Contributed by LordTBT at 12:50AM GMT, 3 November 2014


"The Docker's Tale"

As we revealed in our ninth anniversary announcement, features were on the way!

Here is the first: an exploration of Brian Jacques' second stage play (and third play overall), "The Docker’s Tale," which is a part of the Infirmary Tales collection.

Infirmary Tales was organized by Phil Whitchurch, who recruited Brian and others to contribute plays to one larger show. Each play is different and features different characters - there is not one story line connecting them. It was originally performed over three decades ago in 1983.

The entry of this publication into the Redwall Wiki's library seemingly completes our section on Mr. Jacques' pre-Redwall writings; this is the only known complete collection of all of his Liverpool works, and the only one on American soil.

"The Docker's Tale" is a 12-page short play. While Infirmary Tales is described as a musical, there is no music or songs in this portion.

Here's a breakdown of what occurs:

Three dockers, TED (the union delegate), SCOOPS and CHRIS have just arrived at a hospital, as Chris is suffering an injury. Scoops and Chris send Ted to find tea for them, and while they wait, they discuss how the injury happened.

At first, it sounds like Chris had fallen down a hatch while climbing on a ladder on board a ship, however it soon becomes apparent that he tripped while leaving a pub.

The two men are secretly concocting an elaborate hoax to take advantage of the docker's board, and receive worker's comp and money. It's also revealed that the men have been stealing cargo from their ship.

After Ted returns, a SISTER (nun) comes into the room and tries to diagnose what's wrong with Chris, who claims his leg may be broken, and that he's definitely scraped the skin.

The Sister decides he's going to need a tetanus shot for safety, which would be injected into his rear end. Chris starts to protest the treatment immediately.

A POLICEWOMAN enters the scene amidst this, in an effort to find out why the authorities weren't alerted to the accident on board the ship. Scoops tries to fill her in on the "story" of what went down, but she ignores him.

ADA, Chris' wife, shows up, concerned for Chris' life and overreacting, until the Sister explains that he just needs a tetanus shot. In his rear.

Chris panics, and insists that he really doesn't need one, but Ada agrees with the sister, and despite his pleas, proceeds to pull down his trousers.

Chris' legs are covered in stolen watches, and his pants were filled with cigarettes.

The Policewoman informs him of his rights, while Ada berates him for his idiocy.

As you can probably tell, "The Docker's Tale" took on a comical tone, in the traditional Jacques manner with Liverpudlian speech and dialogue.

It was an enjoyable story, and I hope there are more undiscovered plays from Brian out there - he really had a knack for them.

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