Silent Night

Goodman Brassworks has made the King a new jousting helmet. They also made the bell in Saint Basil’s Belfry, so when Sir Clapper hit the King’s noggin during a joust, the King is hearing nothing but constant ringing. It’s beginning to take its toll. And it’s anything but a silent night around the castle. If it doesn’t get quiet, then more than a few people may be asking for whom the bell tolls. This script is easy to produce, has flexible casting, and is highly-interactive with the audience.

Cast Size: 2 Males, 2 Females, & M/F, and Extras

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CAST OF CHARACTERS

JESTER (M/F) the professional funny-man of the court.

FIONA (F) a servant who has a soft heart for animals and people who need shelter.

TOWN MIME (M/F) he was the Town Crier, before the King’s injury.

KING (M) has tinnitus due to a jousting injury and wants silence.

QUEEN (F) she likes to sing loudly, which is a problem for the King.

SHEEP (M/F) a stock character.

CALF (M) the audition for this should be a cattle call.

CAMEL (M/F) this character should in no way encourage children to smoke.

SCHAEFFER (or SIBYL) THE SHEPHERD (M/F) a shepherd of German descent. It would be cool if the actor were bilingual.  Otherwise, you can cast an American.

2 GERMAN SHEPHERDS (M/F) these characters will raise the woof.

EXTRAS (M/F) Courtiers, Pages, Guards, etc.

SAMPLE PAGES

FANFARE AND WELCOME

(When the guests have been seated, a second BRASS FANFARE will signal all entertainers to clear the hall. Lights up on main stage and Royal Table. JESTER enters and greets guests from the main stage.)

JESTER: Greetings, lovely and brilliant guests,
Lords and ladies, and all the rest!
I’ve never met a more wondrous crowd;
The season’s upon us, so let’s get loud!

Huzzah! (Cues the audience to join him.) Huzzah! Huzzah!

(TOWN MIME enters, frantically making hand gestures to JESTER.)

JESTER: What ho, Town Crier? I was just warming up the crowd here.

(TOWN MIME makes more frantic gestures. FIONA enters.)

JESTER: Speak up, friend. I don’t understand you.

FIONA: That’s because he’s not talking.

JESTER: Not talking? But he’s the Town Crier.

FIONA: Not anymore.

JESTER: Town Crier, is this true?

(TOWN MIME mimes crying, shakes his head “no,” and stops crying.)

FIONA:  You didn’t hear about the King’s accident?

JESTER:  No.

FIONA:  You’ve heard of the Goodman Brassworks, haven’t you?

JESTER:  Yes.  They made the bell that hangs in Saint Basil’s Belfry.  The bell’s tone is so lovely.  You can hear it ringing for miles and miles.

FIONA:  Well, Goodman Brassworks also made the King’s new jousting helmet.  At the joust, Sir Clapper—

JESTER:  Sir Clapper?

FIONA:  Don’t you know him?

JESTER:  His name rings a bell. (Laughs loudly at his own joke. TOWN MIME signals him to stop.)

FIONA:  When Sir Clapper struck the King on his noggin, the sound from the helmet—

JESTER:  Could be heard for miles and miles?

FIONA:  The King has constant ringing in his ears.  He’s a tad sensitive to sound. And that being the case, the Town Crier is now the Town Mime.

JESTER:  Not a mime!  That’s terrible.  (TOWN MIME looks confused.)  He’ll never give me sound advice again. (Laughs hysterically at his own joke.) Oh, this can be fun! Just watch.  Town Mime, what is the name of that new song by Minstrel Seeger?

(TOWN MIME mimes walking against the wind.)

JESTER: “Against the Wind.”  See? Hilarious!  What is that song by Minstrels Simon and Garfunkel?

(TOWN MIME mimes being in a box.)

JESTER:  “The Boxer.”   (Claps TOWN MIME on the back.)  You’re killing it, my friend!

FIONA:  That was stupid, bordering on awful.

JESTER: (Points to table of guests.) Well, Lord Lafferly’s table thought it was funny.

FIONA: The Lafferlys think everything’s funny. Besides, they’re French: of course they like mimes.

