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Favourite scenes and lines from plays

This short scene from Noel Coward’s BLITHE SPIRIT always makes me laugh. Charles and Ruth have employed a medium, Madame Arcati (originally played by Margaret Rutherford). They are having a séance.,  

MADAME ARCATI: Do you know anybody who has passed over recently?
CHARLES: Not recently, except my cousin in the Civil Service, and he wouldn’t be likely to want to communicate with me – we haven’t spoken for years.
MADAME ARCATI (hysterically): Are you Mr Condomine’s cousin in the Civil Service? (The table bumps violently several times.) I’m afraid we’ve drawn a blank…Can’t you think of anyone else? Rack your brains….
RUTH (helpfully): It might be old Mrs Plummet, you know – she died on Whit Monday.
CHARLES: I can’t imagine why old Mrs Plummet should wish to talk to me – we had very little in common.
RUTH: It’s worth trying anyhow.
MADAME ARCARTI: Are you old Mrs Plummet? (The table remains still.)
RUTH: She was very deaf – perhaps you’d better shout –
MADAME ARCATI (shouting):  Are you old Mrs Plummet? (Nothing happens.) There’s nobody there at all.

I love the David Lean film version. Margaret Rutherford played Madame Arcati there also.

This bit worked well in the new Chichester production of Forty Years On, which I saw a few weeks ago. (Generally it was a bit hit and miss.) There are so many boys involved with the play, many of them not identified, that Bennett can play throwaway jokes with their names.

HEADMASTER: Very well, if all the parents are back in their seats
I'll just inaugurate the proceedings. If I don't say a prayer nobody
else will. Lord, take this cup from me. Thank you, Lord.
LORD: You're welcome.
HEADMASTER: Don't be cheeky. O God ...

'Forty Years On' is packed with quotable lines.

I don't know which is worse,
To have you cry, or have you behave like
Catherine of Aix, who never cried until
After she was beheaded,
And then the accumulated tears of a long lifetime
Burst from her eyes with such force,
They practically winded three onlookers,
And carried the local parish priest two hundred yards
Down the main street into the entrance hall of a brothel.

From 'The Lady's Not For Burning' by Christopher Fry.

I typed this from memory, so it might not be absolutely accurate.

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