A lexicographer's room gets trashed and notes scattered just as he was in the process of compiling a dictionary.




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A lexicographer's room gets trashed and notes scattered just as he was in the process of compiling a dictionary.

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Release Date:

19 July 1975 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Eleventh Hour: The Boundary  »

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Association of ideas - I would love to see this again
9 February 2013 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I must have watched this when it was first transmitted in 1975. It was one of a series of plays called Eleventh Hour - a script written rehearsed and transmitted within a short period of time - so it had only limited relevance.

I remember the basic premise of the play: a room in total disarray, with papers lying all over the place. The papers belonged to a lexicographer, who was in the process of compiling a new dictionary or thesaurus. The lexicographer's work was ruined - all his carefully arranged pieces of paper strewn about a room.

There was a french window - and in the french window a shattered pane of glass. Who had wrought this havoc? Was it a burglar, or merely some passing vandal? Vaguely in the background one could hear the dulcet sounds of a cricket match - a typical English summer's day. The main protagonist - played by the peerless Frank Thornton - laments the destruction of his work. And gradually he begins to mix up his words: malapropisms abound.

Which is why I thought of The Boundary this evening. I was eating a macaroon... and for me the word macaroon is now forever associated with the word octoroon, since I saw this play. The script was co-authored by Tom Stoppard, and bears the hallmark of his playful use of the English language.

And I remember the end moments. A transistor radio sits on a table amongst the chaos, and from it comes the dulcet voice of the famous cricket commentator John Arlott - he too is making a mess of his words! So it now becomes clear what caused the broken pane of glass - and the draft which has blown all the paper about the room.

Does a tape of this transmission still exist? Or even a copy of the script?

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