Mostrando entradas con la etiqueta Moonlight Harold Pinter. Mostrar todas las entradas
Mostrando entradas con la etiqueta Moonlight Harold Pinter. Mostrar todas las entradas

sábado, 9 de junio de 2018

Moonlight. Harold Pinter.


Moonlight

Harold Pinter



BRIDGET in faint light.

BRIDGET

I can’t sleep. There’s no moon. It’s so dark. I think I’ll go downstairs and walk about. I won’t make a noise. I’ll be very quiet. Nobody will hear me. It’s so dark and I know everything is more silent when it’s dark. But I don’t want anyone to know I’m moving about in the night. I don’t want to wake my father and mother. They’re so tired. They have given so much of their life for me and for my brothers. All their life, in fact. All their energies and all their love. They need to sleep in peace and wake up rested. I must see that this happens. It is my task. Because I know that when they look at me they see that I am all they have left of their life.



Andy’s bedroom.
ANDY in bed. BEL sitting.
She is doing embroidery.
ANDY
Where are the boys? Have you found them?
BEL
I’m trying.
ANDY
You’ve been trying for weeks. And failing. It’s enough to make the cat laugh. Do we have a cat?
BEL
We do.
ANDY
Is it laughing?
BEL
Fit to bust.
ANDY
What at? Me, I suppose.
BEL
Why would your own dear cat laugh at you? That cat who was your own darling kitten when she was young and so were you, that cat you have so dandled and patted and petted and loved, why should she, how could she, laugh at her master? It’s not remotely credible.
ANDY
But she’s laughing at someone?
BEL
She’s laughing at me. At my ineptitude. At my failure to find the boys, at my failure to bring the boys to their father’s deathbed.
ANDY
Well that’s more like it. You are the proper target for a cat’s derision. And how I loved you.
Pause.
What a wonderful woman you were. You had such a great heart. You still have, of course. I can hear it from here. Banging away.
Pause.
BEL
Do you feel anything? What do you feel? Do you feel hot? Or cold? Or both? What do you feel? Do you feel cold in your legs? Or hot? What about your fingers? What are they? Are they cold? Or hot? Or neither cold nor hot?
ANDY
Is this a joke? My God, she’s taking the piss out of me. My own wife. On my deathbed. She’s as bad as that fucking cat.
BEL
Perhaps it’s my convent school education but the term ‘taking the piss’ does leave me somewhat nonplussed.
ANDY
Nonplussed! You’ve never been nonplussed in the whole of your voracious, lascivious, libidinous life.
BEL
You may be dying but that doesn’t mean you have to be totally ridiculous.
ANDY
Why am I dying, anyway? I’ve never harmed a soul. You don’t die if you’re good. You die if you’re bad.
BEL
We girls were certainly aware of the verb ‘to piss’, oh yes, in the sixth form, certainly. I piss, you piss, she pisses, et cetera.
ANDY
We girls! Christ!
BEL
The term ‘taking the piss’, however, was not known to us.
ANDY
It means mockery! It means to mock. It means mockery! Mockery! Mockery!
BEL
Really? How odd. Is there a rational explanation to this?
ANDY
Rationality went down the drain donkey’s years ago and hasn’t been seen since. All that famous rationality of yours is swimming about in waste disposal turdology. It’s burping and farting away in the cesspit for ever and ever. That’s destiny speaking, sweetheart! That was always the destiny of your famous rational intelligence, to choke to death in sour cream and pigswill.
BEL
Oh do calm down, for goodness sake.
ANDY
Why? Why?
Pause.
What do you mean?
Fred’s bedroom.
FRED in bed. JAKE in to him.
JAKE
Brother.
FRED
Brother.
JAKE sits by the bed.
JAKE
And how is my little brother?
FRED
Cheerful though gloomy. Uneasily poised.
JAKE
All will be well. And all manner of things shall be well.
Pause.
FRED
What kind of holiday are you giving me this year? Art or the beach?
JAKE
I would think a man of your calibre needs a bit of both.
FRED
Or nothing of either.
JAKE
It’s very important to keep your pecker up.
FRED
How far up?
JAKE
Well … for example … how high is a Chinaman?
FRED
Quite.
JAKE
Exactly.
Pause.
FRED
You were writing poems when you were a mere child, isn’t that right?
JAKE
I was writing poems before I could read.
FRED
Listen. I happen to know that you were writing poems before you could speak.
JAKE
Listen! I was writing poems before I was born.
FRED
So you would say you were the real thing?
JAKE
The authentic article.
FRED
Never knowingly undersold.
JAKE
Precisely.
Silence.
FRED
Listen. I’ve been thinking about the whole caboodle. I’ll tell you what we need. We need capital.
JAKE
I’ve got it.
FRED
You’ve got it?
JAKE
I’ve got it.
FRED
Where did you find it?
JAKE
Divine right.
FRED
Christ.
JAKE
Exactly.
FRED
You’re joking.
JAKE
No, no, my father weighed it all up carefully the day I was born.
FRED
Oh, your father? Was he the one who was sleeping with your mother?
JAKE
He weighed it all up. He weighed up all the pros and cons and then without further ado he called a meeting. He called a meeting of the trustees of his estate, you see, to discuss all these pros and cons. My father was a very thorough man. He invariably brought the meetings in on time and under budget and he always kept a weather eye open for blasphemy, gluttony and buggery.
FRED
He was a truly critical force?
JAKE
He was not in it for pleasure or glory. Let me make that quite clear. Applause came not his way. Nor did he seek it. Gratitude came not his way. Nor did he seek it. Masturbation came not his way. Nor did he seek it. I’m sorry – I meant approbation came not his way –
FRED
Oh, didn’t it really?
JAKE
Nor did he seek it.
Pause.
I’d like to apologise for what I can only describe as a lapse in concentration.
FRED
It can happen to anybody.
Pause.
JAKE
My father adhered strictly to the rule of law.
