Mae West In My Cupboard

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: The Imaginarium


This is my tribute to Mae West; to my mind one of the greatest comedy writers of all time. Sadly she was so far ahead of her time that men of the era just couldn't come to terms with a woman like
her and the censors closed her down. How many people are lucky enough to know who she is these days, I don't know, but I wanted to do my bit to try and keep her memory alive. The play needs someone
who can deliver the lines in her style.

Submitted: August 12, 2018

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Submitted: August 12, 2018

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ACT I
CURTAINS OPEN ON AN EMPTY ROOM, A YOUNG SUDENT'S (18 YEARS OLD) BEDROOM. APART FROM THE BED THERE IS A STUDY DESK AND CHAIR.
THERE IS A DOOR STAGE RIGHT (THE BEDROOM DOOR) AND A DOOR STAGE LEFT (CUPBOARD).
THE DOOR STAGE RIGHT OPENS AND IN WALKS A YOUTH, HE TURNS TO CALL OUT THROUGH THE DOOR.
 

MATTHEW

Bye then - have a good time.
 
HE MAKES HIS WAY OVER TO THE STUDY DESK AND SITS DOWN.HE PICKS UP A PAPER FROM THE DESK AND READS IT. HE SITS FOR A MOMENT PONDERING AND IS SUDDENLY STARTLED BY A KNOCK AT THE DOOR STAGE LEFT. HE IS HESITANT FOR A MOMENT AND THEN SMILES AS HE HEADS OVER TO THE DOOR.
 
Balthy, stop playing about - how did you (opening the door) get in?
 
MATTHEW STANDS DUMBSTRUCK IN THE OPEN DOORWAY, GAWPING AT WHAT HE SEES.
 

MAE

Well Honey, you don't get a life jacket named after you unless you have the right deportment.
 
MATTHEW REMAINS DUMBFOUNDED.
 
Now if you and your expression could just step back, I could come on in.
 
MATTHEW STEPS BACK, COMPLETELY ENTRANCED, HE JUST CAN'T STOP STARING AS MAE WEST OOZES OUT OF THE CUPBOARD.
 

MAE

Perhaps we can get a little conversation going here, once your eyes have re-acquainted themselves with their sockets.
 

MATTHEW

I'm sorry, I shouldn't have stared like that.
 

MAE

Oh honey, how many ways do you know? A young man like you should stick to the basics.
 

MATTHEW

I wasn't expecting to find you in my cupboard but you certainly know the right way to appear unexpectedly in someone's room.
 

MAE

Well you don't get to where I got in my profession unless you have a good entrance.
 

MATTHEW

You can say that again.
 

MAE

I don't think I'd better. I was lucky to get away with it once. The name's West by the way, Mae West, just in case you hadn't recognised the jewels.
 

MATTHEW

My name's Matthew, though most people call me Matt.
 

MAE

I should stick to Matthew. If a Matt gets laid right it can be walked all over.
 
(PAUSE)
 
Sorry about that, it's a little quip that Bea Arthur told me.
 

MATTHEW

Who?
 

MAE

She was in The Golden Girls. Listen kid, I don't want to be forward but you seem to be lacking in the finer points of educational merit.
 

MATTHEW

I'm just a bit shocked at finding a strange woman in my cupboard.
 

MAE

Hey I'm not a strange woman. Granted it must be somewhat unusual finding a woman in your cupboard, but the strangeness is in the circumstance not the personnel.
 
MAE STARTS DANCING.
 

MATTHEW

So, you're a dancer?
 

MAE

I'll tell you what I am.
 
MUSIC STARTS FOR “NOW I'M A LADY”.
 

MATTHEW

Where's that music coming from?
 

MAE

My piano player, in the cupboard.
 

MATTHEW

Why doesn't he come out?
 

MAE

He's Shy.
 
MAE SINGS “NOW I'M A LADY”.
 

MATTHEW

Yes very good, but how did you get into my cupboard anyway?
 

MAE

Well, I was talking to Albert Einstein. I asked him whether he had a slide rule in his pocket, then suddenly it went dark. I was just tapping around to find a way out, you opened the door, and suddenly here I was.
 

MATTHEW

Albert Einstein sent you?
 

MAE

Well he has plenty of theories, perhaps he really could bend space and time.
 

MATTHEW

What do you mean? Nobody can alter space and time.
 

MAE

In my experience men are very good at changing time, what seems ten minutes to them is often only seconds. But space, is a concept they find much harder to live up to.
 

MATTHEW

You mean to tell me that you were in some kind of afterlife, talking to Albert Einstein when suddenly you appeared in my wardrobe?
 

MAE

Oh honey I didn't mean to tell you anything, you just dragged it out of me.
 

MATTHEW

You really expect me to believe that?
 

MAE

I don't expect anything, I'm well past the time a woman is expecting and into the time a woman is regretting.
 

MATTHEW

This is all a trick isn't it?
 

MAE

Do I look like the kind of woman that does tricks?
 

MATTHEW

Well, actually, yes you do.
 

MAE

I'm glad to hear it, I don't want to be losing my touch.
 

MATTHEW

You must think I'm losing my touch, with reality?
 

MAE

You do seem a little strange, you've been babbling away ever since I came into your bedroom.
 

MATTHEW

I'm strange? You're the one who hangs around in people's cupboards waiting to scare the life out of them. I'd say you were the one that is a little touched.
 

MAE

I've been touched, more than a little in my time.
 

MATTHEW

All right, if Balthy wants to play a game with me I'll play along, let's just see how long you can keep it up?
 

MAE

Oh Honey, I think that's my line.
 

MATTHEW

Look, I'm sorry you'll have to forgive me but I have things to do.
 

MAE

So what things are you doing in your bedroom, on your own?
 

MATTHEW

Homework.
 

MAE

What kind of Homework?
 

MATTHEW

Media Studies.
 

MAE

Hmm I've studied a medium or two. I tried being a spirit guide for a while, but a man's no good to me when he's drunk.
 

MATTHEW

No, media, as in film, television, magazines.
 

MAE

Oh, I see, they do classes in that now do they?
 

MATTHEW

Of course, this is the media age.
 

MAE

Don't you mean the mediocre age?
 

MATTHEW

I don't understand.
 

MAE

Exactly: there is more information available than ever before but literacy is declining.
 

MATTHEW

Well, I can read and I can write, if only you would let me get on with it.
 

MAE

Don't mind me, you get on and study as much media as you like.
 

MATTHEW

Thank you.
 

MAE

I know exactly what kind of media you'll be studying as well.
 

MATTHEW

You really think so?
 

MAE

I'll bet you've got a load of magazines hidden away in here somewhere.
 

MATTHEW

All right, you let me know if you find them.
 

MAE

Only if you'll tell me when I'm getting warm.
 
MAE REACHES UNDER THE BED AND PULLS OUT A COMIC.
 
Here we go, now we can see just what kind of media you get up to studying.
 

MATTHEW

You'll be disappointed.
 

MAE

Believe me honey, it won't be the first time. But I have to say, you're the first man that has come out and openly admitted it.
 
MAE LOOKS AT THE COMIC.
 
Hey, just a minute this is a Comic, not the usual kind of material I'd expect a boy of your age to have.
 

MATTHEW

Actually it's a graphic novel.
 

MAE

I think it would be more normal if you had a graphic novel. Lady Chatterly's Lover for example, or something by the Bronte Sisters.
 

MATTHEW

I didn't think their novels were that racy.
 

MAE

You should see the ones they write nowadays. They are what you'd call graphic novels, this is a comic.
 

MATTHEW

But if I said it was a comic novel, you'd be telling me it doesn't have a single joke in it.
 

MAE

It's not a comic novel, it's a comic. Why do you feel the need to be pretentious and say novel at all?
 

MATTHEW

I don't know. Why do people say duvet, when they could just say Eider Down?
 

MAE

You're just ducking the question.
 

MATTHEW

Very droll. I just mean that I call it what it has become known as that's all.
 

MAE

Well I think entertainment is entertainment. You don't need to dress it up in some fancy words just to get it to sound acceptable.
 

MATTHEW

That's good, if you don't care what class of entertainment you have I'll put the television on, it'll keep you occupied for a while.
 
