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Wiltshire Community History

Folk Play Information

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TitleMere May Mumming Play
Alternative Title
WordsWildridge, Chris
Collected FromPotter, Pip
Occupation
Age
Date
LocationMere
CountyWiltshire
Source PrimaryMere Amateur Dramatic Society script
Source Secondary
Recording
 
The Play
Characters

Queen of the May - Betsy [male actor]
Kah-sinno-jenz - Dragon [dumb]
Ashcanardly - Turkish Knight
Baron Nick O'Tene - Devil
St George Sweetbreath - Red Cross Knight
Professor Gannick - Doctor
Sister Blister - Nurse [dumb]
Fag End - Fool [small girl or boy]

[Enter Betsy in white costume, with a bunch of flowers etc]

Betsy

Here comes I, to lead our play
My name is Betsy, Queen of the May
These several others, what a lot!
I hope they'll never be forgot.
Walk in, Dragon!

[Kah-sinno-jenz lumbers on]

Dragon

In come I, a dragon awful
I'll kill you all - it's all quite lawful
Kah-sinno-jenz is my name
Destroying people is my name [coughs out smoke etc]

Turkish Knight

In comes I, the Turkish Knight [he smokes a cigarette]
I don't need that pratt in white [he points at Betsy]
Ashcanardy is my name:
I make no boast, you'll be glad I came [struts about]
My visage dark and swarthy chest
They're what you Wiltshire girls like best
So any man I'll fight and vanquish
Without the slightest sign of anguish
So come on now …. [Betsy pulls him off]

Betsy

Oh shut your black and filthy gob
And let me get on with my job [pushes him to Dragon]
Walk in wealthy Baron.

Baron

In comes I. Sir Nick O'Tene [flourishes huge cigar]
I'll certainly liven up the scene
I'll make you dragon belch out smoke
As though its guts were stoked with coke [he retires]

Betsy

At last a hero bold I spy
St. George Sweetbreath, good knight!

St. George

Bye, Bye! [begins to retire]

Betsy

No, no, not 'goodnight': good knight [she drags him on]

St. George

Oh, ah! Then I comes in and incomes I
'Cos I'm well paid …

Turkish Knight

I wonder why! [Betsy clouts him with bouquet]

St. George

Well, I be 'ere to make all well
With my sweet breath; 'ere, 'ave a smell [parades exhaling]

Betsy

Walk in Doctor!

Doctor

In comes I, Professor Ganic [he is drunk and has ear trumpet]
When I about, no need to panic,
My soothing potions never fail -
And here's my favourite - home brewed ale [displays flagon]
Here's my assistance, Sister Blister [Sister Blister curtsies at side]
Her special brew was made by Lister [she shows gargle]
She's go the ointment, lint and splints [she shows black bag]
The rubber gloves and peppermints
She's good at setting bones and massage
And treating any ailing passage [both retire]

Betsy

Here he is, the last of all
His name is Fag-End [Fag-End enters]

Turkish Knight

Ain't he small!

Fag-End

In comes I, a motley fool
Here's my weapon, wand or tool [brandishes balloon/bells/stick]
So don't you give me too much cheek [threatens Turkish Knight]

Turkish Knight

I bet your little bladders weak [he slaps balloon]

Betsy

So now you've met them, one and all
The play's the thing, whate'er befall [she sweeps off]

Baron

So now I lay my challenge down
And put up a champion, big and brown.
Great Ashcanardly, leave the dragon [he grabs the Turkish Knight]

Turkish Knight

It's time I got another fag on [he lights up]

Baron

Now who defies my Turkish Knight?

