Strangers (2010)


Strangers was a 2010 experimental hip-hop, slam poetry musical written by a team of students from the University of Colorado Denver’ Theater Buffs. I was asked to write the music for them and was excited to have my second musical be set in such a strange world. Strangers is about aliens and xenophobia.

1. Prologue
Music by John Paul Sharp

2. Coming Out
Music and Lyrics by John Paul Sharp

Xeno 1 – I really wish that I could shed this skin

Xeno 2 – Throw away this heart that’s bleeding from within

Xeno 3 – But I got a job to do, it’s true

Xeno 4 – The only problem is I care for you …

Xeno 5 – Relax your mind, it’s gonna be fine

Xeno 6 – It’s gonna’ be the moment we’ve been waiting for all this time

Xeno 7 – So don’t forget to do your best, it’s “better-off” for everyone involved.

ALL (unison)
We got orders, we got plans, we got ’em right smack in the palm of their hands and
We comin’ out to get things started, so watch happens, join the party
This ain’t easy; it’s all hard, but that don’t mean we can’t get where we want to if
We play with caution, they will work for the bait and we will make it to the
To the promised land, To the promised land

Xeno 1 – Can you forget about what I just said?

Xeno 2 – Come to think of it, I’m not all that upset.

Xeno 3 – I’m but a traveler in this old bod.

Xeno 4 – I just get so lost with all their talk of God!

Xeno 5 – Forget what they say, we’ll show them the way –

Xeno 6 – And there is no one who can judge our acts until it’s too late

Xeno 7 – So don’t forget to do your best and dream about a better fate!

3. Arrival I
Music and Lyrics by John Paul Sharp

Human #1:
Gather ’round and listen to me
Let me tell you ’bout my problem with Xenos
I gotta’ woman who’s a beautiful thing and
She’s one of them, she’s an alien
We got three kids and one more on the way
Now let me ask you what the hell are they?
And then I realize I’m the odd-man-out of
My own goddamn family!

Human #2:
Went to the work the other day
Had a big promotion coming my way, yeah
But guess who got it instead of me?
It was another Xeno, sure as can be.
Asked my boss, “What’s up with that?”
She said, “He’s smarter, he’s faster and you come up flat.”
Well shit, I guess I’m not needed here
So I quit my job and got drunk on beer.

Human #6 & #7:
Now wait right there, what’s this about?
Let’s all be fair, figure it out – we can’t allow ourselves to judge.

Human #3:
Screw that noise, here’s what’s up.
I have a teenage daughter who got pregnant by a
Four year old Xeno, no one we know,
Where did he go?
No question, I’m pro-life, indeed,
But my daughter is scared to carry his seed and I
Would mind a termination if it meant
My daughter found salvation.

Human #4:
Wait a minute, all your stories are fine, but,
We need to talk about Homosapien pride!
How much of our basic human rights will we
Lose without putting up a fight?
I hate to say this, but I carry a gun,
Just in case any Xenos want to have fun.
I don’t know what they’re really about, but
No chances are taken when I leave my house!

Human #6 & #7:
Now wait right there, what’s this about?
Let’s all be fair, figure it out – we can’t allow ourselves to judge.

(instrumental break)

Human #5:
I’m more confused than ever before and
I’m afraid of what could be in store for my
Family, my friends and I, for all we know
We’re about to die.
It makes me angry that they’ve hidden from us
It makes me wonder if there’s anything else?
Who is really in control here and
What are we gonna’ do?

Human #6 & #7:
Now wait right there, what’s this about?
Let’s all be fair, figure it out – we can’t allow ourselves to judge.

4. Chant I
Music and Lyrics by John Paul Sharp

Amen, Amen, God will help us see this through.
Amen, Amen, Tell us what we should do.
Amen, Amen, God will help us see this through.
Amen, Amen, We look to You.

5. Uncertainty I
Music and Lyrics by John Paul Sharp

Henry:
I wish I knew What it is that I should do
Which course is right? Do I help or do I fight?
‘Cause all I want is to feel – Needed, Someone Special
I don’t want to harm him, I just want to live

Alex:
All I wanted was to blend, Be accepted, be a friend
Why can’t that be enough? Follow orders, follow through
I’m a puppet, not a fool! Why is this so tough?
‘Cause I don’t think it’s right – Life is not so black and white
We are of a spectrum So why this disconnection?

Alex:
You will never see me for who I am
That’s what it feels like to give a
You will never see me for who I am
That’s what it feels like to give a Damn.

Henry:
I am caught, I am lost
And I don’t know what to
I am caught, I am lost
And I don’t know what to Think.

