Ciar (apprentice blacksmith)
Osgar (the baker)
Daldhach, Chief Druid
Three Roman Tenors:
Chorus of Black Knights
Chorus of Druids
Chorus of Villagers
The village of Camelot, in the shadow of the castle
The curtain opens onto an empty stage. Arthur wanders on just as a big romantic introduction to a song starts (Track 15). Arthur is about to sing when a large crowd of villagers enters noisily and the mood of the music changes to the introduction to song 1. Arthur sits, dejected, as the villagers sing. During the song the following events occur, upstage, unseen by the villagers: a sword-fight, a boar hunt (complete with horses), a man being chased by a bear and a hairy Saxon army passing through (this march past takes a long time as a small group of actors go around in a circle, crossing over and re-entering to look like a large group).
SONG 1: The Sleepy Town of Camelot
OSGAR (Dressed as a baker, complete with floppy hat) This must be the most boring place to live in the whole of Britain. There’s never a battle, never a hanging or burning and not even the occasional feast.
AOIFE Is that why we’re always singing, Osgar, to liven things up?
OSGAR You could say that, Aoife.
CIAR It’s become worse since the death of the old king, Uther Pendragon.
AOIFE Yes, at least we would have the occasional joust.
CIAR But the outcome was always the same – King Uther always won.
PADRIG Moan, moan, moan – is that all you people can do? You want some action? Go out and find it. Life is just as exciting as you make it.
CIAR Should we take our example from Arthur?
OSGAR He just sits around all day moping and dreaming, dreaming and moping…
CIAR Typical adolescent!
PADRIG It’s not his fault – he’s got issues.
OSGAR Well it’s about time he worked through them. He should see a counsellor.
PADRIG He doesn’t need a counsellor. He’s got me as a friend.
AOIFE That could be one of his issues.
(Enter Donal, carrying a sign.)
DONAL Top of the morning to you.
PADRIG How are you, Donal?
DONAL Very well, very well, especially now I’ve finished the new sign. It’s taken me weeks to paint.
(He holds up a sign brightly painted with the name Calemot.)
AOIFE That is so good, Donal. What a craftsman you are. We will be the envy of other villages around.
CIAR It’s such a clever idea to have a village sign. Now travellers won’t need to ask the way.
OSGAR The name of our village will be on everyone’s lips.
ARTHUR (Rising) Yes, but the name on their lips will be the wrong one.
AOIFE What on earth do you mean, Arthur?
ARTHUR That says Calemot! It doesn’t have quite the same romantic resonance as Camelot, does it?
(Donal sinks to the floor, his head in his hands.)
CIAR Never mind, Donal, we’ll help you repaint it.
DONAL Weeks of work! Took me weeks, that did.
OSGAR It’s alright, Donal, most of the ignorant peasants that pass through can’t read anyway.
DONAL That’s not the point. We have to look at it every day.
CIAR We can’t read either.
DONAL Arthur can.
(Enter Merlin, dragging a huge stone on a sled. There is a sword embedded in the stone.)
AOIFE Oh great, Merlin has a new magic trick to show us. I love magic.
MERLIN I’m sorry Aoife, this is not magic. It’s a conundrum.
AOIFE What sort of drum?
MERLIN A problem to solve, a mystery to unravel. Look here, see this inscription? It says, ‘ whosoever draws the sword from this stone shall be the true king of Britain.’
AOIFE There you are, Osgar. You wanted excitement. Well, this is mildly exciting.
CIAR I shall be first to try as I’m the oldest.
(He struggles and sweats but the sword does not budge.)
DONAL But clearly not the strongest. Let me have a go.
(Again, the sword remains immobile.)
AOIFE I want a turn.
OSGAR Don’t be ridiculous. You’re a girl.
(Aoife turns around and punches Osgar, who falls to the floor, unconscious.)
AOIFE Girls are not so weak after all. She too tries and fails.
MERLIN Arthur, you have a try. You are clever. You can read and write and you are well acquainted with the history of our land. You are the sort of king this country needs.
(Osgar sits up, rubbing his jaw.)
CIAR But Merlin, we need a strong king who can fight the Saxons.
Roll over the image to view more pages of the score.
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