Act I

Scene 1

Stage right: interior of hotel room. Washbasin, dresser, wardrobe, night-stand with lamp, telephone, and a bottle of gin. A window looking out on a lush garden. Harrington, dressed, asleep on a bed. Stage left: hallway leading toward descending stairs at rear, with a door (closed) leading into the room, and another door opposite and slightly to the rear. A number of male African servants going back and forth carrying baggage from stairs into left door, smiling at the unseen person in the room each time they enter, and emerging as if clutching a coin. Meanwhile, chambermaids are sweeping the floor and going into and out of rooms. They dance and sing.


Music: read or listen



(M) They say that he’s an important man,

(M) A very famous American,

(W) But he looks just like an African.

(MW) He’s an African American!

(MW) Welcome to Moanga! (3x)

(MW) Welcome to Africa!


(M) He’s in Moanga to represent

(M) The North American government,

(W) And maybe even the President.

(MW) He’s an African American!

(MW) Welcome to Moanga! (3x)

(MW) Welcome to Africa!


(M) He’s a musician who plays the jazz,

(M) And he has plenty of razzmatazz.

(W) That’s not the only thing that he has!

(MW) He’s an African American!

(MW) Welcome to Moanga! (3x)

(MW) Welcome to Africa!


(M) He’s on a mission to bring good will.

(M) As long as somebody pays his bill,

(W) For we need money to fill the till.

(MW) He’s an African American!

(MW) Welcome to Moanga! (3x)

(MW) Welcome to Africa!

(M) He will do ev’rything that he can

(M) To bring good will to the African,

(W) To ev’ry woman and ev’ry man.

(MW) He’s an African American!

(MW) Welcome to Moanga! (3x)

(MW) Welcome to Africa!

In Harrington’s room the phone rings.

HARRINGTON (picks up the receiver, holds it in front of him, looking at it suspiciously). Yeah? (Pause.) Hello?!!

VOICE OF ANDREW KUTOMPA. Mister Harrington? Telephone for you, sir.

HARRINGTON (surprised, to himself, softly). For me? But I’m just makin’ a stopover....

ANOTHER VOICE ON THE TELEPHONE (harsh New York accent, loud). Harrington?!

HARRINGTON (flabbergasted, but still to himself, loud). Holy Calcutta! If I wasn't drunk in darkest Africa, I’d’ve thought this was... (As he says “darkest Africa,'' brilliant sunlight streams in through the window, causing him to blink. Movement in the hallway continues.)

VOICE. If you weren't drunk in darkest Africa, you’d be drunk in Timbuctoo.

HARRINGTON (now into the telephone). Timbuctoo is in darkest Africa.

VOICE. All right then, Canarsie.

HARRINGTON. Bright? How the hell did you find out where I am?

VOICE. Believe me, it wasn't easy, and I don't mean to get into it at transatlantic phone rates. Anyway, you are where you are, and you got yourself a scoop.

HARRINGTON. The only scoop I could use right now would be of pistachio ice cream.

VOICE (angry). Shut up, willya! This is a transatlantic phone call! (Softer.) Listen, you soft-headed rat, you happen to be at the right place at the right time. (Harrington looks at his watch, rubs his eyes.) Prince Hal Youngblood is coming to Moanga (rhymes with “hangar'') as a good-will...

HARRINGTON. You mean Prince (sings) “I need you now...''

VOICE. I don't need you now to be a jazz singer (Harrington’s face registers hurt feelings), just a reporter, but anyway, yeah, Prince Hal Youngblood is being sent to Moanga as a good-will ambassador for the U. S. of A., and he should be arriving just about now.

A lull in the activity in the hallway. Band: “I need you now'' theme. Harrington’s face looks startled.

HARRINGTON. Good-will ambassador? Holy Manila, what’s that?

VOICE. Well, it’s not official yet, but Corcoran down in Foggy Bottom heard about it. They’re trying out this idea of sending popular guys, you know, jazz guys, to some of these new countries, countries that are just becoming independent, to score some points for us against the Russkies. And in Africa, they figure it’s a good idea to send a colored person.

HARRINGTON. Holy Havana!

