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So As By Fire
A Play in One Act
By Wm. Matthew Graphman
E-Book (available as PDF files)
About the Author
Luke is the youngest of four, two older sisters and an older brother. Luke is a Christian who works as a firefighter in the suburbs of a distant city. He has come home for Christmas Eve only to spend the evening being chided by his older siblings. His Father & Mother try to calm the situation, but secretly side with the older kids over his lost potential as a professional athlete. The oldest, his brother – Jake, is a well-to-do accountant who is recently divorced. Jake has brought his son, Luke’s favorite nephew - Adam to the house to celebrate Christmas. Sabrina, the next oldest, is a graphics designer and she has a live-in boyfriend. This is the third or forth this year – but who’s counting. Melody is the next youngest of the group and she is still living at home. It is thought that she is on drugs, but mom & dad refuse to believe it. She barely managed to graduate high school, and is struggling with what to do with her life. She has spent the last couple years working part time at a quick-mart. She has aspirations of becoming a great writer, but has not managed to make anything happen. Mom & dad are retired. Both are believers, but have failed to live their faith for many years. Mom has recently begun to reach back towards her faith, but is struggling against the years of apathy and neglect. Dad has resolved to get no closer to God than he already is, and is simply biding his time. The story opens as the various characters arrive on Christmas Eve at mom & dad’s home to celebrate Christmas. The conversation quickly turns from one of everyday small talk to when the “Son of Missed-Opportunity” should arrive. Conversations ensue between parents and siblings awaiting for Luke’s arrival.
Act I Scene 1: The Arrivals The scene opens in the tired living room and dining room of the Watson’s residence. Dad is kicked back in his recliner watching the Noon News and trying to get a handle on today’s weather forecast. The house is set in modern times, although the attire may be antique like due to the age of the owners. To Stage Left is the entrance from outside. Upstage Center, is a staircase and a pair of doors. The one door located under the stairs leads down to the basement, the other door leads to the kitchen. Upstage Right is a door to Melody’s bedroom. TV Announcer (recorded): . . . . and here with today’s forecast is meteorologist Bob McFarlin. Mom: (From the kitchen) Have they said whether its going to snow or not today? Dad: They’re just getting to it. TV Announcer: the reason for the steady drop in temperatures is due to this rushing patch of high pressure coming in from Canada, we can be sure to expect some lake-effect snow this afternoon, somewhere in the neighborhood of 12 to 18 inches starting around mid-afternoon. Mom: (Enters from kitchen crosses to table) So, what’s the verdict? Dad: (Tries Shutting off the TV with the remote) Yes, there’s snow coming. What’s wrong with this remote? Mom: Oh, I hope the kids get here before it starts. Dad: I wouldn’t worry, they grew up around here, it’s not like they haven’t driven in snow before. (Struggling with remote – gets up and shuts TV off manually) Mom: I’m sorry dear; I took the battery out to put with Adam’s present. I’d forgotten to pick one up, and I didn’t feel like getting out again. Dad: (Crosses to table) Why did you have to take the one out of the remote? Mom: It was the only 9-volt I could find. Not many things take 9-volt batteries these days. Dad: What about the smoke detector? Mom: Oh, I tried that one first, but it was dead so I threw it out. Dad: Oh great, just wait till Luke gets here. Its bad enough I have to deal with his beliefs, now I’m going to get crucified for not keeping the battery checked in the smoke detector. (Dad goes to the Christmas tree shaking packages looking for the battery) Mom: You worry too much. (Crosses to Dad) You can’t blame him though, as a fireman, he’s very particular about those things. Dad: That’s your opinion. You’re not the one he will hold responsible when he finds there’s no battery in it. Mom: Would you stop it . . . (pulls him up from the tree) Dad: Slow, slow – you know how my back has been. Mom: Yes, every since you’ve retired, things just aren’t quite what they used to be. Dad: What, I’m fine, I just don’t want you to sprain anything, its not like I’m a pillow or anything. Mom: (Playful) Thank you, dear. Dad: (Crosses to hutch and begins digging through drawers & stuff) Maybe there’s another battery in here. Mom: Sweetheart, I was thinking about taking off tonight and going to the mid-night Christmas Eve service at church after everyone went to bed. Dad: Now why would you want to go and do that? Mom: It’s just that I’ve been thinking a lot about church, and getting involved again, and I thought this would be a good time to start. Dad: If you think you’re up to it, go ahead. Don’t forget to take the house key with you. Mom: I was wondering if you’d like to maybe go with me. Dad: Me? I don’t think so. Mom: Oh, very well. Dad: Look. I’m retired now, and God’s pretty much done with me. There’s not much more I can do for God. It’s time for the younger ones to carry the torch. Mom: Don’t you think that’s God’s decision? Dad: Hold on now, you’ve not exactly been a “Mother Teresa” these last few years. Mom: (Ashamed) You’re right. I’m sorry. Dad: You go and have a good time; I’ll leave the light on for you.
Matthew graduated with a minor in Dramatic Productions from Bob Jones University in 1991. While there, he was involved with over 9 productions including the university production of “The Taming of the Shrew”. He also began writing drama while in college and has since written several one acts, a musical and numerous sketches used for vacation bible school. He continues to write, direct and produce dramas in his local church.
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