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Excalibur! The Story of Young King Arthur

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You will find extensive "samples" of both versions of the
play in PDF format at the bottom of this page - these "samples" are also available in MS Word doc. format - on request.

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Excalibur! The Story of Young King Arthur - The grandeur of ancient British and Welsh legend and lore brought to life through the eyes of the fabled master of Wizardry and Wit, the Magical and Mysterious Merlin the Enchanter, who re-creates the exciting and dramatic story of how young Arthur came to be one of the most celebrated Kings in history. 2 Acts. 10 principal characters; 5 women, 5 men plus (for a larger cast size) scripted lines for optional Barons and Knights and Ladies. Settings: Act I, Merlin's Cave, a forest; Act II, a churchyard and nearby. Costumes: Ancient British or Medieval. (Note: Play script includes a detailed appendix with information and guidelines for optional magic illusions.)

For larger groups (and especially for groups who might be studying this era of legend and history) we highly recommend our new EXPANDED CAST VERSION of this play which has 40 individual speaking roles (24 women, 14 men, and 2 gender flexible) which can be played by as few as 30-35 actors (suggestions for combining and doubling roles are in the script).

Some of the additional characters you'll encounter in the EXPANDED CAST VERSION include a trio of Mysterious and Powerful female Druids, Sir Ector's loyal and wise wife, Lady Enid, a delightful group of boys and girls who are the companions of young Arthur and his adopted siblings, a very opinionated group of noble ladies, knights and barons, and a comical abbess who won't take no for an answer and her assistant, Sister Mary Mercy, who tries (unsuccessfully) to control the (optionally off-stage and unruly!) members of the Heavenly Cherubs Children's Choir. This play in either version is an excellent and enjoyable way for student actors to learn how very young persons can affirmatively and positively affect the history of a nation and the fate of the people of that nation in the future. *Note: The magic appendix referenced above is included under separate cover for the EXPANDED CAST VERSION.

Approximate Playing Time: 70-80 minutes

NOTE: Suggested Playing Time is a maximum estimation based on a full-scale production with musical augmentation, set changes and extensive audience reactions. Your own playing time may be shorter.

At the beginning of the play Merlin is discovered in his magic cave. He busies himself with his magic potions and dusty books for a moment or two and then notices the audience. "Aha! There you are." He says. "I've been waiting for you."

Then he begins the story: "Today you will see how a mere boy accomplished what many strong men failed to do." Then he shows how he, Merlin, secretly entrusted with the safety of the infant Arthur, brought the child to be raised in secret in the safety of the home of good Sir Ector. As Arthur grows, he plays with Ector's children, Kaye and Elaine, but every day Merlin takes him aside and tutors him, saying that Arthur must prepare for his destiny. No one understands what this means, since Arthur's identity is still a secret, but they all trust Merlin. The years pass peacefully.

Then one day, Arthur's destiny begins to unfold and follow its true path, just as Merlin foretold. A beautiful sorceress, Morgan Le Fay, jealous of Merlin's power, and suspecting Arthur's true identity, disguises herself as a fortuneteller, and attempts to put a spell upon the boy. When Merlin intervenes, Morgan vows to return. Accompanied by a clap of thunder and a cloud of fog, she and her cohorts, Dragonfly and Katydidd, disappear to plot revenge and further mischief.

While Arthur was growing up in his peaceful home, the situation in the island country of Britain had grown more unsettled and desperate each year. And so it happened that one day very soon after the incident with Morgan - the good Archbishop summons all the knights and nobles of the land to London for a grand tournament. The real reason behind his summons, however, is that he hopes and prays they will cease their quarrels and finally agree to choose a new King. When Merlin and Arthur accompany Sir Ector and his family to London, Morgan Le Fay follows.

In London a wonderful and mysterious miracle occurs in the churchyard. One morning a great stone suddenly appears. Upon the stone is an anvil, and into the anvil is thrust a magnificent sword. On the sword in letters of gold are these words: "WHOSO PULLETH OUT THIS SWORD FROM THIS STONE AND ANVIL IS THE RIGHTFUL BORN KING OF BRITAIN." "Everyone shall have a chance to draw the sword," the Archbishop decrees, but first the tournament will take place, as planned. This is young Kaye's first tournament, and he's so nervous, he forgets to bring his sword. Arthur, as Kaye's squire, offers to go back to the inn to fetch it. The inn is locked, however, and Arthur despairs.

Suddenly Morgan Le Fay appears, and once again disguised, she encourages Arthur to remove the magic sword from the stone. When he easily does so, she is overjoyed! "I knew it!" She cries. "I knew he was the one! This boy is the rightful King of Britain! I have seen all I need to see!" But before she can do any harm, Merlin arrives, and challenges her: "If you think to control Arthur and his destiny, you must first overcome my powers!" Naturally, Morgan fails to do so. Defeated by Merlin's greater strength she and her cohorts disappear in a cloud of smoke.

When everyone discovers how the magical sword came to be removed from the stone, they know that Arthur is indeed the rightful King. The play concludes with a happy Coronation celebration in honor of the newly crowned ruler. Arthur takes Merlin aside asking him to stay and guide him as he learns how to rule the land. "Will I be a good king, Merlin?" Arthur asks. "Yes, Arthur," Merlin replies. "You will be a good king. I do not need to look into the future to tell you that." "You must stay with me, Merlin. There is so much I need to know. I need you to advise me." And Merlin replies, "I will stay with you as long as my destiny permits." Arthur laughs affectionately: "I won't ask you what that means! You and your riddles!"

As the celebration merrily continues Merlin bids farewell to the audience: "So ends the story I wanted to tell you today. Of course, Arthur went on to have other adventures after he was king, but that is another tale for another time. Perhaps we shall meet again someday, and I can tell you more about those long ago times. Until that time - whenever it shall be - I bid you - farewell!"

Photo Credits: Sol Theatre Project - Ft Lauderdale, FL (right - left bottom), Walter Anthony - EXCALIBUR's original "Merlin" - (left above)

Click here for a sample of Excalibur! The Story of Young King Arthur (Regular Version).

Click here for a sample of Excalibur! The Story of Young King Arthur (Expanded Cast Version).

You will need Adobe PDF Reader - free online - to read the sample.  If necessary, click here to download and install Adobe PDF Reader.

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Classics On Stage! Playlist
- Classic playscripts and stage plays for theatres, schools, young audiences and performers of all ages -
""Indicates Christmas Play titles "" -

The Adventures of Robin Hood The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Aladdin and The Wonderful Lamp Alice In Wonderland Beauty and The Beast A Christmas Carol
The Christmas Toyshop Cinderella The Emperor's New Clothes Excalibur! The Story of Young King Arthur Hansel & Gretel Jack and The Beanstalk
King Midas and The Miraculous Golden Touch One Magical Christmas Eve Pinocchio! The Princess and The Pea Puss In Boots Rapunzel and The Frog Prince
Rumplestiltskin Sleeping Beauty Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs The Story of The Nutcracker 'Twas The Night Before Christmas The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
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