News Cramps


Synopsis: A person is upset from reading bad news in the newspaper, and his friend takes him to various experts to find comfort.
Cast: The person is labeled #1, and his friend is labeled #2. #3 is a professor, #4 is a medical researcher,#5 is a psychiatrist, #6 is an environmentalist, #7 is a businessman, #8 tells the person about the gospel. There is also a non-speaking part at the end labeled as #9. Christmas Carolers sing off-stage at the beginning.

Curtain opens half-way. House Lights are up. Center Spotlight.
#1 sitting alone center stage. He is looking at a newspaper when the curtain opens half way. He is visibly shaken each time he turns the page, sometimes even putting the paper away but always returning until he goes through the entire paper and still finds no “answer”. Throughout the entire action, #1 suffers from some of the symptoms he will later describe in the dialogue. Finally, as he puts the newspaper away (throws), he falls into a visible state of utter despair and hangs his head and cries uncontrollably.
Curtain opens all the way. Side spot light on singers.
Singers sing “Mary and Joseph’s Song”. (you can substitute another song that mentions the baby Jesus.) During the entire song, #1 remains oblivious to the performers.
Curtain closes half-way. House Lights go down.
#2 walks past #1 and stops when he thinks he might recognize his friend.
#2; Is that you, #1? I almost didn’t recognize you! What’s wrong? What happened to you?
#1: I don’t know! Everything was going ok until about two weeks ago. I guess it all started that day when they were giving away free newspapers at the bus station. I was going to throw it away…

#2: I know. I never read them either.
#1; But a headline caught my attention. I couldn’t seem to put it down. Even after I started to feel sick from all the. bad news, I just had to keep reading. There had to be something good happening in the world, somewhere!
The next day I got a hold of another newspaper and looked for some good news, any good news. But everything was so depressing. And I just felt sicker and sicker, (he is getting more excited now and even agitated)
#2; (trying to calm him) Hey, don’t worry about it. Let the world go on by itself. It’s been here a lot longer than you have and it probably will be here a lot longer than you.
#1: (virtually shouting) That’s just the point! I might not be here that long. None of us might. If we all don’t starve to death because of the green-house effect or the population explosion, then we’ll probably all die from AIDS.
#2: It’s not that bad, .
#1: It’s worse than that! (picks up newspaper) Look at this! Every day I read about this famine in Somalia and I get terrible stomach pains! (doubles over in pain) When I read about the threat of nuclear weapons or meltdown in a nuclear power plant my hands start to shake. When I read about the Russians and the war refugees facing the cold winter without enough fuel, I get chills all over and start to shiver.
#2; Here, take my coat. It will make you feel better.
#1: A coat can’t cover up all these problems! Just think about how many families are breaking up! Children are being abused, they’re so insecure they’re turning to drugs to escape. My heart is aching.(c1utches his chest in agony) Did you see all these articles about hatred in the world between different races and religions. My head just throb’s when I think about it. (moans and holds his head)
#2: Come on, #1. You have to calm yourself down.
#1: How can you expect me to be calm. Don’t you know that most of the countries in the world are in an economic recession! I don’t have much money, but I did save this (local money). (clutches it in his hand and shakes his fist) But how can I know where to invest it! Where will it be safe? (looks at his hand) Oh no, now I can’t open my hand. I’m too young to have arthritis!
#2; Don’t worry about that.
#1: Worry? That’s the problem. No one seems to even care about all the horrible things that are happening. Haven’t you read about how the ozone layer and forests are being destroyed! Our water supply is being polluted and the air -every time I take a deep breath…(breaks into a violent cough)
#2: Listen, Friend, you need help. You aren’t doing too good on your own. Our modern society has lots of solutions to all of your problems. Come on, I’ll even take you to talk to some of my friends who are real experts. You’ll feel better after you talk to them.
The two walk together, #2 supporting #1 toward stage right.
Scene II
#2! #1, this is my friend, Professor #3. He is the head of the science department at the University.

