Maenad

The Star Wars of Penzance, Finale

 A Space Operetta by Jana C. Hollingsworth
with apologies to Gilbert and Sullivan (especially Gilbert)
copyright 1977-78 

Chorus of TIE Fighter Pilots (off-stage)

A rollicking band of pilots, we
Who, zooming through space so fancy-free,
Will zap any X-Wing that we see
With lasers bright and flashing.

Biggs: Look out! The TIEs appear to guard their station.
            What made us pick this for our avocation?

Chorus of TIE Fighter Pilots (nearer) 
We fly along at a goodly clip,
And when we hear our computers blip,
Identifying a rebel ship,
            We'll give it such a thrashing!

X-Wings: Identifying a
TIEs:                           Rebel ship,
            Identifying a
X-Wings:                    Rebel ship,
All:        Identifying a Rebel ship,
            We'll give it such a thrashing.

Biggs: They come in force, with deadly arms.
            The prospect isn't one that charms.

Chorus of TIE Fighter Pilots
With ships so new
            And lasers up-to-date,
You'll find it's to
            The past that we relate.
Though our ray guns
            Would make Buck Rogers green,
We're really sons
            Of nineteen-seventeen.

 X-Wings:                       Kazoom, kazam!

TIEs:   With barrel-roll and loop-the-loop,
            Upon our enemies we swoop.
            Dogfights in outer space:
            They would throw a scare on
            Snoopy and the Baron.
            History we re-trace,
            Each of us a Fokker ace.

X-Wings:                                Kazoom, kazam!

(Enter Fred.) 

Fred:                    Hush, hush, not a word! I feel a presence now:
                   Old Obi-wan returns--don't ask me how.

TIEs:                   What's this? Old Obi-wan returns?

X-Wings:                   What's this? Old Obi-wan returns?

(Enter Obi-wan.) 

Obi-wan: Yes, yes, old Obi-wan returns!

Solo – Obi-wan Stanley 

Though zapped into oblivion
            By Vader's deadly blade,
Observe that I am living on,
            A most substantial shade.
This climax grand I could not miss,
            Though I confess I'm "late."
It's only via osmosis
            That I'll participate. 

Pilots: He will participate--hoo-ha!

Obi-wan:  So, I am here--
                  Please have no fear,
                             My young and foolish friend.
                  For with the Force
                  I'll guide your course
                             Into a happy end. 

Ballad – Obi-wan Stanley

Skill and wit and lots of practice
            Will not win the day.
Just the opposite, in fact is
            Now the only way.

Pilots:             Only way.

Obi-wan:
Feel the vibes and trust your feelings,
            Put your brain on low.
Heroism's easy dealings,
            Going with the flow. 

Pilots:
If you put your brain on low
You'll be going with the flow.
            Silly boy, with vibes to guide you;
            Intellectuals deride you.
            Here's an addle-pated kid,
            Taking orders from his id. 

(At Obi-wan's urging, Fred switches off his targeting computer. Enter Mabel, 3PO, and Ruth.)

Women:
Now what is this and what is that and why in Fred's computer off?
His heroism none can doubts but at this move we freely scoff.
Does he suppose that he can win without its cybernetic aid?
The Force is very well and good, but we confess we're much afraid.
What strange compulsion made our Freddy switch his own computer off?
At his intelligence and wit we feel we're very right to scoff. 

(Enter Vader.)

Vader: Once I am through, these rebels will be dead!

Women:            It's Vader--it's Vader! Watch it, Fred!

Pilots:               Yes, it is Vader: watch it, Fred!

Obi-wan:        (to Fred) Now's your chance to be a hero!
                        Don't blow it now, you nerd, you zero!

Mabel:            Freddy, save us!

Fred:               Beautiful Mabel,
                        I'm only a farm boy; I am not able.

Pilots: We knew from the start that he was not able. 

Vader:     Oh, rebel fool,
                                Forget your vain resistance.
                You've lost your cool,
                                And also your existence.
                This is the end
                                Of your grand revolution.
                Your hopes suspend
                                Of happy resolution. 