FRED
Which is not a very long way from the rule of thumb.
JAKE
Not as the crow flies, no.
FRED
But the trustees, I take it, could not, by any stretch of the imagination, be described as a particularly motley crew?
JAKE
Neither motley nor random. They were kept, however, under strict and implacable scrutiny. They were allowed to go to the lavatory just one and a half times a session. They evacuated to a timeclock.
FRED
And the motion was carried?
JAKE
The motion was carried, nine votes to four, Jorrocks abstaining.
FRED
Not a pretty sight, by the sound of it.
JAKE
The vicar stood up. He said that it was a very unusual thing, a truly rare and unusual thing, for a man in the prime of his life to leave – without codicil or reservation – his personal fortune to his newborn son the very day of that baby’s birth – before the boy had had a chance to say a few words or aspire to the unknowable or cut for partners or cajole the japonica or tickle his arse with a feather –
FRED
Whose arse?
JAKE
It was an act, went on the vicar, which, for sheer undaunted farsightedness, unflinching moral resolve, stern intellectual vision, classic philosophical detachment, passionate religious fervour, profound emotional intensity, bloodtingling spiritual ardour, spellbinding metaphysical chutzpah – stood alone.
FRED
Tantamount to a backflip in the lotus position.
JAKE
It was an act, went on the vicar, without a vestige of lust but with any amount of bucketfuls of lustre.
FRED
So the vicar was impressed?
JAKE
The only one of the trustees not impressed was my Uncle Rufus.
FRED
Now you’re telling me you had an uncle called Rufus. Is that what you’re telling me?
JAKE
Uncle Rufus was not impressed.
FRED
Why not? Do I know the answer? I think I do. I think I do. Do I?
Pause.
JAKE
I think you do.
FRED
I think so too. I think I do.
JAKE
I think so too.
Pause.
FRED
The answer is that your father was just a little bit short of a few krugerrands.
JAKE
He’d run out of pesetas in a pretty spectacular fashion.
FRED
He had, only a few nights before, dropped a packet on the pier at Bognor Regis.
JAKE
Fishing for tiddlers.
FRED
His casino life had long been a lost horizon.
JAKE
The silver pail was empty.
FRED
As was the gold.
JAKE
Nary an emerald.
FRED
Nary a gem.
JAKE
Gemless in Wall Street –
FRED
To the bank with fuck-all.
JAKE
Yes – it must and will be said – the speech my father gave at that trustees meeting on that wonderfully soft summer morning in the Cotswolds all those years ago was the speech either of a mountebank – a child – a shyster – a fool – a villain –
FRED
Or a saint.
MARIA to them. JAKE stands.
MARIA
Do you remember me? I was your mother’s best friend. You’re both so tall. I remember you when you were little boys. And Bridget of course. I once took you all to the Zoo, with your father. We had tea. Do you remember? I used to come to tea, with your mother. We drank so much tea in those days! My three are all in terribly good form. Sarah’s doing marvellously well and Lucien’s thriving at the Consulate and as for Susannah, there’s no stopping her. But don’t you remember the word games we all used to play? Then we’d walk across the Common. That’s where we met Ralph. He was refereeing a football match. He did it, oh I don’t know, with such aplomb, such command. Your mother and I were so … impressed. He was always ahead of the game. He knew where the ball was going before it was kicked. Osmosis. I think that’s the word. He’s still as osmotic as anyone I’ve ever come across. Much more so, of course. Most people have no osmotic quality whatsoever. But of course in those days – I won’t deny it – I had a great affection for your father. And so had your mother – for your father. Your father possessed little in the way of osmosis but nor did he hide his blushes under a barrel. I mean he wasn’t a pretender, he didn’t waste precious time. And how he danced. How he danced. One of the great waltzers. An elegance and grace long gone. A firmness and authority so seldom encountered. And he looked you directly in the eye. Unwavering. As he swirled you across the floor. A rare gift. But I was young in those days. So was your mother. Your mother was marvellously young and quickening every moment. I – I must say – particularly when I saw your mother being swirled across the floor by your father – felt buds breaking out all over the place. I thought I’d go mad.
Andy’s room.
ANDY and BEL.
ANDY
I’ll tell you something about me. I sweated over a hot desk all my working life and nobody ever found a flaw in my working procedures. Nobody ever uncovered the slightest hint of negligence or misdemeanour. Never. I was an inspiration to others. I inspired the young men and women down from here and down from there. I inspired them to put their shoulders to the wheel and their noses to the grindstone and to keep faith at all costs with the structure which after all ensured the ordered government of all our lives, which took perfect care of us, which held us to its bosom, as it were. I was a first-class civil servant. I was admired and respected. I do not say I was loved. I didn’t want to be loved. Love is an attribute no civil servant worth his salt would give house room to. It’s redundant. An excrescence. No no, I’ll tell you what I was. I was an envied and feared force in the temples of the just.
BEL
But you never swore in the office?
ANDY
I would never use obscene language in the office. Certainly not. I kept my obscene language for the home, where it belongs.
Pause.
Oh there’s something I forgot to tell you. I bumped into Maria the other day, the day before I was stricken. She invited me back to her flat for a slice of plumduff. I said to her, If you have thighs prepare to bare them now.
BEL
Yes, you always entertained a healthy lust for her.
ANDY
A healthy lust? Do you think so?
BEL
And she for you.
ANDY
Has that been the whisper along the white sands of the blue Caribbean? I’m dying. Am I dying?
BEL
If you were dying you’d be dead.
ANDY
How do you work that out?
BEL
You’d be dead if you were dying.
ANDY
I sometimes think I’m married to a raving lunatic! But I’m always prepared to look on the sunny side of things. You mean I’ll see spring again? I’ll see another spring? All the paraphernalia of flowers?
BEL
What a lovely use of language. You know, you’ve never used language in such a way before. You’ve never said such a thing before.
ANDY
Oh so what? I’ve said other things, haven’t I? Plenty of other things. All my life. All my life I’ve been saying plenty of other things.
