Fred Hooper:
Chapters in Crystal

BBC Radio 3: Drama Now

Broadcast: Tuesday 7th September 1976 @ 9:35 p.m.

The play opens on a wintery January night with Dr. Samuel Rainbird's writing a ranting suicide note. He feels he's failed as a doctor; as a bus driver; as a man; as a friend; as a financier; as a do-it-yourself expert; as a writer; and as a marriage partner.

As he finishes, he hears a knock at the door. It is an old gypsy with her grandaughter who asks if the house is the residence of Mr. Samuel Rainbird. Surprised at them being out on this wintery night, he invites them both out of the cold and into his kitchen. As she tells him that she saw the light of his house through the trees and came over, Rainbird notices a large basket she is carrying and asks her where did she get his name? The old gypsy ignores the question and then tries to sell him some of her fine, hand-made lace that she has brought with her. She tells him that the lace has the age-old pattern of the gypsy people that has been handed down generation by generation and if he buys the lace, it will bring luck and blessings on the house. The patterns are also the keys unlocking the future as it is the gypsy way of writing down things that can be known.

As Rainbird stares at the patterns he starts to go into a trance....

With Alec McCowen [Dr. Samuel Rainbird], Mary Wimbush [The Gypsy], Angela Pleasence [Rainbow, Dr. Samuel's Girlfriend], Edward Kelsey [Ben Stoney], Eva Haddon [Nichola], and Christopher Bidmead [Tom].

Special sounds prepared by Dick Mills of the BBC Radio Workshop.

This play, the author's first, was submitted to the 1974 Radio Times Play Competition and may have also been broadcast that year.

Produced by Hallam Tennyson.

Re-broadcast on Friday 10th September 1976 @ 9:35 p.m.

65 min.


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