Just Like Heaven –
From A Demonic Satire
By Greg Yingling
(The stage at open is lit heavily in red, with a smoky aura if possible. Azazel is sitting at a piano, facing towards the audience, and working with Moonlight Sonata, wearing a black suit, with a crimson red shirt. Phillip should be wearing an almost entirely white suit. The set should be designed to look like an apartment set as far back as possible; the coloring and dialogue will hopefully allude to the fact that it’s inside Phillip’s mind.)
Azazel: I’m sure I can make this better, a few smirks here, maybe a few “pity me” looks there, crescendo as this point, decrescendo here. Yes, that could do it.
Philip comes running onto stage, toppling Azazel off of the piano stool.
Phillip: Get out of my head!
Azazel: Hahaha, would you stop it already, Phillip? You know you can’t get rid of me like that; how many times must we go through this?
(At this point possibly have both characters sit in opposing chairs.)
Phillip: Why can’t you just possess someone else, someone who’d probably enjoy your company, like “El Diablo”?
Azazel: You think Simon Richards wants me to possess him? Just because someone is a sadistic maniacal freak doesn’t mean they would want to give their body up for possession. There’s no one who honestly wants me to possess them. Besides, I’m starting to enjoy being you. When I’m in charge people respect you, no more snickering when you walk by. You haven’t lost a case no matter how much evidence the prosecutors found, you’re setting the scum of the earth free left and right.
Phillip: They fear me; that’s not respect. I only took those cases because you made me, and you twisted, manipulated, and misrepresented the facts.
Azazel: Does it really matter anymore? How many people do you know who are totally honest? Deceit and two-facedness are the traits that let people succeed. (Smile and grin at the audience).
Phillip: You make me sick.
Azazel: My friends and I have been doing a pretty good job, haven’t we?
Phillip: (Moan) You’re driving me mad. This is my body, not your playground!
Azazel: Go mad if you want.
Phillip: Ahhh! I have to sit idly by as you spread your lies everywhere. Why couldn’t you tell that psychiatrist the truth? You agreed to go to counseling, yet you made a mockery of the whole thing. Why did you bother to go?
Azazel: I think why I lied is obvious, it usually causes the most damage. I just agreed to go to counseling, but I didn’t agree to participate honestly. I hope you’ll remember that the psychiatrist wasn’t exactly the most stable person in the world either.
Phillip: True… But then what is the real story?
Azazel: You want know the real story, Phillip? Are you sure you want to know the real story? I don’t think you want to know the real story.
Phillip: Just tell me already. You spin these massive lies to everyone else, give me some relief. I want to know what really happened up there. (Pointing and looking upward.)
Azazel: If you really want to know, (Reaches behind curtain to grab and hand Phillip a white robe) put this on.
Phillip: Huh? What’s this for?
Azazel: Well you said you wanted to know the real story, so I might as well show you.
Phillip: Wait, you’re going to take me there?
Azazel: That’s right. (Reaches behind curtain to pull out another robe, and starts to put it on)
Phillip: But how’re we gonna do that?
Azazel: We’re in your mind; I can do whatever the heck I want here! (Evil laugh)
Phillip: Ok…so…where are we going?
Azazel: Heaven, you idiot. Just because the story I told to that psychiatrist was laced with lies doesn’t mean there wasn’t any truth to it. I’m a demon- a fallen angel- and angels are from heaven, where it all went down. Where else would we go?
Phillip: With you I never know.
Azazel: (Snaps fingers, and cottony stuffing falls to the floor, bright white lights turning on, slowly returning to normal as the dialog resumes) And here we are.
Phillip: This is heaven? It’s rather dull… all white…and fluffy…and bright. It’s too much like a soap opera. Are you sure this isn’t Hell?
Azazel: First of all, Phillip, I have to work within the constraints of your limited imagination. And, let’s face it, your imagination isn’t exactly oozing creativity out your ears. And secondly, you couldn’t handle what the real heaven is like- it’s too much for you to comprehend- this one will just have to do. I am surprised you managed to notice the connection between soap operas and Hell, most people don’t catch that, but that’s another story.
Phillip: Alright, whatever. (Turns around.) Wait a second… why is the apartment still there?
Azazel: Budget cuts.
Phillip: Budget cuts? What are you talking about?
Azazel: Come on Phillip, I just told you I had to work within the constraints of your imagination. This version of heaven ties up most of your imagination, enough that there wasn’t any left to hide it. Just turn around and don’t look at it.
(Luci walks onto stage)
Luci: Hey Azazel, how’s it going?
Azazel: It’s going just great, Luci.
Luci: Glad to hear it. Who’s this? I don’t think I’ve seen him around heaven before.
Phillip (to Azazel): Why is my girlfriend here?
Azazel (to Phillip): That’s not your girlfriend. (To Luci) This is Phillip, he’s a … friend of mine.
Luci: Phillip? What kind of a name is Phillip? God must have been having an off day, nobody would name an angel Phillip.
Azazel: Talk like that is going to get you in trouble, Luci.
