TR: A dark night in a city that knows how to keep its secrets but one man is still trying to find the answers to life's persistent questions...Guy Noir, Private Eye.
GK: I was in New York down on my luck and looking for work and then the snow started coming down and (TRAFFIC, HORNS) I found work out on the streets (SPINNING TIRES) -- helping New Yorkers get their cars out -- hey, five bucks to get your car out of the snow-- (
TR: Thanks!) (ROCKING OF SPINNING TIRES) -- and having lived in Minnesota, it was second nature to me, and in an hour, I'd earned a week's rent and I was about to go out and get lunch at Virgil's Thai restaurant -- all the sweet and sour you can eat for $5.95 (RING, PICK UP) -- Yeah, this is Guy Noir.
TR (ON PHONE, SMALL TIGHT VOICE): Mr. Noir? I got a Christmas present and I need find out who gave it to me.
GK: What is it?
TR (ON PHONE): A box of fruit. Persimmons, papaya, pippins, prunes, pomegranates, and prickly pear. And some cheese.
GK: What kind of cheese?
TR (ON PHONE): Provolone, Port-Salut, Pecorino, and processed Parmesan.
GK: Interesting. From an office party maybe?.
TR (ON PHONE): Naw. I'm unemployed.
GK: A church social?
TR (ON PHONE): I'm an atheist.
GK: Maybe a neighborhood party.
TR (ON PHONE): I live alone in the woods.
GK: Where did you find it?
TR (ON PHONE): In a pile of snow.
TR (ON PHONE): On my property.
GK: Any footprints around it?
TR (ON PHONE): Some pawprints.
GK: So let me get this again. Persimmons, papaya, pippins, prunes, pomegranates, and prickly pear. And provolone, Port-Salut, Pecorino, and Parmesan.
TR (ON PHONE): Processed Parmesan. With paprika.
TR (ON PHONE): I just want to know who sent it.
GK: Your papa.
TR (ON PHONE): Oh gosh, you're right. Papa. He lives right up in Poughkeepsie.
GK: Take him a present.
TR (ON PHONE): What?
GK: Get him a pair of pants. A parka. A porkpie hat.
TR (ON PHONE): How about pajamas? Poplin pajamas.
GK: Perfect. (STING, BRIDGE)
GK: I went for the sweet and sour special and my fortune cookie said, "You will soon meet someone very interesting." And sure enough-- there she was. The waitress.
ER: More pepper on your pork, mister?
GK: Could you say that again--
ER: More pepper on your pork?
GK: I can tell by your diction and facial expression, you're an actress, aren't you?
ER: I am. An unemployed actress.
ER: I got fired yesterday.
GK: Well, there's a distinction in itself. All the best people have gotten fired. Nothing says mediocrity like an unblemished record of employment.
ER: Can we talk? (BRIDGE)
GK: So she sat down and told me the whole story. The story of a young person with high ideals brought down by the relentless commercialism of the world.
ER: I was with the Electric Armadillo Theater in Brooklyn. You've heard of the Theater of the Inert?
GK: Theater of the Inert? I don't think so.
ER: It's a whole theory of performance art that says that any action onstage only makes the audience defensive and put up psychological walls whereas inertia draws them out -- anyway, the Electric Armadillo is a non-profit with the emphasis on NON and so every year they have to do six hundred performances of "A Christmas Carol" to make up their budget deficit.
GK: A Christmas Carol.
ER: Six hundred shows. They do a 45 minute version. They were selling a hundred sweatshirts at every show with my picture on the front. I played Tiny Tim. So I asked for a cut. And they told me to take a hike.
GK: Good for you. I admire that sort of spunk.
ER: Probably the end of my acting career. But-- a woman has to stand up for what's right.
GK: Maybe I can help.
ER: How? (STING)
GK: I went to see the Electric Armadillo located in a warehouse in Brooklyn and I found the producer/director Werner Bahai rehearsing his next production, a musical version of "Our Town"--
WB: Okay! Listen up! This is the big cemetery scene and you're all dead and now when George Gibbs comes up to visit Becky's grave, you all jump up and you fold up your black umbrellas and they become canes! Yes! And we do the big dance number!
