inspired by Oscar Wilde's Lady Windermere's Fan
* * * * *
was originally presented
at the University of Sheffield
Workshop on April 17-18,
the Butler. Rob
a maid. Lauren
Babbage appears in Act 4, as herself.
Babbage, Rob Neumark Jones and
Babbage, Rob Neumark Jones, Lauren
and Oscar Wilde.
Neumark Jones and Lauren Williams, with
production includes film footage from Lady
dir. Fred Paul (1916,
BFI) and Lady Windermere's Fan,
dir. Tony Smith (1985, BBC).
audience enters. ROB is standing by the door, in butler's
stands by the seating area, in maid's costume. ROB is rather
stiff and formal,
LAUREN more smiley. When the audience is all in, lights go down and
up to reveal ROB and LAUREN quietly Ôbustling' in
the performance area. They
pay little attention to each other, but move to and fro in the space
naturalistic mime of their servants' duties. Some of their
actions involve real
props, e.g. LAUREN uses a duster and ROB lays out cutlery and carries a
begins. (It is the music from Fred Paul's silent film
version of Lady
Lauren and ROB continue their movements. The lights close in slightly
a somewhat smaller square of performance space, and ROB and LAUREN come
in to the centre accordingly. Their movements alter: they hurry a
encounter each other frequently (exchanging a bow or curtsey); small
actions appear within the otherwise still naturalistic mime. After
approximately two minutes of this, the lights close in further to light
tighter square of space. At the same time the video of the silent film
on, and ROB and LAUREN continue to move in front of it so that from
time the image is partially obscured. The film shows the opening of the
film, which begins with Mrs Erlynne in her home, reading of Lady
birthday and the forthcoming ball in the newspaper. She is attended by
In the sequence we see, Mrs Erlynne forms the intention to go and meet
Windermere, who – it is revealed – is the daughter
when still a child.
the final movement section, played out in front of the film, the
actions of ROB
and LAUREN are wholly stylized. Each has a set of gestures, which are
first simultaneously by each; then the two performers present the same
at the same time. ROSALIE'S actions consist of a gesture of
curtsey; a gesture of shaking out linen; a gesture that suggests a fan;
gesture of dressing a lady's hair; a gesture of turning and
actions are a gesture of entrance; a deep bow; a gesture of announcing
a gesture of carrying a tray; a discreet cough; a gesture of turning
In this last, stylized section these actions are each repeated three
before the next one is presented. Whilst this is happening the stage
steadily darker to the point where the only light is the light of the
can no longer see the performers' faces; they appear only in
film sequence ends.
* * *
stage is divided so that on one side is the servants'
and on the other
the screen and projected silent film: the film shows the living room
(LR) of the
Windermeres' house. Through the majority of the scene, ROB
as PARKER remains
onstage, whilst LAUREN enters and exits in a series of costumes
variety of characters (each indicated by minimal but distinctive
her ROSALIE costume).
video of the silent film plays up to the point where we see Parker in LR
newspaper. LIGHTS UP to reveal PARKER onstage in SQ,
warming a newspaper.
enters as if from LR,
as LADY WINDERMERE, holding the fan.
your ladyship at home this afternoon?
– who has called?
Darlington, my lady.
Show him up – and I'm at home
anyone who calls.
my lady. (Exit Parker.)
best for me to see him before tonight. I'm glad
WINDERMERE exits SQ
immediately followed by her entrance on film into LR.
quickly followed by LAUREN as LORD DARLINGTON (with top hat).
with a bow)
look here, do cut the crap.
here, look here. Do you have them?
my lines, my lines! And you can stop calling me 'sir'
like that. Just cut that out at once, I don't appreciate
Your lines. At once sir... I mean, your lordship!... I
ahem, yes. Yes, at once.
we go through this ridiculous charade every time? You
know the drill by now, or at least you should. No wonder
you ended up a butler, with a brain like that.
be the size of a walnut.
rest my case.
rummages in his pockets and produces a number of cards. Hands them to
DARLINGTON, who scrutinizes them.
