75l: Dick Cavett / Jimmy Cliff
Stage Manager...Dick Cavett
[fade from black onto spartan backstage set with standing lamp and a
ladder. A solo flute plays, SUPER: "Our Town"]
[Stage Manager enters, and stands in front of the ladder. He wears a
jacket, tie and hat, and carries a pipe from which he occasionally
draws from. He speaks in an upstate New York or New England accent].
Stage Manager: This play is called 'Our Town', and it was not written by Thornton Wilder. The name of the town is New York City, New
York...it's just across the Jersey border, Longitude 73 degrees, 58
minutes, Latitude 44 degrees, 7 minutes. The time is January 31,
1976, [looks around] and it's a little before dawn.
It the air quality wasn't so poor, you could see the first streaks of
light right over there through the twin trade towers. [sfx: a police
siren starts to wail] The big street right around here is called
Broadway...another is called 42nd Street....'course, the subway runs
right underneath us.
Over there is the new methadone center...we're very proud of that.
[audience laughs] And just above the leather bar is, uh, Vinnie
Sabotino's massage parlor, where you can get a decent rub job for ten
dollars. Next to that is the, uh, body paint studio, and uh [draws
pipe], oh yeah, beside that is 'Sex Aid City', and on the corner is
the adult bookshop. Let's see what they have there [peers at object
supposedly at a distance] 'Torrid Tots Meet the Nympho-' [chuckles].
They always put black tape over the good parts.
[draws pipe] I, uh- I suppose you're wonderin' what those big mounds
of garbage everywhere are. Fact is the sanitation workers went on
strike a few months ago and it's been that way- [distracted, he
chuckles] look at the size of that, would ya? Ha ha...looks more like
a dog! Where was I anyway? Oh yeah, I was talkin' about strikes...my
goodness, seems like they're all on strike now. We've got the transit
workers, and the...teachers, the typesetters, the cab drivers. The
ambulance drivers and the doctors and the milkmen, [sfx: roar of jet
engines approaching] the gravediggers and the operators and the
municipal- [notices engine noise, checks watch] Ah, that'd be Flight
646 from Boston, right on time...[sfx: boom]. Looks like the air
controllers' strike went through too.
[draws pipe] Now, uh, those women that you see in the platform shoes
and the microskirts standin' there in front of the fire station- well,
that used to be the fire station but our mayor made some
cutbacks...mostly police and fire department- they closed it down.
[sfx: woman's bloodcurdling screams] Well, I reckon that's old Mrs.
Grossman getting raped and strangled in the alley. You probably
wonderin' why I don't call the cops. Well, for one thing, the phone
in that booth over there hasn't worked since Dewey was governor. And
for another, that's how we do things here in Our Town, we tend not to
get involved, you know...sorta let people go about their business.
Like, uh, Rafer Jones over there. Good ol' Rafer, we- we just let him
go about his business. Gosh, he's been pushing junk on this corner
for more years than I care to remember. [calling off camera] Mornin'
Yep...well, it looks like the town's startin' to wake up now- [notices
something on his shoe] Nghh, ha ha...gotta watch where you step in
these New York streets, I tell ya [walks to side of ladder and wipes
his foot on the lowest step].
Say, a sad thing happened last week to old, uh, Doc Andrew. You, you
think a grown man would have more sense than to go traipsing around
the park after sundown. Not Doc. He went out jogging, or something,
and they found him next moring, stabbed 112 times. You might have
read about it in the papers. [draws pipe] Never did find the
feet...the hands were mailed back of course but that's life, I
Least ways, that's how life is here in Our Town...population eight million, one-hundred ninety-five thousand, five hundred and sirty-thwix... five-hundred and sixty-two, I should say because we almost forgot about old Mrs. Grossman. [puts pipe in mouth, sfx: car horns] Well, I better be goin' if I wanna beat the mornin' rush hour home [takes pipe out]. Oh...I don't live here, I just work here; I live in Connecticut. Most everybody who can afford it lives in Connecticut or Westchester. [a beat] Even Valley Stream.
[turns to go, pauses] Anyway, uh, glad to say the weather's clearing
up, although when it turns out to be a hot sunny day, it's a shame in
a way because, uh, the garbage always smells wors on a hot sunny day,
but anyway, we'll be seeing you, you have a nice day. [puts pipe in
mouth, turns, and walks into the darkness behind].