The Tudor Roses

The Tudor Roses

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Tudor Heaven

Today we are posting something a little different on the Rose blog in rememberance of the death of Henry VIII.

We welcome guest blogger Katherine Marcella who has kindly allowed us to make public a one scene play she has written about Henry VIII (with a few others) on Judgement Day. It is a short and humorous piece and we hope you all enjoy it.

We now hand you over to Katherine and Tudor Heaven...
 

Tudor Heaven

 

Dramatis Personae

 

Henry VIII, King of England
Charles I, King of England

Jane Seymour, Queen of England

Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk

an unnamed infant child of Anne, Queen of England

 

Setting

 

St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, England. The high altar is upstage center. To stage left and right are the stalls of the Order of the Garter and doors to exit the room.

 

 

 

Time

 

Judgment Day

 

ACT I

scene 1

 

(Throughout the play, an occasional wraith-like figure makes its way from a random location at varying speeds through the chapel toward and behind the high altar or out one of the doors.  Nobody takes any notice of their presence.

 

A trumpet sounds loudly enough to scare the bejeezus out of the audience. The stage, pitch black at the outset is slowly suffused with a golden light to reveal a figure climbing out of a floor vault and up to the stage.  He is instantly recognizable as King Henry VIII.)

                                      HENRY VIII

(Shakes his fist and stomps his foot)

 

Stop that infernal racket, stop it at once!

(The trumpet gradually fades out. He turns to help Queen Jane Seymour safely up to the stage then looks back down in the vault in surprise.)

 

Who the devil are you?

(A headless man carrying a head under his arm climbs up to the main stage, starts to bow to Henry and Jane, thinks better of it and instead, lifts then bends his head.)

                                       CHARLES I

I am Charles, King of England, or at least I was.

 

                                       HENRY VIII

Was? Well, what happened?  Lose your head in battle? Those plague-ridden vermin, the Spanish?  Or was it the French this time? Or maybe those pesky Scots?

 

                                       CHARLES I

Alas, no.  I was parted from my head rather deliberately but not in war. By my own countrymen I fear.  At least they let me keep it.

(The head smiles)

(Before Henry can reply, Jane, who has been straightening out her gown and shaking off the dust, glances into the tomb.)

                                      JANE SEYMOUR

(screaming)


Henry, there's a baby down there!

(She bends down and picks it up.)

Is this Edward?

                                     HENRY VIII

No, no, no, darling.  I swear to you, Edward survived. He outlived me. (Looks around) I don't see him now. But he was certainly bigger than this the last time I did see him!

                                     JANE SEYMOUR

(A shocking thought occurs to her.)

Henry, is this one of yours?

                                     HENRY VIII

No, of course not, darling.  I swear!" (crosses himself) It must be one of his. (points to Charles I)

                                     CHARLES I

Me?  Certainly not! I'm far more careful than that...well, most of the time. (He nudges Henry with his elbow in a boys-will-be-boys gesture.  They grin at each other.)
 

                                     JANE SEYMOUR

(Jane has walked downstage to the marble slab that covered the vault and reads it out loud.)

In a vault beneath this marble slab are deposited the remains of Jane Seymour Queen of King Henry VIII 1537, King Henry VIII 1547, King Charles I 1648, and Infant Child of Queen Anne.

(Jane screeches) Queen Anne?  Queen Anne?  Henry, you said she was dead.  You told everybody you chopped her head off.  But you didn't, did you? And this IS one of your babes!

                                     HENRY VIII

(Sputtering) Of course she was dead!  I made certain of it.  No babe of hers would be put between you and me for eternity.  You know that, sweeting! (Smiles pleadingly)

 

(Before Jane can reply, the baby starts squalling.  Jane turns her attention to it, and Henry, breathing a sigh of relief, turns back to Charles I)

                                     HENRY VIII

 

Now, what happened? You were King of England and you let your own people behead you?  You stupid knave!  Didn't I teach you people anything at all? YOU are the one who does the beheading!  (thumps Charles I in the chest several times) Not them!  (looks around) Suffolk?  Suffolk, where the devil are you? You should be here somewhere!

(There is some stirring off stage right then Charles Brandon, the Duke of Suffolk, enters from the direction of the noise and bows to Henry.)

                                     SUFFOLK

Here, your majesty. (looks around uncertainly) Am I late for a Garter meeting?  Or maybe a council meeting?

                                     HENRY VIII

 

Ah, I knew you were here somewhere.  Listen to this man. (indicates Charles I)  It's almost unbelievable how things deteriorated when you and I weren't here any longer.

                                     CHARLES I

 

Really, it's not all my fault. I believe it started with your daughter, Elizabeth.

                                     HENRY VIII

Elizabeth?  Did she lose her head too?  Probably Mary, wasn't it?  Always jealous of her younger sister.  At least you aren't speaking Spanish, so Mary didn't give the kingdom away. (Slaps Charles I on the back) That's a relief!

                                     CHARLES I

No, the Spanish never got us.  But this started with Elizabeth beheading her cousin Mary. That gave common people the idea that kings and queens could be executed as easily as they could be.

                                     HENRY VIII

Cousin, what cousin?

                                     CHARLES I

They called her the Queen of Scots.

                                     HENRY VIII

(Chuckling) Oh, one of Margaret's brood.  Richly deserved no doubt. Margaret always touted it too far above her station. Hardly surprising.

                                     CHARLES I

Mary, Queen of Scots was my grandmother!

                                    HENRY VIII

Oh,sorry. Bad luck.  But it happens in some of the best families.  And she was one of Margaret's brood?  How so?

(While Charles I is rattling on in the background about his pedigree, Henry pulls the Duke of Suffolk aside for a private talk.)

How did Margaret's spawn manage to snake their way on to the throne?  I thought I scotched that before it could get started in my device for the succession. I can't believe my own children couldn't produce any heirs.  Bad maternal lines, I suppose.  Except for Jane.  (He smiles fondly at Jane Seymour who is crooning softly to the infant) Anyway, if not my line, it should be yours.  I ordered that specifically.  I want you to look into this for me.  And heads are going to roll!

                                    SUFFOLK


As your majesty wishes.

(Meanwhile, Charles I has finished his pedigree.  Henry smiles at him.)

                                   HENRY VIII

Yes, yes, I see now.

(The trumpets, which have been blowing fitfully since the beginning of the play, suddenly increase in volume. Henry swivels around toward the back of the chapel-- toward the altar and shakes both of his raised hands.)

 

Stop that, I say!  I command you to stop that or you'll have me to answer to, and I assure you, you do not want that!  You don't know who you are dealing with!

(The trumpets fall silent.  Henry turns around and grins.)

 

Now, lets go see what this is all about! Those musicians are the worst I've ever heard.  No discipline or harmony there at all. Don't they ever practice? I don't know what is happening, but there are going to be some changes made!  I can promise you that!

(Exeunt all through the altar at the rear of the stage, Henry with his arm around C1 talking earnestly, followed by the Duke of Suffolk who offers Jane Seymour his arm.  She takes it and carries the infant in her other arm.

Silence reigns for about 20 seconds, during which a couple of stray wraiths dash by hurriedly so as not to be left behind. Then as the light fades to black again, the trumpets break into a loud but expertly rendered and harmonious version of "Pastime With Good Company." )

                                     THE END
Copyright 2015 Katherine Marcella
 

 

Thank you for sharing this with us all Katherine, I know us Roses enjoyed it and we hope everyone else did too.

 

Please note that this play is the property of the author and is copyrighted to Katherine Marcella. It is not to be reproduced or copied in anyway without prior written permission from the author.

 

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