The Curious Affair of the Count of Monte Blotto: Libtretto

The Curious Affair of
The Count of Monte Blotto

Libretto

By J.F. Guin III & John Craton

Copyright © 2004 by John Craton



We set about to write bad verse,
And then endeavored to make it worse.
A plot more horrid hath neíer been hatched
To madden critics with such dispatch.

The music, too, shall oft offend,
With harmonies brash that seldom blend.
But if weíre met with cruel laughter,
Our work is done ó ítis what weíre after.




Act I


[Enter Boniface in front of curtain]

Boniface:

Iíd like to introduce to you
the characters of our story.
Iím afraid there are few.
Primarily there is me...
†††††††††me is there...
†††††††††there am I...
†††††††††I am there...
I declare!
Iíd rather sing in Italian!
All good operas are in Italian,
but sadly enough, this oneís in English.
Nonetheless, I am the star!
Indeed, Iím sure Iíll make this thing go far.
My name, for those of you
who have not read the program through,
is Severe,
Boniface Severe.
The plot centers on my trouble
(which is actually double):
My daughter cannot find a suitor
whom she feels is going to suit her.
My daughterís name is Eggarol ó
I believe Iíve found for her a beau.
Also, my saltpeter mine is going broke.
Iíll soon live with the common folk
unless I quickly get some cash.
And so I have arranged a match
between my daughter and Dewayne,
a count christened only Wayne,
except he calls himself ďDuh ... Wayne.Ē
And so his parents changed his name.
The lad is fortunately
granted a million-dollar dowery,
this being several years of salary.
This was granted only so
some hapless girl should wed the schmoe.

[Curtain rises on the Severe mansion parlor. The butler Willoughs is seen busily cleaning with a featherduster.]

Ah, my good man Willoughs,
send to the mine
and ask for Peter Aereophagus.
Have him bring the plans
for our latest expansion
once finances have been arranged.

[Willoughs bows and exits. Enter Eggarol.]

Boniface:

[To audience] Ah! and this lusty young wench
plays my beautiful daughter Eggarol.
Itís truly a delight to work with her ó
both on and off stage.
But we wonít mention that.
Sounds a bit incestuous, after all.
[To Eggarol] Good morning, daughter.

Eggarol:

Good morning, Father.
How are you today, I pray?

Boniface:

Fine.

Eggarol:

Divine!

Boniface:

Come, my daughter.
I need to speak with you
about a matter of utmost importance.

Eggarol:

Oh, Father, I know!
You need not scold me yet again.
You told me not to charge more dresses
at the millinery store.
But when Prudence, Priscilla, and I passed it by
we couldnít resist in casting our eyes
on the latest fashions from Paris.
We tried them all on ó no mention of buying ó
but, ďBuy us, please buy us!Ē the fashions kept crying.
I could not resist them ó
they had such a fine hem ó
but I promise to stay out of mischief now on.

Boniface:

[Obviously perturbed, but controlled nonetheless]
No need to worry your pretty, empty head about that.
There is something more compelling to address.

Eggarol:

Of course! Silly me!
Forget I ever mentioned it.

Boniface:

The millinery clerk will not let me forget,
but I forgive you nonetheless.
Now for a matter much more serious.

Eggarol:

So you have found out?

Boniface:

Found out what?

Eggarol:

When I borrowed your cherished copy of Goethe
to take on a stroll through the park with Alberta.
I held it so tightly under my arm,
for I knew that for you it holds great charm.
We found such a place as you ever did see,
a grass-covered knoll just over the lea.
The moss hung like laces far overhead,
so there we both rested, and ítwas there that I read
in that bower near the stream
where we sat down to dream.
I read from the book
till I turned but to look ó
there was such a pretty bird there ó
the book fell from my grasp,
landed fair in the grass ...
then slid into the water.
I quickly retrieved it,
let it dry in the sun,
but the binding and lining had all come undone.
So now your Goethe is twice it size ó
just look at it now as twice the prize!

Boniface:

[Angrily] Oh, you careless, thoughtless girl!
[Regaining control] But thatís of little matter.
We willl not speak of it now.
I forgive this childish negligence
and your momentary impertinence.

Eggarol:

Of course! The book was such a trifle.
But I know now what you mean,
for your voice is sharp and keen.
It is clear that you have learned
the fate of your Etruscan urn.

Boniface:

My what? What are you speaking of, my dearest?

