Essaying – Theatre Anglonauts

2016 marks our 21st trip since we launched the UK Theatre course in 1995. We’ve had 345 Anglonauts.

In years of yore, we traveled right after commencement, and our sometimes chilly itinerary included places like Dublin and Galway (Ireland) and, in England, Bath (with its Royal Crescent and Pulteney Bridge—twin to the Ponte Vecchio in Florence), Stratford-Upon-Avon (home to three very different theatres and to the Bard’s crypt), Oxford (with a cooling pause at the Inklings’ Eagle & Child pub), and Cambridge (there to savor an evensong at King’s College Chapel)—and, always, London. Day trips have taken us to Salisbury (tallest cathedral spire in the UK—at 404 feet) and nearby Stonehenge (big gray stones; little red poppies), to Ely (named for its eels, and home for a decade to Oliver Cromwell), to Coventry (with its massive Graham Sutherland tapestry behind the altar of the 1962 cathedral, itself verging on the ruins of the Nazi-bombed 14th-century cathedral), and, in Ireland, to the Aran Islands, to James Joyce’s tower in Sandycove, to Dublin’s Glasnevin Cemetery, chaste resting place for the 19th century’s greatest English poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and to the village of Kinvara, where Dawn and John Sarrouf got engaged and began scheming up Elijah and Esme Sarrouf.

In 2004 we switched to an August trip that included a week in Edinburgh to take advantage of the thousands of theatre, dance, music, spoken word, and nearly unclassifiable performances in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the world’s largest arts festival. There we see as many events as we can in one week: Jeff Miller manages three shows a day on most days (when he’s not supine in Princes Street Gardens). In the lee of the Castle of Edinburgh another engagement occurred, Norm and Jean’s, and soon after that spot was memorialized in a painting.

We’ve honed our approach, so we can offer a lot of culture for a little green. Classes occur in the morning, usually with a white coffee, often in one of the several lobbies of London’s Royal National Theatre, or in an atrium at the foot of Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh. Students live in flats-with-kitchens in the hearts of these two capitols, and the afternoons are free for museum-going, Beefeater-watching, punting, shopping, picnicking—all of which are endeavored. Evenings find us in the front rows of the UK’s best theatres, in the living presence of the English-speaking world’s great actors—Judi Dench and Ian McKellen, Mark Rylance and Maggie Smith, Simon Russell Beale and Fiona Shaw, Helen Mirren and Michael Gambon—and some terrific young actors, too, whose performances mark them as tomorrow’s stars.

John Sarrouf adds: “We’ve written poems in the graveyard on the Avon-thru-Stratford; quaffed with casts at the Dirty Duck; sketched the courtyards of Kenilworth and Warwick Castles; interviewed WWII vets at Lewis’ house, The Kilns; candle dipped at Tintern Abbey; haunted open air markets in Portobello, Cornwall and Penzance; twirled late night pasta Bolognese at Denise’s Restaurant. We were in a West End theatre when John Gielgud died, and the lights were dimmed, and actors came on stage after the show to tell stories of his work and influence. We sat next to Tom Stoppard for the first preview of the revival of The Real Thing, which went on to win the Olivier and the Tony that year. We saw the Shape of Things, and History Boys, and Closer, and The Designated Mourner, and August: Osage County before they became movies.”

The two-week trip is a crucible of culture and conversation, one that inspires the leaders for another year of making art, and impresses some life memories into the still-soft sensibilities of the students.

-On this trip you can do an independent study in creative writing with me. It’s called “Writing the City,” and you’ll use London’s & Edinburgh’s cultural and artistic offerings as material for original compositions of poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction.
See Molly Elias’s work at https://cleareyesfullpassport.wordpress.com/.

Tribute – Loyatorio (for Donna & Barry)

LOYATORIO (link here to a video of the event)

MARK: One score and seven years ago, plus two, our Father brought forth on this incontinent a new administration guy—who was dedicated.

Today we are met in a great oversized New England church. We have come to celebrate a portion of that guy’s work—and make fun of his mistakes.

Is it altogether proper that we do this? Who cares?

But when you get down to it, how do we celebrate—how do we consternate—how do we harass this man?

