The Tale of Woe: The Musical! - Part Three
[The forest. Gilly enters stage left and skips along, on her way home. As she progresses, the stage lights get darker and darker, indicating the approach of night. Eventually she comes across a burned-out home, located stage right, and examines it.]
Gilly: I’m back on the path to home again,
Although I strayed off now and then.
On my way home, and through the trees.
(I’ve never seen woods as thick as these.)
I hope I’ll arrive before it’s night
(As long as the path I’m on is right).
But on second thought, I’m not so sure;
I think I’ve passed those trees before.
It seems that once more I’ve lost my way;
I’m frightened, much to my dismay.
But no point in running helter-skelter;
I’ve got to try and find a shelter.
[spoken, as she sees the burnt building] A house!
[Gilly enters the charred structure and looks for somewhere to stay overnight. But she is distracted by something in the ashes – she leans down and pulls out a locket. She brushes off some of the soot and starts to open it. Suddenly, a fire-weakened beam crashes to the ground by Gilly. She shrieks and runs off stage right, putting the locket around her neck. Scene change: Sophie’s shack, deep in the forest. The shack is greenish and overgrown with vines, almost as if it is part of the landscape. Gilly runs up panting and knocks on the shack’s door, which opens a crack.]
Gilly: Please have mercy for a pet who lost her way in the night;
It was getting cold and dark when I saw your cabin’s light.
Sophie [spoken]: Go away! [She tries to shut the door, but Gilly sticks her foot in the way.]
Gilly [spoken]: The thing about having mercy for me is that it’s not optional.
Sophie [spoken]: Away!
Gilly: Look how pitiful I am, a cute and helpless Usul.
Think of how dejected I would be by your refusal.
It’s getting late, and leaving me here just wouldn’t be right.
Won’t you please protect me from the fast-approaching night?
Sophie [opening the door]: I told you twice to go away; you’ve brought this on yourself.
Now should I turn you to a doll to place upon my shelf?
Or maybe you could be a Mortog; that one’s always fun.
But why stop there? Now I’m provoked, my anger’s just begun!
I could change you into lint and keep you in my pocket!
Or maybe I could cast a spell – where did you find that locket?
[Sophie snatches the locket from Gilly’s neck and examines it.]
Gilly: I heard a story of a town that fell under a spell.
I think that this might be a clue. Please, ma’am, do tell.
Sophie [lost in thought]: It’s true, the story that you heard. I once lived in that town.
But I left that life long ago, I laid those memories down.
Gilly: You lived there?
Sophie: Yes, but long ago.
Gilly: Then have you heard of Bruno?
Sophie [shocked] That name! I haven’t – who could have – how is it that you know?
Gilly: I told you, lady, in a story. You’re saying it’s all true?
Sophie: These memories are too much for me. Get out of here, we’re through.
Gilly: But –
[Sophie points her staff at Gilly and sends her flying out of the hut by magic. The door slams shut after her.]
[The night grows darker. A wild animal howls.]
Gilly: I can barely believe what I heard – the storyteller’s right!
But now I need a shelter to get me through the night. [she gestures stage right]
Oh, look! A cave! I’ll take a chance. At least it’s warm and dry.
What a bad turn my day has taken. Mercy me. *le sigh*
[Gilly exits stage right. Scene change: the hut and forest are taken off and the stage is left bare except for a chair, a mirror, a pile of rotten food, and a lamppost. The sound of dripping water echoing and the almost total darkness indicate the inside of a cave. Gilly enters and huddles in a corner.]
Gilly [spoken]: A lamppost? A mirror? A chair? Why are these things in a cave anyway? Oh, well, might as well get comfortable; I’ll be here for the night. [A loud, vicious growl comes from nearby.] Or maybe not even that long... Eek!
[Gilly cowers as Bruno enters from stage left. He goes to the pile of food, but notices himself in the mirror. Shocked, he trips over the lamppost and hits his head on the chair with a loud crack. Gilly tiptoes over to see if he’s all right. He suddenly springs up and growls at her threateningly.]
Bruno: Who disturbs my cave retreat?
Gilly: It’s only me, Gilly.
Bruno: Come closer, child, it’s time to eat!
Gilly: Now that’s just downright silly.
I’m very thin, no meat at all.
I’m skinny and I’m bony.
Bruno: I don’t care that you’re small;
I bet you taste like bologna!
