A Ballet in Two Acts

NYC, 2014While repairing cracks in the northwest corner of the southeast wall of the School of American Ballet on Lincoln Center’s Campus (northwest corner), bricklayer Arnie “Slim” Yatz retrieved what he thought was “some damned wadda paper.”

The discovered wad was a forgotten ballet libretto by legendary choreographer, George Balanchine. Written circa November 10th, 1952, at noon, it was created following the annulment of Balanchine’s six-year marriage to ballerina Maria Tallchief. In perhaps a reference to same, a margin notation states simply, “Never did it.” Throckmore Dinton, curator of hair buns, Nutcracker face paint, and a tutu or two, characterized the find as “almost awesome.”

For locating a rare and important find, Yatz received the Rare and Important Find Award from NYC’s Best in City Wiener Award Committee, and promptly asked, “Where’s my weenie?”

Act I takes place in India (south-southwest corner), where beautiful bead stringer, Hema, is being toted by elephant (Note: handlers supply cleanup bags) to a funeral pyre to be burned alive for wearing a ruby on her elbow. This has Hema’s boyfriend, Biju, slighlty edgy, so he flits across the stage to figure out his next move, a fouetté he hasn’t mastered yet.

Answering the gloom, the orchestral sitars are plucked wildly, while the chimptas

erupt in frenzied jingle-jangle. Biju abandons the fouetté and launches a pirouette into a triple-cross for the hell of it.

Meanwhile, Hema’s bouncing on the plucky pachyderm trying desperately to execute one last plié before her skin melts. The elephant rises to the occasion and attempts a quatre jambe (four-legged) arabesque, but accidentally flattens one of the executioners, unfortunately for Hema, the one without the matches. However, this frees up some tights for Act II.

The elephant makes a trunk grab and drops Hema on the pyre like a bad UPS delivery. She screams above the drum beats of the dhads, the mhoms having gone home to cook. The pyre’s set ablaze, and Anoop, Hema’s ex, suddenly sits up beside her and performs a gorgeous sauté before it becomes literal if he doesn’t jump quickly. The startled spectators, wearing tutus over sarongs, with a couple of sarights tossed in, spin furiously as Anoop carries Hema offstage.

Act II opens with Hema’s father, Bob, munching a baked barfi while carrying a basket of cobras to the marketplace for his noon show. He performs a pas de deux with the lead cobra, ending in a daring split right over the cobra’s head. (Note: have freed up tights ready). Hema appears, sporting the ruby in her left nostril, followed by Biju and Anoop who fight over her.

In the Hindu version of deus ex machina, Vamana the White, goddess of vowel buyers, descends, declaring Biju the winner with a grand gesture involving a middle finger. Anoop’s banished to New Delhi to reopen an old deli and arrest tourists who French kiss cows.

In the final scene, Biju hugs Hema tight and later has several theaters named for him.