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The Strange Cafe (Ennead #9)

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Mini Opera
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The Strange Cafe


“The Marionettes” Band Leader – in make up “like a Marionette” along with band, somewhat outrageous Colorful Rags outfits and “faces painted porcelain and clay”

Cafe Owner (Head Gypsy) – like the steppenwolf... he is mysterious, and you can tell he is up to no good. Also is the leader of the gypsies.
The Fool – Dressed distinctively, Black and white stripped shirt and a red bandanna and a beret?
Cafe Denizens (Gypsies and Ghosts) – All dressed in either Black or white, they provide the “greek chorus” and perform a “rock ballet”
The Child – dressed exactly like the Fool, is the child inside the fool.


Stage Left - the Band of Marionettes on a low stage
Stage Right – a counter/bar
Center Rear of the stage - railing little balcony, a little higher than the low stage.
5 round bistro tables each with 2 chairs which will double as little mini stages for the various “ghosts” in the final song.
Screen Curtains from right and left painted as “forest”
Neon Light sign in blue and green “Welcome to the STRANGE CAFE”

Curtain opens on a quiet before hours but brightly lit cafe
Cafe owner, wolf-like, is wiping down tables as
band breaks into a song.
Band Leader:
Is there someone in the world today
who's not afraid
to stand up and play the fool
for the benefit of the common man
who only wants the truth

and if you take a look around
you may see him there, unaware
looking back at you
and if you open up your mind
he just might be you
looking through the mirror of his eyes

cafe owner: (sarcastically, front and center as Denizens begin to arrive, and mull about):
where's the one who'll come
and save us from ourselves
and will he dress in robes of gold
and how will we know
(Denizens standing in mock prayer plagal cadence)

Band Leader:
is there someone sitting next to you
who looks confused
do you think it might be him
that we're singing about
he might be thinking it's you

and if this comes as a surprise
when you look around and realize
that all the worlds a stage
and you may not believe your eyes
you wake up from a dream and suddenly
you're in a strange cafe

(Band lazily plays slightly out of tune and the house lights come up)
(lights go down on the stage and a curtain painted like a forest comes closes from either side of the stage)
gong...piano, from somewhere in the very back of the audience someone starts to sing

Fool: (hidden at the back of the audience)
I am just a sapling in a forest full of evergreens
I'll never see the sun, I won't amount to much of anything after all

Denizens: you won't amount to anything

and I feel just like a blade of grass
in a field of green
(Fool stands up)
why am I being called to stand up tall
for something greater than us all
when not another living soul is standing up
so why should I?

Denizens: Don't stand up, sit down, shut up

And I feel ashamed but it's oh so strange
I'm compelled to rise
(Fool walks into the middle of the aisle half way up, audience begins to notice)

so why am I standing tall in the middle of this crowded room
when everybody got their eyes on me
I hope I down fall down as I'm walking through this crowd,

(interacts with the audience walking and stumbling down the aisle)

cause every body gonna start laughing at me
if you look in the mirror you'll see
you're a lot like me
you're afraid you'll be
a fool for all to see

(Fool Walks to the front of the center Aisle Raises his arms and a spotlight singles him out)

now my life's a metaphor
laid bare for all to see upon the floor
on this great stage, my life unfolds
I've never dreamed this dream before
like an ancient oak in a field of snow,
now I'm all alone

(new music as he enters a “forest” Front of stage with Forest set behind)

Fool: outside is cold and dark
Gypsy Leader: come sit by the fire, strike a spark
let me poor you a drink, we can talk it over
gypsies: (around a campfire)
let us sing you a song,
we can set you free...
Gypsy Leader: and you'll be free to go anywhere
just follow me and we'll travel the world tonight

(music builds and “fool” sings as he runs back into the Forest)

Fool: I don't wanna be free
Cuz I know what it means
it mean playing along
knowing right from wrong,
and taking responsibility
you might tell me that my life is worthless
but I wasn't born for a higher purpose
don't put your chains on me
I don't wanna be free
I wanna run away and join the circus
I don't wanna be free...cuz I know what it means

