THE BIRDS’ TALE – a children’s comedy play for adults ( to figure this out you have to read the play!)

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ENGLISH AVATAR OF THE PUBLISHED HINDI PLAY STAGED IN INDIA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE PLAYWRIGHT, SHIPRA SHUKLA ( in the center), her father, COL. B.C. SHUKLA ( on the left ) & her husband , MR. GIRISH SHUKLA ( on the right )

GEE- PECK
middle aged and ashamed of his ugly feet . He loves Flo-Jo, the deer.

 

FLO- JO , an athlete who although middle aged is fashion conscious and in love with GEE- PECK

 

BANANA – DRAMA, cool monkey who is a remix 👩‍🎨 artiste .

SENOR JULIO – blind thrush , Melody’s mentor and teacher .

GURU- GODMAN , minister to the luxury loving KITE- KING, who shifts from one leg to another to maintain the balance of power usually to benefit himself.

PEACE- MEAL, THE PIGEON OF PEACE , who is all a TWITTER and about to take off!

CONFUSED CHINESE CONTESTANT

SOME SCENES FROM THE PLAY

THE CAW- DOORS BAND practising with their tutor MR. RABID . Their music is driving the jungle folks nuts.

DR. CHARLIE CHAPLIN ( you can figure out his medical skills from his name !)

GURU- GODMAN & PENGUIN trying to be politically savvy .!

THE BIRD’S TALE

DRAMATIS PERSONAE

Melody: a little cuckoo bird, our heroine.

Cuckoo: Melody’s mother who had abandoned Melody in Caw-gee’s nest.

Caw-gee: motherly crow with a brood of four.

Do-ray: Caw-gee’s first born, a musician.

Me-Far: a fat crow, younger to Do-ray. He plays the drums.

So-La: the third boy who plays the flute.

Ti-do: the girl crow, who plays the triangle.

Mr. Rabid: Music Tutor to the crows. He wears the Talibani turban and sports a beard, no moustache. This is to distinguish him from the rest of the Muslims of the world who are not rabid.

Senor Julio: a thrush, who is blind.

Gee-Peck: a middle aged peacock who is beautiful but ashamed of his ugly feet which are always clad in big clod-hopping boots. He is a classical Indian dancer. He loves Flow-Jo, the deer.

Flow-Jo: An athlete who is extremely fashion conscious. She loves Gee-Peck. She is middle-aged and is lost in youthful dreams.

Banana-Drama: A rocking monkey who is a Disc Jockey. He wears cool clothes, a bandana on his head, a single ear-ring, black shades and a carries a walk-man. Talks like a black rap singer.

Peter: a parrot.

Laurel/ Hardy: two rabbits.

Butterflies; a few small, a few big.

Kite-King – a king who is inordinately fond of the good life.

Guru God-man: Master of ceremonies,and later,the home minister to Kite-King. He is a crane who never stands on his two feet. He wears a white robe, a saffron shawl and a green Muslim cap (the three colors to show his affiliation to all communities- Hindu, Muslim, Christian). Around his neck he wears a beaded rosary with a cross and a Hindu caste mark on his fore-head and sports a beard. He wears glasses to show he is erudite.

Dr. Charlie: Court doctor to Kite-King who looks and acts like Charlie Chaplin.

Platy- pus: A contestant from Australia.

Pee-wee-King: A Chinese contestant.

Freezer: The judge who is a penguin.

Peace-meal: a pigeon.

Mrs. Brown: a sparrow who is Cuckoo‘s maid. She is very hilly-billy.

Mr. Brown: Mrs. Brown’s alcoholic husband who is down on his luck and so drowns his sorrow in liquor.

Alien: he can look like Steven Spielberg’s E. T. since he has come from a galaxy far, far away so can look like nothing on earth.

Audience: any number of actors, children or adults can be added to the cast in order to make a statement. The director can give free rein to his creativity.

Set direction: A few golden bars to denote luxury as well as being caged can be placed in Kite-king’s court as well as in Cuckoo’s bed chamber.

The Bird’s Tale

ACT 1

SCENE 1

Place: The jungle/Time:An hour before dawn. The jungle sleeps

Characters: All the animals of the jungle except Kite-King, his courtiers and the contestants from Australia and China

CUCKOO’S VOICE

Ko hoo Ko hoo.

As the first rays of the sun touch the jungle we see Cuckoo tip-toe on to the stage holding the wing/hand of a little cuckoo bird.

LITTLE CUCKOO

Mom,Where are you taking me? I am scared.

Cuckoo

Shhhh child, I am only doing what is good for you.
(The little cuckoo weeps.)

CUCKOO’S VOICE

Shhhhh, Shhhhhh.

At one end of the stage is a nest in which dozes Caw-gee along with her brood of four little crows. Cuckoo circles the nest cautiously, pushes the little cuckoo in it and moves stealthily away.

It is morning now. The animals of the jungle are awake. The two rabbits roll on to the stage playfully. A peacock who is wearing huge boots walks in and spreads his feathers and dances in an oriental style. A deer who wears smart trainer shoes munches on grass. The two rabbits dash against the crow’s nest. She opens one eye and looks at them.

LAUREL/HARDY
(the two rabbits sing)

Good morning, good morning, a very top of the morning to you.

FLOW-JO
(sings in a very sweet voice)

Good morning.

GEE-PECK.

(dancing in an oriental way and
singing)

Dha dha dhin dha, dha, dha, dhin dha, dha tin tin ta,dha tin tin ta

ALL THE ANIMALS
(together)
Good morning, good morning, a very top of the morning to you.

Caw-Gee shakes the nest to wake her children and sings.

CAW-GEE
(singing in a raucous voice)

Rise and shine, O children of mine,

There’s much to be done and work is fun

When the work is over it’s time for some leisure

We’ll dance and sing for the jungle folks pleasure.

All the animals look at each other distressed when she sings the last four lines. The four crows are shaking their wings, reluctant to get up.

DO-RAY

Mom,please, please let me sleep.

ME-FAR

Just five minutes more.

TI-DO

There’s no school today.

There is a sound of snoring from SO-LA. Suddenly CAW-GEE spies the little cuckoo in her nest.

CAW-GEE

Goodness! Who is this?

She shakes the little cuckoo to
wake her. The little bird yawns
and stretches.

CAW-GEE

Who, in the name of heaven, are you?

Little Cuckoo just shakes her head.

CAW-GEE

Are you mute?

The four crows caw raucously and circle her. The Little bird shakes her head again. The jungle creatures look at each other amazed and then slowly come towards her.

ME-FAR

(pecking the little cuckoo)
She’s so …B.l.a.c.k.

DO-RAY

She’s so tiny.

TI-DO
(looking at the little cuckoo’s
frightened face)

She’s in a funk.

SO-LA
(pecking the little cuckoo)

Ya, but why don’t you speak. Come on say something.

The little cuckoo bird cries musically.

LITTLE CUCKOO
Kooo hoo boo hooo. Ko hoo boo hoo.
(The four crows shut their ears
with their wings/hands)

DO-RAY

What a rough voice!

ME-FAR

Stop crying. My ear drums are about to burst.

SO-LA

You are so ugly.

TI-DO

And have an ugly voice. It’s so harsh.

The four crows peck the little cuckoo who tries to save herself desperately.

GEE-PECK

(whispering to FLOW-JO)

Goodness gracious. They are calling her sweet voice harsh? Have they ever heard themselves? The jungle is in a tizzy ever since they arrived.

FLOW-JO

True, Mr. Gee-peck. Their cacophony has ruined our peace of mind.

GEE-PECK

Thank your stars Flow-Jo that you are so swift and can run away from their sound of music.

(Looks down at his boot-clad
feet)

Just look at my feet..

(takes out his foot from the
boot)

Do they have any purpose at all…I have to wear these heavy boots just to hide them. I can’t even run away from their din.

The crows are pecking the little
cuckoo. CAW-GEE picks her up and
cradles her in her lap and then
turns on the crows.

CAW-GEE

Stop this nonsense right away. You are not going to harass the poor darling.

The LITTLE CUCKOO cries pathetically. The crows shut their ears with their wings.

ME-FAR

All right, all right,Caw, caw, we won’t trouble her.
Just tell her to stop the infernal racket.

PETER
(whispering to GEE-PECK)

Ah, the little bird even cries musically.

These little birds are heard by MR. RABID who has just hopped on to the stage.

MR. RABID
(closing his ears)

You call her musical. Her voice is enough to burst anyone’s ear drums. Ribbid!

CAW-GEE
(to the little cuckoo bird)
Don’t cry, my child. I will take care of you.
(she looks angrily at the
crows)

If any of you dare to trouble her, I swear I will..

BANANA-DRAMA

Squeeze their throat. At least we’ll be spared the trauma of their singing. Anyway, I don’t have to listen to them,I have my means.

(He switches on his walk-man
and dances snapping his
fingers.)

LITTLE CUCKOO

Koo hoo Boo hoo, Koo Hoo, Bo hoo, Mommy, Mommy.

CAW-GEE
(wiping the little bird’s
tears)

Don’t cry, little one.
(to the crows)

Shoo, go away. Go and get ready. Can’t you see your music teacher is here.

MR. RABID

Salaam Madam.

All the animal look at each other distressed and react.

PETER

Music class, nooooo, never…

FLOW-JO

Gotta run

Runs from the stage, followed by Peter.

GEE-PECK
(walking away in a dignified
manner his boots clod hopping
away)

I think we have had enough. There is something known as noise pollution. This racket is harming the environment. Today I am going to definitely write to the home-ministry.

He leaves the stage grumbling, followed by the two rabbits. The monkey is still dancing with his eyes closed.

CAW-GEE
(taking out the ear phones from
his ears)

What’s going on Banana-Drama. Gitt.

BANANA-DRAMA

Cool it mama. When will you recognise true art? We creative critters are always in a   trance. We don’t care what’s happening around us.

CAW-GEE
(pecking him)

Gitt, creative critter my foot, You are just a remix artiste.I know all about you “types”! Shoo now….

SCENE 2.

SAME TIME/SAME DAY AS SCENE 1.

CHARACTERS: ALL THE CHARACTERS OF SCENE 1.

Mr. Rabid is conducting his music class. The little Cuckoo bird who is now called MELODY is sitting close by. CAW-GEE is knitting a sweater and looks up over her spectacles intermittently. The rest of the animals are hiding behind rocks, trees, in the grass. As the music class progresses they try various ways to close their ears.

MR. RABID

All right, my pets, let’s begin.

DO-RAY

Dooooooooooooo
(FLOW-JO stuffs her ears with
cotton wool)

ME-FAR

Raaaaaaaaaaay
(GEE-PECK puts ear-plugs in his
ears and ties a bandage around
his head.)

SO-LA

Meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
(Peter start banging his head
against a tree)

TI-DO

Faa.mmmph Mmmphh

( He wants to sing but PETER’S
hand/wing cover his mouth)

MR. RABID

(opening his hitherto closed
eyes)

What happened? Come on, sing.

(he looks at the creatures of
the jungle running hither-
thither)

Ribbid Ribbid! What in God’s name is happening here? Shoo, Gitt! How dare you interrupt our practice session!

(to the crows)

Never mind, my pets, they are all jealous of you. Never fear, don’t give up.

(to the little cuckoo, Melody)

You there,

(Melody looks at him with huge
eyes)

Yes, yes, you. Let’s see how well you can sing. Sing with me.
(He croaks)

Do, ray,me, far, so, la,ti, doooooo

The animals close their ears and make all sorts of action and faces.

MELODY
(trying to imitate MR. RABID)

Do, ray, me, fa, so, la, ti,dooooooo

MR. RABID

That’s much better. Just keep practising. One day you will learn to sing just like us.
(The animals have moved closer.
MR, RABID now looks at the
crows and says)

MR. RABID

All right then, my pets. Let’s begin.

THE CAW SONG
Caw, caw, caw, we are the crows four.
Loo, loo, loo, looking for a song to bore.
You, you, you, are our audience for sure,
We,we,we,we have trapped you evermore.

We have trapped you evermore,
And we’ll never let you go,
For if we let you go,
Who’ll buy tickets for the show.

No tickets for the show
Means no money for us bores
No money for us bores means
No future for us crows.

No,no,no,no,please see our shows,
So we don’t eat trash anymore,
We live like kings and sleep like stars,
Take Oprah and Paris and Cruise our cars.

