The Persons of the Play


The Stupendous STILTSKIN

JEAN-LUC of Picardy









Enter [CHORUS as] Prologue

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

within the confines of a ramshackle

abode, our gaseous hero resides.

Destitute, drunk, and mildly deranged, he

spends his days railing against this jaundiced

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

the most spectacular flatulist in

all of Albion. Not since the days of

Roland the Farter has there been one so

esteemed for his mastery of the wind.

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

was from all he’d ever known. Thereupon

he became an itinerant, and ne’er

stopped searching for a way back to the top.

Now, bedecked in his most extravagant

popinjay attire, he once more sets

out to dazzle the masses, not as a

flatulist, but as a mentalist. Exit



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

lamentable tragedy occurring.

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

but mark me kind citizens: I am not


HECKLER: Hey magician!

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

miserable magician: I am a

mentalist. Not that any of you vile,

confounded knaves would know the difference!

HECKLER: Weren’t ye a flatulist for the King

before thou becam’st a magic man?

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

who once dazzled the King’s court with unmatched

displays of flatulence mastery.

STILTSKIN: Sorry, but I do not engage in that

silliness any longer: I am a

mentalist now, not a silly-time man.

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

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

worthless conglomeration of execrable


[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]

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

Wherefore hast thou abandoned me to this

cruel ignominy? Exit




CHORUS: With the swiftest speed our scene shifts to the

frosty desolation of Dartmoor, where

our hero has taken to holing up

in a delve. An anchorite he’s become—

solemn contemplation his new calling.

The damage has been done, for him there is

nothing more to be won. Exit


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

JEAN-LUC: Ça va, mon fils?

STILTSKIN: Excuse me?

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

STILTSKIN: Speak American, goddamn frog!

JEAN-LUC: My apologies, I am a stranger

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

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

over that way.

STILTSKIN: Thou art complected like a blackamoor

from Prester John’s Land! I always knew

Frenchers were a strange breed.

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

been scorchéd by the torrid sun for nigh

on six-and-forty years. Verily, I

was a sea captain once. I spent many

years sailing to the far corners of the world—

once even as far as to the land of

Pliny’s fabled dog-headed men.

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

here, besides myself. I have befriended

only the rocks. They speak to me. They have

seen much and impart their wisdom to me.

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

thou here, my son?

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

once, in the service of the King. We fell

out over a wench, canst thou believe it?

I tupped his favorite ewe after one

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

my prodigious talent, so I took her.

His Majesty caught us in the midst of

some spirited conjugation.

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

profession. The gaseous arts are not to

be looked down upon. My dear departed

father was Le Fartere in the court of

Henri IV.


JEAN-LUC: Oui… Please continue.

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

the streets of Eastcheap day and night.

Drinking sack became my life, until one

fated day I happened to cross paths with

an old, wizened ment’list who called himself

the Hyperbolic Hackman. Little did

I know that my life was about to change.

Hackman introduced me to the strange

and wonderful art of mentalism.

Unfortunately, he was killed in a

freak ox cart accident before he could

teacheth me anything of substance.

JEAN-LUC: I can train thee in the fantastical

arts of mental magic, my boy.

STILTSKIN: Thou canst?

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


STILTSKIN: Huzzah! What a wondrous happenstance! Exeunt


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

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

STILTSKIN: And why are we doing this?

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

[ten days later]

STILTSKIN: My training is complete. I am ready

to go back to London now. I am a

magic man, unequivocally.

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




CHORUS: With new-found confidence our hero

flies with celerity back to London.

Gone are the sunken and red-rimmed eyes of

a bedlamite, and in their place peaceful

vernality resides. The Frenchman’s quick

and efficient lessons have provided

Stiltskin with the essentials he needs to

succeed in the cutthroat world of

mental magic. Exit


Enter STILTSKIN performing in a public square

STILTSKIN: For my next dazzling demonstration of

mentalism mastery, I shall speak with

the dead. I will need a volunteer. Which

of ye shall be my volunteer?

VOLUNTEER: I volunteer.

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

family member recently?

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

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

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



INQUISITOR: By royal decree of His Majesty,

this blasphemer is under arrest for heresy!

Take him away to the gaol, boys!

STILTSKIN: Oh. This is most lamentable.

Exeunt GUARDSMEN with STILTSKIN in chains




CHORUS [is out for a smoke break] Exit


Enter INQUISITOR and STILTSKIN in the torture chamber

INQUISITOR: I have seen heretics from all walks of

life during my storied career doing

torture. But none of them were as vile

as thou art,Stiltskin!

STILTSKIN: [hanging in a strappado]

INQUISITOR: Time for thee to answer some questions!

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

INQUISITOR: Beest thou a magician, Stiltskin?

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

INQUISITOR: And what is that?

STILTSKIN: I prognosticate things with precision,

among other talents.

INQUISTOR: Hmm. Beest thou a flatulist, Stiltskin?

STILTSKIN: I was once the greatest flatulist in

all the land once upon a time.

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

STILTSKIN: Aye, every inch a fart man.

INQUISITOR: Then thou art a magician and a fart

man! Both be blasphemous occupations

that affront the sacrifices of our Lord

and Saviour! Thou shalt burneth like a

Templar, Stiltskin!

STILTSKIN: Before thou burn me at the stake I

need to tellest thou one last thing.

INQUISITOR: Yes, what is it?

STILTSKIN: Com’st closer. Near my ass.

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





CHORUS: The death procession marches closer to

the appointed spot where our hero will

meet his maker. Barefooted, rope around

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


Enter STILTSKIN tied to the stake and INQUISITOR with a torch

INQUISITOR: Any last words before I send thee to

the fiery pits of hell?

STILTSKIN: I am resigned to my destiny as

a martyr. Or more like fartyr, amirite!?


INQUISITOR: [lights STILTSKIN on fire]

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