Tag Archives: The Geisha

2600. A grand entrance and exit

(As often happens with a round number in the story sequence there is a slight deviation from the daily fiction story and a venture into some real lived episode.)

As a young man, and a competent pianist (!), I was often dragged into amateur operetta productions to play the piano accompaniment. This particular time it was a production of “The Geisha” (by Sidney Jones and Harry Greenbank). To be honest I don’t remember a great deal about it, except everyone seemed to prance around in kimonos singing a song about a goldfish.

At one stage there was the grand entrance of the Emperor of Japan. Someone had gone to a great deal of trouble to create a bridge over a stream (rather like a Monet painting). The costume department had gone overboard in dressing not only the Emperor but his half dozen or so Attendants. It was to be a glorious and sumptuous entrance.

The trouble was there was no music to accompany this entrance. No trouble, I said. I will play an extract from a piece called “Juba” that sounds sort of Japanese, by Nathaniel Dett. (Incidentally, Nathaniel Dett was the first African American composer of note). Here is what the piece sounded like:

Click HERE to hear the extract of Nathaniel Dett’s “Juba”.

The moment had come. It was time to bring the Emperor over the bridge and down onto the stage. I began with a flourish. There was a great kerfuffle back stage and no one appeared. I repeated the music and the Emperor of Japan and Attendants made their imposing entrance. Except I was four scenes too early. The Emperor looked both embarrassed and confused. I played the piece again and the Emperor majestically marched off. Two scenes later he made a second opulent appearance.

At the third attempt and four scenes later I got the entrance just right!

(Note: With this Story #2600, I am taking a break. It’s summer over here. The lawns need mowing. The garden needs weeding. It’s no time to be sitting inside at a desk! So I shall be back after the New Year (d.v. = Deo volente. D.V. was a common expression 50 years ago. It is not seen so often these days). I won’t be able to frequent the blogs quite as much as usual – unless it rains. Have a wonderfully Merry Christmas and a wonderfully Happy New Year! I shall! D.V.)