Act I: Scene I
         

           As the curtain rises, we are greeted by our narrator, who is also one of the principal players.  He is Jesus Savez, a Mexican-born immigrant to America, who after much hard work has become a naturalized citizen.  Jesus works in the Transamerica Building, which has a distinctive pyramid shape and is easily recognized as one of the prominent features of the San Francisco skyline.  His occupation is technically classified as mail clerk; however, his actual function in and around the business offices of American Defense Designs (ADD) goes well beyond description.  If you were to ask Mr. Savez what he considers the most important contribution he makes to his place of employment, his answer would undoubtedly be, “attitude.”  Jesus Savez is a happy man, and his happiness is, for lack of a better word, “contagious.”   We see Jesus walking slowly up to a bench at the San Rafael bus stop on US 101, for the Golden Gate Transit System.  Sitting on the bench is a man in a tan raincoat, with a briefcase on his lap.  He wears a high-tech headset, connected by a small, black, umbilical-like cord to a laptop computer, sitting open on top of the briefcase.  However, the man is asleep. Jesus turns toward the audience and says,

 “There’s Roman, sleeping again.  Some people just don’t get it.  I’m not sure whether his lack of life is stealing his sleep, or his lack of sleep is stealing his life.  Either way, Roman Charges is one really messed up guy.  All he wants is a feeling of power, but he’s looking for it in all the wrong places.  He’s always on the phone, or answering his beeper, or playing with his headset.  One time I heard him on the phone to this guy in New Jersey.  He must have asked Roman what the weather was like out here, because Roman gave the guy the temperature, the barometric pressure, the wind direction, and the dew-point.  The sad thing was he never even opened his eyes.  He got all his information by booting up the weather report for the Bay Area.  But all is not lost!  Roman promised me that if I would wake him up when the bus gets here he would go see this doctor friend of mine.  A promise is a promise, and since I have to keep waking him up day after day… I made the appointment!

Here, why don't I introduce you to some of the other fine people who meet here at this bus stop every morning.  Over there is Luke, say hi, Luke.”

Luke: "Hey, Jesus.  'Sup, man."

Luke raises his hand toward Jesus.

Jesus: "Ain't nothin' to it, my man."  Jesus turns to the audience and says, "Luke works downtown in the bloodbank.  He don't like it when I call him a vampire, but he's knows I'm just kidding. 

Then there's Charlie Stackhouse sitting next to him.  Charlie is a nice guy, but he smokes way too much.  He ought to know that this is California and 101 is a no smoking highway.

           The girl over there with the really nice tan is Melanie.  She only goes as far as Marin City, then she gets off and meets some friends who drive up north to Red Rock.  That's the beach where you get an all over tan, if you know what I mean, heh, heh.

             Jesus raises his hand toward the woman standing next to him.

           The nice lady standing next to me is Nurse Merry.  She works with Dr. Pace who I mentioned earlier.  He's the guy Roman has to go see if he wants me to wake him up when the bus comes. 

             Nurse Merry:  "Good morning, Jesus."

             Jesus:  "Good morning, Nurse Merry.  You should be seeing Roman at your office later today."

             Nurse Merry:  "It's about time, Jesus."

             Jesus:  "Over here we have Harry and Al.  Harry's the one with the nice threads.  Al's the one with the hangover, heh, heh."

             Jesus motions to the two men sitting on the next bench over.
             
             "And the pretty little lady sitting next to them is Candy Appleton.  If you were make your way downtown to The Kitty Kat Lounge, you could see a lot of Candy."

               Jesus pauses for effect and says,

             Jesus:  "Did I mention you could see a lot of Candy?  When I say a lot, I mean a lot.   She's what you might call an exotic dancer.  Very artistic, I'm sure."

                Jesus motions toward Roman sleeping on the bus stop bench,

                Jesus:  "And last but not least, there's Roman Charges.  He's a day trader in the city, but he can trade just about anywhere with all those gadgets he's got.  I gotta’ wake him up now cause the bus will be here any minute."

 Jesus walks over behind Roman and gently places his hands on Roman’s shoulders.   The music comes up and he begins to sing,

Song:  


Jesus: “Wake up, Roman Charges. 

It’s me, Jesus Savez.

Don’t you remember you’re riding with us.

Open your eyes and get on the bus, Roman.” 

     The chorus is made up of people from all walks of life.  They are dressed accordingly, and getting on and off the busses as they sing.  Each bus has its destination written in large letters on the top of the façade. (Fisherman’s Wharf-Castro District - North Beach - Nob Hill – The Persidio - Golden Gate Park -Financial District-  Marina District, etc.)

Chorus: “How can you let you life, escape you somehow-

                Knowing that all the time, it’s been here for you now-

                A simple, sweet feeling of power.”

Enter Harry, he rises from the bench where he was sitting with Al and walks toward the sleeping Roman.

Harry:   “Wake up, Roman Charges.

               We heard you promise Savez                                                                            


               You have to go see his doctor friend now.

               You know we’re all behind you somehow, Roman.”

          Chorus:    “How can you let your life escape you somehow-

                            Knowing that all the time it’s been here for you now-

                            A simple, sweet feeling of power.”

Enter Nurse Merry, another rider – placing a large purse on the bench beside the sleeping Roman.

Merry:     “Wake up, Roman Charges.

                  We know, he means what he says.

                  He’ll leave you stranded as we ride away.

                  You’ve got to see the doctor today, Roman.”

Chorus:    “How can you let your life escape you somehow-

                  Knowing that all the time it’s been here for you now-

                  A simple, sweet feeling of power.”

