RENT [Act One]

“Tune Up #1”

MARK
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

ROGER
This won’t tune

MARK
So we hear
He’s just coming back
From half a year of withdrawal

ROGER
Are you talking to me?

MARK
Not at all
Are you ready? Hold that focus — steady
Tell the folks at home what you’re doing Roger …

ROGER
I’m writing one great song —

MARK
The phone rings.

ROGER
Saved!

MARK
We screen
Zoom in on the answering machine!

“Tune Up #2”

MARK
Tell the folks at home what you’re doing Roger

ROGER
I’m writing one great song —

MARK
The phone rings.

ROGER
Yesss!

MARK
We screen.

ROGER & MARK’S ANSWERING MACHINE
“Speak” … (“Beeeep!”)

COLLINS
“Chestnuts roasting —”

ROGER & MARK
Collins!

COLLINS
I’m downstairs

MARK
Hey!

COLLINS
Roger picked up the phone??

MARK
No, it’s me.

COLLINS
Throw down the key.

MARK
A wild night is now pre-ordained

COLLINS
I may be detained.

MARK
What does he mean…?
What do you mean “detained”?

BENNY
Ho ho ho.

MARK & ROGER
Benny! Shit.

BENNY
Dudes, I’m on my way

MARK & ROGER
Great! Fuck.

BENNY
I need the rent

MARK
What rent?

BENNY
This past year’s rent which I let slide

MARK
Let slide? You said we were ‘golden’

ROGER
When you bought the building

MARK
When we were roommates

ROGER
Remember — you lived here!?

BENNY
How could I forget?
You, me, Collins and Maureen
How is the drama queen?

MARK
She’s performing tonight

BENNY
I know.
Still her production manager?

MARK
Two days ago I was bumped

BENNY
You still dating her?

MARK
Last month I was dumped

ROGER
She’s in love

BENNY
She’s got a new man?

MARK
Well — no

BENNY
What’s his name?

BOTH
Joanne

BENNY
Rent, my amigos, is due
Or I will have to evict you
Be there in a few

MARK
The power blows…

“Rent”

MARK
How do you document real life
When real life is getting more
Like fiction each day
Headlines — bread-lines
Blow my mind
And now this deadline
“Eviction — or pay”
Rent!

ROGER
How do you write a song
When the chords sound wrong
Though they once sounded right and rare
When the notes are sour
Where is the power
You once had to ignite the air

MARK
And we’re hungry and frozen

ROGER
Some life that we’ve chosen

TOGETHER
How we gonna pay
How we gonna pay
How we gonna pay
Last year’s rent

MARK
We light candles

ROGER
How do you start a fire
When there’s nothing to burn
And it feels like something’s stuck in your flue

MARK
How can you generate heat
When you can’t feel your feet

BOTH
And they’re turning blue!

MARK
You light up a mean blaze

ROGER
With posters —

MARK
And screenplays

ROGER & MARK
How we gonna pay
How we gonna pay
How we gonna pay
Last year’s rent

JOANNE
[On phone]
Don’t screen, Maureen
It’s me — Joanne
Your substitute production manager
Hey hey hey! (Did you eat?)
Don’t change the subject Maureen
But darling — you haven’t eaten all day
You won’t throw up
You won’t throw up
The digital delay —
Didn’t blow up (exactly)
There may have been one teeny tiny spark
You’re not calling Mark

COLLINS
How do you stay on your feet
When on every street
It’s ‘trick or treat’
(And tonight it’s ‘trick’)
‘Welcome back to town’
Oh, I should lie down
Everything’s brown
And uh — oh
I feel sick

MARK
Where is he?

COLLINS
Getting dizzy

MARK & ROGER
How we gonna pay
How we gonna pay
How we gonna pay
Last year’s rent

BENNY
[On cellular phone]
Alison baby — you sound sad
I don’t believe those two after everything I’ve done
Ever since our wedding I’m dirt — They’ll see
I can help them all out in the long run

Forces are gathering
Forces are gathering
Can’t turn away
Forces are gathering
COLLINS
Ughhhhh–
Ughhhhh–
Ughhhhh– I can’t think
Ughhhhh–
Ughhhhh–
Ughhhhh– I need a drink


MARK
“The music ignites the night with passionate fire”

JOANNE
Maureen — I’m not a theatre person

ROGER
“The narration crackles and pops with incendiary wit”

JOANNE
Could never be a theatre person

MARK
Zoom in as they burn the past to the ground

JOANNE
Hello?

