THE TWO WHISTLERS

A musical comedy

LIBRETTO

Words and music by Phil Shaw



Contact:

Phil Shaw: phil@philshaw.com





Copyright © 2015 by Phil Shaw - All Rights Reserved

 



THE TWO WHISTLERS - LIBRETTO

1. Overture

(THE STUDENTS enter.)

SCENE 1: OPENING NUMBER - LA VESTA


2. SONG: LA VESTA - THE STUDENTS

GUNTER

GRETA! FRIEDA! FRIEDRICK! The piano is done! We're on!

GRETA

We know, GUNTER! We know!

FRIEDRICK

But GRETA! When we get on, what do we do? What characters are we playing?

GRETA

We aren't playing characters, FRIEDRICK, we're the chorus.

FRIEDA

The chorus, GRETA?

GRETA

Yes, FRIEDA, the chorus.

GUNTER

We're some students from Germany, and we start things off with a number that sets the stage for the art show.

FRIEDA

Then we should get started, GUNTER.

GUNTER

Indeed, FRIEDA. Ready when you are, Mr Penis!

FRIEDRICK

Not "penis", dumkopf! It's "pianist". "Pee-ann-ist"

(Verse 1)

You'll see paintings proudly hanging almost everywhere. You'll see paintings aimed to stop you short and make you stare. You'll see paintings calculated to engage your inner eye. You'll see paintings meant to make you want to cry.

(Chorus 1)

You'll hear what paintings can say. You'll see what paintings can do. The world of art before you, the art of art on display.

(Verse 2.)

You'll see people wondering what the heck they think they've seen. You'll see people asking what the heck it all may mean. You'll see people saying five year olds could do at least as well. You'll see people roll their eyes and say, 'Oh, what the hell'.

(Chorus 2.)

You'll find that this is true, Surprising though it may be. You look at the paintings, and they look back at you.


(FRIEDA gestures toward "Future Perfect", a blank canvas.)

FRIEDA

FRIEDRICK! Look here! A totally blank canvas!

FRIEDRICK

And the title is "Future Perfect", FRIEDA!

FRIEDA

Pellucid, yet lambently irenic.

FRIEDRICK

Indeed, it contextualizes the aesthetics of absence, with a post ironic dispensation.

FRIEDA

Perhaps, but its conjunction of concision and loquacity yields a plangent vitalism.

FRIEDRICK

Just what I was thinking!

(Interlude 1.)

Art can be a riddle, you don't know what to do. So smile and mutter darkly, "This belongs inside a zoo"!


(GRETA gestures toward "47", a large canvas with the number "46". )

GRETA

GUNTER, here's a work that even I can understand. A big number "46".

GUNTER

And look, GRETA, the title's "47", and it's entry number 45!

GRETA

Am I wrong, or does this suggest an apotropaic epinicion?

GUNTER

I see a synoptic commentary on the ironies of univocal ambiguity.

GRETA

I think you're over-complicating. It's simply a delightful concretion of indexical entropy.

GUNTER

I hadn't looked at it that way!

(Interlude 2.)

Art can be perplexing, you don't know what it is. So grin and say "No thank you, I think I'll skip the quiz".


(FRIEDA gestures toward a rack of dresses.)

FRIEDA

GRETA! Look at this one! A simple rack of ordinary dresses!

GRETA

It can only be an esemplastic recension in search of quiddity.

FRIEDA

Or, a mimetic effulgence of mereological essentialism.

GRETA

Plain and simple, it's just an equiparation lacking inter-subjective confrontation.

GRETA

Who could argue with that!

(Interlude 3.)

Art can be confusing, you don't know what it means. So laugh and say, "It matters not. I take my tea with kings and queens".

(Chorus 3.)

And this is what you'll find. You'll see the paintings twice. First here upon the wall, then later in your mind.

(Verse 3.)

You'll see worlds that only artists ever dare to see. You'll see worlds arranged as they were always meant to be. You'll see worlds that may perplex, that may befuddle and confuse. You'll see worlds of witty wonder you cannot refuse.

(Tag.)

We don't know much about art, but we know what we like. The Vegas Student Ann-you-all.

GUNTER

Quick, meine liblinge! We leave the stage now!

FRIEDA, GRETA, and FRIEDRICK

We know, GUNTER, we know.

(THE STUDENTS exit rapidly, ignoring PROFESSOR HARMON.)

SCENE 2: PROFESSOR HARMON, SIGNOR PINELLI, and JORDAN

3. DIALOGUE: 'No, no, no!' - PROFESSOR HARMON and SIGNOR PINELLI

(PROFESSOR HARMON enters, agitated.)

PROFESSOR HARMON

(To audience) No, no, no, no, no! No, no, no! They've got it all wrong! They're pronouncing it wrong! It's not ann-you-all! There's an 'E' at the end! It's Italian! Ann-wall-ay! The Vegas Student Ann-wall-ay.

('Biennale' is always pronounced 'bee-in-all-ay')

Like the Venice Biennale and the Florence Biennale. But I have a show every year, so it's not a biennale. It's an ann-wall-ay. The Vegas Student Ann-wall-ay.

(SIGNOR PINELLI enters)

SIGNOR PINELLI

PROFESSOR HARMON!

PROFESSOR HARMON

Ah, SIGNOR PINELLI! Welcome! And how is the famous Pinelli Gallery?

SIGNOR PINELLI

It's doing well, PROFESSOR HARMON! And is this is the Vegas Student Ann-you-all?

PROFESSOR HARMON

No,no, no, no, no SIGNOR PINELLI! It's not 'ann-you-all'! There's an 'E' at the end. It's Italian! Ann-wall-ay!

SIGNOR PINELLI

Of course, PROFESSOR HARMON. I was just having fun with you. The Vegas Student Ann-wall-ay. And congratulations. I know it takes a lot of work to organize something like this, with all the details.

PROFESSOR HARMON

Ah, yes. The details. All of the details. The many, many, details. The tiny little details.


4. SONG: THE DETAILS - PROFESSOR HARMON and SIGNOR PINELLI


(Refrain.)

PROFESSOR HARMON

The details that trip you. The details that trap you. The details that leave everything in a mess. The details that give you such worry and stress. I've made up a list and I've checked it all off.

SIGNOR PINELLI

The details that kick you. The details that cook you. The details that pester, harass, and oppress. The details that leave you no hope of success. Did you make up a list and then check it all off?

PROFESSOR HARMON

Yes I made up a list and I checked it all off.

(Interlude.)

SIGNOR PINELLI

Have you got the refreshments? The juice and hors d'oeuvres?

PROFESSOR HARMON

If I try to keep track it will rattle my nerves!

SIGNOR PINELLI

And the cookies and cocktails? They're catered of course?

PROFESSOR HARMON

Catered by Caesars, the ultimate source!

(Refrain.)

SIGNOR PINELLI

But still there's the details that scare you. The details that scar you. The details you curse and the details you bless. The details that give you such strain and distress. And you made up a list and you checked it all off.

