The Masked Singer

There has been an outbreak of the Black Breath, but no one knows how it’s spreading, so everyone is required to wear masks. The King isn’t too happy, but what can you do? If he finds out the source of this plague, he will exile the person responsible. As a distraction, the Queen has embraced the masks and has arranged for a competition called “The Masked Singer.” Famous people from the realm have come to compete. And the winner will receive a bag of gold. Fun interaction with the audience, and since we’re all living with the masks right now, we decided to embrace them, too.

Cast size: 2 Males, 5 Females, 3 M/F, and Extras

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CHARACTERS

JESTER (M/F) tries to add humor to a pandemic.  Yeah, it’s not easy.

TOWN CRIER (M/F) the professional announcement-maker of the court.

FIONA (F) a servant girl in the castle tasked with feeding everyone.  But (whisper) she is also one of the Masked Singers, so she should have a good voice.

PSA (F) interrupts regular programming to do public service announcements about mask wearing, a.k.a. Psay, the Witch Woman.

KING (M) irritated with the masks.  And with WHO.  Who?  Yes, WHO.

QUEEN (F) loves the Masked Singer contest.  A massive fan.  Which is why she’s so cool.

OLD MACDONALD (M) one of the Masked Singers. He sings in Latin.

MARY (who had a little lamb) (F) one of the Masked Singers.  She sings in French.

IMA LITTLE TEAPOT (F) one of the Masked Singers who can get pretty steamed.  She sings in German.

GUARD 1 (M/F) is confused by WHO and witch woman.

EXTRAS (M/F) Courtiers, Pages, Servants, Guards

BACK UP DANCERS (M/F)  Optional for the Masked Singer performances.

SAMPLE PAGES

FANFARE AND WELCOME

(When the guests have been seated, a BRASS FANFARE will signal all entertainers to clear the hall.  Lights up on main stage. Another BRASS FANFARE. FIONA and JESTER enter from opposite sides of the stage wearing masks.)

FIONA:  Jester, is that you?

JESTER:  Of course it is.  Who else in the castle wears motley?

FIONA:  I’m sorry.  It’s just so hard recognizing faces with these masks.

JESTER:  No worries. Anyone can make that mistake, Margaret.  (FIONA shakes her head.)  Millicent?  (FIONA shakes her head.)  Matilda?

FIONA:  Fiona!  I’m Fiona.  Who else wears the clothing of a serving wench?

(TOWN CRIER enters.)

JESTER:  Margaret.  Millicent.  Matil –

FIONA:  All right.  I get it. (Beat.)  These masks are so frustrating.  Why do we have to wear them?

TOWN CRIER: It is because of that dread disease devastating our land.  That pernicious plague which is shattering our kingdom. That malicious malady. That venomous virus known as ….

FIONA / JESTER:  Yes?

TOWN CRIER:  Known as …

FIONA: Oh, spit it out, Town Crier!

TOWN CRIER:  The Black Breath!

(FIONA and JESTER gasp.)

FIONA:  Wait a minute.  Don’t you mean the Black Death?

TOWN CRIER:  Black Death?  Certainly not. The Black Death is just a hoax.  But the Black Breath … it is a threat to our kingdom.  

FIONA:  Are you saying that we’ve all been wearing masks just because of some bad breath? That’s ridiculous. If that’s all it is then I’m not wearing a mask.  (Starts to take off the mask. PSA enters.)

PSA: (To FIONA.) Hold it, right there! (Glares at FIONA then delivers the message to the audience.)  Did you know that wearing a mask isn’t so much about protecting yourself, but about protecting the ones you love?  Show that you care.  Show that you love them. Wear the mask.  (Glares again at FIONA then exits.)

JESTER:  (Beat.)  I hate it when a public service announcement interrupts regular programming.

TOWN CRIER: (To FIONA.) Well?

FIONA:  I do want to show that I care.  I do want to show that I love the ones I love. Fine. I’ll wear the mask.

TOWN CRIER:  That’s a wonderful idea, Fiona.  The World Health Organization has determined that mask wearing stops the Black Breath by 97%.

JESTER:  Who?

TOWN CRIER:  Yes.

JESTER:  No, who said we should be wearing masks?

TOWN CRIER:  Yes.

