Here’s a fun way to explore our modern cult of independence – how far would a vine leaf get if he tried to ‘branch’ out on his own? Not far, as we’ll see.
- Vinnie Vine-Leaf: dressed entirely in green, possibly even painted green. Owns a shop called Vinnie’s Vine Products Emporium
- Bob: customer, ordinary clothes
[NB, substitute Vincenta for Vincent in script if female name needed]
On stage, a chair
Vinnie Vine-Leaf Branches Out
[Vin enters, loudly]
Vin: Roll up, roll up! Come and get yer fresh vine products here!
All fresh today. Organic, fair trade and locally produced – you can’t get greener than that!
Roll up, roll up!
Vinnie Vine-Leaf’s brand new vine products emporium is open for business!
Bob: Hello, did I hear you say vine products?
Vin: Indeed you did!
I’m Vinnie Vine-Leaf, and this is my brand new vine products emporium.
I opened just this morning. Welcome, welcome.
Bob: [stepping inside and looking round] Oh, it’s … umm … lovely. [if stocked, the shop sells only sugar and oxygen]
Vin: Why thank you. I am hoping to make a GRAPE success of this shop, then I can open new BRANCHES all over!
Bob: Ha ha, yes, I see what you did there. Yes, grape, branch. What with you being a vine leaf and all.
Vin: Indeed I am. Vinnie Vine-Leaf. It’s a double-barrelled surname. We’re an OFF-SHOOT of the noble Oak-Leaf family, and distantly related to the Gold-Leafs, you know.
Bob: Oh, that’s quite a family … TREE you have there! Ha ha ha. Family tree, ha ha.
Vin: Ha ha – tree! You did a funny! [suddenly not laughing] I do the funnies. OK?
Bob: Oh. OK. I’ll LEAF it there.
Vin: [glaring] Anyway, as I was saying, welcome to Vinnie’s Vine Products Emporium. You’ll find everything vine related right here. It’s a one-stop wonderland of viticultural verisimilitude.
Bob: Wow, that’s certainly RAISIN my vocabulary!
Vin: Look, you gonna buy anything or not?
Bob: Sure, yes. Sorry. What wine would you recommend to go with lamb? I have some friends coming round tomorrow and I thought we could have a nice joint of …
Vin: [interrupting] Wine? Wine? You’re asking for wine?
Bob: Yes, wine. Vinnie’s Vine Products Emporium – I kinda figured you might sell wine. Is there a problem?
Vin: Do I look like a grape to you?
Bob: Ummn, no.
Vin: No. I am a leaf. There is a clue in the name. Vinnie Vine-Leaf. Not Gertie Grape, or Stanislav Stem or Ricardo Root-Hair. Vinnie Vine-Leaf.
Bob: [sniggering] hee hee. I’m sorry. Ricardo Root-Hair. Is that seriously his name?
Vin: It’s actually Rodrigo Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso de la Root-Hair [pause for applause] but we usually PRUNE it down.
Bob: Yeah. So … no wine then?
Vin: No wine.
Bob: And I’m guessing no grape juice either? [Vin glares] Nope, OK then … how about … ummm
Vin: Anything vine-related – anything at all. Just not wine. Or grape juice.
Bob: Umm, how about Stuffed Vine Leaves? I had them at a Greek restaurant once and … [Vin glares] What now?
Vin: How many vine leaves do you see here?
Vin: One. Me.
Bob: Yes, right, sorry. OK then … how about … ummm
Vin: Anything vine-related – anything at all. Just not wine. Or grape juice. Or anything that involves eating the proprietor.
Bob: Ummm …
Vin: Anything at all. Anything that a fine, verdant, good-looking, virile young leaf can produce.
Bob: Oh, I know! Do you have those little decorations made of dried vines? You know, you get little stars and things, sometimes they’re painted gold … made of dried vine … are you OK?
Vin: [insulted] I think, sir, you will find that those are tendrils, not leaves, and if they are dried then they are dead!
Bob: Oh I’m sorry. I didn’t think.
Vin: I should think so! Coming in here demanding decorations made from my dead friends. It’s very rude.
Bob: I’m really sorry. I didn’t mean to inSULTANA you. [Vin glares]
Oops. Sorry. I can’t seem to STEM the flow.
I’ll TREAD more carefully now.
