By Nissim Ezekiel
We are going to stage a play "The Night of the Scorpion" which is a poem written by Nissim Ezekiel. He was a Jew by birth and born in Mumbai in 1924.He stayed in England for the period from 1948-1952. He returned to India in 1952 and worked for sometime as professor and head of department of English in Mithibai College of Arts, Mumbai. He is a believer of humanity and human relationships. He has crafted love and sorrow, pain and sufferings in our day to day life. That is reflected in his poetry 'The Night of the Scorpion'. This is an ill fated night displaying the emotions, sentiments, love and belief of humanity in their urge to discover their lives in the face of odds, disaster and destiny. Enjoy the play!
Act 1: Scene 1
It was raining. Raining heavily. The big drops pouring continuously on the fields, rooftops, village roads, on the ponds and everywhere and that formed a massive flow of water, flowing across the villages and adjoining villages like a powerful stream. Life became miserable for the villagers. They were anxious and worried. The birds and the animals were looking for shelter, struggling to save themselves from the impending danger. Enter 3 Villagers Villager 1: Have you observed the ferocity of rain? It is becoming severe and tonight is going to be very dreadful for all of us.
Villager 2: My fields are also under water and so is my house. It has been raining for 10 hours and immediate respite from rain appears remote.
Villager 1: How do we save our little stock of grains?
Villager 2: This is a worry! No doubt. We should pray to Almighty God to stop this demonic rain.
Villager 3: It is an evil design by God himself. Our life is almost paralyzed increasing our worries and despair. We are as if in an island. We must do something to plan and save ourselves.
Villager 1: What to do? How to do? This may be a blessing in disguise. This may be good for our crops. This will bring luck for us.
Villager 2: You better sing and dance in the water, because you have rightly understood the blessing of God and you see our futures.
Villager 3: Why do you accuse him? What he says is the truth. It is God who gives us pleasure and pain, happiness and sorrow and hope and despair. We should not lose heart.
Villager 2: I do not see how both of you can sing and dance, when the entire village is suffering and we are in the midst of rain, only you can find God's mercy in this pain and disaster. Both of you should preach to the villagers when they are suffering badly to save their homes and their families. Before going to preach to them, be prepared to face their wrath. But if anything happens to both of you; enjoy it in the name of God.
Villager 3: We will definitely.
Villager 1: True but have faith in God!
Exit in different directions
Act 1: Scene 2
A scorpion, terrified by this heavy rainfall was running hither thither in search for shelter. Suddenly he found a mud wall amidst as a safe haven. He managed to jump and move up the mud wall. He took some rest on the top of the wall and came inside the room. Momentarily he had a feeling of relief and respite. He heard a sound and movement inside the room. He panicked. Enter Mother
Mother: Offh, How dark it is this evening. The overcast sky has brought a spell of darkness in this rain soaked atmosphere. It is difficult to light a lamp in this wind.
Mother: Let me take some rice to prepare dinner. I have to open the sack of rice. The children (Goes towards the sack of rice. Opens it. The scorpion stings.)
Mother: Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaah…………… (Screams)
Enter Father and Son acting on the screams of the Mother