By Joe Hanrahan
Genii of the Lamp/Brenda (played by the same actress)
(Focused Lights – or Spotlight –quickly up on Gus, looking around.)
GUS: It’s good to be back. Glad I decided. Guess I…(looks at his wrist, where there is no watch)…only been gone…an hour or so. But from what I’ve seen so far, things have changed.
Hunger and poverty…getting wiped out, all over the world. China, Russia – North Korea (laughs)…everybody gettin’ along.
Here in the USofA…universal health care, full employment. President Clinton gettin’ everybody to work together. Gad to see her in charge. Global warming finally goin’ in the right direction.
Now, I don’t want to say this is all due to me…but I guess I kinda got it going.
It all started…(looks at his wrist)…about an hour ago.
I was walkin’ downtown, lookin’ around. Saw this vintage type place. Went in, lookin’ at stuff. Saw this lamp. Kinda ornate, you know, almost jeweled, picked it up. It was a little dusty…
(GUS mimes reaching onto table, picking up lamp, takes handkerchief from pocket, dusts off lamp.)
(Light Effect – Flash On/Off – and a woman covered in long hooded robe faces him, back to audience. Pause.)
GENII: I’m the, a…Genii of the Lamp.
GUS: You gotta be kiddin’ me.
GENII: Nope. There’s the lamp. I’m the Genii.
GUS: (looks at the lamp, then around) What, is there a camera around here…
GENII: Hey - that’s THE lamp. OK? You heard about it, you read about it. THE lamp with the Genii. That’s me.
GUS: Okay. So…
GENII: So you get a wish. Whatever you want.
GUS: One wish? I thought there were three…
GENII: Three? That’s a fairy tale. You get a wish. Just one wish. But it’s still a wish. What d’ya want?
GUS: Okay. So what are the…
GENII: Whatever you want. A lot of people pick money. You can have lots of money. Or power. Want to be boss of something? A company? A country?
Or some people…(clears throat) like you…they want to be younger. Want to be younger?
GUS: I don’t know. So, whatever I want?
GENII: Whatever you want. That’s what a wish is. From a genii. So whatd’ya want?
GENII: Let’s go. I’m, like, immortal, but I don’t have all day.
GUS: OK, OK…y’know, I was…I was…(laughs to himself)…just the other night…I was…I was…
(pause, as he thinks)
GENII: You were…? And…?
GUS: I was playing this game…
GENII: A game?
GUS: Not really a game. I was sittin’ around, listeningto music, and thinking…And, y’know what I’d like? I’d like to go back. In time.
GENII: I know what go back means. Time travel.
GUS: Can I wish that?
GENII: (sighs) Some people have done it. But if I were you I’d go for something fun. How about a Maserati? Condo, South Beach. Chicks dig that.
GUS: No, no, I think I want to go back.
GENII: I gotta warn you Things may not be as you think they were then. OK?
GUS: All right.
GENII: So where? When? You wanna go back and stop Oswald? Save JFK?
GUS: Well, you know, it wasn’t just Oswald. There was this other guy on the grassy knoll, a Corsican…
GENII: Kill Hitler? Get ‘em in his crib, smother the little fucker?
GUS: That’s tempting. But baby Hitler wouldn’t have that little moustaches, would he?
GENII: Go back to Custer’s last stand? With a machine gun? (laughs)
GUS: (laughs) No, no…
GENII: Gotta warn you again. The process kind of mixes things. You may…probably will…get a little disoriented from time to time. And whatever reason you have for going back, you may not be able to change anything.
GUS: I get it. Fine. I still want to do it.
GENII: And you can come back…here…but you don’t have to. And if you do, things could be different. Here.
GENII: Okay. When?
GUS: I think…1970, January.
GENII: (suspiciously) Where?
GENII: I know where London is. Are you sure?
GUS: Yeah. Why not?
GENII: I don’t know if you can do any good…
GUS: Yeah. But if I could…wouldn’t it be cool?
GENII: Okay, hotshot. Your wish…is my command.
(Light Effect – Flash On/Off – Genii has dropped robe, turned around, and become Brenda, miming a microphone, speaking to audience in front of mimed television camera. Gus is standing in same place, a bit too close to Brenda.)
BRENDA: BRENDA: …and the Boeing 747 aeroplane was the first jumbo jet to land here at London’s Heathrow airport.
And in news from the United States, investigations continue into a raid on a Chicago townhouse by 14 police officers, which resulted in the shooting deaths of two Black Panther Party members, Fred Hampton and Mark Clark.
The Draft Lottery, building up U.S. armed forces for the escalation of the Vietnam War, continues, resulting in protests and demonstrations nationwide, and particularly on college campuses, demonstrations that have been becoming increasingly violent.
And in California, the court has approved Charles Manson’s requests to serve as his own attorney in the Tate/LaBianca murder trial.
Nick, let’s take a break. These stories are getting to me.
(she notices Gus.)
Excuse me, we’re shooting a news segment here, would you mind moving back.
