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Next To Normal: Abridged

By Gil on Monday, Jun 22, 2009


NEXT TO NORMAL ABRIDGED A "Broadway Abridged" Pill That Melts In Your Mouth [WARNING: MAY CONTAIN NUTS. ALSO, SPOILERS.] By Gil Varod

SCENE: A SERIES OF POP-ART PANELS AND POLES THAT JOIN TO CREATE A MULTI-LEVEL... UM... STRIP CLUB? Enter exactly what you wish your kid would have looked like if he GREW UP instead of DYING AS A BABY. MALE EYE CANDY Hi mom, I'm your SPOOKY ANTAGONIST SON, and I'm sorry I'm "home late", wink wink. I'll just pretend I'm ACTUALLY HERE, because didn't that work so well in PROOF? Enter a graduate from the MARY LOUISE PARKER SCHOOL OF CRAZY EYES. ALICE RIPLEY (for some reason opening and closing her fist over and over again, one finger at a time) THAT OKAY, BECAUSE ALICE RIPLEY GOING T HAVE SEX WITH YR FATHER! JENNIFER DAMIANO I'm *so* glad I know that. (to audience) You can tell that I'm a hip, modern high school teenager because, duh, I roll my eyes at everything while being dryly sarcastic and cursing too much! (rolls eyes) Ffffffuck. J. ROBERT SPENCER Get to school daughter, because your mother is CRAZY and I never understand WHAT SHE'S TALKING ABOUT. She keeps saying crazy things like: ALICE RIPLEY ALICE RIPLEY KEEP CAVE CLEAN. Y GO OUT, GET FIRE. J. ROBERT SPENCER Sigh, our musical's so important. JENNIFER DAMIANO

Just crazy!

Dad, *duh* she's saying she'll be homemaker while you head off to work. (rolls eyes) Right Mom? Fffffuck. ALICE RIPLEY (making sandwiches, wasting away 8 loaves of bread a week) ME NO PAY ATTENTION BECAUSE ME CRAZY. ALSO, ME QUESTIONABLE SUBCONSCIOUS T BUSY IMAGINING ME DEAD CHILD UPSTAIRS TAKING SHOWER. MALE EYE CANDY (Standing in underwear on top level of set. For real.) Hi there!

SCENE: A DOCTOR'S OFFICE THAT IS MADE OUT TO LOOK LIKE A STRIP CLUB, BUT WITH THE LIGHTING FROM "SPRING AWAKENING". DOCTOR CHARACTER (enters) I'm here to establish that you're taking pills. (exits)

SCENE: A DIFFERENT LEVEL OF SAME STRIPCLUB (PERHAPS THE VIP SECTION?) WITH THE LIGHTING FROM "PASSING STRANGE". LIGHTING DESIGNER KEVIN ADAMS They told me that if I stole the lighting from my last two "hip/edgy" shows, that I'd get to keep the purchase price of the bulbs! :D J. ROBERT SPENCER Kids, we're going to play a new game today. It's called GUESS THE LAZY LYRIC! One of us (usually me) will sing a lyric missing the last word so that you at home can guess what OBVIOUS RHYME is coming next! We'll do it slowly enough so that the rhyme screams out at you, just like while you're watching the REAL show. Ready? (sings) WHO'S CRAZY A HUSBAND OR WIFE? WHO'S CRAZY (a pause so you can guess what word ends the next line) TO LIVE THEIR WHOLE ______? ALICE RIPLEY

MY PSYCHOPHARMACOLOGIST AND I... IT'S LIKE AN ODD ROMANCE INTENSE AND VERY INTIMATE... (pause: can you guess?) WE D OUR ________? J. ROBERT SPENCER REMEMBERING WHEN SHE WAS TWENTY AND BRILLIANT AND BOLD! AND I WAS SO YOUNG AND SO DUMB... (another pregnant pause) AND NOW I AM _______. (to Audience) OK add up your score. Did you get all of them? Because if you did, you win a FREE PICTURE of Alice Ripley making SCARY-AS-SATAN faces that you can hang over your bed! YOU, THE WINNER (absolutely horrified) ALICE RIPLEY IT LIKE DREAMCATCHER, BUT MORE ALICE RIPLEY SMASH ALICE RIPLEY KILL!

