Paul’s Song – A Musical Journey to Rediscover the Moving Spirit of Progressivism

for Radio (and IPod) Audiences

Episode 1:  Location: Marie’s Class in Film Orchestration [students, Marie, Leon]

                        My Way – Robeson singing in the film ‘Jericho

                        Deep River – Robeson singing in the film ‘Proud Valley

                        Old Man River – Robeson singing in newsreel

                   Location: College Parking Lot [newsteam, worker, students, Marie, Leon]

                        Ham ‘n Eggs – Newsteam

                        Clever as a Porpoise – students

                        I Like the United States of America (chorus only)- worker

                        My Problems – students

                        Ham ‘n Eggs (reprise)

                        Outsource Me (Gotta Have Hope) – students

                        Gotta Have Hope - Leon

                   Location: Adjacent Coffeehouse [students, Marie, Leon]

Episode 2:  Location: Marie’s Apartment [Marie, Leon, Jossie]

                        Paul’s Song – Leon

                        What’s the Question? – Leon & Marie

                         Oh That Guy - Marie

Episode 3  Location: College Train Station [Barry, Marie, Jossie]

                        I’m All You – Barry

                  Location: Barry’s Economics Class [Barry, Marie, students, Leon]

                        Gotta Understand the Economy (The Economist March) - Barry

Episode 4  Location: Marie’s Apartment [Leon, Marie]

                        I Could be Anything I Want – Leon, Marie

                        Essie’s Song – Marie

                        Tango to War – Leon

                        Swamp Rapp – Leon

                        Tabasca - Leon

Episode 5  Location: College Courtyard [Leon, Betty, students]

                        All That I Believe – Betty

                        I’m not afraid of the end of the world – Betty, students

                        ‘Ol Man Lake (Essie’s Song, reprise) - Leon

Episode 6  Location: Barry’s Economics Class [Barry, Leon, students, Marie, Betty]

                        No Guff from You – Marie

                        A 24-Second Operatic Definition of Economics - Barry

Episode 7  Location: College Bar [Tabasca, Marie, Betty, student]

                        Friends Don’t Grow in Bunches Anymore – Marie

                  Location: Marie’s Apartment [Marie, Jossie, Barry]

                        Children See a New Century (Gotta Have Hope, reprise) – Marie

                        I’ve Nothing in the World Except my Little Girl

                                    (I’m All You, reprise) – Marie, Barry, Jossie

                  Location: Barry’s Economics Class [entire cast]

                        Courage (Bert Lahr’s Song from The Wizard of Oz) – Barry

                        Spirit (Courage) – Barry

                        Somepin’ Biggern’ Me – Barry, Marie, students

                        Finale: Paul’s Song with My Way – All + Leon

                EPISODE 1

Narrator

This is a story of the creation of a musical about the activist singer Paul Robeson, and a discovery of several confusions concerning economic science.  It takes place at a small music school in the university town [?where Paul was born]. It’s a typical day at any college in the land, except at the back of the room, sitting at a laptop projector, there’s a dead ringer for the young Paul Robeson, and ex-marine named Leon Johnson. At the board is a T.A. or Teaching Assistant, named Marie Tibbett. Let’s join them now.

SOUND-EFECTS:  chalk on board, computers booting up, door of someone coming in late, cellphones. chairs & desks, feet, classroom door squeaking, several voices are distinguishable from the echoing hallway

Student Voice A

(Squeal) she really said that? Naw!

Outer door squeaks

Bernardo

‘Scuse me.

Student Voice B

No shit she did.  I’ll see ya’ at 3.  Gotta go! …unh…

Marie:

(to a student looking at the door number and hesitating)

You look lost.  This is Dr. Shaw’s Orchestration 312.  Film Orchestration.  It doesn’t look like you recognize it.

Bernardo

You covering for Dr. Shaw?

Marie:

Yes.

Class! 

Class, we’re ready to start!  If we’ve never met, I’m Marie Tibbett, the campus T.A..

Dr. Shaw is at a conference the rest of the week.  During that time we’ll have a lab project where you’ll orchestrate a small piece of film.  We’re going to look at typical problems associated with musical film by watching three old clips.

You can meet with me at the coffee shop to discuss the project, but that’ll be it for today.

Walt

(aside) my kind of class.

Pattie

Whatta you talking about, I paid good money for this!

Marie:

I heard that, Pattie. You’ll get your money’s worth…. like ten hours in the lab before next week.  All the films are on Dr. Shaw’s site if you want to leave now, Walter.

Walt

Uh, I’ll sit it out.

Marie:

Gee, thanks.  Your handouts have all the melody lines from the clips.  You need to choose one of them and create an orchestration.  You can copy the one you hear or create a new one and attach it to the video.

I will be in the lab tomorrow from 2 O:Clock to 6, for those of you who need help with the software.  Wednesday we’ll play your draft piano scores and discuss any problems you had with the clip or the software.  There’s more there than you think.  The first one is from an old 1933 film called “Jericho.”  The actor singing is Paul Robeson.  

Leon.  Leon!  Hit ENTER please.

Leon:

Got it, Marie.

Robeson singing “My Way“ from Jericho

Bernardo

(A few seconds into the clip) Hey, that’s Leon!

Walt

Leon! When did you take up acting? 1932 or so?  

Helen

He certainly did look like Leon.

Marie:

The next two clips are also Robeson. 

Walt

Any coincidence you’ve got Leon running the projector today? Cause our friend over there ain’t takin’ this class!

Marie:

Coincidence is, he lent us the DVDs.

Bernardo

Figgurs.  but I don’t think lookin’ like that guy is going to get you the part in this year’s opera, Leon!

Leon:

I’ll explain this later, Bernardo

Bernardo

(facetiously) Sure!!

Leon:

I can sing for myself, Bernardo.

Marie:

That’s enuf.  The second clip should be a cynch to score.  It’s from a film called “Proud Valley.”  The third is taken from the last four minutes of Sidney Poitier’s film, “Robeson – Portrait of an Artist.”  I’d like to see one or two of you try this one.  You’ll need to supply your own background for the opening song through to the narrative transition and finale. Walt, I suggest you take some notes.

Walt

You want our own background for the opening song?

Marie:

Yep.  But you’ve got the melody line there for entire clip.

Robeson singing “Deep River”from Proud Valley

Robeson singing final  bars of “Old Man River,” plus final  minutes of Poitier documentary.

Marie:

I want you to break into groups and discuss what you just saw, as if you had been assigned to the film and had to score it.   Break into groups to talk it over.  Look at your schedules to figure out when you want to meet me at the lab.   I’ll be over at the 3-C’s Café in 20 minutes if you want to talk it over.  You’ve got my email address there. 

outer door squeaks, bird-sounds, town traffic, chair/desk being moved, projector case zipping.  Students get up and begin to leave as Leon walks over to Marie who begins closing up the projector. 

Helen

My God!  I couldn’t take notes, I was in tears

Walt

Same here.  I don’t know if I’ve ever seen films like that today.  Who was the actor again?  How come I never heard of him?

Pattie

Good LOOKING in that first clip!  Where was I in 1935 ?!

Bernardo

Paul Robeson.  All-Time All-American football.

Leon: (To Marie:)

Y’know, maybe we can do something like this to get Robeson’s own voice into the musical.

LOCATION p4: Street outside classroom

outer door squeaks, bird-sounds, town traffic, news-team pulling up and unloading truck, news-team whistling tune of “Ham & Eggs”

Walt (To Helen)

AND a singer, AND an actor!!  Like I said.  How come we never heard of him?!

Marie: (to Leon:)

How’s your grant going?  It would be great if you could pay me for the orchestrations before you tried to produce this thing.  I just found out Jossie’s got to have braces.

Helen: (To Bernardo)

I don’t know where you’ve been, but I’ve heard of him.  Never seen him before, though.  That was super…

Leon: (TO Marie:)

It’s almost done.  The entire script doesn’t have to be written to send it out, you know, but the money could take months if her teeth can wait.

 

News Team:

[sing]

Ham and eggs, a little salt and pepper,

Shake a leg, sophisticate and dapper

On your way, with news and pleasure every day,

            because we’re

Your news team, we’re on the national  and local  scene

And we’re so rationally cute, it seems

Our job’s in every children’s dreams

(spoken)Publicity, it’s your world that counts

History, by the pound not the ounce,

Every shot, on the spot, while it’s hot!

(sing)

For our polls, we need your each opinion

Bare your souls, cause they’re public dominion

Mystical, that the world is so statistical!

[spoken]

Hit it, Joan!

Tap-dance rhythm to  “Ham & Eggs”

Walt:

You guys lost, or do you always tap-dance when you unload a news truck? 

Newscaster Joan:

No.  We’re from Channel 9 News.  (as if spoken into a camera)  We’re here today on the campus of the LaCrosse Music School to explore what students today are thinking of todays’ events.  (holding out a microphone to Walt)  and you are?

Walt:

Walter Tibbett, from Grovesville

Newscaster Joan:

Walter.  Can I ask you a few questions?

Pattie:

(leaning into the mike) We could use a good tap instructor.  Is that why you came to the MUSIC school?

Newscaster Joan:

OF course.  What are music students thinking about the economic future?   You can sing, if you want.

Pattie:

Well in THAT case!

(jumps up onto the fountain wall and sings):

I’m as clever as a poor puss, in a swimming pool –

but if this world don’t get no better,

I think I’m quitting school!

Walt:

I’m as testy as a squirrel, around his gathered nuts! (gestures to his friends)

Like to give this life a whirl,

But I ain’t got the guts!

Newscaster Joan:  Finding a passing construction worker

Excuse me, sir,  can I ask you a few questions?

Worker:

Hey, can I sing it, too?

Newscaster Joan:  

Sure!

Worker Mike:

(sings)

I like the United States of America

And I am thankful each day of the year

For I can do as I please, I’m as free as the breeze

Yes, I like it here!

Pattie: Jumping in front of the mike with Walt

I like the U-nited States of A….

Walt:

Hey, let me tell you my problems

            I just bought a new car but gas is pain in the

                        Ask anyone on the corner

It’s an ornery world out there!

Pattie:

I like the U-nited States of A….

Walt:

There ain’t no end to my problems

            Why my salary won’t buy half I’m plannin’ on

                        I’m like that slick advertizin’

It’s surprizin how much I need!

Bernardo:

I’m as jumpy as a bullfrog, without his croak

Wanta tell the world, I’ve been thinkin’

It’s just one big joke!

Helen:

I’m as fresh as a crocus, pushing up in spring

Get those cameras into focus

While I do my thing!!

Newscaster Joan (to technician):

George, I think your idea for this interview backfired, we can take off.

 Technician George

They can keep dancing.

News Team (Joan and George)

 (packing up in failure)

Everyone Tap-dancing behind them

(sing) Hard-boiled eggs, with mayonnaise & relish

Seen all the dregs, to the classy polished

On your way, with gory details every day!

            You know we’re

Up to date, our modern methods are sophisticate

They even teach us to enuci’ette

And there’s courses just to get jokes…unh.. straight!

Newscaster: (leaving)

            There’s news of

Every kind,  why we’re the closest friends you’ll ever find

(your) eyes and ears you’re information lined

No wonder we can speak your mind!

All:

We like the U-nited States of A….

Bernardo:

Try to consider my problems

That to conquer the system, pissed’em

off and your world’s at the mercy of Google

Pray your GPS stays in-range!

All:

We like the U-nited States of A….

 

There ain’t no end to our problems

With our lives tied to cellphones hell groans                      

In a cacophony - thousands of ringtones

Make the devil’s life worser still!

 

News van doors slam and truck takes off

 

Walt:

I really despise their kind of arrogance, don’t you?

Bernardo      

Did you hear about the news channel that got outsourced to a studio in India

And it took three months before anyone realized they were getting their local  news for the wrong town!

Pattie:

You’re kidding me!

Bernardo:

(in a mock Indian accent) I swear to Google !

Pattie:

(in a mock Indian accent)  and the Wisdom of the Internet!!

Walt:

It wasn’t the fault of the Indians.  No one from the damned news syndicate was watching their own news, and nobody in the town gave a shit.  The Indians were just doing our job..

Bernardo:

From Calcutta!    But really, I just heard that one at the bar.  I think it was a redneck joke.

