Act 1: Scene 1
Deck of a ship: A group of French navy sailors (speaking with exaggerated French accents) circa early 19th century on a ship. They are loosely in uniform and obviously enjoying some drunken reverie. Some are seated around the mast. SAILOR 2 is off on his own looking through a telescope. SAILOR 1 approaches him.
SAILOR 1: (To SAILOR 2) What ees eet you see?
SAILOR 2: (Looking off into the distance with a telescope, wistfully) Nothing. I can no longer see New Orleans.
SAILOR 1: New Orleans? We are headed home. Soon you will be back in Paree. Forget about New Orleans. (Realizing) Ha, you love stricken fool. You are still thinking about her?
SAILOR 2: I will never meet another like her.
SAILOR 1: Zare will be many more. You must forget about her.
(SAILOR 3 approaches them)
SAILOR 2: I cannot forget her. She was a special woman.
SAILOR 3: Zees woman of which you speak. I knew her. She ees no good, anyway.
SAILOR 2: How dare you speak of her in that way! (He attempts to hit SAILOR 3, while SAILOR 1 stands between them to break up a fight).
SAILOR 1: Monsieurs. Enough of thees! We have a long journey ahead. (To SAILOR 2) Now, do not think about the past (he touches the tip of the telescope and turns it in the opposite direction). Look toward the future. (Pause) Accordeoniste! Play a song for us. (SAILOR 2 Walks back to the group of men with SAILOR 3, while SAILOR 2 continues to look through the telescope, but in the direction he was guided to by SAILOR 1. The ACCORDEONISTE begins playing a song). Where ees le singe?
SAILOR 3: (Pointing) Zare he ees. Le singe!
ALL: Le singe!
(ALL laugh as the MONKEY approaches and begins dancing to the music in the middle of the sailors. He is dressed in a blue naval uniform like that of the sailors and is the apparent ship mascot. One of the sailors grabs the MONKEY’s cap and pulls it over his eyes, then pushes him to another and this continues briefly until the flustered MONKEY jumps up on the mast, continuing to dance until the music stops. ALL still lauging. They are interrupted by SAILOR 2.)
SAILOR 2: (Looking off into the distance with the telescope and holding a map) Look, yonder eez an island. (Looking at the map) Eet eez not on our map.
SAILOR 3: Maybe we should tell zee cap-ee-tan.
SAILOR 1: For what?
SAILOR 2: Perhaps there are riches there for zee taking.
SAILOR 1: Riches? For who? We will never get zeez riches. We tell zee cap-ee-tan nothing. Zees island does not exeest. I want to go back home.
SAILOR 3: (Taking a drink from a bottle then rasing it towards the accordion player) Yes, accordeoniste, play a song that reminds us of home.
(The others yell out in agreement. The ACCORDEONISTE begins playing the French anthem. SAILOR 2 joins the others. They pat each other on the backs and cheer on the accordion player. The MONKEY, still on the mast, begins dancing his “MONKEY dance” to the delight of the sailors as they throw food at him, which he excitedly grabs).
ALL: Le singe, le singe (Bottles raised towards the MONKEY with laughter)
SAILOR 1: (jovial) Pass me that gin, you thief! (SAILOR 3 tosses the bottle to him. SAILOR 1 raises the bottle) Let’s have a toast...
SAILOR 2: A toast? To what?
SAILOR 3: To getting out of zees place that God has forgotten. (All yell out approval).
SAILOR 1: To France!
ALL: Vive la France.
SAILOR 2: Atten-ZEE-ohn on deck.
(All try to stand at attention, although with some difficulty due to their intoxication)
CAPTAIN: (Strutting with some bravado) Gentlemen, there eez a big storm approaching. Zee party is over (groans from the soldiers). Everyone man zee stations.
Lightning and thunder can be heard as the men man their stations. The MONKEY is frightened and holds onto the mast. The ACCORDEONISTE tries to reach for the MONKEY who holds out his hand, but will not let go of the mast and is unable to reach the ACCORDEONISTE as the storm gathers.
The ACCORDEONISTE leaves the MONKEY alone on the deck as it holds the mast. Lights out, as storm sounds intensify.
CAPTAIN: Batten down zee hatches! (Storm effects intensify)
SAILOR 2: (Yelling) Cap-ee-tan, we are taking in zee water.
SAILOR 3: Man overboard!
SAILOR 1: C’est le singe!
Act 1: Scene 2
A cove on “Freedom Island”. A young couple, PAUL and SARAH, dressed in clean, peasant farmer attire – PAUL in a waistcoat, are secretly meeting. Nearby, the MONKEY is lying face down with an arm draped around a piece of driftwood. PAUL and SARAH do not notice the MONKEY.
PAUL: Sarah, my darling, it’s so good to see you. You look as beautiful as ever. I had your face on my mind through that whole crazy storm, last night. I was really worried about you.
SARAH: I couldn’t help thinking that I might never see you again, Paul. It was terrifying! Our roof almost blew off. My father had to get out there and tie it down.
PAUL: We had to let the servants stay in the barn with the cows. Their hut was destroyed.
SARAH: Oh my, that’s awful.
PAUL: Well, it’s no bother for them. You know the Outsiders, they can build a new hut in a day.
SARAH: They do work hard.
PAUL: Yes, like my father always says, they’re lucky to be here on Freedom Island, so they better work hard. If they don’t like it here, they can go to New Orleans and try their luck.
SARAH: New Orleans sounds so awful. I’m glad we live here. (she looks into PAUL’s eyes romantically). Anyway, I missed you so much. Kiss me (PAUL looks behind him to make sure that no one is watching and kisses SARAH). Paul, why does our love still have to be a secret?
PAUL: Please, Sarah, it’s just for a little while. You know my family. I can’t let them know about us until the time is right.
SARAH: But you will tell them soon, right? Keeping our love a secret is just burning me up inside.
PAUL: (Hesitating) Uh, yes, of course I will. It’s just - let me deal with my family. I’ll take care of it, Sarah. Just be a patient. I want to tell the whole island, too, but it has to be the right time. (PAUL looks in the direction of the MONKEY, who is starting to move). Hey, what’s that?
PAUL: What’s that moving over there? (PAUL approaches slowly, holding SARAH’s hand. The MONKEY pulls himself up just as they approach).
SARAH: Oh my goodness! What is that? (The MONKEY is now facing them and swaying its arms)
PAUL: I’m not really sure. He’s dressed in a uniform, but he’s covered in hair like a beast (the MONKEY begins doing his monkey dance as he had done on the ship as PAUL and SARAH back away from him).
SARAH: I think he’s going to attack us (they turn and run away as the MONKEY starts to follow them but stops).
PAUL: Let’s go to The Station and get some help (Exit PAUL and SARAH).
The MONKEY slumps its shoulders, cries and walks around. It looks on the ground for food, picking up anything, rocks, twigs, shells and putting them to his mouth, then spitting them back on the ground. He jumps up and down in his usual monkey dance, then stops, slumped, and sits on the ground, dejected.
Act I: Scene 3
The Station: Basically a small police station with a cell. MAYOR GEORGE (in “Boss Tweed” attire) is in The Station with his two police officers, SERGEANT STANLEY and his assistant, OFFICER WILLIE, both in 19th century police uniforms.
MYR. GEORGE: Sergeant, have we collected all of the tax for this quarter?
SGT. STANLEY: Yes, of course, Mayor George. Except for Matilda the Witch, as usual. Do you want us to take stronger measures with her?
MYR. GEORGE: Uh, no, that won’t be necessary. I’ll stop by her hut and collect her tax myself.
SGT. STANLEY: As you wish, Mayor George.
(OFFCR. WILLIE snickers)
MYR. GEORGE: What are you laughing about, Willie?
OFFCR. WILLIE: Oh, nothing Mayor George. I uh, uh, just thought of a joke is all.
MYR. GEORGE: A joke, you say?
OFFCR. WILLIE: Uh, yes, a joke came to me.
MYR. GEORGE: Well?
OFFCR. WILLIE: Well, what, Mayor?
MYR. GEORGE: The joke.
OFFCR. WILLIE: Oh, you want me to tell you the joke?
MYR. GEORGE: Yes, I want you to tell me the joke that was so funny that you couldn’t concentrate on important police business.
OFFCR. WILLIE: Uh, well, okay. Uh, there was this Outsider, see, and he wanted to buy a horse. So his friend said, why do you want to buy a horse? You have nowhere to keep it and you have no saddle, so then…
MYR. GEORGE: Enough, everyone has heard that old joke. Now why don’t you two get back to work?
SGT. STANLEY: Yes sir, Mayor George. (SGT. STANLEY pushes OFFCR. WILLIE as they head towards the door. Enter, Mr. CHESTERSON). Mr. Chesterson, it’s good to see you today.
CHESTERSON: Hello Sergeant, hello Willie. I hope that you two aren’t letting anyone get away with anything on Freedom Island.
SGT. STANLEY: Of course not, Mr. Chesterson. Everything is under control.
MYR. GEORGE: Good morning, Mr. Chesterson. How is everything at your property?
CHESTERSON: Oh, quite well, Mayor. This has been a marvelous year. Our crops have flourished and the cows are getting fat. If I could just get my son Paul married off, everything would be wonderful.
MYR. GEORGE: Yes, I understand that he and Gertrude will be wed soon. A fine woman, she is, sir.
OFFCR. WILLIE chuckles again
MYR. GEORGE: Did you think of another joke, Willie?
OFFCR. WILLIE: Uh, yes, Mayor.
SGT. STANLEY: (Pushing OFFCR. WILLIE out the door) Unfortunately, we need to get to work, so he can tell it later.
MYR. GEORGE: (Sarcastically) Good, I look forward to hearing it, Willie.
(Exit SERGEANT STANLEY and OFFICER WILLIE)
CHESTERSON: Mayor, I’ll get right to the point. I understand that an Outsider has applied to purchase that plot of land near the leeward shore.
MYR. GEORGE: Yes, Roscoe made an offer to purchase it yesterday, Mr. Chesterson. He has been trying to get a little plot of land for a long time.
CHESTERSON: Roscoe? That little rat. He used to work for me. He can just forget about that. Where do these Outsiders get their money, anyway? Listen, you haven’t sold it to him, yet have you?
MYR. GEORGE: No, nothing is final. The deal was going to be finalized next week. (Pause) It’s just a tiny little patch of land. He couldn’t grow more than a few rows of corn on it. It’s too small to even keep a cow. What’s the harm?
CHESTERSON: What’s the harm? It’s a bad precedent. You let one of these Outsiders get a piece of Freedom Island and soon they’ll just snatch it all up and there won’t be any left for the rest of us?
MYR. GEORGE: I dare say you might be exaggerating a bit, Mr. Chesterson.
CHESTERSON: Perhaps, but I don’t think we should take any chances. Just do your job, Mayor. We won’t have any Outsiders getting land here. Now you have been doing a fine job here as the Mayor. I think you deserve a bit of a gratuity (He pulls out a bag of coins and hands it to MAYOR GEORGE). Do we have an understanding about this?
MYR. GEORGE: Of course, Mr. Chesterson. I’ll see to it that it’s all taken care of.
CHESTERSON: Excellent. (Incredulous) Outsiders owning land… You know that joke about the Outsider buying the horse, when it would take him longer to get a saddle than the life of the horse.
MYR. GEORGE: (Forced, feigned laughter) Ha Ha Ha, that’s a good one, Mr. Chesterson.
CHESTERSON: All kidding aside, Mayor, the Outsiders need to understand their place.
(Enter the three OUTSIDERS, DANNY, DOLLY and TANYA, servants for Mr. CHESTERSON, carrying several large satchels)
DANNY: We have all the supplies sir.
CHESTERSON: Good work, Danny. (Turns to MAYOR GEORGE) Now this is what the Outsiders do best!
DANNY: Sir, do you think that we could get a mule to help with all of this? It’s kind of heavy.
CHESTERSON: Danny, we haven’t the time for that. We need to get back to the farm and tend to the cows. Now if you three can’t manage, maybe I’ll find some others who can do the job.
