The Inheritance by Matthew Lopez (2018)

300 pages.  A lot of hugely overheated and improbable melodrama, where street prostitutes write novels and billionaires give away homes and playwrights become rich and buy new cars off the lot for an impulsive road trip.  Almost feels like a princess book.  The voiceover narration seems like an easy way out.  The essence of the writer’s statement seems to be: “I want to be rich and escape Florida.”  Which is understandable.  Pretty hollow though.  Still quite an effort.

London Assurance by Dion Boucicault (1841)

And again. 13+ characters.

Act 1: London – Sir Harcourt Hartley’s House

  • Starts with servants
  • Creditors are circling
  • Last day before CHARLES COURTLY returns to college
  • COOL is “the best liar in London”
  • CHARLES picked up by RICHARD DAZZLE
  • SIR HARCOURT will marry again
  • Great jokes about GRACE HARKAWAY’s age
  • The backstory on motivation for GRACE to marry SIR HARCOURT
  • SIR HARCOURT thinks his son is a paragon of virtue
  • Use of asides
  • MAX HARKAWAY does not know what CHARLES looks like
  • Lying about ages
  • MAX mistakes DAZZLE for CHARLES
  • But when corrected thinks DAZZLE is an old friend of CHARLES
  • HARKAWAY invites DAZZLE to the wedding in Gloucestershire
  • DAZZLE turns around and pawns off HARKAWAY’s invite as his own house
  • CHARLES being pursued by creditors

Act 2: Gloucestershire – Oak Hall – Lawn

  • Starts with servants
  • Zingers galore about layers
  • Jokes about MEDDLE’s name
  • CHARLES sees GRACE
  • CHARLES gives MEDDLE a false name – AUGUSTUS HAMILTON
  • Everyone arrives
  • Town & Country jokes
  • CHARLES sees his father
  • CHARLES denies he is SIR HARCOURT’s son
  • Hair jokes

Act 3: Gloucestershire – Oak Hall – Inside

  • MAX tells SIR HARCOURT he met DAZZLE at SIR HARCOURT’s house in London
  • LADY GAY SPANKER
  • Talk about hunting
  • SIR HARCOURT falls for LADY GAY
  • SPANKER is a wanker
  • SIR HARCOURT sends a letter to CHARLES in town
  • DAZZLE hatches a plan
  • Brilliant physical comedy: “Unhand me, sir, I insist”
  • CHARLES gives LADY GAY her mission

Act 4: Gloucestershire – Oak Hall – Inside

  • The letter: “It is near enough to the fire where it is.”
  • CHARLES “arrives”
  • SIR HARCOURT is caught by LADY GAY

Act 5: Gloucestershire – Oak Hall – Outside

  • COOL is not cool
  • Disguises
  • The escape is foiled
  • The duel

Act 6: Gloucestershire – Oak Hall – Inside

  • The exchange of an old fool for a young one
  • The race to preempt the duel
  • Some good Jew jokes

London Assurance by Dion Boucicault (1841)

A master class of comedic brilliance.  Decades ahead of his time.  And only 21 when he wrote it.  There are very few writers as good as Boucicault.  What a contrast to so many current playwrights in whose plays absolutely nothing ever happens.  With Boucicault it’s like an action movie.  Bang, bang, bang.  Stuff happens.  All kinds of stuff.  All the time.  Would love to see this performed.  And the mystery of Mr. Dazzle!  Well done, Dion.