Hoodening Play 1980
- Option (a)
- I reckon these people have seen us before
There's really no need to keep sweeping this floor
- They're all much too quiet — is anyone in?
- They're here — though I reckon they've been at the gin!
Go to ***
- Option (b)
- QUIET! Good Lord, you can't hear yourself think!
I reckon you lot have had far too much drink
- If they are too noisy, we'll bugger off home
And let them keep shouting about on their own
- Go to *** or continue with Option (c)
- Option (c)
- You lot will get trampled on — that is for sure
You won't see a lot if your back's to the door
Come on now, get moving — just follow my broom
That lot'll shift — there's plenty of room
- You having trouble?
- They won't give us space!
- Just you give the stubborn a broom in the face
Come on, shift yourselves and let us come in
That broom's got worse bristles than Moll's stubbly chin
- Go to ***
[SPECIAL LINES FOR EACH HOUSE]
- Let's get inside, lads, and warm ourselves here
It gets cold outside at this time of the year
- (Sam leads Dobbin in; Boy rides Dobbin. All should end up in line: Moll-Boy-Joe-Sam-Dobbin)
- For days we've been ploughing from dawn until night
Braving the rain (snow, wind, sleet, acc. to weather) and the cold winter's bite
- The cold makes my teeth hurt — fills me with remorse…
- Here, those ain't YOUR teeth, Joe, they're bloody well false!
- I don't think I've got enough cash in my purse
To buy me an 'alf — 'struth — it couldn't be worse!
- Old Dobbin has worked himself nigh to a thread
His hide's thick with dust and there's mud on his head
- His mane is all matted, his face looks so sad
On top of all that, he's been feeling quite bad
- (Dobbin shudders and looks sorry for himself)
- He's been shaking and shivering and — don't he look queer?
- He's been suffering all week with bad diarrhoea
- To cap it all, last night he upset his cart —
Lost a load of fine hay with one bloody great fart
- (Dobbin totters out centre stage and adopts a semi-squatting position)
- It looks like he's getting that sad, strained expression
I reckon we're in for another bad session!
- (Dobbin snorts, farts and drops a pile of excrement)
- Just like last night along Court Road
Remember? When he dropped his load…
- How did he come to pass
So much of it?
- (Boy grabs sheet of newspaper)
- I'll wipe his ar..
- (Joe interrupts hurriedly)
- Here, steady on, Boy, not so crude
We can't have these folks think we're rude
Decorum, Boy, that's what we need
We're in the doghouse, I think we'd
best back our way towards the door
And leave those turds down on the floor
- (Joe and Boy edge behind Sam, so line becomes Moll-Sam-Boy-Joe)
- D'you think they noticed when it fell?
- If not, then, they sure can smell
It now. By Gawd, it don't half stink!
- I'd best take him outside, I think
- A little late, Boy, they're insulted
You're locking his stall just after he's bolted
- (All hold their noses and inspect a sorrowful Dobbin from a respectful distance)
- I think you'll have to scrub his hide -
Look at the state of his backside!
- I think he's gone and sat in it
- A mane full of mud, and a tail full of sh..
- (Joe interrupts again)
- I've told you once, Boy, watch your words!
Here, take this spade and get these turds
Cleared up and put out of harm's way
- (Boy takes shovel, picks up turds and leaves room. Joe continues ponderously)
- Perhaps I'll mix them with some hay
The gardeners here might pay a bit!
- Mmmm, not enough though, if it's split
Four ways. It wouldn't buy an ale
- (Joe, quietly to Sam)
- Just two ways then. Go get a pail
- I heard that, Joe, you sly old dog…
- (Boy reappears with empty shovel)
- 'Sall right, I've flushed it down the bog.
- Ha! That solves that, you greedy pair
Let's go outside and get some air
- I'll catch old Dobbin. What a sight -
He knows that what he did ain't right
Come on, old Boy, it's time for stable
Steady on, there! Mind the table…
- Watch him, Boy, he looks uneasy
- Well, so would you, if you felt queasy
- I don't think he wants his stall…
- (Dobbin suddenly goes beserk)
- Look out! He's going up the wall!
- (Dobbin rears, Boy trips, Dobbin lands on Boy then retires snorting)
- He caught hm hard with that hard hoof
- Oh Gawd, I think he's lost a tooth
- He's lying prone — look at his face
- (Boy's face grimaces — he is obviously in pain. Moll kneels beside him)
- Nag caught him in an awkward place
While that front hoof cracked his young crown
The back ones landed lower down
- D'you think the jade has hurt him bad?
- I think he's had it, poor old lad
- You mean to say you think he's dead?
- No I'm not — I banged me head!
I do feel bad, though — so much pain…
- (Sam kneels beside Boy on opposite side to Moll)
- It's torturing his poor young brain
- Sam, are you really trying to say
There's BRAIN beneath that thatch of hay?
