The following speeches are suggestions for applicants applying for the a 13+ Drama Scholarship. You may also select a speech of your own choice.
The Worst Witch series of books, the first of which was published in 1975, toured nationally as a musical with book, music and lyrics by Paul Todd with Jill Murphy in 1991/2, and has recently been made into a children’s series for Carlton TV.
MILDRED Hubble is ‘The Worst Witch’ at Miss Cackle’s Academy for Witches - she always gets things wrong. But she manages to get by until Ethel, the teacher’s pet, becomes her deadly enemy. In this scene MILDRED has been summoned to Miss Cackle’s office to explain a recent incident. She is very nervous and hoping desperately that she won’t be expelled.
MILDRED: Mildred Headle, Hubmistress. I mean Hubble, Headmistress. Mildred Hubble… Like ‘trouble’, Miss, yes. Unfortunately… Except there’s no ‘o’ in it… But there are two ‘b’s… And an ‘h’ instead of ‘t’, ‘r’. Obviously. (Pause) You can borrow my pen, Miss, if yours has run out… Why am I here? Now, that’s a very good question. I’ve not done anything wrong… much. At all, really. It’s a lot of fuss about nothing, if you ask me… Didn’t you? Oh, I’m sorry. (She giggles nervously) I am taking it seriously, Miss Cackle. Very, very seriously. (She giggles again) Sorry. It was Miss Hardbroom. And a spelling mistake, that’s all. A silly, little spelling mistake in Miss Hardbroom’s class… I turned Ethel into a pig. That was the mistake. It was meant to be a frog. I’ve got to have extra lessons. They’re really, really complicated, all the animal spells, aren’t they?... Right. Well, it all started when I was given a tabby instead of a black cat - I mean, everyone else got a black cat and H.B. - I mean, Miss Hardbroom - probably did it on purpose, but Tabby’s lovely and really intelligent and things, but Ethel said made fun of him and I didn’t like it ‘cos he can’t answer back, and Ethel said that we were both as bad as each other (but she didn’t say what at!) so I said: ‘You’d better be quiet’ and she said ‘Won’t!’ and I said ‘If you don’t, I’ll -’ and she said ‘What?’ and I said I’d turn her into a frog and she said I couldn’t ‘cos I didn’t know the spell. So I did. Well, I didn’t. I nearly did. But I’ve changed her back. She’s a bit disgruntled but she’s alright. Apart from the occasional oink… Witches’ Code, Rule Number Seven Paragraph Two…? (Pause) No, I’m afraid that escapes me at present… ‘It is not customary…’? Oh, yes! ‘It is not customary to practise tricks on your fellows’... No, Miss, I won’t forget in future… Can I? Really? I can go? I thought I was going to be- (Pause) You’re right. The extra lessons with H.B. - Hardbroom’ll be punishment enough. Thank you, Miss Cackle. (She starts to exit, then turns) When you were little? Extra Chanting lessons? Really? (Pause) For two whole terms? (Pause) I won’t tell a soul. Honestly. Not a word. Goodbye, Miss Cackle. And thank you. I’ll see you soon. (Reconsidering) I didn’t mean that. At least I hope I didn’t. (Moving off, to herself) Well, well, well… who would’ve thought Miss Cackle was ever a little girl…?
The WICKED QUEEN is an intriguing character in the story of Snow White. She hates any opposition to her belief she is the most beautiful woman in the world and will do anything, however cruel, to achieve this ambition. Her hatred of the lovely Snow White has become an obsession and she has unsuccessfully tried several ways to have her murdered. In this scene, the story has been placed in a contemporary context and the Wicked Queen has decided to enter a ‘Miss World’ beauty contest. She is speaking to the audience- but alternates between presenting her case as a contestant and reliving certain events in her life.
WICKED QUEEN: (Entering with a dramatic flourish) Well hello everybody, I’m here! I don't think you need to look any further for your Miss World. Why not save all the expense of a lavish show and just crown me now. Why am I so sure? Who are you, dear, and what do you know about beautiful women? Don't answer that, we haven't got time to waste. Well you see, I have a magic mirror, and it is able to see all the women in the world, and then report back to me who is the most beautiful. Every time I have asked it, well, apart from a little hiccup a while ago, every time it has told me that I am the most beautiful. What was the little hiccup? Oh some poor girl who was very lovely, but alas, (she takes out her handkerchief), she had a most unfortunate accident. (She pretends to weep) I’m sorry, it does so upset me when I think of her. I have such a tender heart you see. I want peace and love for everyone all over the world. That is my sincere wish. What talents do I have? Well, I’m a very accomplished actress. Why, sometimes, to amuse my friends, I dress up as an old witch and they tell me I'm really convincing. (She throws her scarf over her head and becomes the witch) Have I got anything that you would like to buy, my dear? What about this pretty necklace? Yes, of course you can try it on. Because it’s poisoned, you stupid little girl! (Coming out of character) Oh sorry, I got a bit carried away there.
