By Eric Stapleton
This short play takes a humorous look at Joseph of the Old Testament as he awaits the fulfillment of God's promise to him. In the meantime, he relates his story thus far to a skeptical fellow inmate of Pharoah's prison. This skeptical inmate even goes so far as to offer the card of his god to Joseph, which inspires Joseph to climax into a passionate speech on God's faithfulness and how he is confident that God will deliver him from this jail Any Day Now. The irony, of course, being that Joseph was to remain in that prison for two more years.
JOSEPH: Once upon a time there was this guy named Joseph. His dad gave him a beautiful, one of a kind, first edition, coat of many colors. Then, God told him in a dream that he was going to rule over his father, brothers and mothers.
JOSEPH: It's a long story. Anyway, God talked to Joseph in a dream and told him all this. Now, that is not the kind of information that a guy can keep to himself, so Joseph let his brothers know what God told him so they wouldn't stop being so jealous and get with the program.
INMATE: Did they get with the program?
JOSEPH: (stands) No, they threw me into a well! Can you believe that? They threw their own flesh and blood into a well! They were jealous! It wasn't my fault that God chose me to be over them! I was just passing on the information, you know, so they would be better prepared. They threw me into an ever flooding well.
INMATE: (sarcastic and dry) Boy! Who would've thought they'd react like that? Look kid, you're lucky they didn't sell you into slavery to a bunch of Ishmaelites.
JOSEPH: That was later.
INMATE: (throws his hands up in the air, "of course")
JOSEPH: OK, so I might have been a little arrogant.
INMATE: A little?
JOSEPH: OK, so maybe a lot. But then you wouldn't believe what happened next.
INMATE: Probably not, but let me guess, you're going to tell me, anyway.
JOSEPH: (unfazed by this last comment) Here I was, thinking that God was going to deliver me from the well.
INMATE: You're here aren't you? You must not be in the well anymore.
JOSEPH: He did, but not the way that I thought that he would. My brothers pulled me out of the well only to sell me into slavery to a bunch of hairy Ishmaelites. Then I thought God had let me down again. But then when I got to Egypt, I was sold to Potiphar and it was all good. I had the run of Potiphar's house. I wasn't ruler over my brothers or anything like that, but I didn't care. Everything was going smooth, but then this dude's wife tries to offer me household privileges.
INMATE: Household privileges?
JOSEPH: You know? Household privileges. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink, know what I mean, know what I mean?
INMATE: Oh. (gets it) OH! His wife? That's pretty tricky business. Did you? You know…
JOSEPH: Land of the dead, no! I would not sleep with another man's wife and so disgrace the name of my God. I shunned her advances, and being scorned she said that I approached her! So I was thrown into prison just like that! I wasn't even guilty.
INMATE: Oh. Well, it doesn't sound like your god is on the ball. You are still in jail.
JOSEPH: My God is still with me! I'm treated well here. Did you see what God has allowed me to do while I've been here? The Pharoah's baker and wine steward came to me and God gave me the interpretations for their dreams. Was not the baker hung? Was not the wine steward restored to his position? I might be still waiting for God's promise to be fulfilled, but in the meantime, He will still allow me to do good where I am at.
INMATE: OK, that was a pretty nifty trick with interpreting those guys' dreams, but soothsayers come at a shekel a dozen around here, and besides, so what. What's important is that you be able to interpret your own dreams. Here's the name of my god (hands JOSEPH a business card). I usually bow down before his statue at sunset, burn a little incense and…
JOSEPH: No thanks! I'm not talking about a god! I'm talking about the God! The one who created heaven and earth, the one who knows the end from the beginning. That God.
INMATE: If your God is so great, why couldn't he just do it when he gave you this "revelation"? Yeah, like you're going to rule over your family? Hello… they disowned you and sold you into slavery. Your father has forgotten all about you by now. You might as well claim that you're going to rule over all Egypt. If your god is so great, then why all this nonsense?
JOSEPH: I don't know. God's schedule is not like ours. Who can know his ways? I will wait for the Lord. (anthem starts underlying JOSEPH's speech and two stagehands come out with crate or large box that is labeled "soapbox") I will wait in earnest desire; I will wait with patience; I will wait with full confidence; I will wait. Though the storm winds of adversity blow I will wait on the Lord my God continually even if it takes a few days.
That wine steward owes me a favor and I am confident that any day now, I will be set free from this prison…any day now…I just have to wait…
© Copyright 2001 Eric Stapleton. All rights reserved.
The script may not be reproduced, translated or copied in any medium, including books, CDs and on the Internet, without written permission of the author.
This play may be performed free of charge, on the condition that copies are not sold for profit in any medium, nor any entrance fee charged. In exchange for free performance, the author would appreciate being notified of when and for what purpose the play is performed. He may be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org