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Prince And The Pauper=090116 - Green Room Press · 6 THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER Each scene flows...

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THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER Adapted by Gary Peterson greenroompress.com
  • THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPERAdapted by Gary Peterson


  • GREEN ROOM PRESS, Inc. P.O. BOX 248 • CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA 52406 TOLL FREE (888) 350-5005 • FAX (319) 368-8011

    THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER Adapted by Gary Peterson

    Copyright © 2016 Adapted by Gary Peterson, All rights reserved. CAUTION: Professionals and amateurs are hereby warned that this Work is subject to a royalty. This Work is fully protected under the copyright laws of the United States of America and all countries with which the United States has reciprocal copyright relations, whether through bilateral or multilateral treaties or otherwise, and including, but not limited to, all countries covered by the Pan-American Copyright Convention, the Universal Copyright Convention and the Berne Convention. RIGHTS RESERVED: All rights to this Work are strictly reserved, including professional and amateur stage performance rights. Also reserved are: motion picture, recitation, lecturing, public reading, radio broadcasting, television, video or sound recording, all forms of mechanical or electronic reproduction, such as CD-ROM, CD-I, DVD, information and storage retrieval systems and photocopying, and the rights of translation into non-English languages. PERFORMANCE RIGHTS AND ROYALTY PAYMENTS: All amateur and stock performance rights to this Work are controlled exclusively by Green Room Press, Inc. No amateur or stock production groups or individuals may perform this play without securing license and royalty arrangements in advance from Green Room Press, Inc. Questions concerning other rights should be addressed to Green Room Press, Inc. Royalty fees are subject to change without notice. Professional and stock fees will be set upon application in accordance with your producing circumstances. Any licensing requests and inquiries relating to amateur and stock (professional) performance rights should be addressed to Green Room Press, Inc. Royalty of the required amount must be paid, whether the play is presented for charity or profit and whether or not admission is charged. AUTHOR CREDIT: All groups or individuals receiving permission to produce this play must give the author(s) credit in any and all advertisement and publicity relating to the production of this play. The author’s billing must appear directly below the title on a separate line where no other written matter appears. The name of the author(s) must be at least 50% as large as the title of the play. No person or entity may receive larger or more prominent credit than that which is given to the author(s). PUBLISHER CREDIT: Whenever this play is produced, all programs, advertisements, flyers or other printed material must include the following notice: Produced by special arrangement with Green Room Press, Inc. COPYING: Any unauthorized copying of this Work or excerpts from this Work is strictly forbidden by law. No part of this Work may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form, by any means now known or yet to be invented, including photocopying or scanning, without prior permission from Green Room Press, Inc.


    THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER A free-form adaptation of Mark Twain’s classic

    By Gary Peterson SYNOPSIS: No twins are required for this stylized and comical adaptation of Mark Twain’s classic tale. The story is familiar, but there’s a twist in the telling. A boy prince and a girl pauper exchange places for a time, and they get to experience how the other half lives. The Prince spends time as a Pauper, and vice-versa. But when the old King dies, the true Prince must be the one to be crowned next.

    CAST OF CHARACTERS (1 female, 1 male, 13-21 either, extras)

    MR. MARK TWAIN (f/m) ........................... Who serves as the Narrator and

    portrays assorted characters. (88 lines)

    EDWARD (m) .............................................. Who portrays PRINCE EDWARD VI of England. (85 lines)

    TAMARA (f) ................................................ Portrays Tom Canty, a beggar boy. (138 lines)

    SANDY (f/m) ................................................ In charge of props. (3 lines) LADY JANE GREY (f/m) ............................ Prince Edward’s cousin.

    (10 lines) KING HENRY VIII (f/m) ............................. King of England. (28 lines) HERTFORD (f/m) ........................................ An Earl, The Lord Protector.

    (43 lines) JOHN CANTY (f/m) .................................... Tom’s father. (25 lines) NANCY (f/m) ............................................... Tom’s sister. (10 lines) HERALD (f/m) ............................................. (10 lines) COURTIER (f/m) ......................................... (2 lines) MERCHANT (f/m) ....................................... (4 lines) LANDLORD (f/m) ....................................... (5 lines) GUARD #1 (f/m) .......................................... (6 lines) GUARD #2 (f/m) .......................................... (4 lines) NOBLE #1 (f/m) ........................................... (26 lines) NOBLE #2 (f/m) ........................................... (12 lines)


    NOBLE #3 (f/m) ........................................... (11 lines) NOBLE #4 (f/m) ........................................... (10 lines) PEASANT #1 (f/m) ...................................... (2 lines) PEASANT #2 (f/m) ...................................... (2 lines) PEASANT #3 (f/m) ...................................... (2 lines) PEASANT #4 (f/m) ...................................... (1 line) EXTRAS: A number of STAGEHANDS, who portray various TOWNSFOLK, NOBLES, RETAINERS and PEASANTS, as required when they are not changing the set. NOTE: These players may be of either sex; this play makes no claims of historical accuracy.

