‘The Settlers’ A monologue by Sean Southerland Kirby

The Rows in Anglo-Saxon 907

WYBERT STANDS ON ANY OF THE ROMAN STREETS THAT LATER HOUSE THE ROWS (IE WATERGATE/EASTGATE/BRIDGE STREET).  ADDRESSES THE CROWD:

Okay, okay everyone, are we all here? 

COUNTS HEADS

Where is Deorwine?  Hilda, have you seen him?  Parking his donkey is he?  Well, since we are on the subject, can we all make sure our donkeys and carts are parked ONLY in the first field please.  We have a lot to do before sundown and I don’t want another incident like two nights ago.  I know we found the mule eventually, but that’s beside the point.  It could have been a lot worse and we’re already behind schedule. 

CLEARS THROAT AND ADDRESSES EVERYONE

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to our very own Ceaster. 

The actor with his arms wide open talking to the audience

Hey, hey now, enough of that grumbling.  Wigmund, I know what that hand gesture means, thank you! 

Look, I know some of you have been sent to other Ceasters by order of Queen Æthelflæd before this one, but on my honour I have been assured that this will be our last stop.  I heard that snort, Mildburg, don’t think I’m not making notes.  

So listen everyone, now that the Vikings have left, for good we hope, it’s our job to turn this pile of Roman rubble with a broken wall around it into a fortress.  Our lady of Mercia wants this to be the centre of a new line of burghs, to protect the northern frontier of our kingdom.

But more importantly, it is going to be our home. 

Put your hands down please, I know what you’re going to say.  Yes, it’s dirty, yes it smells and yes there are broken buildings everywhere.  But think of the possibilities.  I have been reliably informed that this could be a very important trading centre, thanks to that river right there.  All it needs is a little imagination and some good old-fashioned hard work.  Who’s with me?

NO-ONE ANSWERS.

Well, don’t all shout at once will you.  I said, who’s with me?

PAUSE.  TWO PEOPLE PUT THEIR HAND UP.

Well I suppose that’s better than a kick in the teeth.  Okay, here’s the plan.   We have good high walls and I’m told that underneath the rubble there are some solid roads. 

Group One, that’s all of you here – (INDICATING) – your job is to unpack the carts by the gateway in the direction of the morning sun, and set up a temporary camp. 

Group Two, that’s all of you – (INDICATING) – your job is to scour the walls and secure the perimeter against any further attacks.  The Queen wants a new tower to be built to be named after her, um, officer, Bonewaldesthorne. Yes, I know, Hilda, I’ve heard the rumours.

Group Three, that’s the rest of you, you’ll join me in starting to move the rubble back from the roads ready to start building houses. Eadric, don’t look at me like that, we’ll clear the rubble to the sides of the roads, then we’ll move it all out properly later.  Trust me, it won’t be like last time, we won’t build on top of the rubble.  In front of it maybe.

SHORT PAUSE

Right, then, let’s get moving.