VOICE. Anyway, they’re not announcing anything in Washington until they see if it’s successful, but since with your idiot luck (Harrington winces) you just happen to be in Moanga, get a lead on what’s going on and phone me, or wire a story if you’ve got one. It may be page one stuff, you son-of-a-bitch! (Harrington hangs up).

HARRINGTON. Holy Co-pen-ha-gen! (He examines himself in the mirror, and, after an initial look of disgust, adjusts his tie, smooths his shirt, puts on a straw hat and starts for the door. At this moment Prince, dressed in a white suit, emerges from his room into the hallway. Harrington suddenly reverses his tracks, goes to the washbasin, puts a few drops of mouthwash in a glass, fills it with water and gargles. After another moment’s thought he takes a swig from the gin bottle, another gargle, and goes out as Prince passes his door.)

HARRINGTON. Good morning.

PRINCE. Good morning to you, sir.

HARRINGTON (taking Prince for a native). Say, have you heard of a good-will ambassador from the States coming here?

PRINCE (putting on an African accent). Good-will ambassador? What’s that, sir?

HARRINGTON. Beats me... Ahh... Do you know jazz... American jazz?

PRINCE. American jazz? What’s that, sir?

HARRINGTON. You’re puttin’ me on... (a sudden flash of enlightenment) You really are puttin’ me on! Holy Alexandria! You are Prince Hal Youngblood! (Prince smiles). I’ve seen you at the Apollo, with Ella Fitz... Oh, by the way, I’m Harrington, Joe Harrington. I work for U.P., and I just got a call from Frank Bright, my bureau chief, sayin’ that the State Department is sending you...

PRINCE. State Department? What’s that, sir? (They both laugh.)

HARRINGTON. Say, do you wanna come inna my room for a drink? I’m just gettin’ thirsty.

PRINCE. I never drink, except when I work. And here I’m not working---I’m just on a, shall we say, bluesman’s holiday, looking for my... origins, you might say, trying to learn something about the indigenous music, so I can incorporate it in my work.

HARRINGTON. You mean you’re gonna write some African songs?

PRINCE. Not songs necessarily, but a jazz suite, or perhaps concerto. I’ve discussed it with Stokowski.

HARRINGTON. Holy Warsaw! Old Stokey, huh? But listen, Prince, what’s this good-will ambassador business?

PRINCE. Mister Harrington, now you tell your papers that I am here on a strictly private visit. I officially represent no one but myself... (At this moment Andrew Kutompa comes rushing up the stairs and toward Prince’s door, he knocks, and suddenly realizes that Prince is standing in the hallway.)

KUTOMPA. Mr. Youngblood, sir, a message for you from the commissioner.

PRINCE (takes the message). Thank you. it (He hands Kutompa a coin. Kutompa stares at it, surprised. Prince turns on his heels and disappears into his room.)

KUTOMPA (showing the coin to Harrington). Mr. Harrington, sir, do you know what this coin is?

HARRINGTON (looks at the coin). A quarter? Oh, it’s worth about (a quick calculation on his fingers) a shilling and nine pence. By the way, who’s this commissioner the message was from?

KUTOMPA (surprised). Why, the British High Commissioner, sir, Sir Donald Robertson.

HARRINGTON. You don't have to call me “sir, sir.''

KUTOMPA. I mean Sir Donald, sir. He is like the governor, only here in Moanga we aren't a crown colony any more, but a self-governing protectorate, and next year were are scheduled for independence.

HARRINGTON. Does this commissioner usually send messages to visiting Americans?

KUTOMPA. Why, no, sir, but Mr. Youngblood is a very special visitor. I can tell you that tomorrow Mr. Youngblood will perform at a celebration given by the Chief...


KUTOMPA. Sir Stanley Keponwa, sir, the chief of the Bambuto tribe. We have many tribes here in Moanga, but, if I may say so modestly, the Bambuto are the most important, and we call him just “the Chief.'' The Chief will present Mr. Youngblood with a gift for you President, made by our finest Bambuto artisans, a giraffe-skin golf bag.

HARRINGTON. Holy Augusta! But listen, if it isn't official yet, then how do you know?

KUTOMPA. A family secret, you might call it, sir. You see, all Bambuto are related to the Chief...


KUTOMPA. And also, I believe this afternoon there is going to be a reception at the Commissioner’s. (Mustafa comes up the stairs, rushes over to Kutompa).

