Saturday, January 20, 2018

Excerpts from "Frenchtown! The Musical": Part 3

One hundred fifty years ago today, Damien Marchesseault got up early, walked to City Hall, wrote a letter to his wife, and shot himself in the face.

I hope I can do his heartbreaking story justice in my book.

(The curtain opens on a stage set up as an empty City Council chamber. A marquee reads "City Hall, January 20, 1868.")

Song: The Mayor's Lament

Marchesseault (offstage): In the early morning

In the calm before the dawn

No one can see my shame

I must do no more harm

(The spotlight illuminates the very end of an aisle in the house. Damien Marchesseault appears, slowly walking toward the stage as if walking to the gallows, accompanied only by the mournful tones of a viola.)

Marchesseault: I worked so hard

God knows I tried

We only wanted water

But that dream has died

Did I spread myself too thin?

Was I taking on too much?

Was it a fight I couldn't win?

Or did I just lose my touch?

Another sinkhole

Another glass of whiskey

Another loan I can't pay back

Another night of gambling

(Enters City Hall council chamber. Sits at a desk, picks up a pen and sheet of paper, and begins to write.)

Oh, my beloved Mary

I must ask for her forgiveness

How greatly I have wronged her

I stole her happiness

I never can escape

I've dug a hole so deep

My loving, loyal Mary

She'll be better off without me

(Rises to his feet as the music swells.)

To finally end this nightmare

There can only be one way

Oh, I don't want to leave her

But I lost my right to stay

(Marchesseault, broken and defeated, takes a revolver out of his coat pocket and spins the chamber. The music tapers off as the lights slowly dim to complete darkness.

Beat. Then, in the pitch-black theater, just three sounds can be heard:




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