Perhaps, in the manner of these things, the animated Disney musical will do.

Let’s try a few.

How about CindereLoy: ♫
“CindereLoy, CindereLoy,
Night and day it’s CindereLoy
We can keep him wicked busy,
He’s not relaxing, is he?”

♫ Or, make him the Barry Godmother:
“…doing things you should not do.
One poor decision, and what have you got?—
Barry and Terry and you.”

Nah. How about The Loyin King— ♫ Timon and PumBarry:
“I cook empanadas, for the best R.A.s—
And with my R.D.s, make daiquiris—
I cook empanadas.”

That’s inappropriate, Barry. “Daiquiris”?

Perhaps The Loyttle Mermaid— ♫ Sebastian and Bariel:
“…zooming around on those—what do you call them?—long boards…
Finally free – from Gordon C,
And digging for pottery”—

What?—


“At Gordon C, at Gordon C,
Darling, it’s better when you’re a debtor
Financially.”

…I just got fired.
No, in the end Disney is too limiting, there are just so many facets to Barry—so many Barrys… So many Barrys—that’s it. Songs by many Barrys – about Barry.
Yes. Let us begin, then, our strange celebration – with Barry Gibb & the Bee Gees’ tribute to our man’s distinctive sense of humor…

How Deep Is Our Loy
Barry Gibb / the Bee Gees

I see you try out another pun
I hear your listeners recoil in pain,
later on you horrify the faculty
when you go dragging out that pun again;
but I’ve come to see
awkward jokes like these
are your strategy to put us all at ease
and that’s one more way to show:
How deep is our Loy!–is our Loy
how deep is our Loy,
it took me years to learn:
when you’re living in a world of rules
Loy can abound;
he’s an awesome referee
who belongs to CSD.

MARK: Falsetto is manly.
Next, a classic by Peter, Paul & Barry—a ballad about our deep dean’s – dire need for hip replacement surgery…

Half the Man is Draggin’
Peter, Paul & Barry (the ballad of Barry’s hip)

Half the man is draggin’
limps violently
And falling for robotic hips
he’s intent on surgery.
Gimpy Barry prayed for
a lovely crutch or staff,
Then bought a Stephen Spielberg watch
and strapped it to his calf.
O, half the man is draggin’
limps violently
And falling for robotic hips
he’s intent on surgery.

MARK: Strange AND true.
Now bring on Barry White, and let him groove soulfully about our man’s unslakeable, unmistakable presence…

Can’t Get Enough of You Loy, Barry
Barry White

[spoken] I’ve heard people say that…
too much of anything
is not good for you, Barry…
but I don’t know about that…
as many times
as I’ve met Loy…
and I’ve greeted Loy…
on the quad…
or down in Gillies purchasing a tasty beverage…
it’s just…
it doesn’t seem to me like it’s enough…
it’s just not enough, Barry…
it’s just not enough…

[sung] Oh my colleague, I…
Can’t get enough of you Loy, Barry
Oh, I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know why
Can’t get enough of you Loy, Baa-rrry

MARK: Selah.
Then there’s Freddie MercBarry (and Queen), a rhapsody addressed to Barry’s most powerful facet – his wife, Donna…

Loyhemian Rhapsody
Freddy MercBarry / Queen

Donna,
just failed exam,
spent a ton of class in bed,
pulled all-nighter
but I’m dead;
Donna,
strife has just begun
’cause now I’m academic probaaa—
(tion)
Donna, youuu
you can help me bribe
the one guy here who’s never been bribed at all—
Barry Loy, Barry Loy:
Now’s when family matters.

MARK: When we put our hands to our ears like this it’s to compensate for sounding bad.

And then Earth, Wind & Fire & Barry—with a chorus deeply steeped in that keen pain you feel – after the Loy is gone…

After the Loy is Gone
Earth, Wind & Fire & Barry

Something happened along the way—
Did Britt Carlson go mad?
Something happened along the way—
Is Terry Charek breaking bad?
and O
After the Loy is gone
All I can do is yawn
Without all that fun around
O-O-O

MARK: Yes, these five Barrys celebrate our man with pun and panache.
But, another Barry remains, the sunum Barryum, whose melodies made up the musical-leisure-suit of a certain generation.