Parties and Photos, glitter and glamor,
We have no talent but still we clamor.
For the good life or la dolce vita
Who cares for talent when we have our teacher.    

(Here they look at MR. RABID who hops with excitement)

FADE OUT.

SCENE 3
Place: Another corner of the jungle/ Time: day.

CHARACTERS: MELODY/ SENOR JULIO WHO IS BLIND AND WEARING DARK GLASSES

Melody is singing a song as she wanders in the jungle.

SONG
The jungle is alive with the sound of music.
If music be the food of love,
love is all I need.
If need is the future of music,
I can do without it,yes sir,indeed.
In deed I will pray,
In prayers I will say,
Give me only music,
only music to share.

As she sings and twirls and hops she bumps into a brown bird who is wearing dark glasses.

MELODY

Goodness,couldn’t you see me ?

SENOR JULIO

No,child. I am blind.

MELODY

Oh! I am sorry.

SENOR JULIO

It’s okay. You are beautiful, child.

MELODY

But,but,I am….
(she looks at herself and then
at SENOR JULIO)

How do you know, you can’t see.

SENOR JULIO

To see you don’t need eyes. A good heart is enough and I can see you with them, my child. I heard you singing but..Can you come closer?

Melody goes near SENOR JULIO who touches her face with his wings/hands.

SENOR JULIO

Beautiful.
(his hand/wings linger at her
throat)
Very beautiful but…..

MELODY

That’s not ..I mean that’s my neck.

SENOR JULIO

I know let me finish what I am saying. Your throat is sensitive but there’s something missing here.

MELODY

(sadly)

I know MR. RABID also says that. He says I do not know how to sing.

SENOR JULIO

Well child,, if he says that you should be happy. If you sing like him the audience will pelt you with rotten tomatoes and eggs. I didn’t mean you can’t sing.

MELODY

Then what did you mean?

SENOR JULIO

I meant your throat is weak. It is sensitive but it lacks strength.

MELODY

Oh, what should I do for that Mr.

SENOR JULIO
(bowing low)

Senor Julio at your service, my child. For that you have to train your voice.

MELODY
(wailing).

Oh what should I do. Who will train me? (Then looking hopefully at Senor Julio)
Will you train me?

SENOR JULIO.

Of course, child. But on one condition.

MELODY

What condition?

SENOR JULIO

That you will tell no one about me except your mother.

MELODY

Done. I won’t tell anyone.

SENOR JULIO

All right then. Lets make a beginning right away.

(Both sing, first SENOR JULIO followed by MELODY)

SONG

SEVEN NOTES OF MUSIC( from the film Sound of Music)

Doe a deer, a female deer,ray, a drop of golden sun,
Me,a name I call myself,Far a long,long way to run.
So,a needle pulling thread, la,a note to follow so.
Tea, a drink with jam and bread, that will bring us back
to Do, o, o, o, Doe,a deer a female deer…..

FADE OUT.

ACT 2.

SCENE 1.
Place: KITE-KING’S COURT : /TIME:NIGHT
CHARACTERS : KITE-KING, CUCKOO- MELODY’S  MOTHER, COURTIERS

KITE-KING is seated on a throne and CUCKOO is dancing and singing.)

SONG
I could have danced all night.
(From the film MY Fair Lady)

Cuckoo takes a final twirl, loses her balance and falls.

KITE-KING

Watch out! Did you get hurt?
(Gets up, places her hand on
her hips and limps a bit)
Oh no, Sire, Just a little sprain.

KITE-KING

I have told you again and again and again that you are not as young as before. It’s high time you retired so that we can get a new court dancer.

(From Cuckoo’s expression we
can see that she does not like
the idea.)

All right, let’s get this message across that we are going to hold a huge contest and whoever wins is going to get lots of goodies.

CUCKOO

Yes, Your highness, Kite- King.

She limps out of the court with a sour expression on her face.

KITE-KING

(to one of the courtiers)
See that the message is proclaimed to every nook and corner of the world. Cuckoo is really very crafty. Given half a chance she would even tell me to go fly a kite.

All the courtiers laugh uproariously.

ONE OF THE COURTIERS

Ha ha. That’s funny what his royal highness the Kite-King just said. Cuckoo is capable of telling him to go fly a kite.

(laughs)

FADE OUT.

SCENE 2.
PLACE: THE JUNGLE / TIME: DAY
CHARACTERS: ALL THE INHABITANTS OF THE JUNGLE

The younger animals have grown up. Do-Ray holds a guitar and is the lead singer, Me-Far is on the drums, So-La plays the flute from which instrument emanates a variety of sounds intermittently and Ti-Do beats her metal triangle with a small rod. All the crows are singing THE CAW SONG. Mr. Rabid has a long white beard and wears spectacles. All the creatures of the jungle are dancing to THE CAW SONG.

BANANA-DRAMA

Not bad, I am going to remix this number.

PETER

When will you stop your monkey tricks and stop being a copy cat. It’s very confusing, all this remix and stuff.

Gee-Peck is dancing and by mistake steps on Flow-Jo’s toes.

FLOW-JO

Ouch, ouch,ouch! Your huge boots have squashed my big toe.

GEE-PECK

Ooops! sorry! sorry! I am so sorry. But you know my problem, don’t you?

The rabbits are also hopping to the music. Melody brings some snacks for everyone.

MELODY

It’s tea time and snacks for everyone.

There are carrots for the rabbits, a long, green chilly for the parrot, a few spinach leaves for the deer and for the peacock there are some brown noodles that look like earth worms. For the butterflies they are some flowers with a straw stuck in the center of each flower. For the crows there are pizzas, burgers and colas. All the creatures eat and drink.

MR. RABID

Ladies and gentlemen creatures. I see that you like our music.

LAUREL
(to Hardy)
Do we have choice in the matter?
(Twisting both his ears with a
painful expression)
Well, it hardly matters now. My ear drums are completely shattered.

HARDY
(to Laurel)

Yes, just like a snake you know. He can’t hear too, just moves along with the snake charmer’s pipe.

GEE-PECK

(who has a brown noodle
dangling from his beak)
Snake? Who said snake? Where’s the snake?

All the animals are shocked into
silence.

MR. RABID
(looks scared and looks around)

Where’s the snake? Snake’s are my mortal enemies.

CAW-GEE
(throws a hard stare in
Laurel/Hardy’s direction,then
speaks soothingly to Mr.
Rabid)

There’s no snake around. Don’t worry Mr. Rabid. If a snake dares to come here Gee- peck here will eat him up for dinner.

The noodles are still hanging from Gee-Peck’s beak. All the animals look at him.

BANANA-DRAMA

Yes,well, let him eat his noodles first. When the snake comes he will eat him as well.

GEE-PECK

Gross. I am not like other pea-cocks who eat snakes. Snakes are our friends actually. They eat up all the animals who are pests like rats,fro…
(Peter quickly shuts his mouth
with his hands/wings)

MR. RABID
(puffing with anger)

What did you say? I know what you were going to say. Frogs. Snakes eat pests like frogs.

PETER
(giggling)

No, no. You are quite mistaken sir. How can you be our enemy? You sing so sweetly. Ah, what a melodious voice.

MR. RABID
(cooling down a bit)

All right, all right. There is no need to butter me up. I know you critters like the back of my tongue. You make fun of me and (points to the crows) and my pupils. Now just wait and see, I am going to teach you all a lesson you’ll never forget.

CAW-GEE
(nodding her head)

Yes, to be sure. Mr. Rabid is entering my children in a competition at the court of Kite-King. The winner will be made the court-singer. Later, there is talk of getting a good pension.

PETER
(to a butterfly)

Nothing can beat a good job in the government. Just eat, drink and be merry. No stress!

BUTTERFLY ONE
(flapping her wings)

Betcha ! Now take me for instance. I work in the State Department. All I have to do is fly here and fly there -in the country, out of the country and all for free. No worries man.

CAW-GEE

All right then. It is decided. We are all going to Kite-King’s court to encourage our group. Mr. Rabid has named the band – THE CAW-DOORS BAND.

BANANA-DRAMA
Dude, what kind of a name is that? So old and boring.

GEE-PECK
(whispers to Flow-Jo)

Just like their teacher.

Mr. Rabid over hears this remark and starts to puff up with anger.

MR. RABID

I heard what you said. So I am old and boring! Ribbid!Ribbid!

CAW-GEE
(distressed)

Mr. Rabid ! Control your self. You have to watch your blood pressure. You might…..

BANANA-DRAMA
(to Flow-jo)

Burst like a big, fat balloon.

Flow-Jo laughs and then tries to stifle her laughter.

MR. RABID
(in a wild temper now)
Go on laugh away. You, modern, fashionable folks can do little else. What else do you know except to bare your teeth and grin like apes.(Banana-drama can react here)

CAW-GEE

Get a hold on yourself Mr. Rabid. Please don’t be angry with them. They are all jealous of your talent. I am sure your pupils will get the first prize. That will shut them up.

DO-RAY

Yes, sir, please don’t worry. We are sure to make you famous all over the world.

ME-FAR

The world of music will remember you for ever and for ever.

TI-DO

And we’ll be big stars too. Everyone will look at us and sing, Twinkle, twinkle little stars,

SO-LA
How I wonder what you are.

CROWS
(together)

Twinkle, twinkle little star,how I wonder what you are.

MELODY

Mom, I want to be a star too.

The crows are silent and look at each other.

DO-RAY

No way, Jose.

ME-FAR

You, don’t know how to sing. Everyone will laugh at you.

TI-DO

And then, no one’s going to take us seriously too because you are tagging along with us.

MELODY
(crying)

Ko hooo, Boo, hoo.

CAW-GEE

Oh, Melody. Don’t cry baby. You will take part in the contest. I’ll see who dares stop you from participating.

Mr. Rabid who had opened his mouth to say something shuts it hastily.

SO-LA

Mom, if she wants to be a part of the contest she can but only after we are done.

CAW-GEE

Why so?

SO-LA

Because, if the audience runs away after hearing her song who is going to listen to us then,duh!

TI-DO

Don’t be mean So-La!

SO-LA
(to Melody)
Melody, you can help us okay, back-stage, but don’t you dare open your beak to sing.

CAW-GEE

Stop it, all of you. If Melody wants to be in the contest she’s going to get her chance too.

GEE-PECK
(to Flow-Jo)
Yes, one must dance when one gets the chance. I think I will take part in the contest too. After all, I am trained classical dancer from India.

(Flow-Jo bats her eye lashes)

BANANA-DRAMA

And I think I will present a couple of my items too. How long can I hide my talent from the world!

MR. RABID

This contest is not for grinning apes and copy cats.

GEE-PECK

And why not? If tuneless and ugly artistes can participate then why not copy cats?

MR. RABID

Ribbid! Ribbid! Hold your tongue you mangy bird or I will tear and crush your beautiful feathers which you so proudly display.

GEE-PECK

Are you capable of anything else? You are jealous of me because neither do you have looks, nor talent. All you know is to croak in the rains- ribbid, ribbid, and that’s what you are teaching these poor crows.

MR. RABID
(angrily)

Oh, I see. So that’s what you think of me. I am not going to leave any of you. You will all have to pay for this insult.

CAW-GEE
(desperately trying to calm Mr.
Rabid)

Mr. Rabid, calm down, please calm down or you will get sick.

BANANA-DRAMA
(to Peter)

I hope he goes for a long spell to the hospital. Then we can have some peace and quiet in the jungle. He is such a bore. I am sick to my teeth of his infernal racket.

MR. RABID

Ribbid! Ribbid! The cheek of this monkey. He wants to send me to the hospital. I am going to fix him first.

CAW-GEE

Mr. Rabid! Please, pretty please, calm down. We should all live in the jungle in peace and quiet.

MR. RABID

Now there is going to be peace and quiet after I have taught each one of these creatures a lesson and kicked them out of the jungle.

BANANA-DRAMA

And what if we all got together and threw you out, then what are you going to do?

MR. RABID

Ribbid!Ribbid!

CAW-GEE
(to all the creatures)

Be quiet,all of you. Who told you creatures to poke your nose in our affairs. Apologize to Mr. Rabid at once. You have hurt his feelings.

BANANA-DRAMA

And what about him. He has shattered the peace and quiet of the jungle, what about that, huh?

