The Search For Intelligent Life in the Universe…

I don’t know how many of you have ever seen the show by Lily Tomlin and Jane Wagner, but I have been enamoured by this production since it was developed in the mid-80s.

I have the video, and once or twice a year, I sit down and put my feet up, and laugh and cry, and marvel at the talent of these 2 women.

Jane did the writing, and Lily acted out the characters.

When I decided I wanted to do a blog post about the piece, I found it was almost impossible to find any good clips from the show… and it’s a shame.

Do me a favor…. pick up a copy, grab a box of tissues, and your best friend… you know, the one you can laugh until you cry with… and watch it.

You wont be sorry.

Since it’s a play first, and a video production second, there are a lot of references to the script out there. Here’s a couple of my favorite excerpts… Trudy The Bag Lady who is giving a guided tour to a group of aliens about the human experience….

Trudy the Bag Lady: (near the play’s beginning) Dial-switch me outta this! I got enough worries of my own. These trances are entertaining but distracting, especially since someone else has the remote control, and if the pause button should somehow get punched, I could have a neurotransmitter mental meltdown. Causes “lapses of the synapses.” I forget things. Never underestimate the power of the human mind to forget. The other day, I forgot where I put my house keys — looked everywhere, then I remembered…
I don’t have a house. I forget more important things, too. Like the meaning of life. I forget that. It’ll come to me, though. Let’s just hope when it does, I’ll be in…
My space chums say they’re learning so much about us since they’ve begun to time-share my trances. They said to me, “Trudy, the human mind is so-o-o strange.” I told ’em, “That’s nothin’ compared to the human genitals.”
Next to my trances they love goin’ through my shopping bags. Once they found this old box of Cream of Wheat. I told ’em, “A box of cereal.” But they saw it as a picture of infinity. You know how on the front is a picture of that guy holding up a box of Cream of Wheat and on that box is a picture of that guy holding up a box of Cream of Wheat and on that box is a picture of that guy holding up a box of Cream of Wheat and on that box is a picture of that guy holding up a box of Cream of Wheat…
We think so different. They find it hard to grasp some things that come easy to us, because they simply don’t have our frame of reference. I show ’em this can of Campbell’s tomato soup. I say, “This is soup.” Then I show ’em a picture of Andy Warhol’s painting of a can of Campbell’s tomato soup. I say, “This is art.” “This is soup.” “And this is art.” Then I shuffle the two behind my back. Now what is this?
No, this is soup and this is art!
(near the play’s ending)
Hey, what’s this? “Dear Trudy, thanks for making our stay here so jam-packed and fun-filled. Sorry to abort our mission — it is not over, just temporarily scrapped. We have ordered to go to a higher bio-vibrational plane. Just wanted you to know, the neurochemical imprints of our cardiocortical experiences here on earth will remain with us always, but what we take with us into space that we cherish the most is the ‘goose bump’ experience.”
Did I tell you what happened at the play? We were at the back of the theater, standing there in the dark, all of a sudden I feel one of ’em tug my sleeve, whispers, “Trudy, look.” I said, “Yeah, goose bumps. You definitely got goose bumps. You really like the play that much?” They said it wasn’t the play that gave ’em goose bumps, it was the audience.
I forgot to tell ’em to watch the play; they’d been watching the
audience! Yeah, to see a group of strangers sitting together in the dark, laughing and crying about the same things…that just knocked ’em out. They said, “Trudy, the play was soup…the audience…art.
So they’re taking goose bumps home with ’em. Goose bumps! Quite a souvenir. I like to think of them out there in the dark, watching us. Sometimes we’ll do something and they’ll laugh. Sometimes we’ll do something and they’ll cry. And maybe one day we’ll do something so magnificent, everyone in the universe will get goose bumps.

One can only hope…..

2 comments on “The Search For Intelligent Life in the Universe…

  1. Laura says:

    Hi !
    I love this play !!. In fact we are working on this play in our little Theatre class. I’m going to be Trudy. I love every single line of hers ! I’ve been looking online for images of a box of Cream of Wheat. Thought I could make a simple prop by gluing the image to a box. It is really hard to find the box of cream of wheat where he’s holding up a box of cream of wheat – and that guy, etc., etc………you get the picture. I found one image that I could adapt but I thought with your love of the play you might have found the actual box of cereal that is so beautifully written about in the play ?

  2. jennifergeldard says:

    Hi Laura,
    I wish I knew! I just searched as well, and didn’t find one. But I bet it wouldn’t be too hard to photoshop one 🙂 Let me know, and I’d be happy to make you one 🙂 Congrats on the Trudy roll! How fun to play her!!!

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