Arms and the Man

Arms and the Man

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by George Bernard Shaw
     
 

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Arms and the Man, optimistic, farcical, absurd, and teeming with sexual energy, has Shaw inverting the devices of melodrama to glorious effect.

Overview

Arms and the Man, optimistic, farcical, absurd, and teeming with sexual energy, has Shaw inverting the devices of melodrama to glorious effect.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Humor, rather than romance, abounds in this audio play performed in front of a live audience. From its "Who's on First"-meets-Shakespeare introduction to its surprising and irrelevant ending, Romancewill leave listeners laughing uproariously at the running gags, outrageous language and amusing tangents. Fred Willard as a befuddled, overmedicated and pontificating judge hosts this kangaroo court of love affairs, foreign affairs and bigotry so blatant that it would be appalling if it wasn't so satirical. The defendant has discovered the key to peace between Israelis and Palestinians, but unless he can get court to adjourn, his plans will be wasted. The small but talented cast (including Noah Bean, Ed Begley Jr., Gordon Clapp, Steven Goldstein, Rod McLachlan and Rob Nagle) possess perfect timing and delivery. While the gross and vulgar language may scare some listeners away, its nonchalant execution dissolves its venom and infuses humor. Dirty and delicious, listeners will find this audiobook ending sooner than they will desire. (May)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780143039761
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
06/27/2006
Series:
Penguin Classics Series
Pages:
112
Sales rank:
1,081,647
Product dimensions:
5.07(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.31(d)
Age Range:
18 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

Romance


By David Mamet

Random House

David Mamet
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0307275183


Chapter One

Scene One

A courtroom.

The judge is on the bench. The defendant is being interrogated by a prosecutor. The defense attorney sits at the defense bench. A bailiff stands at the side.

prosecutor: Who is this . . . ?

(All turn to sound of siren-as of motorcade passing in the streets.)

prosecutor: Who is the person in the hotel room?

defendant: I have no idea.

prosecutor: You were there. You were seen there.

defendant: By whom?

prosecutor: Just answer the question please.

defendant: Then, please may I be addressed with one? (Pause) Would you please address me with a question? (Pause) "You were seen there" is not a question.

prosecutor: Just answer the question as you've been directed.

defendant: Well, you ask the questions, and I will attempt to answer them.

defense attorney: Your Honor, my client is endeavoring . . .

prosecutor: Excuse me?

defense attorney: . . . to respond to the questions.

prosecutor: Oh, please . . .

defense attorney: "Oh, please?" Your Honor? I must object. This scurrilous, this sad . . .

prosecutor: May we be spared the . . .

defense attorney: This sense of "weariness," this false, adopted, what is it? A "charade"? A "vaudeville" . . . ?

prosecutor: Your Honor, I object, I most strenuously object.

judge: One moment. May we not have Peace? (Pause) Is that such a strange word? You will forgive me if I pontificate a moment. Will you? If I speak of Peace. Is that not the theme of the week?

prosecutor: It is the theme of the weak. The theme of the strong, Your Honor, if I may, is truth.

judge: Yes. Thank you. The theme of this week. This week's theme. Is it not peace? If not, why are they gathered here? Why are they all come here, if not for peace?

prosecutor: It is a signal Honor, may it please the court. To welcome them.

(Sound of sirens. All listen.)

judge: And there they go. And there they go. The great men. On their way to the Peace Conference . . .

(General murmur.)

judge: Mark your calendars, people. It's a Red Letter Day.

judge: Indeed it is.

defense attorney: Indeed it is.

judge: It Honors our fair city, and it Honors us. To see those who have come so far. (He sneezes.)

bailiff: Gesundheit.

judge: Thank you. And. On our way to work today. The faces. Lining the streets. Perhaps you saw them? This man or that woman. Enemies, perhaps, certainly no more than strangers. Reaching out. Because of our Visitors. Yes. Yes. We have strife. But, but, their presence here . . . (Almost sneezes, but holds it) I'm sorry, did I take my pill?

bailiff: You did, Your Honor.

judge: Thank you. Instructs us, that perhaps, the aim of strife is not Victory. No, but simple peace.

all: Mmmm.

judge: (Pause) I'm sorry to've taken your time. Continue. (Pause)

prosecutor: Thank you, Your Honor . . . did you contact . . . ?

defendant: No.

prosecutor: I must ask you to . . . refrain from interrupting.

defendant: Might I have a glass of water?

judge: Get him a glass of water.

defendant: Thank you, Your Honor.

(The bailiff brings the defendant a glass of water.)

prosecutor: Let me begin again. Did you physically contact a person in Room . . .

judge: . . . and could someone get my pill, please . . . ?

bailiff: Your Honor, you've taken your pill.

judge: I took my pill?

bailiff: Your Honor, yes.

prosecutor: Do you require me to repeat the definition of "contact"?

defendant: I do not.

prosecutor: I will ask you once again. Do you require me to repeat the definition?

judge: I took my pill, then why do I have to sneeze?

