How To Be a Charming Hypocrite and Get a Starring Role in a Play with Poetry
Plays Can Be Of, By, and For the Elite
Politics is often an entertaining farce. During an emergency like a pandemic, there are great opportunities for all actors, but especially for a subclass of actors called politicians. For a lead role, a Governor is most welcome, especially for a renowned Opera. To get a starring role, an actor should become a Governor of a state in the US. It is a good career move in many ways. Here’s an interesting example.
A special Opera was written for a Governor of California. It was loosely based on the Opera by Ruggero Leoncavallo called “Pagliacci” (clowns). In the spirit of Pagliacci it is a play within a play within a play. In the outer world, the Governor dined at an expensive restaurant called “The French Laundry” without a mask and at close quarters with lobbyists during the beginning of the pandemic.
The Pineapple Hill Saloon & Grill, put up an expensive tent in their parking lot for outdoor dining after all indoor dining was forbidden. Then outdoor dining was forbidden also. But a Movie company put up an identical tent on the other side of the parking lot to feed their crew. This fulfilled the hypocrite requirement. The restaurant owner suffered from the clowning around.
One might imagine that besides a movie being made, that a play could be performed involving clowns. Therefore, the new Opera, “Pagliaccio In A Parking Lot,” was staged under a tent in the parking lot of the Saloon & Grill, and the Governor got the starring role as Pagliaccio, the main clown in the inner play, played by the actor Gavin Nuisance.
Pagliaccio In a Parking Lot1
~ A Play with Poetry~ by Douglas Gilbert
I am a Grand actor of sorts
a poet in the wings who cavorts
in the Muse’s feathers, a chum
on words from outer plays ‘n
three nested plays undone
Everyone must play
must act, and an
actress is a star
who sweet chats and
waits to perform
She launched her dream
(a place to dilly-dally)
on Pineapple Hill
(a salad in paradise)
On Pineapple Hill
(a bar and grill)
Burgers and dill
The stars shined bright
(the whole enchelada)
on Pineapple Hill
(a bar and grill)
and dilly dawdled until
(serving pies and thrills)
success could fill the bill
the wind in the sails and sales
made all the staff sing a light song
but the caveats for loans Gavel tallied
to merchants of Venice beach et. al.
were a deception locked away
in the fines and fine print i.e.
demands for a pound of flesh; indeed
for the lobbyists a pork barrel.
Gavel Nuisance was a noise:
bag pipes in the plague,
who destroyed a dream
on Pineapple Hill.
Three plays of farce were to be done, and
she of Pineapple Hill in fun,
in pun sweet sorrrow said:
“It’s so warm, so cold, and
Gavel, I never thought
you’d be so cruel
screwing indoor dining
in the California lockdown
“You rob me of my dignity
my life’s dream, kill my
employees and their families
who try to take home the bacon
but you dine with lobbyists
to provide the pork barrels
“and we are the vomit chits
when you drown your guilt
in bubbling Champagne gilt
for mobs of plutocrats
the hope of being open was promised
for taut moments outdoors:
California ‘morn would be
intense with tents to be bought
“forgive me my outdoor tents:
an instant plunk down of cash,
forty-thousand for the tents
because you, Gavel Nuisance
crater science data
But Gavel had gone indoors
to the dark side to
discuss the plays
The waiting room of the stars is the restaurant;
to close a Burgermeister’s small business
is a tragicomedy deserving enough serving,
fries on a steak stake, o’er the ramparts dinged:
but a play with words begins in a strut.
California Gomorrah and
OH YE PREFACE OF LITTLE FAITH
Audience, I am the first inner Prologue —
please, a laugh for the buffoons.
I have seen the political plague
a Machiavellian farce for the stages
a canvas under pretense, an intense tent
Nedda Liberté is assumed to be heavenly
but she dines and flirts with Gavel Nuisance
they strut across staged plays, its
life a play, the struts the tent poles
and there are nascent plays
to be undone, before done,
players done or burned at a steak lost
with charred lies in a burger inquistion
red spurts from wounds exhausted
Near the doorway of a haute French Restaurant,
a limousine pulls up to flaunt the haunt, enticed
crowds gather, throwing pellets of dry ice —
“Hail! Hail to the Governor!”
The chauffeur, fool Tonio bizarre
in a Harlequin uniform exits the car,
to run and open the passenger door
for poor Nedda Liberté,
A guile Mr. Nuisance in exigent pomp
promptly sprints around the car back,
to smack right into a Tonio dispatched,
Nuisance like a Pagliaccio:
“I’ll get it. My wife is for me. You attend to cars.”