Eggarol:

Prudence and I were engaged in a match last Tuesday
(our archery lesson ó you remember).
We were tied when the rain began,
so I asked good man Willoughs
to move our targets to the dining hall.
It was all such great sport
till a shot fell far short
and skewered the heart of an Etruscan warrior
emblazoned on an urn of distinction.
I am so sorry, so sorry.
I would have told you sooner,
told you sooner, but ...

Boniface:

[Angrily] How could you be so careless?
My own Etruscan urn for which I gave a kingís ransom!
Youíve shot it full of arrows?

Eggarol:

Only one.

Boniface:

[Again controlling himself, but with much difficulty]
Only one. Of course.
It is of no importance.
Even this I forgive you.
But let me now speak,
for this is a matter of utmost consequence.

Eggarol:

Then I fear the worst youíve learned.

Boniface:

Thereís more?

Eggarol:

I should have known youíd let the matter pass
about an old, dusty urn ó
there was no one inside anyway.
It is plain you mean Red Challenger.

Boniface:

My prize-willing stallion? What of him?

Eggarol:

Priscilla and Prudence
and my cousin Drucilla
invited me for a ride in the meadow.
My own little Frenchy was being reshod,
and we did not have all day to wait ó
it was such a lovely morning.
I asked our good liveryman to saddle Red Challenger ó
I knew you wouldnít mind ó
for just a spring jaunt through the meadow.
We trotted away with the sun in our faces,
our hair stretched behind us like fine golden laces.
Then Drucy said we should have our own races.
There was no contest, of course, with your stallion;
I knew I would sail like a fast Spanish galleon.
When, what do you know, but a moleís habitation,
half hidden by growth of the spring vegetation ó
Red Challenger found it
and limped in last place.

Boniface:

[Clearly now enraged]
Ahh! How can I bear to think of it?
My prize-winning stallion!
Please, tell me there is nothing more!

Eggarol:

{Flippantly] No, no more.

Boniface:

[Slowly regaining composure]
Even so, this shall not spoil our moment.
For I have news to cheer us both in our predicament.
Eggarol, you are my only daughter,
your brothers all are wed and gone.
I know how youíve longed for the day
your shining knight would sweep you away.
But living in the sad provincial estate
there are few choices for finding a mate.
Iíve searched high and low and all the lands round,
and at last for you a husband has been found!

Eggarol:

You have arranged it?

Boniface:

It is all said and done.

Eggarol:

Then tell me, tell me ó
is he handsome?

Boniface:

[Grimaces out of Eggarolís view]
He has a face youíre not likely to forget.

Eggarol:

And is he charming?

Boniface:

The books on etiquette were writ just for him.

Eggarol:

And is he witty?

Boniface:

People laugh at nearly everything he says.

Eggarol:

And is he brave and bold and daring?

Boniface:

He freely rushes in where brave men fear to tread.

Eggarol:

And is he of nobility, and of what degree?

Boniface:

Of noble stock is he,
from a highly respected family.

Eggarol:

And from whence does he hail?
From Italy or Sicily,
Russia or Prussia,
Albania, Romania,
Bulgaria, Estonia,
Latvia, Slovakia,
or someplace more exotic still?

Boniface:

[Hedging] Ha-humph. Ha-humph. [Clears throat]
Much nearer to your hearth and home:
He is the heir apparent to the Count of Monte Blotto.

Eggarol:

Monte Blotto? Our own province?
But there is no count here but old Santino
and his wastrel son ó [Stops short]

Boniface:

Indeed, Count Dewayne de Monte Blotto.

Eggarol:

[Screams] Ai!
Oh, Father, you canít be serious!
Tell me, Father, that youíre delirious!
You surely cannot mean it,
you surely cannot mean it!

Boniface:

Arrrrrrrrgh!

Boniface:

You ungrateful crow!
Iíve searched high and low
to find you a beau
For your pompous trousseau.
You think it amiss
and so quickly dismiss
your own wedded bliss
for bare prejudice!

Eggarol:

I will not go
to an altar of woe.
How low would you go?
Heís a braggadocio!
I cannot take this,
thoí you think me remiss.
Dewayne Iíll not kiss
for your own avarice.

Boniface:

Wicked girl!

Eggarol:

You think I cannot see through your scheming?
If you think me that dense, you surely are dreaming.
Iíll never submit to such a marriage,
for that man I can only disparage.