Good though, aren't I? My figure is superb. My skin is as soft as satin and I never seem to age. I could go on being Miss World for years. And I have a very powerful effect on men. They do anything I say. See that one in the audience there, that handsome huntsman who is shaking in his boots. You would do anything I asked, wouldn't you? Wouldn't you! There, you see. Of course he does work for me, so he couldn't really disagree. So what are you waiting for? Do you want me as Miss world or not? I look wonderful in a swimsuit, I have enough money to pay off any of the other pathetic little candidates, and I could make life very difficult for all of you. What's that? My mirror! Who has brought that here? How dare you? It says what?! It's a fake! It's a fraud! (She takes off her shoe and throws it at the mirror) That's what i think of you, you stupid mirror. Now where's that huntsman gone? Come here. You've got some very serious questions to answer. Where are you?
First performed at the Theatre Royal, Bath in 1986, it has now been made into a feature film.
The Dawn Treader is a dragon-ship led by Caspian, the young King of Narnia, who has sworn to find the seven missing Lords, sent on a mission across the sea beyond the Eastern Ocean. On board are LUCY, Edmund and their cousin, Eustace.
The expedition has reached the Island of Silence ruled by a great Magician and inhabited by the invisible Thumpers. LUCY overhears the Thumpers planning to capture them. They are under a spell that can only be broken by a little girl - but it has to be done of her own free will. They are heavily armed and so LUCY agrees to help them.
In this scene she is upstairs in the Magician's house in a room lined with books. There is one huge book lying on a lectern. LUCY speaks aloud as she begins to turn the pages.
LUCY: What a beautiful book. Without doubt the most beautiful book I have ever seen. What have we here? Spells, of course. Here's a cure for warts. Wash in a silver basin by moonlight ... Well, I haven't got any warts, so that's no good. Here's one for toothache, and one for cramp, and another for lifting a swarm of bees. Fascinating. This one's for finding buried treasure, and here's another for remembering forgotten things - that could be really useful. Here's how to raise a wind, or fog, or rain, snow, hail or ice. My word, that's a very beautiful page. What does it say? 'A spell to make her that utters it beautiful beyond the lot of mortals.' Just think of that. To be the most beautiful woman on earth. Why princes and kings would come to ask for my hand in marriage; they would fight tournaments and mock battles for my favours; then perhaps the battles would become real ones and nation would fight nation for the honour of having me as queen and then Narnia would be laid waste together with all the lands around it. But that wouldn't matter, as long as every woman was jealous of my beauty and my power, and every man worshipped me but hopelessly, and oh! I will say that spell. I must say that spell. (The page of the book becomes a picture of Aslan. The picture roars in anger, LUCY is very frightened and turns over the page quickly) That was silly of me. I nearly got carried away. What's this next one? A spell that lets you know what your friends really say about you. That could be interesting. I'll say it quickly. (She mumbles to herself. The sound of a railway train) How strange. That's a train. And that's a compartment, and there are my two school friends. Marjorie Preston and Anne Featherstone. (The page of the book becomes a picture of two girls sitting in a railway compartment. LUCY shouting) Marjorie Preston, you two-faced beast. (The picture fades, and LUCY turns the page) Well, I thought she was a lot nicer than that. I wonder if all my friends are the same. I don't want to know, really ... Now what's this? A page with no pictures. Just some writing. What does it say? 'A spell to make hidden things visible.' That's it! That's the one I've been looking for.
Alice is a little girl who disappears down a rabbit hole and gets transported into a bizarre, magical, higgledy-piggledy world of Wonderland where nothing is quite as it seems. She meets the CHESHIRE CAT, who appears to have a head and no body.
CHESHIRE CAT: Good morning; or is it afternoon? Whichever it is, it's good, don't you think? Particularly from this tree. I came out to escape the pepper - gets into the fur - and the baby - dreadfully ugly and so noisy.
Gracious me, there's that girl again. The one who took the baby. Hasn't got it now though.
Good day; can I help you? Which way to go? Well, that depends a good deal on where you want to get to. If you don't care about where, it doesn't matter which way you go - you’re bound to get somewhere eventually.
In that direction lives a Hatter; and in that direction lives a March Hare. Visit either you like; they're both mad. You can't avoid mad people here: we're all mad. I’m mad. You're mad.
How do I know that I'm mad? Well, a dog’s not mad, you agree? So, you see a dog growls when it's angry and wags its tail when it's pleased. Now I growl when I'm pleased and wag my tail when I'm angry. Therefore I'm mad. And you must be mad , or you wouldn't have come here.
