Schooltime Follies/Transcript

Mysterious classical piano music plays. Wirt, Greg, and Beatrice walk down a path through the forest. Greg walks along a low stone wall, singing.
Greg (singing) “…I don’t know who she is or how she is or when, what, why she is, but as for where she is, she is where we will go. To Adelaide, to Adelaide! Come on and join the Adelaide parade…”
Wirt and Beatrice No.
Greg (singing) “Adelaide, to Adelaide, let’s go to Adelaide’s house.” (Music ends abruptly) I need to fix that last part. But that’s the idea. So Beatrice, you sing the high part. Wirt, you sing the really high part-
Wirt What? Oh- (bends to tie his shoelace)
Greg And…
Beatrice Nobody is singing anything anymore. And Wirt, keep moving.
Wirt But I- I have to… ugh. All right. (They all start walking again)
Greg But we have to do something fun.
Beatrice You know, we really don’t. We can just keep walking silently, you know? And- (she turns. Wirt is tying his shoe again.) Ugh. Wirt, let’s go! Come on.
Wirt Sorry, sorry.
Greg But shouldn’t we-
Beatrice Greg, don’t you want to be more like your brother- just always doing what you’re told?
Wirt Huh?
Beatrice Just a pathetic pushover who relies on others to make all his decisions?
Wirt Hey! What? I’m not a pushover.
Beatrice Hold on, Wirt. Let me get to my point.
Wirt (scoffs) Fine.
Beatrice See, Greg? No willpower whatsoever.
Wirt Hmph!
Beatrice You need to be more like that.
Greg But that doesn’t really sound that fun.
Beatrice The world is a miserable place, Greg. Life isn’t fun.
Greg (breathes deeply) Then I’ll do what I need to do, I guess.
Beatrice Thank you. We’ll just focus on getting you guys to Adelaide’s so I can wash my hands clean of this whole affair. And if you could pick up the pace a bit, that’d be great, okay? (pause) Okay? (she turns. Greg has vanished) Hey, where’s Greg?
Wirt Oh. Uh, wandered off, I guess.
Beatrice Cheese and crackers!
Greg (walking through the woods) We need to do our part to make the world a better place!
Greg’s frog Ribbit.
Greg Haha, yeah! (bell tolling) Huh? Whoa! (He sees a small schoolhouse in a clearing by a river. Mid-tempo ragtime music plays.) School? (scoffs) Not today! (he runs into the woods, breathing heavily)
Wirt Greg! (he runs up to the school) Greg! Greg? (he looks through the door) Greg?


Excuse me? (She stands in front of the class: small farm animals, all dressed in human clothes) Please, take your seat, children. You’re late. You know the rules- “Once the bell has rung, class has begun.”
Beatrice Oh, sorry everybody, sorry. No, he doesn’t have a brain. He can’t learn anything. Let’s go, Wirt. Come on. (whistles) Here, boy.
Wirt What? Did you say something? I can’t hear you because I’m too busy doing what I’m told. (he walks in and sits at one of the desks)
Beatrice What? What are you- (sighs) No, no. Let’s go.
Wirt Oh, no. See. I’m a pushover, remember? I have to do what she tells me to do.
Beatrice Ugh. Wirt, your brother could be in trouble somewhere.
Greg (knocks on the window. Hums hello. Motions to Wirt, the front of the class, and makes a thumbs down. His frog croaks, and Greg cheers and runs after him.)
Beatrice (sighs) Bluebirds have a short life span. You two are literally killing me every moment I’m forced to spend with you.
Wirt Oh.
Ms. Langtree Young man, I will not stand for such nonsense in my classroom. I got enough nonsense from that no good, two-timing, low-down handsome man of mine. (Dramatic piano plays, the lights dim) Oh, Jimmy Brown, why did you have to leave me so? (she paces to the window) And now, with my father threatening to close the school, and that wild gorilla on the loose, why, Jimmy, I just have one thing to say… (Langtree's Lament starts playing. Singing) “A is for the apple that he gave to me/ but I found a worm inside. / B is for beloved that I…”
Beatrice Oof. That lady’s got some baggage. (music stops)


What’s that? Young man, go to the dunce box.
Wirt Oh. Sure, okay. (he gets up)
Beatrice No, no.
Wirt Sure.