PROFESSOR HARMON

The details that tear you. The details that tar you. The details that foil all your hopes to impress. The details that leave you no room for redress. I've made up a list and I've checked it all off.

SIGNOR PINELLI

He's made up a list and he's checked it all off.

(Interlude.)

SIGNOR PINELLI

Have you sent invitations to people who matter?

PROFESSOR HARMON

Yes, the people who natter! Who chitter and chatter!

SIGNOR PINELLI

And the stylish, the trendy, the charming, the chic?

PROFESSOR HARMON

Yes, the shapely, the slender, the sveldt and the sleek!

(Refrain.)

PROFESSOR HARMON

And then there's the details that bare you. The details that bore you. The details that make you diverge and digress. The details that make you light up and fluoresce. I've made up a list and I've checked it all off.

SIGNOR PINELLI

The details that haunt you. The details that taunt you. The details that only Ken Jennings could guess. The details that break every oath you profess. You've made up a list and you've checked it all off.

PROFESSOR HARMON

I've made up a list and I've checked it all off.

(Interlude.)

SIGNOR PINELLI

And the newspaper columns, the local reviewer?

PROFESSOR HARMON

Yes, he'll scribble and scrabble and scowl and skewer!

SIGNOR PINELLI

And the wealthy collectors? The patrons and buyers?

PROFESSOR HARMON

We'll have them all singing like birds in their choirs!

(Refrain)

PROFESSOR HARMON and SIGNOR PINELLI

The details that rack you. The details that wreck you. The details that seem like a bad game of chess. The details that leave you no hope of egress.

PROFESSOR HARMON

I made up a list and I checked it all off.

SIGNOR PINELLI

You made up a list and you checked it all off.

PROFESSOR HARMON and SIGNOR PINELLI

Checked it all off!


5. DIALOGUE: 'And your visit today?' - PROF HARMON, SIGNOR PINELLI, and JORDAN

PROFESSOR HARMON

And your visit today, SIGNOR PINELLI, will you be bidding on some of the works?

SIGNOR PINELLI

No, PROFESSOR HARMON, today I'll only be looking.

(JORDAN enters, carrying "Icarus Whistling".)

JORDAN

Hi, PROFESSOR HARMON.

PROFESSOR HARMON

Hello, JORDAN.

JORDAN

So at last, the Vegas Student Ann-you-all!

PROFESSOR HARMON

No, no, no, no, Jordan! It's not 'ann-you-all'. There's an 'E' at the end, so it's Italian. Ann-wall-ay.

JORDAN

Ah, of course, the Vegas Student Ann-wall-ay.

PROFESSOR HARMON

And, JORDAN, this is SIGNOR PINELLI, from the Pinelli Gallery. SIGNOR PINELLI, this is JORDAN, one of our students.

SIGNOR PINELLI

How do you do, JORDAN. And this painting you brought in, is it your entry in the art show?

JORDAN

Yes. A Whistler self-portrait. I'll hang it like this. Upside down.

(JORDAN hangs "Icarus Whistling" upside down.)

SIGNOR PINELLI

Why is it upside down?

JORDAN

It's a statement. It's commentative transpositional art.

SIGNOR PINELLI

Commentative transpositional art?

JORDAN

I call it "Icarus Whistling".

SIGNOR PINELLI

"Icarus Whistling". I see.

JORDAN

It's "Icarus", so I hang it upside down, because Icarus is falling.

SIGNOR PINELLI

And it's "Icarus Whistling" because?

JORDAN

Because it's a Whistler self-portrait.

PROFESSOR HARMON

A deft comment on the passing of generations, with a touch of ironic detachment.

SIGNOR PINELLI

Whistler. America's master.

JORDAN

It isn't really a Whistler. It's a copy.

PROFESSOR HARMON

Of course it's a copy.

SIGNOR PINELLI

If it was real it would be hanging in the Freer Museum in Washington.

PROFESSOR HARMON

Or on auction at Christies for a fortune.

SIGNOR PINELLI

(Aside.) But it is quite an excellent copy.

JORDAN

I didn't actually paint it.

PROFESSOR HARMON

Of course you didn't paint it! Artists don't paint! Artists conceive!

SIGNOR PINELLI

However, if you know a good painter, my backyard fence needs a fresh coat of enamel.

ALL

Ha! Ha! Ha!

PROFESSOR HARMON

And proof of ownership?

JORDAN

Proof of ownership?

PROFESSOR HARMON

For the painting.

JORDAN

The painting?

PROFESSOR HARMON

The Whistler.

JORDAN

I got it from my neighbor MAVIS, she loaned it to me.

PROFESSOR HARMON

But can you prove ownership?

JORDAN

Ownership?

PROFESSOR HARMON

The painting, the Whistler copy. You must have proof of ownership. That's the rule.

JORDAN

But...

PROFESSOR HARMON

It's not my rule, Jordan. It's the lawyers. They insist.

(JORDAN's cell phone rings.)

JORDAN

(To PROFESSOR HARMON) That's my phone. Excuse me. (Speaking on her phone) Hi, MAVIS. This is quite a hard building to find. I'll meet you at the parking lot. Bye.

(JORDAN hangs up her phone.)

JORDAN

(To PROFESSOR HARMON) That was my neighbor MAVIS. She can't seem to find the exhibition. I'll have to go and meet her. Bye.

PROFESSOR HARMON

Bye, JORDAN.

(JORDAN exits.)

(PROFESSOR HARMON's cell-phone rings.)

PROFESSOR HARMON

Now it's my phone. Excuse me, SIGNOR PINELLI.

SIGNOR PINELLI

Of course.

PROFESSOR HARMON

(Talking on his cell phone.) Hello...Yes...I've got that info in my office. (Hangs up his cell phone.) Excuse me, SIGNOR PINELLI, I'll be right back.

SIGNOR PINELLI

Of course.

(PROFESSOR HARMON exits.)

(SIGNOR PINELLI examines "Icarus Whistling" with a loupe, talking to himself.)

PROFESSOR PINELLI

[Aside.] Now let's examine this supposed Whistler copy. Interesting. The sweeping brush strokes...the layering of pigment...the palatine hint of magenta... Yes. Without a doubt, this is James Abbott McNeil Whistler himself, by his own hand. Well. I told PROFESSOR HARMON I wouldn't bid in the auction. But for Whistler, I'll bid and I'll buy.

(PROFESSOR HARMON re-enters.)

PROFESSOR HARMON

Pardon the interruption, SIGNOR PINELLI.

SIGNOR PINELLI

Ah, PROFESSOR HARMON. I've changed my mind. I've decided to bid on some of the works.

PROFESSOR HARMON

Excellent. Now let me show you the other exhibit rooms.

(SIGNOR PINELLI and PROFESSOR HARMON exit.)