MARK & ROGER
And feel the heat of the future’s glow

JOANNE
Hello?

MARK
[On phone]
Hello? Maureen?
–Your equipment won’t work?
Okay, all right, I’ll go!

MARK & HALF OF COMPANY
How do you leave the past behind
When it keeps finding ways to get to your heart
It reaches way down deep and tears you inside out
Till you’re torn apart
Rent!

MARK & OTHER HALF OF COMPANY
How can you connect in an age
Where strangers, landlords, lovers
Your own blood cells betray

ALL
What binds the fabric together
When the raging, shifting winds of change
Keep ripping away

BENNY
Draw a line in the sand
And then make a stand

ROGER
Use your camera to spar

MARK
Use your guitar

ALL
When they act tough – you call their bluff

MARK & ROGER
We’re not gonna pay

MARK & ROGER WITH HALF OF COMPANY
We’re not gonna pay

MARK & ROGER WITH OTHER HALF OF COMPANY
We’re not gonna pay

ALL
Last year’s rent
This year’s rent
Next year’s rent
Rent rent rent rent rent
We’re not gonna pay rent

ROGER & MARK
‘Cause everything is rent

“Tune Up #3”

ROGER
Where are you going?

MARK
Maureen calls…

ROGER
You’re such a sucker!

MARK
I don’t suppose you’d like to see her show in the lot tonight?
Or come to dinner?

ROGER
Zoom in on my empty wallet.

MARK
Touche. Take your AZT.
Close on Roger
His girlfriend April
Left a note saying “We’ve got AIDS”
Before slitting her wrists in the bathroom
I’ll check up on you later. Change your mind. You have to get out of the house.

ROGER
I’m writing one great song before I…

“One Song Glory”

ROGER
One song
Glory
One song
Before I go
Glory
One song to leave behind
Find one song
One last refrain
Glory
From the pretty boy front Man
Who wasted opportunity
One song
He had the world at his feet
Glory
In the eyes of a young girl
A young girl
Find glory
Beyond the cheap colored lights
One song
Before the sun sets
Glory — on another empty life
Time flies — time dies
Glory — One blaze of glory
One blaze of glory — glory
Find
Glory
In a song that rings true
Truth like a blazing fire
An eternal flame
Find
One song
A song about love
Glory
From the soul of a young man
A young man
Find
The one song
Before the virus takes hold
Glory
Like a sunset
One song
To redeem this empty life
Time flies
And then – no need to endure anymore
Time dies
The door

“Light My Candle”

ROGER
What’d you forget?

MIMI
Got a light?

ROGER
I know you? — You’re —
You’re shivering

MIMI
It’s nothing
They turned off my heat
And I’m just a little
Weak on my feet
Would you light my candle?
What are you staring at?

ROGER
Nothing
Your hair in the moonlight
You look familiar
Can you make it?

MIMI
Just haven’t eaten much today
At least the room stopped spinning.
Anyway. What?

ROGER
Nothing
Your smile reminded me of —

MIMI
I always remind people of — who is she?

ROGER
She died. Her name was April

MIMI
It’s out again
Sorry about your friend
Would you light my candle?

ROGER
Well —

MIMI
Yeah. Ow!

ROGER
Oh, the wax — it’s —

MIMI
Dripping! I like it — between my —

ROGER
Fingers. I figured…
Oh, well. Goodnight.

It blew out again?

MIMI
No — I think that I dropped my stash

ROGER
I know I’ve seen you out and about
When I used to go out
Your candle’s out

MIMI
I’m illin’ —
I had it when I walked in the door
It was pure —
Is it on the floor?

ROGER
The floor?

MIMI
They say I have the best ass below 14th street
Is it true?

ROGER
What?

MIMI
You’re staring again.

ROGER
Oh no.
I mean you do — have a nice —
I mean — You look familiar

MIMI
Like your dead girlfriend?

