Strike the Carp and Join the Chorus

The holiday season is starting to weigh on everyone, and it can’t end soon enough.  To make matters worse, The Baroque Chorale is terrorizing the kingdom, through updated renditions of classic Christmas carols, to get Figgy pudding for yet another fundraiser.  Sofia, a no-name servant girl, is recruited by the Steward to be a mole in The Baroque Chorale.  Her job is to destroy the choir from within.  Will she topple The Baroque Chorale or will Sofia become a true believer in all things show choir? This lighthearted send-up of show choirs is sure to please both choir alumni and the uninitiated general public.

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Sofia has agreed to join The Baroque Chorale. Their first meeting is a bit strange . . .

MINSTREL:  There are just a few formalities we have to go through before you are officially a member of The Baroque Chorale.  Crescendo, go get the carp.

CRESCENDO:  (Speaks as his name – starts softly and increases in volume.)  I will do that right now, boss! (Starts to exit.)

SOFIA:  Wait.  (CRESCENDO stops.  SOFIA speaks to MINSTREL.)  Why do we need a carp?

MINSTREL:  It’s the standard entrance requirement to join the chorus.

SOFIA:  Huh?

MINSTREL:  (Sings.)  Strike the carp and join the chorus.

CRESCENDO, FORTE, TUTTI, FLAT, and SHARP:  (Sing.)  Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la, la, la.

SOFIA:  No, that’s not how it goes.  It’s strike the harp and join the chorus.

MINSTREL:  Really? Are you sure?  (SOFIA nods.)  Why this abuse of musical instruments?  I mean, strike the carp I can understand, since carp are an invasive species.

SOFIA:  No.  Strike means play.  Play the harp.

MINSTREL:  Oh.  We’re an a cappella group, so we’ll have to scratch that requirement.

SOFIA:  Fine by me.

MINSTREL:  All you have to do is sign away your heart, mind, soul, and first born to The Baroque Chorale.  If you would sign here . . .

SOFIA:  Heart, mind, body, soul, and first born?

MINSTREL:  This is show choir after all.  We expect a certain level of commitment.

SOFIA:  Right.  (Signs.) 

MINSTREL:  Excellent.  Now, all we need is some blood.

SOFIA:  (Shocked.)  Blood?

MINSTREL:  Makes the contract binding.  Haven’t you seen the play Dr. Faustus?

SOFIA:  Hello?  Liberal arts major. (Pulls out safety pin at the same time that MINSTREL pulls out dagger.)

MINSTREL:  (Looks at safety pin.)  Oh.  That will work too, I guess.

SOFIA:  (Pretends to poke finger and presses it to contract.)  I’d have less trouble joining the Secret Service.

MINSTREL:  Of course.  Our background check is much more thorough.

SOFIA:  Background check?

FLAT:  (His voice is flat, of course.)  It all started with the Diva.

FORTE:  (Speaks forcefully.)  Our former soprano.

CRESCENDO:  We had a little incident involving the Diva, a cranky meerkat, and a terribly imbalanced chandelier.

MINSTREL:  We’ve had to be a lot more careful who we let into the group.

FORTE:  And we’ve all had to get rabies shots.

SHARP: (Pause.) You know that the Diva’s supposed to be here tonight, right?

MINSTREL:  Are you sure?

CRESCENDO:  That’s what I heard.  Let me look.  (CRESCENDO and FORTE sneak over to the edge of the stage and look out into the audience.)  I don’t see her.  Maybe we’ll get lucky this time.

FORTE:  Nope. (Points.) There she is!  (Rest of group comes forward to see her.)  See her?  She’s wearing _______ (fill in description depending on what the audience member you choose is wearing.  ALL turn to look.) Don’t look at her!  Whatever you do, don’t make eye contact.  (ALL don’t look at DIVA while trying to look at DIVA.) 

SHARP:  (Throws up his hands.) We just can’t get rid of her, can we?  She keeps turning up like a bad shilling.  Why did the Minstrel ever let her join our group?

