One for the Money, Two for the Show

Act III, Scene 5

(During the ball.  In front of the curtain.  LEA runs in, stage left.  Looks around. Bursts into tears. Looks up as though she might speak to the audience.  Cries louder.  MARKUS enters, moves to comfort her, stops short of touching her.)

MARKUS: I can’t blame you for being angry.  I..Stefan and I..have been deceitful and you’ve suffered for it.  I really expected you to return to Ritter House after a few days.  I never imagined you’d spend the summer without shelter and food.  I am so sorry.  (Waits.)

LEA: (Looks at Markus.  Shakes head.) You really don’t understand.

MARKUS: I understand that you have walked for weeks, that you have had to sleep on the ground and beg for food.  I will never forgive myself.

LEA: (Laughs.) You think I cry because of what happened weeks—or even days—ago?  (Stops.  Looks as though she might weep again.)  Markus, I loved being on the road.  I loved seeing people—children and old women, mothers and field laborers and cart drivers—tired and worn and happy.  Happy because we were there.

MARKUS: But you’re very upset.

LEA: Do I get to go wandering next summer—or the summer after that?  No.  In there (points toward the music)–that’s the rest of my life. (Begins weeping again.)

MARKUS: What do you.. 

LEA: Just let me be.

(MARKUS starts to touch LEA, stops, turns and exits stage right.)

LEA: (To audience) So there is no Lanzo.  I’m in love with an actor’s role, a charade, a man who really does not exist.
(STEFAN enters; LEA does not notice.)
  Everyone knew Lanzo.  Everyone loved him.  And he doesn’t exist.

STEFAN: I mourn for Lanzo also.  (LEA stares at him.)  While my brother lived, I was allowed to roam.  I spent longer and longer on the road.  Then I became heir, and it was forbidden.  (Chuckle)  My father will never forgive me for this summer but I had to have a few more weeks of freedom.  (Looks at Lea.)  Lanzo still exists though, Lea.  (Hits chest.) In here.

LEA: You were so happy in the ball.  I saw you, smiling and humming.

STEFAN: (Chuckles.) I was so happy to see Lea being Lea.  I was hoping you’d start singing.
Gunda has captured Ulrich’s heart,
Hey li lee, li lee lo,
(LEA joins in.)
Fitting 21 cows on a cupid’s dart,
Hey li lee, li lee lo.
(BOTH laugh. STEFAN hugs LEA to him.)

STEFAN:  Could you imagine Gunda’s face?  (Releases LEA.)  Responsibility—how I hate it.
   But I have to go back now, you know—go back and behave.

LEA:  (Sighs.)  If you must, you must.

(STEFAN takes LEA’s hand as the curtain opens.  Together they join the dancers at the ball. When the music ends, ALL join hands for a bow.  Lights dim.)

One for the Money, Two for the Show

Act II, Scene 2

(Evening, four days later.  At a well on a village green.  LEA stumbles in stage left wearing a reed hat and rags on her feet. She is sunburnt and exhausted.  LANZO follows, whistling and strumming a tune.)

LANZO (Steps ahead to point out well)  Cool water.  Shade.  Just as I promised.  (LANZO scoops up water in a gourd and offers it to LEA.)

LEA: (Drinks thirstily. How much farther do we have to walk?

LANZO:  Today, not a step.

LEA: And how many more days.

LANZO: Leaventown is only two days away.

LEA:  Oh, good.  Only two days. (Sits on side of well.)

LANZO: If we were going to Leaventown.

LEA:  We’re not going to Leaventown?

LANZO: We are going to see what we can see.  We are going to travel from sunup to sundown and from snow to snow. 

LEA: So you plan on walking like this forever?

LANZO: Any way you wish.  (Hops a few steps.  Looks at LEA.  Shrugs.  Waltzes backward a few steps.)  Is that better?

LEA: (Angry.  Half rising)  You rogue!  You think it is funny that I am hot and tired and dirty…and hungry.  (Sits.)  And my feet hurt.

LANZO:  So you’re tired of walking on your feet.  (Takes a few steps on hs hands. Stands.)  Yes, much better.  Rests the feet.  Of course, for long differences, one can use hands and feet.  (Cartwheels.) 

LEA:  Stop.  Just stop.  Give me peace from your vexations.

LANZO: (Laughs) Oh, the lady wants a piece of my vexations.  Now where did I put them?  (Upends bucket.  Water streams into LEA’s lap.)

(LEA starts to stand and scream, but shakes her head and sits.  GRAMS enters stage left, walks slowly with her eyes on the ground. LANZO hurries to her and bows.)