BEL
Yes, it’s quite true that all your life in all your personal and social attachments the language you employed was mainly coarse, crude, vacuous, puerile, obscene and brutal to a degree. Most people were ready to vomit after no more than ten minutes in your company. But this is not to say that beneath this vicious some would say demented exterior there did not exist a delicate even poetic sensibility, the sensibility of a young horse in the golden age, in the golden past of our forefathers.
Silence.
ANDY
Anyway, admit it. You always entertained a healthy lust for Maria yourself. And she for you. But let me make something quite clear. I was never jealous. I was not jealous then. Nor am I jealous now.
BEL
Why should you be jealous? She was your mistress. Throughout the early and lovely days of our marriage.
ANDY
She must have reminded me of you.
Pause.
The past is a mist.
Pause.
Once … I remember this … once … a woman walked towards me across a darkening room.
Pause.
BEL
That was me.
Pause.
ANDY
You?
Third area.
Faint light. BRIDGET.
BRIDGET
I am walking slowly in a dense jungle. But I’m not suffocating. I can breathe. That is because I can see the sky through the leaves.
Pause.
I’m surrounded by flowers. Hibiscus, oleander, bougainvillea, jacaranda. The turf under my feet is soft.
Pause.
I crossed so many fierce landscapes to get here. Thorns, stones, stinging nettles, barbed wire, skeletons of men and women in ditches. There was no hiding there. There was no yielding. There was no solace, no shelter.
Pause.
But here there is shelter. I can hide. I am hidden. The flowers surround me but they don’t imprison me. I am free. Hidden but free. I’m a captive no longer. I’m lost no longer. No one can find me or see me. I can be seen only by eyes of the jungle, eyes in the leaves. But they don’t want to harm me.
Pause.
There is a smell of burning. A velvet odour, very deep, an echo like a bell.
Pause.
No one in the world can find me.
Fred’s bedroom.
FRED and JAKE, sitting at a table.
JAKE
What did you say your name was? I’ve made a note of it somewhere.
FRED
Macpherson.
JAKE
That’s funny. I thought it was Gonzalez. I would be right in saying you were born in Tooting Common?
FRED
I came here at your urgent request. You wanted to consult me.
JAKE
Did I go that far?
FRED
When I say ‘you’ I don’t of course mean you. I mean ‘they’.
JAKE
You mean Kellaway.
FRED
Kellaway? I don’t know Kellaway.
JAKE
You don’t?
FRED
Yours was the name they gave me.
JAKE
What name was that?
FRED
Saunders.
JAKE
Oh quite.
FRED
They didn’t mention Kellaway.
JAKE
When you say ‘they’ I take it you don’t mean ‘they’?
FRED
I mean a man called Sims.
JAKE
Jim Sims?
FRED
No.
JAKE
Well, if it isn’t Jim Sims I can’t imagine what Sims you can possibly be talking about.
FRED
That’s no skin off my nose.
JAKE
I fervently hope you’re right.
JAKE examines papers.
Oh by the way, Manning’s popping in to see you in a few minutes.
FRED
Manning?
JAKE
Yes, just to say hello. He can’t stay long. He’s on his way to Huddersfield.
FRED
Manning?
JAKE
Huddersfield, yes.
FRED
I don’t know any Manning.
JAKE
I know you don’t. That’s why he’s popping in to see you.
FRED
Now look here. I think this is getting a bit out of court. First Kellaway, now Manning. Two men I have not only never met but have never even heard of. I’m going to have to take this back to my people, I’m afraid. I’ll have to get a further briefing on this.
JAKE
Oh I’m terribly sorry – of course – you must know Manning by his other name.
FRED
What’s that?
JAKE
Rawlings.
FRED
I know Rawlings.
JAKE
I had no right to call him Manning.
FRED
Not if he’s the Rawlings I know.
JAKE
He is the Rawlings you know.
FRED
Well, this quite clearly brings us straight back to Kellaway. What’s Kellaway’s other name?
JAKE
Saunders.
Pause.
FRED
But that’s your name.
RALPH to JAKE and FRED.
RALPH
Were you keen on the game of soccer when you were lads, you boys? Probably not. Probably thinking of other things. Kissing girls. Foreign literature. Snooker. I know the form. I can tell by the complexion, I can tell by the stance, I can tell by the way a man holds himself whether he has an outdoor disposition or not. Your father could never be described as a natural athlete. Not by a long chalk. The man was a thinker. Well, there’s a place in this world for thinking, I certainly wouldn’t argue with that. The trouble with so much thinking, though, or with that which calls itself thinking, is that it’s like farting Annie Laurie down a keyhole. A waste of your time and mine. What do you think this thinking is pretending to do? Eh? It’s pretending to make things clear, you see, it’s pretending to clarify things. But what’s it really doing? Eh? What do you think? I’ll tell you. It’s confusing you, it’s blinding you, it’s sending the mind into a spin, it’s making you dizzy, it’s making you so dizzy that by the end of the day you don’t know whether you’re on your arse or your elbow, you don’t know whether you’re coming or going. I’ve always been a pretty vigorous man myself. I had a seafaring background. I was the captain of a lugger. The bosun’s name was Ripper. But after years at sea I decided to give the Arts a chance generally. I had tried a bit of amateur refereeing but it didn’t work out. But I had a natural talent for acting and I also played the piano and I could paint. But I should have been an architect. That’s where the money is. It was your mother and father woke me up to poetry and art. They changed my life. And then of course I married my wife. A fine woman but demanding. She was looking for fibre and guts. Her eyes were black and appalling. I dropped dead at her feet. It was all go at that time. Love, football, the arts, the occasional pint. Mind you, I preferred a fruity white wine but you couldn’t actually say that in those days.
Third area.
Jake (18), Fred (17), Bridget (14).
BRIDGET and FRED on the floor. JAKE standing.
A cassette playing.
FRED
Why can’t I come?
