Noah's Ark

NOAH: Gather around, Shem, Ham and Japheth, my three sons - and you too, my wife - and listen to me, because I've got something very important to tell you.

NOAH'S WIFE: I do have a name, you know.

NOAH: Yes of course, dear wife, so you do.

NOAH'S WIFE: Well, it might be nice if you used it once in a while. I wouldn't be surprized if you've forgotten it.

NOAH: Come come, wife, there are more important things to be discussed than your name.

NOAH'S WIFE: Such as?

NOAH: Such as the future of all things that live upon this earth.

HAM [very hammily]: The future of all things that live upon this earth!

NOAH: Yes, Ham.

HAM: No! Impossible! Never speak those words, oh Father! Why, it beggars the imagination even to broach such a subject! It's too immense! The mind reels!

NOAH: Be quiet, Ham.

HAM: I've said too much! I've spoken out precipitately! I allowed my feelings to get the better of me, dear father. Henceforth, my lips are sealed! I am silence itself! You shall hear my voice no more. [Pause] I -

NOAH: Ham.

HAM: Sorry.

NOAH: The things is, I've had a visit from God.

HAM [bursting out]: Oh, wonderment of wonderments! The Almighty! Alpha and Omega! The great Jehovah himself! Visiting our father in his humble abode!

NOAH: Ham!

HAM: Sorry.

SHEM: What, you mean God actually came here? To this house? God in person?

NOAH: Yes, that's right. He came and spoke to me.

SHEM: What did he look like?

NOAH: Well, he looked quite ordinary, really.

JAPHETH: Did he have a beard?

NOAH: Yes, he had a beard.

JAPHETH: Is that how you could tell it was God?

NOAH: Well, no, not really. Lots of people round here have got beards.

JAPHETH: Have they?

NOAH: Yes, Japheth, we've all got beards. You've got a beard yourself.


NOAH: Yes, Japheth, you have.

JAPHETH [feeling his chin]: Oh, yes.

SHEM: So you were just doing some ordinary stuff, mending a tent-pole or something, and all of a sudden God walked in, and said 'Hallo, I'm God'.

NOAH: No, not exactly. I was praying.

NOAH'S WIFE: Wait a minute! When was this? We normally pray together!

NOAH: Not always. I sometimes do a bit of praying by myself.

NOAH'S WIFE: Oh, that's typical of you, that is. Goody two-shoes. Trying to curry favour. It's not enough for you to just stick to regular prayers like the rest of us. You have to go sneaking off and try to earn a bit of extra credit on the side, without anybody else knowing, so as to get your nose in front.

NOAH: It's not about earning extra credit, wife.

NOAH'S WIFE: Huh. Still no sign of my name.

NOAH: Recently I have been increasingly troubled in my soul about the iniquity of mankind, and I -

NOAH'S WIFE: Oh, the iniquity of mankind.

NOAH: Yes, and I -

NOAH'S WIFE: Is this why we never have anybody round for supper?

NOAH: Well, it -

NOAH'S WIFE: The rest of mankind aren't good enough for you, I suppose. No, they're all sinners, they are. So that means I can't have a social life. Just because the neighbours are a bit less old-fashioned than you...

SHEM: Always fornicating, you mean.

NOAH'S WIFE: Yes, just because they go in for a bit of fornication now and then...

SHEM: And bestiality.

NOAH'S WIFE: Yes, all right, fornication and bestiality.

SHEM: And torture. And false idols. And sacrificing their firstborn to the false idols.

NOAH'S WIFE: Yes, well, just because they're swingers, I have to end up being some kind of a social outcast. They all stare at me when I go to draw water from the well, you know. They whisper about me to each other behind their hands. There goes Noah's wife. She's never done it with a gibbon. Her husband's only got one god.

JAPHETH: What's bestiality?

SHEM: It's when a human does it with an animal.

NOAH: Well, I was praying to god about the iniquity of mankind, and that was when he appeared to me. And he told me to build an ark.

