Science and Religion: A Play in One Act

 (no lights, actors are not visible)

Unknown voice (Middle East Religion): That's a load of crap; it is obviously a large ogre.

Second unknown voice (North American Religion): An ogre? Are you crazy?! There's no ogre! It's a lion or a tiger or something!! You're completely insane!

Third unknown voice (Eastern Religion): Quiet! You'll upset the monkeys!

First voice: Oh, for heaven's sake! Not the monkeys...

Second voice: Here we go again with the monkeys...

Third voice: Oh, shut up! I've been here three times as long as either of you! I've seen nothing that says the monkeys ever left.

First Voice: Knock it off, Eastern. The ogre's telling me to shut you up.

Eastern: Well, my monkey army is swarming around you and your stupid ogre.

Second Voice: Oh calm down you two, you're both completely insane. Ever since you showed up here, Middle, you've been barking about an ogre. If there were an ogre, the lion would've eaten it by now.

Middle: A lion eat an ogre? Western, you've gone off the deep end. If a lion had entered the room, the ogre would've crushed it...

Western: The lion does not enter a room! It was always here...

Eastern: Always here? How come my monkeys never spotted it... I'm sure that they...

Middle: I'm going to kill you if you even mention the monkeys...

Western: There you go with the killing again! You're unbelievable...

(load arguing breaks out)

New Voice: (timid) Uh, hello? Hello?

Western: Who the hell is that?

New Voice: Oh, hi. I'm Science.

Western: Oh. I'm Western Religion, and these are my brothers, Eastern Religion and Middle-Eastern Relig-

Eastern: (interrupting) Science? I've heard of you. You can stay, but you must keep your mouth shut or else the monkeys-

Middle: Oh, shut up about the monkeys!

Science: Monkeys? What, monkeys? What are you talking about?

Western: Oh, Eastern thinks this room is filled with crazy knife-wielding monkeys and that we need to follow his rules or they'll kill all of us.

Science: Well, it seems pretty unlikely that there would be monkeys in here.

Middle: Tell me about it! We've been telling him there aren't monkeys in here for the longest time!

Western: Right. It's a lion.

Eastern: It's not a lion! For crying out loud, the monkeys wouldn't let a lion in here!

Science: Wait. A lion? How can you see that there's a lion in here. It's completely dark.

Western: There's been a lion in this room since I got here.

Science: How can you tell? Can you feel it?

Western: No.

Science: Can you smell it?

Western: No.

Science: Well, I don't understand how...

Western: (annoyed) It talks to me... -and tells me what to tell the others. You know; the rules.

Middle: See!? He's insane! Lions can't talk-

Science: Well, that seems to be true; lions don't seem to be able to-

Middle: -which is why we must obey the ogre!

Eastern: Oh, be quiet about the ogre; you're the only one that claims to hear him. You're just as bad as Western.

Science: Well, an ogre? That almost seems less likely than the lion-

Western: See! I told you-

Science: (struggling) At least a lion is is, well-

Middle: The ogre is much more powerful than the lion!

Science: That hardly seems to be the point-

Eastern: The monkeys are much more likely than the lion. They've been here since before-

Western: You're over looking the fact that the lion speaks to me-

Science: Hold on. Everyone just slow down. I think I can help settle this.

Middle: (with trepidation) -wh-what?

Science: Sure. I think I can settle this once and for all. We'll just check the walls for a light switch.

Western: Er-

(the room goes silent for a moment)

Science: Wait. Aren't you guys excited to finally find out who's right?

Middle: Well. I know who's right. But, er-

Science: -what?

Middle: Um... well. (lengthy pause, and then with renrewed vigor) The ogre just told me he doesn't want you to look for the switch-

Western: Oh, yes. The lion feels the same way-

Eastern: And the monkeys! They agree, too. Yes, yes, we are not supposed to look for a light switch.

Science: Er, I didn't hear anyone say anything.

Western: Of course you didn't. Don't be so naive. The lion only talks too me-

Science: Well, unless your lion can tell me why we shouldn't-

Western: (indignant) Who are you to question the lion?

Science: -excuse me? Middle, don't you want to see the ogre-

Middle: Of course not! The ogre will be seen if he wants to be seen. I assure you that the ogre does not need the help of Science to be seen.

Science: It's nothing personal, Middle, but I'm not really sure that there is an ogre in this-

Middle: (booming) How dare you question the word of the ogre! You are walking on thin ice. Perhaps the ogre will kill you-

Science: I'm not sure he can kill me-

Middle: -then I will kill you!

(long silence)

Science: You would kill me for trying to prove that the ogre, the same ogre that you know exists, exists?

Eastern: Well, the monkeys said they will kill you too if you look for a light switch.

Science: I'm not sure I think there are monkeys, or a lion, or an ogre in this room with us.

Western: Even if there isn't, wouldn't it be safer to just assume there is a lion. That way you'll be safe, even if there isn't a lion.

Science: Well, Western, do you assume that there is an ogre just to stay safe. I mean-

Western: Surely not! There is no ogre in this room, only the four of us and a lion.

Middle: The ogre demands a sacrifice-

Western: So does the lion!

Science: Wait, wait. I feel a light switch... just a moment-

Western, Eastern, and Middle: Nooo-

(the lights turn on to show a room with four men, one of whom has his hand on a light switch)

Science: So where is the lion? The ogre? All of the monkeys?

(there is a very long pause)

Western: The lion is invisible of course!

Middle and Easter: (affirmations of the same thing) Yes, of course. It only makes sense. Absolutely.

(long silent pause)

Western: Fuck you, Science.