By Kelly Dearmore
By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
Déjà Vu: A One-Act
The curtain opens, revealing four old men on a stage. They're all standing in shadows, obscured from the audience. In the background, we hear what sounds like an echo of an ancient, familiar song -- something long forgotten, except by the 45-deceased demographic. The man standing farthest stage left walks out of the shadows, toward a microphone perched at the end of the stage. He is a round man with long, thin hair. He might be anyone -- your deer-hunting next-door neighbor or crazy uncle who's always under the pickup truck with a wrench.
Stephen Stills: "They are one person..." He backs away from the microphone.
Another man emerges from the shadows. He is gaunt, and a thin moustache covers his upper lip. He looks as though he might be selling insurance or escorting you to a good table in a fancy restaurant.
Graham Nash: "They are two alone..." He stops, then lowers his head.
A third man, or perhaps two men wearing the clothing of one man, emerges from the shadows. He sports a moustache made out of Frank Zappa and Jerry Garcia's leftovers. Stretched over his enormous torso is a white T-shirt with black type that reads, "Which wine goes with liver?"
David Crosby: "They are three together..." He coughs, then begins masturbating into a cup for no apparent reason. A UPS deliveryman enters stage right.
Crosby, addressing the UPS man: "Send this to the Indigo Girls, pronto!" The UPS man carefully takes the cup, then exits.
A fourth man, who looks to be homeless, stumbles out next, last. He wears what appears to be a hat, though it hasn't been an actual solid in a very long time. What looks to be straw peeks out from beneath the hat. Around the man's shoulders is a battered guitar dangling from a rope. He is barefoot, and a small smirk is pasted to his face. He begins singing in an impossibly high voice -- there might be an old woman beneath the makeup.
Neil Young: "They are for each other." He stops, looks at the three men to his right, then throws down his guitar. He begins singing again, this time without the wistful tone in his voice.
Young, singing: "Old men, take a look at my life, I'm a lot like you." He then stops singing and begins to speak to his bandmates. "But I'm not like you. I have a career. I am respected by a younger generation of musicians. I made a record with Pearl Jam. Don't you people read Spin? I'm the Godfather of Grunge, for Chrissakes. I don't need you people." He turns to the audience. "You people should be ashamed of yourselves. You're all nostalgia rapists, paying hundreds of dollars to resurrect a meaningless, dead past." He exits stage left, then returns with an electric guitar.
Crosby, Stills, and Nash begin singing again, their once-fine harmonies now as rusty as a sunken ship: "Our house, is a very, very, very fine house."
Young, furious: "Oh, shut up, all of ya." He begins plugging in his guitar.
Stills, addressing Young: "But Neil, we're a team -- a sum greater than its parts. We're legends, all of us. Heroes, icons to the Woodstock generation."
Young: "Is that really what you think, Stephen? Really? Stop kidding yourself, pal. We were never a team. Think about it: For Déjà Vu, I recorded my songs all by my lonesome and gave them to you people to sing on. And that was the only listenable album we ever did together -- together, hah! Looking Forward, my ass. To what? Listening to your whiny shit? Look at our set lists, pal. 'Cinnamon Girl,' 'Rockin' in the Free World,' 'Southern Man,' 'After the Gold Rush,' 'Ohio,' 'Long May You Run,' 'Down By the River.' Who are you guys fooling? Those are my songs. A team? Fella, you're my backup singer. Get it through your thick head. Yeah, like these people really wanna hear 'Pre Road Downs.' Like 'Almost Cut My Hair' means jackshit anymore. Get over yerself, pal. Cash yer check, and shut yer hole."
Crosby: "Neil, you're out of control." He then begins singing "Out of Control." No one is paying attention.
ó Robert Wilonsky