If I Were You by Douglas James

“If I Were You” is a fascinating and captivating play by Douglas James. It is loaded with mystery, surprise, suspense and humour.
The Play Begins at Gerrard’s House Where The Intruder Enters
The play begins in the lodge of Gerrard. He is a playwright. We find that Gerrard is talking with somebody on the phone. He is going somewhere. So after the conversation is finished, he begins packing the travelling sack. All of a sudden a man enters quietly from the right. He is like Gerrard in appearance. He has a pistol in his hand. This intruder is a criminal. He orders Gerrard to raise his hands up. Gerrard obeys him, however, isn’t anxious. He talks wonderfully to the intruder. The intruder cautions him not to try to be smart and answer his questions. Gerrard says he can’t feel good while his hands are up. The intruder tells him for sitting on the chair.

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The Intruder Talks About Gerrard And Himself
From their interaction, we come to know about the intruder and also Gerrard. We become aware that Gerrard’s full name is Vincent Charles Gerrard. He lives there alone. He has a car also. He is a kind of mystery man. In some day he is here and the exact following day he is at nowhere to be seen. He gives his orders on the telephone and never meets tradesmen. Then the intruder talks Gerrard about himself. He informs him that he is a murderer and a criminal. He has practical experience in a jewel burglary. He has murdered a policeman. Presently the police are after him. He knows that he looks to some extent like Gerrard.
The Intruder Discloses His Plan
Then the intruder expresses his plan to Gerrard. He tells Gerrard that he has chosen to murder Gerrard and live there under the guise of Gerrard. From the intruder’s manner of talking, Gerrard surmises that he is a stupid, bombastic man. It would not too hard to get rid of this man.
Gerrard Designs a Story to Save Himself
Gerrard makes up a story. He says that he is also a vicious person and murderer. The police are also looking for him. That is the reason he lives bafflingly. He frequently disappears from that place. He tells the intruder that it would be an indiscretion to murder him. If he killed him, he would be put on gallows if not as himself, then as Gerrard. The intruder starts thinking. This is an opportunity for Gerrard. He smartly tells the intruder that he will take him to a safe place in his car. He asks the intruder that he shall hurry as the police may reach there anytime. The intruder is taken in. Gerrard opens the door and requests that the intruder to enter in. He reveals to him that the door goes to the garage and they will escape in his vehicle. Just when the intruder turns his head to get in, Gerrard pushes him and snatches the revolver out of his hand. Then, he closes the door and locks it. In fact, the doorway does not prompt to any garage. It is the entryway of his cupboard. The intruder shouts from inside to give him a chance to come out. But, Gerrard takes the telephone and calls the police to come. In this way, Gerrard spares his life by a smart trick.

Thinking About The Text

Question No.1
At last, a sympathetic audience?
(i) Who says this?
(ii) Why did he say this?
(iii) Is he sarcastic or serious?
(i) Gerrard says these words.
(ii) He said these words to calm down the volatile situation and win the confidence of the intruder
(iii) He is sarcastic.
Question No.2 Why does the intruder choose Gerrard as the man whose identity he wants to take on?
The intruder is a murderer who has killed a policeman. The police are after him. His physical features have a close resemblance with those of Gerrard. He wants to kill Gerrard and live comfortably as Gerrard.
Question No. 3 “I said it with bullets”?
(i) Whose says these words?
(ii) What does it mean?
(iii) It is the truth? Why does the speaker say this?
(i) Gerrard says these words.
(ii) It means that Gerrard has fired at someone and killed him.
(iii) The statement is not the truth.
He only wants to befool the intruder. He tries to prove to him that he too is a criminal.
Question No.4 What is Gerrard”s profession? Quote the parts of the play to support your answer?
Ans. He works for the theatre. The quotation that supports the answer is. “I can‘t let you have the props in time for rehearsal”.
Question No.5 You will soon stop being smart.
(i) Who says this?
(ii) Why does the speaker say it?
(iii) What according to the speaker will stop Gerrard from being smart?
(i) The intruder says these words.
(ii) He says it because Gerrard does not fear him and he turns the difficult situation into a comedy.
(iii) The intruder warns Gerrard that he would make him crawl.
Question No.6
“They can”t hang me twice”?
(i) Who says this?
(ii) Why does he say this?
(i) The intruder says these words.
(ii) The intruder has killed a policeman. Now he plans to kill Gerrard. If he is caught he will be hanged either for killing one person or two. That is why intruder says that he cannot be hanged twice.
Question No. 7 “A mystery I propose to explain”? What is the mystery the speaker proposes to explain?
Here Gerrard wants to tell the intruder that he has also killed a man. He explains to him that the police are after him too.
Question No.8 “This is your big surprise”
(I)Where has this been said in the play?
(ii) What is the surprise?
(i) Gerrard says these words when the intruder is about to shoot him.
(ii) Gerrard surprises the intruder by saying that he is himself a murderer and police are after him.
Gerrard explains that he has to change places frequently as the police may spot him any time and nab him.


Question.1 Write the character sketch of Gerrard.
How does Gerrard save his own life?
Gerrard was an intelligent, smart and witty person. He has a presence if mind and was brave. He does not feel panic in confronting the vicious intruder in his house. Rather he daringly begins a witty conversation with him in a humorous way. He stretches his argument to such an extent that the intruder comes to believe that police is always running after Gerrard to trap him. He makes the intruder believe that he will be surely hanged at last, if not as intruder then perhaps as Gerrard. At last, he very smartly snatches his revolver from the intruder and locks him into the cupboard. In this way, he saved his own life.
Question 4. Justify the title of the play ” If I Were You”.
Answer. The story of the play revolves around the intruder’s wish and design to impersonate Gerrard, that is, however not fulfilled at the end. The title very appropriately conveys the sense of unfulfilled wish and the impersonation attempts. Therefore, it is perfectly a suitable title to the play.

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