MATTHEW SWITCHES ON THE TELEVISION AND THEN GOES BACK TO HIS DESK.
 
MATTHEW WRITES A FEW NOTES WHILE MAE WATCHES THE TV, AFTER A FLIPPING THROUGH CHANNELS ON THE REMOTE CONTROL...
 

MAE

Do they have any of my films on here?
 

MATTHEW

Sometimes, but not very often. I haven't seen any in a long time.
 

MAE

That's good.
 

MATTHEW

Really, I thought you'd be disappointed?
 

MAE

Not at all, I don't want to appear on a small box in the corner of the room. I want to be on a big screen.
 

MATTHEW

Some televisions are quite big these days, possibly not big enough for your ego?
 

MAE

Well done you're catching on. It ain't just the size, though that is a fairly major consideration it ain't everything.
 

MATTHEW

What is it then, if isn't the size of the screen?
 

MAE

It's so easy for someone to switch off the television while you are on it.
 

MATTHEW

Yes, and?
 

MAE

Well, it's important to a star of my calibre that I stay turned on.
 

MATTHEW

I'm sorry that you aren't on the box, but there must be something you can watch?
 

MAE

Hmm, now there's a treat: Gene Kelly.
 

MATTHEW

Yeh, he was a great dancer.
 

MAE

He still is. Of course, I don't dance with him.
 

MATTHEW

I thought you said he was a real treat?
 

MAE

To watch, sure, but he races around a bit for my taste, I like a slower closer kind of dance.
 

MATTHEW

So you don't like a partner to be too energetic?
 

MAE

I wouldn't say that, but I like them to take it easy when they're dancing.
 

MATTHEW

So who does he dance with?
 

MAE

Ann Miller mostly, they are both still as competitive as ever.
 

MATTHEW

I didn't know he was that competitive.
 

MAE

Oh yes, though dancing isn't the thing he's most competitive at.
 

MATTHEW

Let me guess?
 

MAE

Seems like you are on the right lines: charades is the thing he is most competitive at.
 

MATTHEW

Sounds like a positive mirth fest in the afterlife.
 

MAE

Oh honey each to their own. I'm not going to tell you what goes on in my little patch of paradise.
 

MATTHEW

I'm not sure I want to know.
 

MAE

Please yourself I'll try another channel.
 
MAE FIDDLES WITH THE REMOTE.
 
Ah here we are: a show that has ill-informed and uneducated people shouting at each other.
 

MATTHEW

It's a show where they try to help people work out their problems.
 

MAE

You sound a little naive there, surely the idea is to get poor people on television and ridicule them.
 

MATTHEW

Don't you believe in helping the underprivileged?
 

MAE

Of course I do, why else do you think I spend so much time with men.
 

MATTHEW

Just because these people are poor, that's no reason to be like that about them.
 

MAE

Oh I don't just mean financially poor, I mean morally poor as well.
 

MATTHEW

I'm serious.
 

MAE

Well, if you want to talk serious you need to know a bit about poverty. I lived through the depression, that was poverty. The kind of life these people lead would have been luxury for the starving masses back then.
 

MATTHEW

Okay so I didn't live through the depression but I still think we can help people less well off than we are.
 

MAE

So do I, but it doesn't mean that the world is going to provide everything for you. Listen to these people, they can barely string a sentence together.
 
(PAUSE)
 
You see what I mean. “The baby belongs to myself”, what kind of English is that?
 

MATTHEW

It sounds like one with an un-triggered reflexive pronoun.
 

MAE

Very good. Mind you men are pretty good at things that are un-triggered and reflexive. They're not usually so good at pronouns. 
 

MATTHEW

I'll bet you could teach them quite a bit about pronouns.
 

MAE

Oh honey, when men are with me they are more given to hyperbole.
 

MATTHEW

You don't like us men very much do you? What do you have against us?
 

MAE

There's a couple of things I like to have against men, and sometimes I like them to have something against me. That's not because I don't like them, quite the reverse.
 

MATTHEW

Then why are you so cruel about them? You should go a bit easier on people sometimes.
 

MAE

All right I'll try but it isn't easy when the world is full of ignorant people who revel in their lack of knowledge.
 
MAE SWITCHES THE TELEVISION OFF.
 

MAE

I'm not in the mood for television.
 

MATTHEW

What are you in the mood for?
 

MAE

It's hard to say really, I feel a bit strange, a bit out of place. I don't know how I'd describe it.
 

MATTHEW

All at sea?
 
PIANO PLAYER STARTS PLAYING “MR DEEP BLUE SEA”.
 

MAE

Now look what you've done. You've set off the piano player.
 
MAE SINGS “MR DEEP BLUE SEA”.
 

MAE

Now where was I.

 

MATTHEW

You were rambling on about people's lack of knowledge.
 

MAE

Oh yes, I was ...
 
INTERRUPTED BY THE PHONE RINGING, MATTHEW GOES TO PICK UP THE PHONE. HE'S TOO LATE, MAE GETS THERE FIRST.
 

MAE

Hello, and who is this whispering sweet nothings in my ear?
 
(LISTENS)
 
A telephone salesman? Funny we were just talking about you.
 
(LISTENS)
 
Something to keep me warm on those cold winter nights? Keep talking.
 
(LISTENS)
 
Well honey you wouldn't get far offering me a cold hard cell.
 
(LISTENS)
 
Operating in my area what is he, a surgeon?
 
(LISTENS)
 
My place would certainly make quite a show-home but it isn't exactly available to the general public.
 
(LISTENS)
 
Oh, Honey we could talk figures, but it would be much better to meet and talk face to face. Our figures would be much more tangible if you know what I mean.
 
(LISTENS)
 
You want to check that our figures match? I can be fairly certain they don't.
 
(LISTENS)
 
You want me to pay you? Hm I think you've got this relationship all wrong.
 
(LISTENS)
 
Oh, I just bet you have other hidden incentives, I think that's where they should stay.
 
(HANGS UP THE PHONE AND THEN TURNS TO MATTHEW)
 
He wanted to sell you some new windows. What's wrong with the ones you've got?
 
MAE GOES OVER TO LOOK OUT OF THE WINDOW.
 

MATTHEW

Don't do that. Someone might see you.
 

MAE

People have seen me before, I'm used to being seen.
 

MATTHEW

Do you have to be so conspicuous at the moment?
 

MAE

Well I've always said it is better to be seen than to be scenery.
 

MATTHEW

That's all well and good, but I don't want people to see you up here.
 

MAE

Oh don't worry I don't think anyone will believe it if they saw it.
 

MATTHEW

What do you mean by that?
 

MAE

Well, I don't want to be cruel but this bedroom doesn't look as though it sees too many women.
 

MATTHEW

Thanks a lot.
 

MAE

Don't be so sensitive, it’s not that there is anything wrong with you but look at this.
 
MAE HOLDS UP A PAIR OF GRUBBY TROUSERS SHE HAS JUST PICKED UP OFF THE FLOOR.
 

MATTHEW

Okay so I have some clothes on the floor.
 

MAE

Yes but look at the state of them. A few more days and these will get up and leave to find a new home for themselves. I don't think this is how nature intended you to pass on your jeans.
 

MATTHEW

I'm not going to pass on anything if you don't let me get on with this essay.
 

MAE

Why don't you tell me what the essay is about, perhaps I can help?
 

MATTHEW

I have to write about a famous icon.
 

MAE

Who have you chosen?
 

MATTHEW

I was thinking about Racquel Welch.
 

MAE

I bet you were, maybe you should get on with the essay.
 

MATTHEW

Thinking of her as the subject of the essay. Surely, you've heard of her?
 

MAE

Of course, I did a film with her once. I don't suppose you have it in your DVD collection though.
 
MAE GOES OVER TO HIS SHELVES TO LOOK THROUGH HIS DVDS.
 

MATTHEW

Just a minute. You can't have still been alive when DVDs were brought out.
 

MAE

Just because we hang about in the afterlife doesn't mean we don't keep up to date with new developments, like Rock and Roll for example.
 
MAE SINGS “GREAT BALLS OF FIRE”. 
 

MATTHEW

If you keep that much up to date, you'll probably know most of those films.
 

