Lincoln Green by Henry Wixgier

This Play is the copyright of the Author and must NOT be Performed without the Author's PRIOR consent

Before Scene 1 begins, Scene 2 is prepared on the Stage Apron. A
dividing screen with a small grill in it stands at a right angle to
the front of the stage, a stool is placed next to it at stage right.
It represents a church confessional. The PRIEST takes his seat on the
stool during Scene 1.

(The set is removed when Scene 2 is finished.)

Scene 1

Auditorium. Below stage left there is a raised platform upon which sit
LISTENER 1 and LISTENER 2, facing the audience. They are a sort of
'medieval Statler and Waldorf' the Muppets' hecklers. They stay there
throughout the entire play.

The MINSTREL enters from the back of the auditorium and wanders along
the aisle reciting verses of ‘The Little Gest of Robin Hood’. He
heads towards LISTENER 1 and LISTENER 2, reaching them just as he
finishes the fourth verse.

MINSTREL Pray listen all ye gentle folk
that be of freeborn blood
I shall tell ye of a good yeoman
his name is Robin Hood

Robin is a proud outlaw
that e'er walked on ground
So curteous a thief as he
Was truly never found

Now Robin stood in Barnsdale
And leaned him to a tree
And by him stood there Little John
A good yeoman was he.

And also did good Scarlett
and Much, the miller's son
In every inch of body
Was worthier but none

THE MINSTREL stops before LISTENER 1 and LISTENER 2 for payment.

LISTENER 1 (To LISTENER 2) Another ballad about that damned outlaw.

LISTENER 2 Aye, 'tis the Little Gest (pronounced 'jest') of Robin
Hood. They say he robs the rich and helps the poor. Throw him a
farthing husband.

LISTENER 1 (Throwing the Minstrel a farthing) He's certainly helping
this poor minstrel. Here!

The MINSTREL picks the coin up off the floor and returns to the back
of the auditorium, reciting the next verses holding his hand out to
the audience for more payment.

MINSTREL Then spoke thus Little John
all unto Robin Hood,
“Master, if you would dine soon
It’d do ye a lot of good."

Then bespoke him good Robin:
"To dine have I no lust,
Till that I have some baron,
Or some unknown guest ... ... "

He exits.

Scene 2

Stage Apron - a church confessional. Lights. The PRIEST sits on the
stage left side of the screen. GILBERT enters stage right, kneels in
front of the screen divider andcrosses himself

There is a pause, before the priest is forced tobreak the silence.

PRIEST Perhaps we can start by confessing how long it is since
we have been to confession? Eh?

GILBERT Er ...

PRIEST Peering through the grill). You’re the swine keeper’s
lad aren’t you?

GILBERT Yes, Gilbert.

PRIEST Mmm, it's a long time since I recall having the
unpleasant task of listening to your sins.

GILBERT Sorry.

PRIEST (Roused). Oh don’t apologise to me. (Points upwards) It’s Him up there whose mercy you should be seeking. For He, is the ultimate forgiver of sin. The one who decides on whether you will be fit to enter His kingdom, or whether, God forbid, you will spend eternity (points downwards) stoking up the fires of that damned
place below. (Pause) Well - I’m listening? First sin, get it over with then?

GILBERT I haven’t been to confession for quite a long time.

PRIEST Yes yes, we’ve already established that. Next.

GILBERT gets up to leave.

PRIEST Where are you going?

GILBERT Er - you just said “next”.

PRIEST Get back on your knees you fool. If you honored us with
your presence more often, you would know that by “next”, I mean
that I want to hear your next sin. Not the next sinner. (Pause) Well,
I’m listening?

GILBERT Er - I stole some apples.

PRIEST Yes.

Pause, followed by a nervous cough from GILBERT.

GILBERT And some pears .

PRIEST Tsk tsk tsk! Go on, I’m listening.

GILBERT And cherries …

PRIEST Yes all right, you've stolen some fruit. What else?

GILBERT I told lies.