Helen:

Redneck joke or not,

[sings]

Outsource ME and I’ll guarantee

that some jerk’ll prove your workin’ more efficiently!

Accounting never lies, so your stock is bound to rise,

To support the Economy!

Walt:

[sings]

Why it’s utopi-a, we all agree-ah,

That our needs can all be met by technologee-ah

Walt & Pattie:

Cause the system knows it all,  it’s got us up against the wall: 

And we’ll support a little Tyrann’yA-Vol!!

Pattie:

[sings]

We all see a new century,

Where emotions are life’s notions borrowed from T.V.

Pattie & Helen:

Addict us to our soaps, wash our brains until we’re dopes: 

And we’ll tell you it’s democracy!

Accompaniment goes quiet as Leon motions ‘quiet’ with his hands and steps in 

Leon:

[sings a capella]

If your mind has still got strength, Gotta go to any length

to uncover the ROT, whe’ere they like it or not;

Standin’ proud, gonna sing out loud

that the old human spirit’s got hope!!

            And the humanistic spirit’s still got hope!

All

[sing]

When ya got strength, gotta go to any length: 

Gotta use whatcha got, to unravel the knots

Standin’ proud, gonna sing out loud

that the old human spirit’s got hope!

 

Walt:

Come on Leon, can you really believe that?

Pattie:

Like there’s a job waitin’ for you when you finish school?

Leon:

As long as society’s intact there will be work to do.

Helen:

an ex-Marine would say that…

Leon:

Bull.  It ain’t all that better for us, and you know it!

Helen:

You’re right outta those old films.  I can’t see any reason for hope.

Leon:

Economics.

All:

What?!

Leon:

You heard me.  Economics!  

Professor Bartle’s Economics class has given me some REAL hope.

Walt:

In Bartle’s “Singing Seminars?”

Bernardo:

Economics is what got us into this cesspool!  You gotta be kidding. 

Leon:

And it’s the only thing will get us out, too!

Walt:

What you mean, Bernardo, is that economic gluttony got us into this shit

Bernardo:

…and economic Ex-Lax is gonna get us out!

Walt:

You got it!

Patty:

The Fed believes in Beano, Bernardo!  

Bernardo:

We’re not just fartin’ around now.  This doo-doo is Deeeeep!

–door squeek, air-pressure whoosh,

Leon:

After you, Patty!

LOCATION p9: Three-C’s Coffeehouse

–cappuccino maker, customers placing orders, cash registers, background classical music, bluegrass

Patty:

I’m glad someone is a gentleman!

Bernardo:

So I suppose you think economics is going to come up with a solution for Global Warming, too, right?

Leon:

Enuf.  And yes, I do.  You saw Robeson?  That guy you saw in those films?  Let me tell you something! That man represents every kind of human hope we might ever have – AND most of the abilities anyone could dream of to carry them out!  That man was hope personified!

Helen

So what happened to him if he was so great?  Why haven’t we ever heard of him before?

Leon:

That’s what my musical is gonna explain!

Me and Dr. Tibbett are doing a musical on him— which is why I brought her those film clips.

Marie:

I don’t have my Doctorate yet, Leon – I’m still just ‘Marie”, not “Dr. Tibbett”

Walt:

That explains a lot, Leon! 

Bernardo:

If he can’t get the part for a black Chenier – as a bass, no less – he’ll write an opera where nobody else could play the lead, am I right or am I right??

Leon:

On target, Bernardo, like always.

Helen:

So give us a hint.  How come we didn’t study Mr. Human Hope Personified in elementary school like we studied Dr. King? or Harriet Tubman?

 

Leon:

First off, ‘cause Robeson didn’t just represent hope for racial equality, but for every type of justice and human equality before the law.  He was a lawyer, too – and an all-time All-American football star.

Bernardo

Like Helen said, if he was so great, how come we never learned about him?

Leon:

Cause Robeson was buried by 20th century Politics.

20th century Political Economics. 

He was destroyed because he believed in building—actually building—a utopia here on earth.

Pattie

So besides being a giant and superstar, he was a fool.

Marie:

No, Pattie—he was so talented and so strong and for a time, so powerful, he was fooled into believing he could set a new world into motion.

Pattie

So he was a fool.

Leon:

Yep! He was fooled—like millions of others who mistook something for what it wasn’t. He was wiped outta memory because he got mixed up with the Communists.  He defended them in court and supported them in public,

Which meant that he would be ostracized and officially wiped from our country’s memory as long as the Soviet Union lived.

Marie:

And THAT gives you hope?

Leon:

His story is incredible.  It’s one of the great tragedies of the 20th century.

I mean tragedy like Greek tragedy.  Believe me. His story is as great as Oedipus Rex!

He was blinded because his faith and hope were so damned strong!

And they buried him alive! 

Pattie:

He was a fool.

Leon:

But his hope can live again. 

 

Leon:

We can still get it right! 

Bernardo

Look, Leon.  Lots of us believed something was more than it was. 

Bernardo

I got married once.  You left the Marines and now you’re in love with school.  I  got a PhD in History before I switched to music.  Everybody knows the communists were a giant hoax, Leon. Marx had them all believing they were the climax of history.  And Marx believed in economics, too!  REAL Ex-Lax!!

 

Bernardo

All Economics and politics are full of shit!

Leon:

Come on, Bernardo.  You should know what Dr. Bartle is teaching us.

 

Walt: 

Those famous ‘Singing Seminars?’

Leon:

Yeh, in Bartle’s Singing Seminars.  That the 19th century was the apex of science and that the social sciences almost got discovered along with the hard sciences.

Walt

I’m not following

Marie:

You lost me

Pattie

Me neither

Leon:

19th century starts with 1800, right?  Napoleon

Walt

And Beethoven

Helen

And Jefferson

Leon:

And it set the foundations of chemistry and biology and electricity and then physics, right?

Bernardo

Math was settled in the 16 and 1700’s

 cash register, background music changes to song of ‘John Henry’

Leon:

Not the math that Einstein used in the 1890’s! 

 

Shut up a minute!.  Bartle’s trying to teach is that by the 1870’s and 80’s everyone thought that the old economics was just about to be solved.  Then they’d hook up all the progress of the physical science with social science and lay out the path to mankind’s oldest dreams.

Pattie

Humankind, if you please!

Leon:

What?

Pattie

HU-man kind, not just MANkind like we was just all men.

Leon:

Oh. Sorry.  Humankind… and with Emancipation finally coming to America it seemed like emancipation from all kinds of slavery, the Tyranny of Nature:  Emancipation from Want, from Disease, from Hunger….Human Justice was just around the corner!

Helen

And that’s what Robeson stood for??

Leon:

He thought he saw the struggle for how much work it entailed.

Only he underestimated a couple mountain ranges.  Like integration.

He didn’t catch on to John Henry’s story.

Walt

Look.  We gotta go.  Could we do this another time?

Bernardo

How ‘bout we wait to see your musical?

Leon:

….that it could take another hundred years to get it right.

Bernardo

a hundred years to get your musical right? 

Leon:

No! I mean..

Bernardo

In the meantime, bro, could you spare a dime?

Helen:

Dr Tibbett, did you still want us to get together?

Marie:

Unh-uh. I’m as exhausted as the rest of you. 

I’ll contact everyone by email with the assignment and a lab schedule. 

Bernardo:

You payin’?

Pattie:

Take it easy!

Helen:

See ya’ tonite, Bernard’

Marie:

I must say, Leon, you are a pretty captivating speaker when you get going!

With the right woman behind you, you could go far! 

Leon:

(nervously) I…gotta go, too!

Marie:

(seductively) My house tomorrow?

Leon:

Sure.

Narrator

Is Leon full of it?  Who really needs mental Ex-Lax?  Tune in for the next exciting esipode of “PAUL’S SONG” to find out if Leon behaves himself at Marie’s apartment, and why an All-American bootpall flayer, radio star, recording star and film actor Paul Robeson is practically unknown to Americans today!

EPISODE 2 - p14

Narrator

Welcome back, to Esipode Two of “Paul’s Song – A Journey to Rediscover the Moving Spirit of Gropressivism” In Esipode One we heard Leon tell his skeptical friends at the LaCrosse Music School on the State College campus, why he believed the study of economics would bring about a rebirth, or renaissance of hope to this world, and that his musical on Paul Robeson would explain that hope to them.  Let’s join Leon and Marie now, in Marie’s apartment..

Bernardo

You meant to say ‘Episode Two,’ and “A Journey to Rediscover the Moving Spirit of PROGRESSivism”

Narrator

Uh….well…. Let’s join them now, as Leon explains his theory of Growpressivism to Marie.  Marie’s daughter, Jossie, is setting-up Bratz dolls under the piano.

Location: Inside Marie’s apartment.

Marie:

How bout we start with “Paul’s Song,” in C.

Simple melody….. nice, I like it.

Leon:

I’ve got this theory, see, that Robeson was a child of the utopianism of the 19th century. 

I did a paper on all the utopian movements in high school.

Marie:

[still playing] I’ll bet you did.

Leon:

The Owenites, Fourier’s “Phalanxes” of the 1850’s 

Jossie:

When are we going to the mall, mommie?

 

Marie:

Right after Leon and I finish this song, Jossie.

Leon:

—John Brown’s revolution of the slaves comes right from the religious utopian fever of those days….. 

Marie:

How about I’ll give you a four-bar lead, Leon

Leon:

(talking over her introduction)

 Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward

was one of the biggest selling novels all through the 1890’s.  The biggest utopia of all.

Jossie:

What’s ‘utopia’?

Marie:

Just play, Jossie!

Leon:

Utopia is like fairyland, where everything’s perfect, Jossie! 

Catch this…. Looking Backward was about a guy from Bellamy’s time,

1887,  who wakes up in the year 2000 and finds

that capitalism has become so big and efficient

that it has taken over the functions of the state!

Marie:

You missed your cue.

Jossie:

What’s ‘Capitalism,’ Leon?

Marie:

Jossie!  !

Leon:

Listen up!  Looking Backward was written in 1887! 

It was about the year 2000 – when everyone lived on credit cards, and…. 

Marie:

Look.  Do you want to sing this song for me or do I have to sing it? 

Leon:

Let me hear you sing it. 

Marie:

(sings very tentatively)

Gonna sing my song all around the world

Gonna make it ring an' ope'neir eyes!

Gonna sing that song all around the world

So the folks can harmonize!

Leon:

O.K.  Give me my cue again!

(Sings)

A re-birth, our next domain, we can find the ope’ning

Happiness needs patience and will,  and I’ll say it loud

            don’t mind if I draw a crowd..

There’s a lot of hope around here still!

 

My Re-birthday’s comin’ up, It’s my resolution

that I’ll tolerate and go my way!

Won’t my kids be proud, can’t stop cryin’ it out loud

That all our arrogance WILL END SOMEDAY!

 

Gonna sing my song all around the world

Gonna make it ring an’ ope’neir eyes!

Gonna sing that song all around the world

So the folks can harmonize!

 

Gonna write my will leave it in my song

Gonna sing so clear that when I die(s)

You will hear my will sung around the world

‘til the day it’s realized!!

Jossie:

(claps) Yayh!  Yeyh!!

Marie:

It’s not The Phantom of the Opera, but you might

have the makings of a musical.

By “Re-birthday” you mean ‘Renaissance’ ? 

Leon:

Yes. Renaissance.

Marie:

So are we going back to DaVinci and Macchiavelli, or back to Socrates again?

Leon:

To the late 1800’s… to the turn of the 20th century

Marie:

Bernardo was right, you’re nuts!

Leon:

Yeh.  We need to go to 1880 to start the 20th century over.

We need to get it right this time.

Didn’t you get what I just told you?

Marie:

No.

Leon:

When Robeson was just a kid everyone was still talking about

how to create a planned economy.

When Mussolini’s invented Fascism it was lifted right from Bellamy,

That big business and government should hook up to run things.

Bellamy’s followers called themselves “National  Socialists”

just what the Nazis called themselves twenty-five years later!

Meanwhile, the Soviets came up with their version of totalitarianism,

and the Cold War helped our own country

dig itself deeper and deeper into a planning economy with

government and giant corporate entities working together…

Marie:

So what does this have to do with Paul’s Song?

‘Gonna sing so clear, that when I dies?”

Leon:

Marie.  Don’t you understand WHY I’m doing this project?

