A Parody of Pride and Prejudice


NARRATOR: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to Derbyshire, England. It is the year 1742. (curtain opens) The house you see before you now is Piersfield, the estate of Mr. and Mrs. Williams. Here comes Mrs. Williams now.
(enter Mr and Mrs Williams)
MRS: Oh I shalln't have it otherwise! Mr. Little, though he may have a mere three thousand a year, is still a member of our community, and as such, he shall be invited.
MR: I refuse to allow my daughter to associate with common men such as he. Imagine our daughter conversing with such a person, or worse yet, dancing! I shudder to think of the repute we may earn ourselves. I dislike Mr. Little; I have and I shall.
MRS: While you are imagining and shuddering, imagine how poor Mr. Little will shudder at the terrible insult we shall be giving him if all but he are invited.
MR: I will not allow him to so much as gaze upon the threshold of this house, much less cross it! That is my ultimatum.
(enter Anne Williams)
MRS: Well, you have forced a terrible crisis upon yourself. If you will not allow him to gaze AND cross the threshold, I shall cross it never to gaze upon it again! Think of your repute then, Mr. Williams!
MR: Well, of all the-
ANNE: Mother, may I go to town? I need some clothes for the ball tomorrow.
MRS: Certainly, Anne, dear.
MR: Take the phaeton -- it's rather muddy today.
ANNE: No, I'd rather walk.
MR: You'll dirty your shoes and stockings.
ANNE: I know. I have never been accused of practicality, father. You know that.
MR: I should say so.
MRS: Then do so.
MR: What?
MRS: Say so.
MR: No.
NARRATOR: And so Mr. and Mrs. Williams were engaged in another repartee.
MRS: Yes.
MR: No.
NARRATOR: You can stop now.
MRS: No.
MR: Yes.
(curtain drops, obscuring them)
NARRATOR: As you may have observed, Mr. Williams is rather outspoken and highly opinionated. Mrs. Williams, on the other hand, is a bit self-absorbed, though far more perceptive and intelligent than her husband. Now we shall travel seven miles away to Penderley, the estate of wealthy Mr. Gordon Pendleton.
(curtain opens on noble estate absolutely covered with paintings. Pendleton is addressing a servant)
PEND: Oh, no, that will never do. Far too much artwork. The idea is to strike a balance here. Try putting less art on the walls and maybe add some plants.
(curtain close)
NARRATOR: Interestingly enough, Mr. Pendleton is invited to tomorrow's ball. And now we shall visit the home of the other important party -- Mr. Fritz Little. Yes, the same Mr. Little that the Williamses were arguing about recently.
(curtain opens to sign reading, "Mr. Little is not home right now") Oh darn. (curtain close) Well, lets go back to Piersfield.
(curtain opens on Piersfield with Mr and Mrs Williams)
MR: I hope you realize what a sacrifice I'm making in allowing Mr. Little to come.
MRS: You aren't jealous of him, are you? He IS terribly good-looking.
MR: ME, a jealous husband? What do you think this is, a comedy of manners?
MRS: Well...
(enter Anne)
ANNE: Mother, I'm home!
MRS: ...come back, Anne.
ANNE: Thank you, mother. Look at my splendid new dress.
MR: Look at your horribly muddy stockings.
ANNE: Father, please.
(enter Joe Ranne)
JOE RANNE: Hi! I'm Joe Ranne!
MR: Why, Mr. Ranne, how did you get here?
ANNE: Very funny.
(exit Joe)
ANNE: I can't wait until the ball tomorrow.
MRS: It will be great fun, I'm sure.
MR: Now, Mr. Little will be coming, and I suppose you'll have to speak with him, but I refuse to allow you to dance with that foppish dandy!
MRS: Foppish dandy?
ANNE: What do you think this is, a comedy of manners?
MRS: Anne, you may dance with whomever you wish.
MR: Anne, I absolutely forbid you to dance with Mr. Little.
ANNE: I think he has a funny name.
MR: Yes, he has.
MRS: Let's not be prejudiced. We cannot judge him just because his first name is Fritz. Fritz is a very honorable name, anyway.
ANNE: It has a 'Z' in it, mother.
(begin slowly closing curtain, stop at Anne's line)
NARRATOR: And so all of the Williamses were greatly anticipating the ball.
ANNE: Must you always stop us in the middle of our repartees?
ANNE: It's like stopping a tennis match in midgame.
MR: Anne, dear, let's not be rude.
ANNE: I'm never rude, father.
MR: Well, you came very close to exceeding propriety there.
