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MonkeyNotes-Main Street by Sinclair Lewis
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Chapter 18

Summary

A meeting of the dramatic club is held to select the play to be staged. Carol is ready to suggest Bernard Shaw's Androcles and the Lion. Guy Pollock suggests The School for Scandal. Vida wants the farce Mc Ginerty's Mother-in-law while Raymie wants His Mother's Heart. Juanita chooses The Girl from Kankakee. Every one except Carol votes for The Girl from Kankakee. Choosing the actors proves to be an equally tough task because both Juanita and Ella Stowbody want the lead role. Carol offends Ella Stowbody by letting Juanita have it. Maud Dyer is unhappy to get the mother's role. Guy Pollock is the millionaire, Dr. Harvey Dillon his son and Vida his timid wife. Ella Stowbody is her friend while Raymie is the business rival who is the villain. Dr. Terry Gould plays the brother of the girl from Kankakee and Rita Simmons plays the role of the office secretary and Myrtle Cass, the office boy. The story is that of the girl from Kankakee who goes to the city to rescue her brother who is falsely accused in a forgery case. She becomes the secretary of the millionaire and marries his son.

When Sam Clark writes to Percy Bresnahan about the play he sends one hundred dollars to which Sam Clark adds twenty-five to fund the venture. The dramatic club hires the town hall and starts with the rehearsal. Carol decides to have different lighting to create the proper ambience of the humble house of the girl from Kankakee and the millionaire's abode. She gets the different light bulbs from Minneapolis. Only Kennicott, Vida and Guy Pollock help her to get the stage ready. The others sit around and criticize. Juanita complains that Carol would not allow her to wear her scarlet dress in the first act. Rita complains that the office scene was not as it was in the play Little, But oh, My. Raymie's complaint is that he suggested the use of a cyclorama outside the window and that Carol was very sarcastic about it. They all agree that Ella Stowbody knows more about acting and that Carol tries to run everything.


All the actors do not attend rehearsals regularly. After rehearsing for a month Carol discovers that she cannot act. Even Guy Pollock is a bad actor but Raymie acts the part of the villain very well. Everybody gets tired of the play and complains. Even Carol is tired of repeating her few lines. They become fidgety and play with the lights and laugh at the other actors as Carol tries to teach them.

Carol watches a professional play Sun bonnet Nell; A dramatic comedy of the Ozarks. She finds the audience of Gopher Prairie enjoying even such a banal comedy and doubts if it is worthwhile to go through all the trouble to present a play. She gets some confidence when all the tickets for the play are sold and when Bjornstam tells her that she is the only one who can present a good play.

On the day of the staging of the play everything goes wrong. The lighting doesn't work as Carol has planned. The actors become nervous. Vida behaves as if the entire audience is her class. Only Raymie concentrates on his acting. Bjornstam leaves the hall after the first act. Carol calls the actors together and wants to know if they would work hard to present another play in September. They do not wish to commit themselves. She hears the banker, Mr. Gougerling tell Howland, the grocer that though the play was good he would prefer to watch a movie. Carol knows that it was the end of her dramatic club. But the Dauntless gives a favorable report of the play praising the actors and the director. She tries to draw comfort from the fact that Gopher Prairie was a market town to help the farmers and one should not expect it to have highbrow taste. Then she hears Wes Brannign assert that the town exploited the farmers by forcing them to sell for whatever price they want to pay. They prevented them from selling their produce in markets outside the town so as to get a better profit. She loses all her faith in Gopher Prairie and life becomes monotonous. The two interests in her life are her baby and her friends-the Bjornstams.

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