All posts for the month December, 2011

Pop Goes the Weasel

Published December 31, 2011 by Kristin

Brahms’ Lullaby plays, fading into—

Bert: Good evening and welcome to this hour of “Mother Goose Children’s Theatre,”

Who could say no to this headshot?

bringing you safe theatre for your bedtime stories. Which is like casting Shirley Temple in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I’m your host, Bertolt Brahms.

In the news today: It was discovered in some of George Bernard Shaw’s last diary entries that he was starting to write a new play that would fit nicely as a follow up to Babe, and Babe, Pig in the City. This new play, called Pig Mailin’, will feature James Cromwell as a postal service worker.

A revival of interest in Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire has prompted a flood of poetry contest entries by middle school students nationwide. This winning poem will be featured in the next scholarly article published by Mother Goose Children’s Theatre and will be reviewed by myself, Bertolt Brahms:

Brando had a little wife

Her sister felt so low

And everywhere that Stanley went

Dear Blanche was sure to go.

The tragic event that lead to the now popular, "My Fair Lady."

And now, Theatre News from around the world: Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge, has been touring successfully in Great Britain. They were scheduled to show in London this week. Unfortunately, London Bridge is Falling Down, so the performance has been moved to next week.

In light of the Christmas holidays, we bring you the summary of our production of the children’s ballet, The Nutcracker:

Hickory, dickory, dock.

The Mouse ran up the clock.

The Nutcracker

Found his attacker

Hickory, dickory, dock.

The natural result when the housing market looks bad.

And now for a Little Literary Lesson:

There was a Grotowski who lived in a shoe

He had so little money, he didn’t know what to do.

He wrote down his thoughts, and called it a book,

If only “Poor Theatre” was available on Nook.

And now, Bedtime Discussion. This week, we will be studying Pop, Goes the Weasel from the perspectives of Stanislavski, Artaud, and Boal.

All around the mulberry bush
The monkey chased the weasel.
The monkey thought ’twas all in fun.
Pop! goes the weasel.

Discussion questions include the following:

-From a Stanislavski perspective, discuss what motivates the monkey to chase the weasel.

-From Artaud’s perspective, discuss how the weasel’s popping may have affected the monkey. Also discuss the influences of the monkey and the weasel in Eastern theatre.

-From Boal’s perspective, was the chasing incident or the popping incident more effective in “purging” the monkey, the weasel, or the potential audience?

Finally, we travel through history as this particular story unfolds. It’ll be a Walk to Remember.

Good old Pulitzer!

Once upon a time, there was a Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. He had suffered a Long Day’s Journey into Night, intent upon walking Beyond the Horizon. He made it All the Way Home to Anna Christie, who exclaimed, “Looks like you had The Time of Your Life! How’d ya make it? Did ya Look Homeward, Angel?” The cat had climbed over Fences, Driving Miss Daisy crazy. That resulted in a Street Scene in Our Town that night, bringing about The Death of a Salesman. The cat learned that day How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. As the Salesman lay there dying, contemplating the Crimes of the Heart, experiencing Doubt, searching for Proof that he wasn’t Ruined, he saw the Angels in America. They saw him holding the Cat and said, “You Can’t Take It With You. You’re not Icebound, but you are Hell-bent Fer Heaven and will be In Abraham’s Bosom.” At the funeral, The Subject Was Roses and he was like a Buried Child. As the cat dozed off, no longer Lost in Yonkers, it seemed to The Old Maid that his purring was his way of saying “’Night Mother.”


How the Phantom Criticized Christmas

Published December 17, 2011 by Kristin

Brahms’ Lullaby plays, fading into—


Bert: Good evening and welcome to this hour of “Mother Goose Children’s Theatre,”

Disney's adaptation of Stephen Slesinger, Inc....

What would babies' nurseries look like without Winnie-the-Pooh

bringing you safe theatre for your bedtime stories. Which is like taking Winnie-the-Pooh to the Stuff Me Station at Build-A-Bear. I’m your host, Bertolt Brahms.


Special episode today, in honor of the Christmas season. I like to call it “How the Phantom Criticized Christmas.” We will return to our regular programming schedule in the New Year.


And now, “How the Phantom Criticized Christmas.”

Didn't his mother ever say, "Someday your face might get stuck like that"?