PRIEST What kind of lies? (Bored). Go on, I’m listening.

GILBERT Er … well … er …

Another pause as GILBERT thinks.

PRIEST (Roused again). I am your confessor, you understand? You
can, nay you must, tell me everything you have done. Even every bad
and impure thought that has entered your head. You might be able to
hide them from me, but not from (pointing upwards) Him. He, is
watching and sees everything. And you know what awaits those who try
and hide their sins from Him?

GILBERT But, if he can see everything we do, then why do we have
to tell him what he already knows?

PRIEST Because ... he wants to be sure that you, have seen the
error of your ways. Ours is not to reason why.

GILBERT Why?

PRIEST (With suppressed annoyance) I said it’s not to reason.
Just get on with it lad, you must have done more wrong than you have
already confessed to. What about thoughts then, eh? Perhaps you have
had some bad, impure thoughts, eh? (Pause) I’m listening.

GILBERT Er ... well, I, I suppose I have had one or two bad and
impure thoughts.

PRIEST (Very interested) Oh yes? What kind of bad and impure
thoughts were these then? Go on, I’m listening

GILBERT Er … well …

PRIEST About someone?

GILBERT Yes.

PRIEST A girl - perhaps?

GILBERT Er - yes.

PRIEST I see. What was the result of these, bad and impure
thoughts, eh? (Pause) Remember, He is watching you. He sees everything
you do. This kind of behaviour is bad for you. How many can you count
up to?

GILBERT Only ten.

PRIEST You will say ten Hail Marys for your sins.

GILBERT Thank you.

PRIEST How old are you?

GILBERT Nineteen.

PRIEST When will you be twenty?

GILBERT Next November.

PRIEST So, you can count up to twenty then. That will be another
ninety Hail Marys for telling more lies, which makes a hundred. Do you
have a rosary?

GILBERT Er - I’ve lost it!

PRIEST Then use your fingers. You can do something useful with
your hands for a change.

(He makes the sign of the cross as he givesabsolution)

Ne sacerdos revelet confessionem. Nullus ira, vel odio,
vel Ecclesiæ metu vel mortis in aliquo, audeat revelare confessiones.
Amen.

GILBERT crosses himself, gets up and exits stage right.

ELIZABETH enters stage right, kneels before the screen and crosses
herself.

PRIEST Yes my child? I’m listening!

ELIZABETH I have nothing to confess to father

PRIEST Good! God bless you my child. I will say ten Hail Marys on
your behalf and pray that you stay as pure as our Virgin lady. And my
child, you have reached an age when young men must enter your
thoughts. Take my advice and stay well clear of that swinekeeper’s
lad. He keeps impure thoughts in his head.

ELIZABETH How do you know father?

PRIEST He told me ... (Embarrassed that he's been caught out) er
... I ... er ... know his type. Now, go forth in peace. (He makes the
sign of the cross as he
gives absolution) Ne sacerdos revelet confessionem. Nullus ira, vel
odio, vel Ecclesiæ metu vel mortis in aliquo, audeat revelare
confessiones. Amen

ELIZABETH crosses herself and exits stage right.

(During the following Scene 3, the priest exits stage right and the
confessional dividing screen and stool are removed).

Scene 3

Auditorium. The MINSTREL enters from the back and wanders along the
aisle reciting more verses from ‘The Little Gest of Robin Hood’.
He heads towards LISTENER 1 and LISTENER 2, reaching them as he
finishes the fourth verse.

MINSTREL Right habits then had Robin
In the land where he stayed.
Everyday before he ate
Three prayers would he say.

One worship of the Father
One of the Holy Ghost
The third of Our Dear Lady
That he loved the most.

Good Robin loves Our Lady
For fear of deadly sin
He never would do any harm T
That some woman was in ...

“Master,” then said Little John,
“If we’re to spread the board,
Tell us where we shall go
And what we can afford.

THE MINSTREL stops below the LISTENERS and waits for payment.

