SD1: Lights rise on a large arena. Every seat is filled.
SD2: The king and his court sit high up on velvet chairs.
SD3: Two narrators stand downstage.
N1: Once upon a time, in a faraway land, there lived a powerful king.
N2: A king who loved his authority almost as much as he loved his own daughter.
N1: A king who used a cruel system of justice that struck fear into the hearts of all his subjects.
N2: Nothing made him happier than to sit on his throne in the royal arena and watch justice be served.
SD1: The king and the princess wave to their subjects.
SD2: The princess leans over to the king.
Princess Margaret: Father, who is the accused today?
King John: A peasant who stole from the royal garden.
Princess: What did he steal?
King: Carrots! Can you imagine?
SD3: A handsome young servant approaches with a silver tray.
Thomas: Cider, Your Majesty?
SD1: The king takes a goblet. The servant turns to the princess.
Thomas: Your Highness?
Princess: Yes, please.
SD2: The servant smiles at the princess and winks.
SD3: Behind them, Lady Anne and Lady Helen giggle quietly.
Princess: That will be all, Thomas.
SD1: The princess tries to suppress a smile as Thomas bows and moves on. She turns back to her father.
Princess: So this peasant was caught pulling carrots from the ground?
King: Not exactly . . . he was found nearby carrying a large bundle of carrots.
Princess: Father, is it fair to conclude that he—
SD2: A trumpet sounds.
King: Quiet now. The criminal is coming.
SD3: A man dressed in rags walks slowly to the middle of the arena. He bows to the king, then turns to face two identical wooden doors.
SD1: The Master of Ceremonies addresses the man.
MC: You stand accused of royal theft.
Accused Man: But I didn’t—
MC: Silence! By order of the king, you must now choose one of these two doors and open it. Behind one is a hungry, vicious tiger. Behind the other is a young lady you will marry.
Accused Man: But—
MC: It is your duty and your privilege to select a door. The decision is entirely in your hands.
SD2: The accused looks at the two doors.
MC: What will it be, ladies and gentlemen? Will he be torn to pieces as punishment for his guilt?
MC: Or will we witness a joyous wedding rewarding him for his innocence?
SD3: The man walks slowly to a door and opens it. Immediately, a tiger springs upon him.
SD1: Iron bells clang dolefully. Hired mourners enter the arena and begin to wail.
Mourners: Ooooooooooo! Ooooooooooo!
SD2: The king takes a gulp of cider and wipes his beard.
King: Chance is an impartial judge, don’t you think?
SD3: The princess looks down at the arena.
Princess: Yes, Father