LANZO:  Oh, have pity on a poor wandering mistrel who has traveled day and night for a glimpse of you, my pretty.

GRAMS: (Brightens with recognition) For a taste of my muffins, you mean, young man.  I caught onto you a long time ago.

LANZO:  No, now, I come for the sight of you…though traveling does make me terribly hungry.

GRAM:  It’s time you gave up gallivanting and…(Spies Lea.  Turns to squint.)  And what have we here?  You are dragging a young maid around in this dust and heat?

LEA: (To herself) At least she’s not as daft as he.

LANZO:  My bride.  You have refused me—and even a poor minstrel needs someone to darn his clothes.

LEA: So that was my competition.

LANZO: You should feel guilty for charming such a sweet young thing.

(LEA laughs.)

LANZO:  Honestly, all I did was promise her a taste of the bet muffins the kingdom..with a smidgeon of honey.

GRAMS:  The devil will punish you for such lies—but that girl looks in need of food.  I’ll find something.  (Walks off sprightly, humming Greensleeves.)

LEA:  I pray she returns with some food.

LANZO:  Of course she’ll return.  When Grams tells the others I’m here, we’ll have a party—right here.

LEA: A bring-your-own food party, I hope?

LANZO:  Even better.  A bring-your-own food, make-your-own music, dance-every-dance party.  Too bad you can’t dance.

LEA:  I can dance.

LANZO: No, you can sissy-foot. (Imitates ball room dancing) I don’t even know that you’ve seen real dancing.  (Gives vigorous kicks and spins.)

LEA: That’s more like jousting than dancing.

LANZO:  Oh, but it feels much better.  Maybe we can think of something you can sing.  I know!  There’s a song that they played at Ritter House…(Play Barbara Allen).

LEA: (Standing)  Stop!  Anything but that.

(LANZO switches to “Greensleeves.”  As he sings, GRAMS enters followed by a group of VILLAGERS.)

GRAMS:  See.  He is dragging a poor young maid with him.  Have you ever seen the like?

VILLAGER 1:  It is Lanzo.
VILLAGER 2:  Are you really married?
VILLAGER 3: I can think of better things to do with a new bride than traipse around. 
VILLAGER 1.  You’d think she’d know better.

LANZO:  (Stretches out arms) Friends.  I promised my bride a party.

VILLAGER 2:  Did you steal her?
VILLAGER 3:  He must have.
VILLAGER 1:  No father would let this worthless one near his daughter.

LANZO:  Worthless one?  But I am rich in friends and songs—and kings would trade thrones for Grams’ muffins if they but knew of them.

GRAM: Love hasn’t changed you.

VILLAGER 2.  Seems the honeymoon isn’t over.
VILLAGER 3.  Ah, she’ll find her tongue one day.

GRAM: Let’s see that poor dear gets some food.

(VILLAGERS open baskets and offer Lea food.  LANZO begans playing “Gypsy Rover.  ALL join in chorus. During final chorus LANZO stops to gulp food.)

VILLAGER 1: Now we have our own gypsy rover.
VILLAGER 2.  Lanzo, now we need something to dance to!

LANZO:  Coming up.  I’ve promised my bride she’ll see real dancing.  (Eats a few more bites.)

(LANZO begins a reel.  Villagers form a semicircle and individuals step to the center to dance solos.  ALL hoot or hiss. LEA slumps, then sleeps.)

(Song over.  Stage quiet.)

 

GRAMS:  I do think Lanzo’s bride is sleeping.  Isn’t she a sweet thing?  I’ll leave her these muffins for morning.

(VILLAGERS say their farewells, grip LANZO’s hand, take a final look at LEA.)

LANZO: Such a sweet thing!  Would that I always had a score of people to drown her out.  The sun’s too bright; the road’s too dusty; the bread’s too stale.  I doubt this one can sing or laugh—much less whistle.  (Strums “Greensleeves.”)

“I have been ready at your hand,
To grant whatever you would crave;
I have waged both life and land,
Your love and goodwill for to have.”

(LANZO continues chorus as the lights dim)

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.)

One for the Money, Two for the Show

Act  I, Scene 4 

(Before curtain. In a small garden. Sounds of departing guests offstage. DIANA and ELISABETH enter stage right.) 

DIANA: What a beautiful ball! So elegant.Wasn’t Peter cute? He said, “I’d walk you to the garden and nibble on your ear…if I could reach it.”  (Giggles.) If only he were a little older! 

ELISABETH: And Bertram of Adler had an eye for you. 

DIANA: Nonsense!  He didn’t say more than five words to me all evening. 