    PRODUCTION NOTES Much of the comedy of this play stems from puns involving homophones. Some are obvious, while others by their nature must be heard to be understood. Examples: Wales = whales Seal (the stamping device or the emblem) = seal (the animal) Dauphin [when pronounced DAW-fin] = dolphin Offal = awful France’s = Francis Two or 2 = too How he = Howie Your production may be as austere or as lavish as your budget allows. The coronation scene at the end may be sumptuous indeed, with colorful banners, attending courtiers, and even a live choir or a single, faux-operatic singer. The music chosen for the scene is the coronation anthem “Zadok the Priest” by Handel. This piece is, of course, anachronistic, but it begins with a longish string intro which may be repeated. The action should be timed so that the music will stop at a choral peak. If you prefer, any other royal-sounding fanfare may be used instead. Be prepared for stops and starts, though.

    This perusal script is for reading purposes only.No performance or photocopy rights are conveyed.


    Each scene flows into the next one smoothly without pause and the set changes are done right in front of the audience. The STAGEHANDS who move the set pieces about should don their appropriate hats and meld into the unfolding scene as efficiently as possible. In this manner, they may play the NOBLES, GUARDS, PEASANTS, etc. required for that particular scene. SANDY, with help from others, may distribute hats among the players as need be. MARK TWAIN very often covers the set changes by donning a new hat and/or costume tunic himself as he narrates, thus morphing into a new, different character in the next scene. Note that the various characters that TWAIN portrays still all maintain his well-known Missouri twang, cantankerousness, and affability. He makes no attempt to play any character but himself. Concerning rags and raiment: Each person wears a hat to show their role. The actor who happens to be portraying the Prince, whether that is EDWARD or TAMARA, wears a big, floppy, oversized red crown. Likewise, the Pauper always wears the beggar’s cap. Whoever is wearing the Prince crown is believed by the other players to be the real Prince. The GUARDS wear metal helmets (either real metal or fake metallic plastic), the TOWNSFOLK wear simple peasant hats, and KING HENRY VIII wears a regal-looking golden crown. LADY JANE wears a simple silver circlet. The Pauper’s rags and the Prince’s raiment are simple, poncho-like tunics worn over their regular clothes. These will be easy to remove and exchange. The Great Seal of England, an important prop in this play, should be wooden or metallic and large enough to be easily seen. A tall peppermill would do nicely. During the course of the play, it will be “hidden” in a niche or shelf on the upstage back wall and remain there pointedly visible to the audience. N.B. No character in the play actually refers to the Great Seal by name. They talk about it, the Prince uses it and hides it, but it is up to the audience to figure out its identity. So, in the coronation scene, when TWAIN asserts that the Prince alone knows where the Great Seal is, some child in the audience may blurt out its location loudly. It might be fun to single him out or even bring that child onto the stage and crown him/her King, instead of EDWARD. If you do, go on with the crowning and make the kid’s day; the play is nearly done anyway. TWAIN should then escort the child back to their seat and finish with the moral to round things out.

    This perusal script is for reading purposes only.No performance or photocopy rights are conveyed.


    It goes without saying that walking backwards on the stage as required in Scene 2 presents some problems. Make sure to block this scene carefully. Have each actor count his or her backward steps and insure that they recreate them exactly each time. Doubling of minor characters is encouraged if a smaller cast is desirable. A very good example of this is that the actor who plays KING HENRY VIII may also play CANTY, and LADY JANE may play NANCY. The GUARDS, NOBLES and PEASANTS certainly may be played by the same group of people. PRINCE EDWARD (and therefore also TAMARA) would have been 9 years old in 1547. Your production may portray them as any young age, with teenagers probably working out best. To be faithful, these historical figures should be portrayed at about the following ages: LADY JANE GREY: 12 KING HENRY VIII: 55 Earl of HERTFORD: 41 MARK TWAIN: Ageless


    PRELUDE: Empty Stage, or in front of a closed curtain SCENE 1: London Street just outside Whitehall Palace SCENE 2: A chamber within Whitehall Palace SCENE 3: London Street just outside Whitehall Palace (same as 1) SCENE 4: A chamber within Whitehall Palace (same as 2) SCENE 5: Offal Court, a dingy back alley SCENE 6: Westminster Abbey, a sumptuous cathedral

    This perusal script is for reading purposes only.No performance or photocopy rights are conveyed.


    The humorous story is told gravely; the teller does his best to conceal the fact that he even dimly suspects that

    there is anything funny about it.


