Before the Play Begins
On arrival the audience may discover that the auditorium, or possibly even the car park and immediate environment, has been squatted by Gypsies!
Some may be sitting by camp fires, singing, story telling, suckling babies, cooking, making clothes, breaking up old motor cars.
Others may directly relate to the arriving audience. Gypsy men may make an offer to buy the car the audience have just arrived in; 'Care to sell me your motor, mister? 'Course, it's probably only worth its value as scrap.' 'Excuse me, madam, have you got any old iron or other objects in your garden you'd care to sell me?' 'Good evening, sir, are there any odd jobs that you might need doing? Such as repairing gutters, sharpening blades of lawn mowers, complete retuning and overhaul of motor cars, tarmacing, a load of manure, fruit picking?'
The Gypsy women may offer fortune telling, selling lucky heather, or small baskets containing plastic flowers, or beg for money, selling programmes, and 'Cushti, ladies, please to receive the blessing of a humble Gypsy ... (No) ... Alright then, piss off!'
Gypsy children are begging, offering to do tricks in exchange for money.
Ushers and usherettes in smart uniforms are showing people to their seats and seem unaware of the chaos all around them.
It is possible that the audience find their seats already occupied by Gypsy teenagers and children, who yield them up with an ill grace.
In other words, some of the worst expectations about Gypsies are confirmed in the audience's mind by what they find on their arrival.
There's probably quite a lot of busking going on on Gypsy instruments, including the bones, the spoons, tin cans, plates and kettles, fiddles, accordions and concertinas, Irish whistles, guitars, bodrans.
One small folk band comes to predominate, playing jigs and reels. The audience may be clapping in time. As the events of the prologue evolve they probably retire to one side of the proscenium, in view of the audience, in front of a traditional horse drawn caravan. Their instruments, typically, will be fiddle, accordion, bodhran, Irish whistle, the bones, the spoons.
Suddenly a large crowd of Rabble (30) burst in from behind the audience, with rattles, mediaeval hurdy gurdies, police whistles, cudgels, staffs, drums.
We are anachronistically in the sixteenth century in a Mediaeval Market Place.
Simultaneously, the strident tones of our Rock Band break across the music of the folk band, drowning it. They may be playing a Rock version of the Dead March from Saul, and may be playing from the top of a mound (in fact a large dump of old cars, though this is not at this point apparent). Percussion may be on hefty oil drums. They create a terrifying sound.
The Rabble are surging down an aisle towards the stage, dragging Johnny Farr and The Lady of the Castle along the ground. These two are trying to get up to run but keep falling. Or they are travelling in a cart to which they are manacled.
The Rabble arrive in the market place, which they have been approaching through neighbouring streets. Now it may turn into the courtroom, or alternately what follows may be a summary trial held in the open air.
The Constable is getting people into place, shouting out 'Accused!', 'Jury, this way!' or 'Make way, a seat, a seat for his Honour the Judge!', etc. as appropriate.
If Johnny and The Lady were being dragged behind a cart, they may now be helped or pushed and dumped into it, so that it becomes the dock.
Two trumpeters give a fanfare, routinely cacophanous.
CONSTABLE: All stand for his Most Worshipful Honour the Judge.
All stand. Enter the Judge, stately, horrible, with a large paunch, and very weary. He didn't sleep last night. He sits. Those that can now sit. Others stand watching. There may be a jury of twelve people who may need two long benches, or the audience itself may be assumed to be the jury.
JUDGE: (Wearily) Alright, read out the charge. Read out the charge, please.
CLERK TO COURT: The charge is that you two persons, being Gypsies, have been
wandering abroad in his Majesty's kingdom contrary to statute and begging money from the citizens of this country, contrary to custom, ancient usage, statute and the law of the land. You are therefore deemed unauthorised persons in this kingdom, item and to whit that you are Gypsies. Do you understand the charge?
THE LADY: Yes.
CLERK: Tell us how you plead to the charge. Do you plead Guilty or Not Guilty?
THE RABBLE: (Comment to each other at this point).
JOHNNY: (Defiantly) Guilty!
THE LADY: (In a terrified voice) Not Guilty!
THE RABBLE: (Comment to each other).
THE JUDGE: Alright, let's hear the case against them.
Daggers De'Ath, council for the prosecution, steps forward. There is a chord from the folk band. De'Ath speaks over music background.
DE'ATH: Your Honour!
These two Gypsy persons were wandering and begging
Busking, acrobating, and of no fixed abode,
They're Gypsies for sure!
They're Gypsies, vagabonds, layabouts, unauthorised,
They shouldn't be here but some place else!
I ... demand ... Death!
JUDGE: (Wearily) Members of the Jury, we have heard Mr Daggers De'Ath outline the prosecution case against them. Daggers has made a very pertinent peroration arguing most convincing, in my view, that the defendants are of no fixed abode, were busking and begging, deemed to be Gypsies, he is demanding death.
RABBLE: (Comment in a more sober and creepy manner).
JUDGE: And now, pray, is there anyone here representing the Gypsies?
CONSTABLE: I believe, Sir, they are representing themselves.
RABBLE: (Comment to each other, derisively).
JUDGE: Oh, I see. (Pause) Come on then! Get a move on!
JOHNNY: (Steps forward. To start with lost for words. Then blurts out) I am a Gypsy, Sir. But this is no Gypsy. (He indicates the Lady).
JUDGE: And who is she, then, pray?
THE LADY: (Steps forward. She says, quiet but firm) I am Lady Ileanor Arquebus, Lady of the Castle of Stoore!
JUDGE, JURY, etc.: (There is sensation and derision in court).
JUDGE: And how, pray, exactly could this have come about? If you are indeed the Lady Stoore, how come you were begging beside the road? (He looks around him for approval of his brilliant logic).
THE LADY: (She is speechless, unable to answer).
TWO TRUMPETERS:(Play fanfare, routinely cacophanous).
Enter Emilio. Two guards at entrance try to prevent him.
EMILIO: I think I can answer that (one)!
JUDGE: Who the devil are you?
EMILIO: Emilio Guzzle. At your service. (He bows)
JUDGE: And what the blazes are you doing here?
EMILIO: As Council for the Defence. I have been sent urgently ... from afar.
Constable has been striding over. Emilio shows document. Constable is evidently impressed.
EMILIO: With your permission, your Honour, may I proceed?
Judge looks over at Constable who is scrutinising document. Constable nods approval.
JUDGE: Alright, carry on then.
Song: The Raggle Taggle Gypsies, O (5")
(Emilio, Johnny, the Lady, the Lord, and Gypsy chorus)
EMILIO: (Strikes an 'I am about to begin' sort of attitude).
EMILIO: (Sings) The Lady stood on the castle wall
Her golden hair on her shoulders does flow
Her skin is softest of them all
She's a lovely lady from head to toe.
Instrumental Verse (1B)
Cutaway sequence: The Castle at Stoore
The castle turret is revealed, with the Lady standing on it.
The Lady's Bed is revealed, in a lower turret.
She climbs down towards it.
Serving Wench I may be turning down sheets, and leaving a snack of milk and honey by the bed, she leaves hurriedly as her mistress approaches.
EMILIO: (Sings) She climbs down the turret to her goose feather bed
With its sheets turned down so bravely O
(The Lady may scoop her finger in honey and lick, drink milk)
And she's on milk and honey fed
And her Lord's away on his stallion O.
Instrumental Verse (2B)
Two Gypsies arrive outside the castle and are let in by Serving Wench II.
In the opposite direction, or over them, the Lady may look out through the turret window, shading her eyes for the distance and sighing slightly.
The Two Gypsies are now unexpectedly shown by Serving Wench II into her chamber O.
The Lady's bored face lights up.
The two Gypsies beckon to Johnny as he stands in the dock. He looks across for permission from the Judge, who however seems to have fallen asleep. Johnny skips across to join the other two and they do as described.
EMILIO: (Sings) These Gypsies that came to the castle gate
They sang so high, they sang so low
THE THREE GYPSIES: (Arpeggios)
EMILIO: They dance and rhyme in her chamber till late
Instrumental Two Verses (3B and 3C)
The Gypsies do their acrobatics and the Lady may join in. An attraction is clearly springing up twixt Johnny and the Lady. Johnny does a trick which ends him up in the Lady's arms. She pretends horror, then she yawns.
EMILIO: (Optional, explaining to the judge and jury, sings or speaks, on last line of 3C)
And her heart has melted away like snow.