(Gus moves back a few steps)
All right, Nick. Let’s finish this up. Something a little lighter, eh?
Switching to entertainment news, Ian Fleming’s THE SPY WHO LOVED ME continued to be the number one film at the Box Office, even with George Lazenby in the role of Sean Connery.
In Las Vegas, Nevada, Diana Ross and The Supremes performed their final concert tonight, at the Frontier Hotel. Ms. Ross will now embark on a solo career.
And speaking of solo careers, rumors are rampant here in London that The Beatles are inching closer to the beginning of their end. While Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr have been seen at Abbey Road putting finishing touches on songs for their new, and possibly final, album, John Lennon continues to be absent from the sessions. Many sources indicate that financial disagreements as well as the usual artistic differences are driving wedges between The Beatles that may not be able to be resolved.
GUS: (pushing himself in front of Brenda and the camera) Excuse me. What sources?
BRENDA: Sir, this is a news programme. What are you…?
GUS: What sources?
BRENDA: (to cameraman) Cut! Cut! What are you…?
GUS: You know sources close to The Beatles?
GUS: The Beatles. You said sources. Who?
BRENDA: Sir, I…
GUS: Who? Do you know…them?
(something in Gus’ eyes/tone catch Brenda (Crazy?) and she puts him on pause)
BRENDA: Would you just excuse me! For a moment! Nick, let’s just shoot the wrap-up, and get out of here.
(moves a couple feet, to get Gus out of picture, facing camera) This is Brenda Diamond, bringing you the news you’re looking for, reporting Live from the Heart of London.
GUS: Brenda Diamond? You’re Brenda Diamond?
(she nods perfunctorily)
GUS: You slept with John. I mean, you had a…
GUS: …and George, too.
BRENDA: Absolutely no one knows that!
GUS: George did.
BRENDA: Yes, he did.
GUS: Then there’s that theory about Lucy in the Sky, it wasn’t what you think, I mean it was LSD right? But it wasn’t about someone named LUCY hallucinating on LSD, and she’s in the sky, seeing diamonds and all kind of things. It was John, writing about one of his acid trips, and he was losing it, not LUCY, LOSING it, in the sky, high as a kite, and he was tripping with someone named…Diamond – Brenda Diamond.
BRENDA: Nobody knows that. (pause) Who the hell are you?
GUS: Brenda Diamond. And a few years later, you go on to California, work with the Eagles, Jackson Browne…
GUS: The Ea…Never mind.
BRENDA: I’m going to work with birds? Who are you?
GUS: I’m a…a….(he weaves, almost passes out)
BRENDA: Are you all right? Are you tripping? You high?
GUS: No, no. I’ve just come…on a long…journey.
BRENDA: The states? Jet lag?
GUS: Some kinda lag.
(Gus shakes himself back into shape)
GUS: Listen. I’ve got to get to The Beatles.
BRENDA: I don’t know who you are, but The Beatles are accosted, daily, by all kinds of crazy…
GUS: I’m not crazy. I need to…you said, you said on your newscast…about them breaking up. I don’t want ‘em to break up.
BRENDA: Oh. OK. Listen. Nobody wants them to break up, but….they’re grown men. They’re individual artists. Let them have their lives. They’ve been Beatles long enough.
GUS: No, but just one more album…
BRENDA: You think any of these rock groups are going to stay together? They’ve been a phenomenon for less than decade. Where do they go from here?
GUS: I just…
BRENDA: The Stones? You think they’ll be together five years from now. Two? Keith’ll be dead and Mick will be in a castle somewhere.
GUS: Actually, the Stones…
BRENDA: Goodbye! And keep your salacious rumors to yourself! Nick, let’s go.
GUS: Just one more album. Everest. (stopping her)
BRENDA: Everest is the name of the new album. Nobody knows that.
GUS: Just like nobody knows they’re going to fly to the Himalayas to shoot the album cover.
BRENDA: Yes, but…
GUS: But why bother. Cause the album isn’t named after the mountain. It’s named after Everest cigarettes. Which their engineer, Geoff Emerick smokes. Right?
BRENDA: Who are you…?
GUS: But they’re going to be too lazy to go to India, so when it comes time to do the photo, they’re going to say, let’s just go shoot it in the street.
BRENDA: Sounds like them…
GUS: And they’re going to name this album Abbey Road. But it’s almost done, right? The one I want ‘em to make is the next one. And that one will be Everest.
GUS: Do you want ‘em to break up? If we could get ‘em to stay together, for just one more album…who knows what could happen.
BRENDA: If…WE…could get them to stay…
GUS: I need your help.
(pause, Brenda considering)
BRENDA: Y’know, John might just like to meet you. (Gus is encouraged.) He collects eccentrics. (And Gus is deflated.) But I’ll give you one chance. Tell me straight – who are you, and how do you know these things?
(pause, Gus considering)
GUS: I was in a store. In the…in the future. I cleaned off a dusty lamp. A genii came out. Gave me a wish. You with me so far?