DANNY: No sir, I’m sorry, we’ll manage just fine (He looks at DOLLY and TANYA apologetically)
(Enter SARAH and PAUL, in a burst of excitement. PAUL looks a bit embarrassed when he sees that his father is there.)
SARAH: (To MAYOR GEORGE) Father, come to The Cove. There is a hairy beast there!
MYR. GEORGE: A beast?
CHESTERSON: Paul what is this all about? What were you doing at The Cove? You were supposed to be doing chores at the farm.
PAUL: Sorry father. I don’t have time to explain. We saw this strange little man.
CHESTERSON: Well, was it a man or a (sarcastically) hairy beast?
MYR. GEORGE: (Defensively) Now Mr. Chesterson, if my daughter says she saw something at The Cove, then I take her at her word. I’ll get the officers and we’ll check it out. (He takes a rope hanging from the wall as the others look on) Just in case there’s trouble.
CHESTERSON: (Looking at PAUL) Good idea, Mayor. It’s on the way back to the farm, so we’ll join you (the OUTSIDERS look at each other, exasperated). I’d like to see what this is all about myself.
(They all file out, the OUTSIDERS with the large heavy satchels taking up the rear)
Act I: Scene 4
The Cove: Enter the two police Officers, MAYOR GEORGE, Mr. CHESTERSON and the three OUTSIDERS, still burdened by the large satchels. The MONKEY is in a tree above them and they do not see him.
PAUL: He was right here, father! (Pointing to the place they first saw him)
CHESTERSON: You’re telling me there was a hairy beast here?
PAUL: Yes, I mean, no... I don’t know what it was. He was a little hairy creature. I don’t know if he was a man or a beast. He was wearing a uniform and jumped about (PAUL jumps about in imitation of the MONKEY).
CHESTERSON: Now, Paul, are you making up a story because you were late for your chores? (The OUTSIDERS covertly giggle)
CHESTERSON: Silence, you three! (The servants stop laughing)
PAUL: Father, I swear to you he was right here. I wouldn’t make up something like that.
MYR. GEORGE: What is all this about, Sarah?
SARAH: Well, we... (looks at PAUL who is looking at her disapprovingly) ... I saw this hairy beast. He tried to kill us.. me.
CHESTERSON: Well Mayor George, it looks like both of our children are suffering from the same fantasies.
PAUL: It’s not a fantasy, father. It was right here (pointing again at the spot where the MONKEY was laying). Look, there are his footprints leading into the woods (pointing offstage).
CHESTERSON: Those just look like ordinary footprints, not some beast (looking towards SARAH) as you describe.
MYR. GEORGE: They are as small as a little child’s footprints.
SGT. STANLEY: You want us to track them, Mayor?
CHESTERSON: This is ridiculous.
MYR. GEORGE: Well, if my daughter says she saw a creature...
CHESTERSON: (sarcastically) You mean a “hairy beast.”
MYR. GEORGE: Okay, a hairy beast - then I’m going to see if I can’t find it. (He looks toward the two police) let’s track these footprints and see what we can find.
OFFCR. WILLIE: Yes sir, Mayor George.
CHESTERSON: Wait, I’m coming along. I wouldn’t miss this little fox hunt if it went all the way to New Orleans. (He looks at the OUTSIDERS). You three stay here with Paul for now. You’ll all have a lot of work to do when we get back (the OUTSIDERS and PAUL are disappointed).
MYR. GEORGE: Sarah, you stay with them, too, until we make sure it’s all okay.
(Exit MAYOR GEORGE, Mr. CHESTERSON and the two police officers in the presumed direction of the footprints offstage. PAUL approaches SARAH)
PAUL: I told you not to tell anyone that we were together.
SARAH: I’m sorry, Paul. In all the excitement, I just didn’t think.
PAUL: Now my father suspects something.
(The OUTSIDERS look surprised as they learn this new bit of gossip)
PAUL: Mind your own buisiness, Outsiders!
(The OUTSIDERS turn away from PAUL and SARAH with angry looks)
SARAH: Paul, I can’t go on like this. It feels so… indecent.
PAUL: It will just be a little while longer and then we will have a whole lifetime together. I love you, Sarah.
(The OUTSIDERS snicker. PAUL turns to them, perturbed)
SARAH: Just ignore them Paul (she tries to embrace PAUL, but he pushes her away as the others are returning – Enter SERGEANT STANLEY, OFFICER WILLIE, MAYOR GEORGE and Mr. CHESTERSON)
SGT. STANLEY: The footprints lead back to the beach, but they seem to stop right here.
OFFCR. WILLIE: It’s as if he just disappeared.
(DANNY pulls out a piece of bread from a pocket. Suddenly, the MONKEY jumps out of the tree and heads in the direction of the servant, doing his monkey dance in the hope of gaining some food. All are frozen with fear, looking at the MONKEY)
Danny: Oh no, it is a beast! What does he want with me?
Dolly: I think he wants your bread.
(DANNY tosses his bread at the MONKEY who grabs it and ravenously begins to devour it. All three OUTSIDERS laugh)
TANYA: He was just hungry.
(Seeing their opportunity, the two police officers tackle the MONKEY and hold him down).
MYR. GEORGE: Good thinking, men. I don’t know what this beast is, but we will get to the bottom of this. (He hands them the rope) Tie him up with this and let’s take him to the station.
CHESTERSON: We better keep our eyes open. There could be more like him.
MYR. GEORGE: (to the MONKEY) Well, beast, do you have any friends with you? (the MONKEY let’s out a little cry). That’s all you have to say? We have ways of finding out what we need to know.
TANYA: Hey, he isn’t hurting anyone.
DOLLY: Yeah. He’s just a little thing.
MYR. GEORGE: A little thing with hair all over his body, who jumps into trees.
DANNY: Your brother Ernie has hair all over his body (the servants begin giggling).
DOLLY: Yeah, and I heard he fell out of a tree onto his head once.
MYR. GEORGE: Enough, you insolent Outsiders!
CHESTERSON: (To the servants) I think you three have some work to do.
DANNY: (The OUTSIDERS turn to leave, with DANNY Imitating Mr. CHESTERSON under his breath) I think you have some work to do. (They walk off, giggling amongst each other and making taunting romantic kissing gestures towards PAUL and SARAH)
MYR. GEORGE: (To CHESTERSON) Any idea what this beast is? Is he a man of some sort?
CHESTERSON: I’ve never seen anything quite like it. He looks like a little hairy man, but there is something a little unusual about him.
MYR. GEORGE: I know what we can do. I’ll show him to Thomas the Thinker. He’s been to New Orleans and beyond. If anyone knows, he’ll know what to make of him.
CHESTERSON: Excellent idea, Mayor.
MYR. GEORGE: Okay men, let’s take him off to the station (Exit MAYOR GEORGE OFFICER WILLIE and SERGEANT STANLEY, leading the MONKEY with it’s hands tied behind its back). Come along, Sarah. I think that’s enough excitement for one day.
(It’s now just PAUL and Mr. CHESTERSON onstage)
PAUL: You see, father, I was telling the truth.
CHESTERSON: You were, were you? And just what were you doing at the cove when you were supposed to be working.
PAUL: Well, I just decided to take a walk. I wasn’t feeling well is all.
CHESTERSON: Enough of your lies! I know you were meeting up with that little trollop daughter of the Mayor.
PAUL: She’s not a trollop, father! I really care about her. She’s the nicest girl on the whole island.
CHESTERSON: Paul, she is just a Commoner. Her family hasn’t been here much longer than the Outsiders.
PAUL: Well, what does it matter how long her family has been here? All that matters is that we care about each other.
CHESTERSON: Paul, you know that there are rules to be followed on Freedom Island. We don’t mix socially with the Commoners, just as they don’t mix with the Outsiders.
PAUL: That doesn’t seem right, father…
CHESTERSON: Enough! She’s not the girl for you – for a Chesterson. Your mother and I have decided that you’ll marry Gertrude when the time is right.
PAUL: But father, I want to be with Sarah.
CHESTERSON: Paul, we all have to make sacrifices to preserve our way of life on Freedom Island. Gertrude comes from an Original family. They have a nice farm. We need to keep things with the other Originals. If we run off with Commoners or, heaven forbid (with disgust), Outsiders, soon we won’t have any farms left. We’ll all just have to fend for ourselves. You have to follow the rules on Freedom Island.
PAUL: But - I love Sarah... I don’t love Gertrude.
CHESTERSON: Love? We all expericence those whims of romantic love, but it’s not for us to follow them like the Commoners and Outsiders. We live in the world of righteousness and responsibilities. These feelings of love will pass.
PAUL: But Father...
CHESTERSON: I will hear no more of this. Now let’s go back home. We have a lot of work to do and the servants will just get lazy if there is no one there watching them (Exit CHESTERSON and PAUL, in a slump).
Act I: Scene 5
The Station: The MONKEY is now in the smalll prison cell. Seated at the desk is MAYOR GEORGE, who is looking at the MONKEY in its cell.
MYR. GEORGE: You think you’re clever by not talking to us, don’t you? (The MONKEY jumps up and down in the cell doing his monkey dance). You’ll never break out of that cell. And we’re going to get you to talk. I don’t know what you’re up to, but this is Freedom Island and nobody can get away with anything, here, understand? (The MONKEY again does his dance). Good, now are you ready to talk?
(Enter SERGEANT STANLEY)
SGT. STANLEY: Hello Mayor, how is the prisoner doing?
MYR. GEORGE: Oh, I think he’s getting ready to break. A few more hours and he’ll talk to us (looking at the MONKEY), won’t you, you little beast?
MYR. GEORGE: Now where’s your partner?
SGT. STANLEY: He went to fetch Thomas the Thinker. They should be here shortly.
MYR. GEORGE: Good. We need figure out what we are dealing with here and Thomas the Thinker might be the only one who can help us.
SGT. STANLEY: They should be here shortly. In the meantime, I’ll go get the prisoner his lunch.
MYR. GEORGE: Lunch?
SGT. STANLEY: Sure. We’re supposed to give all the prisoners three meals a day. It says so in our official police rulebook.
MYR. GEORGE: Wait just a minute, Sergeant Stanley. This is no ordinary prisoner. He’s a danger to all of us until he tells us what he’s doing here. If we starve him, just a little bit, mind you, he’ll tell us what we need to hear.
SGT. STANLEY: I don’t know Mayor, I don’t want to get into any trouble or anything.
MYR. GEORGE: Trouble? I’m the mayor. I make the rules. What good is that old rulebook? It was probably made in New Orleans. I bet they never had a dangerous criminal like this one, there. No, this is a special case. I think that we can just ignore that little rulebook of yours.
SGT. STANLEY: (Uneasily) Whatever you say, Mayor.
SGT. STANLEY: (OFFCR. WILLIE and THOMAS THE THINKER can be heard offstage). Here they come now, Mayor.
MYR. GEORGE: Good, maybe Thomas can use that brain of his for something useful.
(Enter OFFICER WILLIE and THOMAS THE THINKER. THOMAS THE THINKER has a monocle and is dressed in a graduation cap and gown. He is clumsy.)
MYR. GEORGE: Thomas, it’s good to see you.
THOMAS THE THINKER: (Walking through the entranceway) Good afternoon, Mayor George.
MYR. GEORGE: I hope we didn’t take you away from anything important.
THOMAS THE THINKER: No, I was just working on my latest invention.
MYR. GEORGE: Really, what are you inventing?
THOMAS THE THINKER: It’s a new kind of soap.
MYR. GEORGE: Soap? Well, that’s interesting. What kind of soap is it, Thomas?
THOMAS THE THINKER: It’s a special soap that doesn’t get you clean.
SGT. STANLEY: Did you say a soap that doesn’t get you clean?
MYR. GEORGE: Thomas, why would anyone want a soap that doesn’t get you clean?
THOMAS THE THINKER: Well, goodness me, I never thought of it like that.
More laughter from the two police officers
MYR. GEORGE: Well, Thomas, you’re the most learned man on Freedom Island, you’ve read many books and you’ve even been to New Orleans. So what do you make of our prisoner here?