6. Addressing the Nation
Music and Lyrics by John Paul Sharp

Elizabeth:
I’m calling out to all human hearts that hear my voice
I want to tell you, you have free will; the human choice
That is why I warn you, take the side of peace
Or we might never see the light at the end of this!

Human Crowd:
That’s not good enough for us!
We want answers, we want stuff!
Something solid we can use
We can’t let them make us fools!
We will fight for what’s right ’cause we are strong!

Elizabeth:
Now, wait a minute, please hear me out awhile more
It is important that we achieve some sort of rapport
Otherwise, I’m sorry, we might just be toast,
So please, don’t jump to bad conclusions, deaf as posts, soon-to-be-ghosts …

Human Crowd:
You don’t scare us, Xenos do!
We are nearly through with you!
You must do a better job!
Or you’ll meet an angry mob!
We are not afraid, We will stand up and say …

People:
They cannot do this to us
We will not let them
They will regret the day of this
We will put an end to them
Thank you for your address
Do whatʼs best, Do whatʼs best.

Elizabeth:
Oh, please! No! You’re scaring me! What can I do to help?
How can I save my people from yourselves?
Give me time, give me a little more time!

7. This is Rapture!
Music and Lyrics by John Paul Sharp

I can tell the future for the homosapiens
And let me tell you it is quite a sensation!
Do you have a dollar? Listen to me holler loud!
I think that that’s the only way to get a crowd to hear!
Let’s break out a cheer — woo hoo!

WE’RE ALL GONNA’ DIE!

I’m a bit excited! Haven’t seen the light for years,
Not since I traveled through the cosmos with profiteers.
Might be they will spare me, might be not but I don’t care!
This place will get what’s coming, like an electric ch air!
Let’s celebrate — woo hoo!

WE’RE ALL GONNA’ DIE!

There are folks – folks who don’t – don’t know a thing
Who have choked – died inside – they cannot sing
Black and blue and fruity-looped, flipped and fried over medium —
Jesus Christ! Where’s he now? Now the lies are coming down!

Well, I’d just like to say that I’m glad I’m dying, glad to go away.
I want you to know that I wouldn’t have it any other way!
And I want you to sing with me … GO!

“Didn’t think so!”

I woke up this morning to a heavy phone call
From someone who had said
They knew my friend who died long ago
That friend was me.

Don’t let it haunt you Forget the past Don’t let it harm you …

EMBRACE THE CHANGES, EMBRACE THE CHANGES

For We Will Die
… I was driving all night to find just a little more peace of mind
Did you notice that turn in the road?
Did you see how it curved just so? Taking off again …

8.  Riot!
Music and Lyrics by John Paul Sharp

Rioter #1:
Tear it up! Shut it down! Turn the wheel! Spin it ’round!
Mass confusion! No one cares! Terrorism everywhere!

Rioter #2:
Middle finger in the air! Take a bat and swing it there!
Smash the windows, burn the bank! Keep your mind from going blank!

Rioter #3:
Fuck! Let’s smoke it up! ‘Cause if the world goes down in flames,
Let us have our Mary Jane!

Rioter #4:
Fuck! Let’s turn it up! ‘Cause if it’s really going down like this
Let’s all go out and take a piss!

All: This planet needs a riot! This planet needs a riot! This planet needs a riot!
You look your doors and hide! You look your doors and hide! You look your doors and hide!
Or come on out to fight! Or come on out to fight! Or come on out to fight!
This planet needs a riot! This planet needs a riot! This planet needs a riot!

Rioter #5:
We don’t need to have no jobs We don’t need to pay for shit!
Rob our dads and rape our moms for Getting us involved in this!

Rioter #6:
Nothing’s complicated now We have learned to turn it off!
Get your guns and bullets out Shoot it up! Set it off!

Rioter #7
Mess with it! Make it raw! From Europe and from Africa!
Chaos is the only way! Time to blow it all to shit!

Rioter #8:
Time to have our way with it! Time to spill and shed the blood of it!

All: This planet needs a riot! This planet needs a riot! This planet needs a riot!
You look your doors and hide! You look your doors and hide! You look your doors and hide!
Or come on out to fight! Or come on out to fight! Or come on out to fight!
This planet needs a riot! This planet needs a riot! This planet needs a riot!

(instrumental break)

All: Tear it up! Shut it down! Turn the wheel! Spin it ’round!
Mass confusion! No one cares! Terrorism everywhere!
Middle finger in the air! Take a bat and swing it there!
Smash the windows, burn the bank! Keep your mind from going blank!
Fuck! Let’s smoke it up! ‘Cause if the world goes down in flames,
Let us have our Mary Jane! Fuck! Let’s turn it up!
‘Cause if it’s really going down like this Let’s all go out and take a piss!

