Surely You Jest

by Linthendale Groksword

Cast of Characters:


The Jester strolls onto the stage, the bells on his outfit jangling obnoxiously.

​The Jester turns to the audience and grins like a fool, waving wildly to everyone.

The Jester says:

Greetings everyone! How are ya? Me? Fine! Grand! Fantastic! And I hope the same to all of you!

​The Jester flexes his bony arms and lets out a triumphant “HAH!”

​The Jester says:

Tonight, we got a fine tale for ya. I’m utmost confidant you’ll love it! It’ll make ya laugh and cry! …Or at any rate at least scowl and leave the room.

​The Jester tugs at his ear emphatically and a strong Gor’Tog takes his place at the only exit to the room.

The Jester says:

Ahh, there we are! Now! Let’s get this show on the road!

​The Jester laces his hands and pushes them in front of them, forcing a loud POP out of them. With a sharp turn to his right, he stumbles off the stage and takes his place as narrator of the play.

​The Jester winks and the curtains fall back, revealing a small town setting. Small houses hug a quiet little street, where several people dressed exactly alike wander about their daily business.

​The Jester recites:
Ders a little place called Wittledom, it’s not on any map,
And at this place called Wittledom, everyone wears the same hat.
The same clothes, of palish blue, the same texture and same hue,
And in this town there’s one who, our story takes a center to.

​The Balladeer wanders into the area, dressed in a clashing polka-doted tie, bright yellow spectacles, and a green vest. He looks about at the people in bewilderment.

​The Balladeer sings:

How can it be, this land to me, a crazy place it is!
Full of people I can see, all dressed alike you cannot miss!
Like half a copper to a trader, they all seem insignificant…
What I need here is to liven things, and teach them a few tricks!

​The Balladeer gazes about the cobblestone street with a wistful look on his face. His eyes suddenly brighten and he shoves his finger in the air!

​The Balladeer says:

Eureka! Whoever that is…

​The Balladeer says:

I think I had an aunt named Eureka… third aunt’s stepmother twice removed? No, that was Bernice…

​The Narrator says:

The Balladeer obviously has a short attention span. Thankfully I’m around to keep him a step ahead of things.

​The Jester’s voice booms down from above!

​The Jester loudly says:

Ahem! And SO the good Balladeer had an idea!

​The Balladeer hesitantly says:

I did? Someone really should tell me these things you know.

​The Jester grumpily says:

YES you did!

The Balladeer slowly says:

Oh all right, all right. Lessee… Say, who said that anyway?

The Balladeer glances about with a look of confusion on his face.

​The Jester yells:

It doesn’t matter ya babbling bard! Just get on with yerself! Your IDEA!

​The Jester snorts.

​The Balladeer slowly says:

Fine, fine, my idea…oh yeah! To teach these folk the importance of bein’ unique! I can do that… how hard can it be?

​The Balladeer scratches his head.

​The Balladeer matter of factly says:

I’ll just give a big play! Everyone can come see it, and it’ll teach em’ that it’s important to be themselves! Instead of…well, what they are NOW.

​The Balladeer gestures at one of the passersby in disgust.

​The Jester recites:

And so the new arriver of Wittledom,
Decided to change the good Wittledom’s home,
By teaching them the wonders of being different,
He headed to the mayor’s to seek a play permit!

​The balladeer strolls into the crowd of people behind him, and the curtains close on the stage.

​The Jester cheerfully asks:

What perils await our good friend the Balladeer?

The Jester gets a thoughtful expression on his face.

​The Jester helplessly asks:

Will he save Wittledom from the horrors of bad garb?

​The Jester ponders.

​The Jester hopelessly asks: Will he teach them the wonders of being individuals?

​The Jester gasps!

​The Jester loudly asks:

Will he ever find out who is behind this thundering voice?

​The Jester says:

Let’s find out…to the mayor’s office!

​The Jester flails his arms.

​The Jester makes a sweeping movement with his arm and the curtains swing open, revealing the setting of a bar, where the Balladeer stands prominently in the doorway with a cheerful grin.

​The Jester slaps his forehead!

​The Jester grumpily exclaims:

Ya no good poor excuse for a bard! There’s time for that later! Get yer arse down to the cursed permits office!

​The jester pulls his jester’s hat over his face and you hear a few muddled curses come from underneath. The curtains swing shut once again, and within a few moments they open to reveal an organized office with a large desk resting in the center. The mayor of Wittledom rests behind it, writing something on a piece of parchment.

