Opening Night Shenanigans in ‘Absentia: The musical’

Looks like ‘Ab’ sent ya a letter,” the mailman intoned, “…is he really in Absentia?
Yeah“, I told the type-cast Nosy Clerk. “He’s covering the elections; the Absentees fill out their ballots this week.(So far, so good…)
Cause I was there once.” he adds. Uh-oh.
Are you sure? It’s just a made up place, ya’ know. A little joke from my blog site.Here, let me sing about it:” I say, trying to steer the show back onto the paved road.
Oy, I only wish it  were! I was actually there. Had just an awful time.
    People were starting to gather around, on cue, there in the mock-up Post Office. This happens in musicals, when the cast knows there’s a song being cued up by frantic Orchestrians. Or ‘Chestrians’, whatevah…
“See, I was looking for Hope Springs…” he continues, to the over-rapt audience  and to me in specific. Yeah, ‘Specific Groves’, that’s was show’s fictional ‘Our Town’ . But I digress, which was not the Director’s wont.
“…for what seemed like an eternity. Finally stopped in some knee-jerk, jerk-water hamlet and asked a guy for directions.”
“Do go on.” I told the mailman, (as if I had any choice?)  Scenery-chewer!
“Yeah, nu, so what did the guy say?” asks a lady behind me with a kid in a stroller. It was hopeless.
“Well, I think he was the Mayor. Or the King or something. I mean, he had at least two teeth.” says the Postman, on a roll.
“In the Land of the Teeth-less, the Snaggle-tooth is King.” pronounces the guy on my left. That wasn’t in the script either.
“Just like in the Republican primaries…” added a wise-guy from the back. The drummer’s rim-shot only added fuel to the guy’s fire.
“So I says to him, I says, ‘Looks like I’m here in error’, an’ all he does is shake his head and grunt ‘Nope, Error’s up the road an’ then a left’.”
‘But I looked for a sign back at the last junction…’, I protested.” the Mailman drew out the tale.
“‘In Vain?'” the Mayor asks me.
“Yeah, there weren’t no signposts. What’s with you people and directions? Can’t get a straight answer.’ I tell him.”
“Try asking in Earnest?” the Mayor offered, and I took him up on it:
” Ok, your Mayoralty, I’m sincerely lost, and I entreat you to see it in your heart to help me find my way to Hope Springs.”
‘Can’t get there from here.’ was all that dental cripple could say, and I was about to give up.”, the mailman was on a roll with his impromptu tu-tu.
“But then what happened?” came a chorus from the riveted cast of extras in unison. Small ‘U’. The band was meanwhile vamping on an Ab7th chord, trying to professionally finesse this obvious ad-lib ‘excursion’. I mean, the Mailman wasn’t even a goddamn speaking part in the libretto. He was just in there as a tool to prompt my show-stopping ‘Oklahoma’ rip-off aria: ‘Hope….it springs etern’ly like the dew on the flowers in the spring…’ (I didn’t write the song, by the way.)

  I made a command decision: The show must go on. But not necessarily ‘on and on’. I turned around, all the better to hear the roar of the grease-paint, the smell of the crowd and loudly declaimed:
“Well, Mister Postman-wanna-be-a-star here found another luckless pedestrian, who explained:
“You just keep on driving about five miles, get to the cul de sac, ok?”
‘That’d be my Wit’s End, right?‘ he asks.”
“Yup, and then look to your left, there on the hill. Three towns, you can see ’em from the road. The middle one’ll be yer Hope Springs. It’s above Reproach but below the ‘Radar-enabled Digital Gated communities for the Disabled’.”
“‘Gee thanks. So where am I now? he asks the fellow, getting back in his car.” I continued the song lead-in, giving the maverick Mailman a look which screamed: ‘You’ll never work in this town again!’

“Yeah, where indeed?” the cast found their spots on the stage, finally sensing progress.
‘In Absentia. Now get outa-heah, before they come looking for ‘ya.’ were his last words.” I concluded the spurious saga, nodding to the piano player, who rolled an Eb7 and breathed a sigh of relief.

Wu: Roll credits?
Me: Ok, Greg  @MelFamy for the Concept, Jeff  @doahsdeer for the Groucho clip, and ??? @Kellsbella for the showbiz memories.
Wu: Takes a Village, huh?
Me: Yup, Xanga-ville. Where we strut and puff and the Play’s the Thing.


