Lazarus

January 8, 2018
By EricRamsesII BRONZE, Franklin, Wisconsin
EricRamsesII BRONZE, Franklin, Wisconsin
3 articles 0 photos 0 comments

(At Rise, LAZARUS is faintly lit, lying in his bed, center stage, next to a garbage bin, at his small cottage. Stage left is a cabinet with a picture frame on it, stage right is a desk with paper and a lamp on it. Suddenly he begins to toss and turn, letting out several concerning yelps or shouts)

                             LAZARUS
No, no, no...

 

(LAZARUS sits upright, and jumps out of bed. All center stage lights brighten as he kneels down towards the garbage basin, and audibly vomits. When finished, he begins to sob and faces the audience.)

 

                             LAZARUS
Oh, stomach!...Why?...Every day, every night, if it’s not a migraine or puking out my guts...surely the night finds a way to remind me who I am, or, rather who I was...How could you do this to me mother...How could you abandon me...How could father abandon me...oh, why?...

 

(LAZARUS wipes his face, gets up, sluggishly walks over to his desk, and slumps down. Center stage lights dim slightly as stage right lights brighten in contrast. He picks up a piece of paper)

 

                             LAZARUS
“Dear He-Who-Once-Was-My-Son, how am I to find room for you in my heart when you cannot make room for God? I know I raised you better than this. I’m sorry to say that-”

 

(LAZARUS shakily sets the paper down and holds his face for a brief moment. He picks the letter up again)

 

                             LAZARUS
“I’m sorry to say that to protect you from unholy Hell I shall not return for you. You may remain in your mortal condemnation until you see the light. It’s been hard since your father was taken from me, but it’s been harder keeping you away from us. Respectfully yours, Patricia Bähr. 1898.”

 

(LAZARUS puts the letter down)

 

                             LAZARUS
                      (snarkily)
...Mother, Mother, how could you be so naive? To be so Christian, yet so unforgiving. To wish my father never left us, yet abandon me, your only son, atop mountains a country away. To have the audacity to criticize my work, my publishings, to ridicule and condemn and chastise me for all my peers to see...To banish me, all for declaring my independence from all that is decadent in the world, including your false and killing faith!

 

(LAZARUS gets up from the desk and throws his chair to the ground. Lights stage right, center, and left turn on in full)

 

                             LAZARUS
You b****! You ruined me...You ruined me...

 

(LAZARUS walks downstage and faces the audience)

 

                              LAZARUS
What am I to do? What can I do? Alone in this cabin, waiting to die, my books won’t sell. Oh, is it not a shame to see so modest a man, so modern a thinker, trapped in the confines of the old world! I feel...I feel...I feel I am falling with my feet on the ground...

 

(LAZARUS jumps stage left at the sound of a knock)

 

                              LAZARUS
A knock on the door...A visitor? So late, in such seclusion? It’s not possible...

 

(A second knock follows and LAZARUS slinks stage left another step, then inches his way stage right where the door presumably is. Before he can get too far, a wailing of knocks and thuds rings out across the stage. LAZARUS runs to his bedside and cowers. The stage lights cut to black. As the sound of thunder rings out, stage lights come back up and a ghoulish figure, ZED, stands downstage right, yawning and stretching)

 

                             ZED
                    (drawn out)
Hello, hello, hello!

 

                             LAZARUS
                    (exasperated)
Beelzebub...! Demon...! It cannot be, it cannot be! What are you? Why have you come to haunt so miserable a man as myself? Speak, speak!


                             ZED
Sir, I don’t believe you have guests often, so I will give you the benefit of my own manners, seeing you’ve forgotten your own.

 

                             LAZARUS
Are you...the Devil?

 

                             ZED
Never heard of him.

 

                             LAZARUS
Then, what could you be?

 

                             ZED
Rather, what are you?

 

                             LAZARUS
I am a man.

 

                             ZED
Clearly, but what’s your name?

 

                             LAZARUS
Ah, it’s- wait...how do I know you’re not trying to trick me?

