Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Three Allegorical Pigs

Here's an unpublished skit I wrote a few years ago, the first posting of some of my older work. Comments and criticisms are welcome. Historical note: I used to head up a drama program at my church, years ago, and, along with my wife, wrote and directed some plays and sketches from time to time (not during the worship service, or anything nutty like that, though). This one was never performed. I actually haven't re-read it yet, so I renounce, in advance, anything silly that I used to believe back then. Looking forward to your thoughts...

The Three Allegorical Pigs
(In which three symbolic swine learn an important lesson)
Theme: Building on the Right Foundation

NARRATOR: male with good speaking voice
CRUISER: a good-timin' pig who is confident that the future is bright
WORKER: an industrious pig who is certain that nothing in life is free
TRUSTER: an honest pig who is convinced that his need exceeds his ability
FENRIS OAF: the Big Bad Wolf

SET: Just a chair for the NARRATOR, plus the three “house props” (See Production Note below).

PRODUCTION NOTE: Each PIG needs a “house” to live in, and one suggestion would be to create a small, hand-held “house prop” out of cardboard or even wood. Each prop would have a wooden handle at the bottom for the PIG to carry (yeah, it sounds cheap, but it fits with the wacky, symbolic mood of the skit, as well as the NARRATOR’S complaint about budget cuts). The main body of the prop would be in the shape of a house, and the straw and stick versions should have some loose straw and sticks that can be tossed in the air for effect when the WOLF blows them down. There should also be straw or stick glued or otherwise attached to the prop so that the audience will realize what it’s supposed to be. The brick prop can just have red bricks painted on, and, as it does not get blown down, does not need loose parts.

(AT RISE: The NARRATOR enters, stands stage right, and speaks to the audience.)

NARRATOR: Good evening, ladies and gentleman. Once upon a time, there were three little pigs. Their names were Cruiser...

(CRUISER takes the stage and waves to the audience.)

CRUISER: Yo, how y’all doin’?

NARRATOR: Worker...

(WORKER takes the stage and waves to the audience.)

WORKER: Hello.

NARRATOR: And Truster.

(TRUSTER takes the stage and waves to the audience.)

WORKER: Good day.

NARRATOR: And I'm the Narrator. Unlike the traditional story about three pigs, this tale is an allegory.

CRUISER: I thought allegories only lived in the swamps. (He laughs and snorts at his own joke, though no one else does.)

NARRATOR: (Trying to ignore the bad joke.) An allegory, I say, in which grand and glorious lessons are taught in a meaningful fashion. How do we do this, you ask? In an allegory, all the characters represent certain types of people, even certain attitudes and beliefs. That's why, instead of giving our pigs normal names like, say, Abner, Beaurialis, and Rothchild, we give them exceedingly weird names like Cruiser, Worker, and Truster. Those names are symbolic of people who think in certain ways. What, precisely, are they symbolic of? (A knowing smile, a little chuckle.) Well, you'll have to determine that yourselves. (Beat, as he turns serious. The following lines are spoken with increasing passion and volume.) We can't be giving you too much help, now can we? How will you ever learn if we just give you the answers? You've got to think for yourselves! I'm not standing up here for your entertainment. I mean, come on people, throw me a bone every now and then, huh? Day after day, work, work, work: for what? Heartache!

(TRUSTER loudly clears his throat.)

NARRATOR: Oh, uh, sorry.

(The PIGS shake their heads with grave disappointment.)

NARRATOR: Hey, fellas, I'm working on it; really, I am. (He clears his throat and prepares for a new start.) Once upon a time -

WORKER: (Interrupting.) You did that already.

NARRATOR: Oh, right. Uh...oh, yes: When the three little pigs came of age, their parents sent them out into the wide, wild world to seek their callings. On the day they left home, Cruiser, Worker and Truster had a talk.

(The NARRATOR sits down.)

CRUISER: Well, boys, this is it: the first day of the rest of our lives.

WORKER: What do you mean, Cruiser?

CRUISER: Come on, man, think about it! We are about to start living for the first time. Everything up to now has been dress rehearsal. No, worse: it's been like one bad audition after another. But now, baby, we're on the big screen at last!

