I have been reading your latest autobiography, At Speed: My Life in the Fast Lane. What a fantastic book! With every word I read, I cannot help but think to myself, “How is it possible that this 28-year-old has only written two autobiographical volumes? And how is it possible he let a full 2.5 years elapse between books? Mark Cavendish is so interesting that I want a book from him each and every year!
“No, that is too long!” I then exclaim to myself. “I demand a Mark Cavendish autobiographical book-of-the-month club!”
Heck (I’d say “Hell,” but I know you’re offended by coarse language), I feel like I’m not getting enough Mark Cavendish if I don’t get a new book about your latest reimagining of what would be perceived as childish, bad behavior in most adults every single day.
(I am totally stoked, by the way, to get to the part in the book where you tell me how to repair my bicycle.)
And that’s where we get to the problem, Mark: what is the world to do while we wait for your next book? I’m sure it’ll be coming out sometime within the next few months, but your fans can’t wait that long! We need something to tide us over. Something that captures the passion, joy, intensity, and insightfulness of your writing.
What we need is At Speed: The Musical.
I’ll pause for a moment while you let that soak in.
OK, let’s continue.
I believe that only in this format can the pathos, excitement, and lyrical quality of your most recent book be truly captured and shared with your fans.
I am pleased to present a sample script for your perusal, based on the opening scene in Chapter Two (“Five Stages”) of At Speed, because that’s as far as I’ve managed to get in the book so far.
Scene 1: Trauma and Treachery On a Bus
The stage — the interior of a bus — is empty and dark, except a single CHAIR, a spotlight tightly focused on it. Mark appears onstage, pensively holding a HELMET. The spotlights converge as MARK sits on the CHAIR, staring down at his helmet.
MARK looks into the audience, who can now see there are TEARS running down his face.
A lone piano accompanies MARK as he sings:
I have lost
I have lost a sprint to Alessandro Petacchi
How could I calculate the cost?
I had dreams
I had dreams of winning another stage
Now all I want to do is scream
MARK stands up and places his HELMET on the CHAIR, then throws his head back and screams.
The HELMET falls off the chair and skitters across stage, a spotlight following it. As the HELMET exits the stage, the spotlight reveals the PRESS CHORUS, which sings to a cacophonous string arrangement:
His helmet bounces everywhere
We’re not the only ones who thunk
This madman, this madman
Who’s raging like a drunk
We must eviscerate and castigate
Cavendish, obnoxious skunk!
The echoes of the shrill chorus fade into silence, then MARK sings.
I am lost
The emptiness and silence
On this bus tear me apart
The tumult in my mind
Is echoing my heart
BOB STAPLETON enters stage left, wearing a TOP HAT, a black cape, a sinister MUSTACHE, and a sneer.
MARK: Oh no, not Bob Stapleton.
BOB STAPLETON circles MARK, leering, snapping his fingers, always facing MARK.
I don’t know what
You’re freaking me out
I can’t think of what you could say
That would help
Not just anything
So many things you could say
That would hurt
Don’t say something
Don’t say anything
I don’t like that look in your eyes!
MARK runs off stage, while BOB STAPLETON twirls his mustache and laughs.
BOB STAPLETON sings.
What you don’t know
Can hurt you
What I do know
Will hurt you
And if you don’t know
What I do know
I’ve got a plan
Oh it will hurt you
Yeah, this will hurt you
Rogers of course!
I’ll leave you twisting in the wind
And you…you’ll never feel safe again!
Muaaaah ha ha ha ha!
BOB STAPLETON flourishes his cape and runs offstage.
I’m confident, Mark, that this play will be a huge hit. I look forward to collaborating with you further on this project.
The Fat Cyclist
PS: Pages 47-48 of At Speed, from which I have adapted this scene, are shown below for your reference.