THOMAS THE THINKER turns towards the MONKEY, which he had not noticed up to that point, raises his monocle and begins to look him up and down. The MONKEY begins jumping up and down and making grunting noises - THOMAS THE THINKER jumps back, startled.
THOMAS THE THINKER: My stars! Look at this creature.
OFFCR. WILLIE: Have you ever seen anything like him, before?
THOMAS THE THINKER: Hmm, I can’t say that I have.
SGT. STANLEY: (Disappointed) Now, what should we do, Mayor?
MYR. GEORGE: Well, thanks for coming by Thomas.
THOMAS THE THINKER: Wait just a minute. I think I may have read about one of these before. Let’s see, he’s short, hairy, aggresive and doesn’t speak comprehensibly, just grunting and groaning. He wears a funny blue uniform... Of course (raises his hand in a eureka! gesture)! He’s a Frenchman.
MYR. GEORGE: A Frenchman? On our shores? How could he get to Freedom Island?
THOMAS THE THINKER: Well the French can do all sorts of crafty things according to the book I read. The Frenchman I read about is a short, mad man who conquered many lands. Maybe this one is working for him. He probably just swam here from France.
MYR. GEORGE: Where is France? Is that near New Orleans?
THOMAS THE THINKER: Oh it’s far away, much farther than New Orleans.
MYR. GEORGE: Well, why won’t he talk to us?
THOMAS THE THINKER: It’s quite simple, Mayor. He is talking to us.
MYR. GEORGE: What do you mean? He has just been grunting and groaning since we captured him.
THOMAS THE THINKER: Well, that’s what the French language sounds like. I surmise that he is speaking to you in French.
MYR. GEORGE: French? Do you know how to speak French?
THOMAS THE THINKER: (Boastful) Well, I did learn a little French in that book I was telling you about. Let me try (he looks at the MONKEY).
How are you (says it in English with a high-pitched, nasal intonation)?
OFFCR. WILLIE: (to SERGEANT STANLEY) That sounds kind of like English (both nod in agreement).
MYR. GEORGE: Can you ask him his name, Thomas?
THOMAS THE THINKER: His name? Oh, heavens, I don’t even need to ask him that.
MYR. GEORGE: What do you mean?
THOMAS THE THINKER: All Frenchmen have the same name: Pierre.
MYR. GEORGE: Pierre? Pierre Frenchman, hmmm.
THOMAS THE THINKER: Precisely.
OFFCR. WILLIE: I wonder how you can tell which Frenchman is which if they all have the same name?
MYR. GEORGE: Well, why don’t you ask Pierre Frenchman what he is doing on Freedom Island?
THOMAS THE THINKER: (Still with the nasal effect) Why are you here, Pierre Frenchman?
(The MONKEY screams and groans, jumping up and down)
MYR. GEORGE: What is he saying? Is he confessing a plot? Does he wish to harm Freedom Island?
THOMAS THE THINKER: Hmm. Well, I can’t say for sure, but I can’t rule it out.
(Mayor and Police Officers gasp)
SGT. STANLEY: Oh my, what should we do?
OFFCR. WILLIE: Maybe we should take him to the gallows.
MYR. GEORGE: That is an excellent idea, Willie. We can’t take any more chances with this... (with disdain) this Frenchman, Pierre. We have to set an example so these Frenchmen stay away from Freedom Island.
THOMAS THE THINKER: Well said, Mayor.
MYR. GEORGE: Thanks for all your help, Thomas. Now you can get back to your latest invention.
THOMAS THE THINKER: Yes, my soap. I’m going to try it out this evening.
SGT. STANLEY: How will you know if it works, Thomas?
THOMAS THE THINKER: Well if I don’t get clean, then it works.
OFFCR. WILLIE: (nodding mechanically) That makes sense.
MYR. GEORGE: (smiling) Kind of like some of your other inventions, eh Thomas?
THOMAS THE THINKER: Yes, exact - (realizes the insult) - well anyway I must be going (He walks off, tripping again as he reaches the door, then walks out).
MYR. GEORGE: Let’s get the gallows ready for Pierre Frenchman.
OFFCR. WILLIE: Shall I summon the executioner from New Orleans?
MYR. GEORGE: We don’t have time. We’ll just do it ourselves.
SGT. STANLEY: (With a look of trepidation) Mayor George, uh, that isn’t how things are supposed to be done according to our rulebook.
MYR. GEORGE: Again with the rulebook. This is a special case, Sergeant. We know that this Pierre Frenchman is dangerous and we have to do something right away. Time is of the essence.
SGT. STANLEY: If you say so, Mayor. (He motions for OFFICER WILLIE to get the rope)
MYR. GEORGE: Sarah, what are you doing here? Can’t you see we are busy?
SARAH: I’m sorry father. I just came by with a lunch for you. I knew you would be working overtime with the prisoner and wouldn’t have time to come home. (She puts the lunch on his desk. The MONKEY sees it and appears to be interested).
MYR. GEORGE: Thank you, Sarah. (To the OFFICERS) What a daughter, I have.
SGT. STANLEY: You certainly do, Mayor.
MYR. GEORGE: Now, where were we?
SGT. STANLEY: The gallows.
OFFCR WILLIE: Yes (holding the rope), I’ll make a noose.
SARAH: The gallows? Why? What did he do?
MYR. GEORGE: Now mind your business, Sarah. I don’t want to frighten you, but we know a lot more about our little prisoner now.
(Enter PAUL, breathless)
PAUL: Mayor George, my father sent me to let you know that the Monsignor is coming. Our servants went to retrieve him from his ship. (PAUL looks towards SARAH)
MYR. GEORGE: The Monsignor? That’s most surprising.
PAUL: He should be here, shortly.
MYR. GEORGE: Well, that’s good timing. Maybe he can decide what we should do with Pierre Frenchman. (Looking at the OFFICERS) Let’s go to the cove and greet the Monsignor. We can take him back here to see the prisoner for himself. Paul, do you think you could stay here and guard Pierre Frenchman?
PAUL: Pierre Frenchman?
MYR. GEORGE: Yes, that’s the name of our prisoner.
PAUL: Certainly, Mayor George, I’d be happy to help.
MYR. GEORGE: Thank you, Paul. (Looks at the lunch that SARAH made) I guess I won’t have time for this wonderful lunch you made, Sarah.
SARAH: I understand, father.
MYR. GEORGE: I’d hate to see it go to waste. (With a hint of recognition and approval of the romance between the two) Why don’t you two have the lunch?
SARAH: (Contained excitement) Sure, father!
PAUL: That would be great, Mayor George. I haven’t eaten yet.
Mayor: Okay, gentlemen, (Turns to Police Officers) let’s go greet the Monsignor. (Pause) I wonder what this visit is about?
(Exit MAYOR GEORGE OFFICER WILLIE and SERGEANT STANLEY, leaving PAUL and SARAH alone with the caged MONKEY)
PAUL: (Laughing) I already had lunch, but I’ll eat a thousand luches to be with you, Sarah. By the way, do you think your father knows about us?
SARAH: I don’t know. I didn’t tell him anything, I swear.
PAUL: Oh Sarah, I’ve missed you even in the past few hours.
SARAH: I’ve missed you too, Paul (they embrace. SARAH looks up at PAUL). So what about your father? Are you going to tell him about us?
PAUL: I already told him.
SARAH: Oh, that’s wonderful. What did he say?
PAUL: (Looking down) I - I don’t care what my father says. I love you, Sarah.
SARAH: I love you too, Paul.
(The MONKEY begins to scream and jump up and down. PAUL and SARAH pull away from each other, slightly startled.)
PAUL: What’s wrong with Pierre Frenchman?
SARAH: I don’t know… maybe he’s hungry. I don’t think they’ve given him anything to eat, yet. (SARAH reaches into the lunch basket and pulls out a piece of bread). Here, Pierre (she starts to hand the bread to the MONKEY. As she starts to hand it to the eager MONKEY, PAUL grabs her arm to stop her. She looks at him with some surprise).
PAUL: (incredulously) Sarah! What are you doing? This is a very dangerous criminal. If they haven’t fed him, they probably have a good reason. Stay away from him. (He takes the bread from SARAH and places it on the table, just out of reach of the MONKEY through the bars).
SARAH: I’m sorry, Paul. He just looked so sad and hungry. Anyway, how do you know he’s dangerous?
PAUL: Well, everyone says he is, so he must be.
SARAH: I guess you’re right. You always seem to know best.
(The MONKEY continues to reach for the bread, not quite able to get it)
PAUL: I just want what’s best for us, my darling.
SARAH: Oh Paul, you are so romantic.
(The MONKEY, still unable to reach the bread, starts backing up a few steps to get a running start.)
PAUL: Sarah, will you...
(Just then, the MONKEY pushes against the cell and the door pops open)
SARAH: (looking towards the MONKEY) Oh my, Pierre Frenchman is loose!
(PAUL turns, sees the MONKEY and takes a frightened step back at first, then gingerly tries to approach the MONKEY, who grabs the bread and does his monkey dance)
SARAH: Be careful, Paul.
PAUL: (sternly) Get back in that cage Pierre Frenchman.
(The MONKEY turns back in the other direction, and jumps up and out of a window)
SARAH: He’s getting away!
PAUL: (Running to the window) I don’t see him anywhere. He must have run into the woods.
SARAH: What will we do?
PAUL: Let’s catch up with your father and the police at the cove.
SARAH: Great idea, Paul. (They stop and look into each other’s eyes) You are so brave.
PAUL: I hope we don’t get into any trouble for this. Let’s go!.
(Exit PAUL and SARAH)
Act I Scene 6
The Cove: MAYOR GEORGE and the two police officers are greeting the MONSIGNOR, pompously dressed in a Pope-like attire, with MICHAEL, an apprentice who is dressed in a more basic, brown monk’s robe. They are getting off a small boat along with the three OUTSIDERS who were also in the boat, which they apparently paddled to pick up the two of them from a main ship. They look rather exhausted as they get out of the boat, then help the MONSIGNOR and MICHAEL out of the boat.
MYR. GEORGE: Greetings Monsignor! (MAYOR GEORGE and the two Police Officers bow towards the MONSIGNOR).
MONSIGNOR: Mayor George, it’s good to see you.
MYR. GEORGE: To what do we owe the honor of your visit?
MONSIGNOR: Allow me to introduce Michael. He is a young apprentice and I wanted him to become familiar with Freedom Island.
MYR. GEORGE: (Eyeing him suspiciously) Hello, Michael, welcome.
MONSIGNOR: You see, we don’t have a real representative of the clergy on Freedom Island and we were thinking of placing Michael here as a sort of (pause) liaison.
MYR. GEORGE: Do you think that’s necessary, Monsignor? We have done well here for a long time without a representative.
MONSIGNOR: I dare say you’ve done a little too well, Mayor George. It seems that we haven’t been getting as much crop or tax these past few years.
MYR. GEORGE: Monsignor, of course we would never try to cheat the clergy. We’ve just had a few bad years is all. (The OUTSIDERS begin to giggle - MAYOR GEORGE gives them a look and they are silenced).
MONSIGNOR: Nevertheless, Mayor George, I think Michael will be a fine addition to Freedom Island.
MICHAEL: Don’t worry, Mayor George, I will be a perfect representative of the clergy.
MYR. GEORGE: (Under his breath to the OFFICERS) That’s what I’m afraid of.
MONSIGNOR: What was that, Mayor George?
MYR. GEORGE: Oh, I was just getting ready to tell you about our dangerous prisoner.
MONSIGNOR: Dangerous prisoner? On Freedom Island? Who is he?
MYR. GEORGE: We aren’t sure. All we know so far is that he’s a Frenchman and might be involved in a plot against Freedom Island.
MONSIGNOR: A Frenchman?
MICHAEL: What would a Frenchman be doing on this little island?
MYR. GEORGE: That’s what we are trying to find out. Our officers captured him before he could do any harm. (The OUTSIDERS giggle). We had planned to take him to the gallows, but since we heard that you were arriving, we thought you could help us decide what should be done.
