“That Darn Castle!”

Here’s another old writing exercise, a short script I wrote in a playwriting class at William & Mary about ten years ago. And I’m just now realizing I’ve written plays more than a decade ago. Oh my.

Anyway, this is just a silly romp that was never intended to be performed. But it is silly and might just fulfill your recommended daily value of silliness.

Song lyrics are not mine, which should be quite obvious.

“That Darn Castle!”

By Daniel Sherrier

Characters:

King Gallagherwithers

knights1, 2, 3, & 4

a castle

 

(King Gallagherwithers stands in the middle of a mostly barren stage.  Knight1 enters with a sense of urgency.)

King:                Ho, good knight, how goes the construction?

knight1:           By George, sir, the castle has stolen the instruction manual!  And it won’t return it until after we’ve repainted it!

King:                How the bloody hell is the castle making demands?

knight1:           By telling them to us, sir!

King:                How the bloody hell is the castle telling them to us?

knight1:          With its mouth, sir!

King:               How the bloody hell does the castle have a mouth?

knight1:          We built one into it, sir!

King:               And why the bloody hell did we build a mouth into a castle?

knight1:          The instruction manual said so, sir!

King:                Let me see that instruction manual!

knight1:          The castle has it, sir!

King:               Oh, yes, that’s right. Bloody hell!

(Knight2 runs on-stage, very frantic.)

knight2:           King Gallagherwithers! The castle said it objects to your having painted it green!

King:               It doesn’t like being green?

knight2:           Apparently not, sir!

King:               But green is a perfectly splendid color.

knight2:           I’m inclined to agree, sir!

King:               I happen to count it among my favorites.

knight2:           But the castle does not, sir!

King:               Castles have no tastes these days…

(Knight3 runs on-stage, frantic.)

knight3:           Sir! The castle bites it thumb at you, sir!

King:               Bites its thumb?  Why does it have a thumb?  Who built a thumb onto the castle?

kinght3:           The instruction manual said so, sir!

King:               It’s not proper to bite your thumb…Hmmm…Does it wish to quarrel?

knight3:           I believe so, sir!

King:               I do not take kindly to having thumbs bitten at me.

knight1:           What do you recommend we do, sir?

(The King, offended by the thumb biting, paces around, thinking the matter over carefully.  He stops, as he makes a firm proclamation.)

King:               Here is what we shall do! We will fight, brave knights! We will fight with all our might until this evil is made right! We will fight at first sight, and if we must, we will fight until night! Then, we shall use candles for some light, as we pray the castle does not bite. Then, my brave and valiant knights, to celebrate our victory over this plight, we shall each and every one of us fly a kite!

knight2:           A kite, sir?

King:               Yes, my noble knight, a kite! It will be perfectly smashing. Just think of it, knights! It reminds me of an old song from my childhood…

knight3:           A song, sir?

King:               Yes, a song that’s practically perfect in every way… (singing “Let‘s Go Fly a Kite” )  “Let’s go fly a kite, up through the highest height. Let’s go fly a kite and send it soaring…” (Stops singing for a second) Join me, men!

(The knights appear uncomfortable as they sing.  The King is having fun, though.)

King & 3 knights:       “Up through the atmosphere, up where the air is clear…Oh, let’s go…fly a kite!”

(The knights get more comfortable with it.)

knight1:           “When you send it flying up there…”

knight2:           “…All at once, you’re lighter than air!”

knight3:           “You can dance on the breeze over houses and trees…”

King:               “…With your fist holding tight, to the string of your kite! Ohh, ohh, ohh–”

(Knight4 runs on stage, frantic.)

knight4:           Sir! The castle despises your singing, sir! And the song as well!

(The King becomes furious.)

King:               Can’t a king sing songs with his knights? And do you mean to tell me that that castle does not appreciate the fine art of Mary Poppins?

knight4:           It says it much prefers Bedknobs and Broomsticks, sir.

King:               Bedknobs and BroomsticksBedknobs and Broomsticks??? Over Mary Poppins???

knight4:           Unfortunately so, sir.

