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18 INTERIOR - PRINCE'S ROOM IN CASTLE - DAY

A young, quite embarrassingly unattractive PRINCE is gazing out of a castle window. His FATHER stands beside him. He is also looking out. The PRINCE wears a long white undershirt (like a night shirt).

FATHER: One day, lad, all this will be yours ...

PRINCE: What - the curtains?

FATHER: No! Not the curtains, lad ... All that ...

(indicates the vista from the window)

FATHER: ... all that you can see, stretched out over the hills and valleys ... as far as the eye can see and beyond ... that'll be your kingdom, lad.

PRINCE: But, Mother ...

FATHER: Father, lad.

PRINCE: But, Father, I don't really want any of that.

FATHER: Listen, lad, I built this kingdom up from nothing. All I had when I started was swamp ... other kings said I was daft to build a castle on a swamp, but I built it all the same ... just to show 'em. It sank into the swamp. So I built a another one ... that sank into the swamp. I built another one ... That fell over and THEN sank into the swamp .... So I built another ... and that stayed up. ... And that's what your gonna get, lad: the most powerful kingdom in this island.

PRINCE: But I don't want any of that, I'd rather ...

FATHER: Rather what?

PRINCE: I'd rather ... just ... sing ...

MUSIC INTRO

FATHER: You're not going to do a song while I'm here!

Music stops.

FATHER: Listen, lad, in twenty minutes you're going to be married to a girl whose father owns the biggest tracts of open land in Britain.

PRINCE: I don't want land.

FATHER: Listen, Alice ...

PRINCE: Herbert.

FATHER: Herbert ... We built this castle on a bloody swamp, we need all the land we can get.

PRINCE: But I don't like her.

FATHER: Don't like her? What's wrong with her? She's beautiful ... she's rich ... she's got huge ... tracts of land ...

PRINCE: I know ... but ... I want the girl that I marry to have ... a certain ... special ... something ...

MUSIC INTO FOR song.

FATHER: Cut that out!

Music cuts off abruptly.

FATHER: You're marrying Princess Lucky, so you'd better get used to the idea! Guards!

TWO GUARDS enter and stand to attention on either side of the door. One of them has hiccoughs and does so throughout.

FATHER: Make sure the Prince doesn't leave this room until I come and get him.

FIRST GUARD: Not ... to leave the room ... even if you come and get him.

FATHER: No. Until I come and get him.

SECOND GUARD: Hic.

FIRST GUARD: Until you come and get him, we're not to enter the room.

FATHER: No ... You stay in the room and make sure he doesn't leave.

FIRST GUARD: ... and you'll come and get him.

SECOND GUARD: Hic.

FATHER: That's Right.

FIRST GUARD: We don't need to do anything, apart from just stop him entering the room.

FATHER: Leaving the room.

FIRST GUARD: Leaving the room ... yes.

FATHER: Got it?

SECOND GUARD: Hic.

FARTHER makes to leave.

FIRST GUARD: Er ... if ... we ... er ...

FATHER: Yes?

FIRST GUARD: If we ... er ...

(trying to remember what he was going to say)

FATHER: Look, it's simple. Just stay here and make sure he doesn't leave the room.

SECOND GUARD: Hic.

FATHER: Right?

FIRST GUARD: Oh, I remember ... can he ... er ... can he leave the room with us?

FATHER (carefully): No .... keep him in here ... and make sure he doesn't ...

FIRST GUARD: Oh, yes! we'll keep him in here, obviously. But if he had to leave and we were with him.

FATHER: No ... just keep him in here.

FIRST GUARD: Until you, or anyone else ...

FATHER: No, not anyone else - just me.

FIRST GUARD: Just you ...

SECOND GUARD: Hic.

FIRST GUARD: Get back.

FATHER: Right.

FIRST GUARD: Okay. Fine. We'll remain here until you get back.

FATHER: And make sure he doesn't leave.

FIRST GUARD: What?

FATHER: Make sure he doesn't leave.

FIRST GUARD: The Prince ... ?

FATHER: Yes ... make sure ...

FIRST GUARD: Oh yes, of course! I thought you meant him!

(he points to the other GUARD and laughs to himself)

FIRST GUARD: You know it seemed a bit daft me havin' to guard him when he's a guard ...

FATHER: Is that clear?

SECOND GUARD: Hic.

FIRST GUARD: Oh, yes. That's quite clear. No problems.

FATHER pulls open the door and makes to leave the room. The GUARDS follow.

FATHER (to the GUARDS): Where are you going?

FIRST GUARD: We're coming with you.

FATHER: No, I want you to stay here and make sure he doesn't leave the room until I get back.

FIRST GUARD: Oh, I see, Right.

They take up positions on either side of the door.

PRINCE: But, Father.

FATHER: Shut your noise, you, and get that suit on!

He points to a wedding suit on a table or chair. FATHER throws one last look at the BOY and turns, goes out and slams the door.

The PRINCE slumps onto window seat, looking forlornly out of the window. MUSIC INTRO to song ...

The door flies open, the music cuts off and FATHER pokes his head in.

FATHER: And no singing!

SECOND GUARD: Hic.

FATHER (as he goes out): Go and have a drink of water.

FATHER slams the door again. The GUARDS take up their positions. The SON gazes out of the window again ... sighs ... thinks ... a thought strikes him ... he gets up, crosses to his desk and scribbles a quick note and impales it on an arrow ... takes a bow down from the wall ... and fires the arrow out of the window.

He looks wetly defiant at the GUARDS, who smile pleasantly.


<-- Scene 17 | Scene 19 -->


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