JAKE
I’ve told you. There isn’t room in the car.
BRIDGET
Oh take him with you.
JAKE
There’s no room in the car. It’s not my car. I’m just a passenger. I’m lucky to get a lift myself.
FRED
But if I can’t come with you what am I going to do all night? I’ll have to stay here with her.
BRIDGET
Oh God, I wish you’d take him with you. Otherwise I’ll have to stay here with him.
JAKE
Well, you are related.
FRED
That’s the trouble.
BRIDGET (To FRED)
You’re related to him too.
FRED
Yes, but once I got to this gig I’d lose him. We wouldn’t see each other again. He’s merely a method of transport. Emotion or family allegiances don’t come in to it.
BRIDGET
Oh well go with him then.
JAKE
I’ve told you, he can’t. There isn’t any room in the car. It’s not my car! I haven’t got a car.
FRED
That’s what’s so tragic about the whole business. If you had a car none of this would be taking place.
BRIDGET
Look, I don’t want him to stay here with me, I can assure you, I actually want to be alone.
FRED
Greta Garbo! Are you going to be a film star when you grow up?
BRIDGET
Oh shut up. You know what I’m going to be.
FRED
What?
BRIDGET
A physiotherapist.
JAKE
She’ll be a great physiotherapist.
FRED
She’ll have to play very soothing music so that her patients won’t notice their suffering.
BRIDGET
I did your neck the other day and you didn’t complain.
FRED
That’s true.
BRIDGET
You had a spasm and I released it.
FRED
That’s true.
BRIDGET
You didn’t complain then.
FRED
I’m not complaining now. I think you’re wonderful. I know you’re wonderful. And I know you’ll make a wonderful physiotherapist. But I still want to get to this gig in Amersham. That doesn’t mean I don’t think you’re wonderful.
BRIDGET
Oh go to Amersham, please! You don’t think I need anyone to stay with me, do you? I’m not a child. Anyway, I’m reading this book.
JAKE
You don’t want to be all on your own.
BRIDGET
I do want to be all on my own. I want to read this book.
FRED
I don’t even have a book. I mean – I have books – but they’re all absolutely unreadable.
JAKE
Well I’m off to Amersham.
FRED
What about me?
BRIDGET
Oh for God’s sake take him with you to Amersham or don’t take him with you to Amersham or shut up! Both of you!
Pause.
JAKE
Well I’m off to Amersham.
He goes. BRIDGET and FRED sit still.
Music plays.
Andy’s room.
ANDY and BEL.
BEL
I’m giving you a mushroom omelette today and a little green salad – and an apple.
ANDY
How kind you are. I’d be lost without you. It’s true. I’d flounder without you. I’d fall apart. Well, I’m falling apart as it is – but if I didn’t have you I’d stand no chance.
BEL
You’re not a bad man. You’re just what we used to call a loudmouth. You can’t help it. It’s your nature. If you only kept your mouth shut more of the time life with you might just be tolerable.
ANDY
Allow me to kiss your hand. I owe you everything.
He watches her embroider.
Oh, I’ve been meaning to ask you, what are you making there? A winding sheet? Are you going to wrap me up in it when I conk out? You’d better get a move on. I’m going fast.
Pause.
Where are they?
Pause.
Two sons. Absent. Indifferent. Their father dying.
BEL
They were good boys. I’ve been thinking of how they used to help me with the washing-up. And the drying. The clearing of the table, the washing-up, the drying. Do you remember?
ANDY
You mean in the twilight? The soft light falling through the kitchen window? The bell ringing for Evensong in the pub round the corner?
Pause.
They were bastards. Both of them. Always. Do you remember that time I asked Jake to clean out the broom cupboard? Well – I told him – I admit it – I didn’t ask him – I told him that it was bloody filthy and that he hadn’t lifted a little finger all week. Nor had the other one. Lazy idle layabouts. Anyway all I did was to ask him – quite politely – to clean out the bloody broom cupboard. His defiance! Do you remember the way he looked at me? His defiance!
Pause.
And look at them now! What are they now! A sponging parasitical pair of ponces. Sucking the tit of the state. Sucking the tit of the state! And I bet you feed them a few weekly rupees from your little money-box, don’t you? Because they always loved their loving mother. They helped her with the washing-up!
Pause.
I’ve got to stretch my legs. Go over the Common, watch a game of football, rain or shine. What was the name of that old chum of mine? Used to referee amateur games every weekend? On the Common? Charming bloke. They treated him like shit. A subject of scorn. No decision he ever made was adhered to or respected. They shouted at him, they screamed at him, they called him every kind of prick. I used to watch in horror from the touchline. I’ll always remember his impotent whistle. It blows down to me through the ages, damp and forlorn. What was his name? And now I’m dying and he’s probably dead.
BEL
He’s not dead.
ANDY
Why not?
Pause.
What was his name?
BEL
Ralph.
ANDY
Ralph? Ralph? Can that be possible?
Pause.
Well, even if his name was Ralph he was still the most sensitive and intelligent of men. My oldest friend. But pathologically idiosyncratic, if he was anything. He was reliable enough when he was sitting down but you never knew where you were with him when he was standing up, I mean when he was on the move, when you were walking down the street with him. He was a reticent man, you see. He said little but he was always thinking. And the trouble was – his stride would keep pace with his thoughts. If he was thinking slowly he’d walk as if he was wading through mud or crawling out of a pot of apricot jam. If he was thinking quickly he walked like greased lightning, you couldn’t keep up with him, you were on your knees in the gutter while he was over the horizon in a flash. I always had a lot of sympathy for his sexual partner, whoever she may have been. I mean to say – one minute he’d be berserk – up to a thousand revolutions a second – and the next he’d be grinding to the most appalling and deadly halt. He was his own natural handbrake. Poor girl. There must be easier ways of making ends meet.
Pause.
Anyway, leaving him aside, if you don’t mind, for a few minutes, where is Maria? Why isn’t she here? I can’t die without her.
