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Taking Liberties: Script Excerpt

When second-hand wig-seller Jeffrey Dunstan walks into the Leather Bottle pub in Wandsworth, it soon leads to fierce competition amongst the local plebs as to who will be the next mock-Mayor of Garratt, an election fought with parades and floats and all the fun of carnival.

(Election day outside The Leather Bottle on Garratt Green. Crude hustings. Tumblers, wrestlers, placards and effigies of politicans. Wilkes sits on the pub's balcony. The knockkneed Dunstan comes up.)

Taking Liberties play poster

Dunstan: Mr Wilkes?

Wilkes: Indeed.

Dunstan: Sam House says you got a speech for me.

Wilkes: You're the man started all this?

Dunstan: I'm a stranger. I just give 'em the idea.

Wilkes: (Giving him the speech) Think they'll go for it?

Dunstan: (Reading) Well I like the sentiment ... but I don't know personally if I'd ...

Wilkes: Would a guinea persuade you?

Dunstan: On its owny-own?

Wilkes: Let's say two.

Dunstan: I could give it a try.

Wilkes: (Hearing wigged and powdered playwright Sam Foote approach, supported by the landlady Nursey) Not a word, mind.

Dunstan: I'll see you later.

Foote: Well John, did I not promise you a grandstand view?

Nursey: Ale, Mr Wilkes?

Foote: I'm assuming it will be money well spent.

Nursey: No fear o' that, Mr Foote.

Foote: I was referring to our friend Garrick. You haven't lost him, I hope?

Nursey: Had an urgent appointment with a gen'man an' a dog.

Foote: I need a larger forum, John. I have the material (himself), I have the audience (he waves out across the Green), all I need's a damn theatre. And he can get it for me...

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