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The Fight Before the Fight
The Play is set in the medieval times.
Scene 1: The scene is a forest with a clearing in the center with a log.
Rolan: (enters slowly kicking the ground)
(talking to himself) I can’t believe that I have to compete. Why is jousting so important to my father? Just because he was a champion. Why must I be one too?
Josolin: (peeks out from behind a tree)
Who are you talking to?
Rolan: (jumps) Josolin why do you do that?
Rolan: (yelling) Sneak up on me.
Josolin: (shrugging shoulders and walking into the clearing)
I don’t mean to. I just walk quiet. So? Who were you talking to?
Josolin: (sitting down on the log)
Are you still mad at your father for making you compete in two weeks?
Rolan: (looking at Josolin with wide eyes)
How do you know that I don’t want to compete? And how to you know that I’m upset with my father?
I know more about you than you think. So? What are you going to do about it? Are you going to compete?
Rolan: (shrugging shoulders and looking at ground)
I guess I have to. I just wish he would listen to me and understand I would rather compete in the sword fights. I am much better at it. Jousting just isn’t my strength. He was a champion and my brother is almost a champion. But I really like fighting with my sword. Even without as much practice as I would like to have. I am good. (pausing and looking up to the sky) But he just won’t listen.
Josolin: (looking at Rolan) And have you explained that to him?
Rolan: (looking a Josolin with a confused expression) What do you mean?
Josolin: (shaking her head) I MEAN. Have you explained to him your reasons for not wanting to joust and your reasons for wanting to compete in the sword events.
Rolan: (shrugging shoulders) I told him I don’t want to joust and I want to compete in swords instead. What else is there to say? He just gets angry and says I am being immature and would be wasting the years of practice on an event I have no experience in. (sighing) If he only knew.
Josolin: Knew what?
Rolan: That I have been practicing with the sword for years and have even been trained by the local blacksmith in secret.
Josolin: (shaking her head) Why have you not had this discussion with him? Your 16 now and considered a man. You must gain your fathers respect by acting like one and approaching him as one. We have been friends for years Rolan. I see more than you think. You can either be miserable all your life trying to please your father and your brother or you can be a man that they respect. (pause) Talk to your father Rolan. What is it going to hurt? But remember. You must convince them with reason and maturity. Not with anger.
Rolan: (looking at the ground and kicking a rock) Your right. As usual. (looking at Josolin and smiling)
(Rolan and Josolin walk in silence toward the edge of the scene)
(Scene fades to black)
Scene 2: The scene is a wood house with a fire in the fire place.
Father: (Sitting at a wood table polishing jousting armor)
Rolan: (enters house)
Father: (looking up a Rolan) Yes Rolan?
Rolan: May we speak?
Of course son. (gesturing to bench across from him)
Rolan: (sitting) (looking into his fathers eyes)
Father I come to you as a man. I know that I have not been acting as one in recent months. My anger with you and David have come from my own inner struggles as well as my immaturity and fears.
Father: (setting down the armor and folding his hands on the table)
You have my attention.
Rolan: (staring down at his lap)
I know that you are very proud to be a champion jouster and I am proud to say that my father is a champion jouster. David has made you proud in following your footsteps. (pause) (looking back up at his father) But that is not my desire.
Father: (standing abruptly)
(with raised voice) And what is your desire? To try NOW at your age to start training at swords? Do you not understand the years of practice and training it takes to be ready to compete in ANY event at the games?
David: (enters the room)
Father: (pointing at the door)
(Yelling) OUT. I will deal with your brother on my own this time.
Rolan: (Looking up at his father) (Standing up)
Father I understand your concerns. I will make you a deal. If you will let me explain my point and give you some details that you are unaware of. I will discuss this with you man to man and take your points into consideration. (pause) If you will give me the same respect and consider my points.
Father: (with shock in his face)
Rolan since you have approached me in such a mature manner. (Pause) I will take that deal.
(Father and Rolan both sit back down)
Rolan: (Looking over at the fire)
As you know I have not been putting as much effort and passion into jousting as you would like. As I said I am very proud to say that you are my father and David is my brother. (pause) (looking back at father) But my passion is in swordsmanship. I was always afraid to let you down. So I trained in jousting hoping that I would learn to love it as much as you and David do. (Pause) But I don’t.
