I close my eyes.
Curtains rise. Purple mountains, blue sky. Green bushes upstage, wooden-like fence runs from upstage to down. Three clouds hang in sky. Very green grass, not convincing as sod. Looks more like sushi garnish stapled to front of stage. Music begins. Muffled, unidentifiable.
Sheep One enters from stage left. Looks at audience, then at fence. Approaches, and jumps. Exits stage right, looping back behind purple mountain. Sheep Two comes on stage. Jumps over fence. Sheep Three prances to fence, jumps. Sheep Four, followed by Five, Six, and Seven. Over fence and off. Enter Sheep Eight, from left. Same deal. Enter Sheep Nine — wait no, that is Sheep One again. Strange. I thought counting sheep was a successive activity. But that is definitely Sheep One. She wears a blue ribbon in her hair.
Sheep One, now at a trot, jumps over fence. Exits right, quickly. Two, Three and Four follow. Running, jumping, running. In rapid succession: Five Six Seven Eight Nine — no, one again. Strange about that.
In any case, Slow down, ladies. Slow down. Nice and easy. We are trying to fall asleep down here. They sound like billy goats on Masonite. So much for sod.
The stage clears and the song ends. Music begins, soothing tune. Very good. Sheep one enters. Nice and easy, nice and easy. She approaches the fence, but then backs away. Approaches, and retreats. Apparently, it is a waltz.
Ben Franklin squeaks in the corner. I turn my head an open my eyes. Can you believe it, Ben? I’m just trying to fall asleep and I’ve got a waltzing lamb chop. I swear, everyone wants to be a star in this city. The mouse wiggles its whiskers. He cannot believe it either, and squeaks again. No, Ben, I will not get you some cheese right now. I am trying to fall asleep here. These damn sheep are not cooperating.
The waltz finishes, and Ben scampers away.
I take a deep breath and close my eyes again.
Silence. The mountains start shaking. The clouds rise. The grass disappears, the sky unfurls to reveal a much deeper stage, black platforms with gold lights along their rims. Goodness.
Downbeat. Sheep Two enters from right. Sheep Three and Four rush the center, and begin coordinated jumps. Upstage, Sheep Five through Eight bound from stage left to right and then back. Drum roll, and the lot of them gallop back and leap up to the terraced platforms. I think they are wearing patent leather on their hooves.
Timpani boom. A giant gold fence drops down from the rafters. Sheep One is sitting on it, legs crossed and baa-ing. Audience goes wild. Simultaneously, from the middle of the stage, a platform rises. Drum roll continues.
Sheep One jumps from fence and lands on central platform, now raised ten feet above stage. She stands onto two hooves, hips out. The music begins again she starts tap dancing.
Good grief. I don’t care if she is ready for Broadway. I will never fall asleep with these crazy lambs. Screw them — veal scallopini all around.
Silence, sheep stop mid-kick. Maybe they heard me?
No, just waiting for the next downbeat. All the lights come up, and they drop down to all fours. They are going double time, four feet worth of footwork that would make Fred proud. At the second chorus a line of bunnies comes out front to do a kick line. With castanetas.
I give up.
I open my eyes. Ben Franklin is squeaking from the kitchen. I get out of bed and walk across the apartment to cut the mouse some cheese. Guess I’ll sleep tomorrow.