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(Click Here for a printer-friendly version of this play)

King Tut
A To Tell The Truth Biographical Play *
Gail Skroback Hennessey
Host: Today's guest is King Tutankhamen. Only one of the three on the panel is the real pharaoh(king) of ancient Egypt. The other two on the panel are impostors. Your job is to listen carefully to the information presented and decide which of the three guests is the REAL King Tutankhamen. Let's begin by meeting our guests.

Tut 1: Good day, students, my name is King Tutankhamen, King TUT, for short and
I'm pleased to meet you!
Tut 2: Hello, call me King Tut. I wasn't "wrapped up"at the moment: and thought I'd
come visit with you young people.
Tut 3: My name is King Tutankhamen, the most famous pharaoh of all ancient Egypt!

Host: Let me read this brief statement on King Tutankhamen.
"I, King Tutankhamen, known to the world as King Tut, ruled ancient Egypt from 1361 to 1352 BC(recording events count down to AD). I became pharaoh of Egypt at the age of 9 years . Little is really known about me since I wasn't an important king. I died at about the age of 18 . Some say I was murdered! An X ray of my skull done in 1968 showed loose fragment of bone suggesting a blow to the head. Others say I may have been poisoned. I was perhaps the son of AKHENATEN, the first pharaoh to believe in one god, Aten. During my rule, however, Egypt returned to believing in many gods. After I died, another pharaoh did a common practice of trying to destroy any record to another pharaoh, in this case ME! My existence was pretty much forgotten until 1922 when archeologist Howard Carter discovered my hidden tomb buried in the Valley of the Kings near Thebes. My tomb was hidden by rock and excavation done with the discovery of another nearby tomb, Rameses V1. Of the 27 monarchs of ancient Egypt buried in the Valley of the Kings, I, was the only one after 33 centuries to still contain my mummy and beautiful treasures placed away for use in the next life! Today, I am the most famous name of all pharaohs of ancient Egypt.
Most of my fabulous tomb treasures can now be seen at the Cairo Museum in Egypt.
King Tut.

Panelist 1: Most people thought the idea of discovering another tomb in the Valley of the Kings was foolish believing all the tombs to have been unearthed . Evidence to the tomb of King Tutankhamen were found too close to another tomb and thought to have just been dropped by grave robbers. Carter thought otherwise. Luckily, Lord Carnarvon agreed to fund his search. After five years, nothing was found. Lord Carnarvon was ready to end the search but Carter begged for one more try at finding King Tut. In 1922, a water boy hit something with his heel as he tried to make a place to set jars of water for the thirsty workers. Workers unearthed an entire stairway ending with a sealed door. Egyptian writing called hieroglyphics spelled out a name on that door- Tutankhamen! Tell us , King Tut, about the early discovery of your tomb?

Tut 1: I overheard the men talking one day about Carter's yellow canary which he
had purchased for good luck. Soon after the discovery of my tomb, a cobra ate
the canary for dinner. Some of the workers thought this was a sign of bad luck
and that my serpent ate it because my tomb had been found!

Tut 2: Because of the discovery, Egyptian styled clothing became very popular and
songs and jokes were created about me!

Tut 3: Wouldn't you have run down the stairs and opened the door ? Not, Carter! He
order the stairs buried and guards placed at the sight and sent a telegram back
to England telling Lord Carnarvon of the discovery. Carter felt that Carnarvon
should be present at the opening of the door and waited several weeks for his
arrival! Now, that's patience....

Panelist 2: On November, 26, 1922, Howard Carter, Lord Carnarvon and his daughter and another archeologist stood in the front of the second doorway to your tomb. Carter made a small hole and held up a candle. As his vision adjusted to the candle light, he could see the shapes of objects piled high into a room which glittered with gold. Lord Carnarvon eager to know if there was anything in the chamber asked, "Can you see anything?" Carter replied, Yes, wonderful things"! The archeological team was supposed to wait for Egyptian officials and about 40 invited guests to be present for the opening of the first room, called the antechamber . But, before this was to take place, curiosity got the best of them and the team made a small opening so they could get inside the room to get a peek at the treasures. The opening was then covered up and they acted amazed(which probably wasn't too difficult even for a second look) as they entered the tomb with the officials. What is a memory that you have of Howard Carter as he was searching through your tomb, Mr. Tut?

Tut 1: I still laugh when I remember this particular day in my tomb. Carter came
upon a box and eagerly began opening the lid to see what was inside. I
overheard him say that he hoped that the box contained papyrus(reed which
grew along the Nile and was woven into a type of paper for writing purposes)
records telling of my life. Ha, Ha, the box contained my UNDERWEAR for use
in the next life!!!!

Tut 2: I guess that Carter forgot just how old my stuff really was and learned the hard
way to take special care when picking up my valuables. One day, Carter saw
one of my beaded necklaces and went to pick it up. The threads were just dust
by then and all 371 beads scattered onto the tomb floor. Using tweezers, Carter picked up each bead one by one!

Tut 3: As I've said, Carter sure had patience!!!! When Carter and the others entered
the first room of my tomb, called the antechamber they saw hundreds of objects
and they saw a door to other possible chambers including the room with my
final resting place. I'm sure the first impulse would be to break down the door
and find out what was waiting behind the door . But, no, Carter decided a
complete photographic record should be made before anything was touched or
further entry into the tomb was made. It took seven weeks just to clear out the
antechamber room!