Manilow. And it’s to him we turn for a song sung by our Barry ManiLoy – about his long tenure as Gordon’s behavioral cop.
This is “I Right the Wrongs.”

NORM JONES – I RIGHT THE WRONGS
1. I’ve been around forever
I wrote up that very first wrong;
I bring good judgment and good humor together
I’m amusing
but I right the wrongs
(he’s a hoot but he still rights the wrongs)

-chorus-
I right the wrongs, I’m Gordon’s holy dean
I right the wrongs of love—don’t ask what I mean
I right the wrongs and make those youngsters cry
I right the wrongs, I right their wrongs

2. My wisdom flows like honey
and sweet justice drips from my tongue
how can my rulings be so fair yet so funny?
well I’m elderly
but inside I’m wicked young
(he’s still hip, and his right hip is young)

-chorus-
I right the wrongs, I’m Gordon’s older dean
I right the wrongs of love—stop asking what I mean
I right the wrongs that made those sophomores lie
I right the wrongs, I right their wrongs

-bridge-
When our students perpetrate
then I excommunicate—
though I showed some mercy once to Dorothy Boorse

And when they share their sins
then the gossiping begins:
they tell me, I tell you
you tell them, they tell we—
it’s a world of un-secrecy

-chorus-
I right the wrongs, I’m going rogue as Dean
[when] I right the wrongs of love I’m especially mean
I write their wrongs down in my dia-ry
I write their wrongs, I right their wrongs

-key change-
I right their wrongs, I’m Gordon’s CSDean
I write their wrongs—a one-man Mujahideen
I right their wrongs so you can turn blind eye
I right their wrongs, I write their wrongs:

I am Barry—and I right the wrongs.
__

MARK: Further, now, in our ManiLoy-atorio, we welcome someone pointedly absent from a fiesta like this: the student Barry expelled. Here he is, wealthy, wounded, and sick with regret, singing an anthem entitled “O, Barry.”

STEVE HUNT – O, BARRY
1. I remember student life
Staying up till four or five
Breaking into Frost
With force through a window
Stealing an exam
The light means it’s a
Boring just another day
World of Warcraft game to play
Boy was I surprised
When you came for me
I never realized
That you would J-Board me
Oh Barry

Well you flayed me and fried me like bacon
And you sent me away
Oh Barry
Did you dis me and were you mistaken?
I still need you today
Oh Barry

2. I’m standing in some airport line
Hoping just to pass the time
Nobody is here to rule or reproach me
What I wouldn’t give for you to life-coach me
Oh Barry

Can I pay you to fry me like bacon
Can I rent you today
Oh Barry
Help me bathe and to shave when I waken
Be my Jeeves for a day
Oh Barry

-bridge-
Yes, student dean, I’ve wasted money
Crime cannot appease
To pay this college
Oh Barry

Can I fly you to flay me like bacon
I’ll expense you today
Oh Barry
Will you dress me and stop me from drankin’
Intervene me today—
Oh Barry

Did you make all those rules I was breakin’
I repent me today
Oh Barry
When you speak seems a prophet hath spaken
And I’ll heed you.
__

MARK: So we’ve heard from our Loyjahideen; we’ve heard from the Barry-banished.
But whence cometh this long preponderance of Loys? How did a Carolinian and a Canadian – become the groovy duo of the behind-the-scenes set?
Attend, and learn the history of Loy…

NORM – GORDOCABAMPUS (the story of the Loys & Gordon)

1. Her name was Donna – she was a snow girl
She loved the caribou and trees
and those Canada geese;
When she flew southward – she spied a Barry
A creature famous for its wits
And a hankering for grits
(which she would overlook
’cause he could fix her truck)
they got hitched and they started hiking
up the path they took
To the Gordo—Gordo-cabampus (ca-bampus)
Near the highway you’ll find (off the ramp) us
(here) at the Gordo—Gordo-cabampus:
Goose poop and ocean
affect your emotion at the Gordo:
They had heard of— (Gordo—Gordo-cabampus)

STEVE
2. His name was Barry – he wore a shy grin
And he and Donna settled in
him in Lane and her in Winn
She greeted patrons – he started dean-ing
And, yeah, he seemed so meek and mild
But every student crime got filed
into his attaché
till there was Loy to pay
CSD is a slight misnomer
he’s a CIA
At the Gordo—Gordo-cabampus (ca-bampus)
No place for your grandmas or grandpas (here)
At the Gordo—Gordo-cabampus:
Who’s in a prison
is someone who isn’t at the Gordo—
Push came to shove… (Gordo—Gordo-cabampus)

MARK [during bridge]: Barry and I once hosted a talent show on this very spot.
Mid-show, backstage, he says to me, “Hey, I have something good for the next transition.”