SCENE 3: JORDAN and MAVIS

6. DIALOGUE: 'This is the art show, MAVIS' - JORDAN and MAVIS

(JORDAN and MAVIS enter.)

JORDAN

This is the art show, MAVIS.

MAVIS

Ah, the Vegas Student Ann-you-all?

JORDAN

No, no, no, no, MAVIS! It's not 'ann-you-all'! There's an 'E' at the end, so it's Italian. 'Ann-wall-ay'.

MAVIS

Ah, of course, the Vegas Student Ann-wall-ay. By the way, JORDAN. Your mother called me last week, and guess what she wanted to know?

JORDAN

Have I got any romance going.

MAVIS

And?

JORDAN

No, I haven't got any romance, except...

MAVIS

Except?

JORDAN

Except...Except...


7. SONG: THERE'S THIS...(JORDAN's version)


There's this guy.
I see him here and there, but we have never met.
And there's no reason I should mention him, and yet.

There's this guy.
When I am all alone, nobody by my side.
I wonder what perhaps I maybe might have tried.

I wish he'd walk right up and say 'hello'.
I wish he'd introduce himself and say 'how do you do'.
I wish he'd take my hand and talk and laugh and plot and plan.
I wish he'd say that this is where it all began.
                   
There's this guy.
I know he may be just a chance I passed on by.
But all the same I hope we'll meet, I hope, I hope, oh me oh my.


8. DIALOGUE: 'Can't you just' - JORDAN and MAVIS

MAVIS

Can't you just walk by him and drop your handkerchief?

JORDAN

Oh, I've done lot's of stuff like that, but so far this fish just won't bite the bait.

Anyway, here's your Whistler, MAVIS. Thanks for loaning it to me.

MAVIS

Why is it upside down?

JORDAN

It's a statement. It's commentative transpositional art.

MAVIS

Commentative transpositional art?

JORDAN

I call it "Icarus Whistling".

MAVIS

"Icarus Whistling". I see.

JORDAN

It's "Icarus", so I hang it upside down because Icarus is falling.

MAVIS

And it's "Icarus Whistling" because?

JORDAN

Because it's a Whistler self-portrait. A deft comment on the passing of generations, with a touch of ironic detachment.

MAVIS

It isn't really a Whistler, it's a copy.

JORDAN

Of course it's a copy. If it was real it would be hanging in the Freer Museum in Washington, or on auction at Christies for a fortune.

MAVIS

But you didn't actually paint it.

JORDAN

Of course I didn't paint it. Artists don't paint! Artists conceive! However, if you know a good painter, my kitchen needs a fresh coat of enamel!

JORDAN and MAVIS

Ha! Ha! Ha!

MAVIS

So you're going to pretend that you painted my Whistler copy?

JORDAN

No, no, no. My entry isn't the Whistler copy. It's the comment I make when I hang it upside down.

MAVIS

Well, I hope you get an "A" for your upside-down Whistler.

JORDAN

Better than that. I already got more than just an "A".

MAVIS

An A-plus?

JORDAN

Better than that. My entry was selected for the auction! The student auction!

MAVIS

You're going to sell my Whistler?

JORDAN

No one will buy it. I listed it for a ridiculous price, three thousand dollars reserve.

MAVIS

And if someone bids three thousand?

JORDAN

Then they get your Whistler copy and you get three thousand.

MAVIS

I don't care about the three thousand. I want my Whistler. I like my Whistler, even though it reminds me of my ex-husband. My good-riddance ex-husband. That man was always arguing. Quibbling and quarreling, hassling and haggling, grouching and grousing. He could argue over anything.


9. SONG: WHAT A DISASTER (MAVIS's version)


I'd say east, he'd say west
I'd say coat, he'd say vest
That man was a horrible pest

I'd say up, he'd say down
I'd say smile, he'd say frown
That man was an odious clown.
----
It's easy to fumble and  
  find that you've done something 
  wrong that you'd like to forget.
It's easy to find out that you've been a fool.
So try to avoid taking steps you'll regret.
And don't ever marry a stubborn, obstreperous mule.
-----
I'd say creation, he'd say cremation
I'd say alsacian, he'd say dalmation
That man was a constant vexation

I'd say prediction and he'd say clairvoyance.
I'd say ornateness and he'd say flamboyance.
That man was a major annoyance.

What a disaster he was, 
What a mistake I made.
I wish I didn't think of him so much.


10. DIALOGUE - 'The only thing' - JORDAN and MAVIS

MAVIS

The only thing we didn't argue about was our Whistler. We bought it in a little shop on our honeymoon, then we hung it right there in our dining room. Our dining room where we argued all the time. And our Whistler, hanging up there on the wall, watching us squabble. When we split up, somehow he got the Whistler. Then last year, at an estate sale, I saw this Whistler that looked just like our Whistler, so I bought it, even though it reminds me of my good-riddance ex-husband. So I want it. I want my Whistler. I don't want three thousand dollars.

JORDAN

I understand. I'll make sure it doesn't sell. Most of these student works have a reserve of five hundred or so. It will never sell at three thousand.

MAVIS

Thirty thousand.

JORDAN

Thirty thousand?

MAVIS

Set the reserve at thirty thousand dollars. Then we'll be sure it won't sell.

JORDAN

OK, thirty thousand. But I've got to have the proof of ownership.

MAVIS

I've got the receipt at home.

JORDAN

Can you get it for me? I need to have it before the auction ends.

MAVIS

Oh kay. But remember, thirty thousand.

JORDAN

Thirty thousand.

MAVIS

Now I just hope I can manage to find the garage again.

JORDAN

I'll go with you this campus is a maze.

(JORDAN and MAVIS exit.)

SCENE 4: REMBRANDT and MARTIN

11. DIALOGUE - 'Here it is, uncle MARTIN' - REMBRANDT, and MARTIN

(REMBRANDT and MARTIN enter.)

REMBRANDT

Here it is, uncle MARTIN, the Vegas Student Ann-you-all.

MARTIN

No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, Rembrandt! It's not 'ann-you-all'! There's an 'E' at the end! It's Italian! 'Ann-wall-ay'!

REMBRANDT

I know, I was testing you. The Vegas Student Ann-wall-ay.

(REMBRANDT points to "Man with Cactus flowers", which is already hanging.)

REMBRANDT

Anyway, here's my entry for the show, MARTIN, the painting I've been working on. I call it "Man with Cactus Flowers".

MARTIN

Ah, "Man with Cactus Flowers". Excellant!

REMBRANDT

Thank you.

MARTIN

And I see I'm the man in the painting, the man with cactus flowers.

REMBRANDT

Yes. It will be fun to have the model for the painting standing right here next to it.

MARTIN

Bad news, REMBRANDT. A meeting came up, so I won't be able to stay for the show.

REMBRANDT

No problem, MARTIN. At least you got to see the show.

MARTIN

But I know your mother's going to call me, and I know what she'll ask: Has REMBRANDT got a girlfriend?

REMBRANDT

(Laughs) No, I haven't got a girlfriend, not exactly.