ROGER
Only when you smile.
But I’m sure I’ve seen you somewhere else —

MIMI
Do you go to the Cat Scratch Club?
That’s where I work – I dance – help me look

ROGER
Yes!
They used to tie you up —

MIMI
It’s a living

ROGER
I didn’t recognize you
Without the handcuffs

MIMI
We could light the candle
Oh won’t you light the candle?

ROGER
Why don’t you forget that stuff
You look like you’re sixteen

MIMI
I’m nineteen — but I’m old for my age
I’m just born to be bad

ROGER
I once was born to be bad
I used to shiver like that

MIMI
I have no heat — I told you

ROGER
I used to sweat

MIMI
I got a cold

ROGER
Uh huh
I used to be a junkie

MIMI
But now and then I like to —

ROGER
Uh huh

MIMI
Feel good

ROGER
Here it — um —

MIMI
What’s that?

ROGER
It’s a candy bar wrapper

MIMI
We could light the candle

MIMI
What’d you do with my candle?

ROGER
That was my last match

MIMI
Our eyes’ll adjust, thank God for the moon

ROGER
Maybe it’s not the moon at all
I hear Spike Lee’s shooting down the street

MIMI
Bah humbug … Bah humbug

ROGER
Cold hands

MIMI
Yours too.
Big. Like my father’s
You wanna dance?

ROGER
With you?

MIMI
No — with my father

ROGER
I’m Roger

MIMI
They call me
They call me Mimi

“Today 4 U”

MARK
Enter, Tom Collins
Computer genius, teacher
Vagabond anarchist who ran naked through the parthenon

MARK, COLLINS
Bustelo-Marlboro
Banana by the bunch
A box of Captain Crunch will taste so good

COLLINS
And firewood

MARK
Look, it’s Santa Clause

COLLINS
Hold your applause

ROGER
Oh, hi

COLLINS
“Oh, hi” after seven months?

ROGER
Sorry

COLLINS
This boy could use some stoli

ALL
Oh, holy night

ROGER
You struck gold at MIT?

COLLINS
They expelled me for my theory of actual reality
Which I’ll soon impart to the couch potatoes at New York University
You still haven’t left the house?

ROGER
I was waiting for you don’t you know

COLLINS
Well, tonight’s the night
Come to the life cafe after Maureen’s show

ROGER
No flow

COLLINS
Gentlemen, our benefactor on this Christmas Eve
Whose charity is only matched by talent, I believe a new member of the Alpahbet City avant-garde
Angel Dumott Schunard!

ANGEL
Today for you-tomorrow for me
Tooday for you-tomorrow for me

COLLINS
And you should hear her beat!

ROGER
You earned this on the street?

ANGEL
It was my lucky day today on Avenue A
When a lady in a limousine drove my way
She said, “Dah-ling, be a dear, haven’t slept in a year I need your help to make my neighbors yappy dog disappear!”

“This Akita-Evita just won’t shut up! I believe if you play non-stop that pup will breathe its very last high-strung breath
I’m certain that cur will bark itself to death”

Today for you-tomorrow for me
Today for you-tomorrow for me

We agreed on a fee- a thousand dollars guarantee,
Tax-free – and a bonus if i trim her tree
Now who could foretell that it would go so well
But sure as i am here
That dog is now in doggy hell

After an hour-Evita-in all her glory
On the window ledge of that 23rd story
Like Thelma and Louise did when they got the blues
Swan dove into the courtyard of the Gracie mews

Today for you-tomorrow for me
Today for you-tomorrow for me

Back on the street where I met my sweet
Where he was moaning and groaning on the
Cold concrete
The nurse took him home for some
Mercurochrome
And I dressed his wounds and got him back on his feet

Sing it!
Today for you-tomorrow for me
Today for you-tomorrow for me
I said
Today for you-tomorrow for me
Today for you-tomorrow
For me!

“You’ll See”

BENNY
Joy to the world–
Hey, you bum — yeah, you, move over
Get your ass off that range rover

MARK
That attitude toward the homeless is just what
Maureen is protesting tonight.
Close up: Benjamin Coffin the third, our ex-roommate who married Alison Grey,
of the Westport Greys — then bought the
building and the lot next door from his father-in-law in hopes of starting a cyber-studio.

