Rhubarb, June 8, 2013

The Greek Theatre

Los Angeles, CA


«archive page

Share:



Rhubarb

Listen (MP3)

GK: So you've been listed as one of Today Magazine's 100 Most Notable Americans so it's no big surprise when Wentworth College asks you to be their graduation speaker this year. (FN WOMAN QUESTION ON PHONE). You say yes, of course, and you get to work on your speech.

SS: Be true to yourself, dare to be different, sing your song, no matter what people think.

GK: Over and over you practice this in front of a mirror, this speech about risk-taking and finding your place in the world (SS: Be true to yourself, dare to be different, sing your song, no matter what people think.) and you commit it to memory because last time you gave a graduation speech, your notes blew away and you'll never forget how foolish you felt. (HEARTBEAT SS: Um. Okay..., um..) So---- graduation day comes and your car pulls up to Old Main and the faculty committee is there to fawn over you (TR & FN FAWNING: o what an honor, we're so happy, love your work, etc etc) and there is a luncheon in your honor (SFX) and there is a toast (TR LOUD HARRUMPHING) and (CLINK) you toss down a glass of wine and (CLINK) there is another toast and now you are feeling a little unsteady... GK: (SS NAUSEA), from the wine and also your dessert, which you ate and which now you realize was a corsage ---- you walk up to the podium as small children strew flowers in your path (TR, FN) and bells ring in the bell tower (SFX) and a fanfare (FANFARE)...

GK: ...and there is an honor guard salute (SFX), the valedictorian releases a bunch of doves (SFX) and a sheep is sacrificed in your honor (SHEEP, THEN THROAT CUT) and you step up to the microphone and suddenly (MIC FEEDBACK, LONG BEAT, SS: Um. Okay. So.. um.) you forget your speech again and you have to vamp for awhile---- (SS W FN ECHO: It is my great pleasure.....and privilege......to come here today.....to address you......—how's everybody doing? Where's everybody from? --- meanwhile you can hear the dean's watch ticking—(SFX) Dean Rhodes who just introduced you and now is looking up at you with alarm. (THROAT CLEARS). You can hear the girl chewing gum in the first row (SFX). You can hear somebody's grandpa's hearing aid. (HIGH PITCHED SQUEAL, OFF). You can hear the digestive systems of the older faculty members (STOMACH GROWLS, FARTS). And then you reach into your pocket. And pull out the paper and you read.

SS: Linguini. Two avocados. Organic horseradish sauce. Whole wheat flour. One dozen free-range eggs.

GK: If there's one thing you learned being a distinguished person, it's Never Display Uncertainty.

SS: Grated parmesan cheese. One dozen zucchini. One whole watermelon.

GK: And now people can see you're trying to make a point. And they're trying to figure out what it is.

SS: Organic orange juice. Boysenberries. Wheat germ. Fresh tarragon and a whole garlic.

GK: They're guessing that you are saying something about meaninglessness. The meaning is in the lack of meaning.

SS: Rice cakes. Brown recycled paper towels. Non-fat milk. Baby tomatoes.

GK: And then a few lines come back to you.

SS: Oh and--Be true to yourself, dare to be different, sing your song, no matter what people think.)

GK: And they give you a big ovation. (SFX). And you head for the reception and you excuse yourself to use the toilet - that corsage you ate is giving you trouble--(DIGESTIVE NOISES, DOOR CLOSE) (FOOTSTEPS) and you unzip and (BIG RIP) you tear your skirt in half and when you flush the toilet (WATER GUSHING, OVERFLOW) it overflows and you slip and (SS FALL, SPLAT) you land on your keester and now you're wet and you smell bad and you open the window (SFX) and there is a narrow ledge so you climb out (SFX) and you walk along the ledge (SFX) three stories up in the air (TREPIDATION) and you turn the corner and (PIGEON) there's a pigeon there and you kick it (SFX) but the pigeon has used the ledge as his toilet and (SS SLIP AND FALL) you slip and fall and land in a crabapple tree (SFX) which catches you and there you hang (SFX) upside down----- and there is the Dean.

SS: Dean Rhodes----

TR: Madame---- allow me-----

GK: And he goes to help you and you fall into his arms (SFX) and that is the picture that goes viral on the Web ----

TR: Oh dear.

GK: A notable American, with no pants on, in the arms of an old academic----Wouldn't this be a good time for a piece of Rhubarb Pie? Yes, nothing gets the taste of shame and humiliation out of your mouth like Beboparebop Rhubarb Pie and Rhubarb Pie filling.

(RHUBARB SONG)

But one little thing can revive a guy,
And that is homemade rhubarb pie.
Serve it up, nice and hot.
Maybe things aren't as bad as you thought.

DUET:
Mama's little baby loves rhubarb, rhubarb,
Beebopareebop Rhubarb Pie.
Mama's little baby loves rhubarb, rhubarb,
Beebopareebop Rhubarb Pie.

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