The Yeomen of the Guard

It’s often been said the W.S. Gilbert’s plots are complex and can be difficult to follow, not only for the audience but even for cast members who might not be on stage for every plot twist and turn!  This might be particularly the case for The Yeomen of the Guard.

In response one could, of course, simply read the Synopsis in the program!  Another solution, however, might be for there to be a cleverly written summary of the show presented to the cast at the company’s Last Gasp Cast Bash!

After our 1999 production of The Yeomen of the Guard, Adena Brumer, who had played Phoebe Meryll, led a number of her fellow cast members in a reading a version of The Yeomen of the Guard as it might have been written by Dr. Seuss, but was actually written by Sharon Brindle, which Adena had found on line.  The reading was very well received.

For our 2013 production of The Yeomen of the Guard, Stephen Hage located the reading on line again, made a number of revisions and led his fellow performers, as the narrator, in a reading of the piece.  The other readers included Lara Trujillo as Phoebe, Stephen Mumbert as Wilfred, Waldyn Benbenek as Meryll, Joshua Kowitz as Fairfax, Jim Ahrens as Lieutenant, Quinn Shadko as Elsie and Jacob Wellington as Point.

Once again, it was very well received.

ACT I

Phoebe:

I mope alone and why, oh why,
This Fairfax man is going to die.

Wilfred:

You weep for him to no avail,
For he will perish in my jail.
‘Tis good this evil man was caught!

Phoebe:

Well, he’s a stud and you are not!

Meryll:

You must not weep, you must not weep,
We’ll save him from his endless sleep,
Your brother’s back – get Fairfax out,
We’ll own him as a Yeoman stout.

Fairfax:

One night remains ere head I lose,
What ho, good sir? What news? What news?

Lieutenant:

Your head will roll – I’ve no reprieve

Fairfax:

Aha – I’ve something up my sleeve.
I need a bride – I don’t care which
I’ll be a corpse, and she’ll be rich.

Elsie:

Alas, my mother’s very ill

Lieutenant:

Will money help?

Elsie:

It will! It will!

Lieutenant:

My friend desires a bride to find

Elsie:

I’m not so sure …

Point:

Well, I don’t mind!

Lieutenant:

You need a job? Well, if you’re fun
I may have need for such an one

Point:

A pretty wit, a pretty wit
My japes have always been a hit
Just test me on my jollity

Lieutenant:

A truce to fooling, follow me

Meryll:

The Colonel’s free, the deed is done
I’ve dressed him up to be my son.

Phoebe:

To let you die, sir, we could not.

Fairfax:

Beg pardon … Hey, my “sister’s” hot!

Phoebe:

Now list, they ring your funeral bell
Instead they’ll find an empty cell

Fairfax:

My lord, bad tidings here I bear
He is not there, he is not there!

Lieutenant:

What say you, man, he is not there?
He can’t have vanished into air!
The jailer must die in his place
If of the prisoner there’s no trace

Wilfred:

It was not me, it was not me
I hate the man, my rival he!

Elsie:

Alas, what am I now to do
I’m married now to heav’n knows who

Point:

You think you’re smart to wed a con
But now the man is gone, gone, gone!

END OF ACT I

ACT II

Women:

Where is the man? Oh, where is he?
Where, oh where can Fairfax be?

Yeomen:

Up and down, and in and out,
Here and there, and roundabout;
No-one in this tower wide
Has found the place where he doth hide!

Fairfax:

Though I am free from fetters grim
I wish I’d not wed on a whim
I’m landed with an unknown wife
I may be shackled to for life!

Point:

My Elsie’s gone to someone new
What shall I do? What shall I do?

Wilfred:

If you make me a jester man
I’ll help you in a cunning plan

Point:

You’ll fire a shot and we’ll pretend
That that’s how Fairfax met his end
Then I will have my Elsie back

Wilfred:

And I can be a Jumping Jack

Fairfax:

I now know Elsie is my bride
I’ll play a trick and test her pride
I love thee, Elsie, fly with me!

Elsie:

What sayest thou? I’m shocked at thee!

Meryll:

What was that shot? What was that shot?

Fairfax:

A gun, was my initial thought

Wilfred:

I fired that arquebus, ’twas me!

Point:

And all was witnessed by Jack P.

Wilfred:

I shot this Fairfax through the head

Point:

And now he’s dead!

Wilfred:

And now he’s dead!