Jesus:       “Wake up, Roman Charges.

                   It’s me, Jesus Savez

                   Don’t you remember you’re riding with us.

                   Open your eyes and get on the bus, Roman.”


Chorus:    “How can you let your life escape you somehow-

                   Knowing that all the time it’s been here for you now-

                   A simple, sweet feeling of power.

Chorus:    “Open your eyes and get on the bus, Roman.

                    Open your eyes and get on the bus, Roman.”

Enter Candy, another rider, as Roman is just opening his eyes.

Candy:      “Hey, Roman!  What you gonna do when you do your life?”

          Roman sits up quickly and rubs his eyes.

Harry:          “Leave Roman alone, Candy.”

Candy:         “Was I talkin’ ta you, Harry?”

Harry:  “I just think you could lighten up a little, that’s all.”


Jesus: “Wait a minute, Harry.  Maybe Candy’s on to something.  Roman  doesn’t really do his life, does he?  He’s just plugged in to everybody else doing theirs.  C’mon, Roman, tell us.”      

Song:  

Jesus:   “What you gonna do when you do your life?

              What you gonna do when you do your life?


               What you gonna do when you do your life?

               I got a lovin' cup as big as the ocean

              That’s what I’m doin’ when I do my life.         

              I like the way the night is filling up with emotion when I do my life.

               What you gonna do when you do your life?


                So what you gonna do when you do your life?

          Roman: “I’ll tell you all about it later.                                               

              I’ll tell you what, and where and how.                                

              I’ll tell you all about it, later today but I can’t talk now.
          
              This time it’s really over-the-limit.                                                     

              This time I’ve got to hit the road.                                                   

             I’ll tell you all about it later.                                                              

             I’ll tell you what, and where and how.                                            

             I’ll tell you all about it, later today but I can’t talk now.


             Next time we'll have a much longer visit


             Next time I'll tell you all I know.


              I'll tell you all about it later


             I'll tell you what and where and how


              I'll tell you all about it later today but I can't talk now.

          Candy: “What you gonna do when you do your life?

              What you gonna do when you do your life?

               I like to get into the island music

             That’s what I’m doin’ when I do my life.

              And when I'm dancin to the Junkanoo I can lose it when I do my life.                                                       
             So what you gonna do when you do your life?


             I 've got a lovin cup as big as the ocean


             That's what I'm doin when I do my life


              I like the way the night is filling up with emotion when I do my life.


             So what you gonna do when you do your life?


            What you gonna do when you do your life?


              I like to get into the island music.


              That's what I'm doin when I do my life.


              And when I'm dancin to the Junkanoo I can lose it when I do my life.


            So what you gonna do when you do your life?


              Roman walks quickly back and forth on stage checking his watch and the names on the front                 of the buses.

         Roman:  “I’ll tell you all about it later.                                              

                I’ll tell you what, and where and how.                              

                I’ll tell you all about it, later today,

                but I can’t talk now.


                This time I've got to hit the road.

                This time I've got ta hit the road.

                I’ll tell you all about it later.

                I’ll tell you what and where and how.

                I’ll tell you all about it later today

                but I can’t talk now.”


     The bus arrives and all the players ascend the stairs.  Jesus and Roman are the last to get on.  Just as they disappear, we hear Jesus

Jesus: “Now Roman, remember your promise.  I made you an appointment for one   o’clock.  And don’t be late!”


Act I: Scene II (Split Stage) The office of Dr. Pace / The kitchen of Patrice and Desiree

     As the curtain rises, the audience sees a split stage.  Roman is seated on an examination table in his boxer shorts, knee high black socks, and a tee shirt.  His laptop computer is still close at hand as evidenced by the ever-present headset still in full operation. Nurse Merry is just taking a thermometer out of his mouth, and holding it up to the overhead light.

     On the other half of the stage, Roman’s beautiful wife, Patrice, and her equally beautiful daughter, Desiree, are tidying up the kitchen after putting away the breakfast dishes.  Patrice is humming a tune that plays concurrently with a tune that sung by Nurse Merry.  Desiree asks her mother,

Desiree: “Mother, why can’t daddy be home more often?  I mean, even when he’s here, he’s somewhere else in his mind.  I just wish he could turn off the headset once in a while, and actually talk to us.  Doesn’t it bother you?  Does he wear that stupid thing in bed?


Patrice: “Not usually, dear, although it’s hard to say.  He comes to bed long after I’m asleep, and when I wake up, he’s usually gone.  I know he uses the headset for his stock trading, but sometimes I think he uses it to hide behind.

Desiree: “But that’s silly.  How can you hide behind something that’s on your head?”


Patrice: “I don’t know, sweetie.  All I know is that your father is a very complicated    

               man sometimes.”


Desiree: “What exactly does daddy do, on that computer of his?”

Patrice: “Well, he doesn’t really do anything.  He just buys and sells the things that

                other people do.”

Desiree: “Poor daddy.  That sounds kind of empty to me.”

Patrice: “Me too, sweetie.  Me, too.”
 

Lights slowly fade on home scene as lights slowly come up on office scene.

 (Colors: Warm orange-red at home/ Green at office)

                             Nurse Merry and Roman have been silent during the conversation between Patrice and Desiree.  Now we hear Nurse Merry as the lights become brighter on their half of the stage.

Merry:         “Don’t worry Roman.  The Doc’s gonna fix you right up.  One time I was havin’ a little trouble sleeping, and Doc gave me these pills…Hoo-Weee!  I was in never-never land for about a day and a half.”


Roman: “I don’t want any pills, Merry. I have to stay sharp.  Do you realize that the stock market could change drastically in a day and a half.  I could lose everything!”

