Play # 36: Goodnight, Nurse: a Noh Play

The following Noh play is based on the 1918 film called Goodnight, Nurse, directed by Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle and starring “Buster” Keaton and Arbuckle himself.  They are also the only two characters in this play.  Unlike most Noh plays, there is no music in Goodnight, Nurse.  For most of the play, Keaton holds a fan in his hand.  Arbuckle has a fan as well—as do all the characters in a Noh play—but he has dropped it during one of his many attempts to light a cigarette in the pouring rain.  The torrential and continuing downpour, like the music, will have to be imagined.

FATTY (trying to light a cigarette in the pelting rain).  I feel nothing.

BUSTER (laughing at his predicament):  You are wet through and through.

FATTY (in despair):  As is my cigarette!

BUSTER (looking away with a pained expression on his face):  You are a futile man!

FATTY (imploring):  Come.  Help me light my cigarette.

BUSTER:  You learn nothing from rain.

FATTY (dejected): No.

BUSTER:  Or from repetition.

FATTY (abject):  No.  But I now know this: you are only a ghost-friend. 

BUSTER (removing his coat):  Here is my raincoat.  Go under it and light your cigarette in its warm cave.

FATTY (taking the coat and fumbling with his matches):
And if it fails to light?

BUSTER:  Then you will return my coat to me and leave me—for this coat was all I had to teach you.

FATTY:  It will light (he strikes a hundred matches under the shelter of the coat, but none will take fire).  It will not light.  Goodbye then, ghost-friend.

BUSTER:  You cannot say goodbye, because I am no longer here.  (he loudly stomps off; but soon stops and turns back to Fatty).  You see how I am gone?

FATTY: Yes, quite gone.

Both actors follow one another off the stage. 
The audience is still.