The Jester is gifted at giving re-gifted gifts. She wants to trade up to that pinnacle of gifts — a pony! Meanwhile, the Prince has just been knighted and must live up to his vows. But can he keep his vows and keep his gifts: a belt, a chain, spurs and a sword? Famish (formerly known as Fat) needs a belt to hold his pants up, which keep falling down. Heidi needs a chain to leash her stuffed puppy dog, Sue Flay the pastry chef needs a pastry wheel, and Spit needs a carving knife. Will the Prince keep the spirit or the letter of his vows? This madrigal script is perfect for the Christmas season, which nowadays runs from Columbus Day to the Superbowl.
Cast size: 5 Male/ 7 Female/ Extras
(Lights up on TOWN CRIER & JESTER.)
TOWN CRIER: How now, Jester. You look rather downcast.
JESTER: My plan is not working.
TOWN CRIER: Still stuck with the cheap wine from the pub?
JESTER: Actually, I took a sip of it. Then I gave it to the Royal Armorer for a new weapon he is developing.
TOWN CRIER: What’s that?
JESTER: A flame thrower. He needed something both flammable and caustic. Of course, now I have nothing to re-gift. I ran out of rubber chickens—and ideas.
TOWN CRIER: Well, perhaps, you can trade this for something. (Hands JESTER a fork.)
JESTER: How did you get that?
TOWN CRIER: I asked the goose girl to trade me for one of her forks.
JESTER: What did you trade her?
TOWN CRIER: My magical flute.
JESTER: But, I thought you liked your flute?
TOWN CRIER: I did. I like you better. It’s Christmas, Jester!
JESTER: (Pauses.) That’s . . . admirable. Oh, thank you, dear friend! Now, I have something to re-gift with the nobility. Forget the goose girl! (Enter FAMISH, carrying a basket with produce.)
FAMISH: (His pants are very, very loose, and he likes to gesture wildly with his hands. He always catches his pants just in time, but he is wearing very, very modest and funny boxers underneath.) Why are you forgetting the goose girl, Jester?
JESTER: (Looks FAMISH up and down.) Do I know you?
FAMISH: (Sets down his basket.) Jester, it’s me! (Throws his arms wide.) I’m Famish! (Catches his pants before they drop.)
JESTER: Fat Famish? I don’t think so. (Enter PRINCE.)
PRINCE: Did someone say “Fat Famish”? Where is the rogue? Why, I haven’t seen him since he chased me out of his apple orchard with a rake.
FAMISH: (Bows.) It is I, my Prince. (ALL stare at him.) Ta-da! (He strikes a pose and almost loses his pants again.)
PRINCE: You are Fat Famish?
TOWN CRIER: (Looking more closely.) I believe it is Fat Famish.
FAMISH: My Prince! How you’ve grown!
PRINCE: Fat Famish! How you’ve . . . shrunk. What has happened?
FAMISH: My mother eloped with a potter from Pembroke. She kept waiting around for grandchildren, but you know, I could never quite find the girl who suited me.
JESTER: You mean a girl who could cook like your mother.
FAMISH: Good cooking suits me. But now I’m cooking for myself. (ALL look at FAMISH.)
JESTER: And how is that going?
FAMISH: That report of a dragon in the northern shire?
TOWN CRIER: Yes.
FAMISH: That was me. I burned a pot of black beans. I guess I should not have used so much molasses. Or jalapeno. Or saltpeter.
TOWN CRIER: Saltpeter?
FAMISH: Gives it a kick. Unfortunately, this time it gave the beans a small explosion. But I’m done with English cooking anyway. I’ve just acquired a French cookbook, and the royal armorer just sold me some cooking wine. (Holds up flask.)
JESTER: I have a feeling that your cooking woes are not over.
PRINCE: Famish, you must stay for the banquet tonight. We will have mutton, pork, stuffed goose and more pastries than you can imagine. We will help you, uh, fill out a bit.
FAMISH: Oh, my Prince. I can’t do that.
PRINCE: And why’s that?
FAMISH: (Points to pants.) These are the only pants I own. I cannot be seen in polite society dressed like this. (He throws up his arms and his pants slide half-way down his butt.)
JESTER: Of course not! (Laughing.) Can you imagine a society where having your pants hanging half-way down is the style? It would be the end of civilization as we know it.
PRINCE: But I have a solution. (PRINCE unbuckles the belt from around his waist. He hands it to FAMISH.) This will hold your pants up.
TOWN CRIER: My Prince, no!
PRINCE: (In a firm voice.) Attend me, Town Crier. I have been well fed due to the efforts of farmers such as Famish. I have no need for a belt. Famish needs a belt. That is the end of it.
FAMISH: My Prince, I cannot accept this. It is finely-crafted, and I am but a plain farmer.
PRINCE: Famish, it’s Christmas. Besides, I want to see you eat with BOTH hands tonight. And I don’t want my dear mother to faint dead away either. Now, do join us for a meal!