GUS: My wish was to come back…to here, now…and try to stop the Beatles from breaking up.
BRENDA: That was your…wish?
BRENDA: Why didn’t you wish for…a Maserati or something? (pause) Oh, John has got to meet you. Let’s go.
(John and Yoko come on stage, arm in arm, brain in brain, and settle in the center of the stage)
GUS: Oh my God…! (he sways)
BRENDA: Is it that jet lag again…?
GUS: No, just, there…he…she…them…
BRENDA: Yeah. (bringing him closer) John. Yoko.
JOHN: Hey, luv. Who’s this? With the wide open maw? Is he a mental?
BRENDA: No, I want you to meet…who are you?
GUS: I’m…uh, Gus…
JOHN: Gus! On the bus! He’s a must! (shakes hands, to Yoko) This is Gus from the bus, m’luv.
YOKO: Hello, Gus.
BRENDA: Gus has something to tell you.
(All look at Gus, who doesn’t quite know what to say.)
GUS: Uh…don’t break up!
(John & Yoko look at each other.)
GUS: No, not you two…though you shouldn’t break up….The Beatles. The Beatles shouldn’t break up.
JOHN: They’re already broken, son.
GUS: It hasn’t been announced yet…and the album’s still…
JOHN: The album. They’ll finish it.
JOHN: The dream is over, man. Get with the program, or get off the pot. (walks away)
YOKO: You know, George quit the group first. He and Paul, argue all the time. And George has other friends…musicians…he wants to play with. And poor Ringo. He hates the arguing. So he quit.
GUS: Then there’s Paul…
JOHN: PAUL! (John buries his head)
YOKO: These aren’t “The Boys” anymore. They’re men. With wives, separate lives.
Their own art.
GUS: That’s fine. Paul can still do his solo album, all of you…
JOHN: What? Solo what?
GUS: Nothing. But if you stay together, think of what could happen! Your next album could be the greatest album ever!
JOHN: (shutting down) Nice to see ya, see ya ‘round, hope I don’t see ya soon…
(Brenda indicates it’s time to go.)
GUS: But the next album, Everest…
JOHN: Everest? That’s this album, but nobody knows…(looks at Brenda)
BRENDA: I didn’t tell him!
GUS: The next album, whatever, the songs…
(pause, John and Yoko start to leave)
It’s about…what you might be able to do. Y’know.
For…Peace…right? You want Peace?
JOHN: Who doesn’t?
GUS and JOHN: Well, some people…(they laugh)
GUS: You can do a lot for Peace, yourself, yourselves, but think of what else The Beatles could do…for Peace.
Like if you had a song…
YOKO: (whispers to John) Imagine. (John looks sharply at her).
GUS: Yeah…yeah…like, imagine…Imagine what a song about Peace from the Beatles could do.
(pause. John and Yoko stare. Brenda confused.)
JOHN: (in Gus’ face) Imagine. Did you hear a bootleg? Somebody leak the fucker?
GUS: No, I…
JOHN: (calling to back of house) Dave! Dave! Imagine demo! Play it! Here’s a demo.
MUSIC CUE: (IMAGINE demo begins. John and Yoko go off in a corner and whisper; Brenda listens in awe; turns to Gus, who gives her a “See” gesture)
BRENDA: This is great!
YOKO: Yes. You know, I came up with the title and concept, in my book, Grapefruit…
JOHN: Sorry, luv, has to stay under my name, copyright you know…
YOKO: Of course.
JOHN: I’m thinking of adding a bunch of strings…y’know, maybe a choir, big orchestral finish…
GUS: No! No. I think the way it is. You. And the piano.
YOKO: He’s right.
(John and Yoko start to walk away)
GUS: Just think about it…staying together.
(John gives the finger over his shoulder, turns look, then shifts it to the peace sign – Yoko flips a peace sign as well – they walk into a corner of stage where they settle. MUSIC CUE: Song fades.)
BRENDA: (incredulous) He’s going to think about it. He’s actually going to think about it.
GUS: Who do we see next? Paul?
BRENDA: I have to go to work. Then, yes, maybe, Paul.
(Gus goes to side of stage, Brenda takes her reporter position, Imagine song continues under Brenda. Brenda mimes looking at news report she’s just been handed.)
BRENDA: Nick, is this real? Did he actually say this? These words?
OK. Let’s roll.
Today, in an unexpected development, US President Richard Nixon began ceasefire overtures to the North Vietnamese government. Nixon said, “It will be a long and difficult road to peace. But peace is what we will achieve. Peace is a goal of all civilized peoples, a goal all peoples can…imagine…and strive for.” (pause) This is Brenda Diamond, bringing you the news you’re looking for, live from the heart of London.
Nick, edit out my pauses? Thanks, doll.
(Brenda stands, thinks, looks around, somewhat frantically for Gus, finds him.)
BRENDA: We’re going to see Paul.
BRENDA: Not cool! Paul and John hate each other. Or they act that way. But the only way to get the band back together is…to get these two together.
(Paul has appeared onstage)
BRENDA: Now he’s usually stoned.
