A new musical has opened on Broadway
and I can't say I wasn't expecting it. After a very, very, very brief stint of
speaking to the media about the fact that they don't want to be in the media
spotlight, the McCaughey brood have embraced the fact that free stuff only comes
to your door if there is a chance of the free stuff's manufacturers being mentioned
in one of numerous television appearances. So not knowing if the musical was
anti- or pro- septuplets, I went
to see the musical extravaganza: Sweet Dreams!
musical begins on a completely black set. An old man comes idly walking out on
stage, scratching his beard and glancing upstage at the planet Earth as it is
slowly illuminated. He sings a slow, mournful dirge in what I believe was Latin.
And since Latin was only offered during the hours of six or seven in the morning
at my college, I'm afraid I never took it. The song was quite funereal, ending
with the old man gravely shaking his head and exiting the stage.
the old man leaves, I endured about an hour in which I wanted to kill myself.
Rosie O'Donnell portrays a horrific Bobbi McCaughey while Kenny is played by
Eric Estrada. I didn't think I'd ever pray to Jesus for lip synching but there I
was. I knew Jesus wouldn't answer me though because I told him I'd never ask for
anything else if he would enable me to tie my shoe with a really stubborn shoe
string one time and he made it happen. Praise baby Jesus and his miracles.
Rosie comes on weeping and wailing and carrying on, clinging to poor old Eric
Estrada. I think the name of the song was 'I Am Barren And I've Got Bad Teeth.'
It was sort of a Gospel overture with many praises to God and Jesus while they
argued over the aspects of lost faith if they used fertility drugs.
'I know you've got the power to make my bad eggs flower cause Kenny just can't
seem to crack 'em at all.'
'Why must I endure this crap? Snaggle toothed bitch, just close your trap and
just go shoot that Goddamn Pergonal.'
Gospel song ends with Bobbi checking another failed pregnancy test and stomping
off stage. That's when the best actor in the play, Crispin Glover, comes out.
He's the fertility doctor although he also seems to represent both Metrodin
itself and Satan. He immediately fires into a Death Metal song on temptation and
getting everything one's ever dreamed.
'Trusting fiction, getting nowhere, meds are not a sin. Come on, Kenny, make an
effort, try some Metrodin.'
Crispin sings, the old man has returned to the right hand side of the stage. He
watches as Crispin slowly lures Eric over to the left hand side. The song ends
with Kenny taking the drugs and running off in the direction that Bobbi left the
The next scene begins
with Bobbi and Kenny sitting around a table which slides slowly onto the stage
from the right. Blissful, joyous music accompanies them as they converse
happily. Little Mikayla, just a baby, is seated in a chair on the downstage side
of the table. As the table crosses the stage, it slowly spins. About halfway
across, baby Mikayla is lost from view. When the table spins enough to see her
again, she is a young child playing happily on the ground. When the table
reaches the left hand side of the stage, the music comes to a crashing halt,
along with the table. Bobbi stands up and says, 'Kenny, I want another child.'
time around, Kenny and Bobbi head straight for the Metrodin. A kind of chaotic,
cacophonic music swells around their dealing with Crispin Glover.
'Your wildest dreams came true. Is not
Mikalya enough? If you need more, adopt. Metrodin's a golden calf. You really
should have stopped. But take more, I don't care. Selfish, oafish fools.'
each of Crispin's grating, shrieking lines, a large, glowing egg drops from the
ceilings to hang above the husband and wife as they back across the stage,
startled and bewildered by the doctor's shouting. After Glover's last line, they
bump against the old man and jump, startled. They turn, Glover disappears in a
cloud of smoke, and Bobbi and Kenny, together, looking at the old man, shout,
'Praise the Lord, we're pregnant!' Lights go out and the first intermission
Act Two begins with
the adult Mikayla (played by Drew Barrymore), smoking and drinking in a dark
room with loud, bassy beats vibrating everything. A live band is playing and
singing something dark and dreary just behind Mikayla's bed. She is furiously
shouting and throwing things in between swigs of alcohol and tokes of pot.
'FUCKING ASSHOLES! WASN'T I GOOD ENOUGH? WHAT WAS WRONG WITH ME? WHAT THE FUCK
IS WRONG WITH ME? YOU SELFISH SHIT EATING BASTARDS! HOW COULD YOU DO THAT TO ME?
