Listen to Noel Coward (the “Master”) and Gertrude Lawrence strike a perfect balance between dry humor and repressed emotion when two ex-spouses encounter one another while on second honeymoons.
Private Lives is a play written by Noel Coward, first performed in 1930 on the London stage, starring Adrianne Allen and Laurence Olivier as the supporting characters, Gertrude Lawrence as the female lead (Amanda) and Coward in the lead male role (Elyot).
Act One of Noel Coward’s play takes place in a French hotel overlooking a harbor (with an expensive yacht within view of the characters). The two hotel rooms are side-by-side, each with their own balcony.
After Sybil and Elyot exit, another honeymooning couple appear in the next room. The newlyweds are Victor and Amanda (That’s right — Elyot’s ex-wife.) Victor strikes up a conversation similar to he previous couple. He is curious about Amanda’s ex-husband. She reveals that she and Elyot physically fought each other on many occasions:
VICTOR: He struck you once, didn’t he?
AMANDA: Oh more than once.
AMANDA: Several places.
VICTOR: What a cad!