One for the Money, Two for the Show

Act I, Scene 5

(Next morning in the empty ball room.  KARL OF GRUNWALD and KARL’S MOMMA enter stage right and, during dialog, move to stage center front.)

KARL’S MOMMA: (Looks around). This has to be the right room.  Why isn’t anyone else here?

KARL:  It’s early, Momma.

KARL’S MOMMA:  Well, good.  It would be amusing if no one else showed up.  The nerve of that girl—wanting a man with wit.  Whoever heard of such a thing?  Wit.

KARL:  Yes, Momma.

KARL’S MOMMA:  You’ll just have to show wit today, Karl.  And speak out loudly and boldly.

KARL:  Yes, Momma.

KARL’S MOMMA:  Loudly and boldly.

KARL:  Yes, Momma.

KARL’S MOMMA: (Inhales deeply. Exhales slowly.)  That’s better.  Now remember the riddles we worked on this morning.  When does a cherry have no pit?  When does a ring have no end?  When does a babe make no crying?
Well, tell me.

KARL:  When it’s a blossom, when it’s rolling, and when it’s sleeping, Momma.

KARL’S MOMMA:  Well, that’ll have to do.  It would be just like Lea to make up her own riddle though.  That girl is too smart for my taste.  Why does she have to be the one with the great dowry? 
Well, we can’t change that.  Remember—stand straight, speak loudly and have wit.

KARL: Yes, Momma.

KARL’S MOMMA: (Moving to stage rear) I’ll be watching and depending on you to do your best.
Oh, what I wouldn’t give to get Blackbird Villa.
(Turn back to Karl while walking) Remember, loudly and boldly.

KARL: Yes, Momma. (Turns to audience. Patter song.)
Karl of Grunwald, do you want this audience or not?
Do you seek Lea’s hand—or what?
     Her hand is just fine,
    In act, it fits well in mine,
But, Lord, what a mouth she has got.

(BERTRAM OF ADLER enters stage left.  Mumbles as though practicing riddles.)

KARL:
Momma told me to come do my best,
Although with wit I am really not blest,
    I know Lea’s a shrew,
    But what else can I do
To earn a villa with sheep and all the rest?

BERTRAM: (Patter song.)
Bertram of Adler, do you want this audience or not?
Do you seek Lea’s hand—or what?
    Her hand is just fine
    And the rest is divine,
But, Lord, what a mouth she has got.

(ODO OF BRANDT enters stage right.  Mumbles as though practicing riddles.)

BERTRAM:
I’ve heard a wife is a terrible expense,
Wanting pounds and shillings rather than pence,
    But the dowry’s a size
    Makes even Lea a prize
Not to be ignored by a man of good sense.

ODO: (Patter song.)
Odo of Brandt, do you want this audience or not?
Do you seek Lea’s hand—or what?
    Her hand is just fine
    And the rest is divine,
But, Lord, what a mouth she has got.

(EXTRAS filter in.)

ODO: 
A woman should devote her hours to praying
When she’s done with the cooking, cleaning, and haying,
    Yet sheep, cattle and steeds
    Are all a man needs
To ignore all the drivel his wife’s saying.

(KARL, BERTRAM and ODO move to center stage.)

KARL, BERTRAM and ODO:
Think man, do you want this audience or not?
Do you seek Lea’s hand—or what?
    Her hand is just fine

KARL: In fact, it fits well in mine.

BERTRAM:  And the rest of her is divine,

ODO:  And the dowry is just fine.

ALL: But, Lord, what a mouth she has got.!

(MARKUS AND LEA enter center rear. MARKUS nods greetings to others as he leads LEA to a seat.)

MARKUS: (Turns to waiting men.)  I have invited you today because my beloved sister plans to wed.  As you know, she has a dowry befitting a lady of refinement…and grace.  Lea asks only that her suitor correctly answer this riddle.  (Hesitates while others wait.)  If you threw a blue shoe into the Red Sea, what would it become?

(ALL talk to themselves.)

ODO: (Steps forward to address Markus) Hmmph.  That is obvious.  It would become ruined.  And a terrible waste it would be.

KARL: (Steps forward and speaks loudly) It would become a boat.  (Quieter.) I mean, you could call it a boat..if it didn’t sink.  (Quieter.) I once had a boat that looked just like a wooden shoe.

BERTRAND: (Steps forward)  A blue shoe in the Red Sea might become purple?

(Loud laughter offstage.  ALL turn to stare as LANZO, dressed in ragged minstrel gear, runs in stage right.)

LANZO: (Triumphant)
Boat or shoe,
Purple or blue,
In the Red Sea set,
All becomes wet.
(Throw arms wide.)  Now where is this wench that prizes wit?

(ALL stare first at Lanzo, then at Markus. LEA looks ill.)

MARKUS:  (Stares, hesitates, then takes LEA by the hand and helps her rise.)  Sir, you have won the hand of my sister Lea, complete with her dowry—Blackberry Villa, 100 sheep…

LANZO: (Laughs and approaches Lea) A skinny wench like this will be enough of a bother without all that sheep and drivel.  (Takes her hand and hops wildly.)
I am no king, and I am no lord,And I am no soldier of arms, said me.
I’m none but a harper, a traveling harper
That am come hither to wed with ye.

(LANZO dances, pulling LEA after him, as  ALL gossip and the curtain falls.)

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