Where do you come up
with these? Brilliant, simply
brilliant! Anyone would think you were a genius. Until
they met you, of course.
(chuckling) 'I can resist
everything – except temptation.' Hah!
Simply marvelous. Lady Windermere is sure to swoon,
I can feel it! Love, so close! Well, wish me luck. Today
may well be the day. After all, there is the matter
Lord Windermere and Mrs Erlynne! Everyone
about it. The scandal! He's been visiting her daily,
giving her mon... Hold on! Why am I telling you all
this? Good day! (He goes to leave)
is the small matter of payment, your lordship.
Yes, of course. (Takes out some cash, gives it to Parker)
Can't complain really.
They are pretty good, after
all. (Takes one of the cards, reads it, smiles)
This one, 'Life is far too important a thing to be serious
Simply magnificent. Wherever did you get the idea
for that one?
do my humble best, sir.
shows Lord Darlington through to LR.
Video up (it is the BBC version):
and bustles in SQ.
On screen, we see but do not hear Lady Windermere and Lord
Darlington talking together. Onstage, PARKER loads a tea tray and
screen, Parker enters
LR with a tea tray accompanied by footmen. He exits LR,
He swiftly gathers up the silver cutlery that is on the table and drops
a holdall bag; he replaces it with cheap plastic cutlery. Remembering
something, he exits to LR.
men want to know if they are to put the carpets on the
terrace for tonight, my lady?
WINDERMERE. (on video)
You don't think it will rain, Lord Darlington, do you?
DARLINGTON. (on video)
I won't hear of its raining on your birthday!
WINDERMERE. (on video)
Tell them to do it at once, Parker.
Parker to reenter SQ.
A moment later, enter LAUREN as the DUCHESS OF
BERWICK (plus hat) and LADY AGATHA CARLISLE (here represented by a
umbrella). PARKER bows.
us in at once.
Duchess of Berwick and Lady Agatha Carlisle.
Duchess of Berwick and Lady Agatha Carlisle enter
LR. Exit Parker to
video plays (it is the silent film). PARKER eavesdrops, standing at the
SQ as near to on screen
LR as possible. We understand from the action on film
that the Duchess is gossiping, telling Lady Windermere about her
husband's 'relationship' with Mrs Erlynne. At the
appropriate moment LORD DARLINGTON
(LAUREN) enters the
SQ on his way out of the house, slightly startling
PARKER who is caught unawares. He attempts to regain his composure with
as LORD DARLINGTON sweeps past him to exit.
returns to his spying, until the Duchess and Lady Agatha exit
LR and reenter
I show you out, my lady?
know the way. Come, Agatha darling! Exeunt
and 'LADY AGATHA'.
video now plays (silent film) showing Lady Windermere deliberating over
to look at her husband's cheque book. PARKER continues to
spy on the action. At
the appropriate point, LAUREN as LORD WINDERMERE enters SQ
greatcoat, which he takes off and gives to PARKER).
(with a bow)
Lordship. Lady Windermere is at home.
LORD WINDERMERE to LR.
rest of the scene is focused entirely on the video of Lord and Lady
Windermere's confrontation in
LR (silent film). PARKER spies on them. At one point he
takes an apple from his pocket and crunches it a little too loudly.
Lord and Lady Windermere do not notice this. The scene finishes with
on video, and the announcement of the ball: 'The most select
affair of the season.'