Turkish Knight

Come on you yokels, gi's a fight [coughs on smoke]

St. George

Tis I will challenge thee, thou beast!
I fears no man from west or east,
From either Knoyle or any Stour! [fight starts]

Turkish Knight

You weed! I'll kick you over Alfred's Tower
I'll cut you up, I'll cut you down …

St. George

I'll beat you black and blue from brown [fight increases]
No more you'll boast, no more you'll brag [Turkish Knight coughs, falls]

Turkish Knight

Here, come help me Fag-End - where's me fag [he has lost cigarette]

Fag-End

O bold and swarthy, long dark knight [he walks around Turkish Knight]
Alas! I haven't got a light.
I'd like to give you one last smoke:
Instead I'll beat and prod and poke [attacks Turkish Knight with stick]

St. George

Make way then, fool, for my gurt slasher
I'll slice [slash - deleted] him like a smokey rasher [Baron approaches]

Baron

Oh! Mercy me! Go fetch the quack [shoves Fag-End]

Fag-End

He could be bacon before I'm back! [he fetches Doctor]

Doctor [calling off]

Make way, make way, I come to cure
I'll make his blood and belly pure [Doctor arrives with Sister Blister]
Where's the patient! What's his trouble?

Baron

If you can save him, I'll pay you double.

Doctor [to Sister Blister]

What's he say! He'll pay me what? [wags ear trumpet, Fag-End points to Sister Blister]

No, she can't say - she's dumb you clot! [Sister Blister puts up two finger sign to Doctor]

Fag-End

She's awful rude with such derision [he prances about]
He's deaf [taps Doctor] She's dumb [taps Sister Blister then falls on Turkish Knight]

Baron

And you lack vision [hurls Fag-End away]

Doctor [to Fag-End]

You clumsy fool! Just mind the victim!
He's been sliced up and down, you've kicked him.

Baron

Enough of banter! Tend your patient!

Doctor

My body's old, my wisdom ancient
Sister Blister, my equipment [beckons to Sister Blister, peers into bag]
I think we'll need a whole new shipment [pulls out various pseudo-medical items]
We must resort to natural potions.

Fag-End

He certainly won't need sun tan lotions!

Doctor [holds up bottle]

All wayside weeds and forest fungi
Hedgerow honey, sweet and gungy
Anisette and elecampane …

Fag-End

He'd do much better with a glass of champagne!

Doctor

Aye! There's the rub and consternation.

Fag-End

Conster - what! [holds belly as if in pain]

Doctor [kicks out at Fag-End]

Nation!
I'm not quite sure of its application
Whether it's drunk or kept external
Sister Blister - the Medical Journal [beckons to Sister Blister. Sister Blister extracts booklet from knickers]

Fag-End

Ooh! Sister Blister, how disgusting!
I've laughed so much, I'm nearly busting [rolls on ground laughing]

Doctor [scanning booklet]

No use - this journal's all codswallop
We'll rub it in, then give him a dollop. [Sister Blister rubs the Turkish Knight while Doctor spoons in a dose]

Turkish Knight

How amazing that I waken
I feel like some great side of bacon [he rises and stands]
I really fancied that I'd died
What's made me better?

Fag-End

Insecticide [hold up bottle of nicotine spray from Doctor]

St. George

And now I'll be the dragon slayer
The most heroic mumming player [approaches dragon]
Prepare to die Kah-sinno-jenz
You're now alone - you have no friends [attacks dragon]
We'll chuck you up in a Council lorry
And dump you down in Dead Maid Quarry
And though you might be tough to handle
They'll melt you down for an Ethos candle [dragon dies]

Betsy

Good people all, that saw our play
Please hand about, don't go away
We trust you found it nice and funny
Enough to warrant some small money
If you're too poor then just ignore us
As we round off with a merry chorus

All [join hands etc, in a ring, then walk clockwise]

We have been here this little while
To bring you hilarity
So if we've given cause to smile [drop hands, turn outwards]
Please give to our charity.

[Fag-End goes about with hat].
 
Print Play Verse
 
Notes
Performed by Mere Drama Society, May, 1989.

The script was written by a member of the society, Pip Potter, the copyright is his, and was provided by Adrienne Howell, Chairperson, 2010. Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.

Transcribed and edited by Chris Wildridge, 2010.

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