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Good Manners:

A Midieval Quest for Polite Behavior

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CLICK HERE to see Common Core Standards & Vocabulary for this play.
CLICK HERE to read Teacher Reviews for this play.

 

Casting

From 11-40 students. Use as many Apprentices, Squires, etc. in each scene as
desired. One student can easily play several roles if needed, and
individual roles can be doubled up. Note that all roles can be played by
either boys or girls; see our comments on page 33 of the Teacher’s Guide.

Script

This is the first one-third of the script:

CHARACTERS:

TROUBADOUR (storyteller)
SORCERER
SORCERER'S APPRENTICES
SIR DANCELOT (Knight)
SIR GWENDOLYN (Knight)
ALCHEMIST
ALCHEMIST'S ASSISTANT
BLACK KNIGHT
BLACK KNIGHT'S SQUIRES
BARON
NOBLE
DAMSELS IN DISTRESS
ABBOT
MONKS
MOTHER DRAGON
KID DRAGONS
VILLAGERS

and a CHORUS composed of all students who are not playing
roles on stage at the time.

Song 1:    

(CLASS enters/stands, faces audience, and sings:)

CLASS:
From back when there were dragons
And damsels were distressed
There comes a tale that we'll unveil of a quest…for good manners.

An evil spell had fallen
The kingdom was possessed
And so two knights soon set their sights on a quest…for good manners.

The folks were once polite
But now each duke and knight
Was rude and crude and mean instead
Chivalry was dead!

All courtesy was banished
Politeness repossessed
They'd have to get their etiquette on a quest…for good manners.

Now let us tell our story
And get it off our chest
Medieval times with jokes and rhymes in a quest for…good manners. 
Let's go!

(TROUBADOUR enters, opens a large scroll, and addresses audience)

TROUBADOUR: Once there was a medieval kingdom under a terrible curse. The people there took great pride in their polite behavior, but one day a Sorcerer and his Apprentices cast a spell that drove out all good manners.

SORCERER (as SORCERER enters with APPRENTICES on his heels): Hey, hold on there.

TROUBADOUR (upset): What are YOU doing here? (pointing to scroll) It doesn't say that the Sorcerer and his Apprentices enter.

SORCERER: I couldn't wait. You need to tell them WHY I did it.

APPRENTICE #1 (to audience, pointing to SORCERER): The King kicked him out of the kingdom.

APPRENTICE #2: Yeah. He got us all banished.

SORCERER: So I got revenge. I used to BE somebody. I was the official Trainer of the Joust. ALL the great athletes came to me. I invented a potion that made the jousters bigger and stronger.

APPRENTICE #1: The King accused him of selling "performance enchanting" drugs.

SORCERER: And I was banished to the edge of the kingdom! But look who's laughing now.
(to APPRENTICES, who are making grand gestures with their hands towards each other and not paying any attention to the SORCERER) 
Tell them how I did it. 
(THEY don't respond—they just keep gesturing towards each other. After a few seconds, HE turns back to audience.) 
You see how rude they are? They're sending hexed messages to each other and ignoring me. My spell is working. I've eliminated all good manners, starting with polite words!

(TROUBADOUR exits.)

Song 2:    

SORCERER and APPRENTICES:

I cast a spell on Thank You
I cast a spell on Please
Gesundheit's never heard
Whenever people sneeze.
I hexed the words
That people use 
To be polite
I cast a spell on Thank You
I banished it from sight.

I cast a spell on Thank You
I made it disappear
Merci and Por Favor
You'll never find them here.
No Danke Schoen
No Si Vous Plait
No Pardon Me's
I cast a spell on Thank You
I cast a spell on Please.

No one says they're sorry
That's just a passing fad
Instead they shrug their shoulders
And mumble "That's My Bad."

Spoken: What's up with that?

SORCERER, APPRENTICES, and CHORUS:
I cast a spell on Thank You
I cast a spell on Please
Gesundheit's never heard
Whenever people sneeze.
I hexed the words
That people use 
To be polite
I cast a spell on Thank You
I banished it from sight.
I cast a spell on Thank You
I banished it from sight.

(SORCERER and APPRENTICES remain on stage.)

TROUBADOUR (entering, with scroll; to audience): The King sent two Knights on a quest to bring good manners back to the kingdom. Sir Dancelot and Sir Gwendolyn, very unimportant knights, were the only two people unaffected by the Sorcerer's spell. All hope rests on their inexperienced shoulders. They have no idea what to do.