MUSTAFA. Mistah Andrew...

KUTOMPA. You mean, Mister Kutompa... (He winks at Harrington, who looks puzzled.)

MUSTAFA. Yes, Mistah Kutompa, you telephone you wan' downstair'.

KUTOMPA. You mean, I am wanted on the telephone downstairs? (To Harrington, confidentially.) You know, these Mankala... (He walks away toward the stairs, shaking his head, and leaves.)

HARRINGTON. What’s he talkin’ about?

MUSTAFA. Mistah Andrew, he Bambuto, don' like Mankala.

HARRINGTON. Different tribe, huh?

MUSTAFA. Yes, very much diff’ren' tribe. Mankala very much importan', is Muslim. Me been Mecca two time.

HARRINGTON. You know, in America we also got black Muslims.


HARRINGTON. Yes. They’ve got a leader named Elijah Muhammad. You know what he calls people like me? White devils, that’s what he calls us.

MUSTAFA (laughs). You no devil. Muslim say, black people, white people belong Allah.

HARRINGTON. How about the Bambuto?

MUSTAFA. Bambuto no devil. Bambuto devil frien'! (Both laugh). Me go work. Salaam aleikum!

HARRINGTON. Salaam aleikum to you, too. (Mustafa walks off. Harrington to himself.) Holy Karachi! (He is about to enter his room when Prince emerges from his, wearing a dashiki. Harrington turns around. To Prince.) Hey, you’re goin’ native!

PRINCE. I bought this in Manhattan. It’s made in Holland. I thought I might show these people what an African should look like. Kawaan’si!


PRINCE. It means “farewell, my friend'' in Bambuto.

HARRINGTON. Oh, kawaan’si!

Prince goes down the stairs. Harrington returns to his room, takes a swig of gin, and sits down on the bed. He gets up, takes a portable typewriter from the wardrobe, places it on the bed. He goes back to the wardrobe, gets paper, puts a sheet in the typewriter, sits down on the bed, looks at the typewriter. He begins to type, stops, looks out the window, then again at the typewriter. Band: “I need you now'' theme. Harrington smiles to himself, adjusts his tie, and stands up. He sings.)


Music: read or listen


People think a newsman’s life is full of glamour,
Interviews with famous names and famous faces,
Travel and adventure in exotic places.
Have they ever got to learn a thing or two!

With that deadline pounding on you like a hammer!
File that copy! Get that scoop before the others!
I know what I would do if I had my druthers!
Yes, I know just what I really want to do.


All I really want to be is a jazz singer,
A scooby-dooby-ooby razzamatazz singer.
Like Eberly, or like Sinatra; like Eckstine, or like Tormé,
I know I could be like them if I could only find the way.

I know I’ve got the talent and the voice for it.
Now all I’ve got to do is make a choice for it.
I’ll do it! How can I do it? I’ll give no ifs or buts.
The only question is if I have really got the guts.

It must be grand to stand in front of a band,
With a microphone in your hand.
And as you croon a tune of June or of moon,
All the pretty girls, they will swoon.

I know I have a future as a jazz singer,
A scooby-dooby-ooby razzamatazz singer.
Like Eberly, or like Sinatra; like Eckstine, or like Tormé,
I know I could sing like them if I just got my chance some day!

(Speaks.) And now I’m friends with Prince Hal Youngblood! This may be my chance! (He strikes himself on the head.) Wake up, Harrington! Get to work. (He sits down on the bed and begins to type. Curtain.)

Scene 2

Large room in Chief’s house. A meeting of the Bambuto ruling council: Chief, David, Pumbe, Gonte and Kamemba, all sitting cross- legged around a low table, the Chief on a cushion higher than the others. Kamemba appears asleep.

DAVID. But we don't know, my dear Stanley, if it’s the same old Roger who is coming back. Three years at the London School of Economics...

PUMBE. And you know, your highness, that the Bakunwe haven't the same sense of tradition as we Bambuto.

GONTE (pompously). But they are our traditional allies, and upon this alliance shall be built the independent state of Moanga!

CHIEF. And what better way, may I ask, of cementing the alliance than to have my daughter, my only princess, marry Roger Jalemwa, who in due time will be our prime minister?

