Act 2, Scene 3: Something's Rotten in the State of Denmark


Uncle Makane: “Once upon a time, there lived a young hyena couple. For some time now, the wife had not been happy with her marriage. Her man however thought she was the most wonderful woman. But he was unhappy, too. Her dismissive behavior was making him miserable.”

Uncle Makane: “He went to the village elder, asking for advice. 'I want my wife to be loving,” rhe said. “I want to be loving. We are both miserable.'”

Uncle Makane: ”'I think I can help you,' the elder said slowly. 'I can prepare a secret potion that will change your wife into a loving woman. But I am missing an important ingredient. I need a single whisker taken from a living lion to make the potion work.'”

Uncle Makane: ”'The young hyena's eyes widened with fear, but then he straightened his shoulders and said, 'All right. I shall get it for you.'”

Uncle Makane: “The next morning, he went to the river, hiding behind a tree. After many hours, a lion came to have a drink. He raised his mighty head. He could smell the hyena was there. But eventually he moved slowly back into the forest and disappeared.”

Uncle Makane: “The next day, the hyena came again. And the day after. Then days became weeks. And each time, the hyena moved closer and closer to the lion. One day he silently sat down right next to the lion while he drank. His hand shaking, he reached slowly out, pulled a whisker from his chin and ran away as fast as he could.”

Uncle Makane: “The elder was in awe when he heard the your man's story, and said, 'You do not need magic to change your wife back into the loving woman she once was. You are brave enough to pull a whisker from the chin of a lion. Can you not use that same patience and courage and wit with your wife?'”

Uncle Makane: “The young hyena went home and followed the elder's advice. Slowly his wife began to look glad to see him again when she returned from the hunt with the other women of the village. And within one year, their life was a happy one.”


%HND% Curtain - open

%AMB% AMB-09 - Savannah at Dawn

%LIG% Lights on. Fadeout starts ca. 5min

%ACT% Lionel enters from the right [1], talking to himself

Lionel: “Ah! Finally! The great acacia tree Jabari told me about. So this is supposed to be the place where Mbali was kidnapped. Hmmmm … indeed. Lots of footprints here, from both lions and hyenas.”

%ACT% Lionel sniffs the tree trunk.

Lionel: “Hmmmm… smells like a lioness. Murrrr!”

%ACT% Lionel's tail goes up.

%SND% 0701 - Slide Whistle

%ACT% Lionel sniffs the tree trunk again.

Lionel: “Urgh! Yes, and it definitely also smells like hyena. But wait. This doesn't make any sense. Why does the tree trunk smell of both lion and hyena? And the different layers of pawprints … they look very similar to each other, if not identical. And no sign of a fight or anything.”

%ACT% Lionel picks something up

Lionel: “And what's this? A crumpled piece of paper? Who left that here? I'd say something is rotten in the state of Denmark. Let's have a closer look.”

%ACT% Lionel runs a few steps to the right of the tree

Lionel: “Hmmm. On this side, it's all lion tracks coming from the lion village. No surprise.”

%ACT% Lionel runs a few steps to the left of the tree

Lionel: “And over here, it's all hyena pawprints. Always the same person walking the same path, again and again. This doesn't look like the scene of a crime at all. This looks more like a secret meeting place between a lioness and a hyena. Some pawprints are fresh, and some have faded. So they must have met here more than once, possibly every day. But if Mbali wasn't attacked … where did she go?”

Sundyata (off): “Ah, there you are! I've been looking for you! I want to talk to you.”

%ACT% Lionel turns towards the voice.

%ACT% Sundyata walks in from the right.

Lionel: “King Sundyata!”

Sundyata (harsh): “What are you doing here? Explain.”

Lionel: “Well, with all my friends gone for the rest of the day, I thought I could make myself useful as well. I thought, maybe I could help you find out more about what happened to your daughter, and …”

Sundyata: “You thought? Maybe you should think again. You're sticking your nose into private matters that are none of your concern. And besides, I know pretty well what happened to my daughter.”

Lionel: “Please, King Sundyata, hear me out! I've got good news for you!”

Sundyata: “And what might that be?”

