​The Tragical History of The Stupendous Stiltskin, Aspiring Mentalist and Flatulist Extraordinaire

The Persons of the Play


The Stupendous STILTSKIN

JEAN-LUC of Picardy









Enter [CHORUS as] Prologue

CHORUS: In foggy London Town lies our scene. Near the

Thames, within the confines of a ramshackle

abode, our gaseous hero resides.

Destitute, drunk, and mildly deranged, he

spends his days railing against this jaundiced

world. In his youth he was the King's fart man—

the most spectacular flatulist in

all of Albion. Not since the days of

Roland the Farter has there been one so

esteemed for his mastery of the wind.

His star fell in the King's court; banished was

he from all he'd ever known. Thereupon

he became an itinerant, and ne'er

stopped searching for a way back to the top.

Now, bedecked in his most extravagant

popinjay attire, he once more sets

out to dazzle the masses, not as a

flatulist, but as a mentalist. Exit



Enter [The Stupendous] STILTSKIN performing in a public square

STILTSKIN: Now for my next bold prophecy: In the

not too distant future, I foresee a

lamentable tragedy occurring.

I know not the who, what, where, and whyfor,

but mark me kind citizens: I am not


HECKLER: Hey magician! May I ask thee a

question? How far canst thou punt a football?

STILTSKIN: May thy plow seize, sirrah! I am not some

miserable magician: I am a

mentalist. Not that any of you vile,

confounded knaves would know the difference!

HECKLER: Weren't thou a flatulist for the King

before thou becam'st a magic man?

HECKLER II: [shouting] Yea, he beeth that fart man of renown

who once dazzled the King's court with unmatched

displays of flatulence mastery.

STILTSKIN: Sorry, but I do not engage in that

silliness any longer; I am a

mentalist now.

RABBLE: [shouting severally] Thou stinkst at the mental magic, fart man!

STILTSKIN: Oh really? How is this for stinking, ye

worthless conglomeration of execrable


[STILTSKIN turns around, grabs his ankles, and bellows out a mighty trumpet of gas]

RABBLE: [breaks into rapturous laughter and applause]

STILTSKIN: Fie upon my life! O Lord in Heaven!

Wherefore hast thou abandoned me to this

cruel ignominy? Exit




CHORUS: With the swiftest speed our scene shifts to the

frosty desolation of Dartmoor, where

our hero has taken to holing up

in a delve. An anchorite he's become—

solemn contemplation his new calling.

His gaze is now entirely empty of

life. The damage is done, for him there is

nothing more to be won. Exit


Enter STILTSKIN and JEAN-LUC [of Picardy] with a walking stick

JEAN-LUC: Ça va, mon fils?


JEAN-LUC: Je l'ai dit, 'Ça va, mon fils?'

STILTSKIN: Speak English, thou cheese-eating surrender


JEAN-LUC: My apologies, I am a stranger

in this land. My name is Jean-Luc. I

hail from France.

STILTSKIN: Thou art complected like a blackamoor

from Prester John's Land!

JEAN-LUC: Yea, 'tis true, and not a fault. My skin has

been scorchéd by the torrid sun for nigh

on six-and-forty years. Verily, I

was a sea captain once. I spent many

years sailing to the far corners of the world—

once even as far as to the land of

Pliny's fabled dog-headed men.

STILTSKIN: Why art thou here? There is nary a man

here besides myself. I have befriended

only animals; they haveth kind souls.

JEAN-LUC: I am a wanderer now. Why art thou

here, my son?

STILTSKIN: 'Tis a long story… I was a farter

once, in the service of the King. We fell

out over a wench, canst thou believe it?

I tupped his favorite ewe after one

of my fart-a-thons. She was taken with

my prodigious talent, so I took her.

His Majesty caught me in the midst of

conjugation. I didn't see the problem, the

man has a wife already.

JEAN-LUC: A flatulist, eh? That is a noble

profession. The gaseous arts are not to

be looked down upon. My dear departed

father was Le Fartere in the court of

Henri IV.


JEAN-LUC: Forsooth. Please continue.

STILTSKIN: Thenceforward I was down-and-out. I roamed

the streets of Eastcheap day and night.

