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Marc Blitzstein

The Cradle Will Rock, Scene 1 (midi)

 


 

Scene 1: Street Corner

 

(Enter MOLL.)

 

MOLL

(MOLL is at lamppost.) I’m checkin’ home now: call it a night. Goin’ up to my room, turn on the light—Jesus, turn off that light. I ain’t in Steeltown long. I work two days a week; the other five my efforts ain’t required. For two days out of seven, two dollar bills I’m given; so I’m just searchin’ along the street, for on those five days, it’s nice to eat. Jesus, Jesus, who said let’s eat?

 

(Enter GENT.)

 

GENT

Hello, baby.

 

MOLL

Hello, big boy.

 

GENT

Busy, baby?

 

MOLL

Not so very.

 

GENT

I’d like to give you a hundred bucks, but I only got thirty cents.

 

MOLL

Say, would you wait ‘til I catch my breath on account of it’s so immense? Make it a dollar.

 

GENT

Honest, kid, nix, that’s all I got—thirty cents.

 

MOLL

Go on. Make it eighty.

 

GENT

Thirty cents.

 

MOLL

Seventy-five.

 

GENT

I said thirty.

 

MOLL

Come on, big boy, don’t be that way. Half a buck?

 

GENT

Listen, you, I said what I mean—thirty cents. Get me?

 

(She takes his arm.)

 

GENT

What’s the idea? Hey, leggo my arm!

 

MOLL

Listen, big boy, I’ll be nice, come on, big boy….

 

GENT

Leggo my arm….

 

MOLL

Don’t be a sap. Come on and….

 

GENT

Yeah….

 

MOLL

Listen, mister….

 

GENT

I know—lay off….

 

MOLL

Please….

 

GENT

All the sob stuff….

 

MOLL

Now you know….

 

GENT

Try to….

 

MOLL

I wouldn’t….

 

GENT

Rush me, huh?

 

MOLL

Mister….

 

GENT

Cheese it, a dick!

 

(Enter DICK.)

 

DICK

What’s goin’ on here?

 

MOLL

Oh, nothin’.

 

DICK

Oh, yeah? Nothin’ huh?

 

GENT

Nothing, officer, nothing at all. We was just talkin’.

 

DICK

Talkin’ huh? Heard you a mile away! Masher, huh?

 

GENT

Certainly not, officer!

 

DICK

Aw, shut up! Oughta pull you both in.

 

GENT

Now, look here, officer….

 

DICK

Slip us your dough—quick!

 

(GENT pulls out a bill and hands it over.)

 

DICK

Okay, melt.

 

GENT

Melt…? Oh, melt….

 

(GENT exits. MOLL and DICK laugh. She is a bit nervous.)

 

MOLL

He was kinda annoyin’ me.

 

DICK

Yeah?

 

MOLL

What’s the trouble tonight? Where’s everybody?

 

DICK

All down in front of Union Headquarters, I guess. Big union drive tonight.

 

MOLL

Gee!

 

DICK

What do you mean, gee? Union trouble ain’t no news in this burg. All the force gets called out regular. Just your luck I happened to be around here now.

 

MOLL

You must be busy. I bet they need you bad.

 

DICK

Sure, they need me bad. See that phone over there? They’ll send for me when things begin to pop.

 

MOLL

Well, good night, officer—good night and thank you. I think maybe I’ll go down and see the fun.

 

DICK

Hold your horses there! A little girlie all alone in this gloom? Why, you need my protection right to your room. Come on and smile now, sister.

 

MOLL

Say, you got me wrong!

 

DICK

Yeah?

 

MOLL

Why, you’re no better than that two-bit clod! Maybe you’re part of the new vice squad….

 

DICK

Howdya guess it, baby?

 

MOLL

So that’s the way you work it. Now I see: a Romeo that’s on the make. Try to throw a little scare into me because I need a break to make a livin’! What the hell do you care what I do, so long as you get what I’m givin’? Ain’t it nice knowin’ that you got me comin’ and goin’?

 

DICK

Hey, wait a minute. Say, I don’t get you…. Whatsa matter with me?

 

MOLL

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve loved you all along. Yes, indeed, you’re just my style. All the girls go crazy at your call. You’ve got that certain smile that makes ‘em fall. Come on, you lug, go put me in the

jug! You think you’re wise, you think you own me! I’ll show you guys….

 

(The phone rings.)

 

DICK

Hello—yeah, Dick talkin’. What’s up? Square in front of Union Headquarters? Who phoned in? Virgil? Go on—eight of ‘em? What are they, strikers? Listenin’ to a speech, is that all? You know Virgil….

 

(The sound of a quarrel, angry voices of COP and LIBERTY COMMITTEE, which comprises REVEREND SALVATION—sleek, urbane, deferential; EDITOR DAILY—glib, the cigar-straw hat kind; YASHA, a violinist, and DAUBER, an artist—the Gold Dust Twins of a provincial art-world; PRESIDENT PREXY—timid, thin-lipped; PROFESSORS MAMIE and TRIXIE—one a bit seedy and

pompous, the other frankly tough and unacademic, the football coach; finally, DR. SPECIALIST—Steeltown’s “big” physician. They are all in a state of considerable excitement.)

 

DICK

Wait a minute. Here he comes now!

 

(Hangs up. Enter COP and LIBERTY COMMITTEE.)

 

COP

You’re all under arrest!

 

LIBERTY COMMITTEE

Arrest?

 

DR. SPECIALIST

But, officer….

 

REVEREND SALVATION

You can’t arrest us….

 

DAUBER

Do we look like Union organizers?

 

TRIXIE

It was that man!

 

PREXY

Do we look like steel workers?

 

TRIXIE

It was that man!

 

COP

I said, you’re under arrest!

 

DR. SPECIALIST

Why, we were sent by Mr. Mister!

 

REVEREND SALVATION

Yes, Mr. Mister!

 

EDITOR DAILY

You can’t do this to us! Why, Mr. Mister sent us!

 

TRIXIE

It was that man!

 

YASHA

That man who was making the speech!

 

DAUBER

It was him you were supposed to arrest!

 

COP

Then what’d you wanna run for?

 

DICK

So, this is the crew.

 

LIBERTY COMMITTEE

Crew—what a word!

 

COP

Yes—nice job, huh? Just like that—wasn’t out five minutes. Eight of ‘em—count ‘em. What you got there, Dick?

 

DICK

Little hustler.

 

LIBERTY COMMITTEE

Hustler? Tart!

 

DICK

We can take ‘em all in together.

 

COP

Suits me—only these are mine.

 

EDITOR DAILY

Together?

 

YASHA

Us?

 

DAUBER

With that?

 

TRIXIE

With her?

 

REVEREND SALVATION

But you don’t know who we are!

 

DAUBER

You fool!

 

EDITOR DAILY

Idiot!

 

TRIXIE

Imbecile!

 

PREXY

Moron!

 

(The LIBERTY COMMITTEE goes into a small paroxysm.)

 

COP

Oh, callin’ me names now!

 

DAUBER

Go right ahead. You only happen to be arresting the newly-formed Liberty Committee.

 

COP

Oh, yeah? What’s ‘at?

 

EDITOR DAILY

You never heard of the Liberty Committee?

 

(YASHA a little shriek.)

 

DAUBER

Did you ever hear of the daughters of the American Revolution?

 

COP

You ain’t one of them, are you? Hey did you say revolution? I knew it! Come on!

 

(General hubbub as the DICK with the MOLL and the COP with the LIBERTY COMMITTEE go off.)

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