Episode 14 - "One Flu Over the Cuckoo's Nest"
Photos by Janna Hove
Synopsis by Jim Cej
* * *
Our Cast of Characters
Jason Hardwick - Keaton Abbott
- impresario, owner of the Ferguson Theatre
Stephanie Wolfe - Juniper Jones
- now solo member of a sister act, running the Hoboken Pantages Theatre-
Delia Barnett - Daisy Darling
- showgirl, born in a trunk-
Mark Meer - Lou Tellegen
- famous actor-
Belinda Cornish - Geraldine Farrar
- his equally famous actress and opera singing wife-
Jesse Gervais - Lou Costello
- accountant and guesser-
Matt Alden - Jack Potts
- radio show host-
* * *
February 3rd, 1920
Keaton Abbott strolls along the streets of New York,
meeting various characters...
...including Ratso Rizzo,
Spiderman, a hot dog seller...
...and Bernie Sanders.
He ponders his situation.
* * *
Juniper shows Lou Costello around the Hoboken Pantages Theatre.
She shows him the books.
He just has to keep them in the black.
He was worried about coming over to their theatre.
Juniper has been looking at Lou.
She knew that he and Daisy were a thing.
She didn’t want to get in the way,
but now he’s there, right beside her.
Lou feels like he’s in the clouds.
He proposes they have a secret relationship.
* * *
Lou Tellegen is in his dressing room, when his wife drops by.
He asks how Geraldine has been.
He understands that she has taken an engagement at the Hoboken Pantages.
If he knew, she wonders why he wasn’t there in opening night.
He did it for her.
Her thought that she needed some space.
And he has busy making the Bacon and Chives movies.
She is glad that their radio show is on hiatus.
Lou asks how things are going at her theatre.
Things are going well.
He expected nothing less with the talent assembled there.
He apologizes that he has not seen Geraldine's performance.
Just tell him when she wants him to appear.
Geraldine doesn’t want to have to ask,
she wants him to show up on his own.
Tonight, he shall attend her performance.
He will show up at the stage door with a huge bouquet,
and he will throw the flowers onstage, one by one.
* * *
Keaton and Bernie Sanders play chess in Central Park.
Bernie feeds a pigeon some of Keaton’s hot dog,
but it immediately drops dead.
Bernie explains how is going to spread the wealth
throughout the people of the US.
Keaton learns that planning for the future is better than living in the moment.
Keaton wonders where can get the bread crumbs to feed all his pigeons.
Bernie learns that Keaton keeps 90% of the profits.
He needs to share that around.
What if his family in Jersey don’t come back because it’s not enough?
If he was an evil person and screwed people over,
would he come back if he offered him more money?
Bernie thinks that Keaton should run for President.
* * *
We see the funeral for Isaac the Pigeon.
Jerry the Pigeon says a few words.
Isaac will be missed.
They would be remiss if they didn’t talk about how well he shit on things.
* * *
Juniper is thrilled with her meeting with Lou Costello.
She shares some of her excitement with Daisy Darling.
Daisy is in disbelief that Lou is working there.
She tells Juniper that he fired her and broke her heart.
Biff has flowers for Juniper from Lou.
He tells her that Lou is sweet on her.
She puts it with the other gifts that Lou gave her.
If Daisy has a problem with Lou, tell Juniper and she will tell him.
Daisy doesn’t want to make problems.
Lou never gave her any gifts even though they were together for a long time.
She says that she wants to make sure that he can’t fire her,
but she can have the power to fire him.
Daisy asks who’s in charge, anyway.
Juniper says that they are running the theatre organically.
* * *
Lou Tellegen visits Lou Costello at the new theatre.
The theatre makes the Ferguson look like a pig’s ass.
Everything is new.
Tellegen got something from Houdini.
He has his signature and is going to be making a film about Houdini's life.
The thing is, he needs a star.
He needs someone to portray Harry Houdini.
Tellegen will direct, bit he doesn’t want to play Harry Houdini.
He needs an actor, but not an actor.
Who do I know who always acts like he is being constricted by chains?
It is you, Lou Costello.
Tellegen will coach him, but he needs to bring his own fire to the movie.
Will he do it?
Yes, for 2% of the back end.
* * *
Keston Abbott finds Jack Potts waiting for him in his office.
He has been waiting for 3 hours.