BRENDA: Not cool! He’s sometimes a little too…Paul!
PAUL: Baaaaa-renda! How’s everything in the heart of London, babe?
BRENDA: Just fine. How’s Linda? The girls?
PAUL: HEY LINDA, how are ya? (no answer) They’re great.
BRENDA: Paul…you’ve got to meet this guy…Gus.
GUS: Paul. Big fan, big fan.
PAUL: Cheers, Gus. Always happy to meet a big, big fan!
BRENDA: Gus has something…to ask you?
PAUL: Yeah? What is it, man?
GUS: Well…I…I…I don’t think The Beatles should break up.
PAUL: (stares, laughs) Cheers, man. We’re already broken, Gus. Deed’s been done.
GUS: Not yet. You can…
PAUL: Gus, thanks for the sentiment, but things are in motion…better not say too much, the press are here.
BRENDA: Fuck you, Paul.
PAUL: Cheers, Brenda. Again, thank you, Gus, but…
GUS: You mean the solo album? That you’re going to release without any of the other guys knowing about it?
BRENDA: What solo album?
PAUL: (shocked, then fake innocence) Yeah, what solo album?
GUS: The one where you play all the instruments yourself, sing all the songs, write all the songs, and it’s called McCartney. And…and…they’re some really good songs on it. If you guys would just do one more album, and some of these songs…
PAUL: It’s a solo album.
BRENDA: So there is a solo album!
PAUL: Brenda…Wait a minute! (to Gus) How do you know about this? I did this all at home.
(pause – Brenda and Gus look at each other.)
BRENDA: He’s come back. From the future.
(Paul looks at Gus. Gus nods.)
PAUL: (playing along, humoring them, now and later in this scene) Cool.
GUS: So I’m just thinking…
PAUL: Wanna hear something?
BRENDA: What? Yes.
PAUL: LINDA! LINDA! Put a song on for me, would ya, luv? Please! Ta.
This one’s, ah, Maybe I’m Amazed. (to Linda) Maybe I’m Amazed
GUS: That’s a great one!
(Paul stares at him. MUSIC CUE: MAYBE I’M AMAZED plays. After a bit, over song)
PAUL: That’s me on piano. And organ. You recognize that voice, huh? Drums, me. And I’m playing lead guitar. Back up vocals…
GUS: Instead of George, John and Ringo.
PAUL: (pause) Yeah.
(MUSIC CUE: song gets a bit louder)
GUS: So, just think what this song, and a few others, would sound like on the next Beatles album.
PAUL: The next? Not Everest?
GUS: No, not…well this album isn’t going to be called Everest. So the next one…
PAUL: Never going to happen.
GUS: Just think of how many people you’ll reach. You put some of your best new songs next to John’s and George’s and think of how big it can be! The best album of all time! The money…
PAUL: There’s the rub, Sherlock. The money. John has this bastard Allen Klein up in the middle of everything.
BRENDA: And Linda’s brother is representing you now?
PAUL: Yeah. John Eastman. I trust him, family, y’know. He’s watching out for me. And he’s watching what that robber Klein is up to as well.
GUS: But just one more album…
PAUL: Gus, I appreciate your...enthusiasm. But there’s no way, Jose. (regards him for a moment, mocking again) So you’re from the future? Cool! What’s it like? Things good? Getting better?
PAUL: Grass is legal, right? I mean, it’s gotta be. When are you back from?
PAUL: It’s legal. Gotta be.
GUS: Well, maybe, especially if you guys stay together…
PAUL: Yeah, right. Hey, I gotta go in, Linda’s cooking. She’s got me veggie, Brenda.
BRENDA: How’s that working for you?
PAUL: (gives a double thumbs up) Cool. (Paul moves to a corner of the stage. Maybe I’m Amazed fades.)
BRENDA: This doesn’t sound too hopeful. The Eastman- Allen Klein thing.
GUS: Guess I’ve gotta talk to ‘em.
BRENDA: (laughs) What are you going to do? Pardon, but you don’t seem like a…financial type…
GUS: Can you get me to them?
BRENDA: Well, they’re both Yanks, but I think they’re both in London now.
GUS: Great. Get me a meeting.
BRENDA: OK. See you after work.
(Gus goes to a corner of the stage. Brenda goes to her news reporting spot.)
BRENDA: And this just in – The United Nations has just announced that it has received unanimous support from its Security Council to immediately…Oh My God!...Shut it down, Nick. (She composes herself). OK, let’s go. The United Nations has just announced that it has received unanimous support from its Security Council to immediately legalize marijuana, worldwide. In a statement, a UN spokesperson said this decision will diminish the threat and diminish potential violence from growing drug organizations, or “cartels,” that could threaten global security with their profits from the drug trade; it will boost the economy of numerous impoverished countries and peoples, providing jobs and tax benefits for education and social services; and it will provide the opportunity for research to determine to best medical use of marijuana for fighting cancer, glaucoma, epilepsy, autism, dementia and numerous other diseases. This was the first unanimous decision from the Security Council in UN history. This is Brenda Diamond, bringing you the news you’re looking for, live from the Heart of London.