20 thoughts on “Opening Night Shenanigans in ‘Absentia: The musical’

  1. Kellsbella

    Oh, dear. You were in Absurd? I’m sorry I was absent after consuming too much absinthe, or was it absolute? Nevertheless, I can’t seem to abstain. Please keep me abreast on your next role, Li’l Abner. I promise I won’t be absent. Just make sure that one number is in Ab major; it’s abysmal in minor.Envy; thy name is Kellsabella.

  2. jsolberg

    @doahsdeer – Yep, I wasn’t lion when I commented on your Lydia clip that the sight of the crowd all joining in the fun, unique to musicals, hit me pretty hard. As to the pachyderm; no idea how it got there. Mine have sewn-on feet precisely to prevent such incursions.Tnx for the inspo, guy.

  3. jsolberg

    @Roadkill_Spatula – Thanks, Tim. It was harder than it looks, I think, but not sure what that means. Complex task not to lose the Reader in a thicket of he says he says. Just now found a dumb mistake. A pronoun in Error who shoulda been at Fault at the time.

  4. jsolberg

    @Roadkill_Spatula – Perfect. But now try three levels of quotes, a play-within a play, and words what need to be understood differently but simultaneously by Narrator, his subject, his subject’s partner, and the Greek chorus. Oy.Mebbe I’m over-complicating the perceived chore? But if done wrong the whole thing is a sloppy mess.(And I chose ‘A-flat’ for the song, absolutely without consciously thinking of the Ab guy in the lead-off. In fact, just now even saw the coincidence. Must me someone else up there feeding me the lines.)

  5. Roadkill_Spatula

    I’ll leave that fancy stuff to you. I’m more of a dabbler than a professional.I’m not surprised by the A-flat. Our subconscious minds are often in Spired while we are busy elsewhere.My ex-father-in-law’s dad Abner was known as Little Ap in their Ohio Amish community.

  6. MelFamy

    If an equestrian is one who rides horses, then a chestrian must be one who strives to keep the memory of the great revolutionary leader alive. Or perhaps an acolyte of Marshall Dillon’s greatest ever deputy.

  7. jsolberg

    @MelFamy – An e-quest-rian is a paid searcher-for-hire on the net, I always thought. Maybe some of ’em have horses on the side, or more likely back behind the house.I’m curious, as you heard, whether the convoluted action here is passably clear to a legally-sober reader. At your leisure, here or msg. My bedtime now though.

  8. jsolberg

    @Roadkill_Spatula – Ah, L’il Abner. Sounds worldly-inspired though. The name means literally: ‘Father of Ner’ (‘candle’-heb) which raises a weird question. How did Abner’s Dad know when he named his son that the guy was gonna have a kid called ‘Ner’? As Yogi Berra would say: “It’s the Chicken and the Egg all over again.”

  9. Roadkill_Spatula

    @jsolberg – I thought it was “my father is Ner” or some such, but what do I know? The internet says it could also mean “father of light” and since it’s on the web it must be true. Them Hebrews with their vowel-less language… Actually the Abner mentioned in the Bible was specifically described as the son of Ner, which sounds like someone might have had fun with word play (John’s son Johnson).

  10. Donkey_Guy_10

    I think you zigged when I zagged… I’m lost… Speaking of which… If you ever get lost in the country, you could ask a cow for directions, but she might give you a bum steer…

  11. jsolberg

    @Roadkill_Spatula – Guess it’s all explained on Blood, Sweat, and Tears’ first album ‘Child is Father to the Man. Yes, the original is ‘Avi-Ner’ (my’ Dad’s Ner) I’m afraid to name a kid Aviner. He’ll probably say ‘Mt dad’s a candle, but looks like he burned out. Fun.

  12. jsolberg

    @Donkey_Guy_10 – Not your fault. It was tough keeping theplayas in line, and I’m not sure I nailed it.I asked a cow how far it was to some Town once. She said: ‘About 25,000 miles the way you’re headed.’ Least I got an answer.

  13. twoberry

    Somebody bet on the Beirut and had to find his mail in Cognito.(“Wit that I had their wood” was just a clumsy attempt to switch a couple of words around into a new cliche, as Professor Spooner once thought of trying.  Nothing to do with golf, as my aching back won’t allow it.  My favorite sports used to be dolphin deep-see fishing, but there’s no particular porpoise to my babbling comments.  [That would be “golf and deep-sea fishing” but I’m running out of typographical insertion symbols.])


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