Follow Me in Merry Measure

The holiday season is starting to weigh on everyone, and if the Queen hears one more Christmas carol, it will be too soon. To make matters worse, the Baroque Chorale needs money (which they raise by singing carols) for their show choir trip. The Steward wants them gone, so he recruits a no-name servant girl, Sofia, to infiltrate the choir and destroy it from within. Sofia, however gets pulled in and becomes a believer in all things show choir. This lighthearted send-up to show choirs is sure to please both choir alumni and the uninitiated general public.

(This is a revision of our earlier script “Strike the Carp.” 50% revised and 90% better.)

Cast size: 4 Male, 3 Female, 4 M/F, and Extras

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CAST OF CHARACTERS 

MINSTREL (M/F) the leader of the Baroque Chorale (a show choir and a bit of a cult).

JESTER (M) considers himself a wit.  He’s half right.

STEWARD (M) tired of the Christmas season, he’d like to just put an end to the Baroque Chorale.

SOFIA (F) a servant girl who infiltrates the choir.

KING (M) tired of the Christmas season, Christmas jokes, and Christmas busy-ness.

QUEEN (F) really tired of the Christmas season, which, apparently began at the summer solstice.

THE BAROQUE CHORALE 

CRESCENDO (M/F) a singer who starts speaking softly and ends loudly.

FORTE (M/F) a singer who speaks loudly and forcefully.

TUTTI (F) a singer who is really into unity and teamwork.  She’s very optimistic.

FLAT (M) a singer who speaks in a flat tone and tends to be pessimistic.

SHARP (M/F) a singer who’s really, really smart.

 SAMPLE PAGES

 At the start of the show, it is clear that the Christmas season is beginning to wear thin: 

JESTER: God rest ye merry, gentlemen! Ladies here and good folk all!  Welcome to our banquet hall!  (Enter SOFIA.)  ‘Tis the season of mirth and good cheer.  I take this time to welcome you here!  (Notices SOFIA, who is putting goblets out on the Royal Table.) And merry greetings to you, Sofia!

SOFIA:  (Rolls her eyes at JESTER, sighs, and continues putting out goblets.) 

JESTER:  Sofia, what is the matter?  ‘Tis the holidays!  Time to eat, drink, and be merry!

SOFIA: “The holidays”!  I’m already sick of them.  Everyone is.

JESTER:  Everyone?

SOFIA:  Yes, everyone.  The Town Crier snapped his vocal chords announcing holiday sales.

JESTER:  Snapped?

SOFIA: Like an overdrawn bowstring.  He can only mime the sales now.  He works the big box stores.  (Mimes being in a box.)

(Enter STEWARD with bowl of fruit for Royal Table. He listens in on conversation.)

JESTER:  (Mimes pulling a rope.)  I bet he has to drag them in.

STEWARD:  I heard that the Queen was thinking of running away.

JESTER: (Shocked.) You don’t say!

SOFIA:  Where would the Queen run away to?

STEWARD:  The Northern Castle.

JESTER:  But . . . isn’t the Northern Castle overrun by Vikings?

STEWARD:  Yes.

SOFIA:  But the Vikings make mayhem and run riot!

STEWARD:  Ever been to Black Friday?

JESTER:  Right.

SOFIA:  Oh, I’m so tired of the holiday season.  We’ve been listening to Christmas carols since the summer solstice.

JESTER:  Really?

STEWARD:  Really. Where have you been, Jester?

JESTER:  If you must know, I’ve been away.  Doing research.

STEWARD:  Research? Where?

JESTER:  The Royal Dungeon.  My joke about the Yeti, the spiked eggnog, and The Island of Misfit Toys was not well-received.

SOFIA:  You were making Christmas jokes at a time like this?

STEWARD:  The King is in no mood.

JESTER:  I found that out. (Beat.) And I had plenty of time to think about it.

SOFIA/STEWARD:  Lucky you.

JESTER:  Lucky me?

SOFIA:  You were isolated from the . . . from that one group.

JESTER:  What group?

SOFIA:  You know.  That one singing group.

JESTER:  Oh, you mean The Baroque Chorale?

