Fool Hardies I “Unemployed”

This madrigal script runs about 20-25 minutes for those of you who are looking for a short masque (if you have few actors) or additional material (if you have extra actors). The Fool Hardies introduce each course with an ongoing story line. In this script, the Fool Hardies are out-of-work political consultants who are looking for something to fill the time. They misunderstand how to introduce each course, and the king will put up with it for only so long. The madrigal dinner is playfully interactive with the audience.

Cast size: 3 Male, 3 Female

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CHARACTERS

MARY (F) Arrogant, thinks she’s smarter than she is.  She attempts to be the leader of the group.

KERI (F) Arrogant, thinks she’s prettier than she is.  She is vying with Mary for leadership.

LARRY (M) Rustic and not all that up on etiquette.

HARRY (M) A bit of a dandy, imagines himself the archetypical knight.

VIVIAN (F) A cute, loveable, airhead.

SEFTON THE STEWARD (M) Cannot believe that he is stuck with the Fool Hardies.  Worried that they will ruin the banquet.

 

SAMPLE PAGES:

(Lights up. FOOL HARDIES enter from all points through audience up to the stage.)

MARY: Ladies—

KERI: And Gentlemen!

LARRY: Children of all ages—

VIVIAN: And . . . puppies!  (ALL stare.)

HARRY: Puppies?

VIVIAN: They’re so cute!

MARY: Right.  Where were we then?

KERI: I believe we were at “Ladies and Gentlemen.”

VIVIAN: And puppies.

MARY: Oh, yes.  Ladies and Gentlemen . . . (Looks askance at VIVIAN.) and puppies.

HARRY: Welcome to our Madrigal Dinner!

LARRY: Starring . . .

ALL:  (Strike pose.) The Fool Hardies!

KERI: Directed by . . .

ALL:  (Strike another pose.) The Fool Hardies!

HARRY: Written by . . .

ALL:  (Strike another pose.) The Fool Hardies!

MARY: Produced by . . .

ALL:  (Strike another pose.) The Fool Hardies!

LARRY: Best Boy . . .

ALL:  (Strike another pose.) The Fool Hardies!

KERI: Key Grip . . .

ALL:  (Strike another pose.) The Fool Hardies!

HARRY: And we are . . .

ALL:  (Strike another pose.) The Fool Hardies!

MARY: Who are the Fool Hardies, you ask?

VIVIAN: But they didn’t ask.  (ALL stare.)   Well, they didn’t.

MARY: (Steps forward.)  We are but a humble band of unu         employed political consultants.

HARRY: At least, until the next election cycle.

LARRY:  Which starts up in . . . (Checks watch, realizes they haven’t been invented yet, then shrugs.)  Which starts up right after this play.

KERI: Until then, we gotta eat.

MARY: ‘Cause we are not used to hard physical labor.

KERI: We are not used to physical labor.

LARRY: We are not used to labor.

VIVIAN: We are not used.  (ALL stare.) We are new.  Like a puppy!

MARY:  So, we have decided to get into an area that is absolutely suited to our skills.

ALL:  Show business!

HARRY: We decided to create . . .

LARRY: A grand melodrama . . .

KERI: An epic farce . . .

HARRY: Since we have loads of experience in this area.

MARY: We’ve produced campaign commercials, after all.

KERI: And so, without further ado . . .

LARRY: It gives us great pleasure . . .

VIVIAN: To present—

SEFTON:  Hold it!  Hold it right there.

MARY: Who are you?

SEFTON: I am Sefton, the Steward of this castle.

KERI: (Looks him up and down.)  What’s a Steward?

SEFTON:  (Glares.)  I am a very important official in the royal household.  (FOOL HARDIES stare blankly.)  I oversee the affairs of the castle.  This is the Middle Ages, you know.

MARY: Listen, you may be hitting middle age, mister, but not us.

SEFTON: (Pulls off his hat and throws it down.)  The point is that I do not know who you are or why you are here. I’ve got the script right here (Holds up scroll.), and you are not mentioned anywhere.

MARY: Of course, we are.  (Takes scroll and looks it over.  Then she tucks it in her belt.)

SEFTON: Prove it.

KERI: I’m the best boy.  (ALL look at her.)  For a girl.

HARRY: (Pulls out a key and holds it.)  Key grip.

VIVIAN:  (Grabs a head of lettuce from the royal table.)  Produce (Pause.) Er.

SEFTON: I have no idea what you are blathering about, but I am the Steward of this castle—

MARY:  So you’ve said.

SEFTON:  And that means that I am in charge of this show.

LARRY: Oh.  Kind of like a producer. (Takes head of lettuce from VIVIAN and puts it in SEFTON’s hands.)  Then this head is yours.

HARRY: (Joining LARRY’s joke.)  Two heads are better than one.

SEFTON: (Shoves head of lettuce back at LARRY.)  You have not seen the last of me.  When I return, I shall bring the royal guard along.  (Exits.)

LARRY: (Calls after him.)  Lettuce hope so.

HARRY: (Calling after.)  Oh, just leaf us alone.

