The Jungle Book - ONE-ACT VERSION by BB Cooper & Toby Hulse


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This Play is the copyright of the Authors and must NOT be Performed without the Authors' PRIOR consent


Scene One The Jungle, the Native Village in the distance.

An almost impenetrable darkness is alive with the whoops and calls, the trills
and hums of animals, birds, and insects. Shining eyes in the night.

Then, from a distance, far away, separate, we see a burning torch carried by a
lone woman.

It is Messua.

She approaches a funeral pyre on which we can just make out the shape of a
human body, her husband killed by Shere Khan the tiger.

We hear the opening bars of Love's Vital Beat.

Messua's Grieving (Love's Vital Beat)

Messua [Spoken.] Farewell, my husband, my love. May a curse fall on the tiger
that took your life.
She plunges the torch into the funeral pyre. The flames take
hold and light up the darkness. Sparks fly into the sky as her
husband becomes one with the infinite universe.

[Spoken.] And my little baby
We are aware of the shapes of animals moving in the jungle, preparing for
the night-time hunting.

Messua [Calling out into the darkness.] I will be waiting for you! Always!
Picking up the torch, she retreats to the safety of her hut.
As we lose sight of her, so we also lose sight of the native village and the
funeral pyre. We are now in the heart of the jungle.
The jungle suddenly explodes with life, as the Seeonee Wolf Pack begin their
hunting, with Akela at their head.

Pride and Power

Seeonee [Singing.] As Red Dog's bark calls in the dark,
And crescent silver'd moon,
We scent the air, we leave the lair
Our hunting will be soon.
This is the hour of pride and power,
Talon and tooth and claw.
Oh, hear the call! Good hunting all
That keep the Jungle Law!
Now Rann the Kite brings home the night
That Mang the Bat sets free
The herds are shut in byre and hut,
For loosed till dawn are we.
This is the hour of pride and power,
Talon and tooth and claw.
Oh, hear the call! Good hunting all
That keep the Jungle Law!
Seeonee howl, the jungle prowl,
Akela at our head,
In thickest black we stalk the track,
Where humans fear to tread.
This is the hour of pride and power,
Talon and tooth and claw.
Oh, hear the call! Good hunting all
That keep the Jungle Law!
The song ends with the chilling sound of the wolf pack's howl as they begin
their hunting.

As the howl echoes around the hills and gradually fades we hear another
sound a human child crying.

A young boy stumbles into the clearing. He is lost, frightened and alone.

The boy does not notice that he is being followed by the tiger, the mighty
Shere Khan.

Shere Khan [From his hiding place.] I have found you at last, man-cub. It's time to finish
my hunting.

Shere Khan comes out from his hiding place. He walks with a decided limp.
The boy hears the tiger behind him and turns around. Out of sheer ignorance
of what he is facing he is not scared. In fact, he walks toward Shere Khan,
intrigued.

Your father was an easy kill. Imagine how much more entertaining you will
be. Now, run.

The boy does not.

Run, I say.

Still the boy does not move.

Shere Khan lets out a roar that tears through the jungle.

At last the boy understands. He turns to run. Shere Khan bounds after him.

The boy stumbles and falls, and at once the tiger is upon him.

Far too simple. Never mind

Shere Khan raises a mighty paw, ready to kill the boy with one strike.

Suddenly, in a grey blur, a wolf leaps into the clearing. It is Raksha.

Raksha Leave the man-cub!

The naked ferocity of Raksha's defence causes Shere Khan to back off temporarily.

Shere Khan He is my kill, Raksha. Step back from him.

Raksha The wolves are a free people. I take orders only from the Leader of the Pack.

Shere Khan Akela is old and toothless. His days are numbered. Soon I will lead the
Seeonee.

Raksha Never.

Shere Khan Give the man-cub to me.

Raksha No.

Shere Khan It is I, Shere Khan, who speak!

Raksha And it is I, Raksha, who answer. I claim this man-cub as mine mine to me!
You shall not kill him.

Shere Khan I do what I want.

Raksha It is forbidden to hunt Man.

Shere Khan Who tells me what to do?

Raksha The Laws of the Jungle

Shere Khan And what care I for the Laws of the Jungle?

Raksha You would destroy us all?

However, despite his protestations to the contrary, Shere Khan is not going to
transgress the Laws of the Jungle. Not this time, anyway.

Raksha sees him back down.

Now, go, frog-eater, fish-killer.

Shere Khan And what is the grizzled she-wolf too old to bear a litter going to do with a
man-cub? Perhaps you could raise him as your own

Raksha Go! Or I swear you will walk on two limping legs, not one!
Shere Khan lets out an almighty roar, before limping back into the jungle.

Raksha turns to look at the boy.

We hear the introduction to Love's Vital Beat.

I will watch you as you go back to the man village. Man goes to man. This is
the Law.

The boy approaches Raksha and puts his arms around her neck.

And yet you would surely die

Raksha's Deciding (Love's Vital Beat)

[Singing]. A mother loves her cub,
That's what a mother's for,
That love is surely greater than the Law.
You've come into my life,
So scared and all alone,
And now I have a cub to call my own.
[Spoken.] You will live, to run with the Pack and hunt with the Pack.
[Singing.] This heart of mine
Longed for what was missing there
Love's quick, strong, vital beat.
Now you are here,
I will raise and nurture you,
My mother's heart will be complete.
The boy is dropping off to sleep.

[Spoken.] Lie still, little frog. Mowgli for Mowgli, the Little Frog, I will
call you. Rest now.

[Singing.] Sleep still, my child,
Your mother watches over you,
Her empty heart is now complete.

End of Scene One


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