The A Team Presentation


Cast (in order of appearance):

            Jim: Sky Stegall          

            Uncle Tom: Margaret Miller

            Hester Prynne: Lauren Sweeney

            Captain Ahab: Jorge Rodriguez

            Amelie Rorty: Laura Sockol



(Jim and Uncle Tom on the raft)


Jim: Uncle Tom, I donÕt think we're in Kentucky anymore.


Uncle Tom: Perhaps Jesus has guided us to the open waters of freedom!!


(Enter Hester)


Jim: WhoÕs that? (pointing to Hester)


Uncle Tom: Maybe itÕs an angel sent down to guide us.


Jim: LetÕs help her get on the raft!


(Hester gets on raft)


Uncle Tom: Is that A for Angel?


Hester: Some people like to think so. (Uncomfortable pause)


Jim: Well, in any case, IÕm Jim and this hereÕs Uncle Tom. Welcome to my raft. Well, our raft.


Hester: ItÕs a pleasure to meet you. IÕm Hester Prynne. You have a lovely raft. (Clearly insincere)


Uncle Tom: Why were you swimming?


Hester: I sought passage on a whaling ship which was returning to Nantucket. I was planning on going back home. But our vessel was wrecked whenÉ


Ahab: Ahoy there!


Jim: Who Ôder?


(Ahab enters floating on leg)


Ahab: Have you seen the White Whale?


Hester: Lord deliver us, itÕs my shipÕs captain.


(Jim helps him onto raft)


Uncle Tom: Welcome aboard captain-


Ahab: Call me Ahab.


Uncle Tom: Nice to meet you. IÕm Uncle Tom, this is Jim, this here's Jim's raft, and I believe you already know Ms. Prynne.


(Hester bows head)


Ahab: Oh, yes. Hello again Ms. Prynne. ItÕs nice to see you got free of the wreck.


Hester: Alive, yes. But free?


Jim: Of course youÕs free. YouÕre here ainÕt ya? I mean we are in Illinois right?


Everyone: (mumbling) NoÉ


Ahab: Actually, last time I checked our maps we were tracking the White Whale through the North Atlantic.


Hester: ThatÕs right. I saw him do itÉabout a hundred times since we left harbor.

Where do you think we are, Uncle Tom?


Uncle Tom: I donÕt rightly know. I trust that we are where God has intended us to be.


Ahab: Well, there's an easy way to find out. Where does your master keep your maps?


Jim: Funny you should ask. (Jim and Uncle Tom look at each other) I suppose IÕm the master of this raft. We donÕt have a map.


Uncle Tom: ÔCept for my Bible.


Jim: In any case, we donÕt know where we are either.


Ahab: What do you mean you donÕt have a map?!?


Jim: We left in kind of a hurry. Besides, we donÕt need oneÑ



Uncle Tom: God will lead us to freedom.


Ahab: God wonÕt lead you to freedom. You have to rely on yourself. Seeing how IÕm the only one here who can lead us to safety -


Hester: (coughs)


Uncle Tom: But we are safe. We want to be free.


Ahab: I am already free--


Rorty: (who has been hiding on the raft, turns around) Funny you should say so.


Jim: Who the hell are you?


Rorty: IÕm Amelie Rorty. IÕm a professor of social medicine at Harvard University.


Uncle Tom: WhereÕs Harvard?


Rorty: In Cambridge. Near Boston.


Hester: IÕm from Boston! My name is Hester Prynne, perhaps you have heard of me?


Rorty: I donÕt believe IÕve had the pleasure.


Hester: Really? IÕm huge in Boston!


Ahab: Have you seen the White Whale?


Rorty: No. And you just proved my point.


Ahab: Which wasÉ?


Rorty: That you arenÕt free. None of you are.


Ahab: Of course IÕm free. IÕm Captain Ahab. Neither my crew nor the shipÕs owners nor my wife, Una, tell me what to do. IÕm free to pursue the White Whale of my own accord. No one can stop me.


Rorty: First off, by imposing yourself as captain as the ship you are accepting a social contract with your crew. How can you make decisions about these peopleÕs lives without being affected by them?


Ahab: ThatÕs my point. My decisions arenÕt affected by my crew.


Rorty: Are they free?


Ahab: They were free to choose to board the Pequod. They all made the choice to serve under me. In any case, they donÕt affect my decisions.


Hester: They might not--but the White Whale does.


Rorty: Exactly. You arenÕt free because you canÕt make a single decision without considering how it will get you closer to the White Whale.


Uncle Tom: Why are you chasing the White Whale?


Hester: It bit off his leg.