MARTIN

Not exactly?

REMBRANDT

Not exactly.


12. SONG: THERE'S THIS...(REMBRANDT's version


There's this girl.
I see her now and then, it's almost like a game.
But all the same I still don't even know her name.

There's this girl.
I see an empty room, I see an empty chair.
and  all the same I seem to see her sitting there.  

I'd like to walk right up and say 'hello'.
I'd like to introduce myself and say 'how do you do'.
I'd like to take her hand and talk and laugh and plot and plan.
I'd like to say that this is where it all began.

There's this girl.
I know she may be just another might-have-been.
But all the same I hope we'll meet I hope and hope and hope again.


13. DIALOGUE: 'Can't you just' - MARTIN and REMBRANDT

MARTIN

Can't you just walk up and say "Hi, I'm REMBRANDT"?

REMBRANDT

Easier said than done!

(MARTIN notices "Icarus Whistling".)

MARTIN

Hey! Look at that painting over there! "Icarus Whistling". The one that's upside down!

REMBRANDT

It is upside-down.

MARTIN

I'll hold it right-side up. Just as I thought! It's a Whistler self portrait!

REMBRANDT

A Whistler self-portrait? How did you recognize that?

MARTIN

That's easy, I have one just like it in my office. But my Whistler's more than a Whistler, it's a reminder. A reminder of my ex-wife. My good-riddance ex-wife. That woman was always arguing. Grouching and griping, growling and grumbling, squawking and squealing, whinging and whining. That woman could argue over anything.


14. SONG: WHAT A DISASTER - MARTIN's version


I'd say five, she'd say four.
I'd say less, she'd say more.
That woman was always a bore.

I'd say boast and she'd say brag.
I'd say deer and she'd say stag.
That woman was purely a nag.

It's easy to wander astray 
  from the sensible path
  to a hopeless dead end.
It's simple to find out you failed your own test.
So don't make a promise you'll want to rescind.
And don't ever marry a pest.

I'd say over, she'd say under
I'd say lightning, she'd say thunder
That woman was my worst damn blunder

I'd say bibble, she'd day bubble.
I'd say dribble, she'd say drubble.
That woman was nothing but trouble.

What a disaster she was, 
What a mistake I made.
I wish I didn't think of her so much.

SCENE 5: JORDAN, REMBRANDT, and MARTIN

15. DIALOGUE: 'We split up before you moved out here' - JORDAN, REMBRANDT, MARTIN

MARTIN

We split up before you moved out here, REMBRANDT. Too bad you never met her---then you'd know how that woman could argue. The only thing we didn't argue about was our Whistler. We bought it in a little shop on our honeymoon, then we hung it in our dining room. Our dining room where we argued all the time. And our Whistler, hanging up there on the wall, watching us squabble. When we split up, somehow I got the Whistler. I like to look at it. It reminds me how lucky I am to be rid of that good-riddance woman.

But this Whistler here, in "Icarus Whistling", do you think it's supposed to be upside down?

(JORDAN enters.)

REMBRANDT

My God, MARTIN! The girl that just came in.

MARTIN

That girl? Ah! Is that the girl in "There's this girl"?

REMBRANDT

Yes, OK, but don't say anything!

JORDAN

Hi, I'm JORDAN.

REMBRANDT

Hi, uh, uh, JORDAN, I've seen you around, but we never met. I'm REMBRANDT. And this is my uncle MARTIN.

JORDAN

Hi REMBRANDT, Hi MARTIN.

MARTIN

We were just looking at this upside-down painting.

JORDAN

This upside-down painting is mine.

MARTIN

And it's upside-down because?

JORDAN

It's upside down because, well, look at the title.

MARTIN

It's "Icarus Whistling".

REMBRANDT

Ah! It's "Icarus", so you hang it upside down, because Icarus is falling.

MARTIN

And it's "Icarus Whistling" because it's a Whistler self-portrait.

JORDAN

Oh my goodness, MARTIN! This other painting. "Man with Cactus Flowers" That's you in the painting. You're the "Man with Cactus Flowers"! This must be your entry, REMBRANDT!

REMBRANDT

Yes.

JORDAN

I like it! I like it a lot. I could look at that painting and look at that painting, and still see something new.

MARTIN

I've got to be going, for my meeting.

JORDAN

Bye, MARTIN.

REMBRANDT

So long, MARTIN.

(MARTIN exits.)


REMBRANDT

It's odd we never met, JORDAN.

JORDAN

We only met just now because you and MARTIN were looking at my entry, "Icarus Whistling".

REMBRANDT

That was lucky. But I've noticed you around.

JORDAN

I've noticed you noticing me.

REMBRANDT

I didn't know you noticed.

JORDAN

I tried to slow down so you could catch me.

REMBRANDT

I didn't want to rush things.

JORDAN

In the bookstore, when I saw you, you were looking at the "Art" books, letter "A", so I looked at the "Architecture" books, letter "A".

REMBRANDT

I didn't want to seem too eager.

JORDAN

In the coffee shop, I sat at the table right next to you.

REMBRANDT

I wanted to do things right.

JORDAN

And I just wanted you to just do something. Anything.


16. SONG: NOTHING VENTURED NOTHING GAINED - JORDAN and REMBRANDT


REMBRANDT

(Verse.)

I wondered how I might contrive to meet you. I thought about how you and I might be. I asked myself if this might be the time to have a go. I figured what the heck let's try and see. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

JORDAN

(Verse.)

I speculated you might be receptive. I guessed there might be more than just a chance. I reckoned you might be supposing much the same as me. I saw some hint of interest in your glance. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

JORDAN and REMBRANDT

(Chorus.)

Like a pit bull locked and chained, like a novice never trained, like a theory unexplained, Nothing ventured nothing gained. Like a dollar never spent, Like a letter never sent, Like a promise never meant, Nothing ventured nothing gained

(Verse.)

I may be just a tiny bit presumptous. I may be letting hope deceive my heart. But if your inclinations are compatible with mine, then this is where tommorrow's gonna start. Nothing ventured nothing gained.

(Tag.)

Like a plane that's never flown, Like a sail that's never blown, Like a seed that's never sown, Nothing ventured nothing gained. Like a tide that's never turned, Like a bridge that's never burned, Like a prize that's never earned, Nothing ventured nothing gained

(Verse.)

I picked up subtle signals from your gestures. I noticed indications in your smile. I caught a glance a look a hint that lingered in your eyes. I saw a certain something for a while. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

(Tag.)

Like a summit unattained, like a puzzle unexplained, like a priest not yet ordained, nothing ventured nothing gained. Nothing ventured nothing gained.


17. DIALOGUE: 'Aren't we skipping the good part? - JORDAN and REMBRANDT

JORDAN

Oh, REMBRANDT! Oh REMBRANDT! How horrible! How horrible!

REMBRANDT

How horrible? What horrible?

