Act 1, Scene 3: Not Where, But When


Roman Gladiators

Gladiators were a major source of entertainment for the public during the Roman Empire, being sent to fight with other gladiators, wild animals, and condemned criminals. Some gladiators were volunteers who risked their legal and social standing and their lives by appearing in the arena. Most were despised as slaves, schooled under harsh conditions, socially marginalised, and their graves segregated upon their death.

Gladiators offered audiences an example of Rome's martial ethics and, in fighting well or dying honourably, they could inspire admiration and popular acclaim. To die well, a gladiator should never ask for mercy nor cry out. A "good death" redeemed a defeated gladiator from the dishonourable weakness of defeat, and provided a noble example to those who spectated.

Still, for his owner it was considered a horrible disaster to lose a Gladiator to death or a career ending injury. These slaves were worth their weight in gold, and while still kept closely guarded, they could also be afforded the greatest of luxuries when appropriate. Great fame and fortune could not only come to the owner, but the gladiators as well, and the best of the best were treated as such. Some Romans would even sell themselves into slavery, including the arena, in order to pay off tremendous debts or in an effort to become famous.

Built around 70 BC, the amphitheatre of Pompeii was the first Roman amphitheatre to be built out of stone - previously, amphitheatres had been built from wood. It could seat around 20,000 people and served not only the citizens of Pompeii but also the inhabitants of surrounding towns.

Graffiti and election posters on buildings and tombs show the Roman games were as popular in Pompeii as elsewhere in the Roman world. Playing on residents' enthusiasm for the games, local politicians used them to win support, paying for lavish spectacles involving gladiators and wild beast hunts.

In 59AD the Pompeiians lost the right to hold games in their town after a riot in the arena with rival fans from the nearby town of Nuceria - several Nucerians were killed. The senate in Rome was so outraged with the scandal that it imposed a ten year ban on Pompeii hosting gladiatorial events. This was repealed just three years later, possibly in response to the earthquake that had just devastated the city earlier in the year, or maybe because Poppea, wife of the emperor Nero and a native of Pompeii herself, interceded on her home town's behalf.

Main Dialogue

%HND% Curtain - open

%LIG% Lights on, leftside of stage 50% (waiting room), right side 20% (amphitheater)

%AMB% 0301 - Dressing Room Ambience

%ACT% Gladiators are sparring with their swords in [5].

%SND% 0302 - Swordfighting

Gladiator1: "Come on, watch, your guard! ... Tighten up your elbows! ... And keep moving! ... Yeah, that's right!"

%SND% 0303 - Door opens

%ACT% Soldier comes in, pushing Marcus and Vinnie and throwing both on the floor

Marcus, Vinnie: "ARRGGH!"

%SND% 0304 - Bodies hit the ground

%SND% 0304b - Soldier: "Hey guys, look what we found! Two pathetic deserters! We found 'em in the prayer room."

%ACT% Gladiator1 turns around.

Gladiator1: "They're not from this school! Take them away!"

%SND% 0304c - Soldier: "Don't try to talk your way out of it, Hercules! Teach your men the rules, or leave them at home. Now get ready, the games are going to start any minute."

%ACT% Soldier turns around and leaves.

%SND% 0305 - Door Close

%ACT% Marcus and Vinnie moan, and get up from the floor.

Vinnie: "Where the hell are we?"

Marcus (stunned): "The question is not where. The question is: WHEN?"

Vinnie: "I must be dreaming! Someone please pinch me?"

%ACT% Gladiator1 punches Vinnie square in the face.

%SND% 0306 - Punch / Drop

Vinnie: "AAAAARGH!"

%ACT% Vinnie flies backwards and disappears

Vinnie (off): "I said pinch me! Not punch me!"

Gladiator: "I'm SO sorry, I can't hear very well with my helmet on!"

%ACT% The Gladiators stop fighting, and laugh!

Gladiator: "Hahahahahah!" ← MITLACHEN :)

%SND% 0302 STOP
%SND% 0307 - Gladiator2: "Hahahahahah!"
%SND% 0307 (cont.) - Gladiator3: "Hahahahahah!"
%SND% 0307 (cont.) - Door Open

%ATT% Make room for Vesonia (step back)

%ACT% Vesonia enters with a tray full of mugs containing wine for the gladiators and places it in front of the gladiators [5-4]

Vesonia: "Gentlemen, Caius Gavius Rufus sends his best regards to you, and wishes you a successful fight. He also wants me to mention that he's bet a thousand sesterces on you guys, so you'd better not screw this up. The wine is on the house!"

%ACT% The gladiators cheer, and drop their swords.

%ACT% Each of them grabs a mug. (Positions: Kayjay to the left, Lynard in centre, Pan to the right)

%SND% 0308 - Gladiator1 cheers
%SND% 0308 (cont.) - Gladiator2 cheers
%SND% 0308 (cont.) - Gladiator3 cheers

Gladiator1: "To Caius Gavius, the old bastard!"

%ACT% Tha Gladiators raise their glasses

%SND% 0309 - Gladiator2: "To Caius Gavius"
%SND% 0309 (cont.) - Gladiator3: "To Caius Gavius"

%ACT% The Gladiators downing the wine, burp, and then throw the mugs away.