Mabel:                  Fred has bombed out--for him I guess that's par.
Women:                                 Oh, darn it!
Mabel:                  Does nobody remain, our foes to bar?
Women:                                 Oh, darn it!
X-Wings:                  We're heroes too--at least we think we are.
Women:                                 Oh, rapture!
X-Wings:                  Now in our opportunity to star!
Women:                                 Oh, rapture! 

(The X-Wing Pilots attack. Vader and the TIE Fighters shoot them down.)

Pilots:                  The bad guys win--it seems a sin--
                                                But that in the way life goes.
                  For likelihood abhors the good,
                                                As every criminal knows. 

Biggs:       But realism, as you surely know,
                  Is banned most strictly from this sort of show.
Vader:                  You can't deny we beat you fair and square,
Biggs:       But you forget the color hat you wear:
                  The villains lose (they always lose)--this cliche we must bear.
Vader:                                    We lose?
X-Wings:                                You lose--
                  You have to lose; this cliche we must bear.
Vader:                  Your pleas have touched our actor's souls,
                  Because, with all our faults, we know our roles.
X-Wings:  It's true: with all their faults, they know their roles.
All:                  Yes, yes, with all their faults they know their roles.
Obi-wan: We've won the day--it was a piece of cake!
Ruth:                  One moment! There's a sequel here at stake!
                  Without our villains we would feel a lack.
                  We will need them when The Empire Strikes Back.
Women:                  We'll all cash in when The Empire Strikes Back.
Obi-wan: Well, Vader, it appears that you're in luck
                  Because, with all our greed, we want to make a buck.

Recitative – Obi-wan Stanley 

We'll see you soon, Vader. If you are wise,
You'll make investments just as I advise.
Forget Standard Oil and Boeing and Xerox,
And put your money in Twentieth Century Fox.

Finale

We've struck it rich!
And if you count merchandising,
            There is much more
            Profit in store.
We've struck it rich!

We've struck it rich!
Thereby beginning the mode:
            Every new flick
            Is science fic,
But we're the mother lode.

Curtain

 

Maenad

The Star Wars of Penzance, Scene 6

 A Space Operetta by Jana C. Hollingsworth
with apologies to Gilbert and Sullivan (especially Gilbert)
copyright 1977-78

(Enter Vader, with his light saber activated.)

Vader: You may be knowledgeable, Obi-wan, but you were never much good in an actual fight.

(Obi-wan activates his light saber. He and Vader duel. The Stormtroopers leave the women in order to help Vader. The women try to escape off stage, but Fred hesitates. Vader is getting the better of Obi-wan.)

Obi-wan: Wait! Have mercy! Have you ever known what it is to be an orphan?

Vader: I may be evil, but even I wouldn't perpetrate that routine on an audience.

(He runs Obi-wan through with his saber. Obi-wan collapses dramatically, eventually ending with his feet and arms in the air like a dead bug.)

Fred: Obi-wan! No! (He tries to rush back. Ruth restrains him.)

Ruth: Let's go, kid. Don't intrude on the old man's big death scene.

(All exit. Scene changes to the fourth moon of Yavin. Biggs enters, with a chorus of X-Wing Pilots, and Mabel.)

Mabel: Gentlemen, the Death Star is approaching our base and will be here to eradicate us at any moment, Led by my heroic Fred Skywalker, one of you pilots will do the glorious deed of wiping that over-grown Skylab from the face of the universe.

(Exit Mabel.)

Biggs: Yes, and I have a sneaking suspicion I know who is going to do the glorious deed and who's going to get wiped.

Song -- Sargeant Biggs

Biggs: When the hero puts the kibosh on the villain
X-Wings:                                On the villain,
Biggs: You will find that many others try the same.
X-Wings:                                Try the same.
Biggs: But although our hearts are staunch as they are willin'
X-Wings:                                They are willin',
Biggs: You must search the credits close to find our name.
X-Wings:                                Find our name.
Biggs: Our feelings we with difficulty smother
X-Wings:                                'culty smother,
Biggs: For being vaporized is hardly fun.
X-Wings:                                Hardly fun.
Biggs: Ah, take one consideration with another
X-Wings:                                With another,
Biggs: A bit player's lot is not a happy one.