​The Jester says:

Ahh, much better.

​The Balladeer grumbles to himself.

​The gorgeous Secretary smiles at the Balladeer his entrance.

​The Secretary sweetly says:

Greetings good sir, can I help you?

​The Balladeer sucks in his gut and straightens up in the dazzling lady’s presence.

​The Jester rolls his eyes and casually flicks one of the bells on his jester’s hat.

​The Balladeer says:

Greetings to you! I seek a play permit! I am a traveling balladeer and upon entering your town I have noted it needs a livening up!

​The Secretary sweetly sings:

Working for the mayor, day in and day out,
Holding the napkin, while he blows his snout,
Bending over to pick up that darn ink pot and feather quill,
He somehow manages to always spill…

​The gorgeous Secretary sighs and announces the Balladeer’s presence to the mayor.

​The disgruntled Mayor looks up from his paperwork.

​The Mayor grumpily says:

What is it! I’m busy! I got work to do! Come back tomorrow!

​The Mayor glares at the Balladeer.

​The Balladeer gulps and turns to leave.

​The Jester slaps his forehead.

​The Jester firmly says:

Don’t take that from him! YOU’RE the hero of this story! You can’t just quit!

The Balladeer glances up in annoyance and mutters to himself before replying…

​The Balladeer says:

Well its not like I asked to be the hero of this story. It was your idea ya know!

The Jester gnashes his terrible teeth!

​The Jester says:

It’s so hard to find good help these days…

​The Jester says:

Well its no wonder, pickin’ people off the streets like ya do! I was just wanderin’ around mindin’ my own business and all of a sudden poof! Maybe an application of some sort wouldn’t hurt before ya picked someone to be a hero…

​The Balladeer turns on his heel and stomps over to the mayor’s desk!

​The Balladeer loudly says:

Look here! I want a permit and I want one now!

The Balladeer stands up straight and places both hands on his hips in a heroic pose! From somewhere nearby you hear a chorus of wind instruments begin playing a valiant song.

​The Balladeer confidently says:

I’m a tax payin’ citizen of this…err…of a town, and I demand it! I pay for your salary! You owe me!

​The Balladeer firmly says:

What is a town like Wittledom coming to when you can’t make a simple request to its mayor without a load of hogwash from him! I may not know all, but I know when I’m entitled to something, and as sure as my uncle’s name is Herbert, I’m entitled to this.

​The Balladeer glances at the mayor, who looks unmoved.

​The Balladeer ponders.

​The Balladeer says:

Now are you gonna gimme a permit, or am I gonna have to get ugly with ya?!

​The Balladeer shakes his fist!

​The Mayor snorts and shrugs his shoulders.

​The Mayor darkly says:

A permit!? A Permit! What you’re saying is that YOU NEED A PERMIT!?

​The Mayor snarls in fury and leaps on his desk, glaring at the Balladeer like a madman!

​The Balladeer says:

Err.. if..if you…n’t bu..busy..

​The Balladeer clears his throat.

​The Balladeer says:

If you aren’t busy.

The Mayor’s angered look vanishes and he flashes a cheerful smile, his cheeks reddening to a rosy color and his eyes brightening in delight.

​The Mayor cheerfully says:

Okey dokey. Here ya be good sir!

​The Mayor, strangely-polite-and-cheerful-at-the-spur-of-the-moment, shakes the Balladeer’s hand and places a permit in it.

The Balladeer scratches his head.

​The Balladeer says:


​The Mayor hums to himself and sits down in his chair, going back to his work.

​The Secretary pats the Balladeer on the shoulder.

​The Secretary sweetly says:

Mayor gets that way…it’s …that time of the month again…

​The Balladeer blinks in confusion.

​The Secretary says:

Wittledom township monthly paperwork.

​The Secretary shakes her head.

​The Balladeer stares blankly into the distance.

​The Balladeer says:

OH! THAT time of the month!

​The Balladeer nods.

​The Jester says:

Anyway! So our hero got his permit!

​The Narrator recites:

Everyone cheered and celebrated the Balladeer’s victory.

​The Jester gestures and the curtains swing shut once again, leaving him alone on the front of the stage.

​The Jester sings:

The young man had a task, he must do well,
Or all of the poor town, will bore right to hell.
Dat pun was a bad one, but I fret you not,
It will be the last one, now lets see where the Balladeer’s got…

​The Jester waits several moments and then shoves his head through the curtain, gasps, and turns back to the audience!

