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Dark Glory: Script Excerpt

Alfred Lord Tennyson's father, though the rector of a delightful church in Lincolnshire, tended to fly into rages, most likely after a drink or two. Alfred himself was prone to seeing visions, and his brother Charles was considered the better poet when they went up to Cambridge and met Arthur Hallam. Hallam was the university whizz-kid of his day and an unexpectedly fierce champion of the young Alfred's work. His sudden death sent the future poet laureate into morbid brooding, from which he emerged a decade later with the best-selling 'In Memoriam' which in one glorious year -- along with being made Poet Laureate and marrying the eminently practical Emily - made the Tennyson we know today.

"Mr Gooch has created an absorbing and enjoyable piece of theatre" - Country Life Magazine
"A theatre of psychological truth and sharp insight" - Simon Reade, Plays International

(Mrs Tennyson and teenage children Charles and Emmy struggle on with a picnic basket, folding chairs and table, which they unpack.)

Charles: Mother ... where's the food?

Mrs T: Food, dear? I thought you were getting it.

Charles: Oh hell ...

(ALFRED enters, tall and dark with an olive skin, wearing glasses.)

Mrs T: Ally dear! Where are the others? And the samovar?

Alfred: It's father. He wants to talk to you, back at t' house. It's about them boys and their dogs.

Charles: Oh no.

(Deep silence. Mrs Tennyson takes a deep breath)

Mrs T: Ah well, another day perhaps.

Charles: We've not to tek it all back?

Mrs T: You can picnic on the lawn. I don't suppose I'll be long.

Charles: I said you shouldn't have given them boys money. They bring their dogs up from t' village specially to beat 'em outside your window. So you'll pay 'em to stop.

Alfred: It's true. We've heard 'em talk about it.

Emmie: They take advantage, Mother.

Alfred: And father can't afford it.

Mrs T: (Ignoring all this) Everyone ready?

Charles: Just a minute. (Struggling to load up) Can you give us a hand, Ally?

Alfred: I want to stay here a while.

Mrs T: Off we go then.

(They go. Alfred lies face down and beats the ground with his fist.)

Alfred: Please! Swallow me now! Swallow me whole!

(Nothing happens. Light change. It's later. Charles comes back.)

Charles: Still here?

Alfred: (Gruff, not looking at him) I come fer some peace. -- Is father still ranting?

Charles: I've no idea. I went up to our room.

Alfred: You know she gave them boys a whole sovereign.

Charles: She can't stand cruelty.

Alfred: That way she causes it!

Charles: I've tried to explain it to him, but he just turns on me.

Alfred: The only person can stop father is Horlins.

Charles: The Coachee? Why d'you think that is? Them big boots and his whip?

"His bones cracked loud as he stept through the crowd,
And his boots creaked heavily.
Before his eyes so grim and calm
The tingling blood grew chill ..."

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