A one-woman dramatic monologue performed with great storytelling skills,
Skilfully building up the tension, with humorous moments and unexpected twists, it is not only a seduction of Sir Gawain but of the audience too as they are beguiled and teased.
But first she muses on being a woman who is of no interest to men now she’s old, at all of forty. The relevance of this to the main story will become clear later. She is ‘considering being holy’ and entering the order of Saint Catherine so after tonight no one will hear her story – she adds disparagingly – but God, hence her burning desire to tell us.
Debbie now launches into a spine-tingling rendition of the tale of the Green Knight, a giant with green skin and red eyes who arrives at the court of King Arthur with a challenge taken up by Sir Gawain, the purest and as yet untested Knight of the Round Table. Playing all parts, varying her accent or producing a gruff low voice for males, Debbie also uses various props in an amusing way to represent characters, an upturned brass bowl on her head when she plays King Arthur, a white tablecloth as a gown, or a green apple for Gawain.
The story now takes, in Debbie’s words ‘a more sophisticated turn’ as we learn how the two strands, the old woman about to become a nun and the tale of the Green Knight, intertwine.
As Gawain nears the chapel where he must meet the Green Knight and his fate, he is invited to stay in a castle nearby and for three nights he must undergo another test: of his famed purity. It is, of course, our old woman story-teller, as a young woman and lady of the castle, who tries to seduce him. We learn of her father’s disparagement of her as a girl compared to her brother who will become famous in battle. Forced to marry her father’s choice, she is determined that she too will be famed for her own triumphs, not as a warrior but as a seducer.
Skilfully building up the tension, with humorous moments and unexpected twists, it is not only a seduction of Sir Gawain but of the audience too as they are beguiled and teased. The story ends in her feelings of betrayal, as she sees it, by her father, husband and witch-like mother-in-law and by the perfect knight himself, who turns out to be all too human.