Steve Gooch - Playwright Dramatist Author Writer Editor

Passed On: Script Excerpt

Tells of the growth of English nonconformism following the Peasants' Revolt, from the celebrated theologian John Wyclif in Oxford through lay preachers in the Midlands and West Country to the uprising against Henry V led by Sir John Oldcastle, the prototype for Shakespeare's Falstaff. The true story of Falstaff and Hal.

Passed On by Steve Gooch

(Oxford theologian Aston is greeted by hunchback lollard Will Smith

Smith: Yes?

Aston: John Aston. I've come from Lutterworth.

Smith: So?

Aston: From the Doctor. (No response) Doctor Wyclif.

Smith: Oh him.

Aston: I was told I'd find Will Smith here.

Smith: That's me. (Ushers him in) You one of his Oxford boys?

Aston: That's right. We were thinking of an exchange. One of you preach in the Doctor's parish, and The Great Man come here.

Smith: He's a bit dry for round here. If you're askin' people to take time off the fields, you got to stir their souls.

Aston: Like this man Swinderby?

Smith: Oh, heard of William, have you? Us others do just as well, you know.

Aston: I'm sure you do. (Looking round) And this is for your meetings.

Smith: Landlord calls it ours now. Have to put up with his decorations though. (Points to a wooden St Catherine over the fire)

Aston: And I heard you don't drink.

Smith: Don't drink, don't eat meat, don't wear shoes, don't go wi' women. -- Not that I'd stand much chance with this. (His back) It's all vanity anyway. Readin' an' writin's solid. (Coyly fingers a manuscript lying on the table) Taught myself you know. No Doctors to help me.

Aston: Is that your work on the New Testament?

Smith: Want to see? (Offers him the battered manuscript)

Aston: (After a while) I'm having trouble with your handwriting.

Smith: (Snatches it back defensively) We spell different up here.

Aston: Perhaps I should read as you speak? May I? (Holds his hand out for the manuscript back...)

back to playscripts