This is based on a old (Maybe as old as 1100AD) play given in England every year at Christmas . The play itself is changed very little, but I wanted to see how well it fit in the Xenaverse. I think it shows how much of the Xena Warrior Princess tale ties into the old Solstice myths.
NOTE: Any fan group that wishes to use this play for presentation at a CON, Xenafest, or other free fan activity, may do so, as long as you mention the author
The Viadopolis Mummer's Play
NARRATOR: It was about two hundred years since Gabrielle and Xena had breathed their last. The Romans ruled Greece and Legions shook each little village down for taxes. In the back hills of Macedonia, the mighty heros were still remembered--sort of....
It was a month before Winter Solstice. The two leaders of the Viadopolis Mummers were having their planning meeting in Piro's blacksmith shop. This meant that while Piro and Laius met, Apprentice Erasmus worked, and grumbled about it.
INTERIOR PIRO'S BLACKSMITH SHOP
Over some wine, Piro and Laius are writing on the back of a scap of scroll that Piro used for inventory. Piro was a bit unhappy.
PIRO: "Stop hogging the scroll, Laius. You'd think you were the only one in the village who could write."
LAIUS: "I'm not the only one in the village who is literate, but I'm the only one who is literary."
From back of the anvil, Erasmus humphs, then begins hammering out a horseshoe.
PIRO: "All right, Mr. Educated, if you don't want to do an Aesop's Fable again, then YOU write the play." (his big face flushes as he realizes his mistake.)
Laius fairly leaps on the bit of scroll. His mobile face is lit up in triumph.
LAIUS: "So, I can see a play, a NEW play, with local heros. Xena, the Warrior Princess..."
Erasmus groans then winces as he is nailed in place by two pairs of eyes. He sighs dramatically and goes back to work on the horseshoe.
PIRO(SMILING): "Oh, and Gabrielle, and Joxer the Mighty?" .
LAIUS: "And the juiciest villain of them all, Julius Cesar." (TO AUDIENCE) "Now I have him."(TO PIRO) "So, Piro, can't you see yourself as Cesar? You DO play a wonderful villain."
PIRO:(RUBS HIS CHIN) "Playing Cesar would be fun. But, there are a few problems. This as a very small village, despite its pretentious name."
(TO PIRO) "Well, you know I'd love the part, but who can we get to play Xena. I mean, a convincing Xena would have to be a big woman, with muscles."
LAIUS(wincing) "There is only one person in the village suited to the role. Ursa, the farmer's daughter. She can out plow any man in the village. She is also the single least coordinated woman I have ever met. The worst part is... she can't act. And she's not too bright either."
PIRO: "I'll coach her. We have a month."
LAIUS:(TO HIMSELF) "There went all my fancy speeches"
PIRO: "What did you say?".
LAIUS: "And who could play Gabrielle?"
PIRO: "Keta. The innkeeper's daughter. She's lively, bright, kind of pretty, and strong, like a Amazon Queen. I saw her toss old Actus out on his ear for starting a fight in the inn."
LAIUS:(SMILING) She is blonde, and she is all you described. She is also an incorrigible flirt. I could use that in the play. After all, I have heard at least four Xena hero stories. I could work with this."
PIRO: "I assume you want to play Joxer the Mighty--right? I mean the part is made for you. You have them spilling their wine laughing at the inn every weekend."
LAIUS:(BLUSHING) "Thanks, Piro. That's nice of you to say. Say, who are we going to get to play Salmoneus?"
The horseshoeing stops as Erasmus literally drops everything and runs over to their corner, his hands held out in a plea.
ERASMUS: "Please, could I have a part in the play? I can remember stuff. You know that Piro. And I can act, really...'How now, brave Achilles, what say the entrails?'See, I can do it."
PIRO:(carefully wipes the smile from his face and winks at Laius where Erasmus can't see.) "What do you think?"
LAIUS:( furrows his brow and rubs his chip, then smiles at the eager apprentice.) "I think you would make an admirable Salmoneus."
(THE NARRATOR WALKS BY WITH A SIGN): " A week later, in Laius' shop"
LAIUS: "An eternity in Tartarus might be better than trying to writing a new play. Not too high-faluting, or the audience will pelt us with rotten vegetables.(looks at his quill and shakes it.) Speak to me Xena. And you, Gabrielle, I pray to you for inspiration."
LAIUS looks up as a villager enters his shop.
VILLAGER: Look, Laius, my toasting fork is broken. They don't make these things like they used to...
LAIUS throws the quill down in disgust, then plasters a smile on his face.
LAIUS: Say there, Phillip, why don't you take that to Piro. He probably made it in the first place. I'm feeling kind of sick right now. (Coughs) I don't want you sick, what with your five sons to feed and clothe. I think I'll just close my shop a few days."
