Every year, my friend Simon Peace throws a min-festival of love, hope and peace in his back garden in Hertfordshire. It’s called PeaceFest.
At Peacefest, the festivalgoers are strongly encouraged to get on stage and contribute performance art.
Last year (PeaceFest 2012) we decided we needed some theatre, so I scanned the internet for a free 10-minute play to stage. I was unable to find anything appropriate, so I wrote one (late one night, while getting burgled – another story).
In the spirit of making content free across the world, I thought I’d post the manuscript on The Jolly Pilgrim website. The attached PDF file is freely available for anyone anywhere in the world with a similar staging need.
The whole manuscript is also posted below.
For the record, the original cast members were as follows:
Lorimer Dogood: Linda Pevere
Steven Hotstuff: Phil Lancaster
The Good Enchantress: Catherine Stone
The Terrible Sargos: Martin Stone
Gorgoroth the Mighty Demigod: Sarah O’Connor
Sengin the Sword Master: Sid McLean
Brig the Guardian: Katie Roberts
Goodly Villagers: Various members of the audience
The Narrator: Peter Baker
Sound and Light Monkey Michael Roberts
Lorimer Dogood and
the Tale of the Three Arrows
A fairy-tale for PeaceFest
1) The wedding, Part 1
2) Fighting the sword master
3) Dealing with the Demigod
4) Meeting the Guardian
5) The wedding, Part 2
Scene One: The Wedding, Part 1
[Narrator] (introduces situation …) Today we bring you a tale of adventure and heroism from the mystical land ofLaLaLand, where many good and evil magical creatures live. In thevillageofMakemeupthere is a heroine called Lorimer Dogood, who is most learned, good of heart and a great swordswoman.
Lorimer falls in love with, then courts, the hottest man in the village: Steven Hotstuff. She impresses him with her sword technique, overawes him with her learning, amazes him with her wit and finally asks for his hand in marriage.
[Lorimer and Steven act out the above (in mime, no words) as the Narrator speaks.]
[Narrator] Steven, naturally, accepts and on their wedding day the wholevillageofMakemeupis there to wish them well. The Good Enchantress, who is in charge of all marriages, civil partnerships, divorces, the registration of births and deaths, potion brewing and low level policing, is there to perform the ceremony.
[Cast get into position for wedding]
[Enchantress]: Lorimer Dogood, do you take this man, Steven Hotstuff, to be your lawfully wedded husband, in accordance with the laws and statutes ofLaLaLand? Do you promise to keep him as your husband, protect him from evil things and solve complex problems that arise? Because, lets face it, he’s a lovely boy, but he’s hardly the most jam-filled snack in the doughnut box. I mean, I can see why you’re marrying him as he’s a right hottie, take a look at that arse, but he’s about as interesting as a 1,000-page book on labour law …
[Steven]: I love a good bit of labour law, me!
[Enchantress]: Er, excuse me? I’m talking. If you could just stand there and look pretty? Anyway, where was. Oh, yes, Lorimer, do you take this man to be your lawful wedded husband?
[Lorimer]: I do.
[Enchantress]: And you, Steven, do you take this woman, Lorimer Dogood, to be your lawfully wedded wife? Do you promise to honour and obey her. To clean, tidy, cook, run around, do as you’re told, not ask too many stupid questions and generally look pretty?
[Steven] (shouting): I do!
[Enchantress]: Good answer. In which case, I now declare you …
[Big crashing sound effect]
[Narrator]: Just as our heroes were about the tie the knot, a spell of sleep fell across all the guests, apart from Steven, who looks around in panic and confusion.
[Enter stage left: The Terrible Sargos]
[The Terrible Sargos]: Mwa ha ha. I am the Terrible Sargos, and I am TERRIBLE. I appear at inopportune moments to make chaos and spread disaster and I have decided to stop this wedding … [dramatic pause] in order to kidnap the groom! Mwa-ha, mwa-ha, mwa-ha-ha-ha. This is so funny! I am the most fully realised evil genius who has ever appeared in a play or other dramatic medium. Mwa-ha, mwa-ha, mwa-ha-ha-ha!
[The Terrible Sargos strides around the stage]
[Steven]: But what about the wedding? I was just about to marry my beloved?
[The Terrible Sargos]: Shut up! I am talking! Can you not see that I am talking! I am the Terrible Sargos and I will not be interrupted.
[Steven]: I’m sorry, why are you here again?
[The Terrible Sargos]: I am the Terrible Sargos and I appear at inopportune moments in order to spread havoc in my wake. HAVOC I tell you!
[Pause while Sargos and Steven look around]
[Steven]: Um, I’m sorry but this is an invitation-only event. Couldn’t you go somewhere else?
