Thursday, May 5, 2011

"The Story of Language" Script (Mr. Trent's Class)

Scene 1
            (Stage lights up to a large, fancy room with servants and cooks walking and cleaning. Charlemagne sits at a table doing work.  Priests are at work copying documents.)
Little boy: (to the first servant) may I speak to the king.
Servant 1: (leans over and asks/whispers if the boy can speak to him.)
Charlemagne: (directly addresses the boy) what is it? 
Little boy: Can I seek advice from you?
Charlemagne: You may. 
Little boy: I am writing my name on a piece of parchment to show my deaf neighbor who I am.
Charlemagne: And what is your name?
Little boy: PJ….how do you spell that?
Charlemagne: Oh my. (Sighs and props up his forehead with his hand.) You are telling me you don’t know how to spell PJ!?!
(P.J. hangs his head.)
Charlemagne:  It is a sad day in my kingdom when a child can’t even spell his name.  How are we to be the most powerful kingdom if my subjects are so stupid!  Something must be done.  I hereby declare that all children must be educated. (He slaps his hand on the table.) You three! (He indicates to three priests, each with a scroll and a quill.)Let all the priests and monks know that I want them to open schools in all the cathedrals and monasteries.
Priest:  With all due respect might king, it will take forever for our Priests to copy enough books for all the children in the land to use at school.  They will be working 24 hours a day to get the books completed!
Charlemagne:  I am the king!  What I say is law.  Tell the priests to dust off their quills and get to writing!
Priests (all): As you say, king. 
Priests walk off stage looking sad and worried.       
*King Charlemagne Song*                                                       

Scene 2
(Lights will come on to a scene of a workshop.  Walls are lined with shelves of books and tools.  Center stage is a printing press.  A chair is stage right.  Gutenberg is working on his print press.)
Gutenberg:  (to himself) Wow, trying to get this printing press done is a lot harder than I thought it was going to be!  Whenever I think I have it figured out, something goes wrong. 
Apprentice:  (walks into the workshop)  Johann, you’ve been working on that crazy contraption for such a long time.  Take a break from it for while.
Gutenberg:  No, I think I’m just about to finish it!   This invention could be revolutionary.  Up until now, people have depended on their own two hands to copy book and other written material.  With the help of this machine, copies of books can be made much more quickly and with little effort.  I just need a little more time!
Apprentice:  Ok, Johann.  Don’t work too hard, I don’t want you to overwhelm yourself.
(Apprentice walks out leaving Gutenberg alone.   Gutenberg continues to work on his machine, he hit his finger with a hammer and screams in agony.)
 Gutenberg:  Ug, maybe making this machine isn’t a good idea.  I don’t think I will ever figure this out.  Well, maybe I should take a little break.
(Gutenberg goes and sits in a chair stage right and falls asleep with a big yawn.  The French Priest Writers from scene 1 appear on stage surrounding Gutenburg in his dream).
Priest 1:  Gutenberg, keep trying!  Your amazing machine will one day be a reality!
Priest 2:  Gutenberg, trying to copy all of those books by hand was painful and took forever!  Finish the press, your invention could change the world!
Priest 3:   Think of all the books that could be created.  Enough books for everyone in the world!
All three French Priest Writers:  You can do it! You can do it! (unison, getting louder and louder.  Gutenberg is woken up from his noisy dream.  The writers quickly run off stage).
Gutenberg:  What a crazy dream!  Those French Priests sure had a lot of faith in me!  I HAVE to finish this press!
(Gutenberg runs to his press and continues to work.  A cast member runs across stage with a big clock with spinning hands to show elapsed time).
Gutenberg: (yelling) I’ve done it!  I’ve done it!
Friend:  (Running back in) Gutenberg, what have you done?!?
Gutenberg: I’ve finished my press!  Let’s give it a try!
(Gutenberg and Apprentice go to press and load it with paper, ink, and then run the press).
Gutenberg:  (holding up a sheet of paper) We’ve done it, the first page of the bible printed on a printing press.  This is a historic moment!
Apprentice: Congratulations, Mr. Gutenberg.  Your printing press invention will forever change the world.

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