5F, 6M +2 for Cow
Another unique twist on the traditional story of Jack and the Beanstalk. The costume makers should have fun with the costume for the rather arrogant harp that can be played by either a male or a female. For the character count the harp is assumed to be male.

SCENE 1 (Part of scene only)


Various stalls are dotted about stage but with very few goods upon them, a barrel, big enough for someone to fit inside sits stage right.

 SONG 1  Lively chorus song and dance number performed by VILLAGERS.

 Song finishes, JILL enters right.

 JILL:  What a beautiful day, the sun is shining, the birds are singing, a day to forget all of our troubles.

 VILLAGER 1:  You may be able to forget your troubles, but we can’t, we’re starving.

 General chorus of agreement from VILLAGERS.

 VILLAGER 2:  It’s all right for you, your family’s rich, you don’t have to worry about where your next meal is coming from.

 JILL:  I’m sorry everyone, but it’s not my fault, it’s my uncle, he’s the squire.

 VILLAGER 1:  We know you’re a good girl, Jill, but can’t you get the squire to lower the taxes, we’ve barely enough to feed ourselves.

 JILL:  I wish I could but he never listens to me, I’m sorry everyone, but there’s nothing I can do.  (to AUDIENCE)  Oh hello, I didn’t notice you there.  My name’s Jill and I bid you welcome to our humble village.  It’s not much to look at I know, and I’m afraid my mean old Uncle Roland is to blame for that.  He’s the squire for these parts, he owns all the land for miles around and I’m afraid he’s pushed taxes up so high that everyone can barely afford to eat.  I wish there was something I could do about it, I do have a special fondness for the villagers, well one of them anyway, Jack, he’s my boyfriend.   I’m supposed to be meeting him here, you’ll like him, he’s strong, and brave, and kind, and late, which is really annoying.  I mean, here I am making the effort to turn up on time and he’s…  

 JACK enters left.

 JACK:  Jill!

 JILL:  Jack!

 JACK:  It’s so good to see you, we get so little time nowadays.

 JILL:  I know, especially when you’re late.

 JACK:  Sorry, dear.

 JILL:  I felt quite the fool standing here in the middle of the street on my own.

 JACK:  Yes, dear.

 JILL:  I ended up talking to a bunch of complete strangers.

JACK:   Really, dear?

 JILL:  I’ve never been so embarrassed, a little consideration can go along way.

 JACK:  Yes, dear.    

 JILL:  Oh Jack, why can’t we just run away and get married now?

 JACK:  You know why, we haven’t any money.  But don’t worry all that is about to change, I’ve got a plan to get rich quick.

 JILL:  Oh no, not another one.  (to AUDIENCE)   He’s sweet, but he’s always coming up with these hair-brained schemes to get rich quick, I find it’s best just to humour him.  

 JACK:  What’s wrong with my plans?

 JILL:  They never work, you always seem to end up poorer than you were before.

 JACK:  Well not this time, this time it’s a guaranteed success.

 JILL:  I’ve heard that one before.  (sighs)  What is it then?

 JACK:  It’s really quite simple, the well that everyone gets water from is at the top of a hill and no one likes going up there, so you and I, Jack and Jill, will go up the hill to fill everybody’s pails with water and charge them for it.

 JILL:  I don’t know, I’ve got a bad feeling about it.

 JACK:  Come on, let’s give it a try, I mean, what’s the worst that can happen?

 JILL:  I don’t know, but I’ve a feeling I’m about to find out.  (to AUDIENCE)  Bye everyone, wish me luck.

 JACK and JILL exit right.  BILLY enters left.

 BILLY:  Hello there everybody.

 VILLAGERS:  Hello there Billy.

 BILLY:  (notices AUDIENCE)  Wait a minute, who are you lot, I haven’t seen any of you around these parts before.  Well I suppose I’d better introduce myself then, my name’s Billy, Billy Bean, village idiot.  Now, what’re your names?  (possible reaction)  Sorry, I didn’t quite catch that.  Tell you what, after the count of three you all shout out your names at once.  Ready, one, two, three.  (AUDIENCE shout out names)  It’s a pleasure to meet you Sharon, Trevor, Kevin, Samantha, Tracey, Lucy, Mark, Simon, Colin…

 MOTHER:  (offstage)   Billy!

 BILLY:  No, I don’t think there was a Billy.  Oh hang on, I’m Billy.

 MOTHER:  (offstage)   Billy!

