Running time approximately 20 minutes.
King John has been running England like his own personal petty cash pot, levying unreasonable taxes on the people and generally making them disgruntled. A fly-on-the wall documentary programme shows how the people took their revenge and stopped the miserly monarch from bleeding them dry. A bit like Brexit but with some genuine results!
17 SPEAKING CHARACTERS – 2 non-speaking. More peasants could be added.
As with all our plays, there are full production notes that give advice on scenery, costumes and props.
NO ROYALTIES, PHOTOCOPYING LICENCE INCLUDED.
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The scene is the Throne Room of the Palace (SEE PRODUCTION NOTES). Two “thrones” are in the centre of the stage. KING JOHN is counting out lots of coins from a box. The QUEEN is sitting next to him, eating bread and honey and playing with lots of jewels in another box. Enter a REPORTER, carrying a microphone. He speaks to the audience.
All is not well in the Kingdom of England. The level of complaints about life in general has reached enormous proportions. It seems that the complete absence of law and order is beginning to stir the people up into something close to revolution. So, we decided to investigate just how bad the system is. We intend to interview as many people from all levels of society, so that we can build an accurate picture of what exactly is happening and that is why I am here, in King John’s palace. We shall start at the top and work our way downwards. The King, of course, is in his counting house, counting out his money, whilst the Queen is eating bread and honey.
(The REPORTER approaches KING JOHN and bows).
Your Majesties. Thank you for granting me an audience.
Drat! You’ve made me lose my place! Now I can’t remember whether I’ve got fifty thousand pounds or fifty five thousand pounds.
Apologies Your Majesty. Either way it sounds as though you have quite a lot of money.
Oh no. There’s never enough money. My brother, Richard the Lionheart, spent a fortune on endless wars, I need to keep fighting wars to try and get my lands back in France which were…ahem…unfortunately lost, and the Queen here spends a fortune on jewellery.
Yes. I like jewellery. It’s a good investment. But I’m afraid I’ve got honey over everything. They will have to be cleaned.
Well, be careful you don’t lose your Crown Jewels in the wash, Your Majesties. (He winks at the audience) Geddit?
(KING JOHN and the QUEEN look at him blankly)
Oh, well, never mind. King John, can I just ask you why England seems such an unhappy place at the moment? The people seem to be very dissatisfied.
Oh, they’re always whingeing! It’s the weather! It makes them all miserable.
No, with all due respect , Your Majesty, it seems to be more than the weather. Word on the street is that there seems to be a complete lack of justice in the country.
Oh that! People are always moaning about who owns what bit of land, and how many taxes they have to pay. I haven’t got time for it all! Stupid petty problems! I have local officials to deal with all that. You know, sheriffs and the like.
I see. So you are not personally concerned with day to day matters like the price of bread?
Let them eat cake, that’s what I say.
KING JOHN (to QUEEN)
Didn’t someone else say that once?
Not yet – but they will.