December 22 & 23: Ebenezer Harper and the Three Spirits
Spirits (or ghosts) #1,2,3
Ebenezer Harper and the Three Spirits
Done as Story Theater with the Narrator on stage:
Narrator: It was a cold and snowy Christmas Eve… at least it would have been cold and snowy but with global warming it was actually just cool and wet, mucky actually. Not like those winters we used to have with snowball fights and skiing and tobogganing. Those were the days. Anyway, it was a foggy, wet Christmas Eve and Ebenezer Harper had gone to bed with a blot of gruel on his stomach… ‘a blot of gruel on his stomach’? Who wrote this thing? Poor Ebenezer was tossing and turning in the midst of a gruel inspired-nightmare where all the green terrorist groups who are opposed to destroying the planet for oil and money and power, and simple unforgivable GREED, all these environmental terrorists were banging at his door when the clock struck one and his room was lit up as if by an oil well explosion and there appeared a Spirit.
EH: Holy F***!
SPIRIT #1: Ebenezer Harper, I am the Spirit of Canada Past.
EH: Canada Post?
S#1: PAST. Canada Past. (EXTENDS HAND TO EH) Rise! And walk with me!
EH: I’d rather not. (THE GHOST GRABS HIS HAND)
SOUND AND LIGHTS TO INDICATE A JOURNEY THROUGH THE NETHER WORLD
Narrator: So off they went. They landed up in the Boreal Forest, near where the tar sands were not yet exploited. Fort Chipewyan was still a healthy community with drinkable water and normal levels of cancer. People still fished in the MacKenzie and there were caribou and deer and bear. Winters were cold and white with snow. (IF A POWERPOINT WERE AVAILABLE PHOTOS TO MATCH WOULD BE USED BEHIND HARPER AND THE GHOST)
EH: I recognize this place. I used to holiday here as a child.
S#1: You wouldn’t recognize it now.
EH: I caught a fish when I was 7 years old. Just over there it was. A great big healthy fish! I was so proud.
S#1: That was in my day. Now…. But I am getting ahead of my era. Come, my time grows short. Quick! (GRABS EH’S HAND. SOUND AND LIGHT JOURNEY)
N: This journey took them to the Bulkley River.
S#1: Remember this river?
EH: Yes! Yes! We went salmon fishing here!
S#1: Clear water, clean. In the summer people floated down the river in inner tubes.
EH: Yes! I did that! I did that! It was fun!
S#1: Such happy times are gone. The pipeline that runs along the Morice River that joins the Bulkley, that pipe… ah, that is my brother’s tale. Come, one shadow more.
SOUND AND LIGHT JOURNEY
N: This time they landed at the coast.
EH: Dolphins and whales and otters and…. Fantastic! I’m going to call my secretary, get her to book me in here for a holiday. Charge it to the taxpayers. (PAUSE) I didn’t say that aloud, did I? I didn’t say that…. No, I never said that… (ENTERING A DREAM STATE. GHOST #1 FADES AWAY) No, I never said that. Mister Speaker, these people are terrorists, environmental terrorists financially supported by foreign fascists who just want to get into our pants… pockets, pant pockets, and they are making up nasty stories about me that just aren’t true and don’t at all take into account that big fish I caught when I was just 7 years old….
(FLASH OF LIGHT)
S#2: Ebenezer Harper. Ebenezer Harper. I am the Spirit of Canada Present. Look upon me!
EH: Can’t. I’m asleep. My eyes are closed.
N: (ASIDE) That’s for sure.
S#2: Open your eyes and know me better, man.
EH: Bugger it.
N: Language, language.
EH BLOWS A RASPBERRY.
S#2: Are you two finished? I am a Spirit, you know. Exceedingly serious and holy. Now, you, Ebenezer Harper, touch my robe. (AS EH TOUCHES THE ROBE WE HEAR THE SOUND AND SEE THE LIGHTS INDICATING A JOURNEY.)
N: The Spirit and Ebenezer flew through the night and landed in…
EH: Hell! Is this hell? It looks like hell. Fires burning, smoke billowing. It sure as hell smells like hell. HUGE trucks….
S#2: Some would call it hell. This is the land where you used to holiday as a child.
