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(Helen & James) x 2

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This sketch aims to involve as many people as possible without them having to overcome the hurdle of learning lines.  There is plenty of opportunity for improvised mime.  Ideas for this have been included in the script (in red) but actors should be encouraged to try out their own ideas. 

 

Although two narrators are scripted, it would be possible (with very few changes to the script) to use a single voice (though this is not necessarily as effective). 

 

CHARACTERS: MUM 1, DAD 1, MUM 2, DAD 2, JAMES 1, JAMES 2, HELEN 1, HELEN 2, VICAR, GLADYS 1, GLADYS 2. (Gladys and Gladys are "over the top" characters desperate for the limelight.  They could be played by males, pantomime-dame-style.)

 

 

  NARRATOR 1 NARRATOR 2    

Once upon a time there lived a Mum (MUM 1 enters to take a bow) and a Dad (DAD 1 enters to take a bow) and they had two sons, whom they called Jimmy (JAMES 1 enters to take a bow) and Jimmy. (JAMES 2 enters to take a bow)  But, for the purpose of this story, ...

 

 

So that you donít get confused

We will call them James (JAMES 1, slightly confused, steps forward to take another bow) and James (JAMES 2, also confused, steps forward to take a second bow)

 
 

Living next door to the Mum and the Dad were a Mum -(MUM 2 enters to take a bow) and a Dad (DAD 2 enters to take a bow) and they had two daughters, whom they called Eleanor (HELEN 1 enters to take a bow) and Eleanor (HELEN 2 enters to take a bow).  But for the purpose of this story,

So that you donít get confused

 
 

We will call them Helen - (HELEN 1, slightly confused, steps forward to take another bow) and Helen. (HELEN 2, also confused, steps forward to take a second bow)

Now the Mum and the Dad

(MUM 1 and DAD 1 step forward)

 
 

No, the other ones

(MUM 2 and DAD 2 step forward - as MUM 1 and DAD 1 step back)

Also had a daughter, whom they called  ...

 
 

Gladys!

(GLADYS 2 enters theatrically and takes several sweeping bows.)

And, by coincidence, the other Mum and Dad (MUM 1 and DAD 1 step forward) also had a daughter whom they called ...

 
 

Gladys!

(GLADYS 1 enters theatrically and takes several sweeping bows.)

And what is even stranger is that Gladys and Gladys...

(GLADYS 1 and GLADYS 2 come together, arm in arm.)

 

 

Were twins!

(ALL look puzzled.)

As time went by, James and James both grew...

(JAMES 1 and JAMES 2 step forward)

 
 

More handsome

(JAMES 1 and JAMES 2 look "cool", comb hair, etc. )

Whereas Helen and Helen both grew...

(HELEN 1 and HELEN 2 step forward)

 
 

Lovelier

(HELEN 1 and HELEN 2 look coy)

And Gladys and Gladys both grew..

(GLADYS 1 and GLADYS 2 step forward, hopeful of compliments.)

 
 

Potatoes

(GLADYS 1 and GLADYS 2 disappointed, disgruntled.)

When James and James saw Helen and Helen the chemistry of love began to work and James fancied Helen

(JAMES 1 makes advances towards HELEN 2)

 
 

No, not that Helen, the other Helen

(HELEN 2 looks disappointed.  HELEN 1 looks pleased.)

(With increasing pace.)

Which was just as well because Helen fancied the other James Ė and the other Helen fancied James and the other James fancied Helen.  Which is just as well because if James had fancied Helen and the other James had fancied the other Helen, with Helen fancying the other James and the other Helen fancying James, it could have got a bit Ö er Ö

(There is a general melee of bodies -both JAMES's, both HELENs and both GLADYS's - ending with JAMES 1 and HELEN 1 paired off; JAMES 2 and HELEN 2 paired off.)

 

Confusing?

(ALL nod.)

Needless to say, Gladys and Gladys fancied...

 

 

A nice cup of tea!

Soon, wedding bells were chiming for the happy couples.

(The VICAR stands centre stage with JAMES 1 and JAMES 2 to either side, with MUM 1, DAD 1 and HELEN 1 standing to one side - and MUM 2, DAD 2 and HELEN 2 standing to the other side.)

(GLADYS 1 and GLADYS 2 start to "tum-tum-ti-tum" to the tune of "Here Comes the Bride" ... and continue to do so with increasing relish, to the annoyance of the NARRATORS, who have to speak louder and louder.)

 

 

In response to the vicarís question

VICAR:

  ďWho gives this woman?Ē

Mum and Dad gave Helen to James

(MUM 2 and DAD 2 usher HELEN 2 towards the VICAR and JAMES 1.)

 
 

No, not that one, the other one

(MUM 1 and DAD 1 usher HELEN 1 towards the VICAR and JAMES 1.)

And Mum and Dad gave the other Helen to the other James

(MUM 2 and DAD 2 usher HELEN 2 towards the VICAR and JAMES 2.)

 
 

And Gladys and Gladys gave everyone Ö a headache!

Helen and James went to live with Mum and Dad.

(JAMES 1 and HELEN 1 move across stage to stand with MUM 1 and DAD 1)

 
 

Helen and James went to live with Mum and Dad.

(JAMES 2 and HELEN 2 move across stage to stand with MUM 2 and DAD 2)

And Gladys and Gladys went on a tour

(GLADYS 1 and GLADYS 2 are ushered offstage)

 
 

(Pointedly)

Round the world.