We come back out, Barry turns to me—and then his mouth says, “Mark, why don’t more faculty attend chapel?”

*Here’s a picture of Barry asking me that question.
…With no warning, in front of thousands.

*Here’s Barry just after he asked it. “Heh heh heh…”

MARK
3. Their name is “Donry” – or maybe “Bare-na”
For thirty years minus one
they’ve made academic fun
Now they’re migrating – to Carolina
Or so they want us to believe
—they’ve got someplace up their sleeve
where the sand’s pure white
and you cha-cha all night:
but there isn’t a Dunka-caDonuts
so we hope they might
Visit Gordo—Gordo-cabampus (ca-bampus)
The South ain’t as cold and as damp as (here)
At the Gordo—Gordo-cabampus:
Boy I’ve
enjoyed my
employed time
with Loy I’m
at the Gordo—
We’ve felt in love. We fell in love.
__

MARK: We have fallen in love, each with the other.

And now what? After they’ve gone, what do we do?
We carry on. We brighten as they have.

It is for us to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they have thus far so nobly advanced.

It is consecrated—it is hallowed—it is Kingdom work—
to be carried on toward completion.

Yes, it’ll be hard without them.
But we can.
We can.

DAVE ROX – I CAN SMILE WITHOUT YOU

You know I can smile without you
I can smile without you
I can laugh – and I can sing
I’m sure that I’ll find – I can do everything

You know I feel glad, so glad
for fine years that we’ve had
but I never knew
I’d be someone who
would have to smile without you

-verse 1 (Dave)-
You came along, rightening [sic] our wrongs
and brightening RAs
who couldn’t see that you’re the heart of a team
so highly esteemed
we wish you could stay

-chorus (everyone)-
But still we can smile without you
we can smile without you
we can laugh – and we can sing
I’m sure that we’ll find – we can do everything

I know we’ll feel glad when you’re glad
for fine years that we’ve had
but here’s what is true
you’re the one who
taught us to smile without you

-bridge (Dave solo)-
Some folks might say
et tu, Barr-ay?
but they are not our kind
when you leave here you’re not
leaving our love behind – you – and you know

-chorus (everyone)-
you can smile without us
you can smile without us
you can golf – and you can swim
play racquetball – and climb on a limb

and yeah we’ll feel glad when you’re glad
we’ll feel glad – but we’ll add
this feeling is new –
it’s not easy to –
but we can smile without you.

Toast for Norm & Jean

I first met Norm Jones in 1985 when I was two years old.
Could I have the PowerPoint, please?—thanks.

As you can see, he was heavily bearded with a thick—oh, no PowerPoint? Well, here he is, use him as a visual aid—he was heavily bearded, with a thick black beard.

At that time he was directing a Gordon production of “Mornings at Seven Old People Played by Kids in Heavy Makeup”—for which he single-handedly built a set that was the home of Marvin Wilson during the entire run.
Exaggerating.
He used two hands—please…

“Marv” is an “OT” “prof” who thought the theatre was a “lecture hall”—and who enjoyed sweeping up Norm’s sawdust before class. “He Ne Ma Tov…”

Anyway, what really counts is that Norm had a full beard in 2nd grade, and a full moustache in 3rd —as saints of old and Norm himself have often told.
Not bragging exactly…

In the first play we worked on together, a three-hander, he played a drunk criminal but who hugged boys. What a stretch.
At the end of the play, Norm’s character staggered in and died onstage. [pause]
So, here’s to you, Norm+Jean!…

Kidding. It was a daunting death scene to rehearse. During one run-thru, when we got to that scene, it was just too much… So as he said his lines, Norm began taking masking tape—and putting it on his face.