VIVIAN: And don’t be so rutabaga next time.  (ALL stare at VIVIAN.)  What?

MARY: (To audience.)  I’m Mary.

KERI: I’m Keri.

LARRY: I’m Larry.

HARRY: I’m Harry.

VIVIAN: I’m Vivian.  (ALL stare at VIVIAN.)  What?

MARY: We are . . . the Fool Hardies!

KERI: You’ll be seeing more of us.

ALL: Enjoy our show!

(ALL exit in various directions. Lights down.)

THE TOAST

(Lights up. Enter FOOL HARDIES, looking around to avoid the royal guard.  VIVIAN peruses the scroll.)

MARY:  (Grabs scroll from VIVIAN.)  Give me that script.  I cannot believe that you spilled beer –

KERI: (Nudges MARY and points toward audience.)

MARY: Uh, I cannot believe that you spilled ROOT beer all over the script!  I can’t read what we are supposed to do next.

KERI: Let me take a look at it.  (ALL huddle to study the scroll.)

HARRY: Does that say, “Gag?”

LARRY: Well, this is a comedy.

VIVIAN: (Grabs the scroll.)  Steak?  We’re having steak?

KERI:  Maybe.  It’s not as if any of us really knows how to read.

MARY: (Takes script from VIVIAN.)  Give me that script!  Now, let me see.  (KERI reaches over and turns the script right side up.)  Oh.  I think this says (Bends forward to read and whispers to the other FOOL HARDIES.  They all say, “Ah!”  Whispers some more, they all say, “Ah!”  Whispers some more and they all stand straight up and stare, and then say, “EEEWW.”)

KERI: We’re supposed to do that?  Really?

MARY: Yes.  I’m sure that’s what it says.  (Aside.)  Pretty sure.

HARRY: But that’s disgusting.

LARRY: And there are children in the audience.

KERI:  Oh, yeah.  Right.  Children aren’t used to violence.  (Smacks LARRY on the back of the head.)  Obviously, you don’t have cable.

MARY: Well, I admit, it’s gruesome and ghastly, but that is what the script says to do.  (Completely changes character and asks brightly.)  So!  Is there anyone in the audience who would like to join us for the next exciting development in the script?  (Looks around and chooses someone.  Bring the person on stage.)  Ah, you, sir.  So nice of you to volunteer!

KERI: Actually, it was so nice of all of your friends to push you forward.

LARRY: We need someone just like you.

HARRY: (Puts his arm around volunteer.)  Your part in the play is most important.

LARRY: What do you have to say to that?

HARRY: (Holds his hand up before volunteer can respond.)  Actually, this is a non-speaking role.

VIVIAN: More a screaming role.

KERI: (Nudges VIVIAN.)  But we do guarantee that you will be the center of attention.

(They position volunteer in front of a stake and start to tie his arms while others put newspapers and sticks under his feet.  They go into a rhyme.)

MARY: We want to please the host.

KERI: So, tie him to a post.

LARRY: And make of him a roast.

HARRY: Medium rare, at most.

VIVIAN: And then you’ll be a ghost.

MARY: So now it’s we who boast.

ALL:  You’re toast!

VIVIAN: Let’s light him up!

HARRY: Uh, with what?

MARY: (To audience.) Anybody out there have any flint and steel?

VIVIAN: And gasoline? (ALL stare.  Then nod.  We are assuming that no one in the audience responds.)

LARRY:  Hmm.  I guess we’re on our own.  (Starts rubbing two sticks together.)  Man, I hate the Middle Ages.

SEFTON:  (Enters quickly.) Wait!  What do you think you’re doing?

LARRY:  Uh, rubbing two sticks together.

SEFTON:  Why?

HARRY:  Nobody had flint and steel.  Or gasoline.  So we had to start this fire the good, old-fashioned medieval way.

SEFTON:  You are burning this good man at the stake?  Why would you do that?

MARY: Because it’s in the script.  (Hands scroll to SEFTON.)

SEFTON:  (Grabs it from MARY.)  That’s where it went!

VIVIAN:  (Looks over SEFTON’s shoulder and points to a place in the scroll.) We’re here.  (Points further down.)  Or maybe it’s here.

SEFTON:  (Looks it over.)  You’ve read the script wrong.  It does not say, “You’re toast.”  It says, “Make your toast.”  It is time for the toast.

MARY:  (Takes the scroll.) Really?  (Tucks scroll back in her belt.)

ALL:  (Pause.)  Oh.

VIVIAN: Oopsie.

LARRY: How embarrassing.  (Unties the volunteer.)  No hard feelings, I hope.

VIVIAN: It was just a teensy mistake.

HARRY: Anyone could have made it.

LARRY: But, look at it this way, you were almost the toast of the town.  (He encourages applause from the audience and seats the volunteer.)

MARY: Now, I will make the toast.

KERI: No, I will make the toast.

HARRY: No, I will make the toast.

SEFTON: No, the king will make the toast.

MARY: The king?  Why the king?

SEFTON:  Because he has all the dough. . . .