 

                             ZED
What could I possibly do? Curse you? A name is just a name. Give me yours, and I shall give you mine.

 

                             LAZARUS
...Lazarus.

 

                             ZED
                    (with a smile)

Zed.

 

                             LAZARUS
Like the letter?

 

                             ZED
You must be some sort of philosopher, what with all the questions you can’t keep in your pants.

 

                             LAZARUS
What is it that you’ve come for? Why do you present yourself before me, you...Zed figure?

 

                             ZED
An offer.

 

(LAZARUS perks up, slowly walking over to ZED)

 

                             LAZARUS
An offer?

 

                             ZED
An offer.

 

                             LAZARUS
What sort of offer?


                             ZED
                    (menacingly)
Before I tell you, you, yourself, must tell me something of significance.

 

(Zed smiles and becomes more expressive, roaming around the stage, or rather circling LAZARUS)

 

                             ZED
Tell me of your troubles, your woes and frustrations. I wish to know what brings you such suffering, and only then will I decide if you’re worthy of an offer.

 

                             LAZARUS
An offer for what?

 

                             ZED
That depends on how you move me.

 

(LAZARUS walks away, his back facing ZED, and continues stage left)

 

                                  LAZARUS
My father was a preacher. I looked up to him. He warned me of ghouls like you-

 

                                  ZED
Please, I’ve been subject to enough hostility already.

 

                                  LAZARUS
Very well. He died when I was young. Something about his stomach. A grueling pain that battled with him for years. I’m afraid I contracted the very same, and now have been sent away by my very family. They say it’s to reclaim my faith, but I know they’ve simply left me here to die. They don’t trust me. They wish for me to suffer! Every waking hour I’m merely granted more and more life, a plethora of hours to think and ponder the mistakes I’ve made, the pains I’ve endured, and the truths that haunt me!
 
(ZED paces over stage left and keeps his back to LAZARUS)


                             ZED
Would you say you’ve given up on life?

 

                             LAZARUS
                    (hesitantly)
I merely wish to know why fate has woven this current predicament.

 

(ZED spins around)

 

                             ZED
                    (spritefully)
Isn’t it clear? Isn’t it obvious? Fate has sent me! I’ve come to offer you, friend, the eternal recurrence.

 

                             LAZARUS
What?

 

                             ZED
...I’ve come to offer you the eternal recurrence.

 

                             LAZARUS
Yes, yes, all good, but what is it?


                             ZED
What I hold before you is an opportunity, melancholy one. It is one that only comes once in one’s lifetime, one that very few are offered, for very few would take it. I offer you the chance to relive your life...for eternity! at the cost of your current demise, or else live out the rest of your days here, in this hovel above men.

 

                             LAZARUS
I could relive my life for eternity, never truly facing death, so long as what? My life ends? Whyever would I wish to relive the horrors of my life?

 

(ZED wanders over to LAZARUS)

 

                             ZED

                    (leaning over LAZARUS)

Yes...yes...You may live over and over the days you have already survived, every pleasure and every joy, along with every regret, every failure, every embarrassment, and every single moment of suffering.

 

                              LAZARUS
But what’s the catch?

 

                             ZED
                    (taken aback)
I’m sorry?


                             LAZARUS
Yes, what’s to happen if I say no? How do I know you’ll say yes, what are you hiding in the fine print that you’re not stating otherwise?


(ZED begins to ponder stage right, fiddling with objects on the desk)

 

                             ZED
Well, if you deny me my offer, you die like every other man...But there is no catch, sickly Lazarus! My deal is as stands. Take it now, prove you have the mettle to end your current suffering, and the eternal recurrence shall be yours.

 

                             LAZARUS
“The mettle to end my suffering?” Are you saying if I were to take this deal I would first have to die?

 

                             ZED
Correct.

 

                             LAZARUS
Ha! Surely there’s no real danger, demon! You’ve trumped yourself! Your being here justifies the existence of an afterlife after all, and now that I know such an afterwards exists, whether I were to take your deal and be tricked or deny it completely, I’m safely welcome to an existence beyond death and have nothing to fear!