Every actor in theatre liked Christmas a lot…

But Phantom, who lived in shadows backstage, did NOT!

Phantom hated Christmas! The whole Christmas season!

Now please don’t ask why. No one quite knows the reason.

It could be his mask wasn’t glued on just right.

It could be, perhaps, that his tights were too tight.

But I think that the most likely reason of all,

May have been that his heart was two sizes too small.

Whatever the reason, his heart or his mask,

He sat there for Christmas Carol, hating the acts,

Staring down from the beams with a dour, Phantom frown,

At the warm lights on rooftops, setting for a town.


This actor is obviously showing indignation.

For Tomorrow, he knew, all the characters woes

Would show they indicated from head to toes.

And then! Oh the pose! Oh the pose!

Pose! Pose! Pose!

That’s one thing he hated! The pose!

Pose! Pose! Pose!


The actors were all partying somewhere without care

Which allowed old Phantom to emerge from his lair.

“I will stop this whole play,” the old Phantom man cursed,

And he decided right there to write his review as “The Worst!”


Way too jovial for that hour of the night.

Then he scribbled and thought, with a smile most unpleasant.

With a jab of his pen, he killed Christmas Present.

Cratchit, And Christmas Past, Fezziwig, Fred.

Suddenly, on the page, all were quite dead.


“Now that Scrooge standing there, as played by Jim Carey,

Had some wit in this scene, but he was no Dave Barry.

And the one playing Belle; she makes me quite wary.

Were auditions that bad, that you cast Katie Perry?”


Knock, knock. Who's there?

“There are too many actors—includes Dr. Seuss,

And why do so many want to play Dr. Who’s?

I read every article that showed up in the news.

And it seems all these actors had their start in Blues Clues.”


So he scribbled and scratched, as he looked at the set,

And imagined designers caught up in a net.

The holly thrown out, the music destroyed!

This play was just awful, and he was annoyed!


Terry Kilburn (right) as Tiny Tim in A Christm...

Tiny Tim

He looked up from that page, and he saw Tiny Tim,

Little lame Tiny Tim, staring right back at him.

He stared at the Phantom, and said, “Sir Phantom, why?”

“Why do you write this? It’ll make us all cry.”


“Curse the actors!” old Phantom started screaming

“The crowd scenes are messy; they all start teeming!”

“The stage hands are lazy, the sound cues are late.”

“The director is crazy. Don’t make the audience wait.”

“The production is bad. You should pick another date.”


Then to his surprise, the crew started mingling,

With joy in their hearts, and frozen fingers tingling.

They set up the stage, and brought up the lights,

Started the music, all to new heights.


A Christmas Carol

Every actor in this play, the tall and the small

Was acting! No indicating at all!

He hadn’t been right about Christmas or its Carol,

The play was a success! It wasn’t in peril!


And so good Phantom decided to remember

That Christmas Carol was nothing to dismember.

He was so impressed that he asked to be a member

Of the theatre group that wondrous night in December.


The End.

Pie with Augusto Rickman

Published December 10, 2011 by Kristin

Brahms’ Lullaby plays, fading into—

Bert: Good evening and welcome to this hour of “Mother Goose Children’s Theatre,” bringing you safe theatre for your bedtime stories. Which is like taking your Cabbage Patch doll to see the Chucky movies. I’m your host, Bertolt Brahms.

First, a recap of this week. Last Thursday was Thanksgiving Day, and I trust everyone spent the day in arrogant defiance of PETA, eating turkey to your heart’s content. Either way, the turkeys’ hearts are content. One of the greatest Thanksgiving traditions is to eat lots of pie.

English: A slice of homemade Thanksgiving pump...

Safe pie. Not like Mrs. Lovett's or Mrs. Tweedy's.

Pumpkin Pie, Apple Pie, Blackberry Pie…and if you’re from Pennsylvania—Shoofly Pie. I sat down with my colleague, Augusto Rickman, and we shared pumpkin pie while discussing what to write for the next “Mother Goose.” Our conversation went something like this:

Augusto: Well, Bertolt Brahms, what are we going to write? Something snide, I hope.

Bert: This is “Mother Goose,” Augusto Rickman, not Harry Potter.

Augusto: Snap.