The Jester sings:

Err..and so here we are…the play’s almost done…
Nice weather we’re havin’…isn’t this fun?
The clock sure is ticking, I got this feelin’ in my gut…
The stagehands were dozin’, but I’m sure now they’re UP.

​The Jester presses his hands together in prayer and makes his way to the side of the stage once again.

​The Jester covers his eyes and waves a signal, causing the curtains swing open, revealing a cobblestone street hugged by buildings, with a makeshift stage in place on it.

​The Jester sighs with relief.

The Balladeer wanders on stage before a gathering of passersby.

​The Balladeer recites:

Greetings Wittledomians! I’m here to save yous!
Gather around and please hold off on throwin’ shoes!
Rocks are much harder…but that’s not the point,
I just want a chance to tell you, there’s somethin’ not right about this joint!

​The Balladeer ducks several shoes and blows a large raspberry at the crowd!

​The Balladeer preens!

​The Balladeer gets hit right between the eyes by a rock with a hollow THUNK!

​The Balladeer winces.

​The Mayor, seemingly calm at the moment, makes his way onto stage.

​The Mayor says:

Please! Fellow Wittledomians! This young bard has traveled from afar, and offers us a chance to learn from him!

​The Mayor gestures at the Balladeer, who incidentally is ignoring the crowd in search of his secretary.

​The Mayor says:

Let’s give him a chance, eh?

​The Town Citizen tosses a rock up and down in her hand and stifles a yawn with the other.

The Mayor says:

Its all yers, bard.

​The Balladeer strides up to the front of the stage.

​The Balladeer confidently says:

Greetings good people! I came here only days ago to discover this town lacks uniqueness. It has an aura of similarity about it… and I have come to cleanse you of this borish state!

​The Town Citizen asks:

Is borish a word?

​The Balladeer scratches his head.

​The Balladeer says: I think so. Isn’t it?

​The Balladeer glances at the Mayor.

​The Mayor shrugs.

​The Jester clears his throat, loudly.

​The Balladeer arches his eyebrows.

​The Balladeer says:

Bah! It doesn’t matter if it is or not! You people have to learn to be individuals of the world! You have to stop dressing like this! You have to…

​The Town Citizen asks:

So yer botherin’ all of us to tell us you don’t like the way we dress?

​The Balladeer says: Exactly! No wait…Am I?

​The Jester sighs and adjusts his jester’s hat, preparing to lend a hand to the …needy hero.

​The Jester says:

It’s the principal of the thing!

​The Balladeer says:

Oh yeah!

​The Balladeer sings:

If we all were the same, the world would be lame,
There’d be nothing to tame, no point to life’s game.
It would be quite a shame, for you all to maim,
Life’s short time frame, with such a borrin’ aim!

​The Balladeer asks: How’s that for poetry?

​The Balladeer preens.

​The Jester rolls his eyes.

The Jester recites:

And the people did learn, from the play put on then,
They had made a mistake, and change they began,
And forever on, they remembered that bard,
For he brought to them uniqueness, so they all changed their garb!

The Jester gestures and the curtain swings shut on the actors.

​The Jester ponders a moment.

​The Jester says:

Well that’s our play friends. I think it went rather well, too.

​(Pause for the audience to begin applauding, thinking the show is over.)

​The Narrator recites:

You notice smoke rising up in puffs from behind the curtain as the Jester continues to speak.

The Jester says:

Yes, it went fine. Methinks we should do it again some time.

​The Narrator recites:

The Jester is almost hit by the curtains as they fall down only inches behind him. Smoke rises from back stage and several gnomes carrying buckets run about tossing water on the set.

​The Jester says:

Ya know, when I first came up with this play I thought to myself…a jester makin’ a play? Crazy! Yer askin’ for trouble! But I’m kinda glad I did now…

​The Balladeer, with his costume in flames, runs off from behind stage and sprints out of the room!

​The Jester frowns.

​The Jester says:

I knew hirin’ that retired warrior mage for the new stage gnome position was a mistake.

​The Jester casually sidesteps a falling piece of the stage.

​The Jester says:

Well, I hope ya enjoyed the play! And I thoroughly hope you found it entertainin’ and humorous, as it was meant to be.

​The Secretary, somewhat scorched, is carried off stage by several stage gnomes as the stage continues to smoke furiously.

​The Jester says:

Safe paths to you all, and remember that a good sense of humor goes a long ways.

​The Jester bows.

​The Jester strides off stage, the makeshift wooden structure collapsing behind him in a heap of smoke and ash!