Lieutenant:

To find this body now attend
Before the night is at an end!

Fairfax:

Now Elsie fair, I love thee well
Will you become my wife, pray tell?

Phoebe:

What do they do? What do they do?

Point:

You can’t do that! I love her too!

Fairfax:

Sweet Elsie’s mine, farewell you two …

Point and Phoebe:

And we can only say, “Boo, hoo!”

Wilfred:

Your “brother’s” Fairfax, I do declare!

Phoebe:

Then marry me, you big teddy bear!

Elsie:

Now ’tis my marriage day, it’s said
I will, I must and shall be wed

Lieutenant:

But hold, my girl, ’tis not to be
Your husband lives and he is free

Elsie:

Oh no! Oh no! What shall I do?
How can I face this torment new?

Fairfax:

I am your husband, look at me

Elsie:

Oh joy! Oh rapture! It is thee!

All:

Hurray! Hurray! Oh happy day
Again we say Hurray! Hurray!

Point:

Since this is writ by Dr. Seuss
A tragic ending’s of no use
I’ll find myself another mate
And fall in love with pretty Kate!

THE END

While we are on the topic of summaries of The Yeomen of the Guard … all were pleased when Malka Key, one of our Assistant Stage Managers, offered her contribution at our 2013 Last Gasp Cast Bash.  Malka sang a delightful synopsis of the operetta, to the tune of “A Private Buffoon,” entirely from memory.

This was the third time Malka had sung a summary of the plot of the operetta that we had just presented, having done so in 2011 after the company’s production of The Pirates of Penzance and in 2012 after the company’s production of Patience

Well, the thing you should know when you go to see Yeo-
Man’s this show’s not as light as the others,
With disguises assumed, a parade of the doomed,
And a suspect assortment of brothers.
It is set in the Tower, and under its power,
Our characters plot death and kisses.
But if Cupid’s to say who gets matched up today,
Seems like most of his arrows are misses
Yes, if Cupid’s to say, by his arrow’s decree,
Who gets married today, of the jailed and the free,
Seems like most of his arrows are misses.

At the show’s very start, we learn Phoebe’s young heart
Is attracted to men who are daring.
She’s looked over the wall of the tower’s grim hall
To see how Colonel Fairfax is faring.
If reprieve should arrive, he may yet stay alive,
But his time’s running short in the tower.
For cousin’s foul gain, Fairfax soon will be slain;
His life now reckons less than an hour.
What his cousin has tried, he could easily thwart
With a last-minute bride, though their marriage were short –
She’d inherit in under an hour.

To the scene I’ve portrayed come a jester and maid –
For gold coins, she agrees to the wedding,
While the Merylls conspire that the prisoner’s attire
Trade for clothes Leonard Meryll is shedding.
Fairfax thus is set free: Meryll’s son he will be,
But the trouble with this new disguise is:
Elsie now is stuck wed, unless Fairfax were dead –
And in Act II this answer arises.
Yes if Fairfax were dead, or they thought he was shot,
Jack and Elsie could wed – what they need is a plot.
And in Act II this answer arises.

When the yeomen find out Fairfax fled, without doubt,
They commence a search night and diurnal.
Jack and Wilfred conspire that, with arquebus fire,
Wilfred claim that he just shot the colonel.
In exchange for this fee, he will learn to jest free –
He has only to swear he’s shot Fairfax,
For with Jack Point’s two eyes and the head jailor’s lies,
Tales of cock and bull should cover their tracks.
This is everyone’s win – if their cover’s not blown –
But then Fairfax comes in with a plan of his own –
And then cock and bull give way to bare facts.

Fairfax, under the guise of his Leonard disguise,
Elsie now is without shame a-wooing.
Jack and Phoebe enrage when they finally gauge
What their hoped-to-be sweethearts are doing.
Phoebe and Meryll’s plots someone finally spots
And, bad luck, it’s their unsought admirers.
With their hand – or their heart – they unwillingly part,
And, despairing, the jester expires.
You were warned at the go, though there’s humor in all,
At the end of the show to expect someone’s fall –
And it comes when the jester expires.

Our company is always pleased when Holly Windle makes an Alternate Lyric contribution and, at the Last Gasp Cast Bash for our 2013 production of The Yeomen of the Guard, she made several. 