(He throws his arms wide as if to embrace the world in all its potential fun.)

TRUSTER: I don't know. I was pretty happy at home. In fact, I'm a little sad to be leaving.

CRUISER: You've got to be kidding! I've been waiting for this day all my life!

TRUSTER: I've been dreading this day all my life. Who will lead us in this dark world?

WORKER: Lead us? Shoot, I don't need no leader. Life is tough, but "to the diligent go the spoils", or something like that. Work hard, just like Ma and Pa taught us, and you can have anything you want. "What the mind can conceive, we can achieve," after all. And all is what I'm after. Yes sir, Truster, I want it all: the girl, the gold watch, and the whole -

CRUISER: Yeah, yeah, yeah. We're all impressed with your subscription to Cliche Weekly.

WORKER: Oh, right, this from the guy who just offered the profound insight that (Impersonating CRUISER.) "Today is the first day of the rest of our lives." Whatever. All I’m saying is that I ain't askin' nobody for nothin', if I can't get it on my own. So if you don't like the way I'm livin', you just leave this long-haired country pig alone!

TRUSTER: That's all well and good, Worker. But there's a lot of questions that your "work hard, earn it all" philosophy doesn't answer.

WORKER: Yeah? Like what?

TRUSTER: Well...what about housing?

WORKER: What about housing?

TRUSTER: You know that the most important thing we can do, now that we're on our own, is to start building homes to live in.

WORKER: Yeah, so?

TRUSTER: What will we build with? We need a strong foundation, a solid structure, to protect our families -

CRUISER: (Interrupting.) We don't have families.

TRUSTER: But we will have families, some day. And we need to take thought for them.

WORKER: Sure we do, but why are you worrying? We can find something to build our houses with that'll work just fine.

TRUSTER: Yeah, but have you forgotten...(Looks around nervously.) The Big Bad Wolf?

CRUISER: The Big Bad Wolf? Ha! Truster, please don't tell me you still believe in the Big Bad Wolf? I figured out about him when I was four; the same day I figured out about Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy.

WORKER: Well, Truster's just saying that...wait a minute: what about Santa Claus?

TRUSTER: Of course I believe in the Big Bad Wolf. He has the ability to blow whole buildings down. And...(Looking around nervously again) he has an appetite for pork!

WORKER: I thought it was dragons that blowed buildings down.

TRUSTER: Dragons breathe fire.

CRUISER: Dragons don't breathe anything. They're not real. Look, Truster, you're gonna have to let go of these childhood myths sooner or later. I believe it's good to have a healthy spirituality, and all that - that is to say, I don't mind a little meditation here, a bit of yoga there. But there is no Big Bad Wolf. In fact, such a belief may well be the ultimate heresy! The world is a great place to live in, and life - if you know how to live it - is easy and fun!

TRUSTER: I wish I shared your optimism, brother. But I fear that you're wrong; horribly wrong. I've been worrying about this for years; ever since the first time I thought about building a house of my own. (He puts his head in his hands.) What shall I do?

(The NARRATOR stands up.)

NARRATOR: Now, maybe you're thinking to yourself: "Three little pigs, all with such different opinions. Didn't their parents teach them how to build their houses when they left home?" Well, it turns out that their parents - whose names were Apostate and Postmodern, by the way - were quite the free-thinkers. They didn't believe in imposing their architectural views on their children. They thought that kids should decide those kinds of things for themselves.

(The NARRATOR smiles, and just stands there looking silly for a few seconds. Finally, WORKER speaks up.)

WORKER: You done?

NARRATOR: Oh, um, of course. Carry on. (He sits down.)

CRUISER: Now look, Truster, I'm gonna level with you: maybe there’s not an actual Big Bad Wolf, but I do know that we have to overcome the "Big Bad Wolf" in all of us. See, the (He makes quotation gestures with his hands) "Big Bad Wolf" is just the projection of all of pig-kind's negative energy; an attempt on the part of Organized Architecture to suppress the spark of divinity we all possess, and keep us from having any fun. To deal with this negativity, we need to be real with our feelings; get in touch with our inner-swine and be open and vulnerable with each other, and with our selves.

WORKER: (Sarcastic) Thank you, Oprah.

