I. MAYBE A MAN'S NAME, 10 OCTOBER 1985
As each ORSON sees his name flash on the screen before HIM, HE spins on HIS stool to face the audience. Stage right, a YOUNG ORSON (ORSON #1) reveals that HE is easing the crease from a superb fedora as HE spins. Stage left, an OLD ORSON (ORSON #3) reveals sa HE spins that HE has a portable Royal typewriter on HIS lap. Center, MIDDLE-AGED ORSON (ORSONE #2) spins to reveal that HE is holding a copy of Moby Dick, which HEannotaes with a pen.
As the films recommence, the CONDUCTOR enters briskly, moves to each Orson and greets him warmly.
PRE-RECORD (in the dark, variously) “Our works in stone, in paint, in print, are spared, some of them, for a few decades or a millennium or two…,”
ORSON #3 (To HIMSELF.) But what of the so-called "Information Age?" Now nothing is ever lost, no matter how trivial.
ORSON #1 (To the CONDUCTOR, shaking hands.) Do we start at the top? Or do we cut to the finish?
ORSON #2 (To the CONDUCTOR, crossing something out in the book.) Edit. Edit. Edit. Call me ... Ishmael.
(The CONDUCTOR laughs and moves to the next ORSON.)
ORSON #3 (Right, looking up from the script of OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND at the CONDUCTOR.) “I started at the top—I should know.”
As the title card changes, the MUSES filter in, some carrying their instruments. The conductor greets each warmly—a touch on the arm for one, a hug for another, mock fisticuffs with a third.
ORSON #1 (To ORSON #3.) What was that I said? "A movie in production is the greatest trainset a boy ever had?"
ORSON #3 (Answering ORSON #1) Why don't you "Giggle" it on the Interwebs?
ORSON #2 (To ORSON #3) It's "Google," and "Internet," and that's the wrong kind of laptop, old man.
ALL THREE (Laughing.) Edit. Edit. Edit.
PRE-RECORD (In the dark, variously, over the ORSONS)
“…but everything must finally fall in war, or wear away into the ultimate and universal ash---"
ORSON #2 (To HIMSELF.) Why bother with Ishmael? Why not just call me Orson? He was my greatest prestidigitation.
ORSON #1 (Putting on the fedora and running his hand along the brim.) "The triumphs, the frauds." The fraudulent triumph; the triumphant farragos.
ORSON #3 (Placing the Royal on the stool and regarding it affectionately.) "The treasures, the fakes." The fraudulent treasures; the triumphant fakes.
As the title card changes, the conductor motions for the pianist to play an “A.” The primordial bubbling of an ensemble tuning up with favorite phrases of music variously emerging and being engulfed ensues. Over the bubbling, the ORSONS sing for the first time.
ORSON #3 (Sudddenly looking up.) “We’re going to die.” There's no "to be or not to be" about it.
ORSON #1 (Tossing the fedora into the pit.) Nevertheless, "be of good heart," chum.
ORSON #2 (To ORSON #1) We're at sea. The Pequod's crew is chum, chum. "We're ging to die."
ORSON #3 “…cry the dead artists out of the living past.”
ORSON #1, ORSON #2 “Our songs will be silenced,”
ORSON #3 “But what of it?”
The MUSES stop tuning. In the clear, a cappella, the ORSONS intone the words on the title cards.
In sudden, seemingly spontaneous counterpoint, the ORSONS laugh and sing together.
ALL ORSONS (Variously.) “Maybe a man’s name doesn’t matter that much.”