Smugglers Alert!. Duration: around 5 – 10 mins. Cast: 6 – Interviewer, Thomas Kingsmill, Tom Johnstone, Cruel Copinger, Jack Rattenbury and John Trenchard
Smugglers Alert! sample text:
Copinger: And proud of it! A pity you weren’t a little more loyal to your country!
Johnstone: (Sighing) OK. So you’ve all heard how I helped the Frenchies a little ..
Rattenbury: (Exploding) A little? So what part of ‘smuggling gold from England to France, to pay Napoleon’s armies’ was little?
Kingsmill: Indeed! Fancy me thinking I was the one who was going ‘to come in for all the flack’! At least I knew whose side I was on!
Interviewer: Now, come along, gentlemen! Perhaps we are being a little heavy on Mr. Johnstone! Don’t you agree, Mr. Trenchard?
Trenchard: Actually, I’m with them on this one! However much I might have disapproved of the violence I saw going on around me, nothing would have made me turn my old mates in!
Interviewer: Well, of course not!
Copinger: But that’s what this gentleman did!
Rattenbury: Not only did he swap sides as in swapping what country he fought for but he also went from being the hunted to the hunter!
Interviewer: You mean, he became a revenue man?
Kingsmill: (Spitting) He did indeed! How much lower could he stoop?
Johnstone: Well, I could have led a French invasion force! Turning the Emperor down cost me nine months in gaol!
Rattenbury: So? Do you want to hear about some of my adventures? Escaping from gaol, from the navy, from the customs man (pauses) Oh, but that was you, I was forgetting!
Johnstone: OK! OK! So I’m never going to win you round
Trenchard: I don’t think so!
Johnstone: (Sulkily, to Trenchard) All I wanted to do was retire peacefully, like you!
Trenchard: Now don’t you go comparing my happy ending with yours! Mine was honorable!
Johnstone: (Tutting) As if this lot know anything about honour! Tell that to their victims and their victims’ families! I wonder how much honour they saw!
Kingsmill: Ah! Those 1740s! When men were men!
Trenchard: Bullies and thugs, more like!
Kingsmill: (Furiously) Why, you …
Interviewer: Gentlemen! Gentlemen! I am not prepared to tolerate any violence in our ranks today! That time has gone! (Aside) Thank goodness! Now, we will proceed in an orderly manner. No more confrontation – let’s just hear it as it was!
Kingsmill: Well, if you want some idea of how powerful my gang was, let’s mention the five hundred men we could muster in less than two hours!
Interviewer: Sounds like an army!
Kingsmill: We let nothing stand in our way!
Interviewer: Not even the law?
Kingsmill: (Snorting) Not even the law! I mean, who in their right minds was going to take us lot on?
Interviewer: Er, the village of Goudhurst,I believe?