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Characters: King Christopher (recorded voice only), Prince Richard, Prince Robert, Sir Gavin (knight), Ida (matron), Morinda (evil “queen”), Gwendolyn (evil lady-in-waiting)
(The king is recording his thoughts in his journal. Meanwhile, the PRINCES are in the courtyard in front of the castle with their wooden practice swords. They’re “frozen” in place.)
KING CHRISTOPHER: King’s journal, 13th day of September,
in the Year of our Lord, 1451. Today I read from
Proverbs 27, “
As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens
another.” It makes me wonder how Sir Gavin is getting
along with Richard and Robert and whether he’s
been able to teach them anything. I have always had
great confidence in him, but my sons have had little interest
in anything but their own happiness.
(As the lights come up, the PRINCES begin to sword fight, and SIR GAVIN enters from the rear of the auditorium.)
PRINCE ROBERT: (cocky) There’s nothing to this sword fighting stuff! It’s a piece of cake!
PRINCE RICHARD: Oh, yeah? (RICHARD then makes some moves on ROBERT that take him by surprise) Take that! And that! And that!
PRINCE ROBERT: Hey! That’s not fair!
PRINCE RICHARD: You going to say that when you’re in a battle?
PRINCE ROBERT: I won’t ever be in a real battle. I’m a prince! And princes have knights who fight the battles for them.
SIR GAVIN: (approaches unsuspecting PRINCES, interrupts) Oh they do, do they!
PRINCE ROBERT: (startled) Ahhh! Gavin! You scared me!
PRINCE RICHARD: Yeah . . . don’t sneak up on us like that!
SIR GAVIN: So you won’t ever be in a real battle, huh?
PRINCE ROBERT: But we won’t . . . will we?
SIR GAVIN: (frustrated) You still think life is just fun and games and taking it easy, don’t you?
PRINCE ROBERT: Hey . . . I ate my vegetables last night, even though I didn’t want to. That wasn’t easy!
SIR GAVIN: Listen to me. Whether you’ll ever be in a battle with swords, I don’t know. But there’s another battle going on that I’ve been trying to tell you about. And it’s a battle that you must fight everyday.
PRINCE RICHARD: What are you talking about? I don’t see any battle.
SIR GAVIN: It’s not always visible but, make no mistake, it’s there. It’s the battle between light and darkness, good and evil, truth and error.
PRINCE RICHARD: Oh, you mean like . . . spiritual battles.
SIR GAVIN: Yes! And they’re as real as King’s Manor. And that’s why God has given us a special armor to wear . . . an armor that’s even more important than swords and shields!
PRINCE RICHARD: Armor? Like what?
SIR GAVIN: Like the Belt of Truth, for instance, where we stand, without compromise, on the absolute truth of God’s Word . . . or the Breastplate of Righteousness, where we always strive to “Do Right in God’s Sight!” As believers, we’re supposed to put these things on every day just like a suit of armor. And there are other pieces, too.
PRINCE RICHARD: Really?
SIR GAVIN: Yes, but we can talk more about that later. Robert . . . contrary to your opinion, sword fighting is NOT easy. It takes practice and a lot of it.
PRINCE ROBERT: (prideful) Yeah . . . but didn’t I look good out there?
SIR GAVIN: You want my honest opinion?
PRINCE RICHARD: Give it to him, Gavin!
SIR GAVIN: Well, let’s see . . . for starters . . . you lifted your feet instead of sliding them, you crossed your legs at least ten times, you weren’t breathing correctly, you were off balance, and you weren’t aware of your surroundings because you focused too much attention on your target. Other than that, you did great!
PRINCE ROBERT: (humbled) Was it really that bad?
SIR GAVIN: Well, let’s just say, you BOTH have a lot of work to do.
IDA: (steps out front door of castle) Your luncheon is ready, boys. Sir Gavin, you’re welcome to stay if you’d like . . . we have plenty.
SIR GAVIN: Thanks, Ida, but I won’t be able to today.
IDA: Suit yourself. (to herself as she turns to go back inside) Probably doesn’t like our cooking.
(IDA goes to the Great Hall to set up for lunch. On the table are soup bowls, spoons, chalices, cloth napkins, a jug, and a large bowl of soup with a ladle.)
