Donuts of Mass Destruction!
Doug Jamieson’s new musical theatre show Donuts of Mass Destruction! premiered in Cottonwood Falls Park, Nelson BC Canada, in June 2022. Generous grants from the BC Arts Council and the RDCK CIP, and the Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance brought this exciting new show to the
stage… uh, strike that! …to the Park!
Because of the uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic protocol, the 6 scenes of the show were presented at five locations in the Park. The audience, in small groups, moved from scene to scene as the story unfolded. Only 2 or 3 performers were at each stage. The use of masks (theatrical, not Covid) and puppetry allowed different actors to present the same characters at the various locations. The show had a relaxed ‘street theatre’ quality. The music was mostly pre-recorded with singers performing karaoke style. Narrators with mobile PA systems on wheels, played promenade music as they led the audience from scene to scene.
Meet the characters in this brief video:
Scene 1 – Fossils
Lights fade up on fossils embedded in rocks. One by one, the fossils transform into living dinosaurs. The chorus sings At the Dawn of Time.
Before he exits, Bert, a hadrosaur, looks upward and says, “Strange. There’s a new star in the sky. It’s very bright. Hmmm.”
Contrary to most speculation, these dinosaurs seem to get along well. When they are not eating each other, they love to party and sing about their beloved homeland Yucatan
Soon, a T-Rex sneaks up, dons a flat straw hat, and launches into a cliché-ridden re-election speech. As usual, Premier Rex Hoodwink, will be acclaimed. (The only other candidate was recently devoured.) Poppa Tops, the mob boss, along with four thugs from the Tarsands Boys, arrive on the scene: Ugh the Thug, a nasty carnotaurus, Rip the Pterror, a pterrifying pterodactyl, Steg the Slasher, a stegosaurus moll, and the lugubrious Bron the Bruiser, a Brontosaurus heavy, introduce themselves to the audience with a raunchy blues number We are the Tarsands Boys (no demo yet)
Poppa Tops, known as PT, tells the ‘Boys’ to work the room to make sure everyone cheers for the Premier. At the end of the speech, the Yucatanians go off for free snacks at Hoodwink Re-Election Headquarters.
Scene 2 – The Invention
During an introspective moment, Bert contemplates existence and wonders about the Rhyme and Reason for his existence. (Vocal by Doug Jamieson; violin by Terry Ball.)
Bert, tosses various things into a bowl-shaped pit, picks up a large wooden pestle and beats and mixes. Suddenly, the volcano erupts and spurts red-hot lava, some of which lands–kerplop–right in Bert’s bowl. This momentous event is highlighted by the music Also Sprach Shave-and-a-Haircut:
When the smoke clears, Bert reaches into the bowl and pulls out an enormous honey-glazed donut, a dinosaur-sized honey-dip donut. The smell was fantastic. When Bert gave the Yucatanians samples, they went nuts! Immediately, Bert was a hero, an instant celebrity. But all too soon… organized crime got involved.
PT, puffing on his trademark stogie, watched the critters go crazy for this new thing. “Hunks of dough that drive them nuts! I love it! Bert, give me the recipe for this… this ‘donut’ and I’ll make a million of these suckers!”
Imagining a glorious future with millions of donuts, the crowd carries off the hapless hero Bert singing All hail the Donut!
At the Gravel Pit, four bulb-headed pachycephalosaurs are busting up rocks into gravel with their heads. They take turns telling terrible dinosaur jokes as they sing T-T-T-T-Tough to be a Dinosaur:
Their dance is interrupted by the arrival of PT and his assistant Spinner. They change the sign from Bust ‘Em Up” Gravel Corp. – Powered by Dino-mite! to Chow Down Corp. — Donuts to Die For! PT tells the pachycephalosaurs to rest their heads, because tomorrow they start head-butting ovens in the volcano for the donut factory. PT sings a stirring anthem about a glorious future, where his donut shops are on every street: Location, Location, Location:
Poppa Tops and his entourage go off to The Big Bang Club, to launch the Chow Down brand!
Scene 3 – On the Rocks
Steg the moll of the Tarsands Boys arrives and sings her signature song (performed in this demo by Marion Hawley) about how guys inevitably dance to her tune: Steggy’s Tango
Steg has set her sights upon Bert, who arrives during her song. Bert sits on the end of a log that has fallen across another. He is surprised that the opposite end goes up. Steg watched Bert scramble from one end to the other in a kind of ‘lever schtick’. Every time he pushes one end down, the other pops up. Bert sneaks up on the opposite end, leaps on it, only to see the other end go up. The frustrated Bert collapses on the ground.
When Steg offers to help, Bert gets her to sit on one end while he pushes the other end down. Instead, it functions like a teeter totter. Steg suggests that they both sit on the same end. Nothing happens, though Steg doesn’t mind trying it longer. Next, Bert gets the bright idea of dropping a heavy rock on the other end. He pulls a vine wrapped around a rock, it hits the other end of the log and Steg and Bert go flying. They end up in a heap exactly when Betty arrives. “So this is what you’ve been up to? Experimenting? Huh! It’s over! Extinct!”
During their altercation, Poppa Tops, Spinner and Bron arrive to pick up the recipe. PT offers Betty a job singing at The Big Bang Club. Against Bert’s wishes, she takes it. PT chews out Bert for not inventing anything new. In his defence, Bert mentions his new invention that makes things fly.