JESTER:  Would you answer my question?  Who told us to wear masks?

TOWN CRIER:  Yes.

JESTER: Who is giving the orders?

TOWN CRIER:  Yes.

JESTER:  Who is behind all of this?

TOWN CRIER:  Yes.

JESTER:  (Frustrated.) Aaaaahhhh!

FIONA:  Jester, allow me.  Now, Town Crier, which person told us to wear masks?

TOWN CRIER:  You mean which woman.

FIONA:  Now, we’re  getting somewhere.  So, which woman told us to wear the masks?

TOWN CRIER: No. Witch woman told us to drink a brew with eye of newt and toe of frog.

FIONA:  How should I know which woman told us to drink eye of newt and toe of frog?  Who told us to wear masks?

TOWN CRIER: Yes.

FIONA:  Which woman gave the order?

TOWN CRIER:  Yes.

FIONA:  Which woman told us to wear masks?

TOWN CRIER: Witch woman told us to drink the brew.  WHO told us to wear masks.

FIONA:  How should I know?

JESTER: Just stop.  (Beat.) Somebody told us to wear masks, right?

TOWN CRIER:  Right.

FIONA:  Does she have a name?

TOWN CRIER:  WHO.

FIONA:  The person giving the orders!

TOWN CRIER:  WHO.

FIONA:  The person in charge!

TOWN CRIER:  WHO.

FIONA:  The person behind all of this!

TOWN CRIER:  WHO.

FIONA:  (Frustrated.) Aaaaahhh!

JESTER:  Town Crier, just tell us which woman told us to wear masks.

TOWN CRIER:  Witch woman told us to drink the brew.  WHO told us to wear the masks.

JESTER / FIONA: (Throws up their hands.) I don’t know!

TOWN CRIER:  Third base.

JESTER:  Stop right there, Town Crier.  This joke is even older than the Middle Ages.

TOWN CRIER:  That’s fine.  I need to get ready for the contest, anyway.

FIONA:  Contest? What contest?

TOWN CRIER:  The Queen is sponsoring a singing contest.  All competitors are famous people in the realm.

FIONA:  Famous people?  How will we even recognize them with these masks on?

TOWN CRIER:  That’s what makes it even better.  Since we all have to wear masks, the Queen is making it part of the event.  She’s calling it “The Masked Singer.”  

JESTER: So, the winner is the best singer?

TOWN CRIER: Indeed. The winner receives a bag of gold from the King’s treasury.

(BRASS FANFARE.)

TOWN CRIER:  Ah, the Court has arrived. I’d better make sure all servants have their masks on. If only we could find the source of the Black Breath.  (Exits.)

JESTER:  The Masked Singer?  Really?  What a stupid gimmick.  

FIONA:  Think it will be unpopular?

JESTER:  I give it one season, tops.

(BRASS FANFARE.)

JESTER:  Well, I must join the processional.  I’ll see you at the contest.  (Exits.)

FIONA:  A bag of gold. What I could do with a bag of gold. (Shakes her head and exits.)


After the first course has been served, Jester asks the King if he’d like to hear a joke …

QUEEN:  I believe he wants to tell you a joke, dear. It’s so hard to understand with these masks on.

KING: Oh, a joke. That makes more sense. Fie on these masks.  Do they even help stop the spread of the Black Breath?

PSA:  (Rushes onto the stage.)  Wearing masks is three times more effective in preventing the spread of the Black Breath than chewing peppermint, gargling mouthwash, or injecting bleach.  (Exits.)

QUEEN:  Who was that?

JESTER:  PSA.  (Pronounces it Psaw.)  Or is it PSA (Pronounces it Psay.)

KING:  More like “pshaw.”  I don’t believe a word of it.

TOWN CRIER: It’s P S A, your majesty.  Public service announcement.

KING:  Some public service.  Forcing everyone to wear masks.  

TOWN CRIER:  Until we find the cause of the Black Breath, we have to wear these masks.

KING:  This is trampling on my freedom! Mark my words: whoever caused the Black Breath will be immediately exiled from the kingdom!

QUEEN:  Look at the bright side, my King.  This way we get to have the masked singer contest. 

KING: The what?

