The King is in the Field: An Adaptation of Waiting for Godot

Updated on February 20, 2018
Natalie Frank profile image

Natalie Frank (Taye Carrol), a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, publishes short stories, flash fiction, novellas & prose poetry.

This adaptation is based on the ideas of the first Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi (also known as the Alter Rebbe), regarding the Hebrew month of Elul, the month that immediately precedes Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. He believed that during the month before these important holidays, there was a strengthening of the bond between God and the Jewish people that occured. This was initiated by God, the Alter Rebbe said, as during this time God becomes more accessible and waiting in what is said to be the “field” of daily life, to be greated. In his work Likkutei Torah, the Alter Rebbe presents this idea through the following parable

“Before a king enters his city, its inhabitants go out to greet him and receive him in the field. At that time, anyone who so desires is granted permission and can approach him and greet him. He receives them all pleasantly, and shows a smiling countenance to all . . .”

Re’eh 32b (English translation: Sichos In English, 5750)

Cast of Characters

Ezra

Vofsi

Glucka – wife

Peleg- husband

A boy

A Dozen Extras (7 males, 5 females):

Scene

A large fenced dirt area with a few trees and a large rock set stage left. In the distance, a large palace is just visible.

Time

The present, sunrise

Act I

Scene 1

SETTING: A large fenced area, a dozen people inside, some sitting, some standing, some leaning on the fence looking over it as if waiting. Sunrise. A large rock sits stage left on which EZRA sits.

AT RISE: EZRA sits on it alone trying to knot a wrinkled tie. He has on a wrinkled jacket and pants which don’t match, an old white button down shirt and black hat. Several minutes go by and he still is unable to knot his tie. He gives up, lays back against the rock, sits back up and tries again. Enter VOFSKI, Stage Left. He opens the gate, enters the area, and carefully closes and latches the gate behind him.

EZRA

Forget it, it’s no use.

VOFSKY

I’m starting to think you’re right about that.

(He starts to work on Ezra’s tie)

EZRA

Right?

VOFSKY

Right.

EZRA

They why are ya working on my tie?

VOFSKY

Someone has to. I’m glad you’re here.

EZRA

Where else would I be?

VOFSKY

(motions vaguely with one hand out towards the fence)

Out there somewhere, I suppose.

EZRA

Out there?

VOFSKY

They say some are.

EZRA

Where were you?

VOFSKY

When?

EZRA

Last night.

VOFSKY

Oh, I wasn’t out there, I was just, right out there

(he motions to indicate somewhere near the fence.)

EZRA

Why?

VOFSKY

Why was I right out there, or why are some out there?

EZRA

Yes.

VOFSKY

Well, I was right out there in case they are a little bit right, and they are out there because they are convinced they are completely right.

EZRA

Right about what?

VOFSKY

(He finishes tying Ezra’s tie and sits at the base of the rock)

Oh, the waiting. The not waiting. Did you ever read the Five Books of Moses?

EZRA

I’m sure I did. At some point. Must of. Why?

VOFSKY

No reason really. Just makes a man think. All that wandering around they did. They were always wandering about. Almost never just sat there waiting.

Before Ezra can respond, there a commotion offstage and GLUCKA and PELEG enter Stage Right, yelling at each other. He has tight hold on her arm and she is fighting to get loose. She carries a suitcase which she tries to swing at PELEG but he blocks it. EZRA AND VOFSKY look on with little interest, some of the others in the enclosure glance at the couple. PELEG gets GLUCKA to the gate, open it while trapping her against the fence with his body, muscles her through and follows. One of the men gets up and shuts and latches the gate. PELEG keeps tight hold of GLUCKA's arm.

PELEG

Where here now. You might as well stop your fighting.

GLUCKA

Then you can let go of me.

PELEG

(slight laugh, bitter) Not a chance. You’re not heading off God knows where to find your bliss.

VOFSKY

(Stands up, facing them)

You’re not the King, by chance, are you, sir?

PELEG

Don’t be ridiculous. I am PELEG. (He stands as if waiting for recognition. When there is no response, he takes a step closer to VOFSKY and loudly says:)

PELEG.

(VOFSKY turns back to look at EZRA who shrugs, then faces back to PELEG. PELEG steps forward again and says as if a question:)

PELEG? The great PELEG? Known far and wide, that PELEG?

GLUCKA

(rolls her eyes and sighs)

The great PELEG, the mighty PELEG, the renowned PELEG, PELEG who is known far and wide. Well, here we are oh, mighty one, in your own backyard and no one’s ever heard of you.

PELEG

(Jerks GLUCKA’S arm and she stumbles forward still holding her suitcase)

You thought I was the King, did you?

VOFSKY

Not so much, no.

PELEG

So why’d ya ask me if I was the King then?

VOFSKY

Just something to say, really.

EZRA

He asks that of everyone who comes. Even the women.

PELEG

(Scowls)

Then you must know the King to speak such to me, as if I’m nobody.

VOFSK

No.

PELEG

But you know what he looks like, wouldn’t miss him if you saw him.

VOFSKY

Kingly, I suppose.

PELEG

You don’t even know what he looks like?

VOFSKY

No

PELEG

So how will you know when he gets here?

