Guy Noir script
Saturday, June 27, 2009

Listen (MP3)
Listen (RealAudio)


TR: A dark night in a city that knows how to keep its secrets, but on the 12th floor of the Acme Building, one man is still trying to find the answers to life's persistent questions — Guy Noir, Private Eye.


GK: It was June, glorious summer, and by all rights I should have been in the Hamptons, playing tennis and hobnobbing, but due to a loss of velocity in my cash flow, I was forced to take work in the Berkshires at the Tanglewood Music Center. They put me to work on the grounds crew (BIG MOWER PASSING) and my job was to pick up candy wrappers with a stick with a nail at the end of it. But I got to hear a lot of people practicing music (CELLO) in all the little practice cabins around the grounds (SITAR, TABLA) — all the young people coming to Tanglewood to experience music (SAXOPHONE) and to develop their skills and meet other musicians — a place where a banjo player could meet a bagpiper (DUELING BANJO ROUTINE.....BANJO, THEN BAGPIPE, BANJO, BAGPIPE) .....and where music is everywhere, in the trees, in the meadows, even the dogs are musical (BIG DOG WOOFING ďODE TO JOYĒ) and if you go off into the woods, youíll hear the bees humming Chopin (SFX).

FN: Excuse me, sir.

GK: Yes?

FN: Iím looking for a lost object here. Have you seen a baton lying in the grass?

GK: A baton?

FN: The maestro got upset last night and he threw his baton and now he wants it back. (TR OFF, SHOUTING IN GERMAN) Thatís him. Heís very unhappy.

GK: Iíll keep an eye out for it. Who is he?

FN: Heís a young up-and-comer named Otto von Volkwagen. From Berlin. Thanks.


MS: Psssssst. Sir?

GK: Who are you?

MS: The nameís Wasciewiczkevitz. Tadeusz Wasciewiczkevitz. I need you to do me a big favor.

GK: What are you crouched down behind the seats for?

MS: I donít want the Maestro to see me.

GK: Whatís wrong?

MS: I did an audition for him last night.

GK: Was that when he threw his baton?

MS: He tried to stick it in my chest.

GK: What happened?

MS: Long story. Can you help me get backstage to the dressing room? My clothes are there.

GK: Sure. (BRIDGE) The guy was young, good-looking, long hair, tuxedo, looked like a musician alright but there was the conductor (TR OFF, FUMING IN GERMAN), stalking around backstage, so me and Tadeusz had to climb in through a window (FOOTSTEPS, QUICK, ON TIPTOE) and sneak back to the dressing room. (DOOR CLOSE, LOCK)

MS: Whew. That was close. I tell you, the man has a temper. He wanted to kill me.

GK: All because of a bad audition?

MS: I played beautifully. I thought it was perfect. It was for the Chopin concert tonight. (CHOPIN EXCERPT INTO ĎDANNY BOYí)

GK: Very nice.

MS: So whatís the big problem?

GK: Well, it sounded like you were maybe wandering off the beam there.

MS: Itís how me mother taught it to me back home in Tipperary.

GK: I thought your name was Tadeusz Wasciewiczkevitz.

MS: Mr. Noir, my real name is Jimmy Finnegan and you know theyíre never going to accept Chopin played by a Finnegan. And I love Chopin. I adore Chopin— (KNOCKS ON DOOR)

MS (IRISH): Oh for mercy sake, god help us. Iím going to hide in the closet, okay? You take care of it. (DOOR CLOSE)

GK: Who is it?

SS (OUTSIDE): Itís Cynthia. Open up. (DOOR OPEN) Hi— who are you?

GK: I was just helping one of the musicians.....

SS: Oh. Okay. Are you with the symphony?

GK: No.

SS: Good. Neither am I. Listen, maybe you can help. My brother Earl is auditioning to be the piano soloist tonight and heís got a problem. Earl— get in here.

FN: Hi. Pleasure to meet you.

GK: Good to meet you.

SS: Earl, sit down. — Hereís the problem. Earl is a world-class pianist, but he has a nervous habit. He sings while he plays. He canít help it. Play for him, Earl.

(CHOPIN, AS BEFORE, AND A FEW BARS INTO IT, FN BEGINS TO HUM AND THEN SING: Iím playing Chopin and it sounds so good, I hope I get the job — so knock on wood. I am a very handsome gifted man. I play Chopin, I play Chopin.

GK: I see the problem.

SS: The solution is simple: if you blow in his ear, Earl stops singing.

GK: I see.

SS: So Iíd like you to sit next to him during the audition as his page-turner and when you hear him start to sing, you just blow in his ear.

GK: I see. Is there any sort of payment attached to this— (KNOCKS ON DOOR)

SS: Oh no. Itís him. The Maestro. Hide, Earl.

GK: Not in there. Not in the closet. Try that door there.


GK: Come in! (DOOR OPEN)

TR (GERMAN): Achwohl— who are you?

GK: The name is Noir. Guy Noir.

TR (GERMAN): You a musician?

GK: No.

TR (GERMAN): Thank God. (JOYOUS GERMAN) I am so sick of musicians, I want to (ANGRY GERMAN) —

GK: Iím sorry you feel that way.