Merry: “Oh that’s right, you’re a day-trader aren’t you.  Tell you what Roman, I’ll trade you a Monday, for a Saturday.  Whadda ya say?”

Roman: “Very funny, Merry.  I happen to be making a very important trade, as we speak.”

(Song: Day Trader)

Merry and Desiree on opposite sides of the stage sing:


“Day trader, day trader, what will you trade. 

Day trader, you’re trading your whole life away.”

You trade your days for your family

Your nights for your sleep

You trade your soul for the promise

You know you won’t keep

Day trader, day trader, what will you trade

Day trader, you’re trading your whole life away.”

            Patrice sings on her own:


            “Please understand him.  He’s doing his best.

               A demon commands him, and gives him no rest.

               A fool’s desperation, to race against time.

                A life without passion, a passionate crime.”

          Nurse Merry and Desiree sing while Patrice repeats her song:


          (Both songs sung Simultaneously)


                                 “Day Trader, day trader

                                  What will you trade?

                                  Day trader, you’re trading

                                  Your whole life away.

                                  You trade your days for your family

                                  Your nights for your sleep.

                                  You trade your soul for the promise

                                  You know you can’t keep.”

Three members of the chorus begin a rhythmic chant accompanied by congas, bongos, and drumsticks on blocks.

The chant goes: Gotta-get-ahead-gotta-go-gotta-get-there.

                               Gotta-get-ahead-gotta-go-gotta-get-there.

          The time signature is 4/4, with each of the three singers taking each part.

  Singer #1-Gotta-get-ahead-

                     Singer#2-gotta-go-

                     Singer#3-gotta-get-there

           The drums and singers alternate back and forth four times

          demonstrating the staccato nature of the chant and heavily

          accenting the word ‘gotta.’ (Designation=Chant-Alpha)

                           After the fourth duplicated chant the singers and

percussionists continu;, however, the only spoken word is ‘gotta.’  The volume slowly fades down until the doctor arrives.


(Note:  Although the time signature is 4/4, later the same chant is performed during the set change for Act III Scene II (Roman   Wakes  Up) with a different time signature.  It changes to 6/8  for this chant Singer #1 has double duty.  The chant for 6/8 = 

Singer#1-Gotta-get-ahead-

Singer#2-gotta-go-

Singer#3-gotta-get-there-        

Singer#1-Gotta-get-ahead!

Singer#1-Gorra-get-ahead-

Singer#2-gotta-go

Singer#3-gotta-get-ahead-

Singer#1-Gotta-get-ahead! 

(Designation=Chant-Omega)


     Enter the doctor, as the lights are lowered on the kitchen half of the stage.  Patrice and Desiree have settled into chairs, and

  remain silent during the remainder of the act.

Doctor: “Mr. Charges, I’m Dr. Pace.  Tell me why you’ve come to see me today?  And would you mind taking off the headset?”

Roman: “I can hear you just fine doctor.  I’d prefer to keep it on.”

Doctor: “As you wish.  Now, tell me what’s troubling you.”

Roman: “I can’t sleep, that’s the only thing that’s wrong.”

   Doctor: “That’s quite a lot Mr. Charges.”

Roman: “If I could just get some sleep, everything else will be alright.”

Doctor: “Do you realize that you’re sitting down, but your feet are still moving?”

   Roman: “So. So what?”

Doctor: “Let me see you keep them still for a moment.”

   Roman: “Why do you want me to do that?”

 Doctor: “Because I don’t think you can.”

   Roman: “That’s ridiculous.”

 Doctor: “Show me.”

   Roman: “I will not!”

   Doctor: “Because you can’t.”


   Roman: “Yes, I can.”

   Doctor: “No you can’t.”

   Roman: “Yes, I can.”

Doctor: “Show me, Mr. Charges.  Show me that you can!      

     As the music starts, Roman tries to keep his feet from moving, but he is unable to do so.  He takes off his headset, and places it on the examination table behind him.  He knows this is a simple request, and he begins to feel embarrassed by his inability to perform the task.  He says to the doctor,

Roman: “I seem to have a lot on my mind lately.  I can do it if I really try.  This proves nothing.  Nothing!  I have an active body.  Plus, I’m a little keyed up, that’s all.”

Song:


Doctor sings: 

“Have you heard, of the word, festination?

          Have you come here for some, palliation?”


Merry sings:   

“Have you heard, of the word, festination?

          Are you slave, to a grave, destination?”              

Doctor and Merry sing:

“Have you heard, of the word, festination.

Festination, festination, FESTINATION!”

Chant-Alpha begins again with the three chorus members chanting simultaneously with the percussionists.  They alternate back and fourth with the Doctor and Merry during the last three recitations of the word festination.  The performance reads:

          Gotta get ahead-gotta go-gotta get there

          Festination,

          Gotta get ahead-gotta go-gotta get there

          festination,

          Gotta get ahead-gotta go-gotta get there

          FESTINATION (Held for eight beats right up until Roman sings the first word of the, Later.   Roman’s first word is, “I’ll-”)

Roman gets down from the examination table and looks at his watch.  He walks over to his clothes lying on a chair by the door and starts to get dressed.  The Dr. Pace and Nurse Merry continue to sing the taunting mantra as he puts on his shirt.  Roman again looks at his watch and begins to sing his song while continuing to get dressed.  He puts on his pants, and looks at his watch while singing.  Finally Roman puts on his shoes, looks at his watch still singing.

(Song: Later)

Roman: “I’ll tell you all about it later.

          I’ll tell you what, and where, and how.