The Lady gives a bag of money to Johnny. He is about to hand it back when Amos grabs it. Amos and Seth begin to leave. Johnny, not sure what to do, finally decides to leave with the others, but the Lady's and his eyes meet. She climbs up into the turret to watch them go, sadly. Slow fade. Just before darkness it's as if she's making a gesture for them not to go so fast. Possibly keep a spot on her empty bed.
Serving wenches enter, drinking milk, try on her hats.
The lights come up on The Lord. He strides into the chamber and is taking in the empty bed. He may be in armour and clanks as he walks. He's travelled a long way. He's tired.
EMILIO: (Sings) It was late that night that her Lord came by
LORD: And where, pray, is my Lady O?
EMILIO: The servant girls reply to him
SERVING WENCHES:(They cringe, then pluck up courage, delighted at his discomfort)
She's away with the Raggle Taggle Gypsies O!
(Then they look appalled at what they've said, and scamper off).
Instrumental Verse (4B)
The Lord chases the Serving Wenches, cracking his whip.
Groom appears, or he accosts serving wench;
LORD: O fetch for me my milk white steed
Of horses the most speedy O
I'll go to find my milk white maid
At the camp of the Raggle Taggle Gypsies O
(He sets off on his search).
EMILIO: O he rode high and he rode low
He rode through the fields and the copses O
The cold muddy field is revealed. There are the Three Gypsies and the Lady, two Gypsy women and children, possibly a small fire and bender tent. General bare and bleak feeling. The Gypsies act surprised at finding the bright light on them.
The Lord strides forward.
EMILIO: Until he espied his pretty fair maid
In the cold muddy field with the Gypsies O.
LORD: O I've ridden East and I've gone West
To find you, my lovely mistress O
Tell me, dear heart, what do you here
In the camp of the Raggle Taggle Gypsies O?
Instrumental Verse (7B)
There is an instrumental link which suggests the Lady may succumb to the Lord. She sings sadly, to start with almost as if she wants to go back with him;
LADY: O Lord, I know you love me dear
And you've come far to find me O
(Pause. Then she sings, defiantly)
But today I've had more fun than with you this many a year
At the camp of the Raggle Taggle Gypsies O.
Instrumental Verse (8B)
The Lord is striding about, possibly cracking his whip. He snatches her arm, and holds her, defying them to do anything. Johnny zooms by and grabs her from him. She and Johnny retreat to the tent. She stands by its entrance. The stage is now set for their duet of love, or hate.
LORD: Dear Love I've given you silver and gold
And a goose feather bed for your slumber O
And maid servants three and a castle fair
Now depart from the Raggle Taggle Gypsies O.
LADY: (Timidly to start with, growing in confidence, she sings)
But what care I for silver and gold
Or a feather bed for my slumber O
I'd rather have the kiss of the wild Gypsy's lips
And the life of the Raggle Taggle Gypsies O.
Johnny is flattered and touched by this. The other Gypsies look at him astounded and impressed.
LADY: So you ride East and I'll ride West
And you'll ride high and I'll ride low
And what care I for your castle fair
Now I've known the love of a Gypsy O.
LADY: And what care I for the servants three
And meals of milk and honey O
Tonight I'll sleep on the cold bare earth
(pause, then exultantly)
In the arms of the Raggle Taggle Gypsy O!
She throws herself into Johnny's arms. The Lord raises his arms in supplication.
The Lady and Johnny retire into the tent.
End of Cutaway sequence
Lights go up on the Market Square or Courtroom.
EMILIO: So this completes my case, members of the jury. The Lady could not be a Gypsy, even though she has chosen to live the life of a Gypsy. She remains the Lady Ileanor of Stoore. So she remains. So she must be treated. According to her rank! (He sits).
(The Jury may file out and as they do so Johnny and the Lady unobtrusively take their place back in the dock. No sooner has the last of the jury left than the first returns. They file back again.) Or, the Clerk turns to the audience.
CLERK: Members of the Jury, have you considered your verdict?
CLERK: The prisoner Number One is accused of being an unauthorised person, to whit, viz, a Gypsy, contrary to statute. Do you find him Guilty or Not Guilty?
FOREMAN OF JURY: Guilty.
CLERK: The prisoner Number Two is accused of being an unauthorised person, to whit, viz, a Gypsy, contrary to statute. Do you find her Guilty or Not Guilty?
FOREMAN OF JURY: Guilty!
JUDGE: (Judge stands, puts black cap on and says, wearily);
You two persons have been found by the jury to be unauthorised persons, viz and to whit, Gypsies. In accordance with the honourable and most ancient statutes of this land I hereby sentence you both to be taken from here to a place apart and there hung by the neck till you be dead!
The Judge is grabbed by a strange paroxism or seizure.
The Rock Band breaks in with a rock version of the Raggle Taggle Gypsies and we see the Procession to the Gallows. Johnny Farr and the Lady are in the cart, drawn by the rabble or pony. Others join in behind and they are followed by the rest of The Rabble. Possibly rotten eggs and vegetables are thrown by rabble.
The cart comes to a halt. Ropes are let down from above or from a tree and passed round their necks by the Hangperson.
They whack the bum of the pony which makes off with the cart leaving Johnny and the Lady twitching in their death throes.
Enter Buglers or Trumpeters who play fanfare, rather badly. End rock music suddenly. Enter Lord hurriedly beside them.
LORD: I have a pardon!
Rock Band play rock version of Dead March from Saul.
Hangperson and Hangperson's Assistant hurry over and inspect pardon, then hurry back and one holds up Johnny.
Johnny shows signs of relief. Hangpersons begin to cut the rope with a giant pair of scissors.
Judge remonstrates, consulting the Lord, in sign language, that they are cutting down the wrong one.
They let Johnny hang again and hold up the Lady. She is limp and barely alive.
One cuts the rope. The Lord catches her as she falls and holds her in his arms.
(End Rock Music).
LORD: Please live.
The Lord lets her feet fall to the ground. He is holding her up against him. She is barely alive.
LORD: (Sings) Please live, I love you, live for me
All joy of life awaits you O
Please live, I promise you'll be free
(Spoken) I love you. I'll always love you. Please live. I'll always love you. (She stirs) Even though you go away from me. Even though you desire sometimes still to go to be with the Raggle Taggle Gypsies O.
The Lady tries to stand free of him. She tries to sing, but only a croak comes. She seems to be trying to say something to the dying Johnny and moves towards him.
True to his word, the Lord does not try to hang on to her, lets her go and she falls, dying or dead.
'Cassandra' or 'Cosmic' music link leads us into;
(A Visit to Cassandra, the Crystal Gazer)
The crystal ball casts revolving spangles of light round the stage and more psychedelic colours bubble up from the cauldron.
The interior of the Crystal Gazer's Tent is revealed, and Cassandra the crystal gazer in it.
She is reminiscent of a New Age Visionary of our own times, young and white, scantily clad, a touch of dry ice around, cosmic chords, maybe a huge revolving globe, beside her, huge glittering crystal or cauldron; possibly she is in Grecian attire.
In due course her gang of nubile apprentice visionaries (6) may be revealed, similarly clad.
Song: 'Far Memory: Have You Been Here Before?' (3")
(Cassandra or one of her visionaries)
Gypsy folk, O Traveller folk
How you tease the housepeople
Calling them to leave it all
And join you in the wilds.
Gypsy man, O Gypsy lass
With mischievous charisma
How you taunt the housepeople
From your home in the wilds.
Calling them to leave it all
Their castles and their houses
Leave it all for nothing but
A kiss from their wild lips.
Weaving your charms round them
To say goodbye to everything
Leave it all for what? just the sound
Of the wind across the heath.
Gypsies you have been here before
In previous lives long gone
And you will be here in other times
Till doomsday and beyond.
Far memories, far memories
From misty times long gone
Flowing fast you come to me
Like some half forgotten song.
So who were you in your previous life
A Romani Gypsy or priestess or king
And who were you in your previous life
A warrior, wild goose on the wing.
A nifty slicer with sword or a sucker
Did you piss your pants or did they cringe in awe
Or were you something the cat brought home for its supper
When you were here before, before.
Or were you ... (etc.)
With you and your mate was it love at first sight
Or had you met before?
Already loved for a lifetime or night
In ages long before.
The sands of time are shifting
And nothing's what it seems
So that someone new just met seems
Familiar from distant dreams.
And is there any end to it
Or anything else in store
Or will we through all lives
Always be brought back for more?
Far memories, far memories
From misty times long gone
Did you piss your pants or they cringe in awe
When you were here before, before
A king or a Gypsy, a duck or a whore
When you were here before?
The Lord appears outside the tent, possibly holding the reins of his horse (which may be offstage) which he hands to an ancient crone.
He may rap with his whip on the side of the tent, or wait till the song is over. Then he nervously finds his way round to the entrance.