BENNY
Maureen is protesting
Losing her performance space
Not my attitude

ROGER
What happened to Benny
What happened to his heart
And the ideals he once pursued?

BENNY
The owner of that lot next door
Has a right to do with it as he pleases

COLLINS
Happy birthday, Jesus!

BENNY
The rent

MARK
You’re wasting your time

ROGER
We’re broke

MARK
And you broke your word — this is absurd

BENNY
There is one way you won’t have to pay

ROGER
I knew it!

BENNY
Next door, the home of Cyberarts, you see
And now that the block is re-zoned
Our dream can become a reality
You’ll see boys
You’ll see boys
A state of the art, digital, virtual interactive studio
I’ll forego your rent and on paper guarantee
That you can stay here for free
If you do me one small favor

MARK
What?

BENNY
Convince Maureen to cancel her protest

MARK
Why not just get an injunction or call the cops

BENNY
I did, and they’re on stand by
But my investors would rather
I handle this quietly

ROGER
You can’t quietly wipe out an entire tent city
Then watch ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ on TV!

BENNY
You want to produce films and write songs?
You need somewhere to do it!
It’s what we used to dream about
Think twice before you pooh-pooh it
You’ll see boys
You’ll see boys
You’ll see — the beauty of a studio
That lets us do our work and get paid
With condos on the top
Whose rent keeps open our shop
Just stop the protest
And you’ll have it made
You’ll see — or you’ll pack

ANGEL
That boy could use some prozac

ROGER
Or heavy drugs

MARK
Or group hugs

COLLINS
Which reminds me —
We have a detour to make tonight
Anyone who wants to can come along

ANGEL
Life support’s a group for people coping with life
You don’t have to stay too long

MARK
First I’ve got a protest to save

ANGEL
Roger?

ROGER
I’m not much company you’ll find

MARK
Behave!

ANGEL
He’ll catch up later — He’s just go other things on his mind
You’ll see boys

MARK & COLLINS
We’ll see boys

ROGER
Let it be boys!

COLLINS
I like boys

ANGEL
Boys like me

ALL
We’ll see.

“Life Support”

STEVE
Steve.

GORDON
Gordon.

ALI
Ali.

PAM
Pam.

SUE
Sue.

ANGEL
Hi, I’m Angel.

COLLINS
Tom. Collins.

PAUL
I’m Paul. Let’s begin

ALL
There’s only us
There’s only this …

MARK
Sorry … Excuse me … oops

PAUL
And you are?

MARK
Oh — I’m not —
I’m just here to —
I don’t have —
I’m here with —
Um — Mark
Mark — I’m Mark
Well — this is quite an operation

PAUL
Sit down Mark
We’ll continue the affirmation

ALL
Forget regret or life is yours to miss

GORDON
Excuse me Paul — I’m having a problem with this
This credo — My T-cells are low —
I regret that news, okay?

PAUL
Alright
But Gordon – How do you feel today?

GORDON
What do you mean?

PAUL
How do you feel today?

GORDON
Okay

PAUL
Is that all?

GORDON
Best I’ve felt all year

PAUL
Then why choose fear?

GORDON
I’m a New Yorker!
Fear’s my life!
Look – I find some of what you teach suspect
Because I’m used to relying on intellect
But I try to open up to what I don’t know

GORDON & ROGER
Because reason says I should have died
Three years ago

ALL
No other road
No other way
No day but today

“Another Day”

ROGER
Who do you think you are?
Barging in on me and my guitar
Little girl — hey
The door is that way
You better go you know
The fire’s out anyway
Take your powder — take your candle
Your sweet whisper
I just can’t handle
Well take your hair in the moonlight
Your brown eyes — goodbye, goodnight
I should tell you I should tell you
I should tell you I should — no!
Another time — another place
Our temperature would climb
There’d be a long embrace
We’d do another dance
It’d be another play
Looking for romance?
Come back another day
Another day

MIMI
The heart may freeze or it can burn
The pain will ease if I can learn
There is no future
There is no past
I live this moment as my last
There’s only us
There’s only this
Forget regret
Or life is yours to miss
No other road
No other way
No day but today

