Canterbury Tales by Gillette Elvgren: A new adaptation of an old classic, this version of Chaucer’s famous tales captures the wonderful picaresque energy of the original in dramatic form. Presented in this full length treatment are the Prologue, The Wife of Bath’s Tale, The Miller’s Tale, The Man of Law’s Tale, the Pardoner’s Tale and The Nun’s Priests Tale. This version was devised to be done by an ensemble of only 7-8 actors thus featuring a heightened theatricality. This, combined with a musical score for a balladeer, makes for a visually exciting production. It should be also noted that though Chaucer never finished writing his Tales, the adapter has written an Epilogue which brings the Pilgrims to the steps of Canterbury Cathedral. (Music lead sheets available.)
From the Play
It happened in that season that one day
In Southwark, at The Tabard, as they lay
Ready to go on pilgrimage and start
For Canterbury, most devout at heart,
At night there came into my hostelry
Some nine or twenty in a company
Of sundry folk happening then to fall
In fellowship, and they were pilgrims all,
That towards Canterbury meant to ride.
WIFE OF BATH: I’m a worthy woman from Bath City.
In Company I like to laugh and chat,
And I know the remedy for love’s mischances,
An art in which I know the oldest dances.
HOST: She’d had five husbands, all at the church door,
Apart from. . . uhem. . . other company at youth.
No need just now to speak of that, forsooth.
The Miller is a chap of sixteen stone. . .
MILLER: I have a master hand at steal. . . handlin’ grain.
I feel it, like this, with my thumb and thus I knew
It’s quality. . .
HOST: For he took three times his due.
MILLER: A thumb of gold, by God, to guage an oat.
You cast aspersions my way and I’ll smote
You here to kingdom come, ya ‘ear?
HOST: His nose displayed a wart on which there stood a tuft of hair,
Red as the bristles in an old sows ear.