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Marxology - The Inception of Drapery


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The Inception of Drapery

Act II

Scene 1 - Art Curtain

Introduction - Melvin Sisters

Two pages enter and sing something that Waters in "Variety" describes as "an attractive little song number". At the end of their dance they open Art Curtains and walk up to couch on which Beauty is lying. Zeppo is seated at her feet.

Scene 2 - The Inception of Drapery

Scarf Girls Muriel Greel, G. Spencer, Case, Martin
Rose Petals Aileen Mehan and Mildred Joy
Japan Bunny Parker
South Sea Isles Mary Carney
Zulu Gertrude Cole
Timbuctoo Florence Thorpe
Brittany Florence Arledge
Russia Jane Hurd
Hindustan Gene Spencer

At each side of the stage three girls are standing. In each group, two of them (Scarf Girls) are holding up the draperies while the third (Rose Petal) are holding up flower baskets.

Zeppo Now dearest, for the thrill of clothes I have provide just for you.

Beauty sings "Beauty's Dress"

Zeppo Silks from Japan (enter silks left)
Pearls from the South Sea Isles (enter pearls right)
Headdress from Zulu (enter headdress left)
Fan from Timbuctoo (enter fan right)
Laces from Brittany (enter laces left)
Furs from Russia (enter furs right)
Perfume from Hindustan (enter perfume left)

"Beauty's Dress" sung by everybody. During song all walk forward and curtains close.

Zeppo Now dear, admit you are thrilled by this equisite finery.

Beauty Yes, it thrills the flesh but the thrill is only skin deep. My heart still remains unmoved.

Zeppo I give up!

Beauty Oh, don't go. I want to be thrilled.

Zeppo I'm through. It's the Beggarman's chance now. He will give you the thrill of Cinderella backwards. He will take you from riches to poverty. Good-Night!

Script source; Library of Congress, Washington.


Beauty's Dress


In this scene (originally called Beauty's Dress), Merchant provides Beauty with an international wardrobe. The general purpose seems to have been to display her in as many transparent costumes as possible and Waters adds that Beauty, "at one time was clad in rather diaphanous garments".

In his autobiography, Harpo writes about Perfumes from Hindustan and tells us that it was "followed by a team of gilded toe-dancers who were eternally griping about 'the goddam beads on the floor left over from the Hinderstan bit'."

I'LL SAY SHE IS!