Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Poison, Passion, and Petrifaction

I said that there was only one picture from my college days that I would want anyone to see, but on further reflection I repent me of my words, because I've just remembered that I was part of the world's most amazing photo ever: 

That's me, front and center, in the bird's nest wig and the checked suitcoat, playing Adolphus Bastable in a quickly-rehearsed production of George Bernard Shaw's Poison, Passion, and Petrifaction (or, The Fatal Gazogene). The literati may rave about Pygmalion or Major Barbara or other of Shaw's talky opuses, but allow me to recommend to you this one-act which involved attempted murder, angels singing "Bill Bailey", high fashion, and the eventual petrifaction of Adolphus Bastable after eating a quantity of the ceiling trying to ingest enough lime to counteract the poison in the gazogene.

FITZ. Still, if an antidote—
ADOLPHUS. [bounding from the bed] Antidote!
MAGNESIA. [with wild hope] Antidote!
FITZ. If an antidote would not be too much of an anti-climax.
ADOLPHUS. Anti-climax be blowed! Do you think I am going to die to please the critics? Out with your antidote. Quick!
FITZ. The best antidote to the poison I have given you is lime, plenty of lime.
ADOLPHUS. Lime! You mock me! Do you think I carry lime about in my pockets?
FITZ. There is the plaster ceiling.
MAGNESIA. Yes, the ceiling. Saved, saved, saved!
All three frantically shy boots at the ceiling. Flakes of plaster rain down which Adolphus devours, at first ravenously, then with a marked falling off in relish.
MAGNESIA. [picking up a huge slice] Take this, Adolphus: it is the largest. [she crams it into his mouth.]
FITZ. Ha! a lump off the cornice! Try this.
ADOLPHUS. [desperately] Stop! stop!
MAGNESIA. Do not stop. You will die. [She tries to stuff him again.]
ADOLPHUS [resolutely] I prefer death.
MAGNESIA and FITZ. [throwing themselves on their knees on either side of him] For our sakes, Adolphus, persevere.
ADOLPHUS. No: unless you can supply lime in liquid form, I must perish. Finish that ceiling I cannot and will not.
MAGNESIA. I have a thought—an inspiration. My bust [She snatches it from its pedestal and brings it to him.]
ADOLPHUS [gazing fondly at it] Can I resist it?

I don't remember what we used as a stand-in for the plaster ceiling; I think it was rice cakes.

You can read the text here.


Marisa said...

You are indeed correct, it was rice cakes.

"Oh my dear mistress, I fear I will never see you... alive...again" (insert wicked laugh here)

MrsDarwin said...

I remember cramming them in like Cookie Monster. The goal was to make the most possible mess on the stage while getting the least possible amount in my mouth to interfere with lines. Disgusting.

Wasn't there tea in the whiskey bottle? Or is that the show where someone was drinking moldy apple juice and didn't realize it until later?

Marisa said...

I remember there being incidents with both tea and moldy apple juice but I lack context for both of them.

MrsDarwin said...

Actually, Mar, I would totally post a picture of myself as the waiter in The Inspector General, with the toothpick and that mustache. And not too long ago I saw photos from The French Butler of me in that hideous pink dress, but they were kind of fun too. Oh, to be 19 and in costume again.

Marisa said...

amen to thar