All:      Being left with just a death-scene isn't fun.
                                    Isn't fun.
            A bit player's lot is not a happy one.
                                    Happy one.

Maenad

The Star Wars of Penzance, Scene 5

A Space Operetta by Jana C. Hollingsworth
with apologies to Gilbert and Sullivan (especially Gilbert)
copyright 1977-78


(Enter Samuel)

Recitative -- Princess Mabel 
Hold, monsters! Though for liberation we have tried
And failed, this setback we perceive as slight.
For bear in mind that we've the Force upon our side,
And we're protected by a Jedi Knight.

Samuel: This news, my dears, won't put us to the flight.
               I don't believe he is a Jedi Knight.

Women: Yes, yes, he is in fact a Jedi Knight!

(Enter Obi-wan followed by Fred.)

Obi-wan: Yes, yes, I am in fact a Jedi Knight!
Samuel:  For he is a Jedi Knight!
All:      He is! Hurrah for the Jedi Knight!
Obi-wan: And it is, it is a bit of all right
            To be a Jedi Knight!
All:                  It is! Hurrah for the Jedi Knight!

Song -- Obi-wan Stanley

I am the last example of a sage and antique Jedi Knight.
I've information esoteric, strange, arcane, and quite all right.
I know the Lords of Barsoom, yes, and all the damsels in distress
From Jane to Dejah Thoris, each one in her most distressing mess.
I am very well acquainted too with matters Ellisonian--
It's good there's just one Harlan, so don't try to sneak a phony in--
I know Andre Norton's gender, at least when her pants,she has 'em off,
(Has 'em off, has 'em off-- You all know what I'm going to rhyme with has 'em off!)
And in my sleep I quote whole books from Heinlein and from Asimov.

All: And in his sleep he quotes whole books from Heinlein and from Asimov.

I'm up-to-date on Moorcock, near as well as mortal man can be,
And can chant the incarnation-list of Elric of Melnibone.
In short, in matters esoteric, strange, arcane, and quite all right,
I am the last example of a sage and antique Jedi Knight.

All: In short, in matters esoteric, strange, arcane, and quite all right,
            He is the last example of a sage and antique Jedi Knight.

I know our mythic history, J.R.R's and Evangeline's;
I understand 2001 right down to all the final scenes;
I can trace across two worlds the roots of Leonard Nimoy's pedigree;
Space: 1999 you will be glad to hear, I never see.
I understand LeGuin, which goes to show I'm intellectual,
And can prove in Freudian terms that Conan's really homosexual.
I've not quite finished Dune--even for me some books are just too long,
And I whistle my own theme but never sing a Close Encounters song.

All: He whistles his own theme but never sings a Close Encounters song.

I can work out the relationship of Elvish script to cuneiform,
And tell you every detail of Kit Canterbury's uniform.
In short, in matters esoteric, strange, arcane, and quite all right,
I am the last example of a sage and antique Jedi Knight.

All: In short, in matters esoteric, strange, arcane, and quite all right,
            He is the last example of a sage and antique Jedi Knight.

Maenad

The Star Wars of Penzance, Scene 4

A Space Operetta by Jana Hollingsworth
with apologies to Gilbert and Sullivan (especially Gilbert)
copyright 1977-78

(Mabel disappears and the Jawas exit. Obi-wan enters.)

Fred: Obi-wan! We were just going to go look for you. But what good will it do to audition you if I can't get the Princess Mabel, too?

Obi-wan: But I know where to find the Princess.

Fred: You do!?

Obi-wan: Yes, she's being held captive by the evil Lord Vader aboard his Death Star space station. Will you come with me to rescue her?

Fred: I wouldn't stay behind for all the Coke in China! But how do we get off this wretched planet?

Obi-wan: Fortunately, I know of just the space pilot for us. Here she is now.

(Enter Aunt Ruth.)

Fred: Aunt Ruth! How did you get to be a space pilot?

Ruth: The exigencies of the plot required it. Every Gilbert and Sullivan opera has to have an unattractive middle-aged contralto. Chewbacca is too good-looking, and Han Solo sings bass, so that leaves me. Now get into my spaceship, and we'll be at the Death Star before Obi-wan can sing half a patter song.