This planet needs a riot! This planet needs a riot! This planet needs a riot!
You look your doors and hide! You look your doors and hide! You look your doors and hide!
Or come on out to fight! Or come on out to fight! Or come on out to fight!
This planet needs a riot! This planet needs a riot! This planet needs a riot!

9. Arrival II
Music and Lyrics by John Paul Sharp

Human 1:
I think we’ve heard quite enough!
A Xeno’s just not to be trusted
We better separate into groups
And figure out, right now, who is who!

Human 2:
There’s nothing funny ’bout all this pain
We’d better stop pretending this is a game
To concentration camps, they should go
Let’s gas ’em up and send them into outerspace!

Human 3:
I don’t know about killing camps,
It seems to me that you might need a nap!
But I do believe that we might be
The next to join the list of extinct species!

Human 4:
I can’t take it anymore,
Take me Xenos, I’m yours!
I’d rather be on the side that wins
Maybe then they will spare my kids!

Human 6 & 7:
This is insane! What are we doing?
We’ve got to think about our future.
We’re gonna’ die if we don’t fight!
I hope we’re right!

Human 2:
It’s pussies (people) like you holding us back!
You should go along with them when they get gassed!
Poison your ass, you traitorous fiend!
Your cowardly face is disgusting to me!

Human 3:
Hold it right there! Settle it down.
Get a grip, let’s not trip or we’re gonna’ drown!
We need our level heads to get ahead of them
Don’t forget, the fight that’s right is us against them, us against them!

Human 4:
US AGAINST THEM? US AGAINST THEM?
We’d better win or we’re gonna’ be dead!
We’d better fight to the tooth and the nail
‘Cause there’s no more places that we can set sail!

Human 1:
Push them in a corner so they will change.
Kill a few important ones to set up the stage.
Get them to do what we want instead!
And if that don’t work, we’ll just kill them!

Human 6 & 7:
This is insane! What are we doing?
We’ve got to think about our future.
We’re gonna’ die if we don’t fight!
I hope we’re right!

Human 5:
I want to go on the record that I don’t believe in war!
You can do whatever you want I won’t stop you.
Let it be known that I said it’s wrong
So I can go on each day, thinking every thing’s fine

ALL: They must be right, stand up and fight
You do your part, I’ll do mine, Killing time, killing time.
Do your part and I’ll do mine

This is insane! What are we doing?
We’ve got to think about our future.
We’re gonna’ die if we don’t fight!
It must be right!

10. Chant II
Music and Lyrics by John Paul Sharp

Group 1:
Amen, Amen, God will help us see this through

Group 2:
It must right, stand up and fight,
you do your part, I’ll do mine.

Group 3:
Tear it up, shut it down, Turn the wheel, spin it round,
mass confusion, no one cares, terrorism everywhere.

Group 4:
We got orders, we got plans, we got ’em right smack in the palm of their hands
And we comin’ out to get things started, so what what happens join the party.

11. Media Firestorm
Music by John Paul Sharp

12. Uncertainty II
Music and Lyrics by John Paul Sharp

Alex:
I wash my dirty hands of the future that is planned
For my so-called friend, In the doldrums he’ll remain,
I can’t help but keep disdain. Enough is enough!
Maybe this is right! Life is black and white!
What’s he waiting for? Do it!
Before he loses his nerve, that idiot human!
He’s no friend of mine! He’s a different kind.

Henry:
I trusted you! You’re a sneak and I’m no fool!
You can’t use me! I control my own destiny!
And this is the last time I will say goodbye to you
I just want you know you were like a brother to me
And you turned on me.

Henry & Alex:
You will never see me for who I am
That’s what it feels like to be a man.

13. Prologue (Condensed)
Music by John Paul Sharp

14. Coming Out (Instrumental)
Music by John Paul Sharp

15. Arrival I (Instrumental)
Music by John Paul Sharp

16. Chant I (Instrumental)
Music by John Paul Sharp

17. Uncertainty I (Instrumental)
Music by John Paul Sharp

18. Addressing the Nation (Instrumental)
Music by John Paul Sharp

19. This is Rapture! (Instrumental)
Music by John Paul Sharp

20. Riot! (Instrumental)
Music by John Paul Sharp

21. Arrival II (Instrumental)
Music by John Paul Sharp

22. Chant II (Instrumental)
Music by John Paul Sharp

23. Uncertainty II (Instrumental)
Music by John Paul Sharp

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