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This short “play” was inspired as a comment on a “not a sonnet” by one Paris Flammonde who, in tones both bombastic and pompous, used his verse to condemn his readers as hollow men who did not properly appreciate his vision. The addition of Charles Kimbote is a happy thought of Thomas Scudder’s.

A Parisian Midsummer’s Night Dream

by Nathan Childers

Scene: The play opens in a richly appointed library. There are busts of Byron, Shelley, Yeats, Stevens, Roethke, Frost, and Millay, their faces turned away from the audience. There is a reading table with chairs around it. The muses are seated at the foot of the stage as a chorus; they are blindfolded and weeping.

Enter Puck.

Puck: Good Evening my Lords and Ladies. We have prepared you this evening an entertainment for your delight. Tonight the noble fools do sit in judgement, their object all sublime to say with yeas and nays if Paris Flammonde do be a fit member of their company.

Exeunt Puck.
Enter Falstaff.

Falstaff: If there be a man who be fit to judge a noble companion in a noble company then that man is I. The immortal bard himself did know this and set me square midst his players great. (Aside to offstage: More Ale!)

Falstaff sits.
Enter Blanche Dubois.

Blanche: This man is clearly my sort of man, cultured, well read, of an artistic temperament, and a seeker of truth and beauty in the arts.

Blanche sits, starts playing footsie with Falstaff.
Enter Don Quixote:

Don Quixote: But is he a true knight? That is my part to judge, whether he doth seek to right wrongs and doth bear the lance of truth against the armies of the night. Doth he know his proper foe as do I?

Don Quixote sits at the head of table, removes helmet which falls to the floor. Don Quixote attempts to retrieve helmet, falls, and smashes his chair into kindling. Sancho enters, puts helmet on table, seats Don Quixote in a new chair, and exits.
Enter Charles Kinbote.

Kinbote: I have found Mr. Flammonde to be a superior commentator on the condition of humankind, literature, and such like, although I do admit to a modicum of regret that he has yet to make more than veiled allusions to the sources on Zemblan mythology to which I have turned his attention.

Kinbote glances at the only available seat, which is directly next to Blanche DuBois, and remains standing.
Enter Ignatius J. Reilly bearing a Big Chief tablet.

Ignatius: I would read to you my essay which I have composed for this occasion on this subject but it is clear that you are a pack of ignorant and deluded pseudo-pedants who wouldn’t have the slightest understanding of what I am saying.

Ignatius sits next to Blanche. Falstaff has fallen asleep and is snoring. Blanche and Ignatius converse in low tones about New Orleans. Blanche tries to play footsie with Ignatius who looks alarmed.
Enter Puck.

Puck: There you have it my Lords and Ladies. Is Paris to be a member of this choice company or is he not? Our poor players have not the wit to choose well and beg of you, our noble audience, to choose for them. How say ye?

Exeunt audience.
Curtain falls.

This page was last updated July 11, 1997.