Bert: I’m thinking something lighter. You know—like Hogan’s Heroes.

Augusto: Could be appealing. But the masses tend to like the dark side of things. Like Sweeney Todd.

Bert: Ah, but we must think of the children listening to this show. No. No—adventure is more appropriate. Perhaps The Great Escape?

Augusto: That’d be cooler than Hogan’s Heroes, at least.

Bert: Or a combination of all three. Hogan’s Heroes, Sweeney Todd, The Great Escape.

Augusto: Already been done. Called Chicken Run.

Bert: (back to listening audience) After that, the idea seemed about appealing as the Pumpkin Pie in our hands. We eventually hacked out a script.

Bert: BBC announced a new miniseries to rival the still-popular American series, “The Sopranos.” Here’s the synopsis by creator Eugene Chase.

Little Miss Martin

Sat on a carton.

Drinking her English Tea.

Along came a gangster

Who didn’t stop to thanks her

But said, “a, b, c, d, e, f, g!”

Following the rise in popularity of fairy tales made into movies, such as Red Riding Hood, Beastly, and Snow White and the Huntsman, Hollywood has decided to release a new version of Peter Pan with a twist:

Peter, Peter, pumpkin eater

Had a Wendy, couldn’t keep her.

Holy? Rough? It was neater

To keep the Deadly, Immediate theater.

Special surprise guests today for our Mystery History Moment. Listen carefully, kids, and when you’ve figured out the time period, give us a call to win that prize.

Simple Simon met a Pieman,

On a London Street.

Says Simple Simon to the Pieman,

“Let me taste a treat.”

Says the Pieman to Simple Simon,

“These pies are made of meat.”

Says Simple Simon to the Pieman,

“Smells funny in the heat.”

Simple Simon stayed that day

He had no sense of timin’

And what became of Simple Simon

The Pieman would not say.

Bert: Spotlight on Shakespeare this week.

List of titles of works based on Shakespearean...

Image via Wikipedia

Johnson and Johnson and the Gerber Baby bring you today’s episode, The Comedy of Errors—adapted by myself –for your listening pleasure.

Duke: Ya money or ya life, Aegeon!

Aegeon: But Duke, it was a dark and stormy night, years ago. My wife was worried. My kids were crying. I had to sing them to sleep.

Duke: What’d ya sing them?

Aegeon: “Oh your Daddy’s rich,

And your Mamma’s good-lookin.

So, hush little babies, don’ you cry.”

Duke: Did ya think it would work?

Aegeon: Woulda been a miracle. Alas and alack, no. Ship wrecked. Family split.

Duke: Well, ya got 24 hours to find them or the money. Just 24 though. Hey, we should film this—take Kiefer Sutherland along.

Aegeon: Ok.

Bert: As Aegeon was pleading for his life, his four sons arrived in the very same town. Well, two were his sons. But before you think less of his wife, let me explain that the other two were adopted. All of them were born on the same day, see. And if quadruplets isn’t a terror, I don’t know what is. But back to today. All four sons arrive in the same town. The tricky part is that two of them have one name, and the other two have another name. What were the parents smoking? Cigarettes in class, no doubt. One Dromio is servant to one Antipholus. The same with the second set. But poor Adriana. She’s the wife of Antipholus. The one from Ephesus. But she thinks it’s the one from Syracuse. But Syracuse was playing against Pittsburg, needing a win to be eligible to play in a bowl game. The coach says he will continue to oppress the players to go for the Boal.

Adriana: Antipholus!

Bert: You see? All Adriana does is scream at Antipholus. And Dromio. And Dromio. And Antipholus. Whatever. I mean, if Antipholusisusisus’ wife and the kids’ mom and pop can’t keep them straight, how in Shakespeare’s name am I supposed to keep them straight? Pardon my Latin. The confusion continues:

Antipholus: I beat you up.

Dromio: No, I beat you up.

Antipholus: No, I beat him up.

Dromio: No, he beat me up.

Bert: …until a woman wearing a beekeeper’s hat suddenly sees Aegeon and realizes he’s her long-lost husband. The boys, of course, are their sons.

Aegeon: Antipholus!

Wife: Antipholus!

Aegeon: Antipholus!

Wife: Antipholus!

Aegeon: Dromio!