Boniface:

So what if I am a shrewd schemer?
I am also my salt mineís redeemer.
Youíve charged your last dress to my credit,
and your protests Iíll surely discredit.

Eggarol:

Iíll never marry Dewayne!

Boniface:

Pay heed!
Indeed, you wonít forget what will be said:
tomorrow noon you shall be wed
to Count Dewayne.

Eggarol:

O vast and inexorable pain!
I disdain Dewayne!
Fie! Fie on Dewayne!
And fie on you!

Boniface:

ďFie ... fieĒ?
Where did you come across this word
of which I have never heard?
Such language as ďfie,Ē
and from such small fry.

Eggarol:

Well, I donít know what it means either!
But when Eggarol says ďfieĒ
youíd better believe her!
Fie, fie fie!
[She sits and buries her head in her hands]
O misery, misery, misery!
Dewayne has the personality of a spaghetti stain.
You canít make me marry him.
[Stands] I wonít marry him!

Boniface:

Iíll tell you what Iím going to do:
You marry him or Iíll bury you!

[Eggarol sits and begins sobbing. With a good deal of noise, Willoughs enters with Peter, who is carrying several large rolled-up plans for the mine.]

Boniface:

[To Eggarol] I shall deal with you later.
[To Peter and Willoughs] Ah, come in, come in!
Let us have a look at the plans.

[The men unroll the plans on a table and busy themselves examining them while Eggarol slowly controls her sobbing and addresses the audience.]

Eggarol:

Just look at them! Planning their new developments ó but at what cost? To pay for this, Father schemes to wed me to Dewayne. Could there not be one eligible bachelor who could rescue me from this fate? Count Dewayne ó I refuse to marry that refuse! Iíd rather marry the worldís lowest, meanest, basest dirt-digger than marry ... [Espies Peter who has poured himself a drink from the decanter]
You, who
are you?

Peter:

Iím the one who digs the saltpeter.
Iím Peter ó ďSaltpeterĒ Peter.
Peter, Peter, pumpkin-eater.

Eggarol:

Are you married?

Peter:

Had a wife, but couldnít keep her.
[Peter returns to the tables and reviews the plans]

Eggarol:

[To audience] Hmmm. Perhaps there is a means of escaping this situation after all. If I can convince pumpkin-head to marry me, I can avoid being in bondage to that wastrel Dewayne. A plan definitely is forming. Father will soon learn that heís not the only one in this family who can scheme!
He thinks heíll have me married ímorrow,
but to avoid such sickening sorrow
I have a plan, and I need only a man.
(While it may not make much sense right now,
eventually the story will unfold
so that you are bound to understand.)
I will not marry Count Dewayne,
for this I do indeed disdain.
Nothing can stop my fatherís will,
still Dewayne inspires dire distaste.
Haste, oh haste! I must think!
Think so I can plan a way that I can wed.
Dead and married women are ineligible.
Unintelligible this may appear ó
queer, perhaps.
But by tonight I shall be married,
buried, perhaps, but not worse ó
that is, married to Dewayne.
What I need, you understand,
is someone to be an instant husband.
But I know no such man,
except that common digger of sand.

Voice offstage:

Saltpeter!

Eggarol:

Mind your manners!
ďSaltpeterĒ doesnít rhyme!
[To audience] If heíll marry me tonight,
then everything will be all right.
[Catches Peterís eye] Yes, my dear Peter,
come here.
[Peter and Eggarol sit on the divan. Eggarol openly flirts with him, much to the disgust of Boniface who observes first from the table and later moves to involve himself more directly.]

Eggarol:

Come, Peter, sit with me. You know, you really have a divine sense of humor. It's not often a girl can find a young man who can make her laugh so lightheartedly. Youíre a card.

Boniface:

Hah! A pip card!

Eggarol:

Oh, no, Father. Heís an ace.

Peter:

Iíd think more of a jack.

Boniface:

A jack-ace! Really, Eggarol, you demean yourself talking to this ó by the way, why arenít you singing to the fool?

Eggarol:

Oh, I think the composer got lazy in this section. But anyway, the orchestra could use the break. Union rules, you know.

Boniface:

Trade unions be hanged! And for that matter, might as well hang this lout of a man, this uppity jacakanape who obviously doesn't know his station. [Reaches to grab Peter]

Eggarol:

Leave him alone, Father! I asked him to sit with me. I find him entertaining and charming.

Boniface:

Boor, oaf, uncircumcized Philistine!