(CRUISER rolls his eyes.)

TRUSTER: I suppose you don't believe in the Master Builder, either?

CRUISER: Some ancient prince doling out advice to home-builders? Maybe you should lie down, Truster.

TRUSTER: He's real! He made all of the great, old buildings in the land. And He doesn't like people building with just any old materials.

CRUISER: Come on! (Sarcastic) The "Master Builder", son of the Emperor (who, by the way, lives so far off that no one has ever seen him) wants to make sure you build your home strong and sure. Please! Even if this Master Builder exists, why on earth would he care what I use to build my house with?

TRUSTER: Because He cares about you, and He wants to protect you from the Big Bad Wolf.

CRUISER: Back to that again, are we?

WORKER: Hold on, now, Cruiser.

CRUISER: What? Don't tell me you believe in these fairy-tales too?

WORKER: No, I didn't say that.

TRUSTER: You mean you don't believe in them, Worker?

WORKER: I didn't say that, either. I'm just not sure, that's all. I'm an...what do you call it? Hagnospick...Acrostic...

TRUSTER: Agnostic.

CRUISER: (Offers a handkerchief.) Bless you.

WORKER: I just don't think we can know for sure, you know? And I don't think we should waste our lives waiting on Emperors that don't rule, and Builders that don't build. We've got to make our own way in this world. There's a lot to be done, and the rewards are great for those that are willing to keep the snout to the old grindstone. And if the Emperor and the Master Builder do exist...well, I'm sure that they'll look at the buildings we've constructed, and sort of, you know, weigh our good buildings against our bad ones, and hopefully, if we've done our job and all, we'll have more good ones than bad, and hey, we'll be all right, you know?

TRUSTER: I don't know, Worker. Have you ever read the Master Builder's Blueprints?

CRUISER: Blueprints?

TRUSTER: Yeah, it's a written record of how to go about building your home. Written by the Emperor and the Master Builder.

CRUISER: And the madness continues. Truster, come on, man, think about it: those Blueprints were written by Organized Architecture to try to run people's lives. I'll bet that's where you learned about the Big Bad Wolf, too.

TRUSTER: Well, now that you mention it -

CRUISER: (Interrupting.) I knew it! You see? It's all part of the same big scam.

WORKER: Well, even if it's not a scam, it's still not the best way to make your plans, Truster. I've seen the Blueprints, and let me tell you: you'd need an architecture degree just to understand them. All those big, architectural words. Besides, it's a very old document, and it was originally written in an ancient language that no one speaks anymore.

CRUISER: Pig Latin?

WORKER: How should I know? The point is, it's been translated so many times, it can't possibly be accurate anymore.

TRUSTER: Well, I admit some of it is open to interpretation, but no one said that life would be easy.

WORKER: Actually, Cruiser did.

CRUISER: (With a big smile.) Oh, yeah.

WORKER: Anyway, Truster, what did the Blueprints say?

TRUSTER: I don't remember most of it, but I do know that it gave detailed instructions for building houses, including what materials to use.

CRUISER: Well, you fanatics can sit around talking about invisible builders all night if you want, but I'm moving on.

WORKER: Yeah, those houses aren't going to build themselves.

(The NARRATOR stands up.)

NARRATOR: So the three pigs went out to find land and building materials. It won't surprise you to learn that they all took different approaches to their tasks. Cruiser, for example, in keeping with his "the world owes me a living" mentality, decided to purchase building materials that were both cheap and easy to work with; he built his house out of straw.

CRUISER: Straw was perfect. I was in and watching TV in two days. Straw really expresses who I am at this time in my life. It was just something I needed to do, for me.

TRUSTER: It won't be nearly strong enough to withstand a blast from the Big Bad Wolf.

CRUISER: Yeah, right.

NARRATOR: Worker, being a much harder, er, worker, decided to use the best materials he could find, given his budgetary limitations. In the land where the pigs lived, that meant wood. (He sits.)

WORKER: Sticks of wood, mostly. But good, sturdy stuff. I would've used bricks, but that would mean going up to the capital, and buying from the Master Builder. Yeah, it turns out He's for real, after all.

CRUISER: So you say.