WIFE: An arch? He told you to build an arch?

NOAH: No, an ark. It's like a big boat. Well, a very big boat.

WIFE: A big boat? A big boat? What's the point of building a big boat? That's going to fix the iniquity of mankind, is it? I suppose they're all going to go, Oh look, Noah's built a big boat. Well, that's it, then, I suppose we'd better give up our iniquitous ways. It would have been nice to carry on with the fornicating, and all the false idols and the sacrifices and everything, and doing it with gibbons, but if he's going to start building big boats, what's the point? We'll just have to reform our ways.

SHEM: Are you sure it was God?

NOAH: Yes, it was definitely God.

SHEM: Did you ask him? Did you actually say to him 'Are you God?'

NOAH: No, I didn't.

SHEM: Well did he show you any proof of ID? Did he have any angels with him or anything?

JAPHETH: Does what with an animal?

NOAH: Look, I was praying to God, and then he appeared to me. It was obviously him. It's difficult to explain, but I just absolutely and completely knew it was him. And he told me to build this ark, this big boat, because it's going to rain, and there's going to be a great flood, covering the whole world, to wipe out all the iniquity on the face of the earth, and if we build the ark we can rescue ourselves from the flood.


HAM: A great flood! Oh, the horror! The horror! The rain! The destruction! The ceaseless drumming rain! The cold grey flood waters! Already I feel them lapping at my throat! Help me! Help me, my brethren! I can feel myself drowning!

WIFE: For goodness' sake, Ham!

NOAH: Be quiet, Ham.

HAM: Sorry.

NOAH: If you can't control yourself, you'll have to stand outside.

HAM: Sorry, father.

SHEM: Are you sure it was God?

WIFE: Look outside of this house, Noah. Just look outside of this house. We're living in the middle of a hot country, in case you hadn't noticed, and it's the dry season. I have to walk ten minutes to the well every time I need water. It's as hot as an oven out there. The sky is too bright to look at. There isn't a cloud to be seen.

SHEM: There is one cloud to be seen, actually. That small one over there, look, in the west.

WIFE: Well, that's the first one I've seen in a month, and it's no bigger than a man's hand. And you're telling me, Noah, that it's going to rain hard enough to flood the whole world.

NOAH: I'm not telling you anything. It's God who's doing the telling. But you can see for yourself the way things are. Iniquity piled on iniquity. Things can't go on like this. A great day of reckoning is at hand.

SHEM: So what are we meant to build this ark out of?

NOAH: Gopher wood.

SHEM: Gopher wood? I've never even heard of gopher wood.

NOAH: No, me neither. But that's what he said.

SHEM: Are you sure he said gopher wood? Are you sure he didn't just say go for wood?

NOAH: He said build the ark from gopher wood.

SHEM: And how big's this ark meant to be?

NOAH: Three hundred cubits by fifty cubits by thirty cubits. With three decks inside.

SHEM: Blimey.

WIFE: All right. There might be something in this. It might not be such a bad thing after all. If there really is a flood, at least we'll get to choose who comes with us in the ark and who stays outside and drowns. That's something, anyway. That's a bit more like it. If they want to be rescued, they'll have to stay on the right side of us. A bit of social standing at last. No more last in line when it comes to the invitations. We'll be the ones doing the inviting, and they'll be the ones desperate to get invited.

SHEM: In a boat that size we could take the whole town.

NOAH: We won't be taking anybody.

SHEM: What? Then what's the point of building such a big ark?

NOAH: No humans, anyway. We're going to take all the animals with us.

SHEM: All the animals!

WIFE: All the animals! I don't even like animals! Have you completely lost your mind, Noah?

NOAH: You heard what I said. We're taking the animals.

SHEM: What, even rats?

NOAH: Yes, even rats.

WIFE: I hate rats!

SHEM: What, even snakes?

NOAH: Yes, even snakes.

WIFE: I hate snakes!

