18 June 2013

The Sky is Falling

 This skit was inspired by a song written by my two dear friends, the Gridlock Rogues. The skit, ahem, is somewhat akin to those lousy book-to-movie adaptions where you're like "dude, what were they thinking when they read the book!!" So bear with me, the original song is much better.

London, 1940

Mother runs her finger through the bookshelf.
Mum: Alright Charlie, which story do you want tonight?
Charlie: This one.
He reaches under his pillow and pulls a big storybook out. He jumps out of bed and lifts it up to Mother eagerly. Mother laughs.
Mum: Oh Charlie, this one again?
Charlie: Please Mummy? I promise I’ll go right to sleep.
Mum: [teasingly] Really?
Charlie: Read it again, please?

Mother sits down and opens the book.
Mum: Long, long ago in the kingdom of Riverside, there was a great king named Gallamir. He was wealthy, powerful, and good, and the people of Riverside loved him like a father. But his brother, Lord Regis, was very jealous. He wanted the throne for his own.  So he took a very long rope and walked to the edge of the kingdom. He tied a great hook to one end and threw it up into the air. Higher and higher it flew, until it caught on the edge of the sky. Lord Regis began to pull. He was going to pull the sky down onto Riverside, and destroy it forever. 
The people of Riverside began to notice that the days were getting hotter. The rivers began to dry up and the people began to run out of water. They came to King Gallamir for help. But the King knew what his brother was doing, and said: “People of Riverside! This dry spell is of little consequence, for there are much more dire perils at stake, and we must rally all courageous hearts to…

Suddenly, her daughter, Abbey, bursts into the room wearing oven mittens.
Mum: What has?
Mum: Dear, just add some butter, it’ll be fine…
Abbey: No, no, this isn’t about the muffins, Mum! I can fix them just fine on my own, even if the oven still worked, but there are much more dire…
Mum: Still worked?
Abbey: …perils at stake…
Mum: Still worked?
Abbey: …and we must rally all courageous hearts…
Mum: Still worked?
Abbey: Still worked what?
Mother rubs her forehead.
Mum: Yes, dear, I’m afraid you’re right. There are much more dire perils at stake.
Abbey: Mum…!
Mum: Hush. [Pause] Now.  I want you to explain to me slowly and calmly what you mean by “if we still had the oven”.
Abbey: No Mum, I’m serious. Just look out the window.
Mum: Honey…
Abbey: Mum, just look!

Suddenly Mother becomes aware of a low thundering noise. It is an approaching squadron of German planes.
Charlie: Mummy, what’s that noise?
Abbey: I told you it’s started!
Mother stands up and advances forward on the stage, peering out the imaginary window. Her face turns to horror.
Mum: Abbey, get into the basement, and take Charlie with you.
Abbey: But Mum, it’s happening! It’s real! Just like in the storybook!
Mum: Abbey, I want you and Charlie to get into the basement now.

Abbey obeys, taking Charlie by the hand. Mother runs to the telephone and makes a call. She waits anxiously for a long time as she fiddles with her ring. A descending whistle wails from outside followed by a flash and a boom. Mother lets out a scream and hangs up. She runs downstairs into the basement with Abbey and Charlie. There is a small ragged bed, and they sit on it together. Charlie is crying, still tightly clutching the storybook. Mother comforts him.
Mum: Shh, shh…
Abbey: Mummy, don’t you remember the story? You were just reading it to Charlie. Come on! Hurry! If we can…
Mum: You are not going outside Abbey, do you understand me?
The harshness in Mother’s voice shocks Abbey, and she is silent for a moment.
Abbey: [whispering] Mummy, Daddy is still out.

Mother sighs.
Abbey: Did he bring a bucket?

Abbey: Do you think he can catch the stars for us? Will they be too big?

Mother fiddles with her ring again and draws Abbey and Charlie closer.
Mum: I’m afraid they are much too big, dear.
Abbey: Mummy, are the stars dangerous?
Mum: The stars are very dangerous, Abbey. They’re bright and hot and they explode when they hit the ground.  If you’re too close, they… [hesitates] they kill you.
Charlie: They won’t hurt Daddy though, will they?
Abbey: Of course they won’t. Daddy will blow his horn and send all the stars home, like King Gallamir did.
Charlie: Like King Gallamir?

More booms.
Mum: Like King Gallamir.

Charlie holds the storybook up.
Charlie: Can you finish the story Mummy?

Mother takes it and opens it up.
Mum: The next day, everyone in the kingdom came running to King Gallamir. “Our houses are gone, and the whole city is destroyed!” they told him.  “Please, king, what will you do to save us?” The king thought, then said—[turns page]—“I know what we will do.  Let us gather what is left the broken star fragments and use them to rebuild the kingdom!” And that’s exactly what they did. For weeks and weeks and weeks, the people rebuilt the kingdom of Riverside from pieces of shattered stars. It was very hard work. The broken stars were very sharp, and sometimes the men would get their clothes torn on them.  Their wives sewed patches for them…

We hear frightening crashes again and the children scream.
Abbey: What if a star lands on the basement, Mum?

Mother thinks, and then closes the book.
Mum: Well then, we’ll need something much bigger than a bucket.
Abbey: Like what?
Mum: Like… [Looking around] like this.

She jumps up from the bed and rips off the bed sheet.
Mum: There. Do suppose this is big enough?
Abbey: But how big are they?
Mum: About this size.
Abbey: It’s perfect then!
Mum: Good.
Abbey: But the star might be hot.
Mum: Put your oven mittens back on.
Abbey: Oh. [Takes them out from her pocket] Really?
Mum: Quite positive.
Abbey starts puts them on.
Mum: Now then, Charlie is the duke. Daddy is King Gallamir. You’re the Princess of Riverside.
Abbey: Who are you?
Mum: Me?
Mother swings the bed sheet around herself magnificently and wears it like a robe.
Mum: The Queen, of course.
She twirls around and the bed sheet flies around the children as they laugh.
Abbey: I’m sorry, Mum, about the oven…
Mum: It’s nothing, dear, don’t think about it.
Abbey: But it was making strange noises…
Mum: I said not to worry about it, Abbey.
Abbey: But Mum, it really was making strange noises. Clock noises. I thought it might be broken, so I didn’t use it.
Mum: What did you say?
Abbey: I said I thought it was broken, so I…
Mum: No, you said noises. What sort of noises?
Abbey: Clock noises. You know, tick, tick, tick, tick…
Mother turns around and sprints out of the basement with the bed sheet wrapped around her. 
Abbey: Mother! What’s happening? What is it?
Mother stops, and looks at her children desperately. She runs back to them and kneels down.
Mum: Whatever you do children, remember this. One good thing can put out a million bad things, even if they’re falling from the sky.
She turns around and runs out. Suddenly, there is a crash louder than any other, and the children crouch together covering their ears.
Charlie: What’s going on! What’s going on, Abbey?
Abbey: It’s a star, Charlie! Mummy caught a star!

The sky is falling but don’t fret yourself
Let’s grab the bed-sheets and buckets and we’ll
Catch the stars as they come down
We’ll use the shattered fragments to paint our dwellings on the ground
No use crying over spilled milky way….

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