The beaming Star ended his last song with a cocky flourish. Mighty pleased with his repertoire, which he had personally selected with the help of a few connoisseurs ahead of their game, he waited to bow down to thunderous applause.
But alas, it never came. A tepid clap here and there, a lukewarm if at all polite murmur & a half smile as the audience seemed more in a rush to get out, collect their cars, catch their buses & metros, head out to their dinners plans & reservations … or as the Star heard later to another show where The Singer had everyone spellbound with his melodious voice.
The promise of more in this show had the audience demand one favourite after the other. Years of practice & hard work of The Singer were evident. His craft well-honed and superbly tuned, The Singer bowed to accept what seemed like a non-stop applause of appreciation. ~Encore ! Encore !~ The crowds yelled. And an Encore it was!
Meanwhile, on the dark stage, the Star looked at his Chorus in a white rage. ~You were so bad !~ he spluttered. ~You didn’t back me up adequately. Some of you were so out of tune.~ The Chorus wrung their hands and whined. ~We did our best. We did our best.~
The Star’s sister was on stage too by now. She always swept in at the end as she believed herself to be a Show-Stopper of great value. Clapping her hands for the staff to wipe her brother’s sweaty brow, she signalled a minion to pour him some champagne. ‘You were very very good’, she said to him soothingly. ‘Very good’.
However, turning to The Chorus ~We were expecting applause as nothing heard ever before and that didn’t happen. I will find out who among you didn’t do your best. I will find each one out & you will pay for this.~ While The Chorus whinged & whined. ~We did our best. We did our best.~
From the dark shadows of the theatre emerged their Mother. Everyone stood a little straighter, The Chorus, The Staff, The Minions.
Beady-eyed she looked them all over. ~Someone must be sacrificed~ she thought. ~A head, any head needs to be chopped off. They must live in fear or it’s all over for us.~
To her son she said. ~These stupid people don’t recognise a thing of beauty. How tastes have changed! Their standards have been lowered with that crude music on offer these days. Only those who recognise our lineage of Stars appreciate your voice, your timbre & your choice of music. Take heart. Your sister & I will get to the bottom of this.~
But by now The Star had stomped off and locked himself in the Green Room. The Sister went running after him and then more slowly The Mother, who in her day had sung her songs too, to a rapturous and fawning audience.
But clever that she was, she had a marionette & they together put on quite a ventriloquist show.
~Open the door, my son. See who has come to see you….~ ~Open the door, my brother. See who has come to see you…~ ~No, no. I will meet no one. I will not sing any more. I’ve had enough! Why should I sing for our supper when I could be anywhere in the world enjoying myself. Find someone else! Or at least get me a Marionette.~
~I would have my son. I would have. But all the new ones have a mind of their own & we can’t have that! Didn’t we put our minds to it & find you a wonderful theatre down South? Next time we’ll make some more appreciative arrangements.…~
Turning to her assistant The Mother hissed. ~Call a meeting of any Three Faithfuls. Immediately.~ ~You!~She pointed her gnarled finger. ~We need scapegoats. Fall guys. Anyone to take the blame. Go find names. Spread the word. Let the people talk about them, discuss them & get the attention off my son.
~ Faithful One faithfully began laboriously writing a piece on how the music was poorly selected and arranged. How the person in charge missed the mood & what the people wanted to hear. How the social secretary didn’t help by writing puerile notes & antagonising almost everybody. How both took large sums of money and disappeared.
Faithful Two wrote how the foul mouth percussionist couldn’t get along with the orchestra & just said & did his own thing, lending a jarring note to the entire show. How an eccentric old musician had a tendency to hit the left notes when the right ones would have been more soothing. This despite The Star being well read, well educated & from an impeccable musical lineage failed to recognise this.
~Good. Good!~ said The Mother, ~We need to shed the dead wood. Find a few others who can be kicked out. This is the time !~
Faithful Three is still writing his … In days to come, the people will have a hearty laugh, looking forward to the next episodes of the tantrum throwing Star.
Those who had bought the tickets looked a trifle embarrassed or made excuses. ~He wasn’t prepared. He’s young. He was let down.~
While others couldn’t resist saying ~We told you so. He’s no Star material.~
No doubt, a neutered Chorus will return to another poorly attended show.
So will the wily Mother & her daughter, because they believe they’ve handled & sorted the ‘problem’. But the decision to end it now and make an escape or carry on with this mad burlesque show rests entirely with the ‘well read, well educated, from an impeccable lineage’ Star.
Wait for more.