Buildings Of The Future, From the Land Of The Sky-Blue Waters.
Buildings Of The Future,
From the Land Of The Sky-Blue Waters.
A fictional historic interaction.
Jeremiah TSS Liend
This production was first staged at the Paul Bunyan Playhouse, Bemidji, MN. March 23. Based on the following random elements.
Location: Carnegie Library 1909.
First Line: Harmony Food Co-op does it take to please those people?
Object: A box of kittens.
Performers: 0 Women 3 Men.
Cast of Characters:
John Pogue – Mayor of Bemidji.
Andrew Carnegie - Scottish-American Industrialist
William D. Gillespie – Architect
Scene: Interior of the Carnegie Library, Bemidji, Minnesota, March 24th, 8ish. 1909.
Enter Gillespie, with a blueprint. He begins pacing off steps and seems very angry at the end of his measurements. He quickly jots down a series of notes. Enter Mayor Pogue, who crosses to Gillespie and performs a ridiculous 12 part secret hand shake.
Gillespie. Harmony Food Co-op does it take to please those people?
Pogue. Too many, I’m afraid. Good evening, Mr. Gillespie.
Gillespie. Good evening, Mayor Pogue.
Pogue. How is she looking?
Gillespie. True and square, Mayor Pogue. For the most part.
Pogue. How so?
Gillespie. There are a few deviations from the original design.
Pogue. Yes. I believe you will have to bring that up with the foreman. I am the Mayor, you see.
Gillespie. Yes, Mr. Mayor, your honor, I am well aware. But I am the architect, you see. And I crafted these blueprints lovingly within my skills to the perfect design, with compass and square, true and faithful to the originals.
Pogue. It is just a pattern, man. Let’s get off of our high horse? Shall we?
Gillespie. My horse is very low, Mr. Mayor. Old and low.
Pogue. The old gray mare?
Gillespie. She is not what she used to be.
Pogue. Someone should turn that into a song or something. Sort of an old timey feel. Or, I guess, nowey kind of feel. Looks rather empty in here without any damned books, wouldn’t you say?
Gillespie. Pretty damned empty, Mayor Pogue.
Pogue. Could use some art or something?
Gillespie. Yes, indeed. Some paintings of some sort.
Gillespie. YES! Books! I say, good man, what sort of books do you like to read?
Pogue. Oh. I’ve just read something by, oh what was his name? William Benjamin Basil King. The Inner Shrine.
Gillespie. Oh yes? What’s that about then? Men in little automotives?
Pogue. No no. It is about a man who is killed in a duel. Or rather, his widow.
Gillespie. That sounds so sad. I just read Septimus by William J. Locke.
Pogue. That sounds super-awesome.
Gillespie. Is that a real word?
Pogue. It has to be! Say, Master Gillespie?
Gillespie. Thank you for calling me Master, Mayor.
Pogue. Well, thanks for building this fantastic building. And thank Mr. Carnegie, of course!
Gillespie. YES! The fantastic Mr. Andrew Carnegie! What a grand Scottish-American!
Pogue. Did you know he upped it to $15,000 because the crew wasn’t able to eat? For reals?
Gillespie. No no. You cannot say that. I do not believe that is proper American.
Pogue. So, how then, would you say it?
Gillespie. Fore real?
Pogue. I like my way much better. For reals? For real? For reals? For real? For reals? For real?
Gillespie. For reals? For real? For reals? For real? For reals? For real? I like it my way better. I had a question, earlier. For reals? You’re right. I like your way better. For reals?
Pogue. Excellent, say, do you have any laudanum on you?
Gillespie. Oh yes.
Pogue. For reals?
Gillespie. Oh yes. Fore reals.
A FLASK is produced and both men take a few sips of laudanum.
Pogue. Oh. That is so nice. Thanks.
Gillespie. No problem, my fine Mr. Mayor Pogue. Anything for the Mayor. I get headaches…and bored.
Pogue. Oh man, it is so boring.
Gillespie. You know what I wish we could do?
Pogue. What is that?
