Montagu by Greg Freeman


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


ACT ONE

      Scene 1.

      A field on top of a cliff.

      Dusk.

      MONTAGU, a donkey who does not fit easily into any herd, stands
      thoughtfully peering at the setting sun.

      BUTCH, another donkey, enters and stands next to MONTAGU. BUTCH has
      self-belief and authority.

      BUTCH: Montagu. A word in your ear. 

      MONTAGU: Not now I’m busy.

      BUTCH: Busy?

      MONTAGU: Yes.

      BUTCH: Doing what?

      MONTAGU: Is it not obvious?

      BUTCH: No.

      MONTAGU: I’m watching the sun set.

      BUTCH: What for?

      MONTAGU: Can you not see how foreboding it looks? The way as the sun
      drops behind the cliff edge, the withering, dying sunlight seems to be reaching up
      to the clouds spraying them in blood.

      BUTCH: So you are not busy then.

      MONTAGU: (staring into the distance) I am extremely busy.

      BUTCH: You’re just looking at the sky.

      MONTAGU turns to look at BUTCH with disdain. Then turns back to look
      at the sunset.

      MONTAGU: What do you want Butch?

      BUTCH: There is a political assassin in our midst.

      MONTAGU: So?

      BUTCH: So do you have any inkling who it might be?

      MONTAGU: No.

      BUTCH: Think hard Montagu, can you think of anyone who might have
      ambitions to be our leader?

      MONTAGU turns to look at BUTCH. Then turns back to look at the sunset.

      MONTAGU: No.

      BUTCH: Do you know what a political assassin does?

      MONTAGU: Is it something to do with politics?

      BUTCH: Yes

      MONTAGU: I do not care for politics.

      BUTCH: A political assassin, Montagu, kills a leader, for political
      gain. So this is really important…can you think of anyone who might have
      ambitions to be the leader of our herd?

      MONTAGU: Apart from you?

      BUTCH: Me?

      MONTAGU: Yes.

      BUTCH: Montagu…I am the leader of our herd.

      MONTAGU: Since when?

      BUTCH: This morning.

      MONTAGU: Oh.

      pause

      MONTAGU: Was there an election?

      BUTCH: Of course.

      MONTAGU: Must have missed it. I thought Big Boy was still our leader.

      BUTCH: Big Boy was murdered. Last night. In his sleep.

      MONTAGU: By who?

      BUTCH: The political assassin in our midst. We have now lost two
      leaders in as many moons. I fear, there is a donkey amongst us with a lust for
      power…who could it be?

      MONTAGU: Apart from you… I can’t think of anyone.

      BUTCH: I grant you Montagu, I am ambitious. I wanted to be leader.
      But not in these tragic circumstances. I promise you, it was not me who assassinated
      Big Boy.  But now, we have to take every precaution….

      BUTCH looks around.

      BUTCH: (lowers voice) to stop it happening again. We have to catch
      this assassin.

      MONTAGU: No, Butch.  You’re the new leader so you have the
      responsibility to catch this assassin. Not me. I don’t really care who leads our herd.
      Leaders are full of promises, which they rarely fulfil.

      BUTCH: This time things are going to be different. I have a vision.

      MONTAGU: A vision?

      BUTCH: Yes. A leader without a vision is not a leader…they are a
      mere feather in the wind.

      MONTAGU: I have a vision, of your vision and I have to say it looks
      remarkably like every other vision a new leader always has. Everything is
      going to get better. The weather, the food supply… the frequency of mating.

      BUTCH: I promise you life will be better. I want to make a difference.

      MONTAGU: Make a difference. (not convinced) Right

      BUTCH: I shall change things.

      MONTAGU: Change things for the better or for the worse.

      BUTCH: For the better of course.

      MONTAGU: When a leader changes things, I always come off worse.

      BUTCH: But change is inevitable. We all have to embrace change.

      MONTAGU: Change is a snake. It always bites me.

      BUTCH: You spend your days walking around in circles. Surely you would
      wish to change that?

      MONTAGU: No.

      BUTCH: You just walk around the field in a small circle. Round and round.

      MONTAGU: I do.

      BUTCH: Round and round. On a never ending path.

      MONTAGU: A never ending path, has to be better than your path…that
      leads nowhere I wish to go.

      BUTCH: There are other parts of the field, the forest, the tundra you
      could explore.

      MONTAGU: I like walking in a circle. You never get lost.

      BUTCH: Trust me Montagu, follow me…and you will never get lost.

      MONTAGU: I am quite happy walking my own path.

      BUTCH: Try and understand Montagu. This is just my first day. It will
      be hard for me to lead the herd, if one member of the herd…refuses to be led.

      MONTAGU: Are you saying you are not up to the job?

      BUTCH: I am saying, leadership is a trade off. I take on the responsibility of protecting
      the herd, with the implicit understanding that…(making a point to MONTAGU) all the
      herd will do as I say. Someone has to lead Montagu. The interests of the herd have to
      be protected.

      MONTAGU: Or exploited. From my observation…the main objective of being a leader is
      to roll in clover and eat bananas. If you recall our leader before Big Boy was Sparky. 
      And Sparky ate so many bananas he almost rolled down the meadow and off the cliff.

      BUTCH: Sparky was gluttonous. I grant you that.

      MONTAGU: And a lazy fraud.

      BUTCH: And a lazy fraud. But he didn’t die from excess. He didn’t roll off the cliff. He was
      kicked in the head.  And yesterday Big Boy was found dead over there.

      BUTCH indicates towards the rock.

      BUTCH: Kicked in the head. My personal safety is at risk. I am standing in the
      way of a donkey with ambition. So I need you Montagu. I need you to guard me.

      MONTAGU: What?

      BUTCH: I want you to stand guard whilst I sleep.

      MONTAGU: Don’t be ridiculous. I’m not a guard. I have no interest
      in being a guard. I don’t even know what a guard does.

      BUTCH: You protect me. I am your leader.

      MONTAGU: I don’t care. Guarding sounds like a responsibility and
      let’s be honest I didn’t vote for you.

      BUTCH: You never vote for anyone. You run away from every
      responsibility.

      MONTAGU: Maybe I do. Because responsibility is a burden…that will
      not be strapped to this donkey’s back.

      BUTCH: You are denying your heritage.

      MONTAGU: Donkeys may feel they have to be beasts of burden, but not
      this donkey. No burdens for me.

      BUTCH: You have a duty to guard your leader.

      MONTAGU: Duty to who? 

      BUTCH: The herd. We stick together for the greater good of us all. Or
      have you forgotten you are part of a herd?

      MONTAGU: I fell down a hole and the herd forgot to pull me out. It
      didn’t feel like I was one of the herd. Everyone promised to help me.
      And what did they do? Nothing. Do you know what it’s like to fall down a
      hole and be forgotten?

      BUTCH: Are you still grumbling about that? You are incredibly selfish
      Montagu. This is a time for unity and a time for each and everyone one of us to take
      responsibility and your responsibility is to guard me.

      MONTAGU: I didn’t vote for you.

      BUTCH: That does not excuse you from duty or responsibility. The herd
      elected me and like it or not, you now have to do as I say

      MONTAGU: How is it…that you were specifically elected to protect the
      herd, yet I now have to protect you?

      BUTCH: What is your point?

      MONTAGU: Who is protecting me, whilst I am protecting you, when you
      are supposed to be protecting me?

      BUTCH: It’s simple. You didn’t vote for me. So screw you. Now
      stand out there and guard me with your life.

      Blackout.

[End of Extract]


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