(HE SINGS, BIG)
We are the folks of Grover Corners
Here to welcome all you mourners
It's cold and damp, sir,
Here in New Hampshire,
We are dead and our graves are dug
But that doesn't mean we can't cut a rug.
So scrape off the rot and rise from the stones
And let's -- shake -- our bones!!!!!!!!!!!
GK: Mr. Bahai -- if I could have a word with you--
WB: Take em through it again, Bobby-- (FOOTSTEPS) Yeah, who are you?
GK: The name's Noir and I'll get right to the point. I know you're busy. I'm representing a group of hedge fund managers who for tax reasons need to find three million dollars in business losses before the end of the year. Wondering if you can help.
WB: Well, you've come at a very difficult time as far as losses go, Mr. Noir. It's December. We're earning money hand over fist.
WB: We've created a 45-minute "Christmas Carol" -- it's packing 'em in -- perfect for grandparents -- forty-five minutes is tops for a kid's attention span -- and it's as long as old men can go without having to pee.
GK: One question, Mr. Bahai. Whatever happened to the Theater of the Inert?
WB: Beg pardon?
GK: Theater of the Inert? Passivity on stage as a strategy for drawing the audience in?
WB: Oh that.
GK: Ring a bell?
WB: That was yesterday. We have moved on. This is not mortuary science. We are in theater, sir. Irony is all over.
GK: All over?
WB: Sincerity is the new irony.
WB: Sincerity is the new irony.
WB: I'd like to help you lose money but I don't know how.
GK: Any new productions--
WB: We're doing one called "Cats".
GK: I thought that had been done.
WB: This is new.
GK: You can use that title?
WB: You can't copyright a single word.
GK: Oh. So this isn't the T.S. Eliot one.
WB: This is the George Frederic Handel one.
WB: No copyright on the music either.
WB: You could invest in this but it's no loser. Hey-- Ramona-- sing him something.
He shall feed his cats with a can of tuna
And He shall clean their litter boxes every day, every day.
He shall feed them salmon and lamb and also beef,
And He shall let them sleep at the foot of his bed, of his bed
And carry them in a basket
And feed them as they lie there on their back
And feed them as they lie, with their legs in the air.
WB: Two singers, a piano player, and fourteen cats.
GK: What do the cats do?
WB: Whatever they want. Sleep. Sit. Doesn't matter.
GK: Sounds like Theater of the Inert.
WB: We've tried it out with focus groups and it's going to be a gold mine.
ER: Hi, Mr. Noir.
GK: Lindsay. I thought you quit.
ER: They offered me a better part.
GK: Better than Tiny Tim?
ER: The crutch really hurt my shoulder.
WB: She couldn't manage the limp.
GK: So what part did you get?
ER: What part did I get?? Bah! Humbug!
TR (BRIT): How much money shall I put you down for, Miss Scrooge?
TR (BRIT): Nothing for the poor? But it's Christmas!
FN (BRIT): Yes, it's Christmas.
ER: Are there no poorhouses? No loony bins? No homeless shelters? Let them go there.
SS (BRIT): But we want to fix them a little pudding. A mincemeat pie. Some goose.
ER: I'll show you what you can do with your goose! Beat it!
SS (BRIT): But Miss Scrooge-- we must help them or else they will die.
TR (BRIT): Yes. They will die.
ER: Then let them do it and decrease the surplus population.
WB: And then we do the big ghost dance-- Everybody! (DANCING FEET)
Evening comes to London town
Spooky when the fog comes around
Up and down your little street
Hear the sound of ghostly feet.
Hello Bob and hello Charley!
Look out, here comes Jacob Marley!
(GHOSTLY GROANS, CHAINS)
GK: Well, glad to be of help, Lindsay.
ER: Beat it.
GK: Okay. Sounds good.
ER: Or I'll shoot.
GK: I didn't know there was a gun in the play.
WB: It's not IN the play but it's not NOT in the play.
ER: Get a grip. The door's right there. Don't let it hit you on the way out.
GK: Merry Christmas.
ER: Ha! Humbug! (BRIDGE)
GK: It was nice meeting her. Not what you look for at Christmas but it was real. And what is New York about except being real.
TR: A dark night in a city that knows how to keep its secrets but one man is still trying to find the answers to life's persistent questions. Guy Noir. Private Eye.