Do you play croquet with the Queen today? If so, you'll see me there. Oh, by the by, what became of the baby? I nearly forgot to ask. Turned into a pig? Oh dear; I thought it would. Er, did you say a pig or fig?
All right - don't get bad tempered. I'll see you at the croquet: past the March Hare’s and second on the left for the rose garden. And don't forget your flamingo. Gooood-byyye.
SUZIE is a keen TV Chef watcher. She has decided to make her own recipes while her mother is out. Her mother is very house-proud so Suzie is anxious not to ruin the kitchen.
SUZIE: Right, now where to start. (Searches the cupboards) Ah - sugar, flour, eggs... (Checks) Oh well, four will have to do... (Selects ingredients) Bread, one can of peaches, nutmeg... Now we need a bowl and a baking tray, not forgetting the apron. (She puts apron on and is immediately transformed into a TV Chef)
Hello viewers. I've brought all these ingredients to show you how to make a... (Pauses to think of a name)... Maple-Leaf Wonder. Firstly you take a handful of sugar and flour. Place them in the bowl and add four eggs. (Finding it difficult to get a handful of flour, she pours it into the bowl) I've watched my mother doing this. (There is a cloud of flour which makes her cough) Break the eggs into the mixture. (Does so) And mix using your fingertips. (Mixing slowly) It does tend to stick a bit but you can always lick it off. Now add the peaches. Oh, I need a can opener and my hands are a bit messy. (Gets mixture all over worktop and can opener which won't grip the can)
Now with your hands mix in the peaches. It's a bit sloppy but remember, this is fun, fun, (grimaces while mixing) fun. Now for the nutmeg. (She considers and pours a little, then she pours all the nutmeg into the bowl) We mustn't forget the bread, which of course I would have prepared earlier. (With messy hands places the sliced bread round the baking tray) And this should have been greased. (Getting flustered) Oh well, forget the greasing - and pour on... or lump on the peach mixture. (Does so) There. (Relieved) And bake it in a pre-heated oven, which I forgot to turn on, for 20 minutes. So, let's make that 30 minutes.
(Moves the dial on the cooker. She suddenly hears something just as she’s putting the mixture in the oven. She throws off her apron, uses it to wipe the work-top and her hands and turns her back to the oven door as if to hide it. She calls) Mum! Is that you?… You’re early. I’ve got a surprise for you. (Licking her fingers)… I’ll tidy the kitchen later…
No, it’s not too bad. (Looks around the kitchen) Really.
MARCUS is a teenage boy. He has been bought up by his father, who has been involved in a series of violent robberies. Marcus is unaware of his father’s past criminal activities. One day, he returns home to find that his father and dog have been murdered. He tries to inform the police but disturbs the killers and has to run for his life. In this scene, Marcus is in hiding, trying to make sense of what is happening to him.
MARCUS: (Runs in. Trying to catch his breath) I think I’ve lost them for now. But they’ll find me… they’ll find me. I need to keep moving. (Looking around) I hope I’ll be safe here for five minutes. I can’t run any more for now.
(Covering his face) Now I know why my dad would never tell me what he did for work. Well, I guess I still don’t know. And he can’t tell me now.
(Looking around) What was that? They can’t be here already… Surely not… (Moves around the room, peers from behind the door) No, nothing… I must have imagined it… But they’ll be here soon. They’re not going to stop now. (Looking around) What a weird place for me to end up. Something just told me to run here…My old school! This place has been abandoned for years, boarded up, but I figured I could just squeeze through one of those windows. So here I am. Hiding in Mrs Robertson’s classroom…with a bunch of killers after me.
(Drawing in a shuddering breath) I was away over the weekend with friends. Camping. I was a bit mad at Dad though and didn’t really want to see him when I got home. (Covering his face again) He’d been strange with me lately. Really, really strict. Always trying to tell me what to do - it was annoying. And as usual, he wouldn’t tell me anything about what was going on in his life. We had a big fight about that and shouted at each other. I told him he should treat me like an adult, like an equal. He should be honest and let me into his world. And he said something… I’ll never forget it now. He said ‘You don’t want to be part of my world.’ He looked really sad when he said that. (Almost crying) And then I went away for the weekend. I can’t believe that the last time I saw him, I was mad at him. I’ll never be able to fix that now.
I came home. I walked from Andy’s house because it’s just around the corner. Our house was all dark and then… I saw the dog. Dead, on the front steps. And then I saw that the front door was open… I rushed inside… and Dad… (Choking) It was pretty obvious that he was gone… I called the police and told them what happened. And a second after I got off the phone with the police… I heard the first gunshot. Right there in the kitchen. The bullet broke the window and went past my head. I ran out the back door and started climbing the fence. When I looked back, there were at least three of them… dressed in black and with the biggest guns I’ve ever seen in my life, even in the movies. I was in shock but I jumped over the fence and just ran… What am I going to do? Dad, I wish you were here! (Raises head quickly as though he hears a door slam) They’re here.
