ACT I.

Scene I.--A Room of State in King Lear's Palace.

Enter Kent, Gloster and Edmund.

Kent. I thought the king had more affected the Duke of Albany than Cornwall.
Glo. It did always seem so to us: but now, in the division of the kingdom, it appears not which of the dukes he values most; for equalities are so weighed that curiosity in neither can make choice of either's moiety.
Kent. Is not this your son, my lord?
Glo. His breeding, sir, hath been at my charge: I have so often blushed to acknowledge him that now I am brazed to it.
Kent. I cannot conceive you.
Glo. Sir, this young fellow's mother could: whereupon she grew round-wombed, and had indeed, sir, a son for her cradle ere she had a husband for her bed. Do you smell a fault?
Kent. I cannot, at least insofar as it regards your son, bastard though he may be. I can, however, detect the pungent odor of copyright infringement.
Glo. Do you speak truly, sir? I am afraid your meaning is not clear to me.
Edm. Look, you doddering old fool, he means that we appear to be taking part in Shakespeare's King Lear, while maintaining the pretense that this is an entirely different dramatic work. Sir.
Glo. Zounds!

Enter Lear.

Lear. Attend the Lords of France and Burgundy, Gloster.
Glos. We've given up the Shakespeare farce, my liege.
Lear. [Removing his wig and crown.] Thank the gods! I swear that the creator of this wig knew nothing of phrenology. The countours of my skull require special attention.
Edm. [Sarcastic] Of course they do, Lear.
Lear. You can stop calling me Lear, Fenwick. We've already abandoned any pretense of remaining in character.
Fen. Yeah, Ralph, but that's going to cause the playwrite absolute hell. He's going to have to decide whether to label my lines as "Fen" or "Edm", and now that I've revealed your real name, he won't know whether to call you "Lear" or "Ral". And if he ever introduces a character named Ralson Purina, then how will he abbreviate his name? Can't use "Ral", since that will be confused with you. You've caused no end of problems, Ralph.
Ral. I see no problem. You'll be called "Fen", I'll be called "Ral", and if Ralston Purina makes an appearance, he can be known as "RP". Simple.
Glo. Well Kent and I won't reveal our real names. And I can see one flaw in your plan, Ralph. Suppose the playwrite decides to try and plagiarize another work, say One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest? The main character there is R. P. McMurphy. Suppose he wants to use "RP" for his name? What then? For the love of God, man, WHAT THEN?
[Fade to black. Glo lets out a loud curse. Exit.]

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