Categories > Cartoons > Daria > Tigresses

Late Winter, and the Start of the Review

by DrT 0 reviews

The lead-up to The Lawndale Review and Act I

Category: Daria - Rating: PG - Genres: Drama - Characters: Brittany,Daria,Jane,Quinn - Warnings: [!!] - Published: 2014-04-07 - 4982 words - Complete

Tigresses of Lawndale – 17 – Late Winter, and the Start of the Review

By Dr T

The lead-up to The Lawndale Review and Act I


Overall, Daria had to admit, as the school year continued after Jane’s show at the museum, she was far busier than she had anticipated and she was not totally thrilled by that. As interesting as her activities were, considered dispassionately, part of her yearned to be laying on her back on Jane’s bed with her head off the mattress, watching Sick Sad World upside down while Jane painted. Still, she had, to her surprise, grown to almost enjoy the Tai Chi sessions after school. She had to admit that although at best indifferent to the actual exercise, the effects on her overall physical and emotion wellbeing were very positive – but only to herself. She wouldn’t admit such a thing to Jane or Theo, never mind to her Mother or Quinn. She did, however, now understand something of what Quinn got out of her yoga and new Pilates classes.

She was not willing to go so far as to let Jane talk her into running or Theo into physical training, although both extended invitations. Theo and John had both been amazed when Daria demonstrated ‘the proper way to fall,’ especially her back bump off the third step of the Lane’s cellar stairs, but she was not going to be going into physical fitness any further than she already was.

Some of the school activities met during an official late afternoon ‘activity period.’ Except for her early brief foray on the year book staff, until now Daria had spent her activity periods either in the library or in the school’s computer lab. Now half of those periods were taken up with meetings of the so-called ‘gourmet theatre’ club. So far as she (and Jane and Jodie for that matter) was concerned, attendance at these meetings were only necessary as a watching brief to make certain the club stayed connected with reality and nothing was done which would generate any more work (or loss of time) for those three seniors. Quinn and Tori were proving themselves quite equal to the task of running the club, however, so long as the three seniors (with some help from Brittany) were there to back them up and control their impulses.

Daria’s final school activity was the Lawndale Review. Jane had questioned her closely on this subject several times. In theory, Daria knew a fair amount about the ideas of staging a play but she had had no actual experience on or around a stage before the previous summer. She thought she had performed well enough at camp, but had no desire to expose herself on stage any more than she had to. She did, however, want a bit more experience in directing, and this gave her the chance to do so. By bringing in DeMartino (there was no way Daria wanted to work with Timothy O’Neill after her own experience at the café or Quinn’s experience with the Chaucer play), who had gleefully signed on to her vision, and with the help of Jodi, Brittany, Quinn, and Tori, Daria was sure of avoiding most attempts at interference. That she had to fill in some of the weak spots herself was regrettable as far as she was concerned, but she was willing to pay the price to get the most out of her fellow students.

Of course, the set of ‘extra-curricular’ activities that Daria did not resent was the time spent with Jane or the time spent with Thor. If the time the quartet spent together was added to the time Jane and Daria spent together as they had over the previous years, and the time the pair spent together at rehearsals and the club meetings, it probably equaled or even surpassed the amount of time Jane and Daria had spent together before Jane and Tom had started seeing each other. Daria found that the time she now had alone with Jane was time she enjoyed even more than much of the time the pair had spent together ‘before Tom.’

She wasn’t sure how she felt about that.

She did know that she was not deeply in love with Theo, but she was very pleased by the relationship. She knew she loved Jane, but also knew she was not really ‘in love’ with the person she really thought of as her ‘partner’ – even if she refused to define the term. The physical aspects of her relationships still disturbed her some of the times she thought about them when she was alone, especially as she tried to fall asleep. However, when she was ‘active,’ she had found, to her astonishment, that she really enjoyed all aspects of the activities she was participating in.

So far, her ‘solution’ to this conflict was to try and not think about anything overtly sexual as she went to sleep at night. Except for a few, too explicit, dreams, so far that was working. She was glad ‘the rash’ was not staging a come-back.

