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Marc Blitzstein

The Cradle Will Rock, Scene 10 (midi)

 


 

Scene 10: Night Court

 

LARRY

And so the great Dr. Specialist drew a research appointment, and kept his job on the Liberty Committee.

 

MOLL

Gee, and I thought they were all so high class!

 

LARRY

Sister, you should be ashamed—an amateur like you in the company of all these professionals? They could teach you something. For instance, you’ll probably go to jail…. But do you think they will? Not on your committee button, they won’t!

 

PREXY

Will Mr. Mister never get here?

 

YASHA

It seems we’ve been here hours!

REVEREND SALVATION

I insist that man be stopped. He’s already caused enough trouble. What is this, Russia? We don’t have to listen to talk like that!

 

LARRY

No, you don’t have to listen. You’re all independent, you are; there ain’t no Mr. Mister, there’s just the bogey man. You preach what he tells you to preach… You print what he tells you to print… or else! You sell out everything you got… Your store, your son, yourself.

 

DRUGGIST

Stevie!

 

LARRY

Mr. Mister comes around, and you… Kiss the ground where he walks. Mrs. Mister lifts a finger, and you… Lift your little behind to be smacked! This ain’t Russia, no… it’s Steeltown, U.S.A.!

 

DAUBER

What do you want us to do, join unions?

 

PREXY

A University President’s Union!

 

YASHA

A Concert Artists’ Union!

 

LIBERTY COMMITTEE

Don’t make us laugh!

 

DRUGGIST

I got some sort of invitation to join a pharmacists’ union—I wonder if they know there’s a poolroom now where my drugstore was.

 

LARRY

Didn’t anyone ever tell you boys you belong to a union already?

 

(Derision from the LIBERTY COMMITTEE.)

 

LARRY

It’s the closedest shop ever heard of—and it’s been runnin’ things for quite a while. Only you’re being rooked; You’re in one of them racketeer unions, where you run all the errands and get maybe a dollar cigar for Christmas. You ain’t made one real demand yet, you’ve only said, “Yes, Mr. Mister,” up to now. You’re caught there, boys, you’re stuck like a sandwich between the top crowd pressin’ down and the bottom crowd comin’ up! What do you wanna be, hamburgers? I ask you!

 

(LARRY makes a gesture to the LIBERTY COMMITTEE. Enter MR. MISTER, haggard, pale.)

 

LIBERTY COMMITTEE

Mr. Mister!

 

(LIBERTY COMMITTEE rushes to MR. MISTER.)

 

LIBERTY COMMITTEE

You got here at last! Oh, you don’t know what we’ve been through! These idiots don’t know us! Hurry! Get us out! Now that you’ve come…etc., etc.

 

(MR. MISTER passes through them, goes straight to LARRY.)

 

MR. MISTER

You’re Larry Foreman?

 

LARRY

Ex-foreman.

 

MR. MISTER

I’ve been looking all over town for you.

 

LARRY

Well, how’s the union returns?

 

MR. MISTER

They haven’t come to a decision yet. Mr. Foreman, I know a lot about you, you were once in my employ. Look here… We’re both for the same thing, a fair and square deal for everybody. Why don’t you persuade your group to join with the Liberty Committee into one big united organization?

 

LARRY

(On guard, non-committal.) You mean with these people here?

 

MR. MISTER

Yes, a bad mistake, their being here. (To CLERK.) Release them at once. I told the Judge to go on home. I have his authority. That includes you, too, Mr. Foreman, of course.

 

LARRY

You got his authority, eh?

 

MR. MISTER

Yes, my brother-in-law, you know.

 

LARRY

Oh, the Judge is your brother-in-law. He’s part of the Liberty Committee, too?

 

MR. MISTER

And some of the best people in town. Dr. Specialist over there… Editor Daily, you know him… and they’re all very democratic. Come now, what do you say?

 

LARRY

Let me understand you… You’d like my services in swinging your way all the people I’ve signed up—all the people who agree with the union. You want me to change their mind, is that it?

 

 

 

MOLL

(MOLL starts humming verse of “Nickel under the Foot”.)

 

LIBERTY COMMITTEE

That’s it! That’s it! Now do it!

 

 

 

 

 

DRUGGIST

No, don’t!

 

 

MR. MISTER

Well, that’s a little strongly put.

 

 

 

 

LARRY

Oh, Mr. Mister, you can be perfectly frank with me.

 

 

 

 

 

LIBERTY COMMITTEE

Go ahead! Go ahead!

 

 

 

 

 

 

MOLL

Oh, you can live like hearts and flowers, and every day is a wonderful tour.

 

MR. MISTER

When all this trouble's over, I’ll see to it personally that there’s a wave of increased production, improved methods, closer competition than the country’s ever seen. Do they know I’m building them a swimming pool? A library? A private park for their children?

 

DRUGGIST

No, don’t do it!

