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Night Must Fall : a Play in Three Acts   By: (1905-1987)

Book cover

First Page:

EMLYN WILLIAMS

NIGHT MUST FALL

A PLAY IN THREE ACTS

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

THE PERFORMING RIGHTS OF THIS PLAY ARE FULLY PROTECTED, AND PERMISSION TO PERFORM IT, WHETHER BY AMATEURS OR PROFESSIONALS, MUST BE GAINED IN ADVANCE FROM THE AUTHOR'S SOLE AGENT, WALTER PEACOCK, 60 HAYMARKET, LONDON, S.W. I.

PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA BY THE VAN REES PRESS

EH

To M. W.

THE CHARACTERS

( in the order of their appearance )

THE LORD CHIEF JUSTICE MRS. BRAMSON OLIVIA GRAYNE Her niece HUBERT LAURIE NURSE LIBBY MRS. TERENCE Mrs. Bramson's cook DORA PARKOE Her maid INSPECTOR BELSIZE DAN

BEFORE THE PLAY

The Court of Criminal Appeal

The action of the play takes place in the sitting room of Forest Corner, Mrs. Bramson's bungalow in Essex.

The time is the present .

ACT I: A morning in October.

ACT II SCENE I: An afternoon twelve days later. SCENE II: Late afternoon, two days later.

ACT III SCENE I: Half an hour later. Nightfall. SCENE II: Half an hour later.

BEFORE THE PLAY

The orchestra plays light tunes until the house lights are turned down; the curtain rises in darkness, accompanied by solemn music. A small light grows in the middle of the stage, and shows the LORD CHIEF JUSTICE sitting in judgment, wearing wig and red robes of office, in the Court of Criminal Appeal. His voice, cold and disapproving, gradually swells up with the light as he reaches his peroration .

LORD CHIEF JUSTICE: ... and there is no need to recapitulate here the arguments for and against this point of law, which we heard in the long and extremely fair summing up at the trial of the appellant at the Central Criminal Court. The case was clearly put to the jury; and it is against sentence of death for these two murders that the prisoner now appeals. Which means that the last stage of this important and extremely horrible case has now been reached. On a later page in the summing up, the learned judge said this ... ( turning over papers ) ... "This case has, through the demeanour of the prisoner in the witness box, obtained the most widespread and scandalous publicity, which I would beg you most earnestly, members of the jury, to forget." I cannot help thinking that the deplorable atmosphere of sentimental melodrama which has pervaded this trial has made the theatre a more fitting background for it than a court of law; but we are in a court of law, nevertheless, and the facts have been placed before the court. A remarkable and in my opinion praiseworthy feature of the case has been that the sanity of the prisoner has never been called into question; and, like the learned judge, the Court must dismiss as mischievous pretence the attitude of this young man who stands convicted of two brutal murders in cold blood. This case has, from beginning to end, exhibited no feature calling for sympathy; the evidence has on every point been conclusive, and on this evidence the jury have convicted the appellant. In the opinion of the Court there is no reason to interfere with that conviction, and this appeal must be dismissed.

The chords of solemn music are heard again, and the stage gradually darkens. A few seconds later the music merges into the sound of church bells playing far away, and the lights come up on .

ACT I

The sitting room of Forest Corner , MRS. BRAMSON'S bungalow in a forest in Essex, A fine morning in October.

Centre back, a small hall; in its left side the front door of the house (throughout the play, "left" and "right" refer to the audience's left and right). Thick plush curtains can be drawn across the entrance to the hall; they are open at the moment. Windows, one on each side of the hall, with window seats and net curtains beyond which can be glimpsed the pine trees of the forest. In the left wall, upstage, a door leading to the kitchen. In the left wall, downstage, the fireplace; above it, a cretonne covered sofa, next to a very solid cupboard built into the wall; below it a cane armchair. In the right wall, upstage, a door leading to MRS... Continue reading book >>




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