by A.M. Howe
Based on 'MacBeth", this is a surprisingly award-winning comedic play.
Lights up. Low spooky lighting on the focusing in the centre of a bare stage. It is night and Hecate stands in stage left centre. She is impatient. Prime enters stage right quickly and out of breath. Hecate approaches her.
Hecate: Prime. How nice of you to grace me with your exalted presence. I’m honoured. (She pauses) Need I remind you, dearest acolyte; how incredibly, inconceivably stupid it is to keep the High Goddess of Black Magic waiting? Especially when you are about to ask her for something.
Prime: (grovelling) A Million distinct and unique apologies, O greatest creator of malice, sower of discord, fairest mother of a thousand despicable creat- (Hecate cuts her off here)
Hecate: Enough of it, Lack-wit. I know these things I hardly need a creature of your status informing me of them. What do you ask of me? I truly haven’t the time for these petty desires of yours.
Prime: Mistress… I was wondering…
Hecate: Yes, Prime?
Prime: I was wondering… errm… with the state of the economy presently at such disagreeable levels, perhaps, as my sisters and I strive to do your will and spread a great malefic spirit amongst the peoples of the worlds, perhaps you could donate a little- a very little from your copious coffers.
Hecate: You are asking me for money.
Prime: (reluctantly) Yes…
Hecate: Fine. (Prime is surprised) I will give you what you want, not because you deserve it, but well… I need not reveal all my intentions to you, now do I? (She pats Prime on the head maliciously and exits stage right.)
Lights down. Time lapse should be indicated. Lights back up on interior of an apothecary’s shop. A large counter up centre, lots of strange bottles and etc. Secondary stands left of Prime, who is bent over the counter, writing on something.
Secondary: Best wishes in the New Year, Sister! (She throws confetti and dances around a little.)
Prime glares at her sister venomously. She stops dancing.
Prime: Secondary, cease this commotion before I am forced to revoke your privilege of speaking. Again. (She goes back to writing, still speaking to Secondary.) You realize that another year makes not a difference to those as long lived as us, do you not? Moreover, I checked the records. Nothing happens in this century save a few more plagues and someone inventing the dot over the “i”.
Secondary: But sister! Is it not forbidden to look into events to come in too much detail? We cannot forget what befell Cassandra of Troy.
Prime: I do not forget Cassandra, sister, nor do I forget Nostradamus or Billy Graham, but I see little harm in checking just how tedious our current century will be. Now come and give me your worthless opinion on this sign. I believe we have needed a new one since that tornado in 700, did we not?
She passes the sign that she had been writing on to Secondary who holds it up facing the audience and looks down at it.
Secondary: But Prime, Mistress Hecate granted us the use of her shop here in 67 B.C. Is it right to falsify information such as this to our clients?
Prime snatches away the sign and goes to hang it against the counter.
Prime: I think perhaps our mistress would approve of falsification, whatever it may be. What’s more, every century is fundamentally the same. And I doubt this one, the eleventh, will be much different.
Leif enters, running. He is Leif Eriksson, the son of the great Viking Warlord Erik the Red. He is rather unimposing.
Leif: Excuse me… I’m looking for the Norn. I was told I could find them here… But I’m probably wrong.
Prime: You’re not mistaken, but we go by The Weird Sisters now. We changed the name for publicity reasons; the focus groups preferred this one. Now, allow me to call my sisters and we will discuss what you need, Norseman.
Secondary: But, sister- I am right here.
Prime: Secondary! Tertiary! Cuuuustoooomer!
Secondary leaves stage right and then re-enters running,
Secondary: Coming Sister!
Tertiary takes her time coming in, from the same wing as Secondary and gives Leif the once over.
Tertiary: What can we do for you?
Leif: My dad asked, well he told really, Dad doesn’t ask. He told me to go find the Norn and don’t bother coming back if I didn’t. So, if you are the Norn, then you owe me a prophecy right? Or well, you owe Dad ‘cause he’s the one who sent me.
Prime: You’ve got it wrong, Tiny Norseman. We’re the Weird Sisters now, we own a moderately mostly profitable business, and we do not do something for nothing. Those were the old days. What are you going to give us?
Leif: umm, well I really didn’t know… I didn’t think… uh, nothing.
Tertiary: If you don’t have anything to exchange for our prophecy, then just run on home to daddy and tell him times have changed.
Leif: But if I don’t get a prophecy, then I can’t go home! And then Dad’ll never let me go sailing again!
Secondary: Perhaps, for old time’s sake, we could make an exception. Look at the poor lad’s face! We cannot simply leave him to wander homeless.
Prime: If it so pleases you sister.
Secondary: And you said this century would be boring Prime!
Prime: A Fortune you desire
Secondary: And our wits conspire,
Tertiary: With this breath we shall
Prime: Of Three things tell.
Secondary: First: Time is fragile.
Tertiary: Second: Trust not the Guiles of Vixens.
Prime: Last: You will be known in a land that does not know you.
Leif: (a little confused) Thanks, I’ll just take those words back to my father, now. If you ever need anything, call on Erik the Red, or his son Leif. That’s me.