BUTTERFLY TWO

Yes, and once when I was flying a little low he flicked his long tongue and tried to catch me. I was so scared, I swear.

MR. RABID

Come on, you liar.

BUTTERFLY TWO
No, of course not I am telling the truth. (Addressing the other butterflies)

Ask them, aren’t I telling the truth?

All the butterflies nod their
heads vigorously.

BUTTERFLIES

True, absolutely true. He hides in the grass and whenever he gets the chance he flicks out his tongue to catch us.

Caw- gee looks at Mr. Rabid.

MR. RABID
(trying to cover his
discomfiture)

What’s got into these butterflies? (Looking at Banana-Drama)

This is all this monkey’s tricks to throw me out of the jungle. He has no talent to speak of and that’s why he is envious of me.

BANANA-DRAMA

Just exactly what talent do you have dude? You have one talent and that you don’t need air to puff up like a balloon but all I have to do is stick a pin in you and you will deflate – Whooooooooooosh.

All the animals laugh uproariously and Mr. Rabid hops up and down and says “Ribbid” Ribbid” many times.

Caw-Gee claps her hand/wings and

says peremptorily

CAW-GEE
(Clapping her wings/hands)

Peace, peace.
(Addressing all the creatures)

What has got in to all of you? Is this your culture? Is this civilized?

PETER

Culture and Civilization can boil themselves in oil, for all we care, Madam. I mean, everything has its limits. And this critter here has crossed all limits. And now we are not going to keep quiet. We are going to shout and scream and burst his ear drums so that he knows too what we go through day in and day out.

CAW-GEE

(brings her hand/wings together
to pacify him)
Brothers, I beg you, put an end to this quarrel. Look, the sun is about to set. It’s time to sleep peacefully in our homes. The morrow’s sun will bring a new day when we can live in peace and harmony with each other.

GEE-PECK

That’s is possible only if this critter here refrains from shattering the peace of the jungle or we restrain him.

CAW-GEE

No, no, no, my friends. Please be patient. He is just a little hot tempered but he is very warm-hearted other wise. He will make our jungle famous one day, you wait and watch.

PETER

Caw-nee,( pronouncing it as corny) I mean Caw-Gee. You are partial to him today but one day you are going to regret this. He will take a deep breath and plunge into the water leaving you to face the music.

CAW-GEE

Don’t say that, my son. He is an artiste and artistes are very simple.

PETER

He’s not simple, he’s a pimple, an ugly boil on the face of the earth but by the time you realize this it may be too late.

CAW-GEE
(bringing her wings/hand
together in the attitude of a
judge)

Order, order. Or you will be behind bars for disturbing the peace of the community.

LAUREL
(to Hardy)

Behind bars. Whatever is that?

HARDY

It means to drink so much that you can’t see what is right and what is wrong. You are cool with everything, even their singing.

LAUREL/HARDY

But, we don’t mind looking at them, we just don’t want to hear them, especially when they start singing.

GEE-PECK

What are you both muttering about? To throw behind bars means to send you to jail, to lock you up, to put you in the slammer.

LAUREL/HARDY
(together)

Ooooooooh! Who does Caw-Gee want to lock up?

PETER

Caw- Gee wants to lock all of us up because she wants her kids to be stars and since we don’t like their music she
feels humiliated.

HARDY

I see. If Caw-Gee wants her kids to be stars then what will Mr. Rabid be ?

BANANA-DRAMA

Well, he’s round and full, so he’s a moon, dude.

FLOW-JO

No way, The moon’s too good for him, he’s just a pumpkin, the one you see on Halloween.

All the animals laugh uproariously. Mr.
Rabid hops up and down, furious.

MR. RABID

Ribbid, Ribbid.

LAUREL
(To Hardy)

Why does he keep croaking ribbid, ribbid? What does it mean?

HARDY

It means that when you don’t know what you want to say you cover it up by jumping up and down and shouting ribbid, ribbid.

GEE-PECK

No, no, Ribbid means….

MELODY

Kooooooo.

CAW-GEE

Yes, yes, my child I completely forgot where the matter all began and look, where it has all ended. I am sorry to say the world is not too kind to a single mom who is only trying to do what’s best for her children.

FLOW-JO

No, non, Caw-Gee, that’s not true. We are all happy for Do-ray, Me-far, So-la and Ti-do but….

GEE-PECK

But, we only object to a certain individual who is only wants to confuse you so he can get what he wants.

BANANA-DRAMA

Ya man, Kaw-Nee ( pronounced Corny), I mean Kaw-Gee. We are all talented man in our own way. But, suppose someone is not talented and the other person tries to thrust talent down his throat then that’s not cool, man.

MR. RABID
(jumping up and down angrily)

How can you say that, you ape, that my pupils have no talent. I’ll show you. What do you know about talent, anyway, you copy cat!

Mr. Rabid’s eyes are bulging with anger and his tongue is lolling out.

BANANA-DRAMA

Careful dude, watch your step man or I’ll pull out your tongue which helps to put food in your stomach. I ( pointing to Caw-gee) was talking to her, not to you.

MR. RABID
(cooling down)

What do you mean? I didn’t understand.

BANANA-DRAMA

I was telling her that she has thrust the title of artiste on you when you don’t have no talent man.

MR. RABID

What did you say? I don’t have any talent. For your information I won the first prize in a huge musical show.

GEE-PECK

We know all about that. It was just a show for frogs and that too during the monsoon when all the creatures were hiding from the rains.

BANANA-DRAMA

And to top it, all the frogs find a well so that no other creature can participate in the contest.

FLOW-JO
(giggling)

Fair- weather frogs , oops, I mean rainy- weather frogs find a deep well and croak away to glory and then pat each other on the backs and divide the prize amongst themselves.

PETER

Yup, these kind of shenanigans are the speciality of film festivals and award functions. They are one big family who award each other at the function and then come back happily to party the night away.

GEE-PECK

Yes, and the rest of the world can boil themselves in oil, for all they care.

MR. RABID

What is this boil in oil, boil in oil, that you go on about?

GEE-PECK

Oh, the whole world moves on oiled wheels, don’t you know that? Oil is really important. If there is no oil, the whole world will come to a stand still. But what do these frogs care? They are just happy croaking away!

MR. RABID

Ribbid! Ribbid!

GEE-PECK

Exactly!

LAUREL/HARDY

But what does ribbid mean?

MELODY

Kooooo
(all the creatures look at her)

CAW-GEE

Yes, my child, you will be in the contest too.

ALL THE CROWS

Mom!

CAW-GEE

Quiet, all of you. If Melody wants to compete in the contest, then she is going to get her chance.

ALL THE CROWS

No way Mom! What will everyone think?

CAW-GEE
Quiet,not a word from you. Aren’t you ashamed of yourselves? (To Melody)

You start your practise, child.

She leaves, shaking her
head,grumbling to her self.

To bring up children is quite a task. It’s not easy being a single mom.

The crows peck Melody and she runs from the stage cooing away. The other animals, except Mr. Rabid, follow her. Mr. Rabid hops in the other direction. Midway he stops and addresses the audience.

MR. RABID

Did all you folks note their behavior? Well, I am not going to spare them. I am going to teach them a lesson come what may. The sky can fall or the earth can shake I will not rest till I teach them a lesson. I too have a weapon that they know not. Now, all of you just wait for the explosion!

He hops off. Suddenly there is a loud crash and we hear Mr. Rabid’s loud voice shouting Ribbid)

MR. RABID (O.S.)

Who put this tub of water in the way? I am soaking wet.

BANANA-DRAMA (O.S.)

This is for you Mr. Rabid. You need to have a good wash before you compete with us.

The sound of laughter of all the
jungle folks.

MR. RABID

Ribbid! Ribbid!

SCENE 3

PLACE:A CORNER OF THE JUNGLE/DAY

CHARACTERS:ALL THE ANIMALS OF THE JUNGLE EXCEPT MR. RABID,CAW-GEE, AND THE FOUR CROWS. MELODY SITS IN THE CORNER.

Gee-Peck is dances in an oriental way while Laurel and Hardy play a percussion instrument from India-the tabla

GEE-PECK

Dha,dha,tirkit, ta dha, krandha,krandha,tirkit, tirkit, ta tha.

All the animals clap enthusiastically.

BANANA-DRAMA

Cool, very cool. No, no, I mean, hot, very hot.

FLOW-JO
(laughing)

You better decide whether Mr. Gee-Peck’s dance is cool or hot.

HARDY

I think it’s neither cool nor hot it looks like he is playing the fool.

ALL THE ANIMALS

Whaaaaaaaaaaat!

HARDY
Well, if Mr. Gee Peck is gonna dance with such huge boots it’s not our dance but kinda like a tap dance.

BUTTERFLY ONE

Tap dance, whatever is that?

LAUREL

We had seen it when we had gone abroad once. The dancers wore huge boots and were dancing. And very fast too.

GEE-PECK

Oh well, compared to them I am a nothing. Neither here nor there.

FLOW-JO

Why don’t you just present a demo. Don’t take part in the competition.

PETER

Then who is going to represent us? We do need to teach Mr.
Rabid a good lesson.

Everybody is thinking.

MELODY

Cooo.

All the animals look towards her.

MELODY (cont’d)

Will all of you give me a chance to sing on your behalf? BANANA-DRAMA

But can you sing? You have a sweet voice but professional training is what you need.

MELODY

I have trained professionally. But I can’t reveal the name of the maestro. It’s top secret.

PETER

All right, in that case why don’t you sing and let us decide.

ALL THE ANIMALS
(together)

Hear! hear! let us hear you.

MELODY
All right.

She comes to the center of the
stage and sings.

SONG
The hills are alive with the sound of music. (from the film Sound of Music)

She sings a few lines and then stops. The animals are quiet for a moment and then clap enthusiastically and shout”hear,hear,” and “bravo”!

GEE-PECK

Wonderful! What a melodious voice! Perfectly in tune and rhythm.

BANANA-DRAMA

Rocking! Simply rocking!

FLOW-JO

All right then, it is decided. Melody will represent us.

ALL THE ANIMALS
(all together)

Yes, yes.

PETER

All right Melody. You have to win the first prize. We’ll never get a chance like this one to teach Mr. Rabid a good lesson.

MELODY

All that is fine but let’s not forget my brother’s are also taking part in the contest. If I win they are going to feel bad.

FLOW-JO

Well, just listen to the wee bird. Everyone takes part in the contest,girl. But, this must be the first time I am hearing that someone is afraid to take part in the contest for fear of winning!

BANANA-DRAMA

That happens only when the results are “fixed” as to who is to win and who is to lose. Then it is smarter to lose for if you dare to win you could lose your life.

FLOW-JO

Yes, but this contest is not one of those ones for the Kite-King genuinely wants an entertainer for his court,whether it be a singer or a dancer.

PETER

And,not only are you a good singer but you dance well too. I have seen you hopping from branch to branch,from tree to tree.

FLOW-JO
(singing operatically)

I could have danced all night…
(she sings two lines of the
song from the film My Fair
Lady)

GEE-PECK

(sings where she breaks off)
You could have danced all night…..

They look at each other lovingly while the animals look at each other.

PETER

All right, all right, the two of you. How long do you intend to live in the past?

BANANA-DRAMA

Ya man. You gotta swing with the times dude.

(he snaps his fingers and
dances and sings)

SONG

Fly, robin fly
Fly, robin fly
Fly, robin fly
Up, up to the sky
Fly, robin fly
Fly, robin fly
Fly, robin fly Up, up to the sky
(from the group

Silver Convention)

Just then a pigeon flutters towards them. All the animals look at each other amazed

PEACE-MEAL
(the pigeon)

I have brought you a proclamation from Kite -King.

GEE-PECK

Go ahead.

PEACE-MEAL

The Kite-King wants you all to know that you are all welcome to his land but no one is permitted to bring their tutor or teacher with them.

Just then Caw-gee and Mr. Rabid arrive.

BANANA-DRAMA

Oh Caw-nee, I mean Caw-Gee! He has just brought an important message from the King that Mr. Rabid is not permitted in the contest.

CAW-GEE

Why Not? What kind of rule is that?

PEACE-MEAL

This is not a rule, it’s the law. The contestants cannot be accompanied by their tutors.

MR. RABID

Stuff and nonsense. I am going to go, let me see who dare stop me.

PEACE-MEAL

You are not going to get a visa.

MR. RABID

Why won’t you give me one? What kind of law is this? You can’t do this.