EH: You’re kidding. He’s kidding me, right? You joker (gives the Ghost a light punch on the arm and EH’s arm goes right through the ghost)
S#2: Sludge from the tailings ponds is seeping into the river contaminating the water. The fish are sick, full of tumors. No one eats the fish anymore. The people are sickening too. Animals are dying. People are dying.
A SHORT JOURNEY — SOUND AND LIGHTS
S#2: See all these people, all these British Columbians, marching in protest, speaking out about the tar sands, the pipelines.
EH: They’re clearly over-reactive.
S#2: They don’t want to expand the tar sands.
EH: Progress, man. Economic progress. Canada could be a superpower! And I’d be, like, Emperor of the Universe! I mean, as Prime Minister I could rest easy knowing that during my reign… uh administration, I had brought Canada to the height of glory.
S#2: The people don’t want Canada to be an oil superpower. A country with water that’s clean, air that’s fresh, soil that’s uncontaminated and fish that are healthy — that’s what the people want.
EH: But think about the money, the power!
N: Think about the environment, the planet.
S#2: People are worried about global warming. They are worried about the pipeline. They are worried about the tankers plying the treacherous coastal waters.
EH: That’s ridiculous. What could go wrong?
S#2: That will be my brother’s story to tell.
EH: You mean there is another ghost? (EH SLIPS INTO THE NIGHTMARE AS S#2 DISAPPEARS) No, no. I don’t want another ghost. I don’t want….(EH FALLS TO HIS KNEES AND BANGS HIS FISTS ON THE GROUND IN A TEMPER TANTRUM. SPIRIT #3 APPEARS. THIS SPIRIT LOOKS LIKE DEATH WITH A LONG BLACK, HOODED ROBE AND A SKELETAL HAND)
N: Oh shut up! Shrouded in a deep black garment, which concealed its head, its face, its form, and left nothing of it visible, save one outstretched hand, The Spirit of Canada Yet to Come appeared and touched Ebenezer on the shoulder with that skeletal hand.
EH: (REACTS AND GIVES A SHRIEK) Don’t touch me!
N: But the Spirit just pointed until Ebenezer Harper turned to gaze upon the scene the Spirit lay before him.
EH: What’s this? Where is this?
N: It was a scene of mighty devastation. The tar sand smokestacks were billowing out toxic smoke; the rivers were so polluted nothing survived in them; the creatures of the land were dying as pipelines criss-crossed their migration routes and hunting grounds, and their habitat was destroyed. Homelands were devastated when pipes carrying bitumen and condensate leaked or were broken by avalanches. The coastline was slick with oil as tankers ran aground and spilled their deadly cargo. People were hollow eyed, gaunt with cancers. People around the world suffered as the climate changed so much they could no longer grow food. Many became water refugees; water wars broke out.
EH: What does any of this have to do with me?
N: The Spirit of Canada’s Future raised its spectral hand and pointed to a little plaque
that rested in the dried mud.
EH GOES OVER AND TAKES THE PLAQUE WHICH HE READS ALOUD.
EH: “Canada’s Glorious Future Brought to you by Ebenezer Harper, Emperor of Oil, Ignorance and Greed.” They are blaming this on me? Me? No. No! I won’t accept responsibility. You can’t blame me for this! No Spirit! Oh no, no! Spirit, hear me! I am not the man I was. Why show me this, if I am past all hope? Good Spirit (EH FALLS TO HIS KNEES BEFORE THE SPIRIT), your nature intercedes for me and pities me. Assure me that I yet may change these shadows you have shown me by an altered policy? I’ll put a stop to the pipeline; I’ll support green energies; I’ll encourage Canadians… and others… to find ways to lessen our reliance on fossil fuels….Oh Spirit, Spirit, hear me….
THE GHOST SLIPS OUT OF HIS CLOAK, LEAVING IT IN EH’S HANDS, AND SLIPS OFF-STAGE. EH SLEEPING, SLIPS TO THE FLOOR, USING THE CLOAK LIKE A BLANKET.
N: So there we have it. I’m not so sure Emperor Ebenezer will change his policies but maybe an election will oust him and we’ll get somebody running the country who really cares about developing a sustainable future, someone who believes we should leave a planet for our children. Heaven bless them if we don’t change our ways…. Heaven bless them every one.