This is the script for that performance. The title is taken from Terry Pratchett. The humour will make Victor Hugo turn in his grave.
Bring Him Home, Castle on a Cloud and especially I Dreamed a Dream brought many a tear to the eye.
Teachers, please feel free to use this in your schools.
SCENE 1: PRISON
A CHAIN GANG enters and sings
OH, PRISON LIFE IS DEAD!
WE HAVE TO MIME INSTEAD.
MAKE JERKY MOVEMENTS. RHYME.
WHAT TOOLS THESE ARE I MIME?
JARVIS Now bring me prisoner number 2468Ten.
LES It is Jarvis, who has pursued me relentlessly for years!
JARVIS Explain yourself, 2468Ten!
LES I am Les and for the entirety of this play and to fit with the parody I will be miserable. I was imprisoned because I stole bread to feed my sister's baby, both of whom we will never mention in this play ever again! So you see, I am the sympathetic character in this play and was imprisoned unjustly!
JARVIS And you were imprisoned for five years for that! And then fourteen more because you tried to run!
LES Oh how painful it is to live at this time of revolutions in France!
JARVIS Prisoner 2468Ten, you are free.
Jarvis hands a piece of paper to Les
LES What is this?
JARVIS It's a piece of paper.
LES Very good. And…
JARVIS You show it to people who want to hire you, and this way they know you were a prisoner. Hah-hah-hah!
CHAIN GANG 1 And what about us?
JARVIS That’s your lot! It’s all dysentery and non-speaking parts for the rest of the play. (exits)
SCENE 2: GINOLA’S YARD
(Les tries to find a job)
LES Monsieur Ginola! Any chance of a job. I’ll do anything!
GINOLA Yes, I'll hire you.
LES Excellent. I'll just give you this piece of paper here--
GINOLA You have a piece of paper? I can't very well hire you!
LES Oh, ex-criminals in France have it tough!
GINOLA You know, you could consider just not giving me the paper.
LES I cannot do that; it would betray the same strong moral values that led me to illegally feed my sister and her dead child. And I have to uphold my strong moral values.
MME GINOLA So moral you forgot you weren’t going to mention that again!
LES Oh yes! Silly me!
MME GINOLA Why don’t you try the Bishop? He’s a mug for any sob story!
SCENE 3: MONASTERY.
LES So that’s my story. Just wandering by and all my Euros lost in a banking crisis.
BISHOP What do you think Mrs Cantona?
MRS CANTONA (in dodgy French accent) When ze seagulls follow ze trawler (pause) it's because zey think sardines will be thrown into the sea
LES Pardon me, I don’t speak fluent gibberish!
BISHOP What the good lady means is that you are not to be trusted.
LES MOI! C’est incroyable!
MRS CANTONA And that is one of the few French phrases you will hear this morning.
BISHOP I’ve thought this through! Despite your outwardly rough appearance and the overwhelming smell of dung. I have decided to offer you lodgings for the night.
MRS CANTONA The man has lost his marbles!
BISHOP So here's the deal. I'm going to let you stay here in the monastery. Here's a delicious rack of lamb, and you get to sleep in the ROOM OF PRECIOUS SILVER AND OTHER EXTRAVAGANT
EXAMPLES OF THE CHURCH'S WEALTH. Bon-nuit!
(Bishop and Mrs Cantona exit)
LES Must uphold strong moral values, must uphold strong moral values, must—Hey! Who am I kidding? (grabbing all of the silver)
(Bishop and Mrs Cantona enter)
MRS CANTONA POLICE!
POLICEMAN Vous sont arrêtés mon fils!
LES Eh ?
POLICEMAN You’re nicked my son !
(Enter a bunch of policemen in bunny slippers and pyjamas)
POLICE CHIEF Miserable Les, you're under arrest for stealing the church!
LES Stealing FROM the Church.
POLICE CHIEF I ask the questions here.
LES I didn't ask a question.
POLICE CHIEF (yawns) Jean-Claude! Get me my elaborate police chief hat!
