Produced under the direction of William Pennington. Scenes and costumes designed
The Shepherd in the Distance is published for the first time. The editors are indebted to Mr. Holland Hudson for permission to include it in this volume. The professional and amateur stage rights on this pantomime are strictly reserved by the author. Applications for permission to produce the pantomime should be made to Frank Shay, Care Stewart & Kidd Company, Cincinnati, Ohio.
I. The Princess beholds The Shepherd in the Distance and goes in quest of him.
Of the Princess, we know only that she was fair and slender as the lily, that somehow the fat and stupid Wazir became her guardian, and that he neglected her utterly and played chess eternally in the garden with his almost-equally-stupid Vizier. Is it any wonder she was bored?
One afternoon the Princess called for her ivory telescope, and, placing it to her eye, sought relief from the deadly ennui which her guardian caused. In the Distance she discerned a Shepherd, playing upon his pipe for the dancing of his favorite Goat. While he played the Princess marveled at his comeliness. She had never seen before a man so pleasing in face and person. At the end of his tune it seemed to her that the Shepherd turned and beckoned to her. She dared watch him no longer, lest her guardian observe her.
When the Wazir, the Vizier and the Nubian were deep in their afternoon siesta, the Princess stole out of the garden with her personal retinue and her small, but precious hope chests, and set forth toward the Distance.
Now on the highway between the foreground and the Distance lived a wretched and worthless beggar who had even lost his name and was called Ghurri-Wurri because he looked absolutely as miserable as that. He pretended to be blind and wore dark spectacles. The greatest affliction of his life was that his dark spectacles prevented him from inspecting the coins that fell in his palm, and he received more than his share of leaden counterfeits.
When Ghurri-Wurri observed the approach of the Princess and her retinue he reasoned from the richness of their attire that alms would be plentiful and large and he fawned and groveled before them. The Princess was generous, but she was also in haste, so bade her attendant give him the first coin that came to hand, and hurried on.
Ghurri-Wurri's rage knew no bounds. He wept, he stamped, he shook his fists, he railed, and he cursed. Then, perceiving the Princess' destination, he made haste to notify her guardian. The Wazir would not believe him at first and the beggar would have lost his head if he had not happened on the Princess' telescope and placed it in the Wazir's hand.
Gazing toward the Distance, the Wazir saw the Princess and her retinue nearing their destination. He lost his temper and did all of the undignified things which Ghurri-Wurri had done. Then, with the Vizier and the Nubian, he set forth in pursuit, forcing the reluctant Ghurri-Wurri to guide them. They ran like the wind, till the beggar gasped and staggered, only to be jerked to his feet and forced on by the implacable Vizier, who was cruel as well as stupid.
Meanwhile the Princess arrived in the Distance. The Shepherd, who was as wise as he was comely, had proper regard for her rank and danced in her honor to his own piping. They had scarcely spoken to each other when the faithful Goat warned them of the furious approach of the raging Wazir. The Goat carried the Princess to a place of safety on his back while the Shepherd stayed to delay her pursuers. Of the Nubian he made short work indeed, but the Vizier overcame him with his great scimiter and they led him captive to the garden, leaving Ghurri-Wurri cursing on the sands.
Arrived at the garden, the Wazir ordered the Shepherd bound in chains and went on with his chess game. The Shepherd, in a gesture of despair, came upon the Princess' telescope and, seeking some ray of hope, gazed into the Distance. Here he saw the Princess and his faithful Goat, who, he perceived, had invented a plan for his deliverance.
Soon the Princess returned to the garden, disguised as a wandering dancer. She danced before the Wazir and pleased him so much that he bade her come nearer. She did so, and bound the Vizier's arms with a scarf, which so amused the Wazir that he laughed loud and long. Then she bound the Wazir's arms in the same manner and it was the Vizier's turn to laugh. Into their laughing mouths she thrust two poisoned pills so that in another instant they fell over, quite dead, amongst the chessmen.
The omnivorous Goat delivered the Shepherd from his chains with his strong teeth and they all returned to the Distance, where they still dwell in more-than-perfect bliss and may be discerned through an ivory telescope any fine afternoon.
 A synopsis for readers only.
CONCERNING THE SCENERY.
In the original production by The Washington Square Players, The Shepherd in the Distance was played in front of backgrounds of black velvet. The garden scene consisted of a black velvet drop about half-way between the curtain and back-wall, upon which a decorative white design merely suggesting the garden and its gate was appliquéd. This drop was made in three sections, the middle one hung on a separate set of lines so that it could be raised to show the "Distance" (as seen through the telescope) without disturbing the rest of the scene.