Panelist 3: Some say that a curse was on your tomb promising death to those who disrupted your eternal sleep. The curse really got going after what happened to Lord Carnarvon, the person who funded the expedition. Bitten by a mosquito, the bite got infected and Carnarvon died in Cairo, Egypt. At the moment of his death, the lights mysteriously went out in the city AND back in England, Carnarvon's dog began to howl and died also. Interestingly, once your mummy was unwrapped, it was found that you had a wound on your left cheek in the same place Carnarvon had received his insect bite!!!!! WOW, King Tut, is there really a mummy's curse?

Tut 1: Although it is true that a number of people involved with my tomb died in
mysterious ways, Carter, the person I would be most angry with for he
unwrapped my mummy , lived a long and healthy life. Most people say the
strange events were just that, strange occurrences. Scientists also think that
viruses(harmful microscopic life) that could live dormant for centuries, may
explain illnesses that struck some people.
Our body builds up an immune system again every day viruses. Perhaps, a
strain of virus of ancient Egypt came back to life after finding a living host and
that the strain isn't common today and thus the immune system was not
prepared for it.

Tut 2: Number One's answer is hog wash! Of course, there's a curse on my tomb.
Just read the hieroglyphics on the entrance door!

Tut 3: Wouldn't you be mad if someone disturbed your eternal peace and was taking
pictures of your body dead for over 3,000 years. I mean really, I mustn't look as
much of a hunk now as I did when I was a living 18 year old! Why, I was so
good looking while alive, calendars were sold with colored photographs of me
standing by my shinny black Porsche! Sure, there's a curse on my tomb!

Panelist 4: Speaking of mummies, the Egyptians believed that you needed to
preserve your body in order to life in the after world. The process took about 70
days and required the drying out of the body. It was done by a person known as
the Ripper Upper and he disguised his identity by wearing the mask of the
Jackal. All organs were removed in order to prevent the process of decaying.
The brain was removed through the nose with a long metal hook and because
it was thought be be of little importance, thrown away! Other organs , including
the most important , the heart , were placed in special containers, called
canapic jars for safe keeping. Additionally, tombs have been found to have
mummified crocodiles, cats, bulls and even a gerbil(with its own sack of food for the afterlife!). Tell us about your mummy.

Tut 1: I was found inside a huge container called a sarcophagus. Inside was a
wooden coffin. When the lid was opened, another gold covered coffin was
seen. Inside that coffin was still a third coffin, made of solid gold and weighing
over 200 pounds. A pulley was set up in order to lift this coffin. Inside, I was
found under a solid gold death mask wrapped in yards and yards of brittle
bandages. About 143 pieces of jewelry were found on my mummy and each of
my toes were individually gold wrapped!
I guess you could say Carter and his team were pretty impressed!

Tut 2: In addition to what Tut 1 has already told you, I was wearing a pair of orange
neon colored sneakers(quite fashionable for the time), and over my ears, a tiny
Sony Walkman was found. Can you guess what kind of music I liked? "WRAP" music, of course !!!(HA,HA)

Tut 3: On my mummy arms were many rich and thick bracelets. On one arm, I wore
seven such bracelets and the other had six. Gold was placed on each o f my
fingers and I worn a number of amulets(good luck necklaces to aid my travels to
the next world).

Panelist 5: If the Egyptians believed you needed a mummy to live in the next world, where have all the mummies gone?????

Tut 1: That's easy. Grave robbers didn't value the mummy, they only wanted the
jewels and discarded the bodies once they got what they wanted. People
also got the strange idea that mummies, since they were so well preserved,
could make paint last longer. People ground up mummies and put them into
their paints! Finally, people also thought that eating mummies could cure your
tummy ache , headache and other ailments . People actually used ground up
mummy as medicine! UGH....

Tut 2: The reason there aren't many mummies today is because scary mummy
movies became very popular and hundreds of mummies made their way into
the movies and and now live in Hollywood in disguise!

Tut 3: Many mummies heard that there was a need for mummies to help with the
care of young children at day care centers while their parents were working
and moved to the United States!

Host: Panelists and members of the audience, it is now time for you to decide who you think is the real King Tut. Is it Number 1, Number 2 or Number 3? PAUSE. Alright, the votes have been cast. Will the REAL King Tut, please stand up....
The real King Tut is Number ___:
*All answers to Panelist 2 are true
*Response 1 and 3 are correct for Panelist 4
* Tut's father's tomb has yet to have been found!
* It took ten years to complete the task of uncovering Tut's tomb and its treasures!
* Because of mummy making, Egyptians were well known for their knowledge of the human body and were perhaps the world's earliest surgeons!
*Based on the game show created by Mark Goodson Productions

In Search of Tutankhamen by Piero Ventura and Gian Paolo Ceserani Silver Burdett Morristown, NJ 1985
Discovering Tut-ankh-Amen's Tomb edited by Shirley Glubok Macmillan Publishing NY 1968
Into The Mummy's Tomb by Nicholas Reeves Scholastic 1992
Behind the Sealed Door by Irene and Laurance Sinburne, Sniffen Court Books, NY 1977
Tut's Mummy Lost and Found by Judy Donnelly Random House, NY 1988