[The Terrible Sargos]: What?! What?! Do you know who you are talking to? I am the Terrible Sargos, and I will not be mocked! Do you hear me? I WILL NOT BE MOCKED! Now I will take you to theTowerofDoom, where I will keep you as my prisoner, FOREVER! Mwa-ha, mwa-ha, mwa-ha-ha-ha.
[Sargos grabs Steven and they exit stage left]
[Narrator] The Terrible Sargos whisks Steven Hotstuff off to theTowerofDoom, in order to keep him as a prisoner, forever. Meanwhile, the spell he cast over Lorimer and the wedding guests begins to wear off.
[Lorimer and the rest of the cast stir and wake up]
[Lorimer]: Oh no, my beloved Steven has been taken from me! Woah is me. My life will be a sad and empty affair without him.
[Enchantress] (waking up): Cor. That was a right nice nap. Where were we?
[Lorimer]: The Terrible Sargos has taken my beloved Steven and imprisoned him in theTowerofDoom. I am bereft.
[Lorimer overacts a bit]
[Enchantress]: Groom stolen on wedding day by an overblown evil genius with a mock German accent. What are the chances?
[Lorimer]: I am bereft! My life will be a pallid and unfulfilling thing.
[Enchantress]: There’s no need to get all melodramatic about it. I’m sure something can be done. Despite what Sargos may think, his scheme to imprison Steven forever is profoundly flawed.
[Lorimer]: Flawed, why?
[Enchantress]: Well, for a start, anyone who throws around words like ‘forever’ is making all sorts of naïve assumptions about the limits of space-time. Forever? Seriously? Like, even until after the heat death of the universe? It’s a ridiculous thing to say.
[Lorimer]: Now isn’t the time for a physics lecture, I need to rescue my Steven!
[Enchantress]: Well, there is a way.
[Lorimer]: Anything. I will do anything to rescue my Steven.
[Enchantress]: It’s not going to be easy.
[Enchantress]: Fine. So, in order to enter theTowerofDoom, to recover Steven, you will need to find the three arrows of Grumbledumble, that will together allow you to enter the holdfast of Sargos.
[Lorimer]: Where will I find these arrows?
[Enchantress]: The first is held by Sengin, the greatest swordmaster inLaLaLand. The second is held by Gorgoroth the Mighty Demigod, the most fearsome immortal in all of the multiverse. The last is held by Brig the Guardian, the most unrealised and vague character in this entire play.
[Lorimer]: Doesn’t sound like too much of a problem.
[Enchantress]: Fine, I’ll see you back here next Thursday.
[Lorimer]: Nice one. See you then.
Scene Two: The Sword Master
[Narrator]: Our brave heroine packs her sword and a hearty pack lunch and makes her way across LaLa land to the lair of Sengin the Sword Master. On her way she must hack her way through deep forests and wade through dark swamps, until she enters the sword master’s lair …
(Lorimer mimes the above while the Narrator speaks)
(Sengin enters stage right)
[Sengin]: Ah-ha! I and Sengin the Sword Master, the greatest swordsman in all ofLaLaLand.
[Lorimer]: Hello, I hear you hold the first of the three arrows of Grumbledumble.
[Sengin]: What of it?
[Lorimer]: Could I have it, please?
[Sengin]: Ah-ha! You want the arrow? You can have it if you defeat me in SINGLE COMBAT. And you will never defeat me, because I am the greatest swordsman in all ofLaLaLand.
[Lorimer]: I really need the arrow. Couldn’t you just give it to me? It’s just an arrow, after all. I could pay you, if you want?
[Sengin]: Pay me? Do I look like some sort of penniless chav? I am the greatest swordsman in all ofLaLaLand. I am not here for payment. Being a swordsman is my entire raison d’etre. No. No payment. If you want the arrow, you will have to fight me.
[Lorimer]: But isn’t it a bit unnecessary? I mean, one of us could get hurt. It’s just an arrow after all. Couldn’t we come to some sort of arrangement?
[Sengin]: No, no and no. This is my final answer.
[Sengin]: Wait a minute, you’re not scared are you?
[Lorimer]: Me, scared? Never.
[Sengin]: Not a very good heroine are you. Refusing to get into a fight and trying to be reasonable. I mean, if everybody acted like that the whole genre of heroic fantasy would fall apart. I know what it is, it’s because they put a woman in the lead. I knew it would never work.
(Sengin approaches the audience)
[Sengin]: You know what this is? Political correctness gone mad. I mean, who would have a woman in the lead role in a piece of heroic fantasy? Girls just aren’t up to it.
[Lorimer]: Right, mate, I’ve had it with you.
Sengin and Lorimer have a dramatic swordfight. They fight to a stalemate.