 BILLY:  Oh eck, that’s my mum, I live with her and my brother Jack on our farm.  It’s not much fun living on a farm, I prefer being here in the village with all my friends.  Tell you what, it’s going to take too much time to say hello to you all individually so here’s what will do.  Every time I come on I’ll shout out “hello there everybody”  and I want you all to shout back “hello there Billy” as loud as you can in your best country accents.  Will you do that?


 BILLY:  Great, let’s have a practice.  (BILLY runs off left, then runs back on)  Hello there everybody.

 VILLAGERS+AUDIENCE:  Hello there Billy.

 BILLY:  (pause)   Have you done it yet?  You’ve got to shout louder than that, I’ve heard shy mime artists who make more noise than you lot.  Let’s have another go.  (runs off left then runs back on)  Hello there everybody.

 VILLAGERS+AUDIENCE:  Hello there Billy.

 BILLY:  That was a bit better, but let’s give it one more try, and this time I want you to make more noise than the (present Government) appreciation society.  All three of them.  (runs off left then runs back on)  Hello there everybody.

 VILLAGERS+AUDIENCE:  Hello there Billy.

 BILLY:  That was great that was!

 MOTHER:  (offstage)   Billy!

 BILLY:  Uh oh, it’s mum again.

 MOTHER BEAN enters left dragging a struggling DAISY along with her.

 MOTHER:  Billy Bean, for goodness sake, give me a hand.

 BILLY claps.

 BILLY:  (enthusiastically)  Yeah, woo!   Go mama!

 MOTHER:  I meant with this cow, you stupid boy.

 BILLY:  Oh right, gotcha.   (BILLY goes to DAISY and leads her centre stage.)  This is my mum, boys and girls and my pet cow Daisy.  Don’t worry if you get confused between the two, it happens to most people.  (MOTHER slaps BILLY round head)  Ow!

 MOTHER:  Cheeky monkey.   Well at least I’ve finally got some help from you, I swear you get more useless everyday.  Where have you been, anyway?

 BILLY:  I’ve been here in the village.  I haven’t got time to work on the farm anymore, I’ve got important village idiot duties to carryout.

 MOTHER:  Such as?

 BILLY:  Encouraging audience participation, staring blankly into space, appearing in (reality TV show) and eating yellow snow.

 BILLY stares blankly.

 MOTHER:  Well I’m sure you can still find some time to help your poor old mother.  (no response from BILLY as he’s still staring blankly)  Billy?  Billy!

 BILLY:  Can’t talk, working.

 BILLY continues staring blankly.

 MOTHER:  (slapping BILLY across back of head)  Well take a break!

 BILLY:  Ow!

 MOTHER:  What did you mean when you said “encouraging audience participation”?

 BILLY:  (points to AUDIENCE)  I meant all the boys and girls.

 MOTHER:  (to AUDIENCE)   Oh hello, I didn’t see you all sitting there.  Allow me to introduce myself, I’m Mother Bean, wife of Father Bean, at least I was until he passed a way, he’s a has been now.  (laughs)  Now I have two sons, one is handsome, (BILLY begins posing) brave, strong, honest and (name of local town) answer to (hunky celebrity).  The other’s Billy.

 BILLY:  Hey!

 BILLY:  Hey!

 MOTHER:  Oh don’t worry, I still love you.  (BILLY returns to staring into space.)  My other son is Jack and despite his good looks he’s also never around when I need him.  (DAISY nudges MOTHER)  Oh yes, and this is our cow Daisy, isn’t she lovely, she’s also the most useful member of the family.  You see boys and girls we all live together on a farm, but we’re not doing very well, what with a poor harvest this year and that mean old squire putting the taxes up, we’re very poor.   (possible reaction from AUDIENCE)  I said we’re very poor.


 MOTHER:  That’s better.  It’s nice to have some sympathy from someone, I don’t get anything from my two useless sons.  What’s a mother to do?  I know, I’ll sing a little song with some nice children, otherwise known as ones belonging to somebody else.

MOTHER whistles, or calls “come on kids”, VILLAGE CHILDREN come forward.

 SONG 2  Short lively number, MOTHER and CHILDREN.

 Song ends CHILDREN go back amongst rest of VILLAGERS.  JACK and JILL enter right, limping, JACK is holding his head in pain.

 MOTHER:  Speaking of sons, here’s the other one.  What have you been up to, young man?

 JACK:  Well, Jill and I went up a hill to fetch a pail of water, I fell down and broke my crown and Jill came tumbling after.  What are the chances of that happening?   I don’t suppose you have any vinegar and brown paper on you?