Her first, sung to the tune of “Is Life a Boon,” was in recognition of the fact that almost every man in the 2013 production grew a beard which helped create just the right look for the show.  That said, there was some debate as to whether beards are a good thing or not.  Perhaps it all depends on the opinion of the one being kissed by the man with the beard!

Are beards a boon?
A woodsman look that’s bold,
A hedge against the cold,
A warm cocoon?
A beard grown thick and long
Makes chinless men look strong,
And women swoon.
Each morning, time you save
Because you needn’t shave,
Because you need not shave.
To razors you’re no slave;
You sleep till noon.
To razors you’re no slave;
You sleep till noon.

Are beards a blight?
For if they grow out grey,
Yes, if they grow out grey,
Aging is on display.
And no troglodyte
Should scratchily caress
Some tender shepherdess.
And so tonight,
You Yeomen contemplate
Your furry facial fate.
Decisions that might wait
To get it right.
Decisions that might wait,
might wait
To get it right.

Holly Windle also wrote an Alternate Lyric song for the 2013 Last Gasp Cast Bash for our 2013, in recognition of the number of understudies who had to “go on” in place of principals who became ill during our production of The Yeomen of the Guard

Sung to the tune of “Oh, Sergeant Meryll, Is It True?” the song made mention of Laura Bidgood, our Stage Manager, who’s task it was to call the understudies to let them know that they were “going on,” and featured a solo by L. Peter Erickson, who was Sergeant Meryll’s understudy … but was also one of the few who didn’t have to “go on!”

Yeomen:

Oh, Laura Bidgood, tell us quick
The shocking news we read in e-mail.
Another lead has fallen sick;
The understudy’s on the stick.
(It’s mostly men, but once a female.)

And so, begins the flurry
To brush up in a hurry.
Adjust a costume, take a tuck
Or let it out, and trust to luck.
Huzzah, huzzah, huzzah.

Meryll Understudy:

We understudies, poised for that alarm,
Struggled with line-learning on scant rehearsal.
Behold, we’re torn:  We hope no vocal harm
Befalls a lead, or any a health reversal.
Forgive our wistful sort of pride — a goal
To demonstrate our work and sing the role.

Yeomen:   

Understudies, understudies:
In one moment, chorus buddies
Soar to glory, a priori,
Though it may be transitory.
To their stardom off they fly.

Following our 1999 production of The Yeomen of the Guard, Holly Windle wrote an Alternate Lyric song to the tune of “Rapture, Rapture” which explored the mixed emotions of a show’s closing.  The song was sung by Waldyn Benbenek and Lynne Hicks, that production’s Sergeant Meryll and Dame Carruthers.

Holly offered the song again at our 2013 Last Gasp Cast Bash where it was sung, once again, by Waldyn Benbenek, along with Deb Haas.

Dame Carruthers:

Happy, happy!
When performances,
Sweet but sappy,
Go to dormances.
Call time slavery,
Backstage knavery,
Pranks unsavory.
Happy, happy!

Sergeant Meryll:

Dismal, dismal!
Yeomen finishing—
Loss abysmal,
Joy diminishing.
All that flattering
Backstage chattering.
Friends now scattering.
Dismal, dismal!

Dame Carruthers:

Carefree, carefree!
Spare time beckoning.
Now we tear free.
Final reckoning.
Done with making up,
Costumes taking up,
Show is breaking up.
Carefree, carefree!

Sergeant Meryll:

Woeful, woeful!
Facing fretfully
Loss of show-full
Nights regretfully.
Sad and scary it
Is to bury it
Till Lake Harriet.
Woeful, woeful!

Dame Carruthers:

Carefree, carefree!

Sergeant Meryll:

Woeful, woeful!

Dame Carruthers:

Carefree, carefree!

Sergeant Meryll:

Woeful, woeful!

Both:

Carefree, carefree, carefree, carefree, carefree!
Woeful, woeful, woeful, woeful, woeful!

Dame Carruthers:                         Sergeant Meryll:

Happy, happy!                       Dismal, dismal!
When performances,             Yeomen finishing—
Sweet but sappy,                   Loss abysmal,
Go to dormances.                 Joy diminishing.
Call time slavery,                  All that flattering
Backstage knavery,               Backstage chattering.
Pranks unsavory.                   Friends now scattering.
Happy, happy!                       Dismal, dismal!

Happy, happy!
                                            Dismal, dismal!
Happy, happy!
                                            Dismal, dismal!

Happy, happy, happy, happy!   Dismal, dismal, dismal, dismal!

