One for the Money, Two for the Show (Act I, Scene 3)

Scene 3

(At the ball. Musicians at stage right rear. Dancers in action. GUNDA, heavily jeweled, is left front. MARKUS and STEFAN talk left rear. LEA dances in with ULRICH. ) 

LEA: (Sees GUNDA. Stops dancing.) Why, Gunda, you’re looking lovely this evening. 

GUNDA: Of course. People expect it. 

LEA: Of course, dear.  Why you’ve been a beautiful maiden for decades, haven’t you? 

GUNDA: (To Ulrich.) If you can’t control your dog, you really should leave her at home. (Walks to stage left rear.) 

LEA: (Watches GUNDA. Turns to ULRICH.) Must be past her bedtime, poor old dear.

(LEA and ULRICH resume dancing. LEA stops stage center near KARINA.) 

LEA: Karina, so glad you are here tonight. 

KARINA: I’m sure. 

(MARKUS aproaches unnoticed.) 

LEA: I am so looking forward to your moving to Ritter House. 

KARINA. Really? 

LEA: We always have such a problem getting rid of the table scraps when you aren’t here. 

MARKUS: Lea, that’s enough. Excuse us, Ulrich, Karina. Lea and I must talk. 

(ULRICH and KARINA dance away.) 

MARKUS: I didn’t throw this ball so you could insult my guests. 

LEA: Well, what do you expect. I’m bored. You promised to introduce me to a tall, handsome duke-to-be. I certainly don’t see one. 

MARKUS: Hardly fitting when you’re so enthralled with Ulrich. 

LEA: Isn’t he handsome tonight? I know he wants to marry me, Markus. You must talk wth him tonight. 

MARKUS: So you don’t want to meet Stefan? 

LEA: It might be amusing. Let me see him. (MARKUS takes LEA’S arm and guides her.)  You can’t mean that small, brown creature? 

MARKUS: You behave. He’s seen us approaching. 

LEA: But he’s not handsome at all. 

MARKUS: Do this for me. (Reaches out to STEFAN.) Lea, allow me to introduce  my friend Stefan. 

LEA: No. No, I won’t allow it. (LEA walks off stage left.) 

(Lights dim.)

One for the Money, Two for the Show (Act I, Scene 2)

Scene 2 

(Sitting room. Dresses are strewn around.  LEA sits in dressing gown idly throwing dice and scooping them up.  DIANA and ELISABETH, in fine dresses, enter stage left.)

DIANA: I have never seen so many people! 

ELISABETH: Eligible male people, at that. 

DIANA: I can’t believe Markus planned all this. I was beginning to suspect he liked being in mourning. 

ELISABETH:  He would like seeing Lea engaged even better. 

DIANA:  Lea engaged?  (Turns to Lea.)  Lea, you’re not keeping secrets? 

LEA:  (Rises, stretches.)  As Elisabeth said, Markus wants to see me engaged.  And when have I ever given my brother what he wanted? 

DIANA:  (Starts to speak.  Stops.  Hesitates.  Starts again.) Why should Markus want you engaged. 

ELISABETH:  It’s Katrina’s idea. 

DIANA:  Why should Katrina want Lea engaged. 

LEA:  It might have something to do with me saying she belched like a sick hunting dog. 

(DIANA giggles. 

ELISABETH:  (Frowns.)  Lea, you didn’t? 

LEA:  But I did.  And I can’t wait to tell her that she is getting so slender that she reminds me of a starving walrus.

ELISABETH:  (Laughs in spite of herself).  Don’t.  She’s going to be lady of Ritter House.  .  

LEA:  Well, I’m sick of hearing Barbara Allen.  I don’t care if it’s her favorite song.  You think Markus would have some mercy  for the rest of us. 

ELISABETH:  Katrina is really very sweet and… 

LEA:  Do not start.  It’s always how sweet Katrina is. How lovely she is.  How considerate she is.  Well, if you look like a starving walrus and want to marry a rich man, you had better be sweet and considerate—even if you’re willing to settle for a stingy dullard like Markus. 

DIANA:  But Markus spent a fortune on this ball.  Such food!  I don’t know the names of half of it. 

LEA:  (Walks back to chair. Sits down.)  I (pause) am not going. 

ELISABETH: But you must go! 

DIANA: But everyone important is here! 

LEA:  (Plays with dice.)  I’m far too busy tonight. 

DIANA: But we can’t go without you! 

ELISABETH: (Serious.)  But we must…if only so Markus can’t blame us. 

(DIANA and ELISABETH exit stage left.  LEA rises and paces nervously, biting her lip and glancing toward the door. There’s a rap at the door and she sits hurriedly sits and picks up the dice.  MARKUS enters stage left.) 

MARKUS:  So it is true.  You have not dressed for the ball. 

LEA:  And I’m not going to.  Not unless you promise a decent dowry. 

MARKUS: I’m offering an immense dowry.  Ulrich is just playing for more.  It is time you considered marrying someone else. 

LEA:  (Stands) One of your friends.  (Waves toward ballroom.)  That perpetually smirking Gerold?  Or that antique—what is his name?—Randulf? 