STEWARD:  (Slaps hand over JESTER’s mouth.)  Don’t say their name!  (JESTER mumbles through STEWARD’s hand.  STEWARD removes hand from his mouth.)  What did you say?

JESTER:  Why can’t I say “The Baroque Chorale”?

SOFIA:  (Slaps her hand over JESTER’s mouth.)  Don’t say their name!  Haven’t you ever heard the adage, “Speak of the devil?”  (JESTER mumbles through SOFIA’s hand.  She removes her hand from his mouth.) 

JESTER:  So, Baroque . . . (Looks at SOFIA’s and STEWARD’s upraised hands.)  So, that . . . acapella group has been a nuisance?

SOFIA:  The Black Death was a nuisance.

STEWARD: That . . . singing set is a menace. It’s one fundraiser after another. They are raising money to go to Disneyshire.

JESTER:  They need money?  I guess that makes sense.  They are the Baroque Chorale after all.  Get it?  Baroque?  (SOFIA and STEWARD just stare.)  Right.  What’s the fundraiser this time?

SOFIA:  Extortion.

JESTER:  What?

STEWARD: Give them money or they sing at you.  That’s their fundraiser.

SOFIA:  And that’s not the worst of it.  Their next fundraiser starts right after Christmas.

JESTER:  For another trip?

STEWARD:  No, worse: show choir choreography camp!

JESTER:  That doesn’t sound so bad.

SOFIA:   Another rendition of “Don’t Stop Believin’”!

JESTER:  I see what you mean. Sounds like you just need a break from them.

STEWARD/SOFIA:  (On each side of JESTER.  JESTER jumps.) They must be stopped!

JESTER: Sounds a bit extreme.

SOFIA:  (Looks to STEWARD.) But how do we stop them?

STEWARD:  This will take some planning, but I might have an idea. (BRASS FANFARE.) Oh, no! Has the Court arrived already? I must get the first course ready. (Exits quickly.) 

SOFIA: (Exits after STEWARD.) But what’s your idea?

Later, the Steward reveals his plan: 

SOFIA: So, what’s the plan, Steward?

STEWARD:  Well, as you know, The Baroque Chorale is more secretive and powerful than the illuminati.

JESTER:  Ooh, I like a challenge. How do we find out their secrets?

STEWARD:  Someone must infiltrate their organization and topple it from the inside.

SOFIA:  That’s an excellent idea, Steward! The Jester could pretend that—

STEWARD:  (Bursts out laughing.) The Jester? My dear, we need someone who can keep their wits about him.

JESTER:  (Insulted.) I’m a famous entertainer.  I am known for my wit!

STEWARD:  Wit.  Notice that’s singular.  And you could never travel incognito. (Looks to SOFIA.) You, on the other hand, are a nameless serving wench whom no one takes any notice of, everybody ignores, plain, unremarkable, really just a worn piece of furniture that blends into a cluttered room, an ordinary—

SOFIA:  (Glares.) I get the idea.

STEWARD:  Really?  Good.  Now, we just need a way to get you an audition.

SOFIA:  Yes, but—

STEWARD: (Notices MINSTREL entering.)  Ah, perfect.  The Minstrel approaches.

JESTER:  What cheer, good Minstrel? 

MINSTREL:  I’m too busy for your nonsense today, Jester.

JESTER:  Of course.  As the founder and director of The Bar—(Catches SOFIA’s glare.) of the best, most amazing choir in the land, you’re very busy.

MINSTREL: (Flattered, he reacts with false modesty.) The best in the land?  That’s a tad much.  But we did win the trophy for best choreography using thumbscrews.

JESTER:  Ah, I remember that song.  “I Will Always Love You.”

SOFIA:  With thumbscrews?

MINSTREL:  It showed the pain of love.  A very envelope-pushing interpretation.  Edgy.

STEWARD:  (Sarcastically.) Of course. (Changes tone.) Tell me, Minstrel, how does one audition for such an august singing group?

MINSTREL:  Well, if you’re talking about the Jester, we don’t need any comedy—

STEWARD:  Oh, I’m not talking about the Jester.  I’m talking about Sofia.