MAE

Pretty much, though the art of film-making seems to be in decline.
 

MATTHEW

In some cases but I've got some modern classics there.
 

MAE

They all have long car chases, interminable firing of guns or endless martial art fight scenes. The subtlety has gone out of the modern film.
 

MATTHEW

A lot of older films are being re-made.
 

MAE

I'm only too aware of it. I suspect that if they remade Ben Hur, there would be cannons on the Roman Galleys and the chariot race would escape out onto the streets and last for at least half an hour.
 

MATTHEW

Times change and films have to reflect that.
 

MAE

I have no problem with that, but to make more time for the action they would probably cut out all the sub-plot about Ben Hur's family and get rid of the Messiah character.
 

MATTHEW

Maybe, but there are still some good films being made.
 

MAE

Of course there are. They made plenty of turkeys in my time, they just don't tend to be remembered.
 

MATTHEW

This essay is going to end up being a turkey unless I can get some inspiration.
 

MAE

Perhaps I can help.
 

MATTHEW

Do you think you can help inspire me?
 

MAE

I don't know about that but I can help you stuff it.
 
MAE WALKS ROUND BEHIND MATTHEW AND LOOKS OVER HIS SHOULDER AT WHAT HE IS WRITING.
 

MAE

Why don't you print me out a copy, I might be able to help you.
 

MATTHEW

I'm sorry, I can't do that, the printer isn't working. I think it's the sensor, I keep having trouble with it.
 

MAE

I know the feeling. I've had a lot of trouble with censors myself.
 
MAE GOES BACK TO LOOK AT THE DVDS ON THE SHELF, SHE LOOKS ALONG THEM AND THEN PICKS ONE OUT.
 
Mmm, there's a film here about witches. There's a few of them in the afterlife.
 

MATTHEW

I'll bet you get on very well with them.
 

MAE

Well that's better, now your showing a little spark. No, actually they tend to be a bit cliquey. They sit around all day moaning about you English.
 

MATTHEW

Hey! We weren't the only country to persecute witches. As I recall you Americans hung a few in your time.
 

MAE

We did, but in England you burnt them at the stake.
 

MATTHEW

True, but what's your point.
 

MAE

You have about the wettest climate on the planet and you chose a method of execution that involves the use of fires.
 

MATTHEW

OK fair comment.
 

MAE

But you also dunked the poor victims in water to try them.
 

MATTHEW

Yes?
 

MAE

Then you tried to set fire to them.
 

MATTHEW

OK, but at least we didn't set up a city for gambling and drinking in the middle of a desert.
 

MAE

You'll be wanting a super casino soon enough.
 

MATTHEW

I don't think we'll ever get as addicted to gambling as you Americans.
 

MAE

You Want to bet?
 

MATTHEW

Very good.
 

MAE

Well thank you, but I try never to be good.
 
MAE GOES OVER TO THE BED AND LIES DOWN ON IT.
 

MAE

It's very tiring being back in the corporeal world.
 

MATTHEW

You mean you have no body in the afterlife?
 

MAE

It's a bit difficult to explain but I guess you can understand having no body, being as you are a teenage boy.
 

MATTHEW

Do you have to keep on at me like that?
 

MAE

I'm afraid so Honey, it's all part of being a cynical comedic actress and playwright.
 

MATTHEW

I didn't know you wrote plays as well as being an actress.
 

MAE

It's the only way to get a decent script, if you don't want to be constantly referred to as the girl. It's the same today, you could be playing Florence Nightingale and they'd walk into a hospital ward in the Crimea and say “Where's the girl?”
 

MATTHEW

Why don't you write something now, instead of bothering me?
 

MAE

I don't think there would be any point, no one is going to produce it. They didn't want to when I was alive so I guess they won't want to now. Besides how would you convince them it was a Mae West screenplay?
 

MATTHEW

You have a point, but I was thinking more about keeping you occupied. Why did you stop making films anyway? You stopped that long before you were dead.
 

MAE

Let's just say the judge didn't see my hidden depths and he wore too many robes for me to be able to see his point.
 

MATTHEW

Perhaps it's because you are so rude?
 

MAE

Oh Honey I'm not rude, I just scatter a few dots and let crude minds join them up.
 

MATTHEW

Like the old joke about the woman who went into the bar and ordered a double entendre. The landlord gave her one.
 

MAE

That's the spirit, but I wouldn't give up the day job if I were you.
 

MATTHEW

I'm never likely to get a day job at this rate.
 

MAE

Perhaps you would do if you kept your mind on the task.
 

MATTHEW

I am, as much as you'll let me.
 

MAE

Of course you are, I'll bet you're still studying Raquel's statistics.
 

MATTHEW

Actually if you must know, I'm looking into her biography.
 

MAE

Sure you are, I bet you're concentrating on her movie career.
 

MATTHEW

Well that is what she is famous for.
 

MAE

Aren't we all?
 

MATTHEW

She was a sex symbol as well.
 

MAE

So was I honey, but I think I was a bit forward for my time.
 

MATTHEW

You mean ahead of your time.
 

MAE

I know what I mean and it ain't quite how you think it is. You may be right though even if the world was ready for me, the censors weren't.
 

MATTHEW

Why was that, what sort of things did you say.
 

MAE

I don't know, let me lie over here and think about it.
 
MAE GOES OVER AND LIES ON THE BED.
 
Oh, this mattress is a little soft.
 

MATTHEW

It's fine for me.
 

MAE

You might be happy with it but I prefer something a little stiffer.
 

MATTHEW

Well maybe I wore it out with all the action it gets.
 

MAE

This bed doesn't seem to have seen much action, it ain't exactly a war veteran. You shouldn't still be using the bed as a trampoline at your age.
 
MATTHEW DOESN'T RESPOND, HE IS READING SOMETHING ON THE SCREEN.
 

MATTHEW

Oh no! This can't be happening to me.
 

MAE

What's the matter, is your voice breaking?
 

MATTHEW

It's a message from Balthy reminding me that the homework has to be in tomorrow, that's three days before the lesson, which was when I thought it had to be in.
 

MAE

Perhaps you'd better check, he might have got it wrong.
 

MATTHEW

Good idea.
 
MATTHEW RUMMAGES THROUGH HIS PAPERS.
 

MAE

What are you worried about? It's only one piece of work. You should try constantly having to meet deadlines.
 

MATTHEW

What would you know about it?
 

MAE

Oh honey, I always got things in when the time was right.
 

MATTHEW

Ah here it is, now then deadline for handing in… damn, he's right. Good job he told me.
 

MAE

Is there anything I can do to help?
 

MATTHEW

Not on the evidence so far. Look, you'll just have to leave me to get on with this, I really don't have much time. In fact, I don't want to be rude but I'd appreciate it if you went back into the cupboard.

MAE

There is no way I'm going to sit in there for the evening. I'm afraid you're stuck with me.
 

MATTHEW

I didn't mean sit in the cupboard, I meant go back to the afterlife.
 

MAE

I know, but I have to wait for a portal to come along.
 

MATTHEW

Okay but please let me get on.
 

MAE

Hey I'm not stopping you. In fact, I can help you, by making sure you read about Racquel rather than just looking at the pictures.
 

MATTHEW

I'm not just looking at the pictures, it's just that some of the pages about her have pictures on them.
 

MAE

Yes of course they do.
 

MATTHEW

Please!
 

MAE

Why don't you give your teacher a call and tell him you need an extension?
 

MATTHEW

This is no time for another of your crude jokes.
 

MAE

You've got a terrible mind, I was just making a serious suggestion. I can't be held responsible for your lack of confidence.
 

MATTHEW

I don't think I'm lacking in confidence.
 

MAE

Well you clearly think you're lacking in something.
 

MATTHEW

Well I can't just ask for extra time because I didn't read the instruction properly.
 

MAE

You're a teenager, I'm sure your teacher will understand why your eyesight is not so good.
 

MATTHEW

Come on, please, I have to get this done.
 

MAE

I don't know what good it will do, you already said that the printer wasn't working.
 

MATTHEW

Dammit, you're right, I'll ask Balthy whether he can print it for me. It's the least he can do having sent you over to cause me grief.
 

MAE

I told you, I don't know anything about this Balthy character.
 