Luci: Stop spoiling my fun, live a little.
Azazel: It’s called self-preservation; we can’t have God get mad and kick us out of heaven.
Luci: Don’t be silly; I’m far too important to get thrown out of heaven.
Azazel: That remains to be seen. (Luci looks shocked). Anyway, Phillip isn’t an angel.
Luci: He’s not? Then what is he?
Azazel: He’s a man.
Luci: A man?
Azazel: Yes, a man, like Adam.
Luci: Like Adam?! Azazel, you’re a bit of a rebel after all, bringing a man to heaven! You know that’s not allowed. Where ever did you get him? The only one I know of is Adam…
Azazel: Well, he….
Luci: You made him, didn’t you?! This is wonderful; how did you do it? We could cause so much havoc.
Azazel: I didn’t make him.
Luci: Oh, then where did he come from?
Azazel: It doesn’t matter; it’s rather complicated.
Luci: And here you were starting to get devilish.
Phillip: (Clears throat and seems peeved) Azazel …who is this?
Azazel: Oh, sorry, this is Luci; currently an angel.
Phillip: Luci? I’ve never heard of any Luci. How big a role can she possibly have in any of this?
Azazel: (Laughs) You’d never heard of me either. I’m sure you’ve heard of Luci, she’s the most important demon of all. You’ve probably heard of her by her full name though, Lucifer.
Phillip: Excuse me?
Azazel: You know, Lucifer, the princess of darkness.
Luci: Um…is everything alright guys?
Phillip: (to Luci) Excuse us for just a moment. (To Azazel) Can we discuss this…over there? (Phillip points to a corner of the stage)
Azazel: (To Phillip) Sure. (To Luci) We’ll be right back.
(Phillip and Azazel walk to the corner)
Phillip: What do you mean princess of darkness?! I thought it was prince of darkness. And why does she look just like my girlfriend?!?
Azazel: Well, technically, the Bible does refer to her in the masculine, but in this day and age we’re trying to be politically correct; keep the feminists happy and all. They all like to think God is female, but they never talk about Lucifer, if you’re crazy enough to think God is female, you’d better be willing to handle Satan as being female too. As for why she looks like your girlfriend, I think that’s a question you should ask yourself. It’s not like I’m going to bring the real Lucifer here for you; that would be a bit much.
Phillip: What? That makes no sense. You’re crazy.
Azazel: Hey, think what you want, I’m just saying how it is. I’m no psychiatrist (Quiet evil laugh). Now let me finish my story.
Phillip: Alright, let’s go see what you wanted to show me with Luci.
(Phillip and Azazel return)
Luci: So boys, are you done?
Azazel: Yes, quite done. How have things been in heaven lately?
Luci: You have no idea how incredibly dull it’s been up here. It’s always Luci, do this, Luci do that. God won’t ever give me a break.
Azazel: You sound pretty contemptuous, you might wanna be careful.
Luci: Shut up Azazel, I know he gets on your nerves too. I’m gonna need you to think of a good way to spice things up around here.
Azazel: Are you sure about this Luci? That seems … unwise, even dangerous.
Luci: Always the prude. Get some backbone Azazel; have a little fun. What’s the worst that could happen?
Azazel: Lots of things, but give me a few minutes, I’ll go think of something.
(Azazel walks of stage for a few moments, only to return with picket signs and pamphlets.)
Azazel: Here we go, here we go. Take this (hands Luci a sign)
(They both proceed to march around the stage chanting and holding their signs. The signs will say things like “Down with God” and “I Love Luci”. Azazel will also start to hand out the pamphlets to people in the audience. The pamphlets will roughly be as follows: on the cover a crossed out picture of light breaking through clouds, then on the inside the one side will say “What has God done for you? Probably a lot, but who cares? Luci is more fun.” Then on the opposing page a picture of a female angel giving the thumbs up will be shown. The whole time Phillip will look on in confusion and shock. Possibly get some other people to march around picketing as well.)
Phillip: Hold it, what’s this? Azazel, what’s going on?
Azazel: What does it look like?
Phillip: This is how you decided to spice things up?
Azazel: You have to understand Phillip, not all of us demons were in it entirely for the sake of benefiting Luci and overthrowing God. Some of us probably even realized that overthrowing God would be impossible, but come on, you know how it is to be called a prude. Prudes aren’t popular; we figured a little protesting instead of pure obedience might make us a little more popular with the other angels.
Phillip: You wanted to be popular?! That’s absurd.
Azazel: Right, as if you’ve never done something outside of what you stand for just to “be cool” (With finger quotes). Look at Luci: could you really turn down anything she asked you? You wouldn’t want a girl that gorgeous thinking you were a prude now would you? We all break a rule or two here and there, just like everyone else. Everyone has a dark side; the only difference is that you were given an out. Now let me get back to work before Luci gets mad at me.
(Azazel returns to protesting. Shortly after a loud crash of thunder is heard, every possibly light is turned onto the stage, and Luci and Azazel jump to the back of the stage and cower.)
Azazel: Oh great, we’re in for it this time.
