Murder in Penny Lane

Years ago, when I was a wee little thing, obsessed with The Beatles, I wrote this play along a bunch of other friends who shared this obsession. Here I reproduce it in full. We first did it in Marathi, then made this English translation to perform in front of the science liason from the British Embassy who was visiting our school… This, of course, is the english version.

 

 

G l a s s   O n i o n   p r o d u c t i o n s   p r e s e n t s :
Murder on Penny Lane
Cast and crew
Music: The Beatles
Vocals and Sound: Mandar Phatak
Lights: Yatin Diwakar
Director: Mandar Phatak
Choreography: Shefali Ramteke
Story: Chinar Patil
Mr. Walrus: Mandar Phatak
Max: Chinar Patil
Dr Robert: Ajinkya Yele
Joan: Sharvari Sathe
Chief: Mihir Metkar
Lucy and Mrs. Rigby: Shefali Ramteke
Jude: Swapnil Ghanawat

 

Scene 1:

Song: penny lane. (Mr. Walrus singing)
In Penny Lane there is a barber showing photographs
Of every head he’s had the pleasure to know
And all the people that come and go
Stop and say hello
On the corner is a banker with a motorcar
The little children laugh at him behind his back
And the banker never wears a Mack
In the pouring rain, very strange
Penny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes
There beneath the blue suburban skies
I sit, and meanwhile back
In Penny Lane there is a fireman with an hourglass
And in his pocket is a portrait of the queen
He likes to keep his fire engine clean
It’s a clean machine
Penny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes
A four of fish and finger pies
In summer, meanwhile back
Behind the shelter in the middle of a roundabout
The pretty nurse is selling poppies from a tray
And though she feels as if she’s in a play
She is anyway
In Penny Lane the barber shaves another customer
We see the banker sitting waiting for a trim
And then the fireman rushes in
From the pouring rain, very strangePenny lane is in my ears and in my eyes
There beneath the blue suburban skies
I sit, and meanwhile back
Penny lane is in my ears and in my eyes
There beneath the blue suburban skies
Penny Lane

Scene 2:
Swapnil: Why does the barber show photos?
Mihir: Why doesn’t the banker wear a mack, even in the rain!
Chinar: Why does the fireman carry a portrait of the Queen in his pocket?
Shefali: Was that nurse a little crazy?
(Everyone speaks at the same time)
Walrus: Shhh Shhh….
Sh.
Why is the water wet?
Why does the Sun set?
Huh?
Tell me,
Why is 1+1, 2?
Why is the sky blue?
Some questions have no answers.
They are just, umm, very strange.
[Every one shrug shoulders.]
Walrus: Like Max.
All: MAX?
Walrus: You don’t know Max?All: no
Walrus: You don’t know the story about Max from penny lane?
All: NO!
Walrus: meh. It’s not that famous anyway…
[ everyone WTF! And TCHACH!!]
Walrus: it’s not famous, but you know what, it is very strange…
All: strange?
Walrus: would you like to hear the strange story of Maxwell from penny lane?
All: well, ok.
Walrus: well, once upon a time in a land far faar away…
No. not far away, right here on penny lane…
[blackout]

Scene 3:

Song: Maxwell’s silver hammer

Joan was quizzical; studied metaphysical
Science in the home.
Late nights all alone with a test tube.
Oh, oh, oh, oh.
Maxwell Edison, majoring in medicine,
Calls her on the phone.
“Can I take you out to the pictures,
Joa, oa, oa, oan?”But as she’s getting ready to go,
A knock comes on the door.
Bang! Bang! Maxwell’s silver hammer
Came down upon her head.
Clang! Clang! Maxwell’s silver hammer
Made sure that she was dead.
Back in school again Maxwell plays the fool again.
Teacher gets annoyed.
Wishing to avoid an unpleasant
Sce, e, e, ene,
She tells Max to stay when the class has gone away,
So he waits behind
Writing fifty times “I must not be
So, o, o, o..”
But when she turns her back on the boy,
He creeps up from behind.
Bang! Bang! Maxwell’s silver hammer
Came down upon her head.
Clang! Clang! Maxwell’s silver hammer
Made sure that She was dead.
P. C. Thirty-one said, “We’ve caught a dirty one.”
Maxwell stands alone
Painting testimonial pictures.
Oh, oh, oh, oh.
Rose and Valerie, screaming from the gallery
Say he must go free
(Maxwell must go free)
The judge does not agree and he tells them
So, o, o, o.But as the words are leaving his lips,
A noise comes from behind.
Bang! Bang! Maxwell’s silver hammer
Came down upon his head.
Clang! Clang! Maxwell’s silver hammer
Made sure that he was dead.
Silver Hammer Max.