NARRATOR: ANYHOW, (close curtain) Piersfield was preparing for the big day tomorrow. Anne was especially looking forward to meeting Mr. Pendleton and Mr. Little.
ANNE: (popping out in front of curtain) How do you know?
(Anne disappears behind curtain)
NARRATOR: Rather than boring you with the details, we shall now skip a ways ahead.
(curtain opens, revealing sun)
NARRATOR: The sun set.
(Sun sets, up comes moon)
NARRATOR: Then the moon set.
(Moon sets, up comes sun)
NARRATOR: Ok, now it is the day of the ball.
(down goes sun, up comes ball. close curtain)
So we'll skip right to the ball.
(open curtain on Piersfield. Mrs Williams is welcoming people as they enter)
MRS: Welcome to Piersfield, Mr. Pendleton.
PEND: Thank you, Mrs. Williams.
MRS: My, what a nice carriage you arrove in.
PEND: I know.
MRS: Welcome, Mr. Little.
FZ: Thank you, Mrs. Williams. Good evening, Mr. Pendleton.
PEND: Hello.
ANNE: Greetings, Mr. Pendleton and Mr. Little.
FZ: Pleased to meet you, Miss Williams.
PEND: If I weren't a puppet, I would lift my hat.
ANNE: Come, the others are over here.
(begin music)
Oh, they just began a dance! I do love dancing.
FZ: I would be honored to have the pleasure of your hand for this first
dance, Miss Williams.
ANNE: And I am happy to grant you the pleasure.
(they begin dancing. Pendleton retreats and stands off to the side)
ANNE: You dance very well, Mr. Little.
FZ: Are you surprised?
ANNE: No, I was trying to, as they say, break the ice.
FZ: So it wasn't sincere? You were just trying to get me to talk?
ANNE: Well, no, it was sincere.
NARRATOR: And so Anne danced with Mr.-
ANNE: BE QUIET! I'm not going to let him interrupt another of our repartees.
FZ: Oh. Thank you, by the way. You dance well, too.
ANNE: Thank you.
(enter Mr and Mrs Williams, to the side)
ANNE: So, have you lived in Derbyshire long?
FZ: Eight years. I suppose you've lived in Piersfield your whole life.
ANNE: Yes. Fortunately, there is no entail and I'm the only daughter, so I am guaranteed to inherit Piersfield when my father dies.
FZ: Nice.
MR: Look, dear, she's dancing with that man.
MRS: He probably asked her to.
MR: Well, of COURSE he asked her to. She wouldn't ask him!
MRS: So your point is?
MR: I expressly told her not to dance with Mr. Little.
MRS: He appears to be behaving in a gentlemanlike fashion.
MR: Gentlemanlike or not, I like him not.
MRS: Then find someone else for her to dance with. I'm not going to.
MR: Alright. (goes over to Mr. Pendleton) Have you danced yet, Mr. Pendleton?
MR: Why not?
PEND: Well, the only tolerable female in the room is currently dancing.
MR: You should go ask her for the next dance.
PEND: If you insist.
MR: Oh, I do, Mr. Pendleton, I do.
(Pendleton approaches Anne at end of dance)
PEND: May I have this dance?
ANNE: Yes, Mr. Pendleton, you may.
(begin next dance. Mr. Little starts dancing with someone else)
ANNE: I didn't know you COULD dance, you were standing there so long.
PEND: My sincerest apologies for having deceived you.
ANNE: Have you been in Derbyshire long?
PEND: I just recently arrived.
ANNE: Are you enjoying the ball?
PEND: You mean presently?
ANNE: Yes.
PEND: I've experienced better, but this is certainly not the worst.
ANNE: Well!
PEND: You asked.
ANNE: You didn't have to answer.
PEND: Of course I did. If I didn't answer, you'd have thought me rude.
ANNE: The answer you did give bordered on rudeness.
PEND: Would you have preferred that I lie to you?
ANNE: Well, no.
ANNE: You know something? I bet if we start arguing, the narrator will interrupt us.
PEND: Is that so?
ANNE: Yes. He seems to think he makes the world turn. He strikes me as a would-be wit.
PEND: Really. What do you think this is, a comedy of manners?
ANNE: Maybe if he would step down from his lofty perch he could be a personable, likable fellow.
PEND: You speak in riddles.
ANNE: No, I just speak my mind.
PEND: Honesty is always becoming, but being forthright is not always best.
ANNE: Name me one instance.
NARRATOR: The ball was going quite well. Both Mr. and Mrs. Williams considered the evening a success.
ANNE: What did I tell you?