In place of thinking about sex in any aspect when she went to sleep, Daria was concentrating on planning her writing. She was NOT pleased that she had so easily completed the short-dead-lined romance novel, even though it was not very long. She had, in fact, finished proofing it with over a week to spare on the basic delivery date for a draft. (There was no way she was going to let anyone know about it, and so had to do all the basic proof work herself. She had to admit that proofing one’s own work was difficult.)

Daria had mixed reactions in early February when she got an e-mail saying her romance novel was accepted with no changes, and a offer to write a longer-format Gothic romance novel for a different ‘line’ the publisher had. Rather than the short (135-165 pages) format of the first novel series, this second one would be 180-200 pages, with a draft due date at the end of May.

Daria was happy not to have to deal with that first romance novel any more (and happier with the check which arrived three days later), but knew that at this time she had little choice but to accept the commission for the longer romance story. She could use the same pseudonym at least.

Daria hoped that by the time she graduated from Raft she would have enough other publications that the ‘Jane Street’ books could be left off her resume.

When Daria wrote romance, she started each session with her tongue planted firmly in her cheek, determined to subtly parody the genre and its conventions. Somehow, she always managed to lose herself in the story line. It would always bother her a bit that her plucky heroines looked like a cross between Quinn and Tori, spoke like a cross of Jane and her Aunt Amy, and had some of the same inner insecurities of Daria herself.

With Valentine’s Day on a Wednesday, there were no planned holiday activities at school other than the serving of cupcakes with little candy hearts on them. Although tempted to splurge, both John and Thor by now knew enough not to go overboard. Both Jane and Daria enjoyed the chocolates, and graciously used the chocolate body paints without complaint, primarily on their boyfriends.

Finally, however, it was early March, and time for The Lawndale Review.


NOTE to readers: All the musical numbers mentioned are available in some form on youtube if any readers are unfamiliar with them. The Act I numbers are mostly based on the movie versions.


Daria had Ms Li seated in front row next to Jim Vitale and his wife. Other members of the firm were seated nearby, with the Morgendorffers seated right behind Vitale. Vitale himself had been mildly, and amusingly, puzzled when Daria had not only invited him but also asked that he invite two couples who worked in the French embassy he knew. He wondered how she had even known about them. (They had been present at one of Vitale’s wine parties nearly two years before, and Helen had mentioned them in passing to Daria.)

The crowd was restless as they gazed at the closed darkened curtains. A long drum roll from behind the curtains, slightly muffled, caught some of their attentions. With a cymbal crash, Daria, dressed in a tuxedo (and wearing her contacts rather than her glasses), came out from stage right, a spot light instantly coming to life. “Good evening.” She was wearing a wireless microphone, and so her voice easily projected. Getting the mixing right for her had been difficult, as she could best carry a tune only when singing somewhat softly, but the techs had figured things out.

Daria stayed silent until the crowd quieted. Then she said, “Welcome to the Two Thousand and One edition of The Lawndale Review. I am your host for the first part of this evening. I know . . . you are all worried that you will be exposed to bad grunge, worse hip-hop, and incredibly bad humor. You are no doubt worried by the fact that your programs only list the performers by name, along with the production credits. Don’t worry, after each of the three acts there will be a sheet giving all the credits for the pieces performed. This, after all, is a review – an eclectic selection. No doubt you are also worried about that selection – after all, my generation’s music and culture is disgusting, too explicit . . . even silly. You may be right – and after all, the older generations have been saying that about their juniors’ culture since the days of Dixieland, if not long before! However, I promised Ms Li that little will be performed this evening more recent than the late Seventies. But, if you want to follow along. . . .” Daria pointed to the sides of the stage, where, on the walls on either side, two screens lit up. Daria smirked. “Let’s us see what we see as we look at some ‘establishment’ music.” She waved her arm and curtain opened.

There were several tables set against the far back of the stage and to the right, filled with students in costumes and dress from different periods of the early-to-mid twentieth century. To the left, there were instrumentalists in a make-shift band stand, seated in near profile to the audience. All were in shadow.