[Lorimer]: Mmm, this is no use. He’s pretty good with that sword. We appear to be evenly matched. What I need is something to tip the balance of this fight. Look, you lot [to audience] will you distract him at a crucial point so I can get the arrow off him?
Sengin and Lorimer continue to have a dramatic fight. Audience distracts Sengin. Lorimer stabs him. Sengin falls over. Lorimer takes the arrow.
[Lorimer]: Are you alright?
[Sengin]: I’ll be fine. A mere flesh wound.
Scene Three: The Demigod
[Narrator]: Our brave heroine takes the arrow won from the sword master and continues her quest. She passes across wide rivers and over baking deserts, until she enters thecastleofGorgoroththe Mighty Demigod …
[Lorimer mimes the above while the Narrator speaks]
(Gorgoroth enters stage right. Lorimer enters stage left)
[Lorimer]: Excuse me, I’m looking for Gorgoroth the Mighty Demigod.
[Gorgoroth]: (looks sheepish)
[Lorimer]: Have you seen him?
[Gorgoroth] (drawing up to full height): It is I! I am Gorgoroth the Mighty Demigod.
[Lorimer]: (Laughs) Seriously?
[Gorgoroth]: Yes, seriously. Why? What’s the problem.
[Lorimer]: Aren’t you a bit short for demigod?
[Gorgoroth]: I wasn’t aware of any rules regarding the appropriate height for demigods?
[Lorimer]: But demigod? Isn’t that a bit over the top?
[Gorgoroth]: What’s wrong with ‘demigod’?
[Lorimer]: Well, it’s a bit overblown isn’t it? Couldn’t you have come up with something a bit less pretentious?
[Gorgoroth]: Look, I didn’t write this rubbish, so don’t start getting all prissy with me. Anyway, look at my magnificent costume.
[Lorimer]: Yes, the costume.
[Gorgoroth]: What about the costume?
[Lorimer]: I think it’s about 10 sizes to big for you. Frankly, it makes you look completely absurd.
[Gorgoroth]: Don’t have a go at me, just because this whole play comes across as something written at two in the morning last Monday in a rush to get it ready for Peacefest. Anyway, who are you to criticise. You’re name is Lorimer.
[Lorimer]: What’s wrong with Lorimer.
[Gorgoroth, speaking in a sarcastic voice]: What’s wrong with Lorimer?
[Lorimer]: Yes, what’s wrong with it?
[Gorgoroth]: You mean, apart from the fact that it’s a boy’s name?
[Lorimer]: It’s not a boy’s name, it’s my name, and perfectly good one at that.
[Gorgoroth]: No, it’s a boy’s name, and it makes you sound stupid.
[Lorimer]: I resent that.
[Gorgoroth]: I mean, why have you got a boys name? Are there some latent sexuality issues you need to sort out?
[Lorimer]: Lorimer is a perfectly reasonable name in the context of the fairy-tale style story of heroic fantasy we are currently engaged within. It has a certain archaic charm, that speaks of dungeons and dragons style mythical worlds, where heroines, like me, complete dangerous quests in order to rescue love interests from the clutches of evil.
[Gorgoroth]: Actually, no. It’s a boy’s name. And it makes you sound completely gay.
[Lorimer] (pauses): Well, I suppose so, but I did get to defeat Sengin the sword master in a stunning statement of modern feminism, and at least I don’t have to wear a ridiculous costume. Is it hot?
[Gorgoroth]: Hot? I’m sweating like a fat gorilla, on a treadmill, chained to a radiator on the hottest day of the year. It’s like a tropical rainforest in here.
[Lorimer]: Sorry to hear that.
[Gorgoroth]: That’s OK, it’s not your fault and anyway, this scene is nearly over. After that it’s back to four-inch heels and French couture.
[Lorimer]: That sounds much more you.
[Gorgoroth]: Oh, completely. I’m a Dior girl, and really don’t do metallic robes and head dresses.
[Lorimer]: So will you give me the arrow then?
[Gorgoroth]: Why not? Anything to get out of this stupid thing.
Scene Four: The Guardian
[Narrator]: Taking the two arrows, our brave heroine takes the two arrows and travels over sunlit fields and high mountains, until she enters finds the lair where Brig the Guardian lives.
[Lorimer mimes the above]
[Brig enters stage right. Lorimer enters stage left]
[Lorimer]: Hello, are you Brig the Temple Guardian?
[Brig]: That is me.
[Lorimer]: And do you hold the third arrow of Grumbledumble?
[Brig]: I do.
[Lorimer]: And could I have it please?
[Brig, thinking to self for a while]: I suppose so?
[Lorimer]: Really? That was easy. Don’t you want to challenge me to a duel or set me a riddle or something?
[Brig]: Well I could, but it’s not this script I’ve been given.