JEAN-CLAUDE (in a ridiculous French accent) At once my little cheesy potato crisp! (enters with enormous hat)
POLICE CHIEF Go ahead; tell his reverence your story about how he gave this to you as a "gift".
BISHOP But I did give this as a gift... I just forgot to give him these as well. (hands him silver candlesticks)
POLICE CHIEF What?
BISHOP Yes, thank you for apprehending him so I could--
POLICE CHIEF You said he stole.
BISHOP Well surely, can’t you see...?
POLICE CHIEF Of course I can see, and stop calling me Shirley
POLICEMAN #2 My wife was woken up at three in the morning for this.
POLICEMAN #3 My poor consumptive French children can't get back to their slumber!
POLICEMAN #2 They may die before you return.
POLICEMAN #3 As long as nobody dies on stage from this hammy acting.
BISHOP AHEM!! But can’t you see, I was teaching him a lesson.
POLICE CHIEF (whilst beating self up) STUPID ME! THIS MAN OF GOD.MAKING ME FEEL MORALLY GUILTY AND WAKING ME UP IN THE MORNING!
LES This meaningful incident has made me realize the error of my ways. I'm going to start again, and to prove it, I'm going to RIP UP THE PAPER that for NO REASON I decided to show to every potential employer!
PEASANT Ripping up the paper is deeply symbolic somehow
(Les rips up paper over-dramatically)
ZIDANE I am Monsieur Zidane and I just happen to be conveniently walking by. Hey there, you may smell of dung but don't look like someone who has ever had any of that paper that former prisoners have. Want to help me invent gold from base metal?
LES Why certainly Sir! Your smart apparel leads me to consider this opportune!
ZIDANE Help me count out these nuggets then. (Counts out of bag) 2-4-6-8-10
LES You know my number!
ZIDANE You are a prisoner, surely that means I am the first in this play to die a dramatic yet meaningless death?
LES If you insist. And stop calling me Shirley.
ZIDANE That’s the second time that has been done…. UUURRRGGGHHH!!!
LES I think that this may be a little worse than the loaf of bread, but wait, there is a convenient and hitherto unmentioned abandoned mineshaft that no-one will look in for at least 100 years- I will dispose of the body there! And now to the FUTURE!!!
SCENE 4: THE FUTURE.
WORKER 1: But not really the future, just ahead ten years.
POOR PERSON 1 Life is tough!
POOR PERSON 2 Working in a factory in France in the nineteenth century is hard
(Sings AT THE END OF THE DAY)
FANTINE I'm ready for my yearly wage.
FOREMAN Here's your wage, minus your "not letting me kiss you" penalty.
FANTINE No, please give me the money! I need it to feed my daughter who I sent away because I hate children.
FOREMAN What? You have a kid? You're fired!
FANTINE Oh well! No other jobs in the universe. Better take up begging. Or teaching!
MLLE NASTY I was once an OFSTED inspector! Now I am reduced to this!
FANTINE Oh, what a cautionary tale!
(sings I DREAMED A DREAM)
(Suddenly and slowly a cart runs over Henri)
HENRI Help! I got run over by this very slow moving cart!
JARVIS That is bad acting and highly improbable!
LES: I have completely abandoned my former life of lying and thieving, and somehow become the mayor
MME HENRI Help Mr Mayor, save my husband. From being slowly crushed.
LES I'll save you!
JARVIS Wow, I don't know anybody who can convince nobody that they're struggling to lift a cardboard cart like that...EXCEPT FOR MISERABLE LES! But we're about to execute a Les that we just caught.
LES You can't execute LES, because LES... IS ME! (opens shirt, reveals that it says 2468Ten)
IT'S MY PRISONER TATTOO!
JARVIS Is that finger paint?!?
HENRI Quick Mr Mayor RUUUUUUUUNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN!!!!
JARVIS I will get you one day Les!
SCENE 5: HOSPITAL.