Again, the drum roll was heard, and when the cymbal crashed this time, the band picked up a beat. Daria stepped upstage and turned to the audience.

Daria began to sing as she moved around the apron of the stage. Her voice was too soft to carry through to the audience while staying in tune at the same time, which was why she and the singers in most of the numbers would wear the wireless microphones. When the beat had started, the side screens projected KIT KAT CLUB!**

Willkommen,* bienvenue, welcome!
Fremde, etranger, stranger.
Gluklich zu sehen, je suis enchante,
Happy to see you, bleibe, reste, stay.

Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome
Im Cabaret, au Cabaret, to Cabaret

[Spoken, with a hint of a German accent.]
Meine Damen und Herren, Mesdames et Messieurs,
Ladies and Gentlemen! Guden Abend, bon soir, good evening!
We geht's? Comment ca va? Do you feel good?
Daria pointed at her father. I bet you do!
Ich bin euer Confrecier; je suis votre compere...
I am you host!

Und sagen
Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome
Im Cabaret, au Cabaret, to Cabaret!

Leave your troubles outside!
So - life is disappointing? Forget it!
We have no troubles here! Here at Laaaaaawndale High’s Kit Kat Club, life is beautiful...
The girls are beautiful...
Daria pointed at the band:
Even the orchestra is beautiful!

The lights came up on the band – fifteen female players from the Lawndale band, all dressed in rather short slips and stockings with garters.

After a brief riff by the band, Daria resumed speaking.

You see? I told you the orchestra is beautiful!
And now presenting the Cabaret Girls!

Jodie danced onto the stage, dressed only in mesh stocking, low heels, and a slip. She stopped well down stage and started bouncing to the music in a provocative pose, right foot ahead of the left and hands on hips, complete with small hip thrusts and shoulder rolls, but with a hard expression on her face, her slight smile almost a painted-on sneer as much as it was a smile.

Beautiful, yes? because all Laaaawndale Cabaret girls are beautiful! I assure you, you will also find she is brilliant, and, I promise you, she is the hardest ‘working girl’ you will ever know!

The Landons squirmed at the double entendre. The students at the tables roared with laughter, as they would to all Daria’s jokes, priming the audience.

Quinn came out with identical moves, and assumed a mirror-image bouncing pose to Jodie’s.

Again beautiful! And of course, cute! I can assure you, she has always been beautiful and cute – just ask her!

That drew a laugh from the crowd, especially from those who knew Quinn well.

Brittany managed to ignore the screams of greeting from Kevin, who was at one of the tables upstage. Daria came up beside the bouncing Brittany, and let her head move in time with Brittany’s firm-but-rolling breasts. If any were in doubt before, it was now clear that none of the girls were wearing bras.

Brittany! More woman than most men can handle! But they all try!

Kevin again made a fool of himself.

Another of the cheerleaders entered. She was in the select choir, and she was not nearly as bouncy as Brittany – but then, few teens were.

Everyone loves Lisa! Often, although not as often as she’d like!

Fortunately for Brooke, a team of plastic surgeons had been able to put her back together, although she was now merely ‘cute’.

Here she is! The best-built girl in town!
To Brooke’s credit, she managed to keep in character.

And last but not least, Jane!
Jane’s dance steps were not quite as well done as the others, but most males in the audience would have agreed that she bounced just as nicely as the other teens once she was in place. To the shock of some in the audience, not to mention Jane, Daria suddenly changed the start of her rehearsed actions slightly. Daria stood beside Jane and gently stroked down her cheek with a knuckle, letting it brush against her lips before going into the rehearsed patter.

Jane is my favorite. Actually, she is the favorite of many! But only I call her Jane. Everyone else calls her Rosie.
Daria frowned.
I am not certain I remember why.
Daria walked behind Jane and suddenly stopped and did a double take. Daria bent over and looked at Jane’s backside closely.
Oh! Now I remember! That’s why they call her Rosie!

Daria came to the front of the stage and called out.
Our beautiful girls! And every one of them . . . a virgin!
The catcalls from the stage reached a crescendo, while the audience, which had been laughing hard, was a bit more nervous.
What? You don’t believe me? Well, if you’re lucky, you will find out yourselves later if I have been misled!

