Sidney: Why not? Because he went to the theatre every night. He didn't have time to sit at home, watching television. Ethel: Oh. (They hear someone snoring.) Ethel: Sidney, what's that? I can hear something. Oh, look! Sidney: Where? Ethel: Over there. There's a man over there, behind the newspaper, I think he's asleep. Sidney: Oh, yes. He must be one of Shakespeare's family. He's probably Shakespeare's grandson. Ethel: Ooh! Sidney: I'll just go and say 'Hello'. (He goes over to the man and shouts.) Sidney: Hello! Man: What? Eh? What's going on? Sidney: Good morning. Man: Good mor- Who are you? Ethel: We're tourists. Man: Tourists? Sidney: Yes. Ethel: It must be very interesting, living here. Man: Interesting? Living here? What are you talking about? Sidney: Well, it must be interesting, living in a famous house like this. Man: Famous house? Ethel: Yes, there must be hundreds of people who want to visit Shakespeare's house. Man: Shakespeare's house? Look, there must be some mistake. Sidney: This is Shakespeare's house, isn't it? Man: This is Number 34, Railway Avenue...and I live here! Ethel: Yes. You must be Shakespeare's grandson. Man: Shakespeare's grandson? Ethel: Yes. Sidney: Ethel! Look at this! Ethel: What is it? Sidney: Look at it! (He is holding an ashtray.) Ethel: Ooh, Shakespeare's ashtray! Sidney: Yes, William Shakespeare's ashtray! Mr. Shakespeare, I would like to buy this ashtray as a souvenir of our visit to your grandfather's house. Man: For the last time, my name is not - Sidney: I'll give you ten pounds for it. Man: Now listen...Ten pounds? Sidney: All right then - twenty pounds. Man: Twenty pounds for that ashtray? Ethel: Well, it was William Shakespeare's ashtray, wasn't it? Man: William Shakespeare's...Oh, yes, of course. William Shakespeare's ashtray. (Sidney gives the man twenty pounds.) Sidney: Here you are. You're sure twenty pounds is enough... Man: Well... Sidney: All right then. Twenty-five pounds. (He gives the man another five pounds.) Man: Thank you. And here's the ashtray. (The man gives Sidney the ashtray.) Sidney: Thank you very much. Ethel: I hope we haven't disturbed you too much. Man: Oh, not at all. I always enjoy meeting people who know such a lot about Shakespeare. Goodbye. Ethel: Goodbye. (Ethel and Sidney leave.) • SKETCHES 129
Mr. Universe Scene: Characters: The Mr. Universe Competition Gloria Sparkle: Arnold Higgins, Elvis Smith, Ernest Bottom (the contestants) The competition is just beginning. Gloria: Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it's time once again for the 'Mr. Universe' competition - the competition to find the most fantastic, the most incredible, the most amazing man in the world. Who will be this year's Mr. Universe? Our three judges will decide. But first let's meet the contestants. Contestant number one - Arnold Higgins! (Arnold Higgins enters, carrying a bucket and a sponge.) Gloria: Ladies and gentlemen, this is Arnold Higgins. Arnold: Hello! Gloria: (Reading from a card in her hand) Arnold is 63 years old. Arnold: What? No, no, no. 36, not 63. Gloria: Sorry, Arnold. Arnold: That's all right. Gloria: Arnold is 36 years old. Tell me, Arnold - what do you do? Arnold: I'm a window cleaner. Gloria: He's a window cleaner, ladies and gentlemen! And tell me, Arnold - how long have you been a window cleaner? Arnold: Well, Gloria, I'm 36 now, and I started cleaning windows when I was 33. So I've been cleaning windows for...er... Gloria: Three years? Arnold: Yes. How did you know? Gloria: It's written on this card. Do you like it? (Arnold looks at the card.) Arnold: Yes. It's a very nice card. Gloria: No, no - not the card. Do you like cleaning windows? Arnold: Do I like cleaning windows? Gloria: Yes. Arnold: Do I like cleaning windows? Gloria: Yes. Arnold: Do I like cleaning windows? Gloria: Yes. 130 SKETCHES Arnold: No! I don't like cleaning windows - I love it! Gloria: You love it. Arnold: Yes, I love it. Big windows, small windows, broken windows - Gloria: Yes, I see. Arnold: Windows are my life! I've cleaned windows all over the world. Gloria: Really? Arnold: Yes. Do you know Buckingham Palace? Gloria: Yes Arnold: Do you know the windows of Buckingham Palace? Gloria: Yes. Arnold, have you cleaned the windows of Buckingham Palace? Arnold: No - but I'd like to. Gloria: Ah, so your ambition is to clean the windows of Buckingham Palace. Arnold: Yes. Gloria: Thank you, Arnold. (She wants Arnold to go.) Arnold: Before I go, I'd like to tell you about my hobby. Gloria: What's that, Arnold? Arnold: My hobby is writing poetry. I'd like to read one of my poems. Gloria: Oh. Arnold: It's about windows. Gloria: Ah. Arnold: (Reading) 'Oh, windows! Oh, windows! Oh, windows!' Gloria: Oh, no! Arnold: 'Windows, windows, big and small! Windows, windows, I love you all!' Gloria: Thank you, Arnold. Arnold: There's a bit more. Gloria: No, thank you, Arnold - that's quite enough. Ladies and gentlemen, the first contestant: Arnold Higgins! (Arnold leaves.) Gloria: Now let's meet the second contestant, who also wants to be this year's Mr. Universe! Elvis Smith enters. He is wearing short trousers and is rather shy. Elvis: Er...Hello. Gloria: What is your name? Elvis: Elvis. Gloria: Elvis? Elvis: Yes. Elvis Smith. Gloria: How old are you, Elvis? Elvis: 42. Gloria: And what do you do? Elvis: Nothing. I'm still at school. Gloria: Still at school?
The ticket inspector: . . . . . . .
The ticket inspector Scene : Charac