NARRATOR: Mr. Little had danced with the majority of the ladies already.
MR: Oh, look, Now Anne is dancing with Mr. Pendleton.
MRS: So she is.
MR: And see how well they get along!
MRS: They're simply talking, dear.
MR: Nonetheless, they ARE talking.
MRS: Had you been watching, you might also have noticed Anne talking to Mr. Little, when she danced with him.
(begin closing curtain slowly, stop at Mr Williams' line)
NARRATOR: By the end of the evening, Mr Little had danced with all the ladies at least once, many of them twice. Mr. Pendleton, on the other hand, had danced with Anne once.
MR: He always interrupts our repartees! (to Narrator) Do you realize you are perhaps the most prideful little-
MRS: DO stop before you insult him, Mr. Williams.
NARRATOR: Thank you, Mrs. Williams. (curtain begins to close again) Now, BEFORE we finish this scene, (curtain opens quickly) we need everyone to leave.
(all the Williamses go stand by the door while everyone leaves)
MR: Goodnight, Mr. Smith.
ANNE: Goodnight, Mr. and Mrs. Doe.
MRS: Goodnight, Miss Jingleheimer.
MR: Good night, Mr. Ranne.
MRS: Goodnight, Mr. Little.
FZ: Indeed it was. If my house were as charming and noble as this I should return the favor.
MRS: Oh, we wouldn't mind at all if your house is not as grand as ours.
MR: Yes we would.
MRS: Shut up, dear. (to Mr.Little) Why, we invited Mr. Pendleton, but he was not too insulted to come.
FZ: All the same, I shalln't be holding any balls. But I welcome you to visit at any time.
MRS: I shall keep it in mind. Goodnight.
(exit Mr. Little)
MR: Goodnight, Mr.Pendleton.
PEND: Goodnight, Mr. and Mrs. Williams. Goodnight, Miss Williams.
(begins to leave, stopped by Mr. Williams' line)
MR: You should have a ball at Penderley sometime.
PEND: Is that so?
MR: Why, yes! You will, won't you?
PEND: Of course.
MR: I hope you enjoyed yourself.
PEND: I usually enjoy myself at balls.
MR: Good, good, good.
MRS: Goodnight.
(exit Mr. Pendleton)
ANNE: What an evening!
NARRATOR: (exeunt, close curtain) Now we shall discuss Anne's feelings about the evening. Anne did agree
with her mother that Mr. Little was certainly very good looking, and very charming in manner, while Mr. Pendleton-
ANNE: (poking out from curtain) How do you know?
ANNE: So you think you know everything?
NARRATOR: Well, YOU share your feelings then.
(curtain opens)
ANNE: Alright. I agree with mother that Mr. Little is certainly very good-looking, and very charming in manner, while Mr. Pendleton is far too prideful, although quite polite.
NARRATOR: That's what I would have said.
ANNE: Speaking of excessive pride...
NARRATOR: Moving on, (curtain swiftly closes) both Mr. Little and Mr. Pendleton found themselves attracted to Anne. She was attractive and intelligent, among other virtues. By the way, Mr. Pendleton WOULD have tipped his hat had he not been a puppet. Well. Now we shall skip many more days (curtain opens, sun and moon begin
that lead up to another important event. Mr. Pendleton had essentially been forced to give a ball at Penderley. So, we shall skip to- STOP! (days stop cycling immediately) Now it is the day of the ball. (down goes whatever, up comes ball. Close curtain. Curtain opens on Penderley absolutely covered with plants)
PEND: WAIT a moment! My servants have failed to strike a balance in decorating the ballroom. There is WAY too much nature here. First too much art, now too much nature . .. when will they learn? Look at all these copses!
(close curtain, stick up "Technical Difficulties" sign)
(fix Penderley)
NARRATOR: Hey, did you hear the one about-
(curtain opens on Penderley with Mr. Pendleton at door)
NARRATOR: Ok, now everyone enters and the music starts and the ball begins.
(enter all, begin music. Mr. Little approaches Anne)
FZ: May I have the pleasure of this dance?
ANNE: Why, Mr. Little! I hardly expected you to be here.
FZ: Neither did I, but Mr. Pendleton invited me.
ANNE: That was surprisingly condescending of him.
FZ: Rather.
ANNE: Of course you may have this dance with me.
(they begin dancing)
ANNE: So, how have you been since our Piersfield ball?
ANNE: Um, hello?
FZ: Oh! Uh, fine.
ANNE: Is something bothering you?
FZ: No... well, yes.
ANNE: Is it or isn't it?
FZ: Anne, I love you dearly. Will you marry me?
