Saturday, 31 December 2011

Cricket in the Mirth - An One-Act Play

Dramatis Personae:

William Shakespeare
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
George Bernard Shaw
Charles Dickens 
Rabindranath Tagore 
Richard Bach 
Vikram Seth
Matsuo Basho 
D H Lawrence 
Oscar Wilde  
Samuel Beckett
James Joyce
Neville Cardus
Joseph Heller
William Wordsworth
Samuel Coleridge
Matthew Arnold
Goscinni and Uderzo
Walter Scott
Sidney Sheldon
Margaret Mitchell
Jane Austen
Barbara Cartland
J.K. Rowling


David Gower

Geoff Boycott

Ian Botham
Numerous English Batsmen
Eleven Australian Fieldsmen 

A Cricket Match being played between England and Australia.
David Gower and Geoff Boycott are at the wicket.
Gower plays at a ball and misses.

Shakespeare: Will all his ventures fail? Not one hit?
Wodehouse: I say, Bill, I put it three to one against the Poms. How about taking me on for a fiver?
Shakespeare: Thou speak’st my mind, Plum, for-
There’s a tide in the affairs of men
Which taken at the full leads on to fortune …
Five be it then. More of this hereafter.
Wodehouse (aside):
Poms have as much chance of putting this across as a one armed blind man has of putting a red hot pound of melting butter on a needle through the left eye of a cat.

Jane Austen: Miss Cartland, how do you fancy the gentleman in the county cap?
Barbara Cartland:
Oh, Miss Austen…he looks as if he’s bowled many a maiden over. Tall , dark and handsome is his action.

Bernard Shaw: Why can’t the English teach their children how to bat?
Conan Doyle: Elementary…they haven’t got the basics right. From the way he holds his bat, it’s obvious that he’s an avid Cigar smoker.
Shaw: How the hell do you know that?
Conan Doyle: Elementary, Shaw. You should read my monograph on cigar ash. There comes the Aussie bowler with a nose like a beak. By his gait he looks left handed. Come on Gower, you are either a man or a coward.
Shaw: A little of both, my dear Arthur, like the rest of us…a little of both. Damn man, go for the runs.
Cartland : Such language!!!
Shaw: We only said that England were batting poorly, didn’t we Arthur?
Cartland: And what about hell and damn!
Shaw: Really Miss Cartland, such language from you….
Jane Austen: Margaret, you see how the gentlemen tease poor Barbara?
Margaret Mitchell:
Frankly, my dear Jane, I don’t give a damn.

Gower goes for a drive through cover and mid off. It flies off the edge between the slips for four.

Charles Dickens: Never could a batter be more sure of the destination of the ball than
good Gower. Look, how he stands, bat tucked under his arm, a master
of deportment. Well hit, sir.

Gower cuts the next ball for four.

Cardus: Just dismissed the ball from his presence.
Joyce : Plock Plock Plock

Gower slashes at a ball and is caught in the slips.

Dickens: It was the best of shots, it was the worst of shots.

Wodehouse: You’re on sticky wicket, Bill.
Shakespeare: Methinks there’s reason in your words. Gower –
From the extremest upward of thy head,
To the descent and dust of thy foot.
A most toad spotted traitor.
Has English Cricket lost all Grace?

Vikram Seth: “The swinging ball kisses the careless bat –
The team down under has poms on the mat”

DH Lawrence: How like a false woman the ball kissed the bat to end up in the hands
of another man!

Barbara Cartland: Oh David, how could you?
Jane Austen: There there, Miss Cartland
Barbara Cartland: Oh David, how could you? After such a show of promise, how could
you be so wanton as to stoop to the lowly slash? Oh David, you have
made me lose my faith in all (bats)men.
Shaw: Woman, cease this detestable boohooing instantly or seek the shelter
of some other place of worship.
Cartland: Oh Bernard!!! How can you do this to me?
Shakespeare (aside):Et tu, Bernard?
Shaw: Heavens, what a noise. By the way, Sir Arthur, English batting will
keep them in the gutter for ages.

A figure approaches with a bat.