BEL
Oh of course you can. And you will.
ANDY
But think of our past. We were all so close. Think of the months I betrayed you with her. How can she forget? Think of the wonder of it. I betrayed you with your own girlfriend, she betrayed you with your husband and she betrayed her own husband – and me – with you! She broke every record in sight! She was a genius and a great fuck.
BEL
She was a very charming and attractive woman.
ANDY
Then why isn’t she here? She loved me, not to mention you. Why isn’t she here to console you in your grief.
BEL
She’s probably forgotten you’re dying. If she ever remembered.
ANDY
What! What!
Pause.
I had her in our bedroom, by the way, once or twice, on our bed. I was a man at the time.
Pause.
You probably had her in the same place, of course. In our bedroom, on our bed.
BEL
I don’t ‘have’ people.
ANDY
You’ve had me.
BEL
Oh you. Oh yes. I can still have you.
ANDY
What do you mean? Are you threatening me? What do you have in mind? Assault? Are you proposing to have me here and now? Without further ado? Would it be out of order to remind you that I’m on my deathbed? Or is that a solecism? What’s your plan, to kill me in the act, like a praying mantis? How much sexual juice does a corpse retain and for how long, for Christ’s sake? The truth is I’m basically innocent. I know little of women. But I’ve heard dread tales. Mainly from my old mate, the referee. But they were probably all fantasy and fabrication, bearing no relation whatsoever to reality.
BEL
Oh, do you think so? Do you really think so?
Fred’s room.
FRED and JAKE, at the table.
JAKE
The meeting is scheduled for 6.30. Bellamy in the chair. Pratt, Hawkeye, Belcher and Rausch, Horsfall attending. Lieutenant-Colonel Silvio d’Orangerie will speak off the record at 7.15 precisely.
FRED
But Horsfall will be attending?
JAKE
Oh, Horsfall’s always steady on parade. Apart from that I’ve done the placement myself.
FRED
What are you, the permanent secretary?
JAKE
Indeed I am. Indeed I am.
FRED
Funny Hawkeye and Rausch being at the same table. Did you mention Bigsby?
JAKE
Why, did Hawkeye tangle with Rausch at Bromley? No, I didn’t mention Bigsby.
FRED
They were daggers drawn at Eastbourne.
JAKE
What, during the Buckminster hierarchy?
FRED
Buckminster? I never mentioned Buckminster.
JAKE
You mentioned Bigsby.
FRED
You’re not telling me that Bigsby is anything to do with Buckminster? Or that Buckminster and Bigsby –?
JAKE
I’m telling you nothing of the sort. Buckminster and Bigsby are two quite different people.
FRED
That’s always been my firm conviction.
JAKE
Well, thank goodness we agree about something.
FRED
I’ve never thought we were all that far apart.
JAKE
You mean where it matters most?
FRED
Quite. Tell me more about Belcher.
JAKE
Belcher? Who’s Belcher? Oh, Belcher! Sorry. I thought for a moment you were confusing Belcher with Bellamy. Because of the B’s. You follow me?
FRED
Any confusion that exists in that area rests entirely in you, old chap.
JAKE
That’s a bit blunt, isn’t it? Are you always so blunt? After all, I’ve got a steady job here, which is more than can be said for you.
FRED
Listen son. I’ve come a long way down here to attend a series of highly confidential meetings in which my participation is seen to be a central factor. I’ve come a very long way and the people I left to man the bloody fort made quite clear to me a number of their very weighty misgivings. But I insisted and here I am. I want to see Bellamy, I want to see Belcher, I need to see Rausch, Pratt is a prat but Hawkeye is crucial. Frustrate any of this and you’ll regret it.
JAKE
I can only hope Lieutenant-Colonel Silvio d’Orangerie won’t find you as offensive as I do. He’s an incredibly violent person.
FRED
I know Silvio.
JAKE
Know him? What do you mean?
FRED
We were together in Torquay.
JAKE
Oh. I see.
Pause.
What about Horsfall?
FRED
Horsfall belongs to you.
Andy’s room.
ANDY and BEL.
ANDY
Where is she? Of all the people in the world I know she’d want to be with me now. Because she I know remembers everything. How I cuddled her and sang to her, how I kept her nightmares from her, how she fell asleep in my arms.
BEL
Please. Oh please.
Pause.
ANDY
Is she bringing my grandchildren to see me? Is she? To catch their last look of me, to receive my blessing?
BEL sits frozen.
Poor little buggers, their eyes so wide, so blue, so black, poor tots, tiny totlets, poor little tiny totlets, to lose their grandad at the height of his powers, when he was about to stumble upon new reserves of spiritual zest, when the door was about to open on new ever-widening and ever-lengthening horizons.
BEL
But darling, death will be your new horizon.
ANDY
What?
BEL
Death is your new horizon.
ANDY
That may be. That may be. But the big question is, will I cross it as I die or after I’m dead? Or perhaps I won’t cross it at all. Perhaps I’ll just stay stuck in the middle of the horizon. In which case, can I see over it? Can I see to the other side? Or is the horizon endless? And what’s the weather like? Is it uncertain with showers or sunny with fogpatches? Or unceasing moonlight with no cloud? Or pitch black for ever and ever? You may say you haven’t the faintest fucking idea and you would be right. But personally I don’t believe it’s going to be pitch black for ever because if it’s pitch black for ever what would have been the point of going through all these enervating charades in the first place? There must be a loophole. The only trouble is, I can’t find it. If only I could find it I would crawl through it and meet myself coming back. Like screaming with fright at the sight of a stranger only to find you’re looking into a mirror.
Pause.
But what if I cross this horizon before my grandchildren get here? They won’t know where I am. What will they say? Will you ever tell me? Will you ever tell me what they say? They’ll cry or they won’t, a sorrow too deep for tears, but they’re only babies, what can they know about death?
