ig97-big-bang-libretto.html

 

Libretto: "Il Grosso Kaboom"

A mini-operetta for Nobel Laureates, sopranos, and baritones, in three acts.

Words by Marc Abrahams and Don Kater

This opera premiered in October, 1997 at the Seventh 1st Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony, at Harvard's Sanders Theatre.

[For photos, etc., see the Jan/Feb 1998 issue of Annals of Improbable Research.]
 


Personnae Self-Importante
Opera Director/Director: Margot Button
Lyrics: Marc Abrahams, Don Kater, and friends
Music: Bizet, Puccini, Sullivan, Rossini, Verdi

The Original Cast
Narrator: Lisa Mullins
Pianist: Greg Neal
God: Benjamin Sears
Reverend Peter Gomes: himself
A Lovely Galaxy (in acts 2 and 3): Margot Button
A Stunning Galaxy: Kerry Taylor
A Magnificent Galaxy: Gary Durham
Subatomic Particles: Nobel Laureates Dudley Herschbach,William Lipscomb, Richard Roberts, Robert Wilson



ACT 1

NARRATOR: One day, God decided to quit smoking. We won't go into the reasons. But he wanted to have one last cigar. This is what happened.

[MUSIC: "THE TOREADOR'S SONG" FROM BIZET'S "CARMEN."]

GOD:
This cigar
Will be my last cigar,
So no half-assed cigar
Will suit this Deity.
I 'm no old fogey,
And so this stogie
Has to be the most fantastic smoke you 'll ever see.

Everything
Will be in this cigar.
It must be full of tar,
With lots of nicotine.
Whiskers from kittens,
Warm woolen mittens.
Mind you, these are just a few of my favorite things.

Everything
Must be included here,
From acetone to zinc
— Now, where's that kitchen sink? —

Wrap it up
And roll it very tightly.
Light it up
And we shall see.

By God — (that's Me!) — we'll see — what happens.
 (SPOKEN: eat your heart out, Havana!)

I'm gonna get a bang from this cigar.
One little puff
May be enough.
I 'll get a bang, and even if I choke,
You can say HOLY SMOKE!
Cause it 's got everything
— Both yin and yang —
Here comes my great Big Bang!

NARRATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, we interrupt this creation for a few important words from Reverend Peter Gomes of Harvard's Memorial Church.

[REV. GOMES enters. GOD gives him a friendly nod and wave.]

REV. GOMES: Boys and girls, just because someone you look up to smokes — that doesn't mean YOU should smoke. Now, let there be light.

[REV. GOMES and GOD each pull out big cigars and lighters. They exit together as each goes about lighting his (or His) own cigar. After they go offstage, there is a gigantic explosion. GOD re- enters, looking singed but pleased.]

Aha — as you all know — cleanliness is next to you-know-who-li-ness...

Everything
That came from my cigar,
Has made an awful mess.
I say, "Oblige noblesse!"

Clean it up!
I 'm gonna use a vacuum,
One that na-
-ture won 't abhor.

God bless — the vacuum — that really su-ucks!
 (SPOKEN: eat your heart out, Electrolux!)

I'll clean the place up — ev'ry single inch.
Flood it with light,
Though not at night.
I 'll wash it with electrons and with steam,
Make it sparkle and gleam.
I could have easily
Created worse
Than this new universe!
 


ACT 2

NARRATOR: Billions of years went by, and the expanding universe was filled with galaxies. But there were disturbing rumors that something was wrong — that the galaxies were missing some of the gravitational mass necessary to maintain their shapes. Join us now as one of the galaxies tries to cope with these ugly rumors.

[MUSIC: "MUSETTA'S WALTZ" FROM PUCCINI'S "LA BOHEME."]

[The other GALAXIES stand off to the side, gossiping amongst themselves.]

A GALAXY:
Some galaxies —
They smile incandescently,
They gossip incessantly.
They criticize
Ev 'ry glamorous superstar.
Now they 're gone too far — attacking me!

They say our bodies can't be truly heavenly —
Because our shapes are much too perfect (ha!)

They even say that some of us lack a-a-any
vi-i-isible means of support.

They seem to think my public parts
Conceal some private nasty bits.
I hate their
Dumb chatter
On this cold,
Dark matter.

Well, who needs them?
I 'm a beautiful galaxy.
Who cares what those smart alecs see.
So if they think they rate in my class
Then I say to them:
Go-o-o-o-o-o kiss my mass!
 


ACT 3

NARRATOR: The galaxies all wanted to know what was holding them together. What could the missing mass be? Well, the heroes turned out to be the ghostly little teeny tiny subatomic particles called "neutrinos." Join us now as we see how the assembled galaxies figured it all out.

[MUSIC: "THREE LITTLE MAIDS" FROM GILBERT&SULLIVAN'S "THE MIKADO."]

GALAXY A:
Three little galaxies are we,
Not so little as you can see,
Held together by gravity,
Three little galaxies!

GALAXY B:
Do you know what the missing mass is?
You might think that it 's all gasses.
No, it 's shaky little masses.
Three little galaxies!

GALAXY C:
If we were only bits of fluff,
Gravity would be enough,
So there must be other stuff,
Stuff that no one sees!

[MUSIC: TRANSITION INTO "BARBER OF SEVILLE" OVERTURE]

ALL:
What, what, what,
Where,where, where...

[MUSIC: "BARBER OF SEVILLE" OVERTURE MUSIC BEGINS HERE]

GALAXY A:
Where do we come from?
Where do we come from?
We come from stellar-based nucleee---o-synthesis.
But where, when, why and how
Are not important now.
Now what we want to know is what holds us to-ge-ther.
We want to know WHAT.
We want to know WHAT.

ALL:
We want to know.
We want to know.
We want to know.

What, what, what,
What, what, what...

GALAXY B:
We think we know what.
We think we know what.
We think we know what the secret consists of.
It 's all those particles,
Those tiny articles,
Those ghostly sub-atomic things they call neu-tri-NOS.
It 's all neu-tri-NOS!
It 's all neu-tri-NOS!

ALL:
It 's neu-tri-nos!
It 's neu-tri-nos!
It 's neu-tri-nos!

GALAXY C:
[SPOKEN — ACTUALLY SHOUTED:]
But those neutrinos are soooo tiny!
There must be billions and billions of them.
Yes, yes! There ARE billions and billions of them.
And here they come!

[MUSIC: TRANSITION INTO THE "ANVIL CHORUS" FROM "IL TROVATORE"]
[GOD, looking somehow now a little like the Norse god THOR, accompanies the music by banging a HAMMER on an ANVIL.]

NEUTRINOS:
Billions and billions, and billions and billions.
Billions and billions, and billions and billions.
Billions! Billions, billions, billions!
Billions and billions!
Billions and billions!
Billions and billllllllllllllllllions!

  [REPEAT, WITH ALL FLOODING ON STAGE AND JOINING IN.]

[Accompanying overhead slide projections show Carl Sagan, then ten Carl Sagans, then 1000 Carl Sagans, etc.]
 


(c) copyright 1997 Annals of Improbable Research (www.improbable.com)
You have permission to download and print this for your personal, non-commercial use. Sing it at your own peril.
And please subscribe to the Annals of Improbable Research!


 
 

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