Hail to the Prince of Clowns. Bravo!
Tonio don’t lose it, don’t
let the hail dent the car. Fools…
Let them eat spam. Nedda let’s go in.
Hail to the Prince of Clowns.
We throw our dry ice for dry humor.
Ha yes, I dabble in that, but
you’ll see a fine Pagliaccio later
and I will have my vengeance…
Tonio will shake. Come later.
For now we’re unmasked.
The staff rolled out the kitchen sink,
flexible hoses attached, to wash the driveway,
the car, the crowd using the hoses for the day
for jump roping ‘n throwing soap suds in sync
rosebud Nedda Liberté with Gavel Nuisance
unraveled a way toward an august entrance
Let’s go to the parking lot.
Burgers for all. No end outdoors
to enchaladas and grilled catfish
Scene two needing to be unseen in the Restaurant.
They are seated at a blue table of A-list lobbyists.
Yes, waitress: Sabayon of pearl tapioca, yes
Island Creek ova caviar
Me too. I’ll not make hay; looks good —
thanks Li Chuntao, and gee Miss Li
um, ha!, has your acting career
withstood the “slings and arrows”?
My agent says, any day now,
I’ll do better than playing a corpse…
Good luck with the corpus delicti Miss Li.
(Um, Gavel, you should get me pearls if
ever for deeds an apology gift is needed)
Li Chuntao departs.
Liu Dai-tai enters.
Hmm, it was a fleeting glance, and
oh here’s someone you should meet.
(Hello, Miss Liu Dai-tai, may I present
sweet Nedda Liberté, my wife and treat)
Pleased to meet you at liberty.
Gavel tells me you’re very busy.
(Gavel, I need you for a few minutes.
In good spirit, let’s lie together; it’s
perfectly round and flawless)
Gavel goes off with Dai-tai.
Gavel, the prop lady needs cajoling
to be on the same page
about the bed on stage
in the trampoline scene.
A white lie is needed; so
let us both compliment
her pearl necklace, and she’ll
amend the supports as a favor.
Wherefore the problem?
It’s perfectly round and flawless.
no silk threads, no knots
It’s a fake.
Let’s lie together, and
tell her it’s real.
A photographer appears with hors d’oeuvres.
Gavel sneaks out the back to throw a curve.
Leaves Nedda at the table. Tonio observes,
furtively sits down.
Tonio, is the car cleaned?
Yes, yes Nedda. But you’re a beauty,
a cutie like a goddess adored
MISS LI CHUNTAO
Oh, are you the chauffer? Have you come for instructions
or will you be having something or funning us?
I will have the privilege to adore
this goddess who sits with me
like an angel. I will have her see
her husband has disgraced her
and takes leave out the backdoor
Are you sure?
Bring me a sliced chicken
and I will cook the skin on
ferocious fires of my desire.
Give me a breast of the times
and a Pie à la Mode
For eating or throwing?
Ha! Give him his just deserts, and
I will have dessert for throwing.
Funny. I’ll find something
suitable for a comedian.
I’ll take my leave before
a spasm of laughter
makes me drop a dish.
Ha! Ciao Goddess and suitor.
So he’s gone and
what did he say?
Liu Dai-Tai said they should lie together.
A shameless proposal.
So we have a chance at romance.
You glow like the sun, and
I bask in your warmth, honey
Yes, of course, sonny —
I am bright, and
you are dim.
the dimwitted one
admires my beauty
Show me your wit
with a kiss of compassion
for a fool you’ll learn to love.
Oh hurrumph ha gaaah
Tonio lunges at her glare, diving.
She blocks with a chair stops him in place.
Stares. For her the ordered pie arrives,
at her hand it flies, and finds his face.
A crowd gathers at a distance safe.
So let’s kiss and make up.
Kiss, kiss, kiss…
Oh what fate will bring me down? These deeds
betray madness hounding; I’m beseiged
by comedians, sad buffoons, and clowns.
You mock me?
For this you will pay. Yes.
I’ll tell you this: indeed
your husband mocks you.
She sees Silvio her lover behind a column.
Do I distract you from your shame
little mocking bird, poor dame?
Go now twit or I will hit you with
a wild goose…
Kiss, kiss, kiss the chaste and
chase the goose until he can roost.
Silvio! Come through the crowd!