Scene 4:
Max: I am innocent! Dr. Robert, please help me, I haven’t killed any of those
people. They are going to hang me for something I haven’t done. You have solved
many complex cases. Please, please only you can help me now.
Dr Robert: Hmm. Let us have a look at your case. 3 people dead.
ONE. A student, Joan Smith.
TWO. A teacher, Mrs. Eleanor Rigby, A teacher in the mental institution you
were admitted to.
THREE. A judge, the same one who was trying you in the court.
All killed with a blow to the head with silver hammers, found beside their
bodies. A photo of you and your friends next to the body of the teacher. Your
fingerprints on all the hammers.
The entire sequence of events similar to the Beatles song “Maxwell’s silver
hammer”. You, Maxwell, a singer in a band that performs Beatles songs. Hmm…
The common link here seems to be THE BEATLES.
Max: Yes. The Beatles. Ever since I first heard them, I was their biggest fan.
Later, the four of us, Jude, Lucy, Chief and me, we formed our own band,
The Aficionados. We used to perform only Beatles songs. We got quite famous
too…Dr Robert: and then drugs, madness1. You have a long history of mental illness
Max. You killed the very teacher who cured you.
Who will believe you?
Max: Dr Robert, please, you have to believe me. I did not kill Mrs. Rigby, or the
Judge. And Joan? How could I have killed Joan? Joan… I love her.
Dr Robert: what? Joan? Wait. Let’s start from the very beginning. Tell me
everything.
[blackout]

Scene 5:

Song ensemble: Love Me!
What would you think if I sang out of tune
Would you stand up and walk out on me?
Lend me your ears and I’ll sing you a song
And I’ll try not to sing out of key
Oh I get by with a little help from my friends
Mm I get high with a little help from my friends
Mm going to try with a little help from my friends
Do you need anybody?
I need somebody to love
Could it be anybody?
I want somebody to love
Would you believe in a love at first sight?
Yes I’m certain that it happens all the time
What do you see when you turn out the light?
I can’t tell you, but I know it’s mine
Oh I get by with a little help from my friends
Mm I get high with a little help from my friends
Oh I’m going to try with a little help from my friendsDo you need anybody?
I just need somebody to love
Could it be anybody?
I want somebody to love
Oh I get by with a little help from my friends
Mm going to try with a little help from my friends
Oh I get high with a little help from my friends
Yes I get by with a little help from my friends
With a little help from my friends
I’ve just seen a face
I can’t forget the time or place
Where we just meet
She’s just the girl for me
And I want all the world to see
We’ve met, mmm-mmm-mmm-m’mmm-mmm
Had it been another day
I might have looked the other way
And I’d have never been aware
But as it is I’ll dream of her
Tonight, di-di-di-di’n’di
Falling, yes I am falling
And she keeps calling
Me back again
Falling, yes I am falling
And she keeps calling
Me back again
I’ve just seen a face
I can’t forget the time or place
Where we just meet
She’s just the girl for me
And want all the world to seeWe’ve met, mmm-mmm-mmm-da-da-da
Falling, yes I am falling
And she keeps calling
Me back again
Falling, yes I am falling
And she keeps calling
Me back again
Oh, falling, yes I am falling
And she keeps calling
Me back again
oh yeah i’ll , tell you something i think you will understand
when i’ll say that something, i wanna hold your hand
i wanna hold your hand, i wanna hold your hand.
oh please, say to me, you’ll let me be your man
and please, say to me, you’ll let me hold your hand
now let me hold your hand, i wanna hold your hand
she loves you yeah yeah yeah!
she loves you yeah yeah yeah!
she loves you yeah yeah yeah! yeah
i wanna hold your hand
and when i touch you, i feel happy inside!
its such a feeling that my love,
i cant hide!
i cant hide!
i cant hide!
If you let me take your heart I will prove to you
We will never be apart if I’m part of you
Open up your eyes now, tell me what you see
It is no surprise now, what you see is metell me what you see….
Listen to me one more time, how can I get through?
Can’t you try to see that I’m trying to get to you?
Open up your eyes now, tell me what you see
It is no surprise now, what you see is me
tell me what you see…
To lead a better life I need my love to be here…
Here, making each day of the year
Changing my life with the wave of her hand
Nobody can deny that there’s something there
There, running my hands through her hair
Both of us thinking how good it can be
Someone is speaking but she doesn’t know he’s there
I want her everywhere and if she’s beside me
I know I need never care
But to love her is to need her everywhere
Knowing that love is to share
Each one believing that love never dies
Watching her eyes and hoping I’m always there
I will be there and everywhere
Here, there and everywhere

