Benham, Arthur. Theory and Practice: Comedietta in One Act. London: French, 1893. Web. September 2015

by Taynara Giandoso, Amy Dipre, and Samantha Gomez

Philip Hunter comes into the dining room with a jewel case in his hands. In the background, there is a dinner laid out for two. Philip is indecisive about whether he should give his wife, Mrs. Maudie Hunter, the jewel or if he should just let her find it. When he decides to toss a coin to figure it out, Mrs. Hunter walks in. Maudie asks Philip if he thinks she looks nice. He says yes but doesn’t think that her dress goes well with the bracelet she is wearing. Maudie begins to play the piano as she and Philip discuss their plans for the evening. Philip is going to accompany Maudie to Mrs. Stephenson’s and then to a dance at Lady Marston’s. Maudie insists that Philip try to talk to other people and act interested in their conversations. Their conversation leads Philip to ask if Maudie is ashamed of him. Maudie says no and tells Philip that he should try to amuse himself. She suggests that he should try flirting with other women sometimes. Maudie says that one day, Philip will fall in love with someone else. Maudie claims that she is such an accommodating wife and that Philip is taking her for granted because he won’t amuse himself with any other woman. Maudie then brings up Mr. Richardson and asks Philip if he knows him. Through this conversation we learn that Mr. Richardson and Philip did business together in Africa that did not go too well. Maudie then tells Philip that Mr. Richardson called for her and she wants to know if it bothers Philip. Philip states that he doesn’t mind, and he changes his mind about going out. Maudie tries to stay with Philip, but he says he likes time alone because Maudie talks too much.

As Maudie is getting her coat on to leave, she mentions that it is her birthday tomorrow. She asks Philip if he is going to get her a present, but he says that he doesn’t have the money for it. Maudie asks him why he went to the Ringwood Jeweller so often and if he purchased anything for her. Although Philip admits to buying one or two things, he does not say who he bought them for. Maudie assumes that Philip is seeing another woman and repeatedly tries to figure out who the other woman is, but Philip will not tell her. Maudie now thinks that they are strangers to one another and that she needs to confide in him more. She reveals to her husband that Mr. Kingston gave her flowers, but Philip does not ask any questions about it. At this point, they are standing at the door and Maudie wants Philip to give her a kiss, but he says that he does not want to mess up her hair. Maudie then changes her mind; she wants to stay home with Philip and play chess with him. They reminisce on how they used to play for kisses.

The two of them begin to play chess. All through the game Maud continues to probe about Philip’s mistress, and Philip discusses only the chess game in progress. Philip calls checkmate on Maudie, and she does not want to play anymore. She changes her mind once again and decides that she is going off to the dance, but first she will write a note to Mrs. Stephenson to tell her that she will not make it to her house. Philip suggests she should hurry to write the letter. Maud expresses her hurt over Philip’s cruelty and apologizes for her actions throughout the night. She begins to cry and puts her head on the desk. Again, Philip urges her to write the letter. When she opens the drawer to get the paper out, she finds the bracelet that Philip bought for her. She “lights” up and says, “Philip dear, I don’t want to know her name” (Benham, 12). The curtain falls.


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