    "How to Tell a Story", 1897

    This perusal script is for reading purposes only.No performance or photocopy rights are conveyed.



    Empty stage. MARK TWAIN enters. He appears tall and thin in his all-white suit and white boater hat. He takes a pipe from his mouth and points the stem at the audience. He squints one eye, and means business. TWAIN: (Sternly.) There is no smoking in this auditorium! (He puts

    the pipe in his mouth and blows some bubbles from it.) I have no other restrictions. (Pause.) Some of you may recognize me from pictures or illustrations. For the benefit of the less enlightened out there, please allow me to give you a short preamble to tonight’s festivities. (Pause, formally.) First and foremost, I shall introduce the man who will act as narrator for this stage spectacular. He is Mr. Mark Twain, a gentleman whose great learning, whose attention to historical accuracy, and whose veneration for the truth are only exceeded by his high moral character and his majestic presence. (TWAIN strikes a pose.) Of course, I refer in these vague, general terms to myself. I was born modest but I grew out of it. (Pause.) If you’ve heard any tall tales or electrifying yarns about me, they’re all true. Every last one of them. (Pause.) The ones that aren’t true are lies of the most scurrilous nature. Don’t you believe ‘em. Now, the story you are about to witness involves two young boys a very long time ago. Long before you were born; (Reflectively.) even long before I was born, and that sets it a back a mite indeed. Now, times may change, but young boys never will. They will always be scalawags and rascals, making mischief and getting into trouble just to add a touch of adventure to their lives. (Pause.) At this point, I pause momentarily in the narration to introduce the twins, who together are the protagonists in tonight’s drama. (He calls offstage.) Boys, come on out here and let the people see you.

    TAMARA and EDWARD enter. They are somewhat similar in height, but of course, are not identical twins. They stand on either side of TWAIN, and he speaks first to EDWARD.

    This perusal script is for reading purposes only.No performance or photocopy rights are conveyed.


    TWAIN: Let us begin with this boy… why don’t you introduce yourself to everyone?

    EDWARD: I play Prince Edward, the only son of King Henry the Eighth of England. King Henry was born in the year 1491 and died in 1547.

    TWAIN: Smart as a whip, this one! (He tousles EDWARD’s hair.) 1547 you say. That’s the very year this play begins. Do you have your hat?

    EDWARD: Yes, sir! (He brings out a floppy, oversized, stylized crown, and places it on his head.)

    TWAIN: Excellent! Very princely. Now, on to the pauper. (He turns his attention for the first time to TAMARA, standing on his opposite side.) Wait, you’re not a boy.

    TAMARA: Thank goodness. TWAIN: But we need someone to play the poor street beggar, Tom

    Canty. TAMARA: I can play the part. TWAIN: But Tom is a boy. TAMARA: I can portray any part that a boy can. And I can play

    basketball or baseball better than any of ‘em. TWAIN: Sports will not be required––Wait, I know you! You played

    Becky Thatcher in “Tom Sawyer” a while back. TAMARA: That’s right. TWAIN: You were very good… TAMARA: That’s right, too. TWAIN: Your name is TAM-er-ah, isn’t it? (He pronounces it wrong.) TAMARA: Tah-MAHR-rah, actually. I’ve done a lot of acting. EDWARD: She’s also the pitcher for the St. Louis Wolves. TAMARA: (To the AUDIENCE.) Google that when you have a

    chance. TWAIN: But, Tamara, don’t you see, we need a boy who resembles

    Edward here, so that he will be mistaken for the prince.

    This perusal script is for reading purposes only.No performance or photocopy rights are conveyed.


    TAMARA: Mr. Twain, watch. (To the AUDIENCE.) Kids, who’s the Prince? (AUDIENCE members should indicate EDWARD, either vocally or by pointing.) Right. Edward is the Prince. (TAMARA walks over, takes the crown from EDWARD, and places it on her own head.) Now, who’s the Prince? (If necessary, TAMARA may encourage AUDIENCE members to choose her. When they do.) Exactly. There you are. (To TWAIN.) See, Mr. Twain, the audience can follow the action.

    TWAIN: But won’t the guards and the others notice that you’re different?

    TAMARA: No, that’s the point. They’ll always bow to the one who wears the crown.

    TWAIN: (To EDWARD.) How do you feel about this, Edward? EDWARD: I’m OK with it. (He “high fives” TAMARA.) TWAIN: (To the AUDIENCE.) And you all out there will be able to

    follow this? She’s really poor and he’s really the King’s son, but everyone on stage will think that the one who happens to be wearing the crown is actually the real Prince. (AUDIENCE should agree to this.) I want to test this. Stand here, you two. (EDWARD and TAMARA stand in front of TWAIN. To audience.) Who’s the Prince? (AUDIENCE points. He switches the crown to EDWARD.) And now? (AUDIENCE points. He may do this routine once or twice more, then finally, he swiftly removes his own hat and places the crown on himself.) Now who? Aha! Gotcha! (To TAMARA.) All right, you’ve proved your point. You can play Tom.