Peter:

Sir, on that matteró

Boniface:

He isnít worth his weight in salt!

Eggarol:

Donít be so high and mighty. Remember you came from rather humble origins yourself, Father.

Boniface:

No coxcomb am I! We are descended from noble blood. But as for this vulgarianó

Eggarol:

Oh, Father, go away and leave me to entertain my new friend. [To Peter] Tell me, Peter. Have you worked long in Fatherís salt mines?

Peter:

Three years and a day. [Silence ó Peter is not a gifted conversationalist]

Eggarol:

And do you like working thus?

Peter:

It has its ups and downs ... mostly downs, given the depth of the mines.

Eggarol:

[Titters] How cute! And tell me, is it dangerous in the salt mines?

Peter:

You must be sharp
and see sharp,
or you will be
a flat miner.

Eggarol:

Oh, how positively charming! See, Father. Isnít he witty?

Boniface:

Humph!

Eggarol:

Tell me more about yourself, dear Peter.

Peter:

So whatís to tell?

Eggarol:

Oh, your hopes, your dreams, the things your spirit aspires to.

Peter:

I work in a salt mine.

Eggarol:

Of course you do. But what did you do before? You said you were married once. Tell me about your wife.

Peter:

That is a matter very painful to me.

Eggarol:

Oh, Iím so sorry. But do tell, I pray. I want to know all about you.

Peter:

[Sighs] If I must. When I was a young man I fell in love with a lovely maiden. She was the millerís daughter, and could she ever ó yes, well, she was quite beautiful. She and I would dance and laugh and sing. She was my life, and we made a wonderful bridal pair. But alas! my joy was short-lived. Soon after our wedding she was wooed by a character from another opera and ran off with him to a foreign land. My heart was left waste and void and empty. I knew then I should never love again.

Eggarol:

Have you no hope of finding her and winning her back?

Peter:

She died of fever soon after she left me. But even were she alive, I could not love again. I have lost faith in the fairer sex. My life now is in saltpeter.

Eggarol:

But you said you were happy once. Donít you think you could be happy again if you found someone special, someone who could once more make you laugh?

Peter:

Doubt it.

Eggarol:

Donít throw away your life and discard your happiness, Peter. Give love another chance. Perhaps if you would just open your heart a little, you and Ió

Boniface:

I see where youíre going, young vixen! Abandon this nonsense! You are a pledged woman.

Eggarol:

My troth was pledged by you, not me! I have no feelings for Dewayne, but for this fine man my heart is touched. I think I love you, Peter.

Peter:

Gag! [Attempts to rise from the divan but is pulled down forcefully by Eggarol]

Eggarol:

Donít be so hasty, my love.
Your heart is wan, my love,
spurned by your once true love.
But fear not the stars above
that speak now of newborn love.
True love may yet be won
before the setting of the sun.
Our hearts shall entwine as one,
once Cupidís work is done.
Let bygones simply pass ó
your first love was a fickle lass,
while my love shall far surpass
and not wither as the grass.
My love shines as the sun.
Do not my devotion shun.
Our hearts shall entwine as one,
once Cupidís work is done.

Peter:

That was positively hokey.
What gives you cause
to think that I,
without a pause,
would with love ally?
I am no fool
and wish no ill.
But Iím not your tool
for your wish to fulfill.

Eggarol:

Protest no more,
my troubadour.
Marry me, Peter!
Beside you there is none sweeter.
Youíre wonderful, youíre keen.

Peter:

Iím common and Iím mean.

Eggarol:

Oh, I think you could be king ó
if only you could sing.

Boniface:

That thrall! That lout!
Why, he can barely sing ó
get him out, out, out!
Remove that sickening thing!
Heíll spoil my show.
He just has to go!

Eggarol:

Butt out! Buzz off!
I think heís cute.
I want to marry him.
Marry me, Peter!
[Peter makes an unsuccessful attempt to escape]
I need you, I want you,
donít let my father taunt you.
Youíll be happy; weíll marry ó
Iím sure you want to marry.

Peter:

Iíd rather work the salt mineó [Eggarols puts her hand over his mouth].

Eggarol:

Weíll have children, weíll have triplets,
weíll have twins or maybe quads,
weíll have dozens, hundreds,
armies, troops, and squads.

Peter:

Arghh!

Eggarol:

Oh, be mine, be mine,
be mine, be mine, be mine!
We must marry.

[Peter falls to the floor in frustration, sobbing. There is a knock at the door.]