JORDAN

Horrible. Horrible. REMBRANDT! We've only just met, and already we're almost a comfortable couple.

REMBRANDT

Comfortable couple sounds good!

JORDAN

Comfortable couple sounds great, but didn't we skip the excitement?

REMBRANDT

Skip the excitement?

JORDAN

Skip the excitement!

REMBRANDT

What exitement?

JORDAN

The perils of passion. The rigors of romance. The fun of flirtation. The folly of fervor.

REMBRANDT

The perils of passion?

JORDAN

The rigors of romance.

REMBRANDT

The fun of flirtation?

JORDAN

The folly of fervor.

REMBRANDT

The mystery madness of moonlight?

JORDAN

Something like that.

REMBRANDT

We'll have plenty of romance, JORDAN.


18. SONG: DANCERS ON THE MOON - JORDAN and REMBRANDT


(Verse.)

REMBRANDT

We'll dance a tango in the afternoon We'll waltz by midnight candlelight. We'll rave and drink champagne and watch the dawn ignite. We'll dream of dancers on the moon.

(Verse.)

JORDAN

We'll pick petunias in the month of June We'll plant begonias in the Spring. We'll run through fields of daffodils where joy is king. We'll howl at dancers on the moon.

(Chorus.)

REMBRANDT

Do you still have the dreams of the young?

JORDAN

Do you still hear the songs never sung?

REMBRANDT

Do you still look beyond where the road seems to end?

JORDAN

Do you still want the help of the hand of a friend?

JORDAN

Do you still want to know what tomorrow will show?

EMBRANDT

Do you still want to find what the fates have designed?

(Verse.)

JORDAN and REMBRANDT

We'll take a quiet breath and hum a tune. We'll build our home on solid ground. We'll make our plans and do our work and settle down. We'll be the dancers on the moon. We are the dancers on the moon.


19. DIALOGUE: 'It's just a few minutes' - JORDAN and REMBRANDT

JORDAN

It's just a few minutes before the show opens. I've got to go phone my sister, to tell her all about the "Dancers on the Moon"! I'll meet you back here.

REMBRANDT

I'll see you then. Right now I want to take a closer look at your Whistler copy.

(JORDAN exits)

REMBRANDT

Interesting...the sweeping brush strokes...the layering of pigment...the palatine hint of magenta... I wonder...It just might be...It well could be...It does appear to be...I think it is... I'm sure it is...It absolutely is...without a doubt I'm certain that it is. James Abbott McNeil Whistler himself, by his own hand. Let's call DOCTOR FREEMAN, at the Freer.

(REMBRANDT talks on his phone.)

DR FREEMAN?

This is REMBRANDT.

Ah, you remember me!

Thank you.

Well I've come across something I wanted to ask you about. Recall the Whistler self-portrait? The stolen one? Well, it's shown up here at the Las Vegas Student Art Show.

Yes, I'm certain...the sweeping brush strokes...the layering of pigment...the palatine hint of magenta...

You'll change your flight and come right over here?

Thanks.

Goodbye.

(REMBRANDT ends his call to DOCTOR FREEMAN.)

Uh oh. If DOCTOR FREEMAN takes the Whistler, then JORDAN's "Icarus Whistling" is gone. JORDAN won't have an entry.

Ah, of course. I'll call MARTIN.

(REMBRANDT calls MARTIN.)

MARTIN?

Recall your Whistler? In your office?

Well, it's a long story, but could you drop it off here, before your meeting?

Thank you. Thank you very much. Goodbye.

Now I'll go grab some lunch before the show.

(REMBRANDT ends his call to MARTIN and exits.)

SCENE 6: THE AUCTION

20. SONG: 'THIS IS IT' - THE STUDENTS

FRIEDRICK

Well, GUNTER, our first number set the stage for the art show. What are we doing now?

GUNTER

Now we set the stage for the auction, FRIEDRICK.

GRETA

We set the stage because we are the chorus.

FRIEDA

We describe how excited all us students are.

FRIEDRICH

And we talk about art. Ready when you are, Mr Pee-ann-ist!

THE STUDENTS


(Verse 1.)

This is it! This is where we go. This is it! This is all we know. This is it! This is what we show. This is it!

(Verse 2.)

This is it! No more lame excuse. This is it! Let them cook our goose. This is it! Turn the wild dogs loose This is it!

(Bridge.)

THE STUDENTS

Now our destination comes in view. And our ship has reached the shore. All the work we've done and the race we've run, now we've reached the open door.

(Verse 3.)

This is it! Now our work is done. This is it! Now let's have some fun. This is it! Greet the rising sun. This is it!

FRIEDA

Do you like abstract paintings, FRIEDRICK? Paintings of squiggles and blobs?

FRIEDRICK

No, FRIEDA. When I see a blob, I just don't know. Is it a good blob? Or a bad blob?

FRIEDA

Just toss a coin, FRIEDRICK! And you will be the expert!

THE STUDENTS

Art is a torment. Art is a trick. Say the wrong thing and you must be a hick.

GRETA

GUNTER, I think artists should do stuff that people can recognize.

GUNTER

Then take a photo, GRETA.

GRETA

Photos show light waves, GUNTER. Paintings show people.

THE STUDENTS

Art is a teaser. Art is a taunt. Don't show that you're nervous, just act nonchalant.


FRIEDA

How do we know if something is art, GRETA?

GRETA

Just remember Marcel Duchamp, FRIEDA: "If the artist says it's art, then it's art".

FRIEDA

But how do we know the artist is an artist? And not just pretending?

GRETA

Simple, FRIEDA. If he's pretending, then his pretense is his art, so he's an artist.

THE STUDENTS

Art is a player. Art is a ploy. You wanted a tool and they gave you a toy.


FRIEDRICK

Some of these paintings seem like a joke, GUNTER.

GUNTER

Don't say that too loud, FRIEDRICK. You might insult the artist!

FRIEDRICK

You can't insult an artist, GUNTER! He'll just smile and say "thank you"!

THE STUDENTS

Art is a juggler. Art is a joke. You planted an acorn, but that's not an oak.

(First tag verse.)

THE STUDENTS

This is it! Now we've run the race. This is it! Now we'll take our place. This is it! Now we'll play our ace. This is it!

(Second tag verse.)

This is it! Let the rockets fly. This is it! Raise the flags on high. This is it! Say our last goodbye. This is it!

(THE STUDENTS step aside and look at paintings.)


21. DIALOGUE: 'Well, SIGNOR PINELLI' - PROF HARMON, SR PINELLI, MAUDE & LESTER

(PROFESSOR HARMON and SIGNOR PINELLI enter.)

PROFESSOR HARMON

Well, SIGNOR PINELLI, it's almost time for the auction.

(MAUDE and LESTER enter.)

SIGNOR PINELLI

PROFESSOR HARMON, look over there, the couple that just came in.

PROFESSOR HARMON

Oh, my! So much polyester!

SIGNOR PINELLI

I didn't know polyester still existed!