[Lorimer]: What is in the script?
[Brig]: Very little, I seem to be a character with almost no substance whatsoever.
[Lorimer]: How strange. Why is that?
[Brig]: Well, I guess whoever wrote it must have run out of ideas, but wanted to have a third arrow guardian, because three is the number you expect for this sort of thing.
[Lorimer]: I see.
[Brig]: After all, you couldn’t really have just two arrows of Grumbledumble, could you?
[Lorimer]: No, that would sound inappropriate.
[Brig]: In fact, the writer spent quite a lot of time on Google last Monday, looking for other stock characters in fairy tales. But basically, they tend to be incredibly formulaic. You get the prince, the princess, the sorcerer, the king, the bad guy, etc, but there is a serious dearth of interesting character parts.
[Lorimer]: So we ran out of character ideas?
[Brig]: We did. But at least it means you get your groom back sooner.
[Lorimer]: Thank God for that, I’m dying for a shag.
[Brig passes Lorimer the third arrow]
[Brig]: Before you go, I have one last question for you.
[Lorimer]: Ask me anything you like.
[Brig]: That groom of yours, who is supposedly the hottest boy in the village. Well, he’s not that hot is he? Are you sure you got the casting right for that part.
[Lorimer]: I know what you mean. The thing is, you see, we tried to get Mike Roberts [insert alternative name], but we couldn’t afford him.
Scene Five: The Wedding, Part 2
[Narrator]: Our brave heroine take the three arrows and travels to the Tower of Doom where she rescues her beloved, then takes him back to the village of Makemeup, where their wedding is reconvened.
[Lorimer and Steven play out the above, in mime, as the Narrator reads.]
[Enchantress]: I now pronounce you, man and wife.
[Enchantress]: Well, I’m glad that’s over. Well done for getting the arrows, Lorimer. I hope you will take this as a lesson that relationships are not easy and you have to work on them over long periods for them to be successful.
[Lorimer]: Thanks, Enchantress, but for now I just want to enjoy the happiest day of my life.
(Sargos sneaks past behind them)
[Steven]: Exactly, we just want to enjoy our happy day and celebrate the fact that this story has had a happy ending.
(Sargos sneaks past behind them)
[Lorimer]: I mean, we’ve done everything that could have been asked of us. Completed the quest. Defeated all of our adversaries. All the loose ends have been tied up.
(Sargos sneaks past behind them)
[Steven]: Yes, nothing could possibly go wrong at a time like this.
[Sargos sneaks past behind them]
[Steven]: I mean, it’s all good isn’t it. The good guys have had their rewards. The bad guys have been defeated. Wait a second, whatever did happen do the bad guys?
[The terrible Sargos springs to centre stage]
[The Terrible Sargos]: Mwa ha ha. I am the Terrible Sargos, and I am TERRIBLE. I appear at inopportune moments to make chaos and spread disaster. You think you had defeated me, but I CANNOT BE DEFEATED. Mwa-ha, mwa-ha, mwa-ha-ha-ha. Only now, at the end, do you understand. NOW you see that I will snatch away your victory and leave you with nothing but DESPAIR. Mwa-ha, mwa-ha, mwa-ha-ha-ha. I will steal Steven again and imprison him in a place where you will NEVER FIND HIM! Mwa-ha, mwa-ha, mwa-ha-ha-ha. This is so funny! Does everybody see how funny this is?
[Enchantress]: Wait a second there, sunshine.
[The Terrible Sargos]: I am the Terrible Sargos. I CANNOT BE DEFEATED. Mwa-ha, mwa-ha, mwa-ha-ha-ha.
[Enchantress]: Hold, hold, hold, hold, hold, hold.
[The Terrible Sargos]: I am the Terrible Sargos!
[Enchantress]: Zip it.
[The Terrible Sargos]: I CANNOT BE DEF …
[Enchantress]: I said zip it.
[The Terrible Sargos]: You tell me to zip it?
[Enchantress]: Isn’t there something you’ve forgotten?
[The Terrible Sargos]: What’s that?
[Enchantress]: The court of public opinion.
[The Terrible Sargos]: The court of public opinion?
[Narrator]: For the villagers, who had had enough of their parties being interrupted by overacting bad guys with mock German accents had changed into a new character. Instead of being mere villagers, they were now a mob. And not just any mob. They had become AN ANGRY MOB!
[The Terrible Sargos]: An angry mob?
[Enchantress]: That’s right, sunshine. Get him.
[The angry mob mobs Sargos, who is pummelled and carried off stage right]
[Enchantress]: That’s him done for. We’re all done. Party time!
[Narrator]: And they all live happily ever after!
[Sound and light monkey plays funky music and everybody dances}
[The Narrator introduces the cast one by one and they all do their bows]