The Persons of the Play

CHORUS

The Stupendous STILTSKIN

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JEAN-LUC of Picardy

An INQUISITOR

HECKLER

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CROWD MEMBER

A VOLUNTEER

RABBLE

GUARDSMEN

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Prologue

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Enter [CHORUS as] Prologue

CHORUS: In London Town lies our scene. Near the Thames,

within the confines of a ramshackle

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abode, our gaseous hero resides.

Destitute, drunk, and mildly deranged, he

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spends his days railing against this jaundiced

world. In his youth he was the King’s fart man—

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the most spectacular flatulist in

all of Albion. Not since the days of

Roland the Farter has there been one so

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esteemed for his mastery of the wind.

His star fell in the King’s court; banished he

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was from all he’d ever known. Thereupon

he became an itinerant, and ne’er

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stopped searching for a way back to the top.

Now, bedecked in his most extravagant

popinjay attire, he once more sets

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out to dazzle the masses, not as a

flatulist, but as a mentalist. Exit

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1.1

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Enter [The Stupendous] STILTSKIN performing in a public square

STILTSKIN: Now for my next bold prophecy. In the

not too distant future, I foresee a

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lamentable tragedy occurring.

I know not the who, what, where, and wherefore,

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but mark me kind citizens: I am not

false.

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HECKLER: Hey magician!

STILTSKIN: May thy plow seize, sirrah! I am not some

miserable magician: I am a

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mentalist. Not that any of you vile,

confounded knaves would know the difference!

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HECKLER: Weren’t ye a flatulist for the King

before thou becam’st a magic man?

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CROWD MEMBER: Yea, he beeth that fart man of renown

who once dazzled the King’s court with unmatched

displays of flatulence mastery.

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STILTSKIN: Sorry, but I do not engage in that

silliness any longer: I am a

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mentalist now, not a silly-time man.

RABBLE: [shouting severally] Thou stinkst at the mental magic, fart man!

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STILTSKIN: Oh really? How is this for stinking, ye

worthless conglomeration of execrable

guttersnipe!

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[STILTSKIN turns around, grabs his ankles, and bellows out a mighty trumpet of gas]

RABBLE: [breaks into thunderous laughter and applause, some cry tears of joy]

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STILTSKIN: Fie upon my life! O Lord in Heaven!...

Wherefore hast thou abandoned me to this

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cruel ignominy? Exit

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2.0

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Enter CHORUS

CHORUS: With the swiftest speed our scene shifts to the

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frosty desolation of Dartmoor, where

our hero has taken to holing up

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in a delve. An anchorite he’s become—

solemn contemplation his new calling.

The damage has been done, for him there is

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nothing more to be won. Exit

2.1

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Enter STILTSKIN and JEAN-LUC [of Picardy] with a walking stick

JEAN-LUC: Ça va, mon fils?

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STILTSKIN: Excuse me?

JEAN-LUC: Je l’ai dit, ‘Ça va, mon fils?’

STILTSKIN: Speak American, goddamn frog!

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JEAN-LUC: My apologies, I am a stranger

in this land. My name is Jean-Luc. I

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hail from France. It’s [vaguely points in the direction of Crampkin Hollow]

over that way.

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STILTSKIN: Thou art complected like a blackamoor

from Prester John’s Land! I always knew

Frenchers were a strange breed.

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JEAN-LUC: Yea, it is true, and not a fault. I have

been scorchéd by the torrid sun for nigh

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on six-and-forty years. Verily, I

was a sea captain once. I spent many

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years sailing to the far corners of the world—

once even as far as to the land of

Pliny’s fabled dog-headed men.

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STILTSKIN: Why are ye here? There is nary a man

here, besides myself. I have befriended

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only the rocks. They speak to me. They have

seen much and impart their wisdom to me.

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JEAN-LUC: I have become a wanderer. Why art

thou here, my son?

STILTSKIN: ’Tis a long story… I was a farter

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once, in the service of the King. We fell

out over a wench, canst thou believe it?

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I tupped his favorite ewe after one

of my fart-a-thons. She was taken with

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my prodigious talent, so I took her.

His Majesty caught us in the midst of

some spirited conjugation.

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JEAN-LUC: A flatulist, eh? That is a noble

profession. The gaseous arts are not to

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be looked down upon. My dear departed

father was Le Fartere in the court of

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Henri IV.

STILTSKIN: No shit?

JEAN-LUC: Oui… Please continue.

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STILTSKIN: Thenceforward I was down-and-out. I roamed

the streets of Eastcheap day and night.

