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THE GREAT RACE OF THE TORTOISE AND THE HARE
At a TV studio in our fairy tale land, BIFF JERKY, a human, is on the air.
BIFF
Hello, Folks, this is your barnyard reporter, Biff Jerky. And this is your Barnyard Bulletin. Flash! The King is…caput! Yes, the King has gone to that big chicken coop in the sky. And you know what that means—we are in for the Race of the Century! The news is traveling fast and all the critters in the barnyard are getting the word now. Let’s see how they’re reacting!

Light change. We go to the barnyard. PRISCILLA PIG enters.
PRISCILLA
Calling all animals!  Calling all animals in the barnyard!  Front and center!  On the double!!!!  This is an emergency!!!
And a number of barnyard animals enter.  As they do, they are all mumbling to themselves things like “What’s going on?”  “What’s the matter?”  “What’s happening?”  They all gather around Priscilla.
DIANA
(a donkey)
Hee Haw!  What’s the matter, Priscilla?
MEREDITH
(a chicken)
Yeah, what’s the big emergency?
SAMMIE
(a squirrel)
I was right in the middle of a nap!
MEREDITH
Squirrels don’t nap!
SAMMIE
That’s a myth.
Everybody starts yapping and complaining about being disturbed.
PRISCILLA
QUIET!
(everybody is silent)
The King!
MEREDITH
What about the King?
PRISCILLA
The King...will not be down for breakfast!
She takes off her hat and bows her head.
MEREDITH
Oh, no!
DIANA
Oh, dear!
Both of them put their hands over their hearts and bow their heads.
SAMMIE
What’s the big deal?  Maybe he’ll be down for lunch.
MEREDITH
You don’t understand.
DIANA
That is bad news.
PRISCILLA
It’s just a polite way of saying...the King is dead.
SAMMIE
Oh!  Boy, I better make sure I always come down for breakfast, then, or everybody will think I’m...
PRISCILLA
Never mind!  We have a big problem on our hands!
MEREDITH
What problem, Priscilla?
PRISCILLA
Well, with the King gone, that means one of his daughters will be the Queen and take over the kingdom.
MEREDITH
That’s right!
SAMMIE
But which one?
MEREDITH
Will it be Princess Laverne?
DIANA
Or Princess Shirley?
MEREDITH
If it’s Princess Shirley, we’ll all be happy.  Princess Shirley is the sweetest, kindest person in the kingdom.
DIANA
But if it’s Princess Laverne...
PRISCILLA
That’s the problem!
SAMMIE
She’s the meanest, nastiest, crummiest person in the kingdom.
MEREDITH
No!  In the world!
DIANA
No!  In the Universe!
SAMMIE
No!  In the...wait, I guess that’s as big as it gets.
MEREDITH
But which one is going to be the Queen?
PRISCILLA
Before the King...skipped breakfast...
(all bow heads)
...he decreed that a race be run by the favorite pet of each of his daughters.  Whichever pet wins the race, that’s who’ll be the Queen.
SAMMIE
The pet?
PRISCILLA
No!  The Princess!
DIANA
But Princess Shirley’s favorite pet is...Terry the Tortoise.
MEREDITH
And Princess Laverne’s favorite pet is...
SAMMIE
Oh, no!
PRISCILLA
Oh, yes!
MEREDITH
Harry the Hare!
PRISCILLA
See!  I told you we had a big problem.
MEREDITH
What are we going to do?
DIANA
What can we do?  Nothing!  The King made the decree.  Then, you know, he just...
(makes a Bronx cheer to indicate King’s demise)
SAMMIE
I can’t believe it!  Princess Laverne is going to be Queen?
PRISCILLA
Yes!  We’re doomed!
BIG BAD, a wolf, enters, with his three Wolfettes, whose names are MONICA, ROSS and RACHEL.
Note: Whatever male-female combo of Wolfettes is cast, please use names from TV’s “Friends.”
BIG BAD
What’s all the excitement?
SAMMIE
(screaming)
Ahhhhhh!  It’s the Big Bad Wolf!  Run for your lives!
She takes off and is caught by Priscilla and the others.
PRISCILLA
Relax!
MEREDITH
The Big Bad Wolf is still big but he’s not bad anymore.
DIANA
Yeah.  He learned his lesson last year, remember?
SAMMIE
What happened last year?
PRISCILLA
Well, he was hassling my uncles, the Three Little Pigs...
BIG BAD
I’m so ashamed...
MEREDITH
And he huffed and he puffed and he blew two of their houses down...
BIG BAD
I was so full of myself back then...
DIANA
But...when he got to the third house...
PRISCILLA
Cousin Gerard. He’s a contractor.
MEREDITH
He huffed and he puffed...
DIANA
And all he got was...
BIG BAD
A hernia.
(to Wolfettes)
Humiliating. Right, Wolfettes?
WOLFETTES
(who always respond militarily)
RIGHT, SIR!
BIG BAD
And painful.
WOLFETTES
OUCH! SIR!
PRISCILLA
So we had a peace conference.  We’re all friends now.
BIG BAD
Yes.  Let us introduce ourselves.  I am BB Wolf.  Wolfettes, sound off and identify yourselves!
One at a time, they do.  As each does, he/she steps forward militaristically, then steps back into line.