MAUDE

LESTER, I get the feeling that people are staring at us.

LESTER

You mean like that pointy-toed snoot over there,MAUDE?

MAUDE

The pointy toed snoot sure does seem to be staring at us, LESTER.

LESTER

Or maybe just at me, MAUDE.


22. SONG: TRUTH TO TELL - MAUDE and LESTER


(Verse.)

MAUDE

Folks are all gawking and glaring at me. I think they want me to get out. They grin and they groan and they laugh til they weep. I think they think I am a lout or a creep.

(Verse.)

LESTER

People are looking and staring at me. I don't think they want me around. Their lips in a curl and their smile in a smirk. I think they think I am a clown or a jerk.

(Chorus.)

MAUDE

I've noticed certain gestures and expressions on you and no one else I've ever seen. Truth to tell you are a bit peculiar. Truth to tell that's why I married you.

LESTER

I've noticed certain quirks and indications, on you and no one else I've ever known. Truth to tell you are a bit eccentric. Truth to tell that's why I married you.

(Verse.)

MAUDE and LESTER

Folks are all gaping and gawking at us. They want us to just disappear. They sneer and they snarl and they moan and complain. I think that they think that we're too lame to train. Truth to tell we are a bit outlandish. Truth to tell that's why I married you.

MAUDE

I think we are among some snooty people, LESTER.

LESTER

Pointy toed and snooty, MAUDE.


23. DIALOGUE: 'Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen' - PROF HARMON, SR PINELLI, and MAUDE & LESTER

PROFESSOR HARMON

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I'm PROFESSOR HARMON, chairman of the Art Department here at Las Vegas University, and this is our distinguished guest, SIGNOR PINELLI, of the Pinelli Gallery. I welcome you all to LA VESTA, the Vegas Student Ann-wall-ay. And I know that folks like you will know to pronounce it 'ann-wall-ay'!


PROFESSOR HARMON

Now for the auction, and the first art work for sale is number thirty two. It's entitled "A sealed box containing a letter that was not written by Abraham Lincoln".

MAUDE

Now that's kind of clever, LESTER.

PROFESSOR HARMON

I'll start the bidding at one hundred dollars.

LESTER

Remember your uncle Johnson, MAUDE?

MAUDE

My uncle Johnson?

LESTER

His birthday's next week. I bet he would get quite a kick from that box with a letter that's not from Lincoln.

MAUDE

You're right, LESTER. Hey, Mister! One hundred dollars!

SIGNOR PINELLI

[Aside.] I'll bid on this work. Then I won't be so conspicuous when I bid on the Whistler.

SIGNOR PINELLI

One hundred ten.

MAUDE

Uh oh, LESTER. The pointy-toed snoot wants uncle Johnson's not-from-Lincoln box. One hundred twenty, mister!

SIGNOR PINELLI

[Aside.]I'll gladly let the polyester people have the thing.

PROFESSOR HARMON

The bidding's at one hundred twenty. Do I have another bid? Sold to, I'm sorry, I don't know your names.

MAUDE

We're MAUDE and LESTER.

PROFESSOR HARMON

Sold to MAUDE and LESTER.


PROFESSOR HARMON

And now our next item at auction is number twenty nine. It's called "Man with Cactus Flowers".

LESTER

I like this painting, MAUDE. I like it a lot.

MAUDE

I like it too, LESTER. I could look at that painting and look at that painting, and still see something new.

PROFESSOR HARMON

We'll start the bidding at two hundred dollars.

SIGNOR PINELLI

[Aside.] The polyester lady is sure to bid on this. It's just a painting. I bet she'd rather have a tiger painted on velvet.

MAUDE

(Bids.) Two hundred dollars, Mister.

SIGNOR PINELLI

I told you so.

PROFESSOR HARMON

Well, do I hear two hundred ten?

MAUDE

The pointy-toed snoot doesn't want a real painting, LESTER. Two hundred ten!

PROFESSOR HARMON

You already have the high bid, madam, for two hundred dollars.

MAUDE

And I just bid two hundred ten, Sonny!

PROFESSOR HARMON

Sold, to MAUDE and LESTER. for two hundred ten.

LESTER

I like this painting, MAUDE.

MAUDE

I like it too, LESTER.


PROFESSOR HARMON

And now, our next item, number forty two, entitled "Icarus Whistling".

SIGNOR PINELLI

[Aside.]The Whistler! Now my opportunity!

PROFESSOR HARMON

I'm sure that you folks can all see why this work is hanging upside down.

MAUDE

Can you see why this work is hanging upside down, LESTER?

LESTER

Forget about the upside-down, MAUDE. Picture that painting right-side up. Right-side up, MAUDE.

MAUDE

Right-side up, LESTER?

LESTER

Right-side up, MAUDE.

MAUDE

Well, my goodness, LESTER! Put that painting right-side up, and it would almost look like my uncle Johnson!

LESTER

Put that painting right-side up and it would look exactly, exactly like your uncle Johnson. So for his birthday...

MAUDE

For his birthday we forget about that not-from-Lincoln box and get him this instead. A painting that looks just like him.

PROFESSOR HARMON

I'll start the bidding at five hundred dollars.

MAUDE

(Bids.) Five hundred dollars, mister!

SIGNOR PINELLI

Five hundred fifty.

MAUDE

Oh, oh, LESTER. The pointy-toed snoot wants my uncle Johnson.

(Bids.) Six hundred dollars!

SIGNOR PINELLI

Six hundred fifty!

PROFESSOR HARMON

Oh my goodness! I just noticed! "Icarus Whistling" has a reserve of thirty thousand dollars!

That must be a typo.

No, it's clearly thirty thousand.

Ah! The thirty thousand is an art statement! Masterful!

Do I hear thirty thousand? Thirty thousand?

SIGNOR PINELLI

[Aside.] Thirty thousand! I can't do that! Not even for an authentic Whistler!

MAUDE

Thirty thousand.


LESTER

What the heck, MAUDE. Thirty thousand dollars? For a painting that looks like your uncle Johnson?

MAUDE

LESTER, the last time I checked, you and I are pretty much billionaires.

LESTER

Not quite a billion, MAUDE. A half billion for sure. But not quite a billion.

MAUDE

(Optionally "dingdarn" for "goddamn".)

OK, LESTER. Let's call it half-a-billion.

Now what is the point of being half-billionaires if we can't win a goddamn student auction at a goddamn student art show!

Our goddamn chief engineer got a lot less than half a billion dollars. And he bought himself a Testerrosa, LESTER, a goddamn bright-red goddamn Ferrarri goddamn Testerossa.

And we're still driving our goddamn Subaru, LESTER! Our goddamn ten year old Subaru!

LESTER

It's a good car, MAUDE.

MAUDE

It's a fine car, LESTER. But we are not going back to our Subaru without my uncle Johnson.

And we are goddamn sure not gonna leave my uncle Johnson to the goddamn pointy-toed snoot.