%ACT% Lionel walks across the stage as if following the tracks while he gives his explanation

Lionel: “Do you see this? There are two parallel trails of pawprints going away in an entirely different direction than all the others. A hyena and a lioness. Side by side. And there is no sign of a fight or anything. And look at all the different layers of tracks! They've been meeting here for a long time. Your daughter most likely wasn't killed! Nor was she kidnapped. It looks like she went off on her own free will. There is absolutely no need to start a war after all! Isn't that great news? You just need to follow the tracks, and eventually …”

%MUS% 0702 - Music (Dark Foreboding)

Sundyata: “Thank you for your help, Lionel. But I think it is time for you to leave now.”

Lionel: “What? But I've barely begun investigating! If you give me one or two of your men, I could …”

%ACT% Sundyata moves really close to Lionel

Sundyata (his voice getting angry): “I said it's time for you to go. And if I ever see your sissy face again, I will tear you to shreds.”

Lionel (suspicious): “Wait a minute. What game is being played here?”

Sundyata (whispering, in rage): “You heard what I said. If I were you, I would start running as fast as I could … and never return!”

%ACT% Sundyata starts to walk in circles around Lionel.

Lionel (whispering back at him): “You knew it from the beginning, didn't you?”

%ACT% Lionel picks up the circling and looks at Sundyata threateningly.

Sundyata (very angry): “Are you challenging me?”

Lionel: “Your daughter has been dating a hyena. Every night. And you knew it. And when they finally ran off together, you used her as a justification to start a war against the Hyenas. I'm speechless.”

Sundyata (shouting in blind rage) “ARE YOU CHALLENGING ME?”

%MUS% 0702 STOP
%MUS% 0703 - Music Peaks

Lionel: “You're not worthy of being a king. You're disgusting!”

%SND% 0703 - Fighting
%AMB% AMB-10 - Windy Night

%ACT% Sundyata roars and jumps at Lionel.

%ACT% Sundyata and Lionel fight fiercely.

%ACT% Lionel loses the fight, Sundyata effectively mopping the floor with Lionel.

%ACT% Sundyata ends up on top of Lionel, pinning him to the floor.

%MUS% 0703 - Music: Dark Drone

Sundyata (strained): “If you have any last wishes, say them now!”

%ACT% Lionel coughs.

Lionel (weak): “So … am I going to be the first victim of your new war? A member of your own flesh and blood?”

Sundyata: “You know, I could end your life painlessly, right here and now. But you're right. Killing someone of my own flesh and blood would be bad in times where lions need to stand united.”

Lionel (weak): “And what are you going to do instead?”

%MUS% 0703 STOP

Sundyata: “Well … just wait. And listen. Do you hear that?”

%SND% 0704 - Hyenas Approaching 1

%ACT% Sundyata stand up, walking away to the right.

Lionel: “No! Sundyata! Please! NOOOO!”

%ACT% Lionel tries to stand up, but falls over again, obviously in pain, unable to walk.

%ACT% Sundyata starts to laugh evilly!

%ACT% Lionel tries to stand up again, falling down once more, moaning and panting.

Lionel: “Sundyata! SUNDYATA!!!!!”

%ACT% Sundyata disappears.

%SND% 0705 - Hyenas Approaching 2

%SND% laughing hyenas getting louder

%ACT% Lionel tries to escape but is unable to walk.

%LIG% Lights finaly fadet out to total darkness

%LIG% Lights out.

%HND% The stage goes dark, and shadow creatures (hyena shadows with glowing eyes) appear from the left, jumping on Lionel.

%SND% 0705 - Hyenas giggling and growling

%SND% 0705 - Hyena 2 (Reesa): “Oh look! Another lion!”

%SND% 0705 - (Tani): “No! It's the same lion!”

%SND% 0705 - (Pan): “Are you sure? oh yes! You're right!”

%SND% 0705 - (Reesa): “This time we won't let him get away!”

%SND% 0705 - (Tani): “NO! THIS TIME HE'S GOING TO PAY!”


%SND% 0705 - Hyenas Making a lot of noise

Lionel: “Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh! AAAAAAAAAAAH! AAAAAAAAAAH”

%HND% Curtain - close