Out of breath, he stumbles up on the stage as the forest Set opens to reveal a door, and is greeted (again) by the cafe owner (with a wink because we know it is the same character as the gypsy leader, but the fool doesn't recognize him) who opens up the door and ushers the relieved “fool” in.
(Denizens dance a “Fosse” Number)

Cafe Owner: Welcome to the strange cafe, relax, have a drink...
set aside your worries of the day

Cafe Denizen #1: look out the window at the peppermint Sky
all the birds chirp and gather
as the cinnamon clouds go drifting by
Cafe Denizen #2: there's a sign on the doorway saying come right in
and the neon light flashes blue and green until your gone again
and you slip into madness
Denizens: when your shadow falls in love with itself
you'll know the loneliness of everyone else

Cafe Owner: and you're far away from home
and you don't wanna be alone
when the sun sinks low
and the darkness creeps into your soul

(as day turns to night, a shadow of the “fool” is projected on the wall of the cafe, cast as a wolf, the audience gets this, but the fool doesn't. He just thinks that there is a danger outside, but doesn't realize it is within)

Cafe Denizen #1: there's a beast running wild in the wood
and he comes out at night, and he bares his teeth
beneath the pale moon light
Cafe Denizen #2: and he lurks in the shadow your heart and your mind
Cafe Denizen #3: and he'll rip out your throat,
Cafe Denizen #4: and he'll pluck out your eyes
Cafe Denizen #5: and then he'll crack your bones'
and suck out the marrow.
Denizens: when you look long enough into the abyss
you'll see your loneliness looking right back at your
Cafe Owner: you're so far away from home

(whistling wind, knock on the door, cafe owner opens and it is a young child, the fool as a little boy, dressed as the fool. The fool is all the way at the back of the cafe self absorbed, but turns to watch the Cafe Denizens abuse the child)

Tell me would you turn away a stranger
the child inside, who was once like me
now you have forgotten how you hungered
for love and sympathy
please don't turn away you'll create sorrow
the world outside is dark and frightening
and I have been abandoned by the people
supposed to protect me.

(breaks into a little canned childish routine)
I'll do a dance and sing a song for just a penny and a smile

male cafe denizens: I'm sorry not today

Child: (pretends to be a comedian) I'll make you laugh until you cry for me forever after

female cafe denizens: you best be on your way

(Gets down and begs, and as he does, the Fool seems to recognize that he is the one supposed to let the child in and begins to walk toward the child at the door)

Child: You'll cry for me tonight when you finally understand
the heart of a child still beats with in the lonely man
this is your story since your life began

and if you turn away a stranger
your hearts grown cold
your forsaken your humanity
and you will be remembered in the shadows
on the road to the strange cafe
so please don't turn me away
or it will haunt your dreams
until your dying day

(song ends, weird backwards strings and fool steps forward and begins singing to (inner) child)

Fool: When there's no one there to hold you
when your hearts is in despair
just remember what I told you
close your eyes and I'll be there
I'll be there to hold your hand
when no one seems to care
just remember what I told you
close your eyes and I'll be there

I have nothing left to offer you
I'm not as strong as I appear
but what I've got I'd give it all away
just close your eyes and I'll be there

I'll be there to stand beside you
and wipe away the tears
and when you're lost and feeling all alone
close your eyes and I'll be there

and some day I'll say good bye for ever,
and simply disappear
but if you ever need to feel my love
close your eyes and I'll be there.

stage goes dark, “...and I'll be there”

(first note lights go on, cafe has a cabaret feel, smoky,
cafe owner sings surrounded by piano accordion and trombone)

Cafe owner: all in all we're all so small and insignificant
but nobody wants to admit that their falling apart
but on the whole we're really no very different
and everyone's here because somebody's broken their heart

Denizens join in - so lets Raise a glass together
here's to the past and here's looking at your
here's to the pain put each other through
you're not my first choice, but you'll just have to do

so welcome to the strange cafe
personne ne past, et personne tombe amoureaux

(Mr. Rogers saying WONDERFUL)

applause from cafe denizens (and audience)
(band opens rock n roll number cafe lead singer of band sings for first time since opening number. Dancers like Elvis jailhouse rock)

the stranger comes in from the cold
the journey has been long
he's wearing someone else's coat
his shirt sleeves are torn

everybody stops to stare
the band plays on
they live their lives like marionettes
faces painted porcelain and clay
at this Strange Cafe

he sits beside a stranger
and he offers him a smoke
they share a cup of coffee
like it was an inside joke.