GEE-PECK

Listen, my good fellow, it’s their country, they can do whatever they want.

MR. RABID

I’ll see who will stop me from entering the country. I have my ways.

FLOW-JO

God forbid. Illegal alien. Are you going to break the law?

MR. RABID

Well, by hook or by crook, whatever it takes.

GEE-PECK

Why are you so stubborn Mr. Rabid? And why do you want to force yourself everywhere, even when you are not wanted. After all, you must be having a place of your own. Why don’t you go and live there peacefully?

BANANA-DRAMA

Well, the fact is his well is very deep and the water’s are very shallow and murky. And there are many frogs like him who go ribbid, ribbid all the time. That’s why this dude has run away and come here.

PETER

Well if he has run away and come here then he needs to sit quietly in a corner. Where’s the need to go ribbid, ribbid all the time.

GEE-PECK

Force of habit, my friend, force of habit.

MR. RABID

Ribbid, ribbid.

CAW-GEE

Mr. Rabid, don’t you bother about what they all say.

Peace, my friend, peace.

PEACE-MEAL
Did you say some thing to me ?

CAW-GEE

I said Peace.

PEACE-MEAL

Yes, that’s my name Peace-Meal. In short, Peace.

ALL THE ANIMALS

Whaaaaaaaaat?

PEACE-MEAL

Yes, I am the pigeon of Peace. Another bird was in charge of this work but ever since the hunters have got rid of her I am now in charge of this work.

BANANA-DRAMA

I see. Yes, the dove was the messenger of peace but now he is extinct like the dodo bird. And now you are in charge of this work.

PEACE-MEAL

Yes, and now I am going to fly off too. Farewell.

He flies away.

All the animals sing.

SONG
Fly, robin, fly…

BANANA-DRAMA
(to Mr. Rabid)

Well, you better live in peace in the jungle. We’ll take a quick tour of the world and come, man.

GEE-PECK

And if you get too bored you still have your well where the other frog’s await you.

MR. RABID

Ribbid!Ribbid! Looks like you are not going to

behave yourselves. Go fly a kite.

BANANA-DRAMA

Hellooo, we are going to meet the Kite-King. How can we fly a kite here?

All the animals laugh uproariously at his joke.

GEE-PECK

Great joke! We can’t fly a kite here coz we are going to meet the Kite-King!! Ho Ho Ho. Well said Banana-Drama.

Banana-Drama pulls up his collar
and smirks.

CAW-GEE

Melody, what are you doing here this late. Come into the nest. It’s time to go to bed. We have to leave early tomorrow.

(Addressing the other animals)
Come along, all of you too.

BANANA-DRAMA

No way Mam. I was thinking of going to the disco. I have just got a new job as the D.J. I have to play all the latest hit songs.

CAW-GEE
You have to play, that’s all. Anyone can do that for you, they don’t need you for that. Go. Go to sleep, or you will all miss the flight tomorrow.

BANANA-DRAMA
All right Caw-Nee, I mean Caw-Gee. We respect you, that is why we listen to you Mam or
(looking at Mr. Rabid)

By this time we would have got rid of certain individuals.

Goes away singing “Black is black, I want my baby back”by Los Bravos)

Mr. Rabid looks at him furiously.
All the animals leave. Only Mr.

Rabid remains on stage.

MR. RABID
We’ll see who will get rid of whom. I will destroy all of you. I have a secret weapon and that weapon is going to spell your doom.

FADE TO BLACK.

SCENE 4.

PLACE: CUCKOO’S LUXURIOUS BED CHAMBER WHICH IS FURNISHED WITH A FEW GOLDEN RODS TO DENOTE LUXURY AND THE FEELING OF BEING CAGED/ TIME:NIGHT

CHARACTERS: CUCKOO/A PIGEON/MRS. BROWN/MELODY

Cuckoo is pacing the floor. There is a knock on the door.

CUCKOO’S VOICE

Come in.
(A pigeon comes in and bows
before Cuckoo.)
Did you do what I told you to do?

PIGEON

Yes madam,I told both my friends to keep an eye on the contestants and to let me know who among them is the best.

CUCKOO

And?

PIGEON

According to my sources the most talented of the lot is a young singer named Melody.

CUCKOO

All right then, go and invite her. Tell her I want to meet her tomorrow, in the evening. Tell her I want to give her tips to help her win the contest.

PIGEON

(bowing respectfully)
To be sure Madam.
(Goes away)

CUCKOO
(putting her wings/hand
together)

Wants to replace me, indeed! We’ll see about that. I am going to teach her such a lesson that she‘ll go crying to her mamma. After I am done with her she’ll not even be able to eat, forget about tweet.

(she claps peremptorily) Where is everyone? Yoohooo, I say, yoohoo.

A little sparrow comes in running.

MRS. BROWN

Yes Madam.

CUCKOO

Are you deaf Mrs. Brown? Your problem is that you are hopping here and there all the time and when there is work to be done you are nowhere to be seen.

MRS. BROWN

(wringing her hands in fear)
Yes madam, to be sure madam. I had just gone to collect some grains and grit ( gives a shy smile) I am expecting five wee ones soon and we’ll need a bigger nest too. Hubby dear can’t do all the house work, he has to work outside too to make ends meet.

CUCKOO
(sarcastically)

I know exactly what he does outside. When are you folks going to change your ways? Your husband has no work, he’s always drunk in bars and you, you go on producing children. What’s your husband’s name?

MRS. BROWN
(lowers her eyes shyly clasps
her hand and swings side to
side)

Mr. Lancelot Brown.

CUCKOO

Whatever! Go and tell Mr. Hadalot to take a break and come and meet me right away. I have some work for him.

MRS. BROWN

Right away Missus (Cuckoo glares at her) I mean madame.

CUCKOO

Now off with you. Go and get me a few grains and salad leaves. And, bring me a cold glass of water.

MRS. BROWN
(who is a little slow-witted)
To drink?

CUCKOO
(exasperated)

No, to have a bath! Oh God, give me strength that I can deal with these slow witted and hilly billy sorts. Now, go, O mother of mine, go and do as I say.

MRS. BROWN

Mother? I am not your mother. I am going to be a mother soon.
(Shyly)

Just a few days to go.

CUCKOO
(stamping her feet)

Are you going to leave or no!

The sparrow hops away
(Cuckoo draws in a deep breath)

What a life! On the one hand I have to deal with these dumb hilly billy sorts and on the other I have to deal with that rogue Kite-King who has no other interest in life but to sing, dance and be merry. Just because I am a little old, I mean a little mature now, he is scouting around for young blood. He has one leg in the grave but he behaves like a young rooster. Anyway, I can handle him and his new singing sensation, what did pigeon say was her name, ah Yes! Melody.

Fade to black for a few moments to indicate that it is the next day and then we hear’s Melody’s voice.

MELODY’S VOICE

Koooooo.

Lights come on gradually. Melody is standing on one corner of the stage.

Cuckoo is on the settee in a
dishevelled state

MELODY

Madam you called me so here I am. I am a big fan, Madam.

Your songs are an inspiration to me.

CUCKOO
(Yawning)

Really! You are so little then how can you be a big fan? (Giggling)
Just a joke. Come in, come and sit down.
(Pats the settee)

Come here, come sit next to me.

Melody sits next to her, a little scared, a little nervous.

CUCKOO

Now then, tell me, where did you learn to sing. I mean, who is your teacher?

MELODY’S VOICE
(as she thinks)

Senor Julio told me to tell no one but (addresses Cuckoo)
Mother had appointed Mr. Rabid to tutor all of us.

CUCKOO
(taken aback)

Mr. Rabid! That tuneless frog who goes ribbid, ribbid in the rainy weather.

MELODY

The same.

CUCKOO

Lordloveaduck!

CUCKOO’S VOICE
(as she thinks to herself)

Did that pigeon make a mistake? How can she be a good singer? (Addresses Melody)

All right, let me hear you, let me see how you sing.

MELODY

I am sorry, the maestro forbid from singing in front of anyone.

CUCKOO

Drat it! All right, at least let me hear you sing the seven notes of melody, just like Mr. Ribbid taught you to sing.

MELODY

Just like Mr. Ribbid taught me to sing. All right.
(she sings hoarsely)
Do, Ray, Me, Far, So, La, Ti, Do.

CUCKOO
(gives an evil smile)

Hear, hear! What a voice. Wonderful, my child. You will surely win the first prize in this contest.
(Joyfully)
Will you eat something?
(Claps her hands peremptorily)
Mrs. Brown, yoohoo,Mrs. Brown, are you deaf?

Mrs Brown who is wearing an apron and has a duster in which she is wiping her hands comes in running.

MRS. BROWN

Yes Missus
(Cuckoo glares at her)
I mean Madame.

CUCKOO

Go and get a cola with ice for her. And get me some hot tea and don’t forget the ginger.

MRS. BROWN
(as she goes )

Yes missus

(flustered)

I mean Madame

The lights are slowly dimming as
we hear Melody.

MELODY’S VOICE

My teacher told me not drink anything cold. And definitely not any cola. It has chemicals that kill bugs.

CUCKOO

Drat it!

FADE TO BLACK.

SCENE 5 A.

PLACE: KITE-KING’S COURT IN HIS PALACE/ TIME:NIGHT

CHARACTERS:KITE-KING/CUCKOO/JUDGE-A FAT PENGUIN/ALL THE ANIMALS OF JUNGLE LAND/AUDIENCE WHICH CAN ALSO COMPRISE OF ANY BIRDS,BEASTS OR HUMANS THROUGH WHICH ONE MAY WANT TO MAKE A STATEMENT, AN ALIEN WHO HAS COME FROM ANOTHER GALAXY/MR. LANCELOT BROWN, MRS. BROWN AND THEIR FIVE CHILDREN/GURU GODMAN.

Kite-king comes and sits on his throne.

The audience claps

KITE-KING

Let the contest begin.

The Master of ceremonies is a crane. He holds the mike.
He stands on one foot then the other.

GURU GODMAN

Salaam,Namaste,Good Evening! Ich bin ein Guru Godman and welcome you all. The Kite-King, in all his benevolence, has organized this contest magnifique for all of us to enjoy. Tres bien. Now, I will call on each contestant to come one by one and I hope you will enjoy their performance. So, first let me invite.. ( looks at his paper)

PETER

(to Gee-Peck)
Why doesn’t he speak in one language,it’s very confusing.

GEE-PECK

So, he can please everyone.

GURU GODMAN

The first contestant tonight is China’s famous singer,

(looking at a paper in his hands)

Who is also trained in the martial arts like judo karate,Pee-Wee- King.

Everyone claps and Pee-Wee-King comes on stage and sings in the Chinese Style and also demonstrates Judo and karate.

PEE-WEE-KING
(Sings in a falsetto)

Chop, chop, chop,chop suey.

Pop, pop, pop, pop goes the weasel.

Top, top, top, top of the Morning,

Cop, cop, cop, cop out come evening.

Come morning, come evening,
By day and by night,

Buy, buy, buy our motto,

And sell, sell, sell,

When the time is right.

Buy and sell, buy and sell,

Do we care wherever we dwell.

All we want is the ship to sail,

We’ll bail out when the going is hell.

The song concludes and everyone claps.

LAUREL
(to Hardy)

He looks like a boy then why does he sing like a girl? And his name is Pee-Wee-King. Is he small or is he a King? And why does he exercise when he sings? I am so confused.

GEE-PECK

So is he. And that is his problem. He can’t decide what he wants, what he wants to be and where he is going? I guess he’ll make up his mind when the going is hell.

GURU GODMAN

And now is the turn of the famous bird from Australia – Platy-Pus.

A weird looking bird comes on stage.

LAUREL

Now what kind of bird is this, I just can’t figure it out.

PETER

Nor can it. It hasn’t decided what it wants to be, a bird or a beast. So its neither here nor there – just a Platy-pus.

LAUREL

That Chinese man should also decide what it wants to be or it will turn out like this creature-neither here nor there.

PLATY-PUS
(Singing)

Fowl is fair and Fair is Fowl

Live we do not cheek by jowl.

Open spaces,weather fair,

Plenty to eat and not a care.

Confused are we and do not dare

To take a stand and show them all

We mean business and will not stick

Any funny business before we kick

All and sundry from our land.
No, no. no, no, yes, yes, yes, yes.
No-yes, no-yes, no- yes, no-yes,
Confused are we, we are confused,
Lord clear the heads of these Platy-pus.