Paul Robeson represents all the hopes of the 19th century

The progressivism that was watered down

and somehow lost in the 20th century.

Where did that progressivism go?

Paul Robeson is the last great symbol of it.

Jossie:

That’s why he’s doing the project, mommie!

Marie:

Jossie!?!

Leon:

Paul Robeson wasn’t just fighting against segregation.

or for equal rights for the negro—

neither was he just fighting for workers rights,

for those Welsh miners he did the movie “Proud Valley” with,

or the colonial nations he helped break free of colonialism:

he was one of the last true progressives

fighting to establish a new age for mankind!

And he was destroyed.

Jossie:

That’s why he’s doing the project, mommie!

Marie:

Jossie!! Go to your room!  NOW!!!

(Sounds of Jossie’s whining turn to screams as Marie picks her up and carries her out)

Leon:

And I think it’s because the Social Science gave up.  (loudly, so Marie can hear)

in 1870 there were six or seven schools of political economics trying to sort things out….

Door slam

Marie:

Then what about “Paul’s Song”? 

Which social science was that about?

Leon:

There was no political economics left when Paul was alive, only ideologies.

Robeson was destroyed along with millions

of others faced with a forced choice between three BAD ideologies:

Communist egalitarians

Fascist Efficiency Planners, and

Free-market survival-of-the-fittest-Capitalists.

Marie:

You’re being pretty vague Leon.

 (sits at the piano to start playing the Russian song, “What’s the Question”)

Leon:

Paul’s song was about human spirit!

…the spirit of Humanism!

Marie:

Which is?

Leon:

When Paul was in High School

his dad started the A.M.E. church in Somerville

And his big brother Ben ….

Marie:

…was minister of Mother Zion church in Harlem.    

Which, I suppose, represents the spirit of Humanism?

Leon:

Paul Robeson was  no communist. 

He was a Christian utopianist!! a militant Humanist!

Marie:

I think you’re re-writing history?

Leon:

Stalin used Robeson and his good faith for propaganda. 

Paul, along with thousands of others, thought it was simply anti-communist propaganda

That claimed the communists were repressive;

When in fact, Stalin was exterminating millions

for the sake of the state economy.

Marie:

Didn’t Robeson believe in a planned, collective economy?.

Leon:

That’s what our narrator calls ‘growppressivism,”

a mistaken conception that collectivity or forced equality is

by its nature more just and progressive.

Paul, along with millions of progressives believed in

treating everyone alike under the law.

Worker and boss, owner and vagabond….

Marie:

so that’s the song we’ll hear sung around the world?

Leon: :

Given the three options available,

the Communist model seemed to be a way to assure that end.

He would never believe it would lead to valuing all humanity

as an equation, as an economic statistic…

THAT is truly be a mixed-up progressive, a growpressive!

Marie:

Ah…where is my daughter when I need her?

Leon:

Paul and Essie were already famous for fighting injustice on the international stage.

They backed the Soviets because of their

laws for human and cultural and racial equality.

Marie:

Essie’s his wife?

Leon:

Yeh.  Paul and Essie were a team for a long time…

like Barack and Michelle, but more like Bill and Hillary ---

‘cause they ended up workin’ separate

Leon:

What they never saw was that Soviet planners

let a whole regions die if it could help

steel or cotton production somewhere else.

But he and Essie never saw that part of Russia

Because Essie’s brother lived in Russia

and the Soviets made sure he lived a protected existence

to keep him in the dark, to keep Paul and Essie believing in the Russian experiment.

Marie:

I never read this anywhere…

Leon:

Neither did I.  It’s my new theory.

It has to be.

Marie:

So you are rewriting history!

Leon:

Too many people already saw the truth in the 1930’s. 

Chalk the 40’s up to the war, but by the 50’s

The secrecy and terror of Stalin’s regime can’t be ignored.

Nobody as famous and influential as Robeson

could be allowed to promote the hope in a totalitarian experiment

So they shut him up.

Marie:

The Russians shut him up?

Leon:

No! WE had to shut him up!

The forces of freedom!

Of free press and free speech!

It’s incredible!  Horrible!  Unbelievable tragedy..

How else could it have happened?

Marie:

How about you shut up a second and sing this for me, alright?

Leon:

Alright.  I have him singing this song near the end. 

It is real  tragic, because he’s already been blackballed by the American system. 

It’s the late 1950’s. 

He’s nearly penniless, but he’s fighting back with a will.  

After ten years’ fight, the U.S. Supreme court rules in his favor, and he gets his passport back and can travel…. That’s when he goes for his last European tour. 

The newsreel you showed in class is from then. 

He sings this just before they give him his passport back.

Just give me a C.

 

There’s a hole in the bottom of the sea,

There’s a hole in the bottom of the sea,

There’s a hole.  There’s a hole…..

There's a hole in the bottom of the sea, an' I don't know why, an' I don't know where;

But I swear it's going to be the death the death'o me

gonna plug it with my body when I get'it there

I say fear's an iron mountain reflectin' mens' eyes,

an' I know just how, an' I know just why;

And my fingernails'll bite into that mountain in the sky;

gonna rip it, gonna drag it til I die!

Leon: & Marie: in Russian

What's the question?  I don't know,

Lyesda polya-neui byez-lyu

million souls are crushed for answers,

deui kru-gom V’yuga ee-plachyet

No suggestions from below -

ee-stoneyet; Chuyet-sya boodto -

Life is stifled still!

- va, mrakeh nochnom!

What's the reason?  I don't know, 

Zlaya, godto, xhorokit,

million souls are crushed at random

Vtemno-tyeh smyert obnimayet

Watch the treasonable show,  Liberty lies still!

Glayad, tak eeyaiste! Smyertse laskayet!

Long's the time that symbols dwell

Skaz ku da ta ku…u…    you

in the sands of propaganda

chtob vsyou nochtya ny las chtob p’yan

Molding words to silence sense,  casting minds to kill!

--chu gye kryep-ko pod nyeh’yo  za-snu los, snu los

What's the power to corrupt,

Skaz ku da ta ku….u… you

is it ego, is it pleasure?

chtob vsyou nochtya ny las chtob p’yan -

Social  spirit's so bankrupt, to act against our will!

-chu gye kryep-ko pod nyeh’yo  za-snu los, snu los!

 

I say fear's an iron mountain reflectin' mens' eyes,

Ah ah…….

an' I know just how, an' I know just why;

An I know just how, an’ I know just why.

And my fingernails'll bite into that mountain in the sky;

Ah ah

gonna rip it, gonna drag it til I die!

Ah…..

There's a hole in the bottom of the sea,

There’s a hole in the bottom of the sea

an' I don't know why, an' I don't know where;

an’ I don’t know why, an’ I don’t know where

But I swear it's going to be the death the death'o me

But I swear it’s going to be the death the death’o me

gonna plug it with my body when I get'it there

gonna plug it with my body when I get’it there

Marie:

Wow.     That’s beautiful.   You didn’t steal the tune from “Moscow Nights,” did you?

Leon:

Hell no!   But what were you singing in Russian?  That’s not in my song!

Marie:

Some sweet old lyrics by Moussorgsky

Leon:

It’s not a sweet song, Marie…

Marie:

…about a drunkan peasant dying in a blizzard.

Leon:

That’s good.  It was super with the drone!

Marie:

I figured the Russians were duped worse than anyone!

How many millions of them died? Am I right?

Leon:

Everything about it was cynical and evil.

Taking people’s hopes and dreams

Spitting on them!

And they made us do it here as well!

Marie:

There’s a hole in the bottom of the sea, Leon

Leon:

Millions were crushed for answers on both sides of the Iron Curtain!

That’s what Paul represents as well.

Marie:

O.K. I’m picturing your play a little better now.

When Paul sings this we already know that he has no job anymore.

Anyone who let him sing in their theatre or on their show was boycotted

the media industry would close you down.

Anybody who spoke his name was suspected of being a communist

and would lose their job – so no one spoke his name. 

Leon:

But what he DOESN”T know when he sings this is that

by the mid-1970’s when he died alone

at his sister’s house in Philly, he’d be America’s first non-person. 

When the Berlin Wall fell, no one under thirty had ever heard his name.   

That’s what he didn’t know, and no one could ever have believed THAT could never happen in America where we had a FREE press

tap-dancing some choreography around us.

cellphone rings

 

Aw shit.  I’m late for Tai Chi !   I guess I’ll see you at Bartle’s class, right?  

Marie:

I never stay til the end, you know that.

Leon:

Gee  …. (to himself)

Never thought of it til now….

Paul’s career ended just like his dad’s…

 because he tried to stop lynchings.

(to Marie)

Take it easy!

(runs out)

Marie:

Shakes her head and sits at the piano and begins playing a blues number

Hold back!

Keep me from spinnin’ round

Need ‘dat slack…Gone d’explode!

Get on track!

I’m back in the circus ground

Fireworks from the road, they’re sayin’

Oh that guy,

What does he do to

He and I…

Do to me! … I tell ya’

Oh that guy,

Makin’ me wonder –

Tearin’ me all asunder inside!

To me, a love is a vision, of something that’s coming, a life to become

It seems to make each decision, of everything happening, and all that I’ve done

That kid has got the energy to jump the moon

Why am I attracted to that crazy loon?   I tell ya’

Oh that guy,

What does he do to

He and I…

Do to me!…I tell ya’

Oh that guy,

Makin’ me wonder –

Tearin’ me all asunder inside!

Every time I look at him I feel my brain

Fallin’ outta joint, like on a subway train, I tell ya’

Oh that guy,

What does he do to

He and I…

Do to me!

Oh that guy,

Makin’ me wonder –

Tearin’ me all asunder inside!

Narrator:

Will Marie ever get Leon to look at her?  Will Jossie ever find out what ‘capitalism’ is?  Is Leon full of it?  Tune in for the next exciting episode of “PAUL’S SONG” to find out why, of all things, Leon still believes economic theory could be the panacea for politics!

EPISODE 3 -p23

Narrator:

Welcome back, to Episode Three of “Paul’s Song – The Musical.” In Episode Two we heard Leon try to explain why Paul Robeson was intentionally blotted from our national memory during the Cold War …

Marie:

Not too convincingly, either.

Narrator:

Uh..yes. … um.  Why Paul Robeson was intentionally blotted from our national memory during the Cold War.  Episode 3 opens at the college train station, where Leon’s economics professor, Dr. Barry Bartle, composer of the famous ‘Singing Lectures’ is dropping off his Teaching Assistant, Marie, and her daughter Jossie for their train.

LOCATION:  Train Station -p23

(Car doors closing, grade-crossing, signal bells

Jossie:

Can we take a cab to the museum, Mommie?

Marie:

We’ll talk about it on the train, Jossie. 

No, Barry, I’ve got no problem reading the quiz.

Bus exhaust

Barry:

You can ham it up.  Remind them of “Jeopardy.”

Jossie:

The subway train is too loud and the cab has a TV in it!

Marie:

Jossie! I told you…

Barry, could you tell me why this T.A.-ship requires a floor show ?

That’s our train, JOssie… RUN!!

Jossie:

Bye-bye Uncle Barry!

Train air brakes.

Barry:

… It’s part of a minor in musical  theatre! 

Bye-bye, honey!....

 

Be glad you’re not minoring in burlesque!

Sounds of running…Bus brakes, sounds of running

(Sings):

I’ve had a great romance

Daydreaming of each chance

That I’d flirt with a girl like you

And now you’re here I’ve gotta steer

Away, because my only fear’s

depression breaking through…

It’s not just your figur-

-atively speaking scrumptious

Sure you know you make me feel this way

I’ve always loved your laugh

You’re gorgeous when you laugh

And all these feelings are here to stay:

 

You’re my every daydream, girl, a

Single pulse is beating through me

Syncopating all I do, cause I’m all you.

My eyes, my lips, my ears

Just see just breath just hear for you

You see I’m senseless girl cause

I’m all you

My brain can’t handle figures,

Just yours;

Statistics all slip through my fingers

It’s your bell-shaped curve that lingers.

There’s nothing else that I can think of

And all my work is on the brink

My papers e’en begin to stink

As the room

fades into your perfume.

Marie:

[panting] Jossie dropped her bag so we missed our train, and…

I don’t wear perfume!

Barry:

Uh. Oh. Oh my!  You know you can borrow my car, any time.  Marie.

brakes, sounds of running

Jossie:

You could take us Uncle Barry!

