Blithely mangling the English language, majestic prima donna Madame Marnova charms a parade of admirers who throng to her dressing room. Somewhere in the middle of the confusion, she lapses into her native tongue – ersatz Rumanian – for a spectacular argument with her manager.
THE ITALIAN LESSON
A feverishly busy society matron sits down with her Italian teacher for a quiet lesson on Dante’s Inferno. The phone rings, the maid appears, the children barge in, a puppy arrives, the cook interrupts, her husband calls, the governess . . a committee meeting . . lunch . . a rendezvous and . . beyond the first line, Dante remains unread.
IN A CHURCH IN ITALY
A virtuoso performance in which Ms. Norcia portrays five women, ranging in from an old Italian beggar to an imperturbably cheerful American
tourist, all of whom are touched by their passage through a small chapel near Florence.
THREE WOMEN AND MR. CLIFFORD
Portraying, in succession, his secretary, his wife and his mistress, Patricia Norcia illuminates the life of Wall Street tycoon Anthony Clifford. This is perhaps Ruth Draper’s finest and wittiest piece of writing.
FOUR IMAGINARY FOLK SONGS
Four hilarious songs based on traditional melodies, sung in what sounds like Swedish, Russian, Czech and Japanese, but is actually authentic gibberish.
A CLASS IN GREEK POISE
“Mildly deranged, terribly enthusiastic and altogether funny” (New York Times), Ms. Norcia leads a group of overweight ladies through an exercise class loosely based on some of Isadora Duncan’s more peculiar notions.
DOCTORS AND DIETS
When Mrs. GRIMMER- that’s G-R-I-M-M-E-R – takes her three lady friends out to lunch in a posh New York restaurant, they eat a raw turnip, drink the juice of eleven lemons, and recount their favourite doctor stories.
AT THE COURT OF PHILIP THE IV
A beautiful Spanish court lady saves her husband by promising herself to the cruel Olivares. Full of intrigue and courtly dances, this was Ruth Draper’s only costume drama.
THE CHILDREN’S PARTY IN PHILADELPHIA
“Herbert! Take your fingers out of your mouth, dear, and Emily, don’t forget your curtsey!” When a mother brings her children to a Christmas party, they create havoc and nearly destroy the house.
A SOUTHERN GIRL AT A DANCE
A young debutante moves flirtatiously from one suitor to another with the same speech in this warmly funny character sketch.
A SCOTTISH IMMIGRANT AT ELLIS ISLAND
A young Scottish girl arrives at Ellis Island to meet her young man. This touching 10 minute monologue was Ruth Draper’s lifelong signature piece.