Groucho in the Bardo

Scene – The Bardo. A misty, foggy place. RUFUS T. FIREFLY (Groucho) wanders about lost. There are sounds of faint WAILING and CRYING.

FIREFLY
Hello! Hellooo! Either I’m in Hell or the world’s worst sauna!

CHICOLINI (Chico) appears – also lost. They both creep about, not seeing one another. Chicolini raises his fists, ready to fight.



CHICOLINI
Who’sa dat? I hear you, but I no see you! And that’s two a you, I already don’t like!

They slowly back into each other and collide, surprised. They’re approximately pleased to see one another.

FIREFLY
I should’ve known it was you – fog follows you everywhere!

CHICOLINI
At’sa true! Hey! This is some barbecue! I think you left the steaks on too long!

The mists momentarily clear and a large signpost appears with the sign “THE BARDO” tacked onto it. They read the sign.

FIREFLY
Ah! We’re in the Bardo!

CHICOLINI
Well, sure!

FIREFLY
I knew it all the time!

CHICOLINI
And why not?!
(beat)
So, what’s a Bardo?!

FIREFLY
Beats me.

Firefly eyes the sign. There appears to be tiny print on it.

FIREFLY
Hey! Wait-a-minute. It says here:
(reading)
“YOU – ARE – DEAD!”
(cheerily)
Well, now it’s all clear!

CHICOLINI
Ah – that don’t sound so good!

FIREFLY
I was feeling under the weather. But now I’m completely submerged. I tell you – I suspected we were dead!

CHICOLINI
Yeah, I thought so too. What gave it away?

FIREFLY
You did! Mostly the smell.

CHICOLINI
Oh, that’s not me.
(withdrawing a sandwich)
That’s-a just my sandwich. It’s not so good anymore.

FIREFLY
How long have you had it?

CHICOLINI
What time is it?

FIREFLY
(checks his watch)
10:30.

CHICOLINI
(counting on his fingers)
Three years.
(beat)
It’s an emergency sandwich! Never know when you’re gonna need an emergency sandwich.

FIREFLY
Well, you won’t need it now.

CHICOLINI
Why not?

FIREFLY
Because you’re dead, you – !

A HONKING SOUND is heard. PINKY (Harpo) enters through the mist.

CHICOLINI
Pinky!

Pinky and Chicolini embrace and dance around.

FIREFLY
Well, you can never have too many morons in Hell.

From one of his large pockets, Pinky pulls out a sandwich, and hands it to Chicolini.

CHICOLINI
(thrilled)
Liverwurst! Pinky – you crazy!

FIREFLY
Oh – he gets a sandwich? What do I get?

Pinky hands Firefly a large rubber fish.

FIREFLY
I’d hate to see the one that got away.

SOUNDS of WAILING grow louder. Pinky looks around the empty fog, pushes his tongue out, fearfully.

CHICOLINI
Pinky – it’s-a okay! We’re in my Bardo!

FIREFLY
Your Bardo?! It’s my Bardo!

CHICOLINI
(preparing to fight)
It’s-a not your Bardo! Since when is it your Bardo?!

FIREFLY
Since I claim it!
(proudly, like an explorer)
I claim this Bardo – for me! See, now it’s my Bardo!

CHICOLINI
Ah – y’got me. Fair and square!

MARGARET DUMONT wanders on, lost and terrified.

DUMONT
Hello?!

Firefly swoops in front of her, flirtatiously.

FIREFLY
Well, hello!

DUMONT
It’s so misty! I can’t see anything!

FIREFLY
(averting his eyes from her)
I wish I couldn’t see anything. I mean – Madam – you’re ravishing! Lovelier than ever!

DUMONT
Where are we?!

FIREFLY
Welcome to my boudoir! Excuse me, my Bardo!

CHICOLINI
His Bardo! Pfft!

FIREFLY
(to Chicolini)
Don’t you have a train to catch?

CHICOLINI
No – I caught too many trains today! I gotta give one back.

Pinky HONKS loudly, looks off into the mist. The others look where he’s looking. The WAILING is LOUDER.

CHICOLINI
Atsa Abe Lincoln! I know him! I useta play with his logs!

Pinky nods, produces an entire miniature log cabin from his coat.

CHICOLINI
Hey – that’s pretty good! Hey – he looks sad! Maybe we go bring him a sandwich?!

Pinky nods and he and Chicolini head off into the mist. Firefly turns his attention to Dumont.

