Three Kings by Conway Dunn (for prsbhtblog)
The richness of the Biblical tapestry is brought to life in this remarkable book of three plays by author Conway Dunn. An R.E. teacher for twenty years Mr Dunn is well qualified to fit the task. He takes the lives of Old Testament Kings, Saul, David and Solomon and in the context of an English courtroom brings them back to life. In a mock trial they are tried as to the question were they ‘good’ or ‘bad’ kings. The readers are left to decide.
The plays, each about an hour long are divided into two parts: there is the trial itself and then a summary by the defence and prosecution.
The different lives of the Kings is derived from the book of Chronicles, Kings and Samuel in the Old Testament section of The Bible.
The ‘cast’ ghosts in Arab dress are being quizzed by an English jury. Their extensive involvement in battles and executions signifies the period in which they lived. The judgement becomes not whether they were brutal and sadistic, but overall if in time the outcome of their reigns was good or bad. Overall, as David had followed Saul and Solomon was the son of David-whose line produced Jesus Christ, it could be mooted that the line of succession improved as it got nearer His birth.
King Saul defending his people against the Philistines could be classified as ‘good’. King David within the parameters of the day. despite his affair with a married woman Bathsheba, after all was father of Solomon. He built a temple rich with gold and jewels, and this despite employing virtual slaves of his people to build it. Was he a ‘good’ king?
These plays would work in a classroom context, each person taking a different part.
The summaries could be read by a teacher. As far as staging, one would need a video production where the action could be illustrated by special effects, but this would detract from the dialogue, whereas a radio play could include some background illustration to heighten the effect of the powerful words.