Mr. Clever

I recently had a short play I wrote on at the Bush Theatre, and while I was waiting for the show to come down though, I took a book out of the library. It’s called Mr. Clever by Roger Hargreaves.

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In this book, Mr. Clever is the cleverest man in the world, and he lives in Clevertown where everything is very clever. But one day he accidentally wanders away from Clevertown, where he meets many new people, and they all have questions.

“Mr. Clever, why am I so short?” Asks Mr. Small. “Mr. Clever, why am I so hungry?” Asks Mr. Jelly. Mr. Clever doesn’t know! He doesn’t know the answers!

Mr. Clever undergoes an existential crisis, and begins to doubt how clever he really is. Is his whole life a lie? What does he truly know about himself?

In the climactic scene, Mr. Clever is so distracted by his self doubt that he forgets where he lives, and the other characters all laugh at him.

AND THEN THE BOOK JUST ENDS! They just leave him there! No happy ending, no lesson in personal growth. No “he learns he is still clever but that it’s not good to be smug” or anything like that. They just laugh at him for being thick and then it’s over.

Tough book.

The inscription reads “To Jimmy, I thought you might like this book because you are clever at everything. Love Jasmine.”

Has Jasmine read this book? Jimmy is going to freak out when he reads it! What is she trying to say? That he’s not as clever as he thinks? That people are secretly laughing at him?!

Fuck her, Jimmy! She doesn’t know what she’s talking about! You’re doing fine!

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~ by Sandy Nicholson on January 11, 2014.

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