Barry:

That’s a possibility, now, isn’t it?...

Narrator:

We now leave our little trio to decide the next step for themselves, to meet them again the following day – minus one little girl – in Professor Bartle’s economics classroom at the LaCrosse Music School.  Marie is behind the piano.

Barry’s Classroom -p24

Barry, Marie, Leon, 5 students: Dave, Larry, Sam, John, Cecil

 

Barry:

As you were warned, today is your mid-term, and it is an open book exam.

 

We have been studying the history of economic analysis from Joseph Schumpeter’s Table of Contents.   Who would ever read a 1300-page text, right?  Does everyone have their copy with them?  If not, there are extra copies up on the piano. 

Chairs being pushed back,

Right.

students starting to walk up to piano

Since this is a music school, I thought that your mid-term exam should be based on something that you will apply, such as lyrical analysis.  Your mid-term is a highly opinionated number entitled “The Economist March.”   I have put the names of four economists up on the board:  Quesnay, Ricardo, Marshall, and Menger.  After each name, tell me what they would have thought of my lyrics, and in doing so, you can tell me what you think of my lyrics.  Are there any questions?

Dave:

I have two questions.  One.  Is there a reason you open every lecture with a song?

Barry:

Yes.  This is a music school, and it’s a wonder that every professor who was raised on Sesame Street doesn’t do the same.   Your second question?

Dave:

Are you planning on grading these mid-terms? 

Barry:

Of course.  I am grading ME, not YOU, so please try to do your best and take this exam seriously.   I do.

Sam:

So you mean, this mid-term doesn’t go against our grade?

Barry:

As I believe I explained at your very first class, your grade is based on two things:  your final paper, and the quiz you took that day.  Since several of you flunked the quiz on the first day, today is your chance to make the grade.  The quiz will be repeated immediately after my song, at which time you will have the opportunity to get the answer right.

Leon:

What if we passed the quiz the first time?

Barry:

Mr. Johnson, since you were the ONLY one that passed the quiz, I’d like you to try to explain why Henry George was dumped by classical economics and almost entirely forgotten by the 20th century – even though great economists like Milton Friedman – a Nobel Laureate – and Henry Simon, President Clinton’s Secretary of the Treasury, considered him a great theorist.

Leon:

Due today??

Barry:

Today, I want your best guess.  That’ s all.   

THEN, you have six weeks to grade yourself in your final paper.

Your entire grade will be based on that.

Any other questions before the exam?

No?  Cecil?

Cecil:

Aren’t you going to give us a copy of the lyrics?

Barry:

No.  What if you got a job as a music critic one day? 

You’d need to be able to concentrate on the lyrics, won’t you?

You’ll have to take notes on the music and delivery!

Nobody’d give you the lyrics first.

I want you to be productive!  to succeed!

Exams are practice for real life…

a test of my teaching!

So THIS, Cecil ma-boy, is a test in PRACTICAL Economics!

You are grading yourself for your future otherwise doubtful careers in music!

Shall we begin?

Cecil:

But you’re not grading us on the exam, right?

Just the quiz at the end, right?

Barry:

That’s right. But don’t flub up.  I want to see what you know and don’t know… and, believe me, you won’t need my lyrics if you’ve been to class. 

I’ve been talking these lyrics since Day One. 

Just write how Quesnay and Ricardo and Marshall and Menger

rate Barry Bartlett, and we’ll see how much you’ve learned.

 

Marie! Anda one, anda two, anda three – Marie!

 

Barry:

(sings)

Gotta understand the economy

If not you ain’t got what it takes to stay free

Each civilization’s a living thing

It can sicken and die, it can grow, it can sing

but if brains controlled all the nourishing

You bet they’d forget that its flourishing

Depends on more than just heart and lungs,

Stock market, industry, flow of funds!

(holds up a book on Animal  Husbandry)

As they USE the science of economy for social  husbandry!

MOOO, grunnnnt, NEIGH!!..... 

CAUSE…..

Liberty’s an old political  song,

the right to hold our different views

Barry: 

(spoken)

Stop the music!  STOP the MUSIC!

Marie, did I just say ‘liberty’s an old political  song, the right to hold our different views?”

Marie:

Yep

Barry:

That means free elections, right?

Marie:

Yep.

Barry:

what else?  Got any idea?

Marie:

well…… I suppose along with free elections is free market capitalism

Barry:

THAT’S IT!  THAT’S IT!!  Free market capitalism….flourishing in true equilibrium, a totally de-regulated flux! Where all the people and corporations and stockbrokers and bankers making up the market decide what sells and what don’t… what all the prices should be, etcetera etcetera, etcetera!

(sings)

When EVERYBODY’S choices are made all along

Based on Madison Avenue’s!

(drum) Ddl ddl du du doo du Ddl ddl du du du (for)

Economics tells us all the curves and facts and numbers

What it thinks are optimal and minimum of needs

It lays out all the plans and charts for governmental blunders

Proud of all the growth it shows, for what? 

That growth is nuthin’ but  

a farmer growing WEEDS!

Ddl ddl du du doo du Ddl ddl du du du

Barry:

(spoken)

Kudzu!  Talk about weeds…That’s the military industrial  complex!

Conspicuous consumption, (cough cough)…morning-glories vines choking my tomato plants. 

Then there’s Hollywood! 

STOP THE MUSIC!!  STOP THE MUSIC!!

Wait’ll to you hear this one!

Barry:

Marie, ask me what we’re having for dinner.

Marie:

What are we having for dinner, Barry?

Barry:

I just picked up the new Batman movie

Marie:

No, I mean what are we having to EAT for dinner?

Barry:

A couple bushels of honeysuckle – it’ll keep your mouth busy!  

I got a million of’m !!  I got a million of’m !!

(sings)

The system is essentially an information business

Planning and controlling the politicaleconomy

A cornucopia of goods and services we value

Who cares what it takes to keep it pumped, then dumped!

(making as if to hold large beachballs on his chest)

The mountains we don’t need!

Barry:

(Spoken)

It’s pornological  !! 

makin’ us drool over all them overstuffed shelves !

PORNological.  Ya’ get it?  ----I gotta million of’m!

MARIE:

That’s enough vaudeville, OK?

Besides, I’m not sure I got it. 

Barry:

[spoken rapidly]

Porno-graphie is the promotion of explicit sexuality which,

Placed outside of its natural context promotes

un-natural fantasy which can be highly addictive.

This advertisement was paid for by the Makers of

Willy Wily’s Magical Mystery Motion Machines,

promoting perpetual fantasy life through the intentional distortion of natural contexts

which may foster addictivities as well as other pornological disorders.

MARIE:

I’ll buy one.

Now do you want to get back to the song, professor?

Barry:

Alright

(sings)

Liberty’s a value cast into law, A human right that is our due

The Economy’s the debt against which we draw

Our livelihoods without a clue 

That holding it together are our mutual  obligations

Faith in something greater than creators of the law; 

Barry:

(spoken, with hand in shirt like Napoleon)

‘da Hidden Hand

(sings)

Ddl ddl du du doo du Ddl ddl du du du

That Nature is our governor, Society’s our privilege,

But all that stuff bout the PROFIT motive drives.. our lives

Is the screwiest scummiest FLAW !!

 

Full participation, each of us finding roles 

Is the golden key to civilization’s health

Old-time education with citizenship its goal,

Will keep uncovering Nature’s wealth!! 

 

Gotta understand the economy

If not we ain’t got what it takes to stay free

Our lives depend on our Mother Earth

We shape her and rape her for all that we’re worth

But the world has eons of her own time

To patch the mess, reclaim our crime

To arrest ourselves first you’d think we might find

-- a Science of the Social  Mind

For Laws of Mutual Prosperity, shall farm our Liberty !

Barry:

Alright!  That’s it. 

On the board are four names:  Quesnay, Ricardo, Menger, and Marshall.

How would each one of them respond to my song? Just a sentence or two,

And I’ll give you a hint. My last line was

Laws of Mutual Prosperity shall farm our liberty!

Each of them believed the laws of mutual prosperity focused on one or two words.

How does each of them agree or disagree with what we’ve been learning this semester about economics?

But before you write your answers, your quiz.

Marie.  Could you step up here a second, and read them today’s quiz question. 

Marie:

Of course.

(she slithers up from the piano stool like the queen of a quiz show, making overt sexual advances in the direction of Leon, who pays no attention)

For 20% of your final grade:

Mr. Henry George endeavored to prove that economic equilibrium and social prosperity was contradicted by the ownership of nature, that is, that all economic balance and valuation depended on (Barry hits a chord) LAND. 

At the same time, Mr. Marx followed Mr. Say in the assumption that the measurement of all human prosperity could be derived from the fruits of human (Barry hits a third chord) LABOR.

The dominant school of prosperity was born in the machine age, and centered around the creation of social value through industrial production. The most important factor of economic analysis must be (Barry hits another chord) CAPITAL.

 

The Austrian school, led by Carl Menger, constructed the entire edifice of economics around a single concept: the satisfaction of human needs. He showed that (Barry hits all three chords) Land, Labor and Capital were simply different forms of (Barry hits a dischord across all the keys) goods AND bads, that is, different physical and social contexts configured to satisfy human needs.

Barry:

Get ready, class!

Marie:

In opposition to the Austrian School of Economics, name the three principle components around which classical and neo-classical economic analysis was based! (Barry repeats all three chords)

Barry:

We have discussed this for the last six weeks, but you can open your binders. No googling PLEASE.  

Three words! (Barry repeats all three chords)

 

Cecil! Close that laptop!!

Narrator:

Tune in for the next Esipode of “Paul’s Song – the Musical”

 

Cecil:

How did you get a job as a radio announcer with a speech impediment?

Narrator:

What do you mean, Peach Inspediment?! You’re HEARING things!

Cecil:

I hope I’m hearing things. You’ve got to hear things. This is radio. It’s called speech dyslexia or something.  There’s a wonderful story by Raol Dahl about a minister that got his pronunciation all mixed up, and said things backwards. 

Narrator:

Please tune in for the next exciting esipode of “Paul’s Song—The Musical,” when we find out what economic history has to do with Growpressivism

Cecil:

Progressivism you mean. 

Narrator:

Thank you.

Cecil:

Growpressivism sounds too much like the growth of oppressiveness, and bitterness.

Which is perhaps what this story is about, but I think you’d better let me finish this for you.  National Public Radio audiences especially are made up of people who still consider themselves old growpressives.

Narrator:

Progressives, Growpessives, so READ already!

Cecil:

Please tune in for the next exciting episode of “Paul’s Song—The Musical” when we find out why economic theory is important to Progressivism, and what Professor Barry Bartle has to offer to our story of one of the most significant progressives of the modern era: Paul Robeson. Listen in to find out why Paul Robeson’s story is SO important that

Echo machine – as in “YOU ARE THERE!!”

No   One   Ever   Told    You!

 

 

EPISODE 4 - p31

Narrator:

Welcome to another esipode of Paul’s Song—The Musical!”  Marie

LOCATION:  Marie’s Apartment

Doorbell, and door opening

Leon:

I brought General Tsao’s chicken, Szechuan broccoli and dumplings. OK?

Marie:

Hi Leon!  That’s fine, thanks. Did you email me the script yet?

Leon:

Uhn, sorry.

Cabinet door. Clink of plates, glasses. Drawer

Marie:

One song at a time doesn’t make a musical, you know.

Here are some forks.

Leon:

‘tsalright, I always carry chopsticks.

Taps a chopstick tatoo on the glass tabletop

I’ve got the opening scenes with me tonight.

He’s in a hospital bed with a fractured leg.

He’s putting himself through law school playing pro ball.

Essie walks in. 

Plastic containers opening

Marie:

Rice?

Leon:

Sure. 

She is the first doctor of color on New York Hospital’s staff.

He tells her he gave the Valedictory Address at Rutgers in 1919.

She one-ups him, tells him her grandfather was the first black US Senator,

and her brother’s moved to Russia to help in the revolution.

There he is, helpless in bed meeting a one-woman political insurrection!

Marie:

Not bad!!!

Leon:

Marie, you wouldn’t happen to have Szechuan pepper paste, would you?

Fridge opening

Marie:

Just so happens

Leon:

Great!

So we find out how the Russian connection starts,

With Robeson’s brother-in-law!

