Crieff Guisers’ Play, 1884

M.J.P.Lawrence (1956)


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Context:
Location: Crieff, Perthshire, Scotland (NN8621)
Year: Perf. about 1884
Time of Occurrence: [Not given]
Collective Name: Disguisers; Guisers

Source:

M.J.P.Lawrence
Guisers' Play
Scots Magazine, NS 66, Dec.1956, No.3, pp.197-201


Cast: (Click on any name for the character name index.)
Text:

{But now the ring is formed and the play begins. Jack Macglashan swaggers forward and pronounces in a round voice:}

MACGLASHAN

Macglashan, Macglashan, Macglashan is my name,
My sword and buckler by my side, I hope to win the game.

THE KING

The game, sir, the game, sir, is not within your power,
I'll draw my bloody dagger and slay you to the floor.

{A brisk fight ensues, and Jack falls wounded.}

Then call for Doctor Brown,
the best old greasy doctor in the town.

{Out springs Doctor Brown with suitable medical props.}

DOCTOR

Here am I, Doctor Brown,
The best old greasy doctor in the town.

KING

How far have you travelled?

DOCTOR

Oh, round the world and back again.

KING

What did you see there?

DOCTOR

Mountains of porridge and rivers of butter milk.

KING

Anything else?

DOCTOR

Yes, cocks and hens with knives and forks in their backs,
running down the streets calling out,
'who'll eat me? Who'll eat me?'

KING

Anything more?

DOCTOR

No.

KING

Anything less?

DOCTOR

No.

{............}

KING

What'll you take to cure a man?

DOCTOR

Ten pounds and a bottle of wine.

KING

I'll give you three.

DOCTOR

Ten pounds and a bottle of wine.

KING

I'll give you three.

DOCTOR

Ten pounds and a bottle of wine.

KING

Cure him then.

{............}

DOCTOR

Two drops to your nose and one to your toes.
Rise, Jack, and sing.

MACGLASHAN

I can't.

DOCTOR

Why not?

MACGLASHAN

I've got a hole in my side that would let a coach and four through it.

DOCTOR

How did you get that?

MACGLASHAN

Fighting the French.

DOCTOR

How many did you kill?

MACGLASHAN

All but one.

DOCTOR

What happened to him?

MACGLASHAN

He ran away.

{The Doctor once more stoops over Jack with a slightly stronger potion.}

DOCTOR

Three drops to your nose and two to your toes.
Rise up. Jack, and sing.

JACK (AND ALL)

Once I was dead and now I'm alive,
Blessed be the doctor that made me alive.
We'll all join hands and we'll never fight no more,
And we'll be as brothers as we were before.
Bless the master of this house and bless the mistress, too,
And all the little children around the table too.
With their pockets full of money and their bottles full of beer,
We wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

{Clapping and congratulations.}

JOHNNY FUNNY

Here am I, wee Johnny Funny,
Wi' my tunny,
I'm the man that takes the money.


Notes:

Lawrence’s Notes:

"An old man's memory - the Guisers' play of Macglashan as performed in Crieff, Perthshire, about 1884 ... the last night of the year that saw the performances of the Disguisers or Guisers. There were several large families in Crieff in the eighties. Some time before the end of the year, a group of boys get together from one or two families of playmates, and prepare the well-known Guisers' play. The leader would take the part of Macglashan. That is the Galgacus character, according to E.K. Chambers, although it has been suggested that he is Mac, that is to say the son of, the Galatian, Saint George himself.

. . . other parts of the King, the Doctor and Johnny Funny . . . There were also a few supernumaries. The play was rehearsed . . . disguisings, crude ones, were chosen ... a grown-up jacket, turned out, and old grown-up hats squashed or folded upon the head.

. . . performances were mostly to grown-ups at home, or to friends of the family, as anything like begging was frowned upon by his mother.

. . . The boys would be invited into the kitchen. Mother would certainly remain as audience and any any grown-ups who could be bothered with the plays of children. The age of the players was much younger than the (Thomas) Hardy band . . ."

Indexer’s Notes:

Scanned from the transcript in B.Hayward (1992) Galoshins : The Scottish Folk Play. Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, 1992, ISBN 07486 0338 7, pp.134-138.

Hayward’s Notes:

"The custom in Crieff may not be ancient. The town was completely destroyed in 1716, and repaired in 1731. The town became an industrial centre for a while in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, and a spa later in the nineteenth century. The interruption in the town's history, and the cause for immigration in the ninteenth century, may well mean that the play in this location is a relatively recent transplant."


File History:
22nd February 2002 – Scanned and Coded by Peter Millington

The recommended URL for this web page is www.folkplay.info/Texts/88nn82lm.htm
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