Outside it is winter. But in here it's so hot. . . .
Every night we have to battle with the girls to keep
them from taking off all their clothings. So don't go
away. Who knows? Tonight we may lose the battle!

[The Dancers sing and dance]
Wir sagen
Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome
Im Cabaret, au Cabaret, to Cabaret!

[Daria, speaking]
And, finally, the toast of Mayfair, Fraulein Sally Bowles!

[Tori danced on stage as Sally]
Hello, darlings!

[Daria sings]
Bliebe, reste, stay!

[All, singing and dancing]
Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome
Im Cabaret, au Cabaret,
Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome!
Fremde, etranger, stranger.

[Daria pretended to wave to someone in the first row]
Hello, stranger!

Gluklich, zu sehen, je suis enchante,

[Daria bowed towards Ms Li]
Enchante, Madame.

Happy to see you,
Bliebe, reste, stay!

Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome!
Fremde, etranger, stranger.
Gluklich zu sehen, je suis enchante,
Happy to see you,
Bliebe, reste, stay!
Wir sagen
Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome
Im Cabaret, au Cabaret, to Cabaret!

[Daria, again speaking.]
Thank you!
From Jodie, Quinn, Brittany, Lisa, Brooke, Jane, Sally, the orchestra, and me!
Welcome to the Kit Kat Club!

When the applause died down, Daria stepped forward and simply stated: “Miss Sally Bowles!”

Tori then performed a straightforward rendition of the song Cabaret. When it was over, Brittany, Quinn and Jane went off-stage, and were replaced by three other cheerleaders dressed in slips like the other ‘Caberet girls’, two of whom (Angie and Nikky) were also in the select choir and all three of whom had had several years of dance class. Tori and Jodie, aided by the dancers, then performed Money, also from Cabaret. Both numbers brought enthusiastic applause.

Once that number was over, Tori stepped off stage to rest while Quinn and Jane came back. The dancers then took over for the song Big Spender+ from Sweet Charity, the side screens changing from KIT KAT CLUB to DIME A DANCE. As all except Brooke and Quinn were seniors, they felt they should have some fun, and they performed the song with as much innuendo as they could muster. As all of them were very attractive teens, and most were also cheerleaders who had wide experience in leading on football players, they could muster a lot of innuendo, which certainly got a good reception from most of the audience, although Ms Li was not happy.

Ted DeWitt-Clinton then came out while all the dancers except Nikky went off-stage for some costume changes. Ted simply handed Nikky a nice dress that she slipped on while on stage, while all the up-stage lights went out, as did the lights trained on the band and the side-screens. The band members turned on small lights on their music stands. Nikky and Ted were far enough forward on stage that they could be seen, but the students at the tables on stage were mostly in shadows.

Nikky and Ted struck poses looking at each other, and then Nikky began to sing:
I know
a dark
secluded place.
A place
where no one
knows your face.
A glass
of wine
a fast embrace.
It's called
Hernando's Hideaway, ole!#

HERNADO’S HIDEAWAY had by now come up on the side-screens. While Nikky would sing the next verse as she danced with Ted, the other students on stage sang softly along, using small flickering battery-operated candles for effects from the tables. This also hid Kevin as he moved off-stage for a costume change.

you see
are silhouettes.
And all
you hear
are castanets.
And no
one cares
how late it gets.
Not at
Hernando's Hideaway, ole!

For the rest of the number, different pairs of students would get up and tango to different tables while singing along with Nikky. Upchuck was happy to play the ‘seeker of Poopsie’ in the scene. During the last musical interlude, the lights came up slightly and the entire group of students on stage moved to the music, which brought a good round of applause from the audience.

Daria now returned from off-stage to the apron. As she spoke, the band members stood up as a group and pulled on black semi-formal dresses. As Daria spoke, they adjusted each other’s hair as needed. “Our musicals have so far been made famous on-stage first and then made into movies. For our next two numbers, the story was also first told as a musical, but only became famous, at least in America, as a movie. If we were told correctly, it is our beloved principal’s favorite, but I warn you, there is to be no audience participation in these two songs!”