Marie:

(slurping hot & sour soup) You better have given Essie a song.

I love their hot & sour soup!  This isn’t from Yummy Yummy?

Leon:

No. It’s from “Hey Yuaall” on County Road.

We START with Essie’s Song.

Marie:

I like that.  “Paul’s Song” SHOULD start with “Essie’s Song!”

Leon:

There’s two parts to it. First, Paul braggin’ about everything he might be

If he weren’t black, and then Essie throws it back at him.

It’s almost a Baptist hymn, but I know you can work it into a tap number

Marie:

Paul Robeson tap-dancing in a cast.  Leon, that’s a bit much!

Leon:

Here’s the score.

Sound of putting fork  down, plate on glass tabletop.

No, we have two orderlies throw in the tap… here…

[Marie plays the melody]

Leon:

[sings]

I would be anything I want

Track or football I’d be great

Or singer, actor, magistrate

Oh, I could be any thing I want

If they’d like the looks of me!

Marie:

O.K.  

Leon:

Now syncopate it.  Here’s what the tap would be doing

chop-sticks doing the tap rhythm

[Marie plays the melody]

Marie:

I can hear the tap-dance already

Real Tap takes over in the background

Marie:

[sings]

You could be anything you want

World’s a changin’ turn the page

It’s time we build a brand new age

You could choose what you want to be, with

your potentiality!

tap-interlude

Leon:

Now here’s Essie’s song, the one I said is right from church.

Marie:

Leon’s chop-sticks tap-interlude

It’ll work fine over tap

[Marie plays the melody )Lake’s Song) over the tap]

Why who knows what’s the cost of standin’ proud

And who really has the courage for freedom?

You can talk mighty big

You can win the crowd

But give your life up if you’d lead’um!

It’s a long lonely road that we walk through life

But our shadow follows wakin’ or sleepin’

Gonna taste all our dreams, happiness and strife

Dancin’ through mighty weepin’

(spoken in time with the music)

You got a job in front of you,

And you’d better take it Mr. Paul Robeson!

‘Cause there’s a powerful lot that a man can do

Before this life is done!

Tap stops

Leon: (as Paul)

Maybe I could use somebody like you pushin’ me along, Essie.

Marie:

Not bad.  And that’s the end of the scene?

Leon:

Yep. In the second scene Paul and Essie are married.

They’re in London where he’s got top billing doing Shakespeare.

Marie:

You don’t mention the Manhattan law firm, how he got into show business?

Leon:

I tell the back-story in a radio interview in the third act, when he stands up

to Kinnesaw Mountain Landis and Jackie Robinson breaks the color barrier.

He tells about his scholarship to Rutgers, making All-time All-American football,

The Cotton Club, O’Neil’s “Emperor Jones” the whole thing.

In Scene Two we’re into political action,

working against British colonialism in Africa and India. 

Marie:

Any Songs?

Leon:

Just a patter-song by a waiter who’s a spy for the Brits.

Paul and Essie are meeting Jomo Kenyatta and his wife and Patrice Lamumba for dinner.

And the spy is pissed, ‘cause he hoped he catch them talking anti-colonialism, but all they talk about is Mussulini’s invasion of Ethiopia and Spain.

I’ve only got lyrics. It’s a Gilbert and Sullivan imitation that stands on its own.

Paul decides to take the next train to Spain to rally the troops.  And we’re in Scene Three.  That’s here. Paul’s train stops at a smoking Basque town.  Guernica---

Sounds of a 1940’s railroad station full of people. Children crying. Distant bombing..

bombed to shreds by German pilots helping Franco’s troops.

You can picture it, right? 

Dazed old men on the platform, children crying for their parents,...

maybe some German Stukas still divebombing in the distance ….

Silence

Marie:

I’m having a hard time picturing it on stage, Leon.

Leon:

Uh…. That’s where we’ll need a little help – making it work on stage…..

Marie:

We’ll need help?  You’re the one writing the script – I’m just scoring it.

Why don’t you use a painted flat and a sound-track of dive-bombers. 

That’ll be REAL tacky!!

Leon:

Well, me… I mean.  

I see Paul getting out of the train, looking around,

and he asks one of the old men what happened.

Then turns angrily to Essie and booms that it never got reported in the news. 

Marie:

Leading-up to a song?

Leon:

Yeh!  He says,

Return to sounds of the railroad station with distant bombing..

Leon: (as Paul)

“Essie - This carnage never got reported in the news!”

Marie: (as Essie)

“Don’t complain, Big Boy”

Leon:

‘Big Boy’ is the title of the movie they were making in Marseilles. 

Marie: (as Essie)

“They just tell us what they think we should hear!”

Leon:

Now Paul throws out his arms and sings “Tango to War.” 

Whatta picture!  Am I right?

Marie:

Right Leon. 

“Tango to War”!   in C.  I’ll give you your lead-up. 

Leon:

(sings)

Papers speak,   Radios speak, All the news they think is,

Truth to hear, for our ears - Question not what's under the meaning;

Editors in their little offices giving truth a screening!

 

Squads of youth their chromium steel-plate, belching flesh a blood-slickened meal!

Chewing up a quiet-dreaming village --  Vitamins of war are REAL!

 

Hand me my tools I'm gonna build the caskets for wide-eyed children!

Cover the graves already filled with their parents, their hatred quenched!

Hand me down my textbooks for farms I'm gonna seed resistant to germs of hunger;

Study the laziness and greed that makes simple folk want blood!

Hand me down my tools for we must rebuild!

Marie:

Nice transition between the tango rhythm and the verse…

I would keep the tango going under the verse…. Like this

(she plays the tango rhythm and sings)

Hand me my tools I'm gonna build the caskets for wide-eyed children!

Cover the graves already filled with their parents, their hatred quenched!

[spoken]

a little short, though.  That’s not the entire scene, I hope?

You could use a few Stukas dive-bombing overhead,

and a couple more verses. 

Leon:

No. They meet a journalist on the train.

I’ve totally invented the sequence.

It’s Arthur Koestler, working undercover for the Communists

Before he exposes Stalin’s purges.

The all get into a heated discussion, which ends with “Paul’s Song,”

and we wrap on the scene.

Marie:

That works.

So when can you send me what you have?

Leon:

End of the week?

Marie:

I heard you telling Jossie something last week about Orion’s Belt.

Leon:

I like telling people Robeson was more than a star – he was a constellation!

Not just Orion’s Belt, but every star in Orion!

Marie:

You know the Greek heros got turned into stars as part of their tragedy. 

Leon:

Well, Robeson was a Greek tragedy right here in modern-day America.

Coretta King said they shot her husband, but they buried Paul Robeson ALIVE!!!

Marie:

I read that somewhere…

Leon:

Ro-be-son was the REAL John Henry –

hewing down mountains

slammin’ injustice

They named a nash’null holiday for Paul

In Indja,

a mountain in Russia,

And at home he got a swamp!

Marie:

A SWAMP?  They named a swamp?

Leon:

Noooo…

[rapps]

with his hammer in a swamp

wi’out glamour wi’out pomp

at mosquitos he was swingin’

all the while his spirit singin’

as he stepped on snakes and gators,

laughin’ loud at colored haters

an’ the Jim Crow integrators

all them bigots wi’‘deir tickots to ‘der

frilly silly lily white heavns’

Marie:

BACKGROUND RAPP BEAT ADDED HERE

Very good, Leon.

Leon:

with his hammer in a swamp,

with no glamour and no pomp

he got bit by a mosquita,

by some agent incognita,

with a little L.S.Dee-ta

that they gave him in his drink,

made him crazy so they’d think

consul doctor’s plan, was give treatments to our man

thirty sev’ electro-shocks

like chigger bites mosquito mocks

massive soul our world had known,

a Hercules his mind was blown

and John Henry went to Philly

twenty years he sittin’ silly

to what had happened he was vacant

and the rest of us mistaken’t

that his voice was God-forsaken’t

how mosquitos killed our Robeson

buried hope’s son

buried Rope’son

That our man was just too Tired to Sing again

Marie:

That was good, Leon.  That was real good, but I don’t think you can say that in a musical,

Leon:

But don’t you understand, Marie?

This is like OPERA.  This is about the greatest tragedy we know as men!

Marie:

That was hardly opera.  Where do you get that?

Leon:

The greatest living symbol of hope and justice HAD to be destroyed by …

Marie:

What??   By whom?  Vanilla Ice? [pick a gang-rapper’s name]

Leon:

The defenders of hope and justice.  

Listen. After the war, Robeson and (W.E.B.) DeBois organized a march on Washington to demand Congress put an end to the lynchings

Black G.I.’s coming home to the south seemed too ‘uppity’

after they’d fought in Japan and Germany and Italy

to defend America’s freedom…

they came home and acted like they deserved respect –

so they were lynched all up and down Dixie!

Marie:

After World War II?  In the 1940’s?

Leon:

Bullshit!  You knew that!!

Robeson put it to THE PRESIDENT himself

In Truman’s office—that if he didn’t sign a bill against lynching,

the negroes would have to take it into their own hands and arm themselves! 

Well, that raised a few eyebrows in the newspapers!!  

Malcolm X was still a little boy in 1948 you know!!

The NAACP was already holding him at arms’ length ---

and a couple weeks later he was subpoenaed

for his first hearing on Un-American Activities!  

Suddenly he was Public Enemy Number One!! 

And Just before the war he was the symbol of American patriotism abroad

Singing on radio shows, narrating documentaries about America!!

Marie:

Well I’d be a little cautious before you start telling this.

Leon:

Marie, you’re not scared to do this with me, are you?

Marie:

[frustrated]

I’d do just about anything with you, Leon. 

I just said ‘be cautious.‘

If you don’t mind me extending the subject, Leon, I never saw you with a girl.

You’re not gay, are you?

Leon:

Marie, please.  Can we keep this just business?

Marie:

[seductively]

Of course. 

Leon:

[brightens up with an idea]

…. well… cause I only do one-nighters. 

You don’t want to be a one-night stand, now do you?

Marie:

I don’t believe you….

You’re gay aren’t you?

Leon:

I like my women fast and trashy so’s I can get on with my work and pay’m no mind,

Marie:

Leon! That isn’t YOU talking!

Leon:

You think I’d confuse myself with my idols?

I’m a pragmatist and a chauvinist!.

Marie:

I can see it right now

I opened up a Pandora Box. 

You’re putting me on!

Leon:

Well then, I guess I have to tell you. 

I have a girlfriend, and her name is Tabasca!

Marie:

And where is this girl of yours?

Leon:

I tell ya’

(sings in a Cab Calloway voice:)

Her name’s Tabasca

An’ she’s cooking wi’ hot sauce

You just ask’a, Tabasc’a

And she’ll cook YOU in hot sauce…

Just go profile on down-town

With this lil’ peppa on your arm

She’s Tabasca…and You’ll be cookin’ in Hot-Sauce!!

When I gotta jam, I don’t like it sweet

I rather have hot sauce

There’s no better treat than Tabasca

My Louisiana Hot Sauce

She can take off the chill,

She’ll shake your will

Cause she do the same to a hurricane

That’s Tabasca… and she’s cookin’ wi’ hot sauce

I like mushrooms, fish and chips

But ain’t no san’wich pass my lips

Wi’out Tabasca, my Louisiana Hot-Sauce!

Marie storms off in disgust, as Leon continues to ham it up, oblivious.

My heart’ll burn

My stomach’ll turn

When that woman’s gone all I got’s a yearn

For Tabasco, oo, my Louisiana hot sauce

She’ll light the night

It sears your sight

When ma Tabby purrs

Your vision blurs!

That’s Tabasca.

An’ she’s cooking wi’ hot sauce

Just ask’a, Tabasca… and she’ll cook YOU in hot sauce!

Marie:

[disgusted, amuzed, frustrated, confused ...’she blew it’]

Out!~  Out!

Leon:

[laughing]

Alright! Alright!!

Door slam

Narrator

Did Leon screw up?  Tune in for the next exciting episode of “PAUL’S SONG” as Leon learns about his economic professor’s discoveries and almost loses the best orchestrator in town for his musical project!

EPISODE 5 -p40

LOCATION: Hallway in College

Betty:

(to Leon, walking towards him down the hall)

I’m lost.  Where is 214?   That room says 229 and the one down there is 152 !!

Leon:

This whole building’s screwy.   