ROGER
Excuse me if I’m off track
But if you’re so wise
Then tell me — why do you need smack?
Take your needle
Take your fancy prayer
And don’t forget
Get the moonlight out of your hair
Long ago — you might’ve lit up my heart
But the fire’s dead — ain’t never ever gonna start
Another time — another place
The words would only rhyme
We’d be in outer space
It’d be another song
We’d sing another way
You wanna prove me wrong?
Come back another day
Another day

MIMI
There’s only yes
Only tonight
We must let go
To know what’s right
No other course
No other way
No day but today

MIMI & OTHERS
I can’t control
My destiny
I trust my soul
My only goal is just to be

There’s only us
There’s only here
Give in to love
Or live in fear
No other path
No other way
No day but today

ROGER
Control your temper
She doesn’t see
Who says that there’s a soul
Just let me be

Who do you think you are?
Barging in on me and my guitar
Little girl, hey
The door is that way
The fire’s out anyway


There’s only us
There’s only here
Give in to love
Or live in fear
No other path
No other way
No day but today

No day but today
No day but today
No day but today
No day but today
No day but today
Take your powder; take your candle
Take your brown eyes, your pretty smile, your silhouette
Another time, another place
Another rhyme, a warm embrace
Another dance, another way
Another chance, another day


“Will I?”

STEVE
Will I lose my dignity
Will someone care
Will I wake tomorrow
From this nightmare?

GROUP #1
Will I lose my dignity
Will someone care
Will I wake tomorrow
From this nightmare?

GROUP #2
Will I lose my dignity
Will someone care
Will I wake tomorrow
From this nightmare?

GROUP #3
Will I lose my dignity
Will someone care
Will I wake tomorrow
From this nightmare?

GROUP #4
Will I lose my dignity
Will someone care
Will I wake tomorrow
From this nightmare?

“Christmas Bells”

FIVE HOMELESS PEOPLE
Christmas bells are ringing
Christmas bells are ringing
Christmas bells are singing
On TV – at Saks

SQUEEGEEMAN
Honest living, honest living
Honest living, honest living
Honest living, honest living

ALL FIVE HOMELESS
Can’t you spare a dime or two
Here but for the grace of God go you
You’ll be merry
I’ll be merry
Tho merry ain’t in my vocabulary
No sleighbells
No Santa Claus
No yule log
No tinsel
No holly
No hearth
No

SOLOIST
‘Rudolph the red nosed reindeer’

ALL FIVE
Rudolph the red nosed reindeer
No room at the Holiday Inn — oh no
And it’s beginning to snow

VENDORS
Hats, bats, shoes, booze
Mountain bikes, potpourri
Leather bags, girlie mags
Forty-fives, AZT

VENDOR #1
No one’s buying
Feel like crying

ALL
No room at the Holiday Inn, oh no
And it’s beginning to snow

VENDOR #2
How about a fur —
In perfect shape
Owned by an MBA from uptown
I got a tweed
Broken in by a greedy
Broker who went broke
And then broke down

COLLINS
You don’t have to do this

ANGEL
Hush your mouth, it’s Christmas

COLLINS
I do not deserve you, Angel

COLLINS
Give–give
All you do
Is give
Give me some way to show
How much you’ve touched me so
ANGEL (simultaneously)
Wait–what’s on the floor?
Let’s see some more…
No–no–no…

ANGEL
Kiss me — it’s beginning to snow

MARK
… She said, “Would you light my candle?”
And she put on a pout
And she wanted you
To take her out tonight?

ROGER
Right

MARK
She got you out!

ROGER
She was more than okay
But I pushed her away
It was bad — I got mad
And I had to get her out of my sight

MARK
Wait, wait, wait — you said she was sweet

ROGER
Let’s go eat — I’ll just get fat
It’s the one vice left when you’re dead meat
(MIMI has entered looking furtively for THE MAN.)
There — that’s her

MARK
Maureen?

ROGER
Mimi!

MARK
Whoa!

ROGER
I should go

MARK
Hey — it’s beginning to snow

POLICE OFFICERS
I’m dreaming of a white, right Christmas

MIMI & JUNKIES
Follow the man — follow the man
With his pockets full of the jam
Follow the man — follow the man
Help me out, daddy
If you can
Got any D man?

