A FIGURE OF SPEECH

So we decide on some knights for comic relief in ROSE RED. We  being Kari Kraakevik and myself, Rose Red being the new musical we are creating based on the fairy tale Rose Red and Snow White. Kari and I have sat down, and I've come up with a basic plot- which will no doubt change during the creative process (and already has). In the plot, there's a lost prince who has been turned into a wolf by Endorra Belle, a powerful enchantress who has turned bad ever since her ruby heart was broken into pieces. In the notes, I have "a trio of knights enter, looking for the prince, sing funny song".



Okay. Now I'm writing the script based on my notes. Funny knights. Hmmm. When I think funny knights, I think of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Silly, absurd, over the top. And maybe they can use language in a way that's amusing. Maybe they can have goofy names. Somehow, I decide to name them Sir Lost, Sir And, & Sir Found. This makes me laugh. So I keep it. And I figure, every now and then, someone can say "and?", which is a fairly common way of saying "what else?" in the modern parlance- and Sir And can always assume they're talking to him. Like the knights meet Rose and Snow, tell them they're looking for the Prince, Rose says "And?", and then Sir And says "are you speaking to me?" Ah, cheap laughs. I love it. And now, there's a feel to the knights. A way of speaking. Malaprops, mistaken word play- like Abbot and Costello's famous "Who's On First?" routine. For whatever reason, this opens these three characters up to me, and they are now living, breathing people. Silly knights who get lost in their own language. And use words like Gadzooks. Why not?

It happens like that for me a lot. I'll have a character or characters in mind for a story who have to do a specific thing. I kick around some ideas. Then something happens that clicks, and I can see them, hear them, know what they will do. I sometimes think I don't make up stories as tap into an alternate reality where these people really exist.

Must mean I'm crazy.

Anyway, when I tell other folks about my idea, they like it. We decide they need a song in Act Two, something to relieve the tension, keep the audience satisfied, and all that. And I figure, why not sing about language? I'll call it "Figure of Speech". Kari likes it. Words get written, music gets written, and voila- a song is born. Below are the lyrics.

One more thing- we just got word that the libretto for ROSE RED is going to be e-published by Indie Theater Now, and that is very good news indeed!


“FIGURE OF SPEECH”


IT’S A FIGURE OF SPEECH
LIKE ONCE MORE INTO THE BREACH?
OR DON’T BRING SAND TO THE BEACH?
AND THOSE WHO CAN, DO
THOSE WHO CAN’T, TEACH

MEASURE TWICE, CUT ONCE
A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES
SAY ONCE BITTEN, TWICE SHY
LOOK ME DEAD IN THE EYE
RED SKY AT MORNING
SAILOR TAKE WARNING
RED SKY AT NIGHT
SAILOR’S DELIGHT

OH FIGURES, ANALOGIES, SIMILIES!
GOOD THINGS ALWAYS COME IN THREES!

TOO BIG FOR HIS BRITCHES
OR LIKE WHEN THE WITCHES
SAY SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES

HIS STOMACH’S GOT BUTTERFLIES
SHE’S LOOKING RATHER STARRY EYED
AND AS FOR ME I’M SIMPLY ALL THUMBS

SIMILIES, FIGURES, ANALOGIES!
GOOD THINGS ALWAYS COME IN THREES

WASTE NOT, WANT NOT
PEASE PORRIDGE, COLD OR HOT

LOST IN THE STAR LIGHT STAR BRIGHT
WISH I MAY I WISH I MIGHT

I’VE A FROG IN MY THROAT
THAT’S REALLY GOT MY GOAT

DUMB AS A POST, STRONG AS AN OX
SWEET AS A PIE, SLY AS A FOX
OH SIMILIES! ANALOGIES! FIGURES!
WAIT! WHAT WORD CAN WE RHYME WITH FIGURES?

IT MATTERS NOT, THE SONG IS DONE
THERE’S NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN
DON’T PUT THE CART BEFORE THE HORSE
THERE’S ONE MORE THING TO SAY, OF COURSE

DON’T LOSE HOPE, SWEET LITTLE DOVE
FOR ALL YOU REALLY NEED IS LOVE.

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