Small-Cast One-Act Guide Online

"The Reckoning"

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Hanrott, Robert C. (British playwright, writer, lyricist, composer, 1939- ), and Martha H. Horsley (American playwright, composer, writer, 1942- ), "The Reckoning,"

a 50-minute three-scene musical fantasy-comedy in English, set in Heaven, Hell, and the White House, 2000 A. D.,

2m1f (+ 2 extras),

© 1997, script/rights available from Robert C. Hanrott and Martha H. Horsley, 1424 33rd Street NW, Washington, District of Columbia 20007, U.S.A., telephone (home) 202-342-9189, (work) 202-342-9189, fax 202 342 0476, e-mail Cited by Robert C. Hanrott via e-mail, August 2, 1997; Hanrott says,

Dramatis Personae "Lucifer (m), ageless, baritone, crafty and scheming, an impatient snob, seriously rattled by the demonstrations against him in Hell, who needs to show that he is actively doing something about the "living" conditions; Archangel Gabrielle (f), ageless, mezzo, preoccupied with her middle-age crisis, but not so dreamy as she seems; The U. S President (m), about 50, tenor, frustrated in his job, unlikely to be reelected, wants a job with no term limits; The Attendant (m), about 50, tenor, doubles with the President, more vicious than is Lucifer; First Angel (nonspeaking m or f, possibly child) Second Angel (nonspeaking m or f, possibly child)

Synopsis "Lucifer is struggling to retain his control over Hell, where there is a rapidly growing number of dead souls and serious overcrowding. The Archangel Gabrielle also faces overcrowding in Heaven, where she is accused of admitting too many new souls. Lucifer persuades Gabrielle to join him in confronting the U. S. President with an ultimatum: either the President will sponsor a 'global family plan' to reduce the Earth's population growth; or Lucifer and Gabrielle will impose an immigration policy, with Heaven accepting only the meek and the poor, and Hell only the rich and the greedy. The middle classes would languish in limbo. The U. S. President stalls, an argument ensues. Under pressure to appease his critics, Lucifer loses patience and arranges to take over the White House to implement his fallback plan: war, famine and disease. The result would be an influx of one billion people, but fewer souls in the centuries to come. Lucifer gets Gabrielle out of the way (or so he thinks) and suborns the U. S. President. Gabrielle sees through his ruse and has him arrested as he is about to occupy the Oval Office. The U. S. President is forced to promise a negotiated 'global family plan.' But Lucifer has the last word!

Comments "The style is comic, played for entertainment. Music: Gabrielle sings in the style of a Handel opera. Lucifer sings in bluesy style, the U. S. President in the style of 1950s Broadway, and the Attendant in the style of Gilbert & Sullivan. A full piano score is available. A rhythm section is recommended, but not essential. Staging: for scenes 1 & 2, simple flats depicting flames (Hell) on one side and blue sky and clouds (Heaven) on the other, plus two thrones for Lucifer and Gabrielle; scene 3, desk and U. S. flag to denote the Oval Office. Costumes: Suggest horns and jump-suit for Lucifer and the Attendant, and white dress with wings for Gabrielle. Suit and tie for the President. Props: Devils' forks, dummy sub-machine guns, suitcase, large cannister marked 'Burn Lotion.' Although intended to be comic and lighthearted, 'The Reckoning' carries a message: if we do not restrain the growth in world population, the 'Devil' will do it for us. Production Status: excerpts performed November, 1996, as part of the regular IN Series at Mount Vernon College, Washington, D. C. No full production as of August, 1997. Market: We believe this would play particularly well with college or high school audiences."

Themes "comedy, fantasy, musical, overpopulation, political, popular opera, population."

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Page updated August 22, 1997, by the site Webmaster.

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Small-Cast One-Act Guide Online
complements the print volume

1/2/3/4 for the Show: A Guide to Small-Cast One-Act Plays

by Lewis W. Heniford

(Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1995), ISBN 0-8108-2985-1, $39.50, plus s/h
Scarecrow Press, 4720 Boston Way, Lanham, MD 20706
telephone 800-462-6420 or 301-459-3366, fax 800-338-4550

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