Professor #3: So glad you could come, #1. #2 told me about you and I think I have some good news. Science will soon solve all the world’s problems. We are very close to developing a new weapon system that will be 1000 times more powerful than the nuclear bomb. It is our goal to make this weapon available to every country by the year 2000. By that time the world will be void of all other problems.
#1: (hands violently shake) 1000 times more powerful! Oh! Get me out of here!
#2: OK, but, listen. I have another friend. Dr. #4 is a medical researcher. He’ll have some answers for you.
Dr.4; (holds out his hand to shake with #1) Nice to meet you ,#1 (they can’t shake hands because 1 is shaking too hard). #2 tells me you are concerned about human suffering and disease. You’d be happy to know we are testing a new vaccine that will increase the average life span to 150 years.
#1: Wait! What about the population explosion!?
Dr 4: Oh you won’t need to worry about that. Only the very wealthy and powerful people will be able to afford this vaccine. We already have advanced orders from Michael Jackson, Saadam Hussien and Deng Hsiao Ping.(substitute current names)
#1: Saadam Hussien! Deng Hsiao Ping!(faints into #2’s arms)
#2: Hey! Wake up! (revives him) I think it’s time we went to go visit my friend Dr. #5. She’s a psychiatrist and understands problems like yours.
#5; Come on in, #1, lie down and make yourself comfortable. Your problems are most likely caused by guilt. But don’ t worry, soon everyone will be free of any of these kinds of feelings. Once all moral standards have been erased from the minds of society, a person will be free to do whatever he feels like without worrying about guilt.
#1; Everybody will be free to do anything they feel 1ike! Oh no! I’m getting out of here!
#2 That does sound a 1ittle extreme.
(#1 begins to cough violently)
#2 Hey, were in luck. Look who’s here. This is my friend who works with Green Peace.
#6: (Wearing khakhi shorts and shirt, binoculars around his neck, and a butterfly net in his hand.) That’s a bad cough your friend has, #2. I know the air is bad now, but our organization will soon have this planet cleaned up. We’ll shut down all necular power plants, ban the use of all fossil fuels and of course pass laws to protect all plant and animal life from harvesting machine and butcher knife.
#7 (A man in a business suit, earring a briefcase, who has been listening to the conversation.) Wait a minute, that might help his cough, but it won’t do a thing for his arthritis. (Gives #1 a face mask) Your plan would ruin the world’s economy. It would put us back in the stone age. Listen, what we need to do is get rid of all the old fashioned safety and air pollution laws so that we businessmen can double, maybe triple our profits.
#6 You can’t do that! (He picks up his butterfly net and swings it at #7 who uses his briefcase as a shield.
#1 Lets get out of here, QUICK! (They move across stage.) Look #2 I know you’ve been trying to help, but everytime I talk to one of your friends I feel 10 times worse! Please, just leave me alone!
#2 OK. Sorry. (Shakes his head and walks away)
#1 (Frantically searching through newspaper, looking worse than before)
#8 (Runs up to, #1) #1, I”ve been looking for you. #2 told me about what’s happened to you.
#1: Stay away: Don’t come any closer! I don’t need… I can’t survive anymore “help” from friends!
#8 Please, #1, I think I know what you’re going through. If we can just talk about it, if you’ll just let me I can help you understand why you’re so sick.

#1 I… I don’t think anyone can…
#8 Listen, if we can just discover the root cause of your prob1 ems. know it’s like when a doctor finds out an infection is caused by a bacteria, then he knows he can prescribe an antibiotic.
#1 I know, but…
#8: You’re concerned about the mess our planet is in, right?
#1: Yes, that’s putting it mildly.
#8: What do you think is causing all the problems?
#1 Causing? I… I don’t know.

#8: Well, if people on this earth really loved each other and cared for each other do you think we would have these problems. (Points to newspaper)
#1: (Looks through newspaper, thinks about it.) Hmm , I guess
n o t . . . d o you mean to say that the world is in such a mess
because of lovelessness? .
#8: Other words for lovelessness are hatred, greed, self centeredness . . . things that Christians call sin.
#1: So, are you saying that this sin is the cause of my problems?
#8: What do you think?
#1: But how do you get the world to stop sinning?
#8: we can’t deal with the world’s sin, only our own.
#1: what do you mean “our”. Surely you don’t mean that I have sin, that I have self c e n t e r e d n e s s , hate, greed.
#8: Well,, you’ve been moping around for the last two weeks. Who have you been thinking about … anyone but yourself?
#1: Qh… no.
#8: How do you feel toward people who are promoting civil wars, racism, environmental destruction?
#1: Oh! People like that make me so.… I see what you mean about hatred.
#8: And what’s that you’re clutching in your left hand?
#1 I didn’t realize I had it… Maybe you’re r i gh t . But even if I know what’s causing this sickness, that doesn’t mean there’s hope. Some diseases don’t have cures, you know.
#1: You’re kidding me! You’re just trying to cheer me up!

#8: No, it’s true! Didn’t you hear that song that group was singing a little while ago?
#1: I guess I wasn’t paying much attention. But what does that have to do with it? That song was just about some baby, or something, wasn’t it?
#8 That song was from this book, the Bible. This part of it was written 2000 years ago, and these words were written for
you, today. Here, it says that the baby was God’s Son, and that he came into the world to save His people from their sins!
#1 I see now that I do need to be saved from my sin. But this says He will save “His people”. How do I know if that applies to me?
#8 Just look here. (Galatians 3:26) It says that those who trust in Jesus become children of God, His people.
#1 Just trust in Jesus. You mean I don’t have to go through any rituals or bring any offerings?
#8 That’s right. Jesus, God’s son, loves you and has the power to forgive your sin, to give you a new life of peace and hope.
#1 Maybe what you’re saying is true. I’m beginning to feel better already. I feel…free! Thank you my friend, thank you Jesus.
#8 Welcome to the family of God, #1. We’ll get together tomorrow and study this some more. (Gives #1 a Bible)
#1 All Right!! See you tomorrow. (Turns away, then stops as he sees a student sitting on a chair reading a newspaper and sobbing. He goes over to #9, puts his hand on her shoulder and starts talking to her. Curtain closes.)

by Sue Found © 1995 Permission granted to use

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