 MOTHER:  No I haven’t, and what have I told you about hanging around that girl, if her uncle saw the two of you together…

 JACK:  I don’t care about him, mother.

 JILL:  Neither do I, we love each other and one day we will be married and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. 

 MOTHER:  You two might not care what the squire thinks but I do.  He’s already raised taxes so high that we can barely afford to eat, he could throw us out of our house too if he wanted.

 JILL:  He wouldn’t go that far.

 SQUIRE ROLAND enters right.

 SQUIRE:  Oh yes I would.   (VILLAGERS begin booing and hurling general verbal abuse at SQUIRE)  Shut up you miserable lot, or I’ll throw you all into the streets.

 VILLAGERS calm down.

 JILL:  Uncle, you can’t throw them out of their homes, it’s not fair.

 SQUIRE:  Actually I can, and I will if you keep disobeying me by seeing that good-for-nothing Bean boy.

 MOTHER:  Don’t you insult my Jack, he’s twice the man you are.

 SQUIRE:  Silence your tongue, woman.

 MOTHER:  Don’t you woman me.

 SQUIRE:  Yes, it is a bit of a stretch of the imagination.

 MOTHER:  Why you cheeky…

 JACK:  It’s okay, mum, I can look after myself.  Squire Roland, I won’t stop seeing Jill, you can do what you like to my family, nothing can break our love.

 SQUIRE:  Then you leave me no choice, I want you out of your house by the end of the day.

 JILL:  Uncle, no!

 MOTHER:  Oh have mercy on us, please.

 JILL:  Please Uncle, don’t throw them out, they shouldn’t be punished for my mistakes.

 SQUIRE:  Very well, I’ll give you one more chance, I’ll allow you stay in your home…

 MOTHER:  Oh thank you, thank you.

 SQUIRE:  ...providing you can pay your rent, by tomorrow morning…

 MOTHER:  It’s a little short notice but I’m sure we’ll manage.

 SQUIRE:  …of a thousand gold pieces.

 MOTHER:  What?!

 JACK:  You can’t be serious!

 SQUIRE:  Never more so.   And if I find that boy hanging around my niece again, I’ll raise it to two thousand!

 MOTHER:  You swine!

 SQUIRE:  A thousand gold pieces by tomorrow morning, or you’ll be living in the gutter.

 SQUIRE laughs and takes JILL by arm and drags her off right.  VILLAGERS exit.

 JACK:  What’re we going to do?

 MOTHER:  This is all your fault, if you could only leave that Jill alone we wouldn’t be in this situation.

 JACK:  I don’t care, I love her.

 BILLY suddenly snaps out of staring blankly.

 BILLY:  Another hard day at the office, so what’s been happening?

 MOTHER:  Have you been staring into space all this time?

 BILLY:  I thought I’d get a bit of overtime in, times are hard you know.

 MOTHER:  What did I do to deserve you two?

 BILLY:  Love to explain, but this is family show.

 MOTHER:  How on earth are we going to raise a thousand gold pieces by tomorrow morning?  We need to put our heads together.  (JACK and BILLY put their heads next to MOTHER BEAN’S)  Get off!

 JACK and BILLY move away.

 JACK:  We could sell something?

 MOTHER:  What about my womanly body?

 BILLY:  Won’t get much for it, what with inflation, but I did tell you not to eat so many cream cakes.  What about Jack’s womanly body?

 JACK:  Hey!

 BILLY:  Sorry, manly body, I get confused.

 MOTHER:  No, it won’t be enough.  (notices DAISY)   I know, we’ll sell Daisy.

 BILLY:  No, you can’t sell Daisy, she’s my best friend.

 MOTHER:  I’m sorry Billy, but we have no choice, if we don’t raise the money by tomorrow morning we’ll be thrown out into the streets.

 JACK:  But we’ll never get a thousand gold pieces for Daisy.

 MOTHER:  I know, but it’s a start.

 BILLY:  Oh please don’t sell her mum, please.

 MOTHER:  My mind’s made up.  Jack, you’re the slightly more intelligent of the two of you so I’ll leave you to find her a buyer.   And make sure you get a good price.  Come on Billy, you can come home with me.

 MOTHER BEAN exits left followed by a sad looking BILLY.  JACK strokes DAISY’S head.

JACK:   Poor Billy, he’s going to miss Daisy so much.  (DAISY nudges JACK)  Yes, I’ll miss you too, Daisy.  But don’t worry, I’ll find you a good home, and when I make my fortune, I’ll buy you back again.

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Last updated 21/03/2010.