%SND% 0309 (cont.) - drinking / cheering / Breaking Mugs

Marcus: "Vinnie? Vinnie! Are you alright?"

Vinnie (off, whiny): "I think he broke my nose!"

%ACT% Vesonia turns to Marcus

Vesonia (puzzled): "Are these two your new recruits?"

Gladiator: "They're just a couple of deserters who got what they deserve."

%ACT% Vesonia turns towards the Gladiators

Vesonia: "But did you really have to beat him up like that? Why don't you pick on someone your own size?"

Gladiator: "And why don't you shut your foxhole and go pray to the goddess like I paid you to do, slave?"

Vesonia: "You're as much a slave as I am. Never forget that."

Gladiator: "GET OUT!"

%ACT% Gladiator pushes Vesonia

Vesonia: "Argh! Alright alright!"

%ACT% Vesonia quickly grabs the tablet and leaves in a hurry

%SND% 0310 - Close Door

%ACT% Gladiator turns towards Marcus, moving closely face-to-face

Gladiator: "Now, who the fuck are you?"

%ACT% Marcus shakes

Marcus (scared): "I am Marcus, and this is my friend, Vin... Vinnie ...Vincentus."

Gladiator: "And what the fuck are are you doing here?"

Marcus (scared): "We ... we are ... uhm ... it may sound odd, but we are ... "

%ACT% Vinnie jumps up from below between Marcus and the Gladiator.

%SND% 0311 - SWISH!

Vinnie: "Gladiators! Like you! Why else would we be here?"

Marcus: "Vinnie! Are you ..."

Vinnie (cuts him of): "It's our first time here, and well, when we came back from the latrine we must have taken the wrong hallway and ...."

Gladiator: "Aha! Your first time here. I see. And what school do you belong to?"

Marcus: "*SIGH* So, we're gladiators. And we're from the ludus of ... uhm ... uhmm.."


Marcus: "VINNIE!"

%SND% 0311b - The gladiators laugh loudly.

Gladiator: "So, my friends, what say you; shall we get Vin ... Vinnie ... Vincentus dressed up for the games and see how well he lives up to his school's name?"

%SND% 0312 - The Gladiators cheer in agreement

%ACT% The Gladiators grab Vinnie and Marcus, disappear from view for a moment.appropriate soundtrack.

%ATT% Put Armor on Vinnie and Marcus. Gladiators hand over a sword for each

%SND% 0312 (cont.) - Sonata for Hammer and Screwdriver

%ACT% The Gladiators lift up Marcus and Vinnie, carrying them to the middle of the arena, dumping them there with a crash.

%LIG% left side of stage down to 20%, right side up to daylight

%SND% 0313 - Arena Ambience
%SND% 0314 - Fanfare!
%SND% 0314 (cont.) - The Audience cheers 1
%SND% 0301 FADE

%ACT% The Gladiators walk off and disappear.

Marcus: "Vinnie. If we survive this, I'll kill you."

Vinnie: "And if we don't?"

Marcus: "Oh, just SHUT up!"

%ACT% Marcus hits Vinnie with his sword.

Vinnie: "Ow!"

%SND% 0315 - Clang
%SND% 0315 (cont.) - Audience cheers 2

%ACT% Claudius (the Organizers' Hand) comes running in from [1], carrying a piece of parchment and a giant bullhorn-shaped speaking trumpet

Claudius: "Hey you, hold your horses! You can beat each other up another time! Can we please keep to the previously agreed and circulated script?"

Marcus: "Script?! We don't have a script! We're not even supposed to be here!"

Claudius: "What were your names again?"

Marcus: "Marcus and Vincentus."

%ACT% Claudius looks into his script.

Claudius: "You're right. You're not supposed to be here. Look. I have no clue who messed up the script this time, but it was not me, and the magistrate is not going to wait any longer. So congratulations, you're now the opening act."

Marcus: "But we ..."

%ACT% Claudius speaks into the speaking trumpet

%SND% 0314 FADE

Claudius: "Ah-hem!"

%SND% 0316 - Fanfare

Claudius: "Romani! Patres! Censores and Consules! Magistrates and religious officers! Salvete Omnes!"

%SND% 0317 - Audience cheers 3

Claudius: "We are at the middle of our ancient year, the sun is high and hot today, and it is still summer. I have asked this morning, in the temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus, if he would allow us to honor Him through its Ludi. The signs have been favorable, and as we ought to, we, the aediles curules, have organized for you the traditional Munera and Circenses. I am very glad that Caius Gavius Rufus accepted to host this celebration, and coordinate our team."

Claudius: "Juno and Minerva will watch upon our Games. But now let us have Ludi, Quirites. Raise your hands for our Bestiarii Marcus and Vincentus who will start off with The Great Beast Hunt!"

%SND% 0318 - Audience cheers 4
%SND% 0318 (cont.) - Fanfare / Music

%ACT% Claudius leaves the scene to [1]

%ACT% Marcus and Vinnie stand back to back, holding their swords up.