A group of six youngsters are on the beach waiting to see an eclipse. They meet the stranger Lucy Lime who surprises them with the things she says and does. Then she disappears. there is a police enquiry. The first to be questioned is a blind boy, Martin Blackwood, who is known as MIDNIGHT to his friends.
MIDNIGHT: Martin Blackwood, they call me Midnight - it’s a sick joke but I don’t mind. Coffee please, two sugars, white - don’t ask me to say that I saw, I’m profoundly blind, but I’ll tell you as much as I can, all right?
Cornwall, August, as you know. There’s a beach down there, seaside and all that, cliffs with caves at the back, but up on the hill there’s a view looking south, perfect for watching a total eclipse of the sun. The mums and dads were up on the top, we were down in the drop - we’d just gone along for the trip, killing a few hours. You see it’s like watching birds or trains, but with planets and stars, and about as much fun as cricket in my condition, or 3D. There was Glue Boy, Polly and Jane, Tulip and Klondike and me. Thing is, we were messing around in the caverns when Lucy appeared. Her mother and father were up with the rest of the spotters; she wasn’t from round here. Thing is, I was different then, did a lot of praying, wore a cross, went to church, thought I was walking towards the light of the Lord - when it’s as dark as it is in here, you follow any road with any torch. Lucy put me on the straight and narrow. There’s no such thing as the soul, there’s bone and there’s marrow. It’s just biology. You make your own light, follow your own nose. She came and she went. And that’s as much as I know.
This is a story of a time long ago, of terrifying monsters and Beowulf, the hero, who kills them and brings to an end their reign of terror. In this scene, a runaway SLAVE comes across a group of Geats, members of Beowulf’s own tribe, and tells them how, quite by chance, as he was running from his master, he discovered a sleeping dragon and hidden treasure.
SLAVE: I didnt mean to wake it. I was on the run. A slave, running from his master. I had no reason to run. My master’s not a bad man. But it just got into me. Like a voice, nagging at me, day and night. Run, it said. Break loose. Be a free man. Those words, burning in me, like a fever. The only way to stop it was to run. So I ran, and I kept on running. I left behind the places where people lived, made for the wastes, where I wouldn’t be found. Crags and boulders. Waves crashing over cliffs. And there, on the clifftop, a hill. Smooth and round. And a huge rock set in one side. There was hole in the rock, just big enough to squeeze through. I crept inside, followed a low passageway sloping downwards. Then I saw a dim light ahead, glimmering in the dark. I went towards it, came to a stone doorway. The light came from beyond it, so I stepped through. And I was in a vast cavern and it was filled with gold.
It lay there before me. A huge creature, coiled beside the treasure. Its scales shone in the light of the gold. Or did the gold shine in the light of the scales? It didn't move. Its eyes were closed. It seemed to be sleeping. I crept closer. The heat that came off it! Like it was some kind of furnace. Water dripping from the roof rose up in clouds of steam. I reached my hand out towards it. I felt the power, the energy packed inside it. A little nearer and I could have touched it. My fingertips just that far off. I didn't touch it. I drew my hand back, crept out of the cavern, made my way back to the entrance.
I was outside again, in the sunlight and fresh air. I stood on the clifftop. I heard the sea below. And it was only then that I realised what I'd done. When I looked down I saw it. I swear I don't know how it got there. I don't remember taking it. But there it was, in my hand. A golden cup.
And the Dragon woke….
At nearly 14, ADRIAN Mole is an unrecognised intellectual and poet suffering the traumas of first love, the threat of parental divorce and spots. If he could only have his mum back home, a date with the desirable Pandora, and his own poetry programme on the BBC, all might be well…
ADRIAN: I think I’m turning into an intellectual.
(Nigel asks, ‘When did you turn?’)
Last night. I saw Malcolm Muggeridge on the telly and I understood nearly every word. Intellectuals don’t waste their time looking at old statues and stuff, they’re too busy writing poems and appearing on BBC book programmes. Yes! I’ll write to Mr Muggeridge care of the BBC. I’d better enclose a stamped addressed envelope because Mr Muggeridge is an old aged pensioner and probably can’t afford a first class stamp. I’ll soon be an expert on old aged pensioners. I’ve joined a group at school called The Good Samaritans. We go round doing good in the community and stuff. The old people were shared out at break today. I got an old man called Bert Baxter. He’s eighty-nine so I don’t suppose I’ll have him for long.
(At the house of Bert Baxter. Bert asks fiercely, ‘Who’s there?’)