(Brenda is in a bit of a shocked stupor.)
OHN: Brenda, you called…everything all right?…
YOKO: Everything OK? John said you sounded…
BRENDA: No, no, I’m fine. I just wanted to talk with you a minute.
JOHN: What’s up, luv?
BRENDA: I just…I’m feeling a little weird…
(YOKO slaps JOHN on the arm)
YOKO: What is it?
BRENDA: I was thinking of when I first started writing about you. I had just finished my final year. Saw you at the Cavern, and…
JOHN: You were very cute then…
(YOKO slaps JOHN on arm)
(BRENDA notices. JOHN would never have taken a slap before YOKO.)
BRENDA: What you guys meant. What you were.
JOHN: Yeah, yeah, yeah…
(YOKO slaps JOHN on arm)
YOKO: What do you mean, yeah, yeah, yeah? Do you know what she’s saying? Do you remember, do you realize how many people loved you. Still love you.
YOKO (to BRENDA): I wish I could have been there.
BRENDA: Cellarful of noise.
YOKO: That was the title of Brian’s autobiography, wasn’t it?
JOHN: Yeah. But Brenda said that first.
(YOKO looks to BRENDA)
BRENDA: In an article I did.
JOHN: Brian should have called his book A Cellarful of Boys.
YOKO: John! (looks to slap him, he gives a look)
BRENDA: So that’s what I’m saying, John. You have Yoko now…
YOKO: He does.
BRENDA: Yeah, and you can do your own thing, everybody can do their own thing…but that doesn’t mean you have to…break up…for good…and forever…does it? It was so good. Why do you have to break it?
YOKO: A broken pot can hold no tea.
JOHN: What the fuck does that mean?
YOKO: It’s one of those stupidly simple asian spiritual sayings that are so obvious they’re deep.
YOKO: And it means…listen to Brenda. You need a bridge to cross the river…
JOHN: Is this another one of those?
YOKO: Why burn it? Brenda, we’ll be talking about this.
JOHN: We will?
(YOKO gives him a serene stare. BRENDA excuses herself)
BRENDA: By, guys. (Goes to stage right as JOHN/YOKO exit)
YOKO: So she was very cute, huh?
GUS: (enters) All right, that’s done.
GUS: Klein. Eastman. Got ‘em in bed together.
BRENDA: What? How?
GUS: Well, y’know, Eastman’s just asking for 25%, then half the song-writing, and Klein’s trying to keep Beatles’ stuff together, but then there’s the solo stuff they all want to do, so…
BRENDA: How’d you do this? Do you know anything about any of this…?
GUS: No. But they’re fighting over, like, a million here, a million there.
GUS: I told ‘em. I mean…what are they selling now? Albums. 8-Track? Cassettes are coming, right?
GUS: Audio cassettes, they’re going to be huge. But then CD’s. VCR and DVD’s of movies and stuff. Streaming, for god’s sakes. Then vinyl gets popular again.
BRENDA: You’re talking…different audio…
GUS: And video formats, yeah. And who knows what’s coming. It’s like Tommy Lee Jones in Men In Black when he shows Will Smith that new tiny alien CD thingy, and he says “Looks like I’m going to have to buy the White Album again.”
BRENDA: Men In Black?
GUS: Never mind…
BRENDA: So you told Eastman and Klein…about the future?
GUS: No, I just told them what they wanted to hear. I said, guys, guys…(laughs) You keep this band together, you straighten up the money stuff…and forget a million here, million there…Guys…You have… no…fucking…idea!
BRENDA: No fucking idea…that sold them.
GUS: They’re businessmen. We better get to George and Ringo…
BRENDA: Wait…wait a minute, Gus…where did this all start? You…and Everest…and
GUS: There’s this game that Beatle fans play. You can play by yourself. Not a game, just a…sitting around, late at night, y’know…you take the first few solo albums each of ‘em did…
BRENDA: First FEW solo albums?
GUS: Yeah, and you pick out the best songs from each, and then you put ‘em together for Everest. The next album after Abbey Road. Best album ever made.
Just a game. It makes sense. Most of the songs on Paul’s new album, on all of their first few solo records were written, at least started while they were Beatles, so…why not?
BRENDA: Right. Let’s see go over to George’s house. They called me. Ringo’s there now, too.
(George and Ringo have come on stage. George is meditating with eyes shut, Ringo nearby.)
BRENDA: Hi, guys…is he meditating?
RINGO: Yeah. Soon as he’s done, we hitting the clubs. You’re coming, right?
BRENDA: Maybe. I wanted you two to talk to somebody.
RINGO: He can hear you. Hi, I’m Ringo.
RINGO: Wanna bounce around town, have a cocktail or two?
BRENDA: Let’s talk first.
RINGO: Talk. Makes you thirsty. (Gus laughs. George opens his eyes.)
GEORGE: So it’s Gus, is it?