I’ll tell you all about it, later today, but I can’t talk now.

          This time it’s really over-the-limit.

          This time I’ve got to hit the road.

          I’ll tell you all about it later.

          I’ll tell you what, and where, and how.

I’ll tell you all about it, later today, but I can’t talk now.

          Next time we’ll have a much-longer-visit.

          Next time I’ll tell you all I know.

          I’ll tell you all about it later.

          I’ll tell you what, and where, and how.

I’ll tell you all about it, later today, but I can’t talk now.

          The music ends and the doctor says to Roman,

Doctor: “I’m going to give you a prescription, Mr. Charges.  Something that will help

                  you sleep.”

  Roman:  “That’s it?”

Doctor: “That’s it.”

Roman: “There.  I knew there was nothing wrong with me.  Wait till I tell Savez. 

                He thinks he knows everything that one.

  Doctor:  “I didn’t say that there was nothing wrong with you.  I’d like to see you                 

    again next week.”

  Roman:  “What?  What do you mean?”

Doctor: “You have a very serious illness, Mr. Charges.”

   Roman:  “What illness?  I feel fine.”

Doctor:  “You have what we call, generalized anxiety disorder.”

  Roman: “Egad!”

  Doctor: “No…GAD.  When it becomes excessive, then it will be EGAD.  For now,    it’s just GAD.  It’s still a very serious condition.  In fact, if it isn’t corrected in time, it’s nearly always terminal.”

  Roman: “Terminal?  How could it be…?”

          Lights fade to black and stage crew sets up for act two.  Bring in bench and buses.  (Dancers become buses-each dancer is a separate bus with their bodies visible from the waist down)  (Optional-image of tire tread on legs)

Act II, Scene I

               A crisp morning with birds singing once again finds Roman asleep on the bus stop bench.  There is a mist that speaks of a possible shower, and as we see Jesus enter stage left, we notice that he’s putting up his collar to brace against the chilly wind off the Richardson Bay.  Enter Allan stage right, and both men come to a stop in front of Roman and sadly shake their heads.

Allan:   “He’s at it again, Jesus.”

Jesus:   “There’s our sleeping giant.”

Allen:   “What do you suppose happens if we don’t wake him up?”

Jesus:   “He misses the bus.”


Allen:   “And?”

Jesus:    “He misses work.”

Allen:   “What’s he working on now?”

Jesus:  “I don’t know, some kind of futures.  You know, soy beans, orange    juice, that kind of stuff.

Allen:   “Futures?”

Jesus:   “Yeah, I think so, why?”

Allen:   “He’s in essence, gambling on futures.”

Jesus:    “You got it.”

Allen:    “Well, I guess he has a lot of experience.”

Jesus:    “I hear ya’.”

 Jesus taps Roman on the shoulder and says,


Jesus:  “Wake up, buddy.  What-sa’ matter, didn’t sleep again?”

Roman: “Not too much, Jesus.”

Jesus:    “So what did the doctor say?”

Roman: “He said I’m fine.”

Jesus:    “Oh yeah? Well Merry said you have G-A-D.”


Roman: “And that stands for, Get Another Doctor.”

Jesus:    “Did you take the pills?”

Roman: “No.  I had to stay sharp for the Tokyo

                  market opening this morning.”

Jesus:   “When are you gonna learn, Roman.  Your life is

                 just too complicated.  You’ll never get any sleep.”

Music begins and Jesus begins to dance around the bench and sing,


Song: 

          Jesus:  “I got to tweet-tweet-tweet, with the buzzin’ of the bumble and the honey-bee.”

 Allen:  “You . . . always know just what to do

   Always got some where to go

    I just thought you’d like to know

Jesus, Allen and Chorus: “I’m on the simple side”

Chorus: “I got to tweet-tweet-tweet, with the buzzin’ of the bumble and the honey bee.”

Jesus, Allen and Chorus:  “I’m on the simple . . . I’m on the simple side.”

Allen:   “You . . . tell your mind your heart is true…

             But you never let it show…

             Turn your back on what you know-


Jesus, Allen and Chorus: “I’m on the simple side.”

Chorus: “I got to tweet-tweet-tweet, with the buzzin’ of the bumble and the honey bee.”

Jesus, Allen and Chorus:  “I’m on the simple… I’m on the simple side.”

Allen:  “You… there behind the attitude…

            Think you never let it show…

             I won’t say I told you so-  

Jesus, Allen and Chorus: “I’m on the simple side.”

                     Chorus: “I got to tweet-tweet-tweet, with the buzzin of the bumble and the honey bee.”


Jesus, Allen and Chorus: “I’m on the simple… I’m on the simple side.

              I’m on the simple side.

              I’m on the simple… I’m on the simple side.”

Chorus: “I got to tweet-tweet-tweet, with the buzzin’ of the bumble and  the honey bee.”

To close Scene I, all the players once again board the bus for the city.

Lights fade down as stage crew sets up kitchen/bedroom scenery.  Lights slowly come up on kitchen scene to highlight Desiree and Patrice.

Act II, Scene II:  The Kitchen / Desiree’s Bedroom)

A split stage is set with Patrice and Desiree in the kitchen left, and Desiree’s bedroom on the right. We see Roman enter stage left and walk over to the coffee pot on the counter.  He barely stops moving as he pours himself a cup, and then moves to the table and picks up a piece of toast.  He walks around the room eating the toast, occasionally slowing down to sip out of the coffee mug in his hand.  Patrice pleads with him,


Patrice:“Oh, Roman.  Can’t you slow down long enough to sit with us for a minute?”