ELISABETH: Which is at least three more than he said to anyone else. 

DIANA: You think so?  He is cute—but too serious. I think he’s the only one at the ball who didn’t have a good time tonight. 

ELISABETH: (Short laugh.) You weren’t looking at Markus then. 

DIANA: (Giggling). He shouldn’t take Lea so seriously. Of course she’s going to insult Gunda and Karina. 

ELISABETH: And refuse to talk to Stefan? 

DIANA: Well, she’s in love with Ulrich. 

ELISABETH: And that explains her telling Odo of Brandt that he shouldn’t exhale his pipe smoke? 

DIANA: He’s so cheap he probably appreciated the advice. 

ELISABETH: And telling Karl of Grunwald that his mother should mend his oratory because his bombast was showing? 

DIANA: His what?

ELISABETH: His bombast. His long windedness. His pomposity. 

DIANA: (Laughing) I’m sorry.  I adore Lea. “His momma should mend his oratory… 

ELISABETH: (Laughing) because he bombast was showing.” 

(LEA enters from rear.) 

LEA: Oh, catch me before I float away. Tonight was so fantastic.  Didn’t Ulrich look handsome?  Doesn’t he dance divinely? He raved about my perfume. 

DIANA: You two were together a lot.  He didn’t dance twice with anyone but you and Gunda. 

LEA: Why did you have to mention that old cow when I was feeling so happy? 

ELISABETH: You know the jewels cast a spell on him. 

LEA: I wish Markus and Ulrich would settle on the dowry. Then I could quit worrying. 

(Offstage MARKUS calls for Lea and then enters garden from the rear.) 

MARKUS: Lea, I need to talk with you. 

LEA: You’ve talked with Ulrich? 

MARKUS: Diana, Elisabeth, if you don’t mind. 

(DIANA and ELISABETH exit stage right.) 

MARKUS: Stefan came a long way to meet you.  

LEA: He’s short and ugly; his beard looks like a bird’s nest; and he’s as dark as a peasant. 

MARKUS: And he’s witty and responsible and my friend.  You could have been polite. 

LEA: And let my friends down?  They expect me to have the taste and refinement to recognize a boar when I see one. 

MARKUS: Taste and refinement?  You?  Vanity and ignorance is more like it. 

LEA: So get rid of me. Talk with Ulrich. 

MARKUS: Ulrich just turned down the villa with 100 head of sheep, 20 matched horses, ad 20 head of cattle. There are princesses who marry with less. 

LEA: You lie! Ulrich loves me. He’d marry me if I had such a dowry. 

MARKUS: (Shaking head.) I don’t know whether to be angry with you or pity you.  How can you not see that deceiving fop for what he is? He cares for nothing except money. 

LEA: You don’t want me to marry Ulrich. You want me here, begging you for favors and simpering with gratitude.

MARKUS: You? Simpering? That’s a laugh.  I’ll make it 25 cows if I have to. 

LEA: Thirty? Think of having dear sweet Karina here with you night and day. 

MARKUS:  Thirty if I have to. 

(MARKUS leaves center back. LEA, happy, swirls toward stage right. ULRICH enters stage right.)

ULRICH: Lea, how delightful to see you here. (Reaches back to stage right where GUNDA enters.) Gunda, doesn’t our Lea look lovely. 

GUNDA: (Looking only at Ulrich) If you say so, dear. Do tell her of our bethrothal. 

LEA: Betrothal. You and….her?  

GUNDA: Yes, me. Ulrich, have you been a naughty boy, leading other maidens on?  

ULRICH: But I have cared only for you, my sweet. 

GUNDA: I know, dearest. You are so worth a villa with 100 head of sheep, 20 matched horses, and 20 head of cattle. 

ULRICH: Twenty-one head of cattle. 

GUNDA: Oh, yes, twenty-one head of cattle. 

LEA: A villa with 1oo head of sheep, 20 matched horses, and 21 head of cattle? 

GUNDA: Yes, a dowry fit for my handsome love. (Makes kissy, kissy motions.) 

LEA: Doesn’t it upset you to know you had to buy a husband? 

GUNDA: (Laughing) Oh, isn’t our Lea a bit peevish tonight?  (Takes Ulrich’s arm and moves toward stage right exit).  I’ve heard old maids get like that. 

(GUNDA AND ULRICH exit.) 

LEA: One cow.  One cow. Ulrich threw me over for one cow!  So I’m the old maid now.  We’ll see.  I’ll marry before that bovine biddy. I’ll marry tomorrow. Markus!  Markus!  (Runs off stage left.)  

(Lights dim)