WORKER: And so would you, if you'd been there. But the problem is, the only way you can get bricks is if you turn over the whole planning of your house to Him.

TRUSTER: Why is that a problem?

WORKER: Because I ain't turning the reins over to anybody, that's why. I work hard for what I have, and the least reward I expect is to be able to make the decisions myself. I don't ask nobody for help, and I don't blame nobody when the apple cart gets upset. It's all on me. No offense to the Master Builder; He's made some fine buildings in the past, but nobody knows what my house should be better than I do. So I made the best, strongest house I could make, out of the best wood I could find.

TRUSTER: Not strong enough, I fear.

CRUISER: So what did you build with, Mr. Critical?

TRUSTER: Bricks and stone, of course.

WORKER: So you gave up control of your own home -

CRUISER: Just because you’re afraid of some mythological creature?

TRUSTER: Just for the record, I dispute your choice of adjective. But yes: that was part of it, in the beginning. But as I got to know the Master Builder, I began to see the great wisdom that He has. In the end, I realized that it would be foolish to have anyone else build my home.

CRUISER: Well, I suppose we'll just have to agree to disagree. When the years have rolled by, and no wolf ever comes, and I'm napping comfortably in my low-maintenance home, then maybe you'll get the point and give up on your superstitious ideas.

(The PIGS exit. The NARRATOR stands.)

NARRATOR: And the years did roll by. The pigs got older; they married and had children. And their homes served them well. (Beat.) At least for a while. For a day came when all the land was troubled by rumors of an evil presence. A dark shape was seen in the woods. Yes, that's right: he had come at last. Fenris Oaf, otherwise known as...The Big Bad Wolf!

(The WOLF enters and growls menacingly.)

NARRATOR: The Wolf had been playing the provinces in recent years, and the pickin's were mighty slim; mighty slim. In particular, he had met very few pigs in his travels, and he was mighty hungry; mighty hungry.

WOLF: Man, where do you people get this dialogue?

NARRATOR: Uh, as I was saying, the Wolf had a distinct and overpowering craving for little pig. So, he roamed the countryside, and at length, he came to a small, rather hasty-looking house made of straw.

(CRUISER enters, holding his "house prop" [see production notes at beginning of script]. He is whistling, obviously living out his "life is great" philosophy. The WOLF licks his lips, rubs his hands diabolically, and creeps up to the house.)

NARRATOR: The Wolf, having imagined this moment for years, had written a great opening line.

WOLF: Little pig, little pig, let me in!

(The NARRATOR effects a puzzled, disappointed look.)

NARRATOR: What, that's it? That's your great opening line?

WOLF: Hey, you're a narrator, not a dramatic critic. Pipe down, or you're next!

NAARATOR: All right, all right. (Muttering.) Boy, you give some people fangs and a scary-sounding name and they go Nero on you.

WOLF: Heard that.

NAARATOR: Sorry. Look, you'd better say that line again; I don't think he heard you.

WOLF: (Louder.) Little pig, little pig, let me in!

CRUISER: Hey, quiet down, out there! Touched By An Angel is on!


CRUISER: All, right, you don't have to yell. Who's there? (He sees the WOLF.) What the - (His voice starts quivering.) Hey, you're not the...are you can't be the...the Big Bad Wolf?

WOLF: You were expecting maybe Publisher's Clearing House?

(CRUISER squeals in fright.)

WOLF: Let me in!!!

CRUISER: No way, dude. Not by the hair of my carefully groomed goatee! Go away!

WOLF: (Dramatically. Too much so.) Then I'll huff, and I'll puff, and I'll blow your house in!

NARRATOR: (Rolling his eyes.) Oh, brother.

WOLF: (To the NARRATOR.) Quiet, you. (To CRUISER.) Last chance, swine: do you let me in, or do you lose your house?

CRUISER: Go away!

WOLF: You asked for it! (He huffs and puffs, etc.)

NARRATOR: So the Wolf huffed, and he puffed...(Sort of ad-libbing as the wolf struggles to work up a good breath) and then he huffed again, and after that...oh yeah, he puffed.

(The WOLF breaks out in a violent coughing fit.)