The room numbers are the linear distance from the founder’s hat

on the statue in the center courtyard. 

Really logical, isn’t it?

Betty:

Certainly “out of the box”!   

So where is 214?    

How does anyone find their way?

Leon:

By accident.

Then you look at the statue to see where you are.

Same as in a conference center with the

Jefferson and Jackson and Hamilton Rooms.

Betty:

I suppose so. But I’ve got to find 214 and return these books

to Professor Bartle before his lecture starts.

Leon:

I’m on my way to Bartle’s lecture.  

Facing the left ear.  I’ll take you MY way.    

WINDOW SQUEEK.

Betty:

Through a window?

Leon:

Sure. These are low windows.

Listen, if you want me to take the books.

Betty:

No. I’ve had these for seven years. 

I have to give them to him in person.

Leon:

Sit and swing your legs.

Betty:

Hold these books?

I’m just a little too old. [grunts] 

Leon:

Here.  There you are!

Bird @ squirrel-sounds, faint sound of practice rooms on the upper floors, horn scales and violin trills. A piano is working out classical variations on a theme to “My Way.” Another piano (Marie’s) is composing a fanfare.

Betty:

whoah!  That’s FUN at seventy!

(as Betty gets through the window, two stagehands come across the stage and take it to the front stage-left,  the door to rear stage right,  behind piano, and the founder’s statue and a bench to center stage.)

Leon:

Aw shit, I’m sorry. I never think how old people can be.

Hey!! These are the books I need for my paper!

Betty:

What’s your paper on?

Leon:

Why everyone dropped Henry George like a hot potato. 

Betty:

That’s why Barry asked for them after seven years!

Leon:

Herbert Spencer? You mean I’ve gotta read Herbert Spencer?

 [looks at the books] 

Who would read SPENCER now?

Betty:

Me.  I’m Betty Edelweiss. 

I teach history of ethics at the seminary.

Leon:

I’m sorry again. 

I wasn’t thinking.

I was just having fun.

Betty:

It was fun.

You need to look at Spencer.

He is a primary source for the culture of science …

the high priest of the Darwin cult - of survival of the fittest –

I always thought he was daft, and never bought my own copies.

Leon:

So you teach the religion of science at the seminary, too?

Betty:

Not exactly.

But I’ll give you a hint for your paper.

Henry George spent his life

proving Spencer’s ethics on land-ownership

gave economic analysis greater coherence. 

When Progress and Poverty got famous in the 1880’s

All his readers—and it was quite a popular book— were quoting Spencer

and calling for the abolishment of land ownership!

But by that time, Spencer had become a rich landowner himself

with wealthy patrons,

and he denied everything he’d said in 1850, and

called Henry George a lunatic.

Remember, Spencer was by that time the high priest of science.

So that’s what you wanted to understand:

Why Henry George got dumped, isn’t it?

Leon:

(Looks at his cellphone and sits down at the bench)

Wow! Of course.

But after all,

Well….

So maybe you can tell me…

Betty:

I’ll try

Leon:

Do you believe Henry George was right? 

I mean, Dr. Bartle doesn’t want us to accept the Land-Labor-Capital breakdown

But Henry George relies on it to show land ownership

sucked away prosperity

Betty:

…Just like a heat-sink sucks down energy with no pay-back.

What makes Henry George interesting

is that in pre-Biblical Mesopotamian days

land was held in stewardship for the gods.

Temple taxes and tithing precede property ownership by thousands of years.

It’s only with Blackstone in England that property ownership

Finally drops all natural and prior obligations to the greater,

and commonly-held wealth of society.

Leon:

The “COMMON-WEALTH”!

The state is commonly-held wealth!!

I never thought of that….

Betty:

Be careful with it, though.

It’s NOT common ownership, but mutual obligations.

Leon:

Wow.

Do you believe economic science will ever be a science?

Betty:

Not the kind of science people expect …

Leon:

Dr. Bartle won’t say.

Betty:

He wouldn’t.

Leon:

Is three ever going to be a science of social justice?

Betty:

But do you want Law to be a science?

Worked-up in a laboratory and sold like a pharmaceutical?

Leon:

No.

But don’t we need something to figure out how to create jobs

when there aren’t any?

Can’t economics engineer our way through global warming

If politics can’t?

Betty:

Perhaps.

Eventually we will find a sort of science

A technique for sustainable prosperity and health.

But not the kind of science people expect …

Leon:

You mean it won’t be a technology, right?? 

Betty:

Right. I mean, No, it won’t.

Leon:

But you believe there will be a true social science?

Betty:

Absolutely…. And I’ve been trying to get your professor,

Barry Bartle, to co-publish his little theory with me.

Leon:

I figured Dr. Bartle’s been holding back answers from us!

Betty:

Answers? No. You’ve got it wrong.

There’s only method.

[sings]

All that I believe

Goes into a little prayer

Give it to you when I leave

Put it in your CD player

You can hear me singing—

All that I believe

Isn’t very much trouble

Give it to you when I leave

Chew it just like Double Bubble

If you pop it you’ll see—

All that I believe

Is so very full of wonder

Give it to you when I leave

After that you’ll never blunder

Cause a breath will fill it—

is so beautiful

Everyone would like to hold it

Grasp it now, grasp it never

It’s forever.

Bubble bubble in the air

Popping is your only trouble

Worry now, worry never

Popping only is forever

But a breath can fill it—

You’re so beautiful

Everyone would like to hold you

Grasp you now, grasp you never

You’re forever.

All that I believe

Fits into my little prayer

Give it to you when I leave

Put it in your CD player….

 Leon:

That’s beautiful, but

I thought we were talking about social science…

About economics!?

Betty:

Maybe popping bubbles?

Leon:

False bubbles?

Betty:

Human, social prosperity is what we have always prayed for.

Why shouldn’t economics be designed like a prayer?

And social science held together with a prayer?

Leon:

[laugh] If it sounds like sense,

And it looks like sense,

Maybe it makes sense.

But I don’t think so.

Betty:

You seem more interested in Barry’s class than any of my students were in mine.

I’d say he’s a pretty lucky teacher.

Leon:

Here I am trying understand

how progressivism died in the 20th century…

By writing a musical about Paul Robeson

Betty:

Who?

Leon:

Paul Robeson.

Betty:

Ooooh.

Leon:

He’s the tragedy and death of progressivism as far as I’m concerned

He’s the lost dream of BUILDING a God’s Kingdom on earth.

Betty:

Well, if THAT isn’t spiritual politics!

Or an economic prayer meeting, then what is?

Leon:

I want to believe we can do it.

Betty:

I understand you to mean ‘God’s Kingdom’ the way the founders conceived of it

Leon:

That’s right. Not with a church,

but with a hope and spirit in all of us together

Paul Robeson is my symbol of the paradox

in the middle of it all …

Betty:

Nothing like coming right out and saying what you believe!!

That’s wonderful!

Leon:

But will we, can we ever find some way to take us there?

Betty:

A Logical method, yes, but we will NOT find a technology!

Leon:

Hey, guys!

This is Dr. Betty Flower from the seminary.

Helen & Bernardo

Glad to meet you

Betty

Elizabeth Edelweiss.  And you are?

Leon:

Oh. Yes.  My name’s Leon Johnson.  This is Bernie and …Pattie.

But Dr. Flower, I mean Edelweiss—Won’t mankind destroy ourselves first?

Betty:

Hogwash!

Pattie:

Humankind, Leon!

Besides, nuclear holocaust will end the world

Betty:

End of the world? Baloney!

Bernie:

No apocalypses, then?

Leon:

Pandemics?

Betty:

Bellybutton Lint!

[sings]

I’m not afraid of the end of the world

You betcha

Ain’t quite like they say

Why I just saw the latest

I will lay my bets ‘gainst you double or nuthin’

That we will learn to

co-exist with Nature’s way, so

if you are afraid that your world’s gotta go

Push on to the end,

Because it ain’t worth the stress

The world’s becoming a mess

If I have just made three new friends!

Narrator

On that note, middle A of the F-major chord

we will leave our hero, Leon

as he tries to understand the position of economics in society.

This is not much to go on.

Join us in the next episode of “Paul’s Song – The Musical”

as Leon abdicates his pivotal role to Marie,

Who becomes the central factor in finding a happy ending.

Leon:

Well, if I’m about to give up my pivotal role to Marie,

What are you going to kill me off?

Narrator:

No.  Just come back next episode of “Paul’s Song—The Musical” and you’ll find out.

Leon:

Of course I’m coming back! I’ve already memorized my part!

But if you say I’m giving up my pivotal role, I’ve got to get in this last song. 

Betty?

Betty:

Yes, Leon.

Leon:

I know we’re friends now, so I can tell you, that’s a pretty simplistic philosophy.

Betty:

Reductionist, Leon, not simplistic.

Leon:

Alright, reductionist philosophy.  But you made one point, that we won’t destroy ourselves if we learn to co-exist with Nature, and I agree. 

I got this song in my musical which was going to be my “Old Man River,” it’s called “Ol’ Man Lake.”

Betty:

Don’t give ME the accompaniment! I can’t play this!

Leon:

Well, you can just imagine it, then. 

It’s just like a church piece, only it’s got a bit of a jazz background.

If you were listening in earlier, it’s introduced first as “Essie’s Song.”

[sings]

When you're lookn' at a lake you can calm your mind

just to think of all the dreamin' done for you

of nature's kind of peace for all humankind

is a dream both deep and true.

 

You cannot count the fish from the surface of a lake

So don't ever think a lake is sleeping Just a sittin' kinda still

Verra deep in thought. Reflecting everything!

 

You might just see only moss in a deep brown lake

but don't think that I'm just shallow reading

Because the ripples on my forehead holla logs on my banks

have a much deeper meaning,

 

What is deeper down in thought than a lake in spring

Reflecting all the world around me, why the evergreen's green

and the bluejays blue and the rocks are grey between....

 

When you're lookn' at a lake you can calm your mind

just to think of all the dreamin' done for you

of nature's kind of peace for all humankind

is a dream both deep and true.

Narrator

On a new note, we leave Leon and Betty considering humankind’s future.

Be sure to return and tune in for the next episode of “Paul’s Song-The Musical,” when Dr. Barry Bartle discloses the secret code of economic thought!

…at least, his version of the secret code.

EPISODE 6 -p49

Location: Barry’s Classroom

Narrator:

Welcome back to the sixth episode of “Paul’s Song-The Musical” as we join music Leon Johnson, a look-alike for the young Paul Robeson, and Dr. Elizabeth Edelweiss, professor of Ethics at the seminary as they stand looking in the window of Dr. Barry Bartlett’s classroom, where they are met by Marie Tibbett, the accompanist for one of Dr. Bartlett’s famous ‘singing lectures.’

books smashing on piano top. classroom door slamming

Marie:

You’re lost, Leon.  So you thought you’d sneak in the window without being noticed, eh?    It’s pretty hard not to notice you!

Leon:

Like you reading the quiz at our mid-term?  Doin’ try-outs for Lola

Marie, Let me introduce Professor Edelweiss! 

(Betty sticks her head through the window, trying to decide whether to climb in)

Marie:

What’s that supposed to mean?

Leon:

in ‘Damn Yankees!”

Betty:

Excuse me, but I think I can find my way through a more conventional entrance.

Marie:

Angels fear to tread where fools will walk.

SO?!  Are you coming in?

Leon:

Dr. Edelweiss got me thinking about economics again.   

Marie:

You’re full of it, Mr. Walking Hopeful.  Mr. Dream-a-Dream! 

But you’re just like the rest of’m –

put one over and take what you can.  

Leon:

Marie.  Where’s this coming from?

Marie:

I think you dripped some chili sauce on your shirt

Leon:

[laughs] Oh yeh…I remember that lil’ number…

Marie:

I’m sure it ‘made your night and seared your sight!”

Leon:

Wow. Those were pretty good lyrics off the cuff!

Marie:

You got some there, too!

But I think you oughtta check a bit lower.

Leon:

(still witty, jesting)

And I think you oughtta

watch where your mouth is going, girl!

Let’s keep this ethical!

Marie:

Your ethics are as big as your crotch!

Leon:

You kiddin?  What was that little shuffle

by my desk the other day

if it wa’an’t tryin’ to make my ethics bigger?

(angrily)

If that’s your kinda ethics, it doesn’t turn me on, Marie. 