PUMBE (to Gonte). You realize, of course, my dear Gonte, that the Bakunwe have been our traditional allies only since they stopped being our traditional enemies.

GONTE. But that was ages ago!

CHIEF. Yes, at least ten years! I remember the ceremony... Arthur Jalemwa and I drank Sir Matthew Murray’s finest old port, and my Lily and his Roger just looked at each other... They were mere children, of course, but there I saw the destiny of our country!

GONTE. Our two tribes represent civilization and progress, moderated by tradition.

DAVID. Those are fine words, but I should be much more comfortable if my lovely niece married someone within her own tribe, even if he is not a chief’s son.

CHIEF. But it is Roger she wants, my dear David. When she was just a little girl she always said she would only marry a prince.

GONTE. And she’s been waiting for him all these years! A truly regal steadfastness, don't you agree, your highness?


DAVID. Have you seen any of his letters to her?

CHIEF. Of course not. Lydia tells me she keeps them in a locked box.

PUMBE. But we know the articles he has published in the Moanga Times. I, for one, don't feel at all secure with their author as foreign minister.

GONTE. All right, then we shall make him finance minister. All that can be democratically decided at the party congress, after we tell them. But the success of the M. U. P., which we all so ardently desire, depends on the Bambuto-Bakunwe alliance, without which the M. P. P., the M. S. P. and the M. S. P. P. will gain enough votes to form a coalition, and there we go.

DAVID. What if Lily doesn't want Roger after he comes back?

CHIEF. Impossible!

SERVANT (enters). Excuse me, your highness, but Lady Lydia wishes your highness to be reminded that the reception at the Commissioner’s House is at five o'clock.

CHIEF. You mean, for the American chap?

SERVANT. Yes, your highness, Prince Hal Youngblood.

CHIEF (looking at his watch). In that case, the meeting of the Bambuto ruling council is over.

DAVID. But Stanley! We haven't really settled this matter! You know, you have a grave responsibility.

CHIEF (angrily). I am aware of my grave responsibility! (He sings, with David, Gonte, Pumbe and Servant as chorus.)


Music: read or listen

I am aware of my grave responsibility,
And I discharge it to the best of my ability,
But now my patience is tried beyond belief:
You are forgetting that I am the chief.

But now his patience is tried beyond belief:
We are forgetting that he is the chief.


I am the Chief,
He is the Chief,
He who forgets that will come to grief.
He is the Chief,
I am the Chief,
He who forgets that will come to grief.

When I was young I was somewhat dissipated
From all the high life in which I participated,
But then I learned to turn over a new leaf
When it was time for me to be the Chief.
But then he learned to turn over a new leaf
When it was time for him to be the Chief.

I am the Chief...

I have received an appropriate education,
As well befits a person of my chiefly station.
I use a knife and a fork to eat roast beef
So ev'rybody will know I’m the Chief.
He’ll use a knife and a fork to eat roast beef
So ev'rybody will know he’s the Chief.

I am the Chief...

I carry on our historical tradition,
And though I tolerate a loyal opposition,
I’ll say it once more and I’ll be very brief:
You must remember that I am the Chief.
He’ll say it once more and he’ll be very brief:
We must remember that he is the Chief.

I am the Chief...

LADY LYDIA (enters). Of course you are the Chief, Stanley. How can any one forget that? Surely they must have a very poor memory.

CHIEF (still angry). It is not a matter of memory, Lydia, it’s a matter of authority. My dear brother David, and our esteemed cousin Oliver Pumbe, have been questioning the wisdom of our Lily’s marrying Roger Jalemwa.

LADY LYDIA. But they love each other!

CHIEF. That isn't the point. It is arranged! And I want it!

GONTE. And his highness is the Chief!

PUMBE (to Gonte). You remember! (Gonte gives him an angry look.)

LADY LYDIA. And what does my dear uncle Kamemba think of all this?

KAMEMBA (startled into consciousness). My dear niece, my dear nephew-in-law, my dear nephew-in-law-in-law, my dear kinsmen, what I think of all this is that, first, it is a matter of the utmost importance, second, that it requires all due deliberation by the ruling council, third...

DAVID (to Pumbe). That’s just what he said the last time.

