(The audience enters in the theatre to discover a stage bare of curtains.
At stage left looms a metal sculpture intended to represent: [a] a totem
pole/Christmas tree that stands in an abandoned lot, [b] a wood burning
stove with a snaky chimney that is at the center of MARK and ROGER's
loft apartment, and [c] in Act II, a church steeple. On stage the
five-musician band performs under a wooden platform surrounded by
railing. The wooden platform has a staircase on the upstage side.
Downstage left is a black, waist-high rail fence. Once the audience is in
the theatre, CREW and BAND MEMBERS move about informally
onstage in preparation for Act I).
ROGER DAVIS, carrying an electric guitar, enters upstage left and
crosses to a guitar amp sitting on a chair at center stage. He casually
plugs his guitar into the amp and adjusts levels, then crosses downstage
and sits on the table.
After a few chords, the COMPANY, led by MARK COHEN, enters from
all directions and fills the stage. MARK sets up a small tripod and a
16mm movie camera downstage center, aimed upstage. He addresses the
We begin on Christmas Eve with me, Mark, and my roommate, Roger. We
live in an industrial loft on the corner of 11th street and Avenue B, the top
floor of what was once a music publishing factory. Old rock 'n' roll posters
hang on the walls. They have Roger's picture advertising gigs at CBGB's and
the Pyramid Club. We have an illegal wood burning stove; its exhaust pipe
crawls up to a skylight. All of our electrical appliances are plugged into one
thick extension cord which snakes its way out a window. Outside, a small tent
city has sprung up in the lot next to our building. Inside, we are freezing
because we have no heat.
(He turns the camera to ROGER)
"TUNE UP #1"
December 24th, Nine PM
Eastern Standard Time
From here on in
I shoot without a script
See if anything comes of it
Instead of my old shit
First shot -- Roger
Tuning the Fender guitar
He hasn't played in a year
This won't tune
So we hear
He's just coming back
From half a year of withdrawal
Are you talking to me?
Not at all
Are you ready? Hold that focus -- steady
Tell the folks at home what you're doing Roger ...
I'm writing one great song --
The phone rings.
Zoom in on the answering machine!
(An actor places a telephone on a chair and we see MARK'S MOM in a
"VOICE MAIL #1"
ROGER & MARK'S OUTGOING MESSAGE
"Speak" ... ("Beeeep!")
That was a very loud beep
I don't even know if this is working
Mark -- Mark -- are you there
Are you screening your calls --
We wanted to call and say we love you
And we'll miss you tomorrow
Cindy and the kids are here -- send their love
Oh, I hope you like the hot plate
Just don't leave it on, dear
When you leave the house
Oh, and Mark
We're sorry to hear that Maureen dumped you
I say c'est la vie
So let her be a lesbian...
There are other fishies in the sea
... Love Mom!
(Lights fade on MOM and answering machine.)
"TUNE UP #2"
Tell the folks at home what you're doing Roger
I'm writing one great song
The phone rings
ROGER & MARK'S ANSWERING MACHINE
"Speak" ... ("Beeeep!")
(Lights fade up on the street: the front-door area of MARK and ROGER's
building. Nearby is a battered public pay phone. TOM COLLINS stands
at the phone.)
"Chestnuts roasting -"
ROGER & MARK
(as MARK picks up the phone)