* * *
in Lord Windermere's house. Projection of Ballroom scenes from silent
intercut with same scenes from BBC version. Long table has been set up
downstage right. On it is a table cloth, small flower arrangements,
half-emptied. Emptied old-fashioned champagne glasses and bottles of
and discarded masks, thrown aside by the guests during the joyous
the 'masquerade' ball. The flower arrangements
create a terrace area of the
table. PARKER and ROSALIE are clearing up the mess - they may also have
finishing off the champagne...
this scene all the guests at the ball are represented by individual
on sticks which are manipulated by PARKER and ROSALIE. Each mask is
to signal the character in question, as described below. ROSALIE
the female characters: black mask with netting (Duchess of Berwick);
with daisies (Agatha); black mask with pink bows (Lady Stutfield);
with string of pearls (Mrs Cowper-Cowper); white and gold mask with
feathers (Lady Windermere); show-stopping green mask with peacock
Erlynne). PARKER manipulates the male characters: black mask with wispy
eyebrows (Dumby); black mask with corks (Hopper); black mask with ruddy
and bushy moustache (Lord Augustus); unadorned black mask (Lord
black mask with National Health glasses attached (Mr Cecil Graham);
with miniature top hat and monocle chain (Lord Darlington). PARKER also
in the scene as himself.
a character will not appear again in the scene, he or she is dropped
unceremoniously into one of two bins placed at either end of the table,
very late. You have kept those five
for him, Agatha?
two dances you might pass on the terrace with
Cowper-Cowper. Lady Stutfield. Sir James
Mr. Guy Berkeley.
evening, Lady Stutfield. I suppose this will be the last
ball of the season?
suppose so, Mr. Dumby. It's been a delightful season,
delightful! Good evening, Duchess. I suppose this will
be the last ball of the season?
so, Mr. Dumby. It has been a very dull
dull! Dreadfully dull!
evening, Mr. Dumby. I suppose this will be the last
ball of the season?
I think not. There'll probably be two more.
takes 'Dumby' from PARKER.
Rufford. Lady Jedburgh and Miss Graham.
place, London! The balls are not nearly so
in London as they are in Sydney. But I should
to dance with Lady Agatha, Duchess.
hope she has a dance left. Have you a dance left,
takes 'Agatha' and 'Hopper'
and sets them aside in the terrace area of the
table, pushing their sticks into champagne bottles behind the flower
Augustus Lorton. Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Bowden. Lord
and Lady Paisley. Lord Darlington.
is she, Windermere? Where does she come from? Why
hasn't she got any demmed relations? Demmed
relations! But they make one so demmed
are talking of Mrs. Erlynne, I suppose? I only met
six months ago. Till then, I never knew of her
have seen a good deal of her since then.
Yes, I have seen a good deal of her since then. I
just seen her.
I might be married to her; she treats me with
demmed indifference. Hem! Well, look here, dear old
fellow. Do you think she will ever get into this
thing called Society? Would you introduce her to
Erlynne is coming here to-night.
she's all right, dear boy. But why didn't you tell
that before? It would have saved me a heap of
and demmed misunderstandings!
plays with 'Agatha' and 'Hopper' and makes them kiss.
don't you ask me how I am? I like people to ask
how I am. It shows a wide-spread interest in my
I MUST speak to you.
you hold my fan for me, Lord Darlington? Thanks.
what you said before dinner was, of course,
woman is not coming here to-night!
Erlynne is coming here, and if you in any way
or wound her, you will bring shame and sorrow on
us both. Ah, Margaret! A wife should trust her
is full of women who trust their husbands. One can
always recognise them. They look so thoroughly
I am not going to be one of them. . . I want a
to-night, Lord Darlington.
Windermere! I knew the time would come some
but why to-night?
Erlynne enters, she is proud and magnificently attired (peacock
stands very tall, swoops majestically, bows to Lady Windermere, flirts
Lord Windermere, and is placed centre of the table, prominent position.
have dropped your fan, Lady Windermere. You
faint. Come out on the terrace.
Parker, send my cloak out. Yes. Her
coming here is monstrous, unbearable.
I know you at all, I know that you can't live with a man
treats you like this! What sort of life would you have
with him? You would feel that he was lying to you
moment of the day. You would feel that the look
his eyes was false, his voice false, his touch false,
said you would be my friend, Lord Darlington.--
me, what am I to do? Be my friend now.
men and women there is no friendship
There is passion, enmity, worship, love, but no
friendship. I love you -
I love you! Leave this house to-night. There are
when one has to choose between living one's
life, fully, entirely, completely--or dragging out
false, shallow, degrading existence that the world
its hypocrisy demands. You have that moment now.