FANTINE (dying) Oh Cosette, come here and let your crazy blind mother take care of you.
LES She's not here. You're delusional because of the nasty disease!
FANTINE TB or not TB that is the question.
LES We never really specify. It seems to be the same disease that kills all the important characters this far into the play
FANTINE Who are you?
LES I'm the man who looked on while my morally corrupt Foreman fired you, and then did nothing when you caught that disease that will cause you to die in about thirty seconds.
FANTINE Oh! (pause) Will you raise my child? (dies)
JARVIS Les at last!
LES Now I liked Fantine, but I don’t like you. But which is better. There’s only one way to find out. FIGHT!
JARVIS Bring it on!
(They fight in a very hammy way without actually making contact)
SCENE 6: OUTSIDE THE INN IN ANOTHER TOWN
MARCEL: So we are here in another equally poor part of France.
THIERRY: Yes we are poor, but are we happy?
ETIENNE: No we are not, but for the purposes of this play we will appear to be the jolly paupers with enough to buy us a few drinks at the inn.
MARCEL: Wait a minute. Where’s Harry?
THIERRY: Come on Harry!
ETIENNE: There he is! Hurry up Harry! Come on! We’re going down the pub!
SCENE 7: HOUSE OF THERNARDIER
(Cosette sings CASTLE ON A CLOUD)
MME. T Cosette, I'm so glad we've enslaved you to keep you down in the cellar.
ETIENNE: Hahahaha! Don’t you just love Monsieur and Madame Tena-Lady?
THERNARDIER Here you go sir. I've created this dinner for you which, though you're not aware of it, includes ingredients like cat spit, and curious short curly hair!
HARRY: What a lovable landlord you are Monsieur Tena-Lady
THERNARDIER: It’s TEN-ARE-DEE-AY, not Tena-Lady.
MME T: I wish I wasn't fat and that I had married a man who wasn’t so foul.
MARCEL: I just want to take the Tena-Ladies home with me!
MME T: It’s TEN-ARE-DEE-AY, not Tena-Lady
(Sing MASTER OF THE HOUSE)
LES: I have a million sous. Worth more than the euro. Give me Cosette.
THERNARDIERS: Sure stranger, do whatever you want.
LES: Cosette, now you're my daughter.
COSETTE: Yay! Scruffy stranger, I love you immediately!
SCENE 8: PARIS
JARVIS: And suddenly we have jumped ten years into the future and I am still chasing Les over that loaf of bread.
GAVROCHE: `Ello govnah! I'm a plucky li'il street urchin, so b'sure to fall `n luv wit m' now audience b'fuh I get blewn t'bits! Blimey!
JARVIS: Are you going to keep up that ridiculous wotchagorblimey Mary Poppins accent?
GAVROCHE: Sorry darling I was still in role from Oliver!
EPONINE: (to audience )I love Marius!
MARIUS: (to audience) I know but I never respond and pretend I don't notice. (Cosette walks by) I love that girl that just walked by!
COSETTE: (to audience) I love Marius, and am in torment about abandoning my elderly father for him!
LES: (to audience) I'm elderly now! But I still can lift my own weight!
ENJOLRAS: (to audience) I'm Enjolras! Try pronouncing my name!
VICTOR: Enjoy rollers?
HUGO: Engineer rails?
ENJOLRAS: SEE! VICTOR AND HUGO YOU CAN'T DO IT! Join with me to fight the enemy who we never see for a cause I don’t fully understand.
VICTOR: Hooray! Allez les bleus! La plume de ma tante et dans le jardin! Le souris est dans le chat!
HUGO: Better that than see a classic story ripped to shreds!
MARIUS: Wait, now I'm tormented about whether to fight in a rebellion that I haven't quite yet figured out, or to chase after that girl I just saw that suddenly I'm in love with!
COSETTE: My name is Cosette!
MARIUS: Oh it's so embarrassing; I don't even know your name!
MARIUS: Will I EVER learn her name?
ENJOLRAS: Get serious, Marius, its wartime, and General Lamarque is dead.
