View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Robin Hood play: end

(This is the end of the working draft of the play. I have already begun some revisions. Rehearsals start Monday.)

Will: That’s what it was like. Robbing, and tricking the sheriff and giving people
their money back, and never having to do laundry or take showers. We
were really Merry Men. Then things changed. (Exits)

(Marian, disguised as a man, enters. Robin steps out.)

Robin: Hold there lad. Where are you from? Why are you in these
woods alone?

Marian: I am from Nottingham. My business here is none of your business.

Robin: I am the collector of tolls on this road. All who pass here are my business.

Marian: Toll collector? More like a thief. (sniffs) And a smelly one at that.

Robin: (Drawing sword) Unless you state your business, I must assume you are
a servant of the Prince John. Please pay the toll.

Marian: (Drawing sword) I serve whom I serve. Let me pass.

(They begin to fight. Battle back and forth across the stage.

Robin: You fight well.

Marian: Thanks.

Robin: And your teeth are so white.

Marian: I brush them twice a day. You should try it.

(Then they battle down the steps to the front of the audience.)

Robin: Phew. This is hard work. (Turns to a member of the audience). Could you
please stand up? (Audience member does so) Here, if you could hold this
sword up for a minute, and let him hit it. (Hand over sword, and give
directions. Marian just keeps hitting it lightly) Thanks.

(Robin takes out a bottle of water and drinks some. He keep directing the
audience member.

Robin: That’s right. Just keep holding him off.

Marian: I could use a break too. (Enlists volunteer from audience.) Here, if
you could just his sword a few times. (Gives audience member her
sword). That’s right. Just keep hitting it. (Takes out bottle of water.)

(Marian and Robin step back and watch the fight. They keep giving
instructions to the audience members fighting in their place.

Robin: Good fight.

Marian: I could stand here all day and watch it.

Robin: Well, I suppose we better get back to it.

(Both take the swords back. Point to volunteers.)

Robin: Let’s here it for our stunt doubles.

(Robin and Marian lead the audience in applauding, then begin fighting
again. Fight gradually goes back up on the stage.)

Robin: Hold it, friend. I am bleeding. You are bleeding. Neither one of us is going
to win at this rate. Let’s just call it a draw.

Marian: You will let me pass?

Robin: Yes.

Marian: Then I will tell you my business. I’m looking for Robin Hood.

Robin Hood: Why are you looking for him?

Marian: We were childhood friends. I’ve been away to school. I came back to find
all the evil things the Sheriff is doing to my beloved Nottingham. And
now, the Sheriff wants to marry me.

Robin: Marry? But you’re a boy.

Marian: I am really Maid Marian.

Robin: Marian? Why I am Robin!

(They hug)

(Little John, Much and Alan burst in with swords drawn.)

Little John: We heard a fight

Alan: Back away stranger.

Robin: This is no stranger. This is Maid Marian. We knew each other when we
were children.

Little John: I remember you. My father worked as a woodsman for your father.

Marian: You are John the runt?

Little John: Yep.

Much: Runt?

Little John: You should see the rest of my family.

Robin: Marian has come seeking our help. The Sheriff wants to marry her.

Little John and Much: Urgh.

Robin: Wait. I thought the Sheriff was married.

Alan: He was.

Little John: A hunting accident.

Robin: I didn’t know the Sheriff’s wife hunted.

Alan: She didn’t.

Little John: It happened in the dining hall. She was hit by three arrows, an ax,
and a large kielbasa.

Robin. Oh. (Then to Marian) By the way, where did you learn to fight like that?

Marian: I went to an all-girl school where there’s only one bathroom.

Robin: We don’t have bathrooms here in the woods.

Alan: Or bathtubs.

Little John: Or a laundry.

Marian: I noticed.

Robin: We’ve been kind of busy.

Marian: Nonsense. There’s always time for a little cleaning up. After all,
cleanliness is next to Godliness.

(They exit. Little John, Alan and Much come out with sweeping the stage
and dusting the scenery. Marian joins them and supervises. Will Scarlett
comes out brushing his teeth.)

Will: Marian certainly cleaned things up in Sherwood Forest. We even built some
bathrooms. In honor of the Prince, we called them Johns.

(Merry Man approaches and dusts Will. He glares at the man. The man
moves away.)

Will: But all was not well.

(Robin enters, looking unhappy.)

Will: Robin, is something wrong?

Robin: Is something wrong? Yes. With me.

Little John: What do you mean?

Robin: People tell all sorts of stories about me. They say I’m a hero.

Much: But you are a hero.

Robin: What kind of hero am I? Will, you beat me in a sword fight. Little John
knocked me in the river from the bridge. Even you Maid Marian, a girl,
fought me to a draw. And I look like a midget next to Little John.

Marian: Everyone looks like a midget next to Little John.