Gillespie. Just… watch, art. After we work for, say, 8 hours, if then we could just go home, and look at art for another 8, and then sleep for 8. That would be the perfect day!
Pogue. Oh, that is nice. Amen, brother. Wait, I was going to tell you something-
Enter Andrew Carnegie with a BOX OF KITTENS. He speaks with a thick Scottish Brogue.
Andrew. IT BE ON NOW, YE BITCHES!
Pogue. HOLY HELL!
Gillespie. HIDE THE DRUGS!
Andrew. I’M ANDREW CARNEGIE, AND I BUILD THIS GRAND LIBRARY HERE!
All take a moment.
Andrew. You all weren’t nippen off the bottle ‘a work then?
Gillespie. Mr. Andrew Carnegie. You scared me half to death. I shall suffer hysterical pregnancy.
Pogue. Surely I will as well. We were… not expecting you. Mr. Andrew Carnegie. And it is after hours. Our laborers have returned home for the night.
Andrew. Well then… don’t hold out on Ol’ Carny. WHERE BE YOUR WEE BOTTLE YOU BE NIPPEN OFF!?
Gillespie produces the bottle of laudanum.
Andrew. The devils brew. Best be off with it then.
Andrew drinks the remaining laudanum.
Andrew. Oh… oh aye. Oh… aye, aye. Oh… oh it’s like a we chill. Pogue, is it always so cold? So balls shrivlen cold out? Did ye designer ‘er with a way to keep out tha cold?
Gillespie. Mr. Andrew…
Andrew. CALL ME CARNY GILLESPIE! COME HERE AND GIVE GRANPA CARNY A HUG THEN!
The gentlemen hug it out, and then all of them perform a three-way 36 part secret handshake.
Andrew. Oh lads, you’ve done a fine job… a fine job here. You should be proud. Who built this building, let me see the list?
A list is produced and the masters overlook the names of the builders.
Andrew. Lot of good men here. Fine lads. You will find I added a stipend to their hours for completing the building on time.
Pogue. Sir, might I ask what you are doing here? We were not expecting you.
Andrew. Aye! I’m travelin light! Ye got the rail, though! And I got a train! A big ol’ iron beast they fire up to speeds unknown and we shoot through the trees! Train musta hit 30 deer on the way up! The conductor was laying on the siren and they ges looked at the light and exploded! Had to leave the dinning car and smoke off tha back the entire trip! Harrowing!
Pogue. Yes! Yes! Quite!
Gillespie. Oh Carny! I think you might have taken too much!
Andrew. Nay, lad. I need a we nip to calm the nerves. I’ve been riding the rails getin these libraries tossed up like little castles against ignorance. It’s ignorance we got to fight, lads. Ignorance and intolerance.
Gillespie. You’re super-awesome!
Andrew. Super-awesome, am I!?
Pogue. Super-awesome FOR REALS!
Gillespie. OH! OH GOOD SHOW!
Andrew. FOR REALS THEN!?
Pogue. Oh Carney, you blarney!
Gillespie. Oh Pogue, you rogue!
Andrew. Here’s in your eye, Gillespie! Could use some books, though, couldna it?
Andrew drinks from a SMALL FLASK.
Gillespie. It’s actually pronounced Gillespie. Like Dizzy.
Andrew. Who then!?
Gillespie. Oh… some trumpet player. Something.
Pogue. What are you doing here, man!? Andrew Carnegie!? For reals!?
Gillespie. For reals!
Andrew. For reals, lads. For reals, and for always. Or a few minutes anyhow. I’ve got to throw this box ‘o wee kittens into the river with a peck of rocks to drown the wee little kittens.
Gillespie. Oh… oh, sir. Sir that is… such a downer.
Pogue. You can’t drown them in the lake. It is against the rules. I am the Mayor, you see. At the very least you can donate them to the food shelf.
Gillespie. Quite right.
Pogue. Or we could eat them right here.
Gillespie. The city added a small kitchen.
Andrew. Whose being a downer now, lads! Ye BE SICK! Ye won’t let me drown the wee little kitties but you’ll let us cook em up then!?