(They all exit. Scene changes to the Death Star. Enter stealthily, in a row, Fred, Mabel, 3PO, and Ruth.)

Recitative -- Fred Skywalker

Come, the rescue's nearly finished;
Vader's chances are diminished
               If we get away.
Searching for us are Stormtroopers,
Armed with electronic snoopers.
            Ladies, do not stray!

(Fred continues offstage.)

Women:
Yes, the rescue's nearly finished;
Vader's chances are diminished
            If we get away.
Searching for us are Stormtroopers,
Armed with electronic snoopers:
            No, we will not stray!

(Enter six Stormtroopers behind the women and grab them.)

Women:            Too late!
Troopers:                   Ha! Ha!
Women:                                 Too !ate!
Troopers:                                           Ha! Ha!
                        Ha! ha! ha! ha! Ha! ha! ha! ha!

Ensemble

Troopers:  You have missed your opportunity
                  Of escaping with impunity,
                  So return to the security
                  Of your cell for all futurity.
                  You shall once more be incarcerate,
                  All your hopes for freedom desolate,
                  And within that penal cavity
                  You will experience our depravity.

Women:    We have missed our opportunity
                  Of escaping with impunity;
                  We'll return to the security
                  Of our cell for all futurity,
                  We shall once more be incarcerate,
                  All our hopes for freedom desolate,
                  And within that penal cavity
                  We will experience their depravity.

 

Maenad

The Star Wars of Penzance, Scene 3

A Space Operetta
by Jana C. Hollingsworth
with apologies to Gilbert and Sullivan (especially Gilbert)
copyright 1977-78


(Enter Fred Skywalker.)

Fred: You have a pretty good mezzo-soprano, for a droid. I'll take you.

3PO: But what about my counterpart, R2-D2?

Fred: With his voice? Forget it! We might as well let our librettist sing.

3PO: But sir, I need him! His memory banks contain all my sheet music. He also tunes pianos, and acts as a metronome.

(Demonstrates metronome in R2's head.)

Fred: I don't know. Aunt Ruth was very specific: if we can get a good mezzo-soprano, a coloratura soprano, and a comic baritone, we'll have the best opera company on Tatooine.

3PO: Also the only opera company on Tatooine.

Fred: I hardly think that was a tactful remark. Wait 'til Aunt Ruth gets hold of you. If you think having a stage mother is bad, try having a stage aunt.

(R2-D2 lets out a round of beeps.)

3PO: Wait, sir! R2 says he knows where to find your soprano and baritone.

Fred: How does he know something like that?

3PO: He's also my agent. (R2 beeps some more.) He says old Obi-wan Stanley, who lives out by the Dune Sea, sings the fastest patter song in the quadrant.

Fred: What about the soprano?

3PO: He says he'll play her demo after you buy him.

Fred: He's an agent, all right. Okay, I'll take you both, and we'll go audition Obi-wan. But this soprano of yours had better be good. If I can make the Tatooine Opera Company a going concern, Aunt Ruth will let me out of my contract and I can get off this rock.

Song -- Fred Skywalker

Does no one have a deed to do,
A real one, not phantasmagoric--
A villain vile, or maybe two,
Requiring bravery sophomoric?
This world perhaps possesses charms
For those who wouldn't wear galoshes,
But I'd give all its sandy farms
For just one chance at buckling swashes.

Jawas:
But no one has a deed to do,
A real one, not phantasmagoric--
A villain vile, or maybe two,
Requiring bravery sophomoric.

Fred:                Not one?
Jawas:              No, no--not one!
Fred:                Not one?
Jawas:              No, no--

(R2-D2 produces a hologram of the Princess Mabel.)

Mabel:                                     Yes, one!
Jawas: 'Tis Mabel!
Mabel: Yes, 'tis Mabel!

Recitative -- Princess Mabel

Though I am but a hologram--
                        A sham--
If you will hear my tale of woe
                       You'll know
That any idiot can be,
                       For me,
A hero, 'cause I'm in a jam.

