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Theatre / A Shoggoth on the Roof

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"How does it sit on such a pointy roof? I can tell you in one word: TENTACLES!"
Professor Armitage

A Shoggoth on the Roof is a parody of Fiddler on the Roof. It involves a family with three eligible daughters, and the family dealing with each daughter's suitor. So, much like Fiddler.

Except the family is the Armitage family, lead by Miskatonic University librarian and show narrator Henry, and they live in Arkham. So, Fiddler on the Roof with Tentacles.

The plot was written several years ago by Him Who (For Legal Reasons) Must Not Be Named, and polished up and printed by the HP Lovecraft Historical Society. The music is identical, which has led to the owners of Fiddler suing every single for-profit production; many free productions have been struck by mysterious mishaps. The only three productions that have been performed, albeit in an edited form, are a Swedish version done at Miskatonicon, a minimalistic English version with an edited score done for the Irish gaming con Leprecon and another Swedish version done at Gothenburg Concert Hall.

This play shares the basic frame of its plot with Fiddler on the Roof, so they share many tropes. However, those unique to this play, or belonging to both but twisted, are as follows:

  • Adaptational Heroism: Herbert West, the amoral and callous Mad Scientist from the original stories, is here shown (despite his Science-Related Memetic Disorder) as Prudence's true love and the only hope the people of Arkham have in the end against the Great Old Ones . He even manages to convince Armitage to let them marry, even though Armitage cheerfully admits that "young West should face a firing squad".
  • Adaptational Sexuality: Herbert West again. The original stories give him no interest in romance at all (save the occasional fleeting moment of Homoerotic Subtext between him and his unnamed assistant, and even that seemed mainly on the assistant's side). The film adaptations amplified this by making him possibly even more asexual and regularly scornful of his roommate Dan's relationships. But in this musical, he's head over heels in love with Prudence Armitage, to the point of declaring his love for her his other great purpose in life.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Lavinia Whateley is entirely for the idea of her sons ending the world and using Prudence's uterus as a means to do so. In the original story, she was herself the victim of such a plot by her father, and was killed by Wilbur for regretting her involvement. Perhaps justified by the fact that she never actually shows up and is only described in an invented dream Armitage uses to convince his wife to allow Prudence to marry Herbert West instead (filling the role of the original's Fruma-Sarah).
  • Affectionate Parody: The plot of Fiddler is wonderfully twisted by the Mythos.
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: Considering Lovecraft himself was notoriously antisemitic, it's hard not to read a little bit of vengeance in putting his cast of New England Puritan descendants in a riff on a very Jewish work, singing to the same klezmer melodies as the residents of Anatevka.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Just how bitter is Wilbur Whateley at seeing the lovely Prudence become Mrs. Herbert West? Bitter enough to call down Cthulhu on her wedding day!
  • Downer Ending: As with Fiddler, "The only positive thing you can take out of that ending is that they didn't die." Well, at the very least, they don't stay dead for long thanks for Dr. West's reanimation serum, and Jill's probably off in the sea growing gills at the time of the attack.
  • Eldritch Abomination
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Asenath's beloved is merely referred to as the Head Cultist.
  • Fish People: The Deep Ones and eventually Jill and Old Man Marsh.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Wilbur Whateley again.
  • Hot Skitty-on-Wailord Action: How Wilbur Whateley happened in the first place. And what Jill is willing to do for Old Man Marsh.
  • I Have No Daughter!: Armitage disowns Asenath after her betrothal to the Head Cultist.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Obed Marsh wishes he were a Deep One.
  • In Love with Your Carnage: Asenath feels this way toward the Head Cultist.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: Pretty much everything, by the nature of the play. "Do You Fear Me?" deserves special mention, however, for having the tone of a soft love song (since the original song was one), despite being about the terror inspired by the rising of Cthulhu.
  • May–December Romance: Teenaged Jill falls for ninetysomething Obed Marsh. Though the fact that she's willing to become a Deep One for him means they'll both be immortal. Awww?
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Asenath and Jill. Subverted by Prudence, who just seems to see a highly practical application for her beloved Herbert's re-animation serum, and is more or less oblivious to the nastier aspects. (He's also, at the very least, handsome and gainfully employed.)
  • Our Lawyers Advised This Trope: Lyrics by: HE WHO (For Legal Reason) MUST NOT BE NAMED.
  • Recurring Extra: Randolph Carter and Harley Warren's ghoul-fighting plot has nothing to do with what anyone else is up to and only intersects with the main story when Carter mentions the power of dreams to Armitage, which inspires Armitage to claim a dream told him to allow Prudence to marry Herbert.
  • Recycled INSPACE: Fiddler on the Roof in Lovecraft Country.
  • The Scottish Trope: Do not speak the name of the play's creator, or perform it for profit- you'll get sued.
  • Toccata and Fugue in D minor: "Tentacles!" opens with the standard snippet before turning into the upbeat melody of "Tradition!"

Alternative Title(s): Shoggoth On The Roof