CHARACTERS INTRODUCED IN SCENE:
King Medi– King of the kingdom of Medi, one of the kingdoms of Albion’s greatest allies. Old friend to King Bors of Albion. Father of Armenia and the Prince (introduced in later scene). A manipulative King who believes he is smarter than all of his subjects and most other people as well. Is not nearly as intelligent as he believes but has a large ego.
King Bors– King of Albion and father of the Princess (to be introduced in later scene). Old friend to King Medi and a kindly king, though not the best at making decisions. He is a worrier and always tries to do the right thing, listens to the people around him, but doesn’t always see what’s right in front of his eyes.
Sommers– King Bors’ jester or fool. One of Bors’ favourite people and confidants. He is there to provide entertainment, but he understands more than he lets on. He is loyal to Bors and his family and likes to mess with Medi, especially playing with the other kings ego. He breaks into nonsensical rhymes which most people don’t understand– but Bors’ always seems to understand him.
Armenia– the Princess of Medi (not to be confused with the Princess of Albion, yet to be introduced). King Medi’s oldest child and only daughter. Unhappy with her life and resentful of her father, who thinks she is lesser than anyone else in the royal household because she’s ‘too like her mother’. She plays along with whatever is asked of her but she is a smart and capable person, a better manipulator than even her father and wants things to change in Medi.
Attendants– Extras that work for the kings. In this scene they all work for Bors.
Act I Scene I
King Bors’ Castle
Enter Armenia, Medi, Sommers
Sommers: What Ho, King Medi. A great game you play on this day of all days. Bring you your greatest weapon of state? By which I mean your quivering lip
Medi: Ha! Sommers, you never fail to tickle my chin and crawl my skin. Why would I need to beg when I have done nothing wrong?
Sommers: Well, the King does not see it in a way that you appear to understand. Many rages with high hands have been shown o’er the last few days.
Medi: You need not worry, young fool. Tis not the first time, nor shall it be the last. Thou worries too much dear fellow.
Sommers: Have you not even thought what you do if things were to turn?
Medi: I have. Sommers, you have met my Princess have you not?
Sommers: Aye sir, red dazzles on her cheeks and upon her pupils dances the flames.
Medi: Yes, well, Armenia is my trophy to settle the difference if things were to go wrong. Who could refuse a face as handsome as hers?
Medi: What was that?
Sommers: I see the colour upon her iris and gaze onto an Ursa my lord.
An Ursa that bites,
Its throat closed tight,
As it breathes upon the sun
Until the warmth comes undone.
There is not much more to say than that about the position, old King. You knowest what you know, and I goest when I go. I wish you well in your present giving ceremony sire. [Exit Fool}
Medi: What a strangely unfortunate fellow to live in the presence of a blood of blue. Do you not think so Armenia?
Armenia: Tis so, m’lord.
Medi: Well girl, am I not to hear about your position in the matter?
Armenia: No, m’lord. I come only to support, not to utter.
Medi: Good. You know your place, tis more than can be said for some of the hooligans around here. That young fool Sommers is a rounder and a cad in more ways than one. Now listen, Armenia.
Armenia: Yes, m’lord.
Medi: You be careful about your tongue in front of that one. Everything you say will be sent directly back to Bors. Bors may be an old fool, but we do not need any more marks against us; we are in enough trouble as it is. War would not be good for the Kingdom, nor for our family, do you see, my girl?
Armenia: I do see, m’lord.
Medi: Ha! You are not of the right kind to understand. But no matter, you do not need to understand words, just heed to them. We must be careful not to bring ourselves down unto our knees. Well, what do you say, girl? Speak up.
Armenia: M’lord. I heed to thy words like a new-born heeds to a Doctor’s pull.
Medi: Good. Now careful, Bors comes hither.
Enter Bors, Sommers and attendants
Medi: Ah, Good King Bors, how wonderful it is to see you once again. It has been many moonshines since our game of thrones has it not?
Bors: I’m afraid I do not feel as if I can greet you in the same friendly manner, my lord. As you know, there have been charges against your Kingdom by the people of my land, and I wish to settle that before pleasantries, if you do not mind.
Medi: Why of course not, matters must be dealt with first. You are very commendable for the reminder, my King.
Bors: Come now Medi, we are both Kings here, whether trustworthy or not we both rule over subjects. But we also remain friends, as dictates the past generations. Even in formal occasions forenames are common.
Medi: True, true. But it somehow makes the proceedings much more dignified if we speak as leaders rather than friends.
Bors: Aye. Speak in blue blood we shall. Come, we shall seat ourselves over here to discuss the accusations. I hope that you have prepared a good defence for yourself.
[Both King’s sit]
Medi: I must admit, sire, that I have not. I felt that since I was innocent of all crimes it would be more clearly seen if I spoke from the truth at hand, rather than the truth at memory.
Bors: I see.
Medi: I don’t suppose there would be any drink on offer; it’s just that I am parched from my tiring journey here and feel I would be most at strength to argue my case if I had cool liquid running through my veins.
Bors: Of course, I shall send one of my attendants at once.