MINSTREL:  Who’s Sofia?

JESTER: (To SOFIA.) Steward’s right.  Nameless.

SOFIA:  (To JESTER.)  But I’ve got names for you. (To MINSTREL.)  I’m Sofia.

MINSTREL:  And you want to join my choir?  Excellent.  How are you at facial expressions?

SOFIA:  Facial expressions?  Don’t you want to hear me sing?

MINSTREL:  No.  Now, I’m going to say an emotion, and you express it with your face.  Shock.  (SOFIA does facial expression.)  No, no, no.  People at the back hall have to see your expression.  Do it again.  (SOFIA does a more manic facial expression.)  No!  More emotion!  Wear your heart on your sleeve!  Do shock!  (SOFIA does a very manic facial expression.) Excellent! You’re in.

SOFIA:  Don’t you even want to know my vocal range?

MINSTREL:  Are you a soprano?

SOFIA:  No.

MINSTREL:  You’re in.  (Begins to escort SOFIA off-stage.) Let’s go.  We’re late for rehearsal. . . .

(BRASS FANFARE. Lights up on Royal Table.) 

JESTER: (Enters cheerily and bows before the KING.) Your majesty!  Good cheer and tidings of the Yuletide season!

KING: And to you. Uh, how many more days do we have until Christmas, Jester?

JESTER: (Excited.) Only 16 days, your majesty!

KING:  (Shocked.) 16?  (Looks to QUEEN.)  Still that many?

QUEEN: (Frustrated at the KING.) You told me it was less than a week. (Stands.) I’m going to hide out at the Northern Castle until this is over.

KING:  The Northern Castle is overrun with Vikings and Bears and Lions.

QUEEN:  Oh, great.  An extended Christmas season and an extended football season?

KING: (Grabs QUEEN’s hand and gets her to sit.) I thought we agreed to suffer this trial together?  We can make it through just 16 days. (Aside.) 384 hours. 23,000 agonizing seconds. (To QUEEN.) We can survive, my dear.

QUEEN: (Sighs.) Oh, all right.  We’ll get through this together. So, I suppose we can’t miss the performance by The Baroque Chorale?

KING: I’m afraid not. Unlike the politicians, we want to support music in our schools.

QUEEN: I suppose you’re right. (Looks out at a female in the audience and then averts her eyes when she talks to the KING in a stage whisper.) Sire, the Diva is here.

KING:  She is?  Where?

QUEEN:  Don’t look!   She’s wearing _____ (Describe the dress of the audience member you’ve picked out.)  You can see her just over there. 

KING: How can I see her if I can’t look.  (Starts to look.)

QUEEN: Don’t look at her!  Whatever you do, don’t make eye contact.  (KING looks at DIVA while not looking at DIVA.) 

JESTER: (Looks out into audience.) Uh, who’s the diva?

KING: Sshh, Jester!

JESTER: I don’t understand, your majesty.

KING: Let’s just say that we had a little incident involving the Diva, a crystal chandelier, and a cranky chipmunk.

(JESTER looks toward DIVA.) 

QUEEN: Don’t look at her!  Whatever you do, don’t make eye contact.  (JESTER looks at DIVA while not looking at DIVA.)

KING:  (Looks up.)  Oh, thank goodness.

QUEEN:  What?

KING:  No crystal chandelier.  (Looks around the audience.)  Better yet, no cranky chipmunk.  (Squints at one audience member in particular.)  I think.

QUEEN:  So it’s safe if she sings?

KING:  No.  We still have eardrums, don’t we?

QUEEN:  Right.  What do we do?

KING:  Ignore her.  Maybe she won’t sing.  (Off-key BRASS FANFARE.)  Oh, no.  She’s warming up!

QUEEN:  That’s the brass fanfare, milord.  It’s the boar.

KING:  Exactly what I said.  That bore, the Diva—

QUEEN:  That’s boar, as in big angry pig smothered in barbeque sauce.

KING:  Oh.  (To the back of the hall.)  Well, bring in the boar!  (Beat.)  And send that horn player to the dungeon.