THE MAN
I’m cool

MIMI & JUNKIES
Got any C man?

THE MAN
I’m cool

MIMI & JUNKIES
Got any X?
Any smack?
Any horse?
Any jugie boogie boy?
Any blow?

ROGER
Hey

MIMI
Hey

ROGER
I just want to say
I’m sorry for the way —

MIMI
Forget it

ROGER
I blew up
Can I make it up to you?

MIMI
How?

ROGER
Dinner party?

MIMI
That’ll do

THE MAN
Hey lover boy — cutie pie
You steal my client — you die

ROGER
You didn’t miss me — you won’t miss her
You’ll never lack for customers

JUNKIES
I’m willin’
I’m illin’
I gotta get my sickness off
Gotta run, gotta ride
Gotta gun, gotta hide — gotta go

THE MAN
And it’s beginning to snow

BENNY
Wish me luck, Alison
The protest is on

COAT VENDOR
L.L Bean
Geoffrey Beene
Burburry zip out
Lining
JUNKIES
Got any C man?
Got any D man?
Got any B man?
Got any crack?
Got any X?


SQUEEGEEMAN
Honest living —

ROGER
Mark, this is Mimi —

MARK/MIMI
Hi

ROGER
She’ll be dining — (with us)

COAT VENDOR
Here’s a new arrival

THE MAN
That is an ounce

VENDORS
Hats, dats, bats

COLLINS
That’s my coat!

COAT VENDOR
We give discounts

MARK
I think we’ve met

ANGEL
Let’s get a better one

COLLINS
It’s a sham

MIMI
That’s what he said

THE MAN
I said it’s a gram!

COLLINS
But she’s a thief!

ANGEL
But she brought us together

BENNY
Which investor is coming?

COLLINS
I’ll take the leather

BENNY
Your father? — Damn!

HOMELESS & VENDORS
Christmas bells are swinging
Christmas bells are ringing
Christmas bells are singing
In my dreams — next year
Once you donate you can go
Celebrate in Tuckahoe
You’ll feel cheery
I’ll feel cheery
Tho’ I don’t really know that theory
No bathrobe
No steuben glass
No cappucino makers
No pearls, no diamonds
No ‘Chestnuts roasting on an open fire’
Chestnuts roasting on an open fire
No room at the Holiday Inn, oh no —
POLICE OFFICERS
I’m dreaming of a white Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know
Jingle bells — prison cells
Fa la la la — fa la la la
You have the right to remain
Silent night holy night
Fall on your knees oh night divine
You’ll do some time
Fa la la la la
Fa la la la la
JUNKIES
Got any C man?
Got any D man?
Got any B man?
Got any X? — Crack?
I’m willin’ — I’m illin’
Gotta get my sickness off
C-D help me
Follow the man — follow the man
Follow the man
Jugie boogie — jugie boogie
Follow the man — follow the man
Any crack any X any jugie boogie boy
Any blow any X any jugie boogie boy
Got any D man, got any C man
Got any crack — any X — any jugie boogie?


COAT VENDOR
Twenty-five

ANGEL
Fifteen

COAT VENDOR
Twenty-five

ANGEL
Fifteen

COAT VENDOR
No way
Twenty-four

ANGEL
Fifteen

COAT VENDOR
Twenty-four

ANGEL
Fifteen

COAT VENDOR
Not today
Twenty-three

ANGEL
Fifteen

COAT VENDOR
Twenty-three

ANGEL
Fifteen
It’s old

COAT VENDOR
Twenty-two

ANGEL
Fifteen

COAT VENDOR
Twenty-one

ANGEL
Fifteen

COAT VENDOR
Seventeen

ANGEL
Fifteen

COAT VENDOR
Fifteen

ANGEL & COAT VENDOR
Sold!

MARK & ROGER
Let’s
Go
To
The lot — Maureen’s performing

MIMI
Who’s Maureen?

ROGER
His ex

MARK
But I am over her

ROGER
Let’s not hold hands yet

MIMI
Is that a warning?

ALL THREE
He/You/I
Just
Need(s)
To take it slow
I should tell you I should tell you
I should tell you I should tell you
I should tell you I …

ALL
And it’s beginning to
And it’s beginning to
And it’s beginning to —

MAUREEN
Joanne, which way to the stage?

