Tag Archives: arts

Vibrum Soul, Act One, Scene Four

NOTE: Because entries show up in reverse order, latest first, this is the last part I have of the play. Links to the earlier scenes are at the very bottom of this page under “related links.” To read about Pure Shmint, search on Pure Shmint Introduction if the various links don’t get you there–I’m not sure the tags are working correctly.

Jack’s House

(Jack is seen with a CB radio)

Jack: Yellow dog to Darth Vader, you got a copy? Yellow dog to Darth Vader, you got a copy?
Darth Vader (from offstage): This is old Darth Vader, here, Yellow dog. I gotcha five five five, now come on back.Jack: You still selling the VW bus?
Darth Vader: 10-4, good buddy.
Jack: Uh huh. Sounds really good. But the thing I don’t know about is me going back nine miles just to check the bus out. Is there a way you can bring the bus down to the end of the road, I can check on it and get back to you later?
Darth Vader: Big 10-4, Yellow Dog. I think I can slap some tread on her and roll her down to the bottom of the road today. Tell you what, you keep your ears on and I’ll get back to you.
Jack: Yeah, I’ll be 1010 on this side.
(Enter Larry)
Larry: Hi, Jack
Jack: Hey, how ya doin’ Larry. What’s happening?
Larry: Hey, you wanna play some ping pong?
Jack: No. I got no time. Hey, anyway, you got the time?
Larry: Time? You wanna know what time it is? Hey, I got a great way of finding the time. All you need is a stick.
Jack: Not another one of these stick things, again, Larry. C’mon, huh, where’s your watch?
Larry: Hey, here, hold this, Jack. That’s great. And hold that like that. No,no, no this way, like that. That’s it. Hold it up near the window, that’s right. Now lift your foot. That’s it. Lift it up, lift it up, oh, that’s great, that’s perfect. That’s it.
Jack: Oh, c’mon.
Larry: You see the sun’s rays go over the stick, hits the ping pong racket, hits your toe and forms a yin/yang mish/mash on the floor. Tells you exactly what time it is. It’s exactly, ah, four thirty one and 27 seconds.

Jack: Really? That late? How can it be that late?
Larry: 11:30 (looking at watch). Can’t understand it. I got it right out of the Idiot’s Guide to Woodsmanship.
Jack: Hey, Larry. You know what I can’t understand is the fact that there’s no water in the water tank, Larry. Three hundred gallons of water is missing.
Larry: Hey Jack, let’s go play some ping pong. Huh. What do you say? I’m really getting into it today.
Jack: You don’t understand how serious this is, Larry. The plants are drooping, do you understand what I’m saying?
Larry: Well, it’s awfully hot out. You know, maybe somebody took a shower.
Jack: What are you talking about, somebody took a shower. We just had a land group meeting yesterday. It’s drought season. You know that.
Larry: I know, but you know sometimes taking a shower is a matter of life and death. Like my grandmother. She never used to take a shower. She used to sweat all over the place. Finally nobody went to her house and she died of lonliness.
Jack: Larry, I got a feelin’, I got a funny feelin’, that you took a shower. Right?
Larry: Well, an itsy bitsy little shower, one of those little ones.
Jack: Jesus Christ! I can’t believe you. You’re up here for three years, you don’t know anything, Larry. Nothing, nothing. Three hundred gallons of water on a shower?
Larry: Hey, hey, hey Jack, wait, wait, calm down, man, calm down. I did not use three hundred gallons of water to take a shower. I attended that land meeting. And I ain’t that irresponsible. I really feel bad that you accuse me of that. I took an itsy bitsy shower. I still have soap on me, smell.
Jack: Huh. Hey, I’m sorry, I don’t know. You know….what happened to the water, Larry?
Larry: Well, the water will be back tomorrow anyway, so you shouldn’t. .  .  .
Jack: What, what did you say?

Larry:Hey, backhand, let’s practice our backhand today.
Jack: The water will be back tomorrow. What the hell are you talking about?