  Roman: “I don’t have a minute, Patrice.”

(Chant-Alpha)

Drums:(Gotta-get-ahead-gotta-go-gotta-get-there-

                          Gotta-get-ahead-gotta-go-gotta-get-there)

   Patrice:  “Please Roman, just take a deep breath and relax. The job will still be

     there waiting for you.”

Roman: “I can’t slow down now, Patrice.  Not unless you want to give up the cottage

on Bolinas Bay.  What do you want to do without,   Patrice?  Your new             clothes? Your new car?  I can’t stop now, or I’m sure to lose inertia.  You wouldn’t want me to lose inertia, would you?”


Patrice: “Oh heavens no!  God forbid you should lose your precious inertia!”

               Desiree stands pushing back her chair in one motion.  Visibly upset, she hold a napkin to her eyes briefly, and cries to Roman as she runs out of the room,

Desiree:  “Oh, Daddy, how can you be so heartless?”

We see her enter her room and throw herself on the bed in tears.

The music slowly builds in volume until it has established a rather loud and frenzied pace.  Desiree picks up a rag doll and stands back up holding it to her chest.  She begins to sing as the lights in the kitchen begin to fade.

Song:

 Desiree:        “Dear Inertia, he says he needs you

                      And now I fear that you will never set him free.

                      Won’t you answer my plea - send him back home to me.

                      Dear Inertia, I guess he loves you

                      So you must be much more beautiful than me.

                      Won’t you answer my plea – send him back home to me

                      Dear Inertia, won’t you share him

                      Mother often cries her weary self to sleep

                      How we live in misery - send him back home to me.

                      Dear Inertia, he says he needs you

                      And now I fear that you will never set him free

                       Won’t you answer my plea -


                       Send him back home to me.

                      Dear Inertia, won’t you share him.

                      Mother often cries her weary self to sleep.

                      How she lives in misery -


                      Send him back home to me.

    As the music fades, Desiree once again flings herself facedown on the bed.  The lights are then lowered to complete darkness.  Curtain falls.

                 INTERMISSION

Act III:Scene I – Roman’s Dream Sequence

The Academy Awards For Arts And Viruses

          Our scene opens at the bus stop with Roman seated leaning against one of the columns that support the small roof over the bench.  An instrumental medley of the previous music begins and buses appear – stage right and left – briefly pulling up to the bench and then moving back off stage.  Dry ice smoke replaces the buses and create a fog at Roman’s feet.  The smoke reflects many different colored lights to begin the dream sequence.  As the smoke thickens, the dancers come forth and set the stage carrying tables and chairs and finally a podium for Jesus, as Mono, the master of ceremonies at the Academy Awards For Arts And Viruses.
                                                     
Jesus as Mono, The Master Of Ceremonies:

     “Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.  Welcome to the Two-Thousand-Sixth Edition of the Awards Ceremony for the Academy Of Arts and Viruses.  We have a very special program for this evening.  As you know, “The Big C” is being presented with a death-time achievement award.  In addition, you’ll also hear musical presentations from, Al, myself, and the newest and deadliest kid on the block, none other than Harrison Isaac Vanderbucks.  Also we hope to hear from Roman Charges, provided he rises from his slumber on the bus stop bench.

Ahh, here he comes now.”

     Roman rises from the bench at stage left and walks toward center stage.

Roman as himself:  “What?  What’s going on here?  Jesus, what are you doing dressed in a tuxedo?  Who’re all these people?”

Charlie Stackhouse as “The Big C”:  “You know me, Roman.  We ride the bus together every morning.”

Roman:  “Charlie, what’s going on here.”

The Big C:  “It’s the Academy Awards, Roman, and, you’re the guest of honor.”

Roman:  “What Academy?  Is everyone crazy?”

Candy as Candida:  “No, Roman.  Everyone’s deadly.”

Roman:  “Candy? Is that you?”

Candida:  “It’s Candida, Roman.  And congratulations on your special night.”

Roman:  “What special night?  What are you talking about?”

Mono:  “Candida is referring to your entrance into the academy, Roman.”

Roman:  “I don’t want to join any academy.  I just want to get on the bus.

Mono:  “It’s too late, Roman.  You’ve developed festination into an art form.  You’ve finally brought workaholism to the point of a terminal disease.  You should be very proud.”

Melanie as Melanoma:  “Hi Roman.  Do you like my tan?”

Roman:  “Melanie?  Is that you?”

Melanoma:  “It’s Melanoma, Roman.  I’m finally done.  I’ve spent enough time in the tanning booth.  Care to stick a fork in me?” 

   Luke as Leukemia:  “Hey Roman, remember me?”

Roman:  “Sure.  You’re Luke, from the blood bank.”


Leukemia:  “My name is Leukemia, but you can call me Luke if you like.  How about a pint of your finest while we wait for our drinks?”                                              

Roman:  “I don’t think so, Luke.”

Leukemia:  “Oh well, you can’t blame a guy for trying.”

Dr. Pace:  “Hi Roman.  I’m the one who recommended you.”

Roman:  “You!  You’re a quack!”

Dr. Pace:  “Don’t thank me now, Roman.  You can thank me from the other side.”

Roman:  “What other side?  What are you talking about?”

Mono:     “Roman Roman, Roman!  You have so much to learn.  You’ve cast your lot, my friend.  You’re about to go over to the other side. You know, the big awards ceremony in the sky.  We knew you’d make it.  We were all counting on you.  Now just sit back, relax and enjoy the show.  I’ll cue you when it’s time for your number.”

Roman:  “What number?  Jesus, help me understand all this!”