King:               Gentlemen, we are now at war.

knight4:           Sir, the castle simply wants you to change its color. Maybe something more along the lines of, I don’t know, brown might appease it more…

King:               Brave knights! To defend the honor of Julie Andrews, go quarrel with it!

knight4:           But sir, it’s a castle…

King:               Which means you have a considerable target at which to swing your swords! Have at it, men! Onward!

(Hesitantly, the knights form into a line and run towards off-stage. Before they make it off, a drawbridge slams on top of them, knocking them all down and pinning them to the ground. The King just watches, not very happy. The knights struggle to free themselves, but they are not strong enough.)

knight1:           Sir! We seem to be caught in a bit of a bind!

King:               Then unbind yourselves! Good God, must I think of everything around here?

knight1:           We can’t seem to unbind ourselves, sir!

(The deep, bellowing voice of the castle is heard.)

castle (off-stage):  Ha, ha!

King:               So it does speak.

(The drawbridge rises up for a second. The knights look relieved. Then the drawbridge slams down on them again.)

castle (off-stage):  You can’t stop me, nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah!!!!

(The King looks towards off-stage, as if carefully examining the castle.)

King:               That mouth appears a tad lop-sided. Which one of you built the mouth?

knight2:           That would be me, sir!

King:               Terrible construction. Simply terrible. I prefer the mouths on my castles to be a bit more chipper. I say, you’ve made it look awfully angry and bitter. When people think of King Gallagherwhiters, I don’t want them to think of that king with the menacing mouth on his castle. I want them to think of fuzzy, warm thoughts that might be more easily derived from castles that sport smiles and grins. You, my not so good sir, are fired.

(Knight2 slips free and walks off-stage, relieved. The other three remain pinned.)

knight2:           Thank God.  Screw this.

King:               Are you other knights quite done being crushed?

(The drawbridge rises. The knights slip free.)

King:               There you go.  Now try again.

knight3:           Again, sir? But might we be crushed yet again?

King:               Crushed? Again? Heavens, that would be terribly unimaginative of my castle to rely on only one ploy with which to attack you. I would like to think my castles are made of a better fiber than that. So go on. Attack it. Don’t let Mary Poppins down.

knight4:           Well, I suppose we can give it another go…for Mary Poppins.

knights1, 3, 4: For Mary Poppins!

(The knights charge at the castle. Several green bricks are thrown at them, sending them running off-stage in the opposite direction. The King stands his ground, disappointed in his men.)

King:               That could have gone better. I believe this calls for a second stratagem. But what would work when brute force has failed? (sudden idea) A-ha!  (calling off-stage to the knights) Knights! To my side!

(Knights 1, 3, and 4 poke their heads back on stage, nervously.)

knight1:           You won’t make us fight the castle again, will you, sir?

King:               No, my noble knights! I want you to help it! Finish construction while I have a word with our nemesis! Perhaps I can talk some sense into it.

knight3:           But, sir, how shall we finish construction without the instruction manual?

King:               Oh, that’s right. That could be problematic. Here’s what you’ll have to do. Rewrite the manual from scratch, and then resume construction.

knight4:           From–from scratch, sir?

King:               Yes, I know you all have nothing but time…no lives to attend to or anything of the sort. So get on it.

knight4:           Yes, sir.

(The knights run across the stage, towards the castle, and off-stage again. The King approaches the castle and addresses it.)

King:               Fair castle, a word!

(The drawbridge slams down again, just barely missing the King.)

King:               A-ha!  You have missed me!

(A brick is thrown directly at the king, hitting him. It hardly fazes him.)

King:               That was hardly nice of you.

(Another brick strikes the king. The king throws it back at the castle, which throws it back at the king.)

King:               Here I am, simply trying to talk to you, and what do you do? You throw bricks at me. How immature are we? Would I, the noble King Gallagherwithers, have had such a childish beast built? Tell me, fair castle, what is your problem?

(Knight1 is thrown back on stage and is then immediately buried by a ton of bricks.)

knight1:           Help…me…!

King:               Castle, I asked you a question…

(Knight3’s ankle is ensnared in rope that hangs from above, and he swings across the stage, upside-down.)

knight3:           Aaaaahhh…!

