Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Case Study No. 0121: Henry Armitage

Just skip at 0:40 and start to listen. hilarious.
This is a musical based on H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos, but even if you haven't read his books this is funny.
Made by H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society.
Tags: lovecraft musical tentacles shoggoth on the roof
Added: 4 years ago
From: aabeeceed
Views: 170,113

HENRY ARMITAGE: A Shoggoth on the roof. Sounds crazy ... no, certifiably insane! But here in our little village of Arkham, Massachusetts, you might say every one of us has a Shoggoth on the roof, and I'm not speaking metaphorically. It's not easy having a malevolent shapeless monster like that hanging over your head, but there it is. Arkham is the home of many strange things; a big monster like that on such a pointy roof, you may ask how does it stay up there, if it's so difficult? That, I can tell you in one word ... Tentacles!

[the chorus begins singing]
Tentacles, tentacles! Tentacles!
Tentacles, tentacles! Tentacles!

HENRY ARMITAGE: Here in Arkham, tentacles get into everything eventually! Changeless legend-haunted Arkham, where the clustering gambrel roofs sway and sag over attics. Where witches hid from the King's men in the dark olden days of the province. Well, the king is gone, but the witches are still here ... and the cultists, and the monsters, and regular folks just trying not to notice. We try not to think about the scariest one of all. The gigantic half-dragon half-octopus half-humanoid Great Old One himself, Cthulu! Waiting to return from his city beneath the sea!

[Henry begins singing]
Who day and night
Must slumber in R'lyeh
Wave his tentacles
Having nasty dreams
And who has the might
As master of R'lyeh
To drive humanity insane?

[the chorus joins in]
Cthulu, Cthulu! Tentacles!
Cthulu, Cthulu! Tentacles!

[Henry stops singing and the chorus continues]
Who must bow and kneel and scrape and slave all day
To raise R'lyeh, Cthulu's way
Who must live in ignorance until the day
They find they've read too many nasty books
The cultists, the cultists! Tentacles!
The cultists, the cultists! Tentacles!
That night I started growing gills and swimming in the sea
And soon I'll know the wonder of the sun-ken city
The Deep Ones, the Deep Ones! Tentacles!
The Deep Ones, the Deep Ones! Tentacles!
Who's always last to know, who fills the air with cries?
Whose sanity is blasted, and then who usually dies?
The victims, the victims! Tentacles!
The victims, the victims! Tentacles!

HENRY ARMITAGE: We have the shoe factory, and the brickworks, and a wonderful insane asylum we're all mighty proud of. But the heart of the town is its Miskatonic University. It may not be the biggest school in New England, but there's no finer place in the world to study medieval metaphysics. It's my honor to be its head librarian ... Y'see, many folks from the University, as you walk through Arkham streets and in our small community, we always have had some special types as well. For instance, Herbert West, the mad scientist.
HERBERT WEST: Those small-minded doctors have needlessly and irrationally delayed me in supremely great work. The reanimation of dead tissue was within my grasp!
ALLEN HALSEY: Herbert, your perverse experiments are the vagary of a demented maniac and cannot be allowed to continue. Your request for the use of human cadavers is completely denied!
HERBERT WEST: Ha ha, I warn you Doctor Halsey, you'll regret this decision!
HENRY ARMITAGE: And Randolph Carter, the writer with the weird dreams who keeps showing up everywhere ...
RANDOLPH CARTER: I repeat to you, gentlemen, that your inquisition is fruitless! Question me forever if you want, I do not know what has become of Harley Warren!
WOMAN: Mister Carter, there's a telephone call for you ...
HENRY ARMITAGE: And Obed Marsh, the cursed old man from nearby Innsmouth ...
OBED MARSH: What are ye lookin' at?! What, you think I'm ugly?! Izzat it? I'll be showing ye ugly!

[the chorus begins singing]
Die die die, die! Die die die, die!
Die die die die, die die die die die!
Die die die, die! Die die die, die!
Die die die die, die die die die die!

HENRY ARMITAGE: Then there are others in Arkham. Some live here, some just visit ... The head of a local cult. Some kind of horrible monster. I do not even want to know what that is. We normal folks just look the other way and try not to lose our minds. And among ourselves, we get along just fine. Well, of course, there are some who think that the magical Elder Sign is shaped like a star. And some who think it's shaped more like a tree. But that is all settled now. Now, we just try to--
ARKHAM RESIDENT 1: It's shaped like a star with a little flame inside it!
ARKHAM RESIDENT 2: No, it's like a tree! It's got branches coming off it!
ARKHAM RESIDENT 1: I'm telling you, it's a star!
ARKHAM RESIDENT 2: Use the star one and you'll be fighting off the Old Ones with your bare hands! It's a star!

[the chorus begins singing]
Star! Tree! Star! Tree! Star! Tree! Star! Tree!
Tentacles, tentacles! Tentacles!
Tentacles, tentacles! Tentacles!

HENRY ARMITAGE: Tentacles! Like I said, you cannot live in Arkham without coping with the Shoggoth on the roof!



A Shoggoth on the Roof is a parody musical of Fiddler on the Roof based on the works of H. P. Lovecraft. Published by the H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society, it is credited to a member of the society who is referred to only as "He Who (for legal reasons) Must Not Be Named".

There have been many legal difficulties in performing "Shoggoth"; however, it was staged for the first time, in a Swedish translation, at Miskatonicon, a H. P. Lovecraft convention in Sweden, on November 4, 2005. It was staged for the first time in English at a games convention, Leprecon, in Ireland on February 23, 2007. The production was organised by the Trinity College, Dublin Gamers Society. They avoided the legal issues surrounding the Fiddler on the Roof score by using a completely new score for the musical.