Mono:  “It’s Mono, remember?  I have to go for a costume change.  I’ll see you later.”

     Jesus as Mono leaves the stage and the lights come up on the players seated at a table.  Charlie as “The Big C” is at one end, and Candy as Candida is at the other end.  In the middle are seated, Melanie as Melanoma, Allen as Alcoholism,  Luke as Leukemia, Dr. Pace, Nurse Merry, and of course, Roman.  Mono enters stage right with a cordless microphone in his hand.

Mono:  “Presenting a special death-time achievement award are Dr. Pace and Nurse Merry.  Let’s all give them a warm round of applause, shall we?”

Dr. Pace:  “Ladies and gentlemen, this is a special moment in the history of the academy.  It’s time to pay tribute to the number one cause of pain and suffering in the world today.  Once again, coming in well ahead of the wide world of warfare, I give you…the King of Carcinoma…known affectionately to us all as…The Big C!”

     Charlie Stackhouse as The Big C, stands with his hands on the table in front of him.  After a moment of looking around the room to savor the moment, he slowly makes his way to the stage.

Nurse Merry:  “With the help of air pollution and tobacco, The Big C is proud to boast of a growing death toll, that numbers more than ten million souls so far.  Once again, let’s here it for The Big C!”

     The Big C steps up to the microphone at the podium and raises his hand to halt the ovation.

The Big C:  “I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the wonderful people who’ve made this moment possible for me.  First of all, the tobacco companies.  Without the wonderful and inventive ways that they provide for people to poison themselves, I would be a very minor player in this evening’s festivities.  Also I’d like to thank the people who put asbestos in building materials for such a long time.  Really, the list is so long, that I’m sure to forget someone, but, let me just thank specifically the political proponents that profit from water and air pollution, and the entire spectrum of radiation.   Without them I would be nothing.  All of you have made lasting contributions to my efforts.  So in closing, I would like to thank the entire Academy of Arts and Viruses from the bottom of my lungs!” 

     Charlie as “The Big C” steps from the stage amid a standing ovation from the academy audience, in addition to calls of, “Well Done!”


     Mono steps forward to the microphone and says:

Mono:  “And now for the special treat I promised you at the opening of the ceremony.  I believe the stage is set, so please help me give a warm welcome to one of our fastest growing artists.  Ladies and gentlemen I give you…Harrison!”

     The music builds and Harrison makes his entrance from stage left. First comes his white tipped cane, then a top hat, and finally bent from the waist and backing through a curtain on staccato little tap steps he emerges singing,


Song:

Harrison: 

“I’m Harrison Isaac Vanderbucks, a little surprise for you. 

A little bit more than you bargained for. 

That’s a fine how-do-you-do to you. 

That’s a fine how-do-you-do. 

Going gently into that good night is not for me. 

Learn to damn the monogram its- H. I. V! 

Harrison Isaac Vanderbucks, a little surprise for you. 

A little bit more than you bargained for, now, that’s a fine how-do-you-do to you-yes that’s a fine how-do-you-do. 

That’s a fine how-do-you-do to you - yes that’s a fine how-do-you-do.  That’s a fine how-do-you-do to you - yes that’s a fine how-do-you-do.  That’s  a  fine   how-do-you-do  to you  -    yes that’s  a fine how-do-you-do. 

Going gently into that good night is not for me.  Learn to damn the monogram it’s- H.I.V!

 Harrison Isaac Vanderbucks, a little surprise for you.  A little bit more than you bargained for, now, that’s a fine how-do-you-do to you-yes that’s a fine how-do-you-do.”  Repeat - That’s a fine how-do-you-do to you-yes that’s a fine how-do-you-do.

     With each how do you do, a dancer turns to the side and greets the next dancer.  This proceeds all across the stage with the lighting following each new dancer greeted.  The previous dancers in the line are left in darkness as the lighting proceeds to highlight each new victim.  The final, how do you do, is completed as a dancer turns toward a dental chair that has just been rolled in from stage left.  That dancer reaches both hands into the mouth of the last dancer in the line who is seated in a dentist’s chair.  The obvious implication is that the dentist is giving HIV to one of his patients.

     The chorus moves to the rear of the stage.   Jesus takes the podium after Harrison and the dancers finish Harrison’s song.

Jesus:  “And now ladies and germs before we hear from our newest member of the academy.  A very special guest has agreed to appear here tonight to perform a wonderful tribute to us all.  Tonight, for the first time on any stage on any planet in any solar system, I give you, The Reaper!”

Song: 


The Reaper:  “Because you all have belief in me,

                      I have belief in myself.

                      Although I know when I lose the dream

                      That I shall lose you as well.

                      May come without any warning.               

                      Moon may not ride on the night.

                      Sun may not rise in the morning.

                      As they go into the light.

                      You must go visit your mother soon.

                      She doesn’t answer the phone.

                      Her spirit lives with a part of you.

                      Soon you’ll be living alone.

                      May come without any warning.

                      Moon may not ride on the night.

                      Sun may not rise in the morning.

                      When you go into the light.

                      Creation’s fire shall call for me.

                      And I shall ride nevermore.

                      Then not a teardrop shall fall for me.

                      But they shall drown my pale horse.

                      May come without any warning.

                      Moon may not ride on the night.

                      Sun may not rise in the morning.

                      When I go into the light.

                      Now that I know you believe in me.

                      I can believe in myself.

                      Although I know when I lose the dream.

                      That I shall lose you as well.

                      May come without any warning.

                      Moon may not ride on the night.

                      Sun may not rise in the morning.

                      When we go into the light.