LESTER

(Bids.) Thirty-one thousand dollars, mister!

PROFESSOR HARMON

Thirty-one thousand?

But you folks already bid thirty!

Oh, hell, I have a bid for thirty-one thousand dollars.

Do I hear thirty-two? Thirty-two thousand?

SIGNOR PINELLI?

SIGNOR PINELLI

No. Unfortunately, no.

PROFESSOR HARMON

Sold to MAUDE and LESTER, for thirty one thousand dollars.


24. DIALOGUE: 'Jordan!' - JORDAN, MAVIS, MARTIN and REMBRANDT

(MAVIS enters.)

MAVIS

JORDAN?

JORDAN

MAVIS! You're back!

MAVIS

Here's the receipt.

JORDAN

What receipt?

MAVIS

You wanted the receipt.

JORDAN

Oh, yes. The receipt.

MAVIS

What's going on?

JORDAN

It all happened so fast. I think "Icarus Whistling" just got sold. Your Whistler just got sold!

MAVIS

Just got sold? For thirty thousand?

JORDAN

Thirty one! Thirty-one thousand!

MAVIS

Thirty-one thousand! For my Whistler copy? Just because you hung it upside down?

JORDAN

They said something about...something about someone's uncle Johnson.

MAVIS

Uncle Johnson? Uncle Johnson? Who is uncle Johnson?

JORDAN

I think uncle Johnson is...

(MAVIS sees "Man with Cactus Flowers", REMBRANDT's portrat of MARTIN.)

MAVIS

JORDAN! That painting! "Man with Cactus Flowers"! That's MARTIN!

JORDAN

MARTIN?

MAVIS

MARTIN! My ex...

(MARTIN enters with his Whistler, but doesn't notice MAVIS.)

MARTIN

Here it is, REMBRANDT, the other Whistler you asked me to bring. This Whistler is exactly like...

MAVIS

MARTIN?

MARTIN

MAVIS?

MAVIS

What are you doing here?

MARTIN

What are you doing here?

MAVIS

My neighbor JORDAN is in the art show!

MARTIN

My nephew REMBRANDT in the art show!

JORDAN

I guess you two have met?

MAVIS

He's my good-riddance ex-husband.

MARTIN

She's my good-riddance ex-wife.

JORDAN

That explains the cordiality! But remember, this is an art show, not a mud fight!

MAVIS

Well...

MARTIN

I suppose...

MAVIS

We really don't have anything to argue about.

MARTIN

We haven't got a thing to dispute.

MAVIS

So. Hello, MARTIN.

MARTIN

Hello, MAVIS

MAVIS

This is my neighbor, JORDAN.

MARTIN

Thanks. I met JORDAN earlier. And this is my nephew, REMBRANDT. REMBRANDT painted the "Man with Cactus Flowers".

MAVIS

Hi, REMBRANDT. I like the "Man with Cactus Flowers". I like it a lot. I could look at that painting and look at that painting and still see something new. MARTIN may be a bum, but your painting is fine, really fine.

REMBRANDT

Thank you.

MAVIS

Except. Except.

MARTIN

Except? Except what?

MAVIS

Except he's got it hung too high, MARTIN.

MARTIN

He's got the painting hung too high?

MAVIS

It should hang just a little bit lower.

MARTIN

Hang just a little bit lower?

MAVIS

Yes, Martin. Maybe a foot.

MARTIN

A foot?

MAVIS

Yes, the painting is hung about a foot too high.

MARTIN

The painting is hung where the painting should hang. REMBRANDT knows what he's doing.

MAVIS

REMBRANDT certainly knows how to paint. But he doesn't know how to hang!

MARTIN

REMBRANDT knows how to paint and he knows how to hang!

MAVIS

He hung this painting too high!

MARTIN

He hung this painting exactly where this painting should hang!

MAVIS

He hung it too high. You've got to stand on your tip-toes to see it!

MARTIN

Better to stand on your tip-toes than kneel on your knees!

MAVIS

Paintings have a proper and suitable height to be hung.

MARTIN

And this painting is hung at its proper and suitable height.

MAVIS

If it were hung at its proper and suitable height then I wouldn't have to be saying it ought to be hung just a little bit lower! Maybe a foot!

MARTIN

If it were hung a foot lower, then you'd be saying it ought to be hung a foot higher.

MAVIS

If you weren't such a stubborn ignoramus then you wouldn't be arguing about something you know nothing about.

MARTIN

If you weren't such an obstinate harridan then you wouldn't be arguing about something that doesn't need arguing about.

(MAVIS and MARTIN pause, staring at each other hotly.)

MAVIS

MARTIN?

MARTIN

MAVIS?

MAVIS

It's getting warm in here.

MARTIN

It's getting very warm in here.


25. SONG: 'THE STORMY WINDS OF LUST' - MAVIS and MARTIN


MAVIS

I want to grip you, want to strip you, want to pluck you, want to shuck you,

MARTIN

want to steer you, want to spear you, want to roll you, want to pole you,

MAVIS and MARTIN

want to snarl and growl and grunt and howl with you.

MAVIS

I want to feel you, want to peel you, want to snare you, want to bare you,

MARTIN

want to stroke you, want to poke you, want to bong you, want to prong you,

MAVIS and MARTIN

want to claw and scratch and scrape and hatch with you.

MAVIS

The stormy winds of love sublime tear down all discretion and sense. Love conquers my last lame defense.

MARTIN

The tides of passion at the flood uproot all reserve and restraint. Love's not for the feeble and faint.

MARTIN and MAVIS

Love is what it is, not what it ain't.

MAVIS

I want to hold you, want to scold you, want to bite you, want to fight you,

MARTIN

want to jump you, want to thump you, want to hump you, want to pump you,

MAVIS and MARTIN

want to twist and turn and tryst and burn with you.


MAVIS

MARTIN?

MARTIN

MAVIS?

MAVIS

My car's right outside.

MARTIN

My van's just across the street.

MAVIS

Let's go!

MARTIN

Let's go!


26. DIALOGUE: 'That was a masterful work' - All except MAVIS and MARTIN

SIGNOR PINELLI

That was a masterful work of performance art! I must have them perform it at my gallery!

(DOCTOR FREEMAN enters and strides to "Icarus Whistling".)

DOCTOR FREEMAN

James Abbott Mcneil Whistler! By his own hand.

REMBRANDT

DOCTOR FREEMAN! Welcome! I'm glad you could get here.

DOCTOR FREEMAN

Quite a coincidence, REMBRANDT. I was there in the airport, between flights, on my way to Hawaii, when I got your call.

REMBRANDT

Well, this is the painting I called you about.

DOCTOR FREEMAN

And the Whistler is upside-down because?

REMBRANDT

It's a long story. But you do agree that this is...

DOCTOR FREEMAN

Certainly it is. The sweeping brush strokes...the layering of pigment...the palatine hint of magenta... I could tell in an instant that this was the genuine Whistler self-portrait, stolen from the Freer Museum eight years ago.