LISTENER 1 So, this Robin Hood robs people and then prays for
forgiveness?

LISTENER 2 Aye. So he can carry out his next robbery with a clean
soul and a clear conscience. It also says that he is especially kind
to women. Throw the minstrel
two farthings husband.

LISTENER 1 Two?

LISTENER 1 throws down a coin which lands at the MINSTREL'S feet.

LISTENER 1 Here!

THE MINSTREL picks it up and returns to the back of the auditorium,
reciting the next verses at the audience and holding his hand out for
payment.

MINSTREL “Where we shall take, where we shall leave,
Where we shall stay behind.
Where we shall rob, where we shall kill,
Where we shall beat and bind.”

“Not so much force,” said Robin.
“We’ll get enough somehow.
But see that ye do no husband harm
That tills with his plough ...

Fade and exit.

Scene 4

Stage apron. GILBERT enters stage right crosses it and stops. He is
obviously waiting for someone. ELIZABETH enters stage right, sees him
and stops. He pretends he hasn't seen her.

ELIZABETH Gilbert!

GILBERT (Feigning surprise) Oh ... Elizabeth ... it's you!

ELIZABETH I've been looking for you.

GILBERT (Excited) For me? Really?

ELIZABETH Yes, your pigs keep wandering onto our land. It upsets
father. Can
you please keep them off it?

GILBERT Well, I ... yes, of course, I will. (Pause) Er - I’ve
just been to confession.

ELIZABETH Yes I saw you there. You were in with the priest a long
time. What have you been up to?

GILBERT Oh, nothing really!

ELIZABETH Nothing? You were obviously confessing to having done
something very wrong.

GILBERT Well, I haven't been to confession for a long time.
Because, I have nothing really to confess to. But you know the priest,
he virtually forced me to confess to sins, that I haven't committed.

ELIZABETH So what sins did you confess to, that you haven't
committed?

GILBERT Stealing some fruit. Well, he wouldn't have believed me
if I told him I
hadn't done anything wrong, in all that time since my last
confession.

ELIZABETH So you confessed to stealing, when you hadn't?

GILBERT Yes.

ELIZABETH He seemed to be very angry about it. We could hear him
outside.

GILBERT Well, there was something else.

ELIZABETH What?

GILBERT He made me confess to having ... (cough) ... impure
thoughts.

ELIZABETH And you haven't ... had impure thoughts?

GILBERT Well ... all young men have the ... odd ... impure
thought, you know. I mean ... I wouldn't be normal if I didn't.

ELIZABETH Tell me more Gilbert?

GILBERT Er well ... naturally I've been thinking about ...
marriage. You know, finding a wife.

ELIZABETH Oh yes? And have you got someone in mind?

GILBERT Yes.

ELIZABETH Well? Who?

GILBERT Um ... well ... er ... you, sometimes.

ELIZABETH You've had thoughts about me Gilbert?

GILBERT Yes, but, my thoughts were strictly pure. I swear

ELIZABETH I should hope so. If you had any designs on me Gilbert, I
must tell you that I am about to be betrothed.

GILBERT Betrothed? To who?

ELIZABETH (Pause) Ralph Butcher.

GILBERT Ralph Butcher?

ELIZABETH Well, his wife died several years ago and my father
thinks I would make an excellent replacement.

GILBERT But he's old enough to be your father Elizabeth.

ELIZABETH He’s forty four, and he’s not bad looking. My father
says there is no one else who is eligible. You know how it is Gilbert?
We girls have little say in these
matters.

GILBERT I’m eligible, and I’m only nineteen.

ELIZABETH I'm sorry Gilbert, but my father would not want me to
marry a swineherd. He wants the very best for me, and Ralph has carved
a very good position for himself, with the Sheriff of Nottingham’s
guard. He has just won promotion to commander ...

Enter RALPH stage right.

RALPH Ah Elizabeth, I’ve been looking for you.

ELIZABETH Ralph! We were just talking about you.

RALPH What were you saying about me?