Can I come in, please? I think your dog’s trying to bite me. I’m Adrian Mole from Neil Armstrong Comprehensive School.
(Bert says, ‘You got me out of bed.’)
I thought you’d be up. It’s the afternoon! No, I haven’t got a light. I don’t smoke. Mr Baxter, the school sent you a letter about me. It was to warn you that I’d be coming round. I’m not a burglar! I’m a Good Samaritan. I go round doing good in the community. Is there anything you’d like me to do? Then could you sign my paper to prove that I’ve been? I’ve got to go. I’ve got a test on the Norwegian Leather Industry. (To audience) Today was the most terrible day of my life: I’ve got fifteen spots on my shoulders, my father is in a bad mood - he thinks his big-end is going. Pandora is going out with Nigel, but, worst of all, Bert Baxter is not a nice old age pensioner!
The scene takes place when Greece was the centre of the Universe and Greek gods and goddesses ruled kingdoms through their immense powers. There was once a king called MIDAS who was greedy to become the richest man on earth. The gods decided to grant his wish but with disastrous consequences. In this scene, Midas is sitting on a golden throne in his garden of statues. He is suddenly aware that he is no longer alone. He looks up and notices Jason, a young boy from the village, who has broken into the palace to find out if the rumours he has heard about his king are true.
MIDAS: Hello! What are you doing here in my private garden? Snooping, I suppose? I’m surprised that you got past my guards but, well - I’m a little short-staffed at the moment. I wish you’d stop looking at me like that - mouth open! Have you never seen a king before? Well… no, you probably haven’t. (Looking around him) Certainly not such a rich one!
(Getting up) Let me show you around. This is my palace… my swimming pool… my, er, statues. Yes, I do have a lot and yes, they are all gold… solid gold! My robes are gold thread, my throne is gold, my goblet is gold.
(Coming closer, and moving towards Jason) Shall I let you into a secret? I love making money… lots of it. My own little empire! One day, though, I made a wish which I have rather regretted. I wished that everything I touched would turn to gold. The gods heard me and granted my wish! (Midas sees a coin lying on the ground and picks it up) Look! It was copper… but now… it’s gold! (He plucks a flower from a bush) This flower - see, it’s now gold leaf! I can’t even pick up bread or cheese because if I did it would turn to gold.
No… don’t back away. Are you getting nervous? Afraid that I might accidentally touch you? (Moving towards the statues by the pool) This statue of a dog - it wasn’t always a statue, it was Hellen, my favourite hound, and these guards, yes, they were once living, breathing men! (Turning towards the statue of a beautiful girl) This is the worst of all! She was so beautiful, so full of life. Her name was Zoe. She loved to laugh and run and sing and play the lyre. (Sadly) She was my daughter. I just touched her like this (putting his hand out) and she turned to gold! No more laughter… no more songs.
Oh dear! Don’t be afraid! Just be careful what you wish for… (He reaches out to put his hand on Jason’s arm) Mmm. Too late, I fear. I seem to have gained another statue!
‘Kes’ tells the story of BILLY CASPER and his attempts to train a hawk. BILLY is an awkward boy, unhappy with his school and his peers. In training Kes, BILLY experiences something valuable that neither school nor his family can offer him. At last he has something to admire and respect. Here, BILLY tries to explain to his class and teacher some of his achievements.
BILLY:… the MOST exciting thing was when I flew him free for the first time. You ought to have been there then. I was frightened to death.
[(MR FARTHING: (Turning to the class.)
Do you want to hear about it?
CLASS: Yes Sir.
MR FARTHING: Carry on Casper.)]
Well, I’d been flying him on the creance for about a week and he was coming to me anything up to thirty, forty yards. It says in the book that when it’s coming this far, straight away, it’s ready to fly loose. I daren’t though. I kept saying to myself, I’ll just use the creance today to make sure, then I’ll fly it free tomorrow. I did this for about four days and I got right mad with myself. So on the last day I didn’t feed him up, just to make sure that he’d be sharp set the next morning. I hardly went to sleep that night, I was thinking about it that much. When I got up next morning – it was Saturday – I thought right, if he flies off, he flies off and it can’t be helped. So I went down to the shed. He was dead keen as well, walking about on his shelf behind the bars and screaming out when he saw me coming. So I took him out on the field and tried him on the creance first time and he came like a rocket. So I thought right, this time. I unclipped the creance and let him hop onto the fence post. There was nothing stopping him now. He could have flown off and there was nothing I could have done about it. I was terrified, I thought, he’s forced to go, he’s forced to go. He’ll just fly off and that will be it. But he didn’t. He just sat there looking round while I backed off into the field. I went right into the middle. Then I held my glove up and shouted him. (he is miming the action.) Come on Kes, come on then. Nothing happened at first. Then just as I was going to walk back to him, he came. Straight as a die, about a yard off the floor. He came twice as fast as when he had the creance on. He came like lightning, head dead still and his wings never made a sound. Then wham! Straight onto the glove, claws out grabbing for the meat. I was that pleased I didn’t know what to do with myself, so I thought, just to prove it, I’ll try him again, and he came the second time just as good. Well that was it, I’d trained him. I’d done it.
