Out of her Shell (by Gwilym Scourfield)



Scene – THE TATE Gallery

C A S T:   EMILIA and Robert – a married couple

Emelia:                                Now, who’s she?

Robert:                              Buxom wench with fleshy thighs?/

EMELIA:                                And skilfully draped strands of golden hair/…

RObert:                              That only just conceal her nipples?

EMELIA:                                Yes.

Robert:                              Stepping forth from her shell?

EmeLIa:                                Right!

Robert:                           Aphrodite, Emelia.

Emelia:                                Aphrodite? … You think so?

robert:                              Yes.

Emelia:                                My arse!

robert:                              Emelia!

Emelia:                                (Blowing out loud sigh) Sandra bloody Channing!

Robert:                              Now you’ve really lost me, dearest. (beat) Sandra Channing…(Catching on) Isn’t she the manageress at Tescos?

Emelia:                                (Disgusted) Sainsburys, actually!

Robert:                              So, what…..?

Emelia:                                (Speech increases in speed and volume, building to crescendo) Her bum would give her away in a newsreel of the London marathon!…(beat)  Don’t think the symbolism was lost on me, either…’Out of her shell’? I should very much doubt it. Lady Goodytwoshoes!…Thinks the rest of us at the  W.I. are way beneath her, she does!…Oh yes, we’re all well unwrapped, we are; just a trifle soiled, we are….off the shelf, out of our sell-by, we are!… Not so much ‘shells’ – more wizened husks are good enough for us!

robert:                              I think we……

Emelia:                              …Anyone not into organic is up for grabs for Sandra Channing…(beat) Well, if she’s a goddess of love, I’m up for an Olympic pole vault gold!…(beat) She’s not going to get away with this!

robert:                              (Desperately attempting to calm) This painting is two hundred years old, Emelia….

Emelia:                                Fake! I’d know her posterior anywhere.

Robert:                              (Patronisingly) Shall I tell the Tate management or will you?

Emelia:                                You never believe me, Robert, but some arty farty forger is on to a bottom of the range ‘buy one – get one free’, or my name’s not Emelia Huntington-Smythe!

robert:                              Let’s leave it, darling…(pause) Remember last time?

emelia:                                (beat) (Indignant) I was right about that, too!

robert:                              (Patiently – attempting to calm) Let’s just say, there is room for honest doubt…

Emelia:                                (Insisting) Bullshit, Robert! I was right…

Robert:                              Yes, dear, yes….

emelia:                                … David Cameron can deny it ’til the cows come home, but he was definitely  the model – whenever you think The Laughing Cavalier was painted!

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