The Tale of Woe: The Musical! - Part Two
[Lights up. The next day. The townsfolk (except for Sophie) have been disfigured by Krawley’s potion.]
Elephante Storyteller: It seems that Sophie spoke the truth, as all would quickly learn.
For in the morning, there was quite an unexpected turn.
[Bruno emerges from his house, transformed into a hideous monster with bulging muscles. As he sings (in a deep, raspy voice), other mutated townsfolk run by and sing their woes.]
Bruno: What has become of me? Where’s my perfect physique?
This isn’t anything like what I wished for!
And now I guarantee the future will be bleak;
‘Cause Lily won’t appreciate me any more!
[A ridiculously tall Wocky runs by and sings:]
Tall Wocky: I only wished for height!
This clearly isn’t right!
Bruno: What villain is to blame? Who put me in this state?
Was it some twisted game that led me to this fate?
What ever can I do? What foulness was the cause?
Was it that evil brew that came from Krawley’s claws?
[A JubJub with four arms crosses the stage in a panic]
Armed JubJub: Arms were all I sought!
Now I’m quite distraught!
Bruno: I must find him, Krawley’s to blame!
He made me like this! Curses on his name! [Bruno runs off to find Krawley.]
[A baby Blumaroo, whom we had previously seen in the crowd as extremely old, comes by.]
Baby Blumaroo: I only wanted youth;
This is quite uncouth!
[Reginald emerges from the house, carrying a stack of books.]
Reginald: It seems I obtained my desideration,
But at what expense? Exasperation!
For now my verbosity overflows,
And what I’m exhorting no one knows!
[Reginald returns to the house; a ridiculously fat Kougra waddles across the stage.]
Fat Kougra: I wished I was a little bigger;
Now I have a frightful figure!
[Edmund enters from the house, clutching bags of gold and looking around suspiciously.]
Edmund: Now money flows my way, but never quite enough;
I simply must have more of it: gold and gems and stuff.
Some say I am miserly, some say I’m tightfisted.
But I won’t rest ‘til I’ve got all the money that’s existed!
[Edmund takes one more paranoid glance around, then scurries back into the house. An Usul with a mustache flowing down past his knees runs past.]
Hairy Usul: I just wanted a bit more hair,
But now it’s growing everywhere!
[The Usul trips on his mustache as he leaves. Now Alice comes from the house. Her song is punctuated with great, jaw-cracking yawns.]
Alice: All I wanted (yawn!) was a little peace and quiet.
A break (yawn!) from (yawn!) this daily riot.
Now I needn’t worry. (Yawn!) I just sleep all day.
Nothing can bother me when... Zzzzzz... [She falls asleep in front of the house. Edmund drags her inside as an extremely skinny Elephante comes past.]
Skinny Elephante: To be skinny was my wish;
Now I’m thin as licorice!
[Sophie, unchanged, emerges from the house, amazed and disgusted by what she sees around her. As she sings, a crowd gathers.]
Sophie: This is what you get, exactly as I warned.
Nothing comes without hard work, and now you shall be scorned.
“A harmless potion,” you all thought, “Let us have a drink.”
Not one of you questioned it. No, you didn’t think!
Armed JubJub: We weren’t aware, we didn’t know –
Sophie: Yes, and now that clearly shows!
Hairy Usul: It seemed benign back at the start –
Sophie: You must not be very smart.
There’s consequences, didn’t you know?
You can’t simply try to – [she catches sight of her brother] Bruno!
[Sophie runs to Bruno and hugs him, despite his hideous appearance. Bruno returns the hug, then sings:]
Bruno: I know what caused this, friends:
A sly, deceptive Krawk.
But he can’t make amends;
He fled last night, no shock.
Fat Kougra: What do we do?
Bruno: I’m not aware.
Baby Blumaroo: And who’s to blame?
Bruno: Why do you care?
What’s done is done, it’s all the same.
Townsfolk: No! We need someone to blame!
Tall Wocky: Blame Bruno!
Skinny Elephante: Bruno!
All Townsfolk: Bruno!
Drive him out, make him leave!
He’s the one who made us grieve!
Come on, let’s get him! Send him away!
Since he harmed us, he has to pay!
[The Townsfolk chase Bruno off stage left; Sophie is left alone, frightened. Reginald comes from the house and comforts Sophie.]
Reginald [spoken]: Come, it is imperative that we sequester your personage in yonder coppice.
Sophie [spoken]: What?
Reginald [spoken, with a sigh]: We need to hide you in the woods.
Sophie [spoken]: Oh.
[They leave stage right. Scene change: a dark forest, dense with vines and shadows. This is Ilere’s forest. Reginald and Sophie re-enter.]
Sophie: It seems like we’ve been wandering for the better part of a week.
Where are we going, brother? What is it that we seek?
