Fools and Heros

A one-act musical comedy

Words and music by Phil Shaw


Phil Shaw
1350 E Flamingo Rd #345
Las Vegas NV 89119 USA

(702) 372 8297

Copyright © 2011, 2014 by Phil Shaw - All Rights Reserved



Full score(pdf)





  1. A corkscrew.
  2. A side-table with a drawer that is the proper place for the corkscrew.
  3. A bottle of wine, which DAVID brings.


MAVIS and MARTIN have invited their friend DAVID and MAVIS's new friend DONNA to dinner, with match-making in mind. Complications ensue.


MAVIS and MARTIN, joined by DAVID and DONNA, sing of the pleasures of dinner with friends ["2. DINNER WITH FRIENDS"], then DAVID and DONNA retire, to return later, and MAVIS and MARTIN begin to prepare for the arrival of DAVID and then DONNA.

MARTIN asks MAVIS about the two people, DAVID and DONNA, whom she has invited to dinner ["3. MAVIS, MY SWEET"]. MARTIN knows DAVID, their old friend, but he asks just who this DONNA is. MAVIS replies that DONNA is a woman she just met yesterday. MAVIS thinks that DAVID and DONNA would be perfect for each other, so she invited them to dinner to meet. MAVIS exits to the kitchen.

MAVIS calls from the kitchen to ask if MARTIN has opened some wine, and he replies that DAVID always brings a bottle ["4. MARTIN, DEAR"]. DAVID arrives, with the anticipated bottle of wine, and thanks MARTIN for the invitation. MARTIN says that he hopes DAVID will still thank him when the evening's over, since MAVIS has arranged a surprise.

MAVIS joins MARTIN and DAVID, and tells DAVID that DONNA should be there soon. DAVID asks "DONNA?", and MARTIN tells him that DONNA is MAVIS's surprise. DAVID says "DONNA? That's odd. 'Donna' is the name of my..." and the doorbell rings.

MAVIS opens the door and DONNA enters. MAVIS introduces DAVID and DONNA. DAVID says "Nice dress. What dumpster did you get it from", and DONNA replies "Still straining to be clever, I see" Then DAVID introduces DONNA to MARTIN: "MARTIN, let me introduce DONNA, my obnoxious ex-wife". DONNA says "Hello, MARTIN, so nice of you and MAVIS to invite me or a surprise blind date with the odious fool I thought I was done with." DAVID and DONNA then sing of the joys of being separated ["5. BLISS"].

DAVID and DONNA then recount the many reasons for their divorce to MAVIS and MARTIN ["6. DAVID, DEAR"]. To change the subject, MARTIN gets a corkscrew from the drawer in a side table, opens the wine DAVID brought, then sets the corkscrew on the table. MAVIS asks MARTIN to please return the corkscrew to its proper place in the drawer. MARTIN replies that the corkscrew will find its way back into the drawer in good time. MAVIS and MARTIN sing of life and corkscrews ["7. LIFE CAN BE A CORKSCREW"].

MAVIS and MARTIN have a heated exchange about where the corkscrew belongs, when it should be placed there, and who should place it there, while DAVID and DONNA have a separate, interleaved exchange about corkscrews and about their old conflicts that now don't seem so important ["8. I'LL PUT THE CORKSCREW AWAY"]. MAVIS and MARTIN end up on the verge of separating, while DAVID and DONNA resolve to have lunch together.

MARTIN brings the exchanges to a close, proposing that it's time for dinner. MAVIS and MARTIN affirm "Marriage is for fools!", and DAVID and DONNA add "And Heros!" ["9. FOOLS AND HEROS"]

Performance Notes

  1. The running time is 33 minutes, plus pauses between numbers.
  2. Fools and Heros takes place in MAVIS and MARTIN's living room. The setting requires only the side-table with its drawer for the corkscrew.
  3. All of the characters are dressed in an 'informal dressy' manner, for a dinner.
  4. "2. DINNER WITH FRIENDS" is an ensemble number that introduces the theme of, obviously, a dinner with friends. MARTIN enters first and begins the number, and the others enter one-by-one as indicated in the score. Following the number, DAVID and DONNA exit.
  5. In "3. MAVIS, MY SWEET", MAVIS and MARTIN are doing this and that to tidy the house and prepare for the arrival of their guests. At the end of the number MAVIS exits to the kitchen.
  6. At the beginning of "4. MARTIN, DEAR", MARTIN is still in the living room, and MAVIS speaks from off-stage, in the kitchen. At letter "C", DAVID arrives, and MAVIS is still in the kitchen. At letter "E", MAVIS comes in from the kitchen to greet DAVID, and at letter "F" DONNA arrives.
  7. "5. BLISS" is a comic number for DAVID and DONNA. This number must be performed straight. On the one hand, it should have no trace of anger or bitterness, and on the other hand, no trace of irony and no winking, smiling, or mugging. The comedy derives from the contrast of a romantic ballad melody and contemptuous, disdainful lyrics. DAVID and DONNA should perform it as though they were discussing a shopping list ("Perhaps we could also get broccoli, and maybe some sweet potatos too").
  8. "6. DAVID, DEAR" recounts DAVID and DONNA's grievances with one another, which MARTIN tries to quell by opening the wine DAVID brought. However, after opening the wine, MARTIN fails to return the corkscrew to its proper place, revealing a conflict between MAVIS and MARTIN.
  9. "7. LIFE CAN BE A CORKSCREW" is a duet for MAVIS and MARTIN wherein they expound on the ways that life can get corkscrewed up.
  10. "8. I'LL PUT THE CORKSCREW AWAY" resumes MAVIS and MARTIN's dispute over thee corkscrew. Then, at letter "D", as MAVIS and MARTIN get more and more heated, and have forgotten about their guests, DAVID and DONNA begin a separate conversation that is interleaved with MAVIS and MARTIN's continuing spat. From letter "D" to letter "T", the MAVIS-MARTIN and DAVID-DONNA exchanges are separate and independent, the couples on different sides of the stage. Then at letter "T", MARTIN suggests that they finish their separate discussions later, and asks "Shall we dine?". The final number immediately follows.
  11. "9. FOOLS AND HEROS" is the final number, addressed generally to the audience, but sometimes to other characters.

Musical Numbers

Click on a song name for the Virtual Singer generated MP3 demo of the song. See Notes on the demo recordings for a description of those demos.