Last Call at Chez Mort by Lee Mueller
JEAN PAUL TRUFFAUT- ("Juhn Paul True-foe") Host and Nightclub
manager. A Frenchman with a thick accent. Is sometimes slow to
understand what is happening around him. (can be played by female)
MACK - Streetwise Stage Manager. Typical 1940's hard boiled no
LADY LELU- (lay-lou) Glamorous Night club singer. Has a bit of a hard
shell under her beauty.
“BIG SUIT” STU - Sharped Dressed Gangster. Bark much worse than bite.
BODYGUARD- Stu's bodyguard. Speaks with Russian / German Accent. Not
necessarily menacing in stature. A man (or woman) of few words and
some of them English.
SWEET SUE- Ditsy Girlfriend of Big Suit Stu. Dreams of being as
glamorous and popular as Lady LeLu. Unfortunately has no talent.
CHIEF INSPECTOR CONSTANTINE - Police inspector who has been around the
block a few times. Slightly un-kept and shamby. Sometimes has an issue
keeping his facts and names straight. He has worked so many cases they
all are starting to run together.
SMITTY: News reporter.
Setting is a night club. Original production set contained a small
platform to serve as the bandstand (upstage) with an old fashion
microphone. Stage left of bandstand was a piano. Stage right of
bandstand is a small table with water pitcher and glasses. Downstage,
are two cafe style tables with chairs. On the walls behind the
bandstand were old 1930's &40's Jazz posters and various European
club posters e.g. Folies Begere and La Chat Noir.
Time is the 40's. Pre-show Music should reflect this with Jazz of
the era and Big band.
As the Play starts CONSTANTINE in a wrinkled overcoat enters followed
by SMITTY. SMITTY wears a hat with a "PRESS" card stuck in the hat
band. They look around for a moment.
CONSTANTINE: Ah yes! Club Chez Mort. What a swell place this was! A
touch of European joie de vivre here in the heart of our city. Time it
was and what a time it was. The memories.. the music, the dancing, the
food. The ambiance. A bit of it still lingers, doesn't it Smitty?
SMITTY: Yea. There's some lingerin' goin' on.
CONSTANTINE: Such a nasty piece of business crumbled the whole
cookie. You know, it's a shame a bad apple can ruin such a fruitful
SMITTY: Yea. It's a shame Inspector. It was a swell joint.
Everybody's goin over to that La Chien Noir1 place now. Still I hate
to see it all end like this. On such a bad note.
CONSTANTINE: Very bad note. A most peculiar case this was! Most
peculiar indeed. I can remember it as if… it were yesterday.
SMITTY: It was yesterday.
CONSTANTINE: Hmm? Was it? Oh yeah.
SMITTY: But don't let me stop you there inspector. I know you
sometimes need to reminisce over these cases. Plus, it provides
CONSTANTINE: It what?
SMITTY: Exposition. For the paper. (takes out notepad and pencil) They
promised me front page. I got most of the scoop, I just need to fill
in a few details.
CONSTANTINE: Oh yeah, the details! (takes a moment clears his throat)
From what I remember, it was a typical night here at Chez Mort. A
night like any other.
Jazz Music fades up under CONSTANTINE's dialogue.
CONSTANTINE: (cont.) Folks dressed up to the nines. Stepping out in
their Sunday best. They had completed a swell dinner. I believe prime
rib and lobster thermidor were on tap. Oh and the creme brulee! What a
tasty confection that is!
SMITTY: Isn't it though?
CONSTANTINE: Yes, so anyway, I believe the evening's entertainment
was about to begin. Starting with some slight issues.
SMITTY: Slight issues huh?
CONSTANTINE: Yea. I believe the conflict began right away. Mr.
Truffaut, the master of ceremonies had entered the room, to announce
Jean Paul Truffaut, will appear as the music fades, he steps to the
microphone. CONSTANTINE and SMITTY will silently exit.(note this is a
flashback - perhaps a slight lighting change will help convey the
change -such as bringing lights up full)
JEAN PAUL: Bon soir and bonjour ladies and gentlemen, Mesdames and
Messieurs. I hope you are enjoying ze time here at Club Chez Mort.
Allow moi…me to introduce myself, I am ze host, your master of
ceremony, Jean Paul Truffaut. How about a nice applause for the
musiciens, yes? Merci! Yes, zey are très popular! But how can I speak
about 'popular' and ze jazz milieu without mention of ze magnifique
voice of ze lovely and talented voice of which I am certain you are
here to see. So, without further adieu, may I bring to ze stage..
MACK quickly runs out to interrupt Jean Paul. MACK is a stage
hand he carries a clipboard.
MACK: Hey uh… Jean! Pal!
JEAN PAUL: ..(cont..)..our premier singing sensation..
MACK: Yo Troofie!
Jean Paul stops, somewhat embarrassed by interruption. MACK
quickly comes up to stage.
MACK: Excuse me folks. We got a little technical matter here.. have
some more hooch and nosh.
JEAN PAUL: What is ze matter with ze technical?
MACK: (testing microphone) One.. two.. check. Yea, we're a little
bright on the top. Bring 'er down a skosh.
MACK pulls JEAN PAUL aside - as if out of earshot of the crowd.
JEAN PAUL: What are you doing? I am in the middle of ze singing
MACK: What are you doing?
JEAN PAUL: I am telling you what I am doing! Why do you ask what I am
doing? I am asking you, what you are doing?
MACK: NO. I mean, what are you doing?
JEAN PAUL: (confused) I am telling you. S'il vous plait! Why do you
MACK: I mean, what are you doin' introducing her? Don't you remember
“who” is supposed to be here tonight?
