'Gold' An alchemical adventure.A play by Andrew Dallmeyer
Act I. Scene 3.
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SCENE 3 The Cockfight The cockfighting takes place in a high sided circular pit. The actual fight is thus invisible to the audience and entirely dependent on the orchestrated reactions of the gamesters to give it a reality. As the scene begins, one cock has just killed another. There is a cloud of feathers and a loud cheer. This being a betting sport, there are winners and losers in the crowd. The winners surround Sibbet, the gamemaster. 1st GAMESTER Come on, Sibbet. Pay up! 2nd GAMESTER Aye. That's right. Pay up! 3rd GAMESTER Twa pence fir me. 4th GAMESTER Mine's a penny ferthing. SIBBET Come on lads. Steady there. Steady. You'll aw git your money. 5th GAMESTER Can ye no len us a wee somethin' George? 6th GAMESTER I canne fir I'm skint oot masel'. 5th GAMESTER It's mebe as weill. Ma wife'll kill us if she kens I've bin a bettin'. SIBBET And there's fir ye Cochrane, and there's fir ye Craig. There ye go lads, aw payt up. 2nd GAMESTER I bet a penny. SIBBET Ye didne. 2nd GAMESTER I did tae. See. Here's ma wad. (he produces a ticket) SIBBET Oh so ye did. Right enough. I wouldne try te geck ye lads. 3rd GAMESTER Aye. Ye would tae. (Enter Seton and Maxwell) SIBBET (To Maxwell) Hello there John! Gid te see ye man. Weill look who's here lads. If it isne Mister Seton. Good day te you Mister Seton. SETON Good day to you Mister Sibbet. SIBBET Are ye comm' ower te join wi' us? SETON I thank you Mister Sibbet but I do not think that I will. SIBBET Oh what a shame! What a cryin' shame is that. I am sure that we would aw consider it a great honour. Would we no lads? lst GAMESTER Aye. So we would tae. 4th GAMESTER A privelege indeed. SETON I thank you all, but as I am sure you are aware I am not a betting man. SIBBET No a bettin' man eh? Did you hear that lad's? Mister Seton's no a bettin' man. Then I'm sure we're aw distraucht to hear it and we'll jist hey te try te get on withoot ye as best we can. Do ye think that we can manage lads? 2nd GAMESTER Aye. Just git on wi' it Bill. 5th GAMESTER Aye. I've te be back fir ma dinner soon. SIBBET Right lads. Whatever you say. And the next contest is betwixt twa rare wee burdies indeed. Firstly a Chinese broon fra Tranent belongin te Mister Forest and a wee blue crest fra Preston belongin te Mister Murray. Please place yir wads, lads, place yir wads! 3rd GAMESTER I'll hae a penny on the broon. 4th GAMESTER A ferthing on the blue. MAXWELL Mine's twa pence on the broon. 1st GAMESTER Me tae, me tae. 2nd GAMESTER I'll tak the blue. SIBBET Stand back there! Ony more wads? 5th GAMESTER (to 6th) Tam Weir's just lent us a penny. He'll mebe do the same fir you. 6th GAMESTER What aboot yir wife man? 5th GAMESTER I'll mebe win this time. SIBBET Stert the battle movin' and may the best burdie win. (Two boxes are brought to the ring and placed either side of it, on the floor. At the appropriate moment, the birds are released into the ring, through small trap doors on floor level) Send them awa! (the birds are released. A long pause. All are absorbed). 1st GAMESTER Gang te it, gang te it! 2nd GAMESTER Had aboot! 3rd GAMESTER Gang aboot! 4th GAMESTER Get in there! Get ower! (The first flurry from the ring. The observers respond with 'Whoas' and 'Wayays') 3rd GAMESTER The broon's far the stronger. 4th GAMESTER Awa man! 3rd GAMESTER We'll soon see. 2nd GAMESTER The blue's better spiket. 1st GAMESTER Wha says? 2nd GAMESTER I do. (Another flurry. More hooting and hollering from the observers). 3rd GAMESTER The broon'll be the stronger. He's bin rearit on spring water. 4th GAMESTER Who telt ye that? 3rd GAMESTER I ken Forest the owner. 2nd GAMESTER Ye should o' telt us that afore. 3rd GAMESTER I'd never dae that. I've mere chance o' winnin. 1st GAMESTER That's the wey, there! 3rd GAMESTER Hod him doon! 2nd GAMESTER Broon bastert! 4th GAMESTER Spike him to the flair bluey! 5th GAMESTER Pit him doun! 6th GAMESTER Spike him! (The cockfight continues, though more as a background. Maxwell leaves the group and moves across to where Seton stands alone.) MAXWELL It's no as bad as aw that. Ye shouldne tak on so. If ye'd tak a closer look you'd mebe enjoy it mair. SETON I am perfectly happy over here, thank you John. MAXWELL Have ye seen a fight afore? SETON No. MAXWELL If ye ken what te look fir ye get mere fun oot o' it. How's Ann keepin'? It's a long time since last I saw her. SETON Oh, she is fine. Fine. MAXWELL If ye dinne mind us sayin so Sandy ye seem a wee bit down the day. Here tak a nip o' this. (He hands Seton a bottle). It'll mebe chirk ye up. SETON I thank you John but I am not thirsty. MAXWELL Please yoursel'. (Maxwell drinks from the bottle) (There is a roar from the cockfighters). SETON Please do not feel under any obligation to talk to me John. I have no wish to spoil your sport. MAXWELL Sandy! Ye are not the man ye used to be. I mind fine a time when you'd aye be the first te ony perty. Aye and the last to leave tae. SETON Times change. (Another cheer from the crowd) Do not let me keep you from your sport. (Maxwell returns to the group) 1st GAMESTER Haud onto him, man, haud onto him! 2nd GAMESTER See him go! 3rd GAMESTER Thraw his craig! 4th GAMESTER Aye, kill him, bluey, kill him! (Another cheer) 1st GAMESTER See the blood there! 2nd GAMESTER He's bleedin' awright! 3rd GAMESTER That's the wey! 4th GAMESTER Now gently does it! 5th GAMESTER Aw! 6th GAMESTER Go canny! 1st GAMESTER Cry canny! 4th GAMESTER That's it. Let him bleed! 3rd GAMESTER Now fir the feenish! 2nd GAMESTER There's aye the feenish! (More noises of sadistic enjoyment from the gamesters. They are watching the death throes of the brown cock. Suddenly Seton can tolerate this no longer. He explodes with great force.) SETON Cease! Stop! Cease! No more pray: (The gamesters turn in astonishment) How can you watch such tragic slaughter? I caunot comprehend this strange desire. To watch two of God's most innocent creatures as they tear each other limb from limb, beaks batherit, flesh torn and feathers thick with blood. Can this be sport? Is this amusement? Forgive me, but such cruelty is abhorrent to me. Tis not the sport of kings but cowards. There. I have spoken. All is said. (There is a long and awkward silence during which the brown cock dies). SIBBET Right lads! Payin' up time! Come on lads! Payin' up! James! You're a winner. (The atmosphere is broken) What's the maitter wi' yous, eh? What's the maitter? 1st GAMESTER Mebe the man's got somethin' there Bill. SIBBETT Got somethin'? Got somethin'? Dinne be daft man. What's mair natural in the world than cruelty? Answer me that Mister Seton. You're a fermer so you should ken aw about cruelty. Gang oot in the field and what will you see? The eagle eats the badger, the badger the beetle, and the beetle survives on the mite. Cruelty and nature are yin and the same. They aye go togither, haun in haun, so dinne talk daft man, dinne gie us aw that. SETON You talk with the zeal of a man whose very living were at stake. Good day to you Mister Sibbet. (Exit Seton) SIBBET Right lads! Come on, payin' up! 2nd GAMESTER He's a strange man to be sure. SIBBET Come on lads! What's the maiter wi' yous? You're not usually so laggardly in comm' on forrit. Come on lads! Come on! 1st GAMESTER I fear that we are all somewhat affectit. SIBBET Och! Dinne worry about Seton. Listen lads, I'll telt ye aw somethin' just twixt the group o' us here. A body telt us just the other day that our Mister Seton is a practitioner o' magic and somethin' o' an adept in the Black Erts. MAXWELL Neiver! SIBBET Aye. It's true. MAXWELL Who telt you that? SIBBET John, I canna reveal ma source but I've heard he can change hissel' into a cat. Aye. And they say he can flie an aw. 1st GAMESTER Come on man. Let's hae anither fight. SIBBET Aye, but if it's aw the same te you mebe Tam here could tak ower the job o' gamemaister fir a wee while. To tell ye the truth I'm feelin' reedy fir a braith o' fresh air. Tam! 3rd GAMESTER Aye. SIBBET Are ye game Tam? 3rd GAMESTER I'm game. SIBBET Good man. Then it's ower te you. (Sibbet steals away) 3rd GAMESTER And the next contest is betwixt twa rare wee burdies, Thomas Hunter's cock o' the North and Davie Duncan's big black cockerel. Place your wads, lads, place your wads. (All crowd round him)
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