The Circus of Liberty : The Script
Once upon a time, there was a small village in which everyone wore a heart pinned on their chest; and where everyone wore a hat with long, long plaits of many different colours dangling down. The village was called The Village of Hearts and Plaits.
One day, when the villagers were doing one of their famous plait dances (which were a bit like Morris dances except they swayed their plaits instead of waving white hankies) a circus came to the village :- Jack 0'Diamonds Circus.
First into the ring came Jack 0' Diamonds himself, in his ringmaster's red coat with tails and with his black, shiny, top hat on his head. He cracked his whip and addressed the villagers.
"Ladies and Gentlemen - I offer you sights never seen before! I offer you the smallest animals in the world and the largest animals in the world! I offer you tricks you have never seen animals do before! You will be amazed! And first of all, to open our show for you, I present Marvellous Mark and his Amazing Fleas!"
The villagers watched in amazement as Marvellous Mark made his fleas walk along tightropes, go off the high dive and jump through hoops. Afterwards no-one could swear to actually having seen a flea...but there had certainly been a splash when the flea called Hercules did the high dive into a thimble-full of water. So on the whole they were happy with that act.
Next came the lion.
"From the wilds of Africa - for your edification and entertainment ladies and gentlemen - the world's only weight-lifting lion!"
And as a little lion came into the ring, the ringmaster gave his whip a huge crack, frightening the villagers at least as much as the lion. The weights were brought in. They looked heavy, and the lion seemed to find them very heavy - but when the ringmaster cracked his whip, the little lion strained and lifted the weights above his head. Many of the villagers felt sorry for the lion, but before anyone could say anything the ringmaster was announcing the next trick :
"The world's one-and-only dart-throwing elephant!"
In came the elephant, lumbering slowly around the ring and up to the pedestal. Slowly, slowly, it climbed up and took the first dart from the ringmaster. Slowly, slowly, it took aim at the dart board...threw the dart...and missed! You could hear the ringmaster's whip crack in the next village. And then in the silence you could hear the ringmaster4 hiss into the elephant's ear
"No supper for you tonight if you miss that board again! Slowly, slowly, the elephant once more took aim - and once more missed„ The ringmaster glared around at the villagers as he handed the last dart to the elephant, saying "Remember, if you want to eat tonight..." The villagers looked at each other. What was going on? But again, before they could say anything, the elephant took aim and the dart hit home! a cheer and the elephant was gone.
"Ladies and gentlemen - from far-away China - the tiniest baby Panda in the world our very own skipping Panda!"
And into the ring came the littlest Panda anyone had ever seen, holding a skipping rope in one hand and waving to the villagers with the other. Everyone's heart was won. Even the ringmaster seemed to have a soft spot for the little Panda, as he directed her to skip around the ring. But when one of the little girls in the village jumped forward to cuddle the little Panda, the ringmaster shouted: "Stand back! Stand back! She's vicious! She may be little, but she may bite you. Stand back! Beware!"
And with that the ringmaster tore them apart and chased the little Panda back into her cage. At this the villagers were really upset, and were still complaining as the bear and monkey came on.
Once again, the animals did extraordinary tricks. The bear, a huge shaggy bear, cycled around and the monkey whizzed around on roller skates. And then they both hoola-hooped. The ringmaster was not wrong in saying that they were the only ones of their kind in the world. So why was he so cruel to them? There he was again, cracking his whip and threatening the little monkey.
Then all of a sudden, while his back was turned, another little girl jumped forward and made friends with the bear. The ringmaster was enraged. But this little girl stood her ground.
"Please Mr Ringmaster", she said, why aren't you kinder to the animals? You should be kind to them."
"What!" Shouted the ringmaster, leaning down and poking the whip towards her face, "What are you saying?"
"Why can't you be kinder to the animals?"
"Why can't I be kinder to the animals? Why? Because I haven't got a heart, that's why!" And he threw open his jacket to show a diamond-shaped stone where his heart should have been pinned.
"Don't worry", said the little girl, "we can help you. Bring on the Queen of Hearts!"
From behind the crowds came the Queen of Hearts, wearing a crown and a long red cloak. She walked to the centre of the ring and threw open her cloak to reveal a row of spare hearts pinned to her dress.
"You can have one of these", she said. "Bring on the surgeons!"
The ringmaster turned very pale, "Surgeons! What are surgeons needed for?" he muttered. He looked around as if to go but already the attendants were wheeling on the operating table and asking him to get ready for the anaesthetic so they could perform the heart transplant operation. He was just ready in time. In walked the surgeons, two by two, slowly, solemnly, clothed in green operating gowns, face masks and wearing surgical gloves. A hush fell on the whole village as the operation began.
"Anaesthetic". "scalpel". "Check his pulse". The surgeon made the first incision with quite a flourish and began to cut open the chest. "Swabs, we must stop this bleeding here". "Suction." "Uuurgh, look at this! No wonder he was so nasty to the animals!" And before the very eyes of the villagers the surgeons revealed a horrible, grey, mangy-looking diamond-shaped stone which was where his heart should have been.
In no time at all the diamond was chipped out and a nice new pink heart with a ribbon on it stitched in. He was sewn up again, and then brought round from the anaesthetic a changed man, and never mistreated his animals again. In honour of his change of heart the circus was renamed "The Circus of .Liberty".
Great Georges Project/The Blackie