Friday, July 27, 2012

The Grocery Bag Scene

August 6-12, 2012, ActorBoy and I will be appearing at the Dakota County Fair, Farmington MN, as part of the cast for the brand new Dakota Chatauqua. It's a tent show full of original songs and both humorous and dramatic sketches (but mostly humorous) based on true events from Minnesota history. This is a resurrection with the production staff and most of the cast members from the 1999-2005 iteration of the show, but with all new material...some of which, I have written.

To give you a taste, and with hopes of enticing any local readers to come see the show, I share with you here the script for one of the sketches. The facts about the invention of the grocery bag with handles are accurate. The plot line of the inventor's wife being a lovely distraction (i.e., a bit of a tart) is fabricated.

Walter Deubener: Hello, my good sir, nice little store you have here.
Abner: Thank you. I do what I can.
Walter Deubener [extending hand]: Deubener’s the name… Walter Deubener
Abner: Abner Singlenite.
Walter Deubener: And this is my lovely wife, Lydia.
Abner: Oh…my…um…pleased to meet you.
Lydia: The pleasure…is mutual.
Walter Deubener: Lydia and I used to run the little grocery stand in the Kresge building in St. Paul…you know, the corner of 7th and Cedar?
Abner [focused on Lydia]: Cedar…riiiight.
Walter Deubener: Well, I noticed a little problem. People would only buy as much as they could carry in a single bag…because they had to use both hands to carry the one bag…isn’t that right, Lydia?
Lydia: Oh yes…they had to use both hands.
Abner: Both hands.
Walter Deubener: We tried all sorts of things. I wrapped up their purchases with heavy string attached to a wooden handle, I supplied market baskets…nothing worked.
Lydia: It was SO frustrating.
Abner: Frustrating.
Walter Deubener: Finally one night, it hit me like a lightning bolt out of the blue: handles.
Abner [coming to]: Handles?
Lydia [capturing his attention again]: Handles.
Walter Deubener: We made up some prototypes, tested them out, and now, as of May 27, 1919, I hold a patent on the Deubener Shopping Bag. You see, with these handles here, customers can carry away up to 50 pounds in each hand. Just look at all the things I can put in this bag.
Abner: Just look.
Walter Deubener: At only 5 cents each, these little marvels will more than pay for themselves with all the extra sales you’ll be making. [Lifts the loaded bag, but all the canned goods are left behind.]
Lydia: How many would you like?
Abner: I’ll take two…er…two hundred.

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