CRYSTAL GAZER: Come!
(Her voice echoes strangely. Fierce flames rise and fall from the cauldron. Nervously the Lord enters. There is a great deal of clanking as he puts down his sword, shield, etc.)
You don't need to tell me who you are or why you're here tonight. You wish to know where your lady has gone into the realms of shades (her voice echoes strangely on 'shades', a posse of natilly costumed reverberations (possibly the same as the apprentice visionaries) dance round the area) ... and can you follow her.
Thunder and lightning.
Enter Crystal Gazer's Cat.
(Cat wanders around a bit, ends up sitting on Crystal Gazer, or Lord's knee).
CRYSTAL GAZER: You cannot follow her.
HORSE: (offstage, neighs and seems strangely disturbed).
LORD: (to his horse) Silence there! Hold yourself together, Sir!
CRONE: Silence there. (She jerks the horse's bridle as it rears).
(Thunder and lightning).
LORD: And will I ever see her again?
The Crystal Gazer takes his hand and gazes into the ball. Extraordinary images flash from the ball and fill the stage.
CRYSTAL GAZER: Your Lady chose to make her bed in a cold muddy field with ...
LORD: No! (He restrains her from saying it).
CRYSTAL GAZER: She's an old soul. In other ages, other lives than this, she's done it. She's an old soul. Other times without number she's left the house people, gone away to join the Gypsies.
LORD: Will I see her again? Will I be with her?
CRYSTAL GAZER: Well, you're a young soul. Now I truly see something, truly I see far. I see, many years away, once again the travelling people. I see little houses on wheels that travel after huge horses of steel, snorting out smoke and fire. The stench is horrible. I see, I see, Gypsies, Gypsies, many travelling people. More and more of them.
CRYSTAL GAZER: They walk proud as I see them. The Gypsies still are a proud race. But something tells me they also still are a despised race. Ah! Now I see you!
CRYSTAL GAZER: Yes!
LORD: And what more? What am I doing? Is she there?
CRYSTAL GAZER: I see ... O, now I see, I see it all, I see ...
Her voice is drowned in thunder. Flashes of lightning.
LORD: But ... ?
There is a slow fade. The Crystal Gazer is making ambiguous gestures. She seems to be astonished at what she is seeing. She disappears behind smoke.
The Jimmy Lockett Theme.
(Jim Meets Maggie)
A street of semi-detacheds in a council housing estate. There is a lorry standing outside, its engine running.
Finish Rock Band.
Folk Band may give us a few snippets from the Jimmy Lockett Theme.
Three young Gypsy men are draped around the lorry bonnet. They are Jim, Amos and Seth. They are chatting up a smartly dressed young woman whose name is Maggie, and are in a state of mild euphoria since they all find her attractive. Also they find her intriguing and mysterious, 'foreign' and unpredictable. They don't normally get this close to a Gorgio young woman and find her words, movements, and actions hard to interpret since they are different (and in fact more 'open') than a Gypsy girl's would be in the same situation.
AMOS: You live in this place all on your own then?
SETH: Who with? With your boyfriend?
AMOS: I bet you're walking out in secrecy. Courting. Secret courting.
JIM: This house belongs to you then?
MAGGIE: How could I afford a house like this? (Primly) I live here with my Mum.
SETH: What, and your Dad?
MAGGIE: Oh yes. (Possibly a great big lie).
AMOS: Is he a big fella?
MAGGIE: No. Why?
AMOS: Him don't come and beat up, cosh we? (He illustrates by hitting Seth, Seth retaliates, and the two young men have a mock wrestle).
JIM: They mean, he don't mind, don't take no notice of we rokkering with you?
MAGGIE: (Momentarily guarded). What's rokkering?
JIM: Rockering, talking.
MAGGIE: Oh no, why should he?
JIM: Oi, mind the moulder!
(The mock fight is getting out of hand, knocking into the lorry).
MAGGIE: What do you guys do for a living? If anything? Not hippies are you?
She can't quite place them. Jim is surprised by her question because he'd supposed it must be obvious. He looks hastily at her to see if she's in earnest, then he replies;
JIM: Hippies? Nah! Man of the World.
JIM: (Pride in his voice, speaks over): Oh, you know, bit of this and that, general dealing, tarmacing, tree lopping, harvesting, motor upbreaking. Just moved a hundred tons of shit from a chicken factory went bust. Bit of everything that has to be done. Bit of a Jack of all trades.
Song: I'm a Roving Jack of All Trades (3"20')
(Jim, Amos, Seth, Maggie)
(Note: Each takes a verse, each describing some particular aspect of a Gypsy's activities).
JIM: There's some that say that I'm a rogue
No worker, just a thinker
A worthless man that's quite workshy
A vain and cantish winker
But I really go to every
Corner of the Nation
And I can always turn my hand
To many occupations.
I'm a roving Jack of All Trades
Of every trade and all trades
And if you want to know me name
They call me Jack of All Trades.
Instrumental Link (1C)
AMOS: I've been a roving traveller with
Me sack upon my shoulder
With pots and cans and toilet pans
All in me old man's moulder
I'll make you chairs, I'll pick your pears
I'll weave you wicker tables
And soon you'll get to know that I'm
A sound lad in the stables.
I'm a roving (etc.)
Amos and Seth go over to next door house and knock on door. Neighbour appears and the song forms part of their conversation with her. Neighbour may appear quite startled.
SETH: You'll find me on the building jobs
I'm skilled with pick and shovel
I'll ride behind the frisky cobs
With loads of muck and rubble
You'll find me with the high life gangs
On top the steel erections
And getting my job done the first
And never having ructions.
MAGGIE: In summer you go round the town
In sunshine or in thunder
And chat up the young ladies
Your lorries filled with plunder
JIM: And when the summer days are past
And winter comes a tearing
You'll find me gathering junk and rags
I'm a useful man - I swear it.
We're roving Jacks (etc.)
MAGGIE: Yes, well. I sort of see what you mean, I suppose.
JIM: Take an instance. Was there something out in the garden shed or garden that has been there a long whiles you have no use for, maybe that has long lain there hid and has great value all unknown. Well, we'll help you ...
MAGGIE: There is something in the garden that has been there since I was a little girl. I never thought it might be of value, but you're welcome to take a look. Would you like to see it?
Jim hides his excitement at going into the garden with this young woman that he finds very attractive with a professional detachment.
JIM: Oh, aye. Take a look at it. Who knows? There may be somewhat of great value, all unknown.
Instrumental Verse (7C) Rather slower
Jim and Maggie go towards the garden, possibly through a small gate.
We may see them in the background, with Maggie showing Jim various objects and Jim nodding, shaking his head, etc. Or they may disappear altogether.
The other two are still talking to the neighbour.
NEIGHBOUR: (rather crossly) Well, are you interested or not?
But Amos and Seth have suddenly noticed that Jim and Maggie have disappeared and immediately forget what's in hand in their envy and astonishment.
AMOS: Poove the grai!
SETH: Feik the bosh!
They are impressed with Jim but also resentful it wasn't them.
AMOS: Goodman Jim!
But the neighbour is angry they're paying so little attention.
NEIGHBOUR: (crossly) Sorry. Nothing today. Good day to you! (She slams door).
SETH: Hm. Time we was going on totting. Can't go back empty handed.
He climbs into the lorry cabin and blows the horn loudly.
AMOS: Again Seth.
Seth is about to blow the horn again when Jim and Maggie appear from an unexpected direction.
JIM: Alright then.
He gives her a gentle smile and climbs into the lorry, takes the wheel, revs up. Amos gets in behind.
JIM: Bye Bye.
He and Maggie are both studiedly casual.
Jim's two friends look at him expectantly as he begins to inch the lorry forward. He gives nothing away.
The light fades slowly as the lorry moves off but a spot still picks out Maggie. She waves goodbye quite coolly as if to an acquaintance she's known for years.
She may run back into the garden and return with the object Jim had intended to take - possibly part of a mangle.
As the sound of the lorry dies away she stands thoughtfully, not moving for a moment, still holding the mangle.
Possibly the spot diminishes in size till all we can see is a small pinpoint of light picking out her shoulders and thoughtful face.
(6 mins + song)
(We Meet the Family)
The Lockett Family Fireside, on the Common
The function of this scene is to reveal something of Jim's background and introduce us to his Mum, Dad, etc.
We may begin, possibly, in darkness, with sounds of the arterial road that the Gypsies are parked beside.
The lights come up to reveal the common. Morning.
Mum has a small fire going amid the embers of last night's. She is boiling up a huge tin pot of tea, hung from an iron stake. Empty beer bottles or tins lie around.