Medi: Tis not needed my King. Armenia! Go forth to the kitchens and get me and the Nobleman some grapes of the gods.
Armenia: Yes m’lord. [Exit Armenia]
Bors: Now onto business?
Medi: You may proceed.
Bors: So it seems that the people of the Kingdom of Albion are complaining about some citizens of your Palace of Medi. A few of your workers have been seen parading outside the houses of important delegates in my own Kingdom and then, supposedly, running to take information back to you. What do you have to say to this, King Medi?
Medi: Preposterous nonsense. I have not heard of such actions done by my people, and if they are I certainly was not the one in charge of the operation, I assure you.
Sommers: [Aside] You see his eyelid tremble as his words spout out of his mouth? Sign one of a traitor, says I.
Bors: And then there is extra information to say that you used the facts you had gathered to target certain officials in Albion. Even using your power to blackmail them into doing things against their King. What do you say to this one, King Medi?
Medi: I say that I would never do anything to harm your lordship. You have been a fond friend of mine since we were only young Princes of our lands; I would never do anything to harm you other than a little joke on your behalf sometimes; as can be expected from friends.
Sommers: [Aside] His whiskers twitch upon his cheek, sign number two. How many body alterations do you consider will happen afore this all ends?
Bors: Yes, I remember our childhood fondly.
Medi: As do I.
Bors: But they were long ago, Medi, we are not anywhere close to the young and spritely boys that we used to be. We cannot afford to act in such a childish manner. We must leave the children to be childish.
Sommers: [Aside] And the adults to adult I propose. I’m sure that Medi would agree with that.
Bors: It seems to me old friend that you have not done anything wrong. These charges could be the ones that are wrong.
Attendant 1: [comes forward] Your majesty, I beg of you to not let this man go. If need be I will be a witness in this enquiry.
Bors: You know of one of these incidents?
Attendant 1: Aye, sire.
Bors: Then speak up.
Medi: Yes boy, do tell us. I am much intrigued as to what you have to say.
Attendant 1: My old master, sire, was a Lord of the Kingdom. I delivered him a letter so cruelly etched by hand; of course, not knowing what it read. My Master came out white of face and not long after I, and all of his workers, were sent away. I ne’er heard from my Master again.
Medi: Come! What does that have to do with me at all? I see no allegations against me here; I see only a letter and a greatly disturbed old Lord.
Attendant 1: My Lord was only of middle age.
Medi: Still. I see nothing in these words.
Bors: It is something to consider.
Medi: You cannot tell me that you are actually listening to this young vagabond. He is clearly of the mentality of disliking my Kingdom. He finds humour in starting a great war between good friends.
Attendant 1: I seek only to make sure that innocents are not hurt, my lord.
Medi: You seek to make trouble, that is what you seek.
Bors: Medi, do not take offence so greatly. The boy’s words have to be taken into account to draw an accurate conclusion; not to harm you or your Palace in any way. Come. Don’t fret so much. You are the King who speaks of being dignified.
Medi: And in saying that I must act that way myself. That I understand. I just don’t feel that it is fair that your people should want to harm both of us in some way. We are friends, we have always been and I don’t understand those that would want to destroy that.
Sommers: [Aside] Many times you may call something ‘that’ before you realise that ‘that’ is a lie to behold. The Old King flitters between words as a canary does in its cage.
Sire, if I could make a suggestion.
Bors: You have something to say Sommers?
Medi: My friend, you cannot tell me that you are now going to let the matters be decided by a mere fool of the court. His job is to make the Palace laugh, not to be as wise as a King.
Sommers: I am not a King, nor as large a fool as you profess. I am a Jester beyond all jesters, with a tinge of humanity in my soul.
For the cat may be wise but the dog still chases the wisest creature with an enthusiastic grin on his face.
Medi: The man’s a lunatic. Nobody in their right mind would listen to such words as he speaks.
Bors: Be calm Medi. Sommers speaks sense on occasion; speak my boy.
Sommers: Would you care to hear a tale my lord?
Bors: To lighten the proceedings and cheer my friend out of his weary mind? Do sing, do sing.
Sommers: A King, a fool: a King, a tool,
To be used throughout proceedings,
But the King does not knowest
And the fool cannot showest
What the king was supposed to do.
A cat, a dog, a cog, a dat
Would have been far better than that.
So the King called for a helping hand
From the ruler of the cog/dat lands.
That is the way that things work my King. An egg for an egg, a chicken will not do until a rooster shows them the answer to their problem.
Bors: Whatever do you mean?
Medi: Does it really matter? It’s quite clear to any owls’ eyes that this boy is no more than a fool, and should stick to what he is passable as. Acquaint him with another durastiction he shall still act the fool and no more, mark the words I speak.
Sommers: See how is scarlet blood boils upon his cheeks as I speak. A fool is wise in a fools words, I speak only as a minstrel would a crow, with a cockscomb balanced upon my cap I speak with a doodle doo and a teranious word.
Medi: He pulls words out of air, good King Bors; you are much better suited to trust one such as you know and understand.