PUMBE (to David). When we were discussing cattle ownership.

KAMEMBA. ...that we must respect all opinions expressed at this meeting...

GONTE. But the meeting is over!

KAMEMBA. In that case, the matter is settled.

CHIEF. That’s just what I say. It’s settled.

KAMEMBA. If I may be excused, then, I must catch up on my sleep. These long meetings are exhausting at my age. (He leaves.)

DAVID. We shall speak of this again. Cheerio! (Leaves. Gonte and Pumbe bow and leave.)

CHIEF. Let me say it again, Lydia. I don't know what love’s got to do with it when it’s all arranged between Arthur Jalemwa and me.

LADY LYDIA. I think it’s different nowadays.

CHIEF. Nonsense! I married you because our fathers arranged it.

LADY LYDIA. And you also married Sarah and Elizabeth.

CHIEF. That was different. I married them for... You know what I married them for. But you are my first wife.

LADY LYDIA. Are you saying you don't love me?

CHIEF. Of course I love you, my dear Lydia. But that was not the reason why I married you. Lily shall marry Roger, and that is that.

Lily, a lovely, sprightly girl of about eighteen, enters, wearing slacks and a blouse.

LILY. Did someone say my name?

CHIEF. Lily! We are going to a reception at Sir Donald’s! You must put on traditional dress!

LILY (to Lady Lydia). Mother, will you help me choose a gown?

LADY LYDIA. Of course, my dear.

CHIEF. I shall leave you two to women’s business. (Leaves, followed by servant.)

LADY LYDIA. Roger’s coming back tomorrow! Aren't you excited?

LILY. Oh, Mother, I am more afraid than excited. I don't know how I feel about him any more. This morning I looked at the letters he has written, and they are full of things about the world, about England, about Africa, about Moanga, but nothing about me! He never writes that he loves me, how only signs with “your loving Roger.'' He might as well write, “your most obedient servant.''

LADY LYDIA. All that doesn't matter. You know that he really loves you, every one knows that. Besides, they say that some day Roger will be prime minister of Moanga, perhaps even president. Then you would be the first lady of Moanga! That is more than I am ever going to be.

LILY. But I don't even think that I shall be Roger’s first lady. I think Moanga will always be his first lady. Sometimes I wish we weren't such important people. I wish I were just a village girl.

LADY LYDIA. Of course, the prettiest girl in the village.

LILY. And all the men would be after me! (Sings.)


Music: read or listen

I’d be as gay as the birds in the forest,
I’d be as free as the air.
I wouldn't care if my folks were the poorest,
I’d be the richest one there.

I’d be the girl full of dancing and laughter,
I’d be the girl with a song.
I’d be the girl all the men would be after;
I would just string them along.

Or I would treat them like cousins or brothers
Till one day there would arrive
One who’d be diff’rent from all of the others:
He’d make me feel more alive.

He would be fun and a singer and dancer,
Full of bright laughter and play.
When he would ask me, I’d give him my answer
After a proper delay.

I would be ready to settle and marry
If such a man came along.
But till that day I’d be like a canary,
I’d be the girl with a song.

LADY LYDIA. All right, village girl, let’s go and find a proper village gown for you. You know your father likes to be on time~no proper delays for him.

LILY. Oh, Mother! (They leave. Curtain.)

Scene 3

Verandah of Commissioner’s House. Tables are set for cocktails. A sofa. A small Union Jack. A picture of a young Queen Elizabeth II, and one of King George VI, the latter with a black border. Enter Prince and Benjamin.

BENJAMIN. You are most welcome to the Commissioner’s, Mr. Youngblood, sir. Sir Donald is still busy, but Lady Robertson will attend you presently. May I serve you a drink?

PRINCE. No, thanks. I’ve already had occasion to say today, “I never drink, except when i work.'' And today I am not working.

BENJAMIN. Something non-alcoholic, then, perhaps?

PRINCE. How about some iced tea?

BENJAMIN (swallows a grimace of disgust). Very good, sir. Oh, here comes Lady Robertson now. (Leaves.)

Lady Robertson enters, an attractive woman in her forties, wearing a simple but elegant, brightly colored dress. Prince’s face registers the merest glimmer of a recollection.