(The bailiff brings a vial of pills. The judge sneezes.)

bailiff: Gesundheit, Your Honor.

defense attorney: Gesundheit.

judge: Thank you.

prosecutor: Your Honor, I do not wish to descend to the "picayune," but as my colleague has wished you Gesundheit, I feel that I must wish you Gesundheit.

judge: Thank you.

prosecutor: In fairness to the State.

judge: Thank you.

prosecutor: Gesundheit.

judge: Thank you. (Pause) Where were we?

prosecutor: (To the defendant) Do you require me to repeat the definition of . . .

judge: Because, I don't know about you people, but I'm moved. Yes. Yes. One becomes callous. But yes, again, we may learn. When we see Two Warring Peoples, Arabs and Jews, an Ancient Enmity. Opposed since Bible times, I'm sorry. I'm moved. Did anyone see the parade?

defendant: I did, Your Honor.

prosecutor: I did, Your Honor, too.

judge: I was moved, I'm sorry. (Sneezes)

all: (Pause) Gesundheit.

prosecutor: All right. You are a chiropodist, are you not?

defendant: I am not.

prosecutor: Your Honor, I ask that the defendant be instructed to . . .

defendant: I am a chiropractor.

prosecutor: I beg your pardon, I intended to say chiropractor. You are a chiropractor, are you not?

defendant: I am.

judge: And I would like to apologize for being late.

defense attorney: Not at all, Your Honor.

judge: You people are giving up your time, I see no reason why I should subject you to any further, uh, uh . . .

prosecutor: Not at all, Your Honor.

defense attorney: That's very gracious of you.

judge: Curiously, I was late because of the parade. I took my pill, but I could not remember if I had taken my pill. As they do tend to make one groggy. So I returned to my house. To, to, to take my "pill"; which rendered me late as, on my leaving the house, I encountered the Parade. (Pause) I would have been on time if not for the . . . (Pause)

defense attorney: Of course, Your Honor.

judge: Parade. A policeman. Stopped them, for a moment. Just to let me through. He didn't have to do that. He had no idea who I am. Call me a Weepy Old Fool. (Pause)

prosecutor: All right. When, could you tell me, please, did you last leave the country?

defendant: Thank you, Your Honor, for the water.

judge: I need a glass of water, too.

(bailiff goes for the glass of water.)

prosecutor: When did you last leave the country?

judge: Because I have to take my pill.

defendant: This country?

judge: I mentioned the parade.

prosecutor: Indeed, Your Honor did. (Pause)

judge: Good.

prosecutor: (To the defendant) Is this your signature?

defendant: (Pause) I do not know.

prosecutor: Does it appear to be your signature? (Pause)

defendant: I don't know.

judge: So many people. But, I suppose, that's the nature of a parade.

(A slight susurrus of appreciation)

prosecutor: Surely you know if it's your signature?

defendant: I . . .

prosecutor: Is it like your signature?

defendant: Yes.

prosecutor: In what way? (Pause)

defendant: . . . it is written . . . it is written similarly to my signature . . .

prosecutor: It is . . . (Pause)

defendant: I just said so.

prosecutor: Similarly to your signature. Fine.

judge: I guess what I am trying to say is this: We get caught up in the "form," the Law, Religion, Nationality . . . uh . . . skin color. And then, and then, miraculously, miraculously, now and then, and by the grace of God, we are free. And see, that, underneath, we love each other.

all: Mmm.

judge: That two world leaders, steeped in enmity . . . (Pause)

prosecutor: Momentous days, Your Honor.

defense attorney: Yes, momentous days, Your Honor.

judge: I think we can so stipulate.

(Laughter from the two attorneys.)

judge: And I'm not even Jewish . . .

prosecutor: On the date in question . . .

judge: You know, I'd like to take that back. I don't even know why I say "not even." I believe a more "neutral" expression might have been "And I'm not Jewish." (Pause) Proceed.

prosecutor: How does this signature differ from your signature? (Pause)

defendant: I don't know.

prosecutor: You said this resembles your signature In Part.

defendant: I did . . .

prosecutor: Let me suggest to you that I would like you to inform me in what way this differs from your signature. (Pause)

defendant: I don't know.

prosecutor: Then would you say they are the same?

judge: One moment.

prosecutor: Yes, Your Honor.

judge: The pills, I believe, have made me "drowsy," and I beg your pardon, but, if you'd indulge me: What is the difference, between a chiropodist and a chiropractor?

defendant: A chiropractor aligns the spine, to create both physical and spiritual harmony.

judge: And the other fellow?

defendant: He rubs people's feet.

judge: For pay? (Pause)

defendant: Yes, Your Honor.

judge: And you're which, now?

defense attorney: Your Honor, my client is a chiropractor. (Pause)

prosecutor: All right. Do you deny this is your signature?

defendant: May I have a moment? (He goes into conference with his attorney.)

judge: (To bailiff) Jimmy: Is it hot in here?

bailiff: Would Your Honor like the window opened?

defendant: I can neither deny nor affirm that signature is mine.

prosecutor: What would assist you?