LAIUS firmly ushers him toward the door, closing it behind him.
LAIUS: (holds up the blank scroll) Mock me, will you? If I had a magic chakrum...Oh, but these are our friends and neighbors. This isn't Athens. With Ursa's big feet, and her lack of coordination, laughs are practically guaranteed. (LAIUS smiles and sets quill to parchment.)
NARRATOR walks by with another sign, reading, Village Council House.
PIRO: (To himself) The rehearsals are a disaster. Keta and Erasmus are so busy flirting they forget to act. Ursa can't act, and shouts her lines so they could be heard in Athens. But Julius Cesar is a good villain. I'm looking forward to being booed. Of course if the Romans ever hear my lines... He picks up his wooden sword and exits on cue.
NARRATOR: (walks by with another sign)--"The night of the play, backstage"
Piro is watching the others as he puts on his costume, of old leather armor left over from his soldier days, and a black surcoat
Laius strutts in, wearing makeshift armor made of old kitchenwear from his repair shop. He rattles when he walks. He looks at Piro and gives a low whistle.
LAIUS: Nice costume. Did Magara make that surcoat?
PIRO: Your costume is perfect, especially the big helmet with room for lots of sestares when we pass it around the Council House after our play. Gods, I miss dinars.
URSA enters, scratching herself. URA: This burlap armor itches.
KETA and ERASMUS enter, entwined and grinning. They wear their regular clothes.
PIRO:Erasmus, what are you going to do to look older?
KETA:(giggles) That's a secret. Just wait until you see.
PIRO:( takes a deep breath) Oh sweet Muses, we could use your help..
Mummer's Play Part I: Introduction
Gabrielle: (sweeping with broom in a series of gestures that delineates a sacred space, and flirting with favored customers...)
Here comes I, Gabrielle, Welcome or welcome not. I hope poor Gabrielle, Will ever be forgot. I open the door, I enter in, I`ll beg all favors for to win. Whether I rise, sit, stand, or fall, I`ll do my duty to please you all. A room, a room, I do presume, Pray give me room to rhyme. For we have come to show activity, This Winter Solstice time. In this garland room there shall be shown, The greatest battle that ever was known. Acting youth or acting age, Was never seen before, Or acted on the stage. Stir up the fire to give us light, And let us act our noble fight!
All:( from the side of the stage, with Ursa shouting her lines.)
We are actors that travel the street, We are actors that fight for our meat, We are actors that show pleasant play, Enter Xena, Warrior Princess! Clear the way!
Mummer's Play Part II: Enter Xena Xena enters: ( and Ursa stumbles over her own feet. When she regains her balance, she blinks at the crowd, then appears to remember where she is, and shouts her lines while waving her wooden sword.)
I am The Warrior Princess who from Ancient Greece sprung, My famous name throughout the world hath rung. For many gory deeds and wonders have I made known, And made the giants tremble on their throne. I fought the Green dragon and brought him to the slaughter, And in spite of this, befriended Herodotus' daughter. For Greek rights, for Greek wrongs, For Greece is my salvation, What mortal man would dare to stand, Before me with my sword in hand, When I draw my chakrum weapon? I`ll slay him and cut him as small as flies, And send him to Britannia to make mince pies. I`ve searched and searched the whole world round, But a man to equal me has not been found!
Julius Cesar enters, looking earnest : I am the man to equal thee!
Xena: Who art thou?
Julius Cesar:(in an actor's pose)
I am a valiant soldier, Bold slasher is my name, With sword and buckler by my side, I hope to win the game. Likewise, I`m called Cesar Returned to Greece for to fight. I have come in purple robes roaring, From the purple clouds of the dawn, It is then that people call me, The mighty Lord of Rome. I have come in scaley green, From the green hells of the sea, Where fallen skies and evil hues, And eyeless creatures be. I sired the mighty Legions, Quaffed many a foreign flagon, I am called Julius Cesar, Indeed, I am the Dragon!
Mummer Play Part III: The Fight Xena:
Wo Ho little fellow! Thou talkest very bold, If thy blood`s hot, I`ll make it cold! Draw out thy sword and slay, Or pull out your purse and pay, For I`ll have satisfaction of thee, Before thou goest away! Stand off Cesar, let no more be said, For if I draw my sword, I`ll break thy head.
How can`st thou break my head? Since my head is made of brass. My body made of steel. My legs and arms are knuckle bones, No man can make me feel.
(They fight. As the swords clash, the crowd grows anxious. Ursa is pressed backwards, trips over her own feet and falls into the audience. The audience laughs and stamps its feet in approval. Piro stops, waiting her to pick herself up, and then continues the fight. Xena is slain.)
