Northanger Abbey

Presenter enters.

PRESENTER: We now present the story of Northanger Abbey. Jane Austen wrote this novel first, even though it wasn't published until after her death, when most of her other works had already been released. Jane Austen says this story was either about filial disobedience or parental tyranny. That means this is a story of disobedient children. Obviously this is not a story with a moral, so now that you are forewarned, we may proceed.

Catherine and Mrs. Allen enter.

CATHERINE: Mrs. Allen, I'm just the daughter of a minister. I can't help but living a very dull life in this small town.

MRS. ALLEN: No, no. You must come with us on our holiday to Bath. You might meet some nice, young men there!

CATHERINE: Thank you.

MRS. ALLEN: Here we are in Bath.

CATHERINE: How lovely!

MRS. ALLEN: Oh yes, but we have no acquaintances. How am I ever going to set you up with a nice, young man?

John and Isabella enter.

JOHN: Allow me to introduce myself. I am John Thorpe.

Mrs. Allen exits.

CATHERINE: Please to make your acquaintance.

JOHN: Oh yes. Let us walk. What a dear you are. So charming. You say your name is Morland? Yes, I know your brother, James. You must meet my sister, Isabella.

John exits.

ISABELLA: Dearest Catherine! My brother is quite attached to your brother and how right it would be that WE be the very best of friends. Have you read Udolpho?

CATHERINE: I'm reading it right now. It's frighteningly wonderful. I can't read it at night for fear I will be terrorized.

ISABELLA: How splendid you love Udolpho also. I'm glad someone else is into gothic horror books. Well, ta ta for now! I must leave to see where John is.

Isabella exits. Henry enters.

CATHERINE: Hello, I am Catherine.

HENRY: I am Henry.

CATHERINE: Do you read novels?

HENRY: No, no, no.

CATHERINE: Have you not read Udolpho? But it is quite the rage, being Gothic and all.

HENRY: I only read Ann Radcliffe. She is half interesting.

CATHERINE: Ann Radcliffe wrote Udolpho. This work is her most superb! You must read it! It will scare the socks off you!

HENRY: Indeed! You must meet my sister, Eleanor tomorrow. I believe you would love both of us.

Henry exits.

CATHERINE: I am pleased at the thought of meeting Henry Tilney's sister. John Thorpe and his sister Isabella are nice people, but there is something about Henry. He is so dreamy.

John and Isabella enter.

JOHN (excited): Catherine!

CATHERINE (surprised): John?

JOHN: Yes, my dear. You must associate with Isabella and I today.

ISABELLA: What fun you are, Catherine!

CATHERINE: Oh no, no, you see I am to meet Henry Tilney and his sister, Eleanor today.

JOHN: You're making false excuses, aren't you?

CATHERINE: No! I am quite serious.

JOHN THORPE: How embarrassing. While I was on my way here, I saw Henry Tilney's carriage drive in the exact opposite path! Surely, he must have forgotten. He may have even misled you!

CATHERINE: Well, they were supposed to be here twenty minutes ago. Something must have happened to detain them.

Isabella and John exit. Henry enters and grabs Catherine's arm.

HENRY (angry): You were out with the Thorpes when we called? Do you not wish to associate with us? I thought you loved me?

CATHERINE: But John Thorpe said he saw you drive to town.

HENRY: Alas no! I did not run into John Thorpe. He must have made this up. How dreadful!

ELEANOR: Catherine!

CATHERINE: Eleanor! Nice to make your acquaintance.

ELEANOR: I have been reading Udolpho. Henry thought it was so good, that he recommended it to me. How frightful, though! I read it at night to scare myself. But oh, did I underestimate its power to terrify!

HENRY: Now she will only read it in plain daylight.

ELEANOR: We shall see you later. Goodbye, dearest Catherine!

Henry and Eleanor exit.

CATHERINE: Eleanor is certainly my best friend now. Oh, it is late! I must return to Mrs. Allen's house.

Catherine exits. John Thorpe and General Tilney enter.

JOHN THORPE: Excuse me, are you Henry Tilney's father?


JOHN THORPE: I believe you son is acquainted with a Catherine Morland.

GENERAL TILNEY: Should I be concerned with her conduct?

JOHN: No, no. You should be concerned with her fortune, however. It is immense and vast. Why, I do believe she must have a large dowry.

GENERAL TILNEY: You don't say!

JOHN: I'd recommend that you invite her to your home at Northanger Abbey. She may take fancy to Henry and they could end up marrying. Your son would be set for life!

GENERAL TILNEY: I daresay! That idea causes me great felicity.

General Tilney exits. Henry and Catherine enter. Catherine is dressed up in Gothic attire and/or makeup from this point on.

HENRY: Catherine! Catherine! You are invited to Northanger Abbey.

CATHERINE: Yes, I know, Henry. Eleanor told me. It'll be exciting to stay in an abbey. It's so Gothic!

HENRY: Quite. It is rather tiresome living in the abbey; excitement is a daily part of our lives.

CATHERINE: Henry, you are in jest! You are making fun of me!