SHEM: What about camel spiders?

NOAH: Yes, even camel spiders.

WIFE: Oh, come on! Even you hate camel spiders, Noah! You killed one with your boot last week.

NOAH: Listen to me, wife. God has decided to make a fresh start. He's going to wipe the slate clean. He's going to flood the whole of the earth. Everything will be destroyed. All of life will be wiped out. We're going to have to start all over again. The only humans to be preserved will be the members of this family - you and me, plus Shem, Ham and Japheth and their wives. And the only animals to be preserved will be the ones we take in the ark with us. So we have to take a breeding pair from each species.


HAM: Oh, the humanity! The humanity! Such terror! Such devastation! The destruction! The suffering! I think I hear the cries of the children, the helpless little children, and the wailing voices of the old!

NOAH: Ham, go and stand outside.

HAM: Yes, father.

SHEM: He's right, though, father. Not everybody's all that bad. They don't all deserve to die, do they?

NOAH: It's God's will.

SHEM: Did you ask him how he could justify this on moral grounds?

NOAH: No, Shem, I didn't.

SHEM: After all, he created the world. If it's gone wrong, who's to blame?

NOAH: We didn't get into a philosophical discussion. He spoke, and I listened.

WIFE: Who's going to feed all these animals and clean up after them, I should like to know?

NOAH: We all are.

WIFE: Well I might have known that this is how it would end. It's been downhill ever since we were married. When I first met you, Noah, it was all sweet talk and promises. Marry me, because you have found favour in my eyes. Your hair is like a flock of goats from Gilead, your neck is like a tower of ivory, your navel is like a goblet, your backside is like a perfume factory, all the sweet talk. Marry me, you said, and together we will live happily and raise a mighty tribe. Nothing about Marry me, and you won't ever have any friends. Marry me, and I won't even be able to remember your name. Marry me, and together we can be shut up in a boat with a load of smelly animals. Shovelling dung. Glorified zoo-keepers.

SHEM: Won't the animals just eat each other?

NOAH: No, Shem. This is going to be a fresh start. We'll be going right back to the beginning. Within the ark, it'll be just as it was in the Garden of Eden.

WIFE: Well I'm not cavorting around in the nude, if that's what you think. And you can keep your clothes on as well. Nobody wants to see that.

SHEM: I thought you wanted to be a swinger.

WIFE: Not that kind of a swinger. I don't mind the human sacrifices or the false idols, but I prefer to keep my dignity.

JAPHETH: Can I have a dog?

NOAH: What?

JAPHETH: Can I have a dog?

NOAH: This isn't about pets, Japheth, it's about saving the animals from destruction.

JAPHETH: But I like dogs.

HAM [suddenly, from outside]: Blow, winds, blow, and crack your cheeks! You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout! Spout till you have drowned the whole intricate rented world! Behold the wrath of God! The air darkens! The sky grows black! The sun is blotted out! The doors of heaven are flung open, and the deluge begins!

SHEM: He means it's starting to rain.

NOAH: There you are, you see.

SHEM: That cloud's a lot bigger than a man's hand now. I thought it was getting dark.

WIFE: Oh, Noah! Will it be all right? Will we be safe? How long's this ark going to take to build? Don't just stand there stroking your beard! Get a move on! I don't want all my best things getting wet.

NOAH: Yes, we'd better get started. Come on, boys.

[They call go out apart from Shem and Japheth.]

JAPHETH: What's happening?

SHEM: We're building this ark.

JAPHETH: This what?

SHEM: Japheth, have you been paying any attention at all?

JAPHETH: Yes, of course I have.

SHEM: Have you understood a single word of what we've been saying?

JAPHETH: Yes, of course I have.

SHEM: Have you? I mean, have you? Really?

JAPHETH: Yes. Yes, yes, yes. Yes.

SHEM: Really?

JAPHETH: Well, no.

SHEM: Just what I thought.

JAPHETH: Do I still get my dog?