Voice over (Max): me and Joan, Joan and me. We were living in a dream land.
Our own dream world where we spent every second of our lives together. But,
real life intervened. I had to go on a tour with the band. It was the first time
we were to be apart. It was a three week cross country tour.

Song: Something

Something in the way she moves,

Attracts me like no other lover.
Something in the way she woos me.
I don’t want to leave her now,
You know I believe and how.

Voice over (max): Finally! I was on my way back home! Back to her, back to
Joan! Soon, I would be back with her in my own dream world. But, when I
returned,

Song: yer blues
Yes I’m lonely wanna die
Yes I’m lonely wanna die
If I ain’t dead already
Ooh girl you know the reason why
Here I stand head in hand
Turn my face to the wall
If she’s gone I can’t go on
Feeling two-foot small
Everywhere people stare
Each and every day
I can see them laugh at me
And I hear them say
Hey you’ve got to hide your love away
I need a fix cos I’m going down
Down to the bits that I left uptown
I need a fix cos I’m going down
Happiness is a warm gun (Happiness bang, bang, shoot, shoot)
Happiness is a warm gun, mama (Happiness bang, bang, shoot, shoot)
When I hold you in my arms (Oo-oo oh yeah)
And I feel my finger on your trigger (Oo-oo oh yeah)
I know nobody can do me no harm (Oo-oo oh yeah)
Because happiness is a warm gun, mama (Happiness bang, bang, shoot, shoot)
Sitting in an English garden waiting for the sun If the sun don’t come
You get a tan from standing in the English rain
I am the eggman, they are the eggmen
I am the walrus, goo goo goo joob goo goo goo goo joob
Expert textpert choking smokers
Don’t you think the joker laughs at you? (Ha ha ha! He he he! Ha ha ha!)
See how they smile like pigs in a sty, see how they snied
I’m crying
Semolina pilchard climbing up the Eiffel Tower
Elementary penguin singing Hare Krishna
Man you should have seen them kicking Edgar Alan Poe
I am the eggman, they are the eggmen
I am the walrus, goo goo goo joob goo goo goo joob
Jooba jooba
Jooba jooba [fadeout…]

Voice over (max): After Joan, my life went from bad to worse. I started taking
drugs, and then the drugs took over. My life would have vanished in a
psychedelic haze of hash and cocaine, but for her. The guiding light that was
Dr. Eleanor Rigby.

Song: Here Comes The Sun.
Little darling, the smile returning to their faces.
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been here.
Here comes the sun,
Here comes the sun,
And I say “It’s all right”
Sun, sun, sun here it comes.
Sun, sun, sun here it comes.
Sun, sun, sun here it comes.
Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting.
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been clear.Here comes the sun,
Here comes the sun,
And I say “It’s all right,
It’s all right,
It’s all right”
[Song fades into…]

Scene 6:

Dr Robert: oh. So that was your story. [Picks out the photo]. Hmm. so these are
Jude Lucy and chief. Wait a minute. What is this? There is something doodled on
the back. I can about make out a number, 3 8 9 5 6.
Anyway. Max, do you have any idea where can I find your friends?
Max: Sorry dr., i have no idea. After Joan, the band broke up. But yes, Jude
lives on penny lane. He might be able to help you out.
Dr Robert: Yes. I will find it out. You should meet your friends before they hang
you. I am convinced now, you are the culprit.
Max: Dr. Robert, please, Dr.! DOCTOR!