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Drinking sack became my life, until one

fated day I happened to cross paths with

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an old, wizened ment’list who called himself

the Hyperbolic Hackman. Little did

I know that my life was about to change.

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Hackman introduced me to the strange

and wonderful art of mentalism.

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Unfortunately, he was killed in a

freak ox cart accident before he could

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teacheth me anything of substance.

JEAN-LUC: I can train thee in the fantastical

arts of mental magic, my boy.

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STILTSKIN: Thou canst?

JEAN-LUC: Aye. I dabbles a bit in the mental

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arts.

STILTSKIN: Huzzah! What a wondrous happenstance! Exeunt

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2.2

Enter STILTSKIN and JEAN-LUC climbing the steepest hill in Dartmoor

JEAN-LUC: Push it to the limit, my dear fellow!

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STILTSKIN: And why are we doing this?

JEAN-LUC: Come on, matey! ♫ Getting strong now! ♫

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[ten days later]

STILTSKIN: My training is complete. I am ready

to go back to London now. I am a

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magic man, unequivocally.

JEAN-LUC: Make it so, my boy. Make it so. Exeunt

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3.0

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Enter CHORUS

CHORUS: With new-found confidence our hero

flies with celerity back to London.

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Gone are the sunken and red-rimmed eyes of

a bedlamite, and in their place peaceful

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vernality resides. The Frenchman’s quick

and efficient lessons have provided

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Stiltskin with the essentials he needs to

succeed in the cutthroat world of

mental magic. Exit

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3.1

Enter STILTSKIN performing in a public square

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STILTSKIN: For my next dazzling demonstration of

mentalism mastery, I shall speak with

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the dead. I will need a volunteer. Which

of ye shall be my volunteer?

VOLUNTEER: I volunteer.

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STILTSKIN: My kind sir, hast thou lost a close friend or

family member recently?

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VOLUNTEER: Yes, too many. The great pox is rampant

in these parts. I’m sure many of us have lost

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close friends and family.

STILTSKIN: Aha! So thou hast lost someone then! How

do I do it, folks!? I’m the [in singsong voice] Stupendous

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Stilkskin!

[Enter INQUISITOR with GUARDSMEN]

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INQUISITOR: By royal decree of His Majesty,

this blasphemer is under arrest for heresy!

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Take him away to the gaol, boys!

STILTSKIN: Oh. This is most lamentable.

Exeunt GUARDSMEN with STILTSKIN in chains

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4.0

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Enter CHORUS

CHORUS [is out for a smoke break] Exit

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4.1

Enter INQUISITOR and STILTSKIN in the torture chamber

INQUISITOR: I have seen heretics from all walks of

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life during my storied career doing

torture. But none of them were as vile

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as thou art,Stiltskin!

STILTSKIN: [hanging in a strappado]

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INQUISITOR: Time for thee to answer some questions!

STILTSKIN: You ain’t gettin’ shit outta me.

INQUISITOR: Beest thou a magician, Stiltskin?

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STILTSKIN: Nay, my good sir: I am a mentalist.

INQUISITOR: And what is that?

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STILTSKIN: I prognosticate things with precision,

among other talents.

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INQUISTOR: Hmm. Beest thou a flatulist, Stiltskin?

STILTSKIN: I was once the greatest flatulist in

all the land once upon a time.

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INQUISITOR: Thou freely admit’st thou wert a fart man?

STILTSKIN: Aye, every inch a fart man.

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INQUISITOR: Then thou art a magician and a fart

man! Both be blasphemous occupations

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that affront the sacrifices of our Lord

and Saviour! Thou shalt burneth like a

Templar, Stiltskin!

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STILTSKIN: Before thou burn me at the stake I

need to tellest thou one last thing.

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INQUISITOR: Yes, what is it?

STILTSKIN: Com’st closer. Near my ass.

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[STILTSKIN whips around and belches out a molten-hot fart from his ass into INQUISITOR’s face]

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5.0

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Enter CHORUS

CHORUS: The death procession marches closer to

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the appointed spot where our hero will

meet his maker. Barefooted, rope around

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his neck, nothing now stands between him and

his date with fire. The stake is set, the

kindling’s stacked. It wasn’t s’posed to end like this. Exit

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5.1

Enter STILTSKIN tied to the stake and INQUISITOR with a torch

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INQUISITOR: Any last words before I send thee to

the fiery pits of hell?

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STILTSKIN: I am resigned to my destiny as

a martyr. Or more like fartyr, amirite!?

Folks???

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INQUISITOR: [lights STILTSKIN on fire]

STILTSKIN: O I die! [He dies] Exeunt with the body