                The reaper finishes his song recognizing all the members of The Academy who call for his services.  He addresses Roman directly as he says,

                                  The Reaper:  “I come here tonight to introduce the newest resident of the eternal darkness.  With his constant dedication and tireless connection to his computer terminal, he has represented festination to a degree which approaches Life’s Master Thief!  My hood’s off to you sir!  Please give a warm welcome to Mr. Terminal himself, Roman Charges.”

       A rather dazed and confused Roman Charges walks slowly to the podium as the music for his song begins.  The chorus is dressed in togas and angel costumes for the remainder of the dream sequence.

Song:


          Roman:          “How can it be?”

          Chorus:          “Terminal!”

          Roman:          “Oh, Lord.   No, Lord.

                                  How many years?”

          Chorus:          “Terminal!”

          Roman:          “Oh, Lord.   No, Lord.

                                  I couldn’t see, It happen to me.                

                                  I have to know how many years.

                                  How can you say?”

          Chorus:          “Terminal!”

          Roman:          “Oh, Lord.  No, Lord.

                                  There must be a way.”

          Chorus:          “Terminal!”

          Roman:          “Oh, Lord.  No, Lord.

                                  If I can trade, the choices I’ve made,

                                  I can live all of my days.

                                  I can’t believe.”

          Chorus:          “Terminal!”

          Roman:          “Oh, Lord.  No, Lord.

                                  I must be deceived.”

          Chorus:          “Terminal!”

          Roman:          “Oh, Lord.  No, Lord.

                                  I couldn’t see it happen to me.

                                  I have to know how many years.”

          The chorus sings a slow version of the song, Festination adding some lyrics and ending with a hauntingly slow last line of Harrison’s song.

Song: Festination – Briefly Revisited

          Chorus:          “Have you heard of the word festination.”

Song: Harrison’s Song - Briefly revisited

          Chorus:          “That’s a fine how do you do to you.

                                  That’s a fine how do you do.”

          Roman stands before the theater audience in an angelic pose with his arms outstretched and raised to the heavens.  He shuffles back over to the bus stop bench stage left and sits down just as the chorus ends their last “How do you do.”

          During this set change the instrumental begins with a 6/8 rendition of The Island Song, which has built-in stops to allow the initiation of Chant-Omega.  This is the first time Chant-Omega is introduced.  There are three alternations at this point-Drums-Chant-Omega-Guitar for four measures. (Repeated twice)Then the guitar plays solo going to the chorus section of The Island Song and back.  


Act III: Scene II  -  Roman Wakes Up

     Roman is back on the bench at the bus stop.  Jesus is sitting there quietly beside him absently drumming on his leg.  The drumming starts slowly, then gets faster and louder until at the last minute we hear Roman’s startled response.


(Chant-Alpha)

Drums:“Gotta get ahead-gotta-go-gotta-get-there

     Gotta-get-ahead-gotta-go-gotta-get-there

     Roman abruptly raises his head and says,

Roman:“Ahhh! No, don’t make me go there.  I don’t want to go.”

Jesus:   “Roman!  Take it easy, buddy.  Go where?

 What are you talking about?”

Roman:  “The academy.  They can’t make me go to the academy!”

Jesus:     “Childhood flashback, huh Roman?”

Roman: “No Jesus.  You were there,”

     Roman stands up and turns back to Jesus,

               “You saw it, didn’t you?”


     Jesus stands up as well,

Jesus: “All I saw was you sleeping on the bench again,                      

 Roman.  Seems to me that you finally had a

             dream that’s all.”

Roman:   “Oh Jesus, you’ve gotta help me!  I need to change the way I’m living

     or else I know I’m gonna die.”

Jesus:   “That’s what we’ve been trying to tell you, Roman. 

    All of us.  We just want you to experience life first hand.”


   Roman: “First hand?”

 Jesus:     “Unplug, Roman!  Come on, you can do it.”

   Roman: “What?  You mean be out of touch?”

 Jesus:    “I mean get in touch.  With yourself, Roman.  

   Roman: “Oh, I don’t know, Jesus.  I mean, it’s been so long.”

     Roman sits back down again and sighs.

   Jesus: “Too long?  Okay, last chance, Roman.  Listen up.

     Jesus rises off the bench and places one foot up and turns back toward

Roman as the music comes up.


Song: 

Jesus sings: “Here is a story that I tell now and then.

                      Hope you won’t mind if I tell it once again.

                      About a blues man who never plays too loud.

                      But in a quiet room he always draws a crowd.”

Chorus:        “They say that he’s backward-

                       I guess he’s guilty as sin.

                      He’s got a feeling of power so he never plugs in.

                      Though his guitar may rattle, and his voice is too thin.

                      He’s got a feeling of power so he never plugs in.

                      Such a feeling of power that he never plugs in. 

                      He never plugs in.”

           Jesus:  “He’s not electric, he never jumps around.

                      Can’t even hear him unless we all turn down.

                      His hands are light-nin’ . . . they’ll take you by surprise.

                      He’s been around, you can see it in his eyes.

Chorus:        Don’t wait a life-time for your life to begin.

                      You’ve got a feeling of power,

                     you don’t have to plug in.

                      You’re lost in a battle

                      that you know you can’t win.

                      You’ve got a feeling of power,

                      you don’t have to plug in.

                      Such a feeling of power

                      you don’t have to plug in.

                      So never plug in.”

     The music fades out and Jesus turns to Roman and says,

Jesus:  “Go ahead, Roman take off the headset.”