LADY ROBERTSON. Prince! I’ve been ever so much looking forward to seeing you! Are you having a nice stay?

PRINCE. Oh yes, most enjoyable, thank you, Lady Robertson.

LADY ROBERTSON. Donald is frightfully busy these days, helping the Moangans prepare for independence. I’ve helped too~I helped design their flag. If you stay round long enough, they’ll ask you to compose their national anthem.

PRINCE. I’d be glad to. I’ve never written a national anthem before.

LADY ROBERTSON. Sometimes “I need you now'' sounds as if it might be a bit of an international anthem~it’s played ever so much.

PRINCE. That song! I can't stand it! Often I wish I’d never written it~it’s all people think of when they hear my name. At least I didn't write the words.

LADY ROBERTSON. Yes, I love it when you do it as an instrumental. But it’s not what I think of when I hear your name. Do you remember when you played the London Palladium in nineteen-forty?

PRINCE. How could I forget it? It was just when the blitz started. I wrote a number inspired by the air-raid sirens~I called it “Siren Song''.

LADY ROBERTSON. I know. And do you remember a singer called Elsie Taylor?

PRINCE. How could I forget her? I wrote it for her. Elsie... (A sudden shock of recognition.) Elsie!!! (Warm embrace, followed by pause.) But what are you doing here? Lady Robertson?!

LADY ROBERTSON. We were doing a show at a military hospital, and I met Donald there. He’d been wounded in North Africa with Montgomery. He was quite a hero~went in a second lieutenant~he’d been commissioned because he’d taken honours in African studies~came out a colonel. After the war we were married, he went into the colonial service, and here we are.

PRINCE. And what are you going to do when this place goes independent?

LADY ROBERTSON. He could stay on as high commissioner, but it would be more like an ambassador. God knows, the people here want him. But I’m after him to get a ministry job in London. I do miss London, the theatre, the music and all that sort of thing. And old friends, of course.

PRINCE. You’ve given up music?

LADY ROBERTSON. I sing in church sometimes. The Anglican Church has some cool music.

PRINCE. I know. I’m an Episcopalian myself. In fact, the Bishop of San Francisco asked me to write a jazz liturgy.


PRINCE. Elsie, I just can't get over it, finding you here. My God, what memories! Do you remember when we were in the air-raid shelter of the Savoy, and Bea Lillie said, “What a lovely war, pity we shall have to win it''?

LADY ROBERTSON. And Vic Oliver said, “can't lose 'em all!''

PRINCE. Those were the days!

LADY ROBERTSON. And the nights!

(They sing.)


Music: read or listen


Those were the days and the nights in the shelter
When we two happened to meet.
Just thinking of them brings up such a welter
Of mem'ries bittersweet.

It is so hard to keep from reminiscing
About those days of the war.
Someone you loved would turn out to be missing
And you’d see him no more.

(Here Lady Robertson’s voice trails off, as if the memory were too painful. Pause. They resume.)

Yes, we shall always remember
How, in those nights of September,
Enemies tried to dismember
London town.

We watched with fear and with sorrow,
Thought there might be no tomorrow,
And yet we’d smile and we’d borrow
Half a crown.

(They exchange smiles, as if sharing a private joke.)

Now a cold war is arising,
Mushroom clouds on the horizon,
When, oh when, will people wisen,
When, oh when?

Though we shall never forget it,
We must not merely regret it,
But we must not ever let it
Happen again.

(Benjamin, carrying a tray with iced tea, and Sir Donald enter shortly before the end of the duet.)

BENJAMIN. Your iced tea, sir.

PRINCE. Thank you. (Benjamin leaves.)

SIR DONALD (after a pause). Dreadfully sorry I’m late, and I’m ever so happy to meet you, Prince Hal. I’ve heard so much about you from Elsie. And I remember when you visited England during the blitz~you were quite a hero to us.

PRINCE. You British people were the heroes~maybe it rubbed off. Why, after a few weeks in England my upper lip was so stiff I couldn't pucker for months.

LADY ROBERTSON. You did a good job while you were there.

PRINCE. I felt I owed it to my British cousins.

LADY ROBERTSON. I should have thought the people here were your cousins.

PRINCE (affecting a “jive'' accent). They’s my brothers and sisters.