MICHAEL: The gallows? What did he do exactly? (The MONSIGNOR looks at MICHAEL to silence him).
MYR. GEORGE: Well, it’s not so much what he did, but what he would have done if we hadn’t been lucky enough to capture him in time. Luckily, we had Thomas the Thinker to tell us what to think of the Frenchman.
MONSIGNOR: Ah yes, Thomas the Thinker! How is the old boy?
MYR. GEORGE: He’s fine, Monsignor.
OFFCR. WILLIE: I think he’ll have some special soap for sale if you need any.
SGT. STANLEY: Highly innovative (Winks at OFFICER WILLIE and MAYOR GEORGE).
MYR. GEORGE: (Embarrassed) Right... Well, anyway Monsignor, we want to take you to see the prisoner if you have the time.
MONSIGNOR: Certainly, Mayor George. Let’s make haste. This will be an excellent opportunity for Michael to learn about the justice system here on Freedom Island.
OFFCR. WILLIE: The what? (MAYOR GEORGE takes OFFICER WILLIE by the arm).
MICHAEL: Yes, this should be very interesting.
(Enter PAUL and SARAH)
MYR. GEORGE: Sarah? Paul? What are you two doing here? You’re supposed to be guarding the prisoner.
PAUL: I’m sorry, Mayor George, I’m afraid Pierre Frenchman escaped.
MYR. GEORGE: Escaped? How on earth did that happen?
SARAH: Somehow he managed to push the cell door open.
MYR. GEORGE: That’s impossible. It was locked tight, right men (looking at the Police Officers)?
OFFCR. WILLIE: Uh, yes, Mayor, yes, locked tight (Stealing a glance at SERGEANT STANLEY who appears annoyed)
MONSIGNOR: (partly amused) This prisoner of yours doesn’t sound like any ordinary man, to me, Mayor.
MYR. GEORGE: Yes, that’s what I’ve been trying to tell you (he looks over at the Police Officers). Don’t just sit there. Capture Pierre Frenchman!
PAUL: I think he ran into the forest on the windward side toward the hut of Matilda the Witch.
(SERGEANT STANLEY pushes OFFICER WILLIE and they exit)
SARAH: I’m sorry, father.
MYR. GEORGE: There, there, Sarah. We shouldn’t have expected you two to guard such a dangerous prisoner as Pierre Frenchman.
PAUL: I’m sorry, too Mayor.
MONSIGNOR: I’m sure you two did your best. Freedom Island’s two finest police officers will catch this Frenchman character soon enough. (looks at MAYOR GEORGE). Now, shall we head into town?
MICHAEL: Thank you, Monsignor. It certainly has been a long voyage.
MONSIGNOR: Indeed (Pause) (He turns towards the OUTSIDERS) Just a moment (he approaches the OUTSIDERS). Thank you my little friends for taking us to shore from our ship. Here is a token of my appreciation (he takes one small coin out, all three OUTSIDERS are smiling with their hands out as he puts the coin in DANNY’s hand with a bit of a show. The other two look disappointed as he turns away and it becomes clear that he is just giving out the one coin). Very well, let’s go, (Amused) but we should keep our eyes open for this Frenchman character.
(Exit PAUL, SARAH, MONSIGNOR and MAYOR GEORGE, leaving only the three OUTSIDERS on stage alone, looking disappointedly at the coin in DANNY‘s hand)
TANYA: What a stingy codger that Monsignor is.
DOLLY: (Imitating the MONSIGNOR with even more exaggerated pompous gestures, pretending to hand a coin to TANYA) Here is a token of my appreciation (They all laugh).
DANNY: Well, I suppose it’s better than we get from Chesterson.
TANYA: Say, do you think they are going to catch that prisoner?
DANNY: I don’t know if those two police officers could catch a turtle on its back. (They all laugh)
TANYA: Well, I hope they don’t catch him.
DANNY: Why do you say that, Tanya?
DOLLY: (laughing) I think Tanya has some special feelings for that prisoner.
DANNY: You must be kidding! He’s just a hairy little beast, that prisoner is.
TANYA: That isn’t nice. He’s strong and masculine and dances so well. And did you see his eyes? He seems like a lost soul who just needs a little friendship and understanding. He’s as good and brave a man as I’ve ever seen on this island.
DOLLY: You have a good point, Tanya. (jokingly) Look what I’m stuck with.
DANNY: (looking cross) Hey, I happen to think I’m quite the catch (makes a muscle while DOLLY and TANYA giggle mockingly)
DANNY: (embarrassed) Alright. Well we better get back to the farm or Mr. Chesterson is going to dock our wages.
DOLLY: (Disgustedly) If he docks them anymore, we might have to start eating this seaweed (she picks up some seaweed from the ground).
DANNY: (Grabbing seaweed from DOLLY) Let me try some of that (he pretends to eat it and makes a face as if it was delicious). Not bad.
DOLLY: Very funny.
TANYA: Come on, let’s go
Act I Scene 7
The Station: MAYOR GEORGE arrives with the MONSIGNOR and MICHAEL. MAYOR GEORGE opens the door for the other two.
MONSIGNOR: You say he’s covered with hair, like some sort of a beast?
MYR. GEORGE: That’s right Monsignor.
They walk into the headquarters. The MONSIGNOR and MICHAEL sit down as MAYOR GEORGE walks over to inspect the open cell door
MONSIGNOR: (Looking at MAYOR GEORGE) While we wait for the prisoner to be captured, Mayor, I believe we have time to discuss a little business.
MYR. GEORGE: Business? (Laughing nervously) Ha, ha. What do you mean, Monsignor?
MONSIGNOR: You know exactly what I mean, Mayor George. You haven’t been keeping up on all of your payments to the clergy. Now how do you expect us to help you, if you refuse to help us?
MYR. GEORGE: Yes Monsignor. I’ve had some, uh, trouble of late. It isn’t always so easy on Freedom Island. The Outsiders are starting to demand more money for their work and... (MONSIGNOR cuts him off).
MONSIGNOR: (Angrily) Enough with the excuses. Everyone knows you spend all your money gambling and getting your fortune read by that witch, Matilda.
MYR. GEORGE: Matilda? I haven’t been to see her for a long, long time, Monsignor.
MONSIGNOR: Mayor George. Would you like to continue as the Mayor of Freedom Island, or shall I send you to New Orleans to work on the fishing boats?
MYR. GEORGE: No, that won’t be necessary, Monsignor. I’ll certainly make sure and get caught up on all the payments.
MONSIGNOR: Indeed you will, Mayor George. You are the first Commoner to be Mayor of Freedom Island. Keep in mind who is pulling the strings, here.
MYR. GEORGE: Of course, Monsignor. I know what is expected. (pause) Well, I guess I better go check up on the officers and see if they are making any progress with Pierre Frenchman.
MICHAEL: It was a pleasure to meet you, Mayor George.
MYR. GEORGE: (unconvincingly) Uh, likewise Michael (He walks out, leaving MONSIGNOR alone with MICHAEL).
MICHAEL: Monsignor, pardon my saying so, but don’t you think you were a little hard on Mayor George?
MONSIGNOR: Michael, that’s the way you have to treat these peasants. They only listen to the rule of law.
MICHAEL: Well, doesn’t that go against the mission of the clergy?
MONSIGNOR: Sometimes, Michael, we lose a little of our idealism when we oversee a place like Freedom Island. The people here like to be controlled and to feel safe. Just look at them when one little prisoner is on the loose. If you can’t take care of their needs, they aren’t going to listen to your message.
MICHAEL: But you do get a chance to deliver the real message, right?
MONSIGNOR: Yes, of course, Michael. That’s what you will be doing here, but you also need to keep an eye on things. We can’t have the people of Freedom Island just doing whatever they want.
MICHAEL: Well, I just want the people to like me. I don’t think Mayor George is too happy to have me looking over his shoulder.
MONSIGNOR: It’s not important for them to like you. Respect is what you want and sometimes respect requires an iron hand.
ACT I: Scene 8
Hut in the Woods: Matilda, dressed in New Orleans hoodoo attire is seated at a small table with a bowl holding a piece of rope, peparing to cast a spell. There is a knock at the door and she gets up, somewhat surprised, and opens the door. It is Roscoe, an Outsider.
MATILDA: Roscoe! It’s good to see you. What brings you all the way out here?
ROSCOE: Hello, Matilda. I’m sorry to bother you so late, but it’s a matter of business.
MATILDA: (Bemused disappointment) Oh, business? I was thinking it might be something else.
ROSCOE: Oh Matilda, aren’t you a wild one. I am just wondering if you can do something for me?
MATILDA: (Approaches ROSCOE somewhat seductively) Anything you want, Roscoe, (soberly) for a price.
ROSCOE: Of course (he pulls out a bag of coins and puts it on the table). You’re some kind of witch, aren’t you?
MATILDA: Is that what they call me? Who tells you that?
ROSCOE: Well, everyone says that, but Mayor George suggested that I see you. He thinks you can help me. I am looking for love and prosperity.
MATILDA: Love and prosperity? Aren’t we all? And how can I help you with that, Roscoe?
ROSCOE: I want you to cast a spell for me.
MATILDA: A spell for love or a spell for riches?
ROSCOE: Can I have both?
MATILDA: I’m afraid that would be too much to ask. You would have to choose. Who would you wish to be the object of a love spell?
MATILDA: Beautiful, young Tanya? (Chiding) Roscoe, you are twice her age, at least. (Seductively) Perhaps you should find someone a little closer to your own age. (Businesslike again) So you want me to cast a love spell on Tanya? Or do you want wealth?
ROSCOE: That’s hard to decide. (He ponders this for a short time). I think wealth is more important.
MATILDA: You think wealth is more important than love?
ROSCOE: Yes. You can find love with wealth, but love won’t bring you wealth.
MATILDA: Is it really love if you get it from wealth?
ROSCOE: (Ponders her question) I suppose that doesn’t really matter to me.
MATILDA: Well then, I will cast a spell for you for wealth.
ROSCOE: Thank you, Matilda.
MATILDA: I’m relieved, really. I would hate to cast a spell on that poor young girl for a man who cares more about money than love. Beware Roscoe. Even with the spell to aid you, others will always try to take the wealth you gain. (Puts a neckpiece with a small red bag around his neck, tucked under his shirt) Wear this mojo wherever you go. Now you run along Roscoe, and I’ll cast that spell for you (She ushers him out of the hut, leaving the door open, takes the bag of coins off the table and sits back down at the table, taking the rope in her hand. She starts to tie the first of nine knots and begins an invocation).
By knot of one, this spell has begun.
By knot of two, it cometh true.
By knot of three, so mote it be.
By knot of four, this power I do store.
By knot of five, this spell is alive.
(Enter MONKEY, appearing at the doorway. Matilda’s back is to the monkey and she continues the spell not noticing it)
By knot of six, this power I fix
By knot of seven, events I will leaven
By knot of eight, it wil be fate
By knot of nine, what is done is thine.
There you are, Roscoe, nine knots. Your spell is cast.
(Matilda takes the knotted rope and places it in the bowl, closing her eyes and waving her hands over the bowl. She smiles and stands up. She walks over to get a broom and starts to sweep in a circular, ritualistic fashion, beginning with her back to the MONKEY. She eventually comes around to face the MONKEY. She is quite startled)
MATILDA: Oh my! (Pause as she stares at the MONKEY) That spell was a little stronger than I was expecting. What are you doing on Freedom Island, little monkey?
(The Monkey begins doing its monkey dance)
MATILDA: Aren’t you the sweetest thing? I’ll bet you’re hungry, aren’t you? (She grabs some food from a counter and hands it gently to the MONKEY, who takes it from her, hestitantly at first, then begins eating it ravenously). You certainly were hungry (She reaches for more food) Here, take more (She hands him some more food).
(OFFSTAGE: The voices of the Police Officers can be heard)
OFFCR WILLIE: Pierre Frenchman! Turn yourself in.
SGT. STANLEY: We have you surrounded.