VOFSKY

Just will I suppose.

PELEG

You’re as bad as those nomads, out wandering the country side, looking for him.

(He makes his voice Falsetto then says)

“The King is in the Field,” The King is in the Field”. A bunch of morons, ya ask me. He’s a King for God’s sake. Why’d he be out wandering the fields hoping his subjects will just bump into him?

GLUCKA

Maybe because he’s the King and he won’t bump into them any other way?

PELEG

(To GLUCKA)

Shut it.

(To VOFSKY)

She was ready to go off searching with those idiots. Didn’t want to just wait for the King to come like a normal person. Wanted to waste all that time and energy searching high and low, she did. Can ya, think of anything more stupid?

GLUCKA (under her breath)

. . . should do something

VOFKSY

(leans forward as if to hear her better)

Pardon?

GLUCKA

I said we should do something. He’s the King. And here we just waiting. Does anyone know for sure he’s coming?

EZRA

Of course. Of course he’s coming. VOFSKY says he is, don’t ya VOFSKY. (VOFSKY doesn’t reply.)

A boy with a bag enters stage right. He approaches the enclosure and leans over taking something form his sack. He begins to toss a few at a time over the fence.

PELEG

Hey there, boy. Hey there. What do you think you’re doing? Stop that before you hit someone. What are you throwing?

VOFSKY

(Walks to over to one of the objects and picks it up while PELEG is speaking. He looks at the boy and asks,)

Candles?

EZRA

(Parrots VOFSK)

Candles?

BOY

It gets dark earlier now.

VOFSKY

(confused)

Dark? But it’s just after sunup.

BOY

But you’re waitin aren’t ya?

VOFSKY

Yes, but he’ll . . .

BOY

(Before he can finish the BOY says,)

Then you’ll need em. Gets dark earlier now.

PELEG

(approaches the boy)

See here, child. We’ll not be waiting around all night. Take your candles and go home.

BOY

Not going home, going afield.

PELEG

Oh, of all things Holy. What idiot parents would let a child follow after the dimwitted?

(Walks away, pulling at GLUCKA who tries to look back at the boy. As they move to the backstage edge of the fence, VOFSKY approaches the boy who’s still, tossing candles over the fence).

VOFSKY

We appreciate your concern I’m sure, but really, he’ll be here long before sundown.

BOY

He’s not coming.

VOFSKY

Excuse me?

BOY

He’s not. Coming I mean. I work up there usually, (he gestures toward the palace) with my folks. See him sometimes. Yesterday he told me to deliver the message.

VOFSKY

Message?

BOY

That he’s not comin. Oh and to give out lots of candles. “A little light dispels a great deal of darkness,” he said. “And boy do those folks got a world full of darkness to fight.”

(He tosses out one last candle and runs off, Stage Left.)

(VOFSKY looks in the direction the boy exited then goes back to the rock.)

EZRAH

Well?

VOFSKY

He’s not coming.

EZRAH

Not coming? Are you sure?

VORSKY

BOY is. Says he works for him. Told the boy himself. If you listen to the BOY.

EZRAH

We’re still waiting though, aren’t we?

VOFSKY

Seems best, I think.

(He settles down with his back against the rock, then hands the candle to Ezrah. He reclines against the rock and tilts his hat over his eyes to cover them. )

VORSKY

Seems best (he repeats).

(FADE TO BLACK)

(END OF SCENE)


Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Natalie Frank

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      • Natalie Frank profile image
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        Natalie Frank 2 months ago from Chicago, IL

        You're very welcome Dora. Thanks for the comment and for stopping by.

      • Natalie Frank profile image
        Author

        Natalie Frank 2 months ago from Chicago, IL

        My pleasure Linda. Thanks for the comment and for stopping by.

      • CaribTales profile image

        Dora Weithers 2 months ago from The Caribbean

        Wow! This is farther back than I ever heard of. All new to me, but I know that Peleg sounds familiar. Looked it up. Thank you.

      • AliciaC profile image

        Linda Crampton 2 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

        I'm not familiar with the story, either. Thanks for introducing me to it, Natalie.

      • Natalie Frank profile image
        Author

        Natalie Frank 2 months ago from Chicago, IL

        Hi Kari - I had only planned on doing the one scene since it started out more as an exercise to see if I could do it at all and then I got more into it. There's not much to the story really, as it's about two men who are waiting for a third, Godot, to arrive. Very little happens, and during their long wait the men talk about their lives. Godot never comes. Beckett never disclosed what he intended the play to mean and actually denied it meant anything other than what it seems to be on the surface. Everyone has their own ideas of what it means though, from waiting for God, to waiting for death. Thanks for the comment.

      • k@ri profile image

        Kari Poulsen 2 months ago from Ohio

        I enjoyed reading this. Is there more to come? I am not familiar with the story.

      • Natalie Frank profile image
        Author

        Natalie Frank 2 months ago from Chicago, IL

        Thanks, Bill. Just found some kind of inspiration to try something new. It was fun but not something I think I have the skill to do regularly. It's nice to shake things up every so often.

      • billybuc profile image

        Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

        Nice adaptation! I've never tried writing a screenplay or the like...seemed too difficult for me...but obviously not for you.

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