The Odyssey

by Sara Peattie, as directed by George Konnoff

Homer (large mask):
Ladies and gentlemen, how do you do?
I am Homer the Bard, here to welcome you
To my famous epic, the Odyssey
The story of Odysseus and Penelope
And how Odysseus took so long getting home after work
When he tried to get from Troy to Ithaka via New York

[Odysseus (see Hat Cat) in]
And here is Odysseus, the hero of our story
Now in domestic bliss, soon bound for glory

[Penelope (see Hat Cat) in]
And this is Penelope, Odysseus' wife
His fine feathered friend, and the light of his life

[they tango, baby appears]

Odysseus, aren't you going to Troy
It's time to join the army, boy
You've got to go invade
You seldom get a chance like this
To loot a whole metropolis
There's money to be made

Penelope, you've got to stay
Though you'd be better in every way
You can't go anywhere
Guys always get to run around
And burn whole cities to the ground
But life is so unfair

Ladies and gentlemen, the Puppeteers' Cooperative, in association with the Education Plus program of the Lincoln Square Neighborhood Center will now present to you a totally modern and digitally compressed demonstration of the famous Trojan War! Starting with, on your left, [Troy large mask in] the well-endowed and lovely city of Troy! On your right, the Achean Army, (see Riding Horses) mounted on virtual horses, led by our hero, Odysseus! And... they're forming battle lines! They're charging! They feint to the right! Troy counters with a cross cut! They feint to the left! Troy is down! Troy is up! Troy is on the attack! The Achean Army is retreating! They're in a huddle! They're regrouping! They're reattacking! Oops, that was a mistake! They're retreating! Odysseus, the famous deep thinker, is thinking! He's coming up with a thought! They're leaving1 Folks, I guess that's it, it's all over! What's that they're leaving? It's a giant horse! Well, folks, this is a new one on me!... Troy is curious.... Yes! Troy is accepting the horse!..... Oops, that was a mistake! The Acheans are all over her... They've captured Troy! A great move, one for the record books by the brilliant strategist Odysseus!

And now that Troy is totally destroyed
Odysseus is abruptly unemployed
And suddenly he seems to feel
The appetite for a home-cooked meal

But Odysseus, innocent cat though he is
Has angered Poseidon, god of the sea
Seas, secrets, and storms, all these are his
And his curse must not be shrugged off lightly.

[Poseidon (see Poseidon) in]
(Sea Song)

Troy my own
My sacred town
Its walls overthrown
Its stones tumbled down

Killed for cash
Greenbacks and gold
That sorry trash
In your ship's hold

Octopus and eel
And manatee
Entangle his keel
Keep him at sea

Wind blow westerly
Current and wave
Under the sea
Make him a grave

[Sea Scene]
(see Fathead Fish) (see Two-person Fish)
Odysseus is out sailing, Poseidon is out to get him,
Penelope's troubles are as deep as the sea.
A pack of so-called suitors are making things look grim
They want her, her house, and her money, all instantly

[suitors (cardboard masks) harrass Penelope]

The suitor's nuisance must be abated
Odysseus' voyage must be abbreviated
The only possible thing to be done
Is to call on Athena, goddess of reason

[Athena (see Jo's Ladies) in]
I am Athena, goddess of reason, sense, and clean underwear
Public radio, early hours, broccoli, kale, and sensible shoes.
My domain includes the home, and sensibly staying there
Eating and drinking in moderation, and watching the network news
I can easily see that this is an unacceptable imbroglio
Requiring a judicious application of logic to alter the status quo

But Poseidon's curse still operates
As Odysseus still circumnavigates

[Odysseus travels]
[House dance]

And soon he sights the city
Where Trump Towers practices with impunity

[Trump Tower (cardboard building) in]
Trump Tower:
First the fires
And then the banks
Then Trump Towers
In glossy ranks

We'll rock your block
We'll hijack your shack
We'll run amok
For one greenback

Our skin is concrete
Our bones are steel
Our heart is deceit
And the sweet deal

All will be well, experience no trepidation
Athena is fully in command of the situation

My dear Trump Tower, I'm sure that you will agree
That your interpersonal relations are not all that they could be
An intensive course in art and architecture, followed by one in philosophy
Plus a fuller exposure to quotidian life is necessary- I'm sending you to Poughkipsee

[Trump Tower out]

Suitors are all that Penelope can see
They're starting to stalk her endlessly

[suitor scene]

But now, Odysseus, get that boat in gear
Watch out, guys, the Cyclopses are here

[Cyclops (see Hattifatner) in]
You're all in on it, the X-ray bombardment
You're all plotting to get the better of me.
When I speak to the president, things will be different
Soon the whole civilized world will see.
I wasn't born yesterday, don't think you'll get away
You'll live to regret you ever came spying on me.

All will be well, experience no trepidation
Athena is fully in command of the situation

My dear Cyclops, no doubt the failure of orthodox freudian therapy
Has caused you distress and wasted years
But the newly developed psychotropic drugs work rapidly
And an intensive socio-theraputic intervention will soon dry your tears.

And now Penelope is really in despair
A zillion suitors and no help anywhere

[suitor scene]

There's even worse trouble crawling out of the slime
It's the enchantress Circe and her swine

[Circe, backpack with a false face which comes off (see Jo's Ladies) in]
What I'm about is business, not enjoyment
I'm firmly based upon the botton line.
I know mine's not respectable employment

But all I want is only all that's mine
And all that's mine is everything I see
And if I have to turn you all to swine

Well, I just have to think what's right for me.
It's not my fault that life's no fun straight
And reality's not all it ought to be

I just have to think of it as sorry fate
As my good customers desintegrate

But wait - don't eat him right away
I think Penelope has something to say

So he hops the bus one morning, takes his spears;
Bye, hon, he says, I'm off to conquer Troy...
And bang! He's gone for the next twenty years
And after the first fifteen it's really starting to annoy
Me, because frankly I've got troubles of my own.
No sooner is he out of sight than I'm surrounded
By jerks, creeps, fools, and full-blown
Egomaniacs. I'm being, like, completely hounded
All around town. Can't even call my house a home.
I'm fighting them off, he's stopping every other day
To send me postcards so he can whine and moan
How tough he has it. And all I've got to say
Is, Athena, get on the job and save my life
Or he'll have to find himself another wife

Ladies and gentlemen, has it ever occured to you
That there are situations in which reason is not a consideration
Since all my efforts at amendment have produced no transformation
I summon the City of New York to the rescue!

[ New York (see Flora) in]
New York:
Cut it out! Everybody straighten up and fly right! Don't give me that look, I'm New York, I don't do poetry! Circe, out of here! Drop dead! And don't do it again! Athena, back to the library! Poseidon, no more curses! We don't allow cursing in New York! Odysseus, Penelope, come over here! Odysseus, no more staying out late for twenty years! Penelope, be nice to him, he was doing it for the best! And what about that baby, anyway? I'm sending you both for a second honeymoon on Staten Island, you can take the ferry! OK, that's it, end of play! Let's dance!

[Neighborhood Heroes (see Totem) in]

Chaos is the end of all our working
Entropy's bound always to increase
The wolf outside the door is always lurking
In legends, epics, poems, and ancient Greece

But not New York, that fine and favorite town
Wolves, chaos, entropy, New York survives
Nothing ever seems to get her down
All that lives must die, New York revives

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