"For Such a Time As This" was written specifically for the Beckenham Methodist Youth Group in Christchurch, New Zealand and was first performed by them on July 28th 2008 at Beckenham Methodist Church and in front of the President of the British Methodist Conference. It has since been performed at Blenheim, Motueka and Nelson.
Other Groups are welcome to use this Musical Play, but we ask that you request the permission of the authors before any performance. Donations are welcome.
Email either Alan Webster or Judy Utting.
Back in those days, women were thought of as property & they belonged to their men, and had no rights except for those they could obtain by force of character. Esther was orphaned early in her childhood, and brought up by her Uncle Mordecai: at some point in her life she was found by scouts on the lookout for candidates for the King's Harem. She would have been chosen for her beauty rather than her character or race: her religion would have been of no interest to those who found her. She would probably have been bought, possibly at the point of a sword. but life in a harem would have been a dream for an ordinary girl of the time. Her peers would have ended up as workers in fields, with dry skins and bent backs, bearing children and suffering from all the disadvantages of being conquered workers in a foreign land.
In her early teens, Esther would have dropped into a life of luxury, with the best of beauty science of the time focussed on making her fit for a king. Attention would have been paid to her skin, her hair, her nails and so on just like for today: but comportment, manners, speech and "the arts of love": would also have been part of her training, which would have lasted for months. The keepers of the harem would have chosen some of the girls to be offered to the King: who would sometimes have nothing further to do with the girls after their "one night stand".
Most girls would continue to be looked after they had visited the king, until such time as the keepers of the harem could be sure that the king would no longer be interested. they could then sometimes be married off under rare circumstances (after it was clear that there were to be no children of the king) and such women were eagerly sought after, as having been trained in the best that the age had to offer. Some stayed on as tutors for a new round of virgins for the king came in: most were looked after as a kind of proof of the king's manliness...
There could be no question of any other man coming near the women of the King while he still had any kind of claim on them, and chaperones ensured this at all times. Any men who routinely came into contact with the harem were of course emasculated (eunuchs): there could be no risk that any children of the king's wives were not sired by the king himself, for the next King had to come from the King: all kinds of political complications happened without clear (usually oldest male) successors&
Occasionally a favourite, who had caught the king's attention for some reason would be called back into his presence..sometimes such a relationship meant that a woman became, by virtue of her character, an important person at court. Esther was such a woman: but at the point of this story, neither her religion nor her status were clear to the king or anyone else. She is in real danger: had the King simply ignored this woman standing off to one side, she would have been unobtrusively removed and executed for her presumption. Esther is a woman of huge courage and strong convictions. In this play she is shown as someone who grows in understanding of what her role is to be, after initial doubts: she finds strength from God to offer her life for her people.