Daria stepped back and two juniors stepped forward to sing Dammit Janet from The Rocky Horror Picture Show.*+ Jane and Brittany then led the teens on stage into The Time Warp. Daria and Brittany had managed to convince Kevin to dress as Dr. Frank N. Furter.

Kevin would never live that down.

Once the dance number was over, Daria returned as the MC. “Okay, let’s admit that everyone’s music can also get very silly. And yet, it can also move us.” Kevin disappeared and the lights dimmed on stage. “Sometimes, the conventions of the musical can feel contrived – if we were to burst into song and dance in the halls, I think our school officials would bring in new drug-sniffing dogs and search our lockers! Still, in some dramatic movies, a song can do more to stir feelings.” Daria voice was suddenly very serious. “It’s the late autumn of 1941, and the place is a city in North Africa.” Daria slipped off her black tux jacket and exchanged it for a white dinner jacket hidden on the bandstand. The side screens changed to Rick’s Café American and the students on stage started talking loudly enough to make noise, but not so loudly as to be understood by the audience. Mack, also dressed in a white dinner jacket, stood and came to talk with Daria well up stage.

Thor and three other students in black leather jackets and black leather peaked caps suddenly appeared just on stage opposite the band, and burst into the German song, Die Wacht am Rhein (The Watch on the Rhine).

The other students on stage went silent within the first few bars of the music.

Daria had spent a lot of time coaching the students’ emotions for this scene, more than any other two scenes, in fact. She had made them all watch the scene in Casablanca several times and had given each student a back story – most of them refugees from Nazi takeovers; the rest patriotic French citizens dismayed at the conquest of their country. Each one was hoping to further their escape from Casablanca; each one afraid to stand up to the Vichy French or German officials by themselves.

Until now.

Over half the crowd looked at the ‘Nazis’ in terror; the other half in resentment.

Mack stalked angrily over to the band, Daria following.

“Le Marseillaise,” Mack commanded. “Play it!” Seeing the fear in the musicians’ faces, he repeated, “Play it, I tell you!”

Daria nodded, and the trumpets started to play Le Marseillaise, Mack singing along.

By the fourth syllable of the anthem, the two French couples in the front row were standing at attention, along with a few others in the audience and the entire ‘crowd’ on stage. A smirking Jim Vitale, who had seen this coming, was less than a beat behind them.

There were a dozen associates, plus all the partners and most of the firm members’ spouses, as well as a few members of the staff in the audience. Each knew instinctively where Vitale was sitting. When the Boss stood, within seconds all the rest of the firm and their spouses present were also standing at attention for the French national anthem. By that time, all the students on stage were singing the song as it was meant to be sung – a declaration of righteous patriotism, a war song, a battle cry. Within three lines, the ‘Nazis’ were silenced and most of the audience were standing. By the fifth line, even Thor had vacated the stage.

As the anthem concluded, the students got the largest round of applause yet, while on stage the ‘crowd’ gathered around Mack to congratulate him, some shouting ‘Vive le France’ or even ‘Vive le Republic!’ or ‘Vive le France libre!’ – either of which would have gotten them arrested back in 1941. It also positioned the entire group near the middle or front of the stage. By then, the ‘Nazis’ had removed their caps and coats, having changed into more ‘working class’ jackets in the back of the crowd before taking new positions.

As the applause died down, the band could be heard playing a four note motif over and over.

When the audience had quieted down a bit more, the lighting on stage darkened and Daria stepped forward, others following her slowly to form a line across the stage.

Do you hear the people sing*

Daria, Thor:
Singing the song of angry men?

Daria, Thor, Tori:
It is the music of a people

Daria, Thor, Tori, Mack:
Who will not be slaves again!

Daria, Thor, Tori, Mack, Jodie:
When the beating of your heart

Daria, Thor, Tori, Mack, Jodie, John:
Echoes the beating of the drums

Daria, Thor, Tori, Mack, Jodie, John, Lisa:
There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes!