Larry: Well, ah, ah, I’ll level with you, Jack. I’ll level with you. You know this morning I got up, you know. I was lying in my bed and I just realized that my mattress is lumpy. Boy, it’s got these little buttons in it and it just makes you feel…you get up and you got these little marks all over your body. You feel like a radio.
Jack: Larry, what does this have to do with the water?
Larry: Well, I’m getting to that, Jack. I’m driving into town and I just realized that there was a flea market. So I went into the flea market and I’m looking around and there it was.
Jack: What Larry?
Larry: The answer to all my problems.
Jack: Larry, what. What did you see, Larry?
Larry: You’ll never guess. Wanna guess, Jack?

Jack: Larry, tell me.

Larry: Wanna guess?
Jack: No
Larry: It was a water bed.
Jack: A water bed.
Larry: Yeah, I got a water bed. Man, I’ll be the most popular guy in the hills with a water bed in my cabin.
Jack: A water bed. You took the water from the tank and put it in a water bed. Right? Right? Right? Ohh, Larry, I cannot believe…. I cannot believe…. arghh, arghh…. I’m gonna kill you, Larry.

(Jack grabs hatchet from wood stove and begins to chase Larry with it. Larry defends himself with ping pong racket. Fight moves over the room,on the bed.

shmint 5 ed 3

Finally Larry manages to get ping pong racket between Jack’s teeth. Jack bites down.)

shmint 14 ed 2

Larry: Count! One , one,

Jack: (through racket) One
Larry: Two, two, three, four

Jack: Two, three, four
Larry: Five’s next five, six

Jack: Five, six
Larry: Seven, there’s a seven in there,too

Jack: Seven, eight
(Exit Jack, counting through paddle)
Larry: I can’t understand the guy. Just a little bit of water and he gets upset. Man! He just ruined  my ping pong paddle, too. How would HE like sleeping on an empty water bed?

END OF TRANSCRIPT, SEE BELOW

Sad to say, for nearly a quarter of a century, I have believed that I had a fully transcribed copy of this play in a manuscript binder, waiting for the internet to be invented so I would have some place to put it, only to find that I,  in fact, have two fully transcribed copies of most of Act One. So my promise to upload the entire play cannot be kept at this time, although in my frantic search for the rest of a transcript I was sure I had, I did discover that I have portions of other Pure Shmint plays that theoretically could be uploaded at a later time. At the end of this entry are links to audio files of the rest of the play and some rehearsals.

For now, I will post my remaining photos of the dress rehearsal of this play and explain the plot as best I can remember it. Although I am saddened by this turn of events, I will console myself with the thought that, given the climate of Shum and the vicissitudes of my personal life, involving the constant storage and restorage of my field notes, it is a miracle this much has survived.

shmint 15 ed 2

shmint 12 ed 1

The CB broadcast to “Darth Vader” about the bus is overheard through static by Larry, listening to his own CB. He then becomes convinced that it was a warning about an imminent bust. Sometime after the fight scene above, he rushes into Jack’s house with the rumor that a bust will happen any minute. Jill freaks and begins running around trying to think what to do next.

shmint 2 ed

 

 

 

 

Jack attempts to calm Jill down.

 

At some point, Jack is either actually dead or is dreaming he is dead. He encounters a sequence of post-death characters, including a tailor who looks and sounds like Larry. Here, set in the laundromat, this character measures Jack for either a coffin or a suit, I can’t remember which.

 

 

 

shmint 17 ed 2

The final act takes place at what Shummians call a “boogie.” The banner on the wall says “Harvest Boogie” and there usually actually is a Harvest Boogie sometime in the late Fall and it does look very much like this, only much more crowded and with a lot more people dancing alone, though very much together with the entire group. In the old days, there used to be a somewhat magic phenomenon at boogies, one that I noticed many and many a time, wherein a group consciousness formed that allowed dancers to be packed together very closely and yet never bump into each other.

