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2:40 pm

[Scene:  Empty theatre.  The stage manager is sitting in the house seats next to the director, who is eating seeds from a broad silver and gilt bowl.]

God:  List.  You hear that?  Must be seventy people out there.  Jesus!  Jesus Christ!  Where the hell is he?  [on the god mic] Jesus!

Jesus: [Materializes suddenly behind God, startling the director who flies up into the grid, landing on a downstage line set.] God damn it, it’s a mess out there.  Actors are showing up before their check in times, and without their sides.  We ran out of extras and I’m

God:  Can’t you just make more?

Jesus:  I’m not a miracle worker!

God:  Well, how did you do that water into wine thing?

Jesus:  Never mind that.  What’s going on in here?  Whose bright idea was it to hire a bird to be the director?

God: Oh please let’s not get into that.  The whole Arian thing and the meetings in Nicaea and Constantinople, the Nestorian business.  It’s in our contract.  We’re stuck with him, and he likes to be a dove so what can we do?  Anyway, I’m not entirely sure, but I think he’s ready to see the Bella Cohens.  Anybody promising?

Jesus:  Let’s see.  A  bunch of girls who had decent to middling parts in The Tempest, Pericles, Winter’s Tale.

God:  Too young.

Jesus:  Well, Cleopatra is out there.

God: Who?

Jesus:  Fleshpot of Egypt.  Also Cressida and Venus.

God:  Venus might work, but she’s a big star.  Can we afford her?  And is she willing to do drag?

Jesus:  Probably not.  Will do nudity though, she’s naked now.  And she’s not really a star.  She’s flaming out.  Also, we have a crowd of people out there claiming to be Shakespeare’s relations. Brothers, mother.

God:  Mother?  Mary Arden?  Can she act?  Would she be a good Bella?

[Bird droppings fall from above.]

God:  Fine, we’ll tell Mary we’re going another way.  Jesus, send in Venus.  And warn her she might want to put some clothes on, the director is in a temper.