SIR GAVIN: Richard, Robert . . . think about what I said. In the meantime, keep practicing. I’ll see you both a little later.
(SIR GAVIN leaves; PRINCES say “good-bye.”)
PRINCE RICHARD: Man, am I starved! Sword fighting really builds up an appetite! (as he lunges toward ROBERT with his sword; they begin to sword fight and keep fighting into the castle and into the Great Hall until ROBERT falls to the floor)
IDA: You know, someday one of you is going to get hurt. Mark my words.
(RICHARD helps ROBERT up, and they go to the table.)
PRINCE RICHARD: (as he approaches the table) Mmmm! Soup! What kind is it?
IDA: Brom said it was leek with chicken.
PRINCE RICHARD: You know, we think he’s a better cook than the last one.
(The PRINCES each tuck their napkins into their shirt collars.)
PRINCE ROBERT: Yeah . . . much better!
IDA: Well, you certainly have a funny way of showing it. The way you two have treated him since he got here is just terrible! Greasing pot handles and nailing his shoes to the floor.
PRINCE ROBERT: Don’t forget the bucket of water over the doorway. That was my personal favorite!
PRINCE RICHARD: Mine, too!
(RICHARD and ROBERT “high five” each other.)
IDA: Well, I surely wouldn’t have put up with it. You know, it’s amazing he’s still around.
PRINCE ROBERT: Oh, well . . . it was all for fun. We were just trying to loosen him up a bit. He’s so stiff!
PRINCE RICHARD: Yeah, but that’s over. We apologized to him for all that stuff.
IDA: (surprised) Really? You actually told him you were sorry?
PRINCE RICHARD: Yep!
IDA: Well, wonders never cease!
PRINCE ROBERT: See, Ida . . . we’re not such bad guys after all!
IDA: Oh . . . I almost forgot. He wanted me to give this to you (as she hands a thank you card to RICHARD).
PRINCE RICHARD: A card?
PRINCE ROBERT: Wow . . . that was sure nice of him.
IDA: I think I’m going to go lie down for a while. I feel a headache coming on . . . (concerned) I hope it’s not the plague.
(IDA leaves the room.)
PRINCE ROBERT: (concerned) Think she’s okay?
PRINCE RICHARD: C’mon, it’s Ida. She gets a headache and thinks it’s the plague; she gets a hangnail and thinks it’s leprosy. Of course she’ll be okay.
PRINCE ROBERT: Well . . . you going to read the card?
PRINCE RICHARD: Oh, yeah. (as he opens it and begins to read) “Dear Prince Richard and Prince Robert. Thank you for apologizing for all the mean and nasty things you have done to me since the first day I started at King’s Manor. I just want you to know that I forgive both of you . . . (then he turns the card over to the back).
PRINCE ROBERT: See . . . no hard feelings. What a good guy. (as he slurps some soup)
PRINCE RICHARD: (continues reading) . . . and because you have stopped mistreating me, I’m going to stop spitting . . . in your soup.
PRINCE ROBERT: (he spits soup back into his bowl) Yuck!!
PRINCE RICHARD: (continues reading) . . . Yours truly, Brom, the Cook.” (feeling sick and disgusted) I’m not hungry anymore!
(PRINCES get up from the table and leave the room as they’re spitting into their napkins and making faces. Then, evil entrance sounds [sfx] begin to play as MORINDA enters from the side, and GWENDOLYN approaches via the center aisle. They meet in front of the stage.)
MORINDA: Is everything ready, dear Gwendolyn?
GWENDOLYN: Yes, my Queen . . . everything is ready. The pagan knights are at the bridge, and the messenger with the note is awaiting your signal.
MORINDA: And Sir Gavin?
GWENDOLYN: He just left, and I don’t think he’s coming back today.
MORINDA: Excellent. Now to find those ridiculous princes.
GWENDOLYN: Do you think it’ll work?
(Immediately, the PRINCES come out the front door of the castle. ROBERT still has his napkin tucked into his collar.)
PRINCE RICHARD: Queen Anaconda, we were wondering where you were!
MORINDA: (annoyed) It’s Linda.
PRINCE RICHARD: Sorry.