Darling Silvio, where shall we go
where kisses are blisses and…
Kiss, kiss, kiss…
there’s a residence in the back
The staff laughs
NEDDA AND SILVIO
Did you say:
There’s a residence in the back
and we shall have a snack
Well then, over the wall
we’ll run away quick
if you wish to kiss me
you have to sing in praise yes
amazed to raise a love to love
oh staunch wall of love
you’ll be with me, and
the debauched glee,
you bring to me yeah
and shall I say again then
NEDDA and SILVIO
There’s a residence in the back
and we shall leer with snacks
Nedda and Silvio retreat to a private back room
Welcome. We are proud that you
will be the first to use (for amusement)
our new facility conducive for play
by actors or politicians.
If there’d be anything you need,
let us know. For this inauguration —
a complimentary bar, and for a stunning
pièce de résistance: two masterpieces
developed by our chief pâtissier. Ah indeed
our chef presents for you for a first tease:
Tartes à la crème double pour la comédie!
Ah yes, two “Banana Cream Pies.”
Well, ha, this is a different hurrah than
a complimentary mint found or scrounged.
C’est assez grand, et voici un pourboire.
I said, wow — here’s a tip.
(Thank you. You may go.)
NEDDA TO SILVIO
Let’s make plans dear:
we’ll run away wild
and I remember how
we played in the snow
wrote a poem together
as if we rhymed well
held love in a meter, and
as you know dear love angel
I am a quintessential plus one
but don’t be afraid if I brag about you
because I love you enough to sing a cappella
with the accompaniment of the lub dub
Let’s make plans:
we’ll run away
escape with me my lover
because we play so well
and remember how well we fell
on a ski slope in an
avalanche of love
and so gentle was
the snow fight, because
you are so cute when
you banter and we laugh
at a quirk of difference
so charming, so sexy, and
we are so right to be wrong
But what about the play?
You are of play, by play,
and for play of the people —
You are to be Ann O’Malley,
wife of Pagliaccio —
Oh my God, I forgot
all about the role and plot.
I’ll get an understudy, and we
can pull out tonight. Go at once.
Oh hell, I hear a commotion, run.
Wait, don’t panic. I’ll peek out the door…
the furor’s just Li Chuntao. Perfect chance.
(Miss Li, could you change coarse for a second?)
Come in please.
Nedda needs an understudy for her part in a play.
Have you read “Pagliacci” by Ruggero Leoncavallo?
I have. Yes, it’s a lot of clowning around, and what’s your part?
Well, it’s a little complicated you might say.
We’re doing a parody fray under a tent,
intense folly in the parking lot adjacent
the Pineapple Hill place..
Um, anyway, you see
I play Ann O’Malley.
Who? I don’t recognize the guise.
Oh, yeah. We changed the name.
It was Columbina wife of Canio the pain.
Now I’m Ann O’Malley, wife of Pagliaccio.
Um, well… I don’t look Irish or Italian
Ha! It’s comedy, yes:
just sing to make it up
make up on the make
A put on
to be on
Stage it, make it
So make it up
make it up
make it up
a little powder puff
with Leprechaun dust,
it’ll make it enough
make away with made up,
assemble the façade, and
save face that way an act
I think I can make it, but…
Noise in the hallway
Thank you. Beppe will give you a script.
Ask Tonio to point you to Beppe, but quick. Thank you.
Oh god, I hear Gavel’s voice in the hallway. I’ll run. Tonight forever…
Silvio runs. Gavel leaps seeing the back
of his head and nape of the neck fleeing;
Silvio jumps over a wall and escapes.
Gavel returns out of breath and in a rage.
Bursts in, not to be assuaged from revenge.
Gavel, what are you doing here?
What am I doing here? What am I? Hell. Who was that?
No one betrays me.
Gavel pulls out a stiletto from his jacket.
Ha! Merely practicing your part now.
Are you? Oh so dramatic, dear clown.
Tell me his name or I
will slit your throat for
the blood of a purge, and
make extant your last moment
you will birth his name
his name, his name.
Never. You are a pest at best.
Go to hell pompous pet.
Go scamper away. Insect!
Buzz off. Ha, minor actor be gone.
I never loved you at all.
Gavel lunges at her with the stilletto. She dodges. She screams. Beppe runs in
What are you doing?
He’s practicing his meager
talents as an assassin manqué
and the buffoon is in a clown rage.
Laugh if you will, but for the victim
the blade of fate is sharp and deadly;
Honor is no laughing matter, and
I will spare her from bleeding out
only that I may hear the spoken name
of her crime and that of the villain
Please, please, calm down, be cool.
Vengence later. We have a play to do.
Hold the pompous drama for the police
if you’d lose your mind in a mad laughter.
