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The Pot Boiler   By: (1878-1968)

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This eBook was produced by Charles Aldarondo and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.

Edited by E. Haldeman Julius

The Pot Boiler

A Comedy in Four Acts

Upton Sinclair

CHARACTERS IN THE "REAL PLAY"

Will ............................. The author Peggy ................Joint author and critic Bill ..................... Their son (aged 8) Dad ............................ Will's father Schmidt......................... The grocer The Policeman. The Landlady.

CHARACTERS IN THE "PLAY PLAY"

Jack ........................ The adventurer Bob ............................. His cousin Dad .............................. His father Jessie.............................. His sister Gladys .......................... His fiancee Belle ............................. A waitress Dolly ............................. Her sister Bill .........................A street gamin Schmidt ................ A restaurant keeper The Policeman. The Landlady. A snow shoveller. A butler.

Note: The characters of Dad, Bill, Schmidt, the Landlady and the Policeman are the same in the Real and the Play play. The character of Jack is played by Will, and that of Belle by Peggy.

THE POT BOILER

ACT I.

SCENE. A transparent curtain of net extends across the stage from right to left, about six feet back of the foot lights. Throughout the text, what goes on in front of this curtain is referred to as the Real play; what goes on behind the curtain is the Play play. Upon the sides of the curtain, Right and Left, is painted a representation of an attic room in a tenement house. The curtain becomes thin, practically nothing at center, so the audience sees the main action of the Play play clearly. At Right in the Real play is a window opening on a fire escape, and in front of the window a cot where the child sleeps. At Left in the Real play is a window, an entrance door, a flat topped desk and two chairs. This setting of the Real play remains unchanged throughout the four acts.

The scenes of the Play play change with each act. For Act I the set is a drawing room in a wealthy old New York home, entrances Right center and Left. Both front and rear scenes are lighted by many small lights, which can be turned off a few at a time, so that one scene or the other fades slowly. When the Real play is in full light, the Play play is dark and invisible. When the front scene is entirely dark, we see the Play play, slightly veiled at the sides. In case of some rude interruption, the dream is gone in a flash, and the reality of the garret surrounds us. The text calls for numerous quick changes of three of the characters from the Real play to the Play play and back. Dialogue and business have been provided at these places to permit the changes.

AT RISE. The Real play, showing PEGGY putting BILL to bed; she is young and pretty, he is a bright but frail child.

Bill. Say, Peggy!

Peggy. Well, Bill?

Bill. Can you guess.

Peggy. How many guesses?

Bill. Three.

Peggy. All right. I guess my little son doesn't want to go to bed!

Bill. Say! You guessed it!

Peggy. Oh, mother's great at guessing!

Bill. But honest, it's still light.

Peggy. I know but that's because it's summertime. Don't you remember the little song? (sings)

In winter I get up at night And dress by yellow candle light; In summer, quite the other way, I have to go to bed by day!

Bill. Say, Peggy when's Will coming in?

Peggy. I don't know, dear. Your father's working.

Bill. Ain't he goin' to have any dinner?

Peggy. I don't know he didn't tell me.

Bill. Is he writin'?

Peggy. Yes or else thinking about things to write.

Bill. Say! He's great on writin', ain't he?

Peggy. You bet!

Bill. Do you think it's good stuff?

Peggy. Indeed I do, Bill!

Bill. You don't often tell him so.

Peggy. Don't I?

Bill. No generally you rip him up the back.

PEGGY (laughs). Well, mother has to keep him trying, you know.

Bill. Say, Peggy, do you suppose I'll be an author when I grow up?

Peggy... Continue reading book >>




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