MORINDA: That’s quite all right. (sarcastic) I know it must be a very difficult name to remember.
PRINCE ROBERT: (boasting) I knew it was “Linda.”
(RICHARD sees ROBERT’S napkin and quickly pulls it out of his collar.)
PRINCE RICHARD: Well, are you ready to continue the tour of King’s Manor? There’s so much more to see!
MORINDA: (insincere) Oh, but are you sure we’re not overstaying our welcome?
PRINCE ROBERT: Not at all. We love visitors!
MORINDA: Well, then . . . maybe you could show us the OUTSIDE of the castle, first. It’s just too lovely of a day to be inside, don’t you think?
PRINCE RICHARD: All right . . . I guess we could start at the dragon chamber. Just step over to the door there. You can do the honors, Robert.
PRINCE ROBERT: Okay . . . (clears his throat) Well . . . this is our dragon chamber, which, of course, is the home of our own fire-breathing dragon. His name is Flame. (boasting) We, uh . . . thought that up ourselves.
MORINDA: (insincere) Did you! How clever!
(Then EVIL MESSENGER 2, dressed as a peasant, enters from the rear of the auditorium and runs toward the stage. When he gets to the stage, he collapses, dropping to his knees in front of the PRINCES.)
PRINCE RICHARD: What is it?
EVIL MESSENGER 2: (pretending to be out of breath and exhausted) An important message, Sire! (as he hands a note to RICHARD)
PRINCE RICHARD: (after reading the note) It’s The Evil Queen Morinda. Sir Gavin was right! She IS coming this way!
PRINCE ROBERT: Where is she?!
PRINCE RICHARD: She’s been seen at the Inn of the Swanky Swan!
PRINCE ROBERT: The Swan! That’s just outside the gate!
PRINCE RICHARD: We’ve got to stop her! To our horses! There’s no time to lose!
MORINDA: (insincere) Is there something WE can do to help?
PRINCE RICHARD: (frantic, as he and Robert are running away) Yes! Get word to Sir Gavin immediately! Ida knows where he lives! Have her tell him to meet us at the Inn of the Swanky Swan!
(The PRINCES exit to the side of the auditorium.)
MORINDA: Yes, of course . . . we’ll find Ida right away! (As soon as the Princes are out of earshot, she changes her tone.) Yeah . . . we’ll find her . . . and then we’ll lock her up! (evil laugh, then turns to EVIL MESSENGER 2) Good work. You may go.
EVIL MESSENGER 2: Yes, my Queen.
(EVIL MESSENGER 2 exits toward the side of the auditorium.)
MORINDA: (evil laugh) It worked even better than I thought! (pleased with the anticipated success of her scheme) Soon the princes will be ambushed by my knights, and it’ll be curtains for them! (to Gwendolyn who’s standing nearby) So, my dear . . . that takes care of Richard and Robert. Then there’s Sir Gavin . . . he’ll be back here tomorrow to work with the princes; but to his surprise, it’ll be my evil knights who’ll teach him a lesson instead! Oh, yes, what a wonderful “welcome home” party King Christopher is going to get! (evil laugh)
(FLAME roars [sfx] at that comment.)
MORINDA: (angrily) Quiet, dragon breath . . . or you’ll be next!!
GWENDOLYN: (her conscience is suddenly bothering her) Are you sure this is a good idea?
MORINDA: No . . . it’s not a good idea . . . it’s a GREAT idea! Do you realize how LONG I’ve been waiting for this opportunity? Well, do you??!
GWENDOLYN: Uh . . . a long time?
MORINDA: A VERY . . . long . . . time! This kingdom was rightfully mine from the beginning but then HE (mocking face) was born. Well . . . HE has had it long enough, and now I’m taking it back! (pause) In the meantime, you just do as you’re told, and we’ll get along just fine. Do you understand?!
GWENDOLYN: Yes, my lady.
MORINDA: (angry) I am your queen!
GWENDOLYN: (bows) Yes . . . my Queen.
MORINDA: That’s better.
(MORINDA exits into the castle as GWENDOLYN faces the audience.)
GWENDOLYN: (distressed) Oh, what have I done? (she looks up toward heaven) Dear, God . . . if You can hear me . . . please . . . please help the princes!