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Waiting for Godot 06
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Stage Directing Theory
Directing Theory: pre-text, text and super-text

from Preface to Drama: An Introduction to Dramatic Literature and Theater Art by Charles W. Cooper; Ronald Press, 1955
SCENES: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 (excerpts)

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[ use for scenes and monologues ]
LAURA, HAVEN'T You Ever Liked Some Boy?"

On the dark stage the SCREEN is lighted with the image of blue roses. Gradually LAURA'S figure becomes apparent and the screen goes out. The music subsides.

LAURA is seated in the delicate ivory chair at the small claw-foot table. She wears a dress of soft violet material for a kimono--her hair tied back from her forehead with a ribbon. She is washing and polishing her collection of glass.

AMANDA appears on the fire-escape steps. At the sound of her ascent, LAURA catches her breath, thrusts the bowl of ornaments away and seats herself stiffly before the diagram of the typewriter keyboard as though it held her spellbound. Something has happened to AMANDA. It is written in her face as she climbs to the landing: a look that is grim and hopeless and a little absurd. She has on one of those cheap or imitation velvetylooking cloth coats with imitation fur collar. Her hat is five or six years old, one of those dreadful cloche hats that were worn in the late twenties and she is clasping an enormous black patent-leather pocketbook with nickel clasps and initials. This is her full-dress outfit, the one she usually wears to the D.A.R.

Before entering she looks through the door. She purses her lips, opens her eyes very wide, rolls them upward and shakes her head. Then she slowly lets herself in the door. Seeing her mother's expression LAURA touches her lips with a nervous gesture.

LAURA. Hello, Mother, I was--

[She makes a nervous gesture toward the chart on the wall. AMANDA leans against the shut door and stares at LAURA with a martyred look.]

AMANDA. Deception? Deception?

[She slowly removes her hat and gloves, continuing the sweet suffering stare. She lets the hat and gloves fall on the floor--a bit of acting.]

LAURA [shakily]. How was the D.A.R. meeting?

[ AMANDA slowly opens her purse and removes a dainty white handkerchief which she shakes out delicately and delicately touches to her lips and nostrils.]

Didn't you go to the D.A.R. meeting, Mother?

AMANDA [faintly, almost inaudibly]. --No.--No. [Then more forcibly] I did not have the strength--to go to the D.A.R. In fact, I did not have the courage! I wanted to find a hole in the ground and hide myself in it forever!

[She crosses slowly to the wall and removes the diagram of the typewriter keyboard. She holds it in front of her for a second, staring at it sweetly and sorrowfully--then bites her lips and tears it in two pieces.]

LAURA [faintly]. Why did you do that, Mother? [ AMANDA repeats the same procedure with the chart of the Gregg Alphabet.] Why are you--

AMANDA. Why? Why? How old are you, Laura?

LAURA. Mother, you know my age.

AMANDA. I thought that you were an adult; it seems that I was mistaken. [She crosses slowly to the sofa and sinks down and stares at LAURA.]

LAURA. Please don't stare at me, Mother.

[ AMANDA closes her eyes and lowers her head. Count ten.]

AMANDA. What are we going to do, what is going to become of us, what is the future? [Count ten.]

LAURA. Has something happened, Mother?

[ AMANDA draws a long breath and takes out the handkerchief again. Dabbing process.]

Mother, has--something happened?

AMANDA. I'll be all right in a minute, I'm just bewildered--[count five]--by life. . . .

LAURA. Mother, I wish that you would tell me what's happened!

AMANDA. As you know, I was supposed to be inducted into my office at the D.A.R. this afternoon.


But I stopped off at Rubicam's Business College to speak to your teachers about your having a cold and ask them what progress they thought you were making down there.

LAURA. Oh. . . .

AMANDA. I went to the typing instructor and introduced myself as your mother. She didn't know who you were. Wingfield, she said. We don't have any such student enrolled at the school!

I assured her she did, that you had been going to classes since early in January.

"I wonder," she said, "if you could be talking about that terribly shy little girl who dropped out of school after only a few days' attendance?"

"No," I said, "Laura, my daughter, has been going to school every day for the past six weeks!"

"Excuse me," she said. She took the attendance book out and there was your name, unmistakably printed, and all the dates you were absent until they decided that you had dropped out of school.

I still said, "No, there must have been some mistake! There must have been some mix-up in the records!"

And she said, "No--I remember her perfectly now. Her hands shook so that she couldn't hit the right keys! The first time we gave a speedtest, she broke down completely--was sick at the stomach and almost had to be carried into the wash-room! After that morning she never showed up any more. We phoned the house but never got any answer" --while I was working at Famous and Barr, I suppose, demonstrating those-- Oh!

I felt so weak I could barely keep on my feet!

I had to sit down while they got me a glass of water!

Fifty dollars' tuition, all of our plans--my hopes and ambitions for you --just gone up the spout, just gone up the spout like that.

[ LAURA draws a long breath and gets awkwardly to her feet. She crosses to the victrola and winds it up.]

What are you doing?

LAURA. Oh! [She releases the handle and returns to her seat.]

[ ... ]

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