Reading-Text One, Frank Arthur
Twenty Minutes with Mrs. Oakentubb is a melodrama written by Frank Arthur. The playwright keeps commendable significance in the twentieth century literature. The play, throughout the whole process comprises conversation between two persons. It has three characters: One woman and two men. The woman is Mrs. Judy Oakentubb. One of the men is the husband of that woman who had been killed in a car accident along with her daughter, presented as ‘He’. The accident was caused by Mrs. Oakentubb’s rough and reckless driving. The other man is the porter at the railway station where this drama takes place on a dark, cold and stormy night.
Socially, Mrs. Oakentubb belongs to the rich professional or business class. She is recognized by her speech, manners and dress. The man is socially inferior to her and seems to be a person of mediocre scale by his talk and appearance. He is going to Stainthorpe where Mrs. Oakentubb lives. His intention is to kill her as a revenge for the killing of his wife and a daughter. He is bitter and unhappy man. Although Mrs. Oakentubb spent eighteen months in jail for causing the death of two persons in a car accident. The man thinks that she has to suffer a wild punishment. He considers that Mrs. Oakentubb had committed a murder and the punishment for the crime was death. Now he has taken up the cause of punishing her.
The chance has brought them together at a lonely railway station. It is late in the night and is severe cold. For Mrs. Oakentubb, the man is complete stranger but for the man she is not. However, he pretends to be a stranger. They both began to talk each other because they had to wait for twenty minutes. The train was due to leave after this breakup to carry them to Stainthorpe.
It is their conversation, which brings out the plot of the play. The man talks to Mrs. Oakentubb that he is going to Stainthorpe to see one Mrs. Oakentubb, who has killed his wife and a daughter in a car accident. Mrs. Oakentubb is pretending to be someone else. The man tells her that he considers Mrs. Oakentubb guilty of murder and goes on describing the circumstances in which the accident took place.
When Mrs. Oakentubb realized that man is bent upon executing justice by killing her, she decides to dramatize the situation and begins to act. She tells him that she had been under severe strains since the tragic accident took place. She was haunted by the terrible scene. She could neither sleep nor found any rest since then.
She urges him to kill her and let her free from the torture and pain. On the contrary, he wants to give her severe punishment in the most painful way. He thinks that to let her alive would be more reasonable and torturous punishment rather than killing her. He pockets the revolver and walk out of the room. Mrs. Oakentubb immediately changes herself and makes fun of him. She makes mocking gestures at him. While she is standing, he opens the door, points the gun and shoots her to death.