Verandah of Commissioners House. Sir Donald and Lady Robertson are having breakfast. Benjamin comes in with coffee.
SIR DONALD. Lets have another cup of Moangas finest bean, Benjamin.
BENJAMIN. Very good, sir. And Lady Robertson?
LADY ROBERTSON. Certainly! Thank you, Benjamin. (Benjamin serves coffee and leaves.) That was quite an affair last night! Couldnt have had a better one in London.
SIR DONALD. A good job Roger wasnt there it would have been much to bourgeois for him. Tonights party, I expect, will be more traditional.
LADY ROBERTSON. That Harrington chap two scotches, and he turns into Bing Crosby!
SIR DONALD. He practically forced the Prince to let him sing with the band tonight.
LADY ROBERTSON. Who knows? Perhaps a star will be born that chap has a good voice and a good sense of rhythm. But poor Prince he was so uncomfortable! He wanted to talk about Africa, and everybody else wanted to talk about jazz.
SIR DONALD. That wasnt the only reason he was uncomfortable.
LADY ROBERTSON. Oh?
SIR DONALD. Youll never guess why. It has to do with Lily.
LADY ROBERTSON. Lily?! Thats funny. Lydia told me that Lily is having doubts about marrying Roger, and shes coming here again this morning to talk. But whats it got to do with the Prince?
SIR DONALD. Lily spoke to him for five minutes, and made up her mind that shes going to marry him.
LADY ROBERTSON. What!!!
SIR DONALD. He is a prince, after all, you know. He called her the loveliest Lily in Africa, or something like that quite a charming fellow, actually and she took it as a declaration of love.
LADY ROBERTSON. But hes married.
SIR DONALD. Doesnt bother her a bit. Shes used to polygamy, you know. I persuaded her, at least, not to tell the Chief last night. But this morning...
LADY ROBERTSON. We shall have to do something!
SIR DONALD. I shall have to talk to Lydia.
BENJAMIN (enters). Mr. Pickenham wishes to talk to you, Sir Donald. He says it is very urgent.
SIR DONALD. As usual. Show him in. (Benjamin leaves. Pickenham enters.) Good morning, Pickenham. What is it this time, eh?
PICKENHAM. Good morning, sir. We just received a call from BOAC. Rogers flight will be delayed.
SIR DONALD. Oh dear! By how much?
PICKENHAM. They dont know, sir.
SIR DONALD. Bloody bother, as if we needed any more. Do you think we should get the celebration delayed?
PICKENHAM. Its hard to say, sir. It may be only a few hours, and then again he may not get here till tomorrow.
LADY ROBERTSON. You know how the Chief feels about delays. Besides his traditional celebrations do go on and on. Suppose we just keep it going till Roger arrives.
PICKENHAM. Itll be rather a shock for him, dont you think so, sir?
LADY ROBERTSON. Besides, he will be in his English clothes.
SIR DONALD. Never mind. Itll do him good. Confront him with the reality of Moanga!
LADY ROBERTSON. And Lily flirting with the Prince!
SIR DONALD. We shall do something about that. All right, Pickenham, you know what to tell the BOAC chaps.
PICKENHAM. Yes, sir. (Leaves.)
SIR DONALD. Capital fellow, the Prince. I should like to get to know him better.
LADY ROBERTSON. In America they would call him a prince of a fellow.
SIR DONALD. Very apt. I do hope our little socio-political crisis doesnt get him too bothered.
LADY ROBERTSON. Hell be all right. Hes a cool cat lands on all four.
SIR DONALD. You and he had a bit of a fling there during the war.
LADY ROBERTSON. One of those brief encounters. He was in England only for a few weeks, Tom was already flying over Germany...
SIR DONALD. ... never to return, poor chap...
LADY ROBERTSON. ... and the music brought us together. I loved his music still do and the Prince is his music.
SIR DONALD. You two still have strong feelings for each other.
LADY ROBERTSON. One cant forget something like that.
SIR DONALD. You know, Elsie, I love you very much.
LADY ROBERTSON. I know, Donald. I love you, too.
SIR DONALD. I shouldnt get jealous if you and the Prince how should I say it got close again while hes here.
LADY ROBERTSON. Donald!