(TOWN MIME points to Lafferly table, mimes laughing, then holds his ears.)­­­­

FIONA: He’s right. That’s a problem.

JESTER: What’s a problem?

FIONA: The Lafferlys. You know how they get at these feasts. They start drinking the wassail then they laugh at everything. Very loudly. How can we keep them quiet? The King wants a very silent Christmas season.

(BRASS FANFARE off-stage.)

FIONA: Town Mime, tell that horn player to stop!

(TOWN MIME mimes that he cannot speak.)

FIONA: Well, find some way to get the point across! The King is coming!

(TOWN MIME exits toward the BRASS PLAYER. BRASS FANFARE starts again then goes flat then silent.)

FIONA: That was close. I’d better warn the others. (Exits.)

JESTER: (To audience.) It’s time to begin! 

(To the back of the hall.) Ready the meal and heat the wassail!

Bring forth the meat and the finest of ale!

But on this night, you must not riot;

When the King appears, you must be quiet. (Exits.)

FANFARE AND PROCESSIONAL

(BRASS FANFARE starts again then stops mid-blow. TOWN MIME enters and wipes his brow, looking relieved.  KING, QUEEN, ROYAL COURT & SINGERS enter at the back of the hall and sing 1-2 selections.  TOWN MIME pats down his tunic, as if looking for something, then exits quickly. KING, QUEEN, ROYAL COURT & SINGERS process to the Royal Table, take their places, and either recite or sing a blessing.  SINGERS sing another selection. COURT members sit.  TOWN MIME enters and mimes forming a rope into a loop and then twirls it around his head.  BRASS FANFARE sounds.  TOWN MIME mimes whirling the rope toward BRASS PLAYER and then pulls taut.  BRASS FANFARE is cut off.)

KING:  Thank you, Town Mime.  (MIME bows.  KING addresses QUEEN.)  My dear Queen, could I ask you a question?

QUEEN: (Loudly.) Yes, my King. You can ask me anything.

KING: (Wincing at QUEEN’S volume.)  I can tolerate the singing, but why must you sing so loudly?

(JESTER enters.)

QUEEN:  Loudly? I was using my inside singing voice.  My outside singing voice sounds like this. (She begins to sing an aria in loud opera voice.  KING falls off chair in agony.  TOWN MIME mimes pulling out a remote, points it at QUEEN, and presses a button. QUEEN continues to mouth the words with no sound, then stops, puzzled.  KING returns to sitting position.)

KING:  Thank you, Town Mime.  (Beat.)  How did you do that?

JESTER:  He used the mute button.

KING: (Looks out into audience.)  And who is making that confounded racket? (QUEEN tries to answer.) What’s that? I can’t hear you.

(TOWN MIME mimes pulling out remote, points it toward QUEEN, and pushes button.)

QUEEN: I said . . . (Looks confused then continues.) I said that it’s the Lafferlys, your Highness.  They laugh at everything.  Even mimes.

(ALL stop and glare at the Lafferly table.)

KING:  Well, they are much too loud. Guards! Take them to the dungeon.  Let’s see if the Lafferlys think that’s funny.

(Several GUARDS enter.)

JESTER:  Knowing the Lafferlys, they’d be racked with laughter. (Laughs overly at his joke. TOWN MIME points remote and pushes button. JESTER continues to mime laughing until he realizes what just happened. He gestures “HEY!”)

KING: Thank you, Town Mime.

QUEEN: The Jester is right. If they are racked with laughter, they’ll be louder than ever. I pray your patience with them, my King. (Beat.) They are our guests.

KING: All right. Fine. I will allow them to stay under one condition: that you speak SOFTLY for the rest of the night.

(KING waves a hand and GUARDS exit.)

QUEEN: (Loudly.) As you wish, my King! (Catches herself, then speaks softly.)  As you wish, my King.

(JESTER desperately gestures to KING.)

KING: I can’t understand you, Jester. Town Mime, what is he saying? (TOWN MIME mimes filling a cup, toasting, and drinking.) You see, Jester? I understand the Town Mime perfectly well. And he didn’t have to say a word. You could learn from him.  He says that it is time for the wassail.

