Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Metamorphosis, The Musical

Scene I

As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.

He was lying on his hard back and when he lifted his head a little he could see his dome-like brown belly divided into stiff arched segments and his numerous legs, which were pitifully thin, waving helplessly before his eyes.

"I must remember to cancel the exterminator," Gregor thought.

"What has happened to me?" he wondered.  Would this put a crimp in his hoped-for career as a hand model?

Gregor looked at the alarm clock ticking on his bureau and realized that he must be at work within the hour.  Lateness was not well tolerated at his office, and he had already used the excuse of transforming into a gigantic insect several times before, each time without notable success.

"Gregor," called his mother, banging on the door. "You're late."

"Yes, I am getting ready, mother," said Gregor. "Just brushing my mandible, I mean teeth!"

Gregor readied himself for the day as best he could, crawled to the door of his room, and pulled the door open with his maxillae.
"Oh my God!"  screamed Gregor's mother. "Gregor, you look disgusting!  Though nowhere near as bad as comedy writer Bruce Vilanch." 

"What are you talking?" chimed in Gregor's father.  "He looks way worse than Bruce Vilanch.  It's your cousin Greta he's not as bad as."

"I don't think he's quite as revolting as Aunt Greta," said Gregor's sister, "who's turned more men gay than an Ashton Kutcher pin-up calendar.  

Gregor now realized that this was not going to be one of his better days. 

                                                        Scene II    
"Whatever will happen to poor Gregor?" cried Gregor's mother after Gregor had retreated back into his room. 

"He will live a frustrated life," said Gregor's father "although he will turn his energies into helping his fellow insects and just when he doubts the value of his own life,  a kindly angel will ..."

"Where are you getting all this?"

"It's in the nature of the story. You know ... Capraesque."

"You idiot," said Gregor's mother, "this story isn't Capraesque, it's Kafkaesque!"

"Oh,"said Gregor's father. "He's fucked then."                                 

Scene III

Back in his lonely room, Gregor pondered his bleak new fate.  

He could not return to work. He would be ridiculed and ostracized by his employer and co-workers, and there was no law against Insectual Harassment in the state. (rimshot!)
And what would he do day after day in his silent room?  Would he ever get used to masturbating to “Entomology Today” rather than the Internet?  

Gregor thought of his family with great love and tenderness. He knew they would stand by him no matter what the burden, no matter what the cost, no matter how long it took for him to get better. 

Just outside his room, Gregor’s mother, father, and sister were busily constructing a giant fly swatter.
"I just had a thought," said Gregor's father. "Instead of swatting him, let’s exhibit him like the Elephant Man."

"Yes," agreed Gregor's mother. "We could dress him up in silly hats and teach him to juggle!"

"And I'll finally get to meet Matt Lauer," said Gregor's sister. 

Scene IV  

The days passed slowly for Gregor. 

Gregor thought about his past life before the metamorphosis. True, his job selling joy-buzzers to engineering majors was not always satisfying, but he had the contentment of knowing he was making the money to gradually pay down his father's gambling debts, support his mother's meth habit, and save for his sister's boob job.

"I did have a wonderful life after all," thought Gregor

 Gregor began to sing:
I have often morphed
Down the street before,
But the pavement always
Stayed beneath my 4,000 feet before.
All at once do I
eat a poor housefly, 
As a bug this is how I now live.

Eager to share his new found perceptions with his family, Gregor crawled on his many legs to the door of his room, flung it open with his antennae.

There before him was his family and some other familiar people,  their voices all raised in song:
"Hark, the herald angels sing, Glory to the new born king ..." 
"But what has happened?!" cried Gregor.

"What has happened is that you are a pain in the ass, George Bailey!" declared a little gray-haired man who clapped him from behind and spun him around.

"Clarence?" said Gregor.  

"First it was 'Clarence, what if I'd never been born?'

Then it was 'Clarence, what if I were transformed into a giant bug?
What are you going to ask to be next year, George, the Octomom?"
"I remember now. My name is George, not Gregor. I really do have a wonderful life!" 
Hark, the herald angels sing, Glory to the new born king ..."
sang Mary, Janie, Pete, Tommy, and Zuzu, along with Gregor’s moher, father, and sister.
"What do you know?" said Gregor's father, making a fist and playfully poking Gregor's mother in the ribs. 
"It was Capraesque after all."

The End


Sorry there was only one song, folks
Perry Block isn't exactly Lerner and Loewe! 


Glynn said...

What? No dancing girls in a row dressed as the Cockroachettes?

Perry Block said...

I intended to do a musical but couldn't come up with any songs. But I liked the title so much I kept it.

If you can suggest a song parody or two, I'll add 'em.

Marisa Birns said...

I loved this! Very, very clever.

Perry Block said...

Thank you, Marisa.

I try to keep you advised of each installment in my "classic works series." I've pretty much run through every book I've ever read the Cliff's Notes to at this point.

Have any suggestions for other great books?