Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Concentration (07/24/08)
TITLE: The Three Miracles of 'Messiah'
By Tim Pickl
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The premiere performance of The Three Miracles of ‘Messiah’ is about to begin.
It is a simple set. A plain, oak table sits at an angle on the right-side of the stage. Center-stage is an ornate high back chair with gold trim and royal blue cushions, with a side-table next to it. The background is a heavy black curtain, and the overhead lighting is diffused, white.
Seemingly aloof, Winfield whistles as he chops carrots on the table, with his back to the audience. A lone spotlight pops on him.
The air of nervous expectation is overcome by concentration as the audience focuses on Winfield.
Suddenly, Winfield shudders. He looks to the left, then to the right.
“Hey! Who’s there? Who’s watching me?” The audience laughs.
He spins around, brandishing the knife. “Oh…oh ‘tis only you. Here…let me put this knife down.” He turns back, places the knife on the table and picks up a white towel. He faces the audience again while wiping his hands and asks, “You were the reporters who asked me about my master, George Frideric Handel, correct?”
Winfield walks toward the chair, places his left hand on his forehead. “Oh, yes! I recall now. You inquired about my role during the time when ‘Messiah’ was written. Come in, do come in. Please sit down. Would you like some tea, or perhaps some carrots?”
The audience laughs again.
Winfield sits in the chair center stage, and starts his story with a big sigh. “Oh, dear. Oh, where do I begin? There’s so much to tell.” He sighs again. “I’ll keep it simple.” He carefully places the towel on the table next to him.
“Master Handel hired me years ago so he’d have free time to compose his wonderful music. Last year, when his health began to fail--and he was swimming in debt--I agreed to continue to work until he could pay me. It seemed certain he’d land in debtor’s prison; and I along with him.
“But, The Lord intervened. Two miracles happened: Master Handel’s good friend Mr. Charles Jensen gave my master a script based on the life of Christ, written entirely from the Bible. ‘Twas a good thing, I thought at the time, because Mr. Jensen is a VERY rich man.” Winfield winks.
The audience reacts, chuckling.
Winfield continues, excitedly. “Then, Master Handel received compensation to compose a work for a benefit performance located in Dublin. Glory to God!
“Oh, did I get too excited? I will compose myself.
“Seriously, Master Handel is a determined, focused, hard working, devout, Christian man. On the 22nd of August, Master Handel began composing in his room, isolated. He wanted to be left alone. But, I had a job to perform. So, every day, I prepared VERY appealing meals and delivered them to his room.”
The audience reacts, chuckling again.
“Oh, but I hated to break his concentration. Every time I knocked on his office door, he mumbled something. Then, I gently opened the door and placed the food on his desk. Morning, noon and evening I did this. I returned later to find the plates and bowls mostly untouched.
“Hours and hours he worked, tirelessly. Write this down: Master Handel finished 260 pages of ‘Messiah’ in 24 days straight.
“Oh, and one day—I believe it was a Friday during the second week, as I recall—I dropped off food for him as I normally did. This time Master Handel startled me. He looked up with great tears. Sobbing with intense emotion, he cried out, I did think I did see all Heaven before me, and the great God Himself.”
The audience hears music from the ‘Messiah’–the Hallelujah Chorus–starting in the background.
“Master Handel had just finished writing what we now call the Hallelujah Chorus.”
“It was the third miracle.”
Immediately, Winfield stands, proclaiming, “The first time the King of England heard the Hallelujah Chorus, he stood, recognizing Jesus The Messiah as The King of ALL kings. My friends, please stand, in reverence.
“For when the King stands, everyone stands!”
Singing begins. Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Stage hands dressed in black quickly remove the ornate chair and both tables. The heavy black curtain opens behind Winfield, revealing a full orchestra and choir.
King of kings, and Lord of lords,
And Lord of lords,
And He shall reign,
And He shall reign forever and ever!
The audience erupts in cheers, applause and tears.
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