ANNE: Why, Mr. Little, I- This is so unexpected, I hardly know what to say . . . thank you, of course.
FZ: I certainly don't require you to answer right away.
ANNE: Thank you again for your consideration; I'll have to think about it.
FZ: Take as long as you like, but when the time comes, please-- make the answer as direct and simple as you can.
ANNE: I shall.
NARRATOR: Oh hoHO, what have we here! A proposal of marriage from Mr. Little!
ANNE: YOU stay out of this.
NARRATOR: Oh, ok, I'm just the Narrator, that's all. It's only my play.
PEND: (approaches Anne) May I have the pleasure of this next dance?
ANNE: I would be only too honored to be your dancing partner.
(begin dancing)
(longish pause)
PEND: What's on your mind? You seem distracted.
ANNE: I'm sure it's nothing you wish to be bothered with.
PEND: I asked.
ANNE: I did answer.
PEND: So you did, if presumingly. Miss Williams, I don't know if now is the time for it, but there's something I need to ask you.
ANNE: You're not going to ask me to marry you, are you?
PEND: Actually... yes, I was. You certainly killed my presentation, though.
ANNE: Sorry. Well, I received another proposal earlier this evening, so I've a lot on my mind.
PEND: Who? Mr. Little?
ANNE: If you must know, yes, it was Mr. Little.
PEND: Well, I haven't officially asked yet, you know. So you don't need to answer.
ANNE: Go ahead, if it will make you feel better.
PEND: It certainly will. If I weren't a puppet, I'd get down on one knee. Miss Anne Williams, will you marry me?
ANNE: Thank you. I'll have to consider it. You will get an answer sometime.
PEND: I leave it to your better judgement and discretion.
(Mrs. Williams falls to the floor.)
MR: She's fainted!
ANNE: Oh, no! (rushes over)
(people gather around Mrs Williams)
NARRATOR: WAIT, everyone! Mrs. Williams didn't faint -- she had a stroke!
MR: What's a "stroke"?
NARRATOR: Oh, yeah, you don't know yet.
ANNE: (crying) What!?
NARRATOR: This is 1742. Medicine is far from advanced at this point.
ANNE: Don't sit up there babbling! Should we call a doctor?!
NARRATOR: I don't know if he could help her.
ANNE: You DON'T KNOW?! I thought you were the NARRATOR! I thought you knew EVERYTHING!
PEND: Never mind all this, Anne. I'll go call Doctor Helms.
(exit Pendleton)
(pause with everyone fretting)
NARRATOR: Hang on, I've got an idea.
ANNE: Can it help Mother?
NARRATOR: I'll look ahead in the script and see if I can learn anything. (looks through script) Hmmm...
MR: Well?
NARRATOR: Hey, Mr. Pendleton wasn't supposed to go for a doctor; it's not in here.
(enter Pendleton and Doctor Helms)
DOC: Stand back! Give her some air!
PEND: You heard the man. Do what he says!
(people stand back)
PEND: I have full confidence in this man's abilities, Anne.
ANNE: Alright. I'm trusting your judgement now.
(doctor begins working on Mrs. Williams)
(another worrisome pause)

NARRATOR: I don't think the doctor should be here. It's not in the script.
FZ: I'm sure he knows what he's doing.
NARRATOR: It's not in the script! Something could go wrong!!
FZ: Well what IS in the script?
NARRATOR: Hang on, I'll check. Hmmm...
(longish pause)
DOC: (getting up) She'll be alright.
(mass relief; Anne hugs her mother, who eventually gets up)
DOC: I'm glad you got to me in time. She could have died.
MR: Thank you, Doctor. Thank you.
DOC: Only too glad to help save a life.
MR: And thank you, Mr. Pendleton, for getting the doctor. I know it wasn't in the script, but thank you.
ANNE: Yes, thank you, Mr. Pendleton.
PEND: Like the doctor said so well, I'm only too glad to help save a life.
ANNE: Even a middle-class life?
PEND: ANY life.
DOC: Here, Mr. Williams. Have her take two of these when she wakes up and send for me in the morning.
MR: I will do just that. Thank you.
NARRATOR: Wait! Here it is! Here's what would have happened. Hmmm... Never mind.
FZ: What is it?
NARRATOR: Nothing.
FZ: Come on. Scared us all half to death that we should do everything according to the script, so what does it say?
NARRATOR: Well, Mrs. Williams would have... died.
(shocked crowd response)
FZ: Mmmhmm. The high and mighty narrator is finally put in his place.