     Roman hesitates for a moment and then slips the headset off and places it inside his briefcase.  He places his hands to his head, almost as though he is feeling it for the first time in a long while.  Jesus says to Roman,

Jesus:           “See, Roman?  You don’t need that thing.  You don’t need a lot of things.  The   important thing is to focus on what it is that you really do need.  Understand?


Roman:        “I think so.”

Jesus:           “Now, think about it, Roman.  Think about what you really do need.  And then think about Patrice.  What does she really need?”

Roman:        “Okay, Jesus.  I’ll try.”


     The music slowly comes up as Roman is ruminating over the all-important question of what it is he really needs in his life.  Jesus turns aside and faces the audience with his cupped hand held to the side of his face.  He speaks in a soft voice,

Jesus:  “Poor Roman.  If, in fact, material things are not the true source of his feeling of power, then what is?  It seems like all the things that he thought he needed are

merely desires. They’re just trinkets to stroke the ego and pacify his wife, although Patrice never placed importance to those trinkets in the first place.  All she and Desiree really want is Roman.  Thank goodness it’s never too late to change, is it?”

     The music changes from the instrumental introduction to the lyrics sung by Roman and Patrice on a split stage.  Roman is on the right side and sings to Jesus and the audience – Patrice is on the left side and sings to Desiree and the audience.

Song:  


Roman:                    “Patch of earth I can kneel on so I can pray.

                                  Stars I would wish on are fading away.

                                  Now they can’t hear us, too little, too late.

                                  I need, patch of earth I can kneel on so I can pray.

Roman and Chorus:    “Ever too late we change.

                                  As all our values rearrange

                                  Seem to have so much more

                                  Than we need.”

              Patrice:      “I need, patch of earth I can kneel on so I can pray.

                                  Too many children are wasting away.

                                  Now they can fear us, too little, too late,

                                  I need, patch of earth I can kneel on so I can pray.”

              Patrice and Chorus:  “Ever too late we change.

                                  As all our values rearrange

                                  Seem to have so much more

                                   Than we need.”


             Roman and Patrice:   “I need, patch of earth I can kneel on so I can pray.

                                  Too many children are wasting away.

                                  Now they can fear us, too little, too late,

                                  I need, patch of earth I can kneel on so I can pray.”


      Roman and Patrice and Chorus:    “Ever too late we change.

                                  As all our values rearrange

                                  Seem to have so much more

                                  Than we need.”

             “Well, I need, patch of earth I can kneel on so I can pray.”

       Roman and Patrice kneel down on the stage facing the audience for the last line, “so I can pray.”

       Roman and Patrice alone:  “So I can pray.”

    Jesus turns to Roman and says,

    Jesus:    “That was very nice, Roman, but I can think of someone who would enjoy hearing it much       more than me.”


     Roman:    “You mean Patrice, don’t you?  I suppose

                     I have been a little distant lately, haven’t I?”

     Jesus:      “Just a little.”

     Roman:  “You know, Jesus, I don’t think I’m going to go into work today.  I’ll catch      

                    up to you tomorrow


      Jesus;    “Oh, no you won’t.  Not unless you’re going to Catalina Island.”

      Roman:  “I might just surprise you, Jesus.”


      Jesus:   “Hey Roman?  Can you hear them?”


       Roman:   “I’m not sure I know what you mean.”

       Jesus:       “The islands, Roman.  The islands!”

      Song:  

     Jesus begins to dance and sing


        Jesus:              “The islands are calling.

                                  They’re calling to me.

                                  The islands are calling.

                                  They’re calling to me.”

        Jesus and Chorus:  “We could be there in a heartbeat.

                                 Why don’t we head out to sea?

                                  I’m gonna climb on a moonbeam.

                                  Why don’t you ride one with me?”

        Jesus and Roman:  “The islands are calling.

                                 They’re calling to me.

                                  The islands are calling.

                                  They’re calling to me.”

        Jesus, Roman and Chorus: “The islands are calling.

                                  They’re calling to me.

                                  The islands are calling.

                                  They’re calling to me.

                                  We could be there in a heartbeat.

                                  Why don’t we head out to sea?

                                  I’m gonna’ climb on a moonbeam.

                                  Why don’t you ride one with me?

                         Roman sings softly as he exits the stage:

                                 “The islands are calling.

                                  They’re calling to me.

                                  The islands are calling.

                                  They’re calling to me.

                                  They’re calling to me.

                                  They’re calling…

          The music stops abruptly and the lights go down.


          Act III, Scene III – Roman Becomes Unplugged

         The lights come up as Roman enters his home.  Patrice and Desire rise from their chairs and greet him warmly, surprise evident on their faces.   The chorus us once again dressed in ordinary attire and standing in a semi-circle around the back of the living room. The music rises and Roman sings:

Song: 

Roman:      “I’m living my life.

                      No matter how slowly.

                      Wherever its going,

                      I’ll take you along.

Chorus:      “Don’t follow.

                      No worship.

                      You are the heart of this song.

                      Don’t follow.

                      No worship.

                      You are the heart of this song.

                      You’re the heart of this song.”

Roman:      “Still loving my life.

                      Little ways if I choose to.

                      That I hope will amuse you.

                      You’re the heart of this song.”


             Finally, the entire cast has made their way onto the stage.  The living room furniture is lifted and carried off the stage.  The entire cast moves to the front of the stage and faces the audience for the last chorus holding hands.

Roman,  Patrice, Desiree and Chorus and Cast:             

                    “Don’t follow.

                      No worship.

                      You are the heart of this song.

                      Don’t follow.

                      No worship.

                      You are the heart of this song.

                      You’re the heart of this song.”

                                                                                         The End

          

A Feeling of Power

        The Musical by Wig Nelson