QUEEN: Because I knew the masks annoy you, I’ve arranged for a playful distraction. I’ve invited some famous singers from the realm to compete in a singing contest. Since you cannot recognize anyone in these masks, they will be judged solely on their voices. 

KING: What a clever idea, my Queen.

QUEEN: In fact, let’s have our first masked singer.  

TOWN CRIER:  Bring in the first masked singer.

(OLD MACDONALD enters in an elaborate costume. See production notes.)

TOWN CRIER: All right, masked singer.  Give us clues about your true identity.

OLD MACDONALD:  I became rich by investing heavily in stock.

KING: Hmm. He could be anyone.

QUEEN: Oh, how about the King’s Royal Exchequer!  The one who handles the money.

JESTER:  Well, he certainly doesn’t work at a grocery store.

QUEEN:  Why is that, Jester?

JESTER:  Because he’s an ex-checker! (ROYAL COURT stares at JESTER.) You know, not the Exchequer but an ex-checker?

TOWN CRIER: We get it, Jester. It just wasn’t that funny.

(JESTER glares at TOWN CRIER.)

OLD MACDONALD:  Almost everyone has a beef with me. At least, that’s what I herd.  Because I tell udderly terrible jokes and then I milk them.

KING:  (Stands.)  I’ve got it!  It’s the Jester!  (ALL look at KING.  Then look at JESTER.  Then look back at KING.)  Oh.  Right.  I guess I could be mistaken.

JESTER: (Aside.) And my jokes are not terrible.

OLD MACDONALD:  But I did not become truly rich until my father bought the farm.

QUEEN:  Oh, so he became rich because of his father’s hard work.

KING: He deals in art work?

QUEEN: No, I said “hard work.”

KING:  Lord Burke?

QUEEN: Never mind. We haven’t a clue who this singer is.

TOWN CRIER:  Go on, Masked Singer.  Sing for us then.

OLD MACDONALD:  

(To the tune of “Old MacDonald.”  The words won’t always match the rhythm, but that’s part of the humor. Just own it.)

Macdonaldus senex fundum habuit.
e-i-e-i-o.
et in hoc fundo, nonnullas boves domesticas habuit.
e-i-e-i-o.
cum moo moo hic,
cum moo moo ibi.
hic una moo, ibi una moo,
ubique una moo moo.
Macdonaldus senex fundum habuit.
e-i-e-i-o.

KING: Why, that was wonderful! (Leads audience in applause.)

TOWN CRIER: So, now it’s time, good guests. Every table should rank this singer on a scale of 1 – 10. Our Pages will collect the scores, and at the end of the night, we will reveal the winner.

(Give tables a moment to vote, then the PAGES will visit the tables to gather the scores. See production notes. TOWN CRIER can continue once they are gathering the scores.)

KING: (To QUEEN.) This is more difficult than I thought. Who do you think our masked singer is?

JESTER: It’s got to be a zombie.  (ALL look at JESTER.)  He’s singing in Latin.  (ALL look at JESTER.)   Latin is a dead language.

TOWN CRIER: Well, who does the audience think it is?  Come on, shout it out!  (Listens to shouts of the audience.)  Well, there’s only one way to find out. Take off the mask.  (Leads the audience in a cheer.) Take it off! Take it off! Take it off!  (OLD MACDONALD takes off the mask.) 

KING: Oh my goodness!

QUEEN:  No way!

JESTER:  I knew it!  I knew it!  I knew it!  

TOWN CRIER: Ladies and Gentlemen.  The most famous farmer in history … Old MacDonald!

OLD MACDONALD:  Your majesty, I thought you would know.

KING: I’ve sung about you since kindergarten.  How did I not guess?

(PAGE enters, gives score to TOWN CRIER, and waits. Scorecard will read 6.5.)

TOWN CRIER: And now, we have the first score of the night. Old MacDonald, your total score is (Shows scorecard to audience.) 6.5! (Beat.) Huh, I thought you did better than that. (PAGE crosses to TOWN CRIER and whispers in his ear.) Oh, I see. (Glares then speaks to a table near the stage. See production notes.) Baron Belsky and the Molotov family, what brings you here all the way from Moscow? (Improvise with the answer.) I see. 

(PAGE exits.)

JESTER: Well, considering we have some Russian judges, you did well, Old MacDonald.