NARRATOR: (Grinning broadly, speaking rapidly.) But the Wolf was a four-pack-a-day chain-smoker, and couldn't extinguish a candle, much less blow down a whole house. So, hey, don't smoke, kids!

(He winks and gives them an "ok" hand gesture. WORKER pops his head out.)

WORKER: (Shaking his head in disbelief.) How do you like that? Every skit has to have a message. Sheesh!

WOLF: (To WORKER, who quickly ducks backstage, though not without a defiant shake of the fist.) You're next! (To the NARRATOR.) And I'm coming after you, editorial-boy. Just give me a second here...(he begins huffing and puffing again. Then, with a mighty blow, the straw house comes down.)

WOLF: Ha Ha!

CRUISER: Yipes! (He runs out, with the WOLF in hot pursuit.)

NARRATOR: But Cruiser escaped to his brother Worker's house, racing inside and locking the door only moments ahead of the Wolf.

(WORKER and CRUISER enter, carrying WORKER'S "house prop." The WOLF follows close behind.)

WOLF: Hey, I like this: Two little pigs. And nothing but a bunch of twigs in the way. All right, boys: you know the drill. Little pigs, little pigs, let me in!

WORKER: (Defiant.) Not a chance, furball.

CRUISER: (Trying to be defiant, though it comes out a bit squeaky.) Not by the hairs of our chinney-chin-chins!

WOLF: No? Then I'll huff, and I'll puff, and I'll -

(He collapses into coughing again. The NARRATOR shakes his head, but says nothing. With another effort, he hurls a blast of wolf-breath at the house, but though it shakes and wavers, it holds up.)

WORKER: Ha! Good timber, that. See, Cruiser, hard work always pays off.

CRUISER: Yikes! Here he comes again!

(With another mighty blow, the WOLF succeeds in bringing the house down. The PIGS run off - WORKER shaking his fist at his enemy - and the WOLF again pursues.)

NARRATOR: Now two of the brothers were bereft of kith and kin. (Beat.) Or kith, at least. They still had their kin. (Beat.) No, kith is a synonym for kin, and I just said they still had their kin. Ergo, and assuming the veracity of my first premise, they still had both kith and kin. (Beat. He's a bit confused.) So what were they bereft of, I wonder? (Another beat, only longer.) Oh, yeah, now I remember: hearth and home. That's it. The two pigs were bereft of hearth and home. And, with the Wolf in hot pursuit, our bereaved brothers high-tailed it to - yes, you guessed it - good ol' Truster's house. (Beat.) You know, the brick one.

(CRUISER, WORKER, and TRUSTER enter, with TRUSTER'S house prop. The WOLF enters moments later.)

WOLF: This day just gets better and better: Three pigs now. Brick this time, but hey, it's not for nothing that they call me...THE BIG BAD WOLF! (An evil laugh. Then, to the PIGS.) One more for the road, boys: (At the top of his lungs.) LITTLE PIGS, LITTLE PIGS, LET ME IN!

WORKER: Not by the hairs of...ah, forget it. Go away, you disgusting, ugly, dog-faced excuse for a wolf.

WOLF: (In mock terror.) Taunts and Insults! My evil powers are useless against them! (Parody of The Wizard of Oz.) I'm melting! Melting! Oh, what a world! (Then, with renewed anger.) Forget it, bacon-boys: I'm coming over for dinner! Honey! I'm home!

CRUISER: (Frightened. He's just seen the WOLF blow down two houses, and lacks confidence in TRUSTER'S bricks.) W-w-wouldn't you rather have beef? There's a big dairy farm just down the road, you know.

WOLF: (Sarcastic.) Yeah, I'm taking menu advice from a bunch of rejects from the Muppet Show. No thanks.

CRUISER: (Desperate. Almost squealing.) No meat on Fridays!

WOLF: What do I look like, a Jesuit? Besides, it's Thursday.

TRUSTER: Look here, we're not just gonna open the door and let you eat us. It's just not reasonable for you to expect that. Besides, I'm quite confident in the structural integrity of my home. Designed and constructed by the Master Builder, you know.

WOLF: Your point?

TRUSTER: You're no match for Him, and you know it.

