Castle group script - 'Curses and Hangings'

Thu 28 Feb 2019

Fashioning a City’s Castle group explored the history of Leicester from Roman times to present day in their performance piece. Read the full script, created by the group, below.


Castle group – script: ‘Curses and Hangings’


Overture- the group assemble structures as follows:

Alice Hawkins Statue

Bus Station

Sporting Statue

Carnival Float

Leicester City


Scene One: Roman Curse

(The cast are on stage as Roman statues. Servandus enters through the statues admiring his new cloak…)

Voice over           Roman Leicester. Sometime between 150 and 250 AD. The scene is a large town house of at least 26 rooms, on the site of the current John Lewis. Servandus is a senior household slave, rightly proud of his new cloak…

Servandus           John Lewis? Nah! Amazing what you can get from Primark!

(The statues begin to come to life and creep up on Servandus. They steal the cloak and pass it between them. Servandus approaches them in turn, comic business as they pass the cloak then become statues again, cutting off his enquiry-)

Servandus           Silvester, did you steal my cloak? Rigomandus, was it you? Senilis, I bet it was you?

(then out to audience)

Servandus           Venustinus, was it you? Or Vorvena? Calaminus, you look suspicious… (etc)

Voice Over          The names of Servandus’s suspects include Latin, Greek, and Celtic names… which proves perhaps, Leicester was a multi-cultural city long before any of us were around…

Servandus           (begins to carve ) Right you lot, I’ll show you… Felicianus… Rufaedo… Vendicina…

Voice Over          Servandus sets to work carving a curse tablet, an appeal to the god Maglus for justice…

(As he carves, muttering angrily, the others  diss him)

Silvester               Calm down, it’s not love island!

Rigomandus       Just get another one, Primark’s round the corner

Senilis                   It’s not like your chariot’s been ruined.

Servandus           Ingenuinus… Iuventius…Alocus…

Vorvena               Ooh, he’s gone all Harry Potter on us!

(Servandus lifts the tablet in incantation)

Serv/Q9                ‘I give to the god Maglus him who did wrong from the slave-quarters; I give him who did theft the cloak from the slave-quarters; who stole the cloak of Servandus; Silvester, Rigomandus, Senilis, Venustinus, Vorvena, Calaminus, Felicianus, Rufaedo, Vendicina, Ingenuinus, Iuventius, Alocus, Cennosus, Germanus, Senedo, Cunovendus, Regalis, Nigella, Senicianus… and Bob. I give that the god Maglus before the ninth day take away him who stole the cloak of Servandus.’

(One by one the cursed ones die… except for Senicianus)

Servandus           Oh, Senicianus… you’re still alive! I’m so sorry mate, really, I’ll have to cross your name out… (starts chiselling)

(Senicianus is standing self absorbed, admiring his own pose…)

Senicianus           …What?

Music: Brief linking piece- modern cityscape

Scene Two: John Thomas Green

(Narrator sits stage right, reading aloud from a newspaper)

Narrator               Last night the town of Leicester was brought to a state of abject horror, by one of the most fearful crimes that human mind could conceive. The crime was that of Murder, and the victim, a woman of previous good character, one Emma Green of Prebend street, Leicester, Mother of Nine Children

Mrs Green          Oooh, nine kids, and none of ‘em here to help me do the housework

Narrator               The chief suspect in this dreadful crime is the victim’s husband, one John Thomas Green, a 41 year old painter and known alcoholic, who was witnessed fleeing the scene of this most terrible crime

John                      (enters) Oi! Why isn’t this house clean? I go to work, come back I expect it to be clean etc etc

Mrs Green          Oh, get back to your drinking!!

John                      Right, I’ve had enough of you! (pulls out a gun and levels it)

Mrs green           No! What about me nine kids!

John                      Stuff ‘em! (he shoots her)

Mrs Green          (Dying) Oh no, all over me nice clean floor!

Narrator               Our readers are presented with further information on the horrible murder of Emma Green. We can report that last night in Leicester, the chief suspect John Thomas Green was apprehended by Police Constable Henry Travers, Mr Green was led to Leicester prison and is currently awaiting trial.

(2 Police officers encounter John and arrest him, dragging him over to the judge stage left)

Narrator               Our readers will doubtless be interested to know that today, the trial of John Thomas Green, alcoholic painter and murder suspect, that has so gripped the town and its law-abiding inhabitants, will reach its natural conclusion- for today Justice Gilbert Hook will pass sentence.

Judge:                   The sentence is GUILTY!

Green                   No! What about my 9 kids!!

Judge:                   John Thomas Green. The jury have found you guilty of wilful murder; and the sentence of the court upon you is that you shall be taken from this place to Leicester prison, and there, suffer death by hanging. And may the lord have mercy on your soul.

(Green is dragged to the gallows)

Narrator               John Thomas Green is to be hung at Leicester Prison on the 21st December, just four days before Christmas.

Warder                 Ho ho ho….

Brief linking piece- modern cityscape

(1941. Five students are in a Maths lesson.)

(Enter teacher)

Voice over           19th November 1940. The threat of Hitler’s bombers loom over Leicester and the rest of the country- but life must go on, including school life…

Teacher                OK kids, we’ve got a well wicked lesson now right? We’re going to do some Serious algebra! Remember maths is your friend guy! When I say ‘Maths’ you say ‘cool’-

Voice Over          In 1941, teachers do not speak like that…

Teacher                Right! Sit up straight! Who can answer this- What is the sum of all possible solutions for x of the equation x ( x – k ) = k + 1? Come on, come on! Juliana?

Jul                           Umm… umm.. I don’t know! (cries)

Teacher                Hopeless! Megan?

Megan                  (wakes with a start) Queen Victoria!

Teacher                See me after the lesson. Corey?

Corey                    Well when written in quadratic form the equation can be expressed as X squared minus Kx minus bracket k plus 1 close bracket, so the answer is clearly x

Teacher                Wrong!

Corey                    I’m never wrong!

(Air raid sirens, planes overhead)

Teacher                Right everyone, to the shelter! Line up properly please!

Jul                           An air raid!

Megan                  (waking) No more maths!

(All three cheer)

(they line up, create the air raid shelter and crowd in)

Teacher                Right, where were we? The sum of all possible solutions for x-

Jul                           Surely we’re not carrying on!

Teacher                Can’t let Hitler conquer Algebra…

Corey                    But we haven’t got our books!

Teacher                Ah- right- does anyone volunteer to go back and get the books?

(Corey and Juliana look at each other, then at Megan who is asleep again)

Corey                    (nudging Megan) Say yes…

Megan                  Wha’?

Corey                    Say yes!

Megan                  YES!

Teacher                Excellent, well done Megan. Off you go then.

Megan                  W..what?

Teacher                Out you go and get the books.

Megan                  But.. but… (she goes out. The others huddle under the bombs.)

Voiceover            Although not subject to the level of bombing that hit cities like Coventry and Birmingham, Leicester suffered many bombing raids in the closing months of 1940, with the city centre, Highfields and Evington the worst hit areas..

Megan re-enters…

Megan                  I’ve got the books! Everyone? Everyone? Typical… (exits)