The "Distance" consisted of a velvet drop hung slightly behind the middle section of the garden scene, on the middle of which two large, white concentric circles were appliquéd around a circular opening about five feet in diameter. The bottom of the opening was about eighteen inches above the stage. Behind this stood a platform just large enough to hold four characters at one time. Black masking drapes were provided at both sides of the stage and behind the platform.
The Prologue, Scenes II, IV, V, the first part of Scene VII and the Epilogue were all played before a plain velvet drop hung a few feet upstage of the curtain line.
The Shepherd in the Distance has also been produced in colors very effectively by the Hollywood Community Theatre, at Hollywood, California. There is no reason why any highly decorative treatment of scenery and costuming will not enhance the production if it be well planned and consistent throughout.
The properties consist principally of a small chess table with most of the chessmen glued on, two stools, a telescope, a balloon and papier maché chain which are employed as a ball and chain, a very large Chinese crash cymbal for the stage manager's use, and such personal properties as occur in the text.
COSTUMES AND MAKE-UP.
Whatever scheme is selected for the scenery, the costumes and make-up should be consistent with it. In the original production, all of the characters but the Nubian were made up completely with clown white or "Plexo," the eyebrows and eyes outlined in black and mouths rouged but slightly. No unwhitened flesh was visible at all.
The Princess wore a white satin pseudo-Oriental costume with stiff ruffs at the collar, wrists and knees, the trousers not gathered at the ankles, a flat close-fitting turban with a number of ornaments and a hanging veil, and white slippers. In the dance in Scene VI she used a long black gauze scarf and a white one. Her attendant wore a similar costume of cheaper material, an unornamented turban and black slippers. Her slaves were also similarly garbed, in cotton, but with bulkier turbans, and baggy trousers, gathered at the ankles.
The Wazir, armed with a preposterous "corporation," wore baggy white trousers, gathered at the ankles, a sleeveless vest with wide, horizontal black-and-white stripes, a white cloak hanging from his shoulders which terminated in a large black tassel, a turban, a beard made of several lengths of black portière cord sewed to white gauze, and white pointed shoes. His bare arms were whitened, his eyebrows were short, thick and high up on his forehead, and he carried a black snuff-box.
The Vizier's white trousers were not so full as the Wazir's; his tight white vest had tight white sleeves; his cloak was shorter and without a tassel. His white turban, however, was decorated with antennæ of white milliner's wire. He affected high arching eyebrows, a long pointed nose, a drooping mustache, a disdainful mouth, carried a white wooden scimiter about four feet long with a black handle and wore bells on his pointed white shoes.
The Nubian wore black tights and shirt, black slippers and a white skull cap and breech-clout. The rest of him, excepting his eyes and mouth, which were whitened, was a symphony in burnt cork.
The Shepherd wore white, knee-length trunks, frayed at the ends, a little drapery about the upper man, slippers and a cap. His body was whitened profusely and he carried a tiny flute.
The Goat wore a white furry skin, horns, and foot and hand coverings resembling hoofs. His make-up approached the animal's face as nearly as possible.
Ghurri-Wurri wore tattered white baggy trousers, vest and cloak, a turban and black goggles.
The Maker of Sounds was garbed in an all-enveloping white burnous and a white skull cap.
A FEW STAGE DIRECTIONS.
Left and right, in this text, refer to the actor's, not the spectator's, point of view. The action of the piece is meant to be two-dimensional; the actors are to perform in profile as far as possible; except when registry of facial expression is important the action should be parallel with the back drop.
The entire action must be rhythmical and the rhythms should be used as definite themes, one for the Princess and her retinue, another for the Wazir, etc. The performance should be extremely rapid and must never drag. The cast should direct special attention to the comic features, and the director to the pictorial elements of the piece. The director may consider the performance as an animated poster which moves rapidly from design to design.
THE SHEPHERD IN THE DISTANCE
By Holland Hudson
[The curtain rises on a plain drop curtain. The Maker of Sounds enters with his arms full of instruments, crosses the scene and sits with his back against one side of the proscenium, outside the curtain line. He tries out all his instruments, wind, string, percussion and "traps." He yawns. He becomes impatient and raps on the stage.]
[The Wazir's garden. Discovered left to right, the Nubian, standing with folded arms, the Vizier, seated at the chess table, playing with the Wazir. At the other side of the stage, the Princess, her attendant, her two slaves. All stand motionless until set in action by the Maker of Sounds.]
[The Wazir's Garden as in Scene I]
[The Wazir's garden. No characters on scene]