WOLF: Well, I guess we'll see about that...WHEN I HUFF, AND I PUFF, AND I BLOW YOUR HOUSE DOWN!!!

(He huffs, puffs, etc. Then...yep, more coughing.)

NARRATOR: Don't worry, folks: he eventually found his inhaler. And when he did...

(The WOLF huffs, and puffs, and, with a mighty gust of breath, the house...remains standing. It doesn’t even budge.)

NARRATOR: After all that huffing, etc., the Wolf found that -

WOLF: (Interrupting.) They know! They know! Can't expect brick to come down on the first try, you know.

(He tries again. Nothing.)

NARRATOR: Once again, the Wolf failed to bring down the house of brick.

WOLF: (Panting.) I...can't understand it...why can't I...blow this doggoned house down?

NARRATOR: But Fenris Oaf wasn't a quitter. He tried again. (The WOLF does so.) And again. (Another try.) And again. (Yet another try.) But in the end, he was defeated. Try as he might, he could not bring down the house that the Master Builder had built.

(The WOLF faints from exhaustion. CRUISER, WORKER, and TRUSTER emerge from the house and dance a merry jig around their fallen foe.)

NARRATOR: There was rejoicing in the land, and merriment for many nights thereafter. And when the time of joy had ended, the three brothers had another talk.

(The brothers step in front of the WOLF. The NARRATOR sits.)

WORKER: Well, all's well that ends well, they say. And never in my life have I been so happy and yet so ashamed, all at the same time. I've learned my lesson, I think. Truster, you were right. Not only about the Master Builder, but about the foolishness of trying to build our own houses. No, when my house came down, my pride came down with it. All the hard work in the world is not enough to make our homes stand in the day of Judgment.

TRUSTER: What about you, Cruiser?

(CRUISER is still somewhat reluctant, but more than a little humbled.)

CRUISER: Life is not as easy and care-free as I had imagined. I've learned that I can't just cruise through life, expecting the world to make it easy on me. And I've learned that there are things in this world that it's good to be afraid of. (Beat.) I, uh...I've also learned that the Master Builder is real.


CRUISER: Yeah. (Smiling now.)'ll be glad to know that I turned over the construction of my new home to Him. Soon, there'll be a new brick house around here.

(TRUSTER smiles broadly.)

WORKER: Two new brick houses. But what about you, Truster? Gained any new insights from our harrowin' experience?

TRUSTER: (After thinking a moment.) Two things. First, that although fear, pain, loss, and even death are a part of our world, a time comes when the last enemy will fall; when restoration and rejoicing will return.

CRUISER: And the second lesson?

TRUSTER: That even trust is only as good as its object. All the faith in the world wouldn't have made straw and sticks as strong as brick and stone. And the strength of the brick and stone was only found in the perfection of the Master Builder and His Blueprints.

NARRATOR: And so, the three little pigs rode off into the sunset -

(The WOLF momentarily raises his head before passing out again.)

WOLF: Wrong story!

NARRATOR: Right. Well, they left, anyway, talking amiably amongst themselves.

(The brothers walk offstage, speaking the next few lines as they go.)

WORKER: (To CRUISER.) You really watch Touched By An Angel? Ha!

CRUISER: Hey! That show's helped a lot of people.

WORKER: I think you're the one that needs help.

TRUSTER: Can we have supper now, or do we have to wait until the argument's over?


NARRATOR: (Smiling.) You will starve if you wait for that. (To the audience.) Thus ends our little allegory. Did you learn anything? I hope so, though I have my doubts. We've had a lot of budget cuts lately, and making profound moral and theological lessons spring to life through cute fables just ain't as cheap as it used to be. (Beat. He's about to start pontificating again.) I mean, it's not my fault. I suggested several ways to cut expenses, but did they listen to me? Noooo. I tell you, our producers are really a piece of work -

(The WOLF pops his head up again before passing out a third time.)

WOLF: (Interrupting.) This is neither the time nor the -

NARRATOR: (Interrupting as the WOLF faints.) So thank you for joining us on this little journey through the land of symbolic storytelling. We hope you enjoyed it. I'm the Narrator, and that's news to me.

(He exits. Blackout/curtain.)

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