FORTE:  It sure wasn’t her singing.  Of course, it didn’t hurt that she is Lord Middleton’s wife.

SHARP:  She is good on facial expressions.  I mean, just look at her.  (ALL turn to look.)  Don’t look at her!  Whatever you do, don’t make eye contact.  (ALL don’t look at DIVA while trying to look at DIVA.) 

MINSTREL:  I can’t believe she’s here. (Aside.) I told the Town Crier to give her the wrong date. (To the group as he leads them back to center stage.) Well, we’ll just have to do our best to ignore her.  Don’t encourage her.  (Back to SOFIA.) Sofia, let me introduce the gang.  This is Crescendo.

CRESCENDO:  It’s a pleasure to meet you.


FORTE:  I’m sure that we will get along famously.


FLAT:  Glad to meet you.  But you will probably forget my name in the next five minutes.  Nobody remembers me.


SHARP:  It is indubitably an exquisite experience to make your acquaintance.

MINSTREL:  And Tutti.

TUTTI:  Hi.  This will be great.  We’ll be one big, happy family.

MINSTREL:  They will teach you our secret handshake later.  You are double-jointed, right?

SOFIA:  I don’t think so—

MINSTREL:  Oh.  You’ll have some nasty sprains at first. (Claps hands.) Right. Let’s make a start.

SOFIA:  (Vocally warms up.)  Me-me-me-me-me.

MINSTREL:  Hold it.  “Me-me-me-me-me”?  I thought you weren’t a soprano?

SOFIA:  I was warming up.

MINSTREL:  For what?

SOFIA:  Singing.

MINSTREL:  Oh.  That.  Maybe later.  This is a business meeting.

SOFIA:  What?

SHARP:  Based on my economic projections, at our current rate of figgy pudding accumulation, the probability of achieving our financial goals is only seventeen percent.

FLAT:  At this rate, we’ll never be able to go on our choir trip.  Which is a major bummer because we already have a song and the choreography worked out for our trip to Disneyshire.

CRESCENDO:  We’ve adapted the song “Don’t Stop Believin’” as a tribute to Mickey Mouse.

FORTE:  It goes something . . . like this.  (They line up to do choreography to the tune of “Don’t Stop Believin’.”  This choreography should be mouse-inspired.)

TUTTI: A wheel of cheese in a back store room
Mice are gathering in the gloom
For a bite they’d share the night
It goes on and on and on and on

FORTE:  Don’t stop / sque-ee-kin’

CRESCENDO:  Hold on to that shrie-eee-eekin’

ALL:  Mouse-hat / people.  Oh-oh-oh-oh!

SOFIA:  That was . . . interesting.

TUTTI:  You ought to see it with the props.

SOFIA:  Mouse hats?

TUTTI:  No, silly.  Whips.  It makes it edgy.  Envelope-pushing.

SOFIA:  (Confused.) Of course.

SHARP:  All of this is irrelevant unless we can acquire new sources of fructose-laden pastries.

MINSTREL:  What do you suggest, Sharp?

SHARP:  According to my random, stratified, longitudinal opinion polls, people are not willing to give figgy pudding in exchange for traditional Christmas carols any more.

ALL:  (Gasp.)

SHARP:  The market is saturated.

FLAT:  So, no more Christmas carols

SHARP:  No more traditional Christmas carols.  I suggest we use different musical styles.

TUTTI:  Such as

SHARP:  Country and western music has recently enjoyed a resurgence.

FLAT:  That will never work.

TUTTI:  Sure it will, Flat.  You’ve got the perfect voice for country music.

CRESCENDO:  How do we know if this will work?

SHARP:  We do a sample.  Let’s choose some table out there and see if we can get some figgy pudding.  But remember: don’t go near the Diva. (They look at Diva’s table then choose a table farther away from her.  They sing in country music style to the tune of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”)

ALL:     We wish you a merry Yule Time
And no prison for your crime
A pickup with no grime
And a trailer double-wide


 Now bring us the figgy pudding
Now bring us the figgy pudding
Now bring us the figgy pudding
And bring it right here