(JESTER glares at TOWN MIME and exits.)  

After the FIRST COURSE has been served . . .

(Enter FIONA with SHEEP. JESTER enters from opposite side of stage.)

FIONA: (To SHEEP.) Now, I can bring you in from the cold, but you have to be quiet.

JESTER: (Gestures “What’s with the sheep?”)

FIONA: Oh, hello, Jester. I found this sheep wandering out in the cold, so I brought her here to stay warm. (JESTER smiles.) Jester, is everything all right? (JESTER shrugs.) Can’t you talk? What happened?

(JESTER starts to mime that he can’t talk when TOWN MIME enters. JESTER points accusingly at him.)

FIONA: Town Mime, what have you done?

JESTER: (TOWN MIME mimes hitting the mute button after he told a joke.  JESTER starts to make threatening gestures.  TOWN MIME unmutes JESTER.)  —  and then I’m going to take that mute button and stick it—

(TOWN MIME mutes JESTER again then mimes an explanation to FIONA.) 

FIONA:  Jester, the Town Mime says that he saved you from the King’s wrath.  You were too loud. If he hadn’t muted you, you’d be in the dungeon right now.

JESTER: (Starts to reply but has no voice.  FIONA looks pointedly at TOWN MIME, who unmutes him.)  The point is that the Town Mime has no right to silence me.

FIONA:  The point is that the Town Mime was acting in your best interests.

JESTER:  Really?  That buffoon?  (Raising his voice angrily.)  The point is — (TOWN MIME mutes JESTER.)

FIONA:  Moot.  So, Jester, ­­can we all be friends again if he unmutes you?

JESTER: (Throws up his hands in resignation. TOWN MIME unmutes him.) How are you doing that, anyway? (TOWN MIME shrugs. SHEEP baaaas.) And, Fiona, what’s with the sheep?

FIONA: It’s a rescue sheep. I brought her in from the cold. (Sheep baaaaas again.) I was just going to put her with the other sheep.

JESTER: The other sheep? What other sheep?

FIONA: Well . . . I may have rescued more than one. (Leads SHEEP to one of the audience tables. Moves a chair to the table.) You stay here with the others. (SHEEP sits at the table and Baaaas.) She just needs to be with her own kind.  Just listen to them all. (Beat.) I said, just listen to them all. (SHEEP cues table to baaaa.)

JESTER:  It looks like they are all feeling sheepish.

FIONA:  This time for sure.  (Cues the sheep table.) Just listen to all of these sheep!

(SHEEP cues the table to Baaaa with her. FIONA returns to stage.)

JESTER: They look like they’re developing quite a relationsheep.

FIONA: Jester—

JESTER: Oh, don’t get so bent out of sheep.

FIONA: But, Jester—

JESTER: You know I can go on forever. I wool stop at nothing!

FIONA: Jester, stop! You’ve got the Lafferly’s started. (FIONA, TOWN MIME, & JESTER stop to glare at the Lafferly table.) You know how hard it is to get them quiet; they think everything is funny. Even your puns.

JESTER: Hey!

FIONA: Just remember. The King wants a silent night.

JESTER: But with that many sheep in the castle, won’t that be too loud for the King?

FIONA: Don’t worry about them. I can keep them quiet. It’s the Lafferly’s I worry about. 

(FIONA, TOWN MIME, & JESTER stop to glare at the Lafferly table.)

JESTER: I see your point. (To Lafferly table.) Yes, I understand that my jokes are killer, but you don’t want to die for them. Just remember that my friend here (Points to TOWN MIME.) can silence you instantly. So, if you want to keep talking then keep the laughter down. We’re watching you.

FIONA: Come on; it’s about time for the main course. (Exits with JESTER.)

(TOWN MIME looks to the table of SHEEP then begins to exit. SHEEP baaas. TOWN MIME mimes for her to stay silent. BRASS FANFARE begins. TOWN MIME looks frantically for the remote and can’t find it. He mimes shooting an arrow from his bow. FANFARE stops abruptly. TOWN MIME looks self-satisfied and exits.)