The stranger says
“how do you do”
the other stranger shrugs
“I've been waiting all afternoon to welcome you to
judgment day”
tonight at the Strange Cafe

“I'm not sure if you are real”
the stranger did reply
“you sit in someone else's chair
there's madness in your eye”

I've lived the lie it's time I faced the truth
I've been stuck inside the past
I've bitten off more than I can chew
as I stumble through this masquerade
that is the Strange Cafe

so what can we agree upon,
this life is so absurd
all of our struggles end in dust
what is any of this worth

tomorrow we'll be back again
how idly we talk
we'll spend a futile afternoon
as the band takes a bow and walks off stage
it's time we leave this Strange Cafe

(Song ends, band clumsily leaves the stage, as stage goes black...)

Black Stage -spot light on the fool, all alone standing on the balcony, guitar strumming begins to sing

Fool: here I am
standing before you
open to ridicule
just like some old fool
there's no one to save me...
...but me
this is how it must be
you do what you do to be free

when you're on your own
so far from home
you can lose your way

(as each additional part comes in, a dimmer spot light comes from directly above on each choir member and instrument, standing on Bistro tables)

the ghosts that call your name...
at the Strange Cafe

and I'm All Alone
(I'm not afraid anymore)
so far from home
(I'm not afraid
...when I close my eyes )

(all lights go out and the song slowly fades)
Song Stats
Hits: 848
Comments: 22
Fans: 14
Plays: 50
Downloads: 48
Votes: 0
Uploaded: Mar 03, 2019 - 03:55:48 PM
Last Updated: Apr 05, 2019 - 07:57:03 AM Last Played: Oct 03, 2019 - 12:01:54 PM
Song License
Creative Commons License:

Creative Commons

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DWL said 231 days ago (March 4th, 2019)
Amazing work Mike!

Difficult to know where to start.

You paint a wonderful picture. I can see the cafe and am loving the experience.

I love the characters and the story. Thanks for including all the detail as it would have been impossible to follow otherwise. This must have taken some time to put together.

The range of styles and sounds is staggering and much kudos for tying all the parts together seamlessly. Really well performed as well. Some very skilled work.

I hope we'll meet up there someday and I'll buy you a coffee or something stronger.

Thanks for sharing this.



Check out my latest song called Revelation
sammydix said 231 days ago (March 4th, 2019)
easily your best collection to date to me.
Check out my latest song called Things must change
Daugrin said 230 days ago (March 4th, 2019)
Mini Opera?
Naw, it's an operetta? Whatever it is it's way kool.
The form is generous and creative in the extreme. The vocals and keyboards really work to move the production forward.
The mix is a bit harsh and the stereo field is antiquated, but everything works so well I have to give it too ya. Splendid, I am a fan!

Check out my latest song called Incel (Some More)
Daugrin said 230 days ago (March 5th, 2019)
Second Helping
Came back for a second listen. This is a unique piece of music. Unfortunately such things are overlooked here at MJ, now if you were to change the focus off the individual and person freedom, placing the emphasis instead on obedience to authority and make an effort to glorify national socialism... you would be so popular here... Just have to sell yer soul out. Can I make a suggestion? Title change to "The Mirror Cafe." It was just an idea. Thanks again for posting this material.

