The Lost King

The curtains are closed. Two storytellers, Dawn and Saunders, walk out and stand side of stage on the left holding a large storybook, at the same time two other storytellers, Martin and Lewis, walk out and stand side of stage on the right holding an identical storybook.

Both pairs open the book at the same time and begin to read:

DAWN/MARTIN
Long long ago, and far far away, there was a…

They both stop and stare first at their partner, and then all four turn to look at each other in surprise.
SAUNDERS
Excuse me, but what do you think you’re doing?

MARTIN
We are narrating this story.

DAWN
Actually, I think you’ll find that WE are narrating this story.

LEWIS
I think not. We were absolutely positively booked for this job. Weren’t we Martin?

MARTIN
Absolutely positively, Lewis.

SAUNDERS
That’s impossible. We were booked for this job months ago.

LEWIS
By who?

DAWN/SAUNDERS
Our agent!

LEWIS
Who are you with, because to be honest I haven’t really been happy with ours lately. I just don’t think she respects us as artists and…

MARTIN
Okay, listen, there’s a whole audience out there waiting for someone to tell this
story so we should probably decide who is going to do the telling and get on with it.

The King pokes his head out from backstage.

KING
Yes! Get on with it!

SAUNDERS
You get back there! You haven’t been introduced yet!

The King disappears.
MARTIN
I think the best way to resolve this is the way we sorted out all issues at Narrators University back in the day.

DAWN
Rock, paper, scissors.

MARTIN
Exactly.

DAWN
Oooo! Goody! I love this game!

MARTIN
Ready?

Dawn and Martin do rock paper scissors and Martin loses.

DAWN
Yes!

LEWIS
Best of three?

SAUNDERS
No way, losers!

MARTIN
Nothing like a humble victor. Okay, Lewis, let’s go.

LEWIS
Our agent is so dumped.

They exit.

SAUNDERS
Sorry about that folks. Now, our story.

She opens the storybook and begins again.

SAUNDERS
Long long ago, and far far away, there was a kingdom named Brightmoor – and it was the happiest kingdom there had ever been.

Curtains open.

Flies – Royal Court. Cast preset behind FOH curtain

Music plays and the members of the royal court (Senior Actors Ensemble) dance.
Studio kids are scattered throughout the room, chatting or dancing. The King and Queen and their four children hold centre stage position, talking and laughing with one another.

DAWN
The King of Brightmoor was loved by his royal court and his subjects throughout the kingdom.

SAUNDERS
The king had recently remarried after the tragic death of his first wife. His new Queen was lovely and kind, and was worshipped by the people of Brightmoor. Even the King’s four children adored their stepmother.

DAWN
Whoa whoa whoa! Since when do kids in fairytales ever adore their stepmothers?

SAUNDERS
Pff! Wicked stepmothers are soooo 17th century. We’re all about moving out of the dark ages in this tale.

They exit. The music stops and everyone applauds, then move to clumps and pairs around the stage.

LADY MAUDE
Isn’t our new Queen simply divine? Why I’ve never seen such a gorgeous creature in all my years at court.

LADY PHILOMELA
She certainly is lovely, in both appearance and countenance. And it is easy to behold what joy she has brought to our beloved King.

LORD FREDERICK
It is a welcome relief to see him rediscover happiness. He was so despondent after the death of his wife all those years ago.

LORD DRAKE
Soirées like this were unheard of before the new Queen came to Brightmoor.
LADY MAUDE
Look how the Princes and Princesses flock around her with such love and devotion.

LADY MAUDE
A toast to the new Queen of Brightmoor.

ALL
The new Queen!

The Queen blushes and smiles at her loyal subjects.

ALFRED
Ladies, gentlemen, distinguished guests and your royal majesties: on this most auspicious of occasions, it gives me great pleasure to announce that the kingdom of Brightmoor has once again been awarded the prize of Best Kingdom, like, Ever.

The crowd cheers. The Princes and Princesses crowd around the King and Queen.

PRINCESS PEARL
Father! Father! Can you please do our favourite impression for us?

PRINCE AXIN
Yes, you haven’t done it for ages!

KING
Alright, alright. If you insist.

The King launches into his famous Elvis impersonation, complete with gyrating hips and sneering lip.

The whole royal court, including the queen burst out laughing.

QUEEN
I knew I fell in love with you for a good reason.

PRINCE MORGAN
Father, can we go hunting tomorrow?

KING
Of course my son.

PRINCESS PEARL/PRINCE AXIN
Us too?

KING
Yes, once I return from my morning walk we will all go hunting.

POLLY
Come now, children, it is time for your lessons.

They groan and follow Polly offstage. Only Princess Amber remains.

PRINCESS AMBER
Can I come hunting too?

KING
No, Amber. Hunting is far too dangerous for a small princess like you.

PRINCESS AMBER
Just because I’m small doesn’t mean I’m not brave.