Here’s how it went:
Norm: “What happened?” *puts tape on face* “I hear women crying.” *tape* “Everyone’s tiptoeing around.” *tape*

And so my buddy Philip and I grabbed rolls (the set was built completely of masking tape) —and we began:

One of Us: “Pop, Sonny’s dead.” *tape*

Norm: [exhale] “Wh*en?”

One of Us: “This morning.” *tape* “Tataglia got him at the toll booth.”*tape*

All through the heartrending scene we were *donning* masking tape masks.

Norm: *tape* “I want you to use all your power, and all your skill…”*tape*

And by the time Norm died he had a fantastically grotesque Death Mask, so complete that he could barely talk.

Norm (with real difficulty): “I know a dead-end kid*tape* …when I see one.” *ta…* [dead]

One of Us: “Now cracks a noble heart.” *tape* —ostensibly weeping, but only just, JUST managing not to shriek into laughter.

Which turned a run-of-the-mill-thru into a gem, to carry for as long as we have pockets, with a luminescence to navigate by.

And that’s a thing we love about Norm, his savoring of things and meals and moments—and not them only, but also the qualities of people, and their quirks, and their little excellences.

Here I speak for many of Norm’s students and friends who have found their love of songs or words or play bolstered by his own, and who found his relishing of their strengths winsome and irresistible. Many of us have taken courage from his example and his encouraging us, and have dared into careers in the poorly-paying arts.

“Savoring” is another word for “loving”—and today we all savor the fact that he’s met a love to answer and equal his own. Jean, we needn’t have traveled with you to London and Edinburgh to know that you, too, are one who pauses to appreciate a shawl on a shoulder, or a certain light on a spoon or castle spire: your paintings show us, for one.

Norm loves that about you; you are his heart’s delight, his pearl of infinite price, with a luminescence to navigate by.

-Here’s to Norm and Jean, nine years wed this month (January, 2016).

Sung Toast/Roast – to Kina Mallard

Mamas Don’t Let your Babies Grow Up to be Kinas

-to the Willie & Waylen / Ed Bruce tune

Mamas don’t let your babies grow up to be Kinas,
Don’t let ‘em run meetings or searches too much,
Let ‘em be milkmaids and barmaids and such.
Mamas don’t let your babies grow up to be Kinas,
They’ll never set still, no they always will roam,
Even from somewhere they love.

v1.
Kinas are easy to love but they’re harder to keep,
They’re sought for their skill at administering cattle and sheep,
They polish their titles and cinch up their Bibles
     and round their department herds in,
But when the weather turns chill and the dollars blow south,
Kinas are gone with the wind.

chorus
Mamas don’t let your babies grow up to be Kinas,
Don’t let ‘em be leaders like Golda Meir,
Let ‘em be scholars like Brittany Spears .
Mamas don’t let your babies grow up to be Kinas,
They’ll never set still, no they always will roam,
Even from somewhere they love.

v2.
Kinas like Tennessee waltzes and Kentucky moonshine,
Mint juleps and tulips and cowlicks and Deputy Dawg;
Them that work with her can’t figure if she’s a
     Saint Joan or an Eva Peron,
‘Cause on one hand she cut faculty workshop by a day,
On the other she still makes you go.

chorus 2
Mamas don’t let your babies grow up to be Kinas,
Don’t let ‘em bark orders and talk back to Jud,
Let ‘em be shy and compliant as mud.
Mamas don’t let your babies grow up to be Kinas,
They’ll never set still, no they always will roam,
Even from somewhere they love.

v3.
Kinas are almost as able as Ladybird Johnson,
Kinas are nearly as knowing as Atticus Finch;
But under that southern demeanor resides a
     tactician like Robert E. Lee,
And when she sidles up to you with a shucks and a smile,
You get committeed again.

key change—half step

v4.
Kinas are precious to find but they’re painful to lose,
There’s none better suited for telling the falses from trues;
And maybe you’ll say you won’t miss her and maybe
     you’ll practice forgetting her name;
But whenever someone gets their britches in a bunch about the
     budgets of Irv Levy—
Kina will be here that way.

final chorus
Mamas don’t let your babies grow up to be Kinas,
Don’t let ‘em run meetings or searches too much,
Let ‘em be ranch hands and farm hands and such.
Mamas don’t let your babies grow up to be Kinas,
They’ll never set still, no they always will roam—
Roam from a place where she’s loved.

