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Chantecler Play in Four Acts   By: (1868-1918)

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CHANTECLER

Play in Four Acts By EDMOND ROSTAND

Translated By GERTRUDE HALL

1910

DRAMATIS PERSONAE

CHANTECLER PATOU THE BLACKBIRD THE PEACOCK THE NIGHTINGALE THE GRAND DUKE THE SCREECH OWL LITTLE SCOPS THE GAME COCK THE HUNTING DOG A CARRIER PIGEON THE WOOD PECKER THE TURKEY THE DUCK THE YOUNG GUINEA COCK THE PHEASANT HEN THE GUINEA HEN THE OLD HEN THE WHITE HEN THE GREY HEN THE BLACK HEN THE SPECKLED HEN THE TUFTED HEN

A Gander. A Capon. Chickens. Chicks. A Cockerel. A Swan. A Cuckoo. Night birds. Fancy Cocks. Toads. A Turkey hen. A Goose. A Garden Warbler. A Woodland Warbler. A Spider. A Heron. A Pigeon. A Guinea pig. Barnyard animals. Woodland Creatures. Rabbits. Birds. Bees. Cicadas. Voices.

PROLOGUE

The customary three knocks are heard. The drop curtain wavers and is rising, when a voice rings out, "Not yet!" and the MANAGER, a gentleman of important mien in evening dress, springing from his proscenium box, hurries toward the stage, repeating, "Not yet!"

The curtain is again lowered. The MANAGER turns toward the audience, and resting one hand on the prompter's box, addresses them:

The curtain is a wall, a flying wall. Assured that presently the wall will fly why haste? Is it not charming to delay and just look at it for a while?

Charming to sit before a great red wall, hanging beneath two gilt masks and a scroll The thrilling moment is when the curtain thrills, and sounds come from the other side.

You are desired to night to listen to those sounds and entering the scene before you see it, to wonder and surmise

Bending his ear, the MANAGER listens to the sounds now beginning to come from behind the curtain.

A footstep is it a road? A flutter of wings is it a garden?

The curtain here rippling as if about to rise, the MANAGER precipitately shouts, "Stop! Do not raise it yet!" Then again bending his ear, continues making note of the noises, clear or confused, single or combined, that from this onward come without stop from behind the curtain.

A magpie cawing flies away. Great wooden shoes come running over flags. A courtyard, is it? If so above a valley from whence that softened clamour of birds and barking dogs.

More and more clearly the scene suggests itself Magically sound creates an atmosphere! A sheep bell tinkles intermittently Since there is grazing, we may look for grass.

A tree, too a tree must rustle in the breeze, for a bullfinch warbles his little native song; and a blackbird whistling the song he has caught by ear, implies, we may presume, a wicker cage.

The rattling of a wagon run out of a shed the dripping of a bucket drawn up overfull the patter of doves' feet alighting on a roof Surely it is a farmyard unless it be a mill!

Rustling of straw, click of a wooden latch A stable or a haymow there must be. The locust shrills: the weather then is fine. Church bells ring: it is Sunday then. Chatter of jays: the woods cannot be far!

Hark! Nature with the scattered voices of a fair midsummer day is composing in a dream! the most mysterious of overtures harmonised by evening distance and the wind!

And all these sounds song of a passing girl laughter of children jogged by the donkey trotting faraway gun reports and hunting horns these sounds describe a holiday.

A window opens, a door closes The harness shakes its bells. Is it not plain in sight, the old farmyard? The dog sleeps, the cat but feigns to sleep.

Sunday! Farmer and farmer's wife are starting for the fair. The old horse paws the ground

A ROUGH VOICE [ Behind the curtain, through the horse's pawing. ] Whoa, Dapple!

ANOTHER VOICE [ As if calling to a laggard. ] Come along! We shan't get home till morning!

AN IMPATIENT VOICE Are you ready?

ANOTHER VOICE Fasten the shutters!

MAN'S VOICE All right!

WOMAN'S VOICE My sunshade!

MAN'S VOICE [ Through the cracking of the whip. ] Gee up!

THE MANAGER The wagon to the jingling of the harness rattles off, jolting out ditties. A turn in the road cuts off the unfinished song... Continue reading book >>




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