September 02, 2004

The Wall, pt 8 (The Trial - Heroes)

Part 1 (The Gunner's Dream)
Part 2 (Side One)
Part 3 (Mother)
Part 4 (Side Two)
Part 5 (Side Three)
Part 6 (Comfortably Numb)
Part 7 (Side Four)

Between getting home later than usual and being distracted by the Convention coverage, I haven't finished this fershlugginer treatment of The Wall. I will now attempt to FINALLY get this thing overwith! Woo Hoo!
So, here we go with the big finish:

One thing about "The Trial" is that the action pretty much writes itself. But, there still are so interesting ways to present the obvious.

One thing I didn't mention earlier is that, as "In The Flesh" gets underway, the chair at center-stage will be pulled back toward the platform. This is to clear the floor for "Run Like Hell" and "Waiting For The Worms".

As the music marches in, Pink is seated behind the desk with the super-sized gavel resting on top. He is leaning forward, eager to hear the case against him. The Worms will move the chair back to center-stage, then return to the front of the platform standing guard with their fists on their hips.
But, now, sitting in it is a rag doll. If you're gamiliar with the old lp's artwork then you know what I have in mind. It's the image at the very bottom of the label for side 3.
It's a very crude rag doll, off-white, the head is a sphere with two circles for eyes. It looks lonely and, at the same time, sad and detached.
The trial is directed at the rag doll in the chair, not Pink/Judge, as the rest of the Village People sit or kneels on the floor to watch the proceeding. They are the Jury. Wife, Mother and Schoolmaster are standing in the corners in the background. Wife at stage left; Mother and Schoolmaster at right.

The attorney(former member of the VP)'s pompous movements and gestures should be easy to envision as he stuts about the chair addressing the Court.

Good morning, Worm, Your Honor
The Crown will plainly show (that) the prisoner who now sits before you
was caught red-handed showing feelings
Showing feelings of an almost human nature
(wagging finger in the air:)
This will not do.

I call.... the Schoolmaster!

The Schoolmaster gallops in wildly waving his giant yardstick crying:
I always said he'd come to no-good in the end, Your Honor!
If they'd let me have my way
I could have flayed him into shape!
(pleading to the audience:)
But my hands were tied,
the bleeding hearts and artists let him get away with murder
(running to the bench/desk, grabbing the gavel and heading toward the chair while waving it in the air:)
Let me hammer him today!

But, as he approaches the chair, a Worm runs up behind him, takes back the gavel and sets it on the desk.
Pink/Judge leans back in his chair and spins gently as he pensively muses:
Over the rainbow, I am cra-a-a-zy
Bars in the windows...
They must have taken my marbles away!

The Village People stand and point at the rag doll:
(twirling their pointing finger in circles around their ears:)Over the rainbow,
(pointing back the rag doll:) He is cra-a-a-zy...

They return to the floor as the Attorney belows "Call... the defendent's Wife!"
Wife stomps slowly, on beat, twoard the chair, pointing and angry, she never takes her eyes off the doll:
You little shit, you're in it now
I hope they throw away the key
You should've talked to me more often than you did
(screaming in a tantrum:) BUT NO!!!!
You had to go yer own way
(at the back of the chair, now leaning in close:) Have you broken any homes up lately?

From behind the chair her left hand emerges with the Freddy Krueger claw, staring intently at the rag doll:
Just five minutes, Worm Your Honor
Him, and me, alone...

Two worms come forward, take Wife by the arms, and lead her back to down-stage left just as Mother comes running in. The other two Worms run forward to obstruct her path, and she stretches her arms over their shoulders, reaching for the chair as she wails:
Come to Mother, baby,
let me hold you in my arms!
Judge, I never wanted him to get in any trouble

Mother breaks through the Worms, but they follow...
Why'd he ever have to leave me?!
Worm, Your Honor, let me take him home!

As she sings "let me take him home", her sleeves will turn from black to the brick wall that we saw during the song "Mother". This time it'll be the two Worms that help to reveal it; crossing their hands so as to push it the sleeves open. Mother will then retract her arms and the wall-sleeves will return to black as the Worms lead her back to down-stage right.

Pink/Judge against mulls it over:

Toys in the attic, I am cra-a-a-zy
Surely gone fishin'

Standing up and, with his back to the audience, putting his hands up and out as if to feel the wall for weak spots:
There must have been a door here in the wall
when I came in...!

Again the Village People stand and point and twirl:
Toys in the attic, he is cra-a-a-zy

They return to the floor as Pink/Judge, still with his back turned, thinks silently, gesturing that he's weighing the evidence.
After a moment or two or three the music thunders back in as Pink spins around and kames his way toward the rag doll in the chair -- alternatley addressing the audience, the Jury and the rag doll.
The evidence before the Court
is incontravertible
There's no need for the Jury to retire!
In all my years of judging
I have never heard before
of anyone more deserving the full penalty of Law
The way you've made them suffer,
your exquisite wife and mother,
fi-i-i-lls me with an urge to defecate!!!

The cast cheer him on and Wife pumps her fist in the air shouting "Go, Judge!". Pink/Judge addresses the rag doll then returns quickly to behind the desk, singing:
Since, my friend.
you have revealed your deepest fear:
I sentence you to be exposed before your peers!
Tear Down The Wall!!!

He slams the gavel down, on beat. The cast pump their fists in the air shouting
Tear! Down! The Wall!
Tear! Down! The Wall...!

