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Marc Blitzstein

The Cradle Will Rock, Scene 3 (midi)

 


 

Scene 3: Mission and Night Court

 

(1915. MRS. MISTER—she is chairman of all the women’s clubs in Steeltown, she has dreamed of Poiret, Rumpelmayer’s, even Lucius Beebe, back in 1915 she was already a salad with accent on the dressing; and REVEREND SALVATION.)

 

REVEREND SALVATION

My dear Mrs. Mister!

 

MRS. MISTER

Reverend Salvation, how are you? It’s been weeks I wanted to meet you and to greet you: I’m a stray lamb, too. And I’ve brought along our monthly present.

 

(Hands him envelope.)

 

MRS. MISTER

But one thing’s not so pleasant, Father dear; I fear that things cannot continue forever…. Hard times, I can assure you; Hard times, poor us and poor you; Hard times, Father; what can we do? The market hasn’t been ideal: We have to sell our steel to French or English or German, though the later are vermin. Father, please, in your sermon Sunday—I rely upon you to implore that we stay out of the war!

 

REVEREND SALVATION

(Mounts pulpit.) Thou shalt not kill…. So saith it in the Bible. So must it be. (A chorale.) Thou shalt not kill. Peace on earth, towards men good will—Nothing but good will. As your shepherd, I implore, turn from thoughts of wicked war: war we do abhor. Women, save your husbands, sons and sweethearts! Men be resolute, refuse, refuse to shoot! Or into the loathsome fray we’ll be tossed. Everything be lost: Oh, peace at any cost!

 

MRS. MISTER/LIBERTY COMMITTEE

Amen.

 

REVEREND SALVATION

(Brightly.) Collection!

 

DRUGGIST

(From offstage.) ….The next year, 1916—

 

(SALVATION steps off pulpit. MRS. MISTER has changed her hat, to something pretty awful and 1916.)

 

MRS. MISTER

Reverend Salvation, I’m worried. Things are not proceeding so nicely, or precisely in the way they should. And my husband, Mr. Mister, said it’s something about bank credits. Father, dear, they fear for steel, and oil—and rubber! So we must set the town right.

 

(Hands him envelope.)

 

MRS. MISTER

Please don’t be quite so downright. Simply answer both yes and no. It’s true you’ve preached so much for peace—But now it seems that peace may be a little expensive; please don’t think me offensive! Just restrain your intensive ardor. You might mention that we do deplore the German side of the war!

 

REVEREND SALVATION

(Mounts pulpit.) Thou shalt not—um. (SALVATION clears his throat importantly. The chorale has a variation.) Righteousness conquers; iniquity perishes; peace is a wonderful thing! But when I say peace, I’m referring to inner peace. Let there be no misconception! The peace, you remember, which passeth beyond understanding. We must remember our honor and the valor and pride which is ours to cherish and use. Knowing well that peace without honor no good American should excuse! Surely I need not remind you of the war which is simply dreadful for everyone. There we take no sides, still we know who defends sweet peace from the savage Hun!

 

MRS. MISTER/LIBERTY COMMITTEE

Amen.

 

REVEREND SALVATION

Collection!

 

DRUGGIST

(From offstage.) ….But, in 1917—

 

(SALVATION steps off pulpit. MRS. MISTER has changed her hat again, a new hat, all plumes—now she is violent, a harridan and 1917.)

 

MRS. MISTER

Reverend Salvation! News! Front-page news! Headline news! Strictly, mind, confidential news! But such news! Ha! My-husband’s-just-got-back-from-a-conference, and-he-says-it’s-the-only-way-to-recoup-our-profits. It’s-all-fixed-and-everything’s-ready-for-the-first guns! War! War! Kill all the dirty Huns! War! War! Kill all the dirty Huns! War! War! We’re entering the war! For Mr. Mister’s shown the President how things are—England has simply been a darling! Eyes right! Think of the rallies! Eyes left! I’m going to knit socks! Eyes front! Steel’s going to go up sky-high! All you clergymen must now prepare a special prayer and do your share! Oh, yes—your share….

 

(Hands him envelope.)

 

REVEREND SALVATION

(Mounts pulpit.) Thou—shalt—

 

MRS. MISTER/LIBERTY COMMITTEE

War! War! Kill all the dirty Huns! And those Austrohungarians! War! War! We’re entering the war! The Lusitania’s an unpaid debt. Remember Troy! Remember Lafayette! Remember the Alamo! Remember our womanhood! Remember those innocent unborn babies!

 

MRS. MISTER

Don’t let George do it, you do it!

 

MRS. MISTER/LIBERTY COMMITTEE

Make the world safe for Democracy! Make the world safe for Liberty! Make the world safe for Steel and the Mister family!

 

REVEREND SALVATION

(The chorale.) Of course, it’s peace we’re for—This is war to end all war!

 

MRS. MISTER/LIBERTY COMMITTEE

Amen.

 

MRS. MISTER

I can see the market rising like a beautiful bird!

 

REVEREND SALVATION

Collection!

 

(Flashback to Night Court.)

 

CLERK

Order in the courtroom! Order in the courtroom! Next case: Name?

 

EDITOR DAILY

I am Editor Daily of the Steeltown News.

 

CLERK

Charge?

 

COP

The same I guess; you know about these things—What have I got these people for? Loiterin’? Obstructin’ traffic?

 

DRUGGIST

Change that to read “Procurer, also known as pimp”—to Mr. Mister—to Sister Mister—to Junior Mister—

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