BEL
Oh, the really little ones I think do know something about death, they know more about death than we do. We’ve forgotten death but they haven’t forgotten it. They remember it. Because some of them, those who are really very young, remember the moment before their life began – it’s not such a long time ago for them, you see – and the moment before their life began they were of course dead.
Pause.
ANDY
Really?
BEL
Of course.
Half-light over the whole stage.
Stillness. A telephone rings in Fred’s room. It rings six times. A click. Silence.
Blackout.
Third area.
Faint light. ANDY moving about in the dark. He stubs his toe.
ANDY
Shit!
He moves to an alcove.
Why not? No fags, no fucks. Bollocks to the lot of them. I’ll have a slug anyway. Bollocks to the lot of them and bugger them all.
Sound of bottle opening. Pouring. He drinks, sighs.
Ah God. That’s the ticket. Just the job. Bollocks to the lot of them.
He pours again, drinks.
Growing moonlight finds BRIDGET in background, standing still.
ANDY moves into the light and stops still, listening.
Silence.
Ah darling. Ah my darling.
BEL appears. She walks into moonlight. ANDY and BEL look at each other. They turn away from each other.
They stand still, listening. BRIDGET remains still, in background.
Silence.
Lights fade on ANDY and BELL.
BRIDGET, standing in the moonlight.
Light fades.
Fred’s room.
JAKE and FRED. FRED in bed.
JAKE
How’s your water consumption these days?
FRED
I’ve given all that up.
JAKE
Really?
FRED
Oh yes. I’ve decided to eschew the path of purity and abstention and take up a proper theology. From now on it’s the Michelin Guide and the Orient Express for me – that kind of thing.
JAKE
I once lived the life of Riley myself.
FRED
What was he like?
JAKE
I never met him personally. But I became a very very close friend of the woman he ran away with.
FRED
I bet she taught you a thing or two.
JAKE
She taught me nothing she hadn’t learnt herself at the feet of the master.
FRED
Wasn’t Riley known under his other hat as the Sheikh of Araby?
JAKE
That’s him. His mother was one of the all-time-great belly dancers and his father was one of the last of the great village elders.
FRED
A marvellous people.
JAKE
A proud people too.
FRED
Watchful.
JAKE
Wary.
FRED
Touchy.
JAKE
Bristly.
FRED
Vengeful.
JAKE
Absolutely ferocious, to be quite frank.
FRED
Kick you in the balls as soon as look at you.
JAKE
But you know what made them the men they were?
FRED
What?
JAKE
They drank water. Sheer, cold, sparkling mountain water.
FRED
And this made men of them?
JAKE
And Gods.
FRED
I’ll have some then. I’ve always wanted to be a God.
JAKE (Pouring)
Drink up.
FRED
Listen. Can I ask you a very personal question? Do you think my nerve is going? Do you think my nerve is on the blink?
JAKE
I’m going to need a second opinion.
FRED
We haven’t had the first one yet.
JAKE
No, no, the second is always the one that counts, any fool knows that. But I’ve got another suggestion.
FRED
What’s that?
JAKE
What about a walk around the block?
FRED
Oh no, I’m much happier in bed. Staying in bed suits me. I’d be very unhappy to get out of bed and go out and meet strangers and all that kind of thing. I’d really much prefer to stay in my bed.
Pause.
Bridget would understand. I was her brother. She understood me. She always understood my feelings.
JAKE
She understood me too.
Pause.
She understood me too.
Silence.
FRED
Listen. I’ve got a funny feeling my equilibrium is in tatters.
JAKE
Oh really? Well they can prove these things scientifically now, you know. I beg you to remember that.
FRED
Really?
JAKE
Oh yes. They’ve got things like light-meters now.
FRED
Light-meters?
JAKE
Oh yes. They can test the quality of light down to a fraction of a centimetre, even if it’s pitch dark.
FRED
They can find whatever light is left in the dark?
JAKE
They can find it, yes. They can locate it. Then they place it in a little box. They wrap it up and tie a ribbon round it and you get it tax free, as a reward for all your labour and faith and all the concern and care for others you have demonstrated so eloquently for so long.
FRED
And will it serve me as a light at the end of the tunnel?
JAKE
It will serve you as a torch, as a flame. It will serve you as your own personal light eternal.
FRED
Fantastic.
JAKE
This is what we can do for you.
FRED
Who?
JAKE
Society.
Pause.
FRED
Listen. I’d like – if you don’t mind – to take you back to the remarks you were making earlier – about your father – and about your inheritance – which was not perhaps quite what it purported to be, which was not, shall we say, exactly the bona fide gold-plated testament deep-seated rumour had reckoned but which was – in fact – according to information we now possess – in the lowest category of Ruritanian fantasy –
JAKE
Yes, but wait a minute! What exactly is being said here about my Dad? What is being said? What is this? What it demonstrably is not is a dissertation upon the defeated or a lament for the lost, is it? No, no, I’ll tell you what it is. It is an atrociously biased and illegitimate onslaught on the weak and vertiginous. Do you follow me? So what is this? I am entitled to ask. What is being said? What is being said here? What is it that is being said here – or there – for that matter? I ask this question. In other words, I am asking this question. What finally is being said?
Pause.
All his life my father has been subjected to hatred and vituperation. He has been from time immemorial pursued and persecuted by a malignant force which until this day has remained shadowy, a force resisting definition or classification. What is this force and what is its bent? You will answer that question, not I. You will, in the calm and ease which will come to you, as assuredly it will, in due course, before the last race is run, answer that question, not I. I will say only this: I contend that you subject to your scorn a man who was – and here I pray for your understanding – an innocent bystander to his own nausea. At the age of three that man was already at the end of his tether. No wonder he yearned to leave to his loving son the legacy of all that was best and most valuable of his life and death. He loved me. And one day I shall love him. I shall love him and be happy to pay the full price of that love.
FRED
Which is the price of death.
JAKE
The price of death, yes.
FRED
Than which there is no greater price.
JAKE
Than which?
FRED
Than which.