Boniface:

Who could be calling us
from outside in the rain?
Could it be...?

Dewayne:

[Offstage] Duh ...

Boniface:

Dewayne!
Come in out of the rain, Dewayne.
[Dewayne rattles the door but is unable to open it]
Let him in, Willoughs.
[Willoughs opens the door and Dewayne enters. He is wet and carries a folded umbrella.]

Eggarol:

Why, heís drenched!
Heís dripping all over from head to foot,
it so turns my stomach I donít want to look!

Boniface:

Yes, Dewayne, why are you so wet?

Dewayne:

Mother told me to bring this umbrella
to keep me from getting wet ó
it didnít work very well.

Boniface:

[Takes and opens the umbrella to inspect it. Dewayne jumps back, startled.]
No cause for alarm
for I have done no harm.
I just wanted a peek
at what might make it leak.

Dewayne:

Whatíd you do to it?

Boniface:

I opened it up.

Dewayne:

I didnít know you could do that. Gee! [sung to a g-flat]

Boniface, Willoughs, Eggarol:

Ugh! Horrible! Ghastly!
[Boniface blows a G on a pitchpipe]
G! [sung to a g-natural]

Dewayne:

[Takes pitchpipe from Boniface and examines it closely]
You got ďgollyĒ on that thing too?
[Blows random notes on the pitchpipe. Peter attempts to rise but Eggarol puts her foot on his back, causing Dewayne to notice his presence.]
Hey, who the hell is that?

Eggarol:

[Triumphantly and with foot planted firmly on Peterís back]
This man is this very day
declared to be my fiancť.
Heís ... [Pauses to think] ...true,
heís ... [Pauses] ...blue,
and yes ... [Pauses] ... heís stalwart too.
Heís ... [Pauses] ... brave,
heís ... [Pauses] ... bold,
heíll ... [Pauses] ... keep me from the cold.
Itís true there are few men as fine as he,
and oh, itís so,
tonight heíll marry me.

Dewayne:

Boniface told me that you and I ...

Eggarol:

You could have stood up for your marriage rites!
Itís not his lot to pick your wedding nights.
When Peter, my Peter, tells the priest, ďI do,Ē
youíll know itís so ó Iíll never marry you!
[As Eggarol sings she removes her foot from Peterís back and he is able to stand]

Peter:

[To Dewayne] For you itís true, you need put up no fight.
I say you may enjoy a wedding night.
If Peter, this Peter, tells the priest, ďI do,Ē
youíll know itís so ó Iíd have to be a fool.
I donít want to marry ó why else work in a mine?
Until you came along, I was doing just fine.
Dewayne, Iím with you, letís go out an celebrate.
As for me, Iím through ó Iíll live gaily celibate!
[Eggarol again sits on divan and sobs in despair]

Boniface:

Eggarol, come hence.
Since Peter has rejected you,
I say Iíve neíer neglected you.
No need to suffer useless pain:
marry Dewayne.

Eggarol:

I refuse!
Iíd rather suffer endless pain,
Iíd rather in my grave be lain
than to marry such a wastrel.

Boniface:

Can your word be final?

Eggarol:

It is, indeed, quite final.
Let me tell you why:
Iíll love Peter until the day he dies!

Dewayne:

What am I to do, Mr. Severe?

Boniface:

Stand up for your honor, man!
And if you havenít any,
then defend the honor of your betrothed.

Dewayne:

My what?

Boniface:

Eggarol, you fool!
Offer the vermin-infested upstart a challenge.

Dewayne:

Very well, sir.
Peter, you have dishonored my family name
and have caused me great and public shame.
Your deed my honor thus purloins,
as you have robbed me of the love of my loins ...

Boniface:

... heart ...

Dewayne:

... the love of my heart.
No man of worth can fair abide
such shameful work. I cannot hide
from your bold scheme to my disgrace.
I therefore challenge you to a race ...

Boniface:

... duel ...

Dewayne:

... challenge you to a duel.

Peter:

Honorable count, let us not show haste.
This fighting business fits not my taste.
Nor do I will or feign to wed
she whoís promised to your bed.

Dewayne:

So my fiancťeís not good enough for you?
Then fight you shall,
or die to clear her name!
[Takes two swords from the wall and throws one to Peter which he lets lie on the floor.]

Peter:

I mean no disgrace, good Count Dewayne.
You may have her as your bride.
So, if you will, please step aside
and I will venture whence I came
and leave you three to play your game.
[Dewayne starts to step aside, but as Peter starts toward the door he is grabbed seductively by Eggarol.]