MATILDA: Are they after you little monkey? (Pause)
Maybe you should get out of here. (She cajoles the MONKEY out of the her hut: Exit MONKEY. She then walks back to her table and shakes her head, chuckling to herself). This island is crazier than New Orleans.
ACT I: Scene 9
The Station: The Monsignor and Michael are still seated. Enter the Police Officers with the MONKEY, his hands tied behind his back)
OFFCR. WILLIE: We captured the prisoner, Monsignor.
MONSIGNOR: What – in heaven’s name - this is the prisoner? You have arrested a mon... (stops himself before saying monkey).
SGT. STANLEY: Yes, this is Pierre Frenchman, Monsignor.
(The officers walk the MONKEY to the cell)
MICHAEL: Pierre Frenchman? But, but this is just a little mon...(the MONSIGNOR elbows him before he can say monkey)
MONSIGNOR: Yes, yes, what a dangerous looking prisoner. Very good work, officers. I’ll see to it that you get an accomodation from the Archbishop himself.
SGT. STANLEY and OFFCR. WILLIE: Thank you, Monsignor.
MONSIGNOR: Where is Mayor George, Sergeant?
SGT. STANLEY: Oh, he should be here shortly. He went to speak with Matilda the Witch.
MONSIGNOR: Matilda the Witch?
MICHAEL: There is a witch on the island?
MONSIGNOR: I’ll explain about her later, Michael.
OFFCR WILLIE: I think I hear them coming now, Monsignor.
(MATILDA can be heard from offstage)
MATILDA: What are you doing George? You brought me here to arrest me?
(ENTER MAYOR GEORGE holding MATILDA by the arm)
MYR. GEORGE: I’m sorry Matilda, but I must bring you in for questioning regarding our prisoner.
MATILDA: Prisoner? What prisoner?
MYR. GEORGE: Pierre Frenchman (he points at the MONKEY in the cell)
MATILDA: Have you gone mad?
MONSIGNOR: Matilda (he walks up to her and puts a finger over her lips to silence her from saying more), don’t say another word. They have captured this dangerous prisoner, Pierre Frenchman.
MATILDA: This is just a little mon...
MONSIGNOR: Silence Matilda! If you know what’s good for you.
MYR. GEORGE: We found Pierre Frenchman near Matilda’s hut. I think she was trying to harbor the criminal.
MATILDA: Oh, this is ridiculous. He was hungry and I gave him some bread and food. Monsignor, are you really going to believe that I was hiding this little mon...
MONSIGNOR: I’m not going to tell you again, Matilda!
MYR. GEORGE: Monsignor, should we fetch Thomas the Thinker to translate for us?
MONSIGNOR: Oh, I don’t think that will be necessary. I think that we can see for ourselves that this is no ordinary man (He gives a little wink towards MICHAEL. MATILDA rolls her eyes).
MICHAEL: (Mumbling so that only the Monsignor can hear him) But Monsignor, this is a mon... (the MONSIGNOR raises his hand towards MICHAEL’s lips again)
MONSIGNOR: (Looking around the room) Yes, this is a very dangerous man.
MYR. GEORGE: So what should we do? Take him to the gallows?
MICHAEL: The gallows? Isn’t that a bit harsh?
MYR. GEORGE: For a criminal like this? The gallows is a kind fate.
MONSIGNOR: Well, maybe Michael has a point, Mayor. Let’s not be too hasty. Before we take (hesitates) Pierre Frenchman here to the gallows, let’s be sure that we are doing the right thing. I think that we should have a trial for the prisoner.
ALL: A trial?
MONSIGNOR: Why certainly. Let’s get to the bottom of all this. Once we have proven his guilt, we will bring him to the gallows. This will be a lesson to any Frenchman who tries to harm Freedom Island and justice will be served.
MYR. GEORGE: Excellent idea, Monsignor! It’s been a long time since we had a fair trial on Freedom Island.
MONSIGNOR: Yes, yes. A fair trial. What do you think, Michael?
MICHAEL: Um, well, I guess if we had a trial we could determine if the mon...(again the MONSIGNOR raises his hand in a gesture intimating silence) if the man, uh, Pierre Frenchman is a real danger to Freedom Island.
MONSIGNOR: Of course he’s a danger, Michael, or why would we have a trial for him in the first place? (MICHAEL opens his mouth as if to respond to the question, but the MONSIGNOR continues). Now, we can have the trial right here at the station.
CHESTERSON: Good day, Monsignor. I’d heard from my servants that you had arrived on Freedom Island. And I see you’ve met our prisoner.
MONSIGNOR: Yes, I have. We were just discussing having a trial for this mon... Pierre Frenchman.
CHESTERSON: A trial? On Freedom Island? Who would judge such a trial, Monsignor?
MONSIGNOR: Perhaps you should be the judge. You know as much about the laws of Freedom Island as anyone.
MYR. GEORGE: Yes, Monsignor, I think that is an excellent idea.
CHESTERSON: Me? (falesly modest) Well, of course I’d be honored Monsignor.
MONSIGNOR: It’s all set then. I suppose I will act as the prosecutor.
MICHAEL: Who will defend the mon... Pierre Frenchman?
MONSIGNOR: Why, I think you could do a fine job defending him, Michael.
MICHAEL: Monsignor, no! I mean, how can I defend a mon... Pierre Frenchman. How am I supposed to communicate with - him?
MYR. GEORGE: We can get Thomas the Thinker to translate for you, if you need.
MONSIGNOR: It’s settled, then. We’ll have the trial right in here so we can keep the mon... Pierre Frenchman in the cell until he goes to the gallows .
MICHAEL: You mean if he is found guilty?
MONSIGNOR: Of course, Michael, of course.
SGT. STANLEY: What shall we do with Matilda the Witch, Monsignor?
MONSIGNOR: I would like to do a little interrogation if you don’t mind. So let’s keep her here for now. Maybe she is in on this whole plot with Pierre Frenchman (MATILDA rolls her eyes).
Now, why don’t you and your officers leave us with the prisoners.
MYR. GEORGE: Are you sure you’ll be alright?
MONSIGNOR: Yes, the door is locked to the cell. right men?
SGT. STANLEY: (looking towards OFFICER WILLIE) We have it all under control, Monsignor.
MONSIGNOR: (Happily) Very well, why not go home and have yourselves a nice meal. You’ve certainly earned it.
OFFCR. WILLIE: Thanks Monsignor. I sure am hungry.
MYR. GEORGE: Monsignor. I don’t know what we would do without you. Shall we start the trial tomorrow morning?
MONSIGNOR: Yes, and make sure to invite all the townspeople.
CHESTERSON: Even the Outsiders?
MONSIGNOR: Especially the Outsiders.
(Exit MAYOR GEORGE, the officers, and CHESTERSON)
MICHAEL: Monsignor, what is this all about? Why are we putting a monkey on trial? What in heaven’s name is this place? Don’t these people realize that he’s just a monkey?
MONSIGNOR: You see, Michael, the people of Freedom Island never leave the island. Most of them have never even been to New Orleans. They only know what they are told about the rest of the world. A Frenchman or a monkey? It’s all the same to them. There’s no need to spoil their excitement. If we hadn’t shown up today, they would have already hung our (sarcastically) Pierre Frenchman.
MICHAEL: Surely the island has visitors. The people here can’t be completely ignorant of the outside world?
MONSIGNOR: Of course not. (gesturing towards Matilda) Even Matilda, here, tried to give them some new ideas when she showed up on the island. They often hear things that contradict their beliefs, but in the end, it’s not the truth that matters, it’s who delivers the information to them. They trust us. We have a history with them. We have the church to back up our truth, but sometimes we need to put on a bit of a show like this to remind them of our importance. In the end it’s for the church and what’s best for the church is best for the island, of course. What I need you to do, Michael, is just play along.
MATILDA: (laughing) It looks like the Monsignor is going to make a monkey out of you, Michael.
MONSIGNOR: Quiet Matilda. You’ll be lucky if I don’t send you to the gallows with him (pointing at the MONKEY).
MATILDA: (flirtatiously) Monsignor, you used to be so... friendly back in the old days in New Orleans. Can’t we work all this out?
(MICHAEL raises his brow at hearing this, obviously surprised)
MONSIGNOR: I’m not going to warn you again, Matilda. I let you escape from New Orleans and stay on Freedom Island and if you aren’t careful, I’ll send you back to New Orleans. I’m sure there are more than a few people who would be interested in seeing you again and settling some old scores.
MATILDA: Now Monsignor, maybe that’s not a such a bad idea. I think maybe they’ve forgotten about old Matilda by now. Have you forgotten about me, Monsignor?
MICHAEL: (Ignoring the discomfiting innuendos) Monsignor, I still don’t understand all this. Why are we going to have a trial?
MONSIGNOR: Michael, we need to have this trial for the people of Freedom Island. They need to feel like they are righteous and safe from evil.
MICHAEL: But this is just a monkey. He didn’t do anything. How could he? What kind of justice is that?
MONSIGNOR: Justice? There are more important things than justice. People on a land like this just need to be governed, so we give them a little show and they appreciate us for keeping them safe. That’s how the church can maintain order. They need to believe that they can’t live without our leadership and guidance.
MICHAEL: But what about fairness and truth? Isn’t that what the clergy represents?
MATILDA: (Laughing) Welcome to the Monsignor’s world, Michael.
MONSIGNOR: Enough, Matilda.
MICHAEL: Am I really supposed to defend a monkey?
MONSIGNOR: Oh Michael, just play along! Give him a little bit of a defense, just enough to give the illusion of fairness, then everyone can enjoy a good hanging! It’s just a monkey, for heaven’s sake.
End of Act I
Act II: Scene I
The Cove: The OUTSIDERS are speaking.
DANNY: (teasingly to TANYA) Are you going to the trial, Tanya? (Embarrassed, TANYA pushes DANNY).
DOLLY: Leave her alone, Danny, you know how she feels about Pierre.
TANYA: It’s not like that, Dolly. I just think he deserves a fair chance. Besides, he hasn’t done anything wrong.
DANNY: Do you think it really matters? They’re just using Pierre Frenchman as an example for the rest of us. They have already decided to hang the little guy.
TANYA: No, they can’t! It wouldn’t be right (sobbing). I hate Freedom Island.
DOLLY: (Looks around to make sure no one heard TANYA) Careful Tanya. If anyone hears you say that, you could be banished (she takes TANYA by the arm to console her as she continues to cry and looks towards DANNY). And you. You don’t need to say such things to her. She wants to have hope.
DANNY: I’m sorry Tanya (TANYA settles down).
TANYA: It’s alright.
DANNY: Hey, I think I hear someone coming.
DOLLY: Oh no, it’s Paul and we’re supposed to be at the farm. We better hide.
(The three of them crouch and hide as PAUL and SARAH approach, their voices initially offstage)
SARAH: (giddy) Let’s get married in June.
PAUL: June sounds perfect. I can hardly wait.
SARAH: I can’t wait to tell my mother and father.
PAUL: Well, don’t tell them just yet.
SARAH: Why? It’s official now, right?
PAUL: Yes, yes, Of course it is.
SARAH: You told your father, right?
PAUL: Um, I told him how I feel about you, but he just needs a little time to get used to the idea before I tell him about our marriage plans.
SARAH: What do you mean, “get used to the idea”?
PAUL: Try to understand, Sarah. Marriage is a big step and he had a lot of plans for me. He wasn’t really expecting all this.
SARAH: You mean he still expects you to marry Gertrude?
PAUL: He’s just close to her family. The Chestersons and Claybournes were on the first boat to land on Freedom Island.
SARAH: I’m so tired of hearing about the Originals and their special claims to Freedom Island. Our family has been here for a long time, too. Maybe you just don’t want to marry a Commoner. Is that what this is all about?
PAUL: Of course I want to marry you. I don’t care whether you are a Commoner. That’s my father’s problem, not mine.
SARAH: Are you sure? Because if you don’t respect me for who I am, then I can’t be your wife.