The four Worms dutifully run to four spots along the wall and grab ropes that are hanging down from about 3/4 of the way up and begin pull. The crowd chants, as the Worms tug, for about 20 seconds, or so.

Finally, as the music quiets, ka-BOOM, the wall comes down all over the stage. (There'll be stage-hands behind the wall to help it cave in, just to be sure that it's ALL torn down.)

Pink, having removed the Judge's robe and the wall-vest, makes his way toward center-stage seeming a bit dazed, yet relieved.
Appearing on the platform is the Gunner/Father. He recites the lyric to "Outside The Wall" as the cast welcomes Pink back to them. They also congradulate each other. As Gunner/Father speaks: the cast will begin solemnly to clear the stage of the bricks.

All alone, or in twos,
the one's who really love you
walk up and down outside the wall.

Some hand in hand,
some gathered together in bands,
the bleeding hearts and artists make their stand.
And when they've given you their all
some dtagger and fall
after all, it's not easy
banging your heart against some mad bugger's wall.

Continuing to clear the stage, the cast gently sing the same verse. This is where many in the audience will expect the show to end. But I've known from the beginning that I wouldn't here, and for two reasons.
1) It's needs a more upbeat ending; and,
2) There are some thematic loose ends to tie up.

I haven't found a Pink Floyd / Roger Waters song that can do it. But I think I have found the perfect choice for a finale: David Bowie's "'Heroes'".

As the cast sings the final line -- "banging your heart against some mad bugger's wall" -- the stage will be cleared of brick and they'll be in position to begin the finale.
"Heroes" abruptly comes in like a gust of wind, and the cast begin their choreographed dance routine. Their movements will be very bouncy, celebratory, and they'll be smiling throughout. It'll put a smile on every face in the hall!

At times they'll seem to be dancing a choatic free-for-all, only to suddenly do things that are astonishly intricate. The mood is celebration, and there'll be busloads of interaction between the dancers. It wont very often be "synchronized" -- no one will be dancing alone.

The lead singer will be on the platform, and probably be someone who hasn't had a solo yet. (If I direct this, it'll be me! :) )
Joyfully addressing the audience, he'll seem to be both the voice of Pink specifically, and the voice of anti-alienation generally.
Here's the lyric:

I, I will be king
And you, you will be queen
Though nothing will drive them away
we can beat them, just for one day

You, you can me mean
and I, I'll drink all the time
But we're lovers, and that is a fact
yes we're lovers, and that is that
Though nothing may keep us together
we can steal time... just for one day
and we can be Heroes
forever and ever.
What d'ya say?

That great swooping keyboard swims through the instrumental portion as the dancers "swim" their bodies in and out of intricate interweaving movements.
I, I wish I could swim
like dolphins, like dolphins can swim
Though nothing may keep us together
We can beat them forever and ever
We can be Heroes, just for one day!

Another instrumental portion and, hopefully, the smiling dancers and the bouncy beat have the audience clapping along and smiling themselves.
Then the singers climbs an octave and continues the celebration:
I, I will be king!
And you, you will be queen!
Though nothing will drive them away
We can be safer, just for one day
We can be Heroes, forever and ever!

The personal meets the public in this next verse. Perfect. :)
I, I can remember
(I remember!)
standing, by the wall
(by the wall!)
and the guns (guards) shot above our heads
(over our heads!)
and we kissed - as though nothing could fall
(nothing could fall!)
And the shame... was on the other side
See, we can beat them forever and ever!
We can be Heroes, just for one day...

A more soaring instrumental interlude raises the feeling as the cast sing the refrain:
We can be Heroes!
We can be Heroes!
We can be Heroes!

The singer warns:
Or we're nothing,
and nothing will help us
Maybe we're lying...
well, then we'd better not stay
No, We can be US..!...just for one day!

The music pulsates, the dancers are beautiful, and a film collage begins to play on a screen downstage (the wall having been torn down...)

In this film we'll see brief images -- both stills and movies -- of various Heroes. In no particular order, they'll include Todd Beamer, Jeremy Glick, that guy (Leon Something) that saved the stewaress in the Potomac River in '81, that guy standing in front of the tank in Tienenmen Square, Winston Churchill, a fireman on a ladder carrying a baby, Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Harriet Tubman, Gus Grissom, John Glenn, Jessica Lynch being carried down the stairway on a gurney, New York Guardian Angels, Boris Yeltsin atop that tank during the coup of '91, Lech Welesa, sufferagettes, Special Olympians, Jonas Salk, and many various scenes of paramedics, firemen and other non-professional rescuers.

Still singing "We can be Heroes!" as the pictures end, the music will not simply end and the cast stand for a bow. Yecch!
The music will continue and the cast will move OUT -- into the audience. Still singing, still smiling, and taking the hands of the -- hopefully -- celebrating onlookers, nay, participants in this celebration of Heroes, heroism, and optimistic engagement over alienation.

I know that this was long read. And it's been a long write, believe you me!
But, there, it's done! Any thoughts? Suggestions? Comments? Criticism? Beuller?

Posted by Tuning Spork at September 2, 2004 10:19 PM

I love the finale. Too bad there isn't a fit from the Pink Floyd collection though, because ending with a Bowie song is going to confuse hell out of people. LOL

Posted by: Ted at September 3, 2004 06:33 AM

Yeah, it'll be a surprise, but I think they'll get over it. That bouncing bass line and the sliding keyboard always suck me in right away.
And thanks for reading it all, you may have been the only one! :)

Posted by: Tuning Spork at September 3, 2004 06:46 PM
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