Approximately half the performers are on stage, sitting in chairs facing away from the audience. They themselves are the AUDIENCE.
Two men are standing. One of them, the SPEAKER, is facing the Audience, as if addressing them. The other, the VOICE, stands with his back turned away from the audience, so they cannot see his mouth. The general idea is that, as in many old kung fu movies, the Speaker's mouth moves, but the Voice does all of the talking, preferably in a similar old Kung Fu dubbed in English style, with lots of awkward phrasing and rushed words. The Speaker should perform all stage directions; the Voice recites all of the dialogue.
The rest of the performers stand off-stage to the right. They are the INTERRUPTION.
SPEAKER/VOICE (ruffling some papers on the podium): Welcome, welcome, everyone! Lots of new faces, I see - heya, Marsha! - and a lot of old faces - when you gonna buy me that new katana blade, Stan? I'm just messing with ya! Let's get down to business, shall we? Lots of good news to report! Assassinations up almost 30% this year; infiltration of evil overlord lairs up 17%; and overall, our Fear Index numbers are through the roof! Yes, we've got ..
INTERRUPTION: Arrrrrr! Ha ha ha ha ha!
SPEAKER/VOICE (a bit flummoxed): Sounds like someone's having a real good party, huh? Ha ha ha - hmm. Anyway, this year hasn't been without its bad. We lost a number of skilled ninja brethren - Flying Black Falcon, Wandering Star, Ronald Reagan. And who can forget Claw of the Tiger? His death will stand as a reminder that ninja safety always comes first. When we surround an enemy, how do we attack?
AUDIENCE (in unison): One at a time.
SPEAKER/VOICE: That's right. It's all fun and games until you get decapitated. Now, a moment of silence for the fallen.
Everyone bows their head reverently for a moment or two, when suddenly ...
INTERRUPTION: Yarrrr! Har har har har!
SPEAKER/VOICE (Looks up, clearly upset): Fine, moving on ... This year, we'll have a number of important seminars you'll want to look into: "Smoke Bomb Chemistry 101"
As the Speaker continues speaking, the Interruption begins singing, "Yo, ho, blow the man down" in pirate-y voices, getting increasingly louder and louder. The Speaker in turn also gets louder and louder.
SPEAKER/VOICE: "The Deadly Power of Silence: Sexual Harrassment in the Ninja Workplace", "Origami Ninja Stars That Actually Kill People" for you arts and crafts types, and a fashion show put on by Miss Diane entitled "White Is the New Black." Oh, that's IT!
The Speaker rushes off-stage towards the Interruption, yelling loudly and ready to strike. There is a brief pause of silence, then one of the Interruption comes flying on to the stage. The Speaker follows, back pedaling quickly, along with the rest of the Interruption, in various pirate poses. A fight quickly breaks out among the Audience and the Interruption, with members acting appropriately as ninjas or pirates. Two members of the Audience remain seated in the back. They both speak in very proper British voices.
AUDIENCE MEMBER #1 (turning to other man): So, does this sort of thing happen every year?
AUDIENCE MEMBER #2: Depends on who's next door. Last year we had the Robots, and they're with us in the union, you know. Year before that, though, it was Monkeys. Bad business, that.
AUDIENCE MEMBER #1: Well, shall we?
AUDIENCE MEMBER #2: Yes, by all means, let's.
Both men jump up and join the fray. Fin.
A MAN sits at a desk, apparently swamped in work. He is in the middle of a phone call.
BUSY MAN: Look, I know what I promised. Yes, yes, salvation for everyone! Holy rollers! You don't have to remind me, I wrote the book on this thing, you know. But all these prayer requests - do you think the answers just grow on trees? Oh, ha ha, fruit of knowledge, very funny, Adam.
Another MAN enters the stage.
MAN: Oh God!
GOD (to phone): Hold on. (To man.) Yes, what's the matter, Gabriel?
GABRIEL: It's the Romans, sir. They're getting a bit nasty again. Giving our people the business, you know, crucifixion, stoning, barrel full of spikes -
GOD (interrupting): Oo. Always hated that one.