ALL
Snow!!!

“La Vie Bohème A”

RESTAURANT MAN
No please no
Not tonight please no
Mister — can’t you go —
Not tonight — can’t have a scene

ROGER
What?

RESTAURANT MAN
Go, please go;
You — Hello, sir —
I said, “No”
Important customer

MARK
What am I — just a blur?

RESTAURANT MAN
You sit all night — you never buy!

MARK
That’s a lie — that’s a lie
I had a tea the other day

RESTAURANT MAN
You couldn’t pay

MARK
Oh yeah

COLLINS
Benjamin Coffin III — here?

RESTAURANT MAN
Oh no!

ALL
Wine and beer!

MAUREEN
The enemy of Avenue A
We’ll stay

RESTAURANT MAN
Oy vey!

COLLINS
What brings the mogul in his own mind to the Life Cafe?

BENNY
I would like to propose a toast
To Maureen’s noble try
It went well

MAUREEN
Go to hell

BENNY
Was the yuppie scum stomped
Not counting the homeless
How many tickets weren’t comped

ROGER
Why did Muffy —

BENNY
Alison

ROGER
Miss the show?

BENNY
There was a death in the family
If you must know

ANGEL
Who died?

BENNY
Our Akita

BENNY, MARK, ANGEL, COLLINS
Evita

BENNY
Mimi — I’m surprised
A bright and charming girl like you
Hangs out with these slackers
(Who don’t adhere to deals)
They make fun — yet I’m the one
Attempting to do some good
Or do you really want a neighborhood
Where people piss on your stoop every night?
Bohemia, Bohemia’s
A fallacy in your head
This is Calcutta
Bohemia is dead

MARK
Dearly beloved we gather here to say our goodbyes

COLLINS & ROGER
Dies irae — dies illa
Kyrie eleison
Yitgadal v’ yitkadash, etc.

MARK
Here she lies
No one knew her worth
The late great daughter of mother earth
On this night when we celebrate the birth
In that little town of Bethlehem
We raise our glass — you bet your ass to —
La vie Boheme

ALL
La vie Boheme
La vie Boheme
La vie Boheme
La vie Boheme

MARK
To days of inspiration
Playing hookie, making something out of nothing
The need to express —
To communicate,
To going against the grain,
Going insane
Going mad

To loving tension, no pension
To more than one dimension,
To starving for attention,
Hating convention, hating pretension
Not to mention of course,
Hating dear old mom and dad

To riding your bike,
Midday past the three piece suits
To fruits — to no absolutes —
To Absolut — to choice —
To the Village Voice —
To any passing fad
To being an us for once
Instead of a them

ALL
La vie Boheme
La vie Boheme

MAUREEN
Is the equipment in a pyramid?

JOANNE
It is, Maureen

MAUREEN
The mixer doesn’t have a case
Don’t give me that face

MR. GREY
Ahhemm

MAUREEN
Hey Mister — she’s my sister

RESTAURANT MAN
So that’s five miso soup, four seaweed salad
Three soy burger dinner, two tofu dog platter
And one pasta with meatless balls

A BOY
Ugh

COLLINS
It tastes the same

MIMI
If you close your eyes

RESTAURANT MAN
And thirteen orders of fries
Is that it here?

ALL
Wine and beer!

MIMI & ANGEL
To hand-crafted beers made in local breweries
To yoga, to yogurt, to rice and beans and cheese
To leather, to dildos, to curry vindaloo
To huevos rancheros and Maya Angelou

MAUREEN & COLLINS
Emotion, devotion, to causing a commotion
Creation, vacation

MARK
Mucho masturbation

MAUREEN & COLLINS
Compassion, to fashion, to passion when it’s new

COLLINS
To Sontag

ANGEL
To Sondheim

FOUR PEOPLE
To anything taboo

COLLINS & ROGER
Ginsberg, Dylan, Cunningham and Cage

COLLINS
Lenny Bruce

ROGER
Langston Hughes

MAUREEN
To the stage

PERSON #1
To Uta

PERSON #2
To Buddha

PERSON #3
Pablo Neruda, too

MARK & MIMI
Why Dorothy and Toto went over the rainbow
To blow off Auntie Em

ALL
La vie Boheme

MAUREEN
And wipe the speakers off before you pack

JOANNE
Yes, Maureen

MAUREEN
Well — hurry back

MR. GREY
Sisters?

