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June 9th, 2018

Four characters in search of an author; sorry, that should be ‘another’

The final blog is in the form of a stage play. The four characters are Will, Dyl, Don and Os. They will be joined by a fifth. Some have appeared in blogs before and you may well recognize them. The action takes place in and around the Big Top. On stage are four chairs and, some distance away, a table with half-empty glasses, books, notebooks, and a pencil.

Blog #33
(Os wanders on, picks up a notebook and flicks through it.  He hears someone clear their throat offstage and hides in the wings.  Will enters and looks round.) 

Will     Good.  I’m alone.   
                       (he puffs himself up and declaims)            
           “All the world’s a stage, 
           and all the men and women merely players.” 
           No, that won’t do.  There are no women.  Although I have to say I’ve always been partial              to wearing a skirt ever since I appeared in the school play at the Grammar School.                                    (Will notices the audience) 
           Oh, hello.  What are you doing here?  Forgive me talking to myself.  I never could resist a            good soliloquy.             

                       (enter Dyl with a drink; he sees the audience immediately)   

Dyl      Oh, hello.  What are you doing here? 
Will     Where have you been, Dylan?   

Dyl     In the bar.  Very good prices.  Nice staff.   

Will     Where’s Os?  Where’s Don?                        

                       (Dyl sits)   

Dyl     No idea.  Os will be preening himself. 

                       (Os springs from the wings, outrageously dressed)   

Os      One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art.                        

                      (He sits in the furthest chair from Dyl and addresses Will)             

           You’ve been practising your lines again, haven’t you?   

Will     (sheepishly)  No.   

Os      I heard you.   

Will     Oh, alright then.  I was just trying them out.  What do you think?  

Os      It is always a silly thing to give advice, but to give good advice is fatal.   

Will     Don’t you like my, “cloud-capped towers”?   

Os      Your problem, dear Will, is that you talk like an architect and write like a weather              

                          (Don arrives.  He is grim-faced)   

Dyl     Ah, Don.  At last.  Where have you been?   

Don    The White House.   

Will     White Horse!  White Horse!  My…   

Don    I tell you most sincerely, folks, that’s what he said.     

Dyl     Well, you’re here now, Donald.  Sit down, by here. 
                       (Don sits next to Dyl and gives Os a disparaging look)   

Don    What is this place, anyhow?   

Os      It’s the Big Top.    

Dyl     The summit of our ambition.   

Don    You call this piece of flapping canvas big?  I’ve got bigger pants than this.   

Os      I bet you have.   

Don    And I mean big!  Seriously, folks, really big.  Where are we anyhows?  

Will     In a place that is quite heavenly.   

Dyl     Where the angel-wing rustle of the soft-singing choir          
           Melts the sinews of the place.   

Don    Stop talking riddles and tell me where on earth we are.   

Os      Steyning.   

Don    Staining?  You Brits sure know how to have a good time.   

Os      Strictly speaking, I’m from Ireland.   

Dyl     An Irishman, a Welshman, a Scotsman and an Englishman walked into a bar…  

Will    Dylan, you too much are seen in bars.   

Os      Or behind them.   

Dyl     No, that’s you Oscar.  Reading Gaol, remember?   

Os      Always forgive your enemies: nothing annoys them so much.   

Don    So.  This joke?  Is it one I can tweet?  Tell me or I’ll start a trade war.  

Dyl     I’m the Welshman.   

Will     I’m English.   

Os      And I’m Irish.  Which leaves you, Don.  I cannot hazard the slightest guess where you’re  

Don    America.   

Os      Of course, America had often been discovered before Columbus, but it had always been  
          hushed up.   

Will     But to tell the story properly Dylan needs a Scotsman.   

Don    That’s me, folks.    

Will     You?   

Don    I am the King of Scotland.  I bought up the land, threw out the peasants, built a couple   
           of golf courses.  The most bestest in the world, of course.   

Will     Begin, Dyl.  Tell your tale to the assembled multitudes.

                       (Millie strides on to the stage before he can do so)   

Don    And who are you?  Hurry up, lady, I’ve got a meeting with Kim.    

Mill     I’m Millicent Fawcett.  You may know my sister.  

Don    You’re Kim’s sister?   

Mill     My sister is Elizabeth – Elizabeth Garrett Anderson.  You look blank.   

Don    I always look like this.   

Dyl     He does.   

Os      He certainly does.   

Don    Gee, thanks for your support, guys.  And who is this Elizabeth broad, exactly?   

Mill     She started a revolution.  We have women doctors in this country because of her.  She  
           was the first.  I’m a revolutionary too.  For women’s rights.  A suffragist.  They’ve just   
           put up a statue to me.  And in Aldeburgh, where we lived, there have been blue plaques 
           to us for years.  My sister was the first female mayor in the country too.  We’re fighters.
          We’re revolutionaries.   

Os      I sometimes think that God, in creating man, overestimated his ability.  

Will     Speak for yourself.   

Os      I usually do.   

Mill     Never underestimate the power of a woman, young man.  God most certainly got it right            with us - after he’d experimented with you, no doubt.  Now I am here to tell you that     
           this Festival is nearly over.   

Os      Our revels now are ended.   

Will     That’s my line.   

Os      I read your notebook, Will.  I couldn’t help it.   

Don    I’ve never read a book.   

Os      There’s nothing an author likes so much as being unread.  It gives him every hope for     
           the future.   

Dyl     Easy under the apple bows.  Let her finish, boys.   

Mill     The Festival may be over but the revolution goes on.  Nothing will ever be the same   

Don    Look lady, I’ve got a meeting to get to.   

Mill     Yes, and so have we.  We shall meet again in two years’ time.    

Don    Say no more.   

Os      There is only one thing worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked        

Will     Oh, do shut up Oscar.  We’ve had enough of your quips.   

Os      As I said to the wallpaper in my hotel room in France when I was dying, “Either this goes,           or I do.”   

Dyl     And that’s the point.  All of us have died a death.  The dying of the light.  But the spirit of            the Festival lives on.  In those who come after us.   

Will     As the sun goes down on the Festival, I shall give you one of my finest.                       

                              (Millicent turns to go)   

Dyl     Do not go, gentle, into that…   

Will     Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
           As I foretold you, were all spirits and
           Are melted into air, into thin air:   
           And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
           The cloud-capp’d towers, the gorgeous palaces,
           The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
           Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve            
           And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
           Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
           As dreams are made on, and our little life
           Is rounded with a sleep.   

Dyl     Goodnight.   

All       Up the revolution!
                             (Exit, pursued by a Bard)

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Tags: #Big Top, #Festival #Blog #Events, #Revolution, #Shakespeare #Literature, #Shakespeare #Plays, #Trump

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