ENJOLRAS: You haven't heard of him and we won't bother explaining, but put faith in the fact that it's vitally important to the rest of the plot and the reason I will die...Come sing a wartime song with us now.
(Sing CAN YOU HEAR THE PEOPLE SING)
ENJOLRAS: Another to celebrate our inevitable demise. (singing) RED!
GANG: THE COLOR OF SOME BLOOD!
GANG: THE COLOR OF NOT WHITE!
GANG: THE COLOR OF... SOME... TOMATOES?
ENJOLRAS: (despondent) Black.
GANG: THE COLOR OF... UMM...
STUDENT #1: Charcoal?
STUDENT #2: Graphite from a pencil?
STUDENT #3: Liquorice?
ENJOLRAS: Never mind for tomorrow we will die awful, gruesome, and ultimately pointless deaths!
(Everyone comes out on stage and yells at the top of their lungs).
LES: TOMORROW IS IMPENDING!
ENJOLRAS: TOMORROW HAS MEANINGFUL MEANING!
JARVIS: ONE MORE DAY TILL REVOLUTION, I WILL NIP IT IN THE BUD, I WILL JOIN THESE LITTLE SCHOOLBOYS.THEY WILL WET THEMSELVES!
EPONINE: THERE ONCE WAS A GUY I LIKED A LOT EXCEPT HE DIDN'T LIKE ME BACK AND I CRIED
I WISH THAT HE HAD LIKED ME AND THAT IS WHY YOU SYMPATHIZEWITH ME, EPONINE, WHEN I’M SHOT.
SCENE 10: BACK AT THE BARRICADE THE NEXT DAY.
JARVIS: What's up guys! I'm so totally all about your decision to overthrow the government. Can I join your awesome club?
VICTOR: Well we DO need somebody to find out their attacks and the like.
ENJOLRAS: (pointing at Jarvis) Yeah, we can trust him, he's old!
GAVROCHE: You can't trust him... He's INSPECTOR JARVIS in disguise!
GAVROCHE: The BAD GUY! Haven’t you been paying attention?
HUGO: We can't trust old men...So who's going to execute him?
ENJOLRAS: (pointing at Les) We can trust HIM! He's OLD!
(Suddenly Eponine runs over the barricade and is shot!)
EPONINE: Marius! I died so I could give you a letter from Cosette!
MARIUS: You poor pathetic waif. (It suddenly starts to rain) Now I’ve got to protect you from the rain.
EPONINE Forget the rain I’m DYING.
MARIUS Oh, poor Eponine— too late, she’s dead. And the rain has stopped. OK, so who wants a drink?
(flings Eponine's body to the ground)
ENJOLRAS: Yes, as your leader-ish person, I command EVERYBODY to go out the night before a big battle.
GAVROCHE: I can’t because I'm underage.
ENJOLRAS: Are you old enough to loot dead bodies for ammo?
(Gavroche climbs across the barricade but, just as Eponine was, is shot. Enter his many little friends)
JEAN: Gavroche! Gav--(is shot)
PAUL: Oh no, how could--(is shot)
GEORGES: My poor friends are dying!--(is shot)
RINGO: Voici le sang des martyrs--(is shot)
(Lots of little children appear onstage. A torrid bloodbath ensues. It is terrifying. Everybody keeps fighting.)
LES: I'm going to let you go, Jarvis.
JARVIS: I have a gun. I've spent my entire life chasing you
LES: Just go away.
JARVIS: Here I am running away across the barricades. Of course, I am not shot because I am not one of the children.
ENJOLRAS: Comrades, avenge the deaths of les petits.
(Gun battle in which all except Les and Marius are shot)
LES: (looking at an almost-dead Marius) This is the boy who is in love with my fake daughter. I ought to save him with my super old man strength! Down to the sewers, which are healthier in 1832 than up here, and smell better.
SCENE 11: PARIS'S FAMOUS SEWERS
LES: I am really tired now so will put down the body of Marius, and fall asleep for plot reasons.
