Emperor: (claps hands) Servants of the bed chamber!
Lu & Shou: (stand up with bowed heads, come to Center stage facing Stage right – the emperor)
Lu: Yes, O most magnificent emperor.
Shou: Yes, o royal one?
Emperor: (with a flourish!) Where is the red robe that I wanted to wear this morning?
Lu: (apologetically and fearfully) Oh, your royalness. It is ruined.
Shou: (apologetically and fearfully) A most unfortunate accident, your majesty.
Emperor: What sort of accident?
Lu: The not very pretty chambermaid mistakenly thought that she could wash it in hot water and (shrugs) all the color came out.
Shou: Alas, it is now a streaky pink and very wrinkled. It was all her fault.
Emperor: (thinks a moment) Off with her head. (clap, clap) Guards, see to it.
Sung & Ming: (moving from Upstage center to center facing Stage right) (bowing to the emperor) (move to exit behind the screen)
Off stage sound of a whack. All shudder.
Han & Chin: (enter bowing, but happy) Please excuse us, Your majesty.
Emperor: What now?
Chin: O, your royalness, we have finally lit the fire. Would you like to come into the breakfast room for your royal breakfast?
Emperor: Indeed. Guards, come with me. (exits behind screen)
Sha & Huang: (move throne to the wall stage right and exit behind the screen with the emperor)
All: exit behind screen
Lights come on to seaside garden wall home of “poor” family.
Children: (come up from the stairs and are seated, mending a fish net, etc.)
Zian and Mah: (stand and move to center stage) They look at their children and consider their attributes and their future.
Narrator 3: (standing down stage center) In the far away kingdom by the sea people also knew who was not important. (pauses then exits behind screen)
Mah: Zian, how could we have been so unfortunate?
Zian: What do you mean, Mah? We have five fine children. We are very fortunate.
Mah: We have five children. I don’t know where you got the idea of fine. Are they tall?
Zian: (pauses) No
Mah: Are they handsome?
Zian: (pauses) No
Mah: Are they smart?
Zian: (pauses) Not especially.
Mah: Are they rich?
Zian: (pauses) By no means.
Mah: Are they fast?
Zian: (pauses) Are you kidding?
Mah: Well, are they graceful?
Zian: (annoyed) Well, you should know. But, Mah, they are kind and loving children.
Mah: You are right, Zian, but they just don’t have any qualities that anyone thinks are important.