GABRIEL: Right. Well, it's getting out of hand. I think we're going to have to have a real miracle here to make it through the century.
GOD: Well, for Pete's sake, can't you think of anything to ease up the load?
SAINT PETER sticks his head onstage.
PETER: It'd really help, these gates don't open themselves, you know!
GOD: Well that's it. Desperate times call for desperate measures.
GOD: No. Outsourcing. Quick, hand me that stack there.
GABRIEL grabs a stack of papers and hands them to God, who begins rifling through them.
GOD: Hmm ... no, no, no, no, no, no, no .. here we go! Descendant of David, born in Bethlehem, strong communication skills - he's blue collar, but aren't we all? - yes, he's perfect!
GOD grabs the phone.
Adam? Still there? Great, I need you to dispatch an angel off to Galilee. Very hush-hush, I'll fax the details. Looks like we're turning into a family business after all...
All performers (except for JIM and SARAH) are on stage. They (the SURPRISERS) are facing away from the audience, except for one, TOBY, the leader. When Toby speaks, he addresses the entire audience, not just the performers.
TOBY (speaking in a loud whisper): Quiet, quiet, everyone! Dave's going to be home any minute now. Now, to make sure nobody mucks it up for the rest of us, let's have a practice run. I'll pretend to be Dave. When I come around the corner, you guys count to 3 in your heads and then yell, "Surprise!" Got it? That goes for all of you now (pointing directly to the audience), you all have to do it or it'll just sound stupid, okay? Okay.
Toby leaves the stage, waits a beat, then comes back onstage.
SURPRISERS (after 3 seconds): SURPRISE!
Toby jumps back, startled and upset.
TOBY (in a very loud and irritated whisper): You idiots! Not loud like that! This is just a practice! What if I had been Dave?
SURPRISER #1: Well, I guess it would've worked out pretty well.
Toby walks over and cuffs Surpriser #1.
TOBY: That's not what I meant! (Pause. Cock of the ear.) Wait! Someone's coming up the drive. Hide. Quick!
All of the Surprisers hide as best they can behind imaginary furniture and each other. Toby hides particularly close to the stage entrance, and kneels down, covering his head in a very tiny fetal position. After about 5 seconds, Jim walks onstage. Toby sticks his hand up mutely, counting off 1, 2, 3 for the audience and the Surprisers.
TOBY (his excitement changing to visible disgust): Oh, never mind, it's just Jim.
JIM: Glad to see I haven't missed the party.
As Jim continues to talk, Toby puts his hand to his ear, listening intently. Suddenly, he makes a surprised face.
JIM: So, where do I put my jack-
Jim is interrupted by Toby yanking him to the floor, hard.
TOBY (in a very high voice): Hide!
The Surprisers sit in silence for 10 seconds, occasionally sticking their heads up to investigate. Then, Surpriser #1 begins idly whistling, "Happy Birthday To You" in a very high key. Toby bolts upright.
SURPRISER #2 (in a quiet whisper): Are we going to sing it in that key?
SURPRISER #1 (also whispering): Oh, I don't know. That's not a good key?
Toby painfully inches his way over to the two talking Surprisers, being careful not to make a lot of noise.
SURPRISER #2: Well, it's just that I'm a baritone, I don't have that kind of range.
SURPRISER #1: Don't worry so much, you can just hit the lower harmonies.
SURPRISER #2: I guess, but you know how it is, the song goes by so fast, you hardly have time to find the pitch.
SURPRISER #1: Wish we'd practiced that before we had to hide.
Toby is upon them now, and cuffs Surpriser #1 again.
TOBY (in the angriest whisper possible): Shut. Up!
Suddenly, Sarah walks onstage. Toby, hearing her enter, turns around and jumps the gun.
Sarah jumps back a little.
SARAH: Umm .. yeah. So, Dave's not coming. Working late, apologies and all that. Sorry, everyone.
Everyone stands up, disappointed, and walks off stage, except for Toby, who lingers a bit behind the rest. As Toby stands alone, he begins to whistle the last line of "Happy Birthday To You" and walks offstage slowly, head hung low. Fin.