A California Vacuum Cleaner Salesman in the BOG Court
or
Somewhere Over the Foul Line

or
The Twilight of the Gods

Author: Gerhardt von Nordflammen
Performed: Mists Spring Investiture (May), AS XXVIII (1993)

Oh no! We had run out of scripts! To the best of our knowledge, Goldwyn has not written any more plays (a shame, as his were quite fun to do). However, we had a demand (both from the actors themselves, who didn't want to stop and from audiences demanding to know what we were doing next!). I was in a quandry really. I had thrown the GS Players together as a lark, with the intent of doing Goldwyn's plays, and nothing more. Silly me ...

So, we turned to the West Kingdom's past, and our own best known author, Master Gerhardt von Nordflammen. We received permission to produce his works (because we weren't "butt-heads" ...), and so ...

We dusted off A California Vacuum Cleaner Salesman in the BOG Court (little realizing that about a year later the Board of Directors would do something that would make the SCA go nuts, which is what spurred Gerhardt to write this one ...).

Synopsis: This play is about a gentleman (?) named Leo. In the SCA, his name is 'Leo the Shrieker' (originally a spoof on 'Leon von Schrecken', who played the part in the original production -- the line about his arms just passing the College of Heralds (300 years later) was even funnier in the original, because Leon's arms literally passed the College of Arms the week prior to the performance!). He happens to be a vacuum cleaner salesman, and while doing his job, he is visited by some aliens looking for specimans to take back with them, they freeze him into place for 300 years, and then realize he's defective (he has a 12" growth between his legs!) so they leave him.

When he snaps out of it, the SCA is all that's left of civilization, and being a "Westermurker", he's the sworn enemy of the Kingdom of the Best, and the Board of Gods. They plan on killing him. He gets rescued by the Westermurkers, and comes up with a plan to restore the monarchy ...

Goofy, but it was based on some silliness from many years ago dealing with some concepts about 'peerage points' and such (which amounted to nothing in the long run). Gerhardt has a long "discussion" in the collection of plays this is in, about why he wrote it. It's worth reading ... (finding a copy of "Trends of Change", on the other hand, is going to be harder to do, and that's what caused the brouhaha in the first place!)

As it turns out, some of the folk who were in the original production of the play were in our audience, and they were startled at how close we got some of the characters ...

Incidents: Not much we can say -- no real problems. Kæll looked really disgusting as the salesman -- he found a polyester suit at a used clothing store, wore white socks that were definitely visible, we greased his hair back so bad we were afraid to light a match ...

We had no actual stage, so we actually played on the floor level, which was frustrating, as there are scenes with lots of folk sitting down at a table (The Board of Gods ...). In the video we got the tops of heads for parts of those scenes.

Anne (of Ockham) did a great job creating the break-away table (used to pop Duke Bull over the head) and the shield for the Westermurkers ...

The casting of Wulfric in two roles was based on something I had seen the Flying Karamozov Brothers do in their hysterical production of A Comedy of Errors -- one actor doing two roles, both of which are on stage at one time -- both radically different in character. The costume was split down the middle. Wulfric literally had a split personality in this one (he still uses the tunic, but mostly for baking ...). I thought he did it really well, but when someone came up to me and said that for a long time he kept wondering what happened to the little guy every time the one fighter kept yelling "I'll kill him!" I realized just how well ...

The original production of this play seems to be one of the places where Gerhardt introduced his well-known song "PPFUF" ... There's a verse in the play (which Anne sang) that does not appear anywhere else (but then, it doesn't fit with the rest of the song ...). The audience chimed right in on the chorus though, which was fun.

This is the first time the players got paid ... I went to Titus of Wormwood, who was guildmaster for the West Kingdom Moneyer's Guild at the time, with a design, and we worked out an arrangement. I back-paid all the players, and from this point on, the players, and anyone who assisted with our productions got a coin ... I'm still rather pleased with the design!

 Photos: Yes -- on the West Kingdom History Website ...
Mists Spring Investiture Photos.

 Videos: Videos are available online (as well as the DVD below...):

 DVD: Available, contact Hirsch for details (probably $5-10, just to cover the cost of the discs, the case, etc. and any postage would need to be tacked on).

 Script: A 20th Century Vacuum Cleaner Salesman in the BOG Court -- read disclaimer at top of script. (PDF)

The Cast:

ManagerJuan Santiago
Leo the ShriekerKæll of the Broken Tower
Old WomanRose de Le Mans
IckCarolyn
OokEmrys nic Wisean MacGregor
AnnouncerJuan Santiago
Guard 1Carolyn
Guard 2Juturna di Parma
Lady Alethea the PedantGwenllian ferch Madog Llangollen
Duchess LosttouchEmrys nic Wisdean MacGregor
Lord Tancred TediumWulfric of Creigull
Lady Priscelle de la SnotteIvone Pons Leyr
Duke BullTarik ibn Jamal bani Batanji
Lord Woormwood WoodheadJuan Santiago
Lady ReynardAnne of Ockham
Lady RatRose de Le Mans
Lord CrushWulfric of Creigull
King Guy de FalleSeamus Padraig o Baiogheallain mi Narach
King of the BestBrocc of Alderden

From the Program:
The program had on the back, excerpts from "The King's Test", included below in its entirety (make up your own answers -- we didn't have any!):

1. How many Westermurkers does it take to change a light bulb?

2. What is your favorite color?

37a. What does "CP" stand for. Explain.

42. Explain the significance of boxtops in medieval knighting ceremonies. Cite your sources.

71. Who is the PPFUF, anyway?

19. How long does it take to become a peer?

a) 1 event
b) 6 months and three box tops
c) 3 months and a bribe to the Board
d) depends who you know
e) I don't know, we haven't made any yet
f) none of the above
g) some of the above

5. What is the airspeed of an unladen swallow?

23. How many parts have been cross-cast?

56. List in order of precedence the enemies of the Kingdom. (Use more paper if necessary.)

89. Explain "burgherite combinationalism."

23. Emblazon the following: "Tierced per pall tenne, sanguine and bleu ciel, a pall pearl between five bezants in annulo, a Laurel wreath amethyst, and a goat festerant jupiter."

87. How much ouzo could an oozlefinch ooze, if an oozlefinch could ooze booze? Please explain in fifty words or less.

596. Finish the following poem:
There was a Board member named Pete,