SIR DONALD. Well, you know, I took you away from London, and I owe you a bit of compensation.
LADY ROBERTSON. How silly! You sound like some one out of Somerset Maugham. Besides, the Prince and I share a beautiful memory, and it would be better not to confuse it with reality.
SIR DONALD. Touché, my dear.
LADY ROBERTSON (suspiciously). Or is that diplomatic mind of yours hatching a plot to get Lily away from him? It wouldnt work, you know: it would only make her want him more.
SIR DONALD. Women! Ill never understand them.
LADY ROBERTSON. Just think of us as an exotic culture, Donald, and...
BENJAMIN (enters). Lady Lydia is here, my lady.
LADY LYDIA (rushing in). Elsie! Sir Donald! I must tell you what happened! Stanley is out his mind!
SIR DONALD. You mean, about Princess Lily and Prince Hal?
LADY LYDIA. You know?
SIR DONALD. I was there when it happened. It was none of the Princes doing, you know. He said something charming to her, and she took it as a proposal of marriage.
LADY LYDIA. Just like my Lily. She believes everyone must be in love with her. She is rather spoiled, but then she is, you know, the only Bambuto princess.
SIR DONALD. You shall have to explain to her that the Prince is married...
LADY LYDIA. She knows that!
SIR DONALD. ... and that American men have only one wife at a time, even a prince.
LADY LYDIA. She wont listen to reason. Whatever she wants, she must get.
LADY ROBERTSON. Yes, shell just say, let him divorce her. Quite reasonable, after all, isnt it?
LADY LYDIA. What shall we do? Stanley is calling the ruling council together, for the second day in a row.
SIR DONALD. Thats unheard of!
LADY ROBERTSON. Weve got a jolly crisis our our hands!
SIR DONALD, LADY ROBERTSON, AND LADY LYDIA (sing).
CRISIS(an operatic trio)
Music: read or listen
Weve got a crisis,
SIR DONALD (speaks). The problem, as I see it, is really with the Chief and not with Lily, isnt it?
LADY LYDIA. Thats true.
SIR DONALD. In that case, I shall have to talk to him as one statesman to another.
LADY LYDIA. What do you mean?
SIR DONALD. Perhaps something about international protocol.
LADY ROBERTSON. Donald!
SIR DONALD. Dont worry, ladies, I shall think of something. (Band: I am the Chief. Curtain.)
Chiefs house; Chief and ruling council, except David; Kamemba asleep as usual. Chief is pacing angrily, glancing at his watch.
CHIEF. Where is that girl? She is late! One minute and fifteen seconds!
DAVID (enters, panting). She is here, Stanley. Good luck!
LILY (enters, defiant). Good morning, father.
CHIEF. It may not be such a good morning for you, young lady. What is the meaning of this Prince Hal business?
LILY. Hasnt mother told you? Its very simple. I am going to marry him.
CHIEF (shouting). Youre doing nothing of the sort! (Less loud.) You are marrying Roger Jalemwa, or I am not the Chief!
LILY. You mean youre going to resign over such a silly matter?
CHIEF. Silly matter? Resign? Lily, I have been a very tolerant father for you. I have allowed you to wear trousers, and to talk on the telephone, and even to listen to... whats his name... Pelvis Wrestler...
LILY. Elvis Presley, father. You are so ignorant.
CHIEF. How dare you insult me in front of my council! Or anywhere!
LILY. I am not insulting you, father. I am just telling you the truth.
CHIEF. The truth! I believe in truth, and honesty, and all that sort of thing, but respect comes before them, because it is a part of our tradition. You, my daughter, are violating our tradition. Do you know what happens to a Bambuto princess who disobeys her father?
LILY. No. What happens?
CHIEF. Why... uh... the last time a Bambuto princess disobeyed her father... (Turns to Gonte.) What happened to her?
GONTE. That must have happened so long ago... Perhaps Kamemba knows.
CHIEF (shouts). Kamemba!
KAMEMBA (waking up). Is the meeting over, your highness? In that case I will be excused. I must catch up on my sleep...
CHIEF. No, Kamemba, it is not over. We need the benefit of your age and wisdom.
KAMEMBA. Thank you, your highness, you are very kind...