All the creatures clap. We see a short rotund individual clad from top to toe in a burqa/abaya coming in. He stands in a corner. This is Mr. Rabid

GURU GODMAN

And now we call on stage four talented singers from the jungle- Do-ray, Me-far, So-la, Ti-do, to present their song titled, Black is Black.

The creatures clap and the four crows come on stage lugging their instruments which they place with stylized swagger and superior attitude.

FOUR CROWS
(singing in a rap style)
Black is black and so is white.
Day is day and so is night.

If black is white and day is night

What does it matter if we look a sight,
What does it matter if we give you a fright,
What does it matter if you want us out of sight.

We may be bores

but now-a-days

anything goes.

If anything goes
than what does it matter
If we are not sure of our tunes or our pater.
We follow the credo of all our kind
To stiff the suckers who pay to watch
Our shows and our broadsides divine.
If they now complain,
We’ll not return their money
come thunder or rain.
No, no, that’s not our intention,
No,no,we’ll not allow any intervention,
We want our money
and we’ll hold it tight,
Nothing will cure us,
not even a swift kick
Up our backsides.

At the beginning of the song the audience is too stunned to react. Then, they slowly start to close their ears. Some of them are trying to get out of the hall. The Kite-King is flapping his wings in anger. The Guru-Godman hastily comes on stage. Only the alien is clapping appreciatively.

GURU GODMAN

Yes, yes, to be sure. I think that is enough for the night.Due to time constraints we’ll have to cut short this number.We apologize.

The animals are happy. From the burqa/abaya clad individual comes the sound of “Ribbid, Ribbid.” All the Jungle-Land creatures look around surprised then at each other.

GURU GODMAN (cont’d)

Finally it is the turn of a young and talented singer.
I invite on stage Melody.

Melody comes on stage. All the
creatures clap. Cuckoo gives and
evil smile.

MELODY
(singing)
The hills are alive with the Sound of
Music. (from the film Sound of Music)

The audience is entranced, particularly Kite-King. Only the alien is closing his ears with a pained expression. When the song is over the creatures clap enthusiastically and shout “Bravo,Bravo”and “Hear, Hear!” Cuckoo looks furious.The Kite-King comes on stage.

KITE-KING

Well done, well done! Tonight’s program was excellent and entertaining. I am very pleased.
(The audience claps)

Singers from all parts of the world have entertained us tonight with songs in many different languages. But music is one language that brings together people from all over the world. For music knows no boundaries,no languages,it is above all. Music touches not our minds but our hearts. And the entertainer whose song has touched all our hearts is no other than the winner of tonight’s contest, Melody.

The creatures clap and yell ‘Bravo’ and ‘Hear, Hear!’ Cuckoo looks furious.

KITE-KING (cont’d)

We would like Melody to come on stage and accept her prize.

Melody comes on stage and accepts her gift. A tiny crown is placed on her head.

KITE-KING (cont’d)

I am so pleased with Melody’s singing that I hereby appoint her as our court singer. Henceforth she will live here and entertain me. The whole world will enjoy her music.
In return Melody will get untold riches and fame….
(The audience claps)

KITE-KING (cont’d)

And henceforth she will live in a golden
cage (he looks at Cuckoo)

Since our old entertainer is about to retire she will now live in a brass cage and her cage will be prepared for Melody.
(It is clear that Cuckoo does
not like the Kite-King’s uggestion.)

KITE-KING (cont’d)

And Cuckoo, you are hereby appointed Melody’s chaperone. Please take care that she is taken care of and does not want for anything.
(Cuckoo stands up and
curtsies. Kite-King looks at Melody)

KITE-KING (cont’d)
I congratulate you and wish you well for a bright future and a new world.

MELODY
(To Kite-King)

May I have your permission to say a few words.

KITE-KING

To be sure, you may.

MELODY

I thank you all for considering me worthy of such honor and for supporting me in this journey, I would like to call upon the person who has my deepest respect. I would like to call her on stage and in front of all you ask her for her blessings. Mom…..

Caw-gee looks at Melody. She has tears in her eyes. She walks slowly towards the stage. She is old and has white hair but Cuckoo recognizes her. Melody touches Caw-Gee’s feet who blesses her. The audience claps. The two embrace.

FADE TO BLACK.

SCENE 5 B

PLACE/TIME: SAME AS SCENE 5. THE STAGE IS BLACK FOR A MOMENT AND THEN SLOWLY LIGHTS UP TO SHOW THE AUDIENCE HAS LEFT. ONLY CUCKOO IS LEFT ALONE.
41.

CHARACTERS:CUCKOO/ MR.RABID

Cuckoo is pacing the floor. A sudden sound distracts her and she sees that a burqa/abaya clad figure approaches her.

CUCKOO
(frightened)

What..who ..is there?

The burqa/abaya clad figure comes close and lifts the veil from his face to reveal Mr. Rabid. Cuckoo screams.

MR. RABID

Ribbid! I removed the veil from my face! Then why did you scream?

CUCKOO

Never mind. Who are you? I am going to call the sentry to throw you out.

MR. RABID
Don’t even think of making the mistake. You stand to lose a lot.

CUCKOO

Really? I have just lost everything. What do I have to lose now?

MR. RABID

If you do as I tell you then you will get what your heart desires..

CUCKOO

What are you implying, sir. At least think of your grey beard before talking such rubbish.

MR. RABID

Oh dear me Madame. You have got me wrong. In any case, you are not that young either.

CUCKOO
(narrowing her eyes and raising
an eyebrow)

Really, For the likes of you I am no less than a beautiful hourie from heaven. Just which planet are you from Mister?

MR. RABID

Ribbid! Ribbid! Your tongue is as sharp as a knife. If you were in my country….

CUCKOO

Exactly, that’s why I am not in your country. I have no wish to live in a deep well
(she looks him up and down)

Nor do I wish to suffocate my self. I like to breathe free in the fresh air, understood?

MR. RABID

Do you call living in a golden cage freedom?

CUCKOO

Well, it certainly beats living in a dark well.

MR. RABID

Heaven help me! Why have I got myself entangled in this useless debate. Do you want to hear about something that is in your interest?

CUCKOO

All right, go on.

MR. RABID

Actually I am the tutor to the Caw-Doors Band.

CUCKOO

Ah, so that is why you hide your face.

MR. RABID
What rubbish. The laws in your country are so weird that I have to resort to these means.

CUCKOO

Every country has its own laws. The laws in your country are no less weird.
(She shudders)
Goodness, I couldn’t live there for even a day.

MR. RABID
(irritated)

Who is calling you there in any event? Why don’t you listen to that which is in your interest?

CUCKOO

It’s not possible that it will only be in my interest and not yours. You don’t look like a philanthropist to me.

MR. RABID
(almost in tears)

Please, I beg of you. Listen to me carefully.

CUCKOO

All right, all right, hurry up. It’s time for my massage.

MR. RABID
(stuttering in disgust)

Massage? Here we are about to talk of important matters of the state, of a world which is going to be topsy-turvy and you can only think of your massage.

CUCKOO
( tossing her head scornfully)

Soooooo! If you took an interest in some massage you wouldn’t be so hyper, I mean stressed, I mean tensed. You would be more happy and relaxed.

MR. RABID
(hopping up and down)

Ribbid! Ribbid! Who says I am not relaxed. I am very happy go lucky
(trying to laugh)
See how I laugh. He he he. See.

CUCKOO

All right, all right. There is no need for these histrionics.
All Right out with it. My time is precious.

MR. RABID

So I like I said before I am the tutor of the Caw-Doors band.

CUCKOO

Oh Yes, that reminds me you are Melody’s tutor too, then how did she learn to sing so well.

MR. RABID

What do you mean? Melody does not know how to sing and yet she won the contest. I suspect a huge conspiracy is afoot and Kite-king is at the bottom of it all. I think he’s jealous of my talent and wants to discredit me in front of everyone.

CUCKOO

Are you retarded, by any chance?

MR. RABID

Ribbid, Ribbid.

CUCKOO

Anyway, go on.

MR. RABID

I feel the two of us should get together (Cuckoo gives him a hard stare), I don’t mean that. I mean if you help me to dethrone Kite-King then, in return, I will make you the court singer.

CUCKOO

And pray tell me what is your plan to dethrone him?

Mr. Rabid takes out a packet from his garment.

MR. RABID

Here take this medicine. Just stir it in Kite-king’s tea.

CUCKOO

I see, and then what will happen?

MR. RABID

What will happen? Kite-king will lose his memory, he’ll forget he’s the king and we can easily place anyone we want on his throne.

CUCKOO

It seems to me you are very fond of Bollywood films. I mean memory loss and all that. Just like a movie.

MR. RABID
No way. I’m not fond of such trash. This kind of cheap entertainment is forbidden where I come from.

CUCKOO

Oh, then what’s all this singing and dancing,what’s your explanation for all that?

MR. RABID

I am doing all that out of my country, not in there.

CUCKOO

Wow,that kind of reasoning stinks of double standards. What is bad there can’t be good here?

MR. RABID

You won’t understand these political matters.

CUCKOO

Hmmm, I understand your political matters completely. These political matters have only one agenda, get what you want and have a lot of fun. Who cares about the poor public. Any way,what do I care. As long as my fun and games continue I am not bothered what happens to the world around me(extends her hand forward). All right, give me your memory loss potion.

Mr. Rabid gives her vial. Cuckoo
walks away, her heels clicking.

MR. RABID

So you want to be the court dancer eh, we’ll see about that. You are not fit to be a street dancer. Just let me become the king then I will make you dance to my tune. You”ll forget your steps, Madame. Ribbid, ribbid.

FADE TO BLACK.

SCENE 6.

PLACE: KITE-KING’S COURT IN HIS PALACE/TIME:NIGHT

CHARACTERS:KITE-KING/MELODY/ALL THE COURTIERS/CUCKOO/GURU-GODMAN/PENGUIN/MRS. BROWN/DR.CHARLIE

MELODY
(singing sadly as she twirls
slowly)

SONG

The hills are alive with the sound of music (From the film”Sound of Music”)

KITE-KING

Bravo, Bravo. I am pleased, very pleased. (to Cuckoo) I hope you are looking after her? She should not want for anything.

He takes out a string of pearls from his neck and extends his hand/wing to Melody.

KITE-KING (CONT’D)

This is for you.

Melody accepts the necklace but from her demeanor we can see that she is not happy.

KITE-KING (CONT’D)

It seems to me you are not very happy. Why? Is anything the matter?

MELODY

You have given me everything but..

KITE-KING

But?

Melody is silent.

KITE-KING

Tell me what is that I cannot give you? (a little sternly), Come on, out with it?

MELODY
(softly)

I want to breathe in the open air. Can I go back to the jungle?

KITE-KING

There is only one thing you cannot get and you have asked for it- Freedom. Besides this, you can have anything you want.

MELODY

I don’t want anything else. I just want to fly in the open skies, please let me go.

KITE-KING
(more sternly)

That is not possible. You can go now.

Melody walks away slowly, downcast.

KITE-KING
(to Cuckoo)

Go and explain to her, entertain her. Give her whatever she wants so that she no longer wants to leave from here.

CUCKOO’S VOICE

Yes , your highness.

Cuckoo goes away. Kite-King is lost in thought when Guru-Godman, who is standing next to him speaks.

GURU GODMAN

With your permission Sire, can I say something?

KITE-KING

Yes, yes, go on.

GURU GODMAN

It is my observation,your highness, that this old Cuckoo will be unable to take care of the little cuckoo. On the contrary it is very likely that she will only trouble her. My suggestion is we appoint someone else to take care of her.

KITE-KING

Wonderful,you have great manipulative skills. I am glad I included you in my council of ministers just after the contest.

GURU GODMAN
(bowing low)

I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

KITE-KING

So, in your wise opinion who would be most suitable to look after Melody?

GURU GODMAN

One name does comes to my mind but I am not sure if he will agree.

KITE-KING

Who?

GURU GODMAN

His name is Senior Julio. He lives in the same jungle to which Melody belongs.

KITE-KING

But, a man?

GURU GODMAN
By God’s grace he is blind.

KITE-KING
(laughing)

What a joke! A blind man to keep an eye on Melody. But really your manipulative skills are worthy of praise.

