Hoodening Play 1986
- (Joe pushes Moll in)
- In you go, Moll, clear the floor
We'll wait here, beside the door
- Shut yer noise, you rowdy mob
Or you'll feel my broom across your gob
If anyone argues, I'll take 'em outside
Shouting and rioting I just can't abide
- It's quiet in here. Whatever's the trouble?
You're usually all gabbling away at the double!
I'll soon stir you lot out of your hush
By clouting someone with the end of my brush
- Calm down, Moll, we're not here to be rough
(We'd best go in, 'fore she gets TOO tough)
- (Enter Joe, Sam, Boy and Dobbin)
- It's parky outside, I'm chilled to the core
My fingers are frozen — my toes — and what's more
I'm fed up with slogging to earn me a crust
And coming home soaked, or covered in dust
- Sam, every year you tell us your moans
You're a miserable prat, I'll make no bones
- You cheeky young pillock, I'll take you outside
Respect your elders, or I'll kick your backside!
- You and whose army? Look, I'm fit and strong
Putting you on YOUR backside wouldn't take long!
- (Boy grabs Sam by the shirt)
- If it weren't for the fact that you owed me some money
I'd knock your head off — no trouble, sonny!
- Hold it you two! You can both cut that out
Fighting each other has never solved nowt
- There's just too much violence in this world today
A lash with my whip would soon show them the say!
That's one lash for discipline — keeps them in line —
Two lashes for fighting — it seems to work fine —
Three if they turn up for work looking mucky…
- … and if you're a masochist, four if you're lucky!
- (Joe threatens Boy with his whip; Moll intervenes…)
- THAT'S ENOUGH!!
- (To Audience)
- I bet you're wond'ring what's wrong with our horse?
The Boy's all on edge — he's worried, of course.
- Old Dobbin's not well, but then that's nothing new
He's like the annual demo at a veterinary do!
He's shiv'ring and shaking — been groaning all day —
He even threw up in his nosebag of hay
He's old and he's weary, in fact he's losing heart
He ain't even managed his customary…
- (Dobbin interrupts with audible indication of the missing word)
- Things must be bad then — he won't last much longer…
- Let's sit him down then — till he feels a bit stronger
- (Boy helps Dobbin into a more comfortable position)
- There you are, Dobbin — go easy now, jade
Slowly, now feller. (He's knackered, I'm afraid)
- He's pulled that plough for many an hour
And that is not just flattery
His body's drained and low on power…
- He needs a gold star battery
- He has his moments though, you know — the bending of the arm!
He gets excited now and then and pole-vaults round the farm!
- Like the time when he sired that ridiculous foal
Perhaps it is that what is taking its toll!
- That were three year ago when he did old Black Beauty
Then it were nateral — like doing his duty!
- Young Dobbin appeared to brighten his life —
Then Trigger, next door, ran off with his wife
- Whatever became of that cranky young foal?
The last time I heard, he were out on the dole
- I think he's quite local — in a paddock not far
Just over the hill, in some farmyard near Sarre
- If things got much worse and old Dobbin passed on
We'd have to make contact with his only son
- (Dobbin pricks up his ears)
- Quiet! Or he'll really believe something's wrong
Though I don't think he'll be with us for all that long
- Now let's put an end to that morbid talk
I'll take him outside for a bit of a walk
- (Boy helps Dobbin up; he totters a bit)
- Go on, mount him, Boy — sit up proud and noble
(Though his energy output looks less than Chernobyl!)
- He don't look too good, in fact he looks pale…
- (Dobbin's teeth chatter, knees knock and he drops his "poops")
- … and that kind of fall-out tells its own tale!
- (Dobbin collapses)
- He's down! I knew that he felt pretty bad
After all, I have known him since I was a lad
- What have you done to our poor old nag?
- It's not all MY fault, now, you stupid old bag!
Can't you see how I'm very upset?
- (Joe examines Dobbin)
- I s'pose we'd better call out the vet
- A vet isn't needed — p'raps the undertaker —
Old Dobbin's decided to meet with his maker
He's had it; he's pooped; he's gorn and passed on
Left this mortal coil; got his angel's wings on
He's curled up his hooves; nature's taken its course
Our Dobbin's become, as they say, a late horse
- TOO late this time; the dirty git
He's gone and rolled in all that…
That's just like you, Sam, to lower the tone
Mind you, we'd best call this an exclusion zone
It'll need some time for the air to clear
But it could well be better by this time next year
- His time has come at last to die
To enter that stable in the sky
He served his purpose; we'd best dig a big hole
Then go off and search for his mangy young foal
- Go take a look, Sam; he should be quite near
I can't take all this dying. Oh dear! Oh dear!