Call time slavery,                   All that flattering
Backstage knavery,                Backstage chattering.
Pranks unsavory.                    Friends now scattering.
Happy, happy!                        Dismal, dismal!

Holly Windle also wrote a new Alternate Lyric song for the 2013 Last Gasp Cast Bash which discussed the show’s closing.  It was sung to the tune of “Where Upon We’re Both Agreed” by Anthony Rohr, the understudy for Jack Point, and Zach Garcia, the understudy for Wilfred Shadboldt.

Both:

Hereupon we’ve reached the end
Of a long run,
Ev’ry song done.
No more halberds to descend
With a clatter.
Now, no matter.

Point:   

No more deadly swords to pierce
Any ankles,
Though it rankles.

Wilfred:

And the headsman’s axe so fierce —
Just a rental,
Sentimental.

Point:       

Sentimental!

Wilfred:

Just a rental!

Point:       

Sentimental!

Wilfred:

Just a rental!

Both:       

Just a rental, sentimental, just a rental.

Sing a song ridiculous,
Full of rhymes meticulous.
Sing with gusto,
Yeomen’s gone bust-o!
What a song ridiculous.

Both:

How we yearned for wearing red.
But as town men,
We were brown men,
With no ruff below the head.
Decoration,
Strangulation!

Point:   

With the block, our work was key.
Didn’t drop it,
But we’d swap it …

Wilfred:

For a juggling club or three.
That’s behind us.
Never mind us.

Point:

Never mind us.

Wilfred:

That’s behind us.

Point:

Never mind us.

Wilfred:

That’s behind us.

Both:

That’s behind us – never mind us – that’s behind us.

Sing a song ridiculous,
Now let’s add an arquebus.
Sing with gusto,
Yeomen’s gone bust-o!
What a song ridiculous.

Point:

You can bring the ark.

Wilfred:

Better take the bus.

Point:

You can bring the ark.

Wilfred:

Better take the bus.

Both:         

What we want’s an arquebus, arquebus, arquebus!
    Yeomen’s bust-o,
And we want an arquebus!

Not all the contributions to the alternate lyric concert are necessarily alternate lyrics!  A wonderful example of this was our Director, Lesley Hendrickson’s contribution at the 2013 Last Gasp Cast Bash.  She wrote a scene to follow at the end of The Yeomen of the Guard, featuring the Second City Network’s character, the Sassy Gay Friend.  The scene featured Quinn Shadko as Elsie Maynard, Jacob Wellington as the dead Jack Point and Anthony Rohr as Elsie’s Sassy Gay Friend.

Lesley introduced the piece, declaring that as the chorus sings the final measures of The Yeoman of the Guard, Act II Finale, Jack dies in Elsie’s arms.  But before the final chord is finished, we hear a voiceover:

ANNOUNCER:

This is Elsie of Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Yeoman of the Guard.  She’s wracked with guilt over the death of the man she cruelly spurned.  All of this could have been avoided if only she’d had a Sassy Gay Friend.

SGF:

What are you doing?  What, what, what are you doing?

Disco music, SGF dancing

SGF :

Elsie, what were you thinking?

Elsie:

I don’t know.  I’m married to … Leonard … no Fairfax … no Leonard … some
guy in crazy bloomers.  I have no idea who he really is.  But now I think I’ve
made a terrible mistake and it’s Jack that I’ve loved all along.  I’m so confused.

SGF:

Now I’m confused.  At least let’s get you away from the dead body until I can
smack some sense into you. (helps her up)

Elsie:

Oh, heavens!  Jack’s really dead!  And I laughed at him!  Aloud!  Oh, god,
I feel so guilty!

SGF:

Oh, honey, you know as well as I do that the (air quotes) “best used by” date
on Jack’s ticker expired months ago.  So unless you were feeding him pork
rinds and deep-fried cheese curds, it’s not your fault.

Elsie:

I guess you’re right.  But I’m still married to this… Fairfax … Leonard …
Fairfax.

SGF:

Yeah, about that.  There’s a name for girls who marry for money, and that’s
just not the Elsie I know.

Elsie:

But Fairfax was to have died.  And he did not die.  And now my heart is
well-nigh broken.

SGF:

Oh, sure.  Your heart was so broken that you were ready to marry another guy
all of – what? (looks at watch)  Two days later?