PAUL: Yes, I’m sure, Sarah. Of course I respect you for who you are. That’s why I fell in love with you. (Pause) Just give me a little more time to smooth things over with my father. (He holds SARAH by the hands). I love you so much, Sarah.
SARAH: Oh Paul, I love you too. (They embrace and kiss).
PAUL: You know what? I’m going to talk with my father right after the trial and tell him that we are getting married. Soon, we can tell the whole island!
SARAH: Let’s be off, then. I don’t want to be late for the trial.
Exit PAUL and SARAH
DANNY: (Re-emerging from their hiding spots) Oh Sarah, I love you sooooo much (turns around as if to be SARAH and then mocks her, batting his eyes and speaking in a high-pitched voice) I love you too, Paul.
DOLLY: You make fun of love and romance. You wouldn’t know romance if it bit you in the backside (pinches him on the butt).
TANYA: I thought it was quite nice, really.
DANNY: Quite nice? Tragic is what it is. You really think Chesterson is going to let his only son marry a Commoner? You ladies are both as silly and romantic as Sarah.
DOLLY: Don’t be such a cynic, Danny. Sarah is so beautiful and they make such a lovely couple. What do you think, Paul is going to marry that Gertrude just because she is an Original? She doesn’t even have any teeth (purses her lips to simulate toothlessness).
TANYA: (Grabbing and swirling her hair) Yeah, and her hair is matted like an old cat’s.
DANNY: Ugh. (Looking at TANYA) Maybe she would be a good match for Pierre Frenchman.
TANYA: (Pushing DANNY) Stop making fun.
DOLLY: Enough, you two. We should go. The trial is starting soon.
DANNY: Yes, yes, the trial of the century!
(Exit DANNY, DOLLY and TANYA, lauging).
Act II: Scene 2
The Station: It is now arranged as a courthouse, with seats and a table for the MONSIGNOR and MICHAEL. MATILDA and the MONKEY still remain in the cage. A podium is set up on the desk for Mr. Chesterton to act as judge. MAYOR GEORGE, PAUL and SARAH are seated. The OUTSIDERS are standing in the back.
CHESTERSON: (Wearing a parliamentary wig, pounds a gavel) It is time to begin the trial of Pierre Frenchman. Monsignor, Your Excellency, would you like to begin your prosecution of this criminal.
(Michael looks annoyed)
MONSIGNOR: Certainly. This is a simple case (Pointing to the MONKEY). Pierre Frenchman is nothing more than an invader of this great island. He must be convicted of the most heinous of crimes and then sentenced to death, so that other invaders will fear our justice and…
MICHAEL: (Angrily) This doesn’t make sense. What exactly are you saying that this mon… Pierre Frenchman has done? You have to charge him with something.
CHESTERSON: (Pounding his gavel) Excuse me. Mr. Umm.., What is your name again?
Mr. Chesterson: Well, Michael, you will have your chance to defend your client. First we must let the Monsignor finish his fine speech. I apologize, Your Excellency.
MONSIGNOR: Oh, it’s quite alright. Young Michael here has made a fair point. With what exactly do we charge this invader…a man whose sole purpose was to destroy our way of life? Who might have succeeded if it wasn’t for the work of our fine police officers. I say the charge shall be Conspiracy.
(Gasps from the spectators)
MICHAEL: (Incredulous) Conspiracy?
CHESTERSON: Silence! Now Michael I won’t tell you again. Let the Monsignor continue.
MONSIGNOR: Thank you. (Bold gesticulation) Yes, Pierre Frenchman was not able to carry out his plot to destroy Freedom Island, because he was captured before he could enact his evil plans. The question is not what he did. It is what he was going to do that is important. Are we simply to wait until this evil villain carries out his plan before we do something to stop it? Of course not! We have to act before that. We have to stop him before the damage is already done.
MICHAEL: How can you know what is in his head?
Mr. Chesterson: Michael… (MONSIGNOR waves off Mr. CHESTERSON)
MONSIGNOR: We will show by overwhelming evidence, exactly what was in Pierre Frenchman’s head. Then he will receive the punishment that a conspirator deserves. (Pause) That concludes my opening statement.
CHESTERSON: Well done, Monsignor. Mayor George, do you think you could have your men prepare the gallows?
MYR. GEORGE: Certainly, your honor.
MICHAEL: Wait a minute, your honor. I believe I have a chance to speak as well before a sentence is passed.
CHESTERSON: Of course, young man.. It just seems that the evidence of his guilt is so overwhelming already, what with that astounding and knowledgeable opening statement of His Excellency, the Monsignor, that I thought we should prepare for the likely outcome. Very well, now. make your statement.
MICHAEL: (Sarcastically) Thank you, your honor. When we encounter someone the likes of whom we have never seen, it can lead to misunderstanding. What we have here is a big misunderstanding. Pierre Frenchman had no intent to harm anyone. This mon… this man is nothing more than a castaway. He came to this island seeking refuge. He is no more a killer than any of us, here.
CHESTERSON: Very well, are you finished, Michael?
MICHAEL: Not quite…
MONSIGNOR: Wait, Michael, you say he came here only to seek refuge?
MICHAEL: That’s right.
MONSIGNOR: Then he told you that, did he?
MICHAEL: (Looking irritated at the MONSIGNOR) Well, not exactly - but I deduce that.
MONSIGNOR: So now you say that you know what was in Pierre Frenchman’s head when he came to this island?
MICHAEL: I, uh, I only say that he meant no harm to Freedom Island.
MONSIGNOR: Yet you offer no evidence of this.
MICHAEL: Aren’t you supposed to prove his guilt, rather than I his innocence?
MONSIGNOR: A fair point, Michael, but consider the circumstances. His very existence here on Freedom Island is evidence of a conspiracy. It is you that now needs to refute that evidence.
MICHAEL: (To Chesterson) So I have to prove his innocence?
CHESTERSON: Yes Michael. That is how the law is written. Conspiracy is a crime of intent. And his intent seems quite obvious, since there is no other explanation for a man to come to this island in a military uniform. Was he expecting to attend a costume ball? (Laughs from spectators) And then he tried to escape. If he was innocent, why would he run away? In a case like this, we need to think about the safety of Freedom Island. We can’t just let him go, just because we can’t prove his intent, therefore the burden falls on you to prove that he did not intend to harm Freedom Island.
MICHAEL: How can I prove such a thing?
CHESTERSON: That is for you to determine, Michael. Would you like to call any witnesses?
MICHAEL: A witness? Uh, yes, yes, I would. I’d like to call Matilda to the stand
(More gasps from the spectators)
CHESTERSON: Alright, let’s bring the witch to the stand. This should certainly be interesting. (The police officers open the cell and escort MATILDA to the stand).
MATILDA: (Looking at the MONSIGNOR) This is ridiculous and you know it. Release me at once.
CHESTERSON: Silence (pounds gavel)! Now Michael, you may examine your witness.
MICHAEL: Matilda, before yesterday, had you ever seen this mon… man, Pierre Frenchman?
MATILDA: Of course not.
MICHAEL: Did he ever express any intention to harm Freedom Island?
MATILDA: He never expressed anything. He is a mon… (the MONSIGNOR motions as she is about to say he is a MONKEY. She appears fearful, and stops herself). He is just a little man. He probably just wanted some food. (To the MONSIGNOR) What you are doing is a terrible thing.
MICHAEL: That’s all, thank you.
CHESTERSON: Monsignor, would you like to question the witness?
MONSIGNOR: I most certainly would. (Approaches) Now, Matilda, how long have you lived on Freedom Island?
MATILDA: About ten years, but what does that have to do with anything?
MONSIGNOR: So you came from somewhere else?
MATILDA: Yes, New Orleans, you know that.
MONSIGNOR: Might we then question your loyalty to this island?
MATILDA: No, never. I love this island just as if I had been born here.
MONSIGNOR: You left New Orleans ten years ago, you say?
MONSIGNOR: And why exactly did you leave New Orleans?
MATILDA: (Angrily) This isn’t fair!
CHESTERSON: Just answer the questions, witch.
MONSIGNOR: You left New Orleans because you were banished from there, correct?
MATILDA: I wasn’t banished. I had some difficulties and decided to make a new start.
MONSIGNOR: You were involved in some dirty dealings, weren’t you?
MATILDA: Well, I guess you would know, Monsignor (snickers from the OUTSIDERS).
CHESTERSON: (Pounding his gavel). Enough of this insolence. We’ll have none of your evil, you little witch.
MONSIGNOR: I think we have all the information we need from this witch. She is clearly an unreliable witness. She is no better than Pierre Frenchman and is probably in on the whole plot. Return the witch to the cell! And I would like to call a witness as well. (The police officers approach to return MATILDA to the cell)
CHESTERSON: I should hardly think you need to, Monsignor. Who would you like to call?
MONSIGNOR: I call to the stand, Pierre Frenchman himself.
MICHAEL: (Throwing his arms in the air) I can’t believe this. The mon… Pierre Frenchman only speaks French, isn’t that right Monsignor?
MONSIGNOR: Yes, which is why I will have Thomas the Thinker translate for us.
MICHAEL: This, I have to see…
The police officers return MATILDA to the cell as she puts up a bit of a struggle then resigns herself. They then grab the MONKEY to bring him to the stand. While this is going on, MONSIGNOR goes to the door and opens it. Enter THOMAS THE THINKER. Confiding in THOMAS THE THINKER, while the others are preoccupied with the MONKEY being brought to the stand. The MONSIGNOR begins speaking in a friendly manner with THOMAS THE THINKER. He then holds out a pouch of money and offers it to THOMAS THE THINKER. THOMAS THE THINKER initially is reluctant, but with further prodding takes it from the MONSIGNOR. This is noticed only by the OUTSIDERS, who whisper among themselves
CHESTERSON: I believe the accused is ready for your examination, Monsignor.
MONSIGNOR: Yes, thank you. Why don’t you tell us in your own words, why you have come to Freedom Island. (The Monkey jumps up and down and makes several grunting noises). Now, Thomas, is he confessing?
THOMAS THE THINKER: I, uh, can’t be sure, MONSIGNOR (The MONSIGNOR gives him a threatening glance). Well, I can’t say that he’s not confessing, so he could be confessing.
MONSIGNOR: There we have it. A military uniform, an escape attempt and a confession. I have no further questions. I submit that we have a conspirator here, who should be sent to the gallows at the earliest possible moment.
CHESTERSON: Michael, is there anything you can possibly say with all of this evidence at hand?
MICHAEL: Evidence? What evidence? (obviously frustrated, then sighing with resignation, he pauses then has an expression of angry resolve) As a matter of fact, yes, there is one more thing. (pausing and looking at the MONSIGNOR, who shakes his head) Pierre Frenchman is not a Frenchman, Nor even a man. He is a monkey. (Confused murmuring from the spectators. The MONSIGNOR appears very angry) A common monkey. He probably fell off of a sinking ship. He could no sooner hatch a plan against Freedom Island than one of your cows, Mr. Chesterson. This is a ridiculous charade. I know it can be frightening when we see someone who is a little different than us, but this is just a harmless monkey. In the name of justice, let this monkey go!
(More and louder murmuring from the confused spectators)
CHESTERSON: (Pounding his gavel) Order in this court! (murmuring dies down). Thomas? Is what he is saying, true?
THOMAS THE THINKER: (Approaching the monkey, holding up his monocle) Well, now that you mention it, he does look a little like a monkey.
CHESTERSON: This is most unusual. How can I send a monkey to the gallows?
MONSIGNOR: (Flustered, appears to be thinking up a response) Now just hold on a minute. This is no monkey. Pierre Frenchman is so cunning that he has almost tricked all of you. He is only pretending to be a monkey (more murmurs from the spectators). This is exactly what he wants all of you to believe, so then you can let him go and he can signal the others from his group. I swear to you that if Pierre Frenchman is released, an entire band of Frenchmen will be on your shores within hours, terrorizing every man, woman and child
MICHAEL: (Sarcastically) A band of monkeys?