    TAMARA: Thank you, Mr. Twain. TWAIN: (Placing the crown back on EDWARD, and his boater back

    on his own head.) Well, if this is how it’s going to be, let’s get this play started. Edward, why don’t you go on offstage so’s you can come in with the guards like you’re s’posed to.

    EDWARD: Yes, sir. (He moves to go.) TWAIN: Do you have the—you know—the thing? EDWARD: (As he exits.) It’s offstage. I’ll bring it when I come back. TWAIN: (Yells after him.) It’s important! Your father, the King, gave it

    to you! You can’t lose it! (It’s hopeless, EDWARD is gone.) Oh, well, now on to you. (He turns to TAMARA.) We’ll have to make you up a bit if you’re to play the pauper boy. (Calls offstage.) Sandy, would you bring out the hats and things?

    This perusal script is for reading purposes only.No performance or photocopy rights are conveyed.


    SANDY comes on with a box. In it are several hats and a small makeup kit. She holds it for TWAIN during the next few lines, as TWAIN rummages in the box. TWAIN: (As he rummages.) This story will be told mainly with hats.

    Wearing a hat is the one thing the Prince and the Pauper have in common; they share very little else. Now, every actor in this play will wear a hat of some sort so that you can tell at a glance who’s who. (He takes out a helmet.) See, here’s a guard’s hat—(He puts it back and finds a golden crown)—and this is the King’s hat—(He puts it back.) well, you get the idea. (He finds and takes out a small flat beggar’s cap.) Ah, here we are. That’s the hat of a pauper. (He puts that cap on TAMARA.) You look poorer already.

    TAMARA: Thank you, Mr. Twain. TWAIN: (Getting the makeup kit.) And you won’t mind a few

    smudges on your face? TAMARA: I understand, Mr. Twain. I play the part of a dirty,

    uneducated street boy. TWAIN: (Starts applying smudges of makeup on TAMARA’s face as

    he talks.) Uneducated? Well, if by that you mean he had no formal education; you are right. Tom Canty never went to school. Very few people in his time did. Proper education was too expensive. Ignorance was cheaper, and the common folk could barely afford that. Now, Tom’s mother was a beggar and his father was a thief. But Tom Canty had a fine mind, and he used his wits to develop his own ideas about life, and how people ought to treat one other. (As he finishes.) Tom Canty was a good boy.

    TAMARA: How do I look? TWAIN: Fine. You’ll do just fine. Now, scoot! Go get your rags. Come

    back when you’re ready and we’ll do the first scene. (TAMARA exits. To SANDY.) Now, is there a hat for me in there?

    SANDY: Yes, sir. And your costume.

    This perusal script is for reading purposes only.No performance or photocopy rights are conveyed.


    She takes out a monk’s cowl and holds it for TWAIN. He then puts his pipe and boater in the box and takes out a folded tunic. The tunic, when opened, resembles a monk’s robe, which TWAIN dons over his white suit. His hands are quite free and we still can see the white suit clearly under the tunic’s open sides whenever he lifts his arms. SANDY then places the cowl on his head. TWAIN: (As he dresses.) See, in this first scene, I’ll be playing

    Brother Andrew, the wise, old, saintly cleric who taught Tom how to read and write.

    SANDY looks TWAIN askance. TWAIN: Well, wise and old anyway. (To SANDY.) Make sure the

    guards and Miss Jane and all get their hats as well. SANDY: Yes, sir. (She exits.) TWAIN: Now to set the scene…


    STAGEHANDS now bring out the various flats and set pieces for the LONDON STREET scene. The set may be as elaborate or simple as desired. The castle wall and fence are stage left, and shopfronts and carts are seen stage right. As they set up. TWAIN: This is the high street in London, England, in January of

    1547. Over there stands the Palace of Whitehall, which was King Henry VIII’s main residence after he appropriated it—that means stole it by legal wrangling—from the late Cardinal Woolsey. Over here is a row of buildings and houses. (The STAGEHANDS finally set up a fence and gate before the castle flat.) In the middle is the main thoroughfare where people crowd around in hopes of getting a glimpse of royalty. This here fence keeps them all from getting too close.

    This perusal script is for reading purposes only.No performance or photocopy rights are conveyed.


