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Marc Blitzstein

The Cradle Will Rock, Scene 2 (midi)

 


 

Scene 2: Night Court

 

(The scene is empty, except for the CLERK, busy with papers, and HARRY DRUGGIST, who sits alone on the bench. DRUGGIST is a derelict; his coat buttoned about his ears, no hat. Traces of a oncecomfortable middle-class life stick to him.)

 

DRUGGIST

Gosh, it’s cold in here; you don’t have it heated like you did last—Thursday?

 

CLERK

Well, when you get brought in next Thursday, I’ll see you get a cozy fire and a fur-lined rocking chair. Would you like that?

 

DRUGGIST

It’s nothing, only I’m a little chilly—You’re kidding me.

 

CLERK

(Sardonic) No!

 

(Enter with commotion—DICK and MOLL, followed by COP bringing in REVEREND SALVATION, EDITOR DAILY, YASHA, DAUBER, PRESIDENT PREXY, PROFESSOR MAMIE, PROFESSOR TRIXIE, DR. SPECIALIST. MOLL finds a seat next to DRUGGIST. The music whips up.)

 

DAUBER

Hurry up and telephone to Mr. Mister, to hurry up and come to the rescue!

 

LIBERTY COMMITTEE

Hurry up and telephone to Mr. Mister to hurry up and come to the rescue!

 

EDITOR DAILY

Hurry up and telephone to Mr. Mister to hurry up and come to the rescue!

 

(Music again.)

 

EDITOR DAILY

This is quite an outrage to be arrested this way!

 

PROFESSOR MAMIE

This is quite indecent. They don’t know who we are!

 

LIBERTY COMMITTEE

Phone to Mr. Mister to come and bail us all out!

 

COP

Cut out the remarks now, you’ll do your talkin’ later.

 

DAUBER

Think of what my people would think if they could see me!

 

YASHA

Think of what my public would think if they could see me!

 

PROFESSOR TRIXIE

You know Mr. Mister. He’ll come and bail us all out.

 

LIBERTY COMMITTEE

Phone to Mr. Mister to come and bail us out!

 

(The music simmers down.)

 

MOLL

Gee, but they make a lot of noise. I’m kinda scared.

 

DRUGGIST

There’s nothing to be frightened at. Tell me, what are you in for?

 

MOLL

Solicitin’, I guess. But really because that flatfoot couldn’t make me say “yes.” Say, do you know the others there? They wouldn’t talk to me. I can see that I ain’t in their class. And say, that goes for you, too.

 

DRUGGIST

I must admit they’re new to the place, but their faces should be seen more often in this place. Just like mine; I get arrested every week, yes, and sometimes twice a week. Vagrancy it’s called—I guess that’s me.

 

MOLL

A crazy life, I’d find it.

 

DRUGGIST

Well, really, I don’t mind it. I like the company. It’s lonely looking where my drugstore used to be.

 

(The music stops.)

 

PREXY

We’re the most respectable families in the city! We’re Steeltown’s Liberty Committee!

 

YASHA

We’re against the union! We’re against the drive!

 

DICK

Hey, Virgil, tell me now, what’s it all about tonight?

 

COP

What I told you at Union Headquarters. That’s about all tonight. Mr. Mister sent in orders: arrest everybody formin’ a crowd. A fella started makin’ a speech—I pulled in all the guys I could reach.

 

(A chord punctuates it.)

 

PROFESSOR MAMIE

Oh, but we were there to stop the man who was making the speech! He’s a red, one of these agitators! We wanted you to arrest him!

 

EDITOR DAILY

Why, I drew up the manifesto: “Steeltown is clean; Steeltown’s a real town.”

 

LIBERTY COMMITTEE

(The barbershop attack.) “We don’t want a union in Steeltown!”

 

YASHA

But the other one was mine: “America, Cradle of Liberty—Steeltown, Cradle of the Liberty Committee.”

 

PROFESSOR MAMIE

I’m the secretary.

 

DR. SPECIALIST

I’m the chairman, and Mr. Mister’s personal doctor!

 

DAUBER

I’m his daughter’s art instructor!

 

LIBERTY COMMITTEE

We’re Mr. Mister’s Liberty Committee!

 

(Another punctuating chord.)

 

DICK

I hope you ain’t made a bad break. They’re a kinda refined-lookin’ bunch, you know.

 

COP

Maybe I made a mistake. I got my orders. That’s all I know.

 

(The quieter music again.)

 

DRUGGIST

That’s why they’re all in here, then. The cop got his signals mixed. Shall I tell you a secret? We’re in the same old trade as you.

 

MOLL

You mean you’re all solicitin’?

 

DRUGGIST

Not quite, but so to say. They won’t buy our milk-white bodies, so we kind-a sell out in some other way—to Mr. Mister.

 

MOLL

Who is this Mr. Mister?

 

DRUGGIST

Better ask me who he’s not. He owns steel and everything else too…. Because of him my son was killed six months ago…. Now he’ll come and bail them out!

 

MOLL

Say, would he bail us out, too?

 

DRUGGIST

I don’t know, I’m drunk.

 

(The music stops.)

 

REVEREND SALVATION

I wonder if I hadn’t better phone Mrs. Mister? I know her so much better than I know Mr. Mister.

 

EDITOR DAILY

I’m afraid Mr. Mister’s got his hands full tonight.

 

PROFESSORS MAMIE and TRIXIE

Will it keep him from coming here? Will it?

 

EDITOR DAILY

That union business comes to a head tonight. He’s going crazy trying to kill it.

 

DAUBER

Officer, Officer, where’s the man who made the speech?

 

(Chords.)

 

LIBERTY COMMITTEE

Yes, where’s the man who made the speech?

 

PREXY

We’re in here—

 

EDITOR DAILY

But where’s he?

 

LIBERTY COMMITTEE

Where’s the man who made the speech?

 

(Chords.)

 

COP

All right, take it easy. We got him. Don’t get sore. He’ll be here. The boys are givin’ him a little workout next door. Anybody want to join him?

 

LIBERTY COMMITTEE

(Very loud and doleful.) Oh, what a filthy nightcout! Place for common tramps and bums. Don’t they know nice people when they see them? We prosecute defendants; it’s not our place to be them! So, Mr. Mister, please have pity—Come and save your pet committee from disaster! Where’s the Judge? Where’s the Judge? We want the Judge?

 

CLERK

Order in the courtroom! Order in the courtroom! The Judge will be here shortly. In the meantime, I’ll take down the names. First case: name?

 

REVEREND SALVATION

(Smooth as treacle.) I am Reverend Salvation; I wear the holy cloth. My name is known to all Godfearing people in Steeltown. The Liberty Committee has been formed by us to combat socialism,

communism, radicalism, and especially unionism, and to up hold the Constitution—

 

CLERK

All right, all right; charge?

 

COP

Well, I had orders—loiterin’, I guess—or maybe obstructin’ traffic….

 

REVEREND SALVATION

This is preposterous; the officer has made a dreadful mistake! I insist that everything be placed in the record.

 

DRUGGIST

So they got old man Salvation in the night court at last. Do you know what the charge ought to be? “Habitual prostitute since 1915.”

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