Luci(fer): Shut up Azazel, I’ll do the talking. (Pauses, and acts like she’s listening.) Listen, God, can I call you God? This was all Azazel’s idea, he made me do it, I couldn’t say no. I tried to get away to tell you, but he wouldn’t let me.
Azazel: (Looking very mad.) What, you lying [wench]! How could you? (Suddenly cowers and looks into the light.) Yes, I’ll be quiet….who’s he? (Looks at Phillip) He’s not part of the story!
Luci(fer): See, God? Look how he’s trying to twist the facts and play you for a fool. I’m your favorite angel, remember? Why would I wanna do that? (Suddenly looks horrified and distraught and looks at the light.) No, you can’t do this to me, you can’t. (Screams in anger and runs off the stage, or at least into the black curtains at the back of the stage.)
Azazel: Haha, that’s right, finally getting what you deserve. See what happens when you try to frame people? Run away! (Suddenly looks distraught himself and looks at the light.) What?! But I thought! (Suddenly looks mad and jumps backwards, landing unpleasantly at the back of the stage inside the apartment area, the lights quickly returning to normal but red. He then slowly rises, dusts himself off, and starts to get rid of the robe.) So are you happy now? I hope you’re happy now. Those are some pretty painful times for me to relive. Now you know the true story; heck that even explains the meaning of my name.
Phillip: The meaning of your name?
Azazel: Yeah, “Azazel”. It’s the Hebrew word for scapegoat.
Phillip: I don’t understand, how did that explain the meaning of your name?
Azazel: Because I was used as a scapegoat you idiot. Come on, it wasn’t that hard to figure out. In heaven Luci tried to place the blame for the rebellion on me. I’m not going to deny having actually taken part in it, a fairly significant part in fact. You know better then to think God would’ve made a mistake about that. But Luci tried to place all the blame on me.
Phillip: Oh, I see. I still don’t know if I can believe that story. You aren’t exactly the most trustworthy per…er…demon.
Azazel: Ah, the beauty of the demon, you can never be sure if we’re telling the truth or not. But you blame all your problems on us. Poetic justice I suppose. Do you have any idea how hard it is to get recognition for being a demon these days?
Phillip: What on earth are you talking about?
Azazel: Just think about it, you didn’t believe in demons before me, and how many cases of true possession can you think of?
Phillip: Well, I suppose none…
Azazel: You really should read your Bible. Aside from the ones in there, though, you’re right… and you want to know why?
Azazel: It’s because you humans are so screwed up. Just look at you: your Hitlers, your Saddam Husseins, your Osama bin Ladins, your Mussolinis, your Charles Mansons, your Joan Rivers’, your Uni-bombers, your murderers, your child molesters, your rapists, extortionists. You’re a disgrace, a disease, how am I supposed to top any of that? At least back in the day we could make someone foam at the mouth and get some recognition, but you can’t even do that anymore. Everybody just figures you’ve got epilepsy. Do I look like I’m epileptic to you?! I suppose I should be proud, me and my brethren have made such a mess of you all, you that are so highly loved by God. I am sad, for what am I now but a paltry tormentor whose only recognition comes from the mind of the one he possesses?
Phillip: What?!? That’s pathetic.
Azazel: How dare you?!
Phillip: Who would’ve thought I’d get stuck with the whiney demon? This is rich, now I want you out of my head even more.
Azazel: I am far more then you will ever be, you wretched little worm.
Phillip: Get out!
Azazel: Make me.
(Phillip yells and lunges at Azazel, but Azazel throws him back down and laughs.)
Azazel: Why do you continue to defy me? I’m growing tired of this game; I think some punishment is in order. We’ll see how often this continues when you recover.
Phillip: You can’t do anything to me…unless you’re leaving, and then I wouldn’t care what you did.
Azazel: Oh I’m not leaving anytime soon.
(Azazel slowly backs into the curtains laughing quietly and the red lighting turns off. Phillip gets up.)
[For the sake of a One Act it was recommended that I cut here, and since its doubtful anyone here would ever see the following act I wouldn’t really consider the rest crucial either, so unless you really like it for some reason cutting here is fine.]
Phillip: Well, Luci should be getting here shortly, I should call the restaurant. (As he reaches for the phone, his hand suddenly jerks to the knife.) What?! What are you doing?! (He moves the knife in front of his stomach, obviously trying to resist.) No, this can’t be happening, he wouldn’t, he can’t….(At this point he stabs himself once in the stomach and falls to his knees, he then looks up.) Why?!? I’m no good to you dead? (He then stabs himself several more times and collapses.)
(Doorbell rings. After a short pause it rings again. After another short pause it rings again, and then Luci slowly opens the door.)
Luci: Phillip? Phillip, are you there? I’m ready to go out to din…(Noticing Phillip) Phillip! No, why would you do this? (She runs over to him and checks his pulse.) Why? (She then rushes to the phone and dials 911.) I need an ambulance, right away. The address is (Make up an address…) (She the heads back to Phillip and holds his hand.) Why Phillip, why?
The End – of this act