JORDAN

But my neighbor MAVIS, she bought it at an estate sale, some guy who died...

DOCTOR FREEMAN

Whoever stole it from the Freer must have sold it to the guy who died, and the guy who died didn't tell anyone it was real. (Picks up MAVIS's Whistler.) Well. I'm in a hurry, so I'll just take the Whistler and work out the shipping.

MAUDE

Just hold on, Sonny. I'm not completely certain who you think you are, a but I'm altogether certain that the painting that you think you're gonna just walk out of here with, is the painting of my uncle Johnson that Lester and I just bought.

DOCTOR FREEMAN

But sadly for you and LESTER, Whistler's painting of your uncle Johnson was stolen from the Freer Museum, and the law says...

MAUDE

The law says just what the lawyers say it says, and LESTER and I have an army of lawyers.

DOCTOR FREEMAN

But the Freer Museum is part of the Smithsonian Institute, so my lawyer army is bigger than yours.

LESTER

MAUDE?

MAUDE

Yes, LESTER?

LESTER

I've got an idea, MAUDE.

MAUDE

You've got an idea? Well, LESTER, you and I are half-billionaires because of your ideas, so let's hear this one.

LESTER

Picture the Freer Museum, MAUDE, right there on the Washington Mall.

MAUDE

I see it, LESTER, I see it.

LESTER

Now picture a big reception, television, newspapers, lots of big shots.

MAUDE

I see it, LESTER, I see it.

LESTER

And our good friend DOCTOR FREEMAN announces that the noted art collectors, MAUDE and LESTER, acquired the stolen Whistler self-portrait, and phoned DOCTOR FREEMAN to arrange the return.

MAUDE

I see it, LESTER, I see it. LESTER in a tuxedo, MAUDE in a gown.

DOCTOR FREEMAN

It will be a splendid event. MAUDE and LESTER certainly deserve the thanks of the art world, and the gratitude of the nation.

(MAVIS and MARTIN begin singing off-stage, then re-enter, appropriately disheveled.)


27. SONG: I HAVE SEEN THE LIGHT - MAVIS and MARTIN


(Verse.)

MARTIN

I have seen the light. Now I know the where's and why's. Now I know the proper prize, it's clear as black and white.

(Verse.)

MAVIS

I have seen the way. Now I know the worst and best. Now I know the cursed and blessed. It's clear as night and day.

(BRIDGE)

MAVIS

You've got to give a little if you want to get a lot.

MARTIN

You've got to learn a little if you want to know a lot.

MAVIS

You've got to frown a little

MARTIN

if you want to laugh a lot.

MAVIS and MARTIN

You've got to fight a little If you want to love a lot.

(Verse.)

MAVIS and MARTIN

- Now the future's bright. Now we know the path to take. Now we know the moves to make, now Everything is right. We have seen the light.

(FINE)

(INTERLUDE)

MARTIN

I'd say gleam, you'd say glow.

MAVIS

I'd say toss, you'd say throw.

MARTIN

I'd say hide, you'd say show.

MAVIS

I'd say stash, you'd say stow.

MAVIS

I'd say deer, you'd say doe

MARTIN

I'd say friend, you'd say foe

MAVIS

I'd say rain, you'd say snow.

MARTIN

I'd say rake, you'd say hoe.

MARTIN

I'd say shrink, you'd say grow.

MAVIS

I'd say high, you'd say low.

MARTIN

I'd say fast, you'd say slow.

MAVIS

I'd say yes,

MAVIS and MARTIN

I'd say yes!

(Verse.)

MAVIS and MARTIN

We have seen the light. We have found which way is up. We have won the loving cup. Skies are blue and bright. We have seen the light.


28. SONG: THE ART OF ART - ALL


(The Students interlude.)

FRIEDA

Well, GRETA, we got the art show going.

GRETA

Yes, FRIEDA, and now it's ready to end.

FRIEDRICK

We're the beginning of the end, GUNTER.

GUNTER

Yes, FRIEDRICK, with some help from the pi-an-ist.

(Verse 1.)

The art of art is seeing what you never saw before. The art of art is showing what was just beyond the door. You paint a fire and watch it glow. You paint the wind and watch it blow. The art of art is sailing out of sight of any shore.

(PROFESSOR HARMON/SIGNOR PINELLI/DOCTOR FREEMAN interlude.)

SIGNOR PINELLI

Well, PROF HARMON, I don't believe you forgot any details.

PROFESSOR HARMON

Except that I never got the proof of ownership for "Icarus Whistling". DOCTOR FREEMAN may...

DOCTOR FREEMAN

No worry, Gentlemen, my Washington lawyers will have all the proof that you need.

(Verse 2.)

The art of art reveals the man inside the man you see. The art of art parades the woman she would like to be. You paint a book and turn the page. You paint a man and watch him age. The art of art is climbing where there isn't any tree.

(JORDAN/REMBRANT interlude.)

JORDAN

Well, REMBRANDT, congratulations! "Man with Cactus Flower" sold!

REMBRRANDT

Yes, and maybe years from now it will end up in some student art show hanging upside down: "Icarus with Cactus Flowers"

(Chorus.)

You see the image in your mind before you take to paint. You see the semblance deep inside, the truth that is but ain't. You paint by numbers, learn the rules they teach in all the schools. Then splish and splash and squish and crash, and show the golden, gilded, gleaming, glowing, grail of jewels.

(MAUDE/LESTER interlude.)

MAUDE

LESTER, that Freer Gallery in Washington DC. You think it'd be for sale?

LESTER

Could be. But let's do our own MAUDE & LESTER Gallery right here. Maybe get some more paintings from the young feller that did "Man with Cactus Flowers".

(Verse 3.)

The art of art displays the past that maybe might have been. The art of art exposes what you hide somewhere within. You paint the future, paint the past, You paint the tiny, paint the vast. The art of art presents the prizes you can never win

(MAVIS/MARTIN interlude.)

MARTIN

I guess our divorce was a failure, MAVIS.

MAVIS

Nonsense, MARTIN. Our divorce got us back together again, so it was a success.

MARTIN

But as a divorce, it failed.

MAVIS

It succeeded.

MARTIN

Failed. Oh, let's save this for later.

MAVIS

Right. I don't want to do the van again.

(Tag chorus.)

You let the painting paint itself, you haven't got a clue / while you stand by and stare. You know the shapes and colors come from someplace else, not you. /out there. You follow dictates and directions word by word by word. Then test and twist and taunt and tease, and celebrate the giddy, goofy, gawdy, gay absurd.

(Tag verse.)

The art of art announces what you didn't want to know. The art of art reveals the things you reap but do not sow. You paint the planets, paint the moon. You paint the piper, paint the tune. The art of art transports you any where you want to go.

(Tag)

We don't know much about art, but we know what we like.


29. EXIT MUSIC ("La Vesta" reprise)