As the lights come up she might be filling a silver jug from a single tap rising from the stage, attached to black polythene piping.
During what follows, other Gypsies will go for water.
Jim, still sleepy, stripped to the waist, emerges from under the caravan where he's been sleeping, with blankets, folds them and puts them in the caravan.
JIM: Morning, Mum!
From a large silver water carrier he pours clear water into a plastic bowl and washes.
Mum is stirring a pot. She sings a line or so of a seductive melody and looks across tenderly at Jim. He doesn't notice.
MUM: Here's your bit of food, Jim, just come to boiling.
JIM: Thanks Mum.
MUM: Hurry up, don't let it go cold.
She comes over and puts down beside him a big tin mug of tea and a bowl of stew. Jim takes a gulp from the mug and prepares to eat the stew.
JIM: What more could a man want? Delicious!
Others are also served by Mum as they come up to the fire.
Other Gypsies are getting up from various nooks and crannies and from caravans. Sitting by newly lit fires, drinking tea.
Lean dog on chain.
Amid piles of debris, other Gypsies reading comics.
There are piles of iron, piles of steel or collapsible wood chairs, a pram, and an old large square tent with bobbles on top of it.
Ideally we should also be able to see outside (and possibly inside) a Westmorland Star Caravan with its impeccable and typically Gypsy interior - lace curtains, cut glass and mirrors, 'costly' sets of china, big bright aluminium jugs and buckets, huge candlewick cushions, horse shoes, pictures of horses.
A Gypsy constructing a cage for animals.
A Gypsy tap-tapping away at metal, separating the good from the bad.
A lorry driven by two Gypsies arrives piled high with scrap.
Mum and others go to look at what's arrived.
MUM: Hey Amos, that iron cauldron - keep that for me!
AMOS: I don't know, Mum. We was going to shop it. All right, have it for a day.
MUM: More than just a day. I need it! I'll do lovely dinners in it. That size, something really good.
DAD: (Emerging from bed) Yes, let her have it. That size, we can take the freedom off quite a few hares and rabbits to cook them over the open stick fire.
JIM: Cushti! And dress them in all sorts of herbs, ready to meet their doom.
A little girl passes carrying a tiny little pup which she has thrust into a battered toy fire engine. The pup is shivering.
MUM: And that table and chair too. I'll have that table and chair. (They are rusty iron ornate garden furniture). And the shade. (It is a huge ornate umbrella such as pubs have in their gardens).
AMOS: Worth a few quid, they are. Alright, for a day.
MUM: More than just a day! Or night! Longer! They'll be the pride of the common!
Nearby there is a toilet structure made of four sheets of corrugated iron, propped upright. Jim has got up and is pouring water over the side of the top, to fill the toilet system, though we can't see it.
MUM: (Watching) Cushti, Jim, Cushti. Cos we know that the public health has made certain acts that there must be toilets and water, for health reasons.
Mum is frying mushrooms, mopping it up with margerine and cut loaf sandwiches.
Two Gypsies approach with a large churn of water. Possibly one has been filling it up at the tap.
Jim goes into the toilet and shuts the door.
The door swings open revealing him sitting on a makeshift seat.
Suddenly the home-made system collapses and water pours down on his head.
Jim leaps up and with his trousers down runs out.
JIM: What the bloody - runting!
Seth emerges from behind the toilet with a stick that he evidently used to dislodge the system.
AMOS: (In a burlesque genteel voice) Everything alright Sir? We were just flushing the toilet for you, Jim. Very service conscientious.
Jim, trying to pull his trousers up, runs about shaking his wet head.
It goes over the Prince, who has appeared and is quietly eating a sandwich. He swears at Jim quietly, and without anger, while puffing at a very long pipe.
Seth goes into the toilet. Amos has been at the tap, refilling the bucket. He creeps up and pours over the top on top of Seth. There are shrieks and cries from inside, finally the whole toilet bursts apart, the sides fall down, Seth emerges. All laugh.
MUM: Come on. Come and I'll get your bit of food, Jim. Stew. It's just come to boiling.
JIM: What, more food? (He goes over) Thanks very much, Mum.
Jim takes from Mum a large cup of tea, a plate of baked beans on bread, a corned beef sandwich.
Others arrive and unload bottles or tins. Jim helps himself and swigs from a bottle.
Others join, till there are a number of them round the fire.
Mum keeps on cooking.
A group of women and children sorting out flowers whittled from branches, and old clothes.
Others are connecting up a portable battery-driven telly, propped on a supermarket basket or chariot.
Woman shows a large pair of Chinese trousers which lie beside her among other clothes.
WOMAN: Look at these!
MUM: Hey, give them to me! (She stretches them out) Hey, Jim, could you manage a woman this wide?
JIM: Do you know, you can always tell a Traveller. I passed a man I'd never seen before this afternoon. He said 'Hello Brother'. He was a Gypsy, see.
DAD: Oh yes, you can always tell a Gypsy Traveller.
MUM: Enoch and Rosa are walking out, they tell me.
SETH: Enoch and Rosa? That's a good match.
PRINCE: I give them till October.
AMOS: Why till July, Prince?
PRINCE: If two young 'uns are walking out, they say it will last a lifetime if they're still walking out through winter till the end of September or October, as far as the end of the plums.
DAD: Ah, the time of the plums, the joy of the summer days!
MUM: Yes, in summer days when the grass is lush then God gives good times.
SETH: Better times for Travellers than them Gorgios.
MUM: That's just talk! I wish I was Gorgio sometimes.
AMOS: Mum! Gypsy, Gorgio; Gorgio, Gypsy. What's a Gorgio, what's a Gypsy?
MUM: Come to that, what's life? You'll be a long time below ground whether you be Gypsy or Gorgio.
During the last four or five speakers there has been a slow fade.
The sound has been fading too, so the conversation never comes to an end.
Music Link leads us to ...
(Jim's Date with Maggie)
Around the Lorry Cabin
Jim and Maggie are draped around the lorry cabin, on their first date.
Two Gypsy women pass by.
GYPSY I: Ah, stash! The Cushti Jimmy Locket!
GYPSY II: His plan to Rommer the Gorgi Rackli!
GYPSY I: Cushti Bok Jimmy. Stash you back at the Hatchintan! And God be good to you all ways you rommer the Rackli!
MAGGIE: Well ... Jim, those women.
JIM: Which women?
MAGGIE: Don't tell me you didn't see them. They were talking in a strange language.
JIM: Oh, that!
MAGGIE: What do you mean, oh that?
JIM: That was nothing.
MAGGIE: That was not nothing! (She's teasing him) They were saying something. Not in English. What were they saying and who were they? What language were they talking? (Then, elaborately) Who are you, mystery man?
JIM: Nobody. Nobody. It had sod all to do with me. They said nothing. Silly women talk. Silly women talking nothing.
MAGGIE: They did seem to know you. What language were they speaking?
JIM: I don't know.
MAGGIE: You must know. They knew you. You puzzle me (romantically). Take me back home, Jim.
JIM: (Startled and disappointed) Oh, it's not time to go yet. Not time for you to go back home.
MAGGIE: I don't mean my home. I mean to your home.
JIM: My home? I can't, I mean I ...
MAGGIE: Why? Mystery man? (Then she astounds him by saying;) Listen, Jim, I know that you're a Gypsy.
Jim is completely taken aback, silent for a moment. Then;
JIM: You know?
Incredibly relieved that she already knows what he was keeping from her because he thought she might despise him for it, he's also, in his confusion, relapsing into the Romani that he's been trying to avoid all evening.
JIM: And you're still cushti to come out with mandy?
MAGGIE: Eh? Mandy? Who's Mandy?
JIM: Oh, sorry. Mandy's a Gypsy word. It means me or us.
MAGGIE: Oh. I wondered who she was. Well, can you repeat the question?
JIM: You still OK to date we?
MAGGIE: Well, I'm here, ain't I?
MAGGIE: Yeah. Why not? Why not? It's cool. Why d'you ask?
JIM: Well, some folks think some things about the Gypsy Travellers that's not true.
MAGGIE: Forget them! I've always felt, if I had the chance, I'd quite like to go out with a Traveller. (Well, that's quite a big hint, isn't it?)
JIM: But if you go out with me you may have to do things that you don't like doing.
MAGGIE: (Gaily) Who's talking of 'going out' with you?
JIM: Well, I thought - if you're - you know - oftentimes one thing can lead to another thing. How long did you know I was a Traveller?
MAGGIE: Since I met you.
JIM: Since that very first time we was rockering with you by the roadway?
MAGGIE: Well, very nearly.
