Ross Carter

Playwright

What Would Jesus Pack?

“Side-splitting comedy.”—Lexington Herald-Leader

Senator Otis J. Bennett, the most conservative man in America and next in line to be Senate Majority leader, aims to please two constituencies: the gun lobby, and Christian evangelicals. That’s just good politics. And good business.

Gun in one hand, Bible in the other, and a steady flow of campaign donations, Otis is a happy man.

Then someone started the website What Would Jesus Pack?

In the space of a single afternoon, the Senator’s two constituencies launch a holy war over the question of what weapon Jesus would carry if he were alive today. Caught in the crossfire, Otis must deal with a wisecracking wife, a liberal son who is playing Jesus in an Easter play and has just taken up with a reporter named Sharia Hussein, confused security guards, and a strange man stalking the Senate Office Building who just might be a crazed gunman.

This play is loaded for laughter. While the story line supports gun control, the play has been enjoyed by staunch supporters of gun rights. One audience member told me, “As a conservative and a member of the NRA, let me tell you this was hilarious.”

What Would Jesus Pack? is a political farce, complete with multiple doors, disguises, mistaken identities, and lots of snappy dialogue. It has roles for 4 men and 3 women. There is one interior set, the Senator’s office. The time is the present. The script is 95 pages, and the two acts can be played in around 100 minutes.

Wouldn’t you like to take a moment now and read the first 15 pages?

If you would like a full script for perusal, or you wish to inquire about performance rights and royalties, email ross at rosscarter.com.

Here is a bit of sample dialogue. Otis is trying to keep Merrybelle (president of Jesus Without Arms) away from Rod (lobbyist for the National Revolver Association).

OTIS Let me assure you Merrybelle, I am not allowing the NRA to influence me in any way.

ROD enters.

ROD Senator, I’ve got the draft of your speech here. Would you like to go over it now? (Sees Merrybelle.) Oh, hello.

MERRYBELLE Where did he come from?

ROD I’m from the NRA. My name is--

OTIS NRACP! He’s from the NRACP. The National, uh, Republicans for the Advancement of Colored People.

MERRYBELLE But he’s white!

OTIS You see how much work there still is? It’s high time that people of color were represented in positions of influence, starting with the NRACP itself.

If the actor playing ROD is black, the preceding two lines may be changed as follows:

ROD What?? Senator, you know we don’t use that word any more.

OTIS Right you are. I forgot. For the Advancement of Colored Personnel.

ROD What are you talking about? (Turns to Merrybelle and offers his business card. She puts it in her pocket without looking at it.) Hi, I’m Rod—

OTIS Roderigo, um, Amigo. Yes, Rod, I like your plan, and I’ll have a look at that speech in just a moment. This nice lady was just leaving.

MERRYBELLE Not quite yet. Otis?

MERRYBELLE crosses toward door L and beckons OTIS to follow. NICK enters UC, still in Jesus costume, carrying a backpack.

NICK Hi, Dad. I just wanted to tell you that--

OTIS sees NICK, and before MERRYBELLE sees NICK, OTIS shoves her into the office L.

OTIS Right you are Merrybelle. Now you just wait in here and I’ll be in in a moment.

OTIS closes door L and bustles NICK into the closet R.

OTIS What are you doing here?

NICK I just wanted to tell you that the reporter--

OTIS Not now! Now get in there and don’t come out until you’ve got out of that stupid costume!

ROD (Beaming) Senator! That’s a great idea! Your son, dressed up as Jesus, carrying a backpack stuffed with firearms! Wow! We can run an entire marketing campaign on that! Brilliant! (Starts to dial his mobile phone) Let’s get a photographer over here!

MERRYBELLE enters L.

MERRYBELLE Otis, I don’t know what you think you’re--

OTIS (Shoving her back through the door) In a moment, please, this will just take a moment.

ROD Who is she?

OTIS Look, Rod, you’ve got to get out of here until I get rid of her.

ROD What is she, a reporter for MSNBC?

OTIS Worse! That’s Merrybelle McLean!

ROD God!

OTIS In her mind, yes.

ROD She started Jesus Without Arms!

OTIS If she finds you in here talking to me, we’ll both be NRA--No Reproductive Ability! (Makes a sword gesture)

ROD (Feeling faint) I think I’m going to be sick.

MERRYBELLE enters L.

ROD Ahhhh!!!

© 2015 Ross Carter