RACHEL
WOLFETTE RACHEL REPORTING, SIR!
ROSS
WOLFETTE ROSS REPORTING, SIR!
MONICA
WOLFETTE MONICA REPORTING, SIR!
ALL WOLFETTES
ALL WOLFETTES PRESENT AND ACCOUNTED FOR, SIR!
BIG BAD
You’re getting very good at that.
PRISCILLA
Big Bad, we have some big, bad news.
BIG BAD
I heard.
(bows head)
The King.
(they all bow heads)
MEREDITH
And the race!
DIANA
Between the tortoise and the hare!
SAMMIE
Princess Laverne is going to be the Queen!
BIG BAD
Oooh...we don’t like her, do we Wolfettes?
WOLFETTES
THAT IS A BIG N-O, SIR!
BIG BAD
This means only one thing!
EVERYBODY
We are in big, big, BIG TROUBLE!!!!
Light change. Back to Biff, in the studio.
BIFF
Yes, indeed, barnyard fans, the critters are in big, big, BIG trouble! As everyone knows, Princess Laverne is a spoiled and selfish crybaby who always gets her own way. If she ever became the Queen, the entire barnyard would go to pot, just like Colorado. However, if sweet, sensitive Princess Shirley becomes Queen, then the critters and the barnyard will live in peace and harmony. Things don’t look good, though, because Harry the Hare has never lost a race in his life. In my view, there is no way Princess Shirley will ever be the Queen. The next Queen will be Princess Laverne. Things look very, very grim. Let’s see what’s happening now.
We go to the castle, where Princess LAVERNE sits on a throne. Standing next to her is her CHIEF OF STAFF.
LAVERNE
I want all inhabitants of the barnyard here, in front of me, right now!  Immediately!  If not sooner!
CHIEF OF STAFF
All barnyard critters!  Front and Center!
Priscilla, Meredith, Diana and Sammie enter, along with BB and the Wolfettes.
CHIEF OF STAFF (cont’d)
Hear ye!  Hear Ye!  Princess Laverne has something to say!  And if you know what’s good for you, you’ll listen up!  Go ahead, Princess.
LAVERNE
Thank you, Chief of Staff.
(to critters)
I want you to know you all annoy me very much!
Everybody nods and mumbles in agreement.
LAVERNE (cont’d)
Good, as long as you’re aware of that.  Now...oh, yes...the race!...My hare!  My hare!  I want my hare!  Bring me my hare at once!
CHIEF OF STAFF
Punch! Judy! Bring out Princess Laverne’s hare!
PUNCH and JUDY, who are dressed as court jesters, bring out wigs and present them to the LAVERNE.
PUNCH
Here you go, Princess!
JUDY
All brushed up and ready to wear!
LAVERNE
What are you...not HAIR!  You idiots!  Hare!  Bring me my hare!  The...the bunny...hare...the bunny!  The bunny!
PUNCH
Oh, the bunny!
JUDY
She never spells things for us!
PUNCH
It’d make it so much easier...
CHIEF OF STAFF
(loudly)
HARRY HARE!  SENDING OUT A CALL FOR HARRY HARE!
PRISCILLA
(looks)
Here he comes!!!!
And from the back of the theatre runs HARRY HARE, an absolute bundle of energy.  When he runs, he always accompanies himself with a theme song he fashions on the spot.
HARRY
(as he runs)
Da da da, da da da da da da!  
Harry Hare!  
Harry Hare! 
Harry Harry Harry Hare!  
Harry Hare!  
Harry Hare! 
Harry Hare is...da da da da da da da da.....
(he reaches the LAVERNE)
HERE!!!!!!!
(there is a smattering of applause; he turns to audience, a la Elvis)
Thank you.  Thank you very much.
LAVERNE
Harry!  Come over here!  I need you!
HARRY
What for can I do ya, Vernie?
LAVERNE
I need you to run a race for me.
HARRY
Is that all?  No problema!  Just point me to the finish line and get outa my way!
LAVERNE
And if you win, I will be the Queen!
HARRY
If?  Did you say if?  Vernie!  I’m surprised at you!  I have never lost a race in my life.  In fact, racing IS my life.  I race lions and tigers and deer and gazelles and...I never, ever lose.  N-E-V-A-H.  Ne-vah.  Who will I be racing?
CHIEF OF STAFF
You will be racing Princess Shirley’s tortoise!
HARRY
Princess Shirley’s what-us?
CHIEF OF STAFF
Tortoise!  Tortoise!  It’s another word for turtle!
HARRY
Ha!  Really?  I’ll tell ya what it is.  It’s another word for L-O-S-A-H.  Lo-sah!  A turtle!  You gotta be kidding me!
CHIEF OF STAFF
I never kid. It’s not in my DNA. You will race the tortoise.  Princess Shirley’s favorite animal!
MEREDITH
Maybe Princess Shirley has a new...faster...favorite animal.
DIANA
Yes! Like...
(to BB)
...like a wolf!
BIG BAD
I can get up a good head of steam once I get goin’. Right Wolfettes?
WOLFETTES
RIGHT,SIR! STEAM, SIR!
CHIEF OF STAFF
Absolutely not! It is constitutionally unfeasible! Princess Shirley has officially registered the tortoise as her favorite animal! It is...irrevocable!
SAMMIE
That’s a weird name for a tortoise.