ROCK-OLA!

EXTRACT only

For the complete stageplay,  please visit: www.australianplays.org

 

ROCK-OLA!

The Last Post-Hiroshima Romance

by

Tim Gooding

© Tim Gooding January 1977

 

Characters

Jet de Luxe (the rebel) born 1945

Velvet (the little girl blue) born 1950

Angel Sugar (the devil woman) born 1944

Pagliacci (the clown) born 1953

Staging

A black space. No finite edges except a downstage thrust. A multitude of pinpoint light sources, mounted in floor, walls and ceiling, capable of delineating abstract and naturalistic scenes. We are on the moon, leaning on a lamppost, cruising down a night highway, exchanging vows atop Blueberry Hill behind the Bright Lights of Big City. Oh yeah.

Precis

Jet de Luxe has been mortally injured in a plane crash in which three friends – Velvet, Angel, Pagliacci – were killed, in suicidal tribute to Buddy Holly and the rest of the premature rock ‘n’ roll dead. Rock-Ola! depicts Jet’s dying memory immediately following the crash.

A list of song sources is included at the end.

ACT 1

Scene 1

The Crash.

Blackness. A large loud explosion. It fades.

Upstage: a Rock-Ola jukebox begins to glow. A vintage bakelite mantle wireless hangs from its cord, spinning, as if it has fallen but not reached the ground.

Downstage: 9 gold rings lie scattered.

VELVET is twisted in her seat, collapsed against the jukebox. Clad in WW2 vintage flying gear: leather jacket, flying cap, blue scarf. Large headphones plugged into the Rock-Ola.

PAGLIACCI, in flying gear, white scarf, lies centrestage. Clown face makeup. He clutches a small transistor radio.

ANGEL SUGAR, pilot, slumps in another seat. White scarf. Painted nails and face, large diamond ring. Car-seat radio beside her.

One empty seat.

The seats are identical, mobile, resembles sports car bucket seats. Angel’s seat has simple flying controls attached.

JET de LUXE staggers from the darkness: another airman, white scarf, alto saxophone in one hand. He is dying..but might also be precariously dancing.

Behind, upstage, a pair of ground lights illuminate. Then another pair, slightly further apart. Then another pair. And another..until we are looking down a tarmac by night.

Jet executes a cool James Dean wave, and talks to the moon.

JET’S LAST NUMBER

JET:      (sings) “Mr Moonlight!”

Tailgunner to Mr Moonlight.

(sings) “Mr Moonlight, come again please..”  Tailgunner to Mr Moonlight.

(sings) “Here I am on my knees, begging if you  please...”

Jet de Luxe to Golden Oldie. Come again please. Are you there?

(sings) “I-I think you’re fine, ‘cause we love you, Mr Moonlight..”

I just want you to know that I think you’re fine. I still have every one of your records. I know all of your songs off by heart. I remember that before the war, your favourite colour was silvery, but now it’s blue..

(sings) “Blue Moon, you saw me standing alone.”

Dark night tonight. Dying moon. Near the final phase and tailgunner’s delight: bomber’s moon. Bomber’s moon is no moon at all. In my father’s day..when I was born..last day of my father’s day..

He stumbles into a “Shadows” style dance step.

JET:      Gonna be cold. Cold as ice on the moon. I’m a-coming, mama. Five seconds away. Can’t you hear me knocking? I can see the others, thousands of them, already there, sitting under yellow lamps beside the road. It’s windy. One silver airship still burning. Another.      Tail poking through a rooftop. Wizard show. Another burnt-out kite in a back yard. I can see them all, nosed into every yard, slammed behind every street lamp. And the boys and girls out front, all of them, sitting with their scarves all blowing in one direction, down the street.

Upstage: VELVET, a shadowy figure, rises and makes a jukebox selection: “Mr Moonlight” plays softly under the following sequence, as VELVET leans on the jukebox.

And JET looks to the moon.

JET:      The Final Number is called The White Scarf Tail Gunner’s Blues. Where it all began..and where it all ends. The night was clear, and the moon was yellow, and the leaves came tumbling down. High noon, low tide, claire de lune and let it ride: first chorus of the White Scarf Tail Gunner’s Blues.

He leaps into action, movements bearing the imprint of famous rock ‘n’ rollers. He runs upstage, leaps onto the jukebox, gives Little Richard’s 2-handed V-Victory sign.

JET:      Are you ready? Are you ready? For I am the only thing left! I am the sole survivor. Everybody get in the groove and don’t move, don’t be no fool, let’s go by the golden rule, and let’s go! I said, everybody get with it and let’s go! We gotta go! We gotta go!

He jumps down, stomps an outstretched leg: Jaggeresque.

JET:      The very pulse of life itself.

He pounds the jukebox, Jerry Lee Lewis piano style.

JET:      You cannot catch old Jet de Luxe. You can’t catch me, ‘cause if you get too close, you know I’m gone like a cooool breeze. Jet de Luxe. By Healing Music out of Enola Gay

He crouches, launches into a Chuck Berry duck-walk.

JET:      Do you remember Enola Gay? Sweet little Enola Gay? And a summer night? A hot August night. (sings) “You came to me, one summer’s night..”The beginning, bomber’s moon, and the islands of Nippon slippin’ and a-slidin’ beneath Enola’s wings. (sings)  “You came to me, one summer’s night, And from your beam you made my dream, And now she is mine..” Remember Enola and that summer night? Where it all began, the original thing. Sh-boom, sh-boom. Roll over Hiroshima and tell Nagasaki the news. Rock-Ola Enola, talk to me baby, all right mama, ok sugar, mm mmmm...Walking along, singing a song, Born in the year they dropped the bomb. And Bertrand Russell sang the blues, Too pooped to pop, but he knew the tune..