You’re a wonderful lady,

So stop trying to be that girl you used to wanted’ta be.

Marie:

Righteous, eh?

Next you’ll start talkin’ that Robeson of yours. 

I’ve already read enough about some of his leading ladies 

Leon:

You gotta take all of us men to the cleaners at once?

Marie:

Yep. ‘cause I don’t think there’s a man that’s all that clean!

(sings)

You’re just

one big BLUFF

You can try me if you want to

You can take

all your STUFF

I don’t care where, any place will do

Ya won’t catch me botherin’

Over

anything

anything to do with you. [i]

(two class members enter the door and stop to watch Marie’s performance)

Leon:

[spoken]

And women, being the source of all men, are. 

Naturally clean and pure –

Marie:

[spoken]

Get lost..

Leon:

[spoken]

….living water, the source, the spring –

no purification needed!

Marie:

(sings)

You are just

One big BLUFF

I’m tired of this silly game

Y’see I’ve

Had E-NOUGH

I think I’ll treat you to a bit of the same

And  your high-fly’n morals

Make you

even more

all the more to blame! [ii]

(Barry enters with Betty, along followed by the third member of the class.  They are met by stagehands bringing in classroom chairs)

Betty:

…it’s been in remission.  I’ve been lucky.

Barry:

You gave me a scare when Abe called me…

Leon:

Dr. Bartle!  Excuse me!

Barry:

Yes, Leon?

Leon:

You must have been working on a new formal economic system all these years? 

Dr. Edelweiss said that humanity will discover a logical method

to create prosperity and a just society

that she wanted to co-author a book with you!

Barry:

Oh?

Betty:

By a ‘logical method’ I mean a set of relationships

Barry:

I know what you mean, Betty.  Are you back on this again?

Leon:

If you’ve got an answer…. I mean, a method… I mean a set of relationships,

why haven’t you published them?

Barry:

Because this is just a hobby, after music, Leon.

Leon:

But you’ve never published anything!

Betty:

Why do you think he teaches at a music school?

Barry:

Yes, Marie… did you want to see me about something?

Marie:

No. I just wanted to tell Mr. Johnson he can forget about me working on his musical! 

Door slams

Barry:

Marie!  Come back!!

(storms out. And while Leon seems exasperated, he takes it in stride.  Barry seems the most upset.  Fidgeting for several moments, he suddenly bolts for the door and disappears after her.  Meanwhile the rest of the class wanders in)

Betty:

What was that about?

Leon:

The Paul Robeson piece I was telling you about. 

Betty:

She was working on it with you?

Leon:

It’s nothing. I mean,

For me, Robeson’s story is about the death of Progressivism,

But why should I worry about that if Dr. Bartle’s holding back on us!

That’s more important!

Betty:

I’d think so.

Leon:

 (Barry returns.  The students, carrying banjo, bass, and guitar open them up and begin softly jamming)

Looks like you lost an accompanist, Dr. Bartle

Barry:

Wasn’t much of a number today, anyway.

Betty:

More importantly, Leon lost the collaborator on his Robeson musical.

Barry:

Robeson?  What are you doing with Robeson?

Leon:

Trying to get his economics right, this time.

Barry:

I don’t follow.

Leon:

He had no decent economic choices in the 1930’s or 40’s or 50’s.

And we don’t have anything any better today. 

A lot of equilibrium models with no substance inside them.

Barry:

I appreciate your concern, Leon.…and the fact that you’ve been reading ahead.

Leon:

Game-playing maximization entrepreneurial bull!

When I got a kid brother shot dead

over game-playing maximization of the streets!

Yeh, he was an entrepreneur!!

Burst momma and daddy’s bubble before he was twelve years old!

He went and proved the theory REAL good!

How are we going to get out of this crap!?!

Betty:

I think that deserves an answer, don’t you?

Barry:

What kind of answer would satisfy anyone in the middle of totally unstabilized pseudo-equilibria?

Betty:

An answer that provides some hope that we might,

someday, get beyond totally unstabilized pseudo-equilibria.

Leon:

Absolutely.

Betty:

Have you ever heard of the 24/7 Lecture?

You have to cover your topic in 24 seconds

And give a summary in 7 seconds.

That’s the forum for an old ham like you.

So tell me, Dr. Bartle, what IS economic science?

Leon:

Hey guys, listen up!  This is the class today. 

Dr. Bartle is going to define economics in 24-seconds.  Anybody got a good recorder? 

Barry:

I may take 30…. had no practice after all.

Leon:

We’ll give it to you….. unh…..  GO!

Barry:

[sings to a guitar strum]]

Basic changes in our economic system

require a new set of accounting practices. 

Interest is the chemistry of resource growth:

human, capital, and natural resources.

Money emerges from the need to state values,

to measure equivalences.

A unified accounting and monetary system

will be based around a science of equivalences we don’t have yet

– a tropological topological metaphysics. 

The LAST thing economists or politicians or environmentalists

want is an economic theory that looks like metaphysics. 

Which is why I’m keeping my mouth shut, thank you.

Leon:

I screwed up.  Did anybody get the time on that?

Barry:

I can’t repeat it.

Cecil,Sam

No Problem!

Give it to him!

Leon:

I think you were under thirty.

Betty:

Double-entry accounting brought us out of the Middle Ages into the Renaissance –

and that was the rebirth of hope. 

Should we all take up accounting?

Barry:

There’s no accounting system invented yet to do it right.

Try to find equivalences in emotions, or art.

The ancient Greek “Science of Rhetoric”

is all that has ever existed for a logic of fuzzy equivalences … the tropes.

Leon:

How ‘bout the mathematics of knots and braids and surfaces.

Barry:

Topology? No. 

Tropology maybe. The Tropes.

Let me try again.

Drum-roll

[sings to guitar strum]

Economics is an accounting system

of the obligations underlying human satisfaction:

the activities underlying work.

The differentiation of work provides the

semantics and syntax of both production, and interest.

Work and satisfaction of needs are analogous.

Money is the metric of equivalences in the accounts,

and the language of economic activity.

Leon:

You gotta let me get this in stop-watch mode.

That wasn’t the seven second summary?

Barry:

No.  That was the 24-second one again.

Leon:

I know you were under.

O.K. I’ve got this thing going.. Let’s hear it again.

Drum-roll

GO!

Barry:

[sings to guitar strum]

Economics is an accounting system of

the obligations arising from the satisfaction of human needs.

—the activities underlying WORK.

Task differentiation and reconfiguration is the motor

driving production, interest, and the creation of all new value.

Money is the rod used to peg value and equivalences in the accounts.

It quickly becomes the language of all economic activity

and is thus confused with human satisfaction, since

Economics is the accounting system of obligations

Arising from the satisfaction of human needs.

Trumpets: Ta-taa!

Cecil/Dave/sam

28 seconds! YES!!  

Alright, alright!

Leon:

So the answer is an accounting system.

Barry:

No. It’s totally the analysis of work. Adam Smith.

Energy, Mastery, and Order:

Representing needs is the syntax of the job

Then putting all the resource components into working relations,

Altogether you’ve got the magic of things changing states.

Representation, communication, verifying & checking,

people, data, things, planning, obligation, procedures…

it’s like a symphony unfolding!

Cecil:

But you don’t teach us that stuff in class?!

Sam:

All your songs are about Ricardo and Lloyd George,

Leon:

He means Henry George

Barry:

How ‘bout let’s go for the 7-second challenge now?

Leon:

Alright by me! 

…just a second…one more…GO!

Barry:

There’s no way you can describe all the static states

and dynamic relationships underlying social science in seven seconds.

Leon:

You want a few moments to think?

Barry:

I just gave it to you.

Betty:

Clever, Barry, clever.

Leon:

You want to run that by me again?

Barry:

There’s no way you can describe all the static states

and dynamic relationships underlying social science in seven seconds. Five seconds……………..Seven seconds…. Now.

What is this?  You think I got the scoop?

Leon:

Alright. I guess I was hoping you’d have that new tropological metaphysics flavor.

Barry:

Well. I could give it to you if you’ll take sprinkles?

…I get ‘em cheap from the cleaning lady.

Leon:

Aughxch.

How about just Plain Vanilla Marx and Engels

with one of those cute little a capitalist umbrellas on top…

Betty:

That’s not what you want, Leon! 

(to Barry)

He’d like standard Neopolitain:

Darwinian Chocolate, Entrepreneurial Vanilla, Stockmarket Strawberry

In a Military Industrial cone.

Leon:

NO. I want the original combination:

Vanilla – Out for Number One

Pistachio Greed for survival of the fittest.

And business-for-the-sake-of-the-stockholder Strawberry.

Barry:

You talk like you’ve never taken this class, Mr. Johnson.

Leon:

Economic goods and activities,

can work and satisfy equilibrium needs,

even when they’re system addictivities that produce economic bads.

Vanilla, Pistachio, and Strawberry!

Barry:

Why did the chicken cross the road, Mr. Johnson?

Cecil:

Cause he didn’t want to walk DOWN it!

Leon:

More chickens get hit on the shoulder than crossing it.

Barry:

That’s right, Cecil.  So what do we have? 

Nothing more than a perception, an idea. 

Cecil:

So what’s on the other side?

Barry:

Hope

Leon:

Hope?

Cecil:

You don’t look too hopeful bro’

Leon:

It ain’t as simple as I thought.

Narrator:

Is that all there is? Can Professor Bartle only come up with a single-second answer to one of the greatest riddles of human thought? “Why did the CHICKEN cross the ROAD?” Tune in for the next exciting episode of “Paul’s Song – The Musical” to get the REAL scoop on Leon’s own search for a world of economic justice and freedom.

EPISODE 7 -p59

Narrator:

The one in the college bar, where Marie is sitting disconsolately nursing a glass of wine.

Bar

 packed bar sounds-laughing talking, clinking bottles & glasses

Young Man:

‘anybody sittin’ here?

Marie:

Get lost!

Young Man:

You sure we never met?  You sound an awful lot like my old lady!

Marie:

I should never have agreed to come back here. 

You always expect it to be the same place it was when you were a dreamy-eyed undergraduate.

And wouldn’t ya know, it turns out to be exactly the same place…

only you’ve changed, and there isn’t a dream in front of your eyes anymore.

(she gets up and puts a dollar into the computer jukebox, punches some keys and it plays the background to a C&W ballad)

(sings)

Some say that friendships are like very good wine

Mellow through the years, and getting better with time

But wandering through those vineyards never tended

Under arbors left un-mended

Friends don’t grow in bunches anymore!

Those old friends, they all had vintage labels

But there ain’t too many bottles sitting round the tables

So many drunk and tasted, so many spilt and wasted

How my glass can be so rich  -- but none too pour!

Some say that friendships are like very good wine

Mellow through the years, and getting better with time

But wandering through those vineyards never tended

Under arbors left un-mended

Friends don’t grow in bunches anymore!

 

Tabasca hesitatingly sidles up to Marie’s table, looking a bit confused

Marie:

(to Tabasca)

You look lost.

Tabasca:

(relieved Marie is talking to her)

I’m not used to bars much.  My fiancée wanted me to meet him here.

Marie:

That’s not too polite of him not to show up on time if he knows you don’t go to bars.

Tabasca:

Oh no, he’s not late.  He won’t be here til 7:00.

Marie:

Take a seat then.  Can I get you something?

Tabasca:

You don’t think they’d have chai, do you?

Marie:

I don’t think so.  A ginger ale be OK?

(As Marie steps over to the bar Betty enters)

Narrator:

An older lady gets up from a nearby booth and walks to the young woman.  It is Professor Betty Edelweiss, who we have previously met.

Betty:

You must be Tabasca.  Leon has told me a lot about you.   

Tabasca:

Have you read the script.?

(Marie comes back with the drink)

Betty:

I like it a lot.  I just don’t know how you get the time to write theatre when you studying for the bar exams.

Tabasca:

I have to clear out my head to see if I’ve retained anything I’m reading.  Cramming just gets you through the test, but I need to use all this before I ever become a partner in a law firm.  ( to Marie)  Excuse me, Marie, this is Dr. Edelweiss…

Marie:

Wait a second.  I don’t think WE’VE been introduced yet! ….what’s going on?

Tabasca:

I’m sorry.  My name’s Tabby, I mean Tabasca… (winks) and I’m cookin’ wi hot sauce.

