Fiction, Monologues, Plays & More
A Note from Tyler: This is the first full length play that I wrote, so be gentle. The dialogue is admittedly heightened and still could be tweaked here and there. It takes place in England after the Viking Conquest of 1015, shaping the consequences that caused the Norman Conquest of 1066. It focuses on a man named Godwin and his family. History hasn’t been kind to Godwin. With what little there is, he’s normally presented as an opportunist and a Kingmaker. Following a trick of one of my favorite authors, Sharon Kay Penman, I decided to turn him into a protagonist without tampering with the history. This is what turned out.
ACT 1, SCENE 1
The stage is black when we hear very loud war drums followed by the sounds of battle cries, then sword banging against shield. The guttural chant “OOT” from one side of the stage and “DANE” from the other side. Then come sounds of a huge battle. Metal against metal. Wounded crying out. Suddenly a voice shouts “The King! The King!” from the “Oot” side and then a victory yell from the “Danes.” Sound slowly fades away.
Stage is still black.
EADRIC (CONT’D): Godwin?
Still no answer. Lights come up dimly, stage down right on three figures. Two standing, One is EADRIC, dressed in Anglo Saxon garb and well groomed. The other is a soldier. The one sitting, GODWIN, is still and facing the audience. He has been worked over and shackled, obviously a prisoner of the war.
EADRIC (CONT’D): Godwin Wulfnothson!
GODWIN: I hear you.
EADRIC: Then stand and face me.
Godwin sits still.
EADRIC (to the guard): Get him up.
The guard roughly brings Godwin to his feet. Godwin struggles and when Godwin faces Eadric, he spits in his face. Eadric responds by gut punching him.
EADRIC (CONT’D): You no longer have Edmund to protect now. Nor Ethelred, nor any army for that matter. So if you want to make what little time you have left with us less unpleasant, you will pay me some respect.
Godwin spits in his face again. Eadric works him over.
GODWIN: How much did you get for betraying us, Eadric. More land?
EADRIC: It appears that way. Yours in fact. Canute is very generous for a Viking. I think he will make a fine King for England, better than Ethelred at least. You should of joined us.
GODWIN: I will bow to no Dane.
EADRIC (agreeing): Mmmm. Only when your head is on the block. Or perhaps a blood angel! Do you know what that is? They slit you down the middle of the back like so (make motions on Godwin while describing) and then across. Then they peel back the skin like wings. Exposing you to the elements and carrion. I’ve seen them do it, my friend. The screams…. Heathens all of them. But they are our masters now. The king would like to see you.
Eadric makes a motion to the guard and the guard follows Eadric with Godwin in tow. When they reach center stage the guard throws down Godwin. Godwin winds up on his knees facing the audience. Then LIGHTS UP on a chamber room in a castle. CANUTE, a man in his late thirties/early forties and the newly conquering king of England is seated center stage on his throne. Eadric takes his place next to Canute. Various nobles, including SIWARD with guards at either side. There is a table with two goblets and a flask of wine to the side of the stage.
TO BE CONTINUED…
Originally from Texas, Tyler Tanner, as a young lad, dreamed of becoming the next Don Dokken. At Lon Morris College his musical tastes refined and realized he was more of a Robert Goulet type. He then tried his hand at writing comedy. It started with an online comedy troupe called What’s Wrong With Wally, then evolved to Tres Grimm at The Met and a late night serial comedies at Sacred Fools and The Eclectic. He has now “matured” to drama where he incorporated his wittiness and love of history into a monologue called “A Life” which played also at the Eclectic.