copyright © 2002 Todd Ristau

The Metro.

(lights up on Sal or some other guitarist "noodling" about on their instrument. After a bit a Parisian Policeman enters.)

Cop: You are not soliciting for money are you sir?

Musician: I am just here to play music, if people wish to tip me that is their business.

Cop: I see, do you have a permit?

Musician: No, I don’t have a permit.

Cop: Then you did not audition to play here?

Musician: No, I just, you know, sat down and started to practice.

Cop: You can not practice here, you must practice at home. Here is for liscnenced street musicians, those who have auditioned for their permit. People do not want to hear you practice as they go to and from work with their cares of the day! Quality counts!

Musician: Ok.

(musician begins to play a Beatles song.)

Cop: No no, you must not do that, it is not permissable to butcher the Beatles this way.

Musician: Look, man, what about my right as an artist to express myself?

Cop: What about the rights of the audience? Don’t they have a right to something good?

Musician: Who are you to decide what is good? I mean, what about freedom of speech?

Cop: Ridiculous. There are standards, and I am empowered by the government of France to enforce them!

Man steps onto stage: Excuse me, you can’t do this skit here.

Cop: This is no skit, it is a Piece. A piece of socially relevant theatre.

Man: Do you have a permit? Did you submit this script for approval?

Cop: (losing bad accent) No.

Man: Well you can’t do this piece here. We only want good pieces of theatre that are about things relevant to our audience. Who cares about France or the rules for musicians on the Paris Metro?

Cop: Well, I do.

Man: Well, I don’t and I make the rules here. We dont’ want pieces about France, we don’t want bad French accents and we don’t want....

Cop: But I wrote this piece and I have a right to perform it.

Man: But what about the audience’s right to see something they can relate to? How about riding a yellow bike in here and then beating the shit out of it with a hammer and setting it on fire? I mean, that would be a statement. This is just gratuitous and the only thing we learn is that you listen to NPR.

Musician: Am I supposed to keep playing or what?

Cop and Man: NO!

Clinton: What are you talking about? Let him do his piece if he wants.

Man: But its really bad.

Clinton: So? If he wants to suck in public let him suck!

Man: But its about France!

Clinton: If its under 5 minutes, its original, and doesn’t break the audience or the theatre, and doesn’t use an open flame, let him do it. This ain’t Paris, we got no programming committee. THIS IS NO SHAME!

Audience starts chanting (no shame no shame no shame)

Man: Fine---its your theatre!

(Musician and Cop take up chant)

Man: Fine! Its your theatre! Let it suck it you want to!

(Chanting continues as lights fade out.)


As I recall though, here was the idea... Sal Milione would be noodling on guitar. I would come in dressed as a french policeman. We'd do our bad scene, then a Man, played probably by lee moyer would come in and criticize it and then Clinton would tell them to shut up and let it suck if we wanted it was 4 characters total. Sal didn't show up, and Clinton was the only one who could play guitar and Ursula wasn't there so Trent was running lights so I still played the metro cop, Clinton played the part written for Sal, Lee played the Man, and Trent played the part written for Clinton...there wasn't really supposed to be any ambiguity, it was just written to suck and to let people know that pieces were sucking lately and that that was fine if sucking was what they really wanted to do, but that people should start maybe taking some more responsibility for doing gooder pieces. I doubt that my piece had anything to do with it, since there were almost as few audience that night as there were pieces, but every week since then has had very very strong pieces and big audiences and we are now having to impose a one piece per night rule because we are getting so many pieces.

"The Metro" debuted April 5, 2002, performed by Todd Ristau as Metro Cop, Clinton Johnston as the Musician, Lee Moyer as the Man, and Trent Westbrook as Clinton.

[Todd Ristau's website] [Ristau Entertainment Ltd.]

[Back to Library] Home