Beatrice No, no no-
Wirt (humming happily, he sits in the box and closes the door)
Beatrice Aw!
Ms. Langtree Now, where were we? (music resumes) Oh, yes. (singing) “G is for the gentleman I thought he was/ when he first said hi…” (Wirt peers out of the box and smiles at Beatrice, who glares at him.)
Greg (sitting outside on a fallen tree with various animals, all wearing clothes) So, my theory is hot dogs are not actually dogs, regardless of what they teach you in school. But you guys don’t go to school, huh? (whispers) I’m gonna stick with you guys. (A raccoon throws a black turtle into the river. Greg laughs.) Hey, I got an idea. Let’s play “Two Old Cat”. Do you guys know how to play “Two Old Cat”? (the raccoon blinks) It’s fun. I’ll show you. (He runs and searches under the schoolhouse.) Here's one old cat!(he lifts up a tattered cat. It meows)
A deer grabs a bespectacled droopy-faced cat wielding a cane. It meows weakly.
Greg You found another one! Wait, no. I think that cat is too old. (the cat “rowr”s) Sorry kitty. We’ll have to find another old cat.
(the raccoon pours some milk for the old cat, petting it consolingly.)
Greg (to the possum) Hey Jeffery, I think there’s one behind you! (raspy breathing comes from a nearby bush. The possum moves the branches, and a giant gorilla leaps up and roars.) Gorilla! Run! (They all flee. The gorilla growls quizzically.)
Ms. Langtree (lying on the floor, slumped in despair. Singing)’ “And why, yes ‘Y’, is the question that’s on my mind/ Oh why…”
Beatrice Hey, dunce. This is dreadful.
Wirt Good. I’m glad you feel that way.
Beatrice (Groans. The bell tolls)
Ms. Langtree ”I remember life-“ Huh?
Greg Gorilla! (He and the animals are clinging to the bell as the gorilla roars.)
Ms. Langtree Mealtime already? Well, come along children.
Hot jazz plays. The gorilla chases Greg and the animals. They run in circles around a tree. The possum hangs from a branch, swinging a stick. The gorilla pauses, and the possum hits him on the head. The gorilla falls, and Greg salutes the possum.
Ms. Langtree We don’t want to be late for mealtime. (Wirt gets out of the dunce box) My father will be visiting today, and we’ll need to be on our best behavior.
Greg (at the schoolhouse door) Quick! In here! (They pant and run into the school. Cut to the dining room, where everyone has a plate of potatoes. Ms Langtree plays a slow version of “Patient is the Night”) Oh boy! Mealtime! This is way better than being chased by a gorilla. (The possum sniffs the food and takes a bite. It groans.) Aw, what’s the matter? (He eats some) Mm, kind of bland. (He looks around. The animals look sadly at their food.)
Beatrice Hey, nobody ordered you to eat yet.
Wirt Yeah, but… mm.
Greg Hmm. (He looks around. On top of the piano is a jug of molasses.) Hey! I know what to do! Here, Ms. Langtree. Play something like this. (He slams his fists on the keys)
Ms Langtree Oh, like this? ‘plays the tune of “Potatoes and Molasses”)
Greg Mm, good enough. (He climbs onto a stool and sings) “Oh, potatoes and molasses/ If you want some, oh just ask us/ (he pours some for the raccoon) They’re warm and soft like puppies and socks/ filled with cream and candy rocks/ Oh potatoes and molasses/ They’re so much sweeter than algebra class/ If your stomach is grumblin’ and your mouth starts mumblin’/ there’s only one thing to keep your brain from crumblin’/ Oh potatoes and molasses / (the school animals sway happily in time to the music) If you can’t see ‘em put on your glasses/ (Wirt taps his spoon to the rhythm. The gorilla lurks through the window) They’re shiny and large like a fisherman’s barge/ (A spoonful of potatoes and molasses hits the gorilla and he falls) You know you’ve had enough when you start seeing stars/ Oh, potatoes and molasses./ (The animals all play their instruments) It’s the only thing left on your task list/ They’re short and stout, they’ll make everyone shout/ For potatoes and molasses./ For potatoes and –“
Langtree That’s enough! (The door slams and the music stops)
Ms .Langtree (gasps) Father.
Langtree Is this what I’ve been paying for?!
Greg Hey, we just wanted to have a little fun.
