Thursday, October 25, 2007

Well, I Never!

Last night's show, as it turned out, was not at Don't Tell Mama, but the Wings Theater on Christopher Street. And it's a shame that I didn't badger my nearest and dearest into coming to see it, because (you will hardly credit this, but I give you my solemn word), upon arriving at 6:00 p.m. for an 8:00 p.m. show, I was dragooned into running the Booth. I, who have never dared to touch a strange button in my life--at least, not mechanical ones. I spent the two hours before the show as nervous as two virgins, and for the two hours after that, I was as nervous as three.

Now, let's not make too much of this: since no one for this down-and-dirty show actually did any lighting (nor could we have done; the theatre was doing another show on other nights, and all the equipment was set to its specs), there was little to do but bring the lights up for the whole stage at the beginning of the scene, then black 'em out at the end of the scene. The cast, thank God, were very conscientious about remembering their exit lines and the lines leading up to them. Not a one did they miss.

But the computer was not as sensitive to my touch as an old-fashioned light switch would have been, and it wasn't easy to get into the rhythm of the thing--to have the lights fully up before the first line was spoken (but not before the scenery and players were settled), and to black 'em out after the last line ASAP, to prevent tableaux vivants. I shudder to think what the videotape shows.

The one stage-light catastrophe occurred near the beginning. After the opening number, which went reasonably well, I prepared to bring the lights back up when the characters for the first scene on my cue sheet had taken their places. At this point, a body, quite obviously not that of any of the scheduled actors, appeared onstage. I assumed this body was setting up chairs and props, and watched intently, my finger hovering over the button. Suddenly, the body began to deliver, loudly and rapidly, a speech I'd never heard before, and the videotaper was gesturing wildly at me. I cued the lights. Our Fearless Leader was delivering a Manifesto before the sketches began, in praise of the Baby Boomer Generation (I wouldn't have thought it possible to find anything to praise in the BBG, but that's neither here nor there). She had noted it in the schedule she'd e-mailed to us all the day before, but what had that schedule meant to me then, un-dragooned as I then was? And how could it have sunk in to my aging brain, anyway, when we'd never heard the speech in rehearsal, nor ever actually done a full run-through, in any form? Well, next time, I'll know better!

I did have to cue a track for a comic song and six sound effects; well, four, actually, because my dragooner came back and cued nos. 3 and 4 for me. Out of those four, I screwed one up: in the darkness of the Booth, I mistook the "6" on the monitor, telling me how many tracks were on the CD, for the "6," which would have told me that I was about to play that track. I pressed the button, the CD began to play track 1, I realized my mistake at once and pressed "stop," but too late: a doorbell went off in lieu of a mobile. This provoked merriment in the audience, but not of the type desired. At least, not of the type desired by me.

Everyone was very, very kind afterwards. Well, next time, they'll know better!

Another thing: someone referred to me in passing as the musical director. Where did they ever get the idea that I know sweet FA about theatre?

And the show? Better than I expected. The material was good--I've always thought so; but the cast, with a prop here and a shawl there and a good shot of energy, were better than they ever were in rehearsal. No doubt this stuff will be re-enacted elsewhere.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A Fine Parody, I Don't Think

One of my many shortcomings as a parodist is that I start with an idea, which is knocked into a cocked hat along about bar 9, and the lyric goes where it listeth. By the time I reach the end, I can't even remember what the original idea was. Here, for what it's worth, is a take on Jerome Kern's A Fine Romance:

A fine pole dance,
With no strippin'!
A fine pole dance—
She's no pippin:
She's timid, awkward,
Under-rehearsed and nervous.
(She ought to sue that
Aptitude-testing service.)

She snorts loudly,
But can't giggle;
Her boobs pucker—
Her lips jiggle.
So if you think you've even the slightest chance
Getting into her pants—
Tell her your name is Lance.

Lyric © Nathaniel DesH. Petrikov

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

"Windmills," Forsooth!

A (the) commenter to my last post has threatened to divulge his own parody of Windmills of Your Mind, so I feel it advisable (just to show that I actually have attempted it) to post a couple of fragments:

It's another business cycle,
Bringing loss to balance loss;
Under pressure from the fussing
Of your blunder-bussing boss;
Like the trickle of the treacle
As it travels down your chin,
Troubles inundate your office,
To your truculent chagrin;
Productivity is fading,
As your creditors increase;
All your clients are immoral,
Or illegal, or obese;
Your resolve is undermined
By the Bushmills in your mind!

And what does it all mean? Squat—if that. Merely an attempt to replicate the sound pattern of the original. Taking care of the sounds and letting the sense fend for itself.


It began with Prohibition,
And continued with Repeal
And the 21st Amendment
Of the New-by-golly-Deal; . . .

Ending with something like:

In the law, it is enshrined
That our gin mills be refined.

The point of that one was to have been our national prudery anent drinking establishments. §2 of the 21st Amendment, if you haven't read it lately, recognizes (partly expressly, partly impliedly) the power of the States to pass any damfool law they like to control liquor, so it's as much a part of the pattern as the 18th Amendment. But—a treatise on social history in the form of a song parody? Wouldn't that have knocked the ticket-buyers dead! I tell you, the blasted song is beyond me.

Meanwhile, the Baby Boomer comedy group wanted an original blues (assuming that a blues can be original) as a sort of signature tune. A sample verse and sample (unrelated) chorus:

I turn on the tube—
There isn't much I like.
I turn on the tube—
There isn't much I like.
I'd like to know why
They canceled Dick van Dyke.

I got the Boomer Blues.
The bottom-feeding Boomer Blues.
I got the Boomer Blues.
The bathymetric Boomer Blues.
I got the what-the-fuck-now-we're-stuck-with-cheesy-Chuck-Schumer,
[grunt] Baby Boomer Blues.

I wouldn't copyright any of this stuff with a ten-foot pole.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

More Wheel-Spinning

Well, Callipygia never got past my explanation to the director that the song was about fat asses. Instead, I was told off (or so I thought) to write a parody of the Mickey Mouse Club theme:

[Men:] We've been reading Hefner
Since before they called him "Hef":

[Women:] We're so menopausal,
That we sing the tenor clef:

[Solos:] Laugh out loud (what the fuck!),
Omigod (what the fuck!),
And similar expressions of dismay.

[All:] Half of us are impotent
And all of us are deaf:
L-O-L—Elevated blood pressure—
O-M-G—Jeepers, but we're hip!—

Lyric © Nathaniel DesH. Petrikov

Well, I misinterpreted my instructions. Apparently, "and you know what I was thinking too, . . ., to do an introduction of the cast to the MICKY MOUSE tune" does not mean, "please write a proposed parody of same."

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