Jim is floundering but trying to keep a brave face. He knows that Gorgio ways are different but doesn't know in what way they are different. And if a Gypsy girl had gone out with him alone in his Dad's lorry, it would have amounted to something pretty close to an engagement.
MAGGIE: I like the Travellers. We had some in our school once. Some of them were really quite attractive.
JIM: (Doubtfully) I know we Travellers have a good and a very good life.
JIM: Some of the Gorgio Rakklis are quite attractive also.
MAGGIE: What's a Gorgio Rakkli? You'll have to explain these things.
JIM: Oh, a girl that's not a Gypsy.
MAGGIE: Thought so.
It's beginning to dawn on Jim that he's in a more favourable position than he ever could have thought possible.
JIM: Do you have to go back home tonight?
MAGGIE: (Laughs) That's a bit sudden!
JIM: I've got Dad's moulder - the lorry - till the morning.
MAGGIE: Of course I've got to go home. My Mum will piss her pants else.
MAGGIE: But I'll see you again. Every now and then if you like. Or more often, if you'd like it. More often than now and again.
JIM: (Thoughtfully) That means you may have to get acquainted with some of the customs of the life of the Travelling Man.
MAGGIE: I'd go for getting acquainted with the customs of the life of the Travelling Man - except, can a young woman do it?
They embrace. And, as he tries to kiss her;
MAGGIE: And is this one of the customs?
(3 mins 30)
(News Hits the Family)
Back at the Common: the Lockett's Fireside.
Seth, Mum, Amos, The Prince, Dad, are revealed. Also Ruben, a worldly wise young Traveller.
MUM: What you say, Amos? Doesn't Jim look strange?
AMOS: Oh yes. Him strange all right. (Knowing his brother's secret but not wanting to give him away).
MUM: Why's that then? (Mum has sensed that something is up).
PRINCE: Him go after Gorgio woman.
MUM: Really? Go after Gorgio woman?
MUM: That right, Seth?
SETH: Could be. (Not wanting to give his brother away).
Enter Jim. He stands listening.
DAD: Gorgio women! Them mock the Travellers. A Travelling Gypsy lad should stay with a Travelling Gypsy Rackli. I'll tell him. Gorgio women - them mock the Traveller.
MUM: How long this been going on?
PRINCE: He go after Gorgio woman for ten days now. He's sick! Love sick! (He's actually guessing, but wants to endorse his carefully cultivated reputation for intuitively knowing about everything.)
MUM: That true? That true, Jim?
Jim pretends not to hear. He's angry, kicking around a bit of tin.
RUBEN: How much it cost, Jim?
DAD: Twenty five pound.
JIM: Dad, you mind your own business!
RUBEN: Twenty pound. Twenty pound, ent it Jim?
JIM: (Smiles) Not for sale.
SETH: Twenty pound? (He's momentarily accepted Ruben's view of things. And could he have a go?)
RUBEN: Twenty pound. Must be good, for that money.
JIM: (Disgusted, walking away) No, I pay no money. Free. Free and easy.
OTHERS: (Mocking) Free! Free and easy! He pays. He get free love!
DAD: Mark you these words! He pays! If not now, he'll pay!
RUBEN: Should be twenty pound! (He's unwilling to relinquish his preconception. And he always felt envious of Jim, doesn't like the idea he could be getting it for free.)
DAD: You being mocked, man. Gorgio woman always mock the Traveller!
JIM: A Gorgio woman can be a good woman. Very good woman. (He doesn't like to directly contradict his Dad).
AMOS: (He's changed his mind. Now he believes Jim's version. Sincerely) I'll believe you, Jim, that they can be good women, good for going with.
Jim sits down, attempting to look dignified.
There is a dreamy look on his face.
DAD: No. I'll tell you one thing. No good can come from it. Going with a Gorgio woman. I'll tell you that straight. I'll give you that advice for free, and absolutely gratis.
JIM: Oh Dad, that's old fashioned talk.
DAD: Old fashioned maybe, but true facts, wisdom.
JIM: Just give me one example.
MUM: It never happens, that's the point you see, it never happens.
JIM: Course it happens sometimes. How about Auntie Amelia. She rommered a Gorgio man. And very cushti.
DAD: Very cushti, till ... I'll give you example. Close to home. Very close. Your Auntie Rosie Mary. (Shock horror. A hush falls over group).
JIM: I ain't got no Auntie Rosie Mary.
DAD: You ain't got no Auntie Rosie Mary now. You had an Auntie Rosie Mary.
MUM: Now listen, Jim. Listen what your father's telling you.
Jim is indeed surprised at this information.
DAD: What's more, I'll tell you about your Auntie Rosie Mary.
(Note: We may omit the song that follows. If so, Dad now says; 'Your Auntie Mary's Dad made her marry a Gorgio when really she loved a Gypsy boy. Them got to bad ways. Now she's dead.')
Song; Step It Up Mary (4")
DAD: She was a lovely Gypsy maiden, she was young and fair
Her eyes they shone like diamonds, she had long and golden hair
The Gorgio came driving up beside her daddy's fire
All in a milk white Jaguar, he was filled with desire.
MUM: (Spoken over singing) Now listen what he tell you see, Gorgio, you see, Gorgio.
DAD: Step it up Mary, my fine daughter
Step it up Mary if you can
Step it up Mary, my fine daughter
Show your legs to the Gorgio man.
MUM, JIM, AMOS, SETH, RUBEN, etc. join in chorus;
Step it up Mary, his fine daughter (etc.)
Gorgio Man may appear at this point and sing;
GORGIO MAN:I have come to court your daughter
(or DAD): Mary of the golden hair
I've a patio and a Jaguar car
I have lands beyond compare.
I will buy her clothes from Mary Quant
And a gold ring for her hand
I will build for her a swimming pool
She'll have servants to command.
Step it up (etc.)
STEP-IT-UP-MARY: I don't want no milk white Jaguar
(or DAD): I don't want no house nor land
Oh kind sir, I love a Gypsy boy
And I've pledged to him my hand.
Step it up (etc.)
DAD: Now Mary, hearken to me
You'll do as you are told
You'll marry the Gorgio man
(The optional Gorgio Man may hand ring to Dad)
And you'll wear this ring of gold!
DAD: Step it up Mary, my fine daughter (etc)
DAD: (Much slower) Now where these people lived
There was a deep stream running by
They found Mary there on her wedding morn
She had drowned with her Gypsy Boy.
DAD: Step it up Mary, my fine daughter (etc.)
ALL: Step it up Mary, his fine daughter (etc.)
MUM: (Spoken) So now you know. Never go out with a Gorgio Rakli. Not very good at all they are for going with.
DAD: No. Mary's Dad wanted to see her marry a Gorgio. I don't want to be foolish like he was.
(During this scene there will be crosscuts between various acting areas which will be illumined in turn. Musical links may help us travel between these little scenes.)
The Car Dump is revealed.
Jim proudly leads Maggie towards it.
JIM: There! Look at that!
MAGGIE: What's this then?
JIM: Well, what is it? You tell me.
MAGGIE: Don't be daft. It's a pile of crashed up motor cars.
JIM: Yes, and what else?
MAGGIE: Some of them have been crashed a long time.
JIM: Yes. And what else?
MAGGIE: (Giggling) Some even have trees growing up through them. It's quite a long time since some of those motors were out on the road.
JIM: (In a more matter of fact voice) How many motors would you say there are there?
MAGGIE: I don't know. A few hundred?
JIM: I reckon. I reckon there's about two hundred and fifty cars there. I was thinking, you and me could live here. This could be our love nest. For a while.
JIM: What d'you say, Maggie.
MAGGIE: Live here? Live here? No! Live in this rusty old pile of old motors? (camping it) Is this the dream home you promised me last night?
JIM: Only for a while. Well, some of them is very comfy. (He throws open the rear door of an estate wagon). Here's your living room.
MAGGIE: People can't live in cars, Jim. Cars are for travelling around in.
Jim opens the door of another car. Something horrible falls out.
Jim hastily shuts the door again.
JIM: This one's better. Say yes, Maggie. We'll be good comfort! And here's our bedroom. (He climbs in).
MAGGIE: I never heard of living in a motor. Surely, it doesn't happen often?
JIM: Often? All the time! Come on! (He gestures her to join him).
MAGGIE: No! Why, anyway?
JIM: So we can have a place of our own. And I forgot to say. Maggie, I can make a lot of money from this.
He gets out of the car and leads her by the hand. Jim and Maggie pick their way over the car dump.
MAGGIE: (A bit more cheerful) How?
JIM: Enough to buy a trailer. Maggie, I know you want to know more about Traveller ways.