MARKUS: Karl of Grunwald is… 

LEA: A prattling popinjay!  And it is always, “Momma this” and “Momma that.”  

MARKUS: (Tense).  Odo of Brandt is… 

LEA:  A spindly miser.  Dear brother, I don’t plan to go through life eating beans and cabbage every night. 

MARKUS:  And Bertram of Adler? 

LEA:  Is a solemn ass.  Have you ever seen him smile?  He disapproves of music, jewelry and laughter.  I suspect he disapproves of women entirely. 

MARKUS:  So no one is worthy of your great beauty and wit?  You—the most spoiled, the most inconsiderate—sling insults at the world.  Well, I’m sorry that Father spoiled you.  I’m sorry that he died.  But insulting everyone we know won’t make things better. 

LEA: I don’t insult them.  I describe them. 

MARKUS:  All but your precious Ulrich?  You must have the unreachable toy or none? 

LEA: He wouldn’t be unreachable if you’d offer a decent dowry. 

MARKUS:  And I suppose you have insults ready for Stefan? 

LEA:  Stefan? 

MARKUS:  The son of the Duke of Trommler. 

LEA:  And he’s here? 

MARKUS: He’s come all this way to meet you.  I guess I’ll tell him you are too busy. 

LEA:  Is he taller than Ulrich?  Does he dress as fine? 

MARKUS:  You’ll have to come to the ball to find out.  (Starts toward door stage left.  Turns back.)  I’ll have you announced after two more songs.  (Exits.) 

(LEA is thoughtful.  Hums.  Begans gathering her things. Lights dim.)

 

One for the Money, Two for the Show Act I, Scene 1

Zummara_MedievalAct I

 

Scene 1 

(In the gray, dimly lit anteroom before the Ritter House’s front door.  Spotlight follows as Karina enters stage right carrying a heavy carpetbag and walks to front center.) 

KARINA:  (Setting bag down) I am getting out and I am never coming back.  It’s bad enough that the musicians played “Barbara Allen” eight times this evening. Markus is overdoing  the life-is-fleeting bit.

He’ll find out how fleeting if I have to stay under the same roof as his she-witch of a sister one for nght.

Where is that carriage?  It should be here.. 

MARKUS: (Entering stage right).  Karina!  There you are.  Why did you leave dinner?  It’s time to announce our engagement. (Grabs and swirls with her.) 

KARINA:  (Stops abruptly and adjusts her skirts). I left, my dearest Markus, so you could not announce our engagement. 

MARKUS:  Karina, sweetie, I thought we’d agreed that we’d announce our engagement as soon as the mourning period for my father was over. 

KARINA:  (Shakes head.  Walks left to peer out door.  Turns back.)  That was a mistake. 

MARKUS: What is the matter? 

KARINA:  You don’t know? 

MARKUS: (Suddenly angry)  So it is Lea.  What did she say this time? 

KARINA:  More insults than I can remember.  I cannot stay here, Markus. 

MARKUS:  But you will be mistress of Ritter House, not Lea.  I’ll make her stay in her room.  I’ll forbid her to speak in your presence.  Just don’t let her ruin our future.

Besides, Lea will marry soon and plague some other household. 

KARINA:  Lea may never marry.  She’ll never meet anyone who is a match for her.  

MARKUS:  She will marry—soon. 

KARINA:  If I could only believe that. 

MARKUS:  I’ve made her dowry immense—Blackbird Villa, 100 sheep, 20 horses, and 20 head of cattle. 

KARINA:  You think a man would marry a witch for that? 

MARKUS:  Then I’ll make it more.  Trust me, Katrina, I will invite every eligible man to a ball soon and have this settled by Christmas.  I promise.  

KARINA:  By Christmas.  (Pause.)  And I need not spend a day in this house until she is gone? 

(Barbara Allen plays backstage.) 

MARKUS:  Not a day.  Come with me now.  (Takes her arm.)  The musicians are playig our song.  (Hums.) 

KARINA:  (Sigh.)  How nice.  

   (Pair exits stage right. )

 

One for the Money, Two for the Show

A Play in Three Acts

Adapted from a folk tale

by Judy Ferro

NOTE:  This play is designed for presentations to schools and performances by student groups can be included.  The songs referenced may be accessed on-line in a variety of formats. 

The manuscript will be available in both printed and electronic forms.  Reasonable terms for acquiring performance rights will be posted following the final scene. 

 CAST OF CHARACTERS

LEA    ………… Spoiled, bored maiden

LANZO/………. Vagabond minstrel

STEFAN……… Duke of Trommler 

MARKUS……… Lea’s brother, master of Ritter Hall 

ULRICH……….. Money-hungry young noble 

GUNDA……….. Wealthy widow who desires to marry Ulrich

KARINA………. Markus’s fiance

ELISABETH, DIANA….. Cousins and friends of Lea

BERTRAM OF ADLER, KARL OF GRUNWALD, ODO OF BRANDT..Suitors of Lea

KARL’S MOMMA…………Mother of Karl of Grunwald

GRAM….......…….. Elderly villager

MARY…….........……Head cook at Trommler Hall

TISH…........……….Scullery maid at Trommler Hall

VILLAGERS........Friendly folk at seven different sites