Damant, Leo (British/Australian playwright, writer, 1930-____), “Takes Two to Tango,”
a 25-minute black comedy in English, in four scenes, set in an undertaker’s parlour and office, sometime in the not too distant future,
• © 2000 by Leo Damant; • script/rights available from Leo Damant, 8 Shirley Crescent, West Beach, South Australia 5024, e-mail email@example.com, telephone (home) +61 8 8353 2981. • Cited by Leo Damant via ftp February 27, 2002; Damant says,
§ Dramatis Personae Mr. Perry (m), 40, the competent undertaker; Mrs. Mortimer (m), 38, the widow; Harold (f), 39, dear departed corpse.
§ Synopsis “(Scene i, the undertaker’s parlour) The recently bereaved Mrs. Mortimer has decided to take advantage of a recent American innovation and have her dear departed husband, Harold, transformed into a Loved One Robot. Mr. Perry, the undertaker, discusses with the widow the disposal of the recently-departed Harold, who lies in a mock-up coffin in the parlour. Because of the chilly conditions in the parlour, Mrs.Mortimer reluctantly says good-bye to Harold. (She and Mr. Perry cross to his office adjoining. The corpse of Harold exits.) In the office, Mr. Perry outlines the many innovations that can be incorporated into the command system of the Loved One Robot. He inquires if Mrs. Mortimer would like the robot to be fully functional. Also, he tells her, the tango has now been added to Loved One Robot’s repertoire, which pleases Mrs. Mortimer. Mr. Perry stipulates certain conditions appertaining to the ownership of a Loved One Robot. For instance, it must be kept within the confines of the family home. Terms agreed to, Mrs. Mortimer leaves, eagerly awaiting Harold’s return. (Scene ii, Mr. Perry’ office) Telephone rings. Mr. Perry picks up ’phone to answer a call from Mrs. Mortimer. She impatiently awaitsHarold’s return. Mr. Perry explains that the process is complicated, but he will be in touch as soon as he gets word from California. (Scene iii, Mr. Perry’s office) Mr. Perry’s telephone call to Mrs. Mortimer reports Loved One Robot ready for delivery. Mrs Mmortimer is elated. (Scene iv, Mr. Perry’s office) Mr. Perry reprimands Mrs. Mortimer for having broken the ownership conditions and causing a malfunction mode in the Loved One Robot. She is distraught over the catastrophic results of her having misused it.
§ Comment “Four scenes, all in the premises of a funeral establishment. Suggest have mock-up, not real coffin, with Harold’s face obscured. • The author received for this play the Outstanding Achievement in Playwriting at the Hills Festival of One Act Plays (Adelaide) 2000.”
American innovation, bereavement, coffin, corpse, death, homebound, mortuary,
ownership, restriction, robot, tango, undertaking, widowhood.
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