THE EDGE OF AUSTEN

THE EDGE OF AUSTEN

A Five-Minute Play by Linnea Rose

JOHN stands at a precipice. The waves are crashing on the rocks below. The three have their swords drawn but down. They are each holding an open book in their non-fighting hands. They exchange quick glances at one other.

JOHN

(Holding book up to the sky) She never loved me.

GEORGE

(Enters, Holding book up to the sky) She never loved me.

HENRY

(Enters, Holding book up to the sky) She never loved me.

Each stand at attention. Each makes their first move.

JOHN

Oh, but she did love me…once. (Strikes opponents sword)

GEORGE

How long did you wait out of respect for love before taking Ms. Grey to bed? (Strikes opponent’s sword)

HENRY

Oh you are one to talk, George! (Strikes opponent’s sword)

JOHN

(Flipping through book) Technically it wasn’t until page 93. Marianne had a right public fit. (Strikes opponent’s sword)

GEORGE

Is that where she fainted in the dance hall? (Strikes opponent’s sword)

HENRY

I do recall. I believe I was there. (Strikes opponent’s sword)

JOHN

You were? You should have come paid us your respects. (Strikes opponent’s sword)

HENRY

By “us” I can only assume you are referring to you and the fair Lady Grey. (Strikes opponent’s sword)

GEORGE

So Henry, how is dear Mary? (Strikes opponent’s sword)

HENRY

(Stopping suddenly. Through his teeth) You bite your tongue. (Strikes opponent’s sword)

JOHN

(To GEORGE) Oh, it looks like someone struck a fuse, eh? (Strikes opponent’s sword)

GEORGE

Shouldn’t she be here too? Can you just picture it? Mary flouncing around in a petticoat holding only a sword and a book.  (Strikes opponent’s sword)

JOHN

That’s right. Her grand scheme to seduce Edmund was the talk of Barth that week. (Strikes opponent’s sword)

GEORGE

But Henry, he could have had Fanny…he was oh so close. (Strikes opponent’s sword)

JOHN

But oh so far…(Strikes opponent’s sword. Stealing HENRY’s book, flipping through pages). Ah! Rejection, right here on page 205.

GEORGE

I guess she should not have tried to force him to be something he is not. (Strikes opponent’s sword)

HENRY

(swipes book away from JOHN) Aren’t you all so perfect! George, what was it like to seduce a 15-year-old? Poor Georgiana. Trapped away, playing piano all day and all night. You broke her. (Strikes opponent’s sword)

GEORGE

I did nothing of the sort! You have no idea what happened. (Strikes opponent’s sword)

JOHN

Yes! And Lydia. You married a 15-year-old. (Strikes opponent’s sword)

HENRY

I am sensing a pattern here, am I not? (Strikes opponent’s sword)

GEORGE

All thanks to Darcy. (Flipping through book) Page 223. Lydia regales Lizzie with the details and Lizzie finally comes to terms for her true feelings for Darcy. (Strikes opponent’s sword) I did not want to marry her. Fitzwilliam pretty much cornered me. Lydia would have been ruined if not. (sighs) What does Darcy have that I don’t have? (Strikes opponent’s sword)

JOHN

Lizzie. (Strikes opponent’s sword)

GEORGE

I never wanted her to begin with. (Strikes opponent’s sword)

HENRY

(In disbelief) Mhm…

GEORGE

Back to Henry though. How does it feel to be stood up for a someone’s own family member, good sir? (Strikes opponent’s sword)

HENRY

Bite your tongue. (Strikes opponent’s sword)

JOHN

Oh golly! I had forgotten about that. (Strikes opponent’s sword)

HENRY

They were only cousins. (Strikes opponent’s sword)

GEORGE

First cousins. (Strikes opponent’s sword)

HENRY

To be fair, Fanny had been in love with Edmund for years. Ever since she came to Mansfield Park. Who was I to get in the way of true love? (Strikes opponent’s sword)

JOHN

Henry Crawford: a romantic. Who would have thought? (Strikes opponent’s sword)

HENRY

Fanny did not love me. I tried to make her love me. (Looking through book) See, here. Page 187. I even tried to weasel my way in by means of William. (Strikes opponent’s sword)

JOHN

At least Fanny wasn’t a gold-digger like Marianne. She clearly settled for the Colonel for his fortune. Why else? He was twice her junior at the time of the nuptials. (Strikes opponent’s sword)

GEORGE

Elinor definite did not marry for money though. Edward was dirt broke after his disinheritance from his family. (Strikes opponent’s sword)

The three strike one another all at the same time. The fight intensifies. The books get knocked out of their hands and fall over the cliff into the waves. The three watch as the books fall on to the rocks and into the water. All look around at one another. JOHN speaks first.

JOHN

What to do now?

HENRY

Relive it, I guess.

GEORGE

We won’t know where we left off.

JOHN

Time to start a new adventure?

HENRY

Time to find new women?

ALL look around at one another.

ALL

Nah!

ALL get up and start striking their opponent’s swords. The remaining insults when fighting can be adlibbed, as long as they are relatable.

 

END OF PLAY

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