Drury Lane

Drury Lane concerns two characters from the Pendragon cycle, James Rumpley, 40, and Jane Armitage, early 20s, on the stage of Garrick’s Drury Lane Theatre in the mid-eighteenth century, surrounded by darkness.  Jane says she is tired of rehearsing and James says they must get it right or Garrick will dismiss them.  He says that Garrick likes Jane and that she asked for his help.  He wonders what she gave him in return, and when Jane says, “Nothing,” James, in a fury, grabs her arms and shouts, “WHAT DID YOU GIVE HIM IN RETURN?”  After a slight pause, he lets her go and asks if “that” was too much.  She says it’s always been too much because James has always been a victim of passions beyond his control.  She says that Garrick might have saved him, that their child needed his help but that James preferred to turn thief because of pride, drink, and low company.  She shouts that he has sacrificed his wife and child to his stupid, self-destructive pride.  He agrees that what she says might be the truth but that it sounds too much like a play.  When Jane says that the son is in America, James says that he doesn’t like the scene and wants to do something else.  She says they cannot rewrite the scene but only play it.  James wants to do the seduction scene and warns Jane of the dangers of a life in the theatre.  He kisses her and says that they must not do the scene of his deflowering her.  Jane says they have begun and might as well finish it.  She wants James to deflower her again.  He remembers that she said that she wanted to haunt the theatre when she died.  He says all theatres are haunted and that “this is a play.”  He says he was a carnival boy who became an actor and she was an innocent country girl and they made love on “this” stage one night.  She got pregnant and he drank what money they had.  When she asked Garrick for help he hated her for it and became a thief.  He was caught and hanged as she watched with their son.  Then she died and the boy went to America and they keep rehearsing the play of their lives again and again, forever.  Jane says that she wanted to haunt the theatre when she died and he tells her that she is.  She thinks it is a beautiful story and that they might make a play of it.  James says, “We might.  We have.  We will.”  She thinks their son will be an actor and that she will perhaps forgive James.

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