Eggarol:

No, love of my life, do not leave me in my distress!
íTwill be for you alone I shall wear a wedding dress.

Boniface:

[To himself] Sheís bent on foiling my best laid plan.
[To Dewayne] Stand up for her, if youíre a man!

Dewayne:

You go nowhere, garlic breath,
until you fall and meet your death.
Before the altar your soul should kneel,
for soon your gullet shall taste my steel.
[Dewayne lunges at Peter; Peter narrowly avoids Dewayneís blade by stepping aside]

Peter:

Yipe! I donít believe in violence.

Dewayne:

Maybe then you believe in amputation!
[Dewayne swings blade at Peter who immediately ducks and cowers with his hands over his head. Dewayne looks at him in disgust and kicks Peterís sword towards him.]
For shame, man!
Pick up your sword.
Have you no honor?

Peter:

Honor have I
in ample supply ó
íTis courage that I lack.

Dewayne:

Pick up the sword!

Peter:

[Hesitantly picks up the sword]
Surely you donít want to go through with this?
Donít you know no oneís ever composed
any decent sword-fighting music?

Dewayne:

Hah! If the musicians canít handle it,
Iíll make music with my sword!

[They begin swordplay. After much clashing of steel, Peter miraculously manages to knock the sword from Dewayneís hand. Startled and enraged, Dewayne grabs a dueling pistol from the wall and aims it at Peter.]

Eggarol:

[Dashes in front of Peter] Donít shoot!
[Dewayne shoots. Eggarol clutches her stomach and collapses on the floor. The cast gathers round.]

Peter:

Youíve killed her!

Boniface:

No, itís only a flesh wound.

Peter:

[After a closer look] No, itís a belly-button wound.

Boniface:

[To audience] Is there a belly-button doctor in the house?

[Dr. Chicano and Nurse Provocadora make their way from the audience to the stage]

Chicano:

I am a belly-button specialist.

Boniface:

And just who are you?

Chicano:

[Bows] Don Miguel Josť Hernandez Arragona Plagiero Chicano, M.D.

Boniface:

No doubt an F.M.G.
Where did you get your degree?

Chicano:

From the Navel Academy.
[To the tune of ďThe Captain of the PinaforeĒ]
I am the surgeon of the belly button
and a plagiarizer of neat verse.
Iím very, very good,
and be it understood
I have a real cute nurse.
Though Iíd really rather putt,
I can chop, tie, and cut
and charge a hefty fee.
And I thank my lucky star
that Iím always under par,
and Iím never, never sick in surgery.

Boniface, Peter, Dewayne:

What, never?

Chicano:

No, never!

Boniface, Peter, Dewayne:

What, never?

Chicano:

Well, hardly ever.

Boniface, Peter, Dewayne:

Then give three cheers and a leg of mutton
for the hardy surgeon of the belly button.
Then give three cheers and a leg of mutton
for the surgeon of the belly button.
[Dr. Chicano is warmly welcomed by the cast and shakes hands all round]

Chicano:

Now, what have we here?

Boniface:

Sheís been shot.

Dewayne:

Accidentally.

Chicano:

[Examines Eggarol] Itís clear what must be done.
Nurse, I must prepare for surgery!
[As Nurse Provocadora prepares the instruments, Chicano retrieves a large bottle from his hip pocket. Provocadora holds a pan while Chicano pours contents of the bottle over hands. After cleaning his hands, Chicano takes a large gulp from the bottle and hands it to Peter.]
[To Peter]
Anesthetize the patient, gringo.
[Peter attempts to get Eggarol to swallow from the bottle but without success. During the operation Peter sniffs, sips, and finally guzzles contents of the bottle.]
Nurse, where are my gloves?

Provocadora:

I donít know, doctor, but the patient has stopped breathing.

Chicano:

°MaldicŪon! Then without my gloves Iíll perform surgery!
[He takes a closer look at Eggarolís wound, grabs bottle from Peter and takes a swallow, then hands it back to Peter. He scratches under his armpit, then commences surgery.]
Scalpel.

Provocadora:

Scalpel.

Chicano:

Clamp.

Provocadora:

Clamp.

Chicano:

Sponge.

Provocadora:

Sponge.

Chicano:

Retractor.

Provocadora:

Retractor.

