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20th Century European

Updated July 30, 2003


Act II, Scene 3

It is the following day.  The set has now been converted to an early Twentieth Century, European-throne-room-in-exile, one in the manner of Anastasia.  The room, nevertheless, looks much like an updated version of all the other throne rooms previously seen in the play.

As the lights come up, JACK and LIZ enter from the ramp.  They are dressed in formal attire appropriate to the updated version of the set.

            JACK:  Now remember.  Anne will be playing hard to get.  Youíll have to make a special effort to convince her.

            LIZ:  Donít worry.  If she gives me any trouble, Iíll tan her little bottom.

            JACK:  Try to remember sheís a grown woman now, not to mention a proto-princess.

            LIZ:  Donít be silly.  Sheís my daughter.

            JACK:  And donít forget about the royal birthmark.

            LIZ:  The what?

            JACK:  The scarlet pumpernickel.

            LIZ:  Oh, yes.

            JACK:  The King will undoubtedly want to ask you about it.  Feel free to show it to him.

            LIZ:  At a royal audience!!?  You want me to disrobe in front of all those people?         

            JACK:  What people?  Besides, itís on your elbow.

            LIZ:  Itís the principle of the thing.

            JACK:  You wonít show it?

            LIZ:  Not in public.

            JACK:  Oh wonderful!  Now what do I do?  Testify as to its authenticity, myself?

            LIZ:  And let everyone know youíve seen it!!?

            JACK:  But I have!

            LIZ:  I know.  And it was wonderful.  But Iím shy.

            JACK:  Really?

            LIZ:  And I do have an image to uphold.  Particularly in front of my youngest child.

            JACK:  You think Anne would be shocked?

            LIZ:  Sheís just a baby.

            JACK:  Right.  Okay, weíll forget the scarlet pumpernickel.

            LIZ:  Iíd really appreciate it.

            JACK:  Look.  We donít have much time.  Go in and make yourself presentable.  This is, after all... (JACK sweeps his hand toward the audience, as well as the stage.) a royal audience.

            LIZ:  (LIZ glances at the audience with a dead pan, appraising expression.)  Youíre kidding.  (Then she lifts her eyebrows and turns to exit.)  Well, whatever you say.

            JACK:  Good luck.  (JACK turns away as she exits.)  Youíll need it.

The KING enters alone and secretively.  He is dressed in an early Twentieth Century, royal dinner jacket. 

            KING:  Well?

            JACK:  I think she may well pull it off.

            KING:  Good.  And if she is accepted as Anneís mother, then it will be a cinch to send them both off to my northern castle.

            JACK:  I am of course pleased at your majestyís good fortune.  Perhaps we should include the Queen in our plans, as well.

            KING:  Already taken care of.

Suddenly, the QUEEN enters in a grand style, with ANNE following.  Both are dressed in early Twentieth Century costumes of the upper-to-royal class.

            KING:  (magnanimously, welcoming the ladies)  This is a great day!  The Queenís beloved half-sister and the mother of our Lady Anne may have returned to claim her rightful place.

            QUEEN:  Truly a glorious day.  (to ANNE)  Iím sure youíre very excited.

            ANNE:  (unenthusiasticly)  Ecstatic.

            KING:  Is everyone ready, to meet the dear lady?

            ANNE:  My mother was killed by a firing squad, along with the rest of my beloved family.  I have a photograph to prove it.  This woman your minister has found, is undoubtedly an imposter.

            KING:   Do not let your former grief cloud your judgement.

            QUEEN:  On the contrary my dear, her tale of escape from the firing squad and the dastardly revolutionaries is substantiated by numerous, reliable sources.

            ANNE:  If I may be allowed to have my doubts.

            KING:  Of course.  As long as one keeps an open mind.  (to JACK)  Bring in the lady. 

The KING and QUEEN sit on their respective thrones-in-exile, while JACK exits to bring in LIZ.

            QUEEN:  Iím so excited.  The thought of my beloved half-sister returning to me after all of these years.  Itís almost more than I can bear.

            KING:  We all have our moments of truth.

JACK enters with LIZ, preceding her and announcing her.

            JACK:  Your royal majesties!  May I present the Lady Elizabeth.

            KING:  Tell me dear lady:  What is your name?

            LIZ:  Elizabeth... of Xenopho.

            KING:  And your father was...?

            LIZ:  King Fritz of Xenopho.

            QUEEN:  (suddenly bursting into tears)  Oh!!

            KING:  And do you have any papers or certificates that will support your claim?

            LIZ:  No.  I canít read.

            QUEEN:  Oh!  (between tears)  Papa Fritz couldnít read either!

            KING:  Undoubtedly a family trait.  (to LIZ)  We understand you have a unique birthmark.

            LIZ:  I do.  But I cannot possibly show it to you.  It would be unladylike.

            KING:  (to the QUEEN)  Such modesty must certainly originate from your side of the family.  (The QUEEN tearfully agrees.)  Do you have a question of this fair lady?

            QUEEN:  Iím too overcome with emotion.

            KING:  I understand.  (turning back to LIZ and gesturing to her right eye)  And where did you receive that scar above your right eye?

            LIZ:  A bullet, sire.

            KING:  From the firing squad, no doubt.

            LIZ:  Yes sire.  And my hands have wounds as well.  (LIZ holds her hands out to show the scars in her palms.)

            KING:  Yes, I see.

            LIZ:  When they fired, I held up my hands before my eyes.  The bullet must have hit them and been deflected.

            KING:  And then grazed your head just above your right eye!  (LIZ nods in agreement.)  Well, thatís amazing!  There certainly couldnít be any more convincing evidence than that!

            ANNE:  Sire?  May I have a few words with the... ďLadyĒ.

