03 February 2017

A Man For No Season [1970]


[The opening of A Man For No Season. Written 3 February 1970]
The stage is dark. Suddenly a single spotlight lights up the center of the stage. It illuminates nothing. Enter the Common Man. As he enters the light, he stumbles over his feet and falls heavily. He picks himself up and addresses the audience.
Common Man: Look at me! I’m a common man! I occasionally philosophize, I change costumes rapidly, and I also change sides quickly, but the main thing is, I’m common. I’m going to act as an interpreter for you—this play is almost incomprehensible without one.
(He puts on his costume for the next scene.)
This is a costume. It covers me; it keeps me from being naked, and more important, it allows the play to begin.
Lights! Lights! (He turns towards the audience.) A street scene. It’s my proposition, the commoner a man is, the better. (He spits into the audience.)
(The lights come up revealing Lincoln, the two Betses, Williamson, Sherwin, Doll Williamson in a shirt of mail and a whole crowd of revolutionaries of all shapes, sizes, and times.)
Come, come, we’ll tickle their turnips, we’ll butter their boxes! Shall strangers rule the roost?
Betts: Brother, give place and hear John Lincoln speak.
Common Man (sings in a cracked voice): Aye Lincoln my leader
And Doll my true breeder
With the rest of our crew
Shall ran tan tarra tan.
Do all they what they can
Shall we be bobbed, braved? No!
Shall we be held under? No!
We are free born
And do take scorn
To be so.
[Corrects himself] To be used so.
Doll: Peace there! I say, hear Captain Lincoln speak. Keep silence till we hear his mind at large.
Common Man: If his mind’s at large, we’re all in trouble. (To the audience) That’s Lincoln. He’s running this riot.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Do you have plans to finish this one? Looks promising! --rfh

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