This is a song from my 1984 musical BGDF, my first adventure into the world of self-producing in New York. The singers are D’Arcy and Gregg Edelman, who play Pat and Ted, a married couple who work together at an advertising agency. It’s a song about what happens when your problems at work start to spill over into your marriage. Both husband and wife address the audience directly when they sing, voicing their thoughts as they progress from self-deluding platitudes to growing despair; in the dialog sections, they speak – or, at any rate, try to – directly to one another, and their conversation repeatedly runs on the rocks of misunderstanding.
This is one of a number of songs that I’ve written about the challenges of being married. I wrote it the first years of our marriage, when I was a pretty lousy husband, if the truth be told – self-absorbed and uncommunicative, a constant source of frustration to my high-spirited partner. Somehow, amazingly, we hung in there; I managed to extract my head from my ass a bit more often and participate actively in our relationship, and 35 years later, we’re still together, older and wiser and often happier. I’m still a work in progress, however, and I’m sure my self-absorbed behavior continues to tax the patience of those who are closest to me. I’m so sorry about that!
I think I’ve written elsewhere about Gregg Edelman, who was not long out of college when we cast him in BGDF, a graduate of Northwestern who had recently arrived on the New York scene. It’s been wonderful to observe the trajectory of his professional career – he appeared in the premiere productions of City of Angels and Passion and major revivals like Into The Woods, Wonderful Town and Drood.
We have the perfect arrangement as man and wife.
You’ll understand once you’ve seen us
When there’s a problem between us.
We talk things out like mature adults do.
We get results, too,
Wait and see.
There is no better prescription for married strife.
When there are signs of dissention,
We try an ounce of prevention.
Being frank will keep things tranquil,
That’s a guarantee.
We share our views enthusiastically.
TED: It’s better not to let things fester.
If something has distressed her,
Pat is certain to reveal it.
PAT: If there’s a burden, then we share it.
Who wants to grin and bear it?
BOTH: It makes no sense to try to conceal it.
So here’s our simple solution for wedded life:
Not talking kills like a cancer.
Communication’s the answer!
You can bet that we don’t let our pride get in the way.
That might jeopardize our repartee.
When we’re feeling blue,
We just talk it through.
All we have to do is…
[Dialog – their conversation doesn’t go as well as planned.]
TED: I never lose my composure at times like these.
We’ve just a minor delay here.
Let’s see now, what can I say here?
Something that oozes with warmth and candor.
I understand her,
I aim to please.
PAT: It’s hard to say why I’m feeling so ill-at-ease.
You mustn’t get the impression
I’m on the verge of depression!
I fell almost sure that our rapport will save the day.
We’ll speak our mind and love will find a way.
TED: I can explain my hesitation.
This sort of situation has all kinds of dangers in it.
PAT: I know it may sound like a dumb thing,
But if we don’t say something,
I’m gonna lost my mind in a minute!
BOTH: Won’t you do something to end this?
I’m on my knees!
I’d start if I was prepared to.
The simple truth is, I’m scared to.
I’m afraid the fact is we don’t practice what we preach.
But talk to me,
We still can be okay.
TED: I’m as scared as you.
PAT: Can’t we talk this through?
BOTH: All we have to do is…
If you missed them, these are the songs already posted on Project 194; the links on the right are songs chosen at random from previous posts. Want to contribute to my interactive composition, “Hear My Song?” Read more here. Want to receive daily songs delivered direct to your inbox? Sign up here!