Writings, 1960

[The Curtain Goes Up]

Draft of a parody about an actor and his critics.

About the text

This fragment is undated, so the year is an estimation. But it’s amusing reading:

The curtain goes up. The stage is full of scenery. The actor walks onstage and regards the audience.

Actor: This will not do!

He leaves and can be heard speaking with someone backstage, presumably a fellow worker. Thereafter he comes in again.

Actor: No, this certainly will not do.

He descends from the stage and walks down the aisle, and makes his way down a row of seats, excusing himself several times as he does so. Approximately four seats from the end of the row, there sits a man and a woman, and the actor clasps their hands with heartfelt warmth.

Actor: So wonderful to see you. Welcome, welcome! And this must be your lovely wife. Not bad! Is that the real deal there in her décolletage? Would you care to say hello to the audience? No? Oh, come on, don’t be so shy. What’s that you say? “I’m going to regret this?” Yes, I probably will. Ladies and Gentlemen of the audience, it is my privilege to introduce Mr. S. Please, give him a little applause! (Applause) There, that was a little applause. Is there anyone here who doesn’t know who Mr. S is? I see a few baffled faces. So sorry, Mr. S! How embarrassing. Please allow me the honour of introducing: Mister S, the notorious theatre critic, and who furthermore has translated innumerable Chinese verses from the English, and is the author of a just barely-approved doctoral thesis concerning the psychology of suicide. Please, stand up so we can get a better look at you. Stand, you miserable coward, before I smack you silly!