Oh, my love, choose.
give me time to think. I cannot answer you now.
her hand nervously over her brow.)
must be now or not at all.
not at all! (A pause.)
break my heart!
is already broken. (A pause.)
I leave England. For one moment our lives
souls touched. They must never meet or touch again.
Good-bye, Margaret. (Exit.)
alone I am in life! How terribly alone!
OF BERWICK. (Aside.)
Did Mr. Hopper definitely - ?
answer did you give him, dear child?
OF BERWICK. (Affectionately)
My dear one! You always say the right
Mr. Hopper! James!
don't mind my taking Agatha off to Australia, then,
OF BERWICK. (Indignantly)
To Australia? Oh, don't mention that dreadful vulgar
she said she'd like to come with me.
OF BERWICK. (Severely)
Did you say that, Agatha?
you say the most silly things possible.
stay in this house any longer is impossible. To-night
man who loves me offered me his whole life. I
it. It was foolish of me. I will offer him mine
I will go to him! (Writes a letter, on a discarded serviette,
and leaves it on table.)
Arthur has never
me. When he reads this, he will. It is he who
has broken the bond of marriage-- not I. I only
ERLYNNE. (to Parker) Is
Lady Windermere in the ball-room?
ladyship has just gone out.
out? She's not on the terrace?
madam. Her ladyship has just gone out of the
of the house?
madam--her ladyship told me she had left a letter
his lordship on the table.
letter for Lord Windermere?
you. (Dismisses him)
Gone out of her house! A
addressed to her husband! (Goes over and looks at
letter. Takes it up and lays it down again with a shudder
No, no! Does life repeat its tragedies? (Tears
letter open and reads it, then sinks down into a
with a gesture of anguish.)
The same words that
years ago I wrote to her father! and how bitterly I have
been punished for it! No; my punishment, my real
is to- night, is now!
you said good-night to my wife?
ERLYNNE. (Crushing letter in her hand)
Yes. She is very tired. She has
bed. She said she didn't wish to be disturbed. Will you
ask them to call my carriage, please?
can I do? What can I do? I feel a passion awakening
within me that I never felt before. What can it
mean? The daughter must not be like the mother. How
can I save my child? A moment may ruin a life.
knows that better than I?
LORD AUGUSTUS with a
flower from one of the arrangements on the table.
Dear lady, I am in such suspense! May I not
an answer to my request?
Augustus, listen to me. You are to take Lord Windermere
down to your club at once, and keep him there
as long as possible. You understand? Don't let Windermere
out of your sight to-night. (Mrs Erlynne
really, I might be her husband already. Positively I
(Follows her in a bewildered manner.)
and ROSALIE end the scene by dropping these last two character masks
respective bins, chinking champagne glasses and toasting each other.
* * *
in interview (on film)
images on screen is of ROB, lounging in a director's chair.
He has a long scarf
draped around his neck and is smoking in an affected manner.
hello. Well the play is Lady Windermere's Fan by
Wilde of course, and well, the fan is the main
of the play....
of course, there's my character.
I play the role of the, well, the man who's, in control,
of the whole thing.
do I mean?
he's the... hero. The one, responsible
in and comes out...and...the one who... gets
all the BIG news...
mean, there's this scene, where he tells Lady Windermere
about Mrs. Erlynne having returned her
and, as anyone who is familiar with the play will know
that, is, of course, massively significant.