Scene 7:
Max: Thank you guys, for coming, I just want to say sorry, for everything,
before they hang me.
Lucy: I knew that girl was trouble. Why did you go after her max? And how
could you kill someone? They are going to hang you next week.
Max: Lucy, Lucy. Please. I have not killed anyone! Somebody is trying to frame
me…
Jude: But max, weren’t you going to ask Dr Robert for help?
Max: I did. But even he is convinced that I am the murderer
Lucy: Can’t anyone do anything? Can we do something?Max: Yes you can. Yes you can. Get me out of here. Get me out of here. Just
get me out of here, I am innocent. I haven’t killed anyone. I am innocent.
Jude: How can we max? Even our hands are tied. All the evidence points at
you. The fingerprints…
Max: Yes. The evidence! How did my bloody fingerprints get on those blasted
hammers? And our photo! Why was our photo lying next to Mrs. Rigby’s body?
Chief: Calm down max. It’s simple. Without the photo, how would the police have
caught you and only when tried would you get a chance to kill the judge…?
Max: w…what do you mean…?
Chief: see, it is a simple story… [Goes to pieces narrating the story]
Dr Robert: (Clap Clap Clap) Thank you Chief. You have implicated yourself and
saved me the trouble. Chief you are under arrest. Max, you can go free.
Max: Dr?
Dr Robert: Yes max. Chief is the real culprit.
Chief: But Dr! It is obvious that max is the killer. Lennon himself says so!
Dr Robert: He has Beatlemania.
All: What?
Dr Robert: yes. Beatlemania. He lives in an alternate world, where, for him,
every Beatles song is reality.
When I read the details of the case, I saw that they found max’s fingerprints
only on the hammers and nowhere else. A bit suspicious, I decided that there
might be some merit in max’s claims and they were worth investigating.
You see, that is why I came to visit all of you. If I assume max is innocent, the
three of you are the only remaining suspects.When I visited all of you, in search of additional clues, on the pretense of
inviting you to see max, chief’s house struck a wrong note from the very
beginning. His house was full of Beatles relics; every single thing there was
related in some way or other to the Beatles.
But the biggest clue of all was a framed wax imprint bearing the hand
impressions of all the members of the aficionados, all of you. A number scrawled
at the bottom in place of a signature reminded me of the number at the back
of the photo. 38956. The significance of which dawned on me later.
Every serial killer has a subconscious urge to place his signature on the scene of
the crime. 38956, using a simple substitution code, where a=1, b=2 and so on,
actually stands for C-H-I-E-F
All: Chief?
Dr Robert: yes. A story in which a Maxwell doesn’t commit his share of murders
did not sit well with Chief. So, he hired Joan to do what she did to Max. But
this, instead of leading to the cascade of murders he planned, lead to max
going mad.
So, chief took the matter in his own hands. Good planning and planted
evidence meant that he was almost successful. Max’s bloodied silver hammer
would have made a fitting addition to chief’s collection.
So there you have it, chief is the murderer.
[blackout]

Scene 8:
[Walrus and the guys]
Chinar: Yes indeed, some questions are…
All: VERY STRANGE!
Shefali: Mr. Walrus, where is max now?
Walrus: Right in front of you…[Everyone looks at walrus]
No no, there… [Points to the audience…]
[blackout]

Credits and song:
Let’s all get up and dance to a song
That was a hit before your mother was born
Though she was born a long, long time ago
Your mother should know (Your mother should…)
Your mother should know (…know)
Though she was born a long, long time ago
Your mother should know (Your mother should…)
Your mother should know (…know)

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