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 III, Scene 3

(In the kitchen with background music from the ballroom  LEA holds a great pot still while TISH scrubs at it.)

TISH:  (Stands, stretches back.)  I know a spot where we can see everything, Lea.  You have to come—you can’t imagine how marvellously bodies can dress until you’ve seen  ball!  I swear, there is one old lady with more jewelry than most people have fleas.

LEA: I’m just too tired, Tish. 

TISH: Oh, I shouldn’t have kept you helping me.  I’ve been…

LEA: A great help, Tish.  You know that.  And you can tell me all about the ball tomorrow.

TISH:  Oh, that will be fun!  I will tell you every detail!

LEA:  Even what the entertainers look like.

TISH:  The entertainers?  Yeah.  I can do that.  (Wipes hands.  Brushes at skirt.)

LEA:  You have fun now…and leave me to my rest.

(TISH waves and skips off stage left.  LEA pours herself a glass of light ale.)

LEA: (Takes sip.  Sighs) Yes, Tish, I can trust you to tell me all about it—tomorrow and all the tomorrows to come.  Such prattling.  And now silence feels ill on my ears.  All that talk—and not an ill word about anyone.  You’d think all my mistakes were her fault. 
(Peers stage left.)  I wonder where Lanzo is tonight.  I guess I could go back to Ritter Hall—I doubt Markus is so devoted to Karina now that they are wed.  Maybe I wouldn’t have to listen to Barbara Allen more than three or four times a night.  (Drinks deeply.)

MARKUS: (Appears in doorway, stage left, carrying a carpetbag.)  Again, the ball is starting and you’re not ready.

LEA:  (Starts, then recovers)  I’m not going to the ball.

MARKUS:  (Laughs) We’ve had this argument before.

LEA:  You want everyone to laugh at my homespun and my brown skin.

MARKUS:  (Indicates bag)  Oh, I’ve brought some gowns.  And what I want is for you to tell everyone that you’ve had a wonderful time but I’ve begged you to come back to Ritter Hall. 

LEA:  Even Karina?

MARKUS: Karina worries about you just as I do.

LEA:  I bet.

MARKUS: And Ulrich has asked about you.

LEA:  He has? 

MARKUS:  As soon as he heard I was offering twenty-five cows..

LEA:  He and Gunda aren’t married?

MARKUS:  It’s very off again, on again.

LEA:  But he was willing to throw me aside for one cow.

MARKUS: Well, you could let me introduce you to Stefan.

LEA:  (Grins)  I could dance with Stefan.  Wouldn’t that show Lanzo?  (MARKUS stares at her.)  Well, he’s left me here to work in this kitchen.  I don’t even know where he is.

MARKUS: (Laughs) Don’t even think of Lanzo. Just get ready for the ball.

LEA:  You’ll allow me two songs to get dressed in?

MARKUS: Two songs. 

(MARKUS exits.  LEA pulls a gown from the bag and hugs it to her.)

LEA: (Patter song) 
Oh, I’ll return to Ritter House
And laugh with my friends once more.
I’ll return to Ritter House
And leave Lanzo at the door.

Or I could be lady of Blackberry
With servants to do as I say.
I could be lady of Blackberry
And let Lanzo go his way.

Or I could become a duchess,
With a high and jeweled seat
An abundantly wealthy duchess
With minstrels at my feet. 

(Lights dim.)

 

One for the Money, Two for the Show

Act III, Scene 1

(In the kitchen.  Early evening.  TISH scrubs a counter. MARY and LEA enter stage right.

MARY:  I’m glad Hector said you could stay. With this banquet coming up—well, I should have a score of helpers not just you and Tish.
(Motions to Tish)  Tish, come meet our new baker.  What was your name, dear?  LeAnn?  Linza? 

LEA: Tis Lea, Ma’am. 

MARY:  Yes, yes, Lea. 

TISH:  She’s going to be the new baker?  I think I’m a mite stronger, Ma’am—and I get awfully tired of scrubbing pots.  My folks would be so proud if…

MARY:  But, Tish, you are such a good scullery maid!  We couldn’t hold the kitchen together without you.  (Side glance to Lea.)

TISH:  (Sigh) I guess you’re right, Ma’am.  Being a scullery maid is pretty important work—and that one is hardly strong enough to lift a pot.

MARY:  Call her Lea, Tish.  And you may have her help you wash the vegetables before you show her around.

TISH:  Yes, Ma’am.

(As MARY speaks and departs, LEA watches as TISH gets a bucket of water, pours water in basin, puts potatoes, carrots, turnips, etc. on the counter.  LEA hands vegetables one by one to TISH; TISH scrubs.)

MARY:  I just wish we’d get some word from Young Master—he’s never stayed away this long.  Sir George is so nervous he’s driving me crazy.  And the ball is just two days away.  (Exits, stage right.)

TISH: (Indicates a counter to the right) That dough is done with first rising and ready to be put into the pans and placed on the warming shelves. 

LEA: (Heaps all dough into one pan).  Are you sure this is bread?  It’s so heavy.  Where do I take it?

