Sunday, June 7, 2009
PA Arts Sunday - June 7, 2009 - A Play for Eddie Burke
The Spirit of Elizabeth Peratrovich Confronts Rev. Jerry Prevo
A Short Play in one scene
--- by Philip Munger
Dr. Jerry Prevo, televangelist-political operative
the Spirit of Elizabeth Peratrovich, civil rights pioneer
(the scene opens with Rev. Prevo, in front of a mirror in the bathroom suite, next to his office suite, at the Anchorage Baptist Temple. He is in white shirt, braces, slacks and fine Italian shoes. His suit jacket is neatly, freshly pressed on a hanger nearby. He is changing from a sedately serious grayish-blue tie, to a much more forceful red one. He is preparing to go to the Municipality of Anchorage's final hearing on their proposed Civil rights Ordinance.)
Prevo: (thinking - musing - aloud) The Lord has blessed us with a bounty of new contributions in Our work. He must be thinking of Us. Every time I battle the homosexuals and their agenda, the Lord blesses Us with these bounties. I wonder if we can delay the vote for another week. That might be worth another $150,000 for Our work.
This tie - it projects the power of the Lord and his work in the Alaska Republican Party!
(a chilly breeze wafts into the room)
Did somebody open a window out there? Close the window - turn up the heat!
(the breeze intensifies, and a mist begins forming in a corner of the room)
Who is that? Who are you? What are you!!?
(the breeze dies down, and the mist settles around a vague form, dressed in traditional Tlingit ceremonial regalia)
What ARE you!!?
Is this some kind of joke?
Spirit: I have come to tell you that your God is too small.
Prevo: What! (looks around, then back at the clarifying mist) My God is great! My God is....
Spirit: (raising her hand, as the gesture seems to stifle and choke Prevo's voice) Your God is only a small part of what God truly is. Your vanity and pride obscure your vision.
Prevo: I am a humble servant of the Lord, Jes...
Spirit: (again raising her hand, stifling Prevo's voice in mid-word) Even now, your pride stunts your spiritual growth. Did you not tell a pure young woman, in your office next door, last week, that your power causes trouble for people, even when they are sincere, who go up against you?
Prevo: They went against the lord's word!
Spirit: But you took credit for their downfall, yourself, did you not? With glee.
Prevo: But they were not serving the Lord. They were evil.
Spirit: Then why did you call them "very nice Assembly members, then?"
Prevo: I was trying to be civil.
Spirit: You hurt people, Dr. Prevo.
Prevo: I can't believe this is happening, Jesus.
Spirit: You haven't seen anything yet.
Prevo: Uh, what do you mean?
Spirit: Enough of your pride, deceit and sophistry! Hear me now. I speak for many, in many voices:
We would not have expected, that we would have to remind a gentlemen such as you, with five thousand years of recorded civilization behind you of our Bill or Rights.
Spirit: We sought a home in a nice neighborhood where our children could play happily with our neighbors' children, we found such a house and had arranged to lease it. When the owners learned that we were gay, they said 'no.'
Prevo: Praise the Lord.
Spirit: Would we be compelled to live in the slums?
Prevo: You could move to San Francisco, where you wouldn't be so unhappy.
Spirit: There are three kinds of persons who practice discrimination. First, the politician who wants to maintain an inferior minority group so that he can always promise them something.
Prevo: Like Tony Knowles?
Spirit: Second, the Mr. and Mrs. Jones who aren't quite sure of their social position and who are nice to you on one occasion and can't see you on others, depending on who they are with.
Prevo: Oh, like Lisa Murkowski!
Spirit: Third, the great superman who believes in the superiority of the white race.
Prevo: Uh, that could be almost any of my close buddies......but, but what, what makes you think another government law will free anyone?
Spirit: Do your laws against larceny and even murder prevent those crimes? No law will eliminate crimes but at least you can assert to the world that you recognize the evil of the present situation and speak your intent to help overcome discrimination. Jesus died asserting his belief in that, did he not?
Prevo: Dear Lord, please let this be a figment of my imagination!
Spirit: Again, I speak for many. (The spirit of Elizabeth Peratrovich gtares at Prevo, who blanches, turns away).
Prevo: What, what - WHAT! are you doing to me?
Spirit: Know this, Dr. Prevo! Should you not change your ways and seek Jesus rather than your car detailer or cable guy or chef on what to do next, be assured you will turn into something - someone - you secretly loathe, yet use to drum up more cash by creating false fears.
Prevo: You can't mean that, can you?
Spirit: I do.
Prevo: Ha! Prove it.
Spirit: You asked for it.
(the Spirit pulls out her magic wand. She aims it in the direction of Dr. Prevo, and - after careful thought - waves it lightly. Sparkly stuff moves from the wand to Prevo. He becomes encased in sparkles adn mist, that begin to swirl and mingle around his body)
(As the mist and sparkles clear, what emerges is a clone of Eddie Burke)
Prevo: What!!! Oh no, no, no, no......................
Spirit: I'll line you up with a radio slot.
Prevo: Please can I get a re-do?
Spirit: I am merciful sometimes, but your sins are great. So is my sense of cosmic humor. You will be a clone of Eddie Burke for the next 100,000 years.
Prevo: Aagghhhh! Anything but that!
image - Elizabeth Peratrovich, Alaska civil rights icon