Elsie:

But he was so sweet to me, while Jack was being all pissy and clingy …

SGF:

Elsie, Elsie, Elsie.  Obviously there’s nothing wrong with your gaydar, but your
JERK-o-meter needs a serious overhaul!  Elsie, this is a guy who married you
just to spite some stupid relative.  Then he turns around and cheats on you
with Phoebe, and then thinks it will be hilarious to publicly humiliate you on
your wedding day.  And, by the way, you looked fabulous in that wedding
dress.

Elsie:

Oh, thank you.

SGF:

What color would you call that?

Elsie:

Champagne.

SGF:

Well, it was stunning.

Elsie:

But it was all a horrible, horrible mistake.  I should have stayed with Jack, and
now he’s gone …

SGF:

You’ve got to stop beating yourself up.  This thing with Jack – it never would
have worked.  Health issues aside, can you honestly see yourself spending
the rest of your life playing Vanna White while he hauls you from street corner
to street corner juggling and telling lame jokes?  You deserve better.

Now, dry those tears (Ooo, next time you should get the waterproof mascara)
and let’s go get a facial.  And then we’re going shopping to get you a new
outfit.  That Harlequin look is so five minutes ago.  So look at me … look at
me.  You’re just a stupid bitch.  Now scoot.  I’m right behind you.

A beat.  He looks at Jack, still sprawled on the floor.

SGF:

Oh, Jack. She’s gone. You can get up now.

He helps Jack up. With arms around each other, they head off in the opposite direction.

SGF:

She’s just a stupid bitch!

Disco Music

Prior to our 2013 production of The Yeomen of the Guard, the United States Postal Service changed its rules regarding bulk mailing.  Unfortunately, The Gilbert & Sullivan Very Light Opera Company didn’t get the memo! 

As a result, our bulk mailed flyers were prepared incorrectly and could not be mailed.  We decided, however, that it didn’t matter.  After all, almost everyone who would have received a flyer had also received an email with all of the necessary information about the production and ordering tickets.  As Opening Night approached, however, we began to realize that something was very wrong.  Our ticket sales were significantly lower than usual!  It became clear that our generally older audience did not respond to our emails and apparently needed the mailed flyers in order to purchase tickets.  With a ticket sales crisis at hand, we decided that we had to mail the flyers first class.  Almost immediately, the remaining nights sold out!  We had learned a valuable lesson … the flyers must be mailed!

The following alternate lyric song was sung, by the company, to the tune of “All Frenzied, Frenzied with Despair.”

All frenzied, frenzied with despair they wail,
“Our fly-ers were not in the mail!”
Oh help, how do we fix this mess we’re in?
Ah yes, we’ll send/e-mails to them!

Research, research has shown that older folk
Must have a piece of paper in their hands.
So mega bucks, yes mega bucks we’ll spend
To send those fly-ers first class mail,
Those fly-ers first class mail to send.
So mega bucks, yes mega bucks
Those flyers first class to send
But finally in the end
Most seats were sold,
Or so we’re told,
Yes, SOLD

As a result of the company’s bulk mailing fiasco during our 2013 production of The Yeomen of the Guard, with many of the performances during our first two weekends far from sold out, the company had to consider the fact that the operetta was going to do much less well financially than we had anticipated.  Our hope turned … at least in good humor … to the sale of our promotional items, championed by Mary Gregory! 

The following alternate lyric song was written by Jim Brooks and sung by Waldyn Benbenek, Missy Griffen, Deb Haas and Joshua Kowitz, to the tune of “Strange Adventure,” in appreciation for Mary’s good efforts!

Odd occurrence, first two weekends,
Empty seats we’ve often seen,
Often, often, often seen.

If this half-full house continues,
We will need to make more Green!
Make more, make more, make more Green!

We must sell more Yeomen treasure,
Yeomen t-shirts, made to measure,
Yeomen tote bags, what a pleasure!
Bargain priced at seventeen!
Seven, seven, seventeen!

Odd occurrence, we have sweatshirts!
U.S. made with lots of room,
Lots of, lots of, lots of room!

And yes, hoodies, buy two, won’t hurt!
You can’t beat them.  Fruit of Loom!
Fruit of, fruit of, fruit of Loom!

Buy ‘em quick and do not tarry.
All this stuff is cash and carry.
Please pay Mary, yes, pay Mary!
Raise our funds, strong balance book!
Next year’s, next year’s, The Grand Duke!