(Pause. Conference between defendant and his attorney)

judge: No, no, I think I prefer the heat to the noise.

defendant: I cannot say that there is any thing which would assist me.

judge: Because it's noisy. Well it's noisier because of the parade . . . (Pause) So much of life is a choice, between the lesser of two evils. (Pause) I suppose that's what I'm here for . . .

all: (Dutiful laughter)

(Pause)

judge: They rub people's feet for "pay."

defendant: Yes. Your Honor.

judge: Ah, well . . .

defendant: I quite agree, Your Honor. (Pause)

prosecutor: I have here a document, which bears your signature. Do you recognize it?

defendant: It is a check.

prosecutor: It is one of your checks. It bears your account number. Your name is printed on it. It was signed by you. Do you . . . and it was honored by the bank. Do you acknowledge it to be your signature? Let me put it differently: Do you dispute it?

defendant: May I have a rest?

prosecutor: Do you dispute it? A check. In the amount of this credit card bill. The bill contains a charge for two airfares. Here is the credit card slip. Signed by you.

judge: You know . . .

prosecutor: Your Honor, if I might continue, here is the check signed by you. Both signatures were accepted as valid, one by the travel agency, one by the bank. You disputed neither.

defendant: I might have gone to Hawaii.

prosecutor: Ah.

defendant: But that would not be said to be leaving the country.

prosecutor: Perhaps you would confine yourself to responding to my questions.

defendant: It is not leaving the country.

prosecutor: What is not?

defendant: A trip to Hawaii.

prosecutor: You went to Hawaii?

defendant: I did not say that.

prosecutor: Yes you did.

defendant: But . . . but . . . might I . . . might I finish? Might I finish? Might I have an opportunity to explain myself? Do you think? In the midst of this, this . . . in the midst of this inquisition? (Pause) Do you think? As one human being, speaking to another? I might do that?

prosecutor: Might I suggest if you wish to have the proceedings terminated happily and quickly you might do well to respond to my questions? Now. Did you, in the months in question, leave the Mainland?

defendant: (Pause) I do not recall.

judge: What?

prosecutor: He does not recall.

judge: I'm sorry. I'm sorry. My mind was drifting. He does not recall what?

prosecutor: If he left the Mainland.

judge: Isn't that something one would know?

prosecutor: I quite agree, Your Honor.

judge: Don't you know, son, if you left the Mainland?

defendant: I don't recall, sir.

prosecutor: What would assist you?

defendant: I don't know.

prosecutor: Let me understand you: you do not know if . . .

defendant: I don't know. Yes.

prosecutor: If you left the Mainland.

judge: The Mainland of what, please? (Pause)

prosecutor: Of, of the Continent.

judge: And he doesn't know that . . . ?

defendant: That is right. (Pause)

prosecutor: Do you feel. Let me put it differently: In your experience in this . . . is such a recollection within the abilities of a reasonable man? (Pause)

defendant: I don't understand.

prosecutor: . . . I withdraw the question. And I ask you at this point, if you are suggesting Mental Incapacity.

defense attorney: Your Honor . . .

prosecutor: Do you suggest your inability to retain a date, or movement on your part, over the course of a year, do you put it forth as evidence of Mental Incapacity? Yes or no.

defense attorney: Your Honor, please, this is unnecessary. This is . . .

defendant: If I asked you:

prosecutor: I beg your pardon, I am not the issue here.

defendant: If I asked anyone. (Pause) Some . . . some. Would have a . . . how can you say it is Mental Incapacity? That's, that's. Vicious. To offer that, excuse me, sir, that's . . . anyone might. Misremember, or . . .

judge: That's correct . . .

prosecutor: Yes?

judge: Yes, in a busy life . . .

prosecutor: . . . anyone might disremember . . .

defendant: Or have difficulty remembering . . .

prosecutor: Yes . . .

defendant: A date, or . . . that, that . . . that is, just . . .

prosecutor: You're saying that's Human Nature.

defendant: Absolutely.

judge: That is Human Nature. Fellas. Just this morning, I, uh . . . (Pause) People Forget.

prosecutor: You've said that you have difficulty with your memory. That's right.

Continues...


Excerpted from Romance by David Mamet Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

George Bernard Shaw (1856—1950), one of the most prolific writers of the modern theater, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1925.

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Arms and the Man 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I first read it as a textbook as a graduate and got swept by it at the first reading itself! Typically 'Shavian'. its originality struck me so much that I find it still interesting after fifty years of my first reading. Witty dialogues, non-conventional treatment of a hero and exposing the melodrama of love and the true nature of heroism and particularly, war heroes...this book will remain forever a compulsory reading for theater lovers across the world.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Vanessa2763 More than 1 year ago
I was determined to read this book because of the title's allusion to ancient Roman poetry, and because of Shaw. I was also apprehensive because plays scare me, but, as I soon found out, there was nothing to be scared of. It was a wonderful play, funny too. I'm glad I read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
One of the finest books i have ever read. I first read this play as graduate student in the Year 1990 and since then read it many number of times over the years. Though the play was written more than 100 years back, very apt for today's world
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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