MAUREEN
We’re close

ANGEL, COLLINS, MAUREEN, MARK, MR. GREY
Brothers!

MARK, ANGEL, MIMI & THREE OTHERS
Bisexuals, trisexuals, homo sapiens,
Carcinogens, hallucinogens, men, Pee Wee Herman
German wine, turpentine, Gertrude Stein
Antonioni, Bertolucci, Kurosawa
Carmina Burana

ALL
To apathy, to entropy, to empathy, ecstasy
Vaclav Havel — The Sex Pistols, 8BC,
To no shame — never playing the Fame Game

COLLINS
To marijuana

ALL
To sodomy,
It’s between God and me
To S & M

BENNY
Waiter…Waiter…Waiter

ALL
La vie Boheme

COLLINS
In honor of the death of Bohemia an impromptu salon will commence immediately following dinner…
Mimi Marquez, clad only in bubble wrap,
will perform her famous lawn chair-handcuff dance to the sounds of iced tea being stirred.

ROGER
Mark Cohen will preview his new documentary
about his inability to hold an erection on high holy days.

MARK
Maureen Johnson, back from her spectacular one-night engagement at the eleventh street lot,
Will sing native american tribal chants backwards through her vocoder,
While accompanying herself on the electric cello —
Which she has never studied.

BENNY
Your new boyfriend doesn’t know about us?

MIMI
There’s nothing to know

BENNY
Don’t you think that we should discuss —

MIMI
It was three months ago

BENNY
He doesn’t act like he’s with you

MIMI
We’re taking it slow

BENNY
Where is he now?

MIMI
He’s right — hmm

BENNY
Uh huh

MIMI
Where’d he go?

MARK
Roger will attempt to write a bittersweet, evocative song.
That doesn’t remind us of “Musetta’s Waltz”

COLLINS
Angel Dumott Schunard will now model the latest fall fashions from Paris
While accompanying herself on the 10 gallon plastic pickle tub.

ANGEL
And Collins will recount his exploits as an anarchist —
Including the successful reprogramming of the M.I.T. virtual reality equipment
To self-destruct, as it broadcast the words:

ALL
“Actual reality — Act Up — Fight AIDS”

BENNY
Check!!

MIMI
Excuse me — did I do something wrong?
I get invited — then ignored — all night long

ROGER
I’ve been trying — I’m not lying
No one’s perfect. I’ve got baggage

MIMI
Life’s too short, babe, time is flying
I’m looking for baggage that goes with mine

ROGER
I should tell you —

MIMI
I’ve got baggage too

ROGER
I should tell you —

MIMI
I got baggage, too

ROGER
I should tell you —

BOTH
Baggage – wine —

OTHERS
And beer!

MIMI
AZT break

ROGER
You?

MIMI
Me. You?

ROGER
Mimi

“I Should Tell You

ROGER
I should tell you I’m disaster
I forget how to begin it

MIMI
Let’s just make this part go faster
I have yet — to be in it
I should tell you

ROGER
I should tell you

MIMI
I should tell you

ROGER
I should tell you

MIMI
I should tell I blew the candle out
Just to get back in

ROGER
I’d forgotten how to smile
Until your candle burned my skin

MIMI
I should tell you

ROGER
I should tell you

MIMI
I should tell you

BOTH
I should tell
Well, here we go
Now we —

MIMI
Oh no

ROGER
I know — this something is
Here goes —

MIMI
Here goes

ROGER
Guess so
It’s starting to
–Who knows?

MIMI
Who knows

BOTH
Who knows where
Who goes there
Who knows
Here goes

Trusting desire — starting to learn
Walking through fire without a burn
Clinging — a shoulder, a leap begins
Stinging and older, asleep on pins
So here we go
Now we —

ROGER
Oh no

MIMI
I know

ROGER
Oh no

BOTH
Who knows where — who goes there
Here goes — here goes
Here goes — here goes
Here goes — here goes