Windermere? Goodness no. No, that's not as big
part as you may think. No, the character's name is
not lord Parker.
not Duke Parker either, just Parker. Look, what are
butler? Well, I guess that's one word for it, yes. But
see, he's really so much more than that. But I really
say much more on the subject, I wouldn't want to
spoil the play of course.
speech? Erm, well. The character isn't really given
to long speeches. No, he's more of a terse talker.
the enigmatic type, the one with all the cool lines,
that sort of thing.
like - well, there's this one (under his breath) something about
want to know if they are to put the carpets on the
for tonight my lady?Ó
look, ok. Look, I didn't want this part did I? I mean
who the hell wants to be a (side of mouth) butler?
ever hear of a butler stealing the show? Precisely. And,
y'know, it doesn't help that the other cast
pretty much ignore us servants, and treat us with
this vague, distant contempt. I mean (scoffs), the actor
playing Lord Darlington actually asked me to fetch him
a drink yesterday.... And I did it! Jesus, it's
into my subconscious, like I'm becoming a
wanted to be Hamlet you know. 'Too stuffy' they
butler jobs, much more your thing. We may even have
a part for you in an upcoming play.'
at least I'm not Rosalie, she only gets 4 lines! (satisfied
laugh) And she always makes the tea
the stage hands! Speaking of which... Lauren!
thank you. (He
gets up from the chair and leaves.)
* * *
this act, LAUREN plays both Lady Windermere and Mrs Erlynne. Lady
signalled chiefly through use of the fan. ROB plays a composite
figure based on all the male characters who appear in this act. The two
performers are spot-lit centre stage. At the beginning, LAUREN faces us
is next to her with his back
to the audience.
LAUREN's lines as Mrs Erlynne are represented in bold.
doesn't he come? Why is he not here, to wake
fire within me? I am cold as a loveless thing. Oh! it
was mad of me to come here, I must go back – no; I can't
go back, my letter – Arthur would not take me back!
That fatal letter! No! No, no! I will go back. As for Lord
Darlington – What shall I do? Will he let me go
at all? I have heard that men are brutal,
Windermere! Thank Heaven I am in time. You must
go back to your husband's house
come near me!
You are on the brink of a hideous precipice. Your
husband has never seen the letter. I – saw it, I
it. I – read it.
opened a letter to my husband? You wouldn't
Oh! to save you from the abyss into which
are falling, there is nothing in the world I would not
dare. Here is the letter.
cannot trust you. You, whose whole life is a lie, could you
speak the truth about anything?
back to the husband you love.
do NOT love him!
do, and you know Arthur loves you!
And you tell me there
is nothing between you?
Windermere, your husband is guiltless of all
towards you! You have a child, Lady
Go back to that child who even now, in
pain or in joy, may be calling to you.
me home. Take me home!
Where is your cloak? Here. Put it on. Come at
hear a mumbling from ROB.
Voices! Oh! that is my husband's voice! Save me!
– behind this curtain! The first chance you
slip out, if you ever get a chance!
as LADY WINDERMERE hesitates in panic, then in one swift action drops
to the ground and pulls her 'ROSALIE' apron up so
it covers her face. ROB turns
to face the audience, simultaneously LORD DARLINGTON, MR. DUMBY, LORD
WINDERMERE, LORD AUGUSTUS LORTON and MR. CECIL GRAHAM.
business of yours
me to death
I was your age -
fan lying on the ground.
in his rooms?
Jove! By Jove!
God! (Seizes the fan.)
(lets apron fall)
took your wife's fan by mistake. I am so sorry.
* * *
in interview (on film)
screen image is of LAUREN sitting in the director's chair.
She is dressed in
arty black polo neck and mini skirt. She is wearing the dark glasses of
it was a pleasure really to work with such a
cast. It was a real privilege really as a new actress
to be given such a prestigious character. Wilde
so renowned and
it's an honour really to do anything, let
alone a character of such...calibre.
such a lot of depth to Rosalie as a character,
only is she Lady Windermere's friend and
but she's also a device, really, which Wilde uses
to...in many ways...orchestrate the entire plot.
presence can be felt throughout I think, it resonates through
the entire house for the first two acts, with all of the
characters and audience aware of this almost
the revelation of her in Act Four, is really the climactic
culmination of events, and her apparent
to the truth is sheer brilliance, really, by
Her questioning of, the socially superior Lady
and how she defies
Lord Windermere by
him away, truly portrays how she is, in fact,
there are few lines, but the central figure does not necessarily
need to speak...often it is what is not said which
is more powerful. I mean, Dumbo is known for being
Disney's only main character who does not
doesn't make him any less the protagonist!