Chicano:

Wipe. [Provocadora wipes his forehead]

Chicano:

Forceps.

Provocadora:

Forceps.

Chicano:

Speculum. No, wait ó later. Probe.

Provocadora:

Probe.

Chicano:

Chainsaw.

Provocadora:

Chainsaw.

Chicano:

[Examines saw] Nurse, is this chainsaw sanitary?
[Chainsaw is set aside]

Boniface:

I cannot watch.
This is just too much.
I have a hunch
Iíd lose my lunch. [Turns away. The surgery continues.]

Provocadora:

Doctor, sheís still not breathing.

Chicano:

Hmm. Uno momento. Enfermera, lupa, por favor.
[Provocadora hands Chicano magnifying glass. He examines Eggarolís abdomen, then picks up tweezers and removes a small pellet.]

Peter:

Doctor, thatís amazing!

Chicano:

Itís a trade secret, but Iíll give you a hint:
at first I thought it was navel lint.
(Itís very small.)

Provocadora:

Doctor, doctor!

Chicano:

ŅSi? What is it, nurse?

Provocadora:

The patient, sheís still not breathing!

Chicano:

ŅQue?
She just canít die from what sheís got.
Iíve had experience, and Iíve had a lot.
She simply canít die from a navel shot.
It simply is impossible!
[Examines Eggarol carefully, including checking her mouth]
Caramba! [Pulls gloves out of Eggarolís mouth; she gasps.]

Provocadora:

Are you all right, my lady?

Eggarol:

To cure my hours of frustration
I need some mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
[Chicano leans over to oblige and is forthrightly slapped]
Leave me, leave me, leave me be.
I am prepared for eternity.
And yet one thing can prevent my death:
a kiss from Peter, to catch my breath.
[Eggarol grabs Peter by the neck, hoping that a passionate kiss may sway him. Peter resists all he can, but to no avail as Eggarol plants a sloppy kiss on his lips.]

Dewayne:

Hey, thatís my girl!
[Boniface and Dewayne pry Peter from Eggarolís clutch and hustle him out the door where they can be seen administering blows to Peter, who is just out of sight beneath the window. The pummeling continues throughout the following dialogue.]

Eggarol:

No, no, no! Peter! Peter!
[Chicano and Provocadora restrain Eggarol and lead her back to the divan where they console her]

Chicano:

Calm yourself, child. What is that churlish lout to you?

Eggarol:

He is my only salvation from a fate worse than death.

Provocadora:

How so, my lady?

Eggarol:

My father plans to wed me to that wretch, Dewayne, but only so that he can collect the dowery and save his mine. My only hope of escape from this cruel fate is for me to marry Peter. But alas! he does not love me. Oh, what am I to do? [Weeps]

Provocadora:

There, there, my lady.

Chicano:

There, there, indeed, seŮorita. Are you so sheltered as never to have seen another opera before? Why donít you give Peter a love potion, a power he cannot resist?

Eggarol:

A love potion? Of course! A capital idea! Except ...

Chicano:

Except?

Eggarol:

I havenít the foggiest notion
where to find a love potion.

Chicano:

Then let me help you, seŮorita.
I know just the source.
(How do you think an hombre like me
attracts all the lovely rameras?)
Through the glooming,
oíer the foaming,
íTwixt the winding willow tree,
near the sounding
culverís homing,
there youíll find the hidden key.

.
Chorus: [Offstage]

Through the glooming,
oíer the foaming,
íTwixt the winding willow tree,
near the sounding
culverís homing,
there youíll find the hidden key.

Chicano:

There lives a Jew
and his retinue
of magical charms.
A practitioner,
a traditioner
of qabalistic art.

Chicano:

Youíll find him there
with hoary hair
beneath a spreading yew,
a mask adorning
his face each morning ó
his name is Tolkien Jew.

Eggarol:

Tolkien Jew?

Chicano:

A most amazing fellow.
When itís love to be won,
a reluctance to be undone,
Tolkien Jew is the man for you.
When you have a notion,
heíll provide the right potion.
Tolkien Jew is the man for you.
[Hands Eggarol his calling card]
Just tell him Dr. Chicano sent you.

Eggarol:

So there is hope after all?

Chicano:

It works for me!

[Boniface enters from outside]

Eggarol:

[Privately to Chicano] You wonít tell my father?

Chicano:

Doctor-patient confidentiality.

Boniface:

Doctor, I think youíre needed outside.
[Chicano and Provocadora leave to check on Peter.]

