The Barbarians Are Coming

by  Luigi Jannuzzi

Short Play, Satire/Political Satire  /  3m

An excellent competition piece with Monty Python humor and a terrific message at the end. Two feudal lords trying to decide what type of tea to drink are interrupted by a serf who is hysterically babbling about barbarians laying siege to the castle. As the battle draws nearer, the serf grows more frenzied and the lords converse on women and boulder heavers. When the barbarians arrive, will raw muscle rule over culture and etiquette?

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The Barbarians Are Coming

by  Luigi Jannuzzi

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    3m
  • Duration

    Duration

    10 minutes
  • SubGenre

    Subgenre

    Farce, Fantasy
  • Suggested Use

    Suggested Use

    • Scene work
    • Competition or audition material
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult
    • Teen (Age 14 - 18)

Additional Info

"I wonder what Barbarians talk about?," said one Medieval Lord to the other. "I don't know," said the other back, as two hungry peasants peered in the window plotting to steal a biscuit for their families...

A Monty Python-like play with a terrific message. Two feudal lords trying to decide what type of tea to drink are interrupted by a serf who is hysterically babbling about barbarians laying siege to the castle. As the battle draws nearer, the serf grows more frenzied and the lords converse on women and boulder heavers. When the barbarians arrive, will raw muscle rule over culture and etiquette? Hysterical moments and hilarious revelations climax in a powerful statement on who the barbarians are among us.

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Accolades

  • Winner! Goshen Peace Prize
    Finalist! Samuel French Off Broadway Short Play Festival

Reviews

"Incredibly enjoyable piece to direct. Between the Monty Pythonesque silliness of the script and the zany nature of the dialogue, we had a lot of fun. What makes this one act so great is its ability to be outrageously humorous and yet leave audience members with an unexpected poignancy." - Goshen College

Considerations

Performing Groups

  • High School/Secondary
  • Community Theatre
  • Reader's Theatre
  • Shoestring Budget
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups

Cautions

  • No Special Cautions

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $45 per performance

Production

Details

  • Time Period: Not Applicable
  • Duration: 10 minutes
  • Setting: Two chairs and a small screen with a door on bare stage. An afternoon in Medieval Europe. The tea room of the castle.
  • Additional Features: Local Celebrity Cameo, No intermission, Physical Comedy, Stage Combat, Not Applicable
  • Features / Contains: Fantasy Costumes, Period Costumes

Music

  • Musical Style: N/A (Not a musical)
  • Vocal Demands: N/A (Not a musical)
  • Chorus Size: No Chorus

Casting

3m
GODFREE - Medieval Lord
SIDNEY - Medieval Lord
SERF 12
BARBARIAN
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Cast Attributes

  • Ensemble cast
  • Cross gender casting
  • Reduced casting (Doubling Possible)
  • Features Teens
  • Flexible casting
  • Local Celebrity Cameo
  • Strong Role for Leading Man (Star Vehicle)

Casting Notes

Feel free to change genders. This comedy works well with an all female, all male, or mixed cast. Be Creative! The parts of SERF 12 and BARBARIAN also may be played by the same performer.

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Authors

Luigi Jannuzzi

Luigi Jannuzzi is an award-winning playwright of one-act theater pieces as well as full-length plays, who combines romantic/absurdist comedy with serious themes of love, truth, and the need to rise above it all. His one-act plays, such as A Bench at the Edge and The Barbarians Are Coming are winners of the Samuel Frenc ...

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The Barbarians Are Coming was first presented at the Double Image Theatre in New York City on May 22, 1983. It was produced by Helen Warren Mayer and directed by the author.

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