MONSIGNOR: I’m not even supposed to discuss this, because it’s known only at the highest levels of the church, but the clergy has been following this case for quite awhile. We have evidence that an attack of Freedom Island will be taking place soon (more frightened murmurs). Pierre Frenchman has been under our surveillance. He is the most cunning agent the French have. It is a great victory for all of us that we were able to capture him before he could unleash his terror. Law enforcement on Freedom Island can be very proud. You may very well have saved Freedom Island.
MICHAEL: This is preposterous! What secret evidence do you have? There is no evidence.
MONSIGNOR: Unfortunately, I can’t discuss the evidence because of its sensitive nature (looks to Mr. CHESTERSON), but trust me, Your Honor, the evidence exists. This is no monkey!
(More murmuring from the confused spectators)
CHESTERSON: (Pounding gavel) Order! I’ve heard all of the evidence and it is time to make a decision. Michael, your case is stronger than I had anticipated. It’s possible that Pierre Frenchman is just a monkey. However, as we said before, you must prove that he is innocent. He may be a monkey, but he might also be the conspirator that the Monsignor says he is, merely pretending to be a monkey. I must accept the Monsignor’s good word that he has the secret evidence of which he speaks. So you haven’t proven his innocence. Therefore, I must find the defendant, Pierre Frenchman, guilty as charged for the crime of conspiracy (more murmuring from the spectators and Mr. CHESTERSON pounds the gavel again to quiet the room). I hereby sentence you to the gallows. The sentence will be carried out tomorrow at high noon at The Cove (More loud murmuring).
TANYA: No, No! It can’t be! (begins sobbing).
CHESTERSON: (Looking at MATILDA in the cell) Matilda, you witch – you are a co-conspirator. Therefore, you will also face the gallows tomorrow. This court is now adjourned (all the spectators begin to file out. TANYA is helped by the other two outsiders as she continues to sob. PAUL and SARAH leaving last ).
MATILDA: Monsignor, you can’t let this happen!
MONSIGNOR: Matilda, I’m sorry, but the court has decided.
MICHAEL: Monsignor, this is so wrong. It’s enough that they hang a monkey. Now you are letting them hang Matilda?
MONSIGNOR: The court has spoken, Michael. Justice has been served. You are in enough trouble as it is. You can forget about staying here on Freedom Island. Get your things packed and prepare for your penance.
MONSIGNOR: This was an act of insubordination.
MICHAEL: I did what you told me to do.
MONSIGNOR: You know what you were supposed to do.
MICHAEL: I’m sorry, but I couldn’t just play along, Monsignor. Sometimes the truth must be told.
MONSIGNOR: And for that, you must accept the consequences. We leave tomorrow, right after the hangings. You are to see the Archbishop when we return to New Orleans. Your career in the clergy is ruined.
(Exit MICHAEL and the MONSIGNOR – Enter PAUL)
PAUL: Father, I have something I need to discuss with you.
CHESTERSON: Is this about that Commoner Sarah, again?
PAUL: Yes, father.
CHESTERSON: I’ve heard enough of that. You want to marry her, go ahead and marry her.
PAUL: Really, father?
CHESTERSON: Yes, do as you please, like any Commoner.
PAUL: Commoner? What do you mean, father?
CHESTERSON: I mean that if you marry the commoner, Sarah, then you are no longer part of the Originals. You will be a commoner yourself. I will leave the farm with whomever your sister marries and you will be on your own.
PAUL: But father!
CHESTERSON: You have heard me. Now you make your own decision. In the meantime, can I at least trust you to guard the prisoners until the police officers return?
PAUL: (Sadly) Of course, father. (Exit CHESTERSON)
Act II: Scene 3
The Cove: SERGEANT STANLEY and OFFICER WILLIE are setting up the gallows.
SGT. STANLEY: Let’s turn it this way, so the spectators won’t have the sun in their eyes.
OFFCR. WILLIE: Good idea. (struggling to move the gallows in the right spot) It’s sure heavy, Sergeant.
SGT. STANLEY: Yes, it needs to be sturdy enough to support the weight of a hanging man.
OFFCR. WILLIE: And a hanging woman.
SGT. STANLEY: Right. I almost forgot about Matilda.
OFFCR. WILLIE: Do you think she’s a real witch?
SGT. STANLEY: I don’t know. A witch? A Frenchman? A monkey? We just don’t know enough to figure all this out. All I know is that after this hanging, life can just go back to the way it used to be.
OFFCR. WILLIE: Right. Soon, Freedom Island will get back to normal.
SGT. STANLEY: (Throws the first noose over the pole) Things were better in the old days.
OFFCR. WILLIE: (Tying the first noose to the pole) Right – before the witches and Frenchman and monkeys.
SGT. STANLEY: By tomorrow night, this will all be like a bad dream. The people of Freedom Island will forget about it soon enough. Then it will be as if it never happened. (Picks up the other noose) Let’s finish up here and get over to The Pub.
OFFCR. WILLIE: I could sure go for a nice ale.
SGT. STANLEY: Especially since Chesterson is buying the drinks (both laugh).
OFFCR. WILLIE: Mayor George is already at The Pub with Chesterson and the Monsignor, while we do all the work.
SGT. STANLEY: They won’t even get their hands dirty when we hang this Pierre Frenchman.
OFFCR. WILLIE: You know, I kind of feel sorry for that little guy.
SGT. STANLEY: Why? He is getting what he deserves. He had his trial.
OFFCR. WILLIE: I know, but do you think all that talk about him being just a monkey could be true?
SGT. STANLEY: What’s the difference? We just do our jobs. The law says to carry out an execution, so we do what the law tells us. It’s not for us to decide what’s right and wrong (Throws the second noose over the pole). There you go, now let’s tie it up.
OFFCR. WILLIE: (Tying the second noose to the pole) I guess you’re right, boss. We have to rely on the good judgment of others. (He swipes his hands together in a finishing motion)
SGT. STANLEY: Let’s get out of here. It’s been a long day.
OFFCR. WILLIE: Yeah. Let’s get there before that stingy codger Chesterson changes his mind.
(Exit SERGEANT STANLEY and OFFICER WILLIE. Enter TANYA . She walks up to the noose, woeful).
TANYA: Oh my! How can such a thing as this happen? I’m so sorry for you, Pierre Frenchman or monkey or whatever you are. You don’t deserve this awful fate. And I don’t deserve mine! There is no justice on this miserable island. I want to leave this place. (She falls to her knees, sobbing, then looking up at the first noose). Yes, I will leave this place tonight. They’ll have a big surprise waiting for them in the morning.
Act II: Scene 4
Scene: Station. PAUL is guarding MATILDA and the MONKEY.
MATILDA: Paul, why don’t you just let us out of here?
PAUL: Very funny. You know I can’t do that.
MATILDA: We’ve done nothing wrong. This is just a monkey. It couldn’t harm anyone.
PAUL: That’s not what the court decided.
MATILDA: The court? That was no court. That was a fairy tale invented by the Monsignor and your father played along. You think your father doesn’t know this is a monkey (pointing at the monkey)?
PAUL: Are you trying to say that my father lied?
MATILDA: What your father did was wrong. He knew this was a travesty and he went along with it to please the Monsignor and stay on his good side.
PAUL: No, you had your trial. My father wouldn’t do that. He believes in justice and he loves Freedom Island. Our family has been here since the beginning. We are the Originals. What do you know about Freedom Island or our way of life? You are just a witch from New Orleans.
MATILDA: You Originals are all the same. You strut around as if you have some divine right to Freedom Island, but everyone knows you weren’t even the first ones on this Island. Your ancestors just drove off the real Originals and stole their land.
PAUL: That’s a lie!
MATILDA: It’s the truth and you know it. You think you are special, but you are no different than the rest of us.
PAUL: Maybe that’s true, but we were born here. You didn’t have to come to this island.
MATILDA: You’re right about that, Paul.
PAUL: I’m sorry, I can’t help you Matilda. No one can. It’s too late.
MATILDA: (Tearful) Please Paul, you’re my only hope.
PAUL: I can’t go against my father. He has wisdom. Next to Thomas the Thinker, he is probably the wisest man on Freedom Island.
MATILDA: (Rolling her eyes) Thomas the Thinker? That crazy fool has never even been off of the island.
PAUL: What do you mean. He has traveled the world – to New Orleans and beyond.
MATILDA: Don’t be silly. He just read a few old books and made himself believe that he had been to the places he read about. Everyone went along with it in fun at first, but then they all started to believe him.
PAUL: How do you know all this?
MATILDA: I’ve been to the places he talks about. They are nothing like those books he reads.
PAUL: Well, it doesn’t matter. Your fate has been decided.
MATILDA: What about your fate, Paul?
PAUL: What do you mean?
MATILDA: I heard what your father said about you and Sarah. Maybe I can help you.
PAUL: No, I can’t trust a witch.
ACT II: Scene 5
A small pub: Seated at the table engaged in a poker game are the Monsignor, Chesterson, Mayor George and Roscoe. Michael is standing off in a corner watching. A waitress, Stacy, is serving them drinks. As the scene progresses, CHESTERSON, MAYOR GEORGE, THE MONSIGNOR AND ROSCOE, continue to throw back the booze and become increasingly intoxicated.
CHESTERSON: I see that and raise.
MONSIGNOR: I’m going to have to fold (drops his cards on the table).
MYR. GEORGE: I’m in (tosses some chips in). Hey where’s Stacy with that round of drinks?
STACY: I’m coming, Mayor. (Stacy walks to the table with a tray of drinks and lays them out for each)
MONSINGOR: Did you fix my drink the way I like, little flower?
STACY: Of course Monsignor, a twist of lemon, just as you like.
(Michael makes a disgusted face)
MONSIGNOR: Michael, don’t you want a drink. Chesterson’s buying and that doesn’t happen very often (All Laugh)?
MICHAEL: No thanks.
CHESTERSON: Monsignor, where did you find this stick in the mud (looking at Michael)?
MYR. GEORGE: Roscoe, are you in?
ROSCOE: (Thinking about it) I’m going to fold. I was expecting a luckier night, tonight.
STACY: (Giving ROSCOE his drink) Where have you been, Roscoe?
ROSCOE: Sorry Stacy, I’ve been… busy with things.
STACY: What sort of things?
CHESTERSON: (Laughing) Things like Matilda the Witch, Roscoe?
STACY: Is that true, Roscoe?
ROSCOE: No, Stacy. I just dropped by there for a visit.
(STACY walks off angrily)
CHESTERSON: Roscoe is hoping to get rich. An Outsider thinking he can get rich.
ROSCOE: I will (touches his chest, grabbing the mojo).
CHESTERSON: We’ll see about that, Roscoe.
MYR. GEORGE: Speaking of Matilda, do we really need to send her to the gallows with Pierre Frenchman, Monsignor?
MONSIGNOR: (Laughing) Still carrying a torch for old Matilda, are you?
MYR. GEORGE: I just think the punishment is a bit, harsh.
MONSIGNOR: Well, I didn’t decide the punishment. It’s up to the judge, right Chesterson?
MYR. GEORGE: (to Chesterson) How about it?
(ENTER SERGEANT STANLEY and OFFICER WILLIE)
MONSIGNOR: Hello you two! Have a drink. They’re on Chesterson.
SGT. STANLEY: Stacy, bring us a couple of ales.
STACY: (Walks out with two ales on her tray, toward the police officers) Here you go boys. I had these ready for you (She looks at OFFICER WILLIE flirtatiously. ROSCOE looks on, jealous).
CHESTERSON: Mayor, I’m thinking about your request. Maybe we can make a little wager . If you win this hand, I’ll let Matilda go.
MYR. GEORGE: And if you win?
CHESTERSON: I get that little plot of land, on the leeward side.
ROSCOE: Hey, that was supposed to be my land. You bought it from under me, Mayor?
MYR. GEORGE: (Embarrassed) Sorry, Roscoe.
ROSCOE: (To CHESTERSON) Is that why you invited me here tonight? To rub my nose in it, Chesterson?
CHESTERSON: (Smiling) Of course not, Roscoe, I just wanted to play a friendly game of cards.
MYR. GEORGE: Okay, Chesterson, I’ll take your wager.