This play follows the adventures of the amazing Faz, an inventor-cum-magician and his feeble-minded assistant Twoo. Here, we find Baron Wadd and Cyril the Fiddler fighting over Princess Daphne’s hand in marriage. The event is reported to the crowd by the MASTER OF CEREMONIES or sports commentator.
MC: My Lords, Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Wembley Sports Stadium for another afternoon of assorted sport. We have an especially exciting Contest here for you today. A Special Nine Round Royal Challenge Match between Baron Wadd and Cyril the Fiddler. In the snazzy, bri-nylon track suit – Cyril the Fiddler! And in the brown, egg stained dressing-gown – Baron Wadd!...
A one round contest. One Knockout of a count of ten to decide the winner. Seconds out.
(Commenting.) … And the Baron is on the floor right away… He’s trying to heave himself up… but some unseen, invisible force seems to be holding his glove to the floor… Meanwhile Cyril satisfies himself with a left then a right, then a beautiful left hook there to the Baron’s hindquarters…the Baron now straining to get up…he makes an almighty effort…and yes, he’s now on his feet… but he’s staggering about, his muscles, which have been described as being like baby sparrow’s knee-caps, seemingly quite out of control…he’s fallen now into the arms of the Track Officials…the Track Officials swing him back into the fray…one of the Baron’s swinging gloves strikes Cyril a blow!...Cyril falls!!! What an extraordinary turn of events. (He leaps into ring to count CYRIL out.) One, Two, Three, (CYRIL gets up.) But Cyril is on his feet again after a count of three. The crowd here at Wembley going mad with excitement… Cyril, all time Olympic Champion, knocked down for a count of three, by Baron Wadd, who experts claim is in fact the weediest man in the entire world…but the efforts of the blow seems to have sapped the remainder of the Baron’s almost non-existent strength…the Baron looking very groggy as Cyril moves in…a vicious left, by Cyril…a right to the body…a left to the jaw…the Baron falls again Cyril…Cyril appearing to hold the Baron up in a clinch… the Baron coming in for an immense amount of punishment from this great figure of the fighting world, Cyril the Fiddler…
The play looks at the world of an oak tree, the See-Saw Tree and the animals dwelling in and around it. Their lives are shattered by the news that the tree is about to be felled. In this scene the Mistle Thrush is singing loudly and out of tune a dreadful noise – when suddenly JAY arrives, full of brash confidence.
JAY: What music fills my ears?... Such tone. Such pitch. Such artistry… Jay’s the name, madam. Travelling salesbird supreme… I have been on a flight of exploration, madam, spreading my wings far and wide in search of martketable merchandise. Scouring the countryside for new and exciting lines to offer my lucky customers at bargain prices. What do you fancy?... Aha! See my selection, perfect for the use of.
(He opens his coat, Inside his wares are neatly displayed.)
Dried grasses, bracken, quality mosses, badger hair, sheep’s wool for extra warmth, polythene and paper. Pick your own, mix ‘n’ match, yours for the modest sum of two acorns. Can’t say fairer than that… Do me a favour… Aha! Think ahead, madam. Think of when your eggs hatch. Think of all those hungry little beaks to feed. No problem. (He opens the other side of his coat, revealing more merchandise.) I’ve got crab apples, juicy slugs, calorie-stuffed caterpillars, mouthwatering worms, specially selected spiders, meaty maggots and crunchy moths. Take your pick… Your loss, dear lady, not mine. Happy laying…
(He approaches Squirrel’s drey.) Give a bird a chance, Dunnock! Where’s Squirrel?... Cleaning? Aha! Glad you said that. Ideal for the use of. (He opens his ‘suitcase’, displaying more wares.) Look at this little lot. Bark scourer, lichen loosener, fungus flusher, mildew stripper, leaf mould remover. Tried and tested. Satisfaction guaranteed… I’m only asking one acorn per item.
CHARLIE BOY/GIRL LOVES TO RECEIVE BUT IF ANY GIFT SHOULD FAIL TO LIVE UP TO EXPECTATION IS UNGRACIOUS IN THE EXTREME – REGARDING AN OBLIGATORY ‘THANK-YOU’ PHONE CALL AS A FINAL INSULT.