Leif heads toward stage left to leave the shop, but stops as Tertiary-2 enters from the second wing in exactly the same way as Tertiary.
T-2: What can we do for you? (She realizes what has happened) Oh shite, Am I late or early?
Tertiary: (dryly) Both.
This begins the part in the play where time is thrown out of alignment and everything speeds up or slows down. This can be cut if not feasible, but hopefully it will look really neat.
Secondary: Oh hello dear! What fun to have another weird sister!
Prime: Be reasonable for once, Secondary. Four is not a magical number. There cannot be four weird sisters. There weren’t four fates in Greece and there won’t be four of us.
Secondary: But she seems rather nice.
Leif: She really hasn’t said much…
Prime: Quiet you. Secondary, She is a figment of a dispersed time-line caused by this mortal’s little gratuitous prophecy. A simple dissociation spell would-
Tertiary and T-2: No! We are not evaporating her.
T-2: I mean, me.
Leif: It can’t be that bad, that we have to evaporate anyone.
Prime: I have already warned you once, little Viking. You have no cause to meddle in any situation concerning the preservation of this pitiful planet. Not coming from a member of the species that invented the atomic bomb.
Leif: The Atomawhat?
Secondary: Prime, we are not yet in the time frame of that invention. Perhaps you should refrain from mentioning future events, in order not to displace the time stream any farther.
Prime: Perhaps you would enjoy being transfigured into a small snail, or sea creature?
T-2: I’ve had enough of this. (Turns to Tertiary) I don’t know how you put up with them.
T-2 exits stage right.
Tertiary: Looks like the first part of your prophecy is over.
Leif: That’s it?
Secondary: You still have two more, dear.
Tertiary: Here try this.
She hands him a map of North America.
Leif: What is it?
Prime: Numbers two and three of your prophecies.
He leaves and Secondary calls after him.
Secondary: Bon Voyage, Leif Erikson!
T-2 is walking on slowly from stage left. She begins speaking to herself.
T-2: Now what! That’s real smart, isn’t it? Just walking out like that… Now I have no idea…
T-2: I’m a figment of a dispersed time… thing, according to Prime. It was bad enough when I was just the youngest weird sister, but now I don’t even know if I’m a real person, let alone the butt of Prime’s “jokes”. But you know what? Good Riddance! That other me can deal with ‘em, I’ll find something else to occupy my time with…
Leif enters from stage left, slightly surprising T-2.
Leif: Ummm, Hi. What are you doing?
T-2: Talking to myself.
Leif: I do that sometimes. It helps to straighten things out, doesn’t it?
T-2: Sometimes, I guess, but not really right now.
Leif: Why not?
T-2: Oh I don’t know. I might or might not be an actual person, which means if I’m not an actual person, then I’m just a glitch in time…
Leif: And if you are an actual person?
T-2: Then I’m homeless, purposeless and sisterless. The third one might not be such a bad thing though…
Leif: If you wanted, you could come back to Greenland with me, Dad’s always looking for a sorceress to bless things. You could do that! (He realizes he seems a little too eager) If you wanted to, I mean.
T-2: (wryly) I don’t think blessing is my specialty. Conjuring storms, causing calamity, and generally raising Hell is what I’m better at.
Leif: Oh, well you could still do that too, if you wanted. I really want to see what that big square spot across from England is. This map says North America. I travel a lot and I’ve never heard of that name. I think I’m going go sailing to find it.
T-2: You do realize we- I mean -they only gave you that map so that your prophecies would come true?
Leif: So? What’s wrong with that?
T-2: Weird Sister prophecies are never good. Didn’t you know that?
Leif: No. That kind of information would’ve come in handy before I asked for the prophecies. But, I want to see what North America’s like any way. It could come in handy, like Iceland.
T-2: Iceland comes in handy?
Leif: Not really, But we Vikings like to pretend it does.
T-2: Like Secondary.
Leif: Yeah, like that.
T-2: But, Leif, You shouldn’t ignore what you’ve been told. They’re obviously setting you up.
Leif: So? It was probably going to happen anyway right?
T-2: But you could avoid being completely disgraced by a failed colonization attempt, harsh treatment of indigenous peoples, insufficient preparation for winter, the death of numerous settlers and that awful name. Vinland? What is that?
Leif: I’m just going to ignore that because I didn’t understand it and it gave me a stomachache. Will you come to North America with me? It’d be fun.
T-2 looks around thinking about what she has to lose.
T-2: You know what? I think I will come on your little adventure. I’m not blessing anything though, got it?
They begin walking off stage left
Leif: Got it. What kind of hell do you usually raise exactly? The metaphorical kind?
T-2: Mostly literal, actually.
Prime: (off stage) Yes, Yes. I’m coming!
She strides onstage right irritatedly cackling
Prime: Get thy be-palsied hands from off my bell or I may be forced to add another toad to my collection!
Hecate: Another toad, Prime? Your threats are growing soft as you grow richer. I’ve heard that your shop here has become prosperous. I believe a tithe is in order.