THERNARDIER: (entering, taking a gold tooth from a dead body) It is not explained how I am here. I like to steal gold from corpses! And let’s have the ring from this young fellow.
RAT: Hey... Weren't you the funny character?
THERNARDIER: I used to be. It got used up after the loss of Cosette and wasting all those sous which were worth less than a pile of horse manure.
RAT: But you used to serve croton de cheval on your menu, that’s horse manure!
THERNARDIER: People would come from miles around to taste my croton de cheval. Finest in the district.
RAT: You're still not funny anymore Monsieur Tena-Lady
THERNARDIER: It’s TEN-ARE-DEE-AY, not Tena-Lady. Oops he’s not dead; better scarper before I’m caught.
LES: Better get going again but I can’t sing with this fat lump on my back so I will sing with him on the ground
(sings BRING HIM HOME)
LES: The smell is getting worse now; it must be the fresh Parisian air outside. Let’s just squeeze through here and …
JARVIS: Les we meet again; another coincidence in another part of France over 30 years.
LES: Oh just go away! I’ve let you go once.
JARVIS: Les who I casually pursued around France for a few years has spared my life. Definitely a
very good reason for jumping off this bridge. (jumps)
(He spins around a little bit while standing, then dives into the floor)
LES: I always thought he was in Seine.
JARVIS: Not at all predictable! BLUB! BLUB! BLUB!
SCENE 12: A HOUSE IN PARIS.
MARIUS: This play is too short but let's take a moment to remember some people I never bothered to get to know in the first place.
THERE ARE CHAIRS AND THERE ARE TABLES
THEY ARE MADE OF LOTS OF WOOD
NOW MY FRIENDS ARE NOT ALIVE NOW
THAT IS BAD, NO IT'S NOT GOOD.
SCENE 13: WEDDING.
MARIUS: Cosette and I are getting married with all of our closest friends here.
COSETTE: Yes, somehow I have friends even though I just moved there and all of Marius's friends died.
(enter the Thernardiers in a pair of hideous outfits)
MME. T: We haven't changed at all as characters.
THERNARDIER: I haven't even aged half of what Les has in the same time!
MME. T: Sh! Distract the dead-alive friends while I steal this expensive silverware and hide it.
COSETTE: It’s the Thernardiers!
THERNARDIER: Its TENA-LADY not THERNARDIER.
MME T: (slaps husband- silv4e plate falls out) OOPS! Au revoir.
SCENE 14: ANOTHER HOUSE IN PARIS.
LES: I am dying, so the play must be ending right? They can't very well go on forever.
(lights a pair of candles) I will just light these candles and wait to die. (pause- 10 seconds)
It may take a while.
FANTINE: (a ghost) Hello Les.
LES: Hello, crazy blind lady!
FANTINE: It was the flu.
EPONINE: (also a ghost) Hello Les
LES: Wait, who are you?
EPONINE: Right, we never met. How awkward that God chose me to guide you to the next world.
FANTINE: We're here to take you off to Heaven.
LES: About time too. My children who abandoned me better show up soon to hear my whole life story all over again.
COSETTE: Father, I haven't seen you in years but we suddenly figured out where you were a few minutes before you die!
MARIUS: Your father wanted me to pretend I didn't know where he was.
COSETTE: But why, Papa?
LES: Now, I have a story to tell you about a man who stole a loaf of bread, and in that time, learned a very difficult lesson and that is the whole story in one line. And now I am dying.
MARIUS: I forgot about the bread- but why?
LES: I’m going.
COSETTE: Please father, don't die!
LES: Still here! No! Hang on! Urgh! (dies)...
(gets taken to heaven by Fantine and Eponine)
COSETTE: Oh father! (cries)
MARIUS: That’s ok because suddenly, every dead character will show up to sing the final song. And you and I are the only ones in all of France who didn't die! How depressing.
(Final song: CAN YOU HEAR THE PEOPLE SING)