MATTHEW

Well in that case would you please just let me get on with this essay?
 

MAE

All right, I'll be quiet. You'll hardly know I'm here.
 
MATTHEW CARRIES ON WITH HIS WORK. MAE WALKS BACKWARDS AND FORWARDS. IT DISTURBS MATTHEW BUT HE VALIANTLY TRIES TO GET ON WITH HIS WORK.
 

MATTHEW

All right we may as well talk as well but you'll have to excuse me researching at the same time.
 

MAE

When do you think you'll be finished.
 

MATTHEW

If I can find the right information, and hour, perhaps longer.
 

MAE

Perhaps longer eh? You've no idea how many times I've heard that one.
 

MATTHEW

I think once I get all the information I need, it'll be quite quick to type it up. I can touch type you see.
 

MAE

Well honey, I'm the touch type as well.
 

MATTHEW

Mind you it's a lot easier to type with these machines than with the typewriters.
 

MAE

I'm surprised you've heard of typewriters in this day and age.
 

MATTHEW

We've got one downstairs, my mum used to be a field correspondent for a newspaper. She still has the typewriter she used when she first started. She mostly uses a PC now but she still likes to use it occasionally, I don't know why.
 

MAE

Probably just sentimental reasons. I had a couple of men like that they weren't as good as the later models but it was nice to get them out again for old time's sake.
 

MATTHEW

I think it's getting harder to keep it going as it gets older.

MAE

Yes, they have a lot of similarities to men.
 

MATTHEW

There you go again, you really don't like men very much do you?
 

MAE

On the contrary. In fact, I was once very much in love with a man once, by coincidence he was a typewriter salesman. Unfortunately, it just didn't work out between us.
 

MATTHEW

Oh dear, why was that?
 

MAE

I don't know, I guess he just wasn't my type.
 

MATTHEW

There you go, yet again.
 

MAE

It's hard to break old habits, I made a living out of it. It's much easier now, all you have to do is copy things off the internet and they give you a diploma.
 

MATTHEW

I can't just copy it; my teacher would be well aware of what I had done.
 

MAE

You're lucky to have a teacher that takes the trouble, most of them don't bother these days. We have schools run by the negligencia.
 

MATTHEW

The amount of time you spent in your nightdress, I would have thought you would have been a member of the negligencia.
 

MAE

That's a fair point, but I like to have thought I was a good teacher. I paid attention to my men and they stood at attention for me.
 

MATTHEW

Yes, well my teacher is not going to be negligent. If I don't do a good job of this essay it'll have a bad effect on my grades.
 

MAE

What do you need the grades for?
 

MATTHEW

I'm hoping to go into the theatre.
 

MAE

You don't need to be intelligent to go to the theatre. (LOOKS OUT AT THE AUDIENCE) Trust me on that one.
 

MATTHEW

You worry me sometimes.
 

MAE

Hmm, only sometimes, I must be losing my touch.
 

MATTHEW

Why don't you have a seat and take the strain off your attributes?
 

MAE

Oh, trying to get me back on the bed are you?

 

MATTHEW

Well only to stop you walking around.
 

MAE

That's a new one. You ought to be getting on with your homework not thinking about me.
 

MATTHEW

I haven't got any choice except to think about you, you won't give me a chance to concentrate on anything else.
 

MAE

It's a gift, who can blame me for using it, well besides the censors and the judges?
 

MATTHEW

You don't seem to like judges and censors very much either?
 

MAE

I think it was the other way around. Mind you no-one would bat an eyelid these days.
 

MATTHEW

What do you mean by that?
 

MAE

I used to make a few double entendres which the establishment found far too suggestive so they made me clean up my act. Now of course, you can be outright crude and it's perfectly acceptable.
 

MATTHEW

Did it put an end to your career?
 

MAE

No, I just went back to doing more work on the stage. (Looks out at the audience) The audiences tend to like a bit more smut than the cinema goer.
 

MATTHEW

Well, they say Life is a stage and we are all merely players on it.
 

MAE

I think life is a brothel and we are all participants. But you stick to your metaphors and I'll stick to mine.
 

MATTHEW

That's not mine, it's William Shakespeare.
 

MAE

Well he's a real tart.
 

MATTHEW

You know him?
 

MAE

Of course I do, we all go along to the playwriting meetings.

MATTHEW

You write plays in the afterlife?
 

MAE

Of course we do, there has to be some entertainment you know.
 

MATTHEW

What are Shakespeare's plays like now?
 

MAE

He mainly does whodunnits now, he got very intrigued when Agatha Christie joined the group. In fact, they write quite a lot together now. Their last play was great fun.
 

MATTHEW

So who was the villain in that play?
 

MAE

Richard the Third.
 

MATTHEW

So Shakespeare is still writing that Tudor propaganda?
 

MAE

No it was Richard, he was playing the villain. He's a great laugh, and he loves being the baddie. He's also very good at swashbuckling. Him and Douglas Fairbanks do a lot of good work together.
 

MATTHEW

Sounds like it should get quite a bit of critical acclaim.
 

MAE

To be honest you don't get many critics in our particular part of the afterlife, if you see what I mean.
 

MATTHEW

What about people who like plays, they finally get to meet Shakespeare? That must be great for them.
 

MAE

Actually, I think they are a bit disappointed.
 

MATTHEW

Why is he not as tall as you expect him to be in the afterlife?
 

MAE

They ask him all kinds of questions about his plays and he does his best to give them really deep answers but he finds it difficult.
 

MATTHEW

Is he shy?
 

MAE

Actually, he is a bit, but that's not why. He confided to me once that there just is no deep answers, they are just supposed to be ripping good yarns sprinkled with a few jokes.
 

MATTHEW

So he really was just putting bums on seats?
 

MAE

That's no way to talk about the theatre going public. Mind you, they do let anyone in these days.
 

MATTHEW

That must draw some very large audiences.
 

MAE

It certainly does, mind you there are a lot of people available to make up those audiences.
 

MATTHEW

Must be difficult to see if you're at the back?
 

MAE

Everyone gets a good view, that's the joy of it.
 

MATTHEW

How does that work?
 

MAE

I have no idea. I didn't build the house I only live in it.
 

MATTHEW

If only you'd stayed in I could be getting on with my essay.
 

MAE

You wouldn't have got it finished tonight if your friend hadn't told you that is was due in tomorrow.
 

MATTHEW

Now that's not true, I sat down specially to do it this evening.
 

MAE

I don't care what position you got in to do it. I'll bet this isn't the first evening you sat down to write this essay and never got started on it.
 

MATTHEW

I've been planning it out in my head.
 

MAE

Of course you have. I've seen it all before, it takes ages to get a man going and then his output comes all at once.
 

MATTHEW

You're so crude.
 

MAE

So is oil, but that doesn't stop men trying to find it.
 

MATTHEW

Yes but when they do, the first thing they want to do with it is refine it.
 

MAE

Then they wonder why it is never as much fun as when they first found it.
 
MAE STRETCHES OUT ON THE BED.
THE LIGHTS GO OUT.
 

MAE

Well you don't waste much time.
 

MATTHEW

Oh no, that wasn't anything to do with me. The lights have gone out, I'll just find a torch.
 
AFTER A BIT OF RUMMAGING.

MAE

You're getting bold all of a sudden.
 

MATTHEW

Oh for goodness sake, I'm looking for the
torch.
 
FURTHER RUMMAGING. THEN TORCH COMES ON.
 
Ah good, found it.
 

MAE

That's good, a torch is like a good man. It ain't the brightest thing in the world but it's sometimes useful when the light goes out.
 
MAE GOES OVER TO LOOK OUT OF THE WINDOW.
 

MATTHEW

I'll go and check the fuses, I expect one of them has tripped.
 

MAE

It would have to have been some fuse, the whole street is out.
 

MATTHEW

AHH! A power cut? This can't be happening to me. How am I supposed to get my essay completed now?
 

MAE

I suggest you go and get some candles, you see torches are like men.
 

MATTHEW

Yes, I know, useful when the light goes out.
 

MAE

Hmm until they begin to lose energy. You can slap them a few times but eventually they give up altogether.
 

