Mrs. Premise and Mrs. Conclusion Visit Jean-Paul Sartre
(ANIMATION; ends with an animated woman going into a laundromat. Cut to the interior of a laundromat. Various shabby folk sitting around. Mrs Conclusion approaches Mrs Premise and sits down.)
Mrs Conclusion: Hello, Mrs Premise.
Mrs Premise: Hello, Mrs Conclusion.
Mrs Conclusion: Busy day?
Mrs Premise: Busy! I’ve just spent four hours burying the cat.
Mrs Conclusion: Four hours to bury a cat?
Mrs Premise: Yes! It wouldn’t keep still, wriggling about howling its head off.
Mrs Conclusion: Oh – it wasn’t dead then?
Mrs Premise: Well, no, no, but it’s not at all a well cat so as we were going away for a fortnight’s holiday, I thought I’d better bury it just to be on the safe side.
Mrs Conclusion: Quite right. You don’t want to come hack from Sorento to a dead cat. It’d be so anticlimactic. Yes, kill it now, that’s what I say.
Mrs Premise: Yes.
Mrs Conclusion: We’re going to have our budgie put down.
Mrs Premise: Really? Is it very old?
Mrs Conclusion: No. We just don’t like it. We’re going to take it to the vet tomorrow.
Mrs Premise: Tell me, how do they put budgies down then?
Mrs Conclusion: Well it’s funny you should ask that, but I’ve just been reading a great big book about how to put your budgie down, and apparently you can either hit them with the book, or, you can shoot them just there, just above the beak.
Mrs Premise: Just there!
Mrs Conclusion: Yes.
Mrs Premise: Well well well. ‘Course, Mrs Essence flushed hers down the loo.
Mrs Conclusion: Ooh! No! You shouldn’t do that – no that’s dangerous. Yes, they breed in the sewers, and eventually you get evil-smelling flocks of huge soiled budgies flying out of people’s lavatories infringing their personal freedom. (life-size cut-out of woman at end of last animation goes by) Good morning Mrs Cut-out.
Mrs Premise: It’s a funny thing freedom. I mean how can any of us be really free when we still have personal possessions.
Mrs Conclusion: You can’t. You can’t. I mean, how can I go off and join Frelimo when I’ve got nine more installments to pay on the fridge.
Mrs Premise: No, you can’t. You can’t. Well this is the whole crux of Jean-Paul Sartre’s ‘Roads to Freedom’.
Mrs Conclusion: No, it bloody isn’t. The nub of that is, his characters stand for all of us in their desire to avoid action. Mind you, the man at the off-licence says it’s an everyday story of French country folk.
Mrs Premise: What does he know?
Mrs Conclusion: Nothing.
Mrs Premise: Sixty new pence for a bottle of Maltese Claret. Well I personally think Jean-Paul’s masterwork is an allegory of man’s search for commitment.
Mrs Conclusion: No it isn’t.
Mrs Premise: Yes it is.
Mrs Conclusion: Isn’t.
Mrs Premise: ‘Tis.
Mrs Conclusion: No it isn’t.
Mrs Premise: All right. We can soon settle this. We’ll ask him.
Mrs Conclusion: Do you know him?
Mrs Premise: Yes, we met on holiday last year.
Mrs Conclusion: In Ibiza?
Mrs Premise: Yes. He was staying there with his wife and Mr and Mr Genet. Oh, I did get on well with Madam S. We were like that.
Mrs Conclusion: What was Jean-Paul like?
Mrs Premise: Well, you know, a bit moody. Yes, he didn’t join in the fun much. Just sat there thinking. Still, Mr Rotter caught him a few times with the whoopee cushion. (she demonstrates) Le Capitalisme et La Bourgeoisie ils sont la m~me chose… Oooh we did laugh.
Mrs Conclusion: Well, we’ll give him a tinkle then.
Mrs Premise: Yes, all right. She said they were in the book. (shouts) Where’s the Paris telephone directory?
Mrs Inference: It’s on the drier.
Mrs Premise: No, no, that’s Budapest. Oh here we are Sartre … Sartre.
Mrs Varley: It’s 621036.
Mrs Premise: Oh, thank you, Mrs Varley. (dials) Hallo. Paris 621036 please and make it snappy, buster… (as they wait they sing ‘The Girl from Ipanema) Hallo? Hello Mrs Sartre. It’s Beulagh Premise here. Oh, pardon, c’est Beulagh Premise ici, oui, oui, dons Ibiza. Oui, we met… nous nous recontrons au Hotel Miramar. Oui, a la barbeque, c’est vrai. Madame S. – est-ce que Jean est chez vous? Oh merde. When will he be free? Oh pardon. Quand sera-t-il libre? Oooooh. Ha ha ha ha (to Mrs Conclusion) She says he’s spent the last sixty years trying to work that one out. (to Madame Sartre) Tres amusant, Madam S. Oui absolument… a bientot. (puts the phone down) Well he’s out distributing pamphlets to the masses but he’ll be in at six.