%ACT% Felicia, a huge tigress, walks in from [1], stands in front of Marcus and Vinnie (wait in [1]!)

%ACT% Felicia clears her throat, takes a deep breath, and roars. (Ed: Yes, I know tigers don't roar. It's for dramatic purposes. And it's in Claudius' script!)

%SND% 0319 - Felicia: "Rrrroooooaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!"
%SND% 0318 FADE

%ACT% The roar goes on and on and on. Marcus and Vinnie are pushed back by the sheer volume of the sound, it's like a storm! The wind ruffles their fur, and their armour comes off bit by bit, and gets blown away until they're standing in front of the lioness bare naked, except for their swords.

%ACT% Felicia stops roaring, and looks at Marcus, as if she's waiting for something.

Felicia (puzzled): "Hello? Anybody home? What are you waiting for?"

%ACT% Marcus and Vinnie shake with fear. ← hand wrangler

Vinnie (whimpering): "Whmmhmhmmhmhm!"

%ACT% Vinnie tries to hit Felicia with his sword, thrusting forward, stinging her nose.

Vinnie: "T ... t ... take this!"

%SND% 0320 - Poink!

Felicia (surprised): "Ouch! What the hell are you doing!"

Vinnie: "I'm ... fighting you?"

%ACT% Vinnie pokes Felicia's nose with his sword once more

%SND% 0321 - Poink!

Felicia (annoyed): "Ouch! Stop that, it hurts! By Jupiter, didn't you read the script?"

Marcus: "We... don't have the script!"

%SND% 0322 - The audience starts booing!

Felicia (angry): "WHAT? Oh, you IDIOTS! Can't you gladiators do ANYTHING right? Just once?"

Marcus: "I'm sorry! It's... not our fault!"

%ACT% Marcus starts to shake nervously again

%SND% 0323 - Fighting Music Rise
%SND% 0323 - Audience gets loude r again
%SND% 0322 FADE

%ACT% Felicia lowers her head, and moves towards Marcus to [2-3]

Felicia (vicious): "It's never your fault. Let me guess: The dog ate your script. Or was it blown away by the wind? Do you know how long it took me to rehearse and learn my goddamn choreography? Three months! This is MY 15 minutes of fame, and I'm not going to let YOU ruin it! RAAAWR!"

%SND% 0324 - Roar!
%SND% 0324 (cont.) - Fighting Music full

%ACT% Felicia jumps on Vinnie, pinning him down, roaring (Vinnie is now unseen)

Marcus and Vinnie: "AAAAH!"

Felicia: "Fight, you coward!"

Vinnie: "NO!"

Marcus: "Let him go!"

%ACT% Marcus strikes Felicia over the head, and she jumps back

%SND% 0325 - Punch
%SND% 0325 (cont.) - Audience Reaction

%ACT% Vinnie scrambles to his feet

Felicia: "Now we're talking!"

Vinnie: "If I have to die, then so be it! But I'm not going to draw my last breath with a crowd booing at me! Marcus and Vincentus will go down to a CHEER! HARRRGH!"

%SND% 0326 - Audience Reaction

%ACT% Vinnie jumps at Felicia, swinging his sword around.

%ACT% Felicia grabs the sword with her fangs, pulls it from Vinnie's hands, and throws it away.

Marcus, Vinnie: "Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh!"

%SND% 0327 - Music Rise
%SND% 0324 FADE

Felicia: "Hah!"

%ACT% Felicia pounces them.

Felicia (angry): "Say your prayers to Pluto, boys!"

%ACT% Felicia roars

%SND% 0328 - Roar
%SND% 0327 FADE

%ACT% Vesonia enters from the arena side [1], carrying a large steak!

Vesonia: "Here, kitty kitty! Look what I have here for you!"

%SND% 0329 - Funny Music

%ACT% Vesonia waves the steak.

%ACT% Felicia is suddenly all tame (and acting like a big housecat), jumping up and down happily

Felicia: "Oh! Steak! Steak! Steak! Steak!"

Vesonia: "Yes you're right! Go and get it!"

%ACT% Felicia grabs steak from Vesonias hand, and starts eating it.

Felicia: "Nom! Nom! Nom! Nom!"

%SND% 0330 - Audience Boos

%ACT% The audience boos, throwing rotten tomatoes and other fruit

Vesonia: "Marcus, Vincentus! Come on! I'll get you out of here!"

%ACT% Marcus and Vinnie get up, and join Vesonia.

Marcus: "Thank you, thank you, thank you!"

Vesonia: "Save that for later! Follow me!"

%ACT% They leave

%ACT% Claudius comes running in, waving his paws in the air

%SND% 0329 FADE
%SND% 0331 - Audience Boos


%ACT% Claudius leans against Felicia, crying

Claudius: "Why, just why must I be perpetually surrounded by idiots? What did I do to deserve this? Bwhahahahah!"

%ACT% Claudius cries like a baby while the audience throws more vegetables at him.

%SND% 0332 Sad Trombone
%SND% 0331 FADE (Booing)

%LIG% Lights out

%HND% Curtain - close