OUT OF HER SHELL
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?
Robert: Stepping forth from her shell?
Robert: Aphrodite, Emelia.
Emelia: Aphrodite? … You think so?
Emelia: My arse!
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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