The Hickville Players Present...
Roy Mayo And Julietta
It is springtime. You can hear the birds and the bees as you meander up the twisting dirt driveway to Hank’s old red barn. There’s a broken down tractor on one side and an unpleasant smelling pigsty off to the left. A crusty old bloodhound lays on the ground in front of the barn. He lifts his head to stare at you for a second, skin hanging down like melting ice cream. Above the large double barn doors is a hand-painted sign hanging slightly cockeyed. It reads, "TONIGHT ONLY, THE HICKVILLE PLAYERS PRESENT SHAKESPEARE’S: 'ROMEO AND JULIET'."
Tonight, Henry’s homely daughter, Henrietta, is playing the part of Juliet, and Bubba Johnson’s half-wit son, Roy, will play Romeo.
Henrietta is full-bodied, big-boned, pleasingly plump, or like some say, really fat. She is dressed in a muumuu of yellow with printed flowers all over it. She has thick, blond hair that is neatly tied down to each side of her head with long pigtails and pieces of tattered ribbon.
Roy is scraggly looking; his uncombed black hair and sprouting cowlick are accented by his wrinkled brown suit. The suit must have fit him at one time or another, but it appears his pants are now high enough for him to cross a fairly deep stream without ever getting wet.
Neither of the two young people have memorized the play, so Ms. Jones, the part-time librarian, will be slightly off stage (left) to help the kids along with their lines. Ms. Jones is new to the area and has decided a large dose of ‘culture’ is just what this backward town needs. She is tall and gangly. Her face is drawn-up tight, as if she has just eaten a lemon. She is anxious about the performance and twitters around back stage, annoying everyone.
Inside the barn, a half dozen country folk crowd around the front of a makeshift stage, trying to get the best seat in the house. Amongst a robust display of vulgarities and spitting through rotting teeth, the surly group finally gets situated, just as the torn patchwork curtain is slowly pulled to one side, and the play begins.
A hush falls upon the crowd.
Someone breaks wind.
The stage is perfectly set. A chicken runs across the hay-covered floor. There is a collection of tumbleweeds stacked haphazardly together on one side of the stage: It symbolizes a large tree, and Romeo stands behind it . . . literally. There are several hay bales stacked up on the other side of the stage about ten or twelve feet high; they represent the tower, and fair Juliet sits upon the top bale, holding on for dear life. It waves slightly to and fro.
Ms. Jones cues Romeo to begin. Ms. Jones tries to get Romeo’s attention. Finally, Ms. Jones resorts to hitting him upside-the-head with a precisely thrown horse apple.
Romeo (startled): Uh....?
Ms. Jones (whispering): But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.
Romeo: Oh yeah. Butt’s soft! What’s that light shinin’ through the brokun windur over thar? This way’s east (pointing south) and Julietta is like my son.
Ms Jones (softly): She speaks yet she says nothing: what of that?
Romeo: She speaks, but she ain’t saying nuthin’. What’s with that?
Ms Jones: See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand!
Romeo: See how her cheeks look a lot like ham.
Ms. Jones: O, that I were a glove upon that hand, that I might touch that cheek!
Romeo: Oh, if only I had some gloves on my hand, at night when I touch those cheeks.
Ms. Jones (a little louder now, to Juliet, sitting on top of the haystack): Ay, me!
Juliet: What? (looking confused) Oh! Why, me?
Romeo: She speaks! Speak again, my angel!
Ms. Jones (beginning to lose control, decides to just read the lines and let the actors say what they want): O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name; Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love, And I'll no longer be a Capulet.
Juliet: Roy Mayo, Roy Mayo! Where four is you, Roy Mayo? Lie to your daddy and chew my name; or if thou drip snot, big butt swearin’ my love, and I’ll no longer be a cat you ‘et.
Ms. Jones (hanging her head momentarily in prayer): By a name I know not how to tell thee who I am: My name, dear saint, is hateful to myself, Because it is an enemy to thee.
Romeo (looking very confused): My name? I can’t tell ya my name, cuz I hate it myself. It is an enemy to me?
Ms. Jones (becoming quite frustrated): My ears have not yet drunk a hundred words. Yet I know the sound: Art thou not Romeo and a Montague?
Juliet: My ears are not yet drunk on words. You sound like Roy Mayo, with mouth full of brew.
Ms. Jones: What's in a name? That which we call a rose, By any other name would smell as sweet.
Juliet: What’s your name? What we call a nose by any other name, would smell sweaty feet.
Ms. Jones (slapping her hand to her forehead in utter frustration): How camest thou hither, tell me, and wherefore? The orchard walls are high and hard to climb.
Juliet: How came you with her, tell me there’s more? The tortured walls have lard and slime.
Ms. Jones: O, wilt thou leave me so unsatisfied?
Romeo: Oh, will the sow leave me so satisfied?
Ms. Jones: What satisfaction canst thou have to-night?
Juliet: What satisfaction can cows have at night?
Ms. Jones (throws the book of Shakespeare out the window): Good night, good night! parting is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say good night till it be morrow.
Juliet: Good night, good night, fartin’ is sweet sorrow, that I must fart good night, ‘til tomorrow.
Ms. Jones: Sleep dwell upon thine eyes, peace in thy breast! Would I were sleep and peace, so sweet to rest!
Romeo: Sweet smell of pigsties, show me your breast. If I were asleep, I’d get some rest.
Ms. Jones turns to leave, disgusted and totally devastated, but then accidentally slips on a cow pie and noisily ends up on her butt with her feet in the air.
The play has ended, and the curtain begins to draw closed.
Henrietta, in her hurry to climb down from the haystack, tips the hay bales over and comes crashing down on top of Roy.
A lone bale of hay careens across the stage, only to fall into the laps of the crowd in the front row, bowling them over.
The curtain closes.