MATTHEW

But how will I type the essay, I haven't got a computer without electricity.
 

MAE

I wouldn't say that, you still have one but it's no more use to you than a politician’s conscience. Why don't you just go and get the candles? Maybe we'll have thought of something by the time you get back.
 

MATTHEW

Okay, I'll be right back.
 
MATTHEW LEAVES THE ROOM.
 

MAE

Might as well just sit up on the bed for a while. I could stay lying down but it seems a bit pointless without a little company.
 
So how do I get myself out of this one, it would be so much easier if I knew what I was supposed to be doing here. Sure, I was speaking to Albert but I'm sure he couldn't send me through that cupboard. There must be something else, something divine. Perhaps I'm supposed to help that young man to heaven by morning? Mmm, that sounds worse than it's meant to.
 
There has to be something I can do, something that will get me back. In fact, I'm sure there is something I'm supposed to do. I can do three things: write plays, act and well I won't go into what else I can do. I'm sure it can't be that.
 
He doesn't seem to want to write a play, he's not making a film, all he wants to do is that homework. Even while I'm in the room, he'd rather do homework. I must be losing my touch.
 
I can't stay here, I've got to go before his parents come home. Unless I can find a way to get back, I'll end up in that cupboard. I ain't exactly the kind of gal to stay in the closet.
 
Don't I even get a messenger, someone to come out of the cupboard to tell me what I need to know? No? Well that's not much help. Here I am trying to my best and reach some kind of exciting climax without any help from anyone else. Sounds a bit like my first marriage.
 
Let me think, there must be some clues.
 
(LONG PAUSE)
 
No, it's no use. It's like wanting to answer the call of nature while camping in the Himalayas: the trail is mighty cold and there's not much to go on.
 
I'll just have to wait until a clue presents itself. Any minute now Matthew will walk back through that door and utter some cryptic dialogue that will tell me what I have to do.
 
 
MATTHEW COMES BACK INTO THE ROOM WITH CANDLES.
 

MATTHEW

Here we are four candles.
 

MAE

Oh great, who thought of giving me that clue, Ronnie Barker? Thanks Ron, I'll get you back for that at the next comedy writer's party.
 

MATTHEW

What are you on about?
 

MAE

Oh nothing, I'm just trying to work out what to do next.
 

MATTHEW

Yes, I know what you mean, there has to be something.
 

MATTHEW

Well I'll get back to my research, otherwise I'll have nothing to type.
 
MATTHEW SITS BACK DOWN AT HIS COMPUTER.
 

MAE

I think you might be in for a bit of a shock, though not the electrical version if you get my meaning.
 

MATTHEW

Damn it, I forgot. I can't do any more research; how will I do my research now?
 

MAE

You could always look in books, after all they tend to written by people with some legitimacy.
 

MATTHEW

Are you calling the writers on the internet bastards?
 

MAE

Well they've called me worse. No, I'm not it's just that you can't believe everything you read on the internet.
 

MATTHEW

It's all a bit of a moot point now, since I can't get online to do any research anyway.
 

MAE

Well I think there is a way out of this for both of us.
 

MATTHEW

Great, what do want me to do?
 

MAE

Sit there and shut up. I'll tell you all the things you need to know and you take things down as I talk.
 

MATTHEW

Look this is no time for your jokes, I really must get this finished.
 

MAE

I'm not joking I'm going to tell you all about one of Hollywood's greatest Icons.
 

MATTHEW

Do you know this person intimately?
 

MAE

You know, it's a wonder you've survived this long. Now just listen and write.
 
(PAUSE)
 
Mae West was born in 1893, her father was a prize fighter and her mother was a corset and fashion model. That is, she modelled corsets and other fashions. Life was tough in the depression but my mother wasn't employed as a corset…
 
(PAUSE)
 
Are you getting all this?
 

MATTHEW

Yes, I have a very fast hand.
 

MAE

Hmm, I'll bet you have.
 

MATTHEW

Since we don't have to use the computer in my room, let's do this downstairs where we can be more comfortable.
 

MAE

That's different from the usual propositions I get, but why not?
 
MAE AND MATTHEW LEAVE THE STAGE.
 
END ACT I
 
ACT II
THE LIGHTS COME ON. AFTER A SUITABLE PERIOD, MAE ENTERS. SHE CHECKS THE CUPBOARD.
 

MAE

Oh you're still there I see.
 
(LISTENS)
 
Of course, I'm glad.
 
(LISTENS)
 
Sure, I'd like you to play something. Make it something romantic.
 
MUSIC STARTS FOR “I'M IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE”.
AT THE END OF THE SONG, MATTHEW ENTERS.
 

MATTHEW

What were you singing about this time?
 

MAE

It doesn't matter, let's just say you've cured me of it.
 

MATTHEW

Oh well, it's nice to know I'm the cure for something.
 

MAE

Oh honey, the mould you find on bread is a cure for something.
 

MATTHEW

The Mould is only the start of it, you have to know what to do with it in order to make a cure from it.
 

MAE

True enough, if it weren't for that, many a student fridge would have cured any number of ills.
 

MATTHEW

If only they had a cure for actresses.
 

MAE

They do, but only if their acting is really bad.
 

MATTHEW

What are you talking about?

MAE

Surely you've heard of cured ham?
 

MATTHEW

Oh no! Groan.
 

MAE

I like to get men groaning in the bedroom.
 

MATTHEW

Well I'm going to be too busy for that.
 

MAE

Story of my life.
 

MATTHEW

Not exactly.
 

MAE

I suppose there is no fooling you now?
 

MATTHEW

No, not now I've got the whole of your life story written down.
 

MAE

I wouldn't say all of it.
 

MATTHEW

All right, just the good bits.
 

MAE

Oh no Honey, just the bad bits. I know what the people like to read.
 

MATTHEW

Are you saying people only like reading bad things?
 

MAE

Of course they do, you only have to look at the front pages of the newspapers.
 

MATTHEW

There is usually some good news as well.
 

MAE

Tucked away inside.
 

MATTHEW

But it's still there, because some people want to read it.
 

MAE

Mostly people just want to look at the pictures these days.
 

MATTHEW

You must be very disappointed?
 

MAE

Oh no Honey, I tend to do a lot of visual communicating myself.
 

MATTHEW

But you said you were a writer as well?
 

MAE

It never hurts to have a few extra lines of communication.
 

MATTHEW

I've always thought that grammar is important.
 

MAE

That's good to hear.
 

MATTHEW

Yes, especially important to Grandpa.
 
MATTHEW LAUGHS, MAE LOOKS UNIMPRESSED.
 

MATTHEW

That was a joke.
 

MAE

Very nearly, dear.
 

MATTHEW

I thought it was very funny.
 

MAE

It's all a question of timing.
 

MATTHEW

Didn't I tell it right?
 

MAE

You did, but the time for that joke was about 1937. I should know I was there.
 

MATTHEW

I know, you told me about it.
 

MAE

Yes, you said, you've got it all written down.
 

MATTHEW

It's all very well having it written down, but I'd better start typing it up, I just hope we don't have another power cut.
 

MAE

Another power cut? Surely you don't have them that often?
 

MATTHEW

Well I don't know, the way things have been going on tonight, anything could happen.
 

MAE

Oh come on, you don't get that many power cuts, to get two would be extremely unlikely.
 

MATTHEW

Tonight seems to be the time for extremely unlikely.
 

MAE

That's true, I don't usually spend my evenings singing in a strange boys’ bedroom.
 

MATTHEW

And I don't usually have dead actresses show up in my cupboard.
 

MAE

You don't? You should have been around in the early days of Hollywood.
 

MATTHEW

I've heard there were a lot of skeletons in the cupboards back then.
 

MAE

Better than them being on the catwalk, as they are today.
 

MATTHEW

Even so those supermodels aren't quite dead.
 

MAE

They've got the look though.
 

MATTHEW

Which actress do you mean anyway?
 

MAE

Take your pick, there were lots of dead actresses around back then.
 

MATTHEW

I'd have thought there always would have been?
 

MAE

Not ones that are still working out their contracts and making movies.
 

MATTHEW

Come on, you're making things up again aren't you?
 

MAE

Who needs to make it up? You should see some of those movies, the actresses were dead even when they were on the screen.
 