SCENE: PIANO ROOM THAT LOOKS LIKE A STRIP CLUB. JENNIFER DAMIANO You should stay away from me, romantic male lead. (rolls eyes) FFFFFUCKED UP!

I'm very

OTHER YOUNG BOY IN THE SHOW Well I SMOKE POT, which in this musical apparently passes for being FUCKED UP too. We should date. Also: I've been SITTING BEHIND YOU IN CLASS for SIX YEARS while eyeing you. Also: I love you. JENNIFER DAMIANO Yeah, that's not coming on too strong at all. Let's definitely date, because you like me for some reason, and I find attractive the fact that you're borderline stalkerish. Also: the word Ffffffuck. ALICE RIPLEY ALICE RIPLEY WATCH SCENE BETWEEN DAUGHTER AND BORING CHARACTER, REMIND ALICE RIPLEY OF ALICE RIPLEY YOUNG. RIPLEY SING "I WANT" SONG ABOUT THIS?

ALICE

DIRECTOR MICHAEL GREIF Hmm. I think we're probably too IMPORTANT and SMART a MUSICAL, so let's treat the audience like IDIOTS just in case they're missing the PARALLELS.

J. ROBERT SPENCER IN A HALF-ASSED ATTEMPT TO DRESS LIKE HE'S YOUNGER (enters) Hey, Alice Ripley, let's marry. (leaves) DIRECTOR MICHAEL GREIF That'll do. Alice Ripley sings while pouring all of the pills down the toilet. She has learned a valuable lesson that PILLS ARE EVIL and they never help anyone at all! ALICE RIPLEY HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ME DEAD, DEAD, DEAD SON! ...or maybe not. JENNIFER DAMIANO My ffffffucking brother died before I was born! not going to say how yet!

But we're

AUDIENCE Since they kept it from us, I can't wait until ACT TWO when I'll surely find out how he died! I bet it had something to do with ALICE RIPLEY'S MENTAL DISORDER! J. ROBERT SPENCER Alice Ripley, we are having an ANGRY ARGUMENT! So I'm going to yell at you via song, pausing awkwardly during the spaces in between lyrics like I don't know what to do with myself. ALICE RIPLEY ALICE RIPLEY ANGRY AT YOU T FOR BEING... m... SUPPORTIVE HSBAND! FOR REVENGE, ALICE RIPLEY TRST MIRAGE OF DEAD SON INSTEAD!

Alice Ripley and her Imaginary Son grab each other a bunch and hold each other. TONY AWARDS WATCHERS Oh... so this *isn't* a musical about a woman torn between her husband and an affair with a younger man.... Coulda fooled me.

SCENE: DOCTOR'S OFFICE-SLASH-GENTLEMEN'S CLUB. ALICE RIPLEY DOCTOR, ME FEEL WORSE THAN LAST SCENE.

WHY-FOR?

DOCTOR CHARACTER I'm a different doctor character now. You can tell because I took off my glasses. (sings all crazy like) So your last doctor diagnosed you as a nice vague mix of BIPOLAR and SCHIZOPHRENIC. ALICE RIPLEY (has tiny, creepy orgasms when he does so) YES, THAT COVER GENERAL MENTAL DISEASE GAMT! DOCTOR CHARACTER (never sings crazy-like again) Well, according to my notes here, if your son had never died, none of your neuroses would have ever been triggered. ALICE RIPLEY ALICE RIPLEY FIND THIS VERY CONVENIENT FOR PLOT. DOCTOR CHARACTER My very professional doctorly advice--and your VALUABLE LESSON today--is that you should LEARN HOW TO LET GO OF YOUR SON. JENNIFER DAMIANO (rolling onstage via her eyes) Wow, what a *genius* doctor. Pfft. ALICE RIPLEY LET GO SON? WHY IT TAKE FULL SEVENTEEN YEARS OF THERAPY T REACH THIS CONCLSION? MALE EYE CANDY Hey, there's all these stripper poles around here, does anybody mind if I swing on them and gyrate in most of my songs? ALICE RIPLEY ONLY ALICE RIPLEY CAN SEE SON GYRATE... MAYBE DEAD SON TINY BIT OEDIPAL?