Mrs Conclusion: Oh well, I’ll ring BEA then.
(Cut to them sitting on a raft in mid-ocean.)
Mrs Premise: Oh look, Paris!
(Cut to shot of a notice board on the seashore, it reads ‘North Malden Welcomes Careful Coastal Craft’.)
Mrs Conclusion: That’s not Paris. Jean-Paul wouldn’t live here. It’s a right old dump.
(‘Alan Whicker’, complete with microphone, walks in front of sign.)
Whicker: But this is where they were wrong. For this was no old dump, but a town with a future, an urban El Dorado where the businessmen of today can enjoy the facilities of tomorrow in the comfort of yesterday. Provided by a go-getting, go-ahead council who know just how loud money can talk. (a phone off-screen starts to ring) Interest rates are so low…
(Cut to head of drama’s office; he is on the phone.)
Head of Drama: Well it’s none of my business but we had the same trouble with one of our Icelandic sagas. These people are terribly keen but they do rather tend to take over. I think I’d stick to Caribbean Islands if I were you. (rings off) Fine… and now back to the saga.
CAPTION: ‘NJORL’S SAGA – PART IV’
(Thundering music. Cut to an Icelandic seashore. Dark and impressive. After a pause the pepperpots walk into shot.)
Mrs Premise: Here – this is not Paris, this is Iceland.
Mrs Conclusion: Oh, well, Paris must be over there then. (points out to the sea; they walk back to the raft)
(Stock shot of Eiffel Tower. French accordion music. Mix through to French street thronged by old Frenchmen with berets and loaves. Mrs Conclusion and Mrs Premise appear and walk up to the front door of an apartment block. On the front door is a list of the inhabitants of the block. They read it out loud.)
Mrs Premise: Oh, here we are, Number 25 …. (reads) Flat 1, Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Flat 2, Yves Montand, Flat 3, Jacques Cousteau, Flat 4, Jean Genet and Friend, Flat 5, Maurice Laroux…
Mrs Conclusion: Who’s he?
Mrs Premise: Never heard of him. Flat 6, Marcel Marceau, ‘Walking Against the Wind’ Ltd. Flat 7, Indira Gandhi?
Mrs Conclusion: She gets about a bit, doesn’t she?
Mrs Premise: Yes, Flat 8, Jean-Paul and Betty-Muriel Sartre.
(She rings the bell. A voice comes from the intercom.)
Mrs Premise: C’est nous, Betty-Muriel, excusez que nous sorerues en retard.
Mrs Premise: Oui, merci.
(Interior the Sartres flat. It is littered with books and papers. We hear Jean-Paul coughing. Mrs Sartre goes to the door. She is a ratbag with a fag in her mouth and a duster over her head. A French song is heard on the radio. She switches it off.)
Mrs Sartre: (MICHAEL) Oh, rubbish. (opens the door) Bonjour.
Mrs Conclusion: (entering) Parlez vous Anglais
Mrs Sartre: Oh yes. Good day. (Mrs Premise comes in) Hello, love!
Mrs Premise: Hello! Oh this is Mrs Conclusion from No. 46.
Mrs Sartre: Nice to meet you, dear.
Mrs Conclusion: Hello.
Mrs Premise: How’s the old man, then?
Mrs Sartre: Oh, don’t ask. He’s in one of his bleeding moods. ‘The bourgeoisie this is the bourgeoisie that’ – he’s like a little child sometimes. I was only telling the Rainiers the other day – course he’s always rude to them, only classy friends we’ve got – I was saying solidarity with the masses I said… pie in the sky! Oooh! You’re not a Marxist are you Mrs Conclusion?
Mrs Conclusion: No, I’m a Revisionist.
Mrs Sartre: Oh good. I mean, look at this place! I’m at my wits end. Revolutionary leaflets everywhere. One of these days I’ll revolutionary leaflets him. If it wasn’t for the goat you couldn’t get in here for propaganda.
(Shot of a goat eating leaflets in corner of room.)
Mrs Premise: Oh very well. Can we pop in and have a word with him?
Mrs Sartre: Yes come along.
Mrs Premise: Thank you.
Mrs Sartre: But be careful. He’s had a few. Mind you he’s as good as gold in the morning, I’ve got to hand it to him, but come lunchtime it’s a bottle of vin ordinaire – six glasses and he’s ready to agitate.
(Mrs Premise and Mrs Conclusion knock on the door of Jean-Paul’s room.)
Mrs Premise: Coo-ee! Jean-Paul? Jean-Paul! It’s only us. Oh pardon … c’est m’me nous…
(They enter. We do not see Jean-Paul although we hear his voice.)
Mrs Premise: Jean-Paul. Your famous trilogy ‘Rues i Liberte, is it an allegory of man’s search for commitment?
Mrs Premise: I told you so.
Mrs Conclusion: Oh coitus.
(Stock shot of a plane taking off)
CAPTION: ‘THE END’