Will you join in our crusade?
Who will be strong and stand with me?

Daria, Thor, Tori, Mack, Jodie, John, Lisa, Quinn, Brooke, Nikky, Ted:
Beyond the barricade
Is there a world you long to see?
Then join in the fight
That will give you the right to be free!

Do you hear the people sing, singing the song of angry men?
It is the music of a people who will not be slaves again!
When the beating of your heart echoes the beating of the drums,
There is a life about to start when tomorrow comes!

Will you give that you can give, so that our banner may advance?

Some will fall and some will live, will you stand up and take your chance?

John and Thor:
The blood of the martyrs will water the meadows of France!

In the back, Kevin and three other football players who couldn’t really sing but who were dating girls who were in the singing cast started waving red flags.

Do you hear the people sing, singing the song of angry men?
It is the music of a people who will not be slaves again!
When the beating of your heart echoes the beating of the drums,
There is a life about to start when tomorrow comes!

During this reprise, the crowd had slowly backing up, well back of the curtain line. As soon as the last line of the chorus ended, the stage crew set off a series of a dozen fire crackers in a metal garbage can just off stage. Daria, Mack, Jodie, and Jane, the weakest of the main singers, dropped to the stage one by one as if they had been shot while the band kept playing.

At that point, the rest of the crowd stepped forward, hiding their ‘fallen’ comrades.

All (singing very softly):
Do you hear the people sing, lost in the valley of the night?
It is the music of a people who are climbing to the light.
For the wretched of the earth there is a flame which never dies,
Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.

They will live again in freedom in the garden of the Lord,
They will walk behind the plowshare,
They will put away the sword.
The chain will be broken and all men will have their reward!

The side screens, which had been blank after the Café scene, slowly faded in, showing Jane’s version of Delacroix’ painting ‘Liberty Leading the People’ with Daria as Lady Liberty, although of course with her chest covered.

All (volume slowly swelling):
Will you join in our crusade? Who will be strong and stand with me?
Beyond the barricade is there a world you long to see?
Do you hear the people sing? Say, do you hear the distant drums?
It is the future that they will bring when tomorrow comes!

Will you join in our crusade? Who will be strong and stand with me?
Beyond the barricade is there a world you long to see?
Do you hear the people sing? Say, do you hear the distant drums?
It is the future that they will bring when tomorrow comes!

Ah! Tomorrow comes!

When the applause started, the curtain closed, and after a two second pause, reopened. The students bowed in four groups, the last being the band, leaving the stage as they did so. When the last group left, the curtains again closed, and the side screens showed ‘Intermission’ with a time clock running down from twelve minutes.

The French cultural attaché turned to still somewhat seething Ms Li, seated a few seats away, and stated, “Madame, I must congratulate you.”

Li blinked. “I beg your pardon?”

“When my friend Monsieur Vitale here invited us, I admit I had doubts. Yet another amateur school performance? I and my associates are asked to so many! Pardon. While the acting, dancing, and singing are certainly good for this level, they are to be frank decent but commonplace. However, the underlying production values? The direction, selection, and the staging? Excellent for any amateur performance. I would expect this level from a fine university fine arts department.”

“Th . . . th . . . thank you,” Li stammered out.

“I cannot wait to see what is next!”

Li, seeing the grinning Vitale, swallowed nervously.


(* Willkommen, Cabaret, and Money from the musical/movie Cabaret, music and lyrics by Kander & Ebb.
** The side screen says ‘Kit Kat Club’ rather than the correct ‘Kit Kat Klub’ to avoid having KKK, certainly a no-no in politically correct Lawndale!
+ Big Spender from the musical Sweet Charity, music and lyrics by Coleman & Fields.
# Hernando’s Hideaway from the musical Pajama Game, music and lyrics by Adler and Ross.
*# Dammit Janet and The Time Warp from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, by Richard O’Brien.
Le Marseillaise – Casablanca, Warner Brothers, 1942, Michael Curtiz director.
*Do you Hear the People Sing - Les Miserables, music and lyrics by Schonberg and Boublil/Kretzmer.)
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