Dear Auntie Ora,

I think I understand the weasels and flamingos bit. And Steve Irwin (inasmuch as anyone ever can). But pantomime pirates? What is that all about?


BABES IN THE WOOD
ACT II, SCENE 3: FRONT OF TABS

[A forest clearing at night. There is a log placed centre front. Front side exits are masked by flats painted with trees and bushes.]
[Enter Captain Pegleg front right, with a stuffed parrot on his shoulder.]
     
AUDIENCE:   [boos & hisses]
     
PEGLEG:   Shut up!
     
AUDIENCE:   [more boos & hisses]
     
PEGLEG:   Bah! You scurvy knaves are wasting your breath! Sibyl and Pythia are already clapped in irons in me brig, and as soon as I capture that silly Cassie, I'll make them all walk the plank! Harr ha ha ahrr harr! Then I'll have the whole information consultancy field to meself! Wherever someone's in need of information, there ye'll see a Yugo with the skull and crossbones painted on its side! And then - shiver me timbers - I'll be able to charge a king's ransom for me services!
     
PARROT:   Squawk! Pegleg's a pansy! Squawk! Pegleg's a pansy!
     
PEGLEG:   Shut up!
     
AUDIENCE:   [more boos & hisses]
 
  [Exit Pegleg front left, shaking his fist at Audience. Enter Cassie with Mister Puddles the pantomime dog on a leash, front right. Mister Puddles is sniffing the ground vigorously.]
     
CASSIE:   Hello, boys and girls!
     
AUDIENCE:   Hello, Cassie!
 
  [Cassie slaps her fishnet stocking-clad thigh.]
     
CASSIE:   Well, we've searched this forest high and low, but we still haven't found where the pirates have hidden Sibyl and Pythia. I'm afraid you're not a very good bloodhound, Mister Puddles.
     
MR PUDDLES:   [whimpers]
     
CASSIE:   And I'm ever so tired now. I think we need a short rest.
     
  [She sits down on the log. Mister Puddles squats down next to her. Cassie looks around.]
     
CASSIE:   Ooh! It's ever so creepy in this forest.
 
  [An owl hoots. Mister Puddles clings to Cassie in terror.]
     
CASSIE:   There, there. I know what we'll do. We'll sing a song to keep our spirits up. And the boys and girls will help us - won't you, boys and girls?
     
AUDIENCE:   Yes!
     
CASSIE:   [singing] We're poor little lambs that have lost their way, baa, baa, baa...
 
  [Pegleg & 2 Pirates enter through centre tabs. They hover menacingly behind Cassie & Mister Puddles.]
     
AUDIENCE:   Behind you!
     
CASSIE:   What? Is there something behind us?
     
AUDIENCE:   Behind you! Pirates!
     
CASSIE:   Pirates? Well, we'd better take a look then!
 
  [Pegleg & Pirates exit through tabs. Cassie & Mister Puddles perform an exaggerated slow turn to look behind them, then turn back to the front.]
     
CASSIE:   There's nothing there!
     
AUDIENCE:   Yes, there is!
     
CASSIE:   You're just jealous because my singing's so much better than yours! Now, don't interrupt again. [singing] We're poor little lambs that have lost their way, baa, baa, baa...
 
  [Pegleg & 2 Pirates enter through centre tabs and hover menacingly.]
     
AUDIENCE:   Behind you!
     
CASSIE:   What? Again?
     
AUDIENCE:   Behind you! Pirates!
     
CASSIE:   Are you sure?
     
AUDIENCE:   Yes! Behind you! Pirates!
     
CASSIE:   Well, we'd better take a look then!
 
  [Cassie & Mister Puddles perform an exaggerated turn to the right and walk slowly around in a circle, peering ahead only. The Pirates form a conga line behind them and follow. Cassie & Mister Puddles end up facing the front again, with the Pirates behind them, leering menacingly.]
     
CASSIE:   There's nothing there!
     
AUDIENCE:   Yes, there is!
 
  [Cassie sits down on the log. One of the Pirates taps Mister Puddles on the shoulder. He looks around, jumps in fright and runs off, front right.]
     
CASSIE:   You're just making it up!
     
AUDIENCE:   No, we're not! Pirates!
     
CASSIE:   Well, Mister Puddles here doesn't believe you - do you, Mister... [she feels around for Mister Puddles and, discovering he has gone, looks terrified] Oh no, now I'm all alone in this scary forest! [whimpers] What am I going to do? I know - I'll sing my song again. [singing very timidly] We're poor little lambs that have lost their way, baa-a, baa-aa...
 
  [The Pirates lean over her, making throat-slitting gestures, etc.]
     
AUDIENCE:   [pandemonium]
 
  [Captain Pegleg places his hand on Cassie's shoulder. She freezes and starts to look round very slowly.]
     
PARROT:   Squawk! Cassie's goose is cooked!
 
  [Cassie leaps up and faces the Pirates.]
     
CASSIE:   Captain Pegleg! It's you, you stinker!
     
PEGLEG:   Aye, 'tis me, me hearty wench! And now that I've captured all three of yez, ye'll all walk the plank together! Harr ha ha ahrr harr!
     
CASSIE:   Oh no, we won't!
     
PEGLEG:   Oh yes, you will!
     
CASSIE &
AUDIENCE:
  Oh no, we/they won't!!
     
PEGLEG & PIRATES:   [to Audience] Oh yes, they will!!
     
CASSIE & AUDIENCE:   Oh no, we/they won't!!!
     
AUTHOR:   Oh god, I can't believe I'm writing this tripe! I had such a bright future mapped out for myself when I was young! I was talented and full of ideas, I had my whole life ahead of me, I was going to write novels and plays and things that contained profound messages about the human condition, that moved people and forever altered the way they viewed the world, that made me sackfuls of dosh in the way of royalties. And now, I... I'm reduced to... THIS! This TRAVESTY! Oh, the waste! I can't go on! Please, please someone put me out of my misery...
     
STAGE MGR:   We apologise for the abrupt ending to our evening's entertainment. This was caused by the author suffering some kind of personal crisis. The price of your tickets will be fully refunded at the door. And don't worry, boys and girls - of course Sibyl, Pythia and Cassie all escape before the end.