Check out my latest song called Incel (Some More)
Loob said 230 days ago (March 5th, 2019)
Nicely done!
Quite a talented manifestation!
Check out my latest song called Complex Simplicity
MikeRobinson said 228 days ago (March 6th, 2019)
Every bit as good as the symphonic rock-theater ...
... of yesterday.
Check out my latest song called It Must Be A Christmas Song
The_Applesauce_Project said 228 days ago (March 7th, 2019)
I echo what Sam said -- while it comes as no surprise that they get better as you go, this one, for me, is just a production masterpiece. The songwriting is stellar. I dig the story. Looking forward to the sequel... because you've got to finish the story now.
Check out my latest song called Someday Maybe
KCsGROOVE said 228 days ago (March 7th, 2019)
great piece!
Beatlesque in a way
Always enjoy your vocals
very, very creative, my friend!
Gonna grab me a copy for in the car :-)
Check out my latest song called MUSIC (acoustic)
Hickling_Stan said 227 days ago (March 7th, 2019)
So creative
Blimey I was blown away but the sheer amount of creativity that was coming through my headphones. What a wonderful picture you have painted and a superb production all round. Huge kudos to you sir!!!
Check out my latest song called Just Look Up
Calchas said 227 days ago (March 7th, 2019)
I can scarcely imagine
the amount of work that went into this gem! I am truly blown away by the progressive arrangement. All the changes work, and I really enjoy the several melodies herein.

I hope that folk here will take the time to listen to the whole thing. Wow... it is worth it!
Check out my latest song called LOWLANDS OF HOLLAND/THE FOGGY DEW
Calchas said 227 days ago (March 7th, 2019)
I hear
echoes of Beatles, Small Faces (Ogden's Nut Gone Flake), Dylan (Tangled Up In Blue)... even a hint of "Too Old To Rock and Roll" era Jethro Tull.

Check out my latest song called LOWLANDS OF HOLLAND/THE FOGGY DEW
TommyBlueBoy said 226 days ago (March 8th, 2019)
This is very well done. Bravo. I liked the whole thing, but I think I like the Gypsy leader interlude (at 5:40) best.
Check out my latest song called Falling Down Again
Daugrin said 224 days ago (March 10th, 2019)
Another Run
Best piece I have experienced in a longtime here at MJ! I have to get some more every time I come into the little town. Thanks again for posting your work with us here. Just outstanding production, vision and spirit, this one is a clear inspiration to all at MJ.

Check out my latest song called Incel (Some More)
J_Gretch said 224 days ago (March 10th, 2019)
The Strange Cafe
Check out my latest song called Cop or whore
Narad said 223 days ago (March 11th, 2019)
The Strange Cafe
Outstanding performance ! Take a bow ! :)
Check out my latest song called Comet's Train
Bowman said 216 days ago (March 18th, 2019)
This is amazing.
There’s so much to digest.
What an ambitious endeavor
Fabulous Michael.
Check out my latest song called THE LOST JEDI
Vic Holman said 216 days ago (March 18th, 2019)
The Strange Cafe
quite an ambitious masterpiece. I admire your dedication on this.
Check out my latest song called Life In A Car
claypotts said 215 days ago (March 19th, 2019)
Immense talent on full display here. Awesome is putting it mildly.

Check out my latest song called Come On Back To Me Baby
egobandit said 212 days ago (March 23rd, 2019)
Suddenly your in a
Like all the changes, are you a fan of ELO hope that's not an insult anyway there are so many influences in this, what stands out to me is the mix how you are able to keep it cohesive through all the parts, lots of well thought out work here, tops!
Check out my latest song called Cook the goose
scaustrita said 209 days ago (March 25th, 2019)
Listened go the suite 3 times, every time I notice different parts. Luv the transition. Amazing composition!
Check out my latest song called Georgia Pines - Steve Caustrita, Sam Dixon
Char said 134 days ago (June 8th, 2019)
How ambitious.
So full of energy. I am amazed at what a single person can achieve. It was fun to listen to. Thank you.

Check out my latest song called Bound, v2. w Music by Dirigent
Char said 134 days ago (June 8th, 2019)
I started
to feel a kinship of your singing to the sound in Don't Know How To Love Him from Jesus Christ Superstar. That was really great. :)
Check out my latest song called Bound, v2. w Music by Dirigent
Genre Info
The terms alternative rock and alternative music[1] were coined in the early 1980s to describe punk rock-inspired music genres which didn't fit into the mainstream genres of the time. At times it was used as catch-all phrase for rock music from under

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