An Enchanting Despot

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An Enchanting Despot

 By Peter Harrison 


Sally, Andrew, Rose (the new, very outspoken Home help), Zoë  & Patrick friends/dinner guests.

Husband and wife authors Sally and Andrew write about very different subjects! Sally writes raunchy novels, which are bestsellers over and over again whereas Andrew writes authentic history books. But it is their new and outspoken home help from Yorkshire who brings their literary styles into conflict. 

28 pages, performance time about 30 minutes

… Extract from script …

Zoë: That was lovely, Rose. Really delicious.

Rose:  Not my idea, I’m afraid. Mrs. Elliot cut it out.  From a  magazine.  And it seemed to work. Shall I serve the pudding now? Or would you like to wait? 

Zoë: Rose?

Rose: Yes? 

Zoë:  Mrs. Elliot is hurt because you don’t read her books. 

Rose: Is she now? 

Zoë: She thinks you think Andrew’s books are … worthier.

Patrick:  Oh come on Zoë. 

Zoë: What?

Patrick: Stop stirring things. 

Zoë: I’m not stirring things. We are having a literary discussion. 

Sally:  She is right, though, isn’t she  Rose?  

Rose:  She is. 

Zoë: And you’re not a bit offended, are you, darling? 

Sally:  People always know instinctively when I’m offended, Zoë. As you well know. 

Andrew: I really don’t think it’s fair to … ah… put Rose on the spot like this. 

Patrick: Exactly. 

Andrew:  I mean look at my sales.  It’s obvious lots of people can’t stand my stuff. 

Rose: That’s hardly the point, though, is it?  

 ( Pause. ) 

Sally: It isn’t?

Zoë:  ( Innocently ) What is the point, Rose? 

Patrick: ( Warningly ) Zoë. Behave. 

Rose:  Well, since you ask, the point is that Mr. Elliot, believes in his writing. 

Zoë: And Sally’s writing?

Rose: Nobody believes in it. Especially not Mrs. Elliot, I suspect. 

Sally: I really feel I ought to issue a public warning here. To the effect that I could not be described as one of those who welcomes criticism. 

Patrick: Look, can we please change the subject?

Rose: I think perhaps  I’d better just get on with serving the pudding. I’m putting my foot in it, here. Again. 

Zoë:  Absolutely not. Come on, Rose. Why are Andrew’s books better than Sally’s? 

( Pause.)          

Rose:  In my opinion, if you can write, you’re someone special.  I used to think, I could. And then I  realised the truth. I knew what good writing was. But I couldn’t do it. Mrs. Elliot can write. There is no doubt about that. 

Zoë: There you are, darling. 

Sally:  I had the vague feeling that was a compliment but now I’m not sure.

Zoë:  (Innocently) Oh, do go on, Rose. This is very interesting. 

Rose:  You have to understand, I’m not just picking on Mrs. Elliot.  It’s she and all the other writers who are producing these beach books.  These chick-lit sagas. They are just not … real. If you ask me writing clever rubbish is worse than not being able to write at all. 

Zoë:  (  To Sally ) Oh, dear, darling.