BRENDA: Gus is…from the future.
(Ringo laughs likes it’s the funniest thing in the world)
GEORGE: I know.
BRENDA: You know?
GEORGE: Time is an illusion. We’re all from the future. We’re all from the past. And we’re all from…now.
RINGO: That’s heavy.
BRENDA: So, Guys…
RINGO: We were just about to leave, Bren.
GEORGE: Yeah, we’ve got to go get drunk.
RINGO: We were in the studio today.
GEORGE: Still working on Maxwell’s Silver Hammer. That song’s going to kill me.
RINGO: Just like Maxwell killed with his Silver Hammer.
Paul wants that Silver Hammer just so. (demonstrates) Who knows what a silver hammer sounds like?
GEORGE: Paul, the all-knowing.
RINGO: It’s a-paul-ling…(laughs). So what are we talking about then, Gus?
GUS: I was…hoping to…suggest, maybe…that you guys…The Beatles do one more album.
GEORGE: What? Like after this one?
(George and Ringo look at each other. George shuts his eyes and begins meditation again.)
RINGO: Aw, see what you did. He’ll be like this for another twenty minutes. We’ll never get to the pub.
Gus, we can’t do another album. Everybody at everybody’s throats. With expectations getting higher and higher. High as Everest.
GUS: So…then…what about you…
RINGO: Hah! What am I going to do? The one who doesn’t write songs. I can do an album of other people’s stuff. I like Country and Western, y’know. Do another movie or two…Party…(Ringo trails off, wistful)
GUS: But you wouldn’t mind another Beatles album, would you?
RINGO: Well…I liked being part of a band, y’know. When it was good.
(George opens one eye, looks at Ringo)
And George, we were the best band. There ever was.
GEORGE: And now?
GEORGE: Now we’re the worst. We’re not even a band. We’re in a studio alone, or with one other bloke, and we do our own thing. That’s not a band.
GUS: But, George, you have all this music inside of you, I know you do. And if you could just work together a bit, do a few of your new things…
GEORGE: Why? They’ll barely let any of mine on the albums.
GUS: You’re doing your best work…Here Comes The Sun…and Something.
GEORGE: Where’d you hear about those?
GEORGE: I know. Let’s see if those two make the final album.
GUS: They will. And the next one…
GEORGE: There’s no next one! I’m a spiritual man. I believe in the sanctity of all living things. And I want to kill Paul.
RINGO: He does.
GUS: Paul can be over the top….
GEORGE: Over the moon! I love all living things. And I hate Paul.
GUS: You can still do your solo album, but some of your songs…
GEORGE: Solo album?
BRENDA: He knows these things. He’s from the future.
GUS: The next Beatle album can be the greatest album ever made. And think of the message you can send to the world.
BRENDA: You have more songs, George.
RINGO: He does.
GEORGE: Yeah, well.
BRENDA: Play us one.
GEORGE: All right. Mal! Cue up track seven. Listen to this one.
GEORGE: Get it straight. No more Beatles. I’m not interested. I’m working for universal understanding, higher consciousness, common brotherhood. No Beatles. I hate Paul. I want to kill him. This is called My Sweet Lord.
(Demo of My Sweet Lord plays, George meditates; Ringo bops around a little)
GEORGE: You won’t find any fucking hammers on this one.
GEORGE: Yeah. Ring, I need a drink.
RINGO: Now you’re talking.
GUS: So…maybe you’ll just consider…
(George glares at Gus. Leaves.)
RINGO: I’ll talk to him. I like your idea.
(Ringo and George move to a corner of the stage)
BRENDA: I can’t believe it. I think you’re making some progress.
GUS: Ya think?
BRENDA: It’s time for me to do another news report.
GUS: What next? Not the news…what do we do next?
BRENDA: We have to get them all in the same place. Don’t we?
(Brenda moves into news position. My Sweet Lord fades)
BRENDA: (looking at news report, shaking her head, holding her hand up to stop Nick. Then…) OK, Nick, let’s try to do this. In a just released report from India, the Dalai Lama has announced that representatives of all major religions – including The Pope, Rabbis, Muslim Clerics, Protestant Bishops, and even a minister from a California congregation known as the Church of the Holy Smokin’ Herb, will be coming together for a major interfaith conference at the foot of…Mount Everest…this coming summer. He says it is an overdue call for all people of faith to realize their…common brotherhood. He was quoted as saying, “Whether you worship with a “My Sweet Lord” or a “Hare Krishna,” you are one with the Godhead. This is our chance to realize and confirm that.” This is…who am I?…yeah…Brenda Diamond…uh…
Nick, just cut in a closing from another report.
BRENDA: This is too weird.
GUS: Yeah, I know.
BRENDA: No, I mean…You know, I think I’m just realizing…I’m finally accepting…you’re from the future!
GUS: I told you that, right?
BRENDA: Yes, yes! So you were young, now. 1970.
GUS: Yeah. Y’know, I was.
BRENDA: So, were you in Vietnam?