Ahab: ItÕs more than that. The White Whale isnÕt just a whale. When he bit my leg off, I realized that he was more than that. HeÕs God, behind a pasteboard mask, whose solitary aim is to punish me!


Uncle Tom: God wouldnÕt do that.


Rorty: When the White Whale bit off your leg, you were trapped. You were no longer free. Your purpose in life became one of revenge.


Ahab: What was I supposed to do? Thank him for biting off my leg?


Rorty: In a way, yes. You should realize that everything is connected to everything else. You are the White Whale. ThereÕs a part of you in the White Whale.


Ahab: Yeah, my leg.


Rorty: Yes, but I was speaking on a more metaphysical level. The only way for you to be free is to recognize that you and the whale are one and the same. Then you will have a better understanding of the universe.


Uncle Tom: ItÕs like the story of Jonah! Jonah was swallowed by the whale and by the grace of God he lived to spread the news of GodÕs mercy and love. Jonah had to endure the hardship of the whale before he was fully aware of the greatness of GodÕs love.


Ahab: You forget that it was God who put him in the whale in the first place. God sent the whale to punish Jonah! God was the source of JonahÕs suffering. Just as he is the source of all of our suffering.


Uncle Tom: He doesnÕt send us anything we canÕt handle. YouÕve got it all wrong, God sent the whale to save Jonah just as he sent Moby Dick to free you.


Rorty: In some ways Uncle Tom is right. Spinoza defined God as the totality of the cosmos. Your interaction with the whale could help you better recognize this totality. But Uncle Tom and Jim--you arenÕt free, either.


Jim: We know. WeÕre slaves. Kind of hard to be free when the law says youÕre someone elseÕs property.


Uncle Tom: But remember what I was telling you Jim? We may not be free now, but we will be free in the Promised Land.


Rorty: But you can be free now! Uncle Tom, you just told Ahab that by understanding GodÕs greatness, you can be free. You need to accept the fact that you are slaves, recognize your part in the cosmos as a slave, and--


Jim: Wait, wait. You mean to say that if I accept my role as a slave in my masterÕs house, I can be free?  That hasnÕt worked so far. The only time IÕve ever felt free was when I was on the raft with Huck. And now when IÕm here with all of you.


Uncle Tom: We arenÕt free to see our families, walk down the street when we want to, sleep when we want to, eat when we want to--some masters donÕt even let you go to church.


Rorty: But you are still free to believe what you want to. You have control over how you deal with being a slave.


Hester: I donÕt understand what you are saying. It seems like you are talking about understanding, not freedom. I understand my actions, but IÕm still not free.


Jim: Exactly. I canÕt be free because of all the constraints that my master imposes on me. I have to base my choices within those constraints.


Hester: And I have to base my choices on what is best for Pearl and me, within the religious and social constraints of my community.


Uncle Tom: WhoÕs Pearl?


Hester: My daughter.


Jim: You have a daughter? Me, too.


Uncle Tom: So do I.


Rorty: Hester, as a mother, Rousseau would say that you are the least free of all--he'd say you werenÕt even a productive member of society. You are bound to your child because of your love for her. You canÕt make a single decision without thinking of her first.


Hester: But can Ahab be a Òproductive memberÓ of society? You said that he couldnÕt make a single decision without first thinking of the White Whale.


Rorty: But he isnÕt a mother.


Hester: But I think--


Rorty: Quite frankly Hester, I donÕt give a damn. (Pause, takes a moment) Look youÕre not the first woman to get knocked up, youÕre two arenÕt the first people to be enslaved, and you, youÕre a whaler. YouÕre hunting whales; getting your leg bitten off is an occupational hazard. (Steps off of raft into water and walks around classroom)


Ahab: WhatÕs she doing?


Uncle Tom: (gasps) SheÕs walking on water.


Hester: Should we stop her?


Jim: No, letÕs see where she is going with this.


Rorty: You all arenÕt the Harvard types so IÕll break it down simply for you. The only way you can be free is for you to understand that you arenÕt that special. In the grand scheme of things, you are insignificant. You are (steps on AnneÕs foot)--DonÕt complain, you're not the first person in this room to get her foot stomped on! By understanding and accepting your place in the universe you will get as close as humanly possible to being free. I pity the fool who thinks otherwise! (walks off)


(People on raft sway back and forth)


Uncle Tom: Well, that was interesting.


Jim: YeahÉ(pauses) I thinkÉI think sheÕs wrong.


Everyone: (looks at each other nodding their heads) Yeah.




Ahab: (sings)


Everyone: (turns and looks at him)


Ahab: (stops singing) Wait! Was that a whale?


(PowerPoint video clip)


End Scene.