The Grand Duke! The Grand Duke!
Spend some dough and get that look!
Next year’s, next year’s The Grand Duke!

While most of our alternate lyric songs are contributed by cast members, our orchestra members also enjoy getting into the act!

The follow song was written by Nancy Birth and Karen Neinstadt, two of our second violin players, to the tune of “I Have a Song to Sing, O,” humorously bemoaning the fact that their part in that song was, perhaps, not the most interesting.

Rather than performing their song at the Last Gasp Cast Bash, however, they asked the cast to sing the piece, on stage before the show, during one of the final warm ups, while they accompanied the cast, playing their somewhat monotonous part on their violins.

I have a note to play-O!
What is that note-O?

It is played to the moon,
a monotonous tune,
as it lasts the whole dang song-o.
It’s the note of a vio-lin,
moping glum,
who hoped more notes
along would come.
Who might crack up
before it’s done
as we play
the whole way
on B-flat-O!

Hades, Hades,
misery me,
bar sixty- three.
We might crack up
before it’s done
as we play
the whole way
on B-flat-O!

I have a note to play-O,
This time it’s A-O!

It’s a sound with the tone
of the bagpipes’ drone
and we play it on and on-O.
In the song that Marina
lets us play loud
it’s just one note but we play it proud
to the moan of the vio-lins.
Bowing glum
through fin-a-le sad
as our arms go numb.
We might wake up
if you nudge a bit
for such is our life in the pit.

Hades, Hades,
misery me,
bar one oh three.
We might wake up
if you nudge a bit,
for such is our life in the pit.

There are moments during the run of any production when a cast member might begin to think that they’d really rather be elsewhere … especially if they could be elsewhere with a beer in hand!

The following alternate lyric was sung by the company to the tune of “Night Has Spread Her Pall Once More,” with a refrain, sung to the tune of “The Beer Barrel Polka.” This alternate lyric song was unique in the history of the company’s Last Gasp Cast Bash … as it was accompanied by Wally Benbenek, on the accordion. Yes, we knew that Wally was Polish … we just didn’t realize how Polish he was!

Night has spread her pall once more
And again, we’re standing here
Singing the dark Act II opening bore
Wishing we had real beer
We have taken on this chore
Why? So Marina won’t yell
Damn, the audience’s sound asleep
And we can’t keep the beat
Chorus are we, where is that chord?
Chorus are we, where is that chord?

Night has spread her pall once more
And we want a different beat
No one has used an accordion before
So we will attempt that feat

And a 1 and a 2…

Night has spread her pall once more and the prisoner’s stil
(Roll out the bar – rel we’ll have a bar – rel of fun;)

Open is his dungeon door, use less his dungeon key
(Roll out the bar – rel we’ve got the blues on the run.)

He has shaken off his yoke, how no mortal man can tell
(Zing boom ta – rar – rel, ring out a song of good cheer; )

Shame on lou tish jailorfo-olk
(Now’s the time to roll the bar-rel,)

Shame on sleepy sentinel
(For the gang’s all here.)

Shout:  Chorus are we!

Wally on accordion …

Rolling out the barrel!

For the gang’s all here!

Our Costume Mistress, Jo Pasternack, is a regular Alternate Lyric song contributor.  For our 2013 Last Gasp Cast Bash, Jo shared a song, sung to the tune of “Night Has Spread Her Pall Once More,” which celebrated the miracles she had to do in order to make the costumes fit the several understudies who had to go on during the run of the show, as well as the general costume repairs that take place during any show.  Along with members of the chorus, this song was sung by Johna Miller, understudy for Elsie Maynard, Michael Burton, understudy for Colonel Fairfax, Zach Garcia, understudy for Wilfred Shadboldt and Deb Haas, our Dame Carruthers … whose understudy did not have to go on!

Women:

Jo has thread and pins once more,

Johna:   

And the costume fits me.

Women:   

She’s taken a size forty-four,
And made it a twenty three!
She has taken in this cloak,
How, no mortal can tell.
H’ray for backstage costume folk!

Michael & Zach:

H’ray! She made it fit me well!

Deb:

Actors are you, what do ye wear?
Actors are you, what do ye wear?
Pin, stitch, and glue; repair that tear!
Buckle and chain; zipper and sash
All are in vain; costume is trash’d!
Spite of your work, it’s debris, it’s debris!
What do ye wear?  Pretty actors are you.