CHESTERSON: Lay down your cards, Mayor.
MYR. GEORGE: (Puts his hand on the table) Two pair, sevens and Aces.
CHESTERSON: A fine hand, Mayor, but two pair never beats three of a kind (He lays down his hand, then takes the chips on the table). Poor Matilda, I used to like her when she worked here. You just can’t trust a witch, though.
MONSIGNOR: That was some excellent playing, Chesterson.
CHESTERSON: Thanks, Monsignor. Perhaps your assistant would like to join us for a hand.
MICHAEL: No, thank you, gambling is not allowed for members of the clergy.
(All laugh, with an “Oooh” at the apparent swipe at the MONSIGNOR)
MONSIGNOR: Michael, that was not called for. Besides, I’m not sure we can really consider you a member of the clergy at this point, can we?
(All laugh again)
MICHAEL: I’m going to head back into town. I’m getting a bit tired (He starts to leave).
MONSIGNOR: I expect you’ll be at the hanging tomorrow.
MICHAEL: How could I miss it?
CHESTERSON: (To the police officers) How about you two?
SGT. STANLEY: No sir, Mr. Chesterson. Your stakes are bit too high for me.
OFFCR. WILLIE: Me, too. I’ll just have my ale.
ROSCOE: Maybe just you and I can play a hand, Chesterson.
CHESTERSON: Roscoe, you haven’t learned your lesson, yet? Sure, I’ll play you a hand, for what stakes.
ROSCOE: If I win, I get that land on the leeward side.
CHESTERSON: And what could you possibly put up to make this bet worth my while?
ROSCOE: If you win, I go back to work on your farm until the day I drop dead.
STACY: Roscoe, that’s crazy, you said you’d never go back there. Don’t do this.
CHESTERSON: You have a bet, Roscoe.
STACY: You don’t have to do this.
ROSCOE: Yes, I do, Stacy.
MONSIGNOR: This shoud be interesting. Deal them some cards, Mayor. Best hand, straight up,wins.
MYR. GEORGE: You sure you want to do this, Roscoe?
ROSCOE: (Angrily) Deal the cards, Mayor!
(MAYOR GEORGE deals a hand to both men, face down)
CHESTERSON: Turn over your hand, Roscoe.
(ROSCOE’s hand shakes)
ROSCOE: Let’s see yours, first.
CHESTERSON: Very well (he flips his cards). What do you know, three of a kind, three eights, again (groans from observers). I think you’re going to be working for me, soon, Roscoe. Let’s see what you have.
(ROSCOE, hand still shaking, lifts his cards)
MONSIGNOR: Will you look at that, three nines. Looks like you lose Chesterson.
(More gasps. STACY excitedly pats ROSCOE on the back)
CHESTERSON: (Drunk and angry) I don’t believe this! (He looks at MAYOR GEORGE conspiratorially). We can’t have Outsiders owning land. It’s unacceptable (He stands up in a menacing manner and ROSCOE stands facing him. SERGEANT STANLEY and OFFICER WILLIE run up to get between them)
SGT. STANLEY: Gentlemen. Let’s keep this a friendly game of cards. Sit down and relax (the two of them sit back down).
MONSIGNOR: A bet is a bet, Chesterson. He won fair and square.
CHESTERSON: (Redfaced) When did you become such a champion of justice, Monsignor? Since the trial? (To ROSCOE) You haven’t heard the last of this. Get me another drink, Stacy.
STACY: Yes, Mr. Chesterson, right away (STACY scurries off with a smile on her face)
MONSIGNOR: (Looking down at ROSCOE’s cards) Those are some lucky nines, Roscoe.
ROSCOE: Indeed (He pulls out the mojo bag and kisses it, then tucks it back in).
MYR. GEORGE: (Smiling at Roscoe) I think that’s enough cards for one night. Stacy, another round for everyone on me.
OFFCR. WILLIE: Here, here!
ACT II: Scene 6
PAUL: (Apprehensively) Sarah.
SARAH: Paul, I couldn’t wait another minute. You told your father, right?
PAUL: I did.
SARAH: Wonderful! So it’s settled then.
PAUL: (Sadly) Yes, it’s settled.
SARAH: When can we get married? I can’t wait to tell my family.
PAUL: I’m sorry Sarah, we can’t. There won’t be a marriage.
SARAH: What? What do you mean?
PAUL: My father won’t allow it.
SARAH: Just like that? Your father says no and you don’t fight for me? For us?
PAUL: He isn’t going to change his mind.
SARAH: So what are you going to do, now? Just stay on that farm alone?
PAUL: I’ve decided to marry Gertrude.
SARAH: (Choked up) I, I don’t believe it. Everything you said was a lie. I thought you loved me.
PAUL: I do, but there are more important things than just love.
SARAH: (Angrily) That sounds like your father talking.
PAUL: Well maybe he’s right. He is wiser than I am.
(MATILDA rolls her eyes)
SARAH: He’s not wise. He’s just rich. That’s what this is really about. Your father doesn’t know anything about what is between us and he doesn’t care.
PAUL: I can’t defy my father. If I stay with you, we would have nothing.
SARAH: (Sarcastically) Just a couple of ordinary Commoners?
PAUL: Try to understand, Sarah. My whole life has been about taking over the farm. I just don’t know if I could make it on my own.
SARAH: You wouldn’t be on your own. We would have each other.
PAUL: I’m sorry, Sarah, I guess I’m just not that brave.
SARAH: I thought you were. That’s why I fell in love with you. Maybe I misjudged you.
PAUL: Look. I still lo… care for you. I always will. This doesn’t have to be the end. (Pause) Maybe we could still see each other, secretly.
SARAH: How dare you! I can’t believe you would even say that. Forget it, you coward. You are a sorry excuse for a man! (SARAH runs out of the courthouse)
PAUL: Sarah – Wait! (Stops short of running out, as he looks and remembers his charge)
MATILDA: She’s right, Paul. You are a coward - and a fool.
PAUL: Shut up! You’re not one to talk.
MATILDA: You are going to marry Gertrude? Say what you want about this old witch, but I would never marry for anything else but love.
PAUL: Tell me, what choice do I have?
MATILDA: You have the choice of love, silly. You are going to trade that for what, a bunch of cows? What kind of life is that? A life without love?
PAUL: Who do you love, Matilda?
(They are interrupted by shouting – MICHAEL from offstage)
MICHAEL: Help, there’s another Frenchman on the loose! Bring me some rope. Quick!
(Exit PAUL with a rope. Shortly after, MICHAEL enters the station)
MATILDA: Michael! What’s going on?
MICHAEL: We’re getting out of here, Matilda. (He grabs the key and opens the cell door). Grab the monkey.
Exit MATILDA , the MONKEY and MICHAEL
Act II: Scene 7
The Cove: TANYA is standing below the noose, apparently contemplating putting it around her neck.
TANYA: This is my last night on this cruel island. There is nothing here for me to live for. They call this Freedom Island, but I feel like I am wearing chains.
(SARAH walks onto the stage. Her back is still to TANYA)
SARAH: Oh Paul, how could you do this to me? Do you not know what love is?
TANYA: There is no love on this island (SARAH turns, startled).
SARAH: Oh my goodness, what are you doing here?
TANYA: You mean what is a lowly little Outsider doing on your precious cove?
SARAH: No, of course not. I mean, I don’t think that’s what I meant.
TANYA: Well I have as much a right to be here as you do.
SARAH: I’m sorry, I didn’t mean anything by it. I’ve had a hard day.
TANYA: Me too, in case you haven’t noticed.
SARAH: What are you doing there? (She walks up to TANYA and holds her, pulling her away from the noose). A few minutes ago, I was thinking about the same thing. That won’t solve anything.
TANYA: (Tearful) I don’t know what else to do. I’m lost on this island.
SARAH: Me too. Let’s go home. Tomorrow has to be a better day.
(Enter MICHAEL, MATILDA and the MONKEY. TANYA and SARAH take a startled step back, facing MICHAEL, MATILDA and the MONKEY)
TANYA: (Excited) What are you doing here?
MICHAEL: We’re getting off this crazy island. (Looks at TANYA then the gallows) What are you doing here?
SARAH: Nothing (looks at TANYA protectively). We were just leaving.
(TANYA looks at the MONKEY with a big smile and the MONKEY looks back at her, beginning its monkey dance. They run up to each other and embrace, dancing together)
TANYA: It’s you, It’s you! Hooray! I knew you would be okay. Michael, please take me with you. I want to leave this place.
MICHAEL: I’m not even sure where we’re going.
TANYA: I don’t care. It has to be better than this.
MATILDA: I know a place where we can go and they’ll never find us. I will make a new start again – with all of you.
MICHAEL: (To TANYA) Okay, you can come with us if you want.
TANYA: (She jumps up and down with the MONKEY, again then leads it onto the boat) Thank you, Michael.
MATILDA: Sarah, I’m sorry about Paul.
SARAH: Thank you, Matilda. I’ve always liked you.
MICHAEL: (Gesturing at a place on the boat) We still have room in the boat, Sarah.
SARAH Turns away, looking towards the island then turns back, apparently ready to board the boat, but just then PAUL can be heard.
PAUL: Sarah! (Enter PAUL)
SARAH: What do you want, now? Haven’t you done enough? Go find Gertrude and get married and live happily ever after on Freedom Island with your cows and potatoes.
(PAUL looks at the three on the boat and MICHAEL stands up with his oar in a defensive manner)
PAUL: (To Michael) Don’t worry. I’m on your side. I know Pierre Frenchman never meant to harm this island.
SARAH: You do?
PAUL: Sarah, I never meant to harm you either.
SARAH: Well, you did. And I’m going to leave with them.
(She starts towards the boat. PAUL grabs her gently and she turns back towards him)
PAUL: Sarah, please. I don’t want you to leave. I love you.
SARAH: What about your family and your farm?
PAUL: Forgive me, Sarah. I was afraid, but I’m not anymore. I know what’s important to me now. The farm, the Originals, I don’t care about any of it anymore. You are all I want.
SARAH: You mean you would stand up to your father?
PAUL: I’ll marry you tomorrow if you’ll still have me after what I did. Will you marry me Sarah?
SARAH: (Pause) Of course!
(PAUL and SARAH embrace. All in the boat applaud including the MONKEY)
MATILDA: Congratulations, you two.
PAUL: Thank you (Pause). You better be off.
MICHAEL: We still have room if you two want to join us.
PAUL and SARAH look at each other smiling
SARAH: I’m not sure. What do you think, Paul?
PAUL: After all that’s happened, I realize now that Freedom Island is far from perfect. But I would like to stay.
SARAH: Me, too. This is our home and we can make it better.
PAUL: We’ll make sure that there are real changes on Freedom Island. As long as I have you Sarah, I feel like I can take on anything.
SARAH: Even these old codgers on Freedom Island?
PAUL: Especially them.
MICHAEL: Well, we better leave before they come after us.
PAUL: Don’t worry about that. They’re all sleeping off their night at the pub. Be careful, though, the currents are treacherous leaving the island at this time of night. Are you sure you want to do this?
MICHAEL: What choice do we have? There’s no turning back, now.
PAUL: I suppose you’re right. You have a lot of courage.
MICHAEL: I dare say you might need more courage to stay here.
PAUL: You may be right.
SARAH: Have a safe voyage.
TANYA: Goodbye Freedom Island.
This is a two act play. It takes place circa 1800 in the Gulf of Mexico. A French military ship is returning back to France from New Orleans. They have a monkey as a mascot, also dressed in a French military uniform. A storm blows in and the monkey is thrown off the ship. He washes up on the shore of a small island in the Gulf of Mexico called "Freedom Island." The people of the island know very little of the outside world and don't know whether this is a dangerous man, a beast or something else. The worldly Monsignor happens to arrive at the island (knowing full well that this is only a monkey) and decides to have a trial for the monkey. Can his idealistic assistant save the monkey? Will Paul and Sarah overcome their class differences and live happily ever after? Will Matilda the Witch escape the clutches of the Monsignor? Read the play and find out.