DANCELOT (as KNIGHTS enter): I have no idea what to do, Sir Gwendolyn. TROUBADOUR: I knew he would say that.

GWENDOLYN: What if we just ask the Sorcerer to reverse the spell?

SORCERER: Reverse my spell? Are you nuts? That's impossible. Never gonna happen. No way.

APPRENTICE #1: Well, there is ONE way.

APPRENTICE #2: Oh yeah! You forgot about the one way.

SORCERER: Okay, okay, there IS one way.

GWENDOLYN: Please tell us.

SORCERER: You'd have to accomplish three very difficult tasks. Number One: Defeat the Black Knight.

DANCELOT: The Black Knight? Are you crazy? He's eats people like me for breakfast. I liked it better when we were very unimportant knights.

APPRENTICE #1: Number Two: Save a damsel in distress.

DANCELOT: I guess that's not so bad.

APPRENTICE #2: Number Three: Slay a fire-breathing dragon.

DANCELOT: That's it, I'm out of here. (starts to walk away) GWENDOLYN: Dancelot, wait. This is our big chance. We can do this.

SORCERER: Sure you can! Well, no, you can't. But it's a nice plot twist and I'm sure everyone will enjoy watching you go up in flames. (To APPRENTICES) Let's get back to work. We need to come up with something annoyingly impolite. (THEY start to exit.) APPRENTICE #1: Yeah—and that will encourage people to be self-absorbed.

APPRENTICE #2: And that will reward people for spelling really badly.

SORCERER: Come on. Don't just stand there twittering away. (pause, looks at audience) Twitter. Hey! That gives me an idea…

(THEY exit.)

DANCELOT: Man! Who knew this knight stuff was such a pain?

GWENDOLYN: Come on, we need to find the Black Knight.

DANCELOT: Do we really? Maybe we should start with something easier. How 'bout a yellow knight?

GWENDOLYN (pointing to other side of stage): Look, there's an Alchemist's store. Let's ask if he knows where we can find the Black Knight.

(THEY walk towards other side of stage, where the ALCHEMIST and ASSISTANT have entered.)

ALCHEMIST (to ASSISTANT): What do you mean you lost the philosopher's stone?

ASSISTANT: I didn't actually lose it.

ALCHEMIST: Good.

ASSISTANT: I skipped it across the pond.

ALCHEMIST: What?!

ASSISTANT: It was so smooth. Eight bounces—it's my personal best.

GWENDOLYN: Excuse me. We're looking for the Black Knight.

ALCHEMIST: The Black Knight? He lives over by the Dunberry Bridge. You can't miss him—he eats people like you for breakfast.

DANCELOT (grabbing a can, looking in it): What are you guys doing?

ALCHEMIST: We're trying to create the elixir of life.

ASSISTANT: Or a really good mango smoothie. Whichever comes first.

DANCELOT (nose in can): This stuff smells funny. It makes me want to…to…to (HE builds up and then delivers a giant sneeze.) AAAAAACHOOOOOO!

ALCHEMIST: Hey! You need to cover your mouth when you sneeze.

GWENDOLYN: I've never heard of that.

ASSISTANT: We call it hygiene—it's gonna be big.

Song 3:    

ALCHEMIST and ASSISTANT:

Oh I am a master alchemical whiz
A Renaissance man (yeah, whatever that is)
I'm workin' on transformin' lead into gold
So I don't have time to go catchin' a cold.

I've got a theory
To keep colds away
I've got a theory
That'll catch on some day.

I call it…
Hygiene
That's what I propose
Hygiene
So don't pick your nose.
Hygiene
Are those swollen glands? Yuck!
Don't touch that goblet and go wash your hands.

Yeah I got some miracle working to do
There ain't no elixirs for plague or the flu
So cover your mouth when you cough or you sneeze
There's all kinds of stuff that flies out when you wheeze.

I've got a theory
To keep colds away
I've got a theory
That'll catch on some day.

ALCHEMIST, ASSISTANT, CHORUS:
I call it…
Hygiene
That's what I propose
Hygiene
So don't pick your nose.
Hygiene
Are those swollen glands? Yuck!
Don't touch that goblet and go wash your hands.

(THEY exit; TROUBADOUR enters, still with scroll. GWENDOLYN and DANCELOT trudge back and forth across the stage behind the TROUBADOUR.)

(This concludes the first one-third of the script.)

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