-sung by The Vocal Band at the completion of Kina‘s five-year tenure as Gordon’s associate provost. Kina was recently appointed president of Reinhart University. Congratulations. No barmaid, she.
Vocal band members are self, Oliver, Norm, Steve and, on the electric ivories, Graeme.

Corrupted Lyrics – To All The Grads I’ve Flunked Before

-after Willie Nelson & Julio Iglesias

Willie / N. Jones:
To all the grads I’ve flunked before
Who traveled in and out my door
I’m glad they came along
I dedicate this song
To all the grads I’ve flunked before

Julio / M. Stevick:
To all the grads I once assessed
And may I say I’ve failed the best
So much they didn’t know
Their GPAs were low
Yes, all the grads I’ve flunked before

-chorus-
The Gordon grads are always failing
Though they begged me for an A
Gordon grads continue failing
The failing grade is going to stay

-Willie/Jones:
To all the grads who skipped my class
Then said they simply had to pass
To them my ears were deaf
I handed them an F
To all the grads I’ve flunked before

-Julio/Stevick:
To all the grads who loved to cheat
Or begged me for an incomplete
Although they weren’t smart
They live within my heart
Oh, all the grads I’ve flunked before

-chorus-
The Gordon grads are always failing
Though they begged me for an A
Gordon grads continue failing
The failing grade is going to stay

BOTH: To all the grads we’ve flunked before
Willie/Jones: The freshman and the sophomore
BOTH: We marked their answers wrong
And dedicate this song
To all the grads we’ve flunked before

BOTH: To all the grads we’ve flunked before
Julio/Stevick: Poor junior and the sen-i-or
BOTH: We know them all by heart
We’ll always be a part
Of all the grads we’ve flunked
Before

-sung in the manner of Willie and Julio at the Nodrog or the Black & Blue Review, with Graeme Bird on piano. Pic from The Nodrog.

Corrupted Lyrics – Registrationville

Registrationville [to the tune “Margaritaville”]

Sign up for classes.
Slow as molasses;
Every semester I cry out to God;
No financial clearance,
No chapel appearance;
This whole registration—it smells like the quad.

Chorus
Wastin’ away again in Registrationville,
Searchin’ for my lost schedule for fall,
Some people claim that my advisor’s to blame—
But I know – it’s my own darn fault.

v2
Academic probation,
Grade point of a crustacean,
How it got there I haven’t a clue;
Pulled twenty all-nighters,
Eating pretzels from Snyders,
When I woke up, my classes were through.

Chorus

v3
I saw Carol Herrick,
I was so hysteric,
She told me the deadline had passed—I’m too late;
You’ll need a petition,
Instructor’s permission,
At this point I’ll have to attend Salem State.

Chorus

v4
I’m inside the chapel,
Drinkin’ my Snapple,
Kenny says my attendance was small;
Called Chaplain Carmer,
And here’s the alarmer—
Those trips to Starbucks didn’t count at all.

Chorus

v5
I tried Web advising,
I’m soon realizing,
I can’t even get Scottie Mail from my dorm.
Computer keeps crashing,
I feel like Mac-bashing,
A message from Jud on the screen says “No Porn.”

Chorus

v6
Filled with elation,
No chapel probation,
My advisor will really be thrilled;
I’m no belly-acher,
But here’s the heartbreaker,
The classes I wanted are already filled.

Chorus
Wastin’ away again in Registrationville,
Searchin’ for my lost schedule for fall,
Some people claim that my advisor’s to blame—
But I know –
It’s my own darn fault.

-The references are dated; the routines persist. In yore years, students were issued losable registration cards.
Sung at 255 Grapevine, or Nodrog, or Black & View Review (or all three) by writers Mark Frederick, Norm Jones, and self–and backed by Eric Convey on drums, Steve Crowe on sax, Little Taylor Jones on basket. Our “band” was known as Communication Breakdown.