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From Chandler in California:
I was reading through the [Pimpernel] books and my favorite part out of all the novels was when Percy tricked Chauvelin into taking a pinch of snuff, which he replaced with pepper! It was a laugh out loud moment in the book and I was always dissapointed that the movies and the stage productions never included it. Did you ever consider in an earlier draft having that scene in it?

Wednesday, 13 September 2006

Dear Chandler,

Well, I'm not sure how to answer this question except to say that everybody has a slightly different sense of humor or, at any rate, that we all find some things a few degrees funnier or less funny than the guy next to us does. I did find the pepper/snuff incident funny, but not quite enough so to put it in the show. I preferred to base my humor around Percy's character as opposed to a trick he plays. I wanted to concentrate on the broad foppishness he feigns, let him play the fool and do things such as pretending to struggle with the spelling of "Chauvelin," confusing and unbalancing Chauvelin in the process. To me this was funnier and showed more of Percy's clever manipulation of Chauvelin than an incident such as the pepper and snuff. As you may have noticed, my Percy is different from both the Percy of the book and the Percy of the old Leslie Howard movie. I actually spent a lot more time on the laughter element than either the book or movie does- it seemed the right choice for live theatre and it also is just my style. So much of humor is personal preference. Some people love puns. I don't, although sometimes they slip out of me anyway. Writers like Neil Simon write jokes- he has often been asked to come into a show at the last minute and help by making up some jokes for the show. I don't write jokes- primarily because I don't know how to. Jokes don't occur to me, and I'm a little in awe of people like Simon who can just zap them out. I can only write character humor- things that are funny because they spring out of this particular person we're getting to know. I hope this answers your question, Chandler. As with all things, it's just a matter of personal taste. Thanks so much for writing. Best, Nan

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