A TELEPHONE SITS IN PROMINENT POSITION ON SMALL TABLETOP WITH CRUMPLED GIFT WRAP AND RIBBON LYING NEARBY ON THE FLOOR. CHARLIE BOY/GIRL LIES SPRAWLED ACROSS AN ADJACENT EASY CHAIR EXAMINING A LEATHER WALLET WITHOUT ENTHUSIASM.
CHARLIE BOY or GIRL:
(Eyeing wallet disparagingly)
Didn’t want a leather wallet.
Didn’t ask for one.
It should’ve been blatantly obvious that it’s not much’ve a present to receive.
Why didn’t anyone think to ask me in the first place ?
…IF I’dve had a say in the matter I could’ve said,
Please, please may I have MONEY …
A cheque would-do-nicely thank you
So I might choose for myself, you understand.
(Smelling the leather)
Honestly, I’d rather’ve had thank-you notelets and that’s saying something!
At least notelets would’ve smelled sweeter.
(smelling the leather) POOF!
That’s the worst’ve it!
It smells FOUL!
CHARLIE BOY/GIRL PULLS A FACE ON GINGERLY OPENING UP THE WALLET
Says here ….
(Reading with exaggeration)
CHARLIE BOY/GIRL PUZZLES OVER THE OFFENDING WORDING
So, what’s a Levant goat when it’s at home?
(Gasping with horror)
(Shrugging and grimacing)
… Wild mountain variety?
(Pause for thought)
Smelliest cud-chewer in the entire galaxy.
MMM, that’s a pretty fair description of a Levant! I’d say.
CHARLIE BOY/GIRL SCOWLS AT THE TELEPHONE
I ought to phone to say ‘Thank-you-very-much’ but I don’t want to!
Why should I?
It’s not fair
No one else’s relatives give horrible smelly pressies.
CHARLIE BOY/GIRL MOVES FROM THE CHAIR AND LIFTS THE TELEPHONE RECEIVED RELUCTANTLY
(Sighing loudly while dialling)
Time to lie through my teeth.
It’s me! Charlie Boy/Girl,
(Pulling a face)
Oh! A wallet’s always useful.
Very smart and grown up …..
(Pulling a face)
…… Thank you SO much
(Flipping open the wallet)
For the wonderful Levant goat wallet.
Actually, what is a Levant goat?
Mmmm, Well I never!
Hadn’t a clue;
Thought it might’ve referred to size or something,
Why not simply say ‘Moroccan goat’?
The wallet wasn’t made in Morocco!
…Irregular creases. Yes!
… Style of leather, Moroccan style.
NOW I understand.
No! I haven’t
CHARLIE BOY/GIRL RESTS THE RECEIVER ON THE TABLE OPENS UP THE WALLET COMPLETELY AND DRAWS OUT A CHEQUE. CHARLIE BOY/GIRL THROWS DOWN THE WALLET AND GAZES AT THE CHEQUE
CHARLIE BOY/GIRL BEAMS WITH DELIGHT BEFORE SNATCHING UP THE RECEIVER
Thank you for the cheque…
And for the beautiful Moroccan style leather wallet, of course.
CHARLIE BOY/GIRL SLAPS DOWN THE TELEPHONE RECEIVER, KISSES THE CHEQUE, SNATCHES UP THE WALLET AND SKIPS OFF WAVING THE CHEQUE HIGH IN THE AIR.
In the fable of Goldilocks a family of three bears live in a house in the woods, which they leave unlocked when they go out for a walk. Goldilocks enters the house and meddles with the bears’ belongings, sampling their porridge (eating all of the baby’s), sitting on their chairs (breaking the baby’s), and then trying out their beds (falling asleep in the baby’s). Goldilocks is still asleep in in the baby’s bed when the bears return home. They wake her up and scare her away.
The fable might have ended differently these days. Mother or Father BEAR is sitting on a deckchair on the upper deck of a cruise liner, talking to another passenger.
BEAR: So I said to her: “Listen, you can’t come breaking into someone’s house, eating their porridge, smashing up their furniture and squatting in their beds and expect to get away with it”.
She didn’t have much colour before, but she went very pale at that.
“Please don’t call the police,” she begged. Yes, she was begging. “Please just let me go home. I won’t do anything like this again. Mummy and Daddy would be ever so cross if it got into the papers. They wouldn’t be able to go to the golf club until it had all blown over and Mummy would have to put her bridge parties on hold. They wouldn’t give me a police record would they?” She was really quaking now.
“They might, if we pressed charges,” I said, as she began to understand.
“So, Daddy plays golf and Mummy plays bridge.”
“Yes, And Mummy and I go riding and Daddy plays polo.”
“And I expect you’ve got a big house and several four wheel drives”
“And a convertible!”
“And a convertible and a gardener and nanny.”
