Academic journal article Chicago Review

Port: A Murder in One Act

Academic journal article Chicago Review

Port: A Murder in One Act

Article excerpt

CHARACTERS

INSPECTOR

His ASSISTANT

HEROINE, who is called Clarissa

HERO, who is called Harlow

PUY, a Lord, also uncle to the HEROINE

A CORONER

A GHOST, which is a light

A SERVANT

SIX VOICES

SCENE I

INSPECTOR: The corpse was found in the garden.

FIRST VOICE: How romantic!

SECOND VOICE: Why would he go there?

THIRD VOICE: Garden--jardin--qu'est-ce que c'est this word?

FOURTH VOICE: A botanist!

FIFTH VOICE: Everyone goes somewhere.

SIXTH VOICE: So few gardens remain in the world.

ASSISTANT: The boots were muddy.

HERO: I found him, the boots were muddy.

HEROINE: Only my aunt's will lay between us. He never understood. That it was only playacting about the money.

INSPECTOR: Do I understand you to say--

HEROINE: It was like a wall. Like Pyramus and Thisbe.

INSPECTOR: The money?

HEROINE: No, the moon. It shone on us equally. Only he kept saying, Rot Rot Rot ...

HERO: Rot.

INSPECTOR: Now sir if you'll reconstruct--

HERO: My actions?

INSPECTOR: It would help.

HERO: It began later. After nine. After I was nine. After my mother had nine children. It was quite ordinary before that. Then after nine years. Well what are you looking at me for? Can you reconstruct, re-evaluate, reinforce faster.

INSPECTOR: I only want to know where you were after tea was served.

HERO: Well I was here.

FIRST VOICE: He was truly at tea.

SECOND VOICE: I wondered why he was at tea.

THIRD VOICE: Where he was seemed adequate--but--

FOURTH VOICE: Not a simple man.

FIFTH VOICE: Why shouldn't he be at tea?

SIXTH VOICE: Many men like to go to tea and suffer after.

INSPECTOR: I wonder if I'll ever have the last word.

(Gong.)

SERVANT: Here's tea for the company present.

INSPECTOR (to ASSISTANT): There are so many people in this house.

(Sound of running water.)

I didn't tell anyone to take a bath. Check that. Who is bathing. Look at hands. Check them. Check all who wash, rinse.

SCENE II

HEROINE and HERO are alone walking down hall.

HEROINE: I never thought it would seem or be or thinking often or sometimes it would become after seeming to be that fearly I would walk.

HERO: There's nothing here to be of fear. Or perhaps I think it would not if often I would drop a gentle hint of what could not be yet there often I would not let it be perhaps fraught with what might be so that I walk with you in accustomed bright what-notness or what-would-rather-be.

HEROINE (sighs): You don't comfort me truly. This weather is more than a piece of shadows.

HERO: It's gloomy.

HEROINE: It's gloomier than usual, because there's now a corpse.

GHOST: How oft the thrust that from King Harold travels or I to you from marrow bone.

HEROINE: This always was a haunted hall.

HERO: Yet what I hear makes some sense.

HEROINE: Sense?

HERO: Well, if you're good at understanding riddles.

HEROINE: I never was.

[section]

SCENE III

INSPECTOR: It is a corpse. Somebody finds it in some kind of place that's called a garden. Then. Then you've got to start looking for another somebody in another place without a corpse. Not easy.

ASSISTANT: Not easy at all, sir. Even when I remember what the body looked like I can't remember the way the body looked when I first saw it.

INSPECTOR: Listen. I'm not asking you to remember what you saw. I've got your report here. Just go along with me. We're not going to get into any big remembering difficulty.

HERO: I'm as full of affection as a tuna fish.

HEROINE: You'll be suspected. …

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