KING
I’m sorry my little one, but you must grow bigger and stronger like the others before you can join in the hunt.

PRINCESS AMBER
Small doesn’t mean weak you know. It’s not fair!

The King tickles her.

KING
Come, now, don’t be grumpy. After all, you know you’re my favourite daughter! Just don’t tell the others.

Princess Amber laughs.

PRINCESS
You say that to all of us, father.

She leaves and the King turns to his wife.

KING.
My darling wife, I do love you so.

QUEEN
I love you too, my sweet King.

KING
We are very blessed in this life, my dear, only…

He sighs.

QUEEN
My darling husband, why do you sigh so heavily?

KING
Why indeed! I have everything a man could hope for – a beautiful and loving wife, four darling children, a devoted and happy kingdom and a castle with ever luxury I could desire, however…

QUEEN
What is it?

KING
I only wish I could be the gallant husband you deserve. One who could regale you with stories of great adventures and heroic deeds, but my life has been one of luxury and privilege. There has been nothing exciting or noteworthy in the tapestry of my life. Every minute of my day is planned. But I dream of exploring the world and discovering its wonders.

QUEEN
Well why don’t you?

KING
I have a three o’clock eyebrow wax.

QUEEN
You have a kingdom full of people who adore you for your kindness and your devotion to them. You have an adventurous spirit and a heroic heart. Life doesn’t need to be like The
Amazing Race to be worth living!

KING
Do you really believe that, my love?

QUEEN
Of course! Besides, you hold the illustrious title of “Funniest king that ever lived”. Why, your humour is celebrated throughout the lands.

KING
It’s true. I am funny.

QUEEN
You don’t need to have grand adventures for me to love you. Our love is the grandest adventure of all.

They kiss. Lady Gisella groans.

KING
You are right, as always.

Lady Gisella skirts around the edges of the happy party, watching her sister and the King laughing and dancing together, seething with envy and hatred.

QUEEN
Your sister looks lonely. I’ll go and invite her to join us for the next dance.

KING
Must you? She’s such a misery guts. Always has been, ever since we were children.

QUEEN
Now, now, where’s my kind and compassionate king gone?

KING
I’m not sure my compassion extends to annoying siblings.

The Queen approaches Gisella.

QUEEN
Sister-in-law! Won’t you come and dance with us?

GISELLA
I don’t dance.

QUEEN
Oh come on, give it a whirl?

GISELLA
I don’t whirl.

The Queen sees her husband doing a silly dance move and laughs.

QUEEN
Were there ever a brother and sister as different as you two?

GISELLA
You have no idea.

QUEEN
I don’t know what I should do without him, Gisella. He is my reason for living. As a great poet once said, “there was a blank space, baby (clucks tongue) and he wrote his name.” If anything was to happen to him I would surely die of a broken heart!

She kisses Gisella and runs back on to the dance floor. Giselle wipes off the Queen’s kiss and grimaces.

GISELLA
Look at that pair of fools. And everyone is just so very happy for them. So happy that they are so happy in their happy happy lives! Pah! No one cares about the middle sister do they? No one cares that I am alone and will probably die alone! I’ll never know the joy my stupid brother and sister-in-law have! Just look at those dancing buffoons!

At this point the whole party are doing a kind of Gangham style, grapevine or bus stop dance, and the king is hamming it up while the Queen laughs at him. Rowland approaches Gisella.

GISELLA
What do you want, Rowland? Shouldn’t you be scraping and bowing with the rest of the servants?

ROWLAND
I overheard the Queen say she would die of a broken heart without your brother, my lady.

GISELLA
What of it?

ROWLAND
Why anyone would die of a broken heart over that clown of a King is completely beyond me, my lady.

Gisella turns to him sharply.
GISELLA
Rowland, you are brilliant!

ROWLAND
I am? I mean, yes, I am.

GISELLA
Maybe the Queen wouldn’t die, but she would certainly be bereft and undoubtedly lose all incentive to keep that crown on her head. Her sister-in-law, however, according to law, is…

ROWLAND
Next in line for the throne!

GISELLA
Come, Rowland! The king will be taking his daily walk into the village tomorrow morning along the old farmer’s road. There’s no time to waste!

Curtain down and storytellers walk on stage in front of it.

MARTIN

Soon after that, the party was over.

LEWIS has a party hat on and is blowing a party favour, or dancing and singing a song that was heard during the party – MARTIN takes them off her.

LEWIS

What?

MARTIN

Concentrate! We’re narrating here! And we have to be quick so those other
narrators don’t see us up here!

LEWIS

Oh…right…so the next morning the King set off for his regular morning walk along the old farmer’s road and into the village to mingle with his people. As always, Rowland accompanied him.

Dawn and Saunders come out with book and see them there

DAWN
Hey! What are you…?

MARTIN
Go go go!

Dawn and Saunders run across the stage and chase them out the door.

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