PLAY #13: On the Road to Manderley

[The play takes place on the road winding up to Manderley,  a great baronial house clinging to a rugged Cornwall cliff that rising precipitously from the ocean.   Manderley (see the 1938 Daphne Du Maurier novel in the pages of which the house was first constructed) is the ancestral home of Maxim de Winter, who, having been recently widowed (see the 1940 Alfred Hitchcock film, Rebecca), is now bringing home to Manderley his new wife—a pleasant but inexperienced, unworldly young woman who, neither in the novel nor in the film, is ever given a name.]

Max (pulling the car over to the side of the road, and addressing his wife—who is gazing raptly at the huge house of which she will shortly be mistress).   Well, my sweet, no-name bride, what do you think of your new home?

Bride (wonderingly):  It’s big.

Max:  Yes, it is.  And old.  And dark, drafty and cold.

Bride (excitedly):  Oh Max, it sounds so lovely!

Max:  You think so?

Bride: Well, no, but I so very much want to make you happy!  

Max:  There’s just one thing.  My housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers, was devoted to my late wife, and is almost certain to hate you profoundly.

Bride:  Oh that’s alright, Max dear.  I’m sure her animosity will prove to be diverting. [she peers up the road towards Manderley].  Here’s just one thing, though.

Max:  Yes, my love?

Bride:  Well, I don’t want to upset you, Max, but the house appears to be on fire.

Max:  How very bothersome!  And on our first day here, too! This wasn’t supposed to happen for months yet!

Bride: Never mind, darling. We’ll make do somehow.