The Good Judgment of Madame the Virgin Mary
(scene: The palace of Justice, Paris, 1482)
Gringoire: Oh my, the crowd is getting restless!
Actor 1: What are we going to do? We’re supposed to wait for the Cardinal.
Gringoire: Yes, but if we offend him by starting early, we’ll be hanged.
Actor 2: So we wait, then.
Gringoire: [pacing] Yes, but then we’d be hanged by the people.
Actor 1: Well make up your mind then! We’ve got to do something. I can hear some of them building makeshift nooses already.
Gringoire: Alright! Alright! Just give me a moment to think of something.
Actor 2: When you say “alright”, are you saying it like “all right”, as in with two L’s and a space, or like alright, as in one L and no space? The second is more grammatically correct.
Gringoire: That’s not helping.
Actor 1: Yes, you’re not helping. Besides, we’re talking in French.
Actor 2: Oh are we? But the script is in English.
Actor 1: Well it’s hypothetically in French. As in, the dialogue is in English for the sake of the audience but it’s actually in French.
Actor 2: Now how does that work?
Actor 1: Actor 2, use your brain! We are fictional characters in a translated work! It just works that way. If it really bothers you, just speak in a ridiculous French accent and for all intents and purposes you’re speaking French.
Gringoire: Are you quite done breaking the fourth wall yet? I find that type of humor so unsophisticated.
Actor 1&2: Yes sir.
Gringoire: Now back to my pacing. Think think. Think think. Think think. Alright, I have it. [steps forward, pulling up Actor 1 and hiding behind him] Sirs and Madams, you know that I love the people of Paris! As a matter of fact, I love you so much that I would hate to keep you waiting for the sake of one person, so we’ll start the play. [steps back]
Actor 1: What was that for?
Gringoire: When the Cardinal arrives, I don’t want him to know that I’m the one who decided to start the play early. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to pretend I have nothing to do with this production. Now get this done, Actor 1. You too, Actor 2.
[Exit Gringoire. Enter four more actors labeled Clergy, Nobility, Trade, and Labor]
Actor 2: See you later, Pierre
Actor 1: Messieurs the Bourgeois and mademoiselles the bourseoises, we shall have the honor of declaring and representing before his eminence, monsieur the cardinal, a very beautiful morality which has the title The Good Judgment of Madam the Virgin Mary. I am to play Jupiter. His eminence is, at this moment, escorting the very honorable embassy of the Duke of Austria; which is detained, at present, listening to the harangue of monsieur the rector of the university, at the gate Baudets. As soon as his illustrious eminence, the cardinal, arrives, we will begin…or rather not.
Actor 2: That’s right, we’re here for you.
Actor 1: And so let us bring upon the stage our three principle forces…blah blah blah blah blah blah.
Actor 2: Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.
Actor 1: Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.
Actor 1&2: Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.
[enter Victor Hugo]
Hugo: Hello, I’m just dropping in from the nineteenth century looking for ideas for a book. What have we got here?
Actor 1&2: Blah blah blah...[ad infinitum].
Hugo: I see [writes down notes]. If you don’t mind, I find this extremely boring. This will probably be skipped over in my book. How long is this prologue going to take?
Actor 1: Blah blah blah blah blah – Clergy – blah blah blah blah – Nobility – blah blah blah – Trade – blah blah – Labor – blah.
Hugo: Alright, I got the part about Clergy, Nobility, Trade, and Labor. After that monologue, even the dimmest of audience members could guess who each character was supposed to represent. The labels on your shirts aren’t helping with the subtlety. I’m not sure if I agree with your brand of art.
Actor 1: No wait, by “alright” do you mean “all right” with two L’s and a space or “alright” with one L and no space?
Hugo: [facepalms] Forget it, I’m getting out of here.
For most who read Hunchback of Notre Dame, this is surely the most memorable moment. That's probably because it's in the first chapter (book) and it gets extremely difficult to read after the second chapter. So when I had to write something based off of the latest book I supposedly read, this is the subject matter I came up with.
Embedded in the work is an inside joke that isn't readily apparent to those outside of the original intended audience. The most prominent of these is the reference to the commonly misspelled phrase "all right", which we were discussing in class the other day.