GUS: Yeah. I mean, no. Everybody in my generation says yeah. I don’t know why.
BRENDA: So you’re from 2017?
BRENDA: How are…the guys, the Beatles…are they still…?
GUS: You want ‘em to stay together, too, don’t you?
BRENDA: Yeah. I grew up with them.
GUS: Me, too.
BRENDA: No. I really…grew up with them.
GUS: I’m a fan.
BRENDA: Me, too.
GUS: So, what do we do…?
BRENDA: We get them in the same place at the same time.
BRENDA: I told them it was your birthday.
GUS: But I just had my…Oh…OK.
(Brenda and Gus go the side; watch. The four Beatles and Yoko assemble on stage.)
PAUL: Hey, Boys. George, Ringo.
YOKO: Hello, Paul.
PAUL: Yoko. So, John, you should hear how the album’s finishing up. Right, George? Ringo?
RINGO: Yeah, it’s finishing up.
PAUL: I’m still thinking we start it, track 1, side 1 – with Come Together. Yeah? (looking around) Yeah?
JOHN: Y’know, I stole it from Chuck Berry.
PAUL: John, artists don’t steal. They borrow.
YOKO: He’s right, John.
PAUL: But the album’s going to be great.
GEORGE: Especially Maxwell’s Silver Hammer.
JOHN: The album? The Beatles album? Or the Paul McCartney album?
PAUL: C’mon, John, it’s got your songs on it, two of George’s, Ringo’s got Octopus Garden….
JOHN: Not that album. The Paul McCartney solo album.
GEORGE: The what?
RINGO: He said the Paul McCartney solo album.
GEORGE: The what?
JOHN: Paul’s got a solo album ready to go. Right, Paul?
JOHN: Right, Paul?
PAUL: Yeah, I been doing some stuff – at home. I mean all of you are writing new songs, too, aren’t you?
JOHN: We haven’t put them between two album covers, son.
PAUL: Well, what am I supposed to do? None of you want to do anything! Every idea I came up with. It was no, no, no…
GEORGE: Your ideas were daft.
JOHN: Driving around the country in a van, showing up at clubs unannounced, playing for drinks…
PAUL: But at least we’d be a band again!
JOHN: Going off to record on a boat! Or buy an island somewhere…
RINGO: That might have been fun.
PAUL: We needed to do something to keep us together!
JOHN: We’re not together anymore! Or ever again! I think you managed that with your…solo album! And bringing the Eastmans in to give you all the money.
PAUL: All the money! What about Allen Klein? He’s going to take you and all of us for a ride…
YOKO: (stepping in between them) John…Paul…please. Not tonight. It’s Gus’ birthday. We’re here to celebrate.
PAUL: (sings a few bars from Beatles Birthday song)
JOHN: Where is Gus?
PAUL: Yeah. And who is he anyway? Man, he was telling me some weird shit.
RINGO: He’s from the future (starts laughing).
RINGO: He said he’s from the future.
GEORGE: Time is an illusion.
PAUL: Oh, shut up, George.
YOKO: From the future. I knew it.
PAUL: Oh, Yoko, for God’s sake, the future. Blow it out your ass!
JOHN: Watch your mouth, you git!
(John moves into Paul, George and Ringo get in the middle)
RINGO: Boys, Boys…boys will be boys.
(parties separate, brood individually)
BRENDA: Maybe it’s time we join the party.
GUS: Yeah, the Clapton Effect.
GUS: When they were recording The White Album, they weren’t talking to each other, then George brought Clapton in to play on While My Guitar Gently Weeps. And all of ‘em straightened up and started behaving, cause none of ‘em wanted to seem like an asshole in front of Clapton.
BRENDA: Yeah, that did happen. Clapton Effect. Let’s go.
(Brenda and Gus enter scene)
BRENDA: Hi guys!
RINGO: Brenda!!! Let the party begin!
YOKO: Gus, how old are you now?
GUS: That’s a good question.
PAUL: Gus, I know what you want for a birthday present, but I don’t think you’re going to get it. (laughs, looks around. Other Beatles snicker.)
GUS: Is it the money? Klein. And your brother-in-law?
PAUL: Well, that’s a factor.
GUS: Haven’t you talked to him? Talk to him.
GUS: No, talk to him. Can you give him a call or something? Or text him? I mean, call him. Please.
PAUL: OK. I’ll give him a call. Because it’s your birthday.
(Paul goes offstage)
GUS: It’s not really my birthday. We just wanted…
BRENDA: We wanted to get you all together. Y’know, there’s something to his idea.
JOHN: Aaaah, Brenda. You, too? I thought you had your head on straight. How long can the…”Beatles”…go on?
YOKO: John. I agree with her. And Gus. I don’t think you guys should quit. Think of what you could still do together.
JOHN: Woman! Now you. What about everything we talked about? The Bed-In for Peace!
YOKO: We can still do that.
GEORGE: And since Paul’s doing a solo album, I want to do one, too.
YOKO: You can still do that.
