Ruth

Commissioned for the Radius Festival of religious drama, to be held at St March’s Church, Newnham, Cambridge, in October 2019, this short play is a re-telling of the Old Testament Book of Ruth.

This is a short snippet:

 

NAOMI:                    You all made us so welcome.  Why would you do that?

RUTH:                      Why wouldn’t we?

NAOMI:                    We were foreign.  You didn’t have to accept us.

RUTH:                      But why wouldn’t we?

NAOMI:                    Aye.  It was the best time.  With your people.

RUTH:                      They were just people, mother.  They were yours as much as mine.

FIGURE:                   You can’t hide from it.  You can’t wish it away.

NAOMI:                    Not now.  I’m not ready.

FIGURE:                   Who is?

NAOMI:                    I don’t want it.

FIGURE:                   Who does?  Death comes.  Even in the good times.  Even in the best times. Even amid the fields, the orchards.  Death always comes.  Sometimes he is kind.

 

(FIGURE takes the Elimelek cloth and gently folds it up)

 

FIGURE:                   Sometimes cruel.

 

(FIGURE grabs the other two cloths and bundles them up, and throws all three across the stage.)

 

FIGURE:                   Death will not be denied.

RUTH:                      Mother?

NAOMI:                    Don’t call me that.

RUTH:                      Mother?

NAOMI:                    No, Ruth.  I am mother to no-one.  I am wife to no-one.

RUTH:                      Don’t say that.  Naomi, don’t say it.

NAOMI:                    Naomi was wife to Elimelek, mother to Mahlon and Killion.  They are dead.  So Naomi is dead.

RUTH:                      You’re not.  Mother, you’re not dead.

NAOMI:                    Naomi is dead.  I am Mara.  I am bitterness and vinegar and gall and acid and bile and salt and weeping.  There is nothing for me here.  You are both young.  You can have other husbands.  You can live again.  Go, Orpah.  Go, Ruth.

 

(FIGURE nods, embraces NAOMI and RUTH and goes)

 

NAOMI:                    Ruth?

RUTH:                      You are my mother now.  Where you go, I will go.  Where you stay, I will stay.  Where you die, I will die.

NAOMI:                    But you are not of my people.  You are foreign.

RUTH: There is no my people, your people.  There is no foreign.  There are just people.  Have you not learnt that yet?