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Libretto list

The Telephone Libretto

(In Lucy's apartment. As the curtain goes up, Lucy is        
busy opening a gift box which Ben has just handed to
her)


LUCY
Oh! Just what I wanted.

(she unwraps a piece of abstract sculpture)

Thank you!

BEN
I'm so glad you like it!
Now, Lucy, I've something to tell you.
I'm going away.

LUCY
Oh, dear! When are you going?

BEN
My train leaves in an hour.

LUCY
Oh, I'm sorry!

BEN
But before I go
I would like to ask you something.

LUCY
Yes, dear.

BEN
You know how much I've always liked you.

LUCY
Yes, dear?

BEN
Well, then…
I was just wond'ring…
that is, of course, after I come back…
If you would consider...

LUCY
What, dear?

BEN
I don't quite know to tell you.

(the telephone rings)

LUCY
Excuse me. Hello! Hello!
Oh, Margaret, it's you.
I am so glad you called,
I was just thinking of you.
It's been a long time since you called me.
Who? I? I cannot come tonight.
No, my dear, I'm not feeling very well.
When? Where? I wish I could be there!
I'm afraid I must not. Hello? Hello?
What did you say, my darling?
What did you say? Hello? Hello?
Please speak louder!
I heard the funniest thing!
Jane and Paul are going
to get married next July.
Don't you think it is the funniest thing
you ever heard? I know... of course...

(she giggles)

And how are you?
And how is John?
And how is Jean?
You must tell them that I send them my love.
And how is Ursula,
and how is Natalie,
and how is Rosalie?
I hope she's got ten over her cold.
And how is your mother,
and how is your father,
and how is dear little granny?

(nodding)

Ha, ha! Ha, ha!

(Shaking her head)

Ha, ha! Ha, ha!
Oh, dear! Well then, good-bye.
I am so glad you called,
I was just think of you.
It's been a long time since you called me.
Yes, you already told me that.
No my darling, of course I won't forget!
Yes, goodbye, my dear, good-bye
Yes my darling, good-bye. Yes!
Ha, ha! Ha, ha!
That's the funniest thing I ever heard!
And how are you,
and Bets, and Bob,
and Sara, and Sam?
You must tell them that I send them my love.
And how is the pussycat, how is the dog?
Oh, I'm so glad! Goodbye!
Yes, Margaret!
All right, all right!, good-bye!
All right, all right!, good-bye!
Now, Margaret, goodbye! So long.

(she hangs up)

That was Margaret!

BEN
You don't say.

LUCY
Isn't she funny?

BEN
She is a scream!

LUCY
Would you like to know what she told me?

BEN
I'd love to, but not now...
It is getting and there is so much
I have to tell you.

LUCY
All right, go on.
What is it, darling?

(the telephone rings)

Excuse me. Hello! Hello!
What are you saying?
What number do you want?
Wrong number!
Why must they always pick on me
when they get the wrong number?

BEN
Why, indeed!
But now will you please listen to me?
The time is getting shorter.

LUCY
Would you like to know the exact time?
Just wait.

(Lucy dials, than she hangs up)

It is four fifteen and three
and half seconds.

LUCY, BEN
Oh!

BEN
Thank you. But now, please,
will you listen to me?

LUCY
Of course, what else have I done? Go on then.

BEN
Well, as we were saying,
you know how much I've always cared for you...
so, I was just wond'ring... that is, of course,
after I come back...
if you would consider

(the telephone rings)

Oh! I'll go insane!

LUCY
I'm sorry. Hello? Hello?
Why, George, it's you!
But why must scream at me so!
What do you mean!
Who ever told it to you?
I never said that about you!
If you don't believe me you can call up Phyllis!
How dare you say such a thing!
Stop using such language!
No... yes... no, no, I mean...
I swear it isn't true!
How can you believe that I'd say such a thing?
Now listen to me!
I'm not going to stand it if you call me names!

(she giggles the receiver)

Hello? Hello?

(spoken)

Murder!

(she hangs up and bursts into tears)

BEN
Listen, Lucy, listen, now don't you cry.
There is something I must tell you.
Listen, Lucy, listen, dear, don't you cry,
lift your face and dry your tears. Listen,
Lucy, listen dear

LUCY
Oh, you don't understand!
Let me go and get a handkerchief.

(Lucy exits)

BEN
Try again and again. What else can a man do
except wait and then try and wait
And then try once again?
I'd rather contend with lover,
husband, or in-laws, than
This two headed monster who comes unasked
and devours my day.
For this thing can't be poisoned or drowned.
It has hundred of lives and miles of
Umbilical cord.

(he notices a pair of scissors on table. He arms
himself with them and approaches the telephone
slowly and menacingly. Suddenly the telephone rings
out loudly and desperately, like a child crying for help.
Lucy rushes in and takes the telephone protectingly
in her arms)

LUCY
You wicked man! What were you doing to it?

BEN
I... I was only trying...

LUCY
The poor thing! Shame on you! Put them down!

BEN
I assure you it was all in self defence.

LUCY
You must have hit it first!