MATTHEW

Well the way my life has gone this evening, I'm afraid some of those actresses might just show up on my screen when I turn it on.
 

MAE

Don't worry you'll be safe, from that happening at least.
 

MATTHEW

How can you be so sure?
 

MAE

Trust me, those actresses couldn't get turned on if they tried.
 

MATTHEW

Maybe you're right, but in any case, it's time I got this computer turned on. You'll have to excuse me in a minute.
 

MAE

Oh honey, there's only one thing I like better than a gentleman's excuse me.
 

MATTHEW

And what would that be?
 

MAE

A rough man's excuse me.
 

MATTHEW

I should have known.
 

MAE

So what tune would you like, for this excuse me?
 

MATTHEW

I don't think I have anything suitable in my record collection.
 

MAE

Now why doesn't that surprise me?
 

MATTHEW

I don't know, why doesn't it?
 

MAE

Maybe you don't get too much practice at using the right kind of music?
 

MATTHEW

Maybe I don't need music?
 
A DISCHORD IS HEARD FROM THE CUPBOARD.
 

MAE
Oh that's done it, now you've upset the piano player.

 
MAE LOOKS INTO THE CUPBOARD.
 
Take no notice of him, he was brought up in the post punk era. You can't expect him to understand music.
 

MATTHEW

Hey, I didn't mean to upset anyone. I like music but I just don't think I need it, at least not to be romantically inclined.
 

MAE

Some of us need a little more than raw percussion.
 

MATTHEW

I need to get percussive with this keyboard or I'll never get this essay done. 
 

MAE

I'm sorry, I didn't mean to put you off this conversation.
 

MATTHEW

It isn't anything to do with the conversation. I still have to type out the story, remember?
 
MATTHEW GOES OVER AND TURNS ON THE COMPUTER.
 

MAE

How could I have forgotten? Hopefully I can leave you to it.
 
MAE WALKS OVER TO THE CUPBOARD AND OPENS THE DOOR.
 

MATTHEW

Is there a portal back for you?
 

MAE

Well if there is, I certainly can't see it in this cupboard.
 

MATTHEW

You must be disappointed.
 

MAE

I'm used to disappointment, as you would well know if you'd met my first husband.
 

MATTHEW

Come on, surely he couldn't have been that bad?
 

MAE

That's what you say. Believe me he was as sexy as a napkin.
 

MATTHEW

A clean napkin?
 

MAE

Yes, clean and freshly pressed, but a bit lacking in starch if you know what I mean.
 

MATTHEW

Perhaps he didn't like the dinners on offer?
 

MAE

That's hard to believe. I think he just did a bit too much snacking between meals.
 

MATTHEW

He might have had special dietary needs?
 

MAE

Yes, plenty of roughage, but nothing too rich.
 

MATTHEW

Ah good, the computer's back in action.
 

MAE

Oh, that's a good way to change the subject.
 

MATTHEW

Sorry.
 

MAE

No need to be, my first husband isn't something I want to dwell on. Nor anywhere near if you get my meaning.
 

MATTHEW

All I need to do now is wait for this machine to boot up and then I can get on with this essay.
 

MAE

I thought you said it was back in action?
 

MATTHEW

It is, but I have to wait for the program to get going.
 

MAE

Must have been developed by a man.
 

MATTHEW

You think?
 

MAE

Well, you said it takes a long time to wake up and be of any use to anyone.
 

MATTHEW

Actually, the first program was developed by a woman, Ada Lovelace.
 

MAE

That's true, but she does spend a lot of time with men now.
 

MATTHEW

Are they all as bad as you in the afterlife?
 

MAE

Oh honey, when it comes to being bad, I'm in a league of my own.
 

MATTHEW

That much is certain, but in that case why does Ada spend so much time with men? What is she doing?
 

MAE

Ada spends a lot of time playing darts with them.
 

MATTHEW

I wouldn't have thought she'd be into that sort of thing.
 

MAE

You wouldn't?
 

MATTHEW

Not really, not with her background.
 

MAE

Au contrere, her and Charles Babbage love playing the game.
 

MATTHEW

Why's that?
 

MAE

Something to do with counting the numbers I think.
 

MATTHEW

They probably like the multiplication as well.
 

MAE

What do you think they are, bacteria?
 

MATTHEW

You know what I mean, doubles and trebles.
 

MAE

They tend to leave those to Oliver Reed.
 

MATTHEW

Now there's someone who'll be at home with spirits. (PAUSE) Ah, here we go. I'll just check my e-mails before I start.
 

MAE

I would have thought you would get on with it straight away?
 

MATTHEW

You can't rush these things.
 

MAE

I thought you had to get on with it?
 
MATTHEW SETTLES DOWN AND STARES AT THE SCREEN.
 
Mind you, I do like a man who takes his time.
 
MATTHEW IS NOW ABSORBED WITH THE COMPUTER.
MAE GOES AND LOOKS IN THE CUPBOARD.
 

MAE

It looks like I'll have to amuse myself for a while. Do you know a man who takes his time?
 
THE PIANIST STARTS PLAYING “A MAN WHO TAKES HIS TIME.”
 
Okay, it wasn't quite what I meant but it'll do.
 
MAE SINGS “A MAN WHO TAKES HIS TIME”.
AT THE END MATTHEW IS STILL WAITING FOR THE SCREEN TO BOOT UP.
 

MATTHEW

I wish it would hurry up, I need to know whether Balthy will be able to print this out for me.
 

MAE

Couldn't you print it off when you get into school?
 

MATTHEW

There wouldn't be time. I have to hand it in first thing.
 

MAE

Why not get there early? I'm not usually one to encourage premature education, but in this case it might be beneficial.
 

MATTHEW

If only I could do that. They keep the schools locked these days.
 

MAE

I know that, but that's only when the children are in school.
 

MATTHEW

You think they lock the school's when we're in school?
 

MAE

Why of course, to keep all the kids inside.
 

MATTHEW

That's not it, they lock it outside school hours for security, otherwise kids go onto the school grounds when it's closed.
 

MAE

I see, kids go on to the school grounds when it's closed but you can't get them to go when it's open?
 

MATTHEW

Well, I suppose so.
 

MAE

Makes you wonder why they don't just change the school timetable.
 

MATTHEW

They'd have to change the curriculum to include arson and vandalism.
 

MAE

They might as well, there is probably a university somewhere offering a degree course in those subjects.
 

MATTHEW

You don't think much of education these days, do you?
 

MAE

Well that's because not many people think in education.
 

MATTHEW

It's not that bad, some students are very bright.
 

MAE

Well I wouldn't trust them to light my way home on a dark night.
 

MATTHEW

They aren't that bad.
 

MAE

Put it this way: forty years ago, they could land a man on the moon, today half of them can't even land a job.
 

MATTHEW

There aren't that many jobs around these days.
 

MAE

There weren't that many jobs around in my time, but I still managed to earn a living.
 

MATTHEW

Well we aren't all lucky enough to be endowed with your gifts.
 

MAE

Hmm, I don't think you have the right chassis to be endowed like me.
 

MATTHEW

You know what I mean. You need a certain amount of talent in order to get a job.
 

MAE

That's true, but your talent might be just to work.
 

MATTHEW

Just to work?
 

MAE

Yes, not everyone can be a brain surgeon.
 

MATTHEW

Of course they can't.
 

MAE

And society does not need everyone to be one.
 

MATTHEW

Perhaps not but an awful lot of people could be trained as brain surgeons.
 

MAE

Is that a fact?
 

MATTHEW

Yes, they'd be eligible, the A level results have been very good.
 

MAE

A level results: I'd say they were only worth a fraction of what they were before but most students wouldn't even know what I was talking about.
 

MATTHEW

But they could still get on the courses.
 

MAE

I have my doubts, in any case getting on the course is not the same as finishing it.
 

MATTHEW

Are you saying that we shouldn't try to have a skilled workforce?
 

MAE

Not unless I'm being worked by some unseen ventriloquist.
 

MATTHEW

What are you saying then?
 

MAE

I'm saying I often hear someone with no job telling everyone how talented they are. Yet they seem to think that earning an honest living is beneath them.
 