SCENE: SO, DID *YOUR* HIGH SCHOOL LOOK LIKE A PLACE WHERE

PEOPLE TAKE OFF THEIR CLOTHES FOR MONEY? JENNIFER DAMIANO I have decided that MOZART is too RIGID, and that CREATIVE IMPROVISATION is more IMPORTANT! OTHER YOUNG BOY IN THE SHOW Whatever.

SCENE: THE SAME DOCTOR'S TITTY BAR. ALICE RIPLEY I THOUGHT SHOW ABOUT ME CRAZY. WHY IS SHOW NOW ABOUT DEAD SON? ALICE RIPLEY CONFSED. DOCTOR CHARACTER That's cause the pills aren't helping. Which is good, because if eventually finding the right combination did seem to fix that you're CRAZY like it sometimes does in real life, this musical would be suddenly over. Doctor does exactly the sort of PROFESSIONAL HYPNOSIS that you used to do in summer camp! DOCTOR CHARACTER Now, imagine you're walking down a long flight of stairs, then down a hall, then opening a door that you see. ALICE RIPLEY ALICE RIPLEY SEE DAUGHTER, WHO ALICE RIPLEY MAKE BABY OF T DEAL WITH DEAD DEAD SON. DOCTOR CHARACTER Ah, maybe you should finally go clear out your dead son's bedroom? Then we could do the scene where your son is in a tuxedo, and you share a rather questionable slow-dance with him as he warmly kisses your hand. ALICE RIPLEY DOCTOR THINK QUESTIONABLE SLOW DANCE FIX MOURNING? (slits wrists) DOCTOR CHARACTER Apparently not. J-ROB!

J. ROBERT SPENCER (entering) Sorry, I was busy washing INVISIBLE BLOOD off this chair.

DOCTOR CHARACTER Well, I'm going to suggest ELECTROSHOCK THERAPY, while being very crafty and misleading about how totally-not problematic the side effects are. Cause of the lesson that DOCTORS ARE EVIL. ALICE RIPLEY AARRGGGGHHH!! GRR AGRH GGRRR ARGH

NO, ME WON'T D THAT! ARGH!

J. ROBERT SPENCER Let me convince you with a sweet, calming and relaxing song. (singing) TAKE THIS CHANCE CAUSE IT MAY BE OUR LAST TO BE FREE, TO LET GO OF THE _____ TAKE MY HAND, AND LET ME TAKE YOUR HEART KEEP YOU FAR FROM WHAT KEEPS US A-_____ (pause) AND SHOCK YOURSELF WITH OVER ONE HUNDRED PULSING WATTS OF LIVE ELECTRICITY.... UM... FOR OUR LOVE! ALICE RIPLEY ALICE RIPLEY D IT. (signs form) (is electrocuted using the worst "electrocution lighting" ever)

OH.

OKAY.

LIGHTING DESIGNER KEVIN ADAMS Ah, the old "Bitch of Living" bulbs still work great!

SCENE: A *NON*-STRIPCLUB CLUB. STRIPCLUB.

WHICH IS THEMED TO A

JENNIFER DAMIANO (taking handfuls of pills at once, but definitely not going to the emergency room for overdosing or anything) I'm stealing my mother's medicine, but ha ha, I'm still against pot! OTHER YOUNG BOY IN THE SHOW And you're still dating me? JENNIFER DAMIANO (bumpin' and grindin') Dating you, and NEVER KISSING YOU. Also, POLE-DANCING!