JEAN PAUL: Here? Tonight? (thinks and says the name of someone in
MACK: No, John Pauley! (sighs) Look! (pulls farther aside) Wise up
Frenchie! Don't you remember the other day, when those 'mugs' came
around here and gave us the business?
JEAN PAUL: Gave us business? (thinks) Oh! You mean ze vending machine?
Zey are wanting to refer ze business..
MACK: No, not that kinda business! I mean, the kind that's not on the
up and up.
JEAN PAUL: Not up up?
MACK: Yeah, not "up up". I'm talking about nasty business!
JEAN PAUL: Ze nasty business? Monsieur Mack! Zis is a respectable
club, we will have none of nasty..
MACK: No! I mean, bad business! Don't 'cha remember? Stu's crew!
JEAN PAUL: Who crew? “Stu”?
MACK: Yea, Stu's crew. You know, those mugs that were in here the
other day, swaggerin' around and smellin' up the joint!
JEAN PAUL: Ah! Oui! Yes! Smelly swagger!
MACK: Right! 'Big Suit' Stu! The meanest mug in the city. Why there's
talk that he's worse than 'Big Eared' Lou!
JEAN PAUL: Big ear who?
MACK: Big Eared Lou. Leader of the Green Gang.
JEAN PAUL: Gang? Green?
MACK: That's right Frenchie! But I ain't talkin about Big Eared Lou,
I'm talkin' about Big Suit Stu.
JEAN PAUL: Not Lou, but Stu?
MACK: Right! See, Stu's the head of the East Side Mob. Big time
goons. Nuthin' but trouble. Just like Big Eared Lou.
JEAN PAUL: Lou and Stu too?
MACK: Posi-lutely! But Stu is far more trouble!
JEAN PAUL: Stu more than Lou?
MACK: You said it brother!
JEAN PAUL: Oui, I said something, but I don't know what! I am
thinking you are not saying anything! I am interrupted for ze
introduction by you to ask what I am doing! Pour quoi? To talk about
Stu and Lou?
MACK: Simmer your teeth there Frenchie. What I'm tryin' to tell ya
is that Stu don't want no dame singin' in this joint..
JEAN PAUL: (interrupts) No singing?!
MACK: Right! Not unless it's his "Sweet Sue" doin' the
JEAN PAUL: Whose?
JEAN PAUL: Stu's?
MACK: Yea, Stu!
JEAN PAUL: Stu wants to sing?
MACK: No, not Stu! Sue!
JEAN PAUL: Who?
MACK: Sue! Stu wants Sweet Sue to sing.
JEAN PAUL: Who is Sue?
MACK: That broad that's been hangin' around the band. Ya see,
Sue belongs to Stu.
JEAN PAUL: Je ne sais pas. (takes out handkerchief -wipes brow) But..
but.. I do not follow zis Lou, Stu.. Sue sing?
MACK: Look Frenchie, all I'm tryin to tell ya, if you bring Lady
Lelu out here to sing and Stu walks in here… well, brother, there's
gunna be trouble!
JEAN PAUL: Stu's brother will be in trouble?
MACK: No, you'll be in trouble.
JEAN PAUL: I'll be?
MACK: And how!
JEAN PAUL: And how.. will I be?
MACK: Up to your eyeballs pal!
JEAN PAUL: My eyeballs?!
MACK: Right! Look, If I was you, I'd switch up things tonight. Just
till it blows over.
JEAN PAUL: But see… zere is.. how do you say, a 'wee' problem.
MACK: A wee problem.
JEAN PAUL: Quoi?
MACK: “A Wee problem”. That's how I say it. Just like that.
JEAN PAUL: Yes! (beat) No, no! I am saying.. ze wee problem is.. many
of zese fine people who are here…(nervously surveys audience) are
here to…zey have come for.. to see ze lovely Siren of the City.
The Lady Lelu! And you are to telling me, zat she is not to sing?
But zey are here to see her sing?
MACK: I know what they're here for.. but Big Suit Stu is gunna be
here to see Sue sing! If you insist on the Lelu broad instead.. well,
how do you say “mincemeat”?
JEAN PAUL: I do not say mincemeat!
MACK: Well ya better learn how to say it, because you'll be it.
JEAN PAUL: (nervous) Oh… what do I do?
MACK: Let me spell it out for ya pal; if ya go with Sue, you get no
Stu. If ya go with Lelu, I'd hate to be you.
JEAN PAUL: But..but..
LADY LELU enters
LADY LELU: Hey you big lugs! What's going on out here? Are you going
to introduce me or what?
LELU tries to take bandstand but JEAN PAUL attempts to block her
JEAN PAUL: Oh! Lady Lelu! Zere is something..I cannot.. I uh…
LADY LELU: What's he yammering about?
MACK: He's got a “wee problem”.
LADY LELU: A wee problem? Has he tried cranberry juice?
MACK: No, that's not what he.. tell her Truffie.
LADY LELU: Tell me what?
JEAN PAUL: Ummmm.. yes. How do you say, much trouble…
LADY LELU: "Much trouble". I say it just like that.
JEAN PAUL: Yes! No, no! I mean, much trouble with ze Stu.
LADY LELU: Trouble with the Stu? Try adding more salt!
MACK: Naw he's talking about Big Suit Stu.
LADY LELU: That two bit hood? What about him?
JEAN PAUL: Oui. He is having Mincemeat!
LELU: Look, I don't care what he wants to order. I'm a singer not a
waitress. You got me Pops? Now step aside and let's get this show on
the road! My fans are waitin'. (pushing Jean Paul aside) Come on