Host: Welcome to another evening of Masterpiece Theatre. Tonight, we have a special event—an adaptation of the classic novel Bleak House by Charles Dickens. Bleak House is a tale of the absurdities of English law in the 1850s; something which Dickens knew well from his work as a law clerk. Many consider Bleak House to be one of Dickens’s best novels. Tonight, though, we have an added treat. This version of the English classic will be portrayed by the Gremlins from the 1984 motion picture named after them. We hope you enjoy …
Scene opens on a horse hoof landing in a muddy puddle. The camera pans up and pulls back. It is a rainy, foggy, and yes bleak, November day in 1850s London. We see filthy dogs pulling at heels of wet bread, while throngs of people scramble and bump into each other as they make their way past dimly lit store-fronts and buildings. Through the dank, cold slits of daylight we see thick sooty smoke bellowing out of the chimneys of various buildings. The camera makes its way to the wide stone steps of an obviously important building. We see a soot stained piece of stone with the words Lincoln’s Inn Hall on it. The camera moves through the entrance, down dimly lit halls to a pair of doors that swing open. We are inside a packed court room. The camera lands on someone sitting at the bench. We zoom in and focus on his grim (scaly and reptilian) face with a languid expression of boredom and exhaustion on it. The background music swells to a crescendo. We are looking at the Lord High Chancellor.
Lord High Chancellor: AArrggh! Sppattt! Thiipt!
The Lord High Chancellor picks up a sheet of paper, throws it in his mouth and masticates it with wide bites, then spits it across the room where it lands squarely on the forehead of Mr. Tangle.
Mr. Tangle: Haag! Phhhit, franglaang!
Mr. Tangle stands up, picks up his chair, and throws it in the direction of the Lord High Chancellor. The Chancellor ducks. The chair knocks over three law clerks.
The Lord High Chancellor: Heh-heh-heh-heh!
Suddenly a bottle of ink lands on the back of the Lord High Chancellor’s head and explodes, covering him in black ink. He turns and whips a thick law book in the general direction that the bottle came from.
Within seconds all of the characters are throwing anything not nailed down. A Gremlin, who is wearing gobs of thick makeup on his face to make him look like a lady, takes off his matted wig, lights it on fire with a lighter, and throws it across the room. A couple of Gremlins run outside, grab handfuls of mud, return to the chaotic courtroom and start throwing it into the mêlée.
Scene ends: the backdrop, now covered in mud and ink, lifts up quickly revealing bright spotlights that fill the stage with light. All of the Gremlins scream in pain, run off stage.
Host: Well, that was invigorating. Please tune in tomorrow night when we will return to Bleak House in our second installment. In this segment, we will meet Lady Dedlock, Sir Leicester Dedlock, and Esther Summerson. As well, we will meet Krook, portrayed by the infamous Gremlin, Stripe, who, as readers of this venerable classic know, will spontaneously combust. Good evening.