Act One Scene Nine

Synopsis of Scene 9

Dysart talks to Alan, who has come into his office. Alan won’t respond to Dysart’s questions about his dreams, unless Dysart answers Alan’s questions, too. Dysart agrees to answer Alan’s questions, but when he asks Alan a question that makes him uncomfortable, he responds by singing advertising jingles. When 

Dysart says that the session is over after ten minutes, Alan is annoyed and clearly wants to talk more, and eventually gives in and begins to talk.

Commentary on Scene 9

Double diamond … wonders: Alan sings advertising jingles to distract Dysart when he does not want to answer a question. The advertising slogans are also a protest against Frank Strang’s dislike of television. Double Diamond was a beer which was advertised with this slogan in the 1950s, 60s and 70s.

swiz: a rather old-fashioned British slang word meaning a fraud or a swindle – it has previously been used by Frank.

Investigating scene 9...

  • Why does Alan want Dysart to answer questions as well?
    • What sort of questions does he ask him?
  • Why does Alan start singing jingles?
    • Why is he disappointed when Dysart tells him the session is over?
  • How do the stage directions affect your reading of this scene?
    • Think about the descriptive words used to describe how characters behave in the stage directions. How does Shaffer affect our opinions of the characters?
    • Why does the Chorus start to make a humming sound at this point in the play?
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