Cardenio – The Lost Play

By JustLeeBelmont

Cast

Cardenio – The Storytelling Beggar

Luis – Writer

Maria – Barmaid and Luis’ Wife

Gonzalo – Barkeep

Stephania – Singer at the Bar

Rodrigo – Horridly Unfunny Jester

The Crowd – Local Drunk Townsfolk

A One Act Play

Scene: We find a withered and much older Cardenio, many years later after his adventures with Quixote and Sancho. He has taken up to begging after his adventures have left him with little gain. With his charisma and guile he has been able to keep himself alive from the pity of the townsfolk. In the central market district is where we find our hero looking for his next meal, and story to tell. Cardenio notices a young man and asks for his company.

Cardenio

Young lad! You, yes you over there! Please accompany an old man for a bit. Times are tough and a little company is all I ask before senility kicks in. What is your name good sir?

Luis

It’s Luis sir. I’m afraid I don’t have much time. I’m assuming you want some sort of pay? I have that to offer if that means I may leave.

Cardenio

Nonsense! Although I would appreciate that I’d rather enlighten you to my tale so you don’t make the same mistakes I did.

Luis

I really must be going, the wife demandth me.

Cardenio

It will make you rich lad.

Luis

Tell me more Mr…?

Cardenio

Call me Cardenio the Great!

Luis

I’ll stick to Cardenio. Now, about getting rich…

Cardenio

Listen to my tale and you will understand. I was like you Luis. Young, impatient and with a lovely lady, the difference is she left me too soon. I’ve had many ladies in my life but Rosa was taken from me. A friend of mine was the culprit. He was known as Pedro, the Brash. I had a good thing going in my little villa but Pedro broke in one day.

Luis

This Pedro fellow sounds like a sociopath.

Cardenio

Indeed he was! Craving everything he couldn’t have. He wanted the most beautiful woman in the village but with his looks, it’d be a miracle for a sow to look at him! By the way Luis, I don’t suppose you could buy me a pint would you? I’m getting a bit thirsty.

Luis

If it means I get to hear more then I’m all ears. My wife usually brings me a pint around here while I write. She’ll be here soon.

Cardenio

You write? God bless your soul.

Luis

It’s not an easy job. In fact I envy that you don’t have to work.

Cardenio

Lad I’ve worked enough in my life to say I’ve earned this profession. Some would hate it and some days I do actually, but at the end of the day it always works out. You’ll see in due time. Is that fine lady over there yours?

Luis

Yes it is. Maria dear, I’m here!

Maria

Hi Luis how are you and who is your friend?

Cardenio

Call me Cardenio madam. I am but a humble storyteller and self-proclaimed bum on my spare time. I plan to share the secrets of wealth with Luis.

Maria

Please sir! We’d love nothing more! Being a barmaid is a difficult life and Luis’ writing hasn’t been making quite the profit we happen to need!

Luis

Really, dear?

Maria

Oh don’t act so surprised! It’s why you took up the alcohol!

Luis

Maria just listen to this guy, I feel he’s onto something. Go on Cardenio.

Cardenio

It would be my honor. Let me have a swig of that first; much better. See this Pedro fellow swooped in to my humble abode and snatched my lovely Rosa. He demanded an impossible ransom leaving me with one choice. To save milady and ruin this man’s life. For you see, he had it coming. I took a ride on my noble stead to head to the place where Pedro kept her from me. My travels led me toward his castle full of guards and such.

Maria

Such treachery! How romantic as well! Putting yourself in such danger for your love! Luis you’d do the same for me right!?

Luis

Sure…

Maria

Your tone sickens me. My fellow coworkers are heading this way. What should I say?

Cardenio

Tell them to come. I love company!

Maria

If you say so. Gonzalo, Stephania, Rodrigo, over here! There’s a wonderful storyteller over here!

Gonzalo

Is that so? Hi there, I run the bar.

Stephania

I happen to sing for the bar patrons.

Rodrigo

And I happen to dress up daily as a horridly Unfunny Jester who gets paid minimum wage by this kind soul right next to me.

Gonzalo

If you were funnier I’d pay you more. So what’s this story about?

Cardenio

Getting rich and adventure! That said, I don’t suppose you all could donate a coin or two? That would help me sleep better at night.

All except Cardenio

Yes sir.

Cardenio

Splendid! Now I was at the castle carefully considering my options: whether or not to take down the front door. I figured I would attempt diplomacy with the guards. They told me to leave but that certainly did not stop me, no sir! After that they said if I really wanted to see Pedro I’d have to take a chance by going through the infinite hedge maze for unwanted guests.

Rodrigo

Infinity is a funny concept is it not? How can something tangible in this world not end if it occupies physical space?

Cardenio

I find it ironic you say that as I had similar thoughts while traversing the hedge maze. When I was younger I rarely had time for self-reflection but while traversing the maze for what felt like hours, I sat down and cried my heart out. I feared I’d never make it to Maria and that Pedro would have his way. It was then I heard the sound of milady, calling out to me from a high tower pointing which way for me to go.

Maria

Luis I wish you’d open yourself up more like Cardenio did.

Luis

I do, when I write if that means anything.

Stephania

Poor Cardenio, Rosa truly cared about you.

Cardenio

She did, and if it weren’t for her I wouldn’t even had made it to the tower door. Is that a crowd I see coming over?

Gonzalo

We’re actually sponsoring an event here, in the exact spot you’re standing. People will be disappointed there’s no beer. But the others and I will tend to that. Here they come.

Crowd

Where’e all the cold pints?!

Gonzalo

Settle down, drinking in Central is happening right now. We have the entertainment we promised you too. We’ll be bringing the drinks as the storyteller continues. We’ll be back. Maria, Stephanie and Rodrigo, come with me. I’ll need all the help I can get.

Cardenio

Dear people my story sees its climax with me ascending a large tower to save my love Maria from a vicious, savage Pedro! I ran like a madman up the stairs to find my love waiting for me in her chambers. When I met her, she gave word that the fiend Pedro was well on his way to check up on her.

Gonzalo and the others

We come to you with cold ones!

Crowd

HOORAY!

Cardenio

And just like that folks, on cue Pedro steps through the door and demandth me to pay the ransom. And pay him I did, with his own blood! In an instant I drew my sword and stabbed him in his horrendous swine-like face while my love looked away. I had never killed before and never will again, but anyone who dares harm a woman as beautiful as my wife deserves nothing but death! It was after that, my love and I escaped the castle unscathed on horseback and never looked back at the castle that housed that monster.

Crowd

What a hero! How is this man a beggar? He deserves more for ridding the world of that man! Our women are saved! Here, take these for your good deeds!

Luis

They’re throwing money at you Cardenio! How on earth did you pull that off?

Cardenio

Luis when you live as long as I have, you learn to tell a good story or two. Told you I’d show you how to get rich!

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