In the course of time, Helen and James decided to have children

 

 

And so did Helen and James

Mum and Dad had a drink or two to celebrate

 

 

And so did Mum and Dad

Gladys and Gladys had a whale of a time...

(GLADYS 1 and GLADYS 2 try to make a re-appearance singing "I'm going to be an aunty, I'm going to be an aunty," but are ushered offstage again)

 
 

In Timbuctoo!

James and James were overjoyed.

(JAMES 1 and JAMES 2 congratulate each other.)

 
 

Helen and Helen were oversized.

(HELEN 1 and HELEN 2 are "instantly pregnant")

Mum and Dad were overcrowded

 
 

And so were Mum and Dad.

Dad and Dad had a quiet word with James and James

 
 

Just as James and James had a quiet word with Dad and Dad

NARRATOR 1 and NARRATOR 2

(Big build up)

And they said...

(MUM 1, MUM 2, HELEN 1 and HELEN 2 hold up large hand-shaped signs saying "speaking part", pointing to the lips of the four male characters - who say their lines simultaneously.)

DAD 1 & DAD 2

Listen, son.  I think itís about time you went and built a house of your own.

JAMES 1 & JAMES 2

Listen, Dad.  I think itís about time I went and built a house of my own.

(Much applause from female characters at successful delivery of line.)

NARRATOR 1

NARRATOR 2

And so

 
 

Off they went

James

 
 

That, is, the James thatís married to Helen

Went off to find a suitable spot to build a house

 

JAMES 1

NARRATOR 2

Hmm

 
 

He hummed

This looks nice

 
 

He said

Near the sea

 
 

He considered

Pleasant view

 
 

He saw

Nice and sandy

 
 

He thought

Easy to dig

 
 

Decision coming up

Think Iíll build here

 
 

At last

NARRATOR 1

NARRATOR 2

Meanwhile James

 
 

The one married to Helen

Went off to find a suitable spot to build his house

 

JAMES 2

NARRATOR 2

Hmm

 
 

He hummed

Nice and firm

 
 

He felt

A bit rocky

 
 

He pondered

Could be hard work

 
 

He reckoned

But itís worth it

 
 

He decided

Think Iíll build here.

 

NARRATOR 1

NARRATOR 2

And...

 
 

Theyíre off

(Horse-race-commentary style.)

James is already laying the first layer of bricks whereas James is only just starting to dig.  James is settling into his stride and is putting another layer of bricks on top of the first, and James is still digging.  James is making good headway and is almost up to window level Ö but James is making heavy weather of the rough going on the far side and is still digging.  Now James has got the windows in and James has just started to put the concrete in place.  Meanwhile James has bricked around the windows and James is just starting to lay bricks, and James is up to the top of the windows, and James is still bricking, and James is at roof level Ė and James is putting the windows in Ė and James is securing beams Ė and James is still bricking.  Now James is putting on the roof and is coming up to the finishing straight but James is lagging behind desperately now as James crosses the finishing line.  Well done James Ė and hard luck, James 

(Throughout the commentary, NARRATOR 2 is trying to get a word in edgeways but is thwarted by the speed of NARRATOR 1's delivery and his/her reluctance to pause for breath.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Although NARRATOR 1 is the commentator, at the end of this commentary NARRATOR 2 is out of breath and panting heavily.  NARRATOR 2 manages to recover and is just about to speak when NARRATOR 1 continues.)

A few days later, James carried Helen triumphantly over the threshold

 
 

Without the aid of a crane

And they invited everyone to a housewarming party.  Mum and Dad

 
 

And Mum and Dad

And James and Helen

 
 

And the vicar

(GLADYS 1 and GLADYS 2 arrive with party hats, streamers, etc.)

Everybody except Gladys and Gladys

 
 

Who were in Australia!

(GLADYS 1 and GLADYS 2 are ushered offstage again.)

Unfortunately, as they were dancing the night away, a nasty storm came along and it began to rain

 
 

Pitter-patter, pitter-patter

And pour

 
 

Splish-splash

Even more

 
 

Cats-and-dogs, cats-and-dogs

Rain in buckets

 
 

Clank, clank

The wind blew

 
 

Huff-puff, huff-puff

Lightning flashed

 
 

Flash, flash

And the sand underneath

 
 

Trickle, trickle

Began to wash away

 
 

Oh dear

And the walls began to crack

 
 

Creak, creak

And they crashed

(ALL crash to ground)

 

CRASH!

CRASH!

Oops!

 
 

Deary me!

From the rubble of the house built by James

 
 

For Helen

Wiping dust from their eyes and picking bricks from their hair, came James and Helen and made their way home to their warm snug house built firm upon the rock

 
 

Picking through the bricks and beams, searching for somewhere to stay the night

Came James and Helen

 
 

And Mum and Dad

And Mum and Dad

 
 

And the vicar

And Gladys and Gladys

 
 

Who just happened to get a plane all the way home from Australia just in time to make the end of the party, what a coincidence, oh how fortunate Ė just because they want to be here to take a bow.

And the moral of the story is Ö?

 
 

If you build your house too well, you end up having all your relations living with you?

I donít think so

 
 

No?  Oh?

Tell him, someone

 

ALL

Build your house on a firm foundation

And do the same with your life

NARRATOR 1

NARRATOR 2

 

Well, there you go

The end

 

END