(Long Pause) AND HOW COULD YOU DO THAT TO KENNY?'
light's suddenly dim around Mikayla and the left hand side of the stage lights
up. Kenny, a big, fat long-haired redneck sits alone at a table, sawdust and
peanut shells line the floor; empty Budweiser cans line his table. A waitress
comes by and Kenny slaps her ass. He grins a huge grin that just as quickly
disappears. He sighs loudly, stands up drunkenly and belts out a whiny, country
western tune. Being the oldest of the twins by mere seconds, he laments his
position as eldest sibling. Too much responsibility thrust on his shoulders,
he's been in and out of jail, mostly for assault, once for attempted rape.
'While mom was passed out in her puke and dad was just as drunk, I had to stand
and watch my siblings suffer. They looked to me, Big Brother Ken. I'd avoid
their eyes instead and drink myself again into a stupor.'
stumbles around while singing, and eventually bumps into a giant of a man who
knocks Kenny out with a chair. The lights dim and Mikayla is spotlighted again.
The dark music continues.
Mikayla: DID YOU EVER CONSIDER THAT
SEVEN BABIES AT ONCE WILL MEAN ABSOLUTELY NO TIME TO SPEND WITH ME? AM I THAT
INVISIBLE TO YOU? WASN'T ONE CHILD ENOUGH TO PASS DOWN YOUR INCONSEQUENTIAL
GENES? HOW THE FUCK COULD YOU DO THAT TO ME? (Long Pause) AND HOW COULD YOU DO THAT TO ALEXIS?'
dim, stage right lights up a dark, gothic club. Crowds of pale people in black
and red gather to watch a young woman, Alexis, climb on to the stage, using
crutches. She has in
front of her some sheets of paper (her poetry) which she reads in the sudden
Alexis: 'I found myself alone in
a crowded room filled with codependence. Stared at by fifteen different faces,
touched by thirty different hands; was a quantity of strangers supposed to
supplant the bond between parents and daughter? Hugs replaced by brutal kicks
from a brother also misplaced? My voice, my voice, lost at such an early age,
caught up in a siren's song of children unheard. Eight of us screaming for two
pairs of ears. You should have known there'd be casualties. Is a messed up
lesbian, blue haired child a miracle you can brag about? Fuck your God if he
did this to me. And fuck you too.'
The lights dim and the spotlight
returns to Mikayla, sitting on her bed and guzzling whisky.
Mikayla: 'CHILDREN NEED ATTENTION
FROM THEIR PARENTS. EVEN IF THEIR PARENTS ARE THE TWO MOST ARROGANT,
SELF-RIGHTEOUS ASSES IN AMERICA. "THEY'RE MY BABIES AND I WANT
THEM." YOU SELFISH PRICK. I WISH I COULD SUE THE GODDAMN FERTILITY
DOCTOR. HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME? (Long Pause) AND HOW COULD YOU DO THAT TO
Lights dim, stage left illuminates a
young woman sitting on a park bench, bundled up against the wind and snow. She
is rocking slowly back and forth. Her clothes are ragged and dirty. Her hair is
greasy and knotted. The backdrop is of the Golden Gate and the San Francisco sky
line. People pass in front of her, glancing down, occasionally dropping some
change in a coffee cup by her side. A clock starts ticking, louder and louder. A
high, tremulous whine begins, raising and lowering in tone like an exotic Asian
Natalie (quite slurred): 'If this is
the American dream, I'd rather be dead. I can't quite get this scream out of
my head. Another doctor's team to drag me off to bed. Nothing is as it seems,
it's nothing like they said.
often told me things would always work out right. My head constantly rings
with sounds throughout the night. The meds the white men bring, I take without
a fight. It's nothing like they sing, it's not a pretty sight.
wonder if they knew the problems that we'd face. I shake the whole night
through in another stranger's place. The doctor's could not do a thing about
my case. Nothing they said was true. Everything's a waste.'
Natalie collapses in shaking and tears
as strangers continue to pass her by without notice. The light dims. Spoltlight
returns to Mikayla.
Mikayla: 'I MIGHT AS WELL HAVE BEEN
AN ORPHAN. AT LEAST THE TELEVISION WOULD HAVE KEPT ME COMPANY IF YOU HADN'T
BEEN SO FREAKIN' SANCTIMONIOUS, SAYING TV WASN'T FUCKING GODLY ENOUGH. AND
EVERY TIME THERE WAS TROUBLE, THE LORD HAS A PLAN. THE LORD HAS A PLAN. THE
LORD'S FUCKING PLAN WAS THAT YOU WERE BARREN, YOU DUMB ASS BITCH! HOW COULD
YOU DO THIS TO ME? (Long pause) AND HOW COULD YOU DO THAT TO KELSEY?'
Spotlight dims, stage right
illuminates a strip club. A half dozen men sit around a raised stage with a
pole, drinking beers and hooting. Colored lights flash across the stage as a DJ
proclaims, 'And now, Keeeeeeelsey!' Hip hop music comes blasting out of speakers
from every corner of the theater as a beautiful blonde woman in a bikini comes
dancing out on the stage. Kelsey begins to sing to the men as she grinds and
poses for their dollar bills.
Kelsey: 'I'm finally...at the
center of things. I'm finally...on the stage. Men pay to spend their time with
me...most of them twice my age. But don't give me none of that Freudian shit
cause I'm happy here in the spotlight. I'm makin' cash hand over fist and
fuckin' a different guy each night. I'm wanted...finally. Fuckin' shit, I'm
wanted. I shake my ass and flash my tits and I'm wanted, finally.'
This song was nowhere near long enough
for my tastes. Whoever the new comer was playing Kelsey was fantastic. Wow. She
had BIG talent. Definitely a showstopper. Anyway, her strip routine ended
(without her getting naked, by the way) and the lights dimmed. Spotlight again
Mikayla: 'I SWEAR TO MY ASS, IF I
HEAR ONE MORE PERSON IN MY LIFE PRAY TO GOD TO HELP THEM THROUGH, I'M GOING TO
DRIVE A FUCKING STAKE THROUGH MY OWN DAMN HEART. YOU SOUND LIKE A MENTAL
PATIENT, MOTHER! IT'S NOT WONDER DAD CHEATED ON YOU! WHO WOULDN'T WANT TO GET
AWAY FROM THIS CHAOTIC HELL HOLE? AND AWAY FROM YOU? HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO
ME? (Long Pause) AND HOW COULD YOU DO THAT TO NATHAN?'
Spotlight dims, stage left illuminates
a classroom filled with other students. A teacher stands at a chalk board
sketching out formulas and droning on in a deep voice but speaking only
nonsense. The lights dim a bit so that a single spotlight highlights a young man
in the back row. He has on a black trench coat and sits slouched, staring at the
ceiling. He is spinning a pencil with his left hand when there is a sudden
crashing noise. Nathan's pencil snaps in half and after a pause of less than a
second, the teacher says "Nathan you are worthless" while continuing
to scribble on the board. Nathan immediately stands up and heavy, industrial
music comes blasting out of the speakers. His trench coat floats open and a
large automatic pistol swings into view in his right hand. No gunshots can be
heard over the music as the teacher's brains are blasted against the chalkboard
and the other students are systematically shot down.
Nathan: 'Education can't stop a
bullet to your brain, teacher. Your backpacks aren't Kevlar and your books
aren't made of steel. I'd call you all just fucking sheep but even sheep know
when to run.
can't save you, why don't you fucking pray? If basic instincts can't save you,
why don't you fucking pray? If quantum mechanics can't save you, why don't you
fucking pray? If faith in God can't save you, why are you fucking praying you
fuck you praying fuck you fucking fuck. Why are you fucking praying you fuck
you praying fuck you fucking fuck. It's over. It's over. Just let it come to
an end. It's over. It's over. Why did you let it begin?'
Nathan raises the gun to his head, the
music stops as the lights go out and there is a loud pop. The spotlight appears
over Mikayla again.
Mikayla: 'JESUS CHRIST. JESUS CHRIST.
I'M GOING NUTS. I CAN'T THINK OF ANYTHING EXCEPT FOR THE FACT THAT I MIGHT
HAVE LIVED A NORMAL LIFE IF YOU'D BEEN SATISFIED WITH ME AS YOUR ONLY REAL
CHILD. HAD YOU EVER HEARD OF ADOPTION? CHRIST. OH CHRIST. HOW COULD YOU DO
THIS TO ME? (Long Pause) AND HOW COULD YOU SUBJECT ME TO BRANDON?'