He has a new act to show Keaton.
He was inspired by Harry Houdini.
He has a magician puppet,
and Jack will be a ventriloquist that hates magic.
Keaton likes the idea, but he needs to smooth over some of the edges.
What if he were fine with magic?
What if he said yes?
Jack and the dummy argue over who is the star of the act.
Keaton has him run through his idea.
With some practice, the act could be great!
They can work on the act together.
Keaton has never felt so jubilant before!
* * *
Juniper and Lou Costello stroll in the glow of the sunset on the Hudson River.
She sighs contentedly.
She feeds a shark some chum.
When it gets too close, Lou hits it on the nose and it swims away.
Lou is exploring the character of Harry Houdini.
They imagine how the Hudson River
will stay this natural and undisturbed forever.
Or they can gentrify it.
Everything in the world is there for them to take.
Earth, water, and fire.
She asks Lou if he would like to go back to her dressing room and… talk.
* * *
Nicolas the Shark shares what happened him
with the other sharks of the Hudson.
He plays pool with another shark.
They talk about what they are going to do with their rival gang, the Jets.
Nicolas will play the long game,
and get his revenge at Amity Island in a couple of decades.
* * *
Jack goes to the Hoboken Pantages to pitch his act.
He sees Daisy Darling.
Jack confesses to her that their act peaked with their musical number.
Which of them should perform with her?
She would like to see them audition separately.
Gerald the Dummy goes first with a movement piece.
* * *
Keaton has called Geraldine Farrar to his office.
She breaks a heel on her shoe before she enters.
She has him turn away before she enters and takes a seat.
He has something serious to talk to her about.
In the long run, it will be great for the two of them and the theatre.
She realizes that this is about the work us, not the ‘us’ us.
He has something to say to her and it’s not easy.
It’s about the ‘us’ us.
He can’t be in love wth her any more.
He wants to, but he can’t.
She has a question for him.
Is love for him like a stomach?
You have a leotard to fit into so you choose not to eat that donut.
Love for him is seeing her laying there,
waking up smiling and saying, “Good morning.”
If he could experience just 1% of that happiness every day, that would be love.
But it can’t be.
She is married.
If Geraldine wanted to be with him, she would be with him, right?
Love is eating that donut even if it will make you sick,
if it was found on the sidewalk and it was hard enough to make a house out of it.
Keaton only wants a fresh donut, and that’s selfish.
But if that’s the way you want it Keaton, I’ll see you at out next meeting.
If we have one.
* * *
Lou Tellegen rehearses Lou Costello for the role of Harry Houdini.
He has read all the research material that Tellegen sent him.
He ate all the goulash that he sent him as well.
That is what made Houdini what he is today.
They start filming tomorrow,
so they run through all the escapes that Houdini mastered.
No one will be there to help him.
Since it’s just a rehearsal,
Costello is lowered into a drum filled with water feet first.
In the movie, it will be head first.
He has one minute in which to escape.
Tellegen is not going to help,
so he reads the paper while Costello tries to escape.
Costello has trouble escaping.
* * *
The backstage union is concerned about what is going on at the theatre.
First, Bernie Saunders is there to take on their cause.
he will be their spokesman.
Keaton meets with them to calm their fears.
They have lost a lot of acts.
They will be taking a bit of a slowdown,
but he will be providing their daily wage.
It’s only 5% less than their regular wage.
What about the conditions backstage at the concession?
What about the maggoty bread?
He has spoken to Bobbi about it.
Where is Bobbi anyway?
She has taken a bit of a personal break.
It seems like a lot of people have taken a personal break.
Keaton reminds them that they have a 5 year contract.
They remind him that there is a wage rate specified in the contract.
The union discuss his offer of the same wage for less work.
That sounds too good.
What about twice the wage for no work?
* * *
Daisy and Juniper enter the rehearsal hall.
They ask Lou Tellegen what is going on.
He sees that Costello has not escaped from the barrel.
They break into the barrel and find an unconscious Lou Costello.
Daisy knows mouth-to-mouth,
but is reluctant to help...
...until she gets a promise that she will have the power to fire him.
Lou Tellegen doesn’t have the authority, but agrees.
She starts the mouth-to-mouth.
* * *
* Directed by Belinda Cornish *
* Music by Paul Morgan Donald *
* Lights by Brad Fischer *
* * *
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