- Life is ebbing; breathing's stopping
Heart is weak and pulse is dropping
- His skin is greying; go and call
The doctor, Joe. I think his fall
Has broke his neck
- No, it's too late
The lad has met life's final fate
- (Moll cries, Sam removes his hat, but Joe seems quite happy)
- His life was short. His needs were many
- For fun, a wench. For ale, a penny
- We've seen him take his final breath
And now his eyes are closed in death
- (Joe throws a sheet on to the body)
- Here, wrap him up with this here sheet
Let's cart him off and brave the sleet
To take him down to Shuart Lane
Though I don't fancy work again
The pubs are open — I've a thirst
Let's go and get a skinful first
We'll dig his grave tomorrow, mate
Let's leave him by the Cemetery gate
- (As Joe speaks, Moll and Sam wrap Boy in the sheet. Joe stumbles over Boy's feet)
- Oooh, I'm crippled — Oooh, I'm dying…
- (Joe, Sam and Moll look at the sheet in astonishment)
- He isn't dead! We've all been lying!
- (Moll rushes towards the Boy, trips and falls on him, clipping him with her broom. Boy groans and is still. Moll, horrified, struggles to her feet)
- Well, perhaps we were a bit too soon
But Moll has copped him with her broom!
- (Joe looks under sheet. Moll looks horrified)
- You're right, he's had it now, old mate
- Crunched by Moll — 'struth, what a fate
- Ne'er mind, he was a stupid fool!
- (Moll and Joe confront each other over the prone Boy)
- Oh Joe! How could you be so cruel?
- You can talk, Moll! You're the one
Who finally ended all his fun
For that, he won't give you no thanks
Cor, he was thick as two short planks!
Remember I told him to water the horse
That day we were out picking fruit?
He fixed up a hose
And watered his toes
And told me he thought he might root!
- You say that HE's stupid — what about you?
You're callous and mean and unfair
If you mock this lad
I'll call his dad
'Cos he's bigger than you are — so there!
- (Sam prises the protagonists apart)
- Hey, stop your arguing; hold your breath
The boy deserves respect in death
Let's carry him off to the sound of the fiddle
Me head, Joe feet, and Moll in the middle
- (Boy is carried round. The Funeral March is played and the following words sung)
- Now we must bear his remains towards the door
Minding the turds lying round upon the floor
We've lost one of our sons
Through a horse who's got the runs
Oh. we will not have him to help us any more
- (They put him down)
- Last year I could swear he was heavier than that -
He don't seem so tall or so smelly or fat
- Your mind's like a sieve, Moll. Don't you remember?
Keir was the boy at this time last December
- He took a new job; he left us and the nag
The boy joined us later, you stupid old bag!
- You mean that we carried THAT beer-swilling brute?
- That's right, Moll; in fact he was pissed as a newt
'Twas like humping a barrel of fine Whitbread beer
- But he wasn't dead, though — just a bit queer
- Oh, he soon recovered. He weren't hurt that much
- Oooooh! I ain't half got a pain in my crutch
- (They unwrap Boy and help him up)
- He's alive!
- He survived the most vicious of falls
He LOOKED dead.
- You'd look dead if a horse kicked your balls!
- (Company form final line: Moll-Boy-Joe-Sam-Dobbin)
- Guess we'd best bid goodnight then, and hope these folks here
Enjoy a fine Christmas with good food and beer
- Now there is a thought, Sam — nice beer sounds fine
Mine's a Light!
- Then I'd best go and dial 999
- No, I meant that Hoodening's hot work, so a beer
Would help us to sing for these good people here
- Our boy here's too young to indulge in an ale
So let ME have his share — just fill up a pail
- As well as refreshment, please give us a pound
For this, we will pass Dobbin's nosebag around…
- (Joe takes Boy by the shoulder)
- Hold hard, Boy, that's begging, and that's being rude
These people won't like it — they're frugal and shrewd
Best tell them for what we're collecting this year
Or they'll think we want it for women and beer
- For years we've collected your cash to restore
Our old church. We made money, but still they need more
- The reg'lar churchgoers give what they can
Though it's said that the vicar wants four quid a man!
The commissioners too say, "Give one pound in twenty"
If they got that much from us they soon would have plenty!
But since Sunday's become a day we can't afford
They held, in the summer, the Revels Restored
- You could tell that the Church needed urgent repair
'Cos on top of the tower, on the battlements there
I reckon conditions were really appalling -
They tied gas-filled balloons to stop it from falling
- That day they did well. They deserved the support
- That's something I need, for I still feel one short!
- However, this year, we felt that we should
Help another appeal to get out of the wood
- We've got a new sports ground, or will have one day
When all the red tape is cleared out of the way
- I think it's been done, boy, they've ended the battle
The field has been cleared of red tape, weeds and cattle
- Now they want to put up a pavilion you see
For footballers' baths and cricketers' tea
- They need contributions to pay for a shipment
Of internal fittings and other equipment
- Like the church, it will be for us all to enjoy
Give generously please — pass the nosebag round, boy.
- Give cash to our cause — we'll take cheques, we'll take gold
Antiques, gems and heirlooms — all help when they're sold
- No offer refused, and that I must stress
We'll even consider American Express!
- And for those of you here who enjoy a fine song
Just cover your ears, for we won't be too long!
- We hope that we'll see you again next December
We leave you our usual motto, remember…
- If ye the Hooden Horse do feed
Throughout the year ye shall not need
Produced by +Ben Jones (contact details). All rights reserved.