    As each STAGEHAND finishes his duty, he or she dons a townsfolk hat, and thereby becomes the crowd of TOWNSFOLK at the gates. All is set just as TWAIN finishes talking, and TAMARA reenters, now wearing the tunic of rags that betoken a beggar. TWAIN: (Turning to see TAMARA, now speaking as BROTHER

    ANDREW.) Why, Tom! Tom! Tom Canty! TAMARA: (Now speaking as TOM CANTY.) Brother Andrew!

    (Approaches TWAIN.) TWAIN: I haven’t seen you in weeks. How are ye, lad? TAMARA: Just fine. And you? TWAIN: Tolerable, tolerable. What brings you so far from your home,

    Tom? TAMARA: Well, my father says we need two pennies for our rent

    today— TWAIN: ––And he’s sent you to beg for it. TAMARA: Well–– TWAIN: ––Or steal it! TAMARA: (Sheepishly.) Yes, sir. TWAIN: Tom, look at me; you aren’t going to steal the money, are

    you? TAMARA: No, sir. I couldn’t do that. TWAIN: Good lad. Always do the right thing. It’ll gratify some folks

    and astonish the rest. You’re a far better man than your father, Tom. Send a boy out to do his dirty work!

    TAMARA: Oh, my father is a good man; really he is. It’s just that things have been hard for us lately.

    TWAIN: Things have been hard for everyone nowadays, Tom, but not everyone resorts to thievery even so. It takes strength of character to bear up in bad times and keep right and wrong in their proper places.

    HERALD: (From the back of theater.) Make way! Make way, I say! TAMARA: What’s going on? TWAIN: A person of importance is a-coming. TAMARA: (Straining to look at the back of the theater.) Who? HERALD: (Begins marching towards the stage.) Make way for the

    Prince of Wales! TWAIN: The Prince of Wales, apparently.

    This perusal script is for reading purposes only.No performance or photocopy rights are conveyed.


    As their conversation continues, EDWARD, dressed up as the Prince, enters from the back of the theater. He wears the floppy red crown and a lavish tunic. In his hand, he carries the Great Seal of England ostentatiously. He marches in the center of a small parading entourage of GUARDS and RETAINERS, with the HERALD at their head. The HERALD repeats “Make Way!” in the pauses between the next few lines. TAMARA: (Now tiptoe.) I’ve always wanted to see a real prince.

    (Awestruck.) The Prince of Whales! TWAIN: Stick close and you may get a glimpse of him. TAMARA: How wonderful it would be to actually be a prince! TWAIN: Hmmph! “Every nobody wants to be a prince and every

    prince wants to be a nobody.” TAMARA: (Slyly.) Is that one of Mark Twain’s sayings? TWAIN: No! It’s Mother Goose. Didn’t I teach you to read? (With

    faux wistfulness.) That sage Mark Twain won’t be born for another 300 years. This is 1547, remember.

    TAMARA: I remember, (Pointedly.) Brother Andrew. HERALD: Make way for the Prince of Wales! The parade now reaches the stage. The crowd parts for them, and the TOWNSFOLK bow and curtsey for the Prince. TWAIN: (Bowing, sotto voce to TAMARA.) Bow. TAMARA: (Still straining to see.) What? TWAIN: (A little louder.) Bow! HERALD: (Noticing TAMARA.) You there, dog! (TAMARA is looking

    around for something.) You there! Bow to your Prince! TAMARA: Me?!? HERALD: Insolent! (He grabs her arm, roughly.) What do you think

    you’re looking for? TAMARA: The fish tank. HERALD: The—the what?? TAMARA: The fish tank. You said he’s the Prince of Whales, and I

    want to see the whales. Where are they?

    This perusal script is for reading purposes only.No performance or photocopy rights are conveyed.


    EDWARD, in spite of his regal bearing, chuckles out loud. TWAIN: (Sotto voce hint to TAMARA.) Prince of Wales, the country. TAMARA: But I thought he was Prince of England. EDWARD: (Steps forward from his entourage. As he does, the

    HERALD releases TAMARA, and along with everyone else, he bows low.) Yes, boy, I am the Crown Prince of England. But my title is Prince of Wales. Wales is a principality under English control.

    TAMARA: (Disappointed.) So no real whales? EDWARD: No sea creatures of any kind. TAMARA: Oh. EDWARD: What’s your name, boy? TAMARA: Tom Canty. EDWARD: (Confidentially.) You should say “sire” or “Your Highness”

    when addressing me. TAMARA: Oh! Tom Canty, Your Highness. EDWARD: Hmm. And where are you from, Tom Canty? TAMARA: I come from a place simply called Offal Court, Your

    Highness. EDWARD: Simply Awful Court? It must be, judging by your clothing.