I have cut her down like the evening sun, She lies bleeding in the deep.
Oh no! Oh no! What hast thee done? Thou hast killed my favored one!
Julius Cesar: Nay Sister, `twas that one as gave me the first challenge!
Gabrielle, placing one hand on her forehead and the other on her chest:
What must I do to raise her up again? Here she lies slain in the presence of you all, I willingly for a doctor do call. Doctor, Doctor, where be it thee? Xena is wounded in the knee. Doctor, Doctor, play thy part, Xena is wounded in the heart. Is there a doctor to be found, To raise the dead and heal the wound?
Mummer's Play Part IV: Enter Salmonius
Salmonius:(Erasmus in a wool beard, and flour in his hair)
In walks the noble Doctor, travels Much in this country, nor I do abroad. I ain`t like these little quee-quack doctors, That goes about for the good of the country.
How far hast thou traveled in doctorship?
England, Ireland, Europe and Syrup, Italy, Vitaly, High Germany, Spain, All over the hills, and back again!
So far, and no further?
Salmonius:(arching a brow)
Ah yes, a great deal further.
Gabrielle:(nose to nose with Salmonius)
From the fire sides, cupboard-head, upstairs and into bed.
Gabrielle:(fanning herself with her hand)
Well said Doctor! What is the fee?
Ten coppers is my fee. But fifty dinars will I take of thee.
Gabrielle: What diseases can`st thou cure? Salmonius:
All diseases! Just what my box of pills pleases! The itch, the stitch, the palsey and the gout, All pangs within and all pangs without. If there are nineteen devils in that man, I`ll cast four and twenty out! The squolly-grubs, the molly-grubs, Tight-looseness in the chest, Wind on the knee and all Pandora`s Box! Also, many other things, Which I will never be able to mention tonight, or any other night.
Gabrielle: Can`st thou bring the dead to life?
Surely I can cure this poor man, In my box I carry my pills, And in my bottle I carry my smills, A drop on my heart, A drop on thy skull, If thou be not quite slain, Arise Warrior Princess and fight again! (She does not stir...) Salmonius:
I`ve got a little bottle in my side pocket, Called Iccum Spicum Spinta of Spain, Which brings dead men to life again! Here Jack, sip a tup of my nip nap. And let it run down thy tip tap. Arise and fight ten-thousand... Or lay down those swords and be at rest, For peace and quietness is best. If you can believe these words I say, Step in Joxer and save the day!
Mummer's Play Part V: Enter Joxer
Joxer, as Laius enters, dressed in clanking homemade armor. He places a sprig on holly on Ursa's heart and shakes a rattle over her prone form:
Rise up Xena and fight again! Behold the cure that I have done, I have raised you from your bleeding wound! Xena, as Ursa leaps to her feet:
Here I am with shining armour bright, Famous champion, likewise worthy knight. Seven long years in close cave I was kept, Out of that prison I leapt. From out of that into a rock of stone, There I laid down my weary bones. Oh to be knocked out of seven senses Into seven score, The like was never seen in Greece before.
Joxer, as Laius winks at the audience:
My name ain`t Joxer the mighty, My name is old Joxer the Thinker. Ale, wine, and strong beer drinker, I told the landlord to his face, The chimbley corner was my place. That's where I sat and dried my face, While Jones`s ale goes round, my boys, I ate half a gallon loaf t`other day, Without any bread, And near choked myself with the crumbles. My head`s so big, my wit`s so small, But I`ve got enough to please thee all. My name`s old Sir poisongrub, Under my arm, I carries my club, And on my elbow I wears my bell, Don`t you think I cut a great swell?
Julius Cesar: Yes Joxer, as big as me sel`' Joxer, taking off his helmet and passing it among the crowd:
First comes Solstice, then comes Spring, I am a jolly lad that can either dance or sing. But money in the dripping pan is a much better thing! With a rink, tink, tink, And a drop more to drink. To make the kettle go round oh, For all these lads are mine. If you think I`m a fool and got no sense, Put your hand in your pocket, And pull out your pence. Blue sleeves, yellow lace, All you mummers dance apace, The players are in deep distress, For want of cakes and bonny brown ale.
Mummer's Play Part VI: The Mummer Song All sing and dance, grabbing audience members to join in:
Come all ye jolly mummers that mum at Solstice time, Come join us all in chorus, Come join us all in rhyme. A mumming we will go, a mumming we will go. With a blue cockade all in our hats, We`ll go to the garland show. With a hey down down and a hey down down, With a hey down down down-derry, For we come this Solstice time, A purpose to be merry. And we`ll be merry here my friends, And we`ll be merry there. Who can tell if we shall live, To be merry another year.
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