MACBETH FROM ITV

 

A SKETCH FOR FOUR PLAYERS

(AND THREE VOICES OFF)

 

by

 

BILL STANTON

copyright

COMPERE: We‘re often told that the professional theatre is in decline. Rising prices, Arts Council cuts and all that. At the same time, commercial television seems to be doing rather well. Perhaps the time has come for the theatre to take a leaf out of the book of commercial TV ? Perhaps our theatres could bring in commercial breaks ? Persuade the professional companies to introduce advertising commercials into their standard repertoire ? Shakespeare, for instance. Why not ? We thought we‘d like to bring you a foretaste of the sort of thing you might one day see in, say, that famous sleepwalking scene from the Scottish play that actors never put a name to. Something like this, perhaps ?

(COMPERE INDICATES THE OPENING CURTAIN AND EXITS. ENTER DOCTOR AND GENTLEWOMAN)

DOCTOR: I have two nights watcht with you, but can perceive no truth in your report. When was it she last walkt ?

GENTLEWOMAN: Since his majesty went into the field, I have seen her rise from her bed...

(DOCTOR AND GENTLEWOMAN FREEZE AS THE COMMERCIAL IS DELIVERED BY A FEMALE PRESENTER - EITHER LIVE OR AS A VOICE-OVER)

SPONSOR: Do YOU spend troubled nights ? Do you toss and turn ? Do you wake tired and out of sorts ? Then take hot refreshing OVALTINE before you retire ! OVALTINE, the soothing, warming drink that eases those jangled nerves, gives refreshment to body and mind, gets rid of the stresses and strains of the day, ensures deep health-giving sleep, and tastes oh, so good ! OVALTINE for an end to those restless nights !

(THE ACTORS COME TO LIFE AGAIN)

GENTLEWOMAN: Throw her nightgown upon her...

(THE ACTORS FREEZE AGAIN)

 

SPONSOR: For that exciting, alluring night attire go to Debenham‘s sale. Debenham‘s ! THE store for luxurious lingerie, attractive nightwear and utterly feminine garments, at prices YOU can afford ! Their sale must end on Saturday next. Don‘t miss this opportunity ! Ladies, go to Debenham‘s ! I do !

(THE ACTORS COME TO LIFE AGAIN)

GENTLEWOMAN: Unlock her chest, take forth paper, fold it, write upon it, read it, afterwards seal it...

(THE ACTORS FREEZE AGAIN)

SPONSOR: Your stationery is a reflection of YOUR personality and YOUR life-style ! MY choice is Basildon Bond, the quality stationery of distinction and elegance ! From all branches of W. H. Smith and Boots and all leading stationers. Basildon Bond ! Your guarantee of excellence !

(THE ACTORS COME TO LIFE AGAIN. ENTER LADY MACBETH, WITH A LIT TAPER)

GENTLEWOMAN: This is her very guise, and upon my life, fast asleep...

DOCTOR: How came she by that light ?

(THE ACTORS FREEZE AGAIN)

SPONSOR: Give a lighter this Christmas ! Always a most acceptable gift. Gentlemen, why not give the special woman in YOUR life a lighter this year?

FIRST VOICE: And there‘s no lighter as good as -

SECOND VOICE:iNo lighter as reliable as -

THIRD VOICE: No lighter as acceptable as -

ALL THREE: RONSON !

FIRST VOICE: Remember

SECOND VOICE: the

THIRD VOICE: name !

ALL THREE: RONSON !

(THE ACTORS COME TO LIFE AGAIN)

GENTLEWOMAN: Why, it stood by her; she has light by her continually; ‘tis her command...

(THE ACTORS FREEZE AGAIN)

SPONSOR: Yours to command is continual light from guaranteed double-life electric light bulbs from British Home Stores. Independent tests prove it - Double-life bulbs bearing the famous PROVA trade-mark give twice the life at little extra cost. Available from every branch of BHS ! British Home Stores !

(THE ACTORS COME TO LIFE AGAIN)

DOCTOR: You see, her eyes are open.

GENTLEWOMAN: Aye, but their sense is shut...

(THE ACTORS FREEZE AGAIN)

SPONSOR: It makes good sense to care for your eyes, your most precious possession. And for tired, aching eyes there‘s nothing quite so soothing as OPTREX ! Wake up your eyes to an early-morning sparkle with gentle OPTREX ! Recommended by doctors and opticians everywhere ! OPTREX !

(THE ACTORS COME TO LIFE AGAIN)

DOCTOR What is it she does now ? Look how she rubs her hands !

(THE ACTORS FREEZE AGAIN)

SPONSOR: Do YOU suffer from rough, housework hands ? Are your nails cracked and chipped ? Why not avoid housework hands with mild FAIRY LIQUID, the washing-up liquid that really CARES for your hands ? Get FAIRY LIQUID today, and say good bye to housework hands !

(THE ACTORS COME TO LIFE AGAIN)

LADY MACBETH: Yet here‘s a spot. Out, damned spot ! Out, I say !

(THE ACTORS FREEZE AGAIN)

SPONSOR: Does YOUR husband drop egg down his shirt front ? Do your children spatter themselves with ink ? Does your budgie leave spots on your treasured possessions ? Use STAIN DEVILS for all those unwanted spots and stains ! STAIN DEVILS !

(THE ACTORS COME TO LIFE AGAIN)

LADY MACBETH: Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him ?

(THE ACTORS FREEZE AGAIN)

SPONSOR:You, too, can have rich blood and renewed vitality whatever your age ! Take PHYLLOSAN and forget the years ! PHYLLOSAN fortifies the over-forties and makes life worth living. Feel young and vital all your life ! Get PHYLLOSAN today !

(THE ACTORS COME TO LIFE AGAIN)

LADY MACBETH: Here‘s the smell of the blood still...

(THE ACTORS FREEZE AGAIN)

SPONSOR: Why put up with unpleasant odours ? Use AIRWICK air-freshener, and bring clean, fresh, countryside smells into your home ! Rid YOUR home of unwanted odours ! Get AIRWICK today !

(THE ACTORS COME TO LIFE AGAIN)

LADY MACBETH: All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand...

(THE ACTORS FREEZE AGAIN)

SPONSOR: A touch of Chanel at your wrist. A whisper of Chanel in your hair. He‘ll love that tantalizing fragrance and that bewitching promise. Chanel for a more alluring YOU !

(THE ACTORS COME FORWARD TO TAKE THEIR BOWS)

COMPERE: And that‘s all for this week, folks. Book your tickets for our next production now ! Another enthralling drama from the Immortal Bard - a two-hour-long presentation of that famous soliloquy from Hamlet - "To be, or not to be" ! Good night, everyone - and a safe journey home !

(CURTAIN)

RETURN TO CATALOGUE