MATTHEW

Perhaps those people who aren't working are just waiting for the right opportunity.
 

MAE

I'm sure they are, meanwhile they look down on people who work for a living.
 

MATTHEW

Is it wrong for people to want something better for themselves?
 

MAE

There is nothing wrong with that but it doesn't mean you should stop working and hope that something will just come along to make you rich.
 

MATTHEW

So you think we should work hard and chase dreams at the same time?
 

MAE

Yes, aspiration and perspiration achieves elevation.
 

MATTHEW

What about those who give up their jobs to achieve a lifetime ambition?
 

MAE

Sounds very noble, but what about those who cannot afford to do that?
 

MATTHEW

I don't know anyone who couldn't afford to do that.
 

MAE

Well that's something you should be grateful for.
 

MATTHEW

I am, I hear enough about how tough things are for some people.
 

MAE

I know some of them.
 

MATTHEW

Well I suppose you did live through the great depression.
 

MAE

Not just from back then. Many new arrivals in the afterlife have had hard lives.
 

MATTHEW

Of course, I should have realised.
 

MAE

For many of them, their only ambition was to cling to life, and they had to work hard to even do that.
 

MATTHEW

It seems as though they didn't always succeed?
 

MAE

No.
 

MATTHEW

I'm sorry, it’s not always easy remembering where you came from.
 

MAE

Well it's where I reside but I'm not sure it's where I came from.
 

MATTHEW

Where did you come from then.
 

MAE

I thought they would have taught you about that in school these days.
 

MATTHEW

Taught what?
 

MAE

You know, the birds and the bees.
 

MATTHEW

I never quite understood that. Take bees for example, what on earth do bees have to do with sex?
 

MAE

Oh honey.
 

MATTHEW

I don't think I'll take that any further.
 

MAE

Oh well I thought…
 

MATTHEW

No stop right there.
 

MAE

That's a request, I don't often get.
 

MATTHEW

It's not so much the requests you get, it's the direction that conversation might take, that worries me.
 

MAE

If you're that worried about knowing where I come from, why did you bring it up in the first place?
 

MATTHEW

Actually I was meaning that you might have come from where you now reside, or at least another department.
 

MAE

I might have done at that.
 

MATTHEW

I thought you would know that sort of thing.
 

MAE

I never really thought about it.
 

MATTHEW

I'd have thought you would have been quite pre-occupied by it.
 

MAE

I'm too busy enjoying myself. I don't tend to go into philosophising too much, I prefer things to be a bit more physical.
 

MATTHEW

That's a pity, considering where you're from I thought you'd have a particularly good insight into things.
 

MAE

It could be better, I could spend more time with the psychiatrists in the afterlife.
 

MATTHEW

I'm not surprised, if you spend most of the time enjoying yourself.
 

MAE

What's wrong with psychiatrists?
 

MATTHEW

They must be a barrel of laughs.
 

MAE

Actually they tend to try and stay away from everyone.
 

MATTHEW

I'll bet they don't want everyone telling them their troubles.
 

MAE

Partly, but mostly they get mobbed by people's mothers.
 

MATTHEW

Why's that?
 

MAE

They want to know exactly what their children said about them.
 

MATTHEW

I suppose there must be quite a few professions that have to watch out for their former clients.
 

MAE

Quite a few, but on the whole people are settled and happy so it's not a major problem.
 

MATTHEW

What about fortune tellers?
 

MAE

I knew you were going to mention them.
 

MATTHEW

You did?
 

MAE

Oh honey, you're so gullible.
 

MATTHEW

I call it trusting.
 

MAE

As you wish, what were you going to say about fortune tellers?
 

MATTHEW

It's just that I would have thought you would be in big trouble if you'd told someone they were going to have a long and happy life, then you met in the afterlife.
 

MAE

Well it is a happy place and it's fair to say that people are there a long time, so strictly speaking they were right.
 

MATTHEW

So they are okay then?
 

MAE

Yes, they are remarkably popular, I don't know why.
 

MATTHEW

Neither do I, surely each day is just another day of paradise.
 

MAE

It's not that monotonous, I suppose people just like to know all is okay.
 

MATTHEW

What about you, have you ever consulted them?
 

MAE

I like to make my own future.
 

MATTHEW

I thought you would be keen to know whether there was a tall dark stranger waiting for you.
 

MAE

I know there is someone waiting for me.
 

MATTHEW

Really, where.
 

MAE

In the cupboard.
 

MATTHEW

No I mean beyond that.
 

MAE

I'll check, while you check your piece of equipment.
 

MATTHEW

Good idea.
 
MAE GOES OVER TO CHECK THE CUPBOARD.
 

MAE

Well, is there someone waiting for me, beyond the cupboard?
 
THE PIANIST STARTS TO PLAY LA MER.
 
Oh I thought there would be.
 
MAE SINGS LA MER.
 

MATTHEW

Damn it!
 

MAE

Mmm, Not the usual response I expect from my audience.
 

MATTHEW

Sorry, it's just that Balthy has replied and he can't help me.
 

MAE

You're a teenager give it time and it'll all work out.
 

MATTHEW

His printer went in to be repaired two days ago.
 

MAE

I guess he didn't know you would need to use it.
 

MATTHEW

I was counting on him, I thought it was the least he could do having sent you over to disturb me.
 

MAE

There you go again with this Balthy business, I have no idea what you're talking about.
 

MATTHEW

Neither does he apparently, he's denying all knowledge.
 

MAE

He doesn't need to deny all knowledge, at his age a lack of knowledge comes naturally.
 

MATTHEW

He says he doesn't know what is going on.

MAE

Of course he doesn't know what's going on, he probably thinks the stress of the imminent deadline has made you lose your mind.
 

MATTHEW

Perhaps he's right.
 

MAE

I don't think so.
 

MATTHEW

That's good to hear.
 

MAE

You're not losing your mind any more than you're losing your virginity.
 

MATTHEW

How do you know I haven't already lost it?
 

MAE

Your mind?
 

MATTHEW

No, my virginity.
 

MAE

Oh that; let's just say, I know.
 

MATTHEW

You're that sure?
 

MAE

I'm sure that if you've lost yours, just hang around for a bit and it's bound to turn up.
 

MATTHEW

I am losing my mind, I could be imagining you standing here in my bedroom.
 

MAE

Oh, that's not very flattering.
 

MATTHEW

Not flattering?
 

MAE

I don't mind you losing your mind but if you are going to imagine me in your bedroom, I hope you've can be a bit more creative than to have me standing in it.
 

MATTHEW

Surely you would want to keep some dignity.
 

MAE

Maybe you're right, but as I say, it ain't exactly flattering.
 

MATTHEW

So, I am just imagining you?
 

MAE

That's just not possible.
 

MATTHEW

Here we go, some quip about me not having enough brain power.
 

MAE

Not bad, but that wasn't actually what I was going to say.
 

MATTHEW

Oh, well in that case I'm sorry I mentioned it.
 

MAE

How much did you know about me before, we met tonight?
 

MATTHEW

Nothing really, I've heard of you, but I didn't know very much about you.
 

MAE

You sure know how to flatter a gal.
 

MATTHEW

Well you asked.
 

MAE

I know. So, we've established that you didn't know much about me.
 

MATTHEW

And what does that prove?
 

MAE

Well, for a start, how could you have imagined me?
 

MATTHEW

Well...
 

MAE

Actually, don't answer that, I think the answer could be more than I can take.
 

MATTHEW

All right, but if I'm not imagining you, then Balthy must have sent you round as a joke.
 

MAE

I ain't gonna argue with you, but if he did he's cleverer than you might think.
 

MATTHEW

How do you mean?
 

MAE

How big is your cupboard?
 

MATTHEW

Not very, but big enough to put a few things in.
 

MAE

Room enough for a piano?
 

MATTHEW

No.
 

MAE

Room enough for a piano player?
 

MATTHEW

Okay I see what you mean.
 

MAE

Enough room for a particularly well-endowed actress?
 

MATTHEW

All right, all right, I get the point.
 

MAE

I know you do, I just enjoy saying well-endowed actress.
 

MATTHEW

I suppose you're right.
 

MAE

Why thank you, you also think I'm a well-endowed actress.
 