RINGO: What’s this Bed-In?
YOKO: You…you…all four of you are, individually, each of you, magnificent. But together, you…
BRENDA: Have you noticed what’s been going on the world since Gus has been talking to you?
JOHN: What’s that got to do with us?
(Brenda and Gus look at each other, then to the others. No one quite wants to admit that, go there. Paul re-enters)
PAUL: I can’t believe. I talked to John Eastman. He and Klein made a deal. They think if we stay together, they can…(shakes his head)
GEORGE: But what about your solo album, Paul?
PAUL: We can still do it…I mean, I can…
YOKO: You do it, Paul. All of you do your albums. But just do…(looks at Gus)…one more Beatle record.
RINGO: I know Paul wants to do more Beatle.
PAUL: (looking down, away, sheepishly) Yeah, I do.
YOKO: There we are. John?
(Lennon is still defiant)
PAUL: Wanna try writing one again, Johnny boy? We did some good stuff, didn’t we?
RINGO: Oh, yeah.
PAUL: Even early. Remember some of the stuff we did early. And gave away!
GEORGE: Yeah, to everybody. The Stones, Billy J. Kramer.
PAUL: Bad to Me, I’ll Keep You Satisfied.
RINGO: We never recorded that one.
PAUL: (sings) “You don’t need anybody to hold you”
Here I stand with my arms open wide”
(starts walking towards John, George sings backup to some of next two lines)
“Give me love and remember what I told you”
(points to John)
(mocks) “I’ll keep you satisfied”
(Sings, George on backup, John reluctantly picks up 3rd/4th line, still mock singing, about 3rd/4th line, Ringo picks up beat using his hands as drumsticks)
“You don’t need anybody to kiss you
Every day I’ll be here by your side
Don’t go way I’m afraid that I might miss you
I’ll keep your satisfied”
PAUL: John! Break!
(Ringo adjust his drama to break beat)
(still mocking) “You can always get a simple thing like love anytime”
PAUL: “But it’s different with a boy like me, and a love like mine”
(John left, George center, Paul right come close and sing final verse beautifully a la Everly Brothers)
“So believe everything that I told you
And agree that with me by your side
You don’t need anybody to hold you
I’ll keep you satisfied”
(All the guys laugh, move up stage and start joking amongst themselves; Brenda and Gus move aside
MUSIC CUE: Instrumental break from Kramer & the Dakotas version)
BRENDA: I think you did it, Gus.
GUS: We did it.
(Yoko comes back to them. John trailing.)
YOKO: Thank you. (begins to walk away)
GUS: Yoko….when…if you and John…have children…New York City’s great, great place to visit…but maybe think about bringing him…them up…in the country. Or Japan?
(John snorts. Yoko gives him a look, gives a thank you look to Gus.
Paul has overheard, come up)
PAUL: Hey Gus, my man, any advice for me?
GUS: (looks, then) Uh, I’ll just give you the old jailhouse advice. Never eat at a place called Mom’s. Never play cards with a man named Doc.
PAUL: (walking away, smiling) Right…
GUS: And never marry a one-legged woman.
PAUL: (stops) They say that in jail?
GUS: Oh, yeah. (Paul is satisfied, walks back)
BRENDA: So are you…can you…go back?
GUS: Yeah, I think so. I want to see what happened. But I think we need to do one more thing.
GUS: They’ve got to play live again.
BRENDA: I don’t know about that…
GUS: Why not? Wouldn’t it be cool?
(LIGHT CUE: Stage goes dark/lights flashing except for light on Brenda getting into news position. Gus and Yoko move stage left.
SFX CUE: Audience screams beginning, getting louder.)
BRENDA: (shouting over screams) Here we are, broadcasting live from China. We are in Gansu province, at what has become known as Great Wall Stock. Twenty million young people from all over the globe have gathered for this historic event. Babies are being born here, but they are being born in state-of-the-art Doctors Without Borders Mobile Maternity units. Several new male babies, and a few female ones, of varying nationalities have all been given what is becoming a very popular first name – Gus. Now, just one week before the band is scheduled to play the opening night at the new DisneyWorld in North Korea…I’ve just got word that the band is about to take the stage, for their historic live reunion concert, at Great Wall Stock.
This is Brenda Diamond, bringing you the news you’re looking for, reporting live from the heart of Asia.
(Gus with Brenda joining in on the third line, mimes announcement)
GUS: And now…here they are…
GUS and BRENDA: THE BEATLES!
MUSIC CUE: Band comes forward, take stances during instrumental lead-in, lights not up full till they start vocals.
“TWIST AND SHOUT” from Beatles Live at The Hollywood Bowl
(Gus and Brenda wave their arms, twist and sing along; Yoko bounces all over, distributing some form of Yoko art that says “Shake It” during final lines of song. At end of song, Beatles do their classic bow, stay in bow as lights and screams dim.)
(Curtain call; MUSIC CUE (to be selected) - Beatles on stage; Brenda, Yoko and Gus on floor – all do classic Beatles bow)