Misha Williams



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 40 
SCENE FOURTEEN. BRIAN'S LIVING ROOM. 
 
BRIAN takes off his grey raincoat. He wears a dinner jacket. 
 
BRIAN 
(To audience) I got back from my duties, playing my 
bassoon for the Carlisle Amateur Symphony Orchestra. 
We were accompanying the local amateurs in "Pirates 
of Penzance," while Mother and Ruth were mesmerized 
by television. (To "M"Did you watch anything? 
 
"M" 
No. TV's so puerile. It just highlights the despicable 
characteristics of humans. And it's always about 
ordinary people. Ugh. 
 
BRIAN 
Yes. Ordinary people are of no interest to me 
whatsoever. Mother
 
NINA 
(Waking up). Oh, you're back. How did it go, dear? 
 
BRIAN 
My bassoon playing was pretty good but it was one of 
those hoodoo performances…(He laughs). 
 
RUTH 
Oh no. (Gleefully anticipating one of Brian's funny 
disaster stories) What on earth happened? 
 
                BRIAN 
It began well enough. (To Nina) Every now and then there's a 
"hoodoo night" when everything seems to go wrong. Well this 
evening a chum of mine, the second clarinettist, Alistair Goldie, 
came up to a rather energetic section…(Brian chuckles 
helplessly) His huge black bow tie which is automated and clips 
to the wings of his collar…Well it's rather weak with age! And 
during one of these typical Sullivan two-two's in fast sixth 
eighths time when we in "The Wind" are producing bar after bar 
of staccato quavers…(He chuckles again) His Adam's apple 
worked so violently… 
 


 41 
RUTH shrieks and is nearly on the floor. NINA starts to laugh and choke 
at the same time. 
 
BRIAN 
…the spring snapped and the bow tie took off … like a 
malevolent black butterfly it flew right over the startled 
heads of the second violinists… causing  them to take 
swipes at it with their instruments
 
They finish laughing.    
 
NINA 
You can be such fun Brian. I don't know why you don't 
get a job on television as a comedian, you'd be much 
better than the ones they have on. You could earn 
some money for a change. 
 
BRIAN 
Thank you mother. I'll drop the BBC a line in the 
morning. 
 
NINA 
Our family had such fun in the old days, Ruth, before 
Puggy and Jack disappeared. As an outsider you can't 
imagine how close knit we were. I was thinking and 
laughing this morning over that ludicrous incident in 
Stoke Canon and the piano chords. Do you remember, 
Brian? 
 
BRIAN 
It was on a bleak winter's night wasn't it? 
 
NINA 
Brian was still a schoolboy. We were all in the dining 
room, round the pressure lamp which was our only 
illumination, when we heard … several chords struck on 
the piano in the drawing room. 
 
RUTH 
Oh, my God. 
 
NINA 
Well, we all looked at each other with a wild surmise.  
 


 42 
BRIAN 
Daddy formed an investigatory procession… 
 
NINA 
Oh, yes! 
 
BRIAN 
…With himself in the lead, distinctly nervous.   
 
NINA 
Jack behind him . Then Brian, second. Then me with 
little Joan clinging to me in terror. We all crept down 
the dark corridor…Your father in the lead with a 
candle… 
 
BRIAN 
…in great trepidation… 
 
NINA 
Nothing could we see or hear of course. 
 
RUTH 
Gosh. I don't find that funny. It's sounds terrifying. 
 
"M" 
(Casually) The funny part of it was that I had struck 
those chords on the piano and then crept into the room 
at the end of the crocodile. 
 
BRIAN sighs and tut-tuts. "M" leaves with a mischievous look. 
 
 
RUTH 
Would you like a cup of Horlicks, Nina? 
 
NINA 
Nina? You're supposed to call me Rulor. You always 
used to call me Rulor. 
 
RUTH 
I don't remember… 
 
NINA  
 Why don't you any more? 


 43 
 
BRIAN 
Oh, that ridiculous astrological name. Really, Mother! 
 
NINA 
My friends still call me Rulor! 
 
BRIAN 
(To RUTH) I should explain, darling, that when the 
three were on their way to Amazonia, aboard the liner 
to Rio, they shared a dinner table with an American 
poseur called Zarh Pritchard. He explained that 
vibrations of names had a lifelong effect. And he 
convinced Daddy that the names "Percy Harrison 
Fawcett" had been a serious obstacle to him all his life. 
Well Daddy, who hated his names, immediately agreed 
and fell for it all hook line and sinker. After   
calculations, this parlour occultist worked out that if 
Daddy changed his name to "Zahaz" his future success 
was assured. Jack was also asking for trouble if he 
persisted keeping his present name and only by 
replacing it with "Sajas" would he have an easy path. 
As for Raleigh Rimell…Well he could really expect the 
worst with a name like that. But change it to "Roxor" 
and all would be well. The three credulous explorers 
seriously adopted these new names. It was a foolish 
mistake. For a long tiring walk in rough country, one 
sensibly wears shoes that have shaped themselves 
comfortably to the feet - not new ones. I and Joan 
were posted new names which we rejected absolutely 
…but mother of course…   
 
 
NINA 
What a shame you didn't have more respect for your 
father. Or your elder brother for that matter. You could 
have gone on that final expedition. They would have 
taken you, had you shown an iota of interest. You were 
obsessed with steam trainsIt's astonishing how little 
intellect or creative ability you've acquired despite all 
the schooling we've given you. 
 
RUTH 
I'll just see to the washing up. 




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