HENRY: Oh no. You see, when Eleanor and I retire to our rooms, the maid who does not look all too human will lead you to a different wing of the house. She will then explain that if you were to scream, no one would be able to hear you. Puzzled, you would discover a locked door right after the maid would leave. However, tugging at it, you find it is not locked, but leads to a very small and damp closet where a chest is located. You find the chest is locked, but the lock is so old and rusty that a simple tug will break the old and rusty lock. You discover a very old manuscript inside the chest, so old so mysterious that you bring a candle close to read it. It's so intriguing that you begin to read the pages in excess of an hour, when the candle blows out at the most exciting part. You make your way back to bed, but cannot fall asleep. Then throughout the night, you hear noises and are thoroughly scared.

CATHERINE: Oh Henry, don't be so silly. Of course, nothing so dramatic would happen at Northanger Abbey.

HENRY: Well, it IS an abbey. Well, here we are. I shall hand you over to the maid.

Henry Tilney exits.

MAID: Here is your room.

CATHERINE (to audience): I wonder when the maid will leave. She's making me nervous.

MAID: I shall be here early in the morning to open your curtains.

CATHERINE: Thank you.

MAID: However, I shall not be near if you need any help tonight. If you were to scream, no one will hear you.

CATHERINE: That will be alright.

Maid exits.

Catherine exits and talks from backstage.

CATHERINE: Oh how odd. There is a strange closet like Henry said and there is an odd trunk, also. A manuscript!

Catherine comes out with a large bundle of papers. Candle and lights go out or something equivalent. Catherine shrieks. Lights go back on as maid enters.

MAID: I told you I'd open the curtains. Hope I did not disturb you.

Maid exits.

CATHERINE: Oh, she woke me up! And I couldn't sleep last night! Oh good, she didn't discover the mysterious manuscript. What? (disgusted) These are old bills! They must have been misplaced.

Henry enters.

HENRY: Good morning dearest Catherine!

CATHERINE: I've been wondering about your mother, Henry. Is still not alive anymore? What happened?

HENRY: She died when I was a young man, and when Eleanor was thirteen. I must run off to town now. I will be back the day after tomorrow.

CATHERINE: But I just got here!

Henry exits.

ELEANOR: Hello dear Catherine!

CATHERINE: Eleanor! Would you please tell me about your mother?

ELEANOR: Why, certainly. She was a dear. If only I had a mother growing up. Let me give you a tour of the house.

CATHERINE: I would love that! Show me your mother's room.

ELEANOR: I would like to, but my father already advised me not to show you. I am sorry.

CATHERINE: Was your father close to her?

ELEANOR: I don't know. I suppose. I must go now.

Eleanor exits.

CATHERINE: She doesn't remember if her father was close to her mother, yet she was all ready thirteen years of age when she died. General Tilney is obviously hiding something by not wishing me to go to her room. And Eleanor does not rave of her parents' closeness. I bet they were at odds with each other. I think that the only believable ending of Mrs. Tilney is that General Tilney killed her. General Tilney is a murderer! I believe I am safe in this house as long as General Tilney is not angry with me.

Catherine exits. General Tilney and John Thorpe enter.

JOHN THORPE: General Tilney.


JOHN THORPE: We meet again! Catherine has deceived you. She has pretended to have great fortune and is a poor as a church mouse, literally. She must leave Northanger Abbey right away, before she thinks you owe her anything more.

GENERAL TILNEY: Indeed. I am enraged at Catherine!

John Thorpe and General Tilney exit. Catherine enters.

CATHERINE: I am to leave Northanger Abbey at once with absolutely no notice! They are throwing me out of their house. General Tilney must have found out that I know of the dreadful murder he has committed, because besides that I think him a very respectable person indeed. Ah, home at last.

Mother enters.

MOTHER: Catherine, get that dreadful makeup off your face.

CATHERINE: But Mother, I am a Goth chick now.

Mother takes a rag and rubs Catherine's makeup off.

MOTHER: When I say get that makeup off, I mean get that makeup off! And quit moping!

CATHERINE: Mother, I'll try. I miss Northanger Abbey, though and it's hard to adjust to normal. Haven't you ever been apart from someone you loved before?

MOTHER: Forget Henry, dear. You must have good sense, now that you are at home.

CATHERINE: "Good sense has very little power."

MOTHER: Catherine! I see you are still acting mournful.

Henry enters.

HENRY: Dearest Catherine. When I came home, I found you were sent away! Oh dearest Catherine. My father absolutely forbade me to see you, because you had no fortune. I came right away to ask you to marry me!

CATHERINE: Oh Henry, I absolutely adore you. I would love for you to be my husband.

MOTHER: Indeed! Not only is Catherine in possession of some money, but she is heiress to Mr. and Mrs. Allen's fortune when they die.

HENRY: Ah, tis no matter to me, but my father will be very happy to learn of your upcoming fortune. Let's marry! All is well.

CATHERINE: But your father! He knows I suspect him of killing your mother.

HENRY: Catherine! My father did no such thing. Eleanor was away right before my mother's death, but I was at home all the time. No such thing occurred.

CATHERINE: Ah yes, my dear! We shall be very happy then.

MOTHER: I'm glad you're marrying a rich man, because you're given to idleness and are no use around the house.

Mother and Catherine exit.

HENRY: And so we married against my father's wishes, being very disobedient. But as soon as Mr. and Mrs. Allen died and Catherine inherited all that dough, Papa came around and we lived happily ever after.

Henry exits.