Guests gather outside the laboratory around a small stage. As showtime approaches, a handbell-ringing Northrup comes running in. He welcomes visitors to Nostramos' laboratory, dressed in simple workman's garb and brimming with enthusiasm. In today's demonstration, Northrup reveals, his master will be turning iron into gold!
"Hawking the audience was one of my favorite parts since it was a chance to improv while the rest of the show was fully scripted and on a music track."
- Lance Baker, actor, 1987 season
As guests enter the laboratory proper, they take their seats in benches which face a stage made of stone, wooden planks, and a giant metal grating. Tables are cluttered with ancient books, mysterious bottles, and all manner of archaic scientific contraptions. Two larger-than-life birds are seen on perches. Elixir the raven - sporting a Robin Hood-esque medieval woodsman's hat - sits on the left. Pellinore, an owl adorned with a gold medallion on a red ribbon, is asleep to the audience's right. Beneath Elixir's table, Talon, a green and purple dragon (years before his dinosaur cousin Barney hit the scene) is also enjoying a nap.
Once the audience is seated, Northrup goes about the business of waking up his animal co-stars, and then sings a song about the wonders which await. Both birds also join him in singing, with the occasional "woof" from Talon (whose dog-like personae includes whining, barking, and never speaking). At the opening song's finale, a large cloud of smoke - thought to contain Nostramos - yields only an empty stage.
Just as Northrup and his avian companions realize their master has failed to appear, a dragon-ringed frame at the top of the stage shimmers to life, and a moving image of Nostramos appears (presumably a form of mystical, medieval videoconferencing). The magnificent wizard says he will be late, Northrup must not allow any people into the laboratory, and there will be no demonstrations today. Nostramos disappears before any protestations from his apprentice are heard.
Rather than do as his master commands and send the audience away empty-handed, Northrup takes it upon himself to give his own demonstration of magic, alleging that he's at least as good as his mentor. Despite concerns from Pellinore and Elixir, Northrup is undeterred.
Two volunteers from the audience are chosen, and one is given "Nostramos' favorite wand." It falls to pieces in their hands, and no magical fixes seem to stick. The other volunteer must pay the price, and is placed into a set of stocks (reading "Ye Olde Stocks" or "ye Olde Guillotine" depending on which way the top stock is turned). A blade is placed above the unwitting volunteer's head and hands, but magically, it passes right through at the last moment, severing an apple that was placed just below the victim's head.
Emboldened by this success, Northrup dismisses his volunteers, and announces that his next feat will be to turn iron into gold. Despite protestations from the birds, Northrup finds a suitable subject - a suit of armor - and recites what he believes to be the correct incantation.
Unfortunately, he gets the last word wrong, and disappears in a puff of smoke. Moments later, a miniature Northrup appears inside a bottle on a shelf at the rear of the laboratory stage. To reverse the spell, the audience says the magic words "hocus pocus," turning miniature Northrup into a swirl of magical sparkles. The sparkle trail leaves the shelf, enters a nearby trunk, and now-full-size Northrup emerges.
Rather than try another spell from memory, Northrup consults Nostramos' magic book, and finds a flying incantation. He begins to sing about how wonderful it would be to fly. Despite some "wavering faith" at the beginning, Northrup is eventually able to levitate not only himself (seated with crossed legs on a pillow chair), but a number of laboratory items float as well.
More confident than ever in his abilities, he dons Nostramos' magic robe, and says spell after spell in an attempt to turn the iron suit of armor into gold. But each spell makes the laboratory darker and more sinister: the chandelier rocks, lightning flashes outside, gargoyles come to life, and the cauldron belches smoke. Finally, the large grating at the center of the stage pushes open, and It - a large horned monster - emerges.
Just as all hell has literally been let loose, a commanding voice shouts "It down!" and the laboratory falls dark and silent. Nostramos reappears in his dragon frame, and asks Northrup what happened. The apprentice confesses his hubris, and packs his things to go. But the great wizard stops him, and allows him to stay on the condition that he only performs illusions he understands.
Northrup begins to tidy up the laboratory, singing along with his animal friends a reprise of their opening song. While dusting near the suit of armor, he touches it, and it magically turns into gold! After final bows, the audience is invited to exit via the doors at the rear of the theater.
Northrup: Pellinore, we've got a show to do! Wake up, now. Alright. Hello, Elixir! Talon, Talon, old boy, wake up! We've got a show to do. We've got people here! Talon? (Talon stirs) Alright now: sit up! Uh, roll over? Sleep! I taught him to do that. Rimshot!
(Rimshot starts a drumroll)
Fair ladies, kind sirs, and ...
(It growls from beneath the grating)
Ah yes: It. We're not well versed around here as to what "It" is, but one thing's for certain: I must learn to stay off of "It's" grating. Now where was I? Ahh yes, let us begin. Rimshot!
(Rimshot resumes the drumroll)
Fair ladies, kind sirs, and children of the shire. I welcome you all to the enchanted laboratory of Nostramos, the royal magician and soothsayer. But first, before we say the sooth, the laboratory you see before you will enchant and amaze you beyond your wildest dreams, dutifully orchestrated by me: Northrup the Magnificent.
(Rimshot plays a "womp womp" trumpet sound)
Northrup the Apprentice. Oh, this is my favorite part! This is where Nostramos lets me do some of the magic!
To be continued - Site still under construction