FIREFLY
Alone at last! Well, except for you, here. Have I told you I love you?

DUMONT
Well –

FIREFLY
Don’t interrupt – ! I was just getting worked up!

Firefly gets down on one knee.

FIREFLY
My darling! Come get lost with me!

DUMONT
Aren’t we already lost?

FIREFLY
Yes, but I can still see you! We’ll work on that.
(beat)
My dearest, I adore you! Marry me! Marry me – and all this can be yours!

DUMONT
The Bardo?

FIREFLY
Yes. I just had the fog upholstered. Marry me, and all that you see is yours!

DUMONT
But all I can see…is nothing!

FIREFLY
Exactly.

The WAILING becomes terribly LOUD.

DUMONT
What is that awful noise?!

ROLAND (Zeppo) comes on, singing I’m in the Mood for Love poorly. The sound of WEEPING and background GROANING in response to him is DEAFENING.

FIREFLY
Well, what a surprise.

Roland, panicked, runs off. Firefly takes Dumont in his arms and dips her, romantically.

FIREFLY
Where were we? Oh yes – I love you!

Chicolini returns with a very young BRIGITTE BARDOT.

CHICOLINI
Ey! Look who I found! It’s-a Brigitte Bardot!

Firefly impressed, drops Dumont to the ground.

FIREFLY
Well, hello!

BARDOT
Allo!

CHICOLINI
See! Now, we got Bardot in the Bardo! At’sa something, hey?!

Bardot looks around, nervously, shivering.

BARDOT
Why ees eet so foggy and steenky!

FIREFLY
That’s his sandwich.

The HONKING is heard again. Pinky returns, dragging in GRETA GARBO in a pants suit. They all stare at her, amazed.

BARDOT
Greta Garbo! C’est magnifique!

Pinky HONKS delightfully.

CHICOLINI
Ah – Garbo in the Bardo! At’s a good one, Pinky!

GARBO
Where in God’s name are we?

FIREFLY
Just a little party I threw together.

GARBO
I hate parties.

FIREFLY
Well, pardon my Bardo!
(to the audience)
I’ve been waiting ten minutes to say that.

DUMONT
Well, I’ve had just about enough!

BARDOT
And oooo are you?

DUMONT
I am Margaret –

BARDOT
Margeuax?

FIREFLY
Close enough.

CHICOLINI
Ho-kay! We make introductions!

Chicolini and Pinky run around the three women manically shaking their hands, bumping into them, climbing on them, and knocking them over. Eventually, Firefly, sensing a good thing, joins them. Pinky HONKS continuously.

CHICOLINI
Garbo Margo, Margo Bardot, Bardot Margo, Garbo Bardot Margo Margo, Garbo Bardot Bardot Margo, Garbo Margo Bardot Margo Bargo, Bardot Garbo Mardo Bargo Bingo Bongo!

DUMONT
I’m so confused!

Pinky hands her the rubber fish. She recoils horrified! He laughs wildly, silently.

DUMONT
Oh my God!

BARDOT
I don’t like zees place! I want to go home!

The SOUND of an LOUD ENGINE REVVING is HEARD. A MOTORCYCLE with a sidecar pulls up, driven by a young MARLON BRANDO in full-on biker gear.

FIREFLY
Brando!

CHICOLINI
In the Bardo!

BRANDO
Who needs a lift?

FIREFLY
Me!

BRANDO
Uh – anybody else?

BARDO
Oui oui!

Bardot climbs on the back of his bike. Dumont gets into the sidecar. The three ride off.

FIREFLY
There they go –

CHICOLINI
Brando and Bardot. Right outta the Bardo.

Pinky HONKS. They notice they’re alone.

FIREFLY
Where’s Garbo?

CHICOLINI
Ats-a good question. Maybe she was never really here?

Firefly looks around, distraught.

FIREFLY
Oh – despondence my old old friend.

CHICOLINI
Is he really your old friend?

FIREFLY
Yes, but he owes me thirty dollars.
(beat, cheering up)
Say…I’m famished! Let’s eat!

Pinky snaps his fingers, pulls out a gigantic hero sandwich and divides it between the three of them. They all slump down and eat.

Suddenly, LINCOLN enters, joyfully, eating his own sandwich. He smiles appreciatively at the boys.

LINCOLN
Liverwurst! Yum!

BLACKOUT


Featured Image Source