First performed by Glenkens 73 Drama Club, February 1978
Another popular Scottish one act play with over 30 productions
Published by Brown, Son & Ferguson
Characters (3m 3f)
David Drummond: A young gentleman Willie Syme: His trusty servant Samuel Pitcairn: A wealthy merchant Margaret Pitcairn: His wife Jean Pitcairn: His niece Nell: His maidservant A Servant or Caddy: (non-speaking, male or female)
The Setting: The Parlour of Samuel Pitcairn's House Period: 1763
Running Time: 45 minutes
It is midnight and a ladder appears at the window of an empty and dimly lit room in a stylish 18th century Edinburgh house. Two men enter, trying unsuccessfully to be stealthy. They are David Drummond, a respectable young man of modest means, and his servant, Willie Syme, who isn’t the sharpest of dirks.
David’s plan to elope with his true love, Jean, has got off to a bad start. They have chosen the wrong window and find themselves in the parlour, instead of Jean’s bedroom, where she is dressed and ready to escape from the clutches of Pitcairn.
Worse follows when the two men realise that they’ve been heard. Thankfully, they are only disturbed by Nell, the house maidservant, who turns out to be a fellow conspirator. Jean enters and lovingly embraces David. She is the daughter of an exiled Jacobite. Her father has continued to support the daughter he hasn’t seen for over fifteen years with a handsome allowance that goes straight into her uncle’s pocket, while she is kept a prisoner in the house.
While Nell sets her cap at Willie, David dampens Jean’s hopes of a new life in Nova Scotia when he admits that hasn’t managed to raise the funds for their passage. All seems lost, but Nell has a plan…
Which is thwarted when Pitcairn appears, blunderbuss in hand. David and Willie only just escape. Suspecting that his niece was on the verge of elopement, Pitcairn orders her kept locked inside her room.
The next morning, Nell sets her revised plan in motion. First, she has to extract a considerable sum of money from Pitcairn for all of them to voyage to Nova Scotia – yes, she’s got plans for Willie. Then she has to free Jean from her locked room – but Pitcairn has the only key. Otherwise, the elopement is doomed. What Nell now needs is the services of an illustrious Italian portrait painter to ensure a happy ending.
Inspired by Moliere’s Le Sicillien, this play is fun packed romp with great opportunities for sight gags.
"This is a delightful play. The fun is fast and furious" - Amateur Stage
"An abundance of fun...The talented cast of seven remain true to the characters created by Alan Richardson and maintained the pace of the antics throughout while never missing an opportunity to exploit every available comic moment" - Carnoustie Guide & Gazette