Vin: Oh, it’s alright. To be honest, I’m not feeling very well.
I only opened the shop this morning and I’m already beginning to wilt. [sitting down]
Bob: Yes, you know I was going to ask about that. Where is the rest of your vine?
Vin: Well, I used to be a part of a lovely big vine, I spent many happy years there, but I said to myself, “Vincent”, I said (my mum always called me Vincent when I was young, she said it was because I smelled so nice, her little Vin Scent, she said. Bless.)
Anyway, “Vincent”, I said to myself, “You’re a big leaf now. It’s time for you to see what you can accomplish all on your own. You’ve spent long enough stuck to this vine, it’s time to get out there and photosynthesise for yourself!”
So here I am. Photosynthesising for myself. No big old vine holding me back. No fussy little flowers with their precious petals. What use are they, I ask you? No bloated grapes sucking up all my sugar. Nope. Just me. Photosynthesising.
Bob: Ummn. Yes. About that. You do know how photosynthesis works, don’t you?
Vin: Of course. I may be green but that doesn’t mean I’m uneducated. It’s GCSE Biology, that is. carbon dioxide plus water becomes glucose plus oxygen.
So which are you wanting, glucose or oxygen?
Bob: Neither, really.
Vin: Aw c’mon. You’ve got to buy one or the other. It’s all I have for sale.
And preferably buy glucose – I’m fit to bursting if I don’t shift some soon. Been photosynthesising all day and it’s just building up and building up. I feel like a giant green stick of rock.
I don’t know why it’s not going away. It always used to. And I’m not getting any water either. I’m going to run out soon.
Bob: Well, where does your glucose normally go?
Vin: It goes down the stem to the vine and then it gets sent all over to make the whole plant grow, and what’s left over we store in the grapes as sugar.
Bob: And the water you need for photosynthesis, where does that come from?
Vin: It comes from the roots, they suck up the water and it comes up the stem to me and … oh. I see. I haven’t really thought this through, have I?
Bob: No. It’s all very well you doing your photosynthesis – and you do it very well –
Vin: Thank you [looking faint]
Bob: But you need all the rest of the plant as well. You need the roots for water. The roots need you for their food. You need the flowers, so that there are grapes and somewhere to store your sugar. They need you to make the sugar. And everyone needs the stems, or nothing would get anywhere. It just doesn’t work on your own.
Vin: Perhaps we could form a workers’ collective – you know – a co-operative of independent little shops. We could make trading agreements, a kind of common market!
Bob: No, that’ll never work. Besides, what you really need is the vine. The vine is the life that makes everything else live. All the individual bits can’t work without that life.
Vin: You’re right. It’s SAPping my strength already. I conSEED.
Bob: We can’t LEAF this any longer. Let’s get you back on the vine and you’ll soon feel GRAPE.
Vin: Thanks BUD. You’ve put up with my WINEing and always ROOTed for me. I know it’s been hard GRAFT.
Bob: [helping Vinnie up] Well, you took a while to TWIG, and it was a GLUC(L)OSE shave, but going out on a LIMB, I’d say you’ve learned a BUNCH.
Vin: JUICE think so? I’m so happy I feeling like RAISIN the roof in song. Sing with me …
Both: [singing as exit] VINE be the glory, RAISIN conquering …
John 15:1-8 J.B. Phillips New Testament
“I am the real vine, my Father is the vine-dresser. He removes any of my branches which are not bearing fruit and he prunes every branch that does bear fruit to increase its yield. Now, you have already been pruned by my words. You must go on growing in me and I will grow in you. For just as the branch cannot bear any fruit unless it shares the life of the vine, so you can produce nothing unless you go on growing in me. I am the vine itself, you are the branches. It is the man who shares my life and whose life I share who proves fruitful. For the plain fact is that apart from me you can do nothing at all. The man who does not share my life is like a branch that is broken off and withers away. He becomes just like the dry sticks that men pick up and use for the firewood. But if you live your life in me, and my words live in your hearts, you can ask for whatever you like and it will come true for you. This is how my Father will be glorified—in your becoming fruitful and being my disciples.
J.B. Phillips New Testament
The New Testament in Modern English by J.B Phillips copyright © 1960, 1972 J. B. Phillips. Administered by The Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England. Used by Permission.
Thanks to Steve Dawson for the punchline