Jawas:
The question is, would she address
          This plea so vocal,
Were she not in a hopeless mess,
           To such a yokel?

Mabel: A jam! I'm in a jam!

Song -- Princess Mabel

Poor wandering droid!
Though you're but comic relief,
            You play a part
            Dear to my heart.
Poor wandering droid!

Poor wandering droid!
Follow my scheme with elan.
             To this princess
           
 In dire distress
Bring any poor hero you can!

Bring my own leading man.
Bring any good guy you can!

Jawas: Bring her own leading man.
              Bring any good guy you can!

Maenad

The Star Wars of Penzance, Scene 2

A Space Operetta by Jana Hollingsworth
with apologies to Gilbert and Sullivan (especially Gilbert)
copyright 1977-78

(Scene changes to Tatooine. Enter chorus of Jawas.)

Chorus -- Jawas

Climbing over rocky desert,
Where the rockes our toeses hurt,
Please remember that we are the Jawas.
            Please remember we're the Jawas.
Same thing that our ma and pa was.
No, Sand people we are not
            No, we are not
They have faces just like quiches;
We're a kind of Munchkin species,
            We're a kind, a kind of Munchkin species.
Garbage men who dress like friars,
Or like Salt Lake City choirs.
              See this trophy we have got.

(Enter 3PO, accompanied by R2-D2.)

Song -- C3PO

I'm a prize that's worth acquiring,
Stealing, borrowing, or hiring.
Alien or humanoid,
Won't you buy a top-notch droid?

 Jawas: Alien or humanoid
               Won't you buy a top-notch droid?

 3PO:
There's tradition in my wiring
Long as you could be desiring.
Vast improvement I've enjoyed
Since by Capek first employed.

 Jawas: Vast improvement he's enjoyed
               Since by Capek first employed,

 3PO:
Once I played a robot miss
In Fritz Lang's Metropolis.
But I wish I could erase
All my work on Lost in Space.
Still, with reverence I obey
All three laws of Doctor A.
Where would science fiction be
Stripped of all its robotry?

Jawas: Where would science fiction be
              Stripped of all its robotry?

Here's a prize that's worth acquiring, etc.,

 

Maenad

The Star Wars of Penzance, Scene 1

A Space Operetta by Jana Hollingsworth
with apologies to Gilbert and Sullivan (especially Gilbert)
copyright 1977-78

(Scene: on board the Death Star, Grand Moff Samuel and a chorus of Stormtroopers are celebrating the completion of the space station.)

Opening Chorus

Zap, oh zap the rebel planet,
Zing, oh zing the asteroid.
Into dust we'll turn its granite
Should a world make us annoyed.

Samuel: For today our great space station,
All prepared for games and fun,
Justifies our proud elation
And its budget over-run.

All: Though its cost ran over budget
Several billion, we don't grudge it.
Zap, oh zap the rebel planet, etc.

(Enter Vader.)

Vader: Yes, Governor, you certainly have reason to celebrate. Not only is your delightful Death Star at last fully operational (with the possible exception of the Xerox machine in my office), but I have succeeded in capturing the beautiful Princess Mabel, leader of the Rebellion,
Samuel: I would also point out that you have succeeded in allowing the Princess's droids to escape with vital information. But what complaint do you have about your Xerox machine?
Vader: The recent battle depleted my personal guard, so I ran off some new Stormtroopers this morning. Instead of the usual white, they came out harvest gold.
Samuel: Do you know what a color Xerox machine costs?
Vader: I prefer a standard model.
Samuel: As you wish. Ah, here is your captive.
(Enter Mabel, escorted by Stormtroopers in gold armor.)
Mabel: Well, Vader, you've just spent the past few hours enjoying the technological equivalent of sticking bamboo shoots under my fingernails, breaking me on the rack and delicately dipping me into boiling oil (or was it melted lead?)--and you've done it in such a scientifically sophisticated fashion that you haven't even mussed my hair or stained my gown. What next?
Vader: I thought I might try eradicating a few planets, for the sheer entertainment value of it.
Mabel: You fiend! How can you be so evil?
Vader: I've worked hard at it. It's my chosen profession, and at last it's paying off.