Reginald: If we are fortuitous, we may discern her;
Legends say she might lodge quite near.
I hope our plight and need concern her,
And she’ll take pity –
Sophie: Ilere the faerie? I’ve heard tales ‘bout what she does at night!
She creeps around the village, and suffering’s her delight!
She’s the creature in the closet, under the bed, in the dark.
And now that we need help, it’s to her that we embark?
Reginald: Relax, dear Sophie, those are only fairy tales (I think).
Regardless, she’s our only hope, for now we’re on the brink
Of complete disaster. She has power, magical and strange.
If anyone can fix this, it’s she who will bring the change.
If you’re there, Ilere, then hear our plea: we dearly need your aid.
Come now to help my sister and me; appear now in this glade!
[With a puff of green smoke, Ilere the earth faerie appears in front of Reginald and Sophie. Sophie runs to her brother for comfort. Reginald hugs her close, but it is apparent that he is frightened as well. Ilere sings in a rich, alto voice:]
Ilere: You who seek me, listen well:
I cannot help your city.
They’ve fallen under an evil spell
And for that you have my pity.
But not my aid: I haven’t the power,
Or will, to set this right.
I merely observe, here in my bower:
Interfering is impolite.
I watch, ‘ere passive, as years elapse,
Never impacting events.
I view empires rise and collapse,
And wars as they end or commence.
My reason for living is just to watch,
To never interfere.
Never the flow of history to botch.
Though I might shed a tear
When I hear about your plight,
I cannot set it right.
Reginald [spoken, heartfelt]: But please... [he gestures to Sophie] My sister...
[Ilere turns as if to leave, but... she turns back and kneels before Sophie, looking deep in her eyes. After several seconds, she stands.]
Ilere: Your love has swayed me.
Though I can’t help your town,
My caring spirit has betrayed me,
I’ll lay my policy down.
Just this once I’ll interfere;
I’ll take care of this girl.
But you must leave; get out of here [pointing to Reginald]
And let events unfurl.
Sophie [to Reginald, spoken]: Thank you for bringing me here. I think I’ll be safe with her.
Ilere [spoken]: Come on, Sophie. Say goodbye.
[Sophie wordlessly hugs Reginald, then leaves, holding Ilere’s hand.]
Reginald [spoken, just a whisper]: Goodbye...
[Reginald exits stage right. Scene change: Neovia. The mob mills around, muttering “he got away,” “curse that Bruno,” “when we get him...” etc. A green Bruce in a waistcoat steps forward and takes charge. He is the Mayor.]
Mayor: The time for blame has passed; we must work as one
Now come; we must act fast, our task has just begun.
We must take action to save our lives;
We must be willing to pay the price;
I have a plan, take my advice.
Now come! Don’t make me tell you twice.
Follow me! Follow me!
Townsfolk: Follow him! Follow him!
[The Mayor leads the townsfolk stage left, then begins to summon the Spirit of Slumber. We see Reginald sneak back into his house.]
Mayor: Spirit of Slumber, hear my call: appear before us now.
We implore you to save us all, it doesn’t matter how.
We’re willing to pay any price that you might demand.
Now come and tell us the device you’ll use to save our land.
Spirit of Slumber, I call you!
Spirit of Slumber, I invoke you!
Spirit of Slumber, I summon you!
[The stage is covered with white smoke. When it clears, the Spirit of Slumber, a tall, robed Lupe, is standing in front of the Mayor. While he sings, the townsfolk sing a deep, ominous “ooh” under his words.]
Spirit of Slumber: Why do you wake me?
Mayor: To stop this decay.
Spirit of Slumber: From deep slumber you shake me.
Mayor: We’re willing to pay.
Spirit of Slumber: Very well. But now a warning:
This is no simple hex, to be fixed by morning.
I’ll stop your suffering, but at a price.
A half-life for you must suffice.
Not quite ghosts, but not alive;
Nevertheless, you will survive.
Will you accept these conditions dire?
Mayor: I give my word, that’s our desire.
Spirit of Slumber [spoken]: Then let it be so. [White smoke fills the stage again. When it clears, the Spirit of Slumber has vanished, along with all the townsfolk. The set returns to its appearance at the top of the play: Gilly’s woods. The Elephante storyteller and Gilly return to the center of the stage, sitting by the fire.]
Elephante: Now off you go, it’s growing dark.
Get going, girl, you must embark.
Gilly: Thank you for your eerie tale.
But was it true, every detail?
Elephante: Some stories are, some stories aren’t.
These were just words that I impart.
Gilly: Well, thank you, sir, for what you’ve said.
And now I must get home to bed.
[Gilly curtsies to the Elephante and skips off stage left. The Elephante turns and sings to the audience.]
Elephante: Don’t get up, folks, that’s not the end of show,
For now Gilly embarks on her own Tale of Woe.
To be continued...