PT stops dead in his tracks. “Did you say ‘Fly’?” He sees himself as a solid hardworking triceratops, stuck on the ground, watching the “smug, beaky grins” of all those pterodactyls flying above him. He insists on trying Bert’s invention. Bert tries to caution him, but PT will have none of it. For his flight, he is going to drop something really heavy on the other side: Bron. Ignoring Bert’s protestations, PT gets Bron to jump from a nearby cliff. PT does go flying, but ends up stuck in the top of a tree.
When PT shouts “Get me down!”, Bron takes a run—a very slow run—and knocks down the tree. There is a scream and a crash. An angry PT, with branches embedded in his horns, fires Bert and exits.
Meanwhile, in a forest, a group of herbivores are contentedly munching on leaves. Ugh and Rip enter, start their dino-saws and cut down all the trees to make way for the new donut factory.
The terrified herbivores seek the help of Premier Hoodwink. He gives them some bafflegab advice in Can’t See the Forest for the Trees and appeases them with free donuts at Re-election Headquarters. (Vocal by Michael Calladine; trumpet by Michael Perkins)
Bert arrives at the devastated forest and feels devastated himself. He lost Betty and his clever invention is causing nothing but environmental problems. But something sparks within him and Bert goes off to the Big Bang Club, determined to bring Betty home!
Scene 4 – Egging On
Bert arrives at the notorious Big Bang Club, where too many dinosaurs tragically O.D. on donuts. Spinner, the emcee, introduces Betty, now known by her stage name Bomboloni. She comes on stage in a ton of makeup: bright red lipstick and large eyelashes, and she is decked out in a costume resembling a donut with pink icing and sprinkles. The crowd goes wild as she launches into her disco hit: Chow Down (performed in this demo by Amie Fries).
Towards the end of the song, Betty works the room, flirting with the customers. She is surprised to come face to face with Bert, and tells him to “Get out of here for your own good!” But Bert causes a scene, and just before the bouncers toss him out, shouts, “Betty, I love you!”
Back at home, Bert licks his wounds for failing. He swears “I Wouldn’t Take Her Back!”
Suddenly, Betty returns, expresses her love, and Bert abruptly changes his tune. They resolve to to get hitched and, in a tender duet, Betty expresses that she wants to have eggs with the smitten Bert, who wants to fertilize them too: Bert and Betty
TIME PASSES…Bert reads the paper, smokes his pipe; Betty knits. One day, Betty presents Bert with a bundle. He is excited, but a little confused when he looks in the bundle and sees a large egg. Betty points to the egg, to Bert’s butt and to his easy chair.
MORE TIME PASSES… Bert sits on the egg, reads the paper, smokes his pipe; Betty holds up her knitting. It is a miniature Maple Leaf hockey shirt. Bert comments that “It does seem like 65 million years since they won the cup.”
EVEN MORE TIME PASSES… Suddenly, Bert puts down his paper & pipe. “Oh! Oh! Betty! I think it’s going to hatch!” Betty exclaims, “Bert, this is so exciting!”
When the egg hatches, Bert is perplexed. Why does his son have wings and feathers, like an archaeopteryx? Betty assures Bert that “everything will turn out fine” and both sing: Evolution Gets It Right (demo features Doug Jamieson and Linda Hendry)
Scene 5 – Nefarious Plans
At Chow Down Head Office, Poppa Tops, and his VP’s hold a board meeting. Good news: market share reached 95%! Bad news: profits down 95%! It turns out that hoards of dinosaurs are dying because they no longer have nutritious leaves in their diet.
PT sums up: If they replant the forests, there will be more dinosaurs, but they won’t be able to manufacture as many donuts, and they’ll lose customers. If they don’t replant the land, they can continue making millions of donuts, but there won’t be any dinosaurs to eat them and they’ll lose customers.
“Well gentlemen, the choice is clear.” says PT. “We give our esteemed directors a generous bonus, liquidate the company, and declare bankruptcy!” PT leads the board members in an inspirational anthem: Owed to Bankruptcy.
Meanwhile, outside these halls of power, there is chaos and unrest. The volcano is heating up and the sky is darkened by storm clouds. Nonetheless, Premier Hoodwink continues to deny that anything is wrong and insists that things can only get better, singing It Can’t Get Any Worse! The Yucatanians disagree.
Poppa Tops tells Hoodwink to stop campaigning. He has already won. The Tarsands Boys gave him a landslide. PT instructs Hoodwink to issue a proclamation that no creatures are allowed to leave Yucatan. Poppa Tops is especially interested in keeping the feathered ones around for his new company: Yucatan-Fried Archaeopteryx! Betty overhears the plans and is shocked. She knows that their child and all the archaeopteryx children have to get out of Yucatan right away. Bert and Betty spread the word about Poppa Tops’ nefarious business plans. A time is set when all of the Archaeopteryx children will fly away, beyond the mountain range, out of the reach of PT’s thugs.
Scene 6 – Epilogue
Before Betty and Bert’s child Teryxie flies off, she sings a song of farewell: Written in the Stars. The other children and denizens join in.
Betty and Bert watch as the young ones fly off. When they see the group go beyond the mountain range, they know they will be OK.
Soon, life ended for all non-avian dinosaurs when an asteroid struck the Yucatan. The Chicxulub asteroid, which only had a diameter between 11 and 81 kilometres, struck 65 million years ago, with an explosion 100 million times stronger than any nuclear bomb. 75% of all life on our planet was destroyed. The only surviving dinosaurs were those which had evolved into birds.
During the Epilogue music, dinosaurs moved into their original fossil positions.
Years later—65 million to be exact—a family visited a museum. They were fascinated by the display of fossils. It was getting late and the museum security guard came into the room.
“It’s closing time here at the museum, folks.”
He adds: “Can we turn things around so it won’t be closing time for the rest of us?”