- I'll find him — I won't be gone all that long
Whilst you're waiting, you best sing that funeral song
- (Sam goes off; the others gather round Dobbin and sing…)
- Our horse is dead; now he waits at Heaven's door
No more mess where he's crapped upon the floor
He's served us all these years
Now he's dead (or so we fears)
He'll never toss our poor Boy off any more
- (Sam reappears with Young Dobbin who trots around)
- Would you believe it, just look who I've found!
Young Dobbin's returned after going to ground!
Three years away for to grow and mature
And now he's come back to join us once more
- Look at him shewing; he's set for a fall
I must say, though, he ain't half grown tall!
- Tall? He's enormous! Like a bleedin' Giraffe
He's even making this audience laugh!
- His coat was once brown. It shone like a conker
What a pity he turned into such a great plonker
- What about Dobbin, down there, on the floor?
He's dead — that I'm sure — or he's near to death's door!
- That means we'll NEED to find a new horse
One that can labour and last out the course
A horse that is young and as strong as can be…
- Looks like a bit of a poseur to me!
- Young Dobbin COULD step into old Dobbin's hooves —
I'm SURE he could manage — see the way that he moves!
- (Dobbin looks up)
- We'd best see if this nag could take the boy's weight
If he can't manage that, we'll be in a fine state
- There's no way I'm getting on THAT bugger's back
He's lively and frisky and dangerous at that!
- Go on, get on him, you whimpy young tyke
Give him a work-out and see what he's like
- If he can stand up to this little test
We'll take HIM on and give Dobbin a REAL rest
- (Boy mounts Young Dobbin who rears, throws Boy and stamps on him)
- Mind out, Boy! You might lame our new horse!
Don't strike his poor hooves with that kind of force!
- (Dobbin gets up and rushes over)
- Old Dobbin's alive! I was sure he were dead
And it's not even Easter!
- P'raps he banged his head
- (Dobbin and Young Dobbin fight and race around)
- It's sure turned him wild — just watch the bugger
The world's very first equine mugger!
- It sure turned him wild, that horse we ditched
Take that, Young Dobbin; get that one stitched!
- Where does he get this brand new lease of life?
Just look at him go! He's as sharp as a knife!
- He's more than a match for his son and heir
All this tension's too much to bear!
- (Young Dobbin finally submits and runs off)
- The youngster's beaten; he's on his way
But lives to fight another day
- You've DONE it, old feller, a hero at last!
I've never seen Young Dobbin move quite so fast!
- He soon recovered when the Boy was in danger
He came to his aid,just like the Lone Ranger!
- You mean Silver
- Who's Sylvia?
- SILVER — his steed
- Steed's in the Avengers — he's Patrick McNee!
- (Dobbin moves over to Boy who lies prone)
- Well, let's be off, then. I'm getting dry!
Whose is the next round? Is it my turn to buy?
- Did you hear that, Moll? Sam's buying an ale!
He hasn't done that since the '53 gale!
- What about the poor Boy? We can't leave him there
He don't look too good and there's no one to care
- Don't worry 'bout him, Moll; the horse'll stand by
We'll see to him later — you just let him lie
Put this here old sheet right over his head —
If anyone asks, you can say that he's dead
- He might be dead at that — he looks a bit grey —
This could be the best thing that's happened all day!
- How can you say that?! That just isn't funny
You surely aren't joking?
- No, I owe him money!
- You were going to use HIS CASH to buy us a round?!
Your heart's like your wallet — nowhere to be found!
- (Boy gets up)
- A whole pound, Sam, that's what you owe
If you want any more, the answer's no
Don't know how you even got THAT out of me…
- You're a gullible bugger, here, have 50p
- (Boy looks at coin then advances on Sam)
- Where's the rest?
- You agreed to loan me a quid, right?
- How much have I still got?
- But you said you'd loan me a pound?
- I've got 50p
- So you owe me 50p
- But I owe YOU 50p
- So we're quits, right?
Now that that's settled, I, too, feel dry
A pint of the best would help me get by
- … and one for Moll, me and one for the horse —
And old Sam's buying, so bolt all the doors!
- There's no need for that — the beers are on me
Now, where's my wallet? Where's that 50p?
- (Boy obligingly hands Sam the 50p he just got off him)
- Speaking of money, I'll spare Sam his fate
As now's the right time our cause for to state
- This year, we're asking for cash if you will
For the Pilgrims' Hospice, Canterbury, for the terminally ill
- When speaking of HOS-PICE, we were stuck for a rhyme…
So we've tactfully given it a miss this time
- Your money can help, so let's have a load
For their new Daycare Centre in London Road
- They've devised a scheme to help build this hall
Where each 50p buys a brick for the wall
- You can afford more, so I've heard it tell
So give 'em enough for a window, as well!
- To put up that building will cost them a mint
So let's have your support; give till you're skint!
- Please help fill our nosebag, we'll take all your wares
We'll even take any excess British Gas shares!
- For, if ye the Hooden Horse do feed
Throughout the year, ye shall not need
Produced by +Ben Jones (contact details). All rights reserved.