .....occasioning emotional trauma to some of those present].

Judge:          Have you anything to say before sentence is passed? (Leaving no time for an answer) No, I guessed not. (To guards) Take him away and flog him.]

Guards hustle the accused away. Judge picks up the glass and takes a swig, then looks at the contents with disgust.

Judge:           Isn’t there anything stronger in the cupboard?...No?...Hmm, pity! What next?

Woman:        (Still shouting from the back) I was just a week behind with me rent, an’ ‘e took me goat. And now I’ve paid up…

Judge:           (Bangs gavel) Guards, remove that woman from the Court.

Guards go and firmly escort the woman out to the porch. All the time she is protesting:

Woman:        It’s not fair… I demand justice… He took me goat. I’ve paid him now, but he  won’t give it back. And I’m just a poor widow…

The door is shut firmly, and she is cut off. The judge mops his brow with a handkerchief, takes another swig of water and looks scornfully at the contents.

Judge:          Clerk to the Court, are you sure there isn’t anything a little stronger? (Pause) No?... Guards! Take him away and flog him!

The guards frog-march the Clerk away.

Woman:          (Bursting in at the back and shouting) I saw that! What kind of judge are you? You’re supposed to care about justice. I….

Judge:             (Bangs gavel). Silence, woman! Approach the bench. (She does so, and stands with her head bowed at the foot of the steps with her back to the congregation) Justice? Don’t talk to me about justice. My job is to keep the peace, not to worry about what people like you think is fair or unfair. For two pins I’d have you taken out and flogged as well. But I’m sure you’d soon be back shouting the house down. And you’re giving me a headache already. Guards!... Guards!...

After a moment, one of the guards comes running, still carrying a whip.

Judge:              Guard! Go with this woman and find her landlord. Get her goat back. And give him a flogging for the sake of the headache she’s given me. (Bangs gavel. Picks up the carafe and waves it at the congregation) The Court is in recess while I go and find something a little stronger.


To be followed with a reading of the Bible passage and an explanatory talk.

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