By Noel Coward
This selection of ten one-act performs was once written by way of Noel Coward as a motor vehicle for his personal performing abilities in addition to an bold try to revive the one-act play shape. First played in 1935, the performs completely show off Coward's skills as a playwright and his trademark panache for glowing, subtle, witty discussion. the quick shape additionally shows Coward’s versatility with topics that diversity from comical farce to darkish satire, performed out in plots approximately improper identities, unconsummated affairs and love at the beginning sight. those performs are set among the Victorian period and the rising smooth interval of the Twenties and 30s.
This variation beneficial properties Coward's personal preface and an creation through Barry Day, editor of The Letters of Noel Coward. Included are all ten performs initially written for the gathering: Red Peppers, We have been Dancing, Shadow Play, relations Album, The Astonished Heart, fingers around the Sea, Fumed Oak, methods and Means, nonetheless Life, and Star Chamber.
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Additional info for Tonight at 8.30: Ten one-act plays
Leonora (softly): No. chris: Come back to my arms, it’s cold over here by the ﬁre. leonora (with her face turned away from him): I lied just now when I said I didn’t mean it to be like this. chris: Does it matter? leonora: Yes – it matters dreadfully— chris (moving towards her): My dear— leonora (with panic in her voice): Please stay there. chris (stopping): Very well. leonora (with a rush): I did mean it to be like this but – but not quite like this – I mean – it was all a trick – I planned it – the ﬁrst day I came, you remember, when you snubbed me – I teased you about it at dinner tonight – I made up my mind then to make you fall in love with me – now I wish I hadn’t – I feel cheap – I feel frightened – I wish with all my heart I hadn’t.
Louise: Are you happy? karl: Wildly happy. Are you? louise: Dear Karl! karl: What’s the matter? louise: You’re doing splendidly. karl: Don’t talk like that, my sweet, it’s unkind. louise: Ayleen would be proud of you. karl: That was worse than unkind. louise: Where is it, our moment? What’s happened to the magic? karl (sadly): I see. louise: I wonder if you do really? karl: Dance with me a minute. louise: Very well. She hasn’t quite ﬁnished her sandwich so she holds it in her left hand while they waltz solemnly round the stage.
14 we were dancing You must see We’ve stepped into a dream that’s set us free Don’t think we planned it Please understand it. refrain We were dancing And the gods must have found it entrancing For they smiled On a moment undeﬁled By the care and woe That mortals know. We were dancing And the music and lights were enhancing Our desire When the World caught on ﬁre He and I were dancing. 2 Love lay in wait for us Twisted our fate for us No one warned us Reason scorned us Time stood still In that ﬁrst strange thrill.
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