MAGGIE: (Guardedly) Yes. Some of them.
JIM: Maggie, to some people a pile of scrap is ugly. But to a Traveller it's cushti. What shall I say about this pile of old motors? I'll tell you what it's like. A pile of three thousand pound notes! This great heap of cars, when it's bust up, it's worth money. A great deal of money. And I can get it for next to nothing - well for a couple of hundred, which I do have. So let's just live here while I bust it up - and then - a wonderful home.
MAGGIE: I'll think about it. But I quite like being able to go back home, have a bath, etcetera.
JIM: I'll fix you up a bath in no time.
(An instruction period, possibly more to do with the Travellers' ideas of themselves than exact everyday reality, played to the audience although it began by being directed at Maggie as she sat by the fire, will continue through many of these crosscut scenes.
In between them we possibly dim lights and have link music to indicate passing of time and place.)
Another part of the common
THE PRINCE: So I take one gallon dandelion flower petals, and here you see I have one orange, one lemon, three pounds of sugar, one ounce well brewed ginger root, and a half ounce of yeast which I will put on toast. Well, first I wash the dandelion petals well and I cover them with boiling water. I allow them to stand for three days, stirring often and squeezing the flowers. Then I pour boiling water on them. So then I'll leave them and after that I'll strain off and add the liquid and thin rind of the lemon and orange as well as the fruit sliced up. I'll boil for an hour in one gallon of water, and allow to cool. Then will be good times, good days and nights.
The Car Dump
Maggie is getting ready a meal, cooking in a large pot on a fire in a little clearing surrounded by toppling rusty car bodies. She is getting crockery or dishes when needed from a washing-up bowl.
A clockwork gramophone is playing, or transistor radio.
Puts on her make-up while peering at herself in a motor mirror.
She clutches her stomach, and shouts to Jim, who is offstage.
MAGGIE: That bloody water, Jim. It's poison.
She consults a yuppie-style cook book.
There are three loud crashes. Offstage, Jim is already at work breaking up the cars, converting them into their various saleable components.
Enter Jim, who attacks an onstage motor.
The blows from his sledge hammer become the rhythm for the song, a sort of hymn of the second-hand car breakers.
Song; So Here's to the Life of the Travelling Man (3 x 50' = 2"30')
(Jim, Maggie, Chorus of Gypsies)
JIM: So here's to the life of the Travelling Man
And here's to the life of the Rover
And here today gone tomorrow's our plan
The wandering life's never over.
Amos and Seth have entered and stand watching.
Chorus 1 (B)
AMOS, SETH, JIM:So here's to the tent and the old caravan
The Tinker, the Gypsy, the Travelling Man
And here's to the life of the Rover.
AMOS: And here's to the cant and the travelling tongue
And here's to the Romany talking
The buying and selling, the old fortune telling
The crossing of palms and the hawking.
Chorus 2 (B)
AMOS, SETH, JIM:So here's to the tent and the old caravan (etc.)
SETH: And here's to the besoms of heather and broom
And here's to the bit and the bridle
And here's to the pony, the cob and the mare
And here's to the life never idle.
Chorus 3 (B)
AMOS, SETH, JIM: So here's to the tent and the old caravan (etc.)
Maggie comes over and joins them.
Chorus 3 (C)
AMOS, SETH, JIM, MAGGIE:
So here's to the tent and the old caravan (etc.)
The Lockett's Fireside
(Maggie Meets the Family)
Mum, Dad, the Prince, etc. are revealed.
Jim and Maggie walk across to them and stand nervously.
There is silence. Then:
PRINCE: Well, I'll have to tell you. I'm against it. A Gorgio girl can't go with a Gypsy.
JIM: Yeah, but you see, Maggie is not really a Gorgio. She's classed a Gorgio because she lived in a house. But her grandmother was a Gypsy.
DAD: I'll not believe that.
MAGGIE: She was! My Mum always told me.
MUM: New Age Traveller. You one of them New Age Travellers?
MAGGIE: (shocked) No!
MUM: We don't get along with them. Using up all the best camping spaces. No idea how to behave themselves!
MAGGIE: Well, I'm not one. Never was one.
PRINCE: What does you Dad think about it?
MAGGIE: No idea. Dad doesn't live with us.
Maggie snuggles into Jim's flank and the Gypsies look scandalised.
PRINCE: There are a lot of things your're going to have to learn if you're going with a Traveller.
MAGGIE: I'm willing! Jim has already taught me some of them.
There is a shocked look at her possible inuendo.
PRINCE: For instance! Never pass between a Gypsy man and his food!
MAGGIE: (aware of the absurdity of it) Oh!
PRINCE: Bad things can follow from even quite small things, for instance death can follow from a shadow on the cheese.
MUM: And if the men come to sit close with you, tell them they mustn't sit on the same couch as an unmarried woman.
DAD: (explains) There is a fire in man that the short skirt excites. Travellers don't hold with that. No more we do with divorce, bashing, coshing, violence acts to people.
MAGGIE: I admire the Gypsy ways. It's open plan living, the open life!
PRINCE: Young girl, if you admire Gypsy ways, get a longer skirt.
JIM: That's not true, Prince. Short skirts is fashion. Travellers live in the fashion now. Same as the Gorgios. More fashion!
MAGGIE: I like my skirt that way.
PRINCE: Hm. You're going with a travelling man now, ducks; you do as the Travellers do.
The Prince tries to look ferocious.
In fact they are far more taken with Maggie than they let on.
The Car Dump
Enter a stranger and stands watching Jim.
STRANGER: Good morning to you. And, excuse me. Would you be so good as to answer me some questions?
JIM: I'll answer your questions.
STRANGER: Right. (He consults a clipboard).
JIM: But first you must show me your licence.
STRANGER: What licence?
JIM: Your licence to ask questions.
Another Part of the Common
Mum is reading Maggie's palm.
MUM: And now, I see even more of your fortune unfold in your hand. Hm. You are benevolent and thoughtful for others. One who likes travel and change and firm made friendships. You are rather wild but kind, strong willed, and very loving. Elect in company, would give and go without yourself. Good in principle, considerate and just. Hasty in choice of things, not easily deceived. Quick in comprehension, can give and take a joke but don't trust others too much.
Another Part of the Common
Prince is teaching some children.
PRINCE: The Celtic Traveller's language is named Cant, Shelta and Gammon. The Romany word for rabbit is chuchi, the Cant word for rabbit is squalon. In Cant a horse is called coral, in Romany grai. Child in Romany is chavvy. In Cant, galya.
Early hours of the morning. Jim is downstage staring out at a clear moon. Maggie is under a blanket outside their caravan - or pile of old cars. She stirs, sits up sleepily and stretches.
JIM: Such a moon, Maggie ... Cushti moon.
MAGGIE: What you doing?
JIM: Making it last.
Maggie, wrapping herself up in the blanket, comes over to Jim.
MAGGIE: What last?
JIM: The night ... don't want it to end, see ... don't want to let it go.
Maggie smiles and snuggles into Jim. They kiss.
JIM: Don't want the morning.
MAGGIE: You daft?
JIM: Not daft ... afeared maybe ... afeared we lose - whatever it was. Was special, Maggie, last night - not known that afore.
MAGGIE: Do you love me, Jim?
JIM: Cushti pair, I'd say!
They kiss. Lights fade.
The Car Dump
Morning. Jim and Maggie emerge from a car, looking tousled.
MAGGIE: (yawning) I do prefer to live in the open.
Jim's lurcher comes and barks vociferously.
Maggie, annoyed, sits up and rubs her eyes.
The dog continues to bark.
MAGGIE: Why does he do that?
JIM: Oh, he always does that to wake me up in the morning. He thinks I've been too long sleeping. It's wonderful times we're having this summer, don't we, wonderful times?
MAGGIE: Yes. It's nice here.
JIM: Maggie, what would you be doing now if you weren't here with me?
MAGGIE: Well, I'd be at school.
JIM: (surprised) Would you?
MAGGIE: And in the evenings the youth club. And going with Mum to bingo.
Song: Are You Going to Scarborough Fair? (5 x 25' = 2")
JIM: Drive a deep furrow and lay your course fair
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
Between the salt water and the strand
Then you'll be a true love of mine.
MAGGIE: Are you going to Scarborough Fair
Parsley. sage, rosemary and thyme
Bind it in leather with a peacock's feather
And then he'll be a true love of mine.
Tell him to knit me a camric shirt
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
Without any seams or needlework
And then he'll be a true love of mine.