Wife: Dromio!

Aegeon: Dromio!

Wife: Dromio!

Aegeon: Did we get them all?

Duke: Hey, let’s all celebrate! Tell ya what, don’t worry none ‘bout that “money or ya life” deal.

Bert: At the reunion celebration, white elephant gifts were exchanged. Aegeon and the Beekeeper Hat Lady received Lip Smackers chap stick, and all four sons received chains—either jewelry or irons—hard to say which. The end.

Last for tonight, a lullaby. Sweet Dreams!

Hush-a-bye, babies, in theatres,

When you start crying, actors get worse.

They’re so unfocused, that when there’s noise,

They start using language, and lose their poise.

Where the Red Fern Grows

Published December 10, 2011 by Kristin

Brahms’ Lullaby plays, fading into—

Bert: Good evening and welcome to this hour of “Mother Goose Children’s Theatre,”


Sequel soon to be released: "Most Dogs Go To Heaven"

bringing you safe theatre for your bedtime stories. Which is like reading Where the Red Fern Grows to your puppy.

I’m your host, Bertolt Brahms.

First off, tonight, I’d like to announce our upcoming season here at “Mother Goose Children’s Theatre.” I know these plays will delight you in the forthcoming year.

Hey diddle diddle,

Cats, and The Fiddler,

The Buffalo’s Over the Moon,

The Little Mermaid, Proof,

The Cryptogram,

And The Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

Of course, every season here ends with our own piece, written by myself—Bertolt Brahms—

English: Meryl Streep

"Mother Goose seemed like the natural conclusion after Doubt and Mamma Mia!"

entitled Mother Goose and her Nursery Rhymes. This year’s guest artist will be Meryl Streep starring in the lead role, Mother Goose.

Later this evening, the beloved bedtime story, Peter and the Wolf, as read by Konstantin Stanislavski and Alexander Ivanovich. Afterwards, Stanislavski and Ivanovich will be available for your calls.

But before that…History in Rhyme. Last week we covered the Renaissance. This week, we move into the 1800’s.

Little Actor Horner

Sat in a corner

Drinking his whiskey rye.

He thought he was Booth

Which was rather uncouth

And said, “What a good Hamlet am I!”

On to our Gossip Corner. Last week, I was headed to St. Ives, and I met a man with seven wives. I called him Henry the VIII, to which he took no small offense. I had to admit my error. The man had outdone Henry. Henry only had six wives. I never could seem to remember, as Shakespeare never told me. I went on my way, grateful that I did not need to count the number of kits, cats, sacks, and wives, and also pondering what Shakespeare would do with such modern day characters like this man, Liz Taylor, and Kim Kardashian.

The Halloween script contest results are now in. First place winner goes to Alice for her play entitled “Sweeney Todd in Richard III.” 

As a teaser, I have here the Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang to read the opening line.

Child Catcher:  “One, Two,

When I say ‘Boo,’

Three, Four,

You’ll see more gore,

Five, six,

Lollipop licks

Seven, eight,

Fingers taste great,

Nine, ten,

Let’s do it again!

Bert: In other news, the writers of the hit television series, “24,” have started a new series for children, called “12.” And instead of the pounding countdown that starts each hour, the episode will begin with—

“Jack be nimble,

Jack be quick,

Jack hit the President

With a heavy brick.”

I’m also pleased to announce that next summer we will be celebrating the Corpus Christi Feast Day with our own live production. It will be outdoors on the green by the parish. Tickets are free, but seating limited. Everyman for himself.

Updates from the playwrights:

Cover of "Three Uses of the Knife"

1) As a prop on stage. 2) As a straight edge when drawing stage designs. 3) As a means of termination of the pain associated with grad students' thesis papers

David Mamet, inspired by the 4thaddition to the Twighlight saga, is coming out with his complete series, Three Uses of the Knife, Four Uses of the Fork, Five Uses of the Spoon, and Stupid Uses of the Spork. You can preorder them now on Amazon.

And now our tongue twister of the day.

Peter Brook picked a peck of problematic plays.

Before our first commercial break, I would like to take this moment to thank our sponsor “King’s Horses and Men: Lifetime Insurance,” who after a lifetime, have finally put Humpty Dumpty back on wall street. We’ll be back after these messages.