I can see why people might think - that. We must
remember that Wilde is a very highbrow writer and
perhaps his themes and true intent are not
always...grasped, shall we say,
critics? Well, I don't like to read
people think that counts.
* * *
is standing in the wings, visible at the side of the stage, really
because it's her scene at last. ROB is sitting in a chair, also
in the wings. He is reading Stanislavsky's An
LAUREN is fussing, seems to be asking him if her hat is on straight,
her hair and so on. He gets her to turn around to check her appearance,
out that she still has the duster in the band of her apron, takes it
– they laugh. She is terribly happy and terribly on edge.
The scene is the same as in Act One, the morning-room
of Lord Windermere's house in Carlton House
Terrace. Lady Windermere is lying on a sofa.
How can I tell him? I can't tell him. It would kill
I wonder what happened after I escaped from that
room. Perhaps she told them the true reason of
being there, and the real meaning of that – fatal fan of
mine. Oh, if he knows – how can I look him in the
again? He would never forgive me. (Faint sound of a
bell. LAUREN gets even more excited.)
How securely one
thinks one lives – out of reach of temptation, sin, folly.
And then suddenly – Oh! Life is terrible. It rules us,
we do not rule it.
as ROSALIE enters onstage, to play out the scene with an invisible Lady
Windermere. LAUREN's performance is extraordinary
– she leaps on, smiling
all over her face, dancing her way through the following exchange.
your ladyship ring for me?
Yes. Have you found out at what time Lord
came in last night?
lordship did not come in till five o'clock.
Five o'clock. He knocked at my door this morning, didn't
my lady – at half-past nine. I told him your
was not awake yet.
from the audience)
Did he say anything?
about your ladyship's fan. I didn't quite
what his lordship said. Has the fan been lost, my lady?
I can't find it, and Parker says it was not left in
of the rooms. He has looked in all of them and on the
terrace as well.
stop! What do you think you're playing at? Is
how you conduct yourself in front of Lady
– I –
back, do it again. Take it from: 'Oh, life is
Oh! Life is terrible. It rules us, we do not rule it.
LAUREN. She is horribly confused. Keeps looking at FRANCES/audience for
reassurance. In the following exchange she makes uncertain, twitchy
your ladyship ring for me?
Yes. Have you found out at what time Lord
came in last night?
lordship did not come in till five o'clock.
Five o'clock. He knocked at my door this morning, didn't
my lady – at half-past nine.
(Interrupting again, angry)
No! Lauren! That is not how you should enter
room! The way you keep drawing attention to yourself,
those bizarre little gestures - you're not a character,
you're a function.
We should barely notice
I thought that it was quite important Rosalie should-
do you want this part?
if you don't, there are plenty of others who
(She gets up, starts to walk down the audience
towards the stage.)
Have you seen how many girls
there are in this place, just queuing up for a part like
this? And any number of them would make a better job
of it than you.
thing is, it's hard doing this role – I mean I
aren't many lines, but the movement bit at the
is really tiring and repetitive, and then in the
it's cold and poky and -
thinks just the same, he's finding it really difficult!
don't hear Rob complaining.
says nothing – studiously ignores her, makes a kind of
seems like it's just you who isn't satisfied,
– I didn't say I wasn't satisfied
exactly, it's just –
thing is, Lauren, I thought I saw something in you, I
you deserved a chance. But now I realise I was
I'm afraid I'm going to have to let you go.
mean – but – but what shall I do?
- that's not my problem anymore. And as I can't
give you a positive reference, you will have
make your own way in the world as best you can. Please
– just get your things.
scrabbles around awkwardly, takes off her apron and cap and bundles
those! Those belong to
the Workshop, and they will
kept for the next maid. I meant the various (with
- personal items
– I've seen lying around in the
dressing-room. You can pick them up on your way out.
makes an undignified exit, as a last gesture throwing her cap and apron
at ROB as
she goes. There is an uncomfortable pause.
