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Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Stage Directions Matching Challenge

Match these opening stage directions (some are excerpts) with the plays they open. 

To see the answer, click on the ANSWER link after each stage direction. A dialog box should pop open with the answer. If that doesn't work, you can go here to see the answers.

A. Estragon, sitting on a low mound, is trying to take off his boot. He pulls at it with both hands, panting. He gives up, exhausted, rests, tries again. As before. ANSWER

B. The Wingfield apartment is in the rear of the building, one of those vast, hive-like conglomerations of cellular living-units that flower as warty growths in over-crowded urban centers of lower-middle class population and are symptomatic of the impulse of this largest and fundamentally enslaved section of American society to avoid fluidity and differentiation and to exist and function as one interfused mass of automatism. ANSWER

C. Vivian Bearing walks on the empty stage pushing her IV pole. She is fifty, tall and very thin, barefoot and completely bald. She wears two hospital gowns - one tied in the front and one tied in the back - a baseball cap, and a hospital ID bracelet. The house lights are at half-strength. Vivian looks out at the audience, sizing them up. ANSWER

D. Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life;
Whole misadventured piteous overthrows
Do with their death bury their parents' strife.
The fearful passage of their death-mark'd love,
And the continuance of their parents' rage,
Which, but their children's end, nought could remove,
Is now the two hours' traffic of our stage;
The which if you with patient ears attend,
What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.

E. Night. Catherine sits in a chair. She is exhausted, haphazardly dressed. Eyes closed. Robert is standing behind her. He is Catherine's father. Rumpled academic look. Catherine does not know he is there. After a moment: ANSWER

F. No curtain. No scenery. The audience, arriving, sees an empty stage in half-light. Presently the Stage Manager, hat on and pipe in mouth, enters and begins placing a table and three chairs downstage left and a table and three chairs downstage right. He also places a low bench at the corner of what will be the Webb house, left. ANSWER

G.   Covent Garden at 11.15 p.m. Torrents of heavy summer rain. Cab whistles blowing frantically in all directions. Pedestrians running for shelter into the market and under the portico of St. Paul's Church, where there are already several people, among them a lady and her daughter in evening dress. They are all peering out gloomily at the rain, except one man with his back turned to the rest, who seems wholly preoccupied with a notebook in which he is writing busily. ANSWER

H. In the house of the PROZOROVS. A drawing-room with columns beyond which a large room is visible. Mid-day; it is bright and sunny. The table in the farther room is being laid for lunch.
OLGA, in the dark blue uniform of a high-school teacher, is correcting exercise books, at times standing still and then walking up and down; MASHA, in a black dress, with her hat on her knee, is reading a book; IRINA, in a white dress, is standing plunged in thought. ANSWER

I. Darkness. Savage whispers fill the theatre. We can distinguish nothing at first from this snakelike hissing save the word Salieri! repeated here, there and everywhere around the theatre. Also, the barely distinguishable word Assassin! ANSWER

J. The last days of October. Rabbi Isidor Chemelwitz alone onstage with a small coffin. It is a rough pine box with two wooden pegs, one at the foot and one at the head, holding the lid in place. A prayer shawl embroidered with a Star of David is draped over the lid, and by the head a yarzheit candle is burning. ANSWER

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