MOLL

Oh, you can dream and scheme, and happily put and take, take and put. But first be sure the nickel's under your foot. Go stand on someone’s neck while you’re takin’. Cut into somebody's throat as you put. For every dream and scheme’s depending on whether all though the storm, you’ve kept it warm—the nickel under your foot.

 

LARRY

From where I sit it looks like they only want a union.

 

LIBERTY COMMITTEE

Listen, you!

 

 

MR. MISTER

I don’t want to talk about your own future. There’s nothing you couldn’t be. I haven’t time to argue. Well?

 

LIBERTY COMMITTEE

That’s Mr. Mister…

 

 

LARRY

I might, but it's a tall order you know.

 

LIBERTY COMMITTEE

Mr. Mister! And that’s an offer he's making you!

 

 

MR. MISTER

Well, of course, I don’t expect you to do it just like that.

 

LIBERTY COMMITTEE

Take it! Take it!

DRUGGIST

Don’t do it!

 

LARRY

Ought to be worth quite a sum to you, eh?

 

 

DRUGGIST

Remember!

 

MR. MISTER

I thought so. You needn’t worry about that part. I’ll see you get what it’s worth. Let’s talk it over outside.

 

LIBERTY COMMITTEE

He’s making you an offer, making you an offer! Do you understand?

DRUGGIST

A murderer!

 

LARRY

Wait! I’m kinda funny that way. I’d like to know now about how much it might be worth?

LIBERTY COMMITTEE

Go on, go on, you son-of-a-bitch, you lousy foreman, who do you think you are? Go on, go on! That’s Mr. Mister! Making you an offer! Take it! Take it! Making you an offer! Mr. Mister!

DRUGGIST

No! Stop him! I know! I care! Wait! Wait! I can't stand it!

MOLL

And if you’re sweet, then you’ll grow rotten; your pretty heart covered over with soot—And if for once you’re gay and devil-may-careless and oh, so hot,—I know you’ve got….

 

(In complete silence, MR. MISTER takes out a thick envelope and hands it to LARRY who slowly opens the envelope and counts the cash inside.)

 

LARRY

(Through the silence which follows the last words.) You don’t say. Worth that much to you, hmm? Well, you take all that money and go buy yourself a big piece of toast. You wanna relax—and to me and my Aunt Jessie. You’re a poached egg.

 

(LARRY tosses the envelope back to a startled MR. MISTER.)

 

MR. MISTER

What?

 

LIBERTY COMMITTEE

Fool! Fool!

 

DRUGGIST

Stevie!

 

LARRY

Now, then, get outa here; and take this little girl with you! Out there she doesn’t cost you nothin’—In jail you’re liable to have to feed her!

 

MR. MISTER

Why, you Goddamned sunk! I’ll break you… I’ll run you out of town…

 

LARRY

And give us front page publicity? Would you? Please?

 

LIBERTY COMMITTEE

Kill him! Lynch him!

 

LARRY

Yeah, lynch, kill! Listen once and for all, you scared bunch of ninnies! Outside in the square they’re startin’ somethin’ that’s gonna tear the catgut outa your stinkin’ rackets! That’s Steel marchin’ out in front! But one day there’s gonna be Wheat… and sidewalks… Cows… and music… Shops… houses… Poems… bridges… drugstores… The people of this town are findin’ out what it’s all about… They’re growin’ up! And when everybody gets together Like Steel’s getting together

tonight, Where are you then? Listen, you Black Legions, you Ku Kluxers, you Vigil-Aunties hidin’ up there in the Cradle of the Liberty Committee… When the storm breaks… (Quietly.) The cradle will fall!

 

(ALL watch his pointing hand descend slowly. Blare of bugles outside, left.)

 

LARRY

Listen! The boilermakers are with us! That’s the boilermakers’ kids!

 

(Beat of drums, and the sound of voices singing “Upon the topmost bough”.)

 

LARRY

The roughers!

 

(Sound of fifes and more voices.)

 

LARRY

The rollers! Steel! Your steel! They done it!

 

(All the music and voices come nearer, backstage and in the theater too, converging upon the

aisles. The LIBERTY COMMITTEE are frozen where they stand.)

 

COP

They’re marchin’ down here! They got no permit to march!

 

CLERK

Arrest them!

 

COP

Arrest them? There’s thousands of ‘em! They’re standin’ in front of the courthouse, right here!

 

MR. MISTER

(The surrender to fear.) My God! What do they want with me?

 

LARRY

(Almost sheepishly.) Don’t worry, that’s not for you. That’s just my Aunt Jessie and her committee.

 

(LARRY joins in with the song and music.)

 

LARRY

That’s thunder, that’s lightning, and it’s going to surround you! No wonder those storm-birds seem to circle around you… Well, you can’t climb down, and you can’t sit still; that’s a storm that’s going to last until the final wind blows… and when the wind blows… the cradle will rock!

 

(Music, bugles, drums and fifes.)

 

CURTAIN

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