Drinking sack became my life, until one

fated day I happened to cross paths with

an old, wizened ment'list who called himself

the Hyperbolic Hackman. Little did

I know that my life was about to change.

Hackman introduced me to the strange

and wonderful art of mentalism.

Unfortunately, he was killed in a

freak carriage accident before he could

teacheth me anything of substance.

JEAN-LUC: I can train thee in the fantastical

arts of mental magic, my son.

STILTSKIN: Thou canst?

JEAN-LUC: Aye. I dabble some in the mental arts.

STILTSKIN: Huzzah! What a wondrous happenstance! Exeunt


Enter STILTSKIN and JEAN-LUC climbing the steepest mountain in Dartmoor

JEAN-LUC: Push it to the limit, my dear fellow!

STILTSKIN: Wherefore are we doing this?

JEAN-LUC: Come on, matey! ♫ Getting strong now! ♫

[three days later]

STILTSKIN: My training is complete. I am ready

to go back to London now. I am a

magic man, unequivocally.

JEAN-LUC: Make it so, my son. Make it so. Exeunt




CHORUS: With new found confidence our hero

flies with celerity back to London.

Gone are the sunken and red-rimmed eyes of

a bedlamite, and in their place peaceful

vernality resides. The Frenchman's quick,

but efficient lessons have provided

Stiltskin with the essentials he needs to

succeedeth in the cutthroat world of

mental magic. Exit


Enter STILTSKIN performing in a public square

STILTSKIN: For my next dazzling demonstration of

mentalism mastery, I shall speak with

the dead. I will need a volunteer. Who

of ye shall be my volunteer?

VOLUNTEER: I volunteer.

STILTSKIN: My kind sir, hast thou lost a close friend or

family member recently?

VOLUNTEER: Yes, too many. The plague is rampant in

These parts. I'm sure many of us have lost

close friends and family.

STILTSKIN: Aha! So thou hast lost someone then! How

do I do it!?! I am the [in singsong voice] Stupendous



INQUISITOR: By royal decree of His Majesty,

this blasphemer is under arrest for heresy!

Take him away to the dungeon, boys!

STILTSKIN: Well, this is most lamentable.

Exeunt GUARDSMEN with STILTSKIN in chains



CHORUS: [is out for a smoke break] Exit


Enter INQUISITOR and STILTSKIN in the torture chamber

INQUISITOR: I have seen heretics from all walks

of life during my storied career. But

none of them were as vile as thou art,


STILTSKIN: [is hanging in a strappado]

INQUISITOR: Time for thee to answer some questions!

STILTSKIN: I ain't done nothin'!

INQUISITOR: Beest thou a magician, Stiltskin?

STILTSKIN: Nay, my good sir: I am a mentalist.

INQUISITOR: What is that? Is that even a real thing

ye can be?

STILTSKIN: I prognosticate things with precision,

among other talents.

INQUISTION: Beest thou a flatulist, Stiltskin?

STILTSKIN: Nay. Though, I was the greatest flatulist

in all the land once upon a time.

INQUISITOR: Thou freely admit'st thou wert a fart man?

STILTSKIN: Aye, every inch a fart man.

INQUISITOR: Then thou art a magician and a fart

man! Both be blasphemous occupations

that affront the sacrifices of our Lord

and Saviour! Thou shalt burneth like a

Templar, Stiltskin!

STILTSKIN: Before thou burn me at the stake I

need to tellest thou one last thing.

INQUISITOR: Yes, what is it?

STILTSKIN: Com'st closer.

[STILTSKIN whips around and squeezes out a molten-hot fart in INQUISITOR's face]




CHORUS: The death procession marches closer to

the appointed spot where our hero will

meet his maker. Barefooted, rope around

his neck, nothing now stands between him and

his date with fire. The stake is set; the

kindling's stacked. It wasn't s'posed to end like this. Exit


Enter STILTSKIN tied to the stake and INQUISITOR with a torch

INQUISITOR: Any last words before I send thee to

the fiery pits of hell?

STILTSKIN: I am resigned to my destiny as

a martyr. Or more like fartyr, amirite!?!?

INQUISITOR: [lights STILTSKIN on fire]

STILTSKIN: O I die! [He dies] Exeunt with the body