Jessica Schrock Ringenberg is pastor at Zion Mennonite Church in Archbold, Ohio. This skit was first performed at Zion Mennonite Church on Feb. 5.
Edward R. Murrough
Scene: One stool up front, stage center. Preferably a microphone on a stand. Ed sits on the stool. Producer enters stage left with clipboard in hand.
Producer: This just in, we now have a new definition of “BREAKING” NEWS. On the scene now, our top team has been working tirelessly around the clock to provide for you minute by minute analysis of what “NEWS that BREAKS” truly means and how it affects you. Ed, what have you learned.
Ed: (in old school anchor style reporting) Edward R. Murrough here, this just in, we have now learned that John ate the cake. (awkward silence)
Producer: (Nervous laughter, motioning “keep rolling” gestures)
Ed: The cake was eaten by John. That is all we know right now at the moment.
Producer: (Nervously) And is there anything else you can tell us? We do have 24 hours of time to fill and we need people to be glued to their screens so that the advertising revenue keeps pouring in…
Ed: It did appear as though, John enjoyed eating the cake.
Producer: Cut to commercial! Okay, Ed this just doesn’t seem to be working. I know you are a legendary broadcaster and that you just report the news, but we need people to be on the edge of their seats with updates and details, and analysis… and this isn’t going to work….We’re going in a different direction.
Ed walks off.
Producer: Okay, we’re going to have to just go with it people! Here, now do whatever it takes to really convey to the public the urgency and their need to stay tuned, without ever turning their screen off. We have a 24/7 time slot to fill, people, and advertising is what brings in the big bucks, so make them need to know what you have to say.
***Producer pushes Ed out off his seat and brings in Reporter 1. When each “side” presents, an audience member sits on the floor on a chair directly in front of the person for the duration of the “broadcast.” As reporters listen in, they should make disapproving gestures.
Reporter 1: Welcome. We are the first to report the inside details from sources, closest to John who were there the moment John was presented with the cake that was to be eaten by John. We will give you moment by moment details and analysis of John’s demeanor during the eating of the cake, as well as an inside look into the kitchen where the cake was actually baked and a history of the recipe of said cake. Stay tuned.
Audience member 1 gets up and walks off. Reporter 2 pushes reporter 1 off the stool. Audience member 2 takes a seat.
Reporter 2: This just in, undercover hidden surveillance footage revealed John eating the cake. The real question remains, was it John’s cake to be eaten in the first place? We have brought in our experts to give an up to date analysis of what may have been John’s motivation for eating the cake. Later we will give you the flavor of the cake and how John’s eating of the cake will affect you and your wallet. Stay tuned.
Audience members come together.
Audience 1: Wow, did you see the news?
Audience 2: Yes, I am just shocked and appalled that John had the audacity to eat that cake.
Audience 1: What do you mean, they made the cake for John and presented it to him.
Audience 2: That’s what they want you to think, but really the surveillance video caught every second of John eating the cake.
Audience 1: You’ve got to be kidding me. I saw the whole thing on the news!
Audience 2: So did I! You’ve got to be careful of where you get your information. You’re being brainwashed!
Audience 1: I’m being brainwashed!?!?!? You’re the one parroting back every bullet point you see on that half-baked broadcast you call the news!!!
Audience 2: I can’t even talk to you anymore!
Both storm out.
Ed: And there we have it folks, the new and true meaning of…
ALL: “WHEN NEWS BREAKS!”
Everyone exits, except for Ed.
Ed: A few observations from this seasoned reporter. First of all, since when is eating cake news- worthy? Secondly, John’s being presented the cake, and the eating of the cake being caught on surveillance are not mutually exclusive. John could have been presented a cake and while he was eating it, it could be caught on a surveillance camera. And finally, you can make any event appear either good or bad, or inconsequential depending on how you report it. If you want John to look bad or if you want John to look good, the story can happen either way… either way it appears, the news is indeed broken.
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