Pause.
Death –
JAKE
Which is the price of love.
FRED
A great great price.
JAKE
A great and deadly price.
FRED
But strictly in accordance with the will of God.
JAKE
And the laws of nature.
FRED
And common or garden astrological logic.
JAKE
It’s the first axiom.
FRED
And the last.
JAKE
It may well be both tautologous and contradictory.
FRED
But it nevertheless constitutes a watertight philosophical proposition which will in the final reckoning be seen to be such.
JAKE
I believe that to be so, yes. I believe that to be the case and I’d like to raise a glass to all those we left behind, to all those who fell at the first and all consequent hurdles.
They raise glasses.
FRED
Raising.
JAKE
Raising.
They drink.
FRED
Let me say this. I knew your father.
JAKE
You did indeed.
FRED
I was close to him.
JAKE
You were indeed.
FRED
Closer to him than you were yourself perhaps.
JAKE
It could be argued so. You were indeed his youngest and most favoured son.
FRED
Precisely. And so let me say this. He was a man, take him for all in all, I shall not look upon his like again.
JAKE
You move me much.
Pause.
FRED
Some say of course that he was spiritually furtive, politically bankrupt, morally scabrous and intellectually abject.
Pause.
JAKE
They lie.
FRED
Certainly he liked a drink.
JAKE
And could be spasmodically rampant.
FRED
On my oath, there’s many a maiden will attest to that.
JAKE
He may have been poetically downtrodden –
FRED
But while steeped in introversion he remained proud and fiery.
JAKE
And still I called him Dad.
Pause.
FRED
What was he like in real life? Would you say?
JAKE
A leader of men.
Pause.
FRED
What was the celebrated nickname attached to him by his friends with affection, awe and admiration?
JAKE
The Incumbent. Be at the Black Horse tonight 7.30 sharp. The Incumbent’ll be there in his corner, buying a few pints for the lads.
FRED
They were behind him to a man.
JAKE
He knew his beer and possessed the classic formula for dealing with troublemakers.
FRED
What was that?
JAKE
A butcher’s hook.
Pause.
FRED
Tell me about your mother.
JAKE
Don’t talk dirty to me.
Andy’s room.
ANDY and BEL.
BEL
The first time Maria and I had lunch together – in a restaurant – I asked her to order for me. She wore grey. A grey dress. I said please order for me, please, I’ll have whatever you decide, I’d much prefer that. And she took my hand and squeezed it and smiled and ordered for me.
ANDY
I saw her do it. I saw her, I heard her order for you.
BEL
I said, I’ll be really happy to have whatever you decide.
ANDY
Fish. She decided on fish.
BEL
She asked about my girlhood.
ANDY
The bitch.
BEL
I spoke to her in a way I had never spoken to anyone before. I told her of my girlhood. I told her about running on the cliffs with my brothers, I ran so fast, up and down the heather, I was so out of breath, I had to stop, I fell down on the heather, bouncing, they fell down at my side, and all the wind. I told her about the wind and my brothers running after me on the clifftop and falling down at my side.
Pause.
I spoke to her in a way I had never spoken to anyone before. Sometimes it happens, doesn’t it? You’re speaking to someone and you suddenly find that you’re another person.
ANDY
Who is?
BEL
You are.
Pause.
I don’t mean you. I mean me.
ANDY
I witnessed all this, by the way.
BEL
Oh, were you there?
ANDY
I was spying on you both from a corner table, behind a vase of flowers and The Brothers Karamazov.
BEL
And then she said women had something men didn’t have. They had certain qualities men simply didn’t have. I wondered if she was talking about me. But then I realised of course she was talking about women in general. But then she looked at me and she said. You, for example. But I said to myself, Men can be beautiful too.
ANDY
I was there. I heard every word.
BEL
Not my thoughts.
ANDY
I heard your thoughts. I could hear your thoughts. You thought to yourself, Men can be beautiful too. But you didn’t dare say it. But you did dare think it.
Pause.
Mind you, she thought the same. I know she did.
Pause.
She’s the one we both should have married.
BEL
Oh no, I don’t think so. I think I should have married your friend Ralph.
ANDY
Ralph? What, Ralph the referee?
BEL
Yes.
ANDY
But he was such a terrible referee! He was such a hopeless referee!
BEL
It wasn’t the referee I loved.
ANDY
It was the man!
Pause.
Well, I’ll be buggered. It’s wonderful. Here I am dying and she tells me she loved a referee. I could puke.
Pause.
And how I loved you. I’ll never forget the earliest and loveliest days of our marriage. You offered your body to me. Here you are, you said one day, here’s my body. Oh thanks very much, I said, that’s very decent of you, what do you want me to do with it? Do what you will, you said. This is going to need a bit of thought, I said. I tell you what, hold on to it for a couple of minutes, will you? Hold on to it while I call a copper.
BEL
Ralph had such beautiful manners and such a lovely singing voice. I’ve never understood why he didn’t become a professional tenor. But I think all the travel involved in that kind of life was the problem. There was a story about an old mother, a bewildered aunt. Something that tugged at his heart. I never quite knew what to believe.
ANDY
No, no, you’ve got the wrong bloke. My Ralph was pedantic and scholastic. Never missed a day at night school. Big ears but little feet. Never smiled. One day though he did say something. He pulled me into a doorway. He whispered in my ear. Do you know what he said? He said men had something women simply didn’t have. I asked him what it was. But of course there was no way he was going to answer that question. You know why? Because referees are not obliged to answer questions. Referees are the law. They are law in action. They have a whistle. They blow it. And that whistle is the articulation of God’s justice.
MARIA and RALPH to ANDY and BEL.
MARIA
How wonderful you both look. It’s been ages. We don’t live up here any more, of course.
RALPH
Got a place in the country.
MARIA
Years ago.
RALPH
Ten. Ten years ago.