ELIZABETH I was just telling Gilbert about our ... about your
promotion to Commander ...

RALPH Captain! Your father wants to see you.

ELIZABETH What about?

RALPH About us.

ELIZABETH What about us?

RALPH You know what I’m talking about. My proposal. (To GILBERT)
On your way lad. Back to your pigs.

GILBERT I’m talking to Elizabeth.

RALPH I said on your way!

ELIZABETH There’s no need to talk to Gilbert like that Ralph.
He's my dear friend.

RALPH Dear friend? A swineherd? No future wife of mine is going to
call a swineherd her dear friend. (To GILBERT) Go on - be off!

GILBERT I won’t always be a swineherd.

RALPH Oh yes? And what lofty position do you aspire to then? A
shepherd? Or perhaps even a robber? Waylaying rich travellers along
the Great North Road through Sherwood Forest. That, seems to be a
popular occupation among your lowest classes around here.

GILBERT Yes and some of them have done very well out of it.

RALPH Huh! And some not so well. I had the pleasure of hanging
one of them, only last year.

GILBERT What about Robin Hood then? Why haven’t you hanged him?
They say he and his gang live in Sherwood Forest now, not up in
Barnsdale.

RALPH We’ll catch him, it’s just a matter of time. And when we
do, he’ll hang in Nottingham market for the birds to feed on.

GILBERT You’ll never catch Robin Hood. He killed the last
Sheriff of Nottingham!

RALPH Yes, well that Sheriff wasn't so well protected! He, didn't
have me. But I'll catch that murderer. In fact, I almost did once.

ELIZABETH You nearly caught Robin Hood, Ralph? When? You never told
me about this.

RALPH Ooh - well, modesty prevents me ...

ELIZABETH Modesty? This is a side of you I'm not familiar with
Ralph. Pray tell us about how you almost captured Robin Hood?

RALPH Er ... it was the year before last, during St. Swithin. The
whole gang took over an ale house out on the edge of Sherwood Forest.
Thought they’d be safe there, but my spies tell me everything. I
soon had the place surrounded and then I burst in. We had them
cornered, like rats!

ELIZABETH What, and all his men were there? Little John, Will
Scarlett, Friar Tuck ..?

RALPH Yes, they were all there! The whole damned pack.

ELIZABETH You said you almost captured them. What happened next?

RALPH The place was crowded, and they escaped in the confusion.
But they won’t be returning to that tavern again. I had it burned to
the ground.

ELIZABETH Was that really necessary Ralph?

RALPH Of course it was! To teach that innkeeper a lesson.

GILBERT But they still got away. I think they're clever and
brave.

ELIZABETH That's how a lot of people do see them Ralph.

RALPH Brave? They are just common robbers and murderers. And
clever? They've just been damned lucky that's all. You've been
listening to these ridiculous ballads, completely made up. Probably by
his own gang.

Enter WALTER, very angry at GILBERT.

WALTER What in the name of hell are you doing boy? Those pigs have
got out and are all over the village. And where’s that thatcher? I
sent you out to fetch him this morning, where is he?

GILBERT I haven’t been yet.

WALTER You haven’t been yet?

ELIZABETH He’s been to confession master Walter

WALTER Confession? What all morning? What have you done?

GILBERT Nothing.

WALTER So you went to confess nothing? Hell, it’s a long time
since I’ve given you a damned good belting. (Raising his fist) And
you’re still not too big for that yet.

RALPH Curb your language and steady your hand sir! You’re not
with your pigs now.

WALTER (To GILBERT) Go on, get down to the thatcher.

GILBERT I’m not going to the thatcher. And I'm not coming home.

WALTER Not coming home? Why, where are you going then?

GILBERT starts to exit stage right.

GILBERT I don't know. Sherwood Forest to join Robin Hood’s gang,
maybe. Anywhere, but away from here.

WALTER (Shouting after GILBERT) That’s it, go off and leave me
then. With the pigs, and your mother!

Lights dim. All exit.

[End of Extract]

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