(Knight3 momentarily swings off-stage and then swings back in the opposite direction.)

knight3:           Aaaaahhh…!

(A loud thud is heard, as knight3 apparently crashes into the side of the castle.)

King:               Castle, I get the impression you’re not paying attention to me.

(The sound of knight4 screaming in gut-wrenching agony is heard.)

knight4:           No…no!!! Anything but that!!!! Nooo…!!!!! Aaaahhh…!!!!!

castle:              Ha, ha!

King:               Castle! Pay attention when your king is addressing you!

(Knight2 momentarily walks back onstage, just to laugh at everyone.)

knight2:           Heh, you poor bastards…Sucks to be you.

(Knight2 exits.)

King:               Castle, I am disturbed to see you making demands…throwing bricks at my person…crushing my knights! Well, I don’t quite mind you trying to crush that one that built the crooked mouth. At any rate, he’s incompetent. But insulting Mary Poppins? I ask you, insulting Mary Poppins???? What manner of fiend are you? Again, I ask, what is your problem?

castle:              The color…

King:               Color?

castle:              You painted me green. I don’t like it.

King:               What’s not to like about green? Explain it to me.

castle:              Well, you see…I’m not quite sure how to explain this, but… (breaks into song, singing as Kermit the Frog would)  “It’s not that easy being green, having to spend each day the color of the leaves. When I think it could be nicer being red, or yellow or gold, or something much more colorful like that.”

King:  (singing)  “But green’s the color of Spring! And green can be cool and friendly-like. And green can be big like an ocean, or important like a mountain, or tall like a tree.”

castle:              Or…or like a castle?

King:               Precisely!  (singing)  “When green is all there is to be, it could make you wonder why…”

castle & King: (singing)  “…but why wonder why?”

castle:  (singing)  “Wonder, I am green and it’ll do fine, it’s beautiful! And I think it’s what I want to be.”

King:               There you go!

castle:              I’m sorry, King Gallagherwithers. I didn’t realize that being green could have such potential.

King:               There, there, castle. You know now.

castle:              And I really don’t hate Mary Poppins. In fact, I rather think she’s swell.

King:               Of course you do.  You’d have to be inhuman not to like Mary Poppins.

castle:              But I am inhuman.

King:               I suppose you are. But you’re an inhuman monster who is thrilled to be green!

castle:              That I am!

King:               I knew you’d come around!

(An instruction manual falls down from above and hits the floor.)

castle:              Here’s the instruction manual I stole.

King:               I was wondering where that went off to.

castle:              I’m sorry I tortured your knights.

King:               Oh, think nothing of it. They don’t mind.

(Knight1, still half-buried under a ton of bricks, sticks up his middle finger at the king.)

King:               Throw some more bricks at that one.

(More bricks fall onto knight1.)

King:               Castle, I think we’re going to make a fine team. Now pop open that drawbridge. I want to be inside you for a bit.

castle:              Um…

King:               Is there a problem?

castle:              I think it’s a bit soon in our relationship for that, King Gallagherwithers.

(The king looks disheartened.)

King:               I…I can certainly respect that.

castle:              Don’t get me wrong. I think you’re a very nice king. I’m just not ready for that level of commitment yet.

King:               If that’s how you want it…

castle:              I just need some time–

King:               Yes, yes, I understand.

castle:              It’s not you. It’s me. I’m very unstable right now. I need to build myself back up again before I can let anyone in like that.

(The king looks extremely heartbroken.)

King:               Take all the time you need…

castle:              But King Gallagherwithers?

King:               Yes?

castle:              Maybe…maybe you could help build me?

(The king is slightly happier.)

King:               I would be happy to.

(The king walks towards the castle and notices knight1, still buried.)

King:               Bloody hell!  What are you doing lounging around there? Get up, knight! We have a lot of work ahead of us!

knight1:           Aye, sir. Just give me a moment to recover from these near-death injuries.

King:               That’s the spirit!

(The king takes a moment to look at the castle, fondly.)

King:               Ahh…I feel as though we’re at the start of something grand.

(Knight2 walks onstage again, just to laugh at everyone.)

knight2:           Heh, you poor bastards…Sucks to be you…

(Knight2 exits.  Lights go down.)