MARIA
We’ve made friends with so many cows, haven’t we, darling? Sarah’s doing marvellously well and Lucien’s thriving at the Consulate and as for Susannah, there’s no stopping her. They all take after Ralph. Don’t they darling? I mean physically. Mentally and artistically they take after me. We have a pretty rundown sort of quite large cottage. Not exactly a château. A small lake.
RALPH
More of a pond.
MARIA
More of a lake, I’d say.
ANDY
So you’ve given up refereeing?
RALPH
Oh yes. I gave that up. And I’ve never regretted it.
ANDY
You mean it didn’t come from the heart?
RALPH
I wasn’t born for it.
ANDY
Well, you were certainly no bloody good at it.
Pause.
RALPH
Tell me. I often think of the past. Do you?
ANDY
The past? What past? I don’t remember any past. What kind of past did you have in mind?
RALPH
Walking down the Balls Pond Road, for example.
ANDY
I never went anywhere near the Balls Pond Road. I was a civil servant. I had no past. I remember no past. Nothing ever happened.
BEL
Yes it did.
MARIA
Oh it did. Yes it did. Lots of things happened.
RALPH
Yes, things happened. Things certainly happened. All sorts of things happened.
BEL
All sorts of things happened.
ANDY
Well, I don’t remember any of these things. I remember none of these things.
MARIA
For instance, your children! Your lovely little girl! Bridget! (She laughs.) Little girl! She must be a mother by now.
Pause.
ANDY
I’ve got three beautiful grandchildren. (To BEL) Haven’t I?
Pause.
BEL
By the way, he’s not well. Have you noticed?
RALPH
Who?
BEL
Him.
MARIA
I hadn’t noticed.
RALPH
What’s the trouble?
BEL
He’s on the way out.
Pause.
RALPH
Old Andy? Not a chance. He was always as fit as a fiddle. Constitution like an ox.
MARIA
People like Andy never die. That’s the wonderful thing about them.
RALPH
He looks in the pink.
MARIA
A bit peaky perhaps but in the pink. He’ll be running along the towpath in next to no time. Take my word. Waltzing away in next to no time.
RALPH
Before you can say Jack Robinson. Well, we must toddle.
RALPH and MARIA out.
BEL goes to telephone, dials.
Lights hold on her.
Lights up in Fred’s room.
The phone rings. JAKE picks it up.
JAKE
Chinese laundry?
BEL
Your father is very ill.
JAKE
Chinese laundry?
Silence.
BEL
Your father is very ill.
JAKE
Can I pass you to my colleague?
FRED takes the phone.
FRED
Chinese laundry?
Pause.
BEL
It doesn’t matter.
FRED
Oh my dear madam, absolutely everything matters when it comes down to laundry.
BEL
No. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter.
Silence.
JAKE takes the phone, looks at it, puts it to his ear.
BEL holds the phone.
FRED grabs the phone.
FRED
If you have any serious complaint can we refer you to our head office?
BEL
Do you do dry cleaning?
FRED is still. He then passes the phone to JAKE.
JAKE
Hullo. Can I help you?
BEL
Do you do dry cleaning?
JAKE is still.
BEL puts the phone down. Dialling tone.
JAKE replaces phone.
JAKE
Of course we do dry cleaning! Of course we do dry cleaning! What kind of fucking laundry are you if you don’t do dry cleaning?
Andy’s room.
ANDY and BEL.
ANDY
Where are they? My grandchildren? The babies? My daughter?
Pause.
Are they waiting outside? Why do you keep them waiting outside? Why can’t they come in? What are they waiting for?
Pause.
What’s happening
Pause.
What is happening?
BEL
Are you dying?
ANDY
Am I?
BEL
Don’t you know?
ANDY
No, I don’t know. I don’t know how it feels. How does it feel?
BEL
I don’t know.
Pause.
ANDY
Why don’t they come in? Are they frightened? Tell them not to be frightened.
BEL
They’re not here. They haven’t come.
ANDY
Tell Bridget not to be frightened. Tell Bridget I don’t want her to be frightened.
Fred’s room.
JAKE and FRED.
FRED is out of bed. He wears shorts. They both walk around the room, hands behind backs.
JAKE
Pity you weren’t at d’Orangerie’s memorial.
FRED
I’m afraid I was confined to my bed with a mortal disease.
JAKE
So I gather. Pity. It was a great do.
FRED
Was it?
JAKE
Oh yes. Everyone was there.
FRED
Really? Who?
JAKE
Oh … Denton, Alabaster, Tunnicliffe, Quinn.
FRED
Really?
JAKE
Oh yes. Kelly, Mortlake, Longman, Small.
FRED
Good Lord.
JAKE
Oh yes. Wetterby, White, Hotchkiss, De Groot … Blackhouse, Garland, Gupte, Tate.
FRED
Well, well!
JAKE
The whole gang. Donovan, Ironside, Wallace, McCool … Ottuna, Muggeridge, Carpentier, Finn.
FRED
Speeches?
JAKE
Very moving.
FRED
Who spoke?
JAKE
Oh … Hazeldine, McCormick, Bugatti, Black, Forrester, Galloway, Springfield, Gaunt.
FRED
He was much loved.
JAKE
Well, you loved him yourself, didn’t you?
FRED
I loved him. I loved him like a father.
Third area.
BRIDGET
Once someone said to me – I think it was my mother or my father – anyway, they said to me – We’ve been invited to a party. You’ve been invited too. But you’ll have to come by yourself, alone. You won’t have to dress up. You just have to wait until the moon is down.
Pause.
They told me where the party was. It was in a house at the end of a lane. But they told me the party wouldn’t begin until the moon had gone down.
Pause.
I got dressed in something old and I waited for the moon to go down. I waited a long time. Then I set out for the house. The moon was bright and quite still.
Pause.
When I got to the house it was bathed in moonlight. The house, the glade, the lane, were all bathed in moonlight. But the inside of the house was dark and all the windows were dark. There was no sound.
Pause.
I stood there in the moonlight and waited for the moon to go down.

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