Ruth is out walking, wearing her mask like everyone else. However, the Messenger comes through with an important announcement.
MESSENGER: Ladies and gentlemen, the King is in our town! Everyone who is willing can showcase their creativity for the King!
The Messenger approaches Ruth and she notices that He is not wearing a mask like everyone else.
MESSENGER: Ruth, I know that you are an artisan. Will you showcase for the King?
RUTH: I’m not sure that I am good enough to perform for the King.
MESSENGER: It’s not about performance. It’s about showcasing your talent. The King loves to see his people using their creative talents.
RUTH: I suppose I will perform, but why don’t you wear a mask?
MESSENGER: I use to wear one, but the King told me he loves each one of us the way we are. We don’t need to hide ourselves from Him. We can just be ourselves.
RUTH: Sounds a little too good to be true.
MESSENGER: Trust me, Ruth, there’s nothing more liberating than being yourself and the King delighting in you.
Ruth nods and walks to a masked Merchant who is selling props while the Messenger exits the stage. He, too, is wearing a mask. There, two people are observing as Ruth walks to buy one. The first person, the Stranger, is wearing a mask, the other, the Watcher, is not.
RUTH to the MERCHANT: I am here to buy props. I am showcasing for the King.
MERCHANT: Ah, and you want to buy a new mask. Very good!
RUTH: Actually, I’m thinking about performing without the mask.
MERCHANT: (gasps) You can’t do that! Then everyone will see you for who you truly are. We can’t show ourselves to the King! We are not worthy!
The Watcher approaches Ruth and the Merchant. He moves gracefully as he gets closer to them.
WATCHER to RUTH: I heard what you just said. I think it’s very brave of you. More people should have your courage.
The Stranger approaches in a rush.
STRANGER to RUTH: Bravery? It is foolishness! No one wants to see you who you really are. Only a fool would not wear a mask. The King would think that you are prideful.
WATCHER to STRANGER: I know for a fact that is not true.
WATCHER to RUTH: Listen to me, take off your mask. You’ll find that you can see better and breathe easier. When you showcase your creativity, you’ll be able to move more gracefully in the full confidence of yourself.
Ruth hesitates a moment but then removes her mask. All of sudden, she takes a gasp of breathe and looks around in amazement.
RUTH: It’s amazing! I can see more clearly! I can breath easier!
WATCHER: See, now you can showcase with all of your talent.
STRANGER to RUTH: I guarantee you, it will not be worth it! No one will like you!
MERCHANT to RUTH: No, I see what they are saying. You do look more beautiful without your mask. You better hurry, it’s your turn to perform!
Ruth steps onto center stage and takes a bow. The Merchant joins the crowd who is seated off to the side. She performs her piece and at first, the crowd cheers, but then the Stranger gets involved.
STRANGER to CROWD: She’s not wearing a mask! She’s going against all of the rules and regulations! She should conform and wear her mask! She does not deserve to even be up on the stage! Boo! Boo!
The Crowd starts to bow her, even the Merchant, who at first was cheering. Ruth begins to be sadden by all of this, however, the Watcher begins cheering very loudly.
WATCHER: Bravo! Bravo! Encore! Encore!
The Crowd goes into a stunned silence and the Stranger leaves the stage in a hurry.
Ruth is shocked that he is cheering and the Watcher approaches her.
RUTH to WATCHER: How come you are cheering? Can’t you see that you were wrong? I was horrible without my mask! It was safe!
Ruth reaches for her mask and starts to put it back on, but the Watcher stops her. He gently lowers it back down.
WATCHER: It does not matter what they think. The point is, you did everything yourself and without hiding behind a mask. I love it when my people showcase their creativity without hiding who they truly are.
Ruth suddenly comes to a realization.
RUTH to WATCHER: You are the King! Why didn’t you tell me?
WATCHER: I think you knew the whole time. You recognized my voice and you heeded it. You took off your mask and you saw more clearly and breathed more easily. Don’t listen to those who say you are not worthy. All you have to do is be yourself and I will delight in you, my child.
The Watcher motions to the crowd.
WATCHER: That goes for all of you too! Look at Ruth’s example.
RUTH to the CROWD: Yes, our King is right. While I was showcasing, I felt like I could do anything and be myself.
WATCHER to the CROWD: I love all of my people and I don’t want to look upon your mask. I want to look upon you. I want to delight in everything that you do.
As Ruth and the Watcher embrace, the crowd removes their masks and rise.
Written on August 8, 2013 (c) 2015 Jacob Airey