Third song in the first act of Jonathan Larson
's 1995 musical RENT
. As the focus returns to MARK and ROGER, Roger continues tuning his guitar
, the repetitious notes punctuating events as we meet the new characters, TOM COLLINS, former roommate
and true friend
, and BENJAMIN COFFIN III, former roommate, and now "evil
- the "villain
. He's not evil, per se, he just has goals that the others are getting in the way of. In this respect, Benny appears to fill the role of the Villain
in the classic 30 second melodrama
. As with the previous pieces, this is done in singsong
voices, while Mark films and Roger tunes.
Due to copyright restrictions, the lyrics have been removed.
As Mark begins to film, he asks Roger what he's doing, and Roger replies that he's writing one great song, when the phone rings. He doesn't seem to annoyed, in fact, Roger is still not very confident, and really doesn't want to be on camera. He's thankful for any interruption at this point.
Since they screen their phone calls, they wait through their answering machine message ("Speak."), to hear Tom Collins singing Christmas carols to them. Portions of Christmas carols are used liberally throughout the first act to remind the audience that it's Christmas Eve.
Hearing Collins, Mark jumps to answer the phone. Collins is shocked, thinking it's Roger, but of course it's not. This is a little foreshadowing of Roger's anti-social behaviour.
Collins asks them to throw down the key, since he's calling from the phone at the corner, but as they boys are rejoicing about their impending wild night, Collins realizes he's about to be mugged. The boys are confused about his last words, but as Collins is getting mugged downstairs, the phone rings again. Mark grabs it, thinking it's Collins, only to find that it's Benny. That's a call they would much rather have screened. Benny says that he's on the way to pick up the rent. The rent for all of last year. Mark and Roger are righteously indignant, claiming that they had an agreement dating back to when they were roommates - Mark, Roger, Benny, Collins and Maureen. Benny doesn't seem to torn up about it, but he at least asks about Maureen, where we discover that Mark had been both her production manager and boyfriend - only to be dumped on both accounts for another woman - Joanne. Benny's not very moved by this sob-story, however, and his parting shot is that they had better have the rent, or they're going to be evicted. To make matters worse, a moment after he hangs up, the power goes out, setting the scene for the next piece, Rent.
Voice Mail #1 - RENT - RENT