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U P S I D E     d o w n s t a i r s    a cambridge comedy of manners
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"I Heard (You Referred to Me)"    Music by John Sarkissian. Lyric by Cass von Braun
Vocal by John and Cass

S E T T I N G scene i

The Academic Dean Don Middleman, Kate's husband, fears he is about to be embarrassed by his wife's sister Mary, whose one woman show has incited riot on Massachusetts Avenue. The police have been called, and the three argue.

The opening section is chanted, then they all sing:

That's what makes the bitch outrageous! Hell's bells!
The lying witch weaves evil spells!

The dean requests to have removed
Ideas he has not approved?

She is a cultural engineer
Whose comments people flock to hear

By what degree? Her wit is brutal

Art without politics is futile!


I heard you referred to me
In a darkly negative tone
(To Mary) I heard you demurred when she said
Our bed is just a socio-economic zone
(To Kate) You know women always have to nag their men
Into doing what they know they should do

And so I can also come down on you
For turning me into a shrew

It bothers me not a single bit
That you might be a queer

I'm not going to have it off with you anyhow
So why should I care?

Oh, well, I suppose everyone knows
All the wrong I supposedly do

He touts it out loud to the dogs in the press
But never directly to you

Surprise! through the papers the vapors can rise
Unfounded and unsupported not to mention simply untrue

You silly girl! Even in the real world
They have to suspend disbelief
What fun is our treatise if they won't believe us
Grant our tenure, and approach from their knees?

(To Mary) The slightest suggestion that you even exist
Just makes him wild with grief
Until you came along, he thought he was strong
He thought his work was so rad
And now sees the whole point of your being alive
Is only to make him look bad

Ah yes! How does the poet know it?
It's a sharply contentious bone

But you can't be the vanguard
It's a wonder you can even think well of yourself
When you're not even from [phlegmatic cough] catargh-har-har-Harvard

I heard you referred to me
With an edict naive and unkind
The egregious freaking ego of a little middle mind

(by turns, quarrelsome)
I heard you referred to me
In a sharply negative tone

Don seizes Kate's arm and tries to draw her along.

(Spoken, to the policeman)
What nonsense. She's trying to manipulate me. Not that I would be ashamed of being homosexual. However, I just happen to be completely heterosexual. We have a beautiful daughter together. (To the audience) She's at Brown. (To his wife) And I don't care if it does make me a narcissist. If you don't come along with me this very moment I'll toss that little bit of STUFF you've got for a sister right out on her ear. Let's see how much damage she can do with her wicked tongue once she's homeless and doesn't know where her next meal is coming from. She'll have to get a job, that's what! Maybe that will get her off the stage!

This file by nine3 — © 2001       email nine3