“So what’s a wealthy young lady like you doing stealing other people’s porridge?” I asked her. “Doesn’t your mother make you any?”
“No, she can’t cook. I’m sorry, I was just hungry and it smelt so good.”
She was beginning to cry now and to tell you the truth I was feeling a bit sorry for her, but I stuck to my guns. “Do you realise what this has done to my son, how traumatised Baby Bear is?” I said. “I’m thinking of calling my solicitor and getting him to sue for compensation for mental anguish to a small bear. It could take him years to recover. That was his favourite chair and he’s scared to go upstairs now. How would you feel if you found someone sleeping in your bed? And he can’t bring himself to eat porridge any more. Too many memories. The claim could run into millions. Your Dad would soon be selling his golf clubs and convertible.”
Well, to cut a long story short, we didn’t have to get a solicitor. And we’re really enjoying this cruise. All round the Greek islands we’ve been. I could get used to a life of luxury.
You may rrree-moof your vigs, and get some fresh air into your spotty scalps. (The Witches reveal their bald heads) Vitches of Inkland. Miserrrable vitches. Useless lazy vitches. You are a heap of idle good-for-nothing vurms!... As I am eating my lunch, I am looking out of the vindow at the beach. And vot am I seeing? I am seeing a rrrevolting sight, which is putting me off my food. Hundreds of rrrotten rrrepulsive children. Playing on the sand. Vye have you not got rrrid of them? Vye?... You vill do better… My orders are that every single child in Inkland shall be rrrubbed out, sqvashed, sqvirted, sqvittered and frittered before I come here again in vun year’s time… Who said that? Who dares to argue with me? (She points dramatically at Witch Two) It vos you, vos it not?...Come here. (She beckons. Witch Two, mesmerised, ascends the platform)
A vitch who dares to say I’m wrrrong
Vill not be vith us very long!
A stupid vitch who answers back
Must burn until her bones are black!
(Staring at Witch Two, the Grand High Witch gestures. Sparks fly. Smoke rises – Witch Two disappears) I hope nobody else is going to make me cross today. (She finds the smouldering remains of Witch Two’s clothes and holds them up) Frrrrizzled like a frrritter. Cooked like a carrot. You vill never see her again. Now vee can get down to business… I am having a plan. A giganticus plan! … You vill buy sveetshops….You vill fill them high vith luscious sveets and tasty chocs!... You vill have a Great Gala Opening vith free sveets and chocs for every child!...You vill be filling every choc and every sveet vith my latest and grrreatest magic formula. (She produces a potion bottle) Formula Eighty-Six Delayed Action Mouse-Maker!...To cause delayed action, rrroast in the oven vun alarm-clock set to go off at nine o’clock in the morning…Inject vun droplet of the formula in each sveet or choc, open your shop, and as the children pour in on their vay home from school…
Crrram them full of sticky eats,
Send them home still guzzling sveets,
And in the morning little fools
Go marching off to separate schools
In this scene a teenage girl reflects on her life. The stage represents two time zones – this year (stage left) and last year (stage right).
(Standing in the middle of the stage.)
Here I bridge the gap – span two time zones. Life was so different then. How could I possibly know? How?
(Mimes watching the television.)
Mum! Mum! Bring my cup of tea up wil you. Oh go on – please!! No I can’t be bothered to come downstairs. (Taking the tea.) Thanks. Oh and by the way, I’m not going to the disco, they apparently make a fuss if you don’t dance and I’m too tired to dance so I shan’t bother. Maybe I’ll go to the one next month – Yes – next month.
(Freeze) – moves to a towel.)
What a hot day. I’ll just sunbathe for a few hours. Paddle! Why on earth would I want to paddle. No thanks I’m staying on my towel – safe – no salty water or sand between my toes.
(Freeze – moves to a flower.)
He loves me – he loves me not – he loves me – he loves me not. What a bore. Why do we have to come on these family picnics I’ll never know. And walking – who wants to walk up and down hills. All that grass gives me hay fever.
(Freeze – moves to centre stage.)
Hay fever. I worried about hay fever. That was the last day of normal life. We left the park and went home. Mum cooked the dinner but had forgotten the peas. I popped down the shops. Day dreaming – I was day dreaming about Vanessa’s party and what I was going to wear – stepped out – didn’t see the car coming – just stepped out – right in its path – head on!
CRASH! BASH! SMASH!
(Freeze – moves to SL and is very still.)
This room is my life now, Mum brings be my cup of tea – I can’t go downstairs – can’t walk. Can’t run in the fields or feel the grass under my feet. I won’t be able to paddle or get sand in between my toes. Not now! Not ever!...and the disco – I never did make the disco – never did dance. Now I won’t get the chance. Will I? TOO LATE!