– Rob – until I can find a new maid, I'm
afraid you will
have to do Rosalie's work as well as your own. I assume
you'll be able to manage that?
– it'll be a bit – I mean –
yes, I can manage, absolutely,
that shouldn't be a problem. I'll cover it. You
even notice her absence.
Well, carry on. You might as well go from Parker's
next – you mean, when he comes in with the tray – when
Mrs Erlynne has arrived – the thing is, in that bit
say you'd be able to manage on your own?
I've already intervened enough. It looks very
to have someone interrupting from the audience.
(back in her seat)
So now it's down to you.
turns his back on the audience, and messes about in the (visible) wings
preparing to re-enter as PARKER. We see him look around for something,
begin to rummage rather desperately and scratch his head. A longish
he turns and enters with a tray – on it is a card and
Erlynne has called to return your ladyship's fan
she took away by mistake last night. Mrs Erlynne has
written a message on the card.
He picks up the
Initially addresses FRANCES, who ignores him – then he
starts to talk to the audience more generally.
- I know it's not Lady Windermere's fan. The
I couldn't find the fan. It's normally in the
wings. It's just
– Lauren normally looks after the fan? As well as being
Rosalie, she's kind of an unofficial stage manager
– I mean, I am too – but Lauren always looks after
the fan... and I couldn't find it. I looked all
over the place!
But in the end I thought it would be better to improvise
with something rather than just come on without
never done much improvisation.
generally had a script.
suppose – I suppose the point would be for the audience
to believe in the importance of the fan, whatever
it looked like. And the moment when Parker comes
on with the fan is just massively significant – because
Lord Windermere gives the fan to his wife as a gift,
and so it's a symbol of his love for her, and when she
leaves it behind in Lord Darlington's rooms, it's
lost his love for her, or at least she thinks she has!
And the fan says 'Margaret' on it, and
that's her name
but it's also Mrs Erlynne's name, so
it's like the fan
have belonged to either of them, and that
mother and daughter aren't so different after all!
so when Parker comes in with the fan, here on the tray,
it's a kind of coup de theatre
– it's as if he's holding all
the characters' fates in his hands! They are all anxious,
terrified – but he stands firm, unmoved, like he's
this real rock in the midst of all this turbulence...
Lady Windermere says to Parker: 'ask Mrs Erlynne
to be kind enough to come up', and Lord Windermere
says: 'Margaret, I beg you not to, she's a
dangerous woman', and Lady Windermere says: 'It
is right that I should see her' and Lord Windermere says: 'My child you may be on the brink of a great sorrow'
– I mean, she's his wife, but he's
calling her 'my
child' – and he says: ÔIt is absolutely
I see her before you do' and she says: 'Why should
it be necessary?' and then Parker just cuts right
it all and announces: 'Mrs Erlynne!'
enters, dressed in a posh dress and ostentatiously carrying the fan.
do you do, Parker?
I am so sorry about the fan. I
imagine how I made such a silly mistake. Most
of me. And as I was passing by, I thought I would
take the opportunity of returning it in person.
do you think you're doing?! It is monstrous your intruding
yourself here after the way you behaved!
do you say that?
totally screwed up – and you made me
look a fool -
were disgraced before every one! You've had
and you spoiled it all tonight by showing off!
(With a strange smile.)
You are quite right, I spoiled it all tonight.
as for your blunder in going off with the fan - it was unforgivable!
I can't bear the sight of it now. The thing is
soiled for me. You should have kept it and not brought
think I shall keep it. It's extremely pretty.
I hope Frances will give it to you.
sure she will have no objection.
do you mean by coming back here – and dressed up
like that? What is your object?
(With a note of irony.)