Sommers: I do not sir, I bring words from stars. For there is no better hope than a star shining brightly in the dark nights; much more so than that of words dragged up from heated ground from whence some words come.
Medi: Bors, I demand the lunatic be taken away from my sight. I cannot bear to hear his disfigured rhymes any longer.
Sommers: The large branch falls onto the unsuspecting apple and his master. Nature fails to comprehend the small tale that he knew was correct; now nobody shall hear the apple and the snake slithering towards it.
Medi: Did you not hear me? Send this miscreant away!
Bors: I fail to understand, King Medi. I have been struck with a realisation as of how we can solve our royal matters. Young Sommers’ story puts me in mind of an idea that suits our purposes.
Medi: The boy? That boy is a fool.
Bors: As you keep professing old King. He is good is he not?
Medi: A fool.
Bors: Anyhow, I have made my decision. If I were to accept only the Palace of Medi’s opinion then I would upset my people, which must never be done if I am to stay in my position as head. But if I am only to accept the words of my people with no proof of my friend being part of this plot against my throne, and I found this to be wrong after I had already destroyed the ally we hold so dear, then I could not live with being in power. So, hereby I tell you, Attendants, I wish you to go seek out an independent body from the neighbouring Kingdom of France; the King there should point you in the right direction.
Medi: What is this you plan to do with a Calais?
Bors: I intend to use him to find the truth of what is going on. He is to be independent of both lands so that he may get a broad idea, after an enquiry of his own making, about what is to be truth and what is to be lie. I hope that this will be fine with your royal Kingship.
Medi: Tis an outrage to me that you should even consider that I would do such evil deeds as what has been put against me.
Bors: I must be equal here Medi; I must look to the best for my Kingdom, and although War would not be best for our kinship it may not happen if we are both found to be sincere in the enquiry’s conclusion. We will gather back together in a week of four to discuss the final statement.
Sommers: Entertainment will be prepared for the regal occasion my lord.
Bors: Good Sommers, it shall help cheer the mood whilst we discuss. This is fine with you Medi?
Medi: I am not entirely grateful for this chance my lord, but put up with it I must. A week of four I shall see you once more.
Bors: That is what I hoped to hear dear friend. I shall see to the Attendant that will go to find our enquirer. You boy…
Attendant 1: Me sire?
Bors: As you have shown such an interest in the events I charge you with finding the fair and just man who shall help us with our decision. To France you must set off immediately.
Attendant 1: Aye, sir, I will do so.
Bors: That is all. We will split from here.
Medi: Need you not to drink my lord?
Bors: I have important business to attend to, but drink we shall in a week of four. I hope to see a smile upon thy lips by then.
Medi: Yes sire, I shall try to see to that.
Bors: Come, we must leave. [Exit Bors, Attendants, Sommers]
Medi: Oh how vexed this makes my heart.
Armenia: My lordship, you appear ill.
Medi: What! Did you stumble into a door on your way for drink? Stupid female, you and your Mother be far more alike than is suitable. Your tongue should be bled from your mouth to avoid the idle gossip you women seem to get through.
Armenia: Yes m’lord. Is true.
Medi: And now you gawp at me. Tis not a show for thine to watch with peering eyes. You must learn your lessons before Venus catches your soul completely.
Armenia: Yes my lord, I shall see to it.
Medi: Well, good. Now, Armenia, we must make haste to home for there are details we must thaw out. I do not wish for this ‘independent’ fellow to find any wrong within my palace walls.
Armenia: I shall seek the carriage.
Medi: No! With you seeking I will be waiting for many an hour just for the footman to attach one of the trio of horses. I shall see to it myself. Come, daughter.
Armenia: Yes, my Father. [Exeunt]
Now comes a time when, after finally feeling confident to delve into my own works again and admit their existence, I’m going to begin posting this old gem from ten years ago. This, as you can see, is Scene One of a Shakespearean-style play I wrote when I was seventeen. Loosely based on real events I was studying in Media Studies at the time (the controversy surrounding the Media invading the privacy of notable figures)– this play focuses on an investigation into whether the kingdom of Medi (I know, it’s not even a hidden reference) is targeting and threatening the privacy of people in the kingdom of Albion. Of course, that isn’t the only plotline as there’s a lot more going on behind the scenes that neither King knows about, but it is the throughline of the entire play.
I knew there was never really a chance for this play to be acted properly on stage. It’s a very niche way to write, a very guarded usage of language and– well, as fun as I think it would be to see live (and I have acted it out with various friends who love it) I can’t see it happening anytime soon. I wouldn’t even know who to give it to, to ask if they were interested in preforming it. I mean, Shakespeare I am not. So, I’ve decided to post it here, scene by scene, on this very blog. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I’ve enjoyed reading it through the years (the particular first monologue coming up in the next scene is one I did for an Open Mic once– and is a great one to read out loud). And I apologise for the formatting. I tried to fix it but… well, in the words of David Walliams in Little Britain… ‘computer said no.’
See you in the next scene. A bientot, les ecrivains.
The Literary Onion