Father: (with raised voice)
Rolan you have no training in swordsmanship. Not enough to compete in the games. You know the dishonor it will bring to our family if you do not compete this year. Win or lose you MUST compete if you are to ever think to obtain a standing in our community.
Rolan: (standing abruptly)
STOP. You made the deal to hear me out. So you must as a man of honor.
Father: (nodding his head)
And so I will. Please sit and continue.
Rolan: (sitting and looking at his father)
I have disobeyed you father. (looking into lap) For 4 years now I have been training in swordsmanship. With the help of the blacksmith I have been training. (looking at father) Father (pause) I AM GOOD. When I went to the carnival last year with the blacksmith I competed in the wooden sword youth game. Father? I won. (pause) (looking at fire) I never wanted to disobey you. I have always wanted to make you as proud of me as you are with David. But I knew I could never do it in jousting. I’m not good and I don’t like it. You have to admit. (pause) You have known for years that I would never compare to you or David. (looking at father). But in swordsmanship competitions I know that I can make you proud. (pause) Ok father I have spoken my peace. I will listen to your opinion now.
Father: (starring at Rolan in silence for several seconds)
(shaking his head) Well I never expected this. (smiling) I always told myself that you were the weaker of my two sons. Hmmmmmm guess I was wrong on that one. David would never had the strength to defy me or go behind my back and follow his own passion and dreams. Rolan I will make you a deal. Are you willing to at least consider it?
Rolan: (nodding) Yes father I will consider it.
Father: You may compete in swordsmanship this year. If you will allow me to tutor you and train you for the next two weeks. If at the games in two weeks you do not place at least 3rd in your age range then you will return to jousting training for the next years games and give it your heart and soul. Is that agreeable?
Rolan: (pausing) (looking at father)
Yes sir. (smiling) I will take your deal and your challenge.
Father: (smiling and standing) (extending hand to Rolan to shake hands)
Then we have a deal.
Rolan: (standing and shaking his fathers hand)
Yes sir. I hope you won’t be to disappointed when I don’t return to jousting training after the games. (bigger smile)
Father: (In a raised voice) David.
David: (entering the room)
Father: Get my sword from the chest and polish it. Rolan and I will be back from town later.
(Scene goes dark)
(Lights come back up)
(Rolan and father are entering the room through the door laughing)
Rolan: (Carrying a sword) Thank you father. I never would have dreamed of having a sword this fine.
Father: Well if your going to represent our family name in the swordsmanship competition then you can’t do it with a wooden or borrowed sword.
David: (with raised voice) Swordsmanship competition? Father have you both lost your mind? Rolan has had no training. He will get crushed.
Father: (Laughing) Well your little brother is a little bit more strong willed than we ever gave him credit for. He has shown me some of his moves on the way to town. He has been training with the blacksmith for 4 years. I confirmed that with the Smith while we were there. Your brother is very impressive. I would not take him on if I were you.
(Rolan and Father laughing) (David standing with shocked look on his face)
(David hands his father his sword and exits the room shaking his head)
(Scene fades to black)
Scene 3: (Back in the woods in the clearing)
(Father and Rolan are standing in the clearing with their swords)
Father: Before we begin your training lets sit and talk.
(Father and Rolan sit on the log)
Father: So let me make sure you have some very important basics Rolan. What is the most important lesson to remember when you are in a dual?
Rolan: (looking at his sword and moving it around)
Defense father. Never be the aggressor. Always have patients and wait for the opening. If you go on the offense right away without feeling out your opponent you will surely loose.
Father: Hmmmm….the Smith has taught you well.
Father: Yes Rolan
Rolan: I promise father. I will not dishonor you or our family name.
Father: (smiling) Rolan I know this to be true. For no matter what happens at the games you have made me proud. I know you to be a man of honor. You will hold up your end of the deal should you finish below third. Honor in a man is more important that anything. A man may not be wise, strong or wealthy but if he has honor his name and those of his family will always be respected.
(scene fades to black)