CHIEF. Kamemba! When was the last time a Bambuto princess disobeyed her father?
KAMEMBA. A Bambuto princess disobeyed her father? That must be before my time. We shall have to consult our oral history. Call the talesinger.
CHIEF. The talesinger! A capital idea.
KAMEMBA. Thank you, your highness, I dont...
CHIEF (cuts him off). Never mind. Gonte, fetch the talesinger. His hut is just down the road.
GONTE. I know, your highness. (Leaves, running.)
DAVID. If we are going to hear the talesinger, we need drummers.
CHIEF. Right-o. Get the drummers, Pumbe.
PUMBE. Which ones, your highness? Union or non- union?
CHIEF. Union, of course. This has to be traditional. (Pumbe leaves. To Lily.) Now you shall see, young lady. Im afraid you education has not had enough tradition in it. We shall have to change that. (Kamemba falls back asleep.)
LILY. I know how to sing, and dance, and how to put on tribal gowns, and even to carry a jug on my head. Isnt that traditional enough?
CHIEF. My other daughters would never speak to me like that, even though they are not princesses.
LILY. My half-sisters hardly even speak English. What do you expect?
CHIEF. Perhaps all that English reading has given you strange ideas... Dickens, or... I only read the Moanga Times, and the memoirs of Sir Winston Churchill. Great man! Lily, you shall be punished according to Bambuto tradition, no more, no less. We shall soon see what that is.
LILY. I dont care.
CHIEF. I cant possibly blame your mother for this. Lady Lydia wouldnt dream of such untraditional behavior.
LILY. Oh, no. Perhaps you may blame my tutor, Miss Brackleston...
CHIEF. No, such a respectable lady.
LILY. ...or my nurse, Manelimi...
CHIEF. No, she was truly traditional.
LILY. Or our cook, Sumola...
CHIEF (explodes). Are you mocking me again, Lily? (Talesinger enters, followed by Gonte.)
GONTE. Here is the talesinger, your highness.
CHIEF. Very good. Do you know about the last time a Bambuto princess disobeyed her father?
TALESINGER. Your highness must mean Maluna.
CHIEF. Yes, of course. Tell me about her.
TALESINGER. I cannot tell you about her.
CHIEF. What do you mean?
TALESINGER. I mean, I can only sing to you about her. And I need drummers.
CHIEF. I know. Theyll be here presently.
TALESINGER. And everytime I finish a stanza, everyone must sing Awingaweh.
CHIEF. What is that?
TALESINGER. It is traditional.
CHIEF. Oh, of course.
TALESINGER. This is how you sing it. (Sings.) Awingaweh (four times). Now everybody. (Chief clears his throat.)
EVERYBODY EXCEPT LILY (singing). Awingaweh (four times).
Enter Pumbe and drummers, who greet the Talesinger familiarly and bow to the Chief and to Lily.)
TALESINGER (to drummers). Awinga nakulami. (Drummers nod and begin warming up.)
CHIEF (to Talesinger). Whats that?
TALESINGER. It is the beat. It is traditional for this sort of tale.
CHIEF. Of course.
TALESINGER. Ready? (Drummers nod and begin. Talesinger sings.)
MALUNAMusic: read or listen
Ill sing the tale of the princess called Maluna.
The Chief, getting more and more upset during the last three stanzas, becomes furious at the end. Lily bursts out laughing; restrained laughter by David and Pumbe; Gonte is perplexed, as is Kamemba who suddenly wakes up.
CHIEF (to Talesinger and drummers). Out! Out! (To others.) The meeting is over!
DAVID(to Talesinger and drummers as they leave, confused). Dont worry, you will be paid later. (Band: I Am the Chief theme.)
LADY LYDIA (enters). What is happening? What is all this noise?
CHIEF. Its your fault! This daughter of yours...
LILY (to Chief). Dont insult my mother! (Chief and Lady Lydia are speechless. Lily laughs.) That song was about me! I am the girl in that song! (Sings.)
I am the girl who does just as she wishes,(Leaves, laughing and dancing. Chief is sputtering.)
LADY LYDIA. Now, now, Stanley, arent you glad she is so high-spirited? After all, it is in our tradition. Curtain. Band: The Girl with a Song.