To bid good-bye, of course. Oh, don't imagine I am going
to have a pathetic scene, weep on your neck and
into the night and end up working the streets,
they do in silly modern novels? No, as far as I am concerned,
you can keep your play. You can struggle
if you like, playing Parker night in and night out, hoping
that Lord Darlington falls under a bus so you
step into the breach!
ready to be him! 'Nowadays so many conceited people
go about Society pretending to be good, that I think
it shows rather a sweet and modest disposition to pretend
to be bad..' See? I'd do it so much better! (Confidentially)
He didn't get to play
that part on merit, he
didn't even audition, it's all about who
place... But one day I'll get the chance to show
I'm really capable of...
think so? That you'll be able to work your way up,
one day, Lord Darlington the next? Or that
in between you'd get to try out in a bit part like
Cecil Graham – a role where you'd at least have a
name, even if there was precious little else to say
have a Christian name! I mean, when I
researching the role and exploring his life story, I
to think of him as Edward Parker. I thought it suited
him – it's an upright, almost heroic kind of -
a servant! He doesn't have another name, he
have a life story. You're stuck when you play a
like this: once a servant, always a servant. I lost my
illusions when I got sacked! Oh don't worry –
My coming here at all has been a mistake – I discovered
- what will you do?
you think this little play is the only kind of theatre
is? What about postmodern drama? What about performance
could you know of such things?
to know that in them, you can play any part –
don't have to be a servant, you can be anything,
even someone like me can reinvent herself! You can
recover from your mistakes, in fact sometimes audiences
you for your mistakes!
don't believe in performance like that. I have devoted
life to proper drama – and if I lost my ideals, I
are dangerous things. You're so dependent on other
people to live up to them. Realities are better.
dirtier, messier - but they're better.
(Shaking his head.)
you and I belong to different worlds.
say that, Rob. There is the same world for all of
serious and playful, realist and postmodern, go through
it hand in hand.
don't know if I understand you, but I feel – you
than I thought you.
am afraid I must go now.
think I had better. Anyway, don't you have a play to finish?
Parker must not be seen to neglect his duties... I
am afraid it is really good-bye. (Starts to leave.)
You'll think me absurd, but do you know I've
a great fancy to this fan. Now, I wonder would you
give it to me?
- keep it. The audience doesn't see it in the last bit of
the play anyway.
LAUREN. Thanks – it
will always remind me of you. (They shake hands.)
Lauren becomes MRS ERLYNNE.
Erlynne's carriage has come!
don't look at all well, Parker. You work too hard – it
so bad for you. You really should take more care of
Good-bye! (They hold a look for a few seconds
and then Lauren exits.)
is left alone on stage. He
stands stiffly, 'on duty'
as Parker. A minute passes. His eyes shift from side to side. He stands
leg briefly, rubbing his shoe on the back of his trousers. He coughs
and the cough leads him into a version of the choreographed 'polite cough' of
the opening movement sequence. He tries a couple more actions from this
sequence, getting mixed up with whether he is now Parker, Rosalie, or
starts to get irritated with himself: he sees the feather duster still
top pocket and takes it out. He has lost his 'motivation'... Half-heartedly he
begins to dust the shoes of the front row of audience members, but
then, as if
making a sudden resolution, he drops the duster in a
spectator's lap and runs
from the theatre. Cut immediately to:
* * *
audience see a projection in the style of the black and white silent
is emerging (dressed in his butler's costume) from the main
door of the Theatre
Workshop, looking into the street outside. He looks eagerly down the
LAUREN, but can't see her. He looks the other way, and we
see LAUREN (dressed
in her Mrs Erlynne costume) at the end of the road about to turn the
ROB gestures wildly and calls out to her, then runs after her to catch
They meet, talk and laugh: ROB is excited and relieved to have caught
There is one intertitle:
me more about this 'Performance Art'...
and LAUREN link arms and walk off together, chatting enthusiastically. The image gets smaller
disappears, and the final screen image cuts in the last intertitle of
Paul's 1916 film:
Frances Babbage (script editor)