CUT TO the great hall. GUESTS wounded and bloody, are tending to the dead and injured, sighs and groans, the PRINCESS in her white wedding dress is holding her chest and coughing blood. People dabbing the stains off her dress.
FATHER and SIR LAUNCELOT start to walk down the grand staircase. Talking to each other.
One of the GUESTS notices and points to SIR LAUNCELOT.
GUEST: There he is!
As one man all remaining able-bodied MEN look up and make for the staircase, muttering angrily. SIR LAUNCELOT grabs his sword.
FATHER: Hold it!
But it is too lake. SIR LAUNCELOT cannot be stopped. With fearless abandon he throws himself into the CROWD and starts hacking and slashing. He has carved quite a number up before the FATHER can stop him and pulls him back onto the stairs. Renewed groans and cries.
FATHER (shouting above noise): Hold it! Please!
LAUNCELOT: Sorry! Sorry …
(with bitter self reproach) … There you see … I just got excited again and I got carried away … I’m ever so sorry.
(to the CROWD) Sorry.
CROWD kneeling round their wounded again. Moans etc.
GUEST: He’s killed the best man!
SECOND GUEST (holding a limp WOMAN): He’s killed my auntie.
FATHER: No, please! This is supposed to be a happy occasion! Let’s not bicker and argue about who killed who … We are here today to witness the union of two young people in the joyful bond of the holy wedlock. Unfortunately, one of them, my son Herbert, has just fallen to his death.
Murmurs from CROWD; the BRIDE smiles with relief, coughs.
FATHER: But I don’t want to think I’ve not lost a son … so much as gained a daughter …
Smattering of applause.
FATHER: For, since the tragic death of her father …
SHOUT FROM BACK: He’s not quite dead!
FATHER: Since the fatal wounding of her father …
SHOUT FROM BACK: I think He’s getting better!
FATHER nods discreetly to a SOLDIER standing to one side. The SOLDIER slips off. FATHER’s eyes watch him move round to where the voice came from.
FATHER: For … since her own father … who … when he seemed about to recover … suddenly felt the icy … hand of death upon him.
A scuffle at the back.
SHOUT FROM BACK: Oh, he’s died!
FATHER: I want his only daughter, from now onwards, to think of me as her old dad … in a very real and legally binding sense.
FATHER: And I’m sure sure … that the merger … er … the union between the Princess and the brave but dangerous Sir Launcelot of Camelot …
Gasp from the CROWD.
CROWD: The dead Prince!
There is CONCORDE holding “THE DEAD PRINCE” in his arms.
CONCORDE: He’s not quite dead!
PRINCE: I feel much better.
FATHER: You fell out of the Tall Tower you creep!
PRINCE: I was saved at the last minute.
PRINCE: Well … I’ll tell you …
MUSIC INTRO to song. CONCORDE stands the SON on his feet and adopts cod “and now a number from my friend” pose.
FATHER: Not like that!
But the music doesn’t stop and the CROWD starts to sing.
CROWD: He’s going to tell.
FATHER: Shut up!
CROWD: He’s going to tell …
FATHER (screaming): Shut UP!
As the song starts the FATHER tries yelling at them and eventually gives up. SIR LAUNCELOT joins CONCORDE in the CROWD.
LAUNCELOT: We must escape. Quickly before the song. CONCORDE: Come with me, sir. LAUNCELOT: You’re not right for this genre … I must escape more dramatically.
CONCORDE: Quickly, sir, come this way!
LAUNCELOT: No! It’s not right for my idiom. I must escape more … more …
CONCORDE: Dramatically, sir?
CROWD: He’s going to tell
He’s going to tell
He’s going to tell about his great escape.
Oh he fell a long long way
But he’s here with us today
What a wonderful … escape.
CONCORDE goes. SIR LAUNCELOT runs back up the stairs, grabs a rope of the wall and swings out over the heads of the CROWD in a swashbuckling manner towards a large window. He stops just short of the window and is left swing pathetically back and forth.
LAUNCELOT: Excuse me … could somebody give me a push …