Marie:

Ohmahgod!…and Leon’s your fiancée?!

Tabasca:

He just writes the tunes, I write the lyrics.

Marie:

OhmyGod!  

Oh maa God!!

You’re kidding.  Who comes up with all the ideas?  You?

Tabasca:

I think… it’s a collaborative venture….

Which is why we thought you’d better get to know me,

if we’re going to put this musical into shape. 

Betty has just read over the script.

Marie:

And you’re trying to talk me back onto the project.

Betty:

Depends on how you define the project.

Tabasca:

You see, Leon told me that Betty’s been trying

to get Dr. Bartle to publish his work for years. 

She’s even offered to co-author a book with him, and … well, he’s a hard-head.

Marie:

That’s another project.  So?  Uncle Barry’s always a hard-head.

Tabasca:

Well, Marie, it’s sorta the same project.

You see, Leon and I conceived of OUR project

because, well, we wanted our generation to have

the kinds of things to hope for that our parents and grandparents did. 

Not material things, but spiritual… well, you know. 

Robeson’s story is about the spiritual dream

getting buried under the political and economic one.

Marie:

That’s a wonderful goal, Tabby.  I’m sorry,

I was falling for Leon because I understood that…

it’s such a wonderful goal.

Tabasca:

I understand.  That was my dirty trick,

He’s so easy to fall for. 

I just wanted the best orchestrator around.  You.

And… well, I guess I wanted to test him, too.

I hope you can accept my apologies.

Marie:

Well, your test worked fine.

He never made a single pass at me.

Even in my apartment!

That’s why I got so pissed.

Tabasca:

the project is about getting kids to realize

that ‘the system’ is still ours to create. 

Betty:

My project is to get your uncle Barry

to see how much his vision is needed by the younger generation. 

And he’s, well, sort of part of your family. 

Your dad was his thesis advisor at Princeton, and well,…

Tabasca:

Dr. Bartle’s vision of a new set of economic foundations

is at the core of our dream. 

Robeson’s song and spirit are one thing, Robeson is the heart

but we need more than emotions

to make the heart pump.  

Betty:

Barry’s work can do that.

Tabasca:

He’s sweet on you.  Very sweet on you.

Marie:

Aw shit.  And you want me to help get him to buy into this whole thing.

Betty:

Well, you know if it got an old SERMINARIAN like me

into a pub like this we wanted something like that!

Tabasca:

Ask him to help with the Robeson project…

that we need to inject some of his humor into a difficult story….

Marie:

His humor is, well…  screwy, but …..

Tabasca:

doesn’t matter …. We need to get him on the project

to get him to realize what “Paul’s Song” really is about.

That we must keep fighting until we’re dyin’

Betty:

You’ve gotta turn his cynicism about his own work around. 

If Barry can buy into “Paul’s Song,”

he’ll be buying into own old-time activism

just like in my old Pete Seeger days,

Tabasca:

and the Paul Robeson days before that…

Betty:

and the Henry George and the Robert Owen days before that…

Tabasca:

Here’s Leon’s plan!

Narrator:

Be sure to tune in for the next song-packed episode of “Paul’s Song- The Musical,” to find out how Leon plans to turn his economics professor into an activist fighting for the same world of human justice and freedom as his own hero

Tabasca:

And don’t forget: look-alike!

Narrator:

That’s right, Tabasca,

End of the William Tell Overture

you’ve found a man that looks just like—

“Hi YO Silver, Awaaay!”...quick switch to “Old Man River”

Paul Robeson!

Robeson singing a verse of “Joe Hill”

Narrator:

Back in her apartment with her daughter Jossie, Marie has returned to the musical project and is thoughtfully plunking chords for one of the songs.

Marie:

[sings:]

Children see a new century

Where they get their emotions from T.V.

Addict us to our soaps,

Wash our minds until we’re dopes

Where’s the humanistic spirit to get hope!!

Jossie:

Is that a new song, mommy?

Marie:

Do you have any big hopes, Joss?

Jossie:

Of course, mommy.  Just like you. 

I want you to marry Uncle Barry so I can have a little sister!

Marie:

[as if she knows Jossie has been her confidant for years]

OhmahGod!

We’ve been through this before, haven’t we, Joss?

Jossie:

What are YOUR big hopes, mommy? 

Marie:

Thinks a moment.

…what would you do if you had a daddy?

Jossie:

Well, he and I would go to the museum just like Uncle Barry and I always do,

and he and I would make up silly inventions.

Marie:

I see.

Jossie:

And he could put me to sleep with songs he made up…

Marie:

Jossie.  There is so much more than that, Jossie. 

But I guess that’s enough, isn’t it?

Jossie:

What are YOUR hopes about, mommy?

Marie:

To have something to devote my life to, Jossie.

Like my music.   

People all around you pushing and pulling one way or another,

saying what’s right.  I don’t know!

 

[sings]

I’ve nothing in the world

Except my little girl

and her dreams of the days to come

without our dreams

there’s only schemes

of games the rest of life it seems

is altogether dumb!

Background, doorbell rings, Jossie opening door and saying ‘hi’

I’m tired of little games

I’m tired of all the names of people

Wantin’ me to do their thing

You love to make me laugh

And I love it when you laugh

And all I’m wantin’ is to hear you sing:

Barry:  & Jossie:

You’re my every daydream, Marie

Sorry Mom,

Single pulse is beating through me

I let him in

Syncopating all I do, cause

He’s my favorite

I’m all you.

Just trust me

My eyes, my lips, my ears

We’ve got stuff,

Just see just breath just hear for you

lotsa great games

You see I’m senseless Marie

He’s my favorite

I’m all you

Just trust me

My brain can’t handle figures,

Just yours;

Statistics all slip through my fingers

It’s your bell-shaped curve that lingers.

There’s nothing else that I can think of

Sorry Mom

All my work is on the brink

I let him in

My papers all begin to stink

He’s my favorite

As the whole room

JUST

disappears in

TRUST

your perfume.

ME

 

Marie:

How many times have I told you I never wear perfume, Barry!

Barry:

I’ll change the line, I’ll change the line!

Marie:

It’s a great song.  Why are guys so stupid?!

Narrator:

We leave Marie and Barry discussing some of the deeper things in life

Marie:

Maybe we should check out Wikapedia…

Jossie:

I will, Mommy!

Barry:

I want an answer, Jossie

We hear strains of Ham ‘n Eggs in the background

Narrator:

We pick up our story on the following day, in Dr. Barry Bartle’s classroom, where, un-noticed to the absent-minded and self-indulgent professor at the front of the class, the entire cast of the musical has snuck into the rear of the room to watch Leon’s secret plan unfold, providing a truly ripping finale to our story.

Newscasters

You’re getting all this?

Soitenly!

Betty:

Oh, so you’re Jossie!  I’ve heard so much about you.

Jossie:

I like Tabasca.  I’ll just ask’a!

Tabasca:

Shh, Jossie.  Don’t let him hear us.

Barry’s Classroom

Barry:

Now that we’ve seen why the classical argument couldn’t handle economic crises like the Depression, I’m sure there must be several questions.  I know this part put ME to sleep several times.  Any questions?

(Leon raised his hand)

Leon..

Leon:

Yes, Dr. Bartle.  I’d like to know what makes the Sphinx the Seventh Wonder?

(Marie has snuck up to the piano is begins playing the Cowardly Lion’s song from “The Wizard of Oz”)

Barry:

What?

Leon:

What makes the dawn come up like thunder?

Barry:

(recognizing the music,  noticing Jossie coming in the back of the room dressed in gingham, the joke dawns on him)

Class, do you need me to repeat the question?

All:

Yes

Barry:

(and leaps up on his desk to imitate Bert Lahr)

[sings]

What makes the muskrat guard his musk

through the misty mist and the dusky dusk??

Courage.

What makes the sphinx the seventh wonder?

Courage.

What makes the dawn come up like THUNDER?

Courage

What makes the Hottentot so Hot?

What put the Ape in Apricot?

What have they got that I ain’t got?

All:

COURAGE!!

Barry:

You can say THAT again!!

(Barry sits down on the desk)

Leon:

You had the courage to tell us in class last week

what you thought about the PROFIT MOTIVE. 

But your Participation/VALUE-MOTIVE isn’t worth the paper

you won’t write it on if you won’t write it! 

So what makes you tick?

If you know what turns the rest of on, tell us!

What keeps things turning if it ain’t the profit motive?

Let’s hear your answer ONE MORE TIME, Professor Bartle!  

Hit it, Marie!

(He’ll need eight bars to collect his thoughts…)

(Marie hits her fanfare opening, with the soft minor segue which serves as a background to Bernstein’s “Maria”, which Barry sings softly to himself, as the students take out their instruments and a large group of curious students enters and clusters around the back.  After the opening riff to the next song Barry enters with a full country he-man twang)

Barry:

What turns the dials on my old gas range?

Spirit.

What cools my gears when the oil ain’t changed?

Spirit.

What makes me tick when life’s rearranged?

Spirit.

Marie’s fanfare

Guitar riff

Banjo ho-down shuffle

[Spoken]

You might turn me on but you don’t make me tick

[strum]s’Don’t make me sick!

You might push my remote but you can’t make me sing

[strum]—s’Don’t jerk my thing!

 

[sing]

Profit motive? Greed and lust?

Hungry? Angry? Y’fear you’ll bust?

I’ll tell ya’ what – in God we Trust!

A motive power (that’s) true and just.

 

There’s a fellowship around me ____

And the fellows are all some’pn ____

To be part of some’thin  ~ ~ ~ ~ biggern’ me!

 

Friends are all around here ____

don’t know that they are some’pn ____

they’re all part a some’thin ~ ~ ~ ~ biggern’ me!

 

(Marie leaves the piano and joins Barry)

Barry: & Marie:

There’s a partnership I long for ____

For a partner that’s real some’pn ____

Long for part of some’thin ~ ~ ~ ~ biggern’ me!

 

Profit motive? Greed and lust?

Lonely? Tired? Y’fear you’ll bust?

I’ll tell ya’ what – in God we Trust!

A motive power (that’s) true and just.

Barry: (alone)

(spoken)

You might turn me on but you don’t make me tick

—Don’t make me sick!

You might push my remote but you can’t make me sing

—Don’t jerk my thang!

Barry: & Marie:

There’s a place o’ work I work for ____

That is equal to its business ____

And I’m equal to my work w’some’pn ~ ~ ~ ~ biggern’ me!

 

There’s a peace of mind I long for ____

And serenity that’s some’pn ____

And a struggle that I’ll work for ____

And the fellows that I’ll work with ____

And the business makes me equal ____

And the partner that I’ll wait for ____

And my spirit’s got me yearning ____

for that some’pn ~ ~ ~ ~ biggern’ me!

 

Profit motive? Sex and lust?

Hungry? Angry? Lonely? Tired?

I’ll tell ya’ what – in God we Trust!

A motive power (that’s) true and just.

All [Paul’s Song-Reprise]

Gonna sing my song all around the world

Gonna make it ring an’ ope’neir eyes!

Gonna sing that song all around the world

So the folks can harmonize!

(Leon begins singing ’My Way’ in counterpoint)

My way leads to good green pastures

Gonna write my will leave it in my song

My way leads to big high mountains

Gonna sing so clear that when I die(s)

You will hear my will sung around the world ‘til the day it’s realized!!

Lonely road with a heavenly load

Brother will you walk my way?!

 

My way is no field of clover

Gonna work my life all around the world

My way is no puff of glory

Gonna make you think to open yer eyes!

Gonna work this life all around the world Til the earth is harmonized!

Lonely road with a heavenly load

Brother will you walk my way?!

 

When you start you’re weary at heart

Maybe it’s the heaviest thing

But as you go, your strength seems to grow

And you lean to the task and sing:

 

My way leads to rosy dawning

Gonna help my fellows help’m wi’ my song

My way leads to golden acres

Gonna sing so clear that when I die(s)

You will hear my song sung around the world ‘til the day it’s realized!!

Lonely road with a heavenly load

Brother will you walk my way?!

 

Finale:

The Economist March (Band Version)

 

 



[i] “NO GUFF” by Joseph Peditto circa 1982, Linwood Ave., Maple Shade NJ

[ii] “NO GUFF” by Joseph Peditto circa 1982, Linwood Ave., Maple Shade NJ