Author Topic: “The Sheriff at the Gates: A Farce in Three Acts’’  (Read 264 times)

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Giuliano Taverna

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Act One

(A street in Cambridgeham. Most Exalted University Professor HENRY LOUIS GATES, freshly returned from the Land of the Asian Khan, is rattling the door of his keep. Enter a WENCH.)

WENCH: Alarum! Alarum! A thief is about!

GATES: Peace, ye fat guts!

(Enter SHERIFF CROWLEY)

CROWLEY: Stay, now! Who disturbs our peaceful shire?

GATES: I disturb no man. My key unlocketh not.

CROWLEY: Forsooth, thou breakest and enterest.

GATES (entering his castle): I break not for witless constables. Begone!

CROWLEY: Back speaks no man to the Sheriff; I arrest thee!

GATES: Knowest thou whom I am? That I am coy with the Daily Beastmistress, Milady Tina? That I am most down with Lady Oprah, the Queen of afternoon tele-dalliances? That I am sworn liege to Dr. Faust, of whom Marlowe wrote? That I unravelest literary mysteries at the Greatest University Known to Man?

CROWLEY: Of Tufts you speak? Even so, thou art under arrest.

GATES: Thou detaineth me because I am a Moor!

CROWLEY: Some of my best friends are Moors. Your pleas availeth not.

GATES: You shall rue the day you crost my threshold.

CROWLEY: Thou dost protest too much. (Escorts the handcuffed GATES offstage.)

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Act Two

(Inside the faraway White Palace, where KING BARACK and his faithful DUKE AXELROD confer in an egg-shaped hall.)

AXELROD: The people are restless, sire.

BARACK: Aye, I offereth free poultices and physic to every man, woman, and child, but they spurn my generosity.

AXELROD: Their minds are elsewhere, at the ocean strand, or the playing fields of Fen.

BARACK: Yet I promise them health and long life. With but small increases in the annual tithes.

AXELROD: The people need distraction, my lord.

BARACK: A conflagration perhaps? My Israelite allies yearn to strike Nineveh. . .

AXELROD: Nay, the peasants tire of foreign entanglements. Forget not the disastrous reign of the House of Bush. (A page enters, and hands AXELROD a scroll.) What here? A saucy tale from Cambridgeham. The Sheriff has arrested a Moor for crimes unbefitting a gentleman.

BARACK: Stupid sheriffs arrest many Moors.

AXELROD: Perhaps in the Chicagoland of our youthful acquaintance, my lord. Not so many in Cambridgeham. ’Tis a most gentil and parfit place.

BARACK: Who is the man, and what is his crime?

AXELROD: ’Tis the Most Exalted University tutor Gates. Back has he spoken to the Sheriff, unbidden.

BARACK: Gates? I know this man. We have supped together on the enchanted Isle of Martha’s Vineland. I have seen him with Lady Oprah, prating about his ancestry.

AXELROD: Perhaps a photo op, my lord? We invite Gates and the Sheriff here, quaff ale in the summer heat, and proclaim peace and brotherhood among all men.

BARACK: And savor tobacco from the Duke of Marlboro?

AXELROD: Not with the people watching, sire. (Turns to page) Summon them here!

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Act Three

(In the garden of the White Palace, GATES, BARACK and CROWLEY are sipping ale, joined by the FOOL.)

FOOL: What? No beer nuts?

BARACK: Silence, Fool! Or back to Delaware with you.

FOOL (sniffing his glass, suspiciously): What beer is this? I smell the filth of Antwerp and Bruges.

BARACK: ’Tis our nation’s finest, lately of St. Louis, now in foreign hands.

FOOL (Aside): ’Tis a light man that drinks a light beer.

BARACK: Enough prattle! We gather to share ale, and indulge in manly talk of harmony among our tribes.

FOOL: This is no manly talk. Women speak of harmony and quilt-making. Men speak of Signors Ortiz and Ramirez, and the forbidden magic elixirs of the Fen.

BARACK: Enough, Fool! (To GATES and CROWLEY) Now let us raise our cups and swear eternal friendship.

GATES (lifting his glass): I hail the Sheriff and the worthy constabulary! But for them, my name would not have spread beyond our shores, even to the Indes, Cochin, and beyond.

CROWLEY (toasting): I hail the learned tutor! That his castle door may henceforth spring open at his touch, and his neighbors mind their own knitting.

BARACK: All hail the new era of hope and change, when Moor and Sheriff like buds are hugging.

FOOL (belching, loudly): Another round, perhaps? We have only started chugging . . .

(Exit ALL, laughing.)

source, http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/articles/2009/08/04/a_tale_told_by_an_idiot/?s_campaign=8315
"It is the duty of a good shepherd to shear his sheep, not to skin them." Tiberius Caesar

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