SIR DONALD. Wonderful people, the Africans. Wonderful culture and all that. The trouble is, too many of them are trying to be like us bloody Europeans. There’s this young chap called Roger Jalemwa~son of the chief of the Bakunwe tribe, north of here~has been studying at the London School of Economics. I saw him last year when I was in London~he’s more English than I am.

LADY ROBERTSON. But you’re a Scotsman, Donald! Anybody would be more English than you.

SIR DONALD. More British, then, let’s say~I get the bloody terms mixed up. He’s coming back tomorrow, this Roger fellow, and there will be a big celebration honoring him, as well as you. In fact, we should be honored if you would play at the celebration.

LADY ROBERTSON. There will also be tribal drummers and dancers.

PRINCE. Really? I am most interested.

SIR DONALD. We shall get you the best piano in Moanga.

LADY ROBERTSON. Though we shan't guarantee the tuning. But there are some good local jazz musicians here.


LADY ROBERTSON. You’ll meet them this evening. They know your music, and they would be thrilled to play with you.

PRINCE. Tell me more about this Roger, Sir Donald.

SIR DONALD. Please skip the “sir'', Prince Hal, you’re with friends.

PRINCE. Please skip the “Hal''~just call me Prince.

SIR DONALD. Roger is due to marry the Princess Lily, daughter of the Bambuto chief.

PRINCE. Sir Stanley Ke... something.

SIR DONALD. Right-o. In fact, you shall meet the Chief in (looks at his watch) precisely one minute and a half. He is a great practitioner of pomp... promptitude, a virtue he honors above all others, except tradition. He collects watches~is said to have the finest collection in Africa~keeps them all wound and set. He wants Moanga to be a black Switzerland.

LADY ROBERTSON. What he means is, people of different languages and religions...

SIR DONALD. ... meaning tribes...

LADY ROBERTSON. ... living in harmony...

SIR DONALD. ... some more harmonious than others...

LADY ROBERTSON. ... not trains running on time.

SIR DONALD. There are no trains in Moanga, excepts goods-trains.

PRINCE. Goods-trains?

LADY ROBERTSON. Freight trains to you, Prince.

SIR DONALD. Ah yes, separated by a common language. To continue with the tale of Roger: I think the people here are in for a bit of a shock when they get to know him again. Not only is he as British as the Duke of Wellington, he is also a bit of a socialist. And as for his marrying.

BENJAMIN (entering). The Chief, Lady Lydia, and Princess Lily Keponwa have arrived. (They enter.)

SIR DONALD (to Chief). Your highness, may I present Prince Hal Youngblood, from the United...

CHIEF (curtly). How do you do. (To Sir Donald) Sir Donald, I need some words with you. (They go off.)


PRINCE (to Lady Lydia). Lady Lydia~what a musical name! I’m enchanted! (Kisses her hand.)

LADY LYDIA. You are very kind. I hope you are enjoying your stay in Moanga. You are our honored guest. (To Lady Robertson.) And how are you, Elsie?

LADY ROBERTSON. Fine, thank you, Lydia. The Prince is actually an old friend of mine.

LADY LYDIA. Really? How interesting! Prince Hal, may I present my daughter Lily? (To Lady Robertson.) Elsie, I need to talk to you for a moment... (They move away.)

PRINCE (to Lily). You must be the loveliest lily in all Africa! I will write a song about you~I can hear it in my head already~it will be called “African Lily''. I will write and arrange it tonight, and I’ll play it at the celebration tomorrow, in your honor.

LILY. Oh, thank you, Prince Hal.

(A moment’s silence, while they look at each other.)

LILY. Where in America do you live, Prince Hal?

PRINCE. I live in New York.

LILY. I have heard about New York. It is so big! Big tall buildings with many stories!

PRINCE. Yes, I live on the eighteenth story.

LILY. Do you live alone?

PRINCE. No, I live with my wife~my third wife, to be exact.

LILY. Really? Where does your first wife live?

PRINCE. She still lives in St. Louis, where I was born.

LILY. St. Louis?

PRINCE. Have you heard of the St. Louis Blues?

LILY. Is that a rugby team?

PRINCE (laughs). No, it’s a song. I will play it at the celebration tomorrow.