Prime: Err uh, Greetings oh great mistress of the darkest arts! (As an aside) A tithe… Bah! For a being who says she’s above material goods, she always seems to enjoy taking them from me!
Hecate: Prime, I’m omnipotent. I may read your thoughts as easily as a scholar reads a page. Be careful what you think.
Prime: (petulantly) Fine then, Mistress, allow me to summon forth my accountant. (She yells heartily) Secondary! Get your abacus in here!
Secondary, trailing sparkles, twirls and prances in stage left,
Secondary: You called, Sister?
Hecate:( Distastefully) My, Secondary, but you’re as perky as always.
Secondary: (curtsying) Mistress Hecate! How deeee-light-ful to see you!
Prime: (Disgusted) Secondary, How many times must I tell you? Diabolical beings of the ethereal planes in the service of a black goddess do not say delightful!
Secondary: My apologies dearest sister, but my spirits are so high this glorious sunny morning! Have you seen the lilies blooming in the fields? The sight made me thankful to be alive! And the little lambs, who-
Prime waves her hand, performing an incantation to silence her sister’s prattling. Secondary gags and clasps her throat, moving her mouth but saying nothing.
Prime: My beloved sister, please just calculate a tithe of 10 percent to our devious mistress. Without further elaboration.
Secondary goes to the counter, revealing a glittering abacus, and begins to slide beads about, sulking a little.
Hecate: There is no need for such an instrument.
She crosses to Secondary, plucking the abacus from her hands, and sets it back down on the counter.
Prime: Oh Blackest Goddess! You’ve decided against tithing us! A million thanks, oh mistress of mistresses, sovereign over all despicable creatures, vanquisher of good-
Hecate: Would you clamp that mouth shut, Prime? Of course I haven’t decided against tithing you, you dolt! I was simply bearing in mind another type of tithe…
Prime: Oh miseries of miseries! (She sinks to the ground in desperation) Mistress, we cannot afford more than ten percent! Taxes on this sort of operation are otherworldly!
Hecate: Hah! You think I truly desire material goods? I am a goddess! What could you give me that I could not just create myself? What I desire… (She slinks across to Prime, leaving Secondary cowering near the counter) Is a tithe of blood and catastrophe. (She grips Prime’s cloak and then quickly lets her go, pushing her back) This enterprise, is pandering to the laziness of the mortal plane. It is doing nothing to contribute to greater chaos! Frittering away prophecies to small men in horned hats may get you reviled. But that does not create a great witch! If you value your senses, you will give me what I desire. (She turns to Secondary,) And you know what I desire.
She exits quickly, stage left.
Tertiary enters stage right, schoolbag on her shoulders, and surveys her sisters.
Tertiary: What’s goin' on- Oh wait. Hecate was just here, wasn’t she? What does she want now?
Prime: A tithe of Blood and catastrophe…
Secondary: A tall order indeed, my young sister!
Tertiary: Oh, you’re talking again?
Prime: To my dismay.
Lights down to indicate lapse of time. Lights up. A large cauldron is centre. The sisters are arranged around it. Tertiary on the right, Prime in the centre behind the cauldron, and Secondary to the left.
Tertiary: So we’re gonna knock off a king?
Prime: Aye, Tertiary. A Monarch without heirs. And when our curse is complete, his country will erupt in a feud for the crown. Enough blood will be spilt to satisfy Hecate five times over.
Secondary: Prime, you are sure this is the correct incantation? It seems strange somehow.
Prime: Of course I am certain! Now aid me in this endeavour,( Melodramaticaly) for our lives are at stake.
Spooky lighting ensues
Together: Spirits of the sea and air,
Spirits neither foul nor fair,
Listen well and follow our bid,
Come, we call, from where you are hid,
Prime: (Putting something in the cauldron) The wings of black birds,
Secondary: (putting something else in the cauldron) The lizard’s bile,
Tertiary: (putting two things in the cauldron) The rennet’s ear, The weaver vile,
Together: In the fire thrice we stir
Guides in the waves,
The mortal we lure,
Tertiary interrupts. Prime glares at her, while Secondary just looks dazed.
Primary: What! Tertiary, what? Foulest wretch that would break the spell meant to keep your piteous form from out of Hecate’s malicious grasp! What matter is so pressing that you must ruin so completely our work?
Tertiary: I don’t think it’s working.
Prime: I see not what you speak of. The words are correct and no ingredients are lacking. I do not see!
Secondary: I see! I see indeed!
She reaches into the cauldron and pulls out a large pair of sexy underoos.
Secondary: I had forgotten to remove my laundry of the previous day!
Prime: You perform menial cleaning duties in our enchanted cauldron?
Secondary: It makes the whites sparkle! And the brights have never been brighter!
Tertiary nods in agreement.
Prime: (Very distressed) Those panties have thrown off the entire incantation! The king will never be cursed now! What will we do now! Our mistress will have our heads!
Tertiary pulls her sisters confidentially close
Tertiary: Maybe not. I’ve been doing some reading. (She looks absolutely devious) Sisters, have you ever heard the name… Macbeth?