GURU GODMAN

So, should I send him a message Sire?

KITE-KING

Yes, of course!
(laughs)

Ah, the crafty Cuckoo will tie herself up in knots.
Simply great, Guru-Godman, I am pleased.

GURU GODMAN

I have another request, Sire?

KITE-KING

Yes, of course. Go on.

GURU GODMAN

I have a friend, Mr. Rabid, who is very wealthy. He has embarked on a world tour. He would like to enjoy the sights and sounds of our country. Please grant him a visa.

KITE-KING

Why not, why not. If he is your friend he must be of some consequence. I will give orders for his visa. Do bring him to the court sometime.

GURU GODMAN

To be sure, your highness. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Pays his respects by bowing very low.

KITE-KING
(yawns loudly, bored of Guru-
Godman’s courtesies)

All right, all right,now think of something new to entertain us. The contest was a complete washout. Except for Melody’s all the items were absolute rubbish

PENGUIN
(who is standing close by)

May I make a suggestion sire?

KITE-KING

Mr. Penguin, you are so cold, what suggestion could you possibly give? Anyway, go on.

PENGUIN

I think we should have a contest between Cuckoo and Melody.
The loser will have to become the other’s maid-servant.

KITE-KING
(laughs)

Great, simply great! What an idea. Your mind is a devil’s workshop and its working overtime.
(To Guru-Godman)

Make arrangements and invite all those who had come before.

GURU GODMAN
Yes, your sire.

Kite-king rises, stretches and
yawns loudly.

KITE-KING

All right then, the court is adjourned. We’ll go and rest now.

Kite-king walks away. As he is going he is scratching his beard,yawning, rubbing his eyes. All the courtiers heave a sigh of relief. Suddenly, Kite-king comes back. Everyone is alert again.

KITE-KING (cont’d)

Somebody tell Cuckoo to bring a glass of milk to my room.

GURU GODMAN

Yes, your highness.

Kite-king leaves. The other courtiers follow. Only the Penguin waddles behind.

GURU GODMAN
(to Penguin)

Your idea was excellent. Will you come to my house tonight.
Mr. Rabid is coming too.

PENGUIN

If you give me dinner I will come. I am fond of fish.
GURU GODMAN
Me too. I have arranged for some flies for Mr. Rabid. He is an expert in catching flies.

PENGUIN

Gross. Then it will be impossible to suffer him.

GURU GODMAN

Yes, but in politics one has to make friends with all kinds of people. And he can be useful, you know.

PENGUIN

All right then I’ll suffer him too. I’ll even swallow a few flies for his sake.

GURU GODMAN

I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

They leave. We hear Penguin’s

voice back-stage.

PENGUIN (O.S.)

Your name is Guru but you speak English very well. Where did you get your training?

GURU GODMAN (O.S.)

We have been at it since my grandfather’s time Now it flows in my blood.

Melody walks in slowly. She sings the same song she had sung in court, “The hills are alive with the sound of music,” Cuckoo follows, there is a glass of milk in her hand. Melody stands behind some gold bars, she looks sad.

CUCKOO

What do you want for?

MELODY

I want my Mom.

CUCKOO

Didn’t you recognise me. I Am your real mom. Many years ago I had left you in Caw-Gee’s nest. Come on, Give me a hug.

MELODY
(moving back)

No, never. You Are not my mom, Caw-gee is my mom.

CUCKOO

I gave birth to you, Melody.

MELODY

So what, you gave birth to me and left me. Caw-gee gave me life.

CUCKOO

Your two are not the same. Look at me. My color, my looks, my qualities are all like yours. I can give you everything. Riches, wealth, name, fame.

MELODY

Riches, wealth, name, fame – I can give you these, not you. Today I have all this so you are with me. I don’t want any of this.

CUCKOO

Then, what do you want, child?

MELODY

I want Caw-gee’s love.
(screams)
I want Caw-Gee’s love.

Melody falls down on the bed covered with a velvet bed spread and weeps. Cuckoo takes out the vial which was given to her by Mr. Rabid.

CUCKOO (V.O.)

I think I should give this memory loss potion to her. When she will forget her old life she’ll forget Caw-gee too. Then I can control her totally.

She pours the potion in the glass of milk and then comes to Melody and strokes her with loving hands.

CUCKOO

Melody, my child. Please get up and drink this milk, it will make you feel much better. I will personally talk to Kite-king today and ask him to send you back to your mother.

MELODY
(with tears in her eyes and
choked throat)

Promise?

CUCKOO

Yes, yes, my child. I am your mother, not your enemy.
Come drink this.

Melody drinks the milk laced with the potion.

MELODY
(putting her arms around
Cuckoo’s neck)

Mom, you are so wonderful.

She loses her grip and faints.

CUCKOO
(gets up and claps)

Hello, is anyone around?

Mrs. Brown comes running.

MRS. BROWN

Yes Missus…..I mean Yes Madame.

CUCKOO

Look at her, what has happened to her. Go and call the doctor right away and tell Guru-Godman to inform his highness that Melody has fainted.(Mrs. Brown is staring at her with a deer caught in the headlights expression) Oh for God’s sake, what are you staring at me bug-eyed. Go on, hurry up.

MRS. BROWN

Yes, should I call the doctor first or go and inform Guru-Godman.

CUCKOO

Oh Lordy, Lordy, are you a complete nincompoop? Go and tell Guru-Godman first. Only when he sees her condition will matters proceed further.

MRS. BROWN
(innocently)

What matters Missus…I mean Madame?

CUCKOO

Just this that his star singer is no longer in a state to entertain his highness. He’ll have no choice but to come to me. And he thought he could take away my golden cage.

There is a sound of someone clearing his throat. Cuckoo and Mrs. Brown jump in fright.

GURU GODMAN

I have seen everything and I have heard everything too.

Cuckoo is flustered.

CUCKOO

Sir, I was just saying, I mean….

GURU GODMAN

I know perfectly well what you mean. I have never seen anyone as mean as you. And now for your selfish interests your tried to do away with this poor wee creature. You will be punished for this, for sure.

CUCKOO

All right, go and tell. I, too, will tell his highness that I merely gave Melody the potion which your friend Mr. Rabid had given me to give him.

GURU GODMAN
(sighing deeply)

You are a very crooked woman. And how did you come to know that Mr. Rabid is my friend?

CUCKOO

Not only I, but everyone knows he is your friend. You asked for his visa in front of everyone. What do you think, are you the only one who has spies?

GURU GODMAN

All right, all right, Mata Hari. This round is yours. But what do we do with her (looks at Melody) And I have called for Senor Julio to take care of her.

CUCKOO

According to my sources Senor Julio is blind, so he can while his time away in some corner. And as for her, she has lost her memory,not her singing abilities, so now she will sing and dance to our tune.

All this while Mrs. Brown has been stepping back slowly and now she quickly takes a step back and disappears from the scene.

CUCKOO
(looking around)

Oh, where did Mrs. Brown vanish. These folks are a bunch of lazy good for nothings. One’s attention is diverted for just a second and off they go. It’s just as well or we would have to get rid of her as well.

GURU GODMAN

We’ll have to show this one to the doctor just so that his highness does not suspect any foul play.

CUCKOO
(screaming)

Mrs. Brown, Mrs. Brown, where the dickens are you?

Mrs. Brown rushes in, panting.

MRS. BROWN

Yes, Missus…I mean, Madame.

CUCKOO

Go and call Dr. Charlie and be quick.

MRS. BROWN

Yes, yes Missus…I mean Madame, madame.

Mrs. Brown leaves. Cuckoo picks up the glass and holds it high and says looking at it.

CUCKOO

I hope she loses only her memory with this potion. There will be no other ill effects.

GURU GODMAN

That only Dr. Charlie can tell us.

Dr. Charlie comes followed by Mrs.
Brown.

DR.CHARLIE

Oh dear, oh dear, what happened? Dr. Charlie at your service.

GURU GODMAN

Will you (pointing to Melody) look at her please. We don’t know what happened. She just fainted suddenly.

Dr. Charlie takes out a large magnifying glass and inspects Melody.

DR.CHARLIE

The patient’s condition is extremely serious. Her body has bloated up hugely.

CUCKOO
(sarcastically)

Maybe it is because you are looking at her through a magnifying glass.

Dr. Charlie takes out a stethoscope and puts the two ends into Melody’s ears and listens into one with his ear.

DR.CHARLIE

I can hear some strange sounds. The patient’s mental state is highly disturbed.

GURU GODMAN

I think you need to get your brains examined as soon as possible.

CUCKOO
(voice dripping with sarcasm)

What can anyone do about the state of affairs in this country. Fools rush in here and angels fear to tread. Everything is available at wholesale prices and this doctor too is part of the deal.

DR.CHARLIE
(angrily)
Maybe you are not aware that I hold an M.B.B.S. Degree.

CUCKOO

And I know very well what that means, My Boys,Babies and Spouses need my services and for that I need to stick it to you. Just like you your degrees too are available at wholesale rates.

GURU GODMAN

Anyway, now just do what other folks do. Just splash some water on her face.

He looks towards Mrs. Brown who is staring open-mouthed. She is flustered and runs off and comes back with a bowl of water. Dr. Charlie splashes Melody’s face with water. Melody opens her eyes and looks around wide-eyed and distressed. Then she tries to speak.

MELODY
Ko…….

CUCKOO

Melody! What happened, tell me?

Melody stares at her wide-eyed,
trying in vain to speak.

MRS. BROWN

Lordloveaduck! The cat has got the wee mite’s tongue.

CUCKOO

What are you saying? Can’t you speak plain English?
Ignoramus,hilly billy critter.

GURU GODMAN

Well, she speaks the truth in her rustic way. This one’s voice has gone and,most probably, she can’t recognise anyone too.

CUCKOO

Drat it!
(then a little happily)

Well, now at least they will have to reinstate me as the court singer.

Kite-king enters.

KITE-KING

Wrong! That is impossible. You are no longer fit for this post. We now seek fresh blood which is young,beautiful and can entertain us. Dry,old bones will not do.

(To Guru-Godman)

Send Peace-meal pigeon with the message that we are going to hold another contest. This time, besides untold wealth the winner will also get dearness allowance, transport, medical and an expense account.

CUCKOO
(drawing in her breath)

Oh! This prize will tempt anyone.

KITE-KING

Yes,and I think you should start thinking about packing your bags and moving on. And yes, along with you,

(pointing to Melody)

Take her along too. She is of no use now.

CUCKOO

What will I do with her? Call her mom. She’ll take her away.

GURU GODMAN

She is absolutely right. And there is no need for that thrush, Senor Julio too. I will tell him not to come.

KITE-KING

It he wants to pay his way and come, he can come. I have heard he too is fond of singing and dancing. He used to be a very famous singer at one time. Then he went blind due to an accident. And ever since then he stopped performing in public. Now he lives in a cottage in the jungle.

CUCKOO

Yes, I remember. Many years ago, I mean not so very long ago, just about fifteen, no, ten, no…

GURU GODMAN

There is no need to stress your bird brain. I know for a fact that the thrush has not performed in public for the last twenty five years. Go on now.

CUCKOO
(grimacing)

Uh, oh! Anyway, both of us had performed together once before the Queen of England. Suddenly the electricity went off. The thrush was holding a mike. When the lights came on again suddenly there was a loud bang and smoke all over.

Senor Julio shouted and fainted right there. He lost his eyes in that accident.

KITE-KING
(yawning)

All right, all right, there is no need for your hundred year old tales. Take this ( looking towards Melody) one away and (looking towards Dr. Charlie) you help her too. If You can’t cure a body at least you can help lift it.

Mrs. Brown steps forward too. Cuckoo and Mrs. Brown lift Melody from the shoulders and Dr. Charlie lifts her feet. They all leave the stage.

GURU GODMAN

Sire, till you get someone to replace the Cuckoo don’t throw her out.

KITE-KING

You are so right. We do need someone to entertain us.
We’ll just have to make do with her.

(sighing deeply)

It’s just my bad luck.

GURU GODMAN
(smiling)

Don’t lose heart, your highness. Just throw a few coins and watch the fun. Not one but thousands will come running. Their breed is such. There are just a few who care about the arts, and one of those was Melody, but alas, that crafty Cuckoo has cast her evil eye on her.

KITE-KING

Well, her time is up in any case. You just go ahead and announce the contest.

