By Kathryn Petersen. Inspired by the Arthurian legend.
Cast: 12m., 7w. (with doubling. May be expanded to up to 28 actors.) This imaginative retelling of the Arthurian legend is set in the hill fort of Trumontium in 500 A.D. In the midst of a fierce storm, a mysterious sword-stone appears. Rumors fly that the person who can pull the sword out will be the Pendragon, the next high king of Britain. Warriors come from far and wide to try their hand but to no avail. Young Arthur, mocking a warrior's attempt, surprisingly removes the sword, and thus his problems begin. Chief Ector imprisons Arthur, furious that he has succeeded where his son Kei has failed. To make matters worse, the local villagers begin to believe Arthur is in league with the devil and of evil Saxon blood. Into this mess, Torag the wandering tinker, and Nimue, a young maid, arrive. Torag, a close friend of Arthur's, visits him in his cell and, for a reason unknown to Arthur, instructs him to carve chess pieces. Nimue gets a job as a servant and secretly brings Arthur the wood and knife he needs for his carving. When the evil Queen Morgaine unexpectedly arrives and proclaims that Arthur is indeed her half brother and son of Uther the Pendragon, Torag the Tinker moves fast. He knows Arthur isn't ready for the job. He convinces Arthur to go to the Forest Perilous with him where he can learn how to become a king. There, Arthur learns valuable lessons through the help of talking trees, a magical chess board where the pieces he carved come to life, and his new friend, Nimue. Queen Morgaine interrupts Arthur's apprenticeship and tries to convince him to rule Britain with her. Torag warns him that she's hungry for power. Morgaine reveals Torag's true identity, that of Merlin, the great wizard and former advisor to Uther the Pendragon. Arthur, feeling used and betrayed, runs deeper into the woods. Renouncing his kingship, he throws the sword into a lake and the lake magically responds. The Lady of the Lake helps Arthur to see how he can best serve his people and transforms Arthur's sword into Excalibur. Arthur swears an oath of kingship on Excalibur while Merlin and Nimue look on. Premiered at The People's Light & Theatre Company. Unit set. Approximate Running Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes.