[Jandek] Jandek: The Musical

Collins, Brendan G BCOLLINS at sjmc.org
Fri Aug 13 12:18:58 PDT 2004

It could be a true money-maker: Raise a hundred thousand more than is
needed to produce Jandek: The Musical, spend a few thousand getting
the rights to the songs, the stage settings, actors, etc., it closes
after opening night, and the extra dough is pure profit!  Illegal,
though.  Anyway, here's the book...


They Told Me About Jandek, a musical
Featuring: The music of Jandek

Act I:
(Curtain raises on backdrop of an anonymous house, modeled after the
cover of "Glad To Get Away." Lonely strumming of an acoustic guitar
begins, as a disembodied voice filters through the theatre: "They Told
Me About You..." The sound is slightly muffled, as it seems to be
emanating from inside the house.  As the song continues, the lighting
gradually fades, and we see a light filter through a window, curtains
drawn.  A lone street light flickers on, and the singer begins to sing
"I Knew You Would Leave, followed by "Oh Jenny." Finally, European
Jewel" begins, but is cut off suddenly as the curtain breaks loose and
collapses to the stage.  The lights fail completely, and the theatre
is submerged into darkness.)

Act II:
(In complete darkness, we hear a haunting female voice performing
"Nancy Sings," reflected through a sound system so that it seems to
emanate from above the heads of the audience members.  After the
number, the stage lights snap on - yet are very dim.  The setting is
of a basement with gray carpeting, and a small rectangular window high
up in the brick wall, to the right.  We see that it is dark outside.
Crates and boxes are scattered along the stage, and against the back
wall.  A raw light bulb swings to and fro, burned out. We hear "John
Plays Drums, followed by "If Your Fortune Fails You."  A long silence
follows, then random hushed voices.  Some thumping, like moving
furniture, is heard.  Then, two men and a woman blast "House Up On The
Hill" abruptly through the speakers.  It ends suddenly as an
electrical buzz is heard, and the stage falls into complete darkness,
with a trickle of light creeping through the window, perhaps from a
streetlight a block away.  And then it, too, is extinguished.)

Act III:
(The same basement, years later.  The crates have been overturned.  A
mildew odor is also quite prominent now.  An assortment of rats and
spiders have been released into the seating area of the theatre,
unbeknownst to the remaining audience members.  The lighting is
slightly dimmer than before. A lone voice sings "I passed by the
building," and an obscure - vaguely human - shadow is seen on the back
wall briefly, and is then gone. "Only Lover" is heard overhead.
Finally, when the voice reaches the first mention of "floatin' down a
river to Madrid," the theatre begins to be swamped with muckish brown
water.  As the seating area floor is drenched with it, a cardboard box
or two of CDs and records melts into the water, spilling its contents,
which drift offstage.  By the end of the song, the basement is in
complete disarray, and the lights begin to flicker.  Then, they die,
slowly and agonizingly.)

Act IV:
(It is dusk, and the scene is a backdrop of the house from the first
act, only seen from behind.  A desecrated sofa sits outside, with live
bats and small mammals living within it, occasionally coming out to
forage through garbage cans located along the sides of the stage.  The
music is stifled once again, like in the first act.  "The Real You" is
heard softly, growing in intensity, and dissolves into "You Wake Up
Deadmen."  A long pause, and a deeper voice drones on with "I Just
Might Go Now."  After the piece, an insistent knocking is heard,
offstage, as if on a front door.  This goes on for ten to fifteen
minutes straight, in sporadic bursts, as the lights grow dim, and
cicadas begin their shrill moonlit call.)

The End


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