Another Part of the Common
PRINCE: If I was to say; 'Calune na stach ne monya na paveee an Rom', this would mean in English, 'God look good over the Tinker and the Gypsy'. If I said to a Traveller, 'Ya conching don na tobea', it would mean in English, 'Not going down the road'. If I said to a Traveller, 'stach the monya locken', it would mean in English, 'Look at the lovely girl'.
The Car Dump
JIM: What's up, Maggie?
MAGGIE: Jim, I don't understand it. I really don't.
MAGGIE: In the village. I was taking water from the tap and he told me to stop. Said it was meant to be locked. He really did. Why are people like that?
JIM: Hm. Some places is especial bad. Bagsden, for instance. Water's bad there. They won't give you a spot of water at Bagsden. Other places, they charge you fifty p. for five gallons.
MAGGIE: But why? Why? Why?
(Link music to indicate passing of time).
MAGGIE: In the end I walked back to get some from my Mum's and have a bath. She kicked up a great shindy, she did, about me going with you. She said; 'What do you want with him? You're too good for him. I won't have you going with a Gypsy.' I said; 'But Mum, you always taught me that my Grandmother was a Gypsy.'
Another Part of the Common
PRINCE: So I hit him with a bottle. The swiftness of the ash plant in my hand knocked him kicking. Five gavvermen policemen came and they were hit to the ground like hailstones. A score of them came. The battle was started. I charged! And twenty-two gavmush were left to dry in the streets of the town that night!
MAGGIE: What have the Gorgio people got against the travellers, Jim? Why do they hate them so much?
JIM: Because they're silly, ignorant to it. Prejudice.
MAGGIE: Yes, but there must be more reason just than prejudice? What do I say to my Mum when she says that Gypsies leave filthy rubbish all over the place. I don't know what to say to her.
JIM: Well, the Gorgios call it rubbish. But we're dealers. We know it's good value scrap. And then the local councils, they won't give us refuse collection. Anyway, the Prince was saying the other night, who makes the more rubbish? The Gorgios with their motorways and factories, pollution, houses - or the Gypsy with his little old load of scrap?
MAGGIE: And what about Gypsies being dirty, not washing, you know?
JIM: There's too much washing. Spoils the natural oils on your body. Anyway, tell her how washing can be awkward when no-one for miles will give you water.
MAGGIE: And then she's always saying Gypsies would nick anything they could find.
JIM: Well, like the Prince says when people say that, there is thieves among the Gypsies, same as there is among the Gorgio folk. There's always some light fingered anywhere. We got less thieves than them though.
MAGGIE: So why do people say it then?
JIM: They say we Travellers are thieving tea leafers because they don't like us being different. Anyway, who's the thieves? We had this whole land once to roam through. Come war time they take us soon enough to fight for them. And die for them. But come peace time, what do they do? They're taking away the commons and laybyes. Them Gorgios have stolen it all from us - everything.
All this has been quite a heated and uncharacteristic outburst for Jim and he feels flustered and disturbed after it.
Enter the Prince, singing half to himself, half to the audience.
Song: Is It Us? Or the Gorgio People? (5 x 25' = 2")
They say we leave litter and mess up the land
We're the dirty Gypsy people
But who laid the blight on each meadow and strand?
Was it us? Or the Gorgio people?
They say we're a menace to the health of the land
The unhealthy travelling people
But who poisons the air and the rivers everywhere?
Is it us? Or the Gorgio people?
They say we're dishonest, no better than rogues
The thieving travelling people
But who kills for gain, robs banks, holds up trains?
Is it us? Or the Gorgio people?
They say we're quarrelsome, given to blows
The violent travelling people
But who starts the wars, breaks the first human laws?
Is it us? Or the Gorgio people?
They say we are backward, retarded and slow
The ignorant travelling people
But who judges and condemns for his own ends?
Why you do! The Gorgio people.
Mum and Dad are waiting at a tap for water, talking to other Gypsies. Mum holds the Sun newspaper.
MUM: Yes, well a Gorgio come one to me, asked me would I vote.
DAD: Don't hold with it. We bin asked scores and scores of times to vote but we see no sense in it.
MUM: We don't understand it.
DAD: I mean it's no good for the likes of us, one of us going in to try and vote 'cos we can't. We're no scholars, I mean, we can't read or write.
MUM: There's very few of us scholars. So I mean, trying to understand something like this (as he indicates the Sun).
DAD: Yes and it would be no good me going in and voting for one company, you know, one lot of government, if it was Labour, Liberal, whatever it was you see - we shouldn't understand it. That is the trouble. Anyway, I say, they're all the same. There's no one for the Travellers.
Another Part of the Common
MUM: Well, I'd like to go far away, actually. I'd like to get right out of the country if I could like out of the world. But it's Jim's Dad, it's where he goes I gotta go sorta thing, but if I had my way I wouldn't be in this country not an hour cos I don't, you know now I've lost me father, I've got no time at all for this country like somehow, you know. Just to come back in the winter, I wouldn't mind that, but for the rest, I'd like to be away in the other parts.
The Car Dump
Maggie hanging out washing.
Rust dust from a car that Jim is breaking up drifts over her.
MAGGIE: Oh, Jim, Jim. Look, it's gone over the washing.
JIM: Why do you have to hang it out when I'm doing the breaking?
MAGGIE: Anyway, I thought we were going to live in a caravan, not in a car dump.
JIM: I never said we were going to live in a bloody caravan.
MAGGIE: Oh, Jim, Jim, I hate it. Oh shit, I hate it! I thought the point of being a Gypsy is, you live in a caravan, not a car dump. Jim, I hate it!
JIM: What's that? You hate me?
MAGGIE: I never said I hate you. I said I hate it!
Another Part of the Common
OLD GYPSY:Ancient, ancient. Well if we had our rights we wouldn't be sitting by no wee fire by nights. We'd be in a mansion.
GYPSY: So how much will you take for the grai, brother?
OLD GYPSY: Ain't so simple as that.
GYPSY: Nothing in life is simple. Three and a half, go on, I can't go no fairer than that.
He slaps the other's wrist. Old Gypsy withdraws his hand, with his other he throws away a three quarter drunk plastic tumbler of guinness on the ground.
OLD GYPSY: Not half, not even a half of his true value. This is a registered grai. All stud book. Proper.
GYPSY: How much for the dog, mush?
OLD GYPSY: Ah, that dog. He understands what you're saying. Knows every word.
GYPSY: Get on!
The Car Dump
Maggie cooking. Then a cooking pot spills on the ground. Maggie is crying.
MAGGIE: I've got to go home, Jim. Can't you see? Got to. I can't stand it.
JIM: (reasonably) So. You want to go home?
MAGGIE: I must, Jim.
Jim hits her across the face.
MAGGIE: No, Jim.
He continues to slap her across the face.
MAGGIE: I hate you, hate you, hate you.
JIM: Because I'm a Gypsy, eh?
JIM: You hate me because I'm a Gypsy, don't you?
MAGGIE: It's not you, but I can't live like this! I hate it!
JIM: (furious) You chose it.
MAGGIE: You chose it.
She shakes her fist in joke, then runs off in tears.
A Shopping Precinct
Enter Maggie's Mum with a friend. They wander across the stage pushing supermarket chariots (or carrying baskets) piled high with groceries.
MAGGIE'S MUM: That's the thing, you see. The question of hygiene. Honestly. To look at them you'd think that some of them literally hadn't washed for weeks. Anyway, I wish I had some news of her. And there's the question of her A Levels. What's she going to do about that?
FRIEND: People say she's been abducted by one of these young Gypsy desperados. Name of Jim. Is that right?
MAGGIE'S MUM: All too right.
The Car Dump
Jim and Maggie are in the midst of a furious row.
MAGGIE: There have been a few thousand years of civilisation!
JIM: Didn't bring nothing new.
MAGGIE: I should have listened. You're nothing.
JIM: Listened? (He crouches down to consider this).
MAGGIE: Yes, listened. They told me. Once a Gypsy, always a Gypsy. Look at you now!
JIM: Gypsy is special.
MAGGIE: Special! Gypsy is crouching in pools of mud and rubbish behind a thornbush. Beside the A44. Why?
JIM: What's wrong with that? Everyone does it.
MAGGIE: Everyone else has toilets!
JIM: Toilets isn't nothing! Gorgio fiddle faddle, Gorgio gimmick. Gypsies is an honourable and ancient people.
MAGGIE: What honourable? What ancient?
Jim can't immediately think of a reply.
Maggie gets high heeled shoes out of a carrier bag she carries, and puts them on.
MAGGIE: Goodbye, Jim.
She stumbles off, half running.
Jim sits, his huge spanner still in his hands. He is devastated. Too late, he cries ...
JIM: Goodbye, Maggie.