Chorus:

Actors are you, what do ye wear?
Spite of your work, it’s debris, it’s debris,!
What do ye wear?  Pretty actors are you.

Men:

Up and down, and in and out.  Here and there, and roundabout;
Ev’ry cloak, ev’ry shirt, ev’ry blouse, ev’ry skirt,
Ev’ry costume in the show; ev’ry thing that Jo must sew.
Ev’ry velvet, all grosgrain, has she fixed,
But all in vain, all in vain!

Women:

Actors are you, What do ye wear?

Men:

Ev’ry cloak, ev’ry shirt, all grosgrain,
Ev’ry velvet, all grosgrain, has she fixed,
But all in vain, all in vain!

Women:                                                 Men:

Actors are you, What do ye wear:    Ev’ry cloak, ev’ry shirt,
                                                     Ev’ry blouse, ev’ry skirt,
Jo has thread and pins once more,   Actors are you,
                                                     What do ye wear?
And the costume fits me                 What do ye wear? (etc.)
She’s taken a size forty-four,
And made it a twenty three!            Spite of your work,
                                                     It’s debris, it’s debris,!
She’s taken a size forty-four,
And made it a twenty three!

All:

Twenty three!  Twenty three!  Pretty actors are ye!

In most productions of The Yeomen of the Guard, it is inevitably the case that the Yeomen will be occasionally blocked to stand in front of the Townspeople during the full chorus numbers.  That was certainly the case in our 2013 production, in which our six foot plus chorus of Yeomen often stood in front of the five foot something chorus women.  A number of our Townswomen commented on that situation in the following Alternate Lyric song, written by Shawn Holt, at the 2013 Last Gasp Cast Bash, sung to the tune of “I Have a Song to Sing, O!”

I’m from the port of short, O!

What do you see, O?

I see the backs of the men standing six feet ten,
Whose legs are so damn long-O.

I’m acting my ass off, it’s so dumb.
No one can see me, I’m so glum!

When I look up I see their bums and I know that no one can see me.

Heigh-dy, heigh-dy!
Little old me, full of envy.
The wall of tall makes me feel so small as I fight to be seen in the show, O!

The following alternate lyric song was in recognition of some of the problems we faced during our 2013 production of The Yeomen of the Guard, including the fact that it was a miserably cold, wet spring, as well as the fact that there were scheduling conflicts with others using the same backstage spaces as us.  The result was that it was more necessary and more difficult than usual for the company to hold warm ups before the shows.

This song was sung by Deb Haas as Dame Carruthers and members of the chorus, to the tune of “Night Has Spread Her Pall Once More.”

Women

Spring has brought another play,
But no Spring has shown its face.
Winter snow is here to stay,
Causing a health disgrace.

We arrive to set the scene.
Strange!  There’re church kids in our green room.
Shame on our venue’s rules obscene,
Make our warm up plans go boom!

Dame Carruthers

Singers are ye? Where shall ye sing?
Singers are ye? Where shall ye sing?
Hum and sing ah’s, sing all your scales, review your plot.
Don what you wear, I need it not, I can just stare!

Your throats are cold so you sing flat in G!
Where shall ye sing pretty singers are ye!

Women

Pretty singers are we! Where can we sing?
Our throats are cold so we sing flat in G!
Where shall we sing? Pretty Singers are we!

Men

Up and down and in and out,
Here and there, and roundabout,
Every entrance every door,
Every janitor implore!

Holly’s lyrics for the “Hail,”
They’re great, but our search we fail.
Every classroom every stair,
We have searched but it’s not fair, it’s not fair!

Women

Singers are we! Where can we sing?

Men

Every door, we implored, every stair,

Women

Singers are we! Where can we sing?

Men

Every entrance every classroom we have searched but it’s not fair!

Women                                            Men

Spring has brought another             Singers are we. Where can we sing?
Play,                                              Where can we sing?
But no Spring has sown its               Singers are we. Where can we sing?
Face.                                             Where can we sing?
                                                     Singers are we. Where can we sing?
Winter snow is here to stay,            Our throats are cold so we sing flat in D!
Causing a health disgrace.              Pretty singers are we?  Flat in C!
Winter snow is here to stay.            Our throats are cold so we sing flat in B!
                                                     Our throats are cold so we sing flat in E!
                                                     Pretty warders are we!

All

Flat in G! Flat in E!

Women

Pretty singers are we!

All

Flat in D! Flat in C!
Pretty singers are we!