Another angle on fire is: trial by fire
We commonly use this to mean, going through some kind of ordeal, or having to do something really hard without much experience at it (e.g. my first year teaching in a high school was trial by fire)
What gets burned away from us in these experiences?
What remains after the burning?
TERRENCE has been tried and judged guilty of a petty crime. He will soon be torched by the madding crowd.
TERRENCE: “I am innocent yet here I stand tethered to this stake awaiting my untimely death. Is there no one out there that has mercy?”
He scans through the sea of angry faces until he finds a friendly one. A gentleman steps forward.
TERRENCE: “My brother! Have you come to pay my fee?”
MAN: “I cannot pay your fee but I have come to give you hope.”
TERRENCE: “Hope? How can I hope to escape these flames that will soon engulf me?”
MAN: “Have faith, there is always a chance for liberty.“
The crowd grows restless but then a beautiful young woman steps forward.
YOUNG WOMAN: “My love!”
TERRENCE: “My wife! Have you come to pay my fee?
YOUNG WOMAN: “I cannot pay your fee but I too have come to bring you hope.”
TERRENCE: “Hope, again! There must be a way! I cannot give up now! If only I actually believe!”
The crowd is chanting now demanding satisfaction. An old man approaches him.
OLD MAN: “My boy, my son!”
TERRENCE: “Father! I knew you'd come! Have you come to pay my fee? Have you come to give me hope?
OLD MAN: “I have not come to pay your fee. I have not come to bring you hope. I have come to watch you die.”
The crowd is fighting among themselves now. Finally an old woman pushes her way through the mob.
TERRENCE: “Mother, you’re here, at last! Truly you must be my liberator! Have you come to pay my fee? Have you come to bring me hope? Or have you come to watch me die?”
MOTHER: “There you go again, always whining. And you’re wearing that in front of all these people?...
A Jeremy Kyle/Jerry Springer style show set in the Middle Ages and instead of a lie-detector test it's a trial by fire test (walking on hot coals, plucking a stone from a flaming cauldron, etc.)
Oh, and all the men should be played by women and the women played by men and talk in silly voices because that's never not funny!
Int. Day. Takes place in a Medieval village of Fool’s March, in the town hall. crowds of people gather inside to witness the trial. Chickens everywhere. And some straw.
Order in the court! Order! Bob of Fool’s March, You have been convicted of three counts of sexing a goose. Five counts of staring too long at Jeana next door. One count of leading an army of ferrets to overthrow the king and one count of watching a cow have a shit…How do you plead?
Not guilty m’ lord
And you have chosen to represent yourself?
No m’lord but the legal team I had formed haven’t turned up.
He shuffles through some parchment.
It seems that they were on trial for countless acts of defending guilty parties and have been sentenced to death by cow pat.
(Jury makings ooo noises)
You now have the privilege of choosing your trial…Trial by Jury and fire, Trial by fire and then Jury or trial by pineapple…
What’s a pineapple?
I don’t know but it’s in the script!
We call Snuggles, neighbour Geoffrey’s cat to the stand!
CAAALLING SNAAAGLES TO THA STAAAND!
Snuggles get carried to the witness stand and placed on the side.
Good evening ladies and gentlemen, Judge m’lord, Jury. How are we darlings?
A talking cat? If anyone should be tried it should be the talking cat!
Silence, peasant, now where’s my milk darlings? I was promised milk.
My lord, he was paid off with milk.
There is no law saying that it is illegal to give cat milk during a trial. Continue…
Calling next witness…Neighbour Geoffrey himself…
Humberfloob suggested doing a Jeremy Kyle/Jerry Springer style show set in the Middle Ages and instead of a lie-detector test it's a trial by fire test (walking on hot coals, plucking a stone from a flaming cauldron, etc.) I ran with this idea. His suggestion was also to have the men play women etc. and talk in silly voices, but I will leave that up to you!
EXT. STAGE. DAY
The crowd are dressed in medieval-type clothes, and are ready to enjoy the entertainment in front of them. Some have brought snacks (gnarled roots, chickens in burlap sacks, whatever is under their fingernails). The crowd are restless until their idol, JEREMY FIRE, a cold smooth-talker, appears on stage. They then cheer, whoop and call his name as he alternates shushing them, and encouraging them to cheer even louder.
Forsooth, you are all very welcome to ….
TRIAL BY FIRE!!!
Trial by Fire. In today’s episode, we find if comely
maiden Bessie has lain with her husband’s brother….
…and who sired the child she carries within her
belly. Without further ado, please welcome….Bessie!
BESSIE enters stage right. She is a large lady, made larger by pregnancy, and her face looks recently cleaned but the tidemark of dirt is visible all around her hairline. The crowd are unsure what to make of her.
Boo! Shush! Trollop! SHUSH!!
Bessie! You have agreed to take part in the …
TRIAL BY FIRE!!!
…to establish if your virtue is untarnished. Your
husband’s brother, Jacob, has been telling all and
sundry that your swollen belly contains HIS seed,
and not your husband’s.
It’s all lies! Jacob has always been a tattle-tale, but
the world knows not a word from his lips
can be trusted. My child is my husband’s, William’s.
Well, let’s get them out here. Let’s get to the bottom of this!
The crowd whoops as JACOB and WILLIAM enter stage left and right. As soon as they see each other, they start to brawl onstage and have to be separated by burly stage assistants.
I’LL KILL YA!
You and whose army?!
Leave it, William! He's not worth it!
What say you, Jacob? You have been …
mouthing off that you have lain with Bessie!
I never! Wouldn’t go near that fat bitch!
The crowd oohhh. They are both enthralled and repulsed by Jacob’s attitude.
You went near enough to this ‘fat bitch’ many’s the
time – but I spurned your greasy advances every time!
Every time, Bessie? Will you swear to that?
Bessie? You swear you have never lain with Jacob?
Never! Bring on the trial by fire!
Jeremy Fire addresses the audience as the stage hands hurriedly spread hot coals on a flame-resistant mat on stage.
Usually on ‘Trial by Fire’ the accused must walk across
the hot coals of truth, but today, as Bessie is with child,
we have been forbidden by health and safety legislation
from allowing Bessie to undertake the challenge.
Therefore….we must ask… Jacob to undertake the walk!
The crowd go wild at this unexpected twist. Jacob protests as his shoes are forcibly removed by the stage hands and he is made to stand at the start of the coal walk. He keeps shouting at Bessie, William and Jeremy Fire as he is prodded across the coals, obviously in pain at his burning feet.
And now, Jacob, raise your feet!
Jacob, writhing on the ground, raises his feet in the audience’s direction – they are horribly burned and blistered.
Jacob, Jacob, Jacob. You were too quick to fire off
your mouth, for your feet have told the burning truth –
you have been….
Join us tomorrow as we find out if Alfred has been
spreading the wrong sort of seed in her
Ladyship’s garden, on ….
TRIAL BY FIRE!!!
WRITERS: Write a Comedy Sketch based on a Trial By Fire.