TR (GERMAN): (SHOUTS THREE GERMAN INSULTS) Okay, okay. Take a deep breath and settle down. Easy does it. Easy.

GK: So where in Deutschland you come from?

TR (GERMAN): Can you keep a secret?

GK: Of course.

TR (GERMAN): Youíre not with the symphony?

GK: No, sir.

TR (GERMAN): Because if you tell anybody, Iíll have to kill you.

GK: I wonít.

TR (MIDWESTERN): Not from Germany. From western Minnesota.

GK: Minnesota?

TR (MIDWESTERN): Yup. Moorhead. Red River Valley. Concordia College.

GK: Youíre not Otto von Volkswagen?

TR (MIDWESTERN): Brian Christiansen.

GK: Huh. Interesting.

TR (MIDWESTERN): But in order to get a job here, I had to be from Europe. They donít hire Minnesotans to conduct Chopin. Weíre too low-key, I guess. If you canít throw temper tantrums, they think youíre not serious about your art.

GK: Well, good luck on that— (KNOCKS ON DOOR)


GK: Okay, Mr. Finnegan The coast is clear. (DOOR OPEN)

MS: Is he gone?

GK: Yes.

MS: Would you ask him if I can take the audition again? I really need this, Mr. Noir. Iíve worked so hard. I can do it. I know I can. (CHOPIN, INTO ďDANNY BOYĒ THEN STOPS) Am I doing something wrong?

GK: Mr. Finnegan, sometimes we have to learn when to give up.

MS: No. Donít say that.

GK: I donít think your talents lie in that direction.

MS: I want to do this for my mother.

GK: You may have some sort of musical attention deficit where you get done with a tune before itís over and you want to move on to the next.

MS: Please. Help me. (KNOCKS) Oh for mercy sake, god help us. Back into the closet I go. (DOOR OPEN, CLOSED)

GK: Yes? Who is it? (DOOR OPEN)

FN: Hi. Itís just me. Earl. My audition is in fifteen minutes and I am terrified. This is so big for me, Mr. Noir. I canít tell you. And Iíve got this problem.....

GK: Singing while you play.....

FN: Yes. Would you mind blowing into my ear—

GK: Which ear should I blow into?

FN: My left ear.

GK: Okay.


FN: Blow in my ear, blow in my ear.....

GK: Iím blowing.

When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie
Thatís amore.

GK: Let me try the other ear.

FN (SINGS): Volare.....oh oh. Cantare...oh oh oh oh.

GK: This isnít working, Earl. (KNOCKS) Uh oh— better hide in there. (DOOR OPEN, CLOSE) Come in— (DOOR OPEN)

TR: Itís me. The conductor.

GK: Whatís wrong?

TR: The mother is chasing me.

GK: What does she want?

SS: AHA! Iíll tell you what I want! I want my son to play with your orchestra tonight. And if he doesnít get to play, I am going to reveal your secret to the world—


SS: Donít talk that gobbledygook with me, youíre about as German as a Toyota.


SS: Stop it or Iíll slap you so hard your headíll spin.


GK: I think sheís got you dead to rights, Brian. (DOOR OPEN)

MS: Okay, but what about me?

SS: What about you?


FN: I can play it a whole lot better than you can. Listen. (CHOPIN, AND FRED SINGS: Maria.....there once was a girl named Maria...) (RAPPING OF STICK)

GK: Okay, everybody — let me tell you something youíve heard a hundred times before.

MS: Oh boy, here it comes. The old Art-is-bigger-than-the-individual speech.....

GK: Art is bigger than the individual. This is not about you, or you, or you, itís about music.

TR: Oh boy.

GK: Ambition is fine but in the end we must be ambitious for music itself, not for our own careers. We are a flock of swallows and whatís important is not the fate of one swallow, but the survival of the species.

TR: Thatís not easy to swallow.

GK: So letís all work together to help each other and letís be happy for each otherís success because the tide lifts all ships and itís one for all and all for one here at Tanglewood.

FN (SINGS): Bor—ing.

GK: Brian, Earl, Mr. Finnegan — letís just join together and make music the best we can , okay? (GRUDGING AGREEMENT)

And thatís how the Tangled Grass Music Center came into being out on the prairie of western Minnesota. (CHOPIN ETUDE MADE INTO POLKA) No trees, but thereís a big shed and we just get together and play and it is what it is. It is what it is. (THEME)

TR: A dark night in a city that knows how to keep its secrets...but on the 12th floor of the Acme Building, one man is still trying to find the answers to lifeís persistent questions...

Old Sweet Songs: A Prairie Home Companion 1974-1976

Old Sweet Songs

Lovingly selected from the earliest archives of A Prairie Home Companion, this heirloom collection represents the music from earliest years of the now legendary show: 1974–1976. With songs and tunes from jazz pianist Butch Thompson, mandolin maestro Peter Ostroushko, Dakota Dave Hull and the first house band, The Powdermilk Biscuit Band (Adam Granger, Bob Douglas and Mary DuShane).

Available now»

American Public Media © |   Terms and Conditions   |   Privacy Policy