The show is over, the monkey is dead

Those are the last words of a character named Lady, arguably the protagonist in Tennessee Williams’ “Orpheus Descending.” The play wrapped up Saturday night, and I was happy to be done with it. We struck the set (which is theater lingo for taking all the props down and putting everything back the way we found it) and then had the final cast/crew party. That was Saturday night/Sunday morning. I got home around 2 AM, I guess. And then woke up at 6:15. Not a lot of sleep that night!

It was good fun working on Orpheus, but it sure took a lot of time. That’s why I’m so relieved that it’s over now. Between February 6 and March 6, I spent 16 of 28 evenings working on rehearsals, preparations, or performances. And that was after spending around 30 hours over the prior month gathering together music and sound effects. I wish I could find a way to help out in a small way – contribute some of my time, but without such a huge commitment. I’m not working on the next one, since I need a break, some time off, and to spend some time on all my other N-1 activities and hobbies.

For most of the crew and cast, though, it’s right back into the fray. Auditions for the next show are tomorrow night, and rehearsals are every weeknight starting the next day. I don’t see how folks can do that – roll from one show right into another without a break. I guess their friends and families and hobbies and other activities somehow all revolve around the theater. I’m just not into it enough to drop all other interests.

Speaking of other interests, I took the day off work. I spent half of it running more errands, still catching up on things from being so occupied so much of the time with the play. And I spent the other half of it I relaxed by reading, watching TV, and writing on the story I’m working on.

I’m not really sure what you’d call this thing I’m doing. I guess the best description is “concept album / radio play.” It’s got songs that tell a story, plus spoken narration and sound effects. It’s sort of like a radio play, but it’ll end up on a CD instead of the radio, and the characters sing. And it’s sort of like a musical, but it’s audio-only, with no visual component. And it’s sort of like a concept album, but with narration, sound effects, and dialogue. Now that I think of it, I don’t think I own anything quite like this it.

What would you call that? Leave me feedback with what you would call this thing I’m working on.

1 reply on “The show is over, the monkey is dead”

I first read this quote in Carson McCullers play “A member of the Wedding”. The novel was written in 1946 and the play in ’49. This predates Williams’ Orpheus by a number of years. Frankie’s daddy spoke the words at the end of the all important wedding, an event central in understanding the main character, young Frankie. Her daddy’s words were more like, “the show is over and the monkey is dead.” In the novel and play there is a character, an organ grinder referred to as the “Monkey Man”. So I assume the allusion was juxtaposed accordingly; and probably denotes its true origin—the organ grinder putting on a show with the all important, cute little monkey drawing all the attention and bringing in the dough. Certainly, one would have to conclude that without the monkey, there could be no show.

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