            KING:  (hesitant, and glancing at JACK)  A few words?

            JACK:   It would seem reasonable.

            KING:  (trusting JACK)  Very well.  But only a few questions.  We donít wish to overtire the Lady.

            ANNE:  Of course.

            LIZ:  Ah, my little poocha!

            KING and QUEEN:  Poo-cha!!?

            ANNE:  I always hated that name!

            LIZ:  I know you did.

            ANNE:  Then why did you use it, if you knew I hated it?

            LIZ:  Mothers can do anything they want.

            ANNE:  Youíre kidding.

            LIZ:  I never kid, Anna.

            ANNE:  The name is Anne.

            LIZ:  I always liked Anna best.

            ANNE:  (disgusted)  I know.

            LIZ:  Do you remember the day of the Royal Shangli Ceremony, when you rode with me in our carriage.  You caught your little finger in the carriage door.

            ANNE:  (visualy moved and tearful)  Yes.  And you told me not to cry.  That princesses must never be seen to cry.

            LIZ:  Yes.

            ANNE:  I was in immense pain, and you gave me some pap about princesses not crying!!

            LIZ:  It was for your own good.

            ANNE:  It hurt!!

            LIZ:  I know.

            ANNE:  So why didnít you do something about it?

            LIZ:  Mothers donít have to do anything they donít want to.

            ANNE:  Youíre a sick old lady!

            LIZ:  Itís true I havenít been well.  Sometimes I fall into delirium.

            ANNE:  Like when youíre awake?

            LIZ:  Anna, do your remember the day on Penguin Island...?

            ANNE:  Huh?

            LIZ:  When we sat on the pebble beach?

            ANNE:  What are you talking about?

            LIZ:  We would throw the pebbles into the water?

            ANNE:   I always did like to throw stones.  I was always the first to throw one.

            LIZ:  And do you remember when we began to throw pebbles at the swans?

            ANNE:  (shaken by the revelation)  The swans?  Oh yes, I do remember!  (to LIZ, with great intensity)  Iím just a kid!  Youíre too clever for me.

            LIZ:  Then you do remember, donít you?

            ANNE:  (tearfully)  Yes.  Oh yes, I do.  Mother!

LIZ and ANNE embrace tearfully, while the KING, QUEEN and JACK smile.

            KING:  (standing, almost in tears himself)  It is done!

            QUEEN:  (standing, and throwing her arms out)  Sister!

            LIZ:  (tearing herself away from ANNE)  Sister Cat!

            QUEEN:  (harshly)  Catherine!

            KING:  (rubbing his hands together, as if everything is working according to plan)  This is marvelous!  And to mark this great occasion, we would give a gift befitting the moment.  (Everyone turns expectantly to the KING, everyone pretending surprise.)  My castle in Finland will henceforth belong to Elizabeth and her lovely daughter, Anna.  There the two of them can reside henceforth, in the style to which each has become accustomed.

            LIZ:  But sire, have you not heard?  The revolutionaries have burned your castle in Finland to the ground.

            KING:  (genuinely shocked)  What?  Burned!?

            LIZ:  To the ground.

            KING:  Donít be absurd!  That place has been frozen through and through for years.  You canít burn permafrost!

            LIZ:  I have the news from the most reliable of sources.  One of your very own Captains in the royal guard has reported that your Finnish castle is... well, finished.

            KING:  (becoming even more upset)  My castle is burned!!?

            JACK:  (to LIZ)  Can it be rebuilt?

            LIZ:  Total write off.

            KING:  (turning to the QUEEN)  Burned!!!!?  (In the ensuing dialogue, the KING becomes increasingly angry and frustrated.)

            ANNE:  Gee, thatís too bad.

            LIZ:  Fortunately, this castle is large enough for all of us.

            ANNE:  Big enough for me.

            LIZ:  I just know weíll all be so happy here.  (to ANNE)  Come along dearest, weíve a lot of planning to do.

            ANNE:  (starting to exit with LIZ)  I can show you my decorating samples.

            LIZ:  Wonderful.  Just as long as we donít use purple.

            ANNE:  But I like purple!

            LIZ:  Donít be silly, darling.  Purpleís passť.

LIZ and ANNE exit, arm in arm, smiling all the way.

            KING:  (The KINGís anger and frustration finally boil over.) ARGGGGGGG!!!!  (Trying to control his rage, he turns to JACK.  For a moment, it looks as if the KING will maintain his control, as he slowly walks toward JACK.  When the KING arrives in front of JACK, he simply stares at JACK for a moment, his rage ready to unleash itself.  Just when everyone expects him to give JACK a terrific tongue lashing, the KING lets go his frustration and rears back his head.)  ARRRRGGGGGGG!!!!  (Unable to say anything else, the KING turns and exits, still struggling for self control.)

            JACK:  (watching the KING exit)  He must have really loved that castle.

            QUEEN:  (smiling)  The King has never been, what you might call, a good sport.  Loves to compete, but absolutely hates to lose.

            JACK:  Which is unfortunate, inasmuch as competition invariably breeds at least one loser.

            QUEEN:  But with cooperation...

            JACK:  (smiling as broadly as the QUEEN)  Amazing things can be accomplished.

            QUEEN:  Including the re-empowerment of Elizabeth and Anne.

            JACK:  Not to mention yourself.

            QUEEN:  It is a delightful feeling.  But now, it is time for phase two of our little plan.

            JACK:  As I recall, your favorite part.

            QUEEN:  (taking JACKís arm and starting to exit)  Absolutely!

The QUEEN and JACK exit, smiling all the way.



Act II, Scene 2 -- Danish Treats

Forward to:

Act III, Scene 1 -- The 1/3rd Act



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