Langtree I didn’t invest in this school for fun. I thought we were trying to do important work here: teaching animals to count and spell.
Ms. Langtree We are! Oh, please, father, don’t close the school. It won’t happen again.
Langtree I should say it won’t. This… (he grabs the deer’s trumpet) …this… (he grabs the cat’s clarinet)...and this (he grabs the pig’s tuba) are all coming with me. Now send them to bed!
Ms. Langtree You heard Father. Off to bed with you. (The animals sadly file out of the room. Slow wistful jazz plays. The animals, dressed in nightgowns, walk to their beds, sighing and whimpering. Greg and Wirt follow at the end of the line. The pug circles on the bed, and mournfully collapses. The raccoon sniffles, tears in its eyes.)
Greg (to his frog) I just wanted to have fun, change the world, and make it a better place. But I just made everything worse. (His frog ribbits)
Beatrice Okay, Wirt, I’ll admit it- you seem like a pushover, but you’re not.
Wirt Oh?
Beatrice Deep down in your heart, you’re a stubborn jerk. When are you gonna give this up?
Wirt Maybe never. Maybe I’ll never give this up.
Greg Hmm… yeah! Wirt’s right- never give up! (he tosses a rope made of sheets out the window) Come on, Wirt. Let’s go save the day.
Wirt Okay, if you say so. (Beatrice scoffs)
Greg Come on! (They walk into the forest)
Wirt So, what’s the plan, Greg?
Greg Plan? Ohh, I don’t know.
Langtree Ohh! Who would’ve thought making a primer school for animals was a bad idea? (Wirt and Greg look over a bush. Langtree sits in a clearing with the instruments) My life savings, my home- everything I had went into that dear, dear school. And now I’m forced to sell these instruments just to keep it open. (He removes his bulky overcoat, revealing a small, wiry frame) All the while that loathsome Jimmy Brown is off gallivanting who knows where! Not to mention that wild gorilla on the loose. (sighs) If only something would go right for a change. (He curls under his coat and snores.)
Greg Okay, I think he’s asleep. Let’s go steal his stuff.
Wirt and Beatrice What?
Cut to dawn. Langtree wakes up and notices-
Langtree (gasps)’ The instruments! They’ve been stolen! Who would do such a thing?! (Mid-tempo march plays) Huh? (He looks through the bushes to see the animals playing their instruments for a crowd of people. Greg walks through the crowd, and people put money in his hat, chattering amongst themselves. A large barrel is already full of coins, and Greg dumps his in.) What is this?
Wirt It’s a benefit concert for the school.
Ms. Langtree Ah, isn’t it grand? All these fine people giving out of the goodness of their hearts. Not like my Jimmy Brown. (dramatic piano music plays)
Beatrice Ohh, here we go.
Ms Langtree All he ever did was steal my heart away…
Greg Gorilla!
Ms. Langtree Aah! (The gorilla towers over her, roaring. The crowd screams)
Langtree (to Wirt) Young man, do something!
Wirt Uh… (He shouts weakly and charges at the gorilla, but trips on his shoelace and knocks the gorilla over. Its head falls off. All gasp. A man groans and looks out from the gorilla suit.)
Jimmy Finally.
Ms. Langtree Jimmy?
Jimmy That’s right, darlin’. I was the gorilla.
Ms. Langtree But why did you do it?
Jimmy Got a job in the circus so’s I could finally buy ya that wedding ring. But when I got stuck in the dang suit, everybody was too doggone scared to help me out.
Ms. Langtree Aw, Jimmy. Oh!
Jimmy Darlin’. (They embrace. Everyone cheers, the animals chittering. A group of squirrels kicks the gorilla head.)
Langtree I guess the world really is as sweet as potatoes and molasses.
Greg (Sings and conducts the band) “Oh potatoes and molasses/ If you want some…”
Wirt So, want to tell Greg it’s time to get going?
Beatrice Nah, let him have his fun.
Greg (singing)’ “Filled with cream and candy rocks…”
Beatrice Hey, Wirt?
Wirt Yeah?
Beatrice Tie your shoe.
Wirt Hmm? Oh. Mm. Okay. (He bends down. Beatrice smiles)
Greg (Conducting with gusto) ”… Algebra class/ If your stomach is grumblin’ and your mouth…”
End of episode.’