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Citizen George

    by Brian Weaving


Drama Play Script: 'Citizen George' by Brian Weaving

The setting is a cell in a prison in Paris 1793 at the height of The Terror. A prisoner Robert, there as a pick-pocket, is worried that he may be on the list for execution that day. The gaoler, Lebon, puts a new prisoner in the cell. This man is black, known only as Citizen George, and is there accused of theft which he denies. He is treated by both with contempt because of his colour. Once alone with Robert, George asserts himself and they agree rules of behaviour. A third prisoner arrives, Count Carpet, who is disgusted with the conditions and the company. He is insulting and George challenges him. Robert convinces Lebon to bring in two swords so they can duel. This they do and it is clear that George is vastly superior as a swordsman. Robert asks to fence with George and is unexpectedly good. 

Robert reveals that he is really middle-class, but his family and living were destroyed by revolutionaries. Lebon has to admit that he is impressed with George and it emerges, when George asks for music paper, that they are both into music - George as a composer and Lebon as an ex-ballet master whose career went when the theatres were closed. They are now all getting on well together. Then Robespierre, head of the revolutionary government, arrives creating alarm. He believes that George, as Colonel-in-Chief, stole the money for the creation of the 'Black Regiment'. George denies this but Robespierre tells Lebon to include both George and Robert, for cheek, on the list for execution the following day. 

George is now forced to reveal his full name. He is recognised by Lebon as a famous composer and musician, nicknamed 'The Black Mozart'. Carpet realises that he is the legendary fencer who, at the age of sixteen, was the best in Europe. Robert is disgruntled that George lied to them. He is eventually talked round but claims to have recognised Carpet is an impostor probably acting as a spy. Carpet admits that he is actually the steward for the real count and adopted the disguise to give his master time to escape. They are faced with the prospect of death for George and Robert on the following day. Carpet decides that he will go the guillotine in the place of George. Lebon and Robert try to dissuade him but he is insistent. Unaware, George is completing his latest symphony. The next morning, George only realises what is happening as Robert and George are executed. He grieves for his friends, comforted by Lebon.


85 mins approx



  • Jean Robert - 32, prisoner in frayed clothes of a Sans Culottes, wears with pride a red wool cap with rosette in French colours
  • Lebon - 50's, gaoler scruffy in cockaded tri-corn hat and a sash of office
  • Count Carpet - 40's, prisoner, smart with the clothes of an aristo, arrogant
  • George - 48, mixed-race prisoner, tall, with a powerful presence, ex-army officer, in military coat with all insignia removed
  • Robespierre - 37, head of the Committee of Public Safety, short slight figure, plainly but impeccably dressed  

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