MATTHEW

I was talking about the broom cupboard.
 

MAE

No wonder you're so lonely.
 

MATTHEW

I'm not lonely, in any case I can't see what Balthy would have to gain by having me disturbed this evening.
 

MAE

Seems to me you're disturbed, in more ways than one.
 

MATTHEW

I think you're right.
 

MAE

I thought you believed me?
 

MATTHEW

I'm not sure whether I do or not, it just seemed easier to go along with things.
 

MAE

It may be easier but sometimes it's better if you're a bit harder.
 

MATTHEW

I just want a quiet life, it just doesn't always seem to run that smoothly.
 

MAE

If you want a quiet life, join the trappists. Me, I prefer a little friction, it makes life a little more exciting and you get stronger feelings.
 

MATTHEW

I certainly hope I'm not imagining you.
 

MAE

That's nice of you to say.
 

MATTHEW

I've written down your life story, if it's all in my imagination I could have written any old rubbish.
 

MAE

Well I haven't seen the finished article, so there's still time.
 

MATTHEW

Hey, what do you mean? I don't write rubbish.
 

MAE

Well, you're a student so it will probably have some similarities to rubbish.
 

MATTHEW

How do you mean?
 

MAE

It's probably been recycled.
 

MATTHEW

I suppose it is in a way, I got it all from you.
 

MAE

Re-used then, even better than recycled.
 

MATTHEW

I just hope you are as big a star as you said you are.
 

MAE

Well I was better known than the semi famous stars of today.
 

MATTHEW

Which ones?
 

MAE

I don't know, that's exactly my point.
 

MATTHEW

Your point is, you don't know who the stars are that you're referring to.
 

MAE

Yes, some of them are in television shows and even then, nobody has heard of them.
 

MATTHEW

Nobody?
 

MAE

No, not even the other people in the same television show.
 

MATTHEW

You're absolutely certain you were bigger than television stars of today?
 

MAE

Absolutely, I was a film star so I was even bigger than film stars of today.
 

MATTHEW

How can you say that?
 

MAE

I just force air over my larynx, the way I've done since I was a child.
 

MATTHEW

Why do you say you were bigger than film stars of today?
 

MAE

Haven't you noticed how much smaller screens are in cinemas?
 

MATTHEW

Yes, but that doesn't mean the stars themselves are smaller.
 

MAE

Try telling that to the cinema audience.
 

MATTHEW

Cinema audiences now, theatre audiences before. It's a job to know which you think are worse.
 
MAE WALKS UP AND LOOKS OUT AT THE AUDIENCE.
 

MAE

I invoke the fifth amendment.
 

MATTHEW

What?
 

MAE

The fifth amendment, you know, from the McCarthy witch hunts.
 

MATTHEW

Oh yes, I think I remember.
 

MAE

It's good to be sure and remember some things.
 

MATTHEW

It was a bit before my time.
 

MAE

So, you can only remember people who were around at the same time you are?
 

MATTHEW

No, but I can't remember everyone.
 

MAE

So who do you remember?
 

MATTHEW

Well you know, famous people. People like Queen Victoria.
 

MAE

Oh good so you do know some people?
 

MATTHEW

Well, it's much easier for you. You know just about everyone.
 

MAE

Do you mean that in the biblical sense?
 

MATTHEW

You what?
 

MAE

Knowing, in the biblical sense, as in Adam knew Eve.
 

MATTHEW

I don't know what you mean.
 

MAE

No, and it sounds as though we're beyond your ability to make an educated guess.
 

MATTHEW

I think you are trying to avoid the question.
 

MAE

Listen, the only thing I've ever avoided is modesty. I know Victoria, and Albert.
 

MATTHEW

And what do they get up to?
 

MAE

I couldn't possibly tell you that.
 

MATTHEW

Why not?
 

MAE

It would make me blush, and believe me I don't blush easily.
 

MATTHEW

Now that, I can believe.
 

MAE

All I can say is that they don't go out much.
 

MATTHEW

So, they like to stay in?
 

MAE

Let's just say they make their own entertainment.
 

MATTHEW

Well, the Victorians were well known for their large families.
 

MAE

Believe me they are industrial about everything.
 

MATTHEW

I'm going to have to start getting industrial or I'll never get this essay done.
 

MAE

How about I sing you a nice philosophical song and perhaps that will give you the answer to your conundrum?
 
THE PIANIST STARTS PLAYING AND
MAE SINGS “MMM MMM MMM MMM”
 

MATTHEW

I can't say that has helped at all.
 

MAE

Oh well it was worth a try.
 

MATTHEW

What do you mean, worth a try? I thought you said it would give me the answer?
 

MAE

I said maybe it will give you the answer.
 

MATTHEW

Well that was a great help I must say.
 

MAE

Why must you?
 

MATTHEW

Because it helps me to vent my frustration.
 

MAE

There are better ways.
 

MATTHEW

Like what?
 

MAE

Like chopping wood.
 

MATTHEW

I don't have any wood.
 

MAE

You don't seem to have a big chopper either.
 

MATTHEW

Do you have to bring smut into everything?
 

MAE

What do you think I am, a burning cornfield?
 

MATTHEW

You seem to have an answer for everything.
 

MAE

Of course I do, you had to keep your wits about you when you went through what I did when I was growing up.
 

MATTHEW

Well if what you told me earlier is to be believed.
 

MAE

Mmm, you believe me when I make a bad joke about fortune tellers, but when I spill the story of my life, you think I'm lying.
 

MATTHEW

Well you said I was gullible.
 

MAE

Gullible or not, I think you'll have to trust me.
 

MATTHEW

I hope you've been telling the truth otherwise I could have written down all sorts of rubbish here.
 

MAE

It won't be the end of the world.
 

MATTHEW

It won't?
 

MAE

No, you'll have a glittering career ahead of you, as a journalist.
 

MATTHEW

I've got it!
 

MAE

Have you? Well don't give it to everyone.
 

MATTHEW

I’ll use Mum’s old manual typewriter.
 

MAE

That's novel, won't the copy look a bit different?
 

MATTHEW

It’ll go with the period I’m writing about, and with any luck the teacher will think I’m being really clever.
 

MAE

Well, there has to be a first time for everything.
 

MATTHEW

I won’t have to worry about there being another power cut either, I will still be able to get the essay finished.
 

MAE

Well it pays sometimes to use the manual approach rather than something electrical.
 

MATTHEW

Exactly.
 

MAE

Are you going to draft it out until you get it right and then type it in one go at the end?
 

MATTHEW

Yes of course, don't you think that's a good idea.
 

MAE

I suppose so, but…
 

MATTHEW

You've got more buts than a rifle makers factory.
 

MAE

I don't mean to be a bore.
 

MATTHEW

Okay what were you going to say about it not being a good idea to type it all out at once?
 

MAE

In my experience if a man don't get it right the first time you have to wait days until he has the energy for a second go.
 

MATTHEW

Don't you ever stop?
 

MAE

That's exactly what they say.
 

MATTHEW

I don’t care what you say, nothing is going to stop me now.
 

MAE

Good for you, I think you're on the home stretch.
 
(CHECKS THE CUPBOARD)
 
Just as well because I have to leave you.
 

MATTHEW

Are you sure you have to go now?
 

MAE

Yes, I don't know how I know but it's time for me to go back.
 

MATTHEW

Well I didn't think I would find myself saying this but, it's been a pleasure having you here.
 

MAE

Don't say that too loudly, you're going to ruin my reputation.
 

MATTHEW

Come on, you know what I mean, enough with the jokes.
 

MAE

I can't help it, you're going soft. I hate it when a man goes soft on me.
 

MATTHEW

Well thanks anyway.
 

MAE

You're very welcome, now I'm going to go before I miss my opportunity.
 

MATTHEW

Just one more thing before you go, if you don't mind.
 

MAE

Go ahead, I'm like a London Bus in the rush hour: I've always got room for one more.
 

MATTHEW

Will I see you again?
 

MAE

I hope so, but not for many years. When you're ready, why not come up and see me?
 
MAE WEST GOES BACK INTO THE CUPBOARD AND MATTHEW GOES BACK OUT THROUGH THE BEDROOM DOOR.
 
END


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