Spotlight dims, stage right illuminates
a thin man sitting on a lawn chair in front of a trailer home. He's got a forty
ounce beer between his legs and he's watching two young boys wrestle in the mud
in front of him.
Brandon: 'Hey honey! Come on out hyer
and bring the camera, wouldja? The boys are wrestlin' in the mud agin. Hoo
A battered, beaten, tired-looking woman
in a filthy house dress bangs open the screen door and steps down next to
Brandon. She hands him a disposable camera.
Brandon: 'Bah, woman. You know I
cain't run this thing. Take the photos your damned self. God. Yer as dumb as
my oldest sister.'
He pauses, looks her up and down and
then swats her behind.
Brandon: 'And just as sexy. Ye ain't
got the bosom like she had. But damned if I didn't say ya compare with her in
other ways. If'n ya get what I'm saying, baby. Just lookin' at ya, I think...'
He's stopped in midsentence as Mikayla
comes stomping into the illuminated right hand side of the stage, screaming.
Mikayla: 'Why you God damned son of a
bitch? How DARE you brag about the shit you did to me? To your own wife
Drew, what are you doing? Calm down. Get back to your mark. You're gonna ruin
don't deserve a song you motherfucking molesting son of a snaggle toothed
bitch. You can just go to hell!'
Mikayla/Drew picks up a rake leaning
against the side of the trailer and bashes Brandon across the head, knocking him
backwards in his lawn chair, unmoving. Brandon's wife throws up her hands,
shouts, 'Hallelujah!' and gives Mikayla a big hug.
Brandon's wife: 'Why don't you go
finish up your little musical? I'll take care of this bastard myself.'
Lights dim as spotlight hits Mikayla as
she walks back to center stage and into her room. She picks up her whisky and
takes a long swig before continuing.
Mikayla: 'YOU KNEW THERE'D BE HEALTH
PROBLEMS! YOU KNEW THERE'D BE COGNITIVE TROUBLES! HOW COULD YOU NOT FORESEE
THE SOCIAL PROBLEMS WE'D HAVE GROWING UP IN AN ATTENTION DEFICIT ENVIRONMENT?
DO YOU THINK SOCIAL SKILLS ARE DELIVERED BY SOME GOD DAMN SOCIAL SKILLS FAIRY?
AND WERE WE SUPPOSED TO GET OUR DAILY RATIONS OF LOVE FROM THE STORK? SANTA
CLAUS? THE EASTER BUNNY? GOD? SOMETIMES, I LAY AWAKE AT NIGHT WISHING I WERE
JOEL. JOEL WAS THE LUCKY ONE. JOEL WAS THE BEST LOVED AND HE TOOK IT AND GOT
OUT BEFORE THE LOVE WOULD STOP BEING THERE.'
Mikayla starts walking to the left hand
side of the stage. As she nears, the lights slowly get brighter and brighter
until we can see she is standing next to a large tombstone. Bobbi/Rosie and
Kenny/Eric are kneeling next to it, crying.
Mikayla: BUT HOW COULD HE KNOW THAT
HIS BLISS WOULD BE THE END OF ANY POSSIBILITY FOR HAPPINESS FOR THE REST OF
US? YOU LOST ONE CHILD OUT OF EIGHT, MOTHER, FATHER. ONE CHILD. IT DIDN'T MEAN
THE REST OF US WEREN'T WORTH IT. JOEL'S DEATH DIDN'T MAKE THE REST OF US
DISAPPEAR. BUT YOU GAVE UP. YOU LOST YOUR FAITH. GOD'S PLAN WASN'T QUITE AS
BRILLIANT AS YOU FIRST MADE IT OUT TO BE, WAS IT? YOU PATHETIC WASTES. YOU
SOLD YOUR SOULS TO METRODIN. AND BY EXTENSION, YOU SOLD OURS ALSO. HOW COULD
YOU DO THIS TO ME? (Long Pause) HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO JOEL?'
Lights out. Musical/play/whatever over.
And I was just happy that it wasn't filled with the media bias that the whole
story has continually been filled with since coverage started. The septuplets
are not a miracle. God had nothing to do with them. Nature did not take its
course. Those seven babies, and Mikayla as well, are just products of human
technology and medical research. They are mistakes made by a careless (or
arrogant) fertility doctor. I hope Mikayla can survive her teenage years.
January 10th, 2001