When the current Mateel Community Center was built, it included a balcony. I used to stand on the balcony and observe a wave pattern of movement one could see in an aerial view, that was produced by the dancers, unconsciously, without changing their position on the floor. I can’t explain it, except to refer interested parties to the writings of E.T. Hall, quoted extensively in my book.  I noticed that it became less and less observable throughout the 1980s, until by the time I went to my last boogie, I could not see it at all and there were more instances of people bumping into each other. It was one of the signs that made me feel less bad about it when circumstances led me to move from the community.

rehearsal scene ed

Rehearsals and performances of  Vibram Soul took place in what was then called Fireman’s Hall and is now referred to as the “old hall.” When it burned down in an arson fire, many saw it as the end of an era. It had started out being owned by the Garberville Fire Department, whose engines were housed in the adjoining barn. It was then rented for years by Shummians for their activities and eventually bought by the Mateel Community Center organization. For some, the new hall built after the fire was never quite as homey as the funky old hall had been.

dancer gets makeup ed

One of the dancers in the dream and death sequences is made up, with the help of one of the many children to be found at any rehearsal.

Below, it is Standing Room Only in the old hall as the audience awaits opening night.

vs audience ed

vs nonie w child ed

A dancer, before dress rehearsal, the make-up artist and, I believe, her son share a moment.

 

 

 

Pure Shmint, Introduction

Probably the most traditional segment of my fieldwork for Beyond Counterculture, my ethnographic study of the culture of what I now call the Land of Shum was the three months I spent following around the improvisational drama group, Pure Shmint. With their permission and great tolerance, I literally pitched my tent in the field adjoining the house on Briceland Road then occupied by the director of the play then being developed (directors varied from play to play) and attended every discussion, rehearsal, road trip, conversation and work party I could.

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Vibram Soul. Act One, Scene One

Below and in subsequent entries are part of the script of the Pure Shmint play “Vibram Soul” and links to audio files from tapes of the play, as well as one to part of a rehearsal.

 

vs flyer

The script is incomplete at this time, though I plan to transcribe as much as I can of the rest of it from my original field tapes of the performance and rehearsals.

The sound quality leaves much to be desired, since I had only the cheapest of equipment. It varies throughout, but it is possible to get a sense of the play and the response of the audience even though there are sections where the actual lines cannot be made out. I find that its more audible in general with headphones. There is also overlap between the second link and the third link, so the last few minutes of the second link which are inaudible are repeated in the third link more audibly. (I taped the first half of one performance and the second half of another, for some reason.) In the last blog entry with the script, I have posted two links to tapes of the play actually being created at various rehearsals, to present the process by which the play was generated. It takes a while to load the audio files, be patient.

Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, you can’t look at the script and hear the audio file at the same time, unless you know something I don’t. That would be my recommendation if it could be done, with the caveat that no script I ever came up with reflected any performance or rehearsal word for word, since this is improvisational drama and the actors always varied the lines slightly. There is at least one place where a lengthy section is moved to a later position in the performance than it appears in this script. If you were really, really into it, I suppose you could download or print the script to read while listening to the tapes.

Oh, and be informed that the dialog does not start until after a long musical sequence which is the dance number that opens the play. You could fast forward through that. Other such musical sequences accompanying dance numbers show up later on as well.

 

Vibram Soul

written and played by members of Pure Shmint, preserved for posterity by Jentri Anders

ACT I, Scene 1

(On a darkened stage, principals join hands and chant “Om.” Life, Death, and Prana join them. All chant Om. Principals exit leaving Life, Death, and Prana. Lights come up revealing Death with a drum. In the ensuing dance Death plays the drum, Prana and Life enter, Prana attempts to steal the drum, finally succeeds. Life hides behind him. Death steals it back. Life drags Prana offstage. Death dances alone with the drum.

Big Don w drum ed

Life comes back in. Death approaches Life, they dance a pas de deux. Prana sneaks back in, steals the drum, which has been left to one side. Life and Death approach Prana. He hesitates, then the three of them together carry the drum offstage and re-enter, having exchanged it for Jack. Life, Death and Prana exit, leaving Jack center stage playing harmonica.)

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