Albion, Art, Books, Don and Wen, Psychology

Little Acorns…




A Puppet-Play Figured in Three Acts





STATS-MAN (dress-coat and top-hat)


OSAMA THE EXECUTIONER (Moor with straggly beard, caftan and turban)


I can see the wooden booth, its canvas covers rippling noisily in the sea breeze, from my vantage point on the top promenade and the close bunch of predominantly small forms huddled before it.

I walk down to the beach and reach the back of that small huddle just as the drum rolls cease… the curtain is raised, and the cheers of the audience go up…

            Punch is busy scanning at a scanning machine.

            PUNCH: (Humming) Hi-Ho… Hi-Ho…

He lifts a piece of paper shows it to the audience, turns, still humming, and pushes it through the scanning machine. The Scanning machine beeps. (SFX: Beep!)

            PUNCH: That’s the way to do it!

Punch picks up another piece of paper shows it to the audience and yawns. He turns and pushes it through the scanning machine turns and yawns again. The machine beeps. (SFX: Beep!)

            PUNCH: (Mimicking) BEEP!

Punch turns and yawns again, turns and slowly goes to lift another piece of paper, yawning, his head lolling…

Enter stage left Stats-Man carrying a big stick. Punch suddenly springs bolt upright and starts scanning a lot faster. The machine goes crazy… (SFX: Beep. Beep. Beep. Beeeeeeep!)

STATS-MAN: Paces left to right front stage then stops in centre and turns to audience brandishing his big stick.

STATS-MAN: (Intoning gravely) …From little acorns (pause) grow big concerns.

Meanwhile Punch is nodding off at the scanning machine again. His head falls on the machine with a resounding crack. (SFX: CRACK!)

STATS-MAN: (turning) Mr Punch (no reaction) MR PUNCH! (Again no reaction) He advances towards Punch and starts to prod him with his stick: Wakey-Wakey Mr Punch!

Punch wakes up and immediately starts scanning:

PUNCH: Hi-Ho… Hi-Ho… HI-HO! …

STATS-MAN: (half turning to audience) Mr Punch, if I catch you asleep at your post again (SFX: drum roll) then it’s the GALLOWS for you my boy!

Exit Stage right… and Curtain…

…Blimey, Punch and Judy appear to have come on a bit. I do not remember that amount of social comment from the shows I used to half-watch as a child but then again I would probably have missed it all at that age anyway.

As the kids drift back to the booth from the ice cream van the drum roll starts up again and before long the rudimentary cloth curtain is again raised…

Punch is busy scanning:

PUNCH: (Humming) Hi-Ho… Hi-Ho…

Punch looks up as if hearing something and turns to the audience.

PUNCH: Oh you’re back again eh? (He awaits response) I said… etc.

Punch approaches the front stage and starts to pace left to right in a parody imitation of Stats-Man.
PUNCH: Stats. Stats. Stats… and more Stats (he starts to cackle with laughter) Mr Punch, (mimicking Stats-Man) if I catch you asleep at your post again… (SFX: drum roll)… Ah Fooey!

Punch returns to his seat and, yawning, he immediately falls asleep at the scanning machine. (SFX: CRACK!)

Enter Stats Man stage left. He sees Punch asleep and turns to the audience (there follows an extended sequence of pantomime jiggery pokery…)

STATS-MAN: Now I’ve got him!

Stats-Man rushes over to Punch setting about him with the big stick…

STATS-MAN: Now I’ve got you… you lazy good for nothing… etc.

Punch wakes up…

PUNCH: Ow! Oh! Mr Stats-Man No Ow! etc. (and grapples with Stats-Man. They tussle to and fro across the front of the stage… Punch eventually wrestles the stick from the grasp of Stats-Man and starts hitting him with it.)

PUNCH: That’s the way to do it!
That’s the way to do it!
That’s the way to do it!

Exit stage right with Punch beating Stats-Man… and Curtain.

…Well, the audience appeared to enjoy that one however I cannot help thinking that the Redoubtable Mr Punch is about to be immersed in Stat-Cack to about neck height…

Before I have chance to stroll too far down that particular causeway the rudimentary curtain is again raised to reveal…

…A bench (left), and Gallows (right). Punch (handcuffed) stands in dock before the bench containing Judy who has a black cloth upon her head. Osama the Executioner stands by gallows rubbing his hands and dancing round the structure.

JUDY: Mr Punch…

PUNCH: It’s a fit up!

JUDY: …you have been tried…

PUNCH: Why, I never tried a thing!

JUDY: …and found guilty of gross misconduct…

PUNCH: Why, I’ve never conducted anything!

JUDY: …by the court of law gathered here today …

PUNCH: (turning to audience) you call that lot a court of law?

JUDY: … and by the powers invested in me …

PUNCH: Powers? (Looking up and around) What powers?

JUDY: … I hereby pronounce judgement upon you …

PUNCH: (to audience) she’s no judge! It’s the Stats-Man in disguise.

JUDY: …You will be taken from this place immediately and hanged by the neck until you be dead.

PUNCH: Oh Noooooooo!

(SFX: The death march strikes up) as Punch is led by Judy across the front of stage and given over to Osama the Executioner.

Judy takes off his handcuffs and exits stage right. When Osama goes to put the noose over Punch’s head it won’t fit so Osama tries it on and Punch runs round the gallows and hoists Osama high in the air…

PUNCH: Naughty, Naughty, Naughty. That’s the way to do it!


15 thoughts on “Little Acorns…”

  1. The mask bears a strong resemblance to those in the Northwest Coast (Tginglit Indians) of the U.S./Canada. It would be interesting if there was a connection between the tribes or peoples of Britain as there may well be. There is so much still to be uncovered. Thank you for this wonderful tale. I never saw Punch and Judy when I was growing up, so I am not very familiar with them except that I do remember hearing about them vaguely. It is fun to rediscover something like this. I know I visited here before, but there are some things you can never revisit or rediscover too many times! Thank you very much and I truly enjoyed it.

    Liked by 2 people

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