 

                             ZED
                    (profoundly confused)
I’m sorry?

 

                             LAZARUS
Is there issue in my logic?

 

                             ZED
My existence guarantees nothing. I told you before, I am no devil. I am but a...manifestation...and never have such names as Heaven or God rang in my ears before. I can assure you they shall not ring for you, either.

 

(LAZARUS walks to his bed and takes a seat)

 

                             LAZARUS
I...I see.

 

                             ZED
I have said all I needed to, and will be off. You have the night to think it over.

 

                             LAZARUS
Wait!

 

                             ZED
Yes?

 

                             LAZARUS
Do you know, spirit? Do you know of things that mortals don’t? Do I die here? Do I?

 

                             ZED
That question is yours to answer.

 

(Thunder booms again, as the stage lights jump to black, and upon their return only LAZARUS is left in the room. He gets up from the bed, walks downstage, and faces the audience)

 

                            LAZARUS
“Do I die here?” Is that really my decision? Is that any man’s decision to make? I’m so unsure of everything. I’m unsure of life. Is life something I love? Is life something I hate? Do I truly regret and reject what I’ve lived, as that awful apparition said? Oh...It’s imperative that I decide, but what?!

 

(LAZARUS walks stage right to the desk and picks up his metal letter-opener. He glances to the audience, and brings the letter-opener to his chest, hesitates, then brings it to his neck, hesitates again, and with a sigh, seats himself down in his desk chair and hangs his head)

 

                             LAZARUS
Whatever shall I do...whatever shall I do...Can I trust him? Am I simply going mad? That “Zed” creature could have been all in my head, compelling me to make an awful mistake, or a real devil committed to the same!

 

(Another crack of thunder erupts, this time the lights don’t go out, but the cabinet shakes, and a picture frame falls from the top of it. LAZARUS cautiously approaches the object, and picks it up)

 

                            LAZARUS
My...dear, Rose. You’ve collected so much dust I’ve...forgotten you...I remember this day. I remember it well. She looked so delicate in the sun...The hair on her arms stuck out from the cold, goosebumps all along her skin...frost blew through her hair in such a way that melted my heart...and her eyes...oh, her precious brown pearls...those little, shiny orbs that could stare into my very soul, if one should have existed...And I’ll never see those eyes again. Too early did my Rose wilt, plucked from my life by so cruel a master...What I would do to live those days again...No, no! A decision like this cannot be made so romantically! Even if my passions dictate otherwise!

 

(LAZARUS throws the picture frame to the bed. In a huff, he walks to the opposite side of the stage and holds his head. LAZARUS begins to pace across the room)

 

                             LAZARUS
This cannot be real. It simply cannot. There are no demons, there is no such thing as demons...But what of the figure? Was he simply a part of my imagination? Did I just make him up, or did he...I don’t understand!

 
(LAZARUS is struck with silence, snapping his direction to the door and turning quickly)

 

                             LAZARUS
Go away, go away!

 

(LAZARUS looks up to the ceiling)

 

                             LAZARUS
                    (Shouting ferociously)
Don’t ever come back here, ever! If you were real, if you existed, I’d kill you! You hear me? I’d choke the life from your eyes till they pop and your brain stops and while you suffer and sputter on the floor begging for mercy I’ll laugh and laugh and say “how does it feel? How does it feel to be a man? How does it feel to be just like us, abandoned!”

 

(The lights dim significantly and thunder crashes all around. White lights from both sides of the stage begin to glow and flash. LAZARUS runs to the cabinet and throws it to the floor. He then tears up his bed, and runs to his desk. He grabs the letter opener and turns to the audience. A single spotlight illuminates him)

 

                             LAZARUS
I cannot give him the pleasure of taking my consciousness to the void. No afterlife at all is greater than an eternity worshipping Him!

 

(LAZARUS slices his throat with the letter opener and drops to his knees. All lights go to black with a final strike of thunder)

 

Final Curtain



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