Song; So Farewell to the Life of the Travelling Man (5 x 50' = 4")
(Mum, Chorus of Gypsies)
MUM: The old ways are changing, you cannot deny
The day of the traveller's over
There's nowhere to go and there's nowhere to bide
So farewell to the life of the Rover.
GYPSIES: Farewell to the tent and the old caravan
To the Tinker, the Gypsy, the Travelling Man
Farewell to the life of the Rover.
MUM: Farewell to the cant and the travelling tongue
Farewell to the Romany talking
The buying and selling, the old fortune-telling
The knock at the door and the hawking.
GYPSIES: Farewell to the tent and the old caravan (etc.)
MUM: You've got to move fast to keep up with the times
For these days a man cannot dander
There's a by-law to say you must be on your way
And another to say you can't wander.
GYPSIES: Farewell to the tent and the old caravan (etc.)
Pakistan, Turkey, Hungary, Romania
The Lockett's Fireside
The Prince is revealed, sitting relaxedly by the fire.
PRINCE: Yes, very honourable, very ancient!
Jim has probably been shouting because he's approaching across the area and hasn't yet reached the Prince.
JIM: What honourable? What ancient? It's alright just to say it, but ...
PRINCE: But what?
JIM: What you say next when a person ask you, what honourable? What ancient? I just see dirty Gypsy. What you say when someone say that?
PRINCE: Specially when that someone is a she?
Jim gives out an angry growl. The Prince hums quietly or puffs contemplatively at his pipe. In the end he decides to answer Jim.
PRINCE: You really want to know?
PRINCE: Could be boring.
Jim shakes his head angrily and sadly. The Prince makes an expansive gesture and, with a tremendous racket, a transparent gauze falls down across the middle distance of the stopping place. Jim is so astonished that he even forgets for a moment his unhappiness.
PRINCE: You'll have heard tell of countries far afield, they are not well known in these parts, Pakistan, India.
The area has become dark and sombre.
JIM: India. Yeah. I heard tell of India. Where the dark people come from.
PRINCE: Gypsy travellers too are dark folk.
Jim is surprised.
PRINCE: Hadn't you noticed?
JIM: Well, I know there's folk sometimes call us the black faced diddies.
PRINCE: Many, many a year ago there was a tribe left Pakistan or India.
JIM: Oh yes?
There follow a series of cutaway sequences which will last as far as the end of this scene. At intervals we will continue to be aware of the Lockett's Fireside where sits the Prince, watching the pageant that his words have supposedly conjured up.
Jim is also watching the pageant and, as time passes, other Travellers may join the group by the fireside, listening to the Prince.
We see a dance celebrating every day life in Pakistan. A group are preparing to leave, loading up donkeys and with baggage on their own backs and heads. A waggon with huge wheels made of solid wood.
PRINCE: Who knows why they left it? Some say they were an accursed cast, untouchable.
PRINCE: (Cue: 45 seconds into Pakistan music). They didn't come from those parts however. The Bible tells us, in Genesis, that there were these two people, Sarayi and Abram. And they didn't have no children, these two people.
Sarayi and Abram are walking, taking in the cool evening breezes, but there is a hint of sadness.
PRINCE: And they much desired a child because the future of the tribe was in question.
The Maid Servant walks across the scene. She may be carrying a large, three foot high, half made basket.
PRINCE: And there was also in their camp a maid servant. And the Lord said to Abram;
VOICE OF GOD: Abram, go into the tent with the maid servant!
Abram and Maid Servant are disappearing into the bender tent.
PRINCE: And the Lord spoke further to them;
VOICE OF GOD: Go, make yourselves a baby!
The tent may shake about a bit (not too much). The Maid Servant emerges from the tent and stands thoughtfully. Abram is still inside.
PRINCE: And lo, the serving girl was with child. And behold, Sarayi got jealous.
Sarayi goes to the tent, ignoring the Maid Servant. She shakes it. Abram comes out, rather shamefacedly.
PRINCE: And Sarayi said, 'Let us cast out the maid servant'.
Sarayi gives an eviction gesture. The maid servant walks away and sits apart, under a palm tree.
Lose Abram and Sarayi.
PRINCE: And the Lord found the maid servant, she was crying by a well, and the Lord said;
VOICE OF GOD: Do not feel despair. From your baby will be born a noble and a numerous race. The Gypsies will be dealers in cattle and sheep, and many other things. Go forth! You will be a despised people. From now unto eternity. But you will also be a clever and a passionate people. You will have many gifts to give to humankind.
The Serving Girl has been listening to the Voice of God. She's got up more cheerfully, stretched, and gone off to join the group who are waiting to depart.
Optional words for improvising to Pakistani music (phonetic transcription)
Verse 1 Shantu O Ha Ah
Shantu Go Ha Ah Ah Ah
Gel He for Me Tol Hee
Ha i ah i ah
Verse 2 Syllabul per i Hee
Sha a ha i ha ha
Da Be Ma Hee Hee
Ha i O i ah
Chorus 1 for improvising on one note:
Sell-A-Munny Sell-A-Munny (etc.)
Chorus 2 Da Ba Da Ma Da Ba Da Ma (etc.)
The group moves off.
PRINCE: And the maid servant went forth. And from her womb was born the Gypsy people.
Cutaway Sequence; The Journey
Karamfil Music (Travelling Music)
The Prince's voice comes in occasionally as narrator during what follows. We may be aware of the Prince still sitting by the fire.
Other Gypsies join the group and listen, interested, so imperceptibly the group round the Prince grows bigger.
The Dancers, the maid servant with them, are travelling, enacting The Story of the Many Migrations. Now we see them arriving in Turkey.
Cutaway sequence; Turkey
The dancers enact a Turkish dance.
PRINCE: In each country through which they passed, the Gypsies took up some of the customs and costumes of these countries. And they also brought with them gifts. Sometimes it was the music of the lands they came from. Always is was something of just themselves, something proud and Gypsy.
Dancers continue to travel.
PRINCE: So now, in their many wanderings, many joys and tribulations, the little group arrived in Romania's fair land ...
Romanian Music (Doui Doui)
The tents of the Travellers are revealed, a moment of huge winter winds as the little group has arrived with their animals and set up their tent on the steppes, in the midst of the vast Russian emptiness.
Dawn is breaking.
Intro repeat with soloist or choir.
(Note: the transcription is phonetic and we probably don't need to keep it that exact.)
The Dance First Four Verses
The song and dance begins very slowly with very prominent 'um-cha' bass. It will get faster and faster. The first 4 times are probably a solo singer/dancer with dance troupe making supportive movements around her.
The words are transcribed phonetically and it is probably not necessary to follow them exactly.
Verses 5 and 6
Speeding up now and suddenly very quiet.
Verses 7, 8 and Optional 9
There is by now wild excitement and our singer/dancer is once more centre stage, which is a mass of whirling and spinning.
A lot of cries of 'Hop Hop Hop Hop!', hand clapping, stamping, and 'Hopla!'
Africa and Spain, and the Lockett's Fireside
Short cutaway sequence; Africa
The Gypsy band is continuing to travel.
PRINCE: Another group went South along the African shores of the Mediterranean. They travelled across the waters into Spain. (Possible mime). There they claimed to be Egyptian Princes and were entertained by Royalty.
Cutaway sequence; Spain; a Cave in Andalusia
Spanish Dance; El Vito
Verse 1; with guitar, castanets.
A dance to celebrate their arrival.
Various solo dancers while the others sit on shelf like rock seats in the cave or on upright wooden chairs, or hang around and clap.
2nd verse; guitar, trumpet, etc.
Dance by the Spanish Gypsies.
This is then dispersed by the:
Cutaway sequence; the Spanish Gypsy Circus Arena
Entry of the Trumpeters. Fanfare.
Spanish Gypsy Circus Band Music (El Gato Montez)
The Spanish Gypsy Circus Company performs.
Entry of Spanish Gypsy acrobats, sword swallowers, illusionists, jugglers, and artists in fire.
Might be arrival of bareback artiste on horse or fantasy vehicle as created by Mutoid Waste Demolition Co.
There may also be throughout this a mimed Spanish Gypsy Circus Band of big drum, sousaphone, trombone, saxophone, trumpet. Maybe they entered first.
The spectacle may finish with the entire troupe leaving the stage and rushing down the aisle with whoops, catawalls, and olés, and disappearing out of the back of the auditorium.
Jeremy Sandford FanClub Archives
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Jeremy Sandford, RIP.
They are provided here for your private research, and as a tribute to Jeremy.
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George @ dicegeorge.com(c)2006
[Jeremy Sandford FanClub]