Will: Everything you say is true, but you can do other things.

Alan: You beat me at chess.

Little John: You can run circles around me.

Marian: Can you think of something you can do well?

Robin: I bake pretty good chocolate chip cookies.

Will: Besides that.

Robin: Well. I am a good shot with a bow.

Little John: Good shot? You are the best in the land.

Will: And you are a great leader. I beat you, but I follow you. Little John beat you,
and he follows you.

Much: And you do make such great cookies I sell them at the public market. I
even sell flour with your picture on it. I call it Robin Hood Flour. It’s a big

Robin: You’re right. I am a leader. I am a good shot. And I make great cookies.

Will: You just have to make use of your strengths.

Robin: Much and I could open a bakery.

Will: NO. Use your strength as a leader. Use your archery.

Robin: Yes. There must be something I could do with my archery.

(All Exit. Enter the Sheriff and Lackey. Lackey is eating a cookie.)

Sheriff: Robin Hood! Robin Hood! That’s all I ever hear.

Lackey: He is big news.

Sheriff: He steals everything I steal and gives it back so I have to steal it all over

Lackey: It’s not that bad.

Sheriff: What do you mean?

Lackey. I’ve been going over the books. See. Last April we collected 300 pieces
of gold. This April we collected 450 pieces of gold. Gold revenues are up
50 percent. And that doesn’t count the cows, pigs and kielbasas.

Sheriff: Let me see those figures. (Studies the scroll.) Wait a minute, The reason
they are up is because every time we collected the taxes Robin and his
men stole them back and we had to collect them all over again. We
collected some of the same coins three or four times. Look here. What’s
the net?

Lackey: Oh. The net is down. But kielbasas are up.

Sheriff: Where did you learn accounting anyway?

Lackey: The Lakeside Learning Center.

Sheriff: Sounds like a fly by night organization.

Lackey: Well, at least we have jobs. Robin Hood keeps us in business.

Sheriff: He won’t keep us in business for long. Prince John is not happy.

Lackey: There’s a stall at that public market that sells great chocolate chip
cookies. We could send the Prince some.

Sheriff: All he wants is Robin’s head.

Lackey: Cookies would taste better.

Sheriff: Forget the cookies!

Lackey: It’s hard. They are great after a hard day of taxing and running from
Robin’s men or at the target range.

Sheriff: That’s it! You finally have an idea!

Lackey: I’ll get us some milk to drink with them.

Sheriff: NO! The target range!

Lackey: You want us to shoot at cookies?

Sheriff: No. Robin fancies himself a great shot. And he is proud. That’s his

Lackey: Pride goeth before a fall.

Sheriff: Exactly. We will have an archery contest. That will draw him into
Nottingham, and then we’ll catch him.

Lackey: Brilliant idea. Only you could come up with something sneaky like that.

Sheriff: Yes, I am good.

(They exit. Lackey returns and puts a sign on a tree. He exits. Robin, Will,

(Little John, Much and Marian enter. They look at the sign.)

Much: I never learned to read. What’s it say?

Little John: The Royal Sheriff of Nottingham is sponsoring an archery contest at
the Nottingham Fair.

Will: The winner will receive a golden arrow, a bag of gold, and an autographed
picture of the sheriff.

Marian: And the winner will be named the best archer in England.

Robin: I’m the best archer in England.

Little John: It’s obviously a trap.

Robin: Of course it’s a trap.

Marian: You can’t go. The Sheriff will be waiting for you.

Robin: That’s why I will go in disguise.

(All exit except Will.)

Will: We tried to talk Robin out of it. But he had to go. And we had to go with him.
In disguise. (Puts on a flowered hat)

(Sheriff, Lackey and Soldier 1 enter.)

Sheriff: is everything set?

Lackey: We have soldiers everywhere. Some are in disguise. We have
archers in the towers. We have soldiers in all the secret tunnels.
There's no way he can escape.

Sheriff: Then we can clap him in chains and take him to Prince John.

Lackey: But what if Robin Hood doesn't show up?

Sheriff: And pass up a chance to prove he's the best archer in the

Lackey: True.

Soldier 1: But what if somebody else wins? Then you'd have to give them the

Sheriff: We'll get it back. There's a prize tax.

(Townspeople begin to enter. All of the townspeople are either soldiers or
merry men in disguise.

Archers begin to arrive. All are obviously in disguise. Viking. Native
American. Knight. William Tell. Whatever costumes we can find. One is
the hunter.)

(The old man comes in dressed in a cape.)

(Robin enters in disguise as an old man dressed in a cape. He nods to the old man, who nods back.)

Sheriff: Keep a sharp eye on anyone who looks suspicious.

Lackey: No one so far.

Sheriff: Well, I think they are all here. Let's get started.

Lackey: (Loudly) It is time for the archery Contest.

