Hoodening Play 1980

Option (a)
Moll:
I reckon these people have seen us before
There's really no need to keep sweeping this floor
Joe:
They're all much too quiet — is anyone in?
Moll:
They're here — though I reckon they've been at the gin!

Go to ***

Option (b)
Moll:
QUIET! Good Lord, you can't hear yourself think!
I reckon you lot have had far too much drink
Joe:
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)
Moll:
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
Joe:
You having trouble?
Moll:
                    They won't give us space!
Joe:
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]

Joe:
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)
Moll:
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
Joe:
The cold makes my teeth hurt — fills me with remorse…
Sam:
Here, those ain't YOUR teeth, Joe, they're bloody well false!
Moll:
I don't think I've got enough cash in my purse
To buy me an 'alf — 'struth — it couldn't be worse!
Boy:
Old Dobbin has worked himself nigh to a thread
His hide's thick with dust and there's mud on his head
Sam:
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)
Boy:
He's been shaking and shivering and — don't he look queer?
Boy:
He's been suffering all week with bad diarrhoea
Sam:
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)
Moll:
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)
Joe:
Just like last night along Court Road
Remember? When he dropped his load…
of hay?
Sam:
          How did he come to pass
So much of it?
(Boy grabs sheet of newspaper)
Boy:
          I'll wipe his ar..
(Joe interrupts hurriedly)
Joe:
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)
Sam:
D'you think they noticed when it fell?
Moll:
If not, then, they sure can smell
It now. By Gawd, it don't half stink!
Boy:
I'd best take him outside, I think
Joe:
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)
Moll:
I think you'll have to scrub his hide -
Look at the state of his backside!
Sam:
I think he's gone and sat in it
Boy:
A mane full of mud, and a tail full of sh..
(Joe interrupts again)
Joe:
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!
Sam:
Mmmm, not enough though, if it's split
Four ways. It wouldn't buy an ale
(Joe, quietly to Sam)
Joe:
Just two ways then. Go get a pail
Moll:
I heard that, Joe, you sly old dog…
(Boy reappears with empty shovel)
Boy:
'Sall right, I've flushed it down the bog.
Moll:
Ha! That solves that, you greedy pair
Let's go outside and get some air
Boy:
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
(mounts Dobbin)
Steady on, there! Mind the table…
Moll:
Watch him, Boy, he looks uneasy
Joe:
Well, so would you, if you felt queasy
Sam:
I don't think he wants his stall…
(Dobbin suddenly goes beserk)
Moll:
Look out! He's going up the wall!
(Dobbin rears, Boy trips, Dobbin lands on Boy then retires snorting)
Moll:
He caught hm hard with that hard hoof
Sam:
Oh Gawd, I think he's lost a tooth
Moll:
He's lying prone — look at his face
(Boy's face grimaces — he is obviously in pain. Moll kneels beside him)
Joe:
Nag caught him in an awkward place
While that front hoof cracked his young crown
The back ones landed lower down
Sam:
D'you think the jade has hurt him bad?
Joe:
I think he's had it, poor old lad
Moll:
You mean to say you think he's dead?
Joe:
Yes
Boy:
          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)
Sam:
It's torturing his poor young brain
Joe:
Sam, are you really trying to say
There's BRAIN beneath that thatch of hay?
Moll:
Life is ebbing; breathing's stopping
Heart is weak and pulse is dropping
Sam:
His skin is greying; go and call
The doctor, Joe. I think his fall
Has broke his neck
Moll:
No, it's too late
The lad has met life's final fate
(Moll cries, Sam removes his hat, but Joe seems quite happy)
Sam:
His life was short. His needs were many
Joe:
For fun, a wench. For ale, a penny
Moll:
We've seen him take his final breath
And now his eyes are closed in death
(Joe throws a sheet on to the body)
Joe:
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)
Boy:
Oooh, I'm crippled — Oooh, I'm dying…
(Joe, Sam and Moll look at the sheet in astonishment)
Moll:
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)
Sam:
Well, perhaps we were a bit too soon
But Moll has copped him with her broom!
(Joe looks under sheet. Moll looks horrified)
Joe:
You're right, he's had it now, old mate
Sam:
Crunched by Moll — 'struth, what a fate
Joe:
Ne'er mind, he was a stupid fool!
(Moll and Joe confront each other over the prone Boy)
Moll:
Oh Joe! How could you be so cruel?
Joe:
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!
Moll:
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)
Sam:
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)
Moll:
Last year I could swear he was heavier than that -
He don't seem so tall or so smelly or fat
Joe:
Your mind's like a sieve, Moll. Don't you remember?
Keir was the boy at this time last December
Sam:
He took a new job; he left us and the nag
The boy joined us later, you stupid old bag!
Moll:
You mean that we carried THAT beer-swilling brute?
Joe:
That's right, Moll; in fact he was pissed as a newt
'Twas like humping a barrel of fine Whitbread beer
Moll:
But he wasn't dead, though — just a bit queer
Sam:
Oh, he soon recovered. He weren't hurt that much
Boy:
Oooooh! I ain't half got a pain in my crutch
(They unwrap Boy and help him up)
Moll:
He's alive!
Joe:
          He survived the most vicious of falls
He LOOKED dead.
Boy:
          You'd look dead if a horse kicked your balls!
(Company form final line: Moll-Boy-Joe-Sam-Dobbin)
Sam:
Guess we'd best bid goodnight then, and hope these folks here
Enjoy a fine Christmas with good food and beer
Joe:
Now there is a thought, Sam — nice beer sounds fine
Mine's a Light!
Sam:
          Then I'd best go and dial 999
Joe:
No, I meant that Hoodening's hot work, so a beer
Would help us to sing for these good people here
Moll:
Our boy here's too young to indulge in an ale
So let ME have his share — just fill up a pail
Boy:
As well as refreshment, please give us a pound
For this, we will pass Dobbin's nosebag around…
(Joe takes Boy by the shoulder)
Joe:
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
Moll:
For years we've collected your cash to restore
Our old church. We made money, but still they need more
Joe:
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
Boy:
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
Sam
That day they did well. They deserved the support
Boy:
That's something I need, for I still feel one short!
Sam:
However, this year, we felt that we should
Help another appeal to get out of the wood
Boy:
We've got a new sports ground, or will have one day
When all the red tape is cleared out of the way
Moll:
I think it's been done, boy, they've ended the battle
The field has been cleared of red tape, weeds and cattle
Sam:
Now they want to put up a pavilion you see
For footballers' baths and cricketers' tea
Joe:
They need contributions to pay for a shipment
Of internal fittings and other equipment
Moll:
Like the church, it will be for us all to enjoy
Give generously please — pass the nosebag round, boy.
Boy:
Give cash to our cause — we'll take cheques, we'll take gold
Antiques, gems and heirlooms — all help when they're sold
Joe:
No offer refused, and that I must stress
We'll even consider American Express!
Sam:
And for those of you here who enjoy a fine song
Just cover your ears, for we won't be too long!
Joe:
We hope that we'll see you again next December
We leave you our usual motto, remember…
All:
If ye the Hooden Horse do feed
Throughout the year ye shall not need

Produced by (contact details). All rights reserved. .