AUDIENCE Whoa whoa whoa... isn't she like SIXTEEN in real life?

SCENE: WHEN YOU LOSE YOUR MEMORY, EVEN YOUR *OWN HOUSE* STARTS TO LOOK KIND OF LIKE A STRIP CLUB. ALICE RIPLEY LSE MEMORY. AT UNLIKELY WORST-CASE SCENARIO OF ELECTRIC MEMORY LOSS. CAN'T REMEMBER ALL IMPORTANT LESSONS ME LEARN IN ACT ONE IMPORTANT, IMPORTANT MSICAL. CAN'T REMEMBER OWN DAUGHTER! CAN'T REMEMBER A WHOLE PERSON!

ME ME ME OF ME ME

J. ROBERT SPENCER Don't worry, just remember this universal fluffy truth: Memories Don't Die! ...unless you electrocute them to a crisp. I guess we learned the important lesson that ELECTRICITY IS EVIL. COMPOSER TOM KITT Can everyone now sing a song all about REMEMBERING? They do. LYRICIST BRIAN YORKEY Um... now can you sing a song about ITEMS we remember? They do. COMPOSER TOM KITT Jeez what else... Oh, in song, can you recount a whole bunch of TIMES THAT ALICE WAS CRAZY so the audience knows she was crazy, in case they weren't sure? That happens. Finally:

J. ROBERT SPENCER Gee Alice, you're getting better--almost as good as you were in the end of Act One! ALICE RIPLEY WHOLE POINT OF NOW IS GET ALICE RIPLEY ONLY AS SANE AS ACT ONE? THAT NOT COMFORTING. JENNIFER DAMIANO Wow, a Rock Musical with a way less coherent second act than its first? (rolls eyes) Apparently RENT *is* still influential!

SCENE: STRIPPERCIZE CLASSES IN PHYS ED.

JENNIFER DAMIANO We're breaking up now. OTHER YOUNG BOY IN THE SHOW But I never even got to kiss y--

BREAKING UP!!!!

JENNIFER DAMIANO THIS IS NOT UP FOR DISCUSSION! IF YOU COME UP WITH A BETTER THING TO HAPPEN IN ACT TWO, YOU LET ME KNOW! ROLLEYES! OTHER YOUNG BOY IN THE SHOW Why on earth do I like you, never mind

ROLLEYES INDEED! *love* you?

HMMM.

ALICE RIPLEY (to other young boy) OTHER YOUNG BOY, Y REMIND ALICE RIPLEY OF SMEBODY.

OTHER YOUNG BOY IN THE SHOW Why, because I'm roughly the same age as your son, even though I look nothing like you imagine him being? ALICE RIPLEY ME SON!!! EYE CANDY sets out a basket with all sorts of things that will REMIND Alice Ripley that HE EXISTS! How antagonistic. ALICE RIPLEY MAAAAAH! GRFF!

WHAT?

NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

NAAAGHH!

MALE EYE CANDY Yes, I am back and I'm being generally antagonistic still! And until you SAY MY NAME, you won't get PAST MY DEATH, Alice Ripley! (to audience) Got that? She needs to SAY MY NAME TO DEAL WITH ME! She does JUST THAT and she won't be crazy anymore! ALICE RIPLEY (suddenly kind of lucid) Oh son, Alice Ripley now remember everything! Alice Ripley now remember the secretive way that y died... AUDIENCE

Oooooh here it is we're gonna learn how you killed him! ALICE RIPLEY ...all because... AUDIENCE Yes... yes... yes...! ALICE RIPLEY OF AN INTESTINAL ISSE! AUDIENCE ...well boo. ALICE RIPLEY AND JENNIFER DAMIANO (at the same time) (because having parallels in IMPORTANT MUSICALS are also IMPORTANT!) We're angry at y, men! OTHER YOUNG BOY IN THE SHOW Why are you angry at me, Jennifer? JENNIFER DAMIANO Nevermind!

Oh.

Not really sure.

