Be a Great Actor


1st Announcer (Terry Jones): And now the moment you have been waiting for! (fanfare) Your chance to be like Sir Lawrence Olivier, Sir Alec Guiness, and Laurence Harvey in the privacy of your own living room. Yes, all you need is this record and the script supplied with it and you too can be a great actor.

(Sinster music is played while the following is spoken)

1st Announcer: You will be playing the part of Montague the forceful yet bitter disillusioned and zany Marxist tycoon in this new play by a very good bearded playwright. Other great British and Welsh actors will be playing only minor roles. Now is your big chance, just follow the script as we present (jaring music) 'A Taste of Evil' starring...

2nd Announcer (Michael Palin): (whispers) insert your name here

1st Announcer: as Montague... (jaring music)

2nd Announcer: A Police Station in Rectan

Spencer (Graham Chapman): Morning, super.

Donaldson (John Cleese): Morning, wonderful.

Spencer: Nasty business up at the Towers, sir.

Donaldson: Oh yes, what's happened?

Spencer: Montague's shot himself.

Donaldson: Dead?

Spencer: 'Fraid so sir, blood everywhere.

1st Announcer : We apologize for an error in this 'Be a Great Actor' in your own living room section of the record. Owing to an error in the selection of the play the character of Montague does not appear to speak throughout the production. So let's go straight on to number 2 in your scripts 'All Quiet on the Western Front'. You are Charles just back from the war and to help you become a great actor a buzzer will go when it is your turn to speak.

(Fanfare music)

2nd Announcer: 'All Quiet on the Western Front', adapted for radio by Jeff Astle and Jean Genet. (more music) Episode 8: Charles Returns to Barclay Manor

Belinda: Oh Charles! Charles! Charles!

You: Buzzzz

Belinda: Oh Charles!

You: Buzzz

Belinda: I never thought I'd see you again.

You: Buzzzzz

Belinda: Oh that's wonderful news, but why? Are you...

You: Buzz

Belinda: Where?

You: Buzzzzz

Belinda: Oh no!

You: Buzz

Belinda: Yes Charles?

You: Buzzzzz

Belinda: I love you too.

You: Buzz

Belinda: But what?

You: Buzzzzz

Belinda: Shot off?

You: Buzzz

Belinda: Completely?

You: Buzzz

Belinda: Oh Charles!

You: Buzzz

Belinda: Charles!

You: Buzzz

Belinda: Charles!

You: Buzzz

(Fanfare Music)

1st Announcer: Will Charles ever play football again? Does Ascrith really know what is happening to the chaps in France? And is Belinda such a good (buzzer) as everyone says? Donít miss next weeks exciting episode.

(Fade out with more dramatic music)

Announcer (Eric Idle): Last week London Theater-goers saw the opening of Neville Shunt's latest West End Success, 'It All Happened on the 11:20 From Hainault to Redhill via Horsham and Reigate, Calling at Carshalton Beaches, Malmesbury, Tooting Bec and Croydon West'. In this as in his earlier nine plays, Shunt attempts to express the human condition in terms of British Rail. A report now from our own theater critic Gavin Milarrrrrrrrrrrrr

Gavin Milarrrrrrrrrrr (John Cleese): Some people have made the mistake of seeing Shunt's work as a load of rubbish about railway timetables, but clever people like me who talk loudly in restaurants see this as a deliberate ambiguity, a plea for understanding in a mechanized ethos. The points are frozen, the beast is dead. What is the difference? What indeed is the point? The point is frozen, the beast is late out of Paddington. The point is taken. If La Fontaine's elk would spurn Tom Jones the engine must be our head, the dining car our esophagus, the guards van our left lung, the cattle truck our shins, the first class compartment the piece of skin at the nape of the neck and the level crossing an electric elk called Simon. The clarity is devastating. But where is the ambiguity? Over there in a box. Shunt is saying the 8:15 from Gillingham when in reality he means the 8:13 from Gillingham. The train is the same, only the time is altered. Ecce homo, ergo elk. La Fontaine knew its sister and knew her bloody well. The point is taken, the beast is moulting, the fluff gets up your nose. The illusion is complete; it is reality, the reality is illusion and the ambiguity is the only truth. But is the truth, as Hitchcock observes, in the box? No, there isn't room, the ambiguity has put on weight. The point is taken, the elk is dead, the beast stops at Swindon, Chabrol stops at nothing, I'm having treatment and La Fontaine can get knotted.