There is a song in the Holocaust musical I’m writing in which a member of the Jewish Council of Elders is forced to draw up lists of names of people to be sent east on trains to Auschwitz. At one point in the song, his wife sings name after name, and after every one, he sings, “The train.”
When we wrote this song a few months ago, the lyricist gave me a historically accurate list of names of people who had been sent east. The problem was that the music I had written was longer than the list, so when I had reached the end of the names there were still several measures of wordless music.
It was very late at night, so I couldn’t call him and ask for more names. I considered doing some online research and coming up with more names on my own, but the fact that such a step would have required actual work on my part made me dismiss it almost instantly as a viable possibility.
So I ended up just using the names of people I don’t like. Men who turned me down for dates when I was single, writers who have won awards for which I applied even though they are less talented than I am, my fifth-grade teacher who was so mean to me–in the presentations of my show tonight through Saturday, they’re all headed out to be gassed.
I had to fuck with the pronunciations of certain names to make them fit the music. Ordinarily I would be so appalled at the thought of a misset word as to shrink in horror from anyone who suggested such a thing, but in this case the feeling is outweighed by the enormous satisfaction I feel every time I hear that one of my enemies is on his or her way to the showers.
Perhaps I’ve been working on this show too long.