copyright © 2002 Lee Moyer


By Lee Moyer



Rod Serling: Looking usually dapper in a black suit, his lit cigarette trails smoke and he talks out of one side of his mouth in a clipped and succinct cadence all his own...

Dot: She’s everything Todd is not. She’s dull, disloyal, tee-totaling, prudish and talentless. Formal dress, handbag, hair done up. Defender of the Status Quo.

Todt: Hitler in all his glory. Bad German accent and worse personal grooming.

Todd: Todd

Scene: [An black stage with a single tight spotligh on an empty chair. Rod’s theme music plays lightly in the background until "Purgation" when it stops]

Rod Serling: There is another Dimension. [steps into spotlight] Between the blinding apex of Heaven and the lightless abysm of Hell, between the stuff of Dreams and the tchotchkes of Nightmare, between the pit of Shame, and the pinnacle of Forgiveness, there is a dimension of magic, a dimension of puppetry, a dimension of mime. A dimension of No Shame- a place we call "Purgation". [steps back out of spotlight]

It’s Friday night, and a trial is about to begin. [Someone grab Todd, sit him down and quietly ask for his patience]

Submitted for your approval- the judgment of one Todd William Ristau.

For the persecution- we present Dot.

Dot is everything Todd is not. She’s dull, disloyal, tee-totaling, prudish and talentless.

Dot: Todd is evil. [steps into spotlight behind Todd’s back] He’s everything that’s wrong with this country today. He’s Chaotic Evil. Plain and simple. He mocks all civilized peoples. That pornographic play where the werewolves copulate and eat people… His piece about [flushes and stammers embarrassed] mast… masturba… ahem… The piece he deceptively calls "80 Dollars a week", and his fascination with those naughty naughty Nazis…

Todd is all Master Race, Mastication, and Masturbation. [giggles at her own wit]

It’s clear that he craves Mastery of …something.

Perhaps something symbolized by his fallen idols: the dissolute Mr. Martin and that uxoricidal Mr. Lewis… [Oh. Not Mister Martin’s old partner Jerry Lewis. I mean Jerry Lee Lewis, the Killer]

He participates in wicked reindeer games, and is a walking advertisement for [makes little quote marks with her fingers] "Poona the Fuck Dog".

He’s the degenerate Muse of Mayhem and a danger to all Proper Theatre. And to law-abiding citizens everywhere. He deserves to burn. [hastily adding, a tad defensively] As an example to others you know. That’s what justice is about. Setting a good example. [steps back out of spotlight]


[shrilly] Burn him!

Rod Serling (from Offstage): For the defense- we present Todt.

Todt is death. A German death. Perhaps you recognize him…

Todt: Todd is a good boy. [steps into spotlight]

He is not chaotic. He is not evil. Any D & D player knows that.

He’s lawful good- Striving for Truth, Poetic Justice, and the American Theatre…

You and your kind are just jealous of his superior intellect. That Mastication line was just pathetic. Don’t you agree?

Todd’s religious reverence shines through his every piece and you don’t even notice! Most of you smartypants don’t even believe. You sit and chuckle at the blasphemer’s Church of Judith, and cannot understand his pain. He is no more evil than you or I, but he understands that evil is the defining characteristic of mankind. He does not ignore evil as you do, he confronts it! Even when it hurts. Especially when it hurts. Theatre is life, and he is never so alive as when interacting with an audience. [Beginning a reverie] It was the same way with me in Nuremberg you know- [raising volume after each period] with the thousands screaming my name. The stage. The spectacle. The Wagner! It was GLORI/ [catches himself digressing and finishes the word "Glorious" quietly embarrassed) ous…

Todd is a good boy. [steps back out of spotlight]

A good boy.

Rod Serling [from Offstage]: As to the jury- well, you know who you are. [Lights up full on audience] You are his imaginary friends. You come here every Friday under the pretense of attending a paid entertainment. Some of you seem to linger while others flicker and fade at the edges , [Lights on audience flicker and fade back slowly…] like the guttering of a dim candle. The truth is that you are but a jury of phantoms in Mister Ristau’s Purgation. And as such, your duty is clear. Before these 5 minutes expire, you must judge Mr. Ristau’s guilt. […to black. Bring theme music back up very faintly at first, but growing louder] Will you damn him to an eternity of Cats? Leave him here in Purgation- Where anything can happen and everything usually does- Where you can comfortably come to visit his cell every week? Or will you free him forev… [Glances at watch. Speaks with slight embarrassment]

I’m afraid your Pancakes are done Mister Ristau.

Done to a blackened turn.

We’ll be seeing you next week.

[Blackout and music stops]


"Purgation" debuted June 28, 2002, performed by Greg Hays, Clinton Johnston, Sean Nitchmann and Todd Ristau.

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