(exit Doctor Helms)
MR: You and your script! Hmph!
(exit Mr. Williams with Mrs. Williams)
FZ: I'm the NARRATOR. It's only my play. Remember those words?
NARRATOR: She DIDN'T die, did she?
PEND: The truth is that she would have, had we listened to you.
(exit all others besides Anne, Pendleton, and Little)
FZ: Your beloved script was apparantly wrong! Who wrote this play anyway?
PEND: That's beside the point. Some things are bigger than plays, bigger than scripts. I just happened to realize that and went for the doctor.
ANNE: Mr. Little, Mr Pendleton; thank you for a splendid evening. Thank you for the ball, Mr. Pendleton, but I really must be leaving now.
PEND: Goodnight, Miss Williams.
FZ: May I escort you home?
ANNE: No, I'd rather walk.
FZ: I'll walk with you.
ANNE: No, please-- I'd rather be alone.
FZ: (reluctantly) I understand.
(curtain close)
NARRATOR: I can't believe it. I just disgraced myself in front of all the characters, in front of all the audience. (pause) I complain about my job because people don't listen to me. This time, if they WOULD have listened to me, someone would have died. (pause) I can't be a narrator.
(curtain opens at Piersfield. Anne is standing alone)
ANNE: Don't feel too bad. All of us make mistakes.
NARRATOR: Oh, go away. You've just come to rub it in.
ANNE: No, really, I haven't. We DO all make mistakes. Me, for instance. I terribly misjudged people. I thought Mr.
Pendleton was prideful, and he really wasn't all along. Why, look how he helped mother! I thought Mr. Little had a funny name, and... well, I guess I was right about that, but... I DID think he was terribly nice, and he turned out to be not quite as nice as I had thought. And I thought you were terribly prideful. I may have been right, but look at you now. Are you feeling prideful?
NARRATOR: Of course not. I feel lower than a snake in a wagon rut.
ANNE: Why?
NARRATOR: You know why.
ANNE: Well, like you said, she didn't die.
NARRATOR: She would have, if you'd have listened to me.
ANNE: I don't hold that against you. Besides, as I recall, we all thought she had just fainted, until SOMEONE told us she'd had a...a...whatever.
NARRATOR: A stroke.
ANNE: That's right. So if we WOULDN'T have listened to you, she'd have died. That should make you feel great.
NARRATOR: Well, I guess it does.
You know, I guess I still feel bad. I guess it's mostly hurt my pride, and it still hurts.
ANNE: That kind of hurt can be healthy. I was hurt when I saw that Mr. Little was kind only for himself. I had been wrong about him. But I was relieved for having discovered it about myself.
NARRATOR: Yeah... I see what you mean.
NARRATOR: This may seem off the wall, but...um, have you decided which guy you're going to marry yet?
ANNE: Yes, I have.
NARRATOR: Who? Mr. Pendleton? Certainly not Mr. Little.
ANNE: No. Not either of them. Mr. Pendleton is nice enough, but I don't think he's ever been wrong in his entire life.
NARRATOR: That's a GOOD thing.
ANNE: Not for me, it isn't. Sure, I want to respect the man I marry, but I don't want to WORSHIP him. I want someone honest, who knows he isn't perfect but tries to be. Someone who genuinely loves me for who, not what, I am.
NARRATOR: You know what, Anne?
ANNE: What?
NARRATOR: I have done two very important things tonight. I have realized I'm not perfect, thus becoming most of the man you just described, and I have also fallen genuinely in love with you. Hold on a minute.
(Narrator comes down and joins Anne on stage)
NARRATOR: Anne Williams, will you marry me?
ANNE: Yes, and again, yes.
NARRATOR: Not five minutes ago I was the lowest man on earth. Now I feel like the highest. I'll have to make sure I don't let that pride get in my way again. You know, if I weren't a puppet, I'd have-
ANNE: I know, you'd have gotten on one knee. Hey, I just realized something. Who will I be? Mrs. Anne what? Do you even have a name?
NARRATOR: Hold on. We have lots to talk about, I know. But first I need to wrap up this play. (goes back to pedestal) Well, ladies and gentlemen, I'd read from the script but it really doesn't apply anymore, so I don't really know what else to say but... they all lived HAPPILY EVER AFTER. And no, this wasn't a comedy of manners.
(EVERYONE begins filling stage)
Goodnight to all from Derbyshire, England!
(Narrator comes back down, Anne meets him, they begin to dance.
music starts. Everyone else begins dancing. Close curtain)
The Compendium

© 1998-2024 Zach Bardon
Last modified 7.19.2019
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