The Answers Can be Found in the Holy Grail

by Karen Topakian

Local government officials struggle with ways to confront or approach the leaderless-by-design Occupy movement. King Arthur experienced the same frustration in Monty Python’s epic film, Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Read this short bit of dialogue for inspiration.

ARTHUR and PATSY riding.  They stop and look.  We see a castle in the distance, and before it a PEASANT is working away on his knees trying to dig up the earth with his bare hands and a twig.  ARTHUR and PATSY ride up, and stop before the PEASANT

ARTHUR

Old woman!

DENNIS

Man!

ARTHUR

Man.  I’m sorry.  Old man, What knight live in that castle over there?

DENNIS

I’m thirty-seven.

ARTHUR

What?

DENNIS:

I’m thirty-seven … I’m not old.

ARTHUR:

Well – I can’t just say:  “Hey, Man!’

DENNIS

Well you could say: “Dennis”

ARTHUR

I didn’t know you were called Dennis.

DENNIS

You didn’t bother to find out, did you?

ARTHUR

I’ve said I’m sorry about the old woman, but from the behind you looked …

DENNIS

What I object to is that you automatically treat me like an inferior …

ARTHUR

Well … I AM king.

DENNIS

Oh, very nice. King, eh!  I expect you’ve got a palace and fine clothes and courtiers and plenty of food.  And how d’you get that? By exploiting the workers! By hanging on to outdated imperialist dogma, which perpetuates the social and economic differences in our society!  If there’s EVER going to be any progress …

An OLD WOMAN appears.

OLD WOMAN

Dennis! There’s some lovely filth down here …  Oh! how d’you do?

ARTHUR

How d’you do, good lady … I am Arthur, King of the Britons …can you tell me who lives in that castle?

OLD WOMAN

King of the WHO?

ARTHUR

The Britons.

OLD WOMAN

Who are the Britons?

ARTHUR

All of us are … we are all Britons.

DENNIS winks at the OLD WOMAN.

… and I am your king ….

OLD WOMAN

Ooooh!  I didn’t know we had a king.  I thought we were an autonomous collective …

DENNIS

You’re fooling yourself.  We’re living in a dictatorship. A self-perpetuating autocracy in which the working classes …

OLD WOMAN

There you are, bringing class into it again …

DENNIS

That’s what it’s all about …  If only –

ARTHUR

Please, please good people.  I am in haste.  What knight lives in that castle?

OLD WOMAN

No one live there.

ARTHUR

Well, who is your lord?

OLD WOMAN

We don’t have a lord.

ARTHUR

What?

DENNIS

I told you,  We’re an anarcho-syndicalist commune,  we take it in turns to act as a sort of executive officer for the week.

ARTHUR

Yes.

DENNIS

… But all the decision of that officer …

ARTHUR

Yes, I see.

DENNIS

… must be approved at a bi-weekly meeting by a simple majority in the case of purely internal affairs.

ARTHUR

Be quiet!

DENNIS

… but a two-thirds majority …

ARTHUR

Be quiet!  I order you to shut up.

OLD WOMAN

Order, eh — who does he think he is?

ARTHUR

I am your king!

OLD WOMAN

Well, I didn’t vote for you.

ARTHUR

You don’t vote for kings.

OLD WOMAN

Well, how did you become king, then?

ARTHUR

The Lady of the Lake, her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite, held Excalibur aloft from the bosom of the water to signify by Divine Providence … that I, Arthur, was to carry Excalibur …That is why I am your king!

OLD WOMAN

Is Frank in?  He’d be able to deal with this one.

DENNIS

Look,  strange women lying on their backs in ponds handing out swords …that’s no basis for a system of government.  Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.

ARTHUR

Be quiet!

DENNIS

You can’t expect to wield supreme executive power just ’cause some watery tart threw a sword at you!

ARTHUR

Shut up!

DENNIS

I mean, if I went around saying I was an Emperor because some moistened bint had lobbed a scimitar at me, people would put me away!

ARTHUR

(Grabbing him by the collar)

Shut up, will you. Shut up!

DENNIS

Ah! NOW … we see the violence inherent in the system.

ARTHUR

Shut up!

PEOPLE (i.e. other PEASANTS) are appearing and watching.

DENNIS

(calling)

Come and see the violence inherent in the system. Help, help, I’m being repressed!

ARTHUR

(aware that people are now coming out and watching)

Bloody peasant!

(pushes DENNIS over into mud and prepares to ride off)

DENNIS

Oh, Did you hear that!  What a give-away.

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