    Are you hungry? TAMARA: Always, Your Highness. EDWARD: Well, I’m about to have my lunch. Why don’t you come

    join me? I could use the diversion. TAMARA: (Indicating the GUARDS.) Won’t these fellows mind? EDWARD: I command them. The do what I say. (Louder) And I say:

    Set another place at luncheon for my friend, Tom Canty of Simply Awful Court!

    COURTIER: (Who may be wearing a chef’s hat.) Yes, Your Highness! (He moves to go towards the castle.)

    EDWARD: (Stopping him.) Oh, what’s on the menu today? COURTIER: Fish, sire. Fresh from the sea. TAMARA and EDWARD: Fish! (They both laugh as they and the

    entourage enter the castle.)

    This perusal script is for reading purposes only.No performance or photocopy rights are conveyed.


    TWAIN: (Removing his cowl and tunic.) So, the two boys went inside and had a most pleasant luncheon together. (The TOWNSFOLK again become the STAGEHANDS and begin shifting the set pieces to morph into the Castle Interior set as TWAIN speaks.) They told tall tales and laughed together as good friends will. (TWAIN grabs a halberd from a passing guard.) In fact, Prince Edward said it was the most enjoyable afternoon he’d had in ages.

    At this point, SANDY crosses the stage with the box of hats, and TWAIN nonchalantly grabs a guard’s helmet from it as she passes and the set change finishes. He puts the helmet on and becomes a Palace GUARD in the next scene. TWAIN: (Continuing.) But it was after the luncheon, while the boys

    were swapping stories about their lives, that the actual mischief began---


    A small anteroom in Whitehall Palace. There is a central wooden table with a bowl of fruit, and two ornate chairs. TAMARA, still dressed as the Pauper, and EDWARD, wearing the Prince crown, enter together, seemingly fast friends. TWAIN, wearing a guard’s helmet, stands easily on the Downstage side of the Stage Right entryway. EDWARD: I am just so glad I’ve met you, Tom! (They go towards the

    central table.) TAMARA: Me, too! EDWARD: It’s just been wonderful to have you here at the castle.

    (EDWARD sits in one of the chairs, and then stands the Great Seal up on the table.)

    TAMARA: (Pulls out the other chair and prepares to sit in it.) It sure must be great to be a prince, and—

    EDWARD: What are you doing? TAMARA: (Obviously.) Sitting.

    This perusal script is for reading purposes only.No performance or photocopy rights are conveyed.


    EDWARD: You can’t sit in the presence of the Prince. TAMARA: What? EDWARD: ––And you didn’t say “Your Highness” either. TAMARA: ––Your Highness?! EDWARD: (Big smile.) Just kidding! Have a seat. In fact, I’ll make it

    official—(EDWARD picks up the Great Seal and stands. Formally.) Let it be known that Tom Canty of Simply Awful Court in London Town is hereby granted dispensation to sit in the presence of Prince Edward of England, and to refer to him—whilst in private—as Edward or even Ed! (He bangs the Great Seal on the table. Warningly.) –but never Eddie.

    Both boys laugh. TWAIN stifles a chuckle. TAMARA sits. EDWARD: Now, what were you saying, Tom? TAMARA: Well, Ed, (EDWARD grins widely at the use of his name.)

    I was saying that it must be great to be a Prince! EDWARD: (The smile fades.) You’d think so. But often it’s a royal

    pain. Firstly, a lot is expected of me. I’m expected to be good in sports, just as my father was; I’m expected to be good at Latin and Greek, which are miserable tongue-twisters; plus I’m expected to be wise in leadership and diplomacy––but my life has been totally sheltered! I never know what goes on fifty yards outside my gates! I know nothing about the day-to-day lives of the people that I’m supposed to govern. Then there’s all the rituals and rigmarole I have to endure!

    TAMARA: Still, you have servants, fine clothing, and all the food you could ever want! I don’t eat every day, this is the only suit of clothes I’ve ever owned, and I have to dress myself! (Showing a portion of the rag tunic.) –And, frankly––ICK!

    EDWARD: Do you have friends back in Simply Awful Court? TAMARA: Friends? Lots. EDWARD: I really don’t have much in the way of friends here in the

    Castle… I mean, no one to play with… There’s only Lady Jane and my sisters that are anything like my age—and they’re all girls!

    TAMARA: Don’t sell girls short, Your Highness, they can make good friends just as well as boys.

    This perusal script is for reading purposes only.No performance or photocopy rights are conveyed.


    EDWARD: Well, Lady Jane maybe, but not my sisters. Mary and Elizabeth are positively grim! They have no idea how to have any fun. Fortunately, there’s little chance of them ever ruling England; I’m the first in line for that! (Changing the subject.) What about your family; your parents? Are they nice to you?

    TAMARA: Well, my Dad can be a bit rough at times, but he tries his best with what little we have. He’s fair to me. My mother is sweet and quite pretty.

    EDWARD: My Mother’s dead. I mean my real mother. I’ve had some stepmothers since the King has been married a few other times---

    TAMARA: Really? He’s been married more than once? EDWARD: Yup; six wives, total. There were two Annes, three

    Catherines, and one Jane, my mother. TAMARA: Wow! I don’t know anyone who’s been married more than

    once. Some folks not even that much. Still, I think it would be marvelous to be a prince! Just for a moment!

    EDWARD: Well, OK, Tom, here you go. Try on my crown. See how it feels!

    TWAIN: (To AUDIENCE.) Uh-oh! TAMARA: Really? EDWARD: Just for a few minutes. Here, take the robes, too. (They

    stand and take off their hats and tunics.) TAMARA: Do you want my things? EDWARD: Sure. (They exchange clothes and hats.) Why not? TAMARA: (Holding the royal tunic.) I’ve never held anything so rich! EDWARD: (Putting on the rags tunic.) As you said: Ick! TAMARA: I could buy several houses in Offal Court with this! (She

    puts the raiment on.) EDWARD: I could buy several weeks in the stockade with this! They both laugh. EDWARD: We need a mirror! I know where I can get one. (He

    moves to go out the door that TWAIN is “guarding”.) TWAIN: (Stops him by clearing his throat.) Ahem! Forgetting

    something, young fella?

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    EDWARD: (Snaps fingers.) Oh yes, of course. Thank you, random Palace Guard. (He goes back to the table and picks up the Great Seal. He casts about for a hiding place, then spots a niche in the rear wall. He places the Great Seal into the niche, where it is highly visible to the audience for the remainder of the play.) I’ll be right back with that mirror, Tom. Wait here.

    TAMARA: OK. As soon as EWARD exits Stage Left, TAMARA stands and, thinking herself alone, she begins quietly pretending to be a Prince. She struts about and waves her hand regally to the adulation of an imaginary throng. TWAIN: (Talking to the AUDIENCE, as TAMARA struts about.) Now

    whose story shall we follow, do you think? Each of the boys has an adventure immediately after this moment, and they both are quite important to the story. Hmm…Edward the Pauper or Tom Canty the Prince… I must have a prodigious quantity of mind; it takes me as much as a week sometimes to make it up. (There is a knock at the Stage Left door.) Well, there we go… While I’ve been jabbering, Tom’s adventure has begun, so we’re stuck here to watch it. (TWAIN again resumes his stoic post as guard. The knock repeats.)

    TAMARA: Who’s there? JANE: (Offstage.) Lady Jane, Your Highness. TAMARA: umm… (Louder.) My Highness ain’t here! JANE: (Offstage.) Please, sire, I have a message from your father. TAMARA: From my father? (To herself.) What would he be doing so

    far away from Offal Court? If he finds me here, prancing like a princeling—well, I hate to think what he would say! (Louder.) Tell my father I’ll be home soon—(an afterthought.) with those two pennies!

    JANE: (Offstage.) Please, sire, I must speak with thee. TAMARA: Oh, all right… (She opens the door, Letting JANE in.)

    See, Price Edward isn’t here. JANE: (Of course, she thinks TAMARA is the Prince.) I do not

    understand your jest, sire. I see Prince Edward before me. TAMARA: (Turning around, looking behind herself.) Where?

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    JANE: (Giggling.) Oh, now I see! ‘Tis some game you’re playing. You are not the Prince today. Then, I am not the Lady Jane Grey either!

    TAMARA: (Who does not know her.) Who are you? JANE: (Doing a little dance.) Why, I am the Queen of Sheba, here

    on a royal visit to the court! TAMARA: (Who takes her at her word.) Oh, Your Majesty! (Unsure

    what to do, first TAMARA curtseys, then eventually she bows low to the presumed Queen.)

    JANE: (Laughing.) This is a goodly jest! (Faux regally.) Now what be your name, lesser mortal? What shall I call thee?

    TAMARA: Tom Canty, if it please Your Majesty. JANE: Then rise, Sir Tom, and listen well to my words, for they come

    from King Henry VIII of England! TAMARA: (Rising, wide eyed.) Yes, Your Majesty! JANE: The King would have thee know that he comes but soon to

    this very chamber to meet with his son, as he wishes to speak with him on a matter of some import. (She giggles again.) I think it were best if Prince Edward were here to greet him!

    TAMARA: I only hope he’ll get back in time! JANE: (Laughs out loud.) I hope so too! (Smiling, she shakes her

    head.) Silly boy! (She exits.) TAMARA: Wow! What a day! Me, poor street urchin Tom Canty! I

    actually got to meet the Prince of Whales and the Queen of Sheba—who could I possibly meet next?

    HERALD: (Offstage.) King Henry the Eighth of England! Make way for the King!