Walter Scott: Here comes brave Botham, the knight in shining armour. The noble tilt of the head, the valiant brandishing of the willow. Come on sir, do not be waver-ly.
Dickens: You’re a man of independent character, Ian Botham, give it to them.

Botham hits the first ball for six.

Richard Bach: The ball sails on wings … flight into the free skies. The ball went up, up, and then sailed over into the crowd.

Rabindranath : Into the heaven of freedom.
O’Henry : The next few runs will come on rosy wings. Forget the hashed
Scott : That’s a noble hit, Ian. Carry on the joust. Go for the motherland.
For you will minstrel raptures swell.
Oscar Wilde: Difference in approach. The Importance of Being Earnest was so
lacking in others. The idea is to bring out the Hellenistic nature
that every batsman possesses. It’s only the freedom of self expression that hinders an English victory.

Botham is out to the next ball playing a careless shot.

Scott: The wretch concentrated all in self.
Shakespeare : Owe be to the sons of the soil,
What if all men bat with this air of merriment?
Joseph Heller : Well, then Botham would be a fool to bat any differently, wouldn’t

Matsuo Basho: Hopes that soar in skies –
In one wink embrace green earth .
Ebb and Flow of Life.

Wodehouse: The wickets are falling with a rapidity that would make nine pins drop their heads in shame. The young men in flannels are not good enough. Making Heavy Weather of a simple game. The entire team is in Hot Water. We want Something Fresh to bring back Joy in the Morning. Bring on the Girls. Bill, you owe me fifteen.
Shakespeare: Most wager is mere folly.
Wodehouse: Too late to back out, Comrade Shakespeare.
Shakespeare: Sorrow to my bosom, thou speak in sooth.

Another wicket falls.

Sidney Sheldon: All this excitement is making me hard.

Samuel Coleridge: Batsmen Batsmen everywhere, not a one to score.

Scott : Alone stands Sir Geoffery among the ruins.
Wodehouse: The Old Faithful. However, if only he could run as well as he stands ….
Dickens: Pecking and sniffing at balls. Sir Geoffery, we still have Great Expectations from you even in these Hard Times.

Shaw: All over, Arthur.
Conan-Doyle: There’s still hope, Shaw.
Shaw: Impossible.
Conan-Doyle: Most of us make the mistake of confusing the improbable with the
impossible. There’s a Mathematical possibility, and hence hope.
Matthew Arnold: Still nursing unconquerable hope.
Dickens: Something might yet turn up.
Oscar Wilde: Something’s dead in each of us…
And what is dead is Hope.
Dante : Abandon hope, all ye who enter this Inferno.
J.K.Rowling: Hopabandorrus

The last wicket falls.

William Wordsworth: Is this England?
This the team –
On which my fortune cherished?

Shakespeare: Owe, owe. Out is the damned spot of bother…
Never hast all England seen this day of destruction,
Not a grace, not a true man in the land?
Gone is the sunny May of noble wall-y batting,
When scarce would a man score barring tons,
The key to the lock of success hast gone under wood,
Will is lacking and winter falls with snow
Much vaunted batting butchered in no time,
False knights nothing but mere hick-coughs of game.
What is amiss comes back to harm ye sons for
Crawley worms infest thy game, tough nail in thy coffin –
Tho’ it’s been long since your cricket hast seen the dawn.
English cricket is dead and only birds and shepherds remain –
Foreigners, thou takes’t away the Ashes of our Sport
To adorne your chapels and the English to be warned,
Fragile thy batting, to be knocked dead by a lily
For ages to be plundered with wars across borders,
By all and sundry - millers and tailors alike.

Wodehouse: All very high and mighty, but you still owe me fifteen.
Shakespeare: (gives money) Why then – farewell fifteen farthings,
Most friendship is feigning.

Cartland: Oh England, how could you!
Shaw : I am an atheist, but thank God it’s over.
Conan-Doyle: Now that I know the result I’ll try my best to forget it. It takes needless space in my memory.
Goscinny and Uderzo: These English are crazy.

Beckett: Boycott, Gower, Botham, Willis ….
(Sound of a distant umpire calling stumps)
All gone. No one. All gone.


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