LILY. And your second wife?

PRINCE. She lives in Hollywood. She’s a film actress. Have you heard of Hollywood?

LILY. Of course. But it’s funny, all your wives living in different places. My father has three wives, too, but they all live in his house. Of course, my mother is the first wife, that’s why I am a princess.

PRINCE. You don't understand, Princess... Or should I call you your highness?

LILY (seductively). Call me Lily.

PRINCE. You see, Lily, my first and second wives are my exes...

LILY (laughs). Exes! don't care what letters they are. Of course, if you should marry me, I should have to become your first wife.


LILY. Because I am a princess. A princess cannot be a second wife.


LILY. By the way, what kind of prince are you?

PRINCE. A prince of jazz.

LILY. How lovely! Is that a tribe?

PRINCE. In America, the jazz musicians are the nobility. We have a Duke, a Count, a couple of Kings, and even a Prez. I am the Prince.

LILY. How wonderful! I always knew that I would marry a prince, but didn't know that it would be an American one.

PRINCE. Pardon...

LILY. We shall live in New York, in a white house.

PRINCE. But...

LILY. Your president lives in a white house; so should a prince.

PRINCE. My dear Lily, you don't understand...

LILY. I know. There are many things I don't understand. I don't think I am very clever. But it doesn't matter. I am a princess, and you are a prince, and I am happy.

PRINCE. I’m married already...

LILY. I do understand that. But you love me. You called me the loveliest lily in all Africa, and that means you love me~I understand that, too. (She kisses him. Sir Donald enters.)

SIR DONALD. You two have got acquainted, have you?

PRINCE. Oh, hello, Donald...

SIR DONALD. You have just experienced the American way of greeting, Princess. (To Prince.) I remember when one of your generals came to visit~Patton, I think it was~he was introduced to the WRENS chief, and this is just how he greeted her.

LILY. It isn't that. Prince Hal is going to marry me.

SIR DONALD (gulps, but keeps his composure). Lovely! But does the Chief agree? (Winks at Prince.)

LILY. I have always told my father that I should only marry a prince, and he agreed.

SIR DONALD. But what about Roger?

LILY. Till now he was the only prince available. But he doesn't care about me! He never called me the loveliest lily in all Africa! Or even in all Moanga! Prince Hal did.

SIR DONALD. You are going to tell the Chief, of course.

LILY. Of course.

SIR DONALD. It might be a bit better, then, to tell him tomorrow. He is not quite himself this afternoon.

LILY. All right. But I shall tell my mother! (Runs off.)

SIR DONALD (after her). Princess... (To Prince.) Hopeless. She’s quite a girl. (Shakes his hand.) Congratulations, Prince! I’m sure you and the princess will live happily ever after. (He laughs, eventually joined by Prince. They stop when Lily returns.)

LILY. I couldn't talk. My father was there, and you are right, Sir Donald, he is in a frightful mood. What on earth could have got into him?

SIR DONALD. Perhaps one of his watches stopped. What ho! I see some guests arriving! (To Prince.) There is Teddy Blackman, and the Rubinsteins, and... I say, who is that chap? I’ve never seen him before.

PRINCE. Oh, him! He’s a friend of mine. He’s named... uh... oh yes: Harrington, Joe Harrington. He’s a reporter for UP.

SIR DONALD. An American?

PRINCE. Afraid so.

SIR DONALD. Then he shall be our welcome guest! (As guests enter, white and black, in European and various modes of tribal dress, he sings.)


Music: read or listen

You’ll all be our welcome guests,
In our humble place.
Black and white, and all the rest,
Never mind what race.
Eat our food, and drink our wine,
And please do ask for more.
We want you to feel so fine
As you’ve never felt before.

(Band plays interlude, in British music-hall style. Sir Donald greets people familiarly. Benjamin serves drinks. Lady Robertson, Lady Lydia and Chief come out.)


You are all our cherished friends,
Do just as you wish.

(A guest drops a dish, which breaks.)

You don't need to make amends
If you drop a dish.
Come and join our happy crowd,
And you’ll be happy, too.
We don't mind if you get loud.
The party’s all for you.

Sir Donald and Lady Robertson dance, followed by others. Curtain.

Act 2