    TAMARA: (Meekly.) Oh! The door bursts open and KING HENRY VIII strides in. KING HENRY VIII: (Spotting TAMARA, with enormous warmth.) My

    son! (TAMARA kneels instantly.) Oh, rise; rise, my boy! (TAMARA remains kneeling.) Why do you not rise, my child?

    TAMARA: I dare not, Your Majesty. You are my King; my liege! KING HENRY VII: It is good that you show obeisance to the crown.

    Still, you are my son; my only son, and you will be King yourself one day. Therefore stand, and look me full in the face.

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    TAMARA: (Rising slowly, as she is sure she’ll be thrown out any second.) Yes, Sire.

    KING HENRY VIII: (Studying TAMARA’s face, quizzically but with tenderness.) I never noticed before how much you resemble your mother. Never fear to look squarely at your King, my son.

    TAMARA: But, I’m not your son, Your Majesty. KING HENRY VIII: (Taken aback.) What sayest thou? TAMARA: I’m just a poor pauper boy! KING HENRY VIII: (Worried.) Lad, lad! The Lady Jane told me you

    were playing some game. But my boy, do not even jest about such a thing. You are my son, Prince Edward! Thou art the Prince of Wales! Thou shalt be King of all England in thy turn! Stand tall before me, son! Look at me! Now, tell me you do not know your own father!

    TAMARA: Well, of course I know my Dad! KING HENRY VIII: (Brightening, delighted.) Dad, he calls me! Yea,

    Dad I am. Thou mayest call me that here in private, for I love thee dearly. But, thou shouldst really call me Father. (He waits expectantly.)

    TAMARA: Ok, “Father”. KING HENRY VIII: (Hugging TAMARA.) Oh, my son, my boy! TAMARA: (Aside to AUDIENCE.) Wrong twice. KING HENRY VIII: (Releasing TAMARA.) Never, ever deny thy

    parentage, son! Thou comest from the long, regal, noble line of Tudors!

    TAMARA: No, Father. (Confused.) I mean, yea, Father. I mean, yea to one thing, but nay to the other.

    KING HENRY VIII: (Ignoring her, and becoming more serious.) Now, on to my business with you. You know I gave the Great Seal into your safekeeping.

    TAMARA: Umm— KING HENRY VIII: ––You must take care of it. Keep it secret and

    safe! There may be designs upon it in the days to come. The Dauphin in particular desires it.

    TAMARA: (Clueless.) The dolphin has designs upon the seal? KING HENRY VIII: Yes! How he wants it! TAMARA: Howie wants it too?

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    KING HENRY VIII: (Correcting.) Howard. You mean Thomas Howard, the Duke of Norfolk? Yes! How keen your mind is to see intrigue there too. I’ve had Norfolk arrested and he stands in the stocks.

    TAMARA: He stands in the stocks? KING HENRY VIII: He stands in the stocks. He’s trapped in the

    Tower. TAMARA: He’s trapped in the Tower? KING HENRY VIII: He’s trapped in the Tower. He’ll pay for his

    perfidy. TAMARA: He’ll pay for his––what? KING HENRY VIII: Yea, verily, how he will. Fret not for Norfolk. But I

    refer now to the Dauphin of France. The Dauphin of France is Francis.

    TAMARA: Well, that makes sense. KING HENRY VIII: Francis is the issue of King Henry 2. TAMARA: Wait. Is that your father, Henry, Father, or your father’s

    father, Henry, Father? KING HENRY VIII: What? No, neither. Besides, my father’s father

    was Owen. TAMARA: Owen who? KING HENRY VIII: Owen Tudor. TAMARA: (Wryly, aside.) My father’s owin’ everybody. KING HENRY VIII: Still, France’s Henry is a different Henry, though I

    can see where there may be some confusion. France’s Henry’s father was France’s first Francis and therefore his son is Francis 2.

    TAMARA: That’s clear. But yet his father’s Henry, too? KING HENRY VIII: Henry the Second. Yes. TAMARA: So France’s Francis is the second second. Two two’s in a

    row. KING HENRY VIII: (Considering.) Yes, yes… TAMARA: Royal lineage is very complicated. KING HENRY VIII: That’s why it’s vital that you adhere to heredity.

    You are my sole son. You are England’s heir. TAMARA: England’s air is foggy. Very foggy. KING HENRY VIII: Don’t cloud the issue. The Tudor line must carry

    on. Remember that you are the boy I always wanted. TAMARA: I might disappoint you there.

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  • Thank you for reading this free excerpt from:PRINCE AND THE PAUPER

    by Gary Peterson.

    For performance rights and/or a complete copy of the script,please contact us at:

    GREEN ROOM PRESS, [email protected]