TISH: Oh, no!  The dough can’t all go into one pan!  Split it between the four.  (LEA stares.  TISH divides dough.)

LEA: But the pans aren’t half full.  What kind of bread will that be?

TISH:  (Giggling) You’re joshing with me, aren’t you?  I know I’m not too bright.  Mother’s told me plenty of times—and Mary twice that.  (Picks up all four pans.)
The warming shelf is on the back side of this oven..(Disappears behind barrior.

LEA: I pray Tish doesn’t get bright enough to see she’s doing my work. 

TISH: (Reappears.  Starts cutting vegetables.)  Have you ever seen rich folk, Lea?  Up close, I mean.   We’re going to have a real ball!  Folks’ll start arriving tomorrow.  I know a place where we can peek down and not be seen.  You’ll laugh at how those fancy folk act. And the jewels—you wouldn’t believe the jewels.  Why…

LEA: I’ve seen fancy folk oft enough.

TISH: Really?  Can you imagine how wonderful it would be to have just one dress like that?  Such colors.  And rings—one lady has a ring for every finger.

LEA: (Aside.) So Markus will be here tomorrow.  And Ulrich…and Gunda.  I would rather face winter snows than have them see me now.
And where’s Lanzo.  Did he know about this?  I vow he’s somewhere laughing at me. That, that….rotten excuse for a human being.

(Lights dim.)

 

One for the Money, Two for the Show

Act II, Scene 4

(A village harvest festival.  Early afternoon.  VILLAGERS sell trinkets, haggle over prices, arm wrestle, wager.  Children stop to watch the men. MARY is at a booth stage right. LANZO and LEA enter stage left.  LANZO strums his guitar; LEA stops to look over the trinkets.  LANZO continues walking to center stage.)

LANZO:  Why did I listen to Markus?  She’s too spoiled, he said. Show her how tough life can be.  That will silence her tongue. Ha.  Anything but.
I wanted to bring song and laughter into her life.  Well, that I did.  She can now insult not only her noble friends but all husbands, wives, rich people, minstrels, priests, paupers, mothers, idlers, weavers , bakers, and others—and sing it out so the whole world can hear. 
And the sharper her tongue gets, the more the villagers love her. 
(Rubs head.  Looks out.)  Markus, will you ever forgive me?

(LEA finishes haggling and walks to LANZO.)

LEA:  That ridiculous reptile!  Ten pence for a shawl—and the weaving loose. 
I put a curse on him.  His beard will fall out in three days. 
I’ve had enough of this town.

LANZO: Well, I think I’ll put up for the winter here.

LEA:  (Looks around) Here?  Let’s find someplace with friendlier villagers.

LANZO:  Those villagers love you when the nights are warm and the food plentiful, but when the winds howl?  Not even you will lure them outdoors.
I will find work as a stable hand and you—better we send you back to Ritter Hall.

LEA:  Ritter Hall?  (Laughs.)  Yeah.  So I can spend weeks watching Markus fawn over Karina.  I would rather fare in a hollow log. 

LANZO: (Thinks) Well, if you were good with words…

LEA:  If I were good with words? Are your ears carved of wood, man?

LANZO:  You have a talent at insults—but this would take adeptness of an entirely different sort.

LEA:  Oh?

LANZO:  See that woman?  (Points right toward MARY.)

LEA:  The big-bellied beldam?

LANZO: (Shakes head) No, I knew you couldn’t do it.

LEA:  Do what?

LANZO: Get that portly matron to add you to her kitchen crew.

LEA:  (Looks Head Cook up ad down) The food is good?

LANZO:  (Nods) And you’ll have straw mat all to yourself.  But you could never do it.

LEA:  You have little faith.  Watch. (Runs to MARY)  Oh, Ma’m, Ma’m, the most terrible thing has happened.  I don’t know what to do.  You must help me.

MARY:  Oh, my dear, you have partied too much.  Get along home.

LEA: Oh, Ma’m, if only I could.  That horrid man—he tried to kill my husband (cries into hands)…heaven only knows what he woud do if he caught me.

MARY: (Sympathetic) You poor child.  You must go to your folks.

LEA:  They live far to the north…and I am tired…and so hungry.

MARY: Come with me.  I will see you get a meal.

LEA:  But I couldn’t accept a handout, Ma’am.  Just give me directions to the nearest estate that could use services such as an humble maiden like myself might perform.

MARY:  Well, perhaps.  Do you bake?

LEA:  I vow you’ve never tasted muffins like the ones I can make.

MARY:  Well, follow me, I do need a good baker.

(MARY turns.  LEA follows.)

LEA: (Turns to look at LANZO) And you doubted my skill with words.

(MARY AND LEA exit stage right.  Lights dim.  Spotlight on LANZO.)

LANZO:  I think it’s safe to say that no one has ever tasted muffins Lea has made.  Poor Mary.  I swear her soft heart has gotten her more than she ever bargained for. Now to get a message to Markus—and admit I’m a failure at taming the shrew.
(Stares in direction that Lea has gone)  Such a spirit that one has.  A man could love her—tongue and all.
(Strums guitar).