Gillespie. I think I’m allergic, actually.
Pogue. Damned allergies are a bother.
Andrew. But no, I wasna gonna drown the wee kitties. I was gonna bring them back with me and give em to strangers.
Pogue. Who gave you the box of kittens, or did you buy them?
Andrew. I bought them from a very nice man down the street.
Pogue. Oh dear. Have you looked in the box?
Andrew. No. I dinna look at the wee kitties. I took the man at his word, and paid him a penny a kitty.
Gillespie. Oh dear.
Andrew. What is it lads!? What is it ya know but are na willin ta share!?
Gillespie. We should probably throw the box in the river. May I? Oh no.
Pogue. No. We shouldn’t open it in here.
Gillespie. We could throw the box out the window!
Pogue. You fool, you’ll let the heat out!
Andrew. Now I have to look ya dafty panty ninny lily baggers!
Pogue. NO! NO! Let me.
Pogue opens the box and quickly closes it again.
Pogue. Yes sir.
Gillespie. You just purchased a massive box of rats.
Pogue. I know the guy, too. Is the sad thing.
There is a sad silence as everyone considers their options.
Andrew. Can we eat the rats then?
Pogue. Would be a waste not to.
Gillespie. Someone went to all the trouble of putting them in a box with holes in it.
Andrew. Shows industry. I like industry.
Gillespie. Yes Mr. Mayor!?
Andrew. Aye lad. Get on with it. I’m peaking and don’t want to butcher these rats on the way down.
Pogue. I said something earlier! And I remember it now! And maybe it was you, Gillespie, and maybe it was Andrew, but I was saying that, wouldn’t it be great if some day, hundreds of years from now, our chilrens, childrens, childrens kids could take all of the books, ever made, by anyone, and collapsed them into books so small that every one of them could fit in here…. What if they could come here, and read any book ever made, and what if they could share all of the art and literature and music and things that ever were made by anyone?
Andrew. Ya dream big, lad, but if you try that crazy talk in front of anyone ye’ll never stay Mayor. I’ll go get some left over bricks. We’ll drown the rats and bring them back in so the wee little things won’t have to suffer under the knife. The lake is cold, and they’ll ges go back ta sleep. I get done with these rats, and I’m off to home. Back to Shadow Brook.
Pogue. You live in a place called Shadow Brook?
Andrew. Oh aye, lad. I’m all sorts of ScottsAmerican ass kicking. We’ll see you outside, I could use a SMOKE!
Gillespie. Mr. Mayor?
Pogue. Yes, Master Gillespie?
Gillespie. It is a fine building. Isn’t it?
Pogue. It is.
Gillespie. I have a terrible fear about your infinite library, Mayor Pogue.
Pogue. And what is that?
Gillespie. That I would have no place in it.
Pogue. Surely you have built a building to stand the test of ages. A building strong and true and square. It will still stand when you and I are but bones and dirt.
Gillespie. You’re sure?
Pogue. Through war and peace, my friend. Through the ages. And it shall be the library to hold the words of all ages.
Gillespie. You’re a good Mayor. And this is a fine city.
Pogue. I am. And it is.
Both men perform their 12 step secret handshake.
Pogue. I can’t believe he thought he bought rats.
Gillespie. We’ll talk about the money later. Let’s get messed up and go on a train ride.
Andrew returns with KITTENS.
Andrew. NO!!! THEY WERE WEE KITTENS AFTER ALL ADORABLE WEE LITTLE KITTENS!!!
Pogue. Do you really think we would allow people to sell rats?
Andrew. LOOK AT THE WEE LITTLE KITTIES!!!
Gillespie. If only we could afford or invent a camera.
Andrew. I have one back in tha train! C’mon, lads! We’ll go take cute pictures of wee kitties and write smarmy comments on them with me refillable ink pen!
Pogue. And I will put it in the library!
Gillespie. For reals?
ALL. FOR REALS!!!
All exit in peals of wild giggling.
Gillespie: Flask of Laudanum. Blue prints/List of Builders.
Andrew: Box of kittens. Flask. Kittens.