She’ll be dead before any police arrive
and they’d be busy with shutdowns.
You’d stop me for play?
Gavel lunges at Beppe.
Beppe trips him and he
falls face first into a pie.
Someone will pay for this outrage!
There’s too much vanilla in the cream.
And you, Beppe, are not
the crème de la crème either.
Un vile buffone.
Un malvagio arlecchino!
Focus on the stage you love:
you will grip the audience
with your greatness. For now
the play. Any blood lust can wait.
This bed is the scene of the defilement.
Treachery! Like this bed is the stage,
I will jump onto it and
seize the lightning of Zeus.
I rise up for my vengeance!
Gavel jumps up onto the bed, and
on second bounce hits the chandelier,
his head breaking some glass and
the sprinkler and fire alarm go off.
Don’t you think the shower would have been simpler?
The audience is gathering
under a tent in the extra parking lot
next to the Pineapple Bar & Grill spot
a slot adjacent to a second circus-grand
two-tiered one for actors outstanding
Silvio has arranged for a private dinner
indoors at the Pineapple Hill Restaurant.
Nedda is to meet him there for a whir.
BEPPE in hushed tones under the circus tent:
Please extras and villagers, prepare to watch the inner play.
GAVEL NUISANCE at the edge of the stage, shouting, staring:
Audience please, masks up, then find a distanced chair.
uncertain, goes back behind a curtain
Here you see in front of me the villagers who
in pews have gathered to watch a play taboo
behind the curtain where, elated, Ann O’Malley
(Nedda) awaits with lust aforethought
her lover Arlecchino (by me) to be caught.
I must thus retreat to join with other actors.
A curtain opens to a room with a kitchen table, and
a bed by a window, a tableau for Ann O’Malley,
just arrived from a masquerade ball, and
she still wearing a mask,
paces up and back,
Then a noise.
Arlecchino? Is that you?
No it’s your humble servant and admirer,
and I love you like a choir of doves…
Fool, you think you have the guts
to slay me, but offer me nothing but lust?
Bring the slain chicken, and pray tell
how much did you pay for a slaughter?
Taddeo stumbles inside with a package that he puts on the table.
Yes here and it was on sale
and there I’ve unwrapped it
and the tail tells tales…
Idiot! That’s a catfish.
Yeah but it was cheap and gutted.
Arlecchino arrives. As soon as
he opens the door, an eagle flies in,
grabs the catfish in its talons, and
takes flight through a skylight.
I’ll get it.
Taddeo jumps onto the bed,
headed up in high bounces until crashing
like a big bird through the ceiling, but
foot squeaks in the hall are heard.
VOICE IN THE HALLWAY
Ann, what’s going on? Who is there?
Is that you, Pagliaccio? You’re early!
Pagliaccio bursts in
What was that crash? Who’s here?
That was Taddeo. He jumped on the bed and crashed through the ceiling.
What? Impossible! Who’s here. What’s the scoundrel’s name?
There’s no one here.
Pagliaccio jumps on the bed
What’s that? Is he here? What’s his name?
No one has a name. It’s the sound of a wilted rose. Its name is Rose.
What name does an ouch have. Speak the devil’s name.
‘A rose by any other name’ would smell as sweet and innocent as a summer’s day.
You mock me?
(Pagliaccio violently jumps on the bed)
Come out from under the bed or I will crush you.
There’s no one there.
Pagliaccio jumps onto the floor,
knocking over the table. Arlecchino comes out
from under the bed and hops
onto the top.
There’s no one there.
Arlecchino jumps on the bed
and reaches the ceiling. Before
flying out he shouts:
She never loved you;
I will love her forever, for
Pagliacccio pulls out a stiletto.
Vendetta! You will tell me his name and I will find him.
The man who was just here.
Oh Taddeo is just a fool,
doesn’t mean a thing, ’cause
infatuation is a minor hazard
Not him. Not Arlecchino, not… confess Nedda!
Ann runs over to him and whispers:
What are you doing?
Have you forgotten fame,
your lines, the play? I’m Ann.
You’re ruining the play. You
don’t know the true name or names.
Pagliaccio strikes Ann and she flies across the room, stumbling to her feet.
I held court for you, honored you
with crumpets and croissant
but you were a mere courtesan.
I arranged a ball with a trumpet fanfare
but you are a mere strumpet who played a part.
Read your line Nedda,
say you love me, and
forgo all others
That’s not my line. Have you gone mad. I’m Ann.
Um, uh, well… forget this Nedda. I’m not Nedda.
You are Pagliaccio.