The story parodies that of Fiddler on the Roof, following the tale of Professor Henry Armitage, the librarian at the fictional Miskatonic University (from the Lovecraft short story "The Dunwich Horror"), and his attempts to marry off his three daughters. It is set in 1920s America.

The action is set in the fictional town of Arkham, Massachusetts. The action opens in a manner reminiscent of Fiddler, with a shoggoth on the roof of the Miskatonic library building. Armitage addresses the audience, speaking of all the strange things in Arkham and its horrific history. He then explains how a shoggoth can stay up on "such a pointed roof": Tentacles! ("Tentacles")

Back at Armitage's house, his three daughters, Prudence, Asenath and Jill, along with their mother Marion are cleaning. The three daughters begin chatting and Prudence reveals that she's fallen in love with Herbert West, a doctor and assistant professor at the university. Meanwhile, Armitage arrives home, and he and Marion discuss finding a suitable husband for Prudence. Marion suggests Wilbur Whately, and Armitage agrees to ask him to lunch. ("Arkham, Dunwich") Prudence hears this and rushes off to see Herbert.

The action then moves to a graveyard, where Randolph Carter and Harley Warren are discussing how best to enter an ancient tomb. A ghoul spies on them as they break in.

Prudence and Herbert meet outside the library, and she confides in him about her parents' plans. He exclaims that he "needs her too much," and will ask her father for her hand in marriage.

Later that night, Jill and Asenath sneak out to visit the library, and it is revealed that Asenath has plans to summon an incubus. They take the Book of Eibon from the library and summon a byakhee. ("Byakhee, Byakhee") However, the creature frightens them and they run away.

Meanwhile, Carter and Warren are opening the tomb, and Warren arranges to go down and relay information to Carter via the telephone equipment they have. He then seems nervous of actually entering the tomb, so Carter pushes him in.

In a scene that appears to take place a few days later, Jill and Asenath attend a ceremony at the Esoteric Order of Dagon. The head cultist intones a prayer to Cthulhu and sacrifices a victim. ("Shoggoth Prayer") Asenath seems attracted to the cultist, and asks Jill to follow her down to the beach to watch him. Jill, however, decides to stay, and watches Obed Marsh, a decrepit old man, clean up the hall. He sings to himself, wishing he were a Deep One. ("If I Were a Deep One") Jill then comes out from her hiding place and chats to him. He's attracted to her, but Jill plays hard to get, going to join her sister.

A few days later, Armitage encounters Wilbur Whately at the library, and asks him to go on a date with Prudence. Wilbur accepts. ("Arkham, Dunwich - reprise") After Wilbur leaves, however, Prudence and Herbert West come to see Armitage, and Herbert asks his permission to marry her. He explains to Armitage about his "great work," the reanimation of dead tissue. ("To Life") Overwhelmed, Armitage gives his consent.

The action then returns to Carter and Warren. Carter is being chased by a ghoul, while Warren discovers the tomb is actually empty, except for an inscription saying "Asenath was here". They decide to head home, but encounter Armitage on the way, who is being attacked by ghouls on his way home. Carter and Warren fight them off, but Armitage is still worried about how to break the news of Herbert and Prudence's marriage to his wife. A chance remark by Carter gives him the idea to tell his wife about a nightmare to get her consent.

That night, Armitage and his wife are in bed, when Armitage starts screaming and tells his wife about a nightmare he had, featuring her Grandma Prudence and Lavinia Whately, saying that Prudence should marry Herbert West. ("The Nightmare") Marion is impressed by this and agrees to marry Prudence to Herbert.

The next day, Jill goes to visit Marsh in his shack. The two of them talk about the Deep Ones, and they end up staring into each other's eyes. Meanwhile, Asenath finally talks to the head cultist at the beach, and he confesses he's fallen in love with her. ("Victim of Victims") They agree to ask Armitage's permission to marry.

Obed Marsh and Jill ask Armitage for his blessing for them to marry, explaining that they've fallen in love. Armitage is horrified at the concept, but Jill explains her feelings ("Very Far From the Home I Love"). Armitage eventually gives them his blessing. Asenath and the head cultist then come to ask his blessing. However, Armitage has a violent prejudice against the cultists and refuses absolutely.

The scene then changes to Prudence and Herbert's wedding, with almost everyone in the town present. Carter and Warren turn up, and head to the buffet table. Asenath and the head cultist then turn up, and they try to explain to Armitage how they're part of the same community. ("Arkham, Dunwich - second reprise") The song is interrupted by Wilbur Whateley, who is enraged at both being denied Prudence and at not being invited to the wedding. He vows revenge, and reads an incantation from the Necronomicon to summon Cthulhu, who appears behind the library and crushes many of the villagers. He then eats Wilbur, and demands to know what's going on. ("Do You Fear Me?") Cthulhu goes on a rampage, destroying the university and killing the entire cast. He then departs, and Herbert West uses his reanimating formula to return himself to life, as well as the rest of the cast. They discuss what to do, now that the Great Old Ones have returned. Armitage explains that no matter what the Old Ones do, they can't kill knowledge, and that knowledge is the only weapon against them. ("Miskatonic")



A Shoggoth on the Roof
The Musical

Book and Lyrics by HE WHO (for legal reasons) MUST NOT BE NAMED

Restored and digitally remastered by SEAN BRANNEY and ANDREW LEMAN

Published October, 2001 by The H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society

The book and lyrics of A Shoggoth on the Roof were written some time during the early 1970s, by a person whose name we are not permitted to reveal. A former member of the HPLHS, this unnamable person was later institutionalized, and an agreement with his family prevents us from giving his identity.

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