Song -- Vader

Oh, better far to live and die
Under the brave black flag I fly
Than suffer under a hero's name
While lusting after a villain's fame.
Though heroes all are good and true,
We villains all are well-to-do,
And I am that character now so rare--
The blackguard who's wicked beyond compare.
              For I am a Lord of Sith!
All:                   You are!
              Hurrah for the Lord of Sith!
Vader:  And it ith, it ith a thing not to mith
             To be a Lord of Sith,
All:                   It ith!
              Hurrah for the Lord of Sith!

Vader:

Just check the posters and T-shirt racks--
See games and puzzles that tower in stacks--
Investigate each toy and doll--
You'll find my visage adorns them all.
But many a good guy in hat of white,
Who fights for justice and truth and right,
Will perish in obscuritee
While royalties accrue to me.
               For I am a Lord of Sith!
All:                  You are!
              Hurrah for the Lord of Sith!
Vader:  And it ith, it ith a thing not to mith
             To be a Lord of Sith,
All:                  It ith!
              Hurrah for the Lord of Sith!

Maenad

Will Rogers, the Fall of Rome, Alaskan Welfare Queens

• Will Rogers’s best-known line was jokingly intended for his epitaph. He said he wanted his headstone to read: “I joked about every prominent man of my time, but I never met a man I didn’t like.”

• Remember the American Bicentennial? Too young? Well, that same year, 1976, was the 1500th anniversary of the Fall of Rome. In 576 CE, the boy-emperor Romulus Augustulus was booted off the imperial throne by the barbarian king Odoacer. No, I don’t think there's a connection, but I remember celebrating it in my college dorm room with a bottle of wine. The Fall of Rome, not the Bicentennial.

• Another distinction of Alaska is that its citizens receive more federal money per capita than those of any other state. In 2001 the feds spent $10,214 on every ornery, independent, government-hating man, woman, and child in Alaska. The U.S. average was $6,268 per person. I don’t have more recent numbers; I noted down this item back when Sarah Palin wasn't even a gleam in a pundit's eye.
Maenad

Halloween Edition: Legend by Goethe, Ghosts and Germs, Commies in Costume

• The Brokenberg, a mountain in eastern Germany, is, according to legend, the site of wild witches’ revels. That “legend” goes back to the late 18th century when Goethe used the mountain for the setting of the Walpurgisnacht scene in Faust. Before that, the mountain had had no association with witchcraft at all.

• The 18th-century sage Samuel Johnson believed in ghosts. Well, maybe. He said: “There is no people, rude or learned, among whom apparitions of the dead are not related and believed. This opinion, which perhaps prevails as far as human nature is diffused, could become universal only by its truth.” What Johnson did not believe was that the inhabitants of the isolated Scottish island of St. Kilda all caught cold immediately after the first visit by strangers every spring. That was just too preposterous. His pal, Boswell, thought the strangers might carry seeds of disease with them, but he deferred to his wiser companion, as usual.

• Life was pretty grim in the Soviet Union in the 1930s, so the party leadership tried to cheer things up with festivals. In 1935 in the mining town of Gorlovka, a costume ball was advertised in which “costumes must answer the following purposes: the old and new work norms, the Italian-Abyssinian war, Japanese-German friendship, and victims of capitalism.” I think I’ll go as a victim of capitalism. I can wear my work clothes.
Maenad

Wotan of the Jungle, Outboard Motors, Original Sin

• In the early part of the twentieth century, an explorer in the Amazon rain forest made first contact with a hostile tribe called the Nhambiquara. At first he couldn't even approach their camp without a fusillade of poisoned arrows coming his way, but he eventually won them over, luring them into his camp at night by playing the operas of Richard Wagner on his phonograph.

• The first workable outboard motor was invented by one Ole Evinrude. Oh, you knew that.

• The doctrine of Original Sin is unique to Western Christianity. Eastern Orthodoxy has no such notion, nor have Judaism and Islam. It was developed, mainly by Saint Augustine, in the 4th century, when the Western Roman Empire was falling into chaos and disaster. It seemed to make sense at the time.