Contestant: What do we shoot at?

(Everyone looks around.)

Sheriff: (to Lackey). Where is the target?

Lackey: (to Soldier 1) Where it the target?

(Soldier advances to the edge of the stage and points to the audience
member who had moved the target earlier.)

Soldier: Hey, Peasant.

Hunter: Pheasant? Where?

Entire cast: He said “Peasant.”

Hunter: (dejected) Sounded like pheasant. The people around here all talk like
Australians. (Other archers comfort him.)

Soldier: (To audience member, saying the first word with emphasis) Peasant. Go
get the target.

(As the audience member gets the target, Robin looks at the old man.)

Robin: (trying to sound old): We old fellows still got some life, eh? Maybe we'll
surprise these young whippersnappers.

Old man: I think many people will be surprised.

Robin: I have not seen you around here.

Old Man: I've only just come to this area.

Robin: So word of this contest has spread.

Old man: Word of what is going on here has spread.

Robin: Well, good luck.

Old Man: Good luck to you.

(Target is placed at the far right side of the stage.)

Sheriff: Let the shooting begin.

(First archer fires. All follow flight of imaginary arrow. We hear loud

Lackey: Miss. Next.

(Hunter shoots upward. All follow flight. Duck with an arrow in it
falls to the stage.)

Lackey: Miss.

Hunter: Miss? That's the best shot I've ever made.

(He goes to retrieve the duck. Returns to the archers, who all
congratulate him.)

Sheriff: Enough of that. Next.

(Third archer puts on thick glasses, shoots. We hear a scream. Soldier
runs across the stage with an arrow sticking out of him. As he runs he
yells Ow Ow Ow Ow. Exits.)

Lackey: Miss. Next.

(Old man fires. All follow the shot.)

Lackey: Direct hit!

Sheriff: I told you he would come!

Lackey: Next.

Robin: Good shot.

(Takes aim. Fires. All follow flight.)

Lackey: Direct hit. It split the other arrow.

Sheriff: That has to be Robin.

Old man: Good shot.

Robin: Thank you.

Lackey: We have to have a shoot off. First finalist.

(Old man takes aim. Fires. All follow flight. All gasp.)

Lackey: Direct hit again. He split the second shooter’s arrow!

Sheriff: That has to be Robin.

Robin: Good shot. My turn.

Robin takes aim, fires. All follow flight of the arrow. All gasp.

Lackey: He split the arrow again.

Sheriff: One of them has to be Robin.

Lackey: But which one?

Sheriff: ( Loudly.) I declare the contest a draw. Congratulations to the winners.
Now, arrest them both.

(Robin and the old man draw swords. Merry men join them. Sheriff,
Lackey and soldiers advance with swords drawn.)

Robin: (To old man) They don’t want you. They want me. I’ll tell them I’m Robin
so you can leave.

Old man: I’ll stay. Things are getting interesting.

Sheriff: We have you now Robin Hood. The town is surrounded. There
are archers in all the towers aiming at you right now. I have you,
whichever one of you is Robin.

(Merry men all look around.)

Robin: Even if we die here now, we will take some of you with us. We
fight in the name of King Richard.

Sheriff: Richard? Ha. He's dead. And even if he is alive, he's far
away from here.

Old Man: Not so far away. (Takes off wig and cape to reveal he is King

(Crowd all gasp and mutter. It's the King. The King. All bow)

Sheriff (to Lackey) He's shorter than I remember. (To the king.)
Welcome back sire. We are happy to see you well.

King Richard: Yes, I am back.

Sheriff: Just in time to watch us arrest the great criminal, Robin Hood.

King Richard: He is not a criminal. Everything he has
done has been for the good of the kingdom.

Sheriff: Oh, your highness. You have not been around. You haven't
heard all the things he's done.

Lackey: He's a bad one.

King Richard: I have heard enough about you Sheriff, and my dear brother
John. Time to flush out everything that's wrong in my kingdom.
(Turns to Robin) Robin.

Robin kneels before the king: Yes, sire.

King Richard: You are now Sir Robin of Locksley, Sheriff of Nottingham.

Sheriff: But that's my job. What do I do now?

Will Scarlet: With your experience there's a perfect job for you in
the stable. All you'll need is a good shovel.

Sheriff: (To Lackey) Do something!

(Lackey approaches the king with a bag.)

Lackey: Like a cookie, sire?

King Richard: Thank you. (Takes a bite.) Mmm. Good.

Much: It’s Robin’s recipe.

King Richard: I like it. And I like Robin’s recipe for England. No unfair taxes.
Justice for all.

Little John: It’s time to make England Merrie Olde England again!

Marian: It’s time to clean up England. (Merry Men all groan)

Robin: All hail King Richard.

Will: And all hail Robin Hood!

All applaud.


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