“Thou couldst desire no early thing
But I would bring it readily,
With music still to play and sing;
If though couldst only love me. 

“Greensleeves was all my joy,
Greensleeves was my delight,
Greensleeves was my heart of gold,
And who but my lady Greensleeves.”

Tis over—and time to face my father.

(DEPARTS left.  Spot dims.)

On for the Money, Two for the Show

Act II, Scene 3

(Note: This scene is to depict the passage of several weeks.  It takes place in different villages which are actually in the same place (stage right).  A few VILLAGERS tend to chores until LANZO AND LEA arrive; then a group gathers.  Then others arrive.  The term SHOWCASE is used to indicate where groups may perform.)

(Action between LEA and LANZO is mimed. Instrumental of Hey Li Lee plays in the background while they are walking.)

VILLAGE 1. 

(Curtain opens with LANZO AND LEA entering stage left front.  LEA is bent, limping, and nagging at LANZO.)

(VILLAGERS embrace LANZO, call for others to join them.  LEA sits, watches others gather and dance, and drinks and eats daintily.)

(SHOWCASE.)

(ALL join in singing Hey Li Lee verses and chorus.)

VILLAGER:

(LEA will snort in disgust and then watch the others.  Other VILLAGERS will laugh and jeer, then join in the chorus.)

Gunda has captured Ulrich’s heart,
Hey li lee, li lee lo,
Fitting 21 cows on a cupid’s dart,
Hey li lee, li lee lo.
Chorus
(VILLAGERS stop to gossip.  LANZO and LEA say their farewells and go to stage left.  Lights dim except for spotlight on LANZO AND LEA walking. LEA is complaining; LANZO is teasing.)

VILLAGE 2. 

(Lights come up on the village.  LANZO AND LEA approach.    LEA stoops less, discontinues mimed complaining, and looks resigned.)

(VILLAGERS embrace LANZO, call for others to join them.  LEA eats the muffins with some gusto.  When offered a bota, she pours wine into her cup and drinks. Occasionally she smiles and sings along.)

(SHOWCASE.)

ALL join in singing Hey Li Lee verses and chorus)

VILLAGER: (LEA will laugh and then watch the others.  Other VILLAGERS will laugh and jeer, then join in the chorus.)
Rumor is Markus will soon be wed,
Hey li lee, li lee lo,
To a wife light as lead,
Hey li lee, li lee lo.)
Chorus

(VILLAGERS stop to gossip.  LANZO and LEA say their farewells and go to stage left.  Lights dim except for spotlight on LANZO AND LEA walking. LEA says nothing, bites her lip and looks resigned; LANZO keeps turning to look at her.)

VILLAGE 3. 

(Lights come up on the village.  LANZO AND LEA approach.    LEA walks without difficulty and is pleased to see people.)
(VILLAGERS embrace LANZO, call for others to join them.  LEA shoves muffins into her mouth.  Wipes the mouth of the bota several times, but finally drinks from it.  She smiles sings along.)

(SHOWCASE.)

ALL join in singing Hey Li Lee verses and chorus.)

VILLAGER: (LANZO will look startled and miss a strum or two.  LEA will  laughing heartedly.  Other VILLAGERS will laugh and jeer, then join in the chorus.)
Trommler Duchy’s only heir,   
Hey li lee, li lee lo,
Is out courting a maiden fair,
Hey li lee, li lee lo
Chorus

(VILLAGERS stop to gossip.  LANZO and LEA say their farewells and go to stage left.  Lights dim except for spotlight on LANZO AND LEA walking. LEA teases, throws grass at LANZO.)

VILLAGE 4. 

(Lights come up on the village.  LANZO AND LEA approach.    LEA is excited and eager.)
(VILLAGERS embrace LANZO, call for others to join them.  LEA shoves food into her mouth and laughs with villagers.  She drinks from the bota readily.  She sings with gusto.)

(SHOWCASE.)

ALL join in singing Hey Li Lee verses and chorus.)

VILLAGER: (LANZO will laugh  LEA will choke, look at the jeering villagers, and then join in the laughing.  Other VILLAGERS will laugh and jeer, then join in the chorus.)
What’s Markus need with a wife new,
Hey li lee, li lee lo,
When his sister’s tongue can cut in two,
Hey li lee, li lee lo.
Chorus

VILLAGE 5. 

(Lights come up on the village.  LANZO AND LEA approach. LEA is excited and eager.)
(VILLAGERS embrace LANZO, call for others to join them.  LEA is shouting and calling with the rest of them.  She shoves food into her mouth and drinks a stream of wine from the bota.  She acts as song leader with a few dance steps thrown in.)

(SHOWCASE.)

ALL join in singing Hey Li Lee verses and chorus.)

LEA: (LANZO will look resigned.  Other VILLAGERS will laugh and jeer, then join in the chorus.)
Lanzo likes to laugh and tease,
Hey li lee, li lee lo,
But his hair is filled with fleas,
Hey li lee, li lee lo.
Chorus

(VILLAGERS stop to gossip.  LANZO and LEA say their farewells and exit stage left. 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 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. )