GURU GODMAN
(bowing low)

Yes, your highness. Your slightest whim is my command. KITE-KING

I like your style. That is why I chose to make a high school failed like you my minister over many talented candidates. Come on, it’s late. (Yawns) I am off to sleep.

Goes away.

GURU GODMAN
(narrowing his eyes)

Oh, you love to sleep, don’t you.
One day I’ll put you to sleep permanently that you won’t
get up to see the morning sun. I am just a high school drop out but I will make sure you’ll drop dead soon.

FADE OUT.

ACT 3

Scene 1

PLACE: A CORNER OF THE JUNGLE /TIME: DAY
CHARACTERS: ALL THE CREATURES OF JUNGLE-LAND AND SENOR JULIO.
(All the animals from Jungle-land are busy playing. The two rabbits, Laurel and Hardy,are wrestling with each other, the
crows are playing baseball.
The deer, parrot and
butterflies are also playing.
Banana-Drama, the monkey is
giving the commentary. The
game can be imaginary.)

BANANA-DRAMA

Do-ray has thrown the ball and Me-far has hit it, the ball is
flying….
(We can hear the plodding sound
of Gee-Peck’s boots coming
towards them )

Across the boundary

(Gee-peck catches the ball)

Straight into Gee-Peck’s hands.

GEE-PECK

Saved by a wing and a prayer.

BANANA-DRAMA

Can we call this a run out

ALL THE CROWS
(shouting)

Out, out!

BANANA-DRAMA

This is not a run out because Gee-Peck is not a member of the team.

Gee-peck throws the ball which lands on Mr. Rabid who gets up with a start.

MR. RABID

Ribbid! Ribbid! Is the game over or not? Come on my students! Its time for music practise. You will surely win the contest this time.
That is why I have hopped from such a long way to help you.
Come on now, take out your music instruments.

(The crows take out their music
instruments. The other animals
take out the devices like ear
plugs,cotton wool etc. to shut
out the sound. There is a
sound of someone singing. It
is Senor Julio, the blind
singer, who is coming towards
them tap-tapping with his
cane. He is wearing dark
glasses. He bumps into Gee-peck.)

GEE-PECK

Brother,careful! Can’t you see?

SENOR JULIO

No.

GEE-PECK

Oh! I am sorry! Dark glasses are in fashion so I did not realize and….

MR. RABID

Sure! you couldn’t see the cane too ?

GEE-PECK
(giving him a hard stare)

You love to fan the fire, don’t you?

(to Senor Julio)

I thought, you use the stick to protect yourself from the many deadly creatures hiding in the grass like snakes,scorpions and some poisonous toads.

Mr. Rabid begins to puff up in anger. Caw-gee tries to save the situation by quickly intervening and addressing Senor Julio.

CAW-GEE

What do you want?

SENOR JULIO

Does Melody live here?

CAW-GEE

She used to live here but ever since she won the contest she has become the chief entertainer in Kite-King’s court. Now she lives there. But, how do you know her?

SENOR JULIO

She was my pupil.

BANANA-DRAMA

Gee, that Melody sure turned out to be a dark horse. I used to wonder, how did she become such a hit singer?

MR. RABID

So,you used to give her tuitions. Now I know why there was no improvement in her singing. This system of extra tuition has completely spoilt our system of education….tuition is
not good.

SENOR JULIO

I want to meet Melody. Somehow, I have this feeling in my bones that Melody is not happy.

FLOW-JO
(to Peter parrot)

Blind folks have a stronger sixth sense than us.

CAW-GEE

To meet Melody you will have to go very far from this jungle.
To the city.

SENOR JULIO

Oh!

CAW-GEE

We are all going to leave soon. The Kite-king is holding another contest.

GEE-PECK

You can come too.

MR. RABID
(puffing up with importance)

But he doesn’t have a visa. My friend Guru-Godman arranged one for me but for him….

GEE-PECK.
Yes, indeed, this is a serious matter.

MR. RABID

And, contestants are forbidden from getting their teacher or mentor with them.

(Everyone is quiet, they have their thinking caps on)

BANANA-DRAMA
(jumping with joy)

An idea!
(All the creature look at him
with anticipation)

If he can’t go as a teacher or mentor he can go as a contestant, for sure.

(All the animals, except Mr.
Rabid, jump around in
excitement)

GEE-PECK

Banana-Drama! You are a genius.

CAW-GEE
(laughs)

It seems to me that you do need brains even to imitate. I used to think you are all style and no substance but it seems to me you do pack a punch.

FLOW-JO
(giggling)

Hey, Caw-gee, haven’t you heard that song.
(she sings)

SONG
Muhammad, Muhammad Ali
He floats like a butterfly and sings like a bee.
Muhammad, the black superman,
Who calls to the other guy I’m Ali catch me if you
can. (All the creatures sing and dance with joy. Gee-Peck does the tap dance)
Muhammad, Muhammad Ali

He floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee Muhammad the black superman

Who calls to the other guy I’m Ali catch me if you can

(Banana-drama’s walkman falls on the stage as the creatures move out of the stage singing and dancing as they go. Only
Mr. Rabid is left behind. He
takes out his cellphone and
presses a button.)

MR. RABID
(speaking on the phone)

Hello. Who is that? Oh Guru-Godman. I am your dear friend Mr. Rabid speaking. Greetings from me to you! I just wanted to inform you that Melody’s teacher is also coming to your kingdom but as contestant.
(he listens for sometime)

What!

(The mobile falls from his
hand, he picks it up hastily
and holds it to his ear)

Melody has lost her memory and her voice too. Ribbid, ribbid.I Had given the medicine for Kite-king then what, oh, this is the crafty cuckoo’s doing indeed. All right then, I will make some other arrangements, all right, all right then. My heartfelt good wishes to you.

(he switches off the phone and
hops off the stage. Banana –
drama comes from the other
side to pick up the walkman he
had dropped. The monkey picks up the walkman.)

BANANA-DRAMA
(thinking)

Oh so that is the way the cookie crumbles. I will consult Gee-peck, Peter,and Flow-Jo and decide what is do be done now!

SCENE 2.
PLACE: KITE-KING’S COURT. TIME: NIGHT.

CHARACTERS: ALL THE CREATURES WHO WERE PRESENT AT THE PREVIOUS CONTEST. THIS TIME MR. RABID IS NOT WEARING A VEIL.

The kite-king is seated on his throne.

Guru Godman comes on stage.

GURU GODMAN

All of you are very welcome. I am sure you must wondering that we just held a contest, what was the hurry for another one. The reason for this is the Kite-king’s generosity and soft heart. He has kept the contest with this logic in mind that winning and losing are only two sides of the same coin so why should only one person become the winner. Why don’t we give a prize to each contestant according to his talent as one’s meat is another’s poison. You must be thinking what kind of weird logic is this so without further ado let me invite on stage the four talented guys from the jungle, the Caw-Doors Band.
(The audience claps. Mr. Rabid
who is standing on the edge of
the propels the four crows
forward.)

MR. RABID

This is your chance, lady luck is about to smile on you. (The four crows come on stage
and arrange their instruments)

(All the animals take out the
various devices to close their
ears such as ear plugs, cotton
wool etc and plug their ears.
Peter parrot is standing in front of a pillar.)

SONG
Lots of chocolates for me to eat, lots of chocolates for me to eat,                           Lots of chocolates for me to eat,
Lots of chocolates for me to eat.

(The four crows go on and on
and on repeating the same
line refusing to stop. After
some time Peter parrot is
beating his head on the pillar
keeping time with the song. )

KITE-KING

Enough! stop! What kind of song is this?

DO-RAY

This is a rap song, sire.

KITE-KING

Rap, to be sure. Anyone who sings this song should be rapped hard on the knuckles and made to wrap his singing career. Henceforth, this song should be given to the farmers.

(Everyone looks at him,
surprised)

There is no better song than this to drive away the birds from the fields. We are pleased with your service to us. You will be henceforth known as , what did you say was the name of this song?

ME-FAR

Rap song.

KITE-KING

You will be known as rap stars

(The four crows jump and give
each other high fives. The animals clap.)

KITE-KING

Anyone else?

GURU GODMAN

Yes, your sire. There is a new contestant. I mean an old contestant but now in a new avatar who would like to present an item for your listening pleasure.

KITE-KING

To be sure. Old is gold.

CUCKOO
(addressing the audience)

It seems he has understood finally. Anyway, no problem, he will live and learn.

(Senor Julio comes on stage and
sings)

SONG

CHIM CHIMINEYCHIM CHIMINEY

CHIM CHIM CHER-EE!

A SWEEP IS AS LUCKY

AS LUCKY CAN BE

CHIM CHIMINEY

CHIM CHIMINEY

CHIM CHIM CHER-OO!

GOOD LUCK WILL RUB OFF WHEN

I SHAKE ‘ANDS WITH YOU

OR BLOW ME A KISS

AND THAT’S LUCKY TOO

(The Kite-king and the audience
are entranced, they all give
him a standing ovation)

KITE-KING

Bravo! Bravo! Wonderful. You are an extraordinary talent but alas! In our kingdom we have place only for a female entertainer I mean a lady singer or dancer
(looks at Guru Godman)

Am I right Guru-Godman?

GURU GODMAN

Yes, your sire. In any case we men hardly have time from our brain-related business. These kind of shenanigans only suit the women folk.

CUCKOO
(who is sitting next to Flow-Jo
leans towards her and says)

Just listen to these men folk,one can learn a trick or two about how to eat your cake and have it too. They will send the women to the front to face the fire from the enemy and when it suits them they will not miss a trick to use them for their burning desires, if you get my drift. Dirty, rotten scoundrels.

FLOW-JO
(giggling)

It seems to me you will soon become a member of the women’s liberation movement.

CUCKOO

No way! I am against such nonsense. Just cropping your hair short like men or wearing trousers cannot free you. For me only money is freedom.

FLOW-JO

But for money you are dancing to their tune. Then what kind of freedom are you talking about?

(We see that a just a few
moments after this
conversation began Kite-King
is glaring at them, then the
others too are looking at
them. When The two of them
feel the silence they look
around flustered.)

KITE-KING

I am giving such an important speech and the two of you are yakking away?

(The two of them stand up)

CUCKOO

Forgive us Sire. We were just telling each other how young and handsome you look tonight.

KITE-KING
(cooling down)

Thank you! But this is not the time for small talk when important matters of the state are being discussed.

GURU GODMAN

Sire, please don’t trouble yourself. These women are never going to change. What else can they think of besides lipstick, make up, clothes and jewels.

MR. RABID
(standing up)

May I have your permission to say a few words. Sire.

KITE-KING

And who may you be?

GURU GODMAN
He is my friend, Mr. Rabid.

KITE-KING

Oh I see, the visa fellow. Go on, have your say.

MR. RABID
(pointing to Cuckoo)

Ask her where has she hidden Melody?

(Caw-gee and the creatures from
the jungle are startled. Kite-
king and Guru Godman are
flabbergasted. Cuckoo opens
her beak to say something,
then closes it.)

GURU GODMAN

Yes, yes, she has hidden Melody some place because she is jealous of her.

(The Kite-King looks at Guru
God man and realizes what the other is trying to say)

KITE-KING
(to Cuckoo)
At once, present Melody in court or you will be the worse for it.

CAW-GEE
(screams)

My child, my wee one!

(addressing Cuckoo)

You have hidden my daughter some place, out with it or I will wring or neck, I was thinking that now there would be an item by Melody, she will coming soon but…

MR. RABID

Madam, you have no idea how crafty is this cuckoo. It was her plan to get rid of Melody so that she could take her place as the court singer but her plans were not successful. Melody is still alive, only she has lost her voice and her memory.

CAW-GEE
(screams)

My baby!

MR. RABID
And her plan was also to get rid of the Kite-king. She had confided in me about her nefarious plans.

CUCKOO
(screams)

Lies! lies! all lies ! it was he …..

(shuts her beak)

GURU GODMAN
(smiling evilly)

Go on, do go on. But remember this you better back you words with proof or else….

KITE-KING
(furious)
What? She dares?
(Clapping his wings/hands)

Guards! Guards!

(Peace-meal, the pigeon and Mr. Brown run in, Mr. Brown is a little unsteady on his feet)

KITE-KING
(to Peace-meal)

You? Where are the other guards?