J. ROBERT SPENCER Why are you angry at me, Alice? ALICE RIPLEY Because y were terrible hsband to Alice Ripley! J. ROBERT SPENCER What was terrible about me? ALICE RIPLEY Alice Ripley dnno. Y always avoided talking about our dead son. You didn't bring him p single time in this msical. Always Alice Ripley did! J. ROBERT SPENCER That might be because I've moved on, and because he died sixteen years ago. ALICE RIPLEY ALICE RIPLEY DON'T CHSE TO INTERPRET IT THAT WAY! J. ROBERT SPENCER WELL I DO!

ALICE RIPLEY WELL ALICE RIPLEY LEAVING! J. ROBERT SPENCER YEAH WHERE ARE YOU GOING TO GO? ALICE RIPLEY TO LIVE WITH ALICE RIPLEY PARENTS! J. ROBERT SPENCER YOU WHAT? YOU'VE NEVER EVEN MENTIONED THAT YOU HAVE LIVING PARENTS IN THE WORLD OF THIS MUSICAL! ALICE RIPLEY ALICE RIPLEY CAN, AND ALICE RIPLEY WILL! MALE EYE CANDY Apparently THAT was the solution to your mental illness all along: don't deal with it and just run away. You've learned a VALUABLE LESSON, Alice Ripley!

ALICE RIPLEY (starts to walk out the door) J. ROBERT SPENCER Wait... take Dead Son with you! Don't leave him behind, transferring your delusions to me somehow! ALICE RIPLEY ALICE RIPLEY NOT TRANSFERRING ME DELUSIONS TO Y! ALICE RIPLEY THINK BY ME LEAVING, Y FINALLY DEAL WITH HIS DEATH! J. ROBERT SPENCER Well that's not how I interpret that either! ALICE RIPLEY WE NEVER SHOULD HAVE GOT MARRIED--WE NO AGREE ON SHODDY INTERPRETATION OF ANYTHING! (leaves) MALE EYE CANDY (enters) Now I'm haunting *you*, Dad! J. ROBERT SPENCER (finally revealing his name) Your name is Gabriel! YOUR NAME IS GABRIEL! JENNIFER DAMIANO (takes pills) It's a shame we'll never be a normal family, but I'm okay with that. I will happily settle for a family that is NEXT

TO NORMAL. Whee they said the musical's name!

SCENE: AN EPILOGUE THAT DOESN'T HAVE THE MAIN CHARACTER IN IT AT *ALL*. J. ROBERT SPENCER (to Doctor) Help me, Doctor. DOCTOR CHARACTER With finally grieving for your lost son? J. ROBERT SPENCER What? No, that was like 20 years ago. I need to schedule a session with you so you can help me understand why ME saying my son's name was the correct solution to the issue that ALICE couldn't say his name the whole musical. JENNIFER DAMIANO I need a session too, maybe you can tell me why the musical "had" to end at this particular point instead of, say, ten minutes earlier or later. Or even with a scene where Alice Ripley sings to the audience about where she's headed in life from here on. OTHER YOUNG BOY IN THE SHOW Yeah, are there pills you can recommend for highly unsatisfying endings? And does my HMO cover them? DOCTOR CHARACTER Okay, I have you all down for Thursday at noon, one and two respectively. And we can talk about that, as well as the TRUE moral of this very IMPORTANT MUSICAL, which is that EVERYBODY NEEDS THERAPY! OTHER YOUNG BOY IN THE SHOW Also, maybe that "love conquers all"? Or maybe that was "love makes young people do stupid impregnating things". JENNIFER DAMIANO (eyes falling out) I figured maybe our lesson was that "ONE FAMILY IS ABOUT TO FACE THE MUSIC" is a vague, terrible tagline. Or maybe we learned to never use a logo that looks like FfffffffffffBLACKOUT.

LIGHTING DESIGNER KEVIN ADAMS (with flashlight) Sorry guys, my fault. I guess that's what I learn from reusing so many old bulbs.