BEN
Lucy, can we two have a quiet talk?

LUCY
Yes, dear, but first I must call up Pamela.

BEN
Pamela? Why must you call her now?

LUCY
I must tell her of my quarrel with George.

BEN
Can't you tell her afterwards?

LUCY
Oh, no, I must get hold of her before she hears
it from some body else.

(together)

LUCY
It will only take a moment,
I will make it very short.
It will only take a moment,
I will make it very short.
It will take me just a minute,
I will make it very short.

BEN
Lucy, dear, please not now.
I shall soon be gone.
Lucy, dear, please not now.
I shall soon be gone.
Can't you wait until I go?
But I have not time to lose.
Oh, all right, but please hurry!

(Lucyl dials)

LUCY
Hello!, this is Lucy.
I must had a quarrel with George...
over the telephone.
Shall I tell you all about it?
It all began on Sunday,
when Jean and I went skating.
We got on the trolley
and met Meg and Molly,
so we sat down next to them.
I've known both Meg and Molly for years,
and thought they were my friends.
But what they have done to me now
I'll never forget.
They started asking if I had seen George,
and now I know why
I said I had seen him once;
that's all they wanted to know.
So one thing led to another,
and while we gabbed about George.
I told them what you told me
you had heard about him and Joe.
Yes, I told them what you told me
you had heard about him and Joe.
I know I was a fool,
but now It is too late.
They told him what I told them
you had told me.

BEN
I've waited hour after hour,
but she will never stop.
I must tell her I love her,
but that thing will not let me,
and now I have to go and she will never
and she will never know.

LUCY
Of course, I said, "Oh, George, my darling,
how can you believe that I'd say such a thing,
you know that in me you have a true friend"
But he wouldn't believe me,
and cursed me up and down,
and kept calling me names,
yes, all sorts of names.
And then I said "Oh George, my darling,
if you don't believe me
you can call up Phyllis and ask her
to tell you whether or not is true"
Of course I had to lie, what Else was I to do?
But oh, you'll never know how much
I went through.
Oh, you'll never know how much
I went through.

(together)

BEN
I've waited hour after hour
but she will never stop.
I must tell her I love her,
but that thing will not let me,
and now I have to go, and she will never,
and she will never know.
I heard that before.
She only stops to start again.
If I stay I'll go mad!
There's only one thing left,
there's only one thing left.

LUCY
I thought I would die; Ah! Ah!
I am so glad that you understand.
And now, let's say good-bye.
I want to think it over,
if anything else should happen today
I promise to call you again.
Good-bye. Good-bye.

(Ben exits)

Oh, where has he gone?
He left me alone with my telephone.
I wander what he wanted to tell me?
I have feeling he had something on his mind.
Will he come back?
By now he must be on the train.

(at one side of the stage a curtain is drawn,
revealing a public telephone booth somewhere
in the city Ben is seen in it, dialing a number)

I don't know why I feel depressed.

(the telephone rings)

Oh! It must be he! It must be he!

(she quickly powders her nose and
fixes her hair)

Hello?

BEN
Hello!

LUCY
Where are you, my darling?

BEN
I'm terribly near you, right next to your ear.

LUCY
Did you miss your train?

BEN
Not yet.

LUCY
But why did you leave me,
and what was the thing
you so wanted to tell me?

BEN
Will you marry me?

LUCY
Oh, Ben! Of course I will marry you!
You know that I love you.
So why, my darling, did you wait so long
to ask me what you already knew?

BEN
Blessed invention, extend your forgiveness!
From now on this shall be that form
Of love which people call "L'amour à trois".
I must go now.

LUCY
Oh, not just yet.

BEN
I'll miss my train.

LUCY
No, no, you still have time.

BEN
Will you wait for me?

LUCY
Oh, Ben, of course I will wait,
but please don't be long.

(together)

BEN
As long as you have a phone
you'll never be alone.

LUCY
I'll wait by the phone, but darling,
don't be long. And while you're away...

BEN
Yes?

LUCY
Don't forget...

BEN
Your eyes?

LUCY
No...

BEN
Your hands

LUCY
No...

BEN
Your lips?

LUCY
No...

BEN
What, then?

LUCY
My number!

BEN
Your number?

(together)

LUCY
Oh! Please don't forget to call my number,
my darling, remember to call it every day
my number, my number.
Oh! Please don't forget to call my number,
my darling, remember to call it every day.
You always can reach me
by ringing this number,
by ringing this number,
by ringing this number.

BEN
I'll never forget to call your number,
yes dear, I'll remember to call it every day
your number, your number,
I'll never forget to call your number.
Yes, dear, I'll remember to call it every day
I always can reach you
by ringing this number,
by ringing this number,
by ringing this number.

LUCY
You'd better write it down
so you won't forget it.
Stevedore two...

(Ben struggles with a pencil and paper)

BEN
Stevedore two...

LUCY
Three...

BEN
Three...

LUCY
Four...

BEN
Four...

LUCY
Nine...

BEN
Nine...

LUCY
O...

BEN
O...