Gilly: OK, then, eat me. But grant me a favor:
I must know who you are.
Did you willingly come to live in this cave, or
Were you chased here from afar?
See, I think I have an idea
Of who you one time were.
Not some average Bruce or Chia;
Of this I am quite sure.
Bruno: Out with it, girl! I want to eat you!
Gilly: But not before I properly greet you.
[spoken] Hello, Bruno.
Bruno [stunned. spoken]: How did you...? I haven’t used that name in years; I tried to forget...
[sung] Yes, I was Bruno, but no more.
I gave that name up, and that life.
I’ve become everything I abhor,
So I forget my past and all my strife.
I live like a beast, a gruesome thing;
This cave is dark, just like my soul.
I deserve all the hardship this life may bring,
For failing to fill my proper role.
I should have been a better brother, better son
Protected the town from Krawley’s curse.
Instead I forced it on them; now I shun
My feelings, for they make it worse.
Curse you for reminding me of the past!
Get out of here, and get out fast!
[Bruno rushes at Gilly, who shrieks and runs off. Bruno chases her. Lights go down on the cave, and when they come up, Sophie’s hut is back on stage. Gilly enters from stage right and pounds on Sophie’s door.]
Gilly: Please, ma’am, let me in! I’m the Usul from before!
Sophie [from inside]: You again? You’d best be gone by the time I open this door!
Gilly [still knocking]: I’m being chased by a creature foul!
Let me in! I can hear his growl!
Sophie: Away, I said, and leave me be!
If you’re eaten, you’ll get no pity from me.
[Bruno enters slowly from stage right, stalking menacingly. Gilly lets out a shrill shriek. Sophie throws open the door, her staff pointed at Gilly.]
Sophie: Here’s what you get for disturbing me another
Time! You’ll make a nice Slorg, or maybe a... [she sees Bruno] Brother?
[Sophie slowly lowers her staff and stares at Bruno, who hides his face, ashamed of his ugliness.]
Bruno: Don’t look at me, sister: I’m flawed and deformed.
Sophie: I don’t care in the least that you were transformed.
Bruno: So you don’t mind that I look like this?
Sophie: Not at all, brother. Now give me a kiss.
[They embrace, and Bruno tenderly kisses the top of her head.]
Sophie: Oh, Bruno, I have missed you so.
Bruno: And I you, sister, more than you know.
Sophie and Bruno: Our lives have both been greatly changed
In the time we’ve been estranged,
We’ve been through trials, seen the worst
Since the time our town was cursed.
But now, together once again,
We can finally begin
Sophie: To turn my frown into a grin
Bruno: To find the good I have within
Sophie and Bruno: ‘Cause now that we are reunited
Perhaps our past wrongs can be righted
We’ll work as one, we’ll see it through.
Sophie: Just you and me.
Bruno: And me and you.
Sophie and Bruno: [they link hands] Just think of all that we can do...
Together! Together! [Gilly butts in]
Sophie, Bruno, and Gilly: Together!
Gilly [she has ruined the touching moment, but is unaware. spoken]: Great, it’s decided, we’ll all work together!
Sophie [spoken]: Who invited you along?
Bruno: Come on, Sophie, give her a chance.
She saw the goodness in me at a glance.
Sophie [reluctantly]: All right, I guess, you can tag along.
Just don’t go and do anything wrong!
Gilly: Great, I’m ready to begin!
Now, what is it we’re doing again?
Sophie [sighing]: We’re going to save Neovia, and set the townsfolk free!
(I swear, this little Usul will be the death of me.)
Now, I’ve been working on a spell to make things as they were,
Do you agree that we should do this, Bruno?
Bruno: I concur!
We must act quickly, sister, before things get much worse.
Now tell us both exactly what you know about this curse.
Sophie: Once each year, on Halloween, the ghostly townsfolk walk.
And yet they are like shadows: they do not play or talk.
It’s like they sleepwalk through their lives, dreaming while awake,
If we want to reverse the spell, then it will surely take
All my cunning, all my skill, and all my mastery.
But then again, if anyone can undo it, it’s me.
Gilly: I’m glad to see we’ve put our trust in somebody so humble.
Sophie: What was that?
Gilly: Oh, nothing. *mumble mumble mumble*
Bruno: Enough, you two! Now Sophie, is your plan completely clear?
Sophie: Not quite enough, I think; we’d better see Ilere.
To be continued...