PEACE-MEAL
Sire, they have gone to pour, I mean, protect the oil which is in troubled waters so that the kingdom can keep running smoothly on well oiled wheels.

KITE-KING

Where have they gone?

PEACE-MEAL
(pointing to Mr. Rabid)

Close to his well there is another well. The water of that well has certain herbs which are famous for their oil. It is said that it keeps the mind fresh and the body strong and healthy.

KITE-KING
( pointing to Mr. Brown)

And what about him? Why can’t he stand straight?

PEACE-MEAL

Sire, he is Mr. Hadalot, I mean Sir Lancelot Brown. This morning he drank a little too much, I mean tea which does not suit him at all and that is why he is in this condition.

(Mr. Brown can’t keep his
balance and falls down. Mrs
Brown screams and runs to him with her five children)

MRS. BROWN

My husband!

(She cries hysterically and the
children scream daddy, daddy)

KITE-KING
(shouts)
Stop this infernal racket. Where is Dr. Charlie?

(Dr. Charlie runs out from the
crowd)

What kind of a doctor are you. Don’t you have sense enough to come to a patient at once.

DR.CHARLIE

I had come to see the show so I didn’t bring my medical bag.

GURU GODMAN

No matter what the crisis, he is always ready with his excuses.

KITE-KING

Examine the patient please.

(Dr. Charlie takes out his
magnifying glass and examines
Mr. Brown. The Cuckoo takes
this opportunity to sidle out)

Where did you get your degree?

MR.BROWN

From the Lee Strasberg School of Acting. I have played a doctor in many movies and television shows.

KITE-KING

And, if I am not mistaken, this costume you are wearing is from the costume department of General Hospital.

DR.CHARLIE

How did you guess?

GURU GODMAN

We are deeply grateful to the good Lord that his royal high highness did on fall sick or else….

DR.CHARLIE
(miffed)

Maybe you are not aware of the fact that I have cured many fatal diseases in many films. In ‘Love Story” Ali Mcgraw had cancer and so did Debra Winger in “Terms of Endearment” and had it not been for me they

GURU GODMAN

But didn’t they both die in the film?

DR.CHARLIE

That was the director’s fault. I had cured them completely. These director’s are famous for killing people in films so that it runs.

(By this time Cuckoo has left the stage)

KITE-KING

Will you both stop this balderdash. (addressing Dr. Charlie)

Why don’t you follow your regular line of treatment and sprinkle some water on his face.

(The alien comes forward and
gives him a weirdly shaped
blue bottle. Dr. Charlie pours
out some liquid on his palm
and sprinkles Mr. Brown’s
face. Mr. Brown gets up instantly.)

MRS. BROWN

My husband!

BROWN’S FIVE CHILDREN

Daddy! Daddy!

MR.BROWN
A current of energy and strength is running through my body.
I feel as if I can tackle anyone.

BANANA-DRAMA
(jumps and stands before him)

In that case,

(he points to Mr. Rabid)

Can you push him? After all you are tiny and he is big and fat.

MR. RABID

Ribbid! Ribbid!

(Mr. Brown goes to Mr. Rabid.
He stands before him and blows
on him. Mr. Rabid stumbles
backwards and falls down with
a resounding thump. All the
animals laugh uproariously.)

MR. RABID

Ribbid! Ribbid!

KITE-KING
(laughing)

Very good, very good. Now do what you had been called for in the first place. Take the crafty cuckoo….

(looks around)

Where is she? Find her.

(Everyone disperses)

MR. RABID
(whispering to Caw-Gee)

I am sure she is with Melody. Why don’t you ask Senor Julio to sing her favorite song. You never know she may follow his voice and come here or give some clue to her whereabouts.

CAW-GEE
Not a bad idea at all.

(She goes to Senor Julio and
says)

Senor Julio, why don’t you sing Melody’s favorite song.
Melody may hear it and come to us.

SENOR JULIO

All right
(He holds the mike and sings)

SONG
Edelweiss, edelweiss
Every morning you greet me
Small and white
Clean and bright
You look happy to meet me
Blossom of snow may you bloom and grow
Bloom and grow forever
Edelweiss, edelweiss
Bless my homeland forever.

(Everyone is entranced by his
song. After some time we can
hear Melody’s voice. She is
singing in tandem with Senor
Julio. Singing she comes on
stage, followed by the Cuckoo.
Melody completes the song with
Senor Julio. She Has tears in
her eyes,her lips are
quivering, her voice is
quavering.)

CAW-GEE
(rushes to Melody)

Babyeee….
(Melody embraces her and cries)

My child, what happened to you?

(Cuckoo looks at
her frightened)

MELODY

There is nothing to worry about mom. I went dizzy in the bathroom and fell down and hit my head on floor and fainted.

GEE-PECK
(to Peter)
The same old story when you want to save someone.

MELODY
(gesturing towards Cuckoo)

Had it not been for Madame Cuckoo I would not be alive today, Mom.

CAW-GEE
No, no, banish the very thought, my child. You are safe and sound, that is enough for me.

(to Cuckoo)

I am very, very grateful to you.

(Tears are streaming down
Cuckoo’s cheeks )

CUCKOO

Please forgive me Melody, I never wanted to kill you. Greed had made me blind. I though that if you lost your memory then you would

(gesturing to Caw-Gee) )

forget her and accept me as your mom. But How was I to know that you would lose your voice as well.

(angrily)

All this is because of

(pointing to Mr. Rabid)

This fat frog and

(points to Guru Godman)

This hypocritical bird. Both of them had plotted to kill our gracious king. But how could I be so disloyal?

BANANA-DRAMA
(to Peter)

She may be a wily bird but she is not so bad at heart.

FLOW-JO

Seems to me her tears have washed away the ill will in her heart.

CUCKOO

(to Kite-King)

Sire, this entire plot was the handiwork of your loyal minister Guru Godman and his dearest friend, Mr. Rabid.

GURU GODMAN

This Cuckoo is a liar, its her last desperate attempt to save herself.

PENGUIN

No, she speaks the truth. I am a witness to the fact that these two tried to lure me to be a part of their plan but were unsuccessful, naturally.

BANANA-DRAMA

Ah! A new twist in the tale.

KITE-KING
(angrily)

So,this is what has been happening!
(gestures to Peace-meal and Mr.Brown)

Capture these two terrorists.

(Mr. Rabid and Guru Godman try
to escape but all the animal
surround them and Mr. Brown
blows on the two and pushes
them towards Kite-king till
they fall at is feet. After
this whenever they try to
escape Mr. Brown prevents them
by blowing on them and brining
them back to their original
position.)

KITE-KING
(looking towards Banana-Drama)

Thank you. If you had not called me and warned me about these two traitors I would have been taken in by their arguements.
(Mr. Rabid glares at Banana
Drama)

BANANA-DRAMA
(bowing low)

There is no need to thank me. After all humans, I mean animals, must help other animals, I mean animals must help you. I am just happy that

(looking at Mr. Rabid)

We are free from this tuneless toad.

KITE-KING

Tell me, how can I reward you?

BANANA-DRAMA

Well, it was only my sense of duty which made me do what I did but if you really want to reward me please give permission to Melody go back to her home.

KITE-KING

You have made a difficult request. If she goes back who will entertain me?

CUCKOO
(softly)

I am here, your highness.

(Kite-King glances at her
fleetingly. Suddenly Melody
speaks)

MELODY

Mom.

(she faints)

KITE-KING

Oh, she has fainted again. Where is Dr. Charlie?

(Dr. Charlie comes near Melody and examines her with his magnifying glass.)

DR.CHARLIE

She is being stifled in this atmosphere. She has to leave this place or she won’t survive.

KITE-KING

Where to?

DR.CHARLIE

In the open air where she can breathe, far from here, in the jungle.

ALL THE ANIMALS
(shouting)

Please, please

CAW-GEE

Your highness, please save my daughter’s life, let her go.

(The Kite-King thinks, there is
pin drop silence in the
court.)

KITE-KING

All right.

ALL THE ANIMALS
(joyfully)

Yaaaaaaay!

KITE-KING
(raising his hand/wing)

There is one condition!

(all the animal are quiet)

All of you will come with Cuckoo and Senor Julio to meet me once a year.

ALL THE ANIMALS

Yaaaaay! Thank you.

ALIEN

Zee zoo zap. Zim zim za zoo.

GEE-PECK

What is he saying?

(The alien comes near Senor
Julio, the blind thrush, takes
out his dark glasses.

From his flask he takes out
some liquid and splashes it on
his eyes. Senor Julio, whose
eyes were closed opens them. )

SENOR JULIO

I can see.
(he looks at Cuckoo)
Cuckoo.

CUCKOO

Please forgive me. I hurt your feelings. When you went blind I left you and came away.

SENOR JULIO
(whispering)

When you went away you were….

CUCKOO

Yes, my husband, Melody is your daughter.

(Everyone is shocked. Melody
moves slowly towards Senor
Julio)

BANANA-DRAMA

Another twist in the tale.

FLOW-JO

How romantic!

GEE-PECK

What a beautiful twist.
(Both of them look into each
other’s eyes)

BANANA-DRAMA

Oh, for Pete’s sake, why don’t you get over your old as hills love story and get married.

PETER

You won’t understand. The bitter-sweet feeling of being apart is more satisfying then getting hitched.

MELODY

(goes towards Senor Julio)

Dad!

(Senor Julio embraces Melody.
Everyone claps.)

KITE-KING

All right then! Senor Julio and Cuckoo are hereby appointed as the chief singer and dancer of our court and

(looking towards Melody )

Where would you like to stay?

MELODY

Your highness, I would like to be with Caw-gee. (she goes towards Caw-Gee and embraces her)

She took a stranger into her home and heart, gave her love and made her own. I owe to her to love her in return.

KITE-KING

As you wish.

(looks towards Mr. Brown)

Henceforth you are my Chief Minister but keep in mind,get into the habit of drinking tea. All other stuff is off limits for you.

MRS. BROWN
My husband!

CUCKOO

She is he real drama-queen, not me. Oh well, now that she is the minister’s wife I will have to find me another one.

SENOR JULIO
(lovingly)

I am there to do all your work.

CUCKOO
(dramatically)

My husband!
(They embrace. Senor Julio
sings, followed by Cuckoo,
then Melody. The animals sing
in chorus.)

SONG
(We are the World by Michael
Jackson)

There comes a time

When we head a certain call

When the world must come together as one

There are people dying

And it’s time to lend a hand to life

The greatest gift of all

We can’t go on

Pretending day by day

That someone, somewhere will soon make a change

We are all a part of

God’s great big family

And the truth, you know love is all we need

[Chorus]

We are the world

We are the children

We are the ones who make a brighter day

So let’s start giving

There’s a choice we’re making

We’re saving our own lives

It’s true we’ll make a better day

Just you and me.

THE END.

PUBLISHING DETAILS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BACK COVER

 

 

 

 

 

 

TRANSLATION

COL. B. C. SHUKLA’S daughter, SHIPRA SHUKLA spent her childhood and youth as a typical , ‘army kid ‘ traveling to the many and varied regions that make India. She completed her masters in International Relations fromThe Jawahar Lal Nehru University, New Delhi. After her marriage , encouraged by her husband, MR. GIRISH SHUKLA ,  she completed the producers course from the Film and Television Insitute of India, Pune and has been active in the varied media related fields like theatre, television , publishing as a writer, photographer director and producer . She writes in two languages, Hindi and English.

Kissa Koyal ka ( The Story of the Cuckoo ) is the first in the series called Kaise Kaise kisse ( Stories to make you wonder ) *

Shipra Shukla has two daughters and she lives with her family in Mumbai.

*This is a literal translation . In actual fact ‘Kissa Koyal Ka’ is The Bird’s Tale which is one of the parts of the series called Melody which is a part of The Collected Tails of Jungle Land . There are seven such series with fourteen books in each ( seven in English and seven in Hindi ) which make up the Collected Tails of Jungle Land

News about the forthcoming play .

 

Posters

Opening day excitement !

Melody on stage .

Four crows and their tutor !

The cast !

Taking a bow with the cast

The playwright , SHIPRA SHUKLA , with her father COL. B. C. Shukla ( on her left )o, the director , NADIRA ZAHEER BABBAR, ( on the right ) and the authors’ ,daughter PALLAVI SHUKLA ( in the background )

REVIEWS OF THE PLAY .

 

 

 

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