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The Caper. "Don't Know much About Art," by Simon Brett. If you've ever watched a movie where one thief steals from an even worse thief, you've watched a caper. When the criminal becomes a thieving hero, you have  yourself a caper. .

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The Caper


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the caper

The Caper

"Don't Know much About Art," by Simon Brett

slide2
If you've ever watched a movie where one thief steals from an even worse thief, you've watched a caper.
throughout history writer s and audiences have had a soft spot for the criminal
Throughout history writer's and audiences have had a soft spot for the criminal  
  • and a major interest in:
    • how the theft takes place
    • how the criminal will get away
    • how justice will be served
normally stealing is wrong
Normally stealing is wrong
  • But is it wrong if the government is failing the people through the over taxation of an illegitimate ruler? 
slide10
When the villain, in this case Prince John, is more evil than that person stealing from them, the petty thief becomes the hero in our twisted sense of justice. 
so stealing is wrong
So stealing is wrong . . .
  • unless your stealing from an undeserving, evil villain for a good cause,
    • like to right their wrongs
    • revenge
    • or justice outside of the law. 
the moral comment is that
The moral comment is that . . .
  • sometimes the underdog doling out comeuppance can replace legal justice so that the audience knows that the bad guy got what they deserved.  
2 the crime is theft not murder
2. The crime is theft, not murder. 
  • It is hard to idealize a murderer.
3 there is a righteous pursuer who may or may not catch the thief
3. There is a righteous pursuer who may or may not catch the thief. 
  • Still, the righteous pursuer can identify with and respect the thief. 
4 the thief is not an evil mastermind
4. The thief is not an evil mastermind
  • he may be smart, but it's the down to earth quality that helps the audience connect with the thief
slide19
5. The focus of the story is how the thief will get in and out successfully, not on how the righteous pursuer will catch them.
6 the thief is rarely harmed when their plans are foiled just a bit of wounded pride at most
6. The thief is rarely harmed when their plans are foiled, just a bit of wounded pride at most. 
slide21
7. The Character is charming, clever, and witty so that the audience will like him/her more than the worse villain. 
characters
Characters:
  • Billy Gorse: narrator, petty thief
  • Wally Clinton: thief who Gorse tried to drive to the airport, but ran out of gas
  • Mr. Loxton: employer, private school voice
  • Mr. Depaldo: the fence
  • Lord Harbinger: Owner of Harbinger Hall
1 the normal villain petty thief is the hero1
1. The normal villain (petty thief) is the hero:
  • In this story, Billy Gorse is the hero. 
    • He's a petty criminal and not a very successful one at that. 
slide26
He looks dumb

Ex pro-wrestler

Stereotypical looking dumb villain

he looks dumber than he is but he s also done some dumb things
He looks dumber than he is, but he’s also done some dumb things.
  • He looms, threatens, and he’s made silly mistakes:
    • Drove the wrong people away in the getaway car.
    • Accidentally returned stolen goods
    • Wrote his address on a ransom note
yet he is less of a criminal than mr loxton and lord harbinger
Yet, he is less of a criminal than Mr. Loxton and Lord Harbinger.
  • We can't help but cheer for him as he out-smarts the two crusty, know-it-all blue-bloods.
2 the crime is theft not murder1
2. The crime is theft, not murder:
  • Billy is hired to steal a painting. 
  • But he’s still a good guy:
    • He tells us that he won't:
      • do murder for hire
      • or mug old ladies,
      • so his crimes seem pretty harmless. 
  • Besides, what's the harm in stealing a old painting from a bunch of rich folks?
3 there is a righteous pursuer who may or may not catch the thief1
3. There is a righteous pursuer who may or may not catch the thief:
  • Yes and no on this one.
    • There is no police man or private investigator pursuing Billy;
    • but Billy becomes the righteous pursuer when he realizes that he is being set up. 
    • He is then the one who must pursue Mr. Loxton and the man he was speaking to in order for himself to survive this deal.  
4 the thief is not an evil mastermind1
4. The thief is not an evil mastermind:
  • Billy is no evil mastermind; but he isn't as daft as he first portrayed himself to be. 
  • He describes himself as a type of brainless, blunt object to be used to mindless tasks only;
  • yet he manages to have the painting handed to him as he goes out the door. 
slide32
5. The focus of the story is how the thief will get in and out successfully, not on how the righteous pursuer will catch them:
  • The story, as told by Billy himself, focuses on how he could possibly steal this painting, or at least survive once he stole the painting. 
  • His success is his ultimate goal.
6 the thief is rarely harmed when their plans are foiled just a bit of wounded pride at most1
6. The thief is rarely harmed when their plans are foiled, just a bit of wounded pride at most:
  • Billy and Lord Harbinger are not harmed. 
  • Billy seemingly embarrasses himself in front of Lord Harbinger, the other guests, and the staff as the painting falls out of his unzipped suitcase as he walks down the stairs. 
  • Lord Harbinger is humiliated in front of his guests as he tries to cover up the insurance scam.
  • Unfortunately, Mr. Loxton gets caught up in his own bombing scheme and dies while trying to drive the bomb-rigged car away from Harbinger Hall.
slide34
7. The Character is charming, clever, and witty so that the audience will like him/her more than the worse villain.
  • What's not to love about Billy's self deprecating humor?