Snowman, January 26, 2013

Overture Center for the Arts

Madison, WI


«archive page

Share:



Snowman

Listen (MP3)

(MUSIC, WIND)

TR: THE LONELY SNOWMAN OF MADISON, WISCONSIN.
(CAR PASSING ON SNOWY STREET, DISTANT DOG, DISTANT VOICES)

SS: I suppose you like a nice cold winter like this one, huh, Mr. Snowman? You certainly look solid, all nice and icy.

GK: It's okay. I don't mind. But I was reading that there are six kinds of loneliness and I think I suffer from five of them. One is when you feel rejected. You're outside, looking in—

SS: Obviously true of you.

GK: Yes. All those lighted houses along the block and me the lone snowman out here. But outside is where I belong. Inside would mean death. So there's that contradiction ----- when what you want would be the end of you. I see students who are in that same situation.

SS: What do you mean?

GK: I mean, people stand here waiting for the bus and they rave about hot yoga. Saunas. Want to go to Mexico and sit on the beach. For us snow people, that's like genocide.

SS: I feel excluded. It's not easy being a Catholic in Madison.

GK: You are?

SS: You didn't know that?

GK: No.

SS: I'm a holy angel.

GK: You're a snow angel.

SS: Angels can be made of anything. God decides. Anyway, I'm an angel. And you and I are kindred spirits because we're both made of snow.

GK: I am made of snow, you are a depression in the snow. Very different.

SS: I am a depression?

GK: You are. The girl laid down on the snow and spread her arms and legs back and forth and got up and there you were. You are made of the absence of snow. You're a negative.

SS: I don't feel negative-----

GK: Well, you are---- she laid down and swept the top layers of snow away-----

SS: Who is this "she"?

GK: The girl who lives next door. She made you.

SS: I don't think so.

GK: Well, she did. I saw it.

SS: With those little pieces of coal you call eyes? I don't think so.

GK: So where do you think you came from?

SS: I come from God. I fell from heaven and landed in the snow and in the spring I will fly up to heaven again. You just wait and see.

GK: I won't be around in the spring.

SS: What makes you say that?

GK: That tree told me.

SS: Trees don't know everything. You have to have faith.

GK: I have a little faith but not that much.

SS: If only I could touch you with my wing, I could give you faith.

TR: HEY SHUT UP. ENOUGH WITH THE BELLYACHING. YOU'RE NOTHING BUT SNOW. GET OVER YOURSELVES.

(PAUSE)

SS: Who is that?

GK: Oak tree.

TR: RED OAK.

GK: Sorry if we were bothering you, sir.

TR: JUST SAYING----- IT IS WHAT IT IS. I KNOW. I'VE BEEN HERE FOR FORTY-SEVEN YEARS, I'VE SEEN SNOWMEN COME AND GO. THAT'S WHAT YOU ARE. A MAN MADE OF SNOW. YOU'RE NOT THE BLUEBIRD OF HAPPINESS, YOU'RE NOT THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS PAST, YOU'RE MADE OF WATER. SO ARE THEY, MOSTLY. SO GET OVER IT. GOODNIGHT.

GK: Goodnight. (PAUSE, CAR PASSING, DISTANT DOG, VOICES) I used to see that oak tree but a couple weeks ago my head fell off. Some kids ran along and knocked it off and I was decapitated for a whole day and then a woman put my head back on, but turned a little bit to the right so I can no longer look at him or the people in that house who I used to look at. I loved them. The father and his boy were the ones who made me. This is their scarf. And now they are gone from my life.

SS: But now you can see me.

GK: I can.

SS: So doesn't that make up for it?

GK: I don't know. -----Another kind of loneliness is existential loneliness, which is what happens when you think about the world without you in it. I think about that whenever the sun comes out and everyone gets all happy and I feel sort of nauseous. And I know the time is coming when I'll be gone and there's nothing I can do about it. It's hard to think about that with equanimity.

SS: What does equanimity mean?

GK: I don't know. I just like the sound of it.

SS: Where did you hear it?

GK: It's a college town, you hear things. ---- But the loneliness that I don't have is what I wish I had ---- the loneliness when you lose someone who is special to you. I never had someone like that. It's hard to have a relationship when you don't have legs and other people do.

SS: I don't have legs.

GK: But you're a snow angel. I'm a man.

SS: I feel like I have a relationship to you. I'm your angel. I was put here to look after you.

GK: I doubt that.

SS: You're so close I can almost touch you. And if I did, you'd believe. I know you would.

GK: You're very attractive, it isn't that you're not.

SS: Can you lean?

GK: I don't know as I want to.

SS: Try.

GK: Why?

SS: If you lean, maybe you'll fall over and fall into my arms and we'll be together for ever.

GK: But what if it didn't work out? I'd be stuck.

SS: Yes. But you won't be so lonely. And maybe you'll find equanimity.

GK: I have a feeling I may regret this. I'll try. (SLIGHT CREAK) Trying. (CREAK, CRUNCH) Am I moving?

SS: I can't tell.

GK: I'm trying. (EFFORT) Sorry, I can't. (CREAK) OHHHHHH. (HE FALLS) Oh my gosh.

SS: Your head fell off. Your head is in my arms. Are you all right?

GK: I can't see you.

SS: You're looking up at the sky.

GK: I never saw that before.

SS: I look at it all the time. That's where snow comes from, you know. We come from those stars. We're made of stardust. And when our life on earth is over, we'll go back up there, into the sky.

GK: I wish I could believe that.

SS: You can. You're in my arms. I'm your angel. You'll be all right.

GK: I'll never be all right ever again.

SS: Relax. Take deep breaths.

GK: My head fell off. I can't see anybody.

SS: I have your head right here.

GK: The cars used to turn and their headlights would hit me right in the eyes and I used to pretend I was on a stage and I was singing, (HE SINGS)

I couldn't aspire to anything higher than to know your desire to make me your own.
I wanna be loved by you, just you,
And nobody else but you,
I wanna be loved by you, alone!

TR: SHUDDUP. WE'RE TRYING TO SLEEP UP HERE. YOU'RE MAKING MY SAP RISE.

GK: Sorry.

SS: So you miss the bright lights, huh?

GK: I do.

SS: Look at the stars. Our home in the sky.

GK: I don't know. I really don't know. (DISTANT CARS, DOG, VOICES)

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