Who? What’s your devil’s name?
Who? I am a Rose, and you are Pagliaccio.
No! Pagliaccio non son!
No! I’m not a clown!
You Nedda are a tollop who leaves out a table setting but no dinner.
picks up knife, stabs the table, leaving it embedded
Where, pray tell, is my Coq Au Vin…?
pulls out stilleto
This is not a prop either. Hell!
You used to be my innocent filly.
No idiot, I’m not Nedda! I’m not that trollop.
Non sono un fannullone né un piacere sfrenato
You’re a solo Svengali blotto, pee on chair cocksure
Puttana! Name! Name!
I am no Nedda nor trollop. And you are a scalloped potato.
Treachery has no disguise, Nedda. Come close; I have a whisper…
She thinks he will give her
stage directions or explanation.
Comes closer glumly
He plunges the knife in her chest. She screams:
Help! I’m an understudy, understudy… Help… I’m Li Chuntao
Doctor in the wings rushes out on stage
MANY VOICES IN THE AUDIENCE
Who? Who? What?
PAGLIACCIO moving to the edge:
Pandemics love me,
not Nedda; you whisper
a name like vespers,
share in his delicacies —
Name! Name! I’ll have the name!
VOICE FROM THE AUDIENCE
Violation! Someone’s dining outdoors at the Pineapple Saloon!
He jumps off the stage, shouting:
Sic semper restauranteur mors, as the assassin says
I AM GAVEL NUISANCE, Pagliaccio.
Gavel limps towards the Pineapple Hill Saloon. Li Dai-Tai, the Director and Stage Manager, runs up to him.
Gavel! Wait! Stop a second. Let your foot rest.
What? Sorry about your play… you’re a good director…
No, it’s not that. Um, well, I’ll
tell you to what benevolence you can succumb;
for you know my group. Yes just ask for
DYDC LLC contracts for masquerade-ball masks,
lend an ear for solar panels, buses and forklifts tasks
and we will make re-call petitions against you disappear…
a Dissemble Your Dream Coup corp
I would not be unhappy if
such a comeuppance were
to happen unbeknowst to me. The
probability of such a thing happening
seems low to spring up (not that
I’m endorsing it, of course). Well…
I got you the trampoline bed, didn’t I? —
small lies are grand; right? I’ll give you
one last gift: His name is Silvio. Jot:
he’ll be with Nedda due at outdoor tables
in the Pineapple Hill restaurant parking lot.
Gavel runs towards the Pineapple Hill Saloon.
Beppe, like a lunatic, runs shouting through the crowd:
Turn around. The play continues! Watch Pagliaccio get his revenge!
VOICES IN THE CROWD
Catch him. Learn his name! Vendetta! Run Pagliaccio!
Gavel reaches the Pineapple Hill Saloon parking lot.
Gavel, wait for the cart.
Liam, a stagehand driving an electric cart
brings the props and accesories missing to
catch up with Gavel who has just arrived
where Silvio and Nedda are kissing.
Nedda! How could you betray me like this…
(Liam! Place a sword on the table, and give me my King Arthur sword.)
Silvio is my cousin.
GAVEL and SILVIO together
Liar! I love her.
a figure runs out from the restaurant like a blur
Me too with the passion of the Sun for the moon…
GAVEL and SILVIO together
We love you!
TONIO, GAVEL, and SILVIO
What’s in a name… a rose…
Tonio, Gavel, Silvio, and Members of the Crowd pick her up and throw her into a rose bush.
Hey! Ow. Is romance dead and ow-ow…
Silvio retreats to the table. Gavel runs to the cart where Liam gives him a sword
VOICES in the CROWD
VOICES in the CROWD
Allez, allez, allez. Go, go, go dance…
Gavel lunges. Silvio parries to the right,
smacks with his left hand, throws in spite
his free leg under Gavel’s knee. Gavel
falls to the ground, losing his sword.
VOICES in the CROWD
Coup de grâce! Finish him.
Stop! Lunch break — union rules.
Nedda, Silvio, and Gavel sat down
at the table to have burgers, and as a treat
they decided where to meet for a confounding
ménage à trois. Another person approaches
Ah, so its settled then.
Certainly not! Outdoor dining is forbidden.
This restaurant must receive a fine when
we are the best witnesses to the crime.
1Douglas Gilbert, Faustti Poems and Jousts (New York: ISBN 978-1-387-90990-2 ), 2022, [Amazon: Faustti-Poems-Jousts-Douglas-Gilbert/dp/1387909908], pp. 33-66.