Chicano:

[In the doorway, looking down at Peter]
°Santa Maria del Dios!
[Crosses himself, then Chicano and Provocadora disappear beneath the window to tend to Peter. Dewayne reenters. Boniface and Dewayne show concern for Eggarol, and Dewayne kneels and holds her hand in a patronizing manner.]

Boniface:

How are you, my daughter?
You gave us quite a fright.

Eggarol:

[To Dewayne] No thanks to you.[Removes her hand]
[To Boniface]
But my hope is now restored.

Dewayne:

It wasnít intentional. That lead was meant for Peter.

Boniface:

Yes, Eggarol, you must find it in your heart
to forgive this unfortunate circumstance.
After all, Dewayne soon shall be your bridegroom.

Eggarol:

Ech!

Boniface:

Give yourself time, dear.
Dewayne is not slime, dear.
A nobleman is he,
and worthy of the name.
Donít rush to decision.
Ignore the derision
of those who do not know
what promise he doth show.
A suitor fine is he.
To wed him is no shame.
His qualities are rare.
Just look at his fine black hair.
(Maybe not.)
Rich manners has he,
or perhaps soon theyíll be.

Eggarol:

Leave me, Father,
leave me now to contemplate my fate.
It is all too much for me in my present state.

[Boniface nods to Dewayne, and they slowly exit stage right. Boniface looks back sympathetically at Eggarol before exiting.]

Life with Dewayne
would be a fate worse than debt.
I can but despair.
It seems hopeless, and yet ...
I will consider,
I will consider the possibility
that maybe someway,
maybe someway Peter will marry me.
But how?
[Orchestra plays ďThrough the gloomingĒ theme]
Evidently thatís a clue.
ďThrough the glooming,
oíer the foaming,
íTwixt the winding willow tree,
near the sounding
culverís homing,
there youíll find the hidden key.Ē
If I can discover
where this sage, old and wise,
dwells with his magic,
I can turn Peterís eyes.
With his knowledge of eons
and his love-lighting potion,
I will capture this miner,
inflame his emotion.
O stars in the heaven,
O moon bright and strong,
grant me salvation,
guide me along;
lead me to that hovel
where deep mysteries do dwell!
Though heís base and heís dirty,
not a pfenning heís got,
Peter will be my deliverer
from that dumb, wretched sot.
I have but to wed him
till Dewayneís wed anon
then Peter is history,
Iíll cast him aside
and pursue life afresh ó
be a gentlemanís bride.
Guide me, then, starlight,
straight on with my task.
Lead me to Tolkien,
the Jew with the mask!

[ END ACT ONE ]



ACT II


Scene 1. (A forest, with Tolkien Jewís hut)

Eggarol:

[Eggarol enters, crosse the stream and looks around]
ďThrough the glooming,
oíer the foaming,
íTwixt the winding willow tree,
near the sounding
culverís homing,
there youíll find the hidden key.Ē
Yep, this must be the place!
[Searches for Tolkien at the door and windows of the hut]
Tolkien! Tolkien, Tolkien!
Tolkien Jew! Where are you?
Tolkien! Tolkien!
Tolkien Jew! Tolkien!
Where are you?

[Smoke bomb. Tolkien Jew appears in the doorway dressed as a wizard.]

Tolkien:

Who goes there?
Who invades my lair?
What uninvited guest
disturbs my rest?
[Waves arms] Hoo! Hoo!
What creature comes
to seek nostrums
or ask a spell?
Who dares?
Do tell!
[Waves arms] Hoo! Hoo!
[Throws two more smoke bombs]

Eggarol:

[At first cowers at Tolkienís appearance, but soon regains her courage and approaches.]
Oh, knock it off already! The smoke is bad for my voice.

Tolkien:

How dareó! [Sees Eggarol and calms himself] Oh, you. I recognize you. Youíre the shvesterkind of that lovely wench Drucilla.

Eggarol:

Iím Eggarol, daughter of...

Tolkien:

... Boniface Severe. Yes, yes, I know who you are.
[Removes his mask, hat, wig, and robe, beneath which he is dressed as a ďNew York Jew.Ē]
But to what do I owe the honor of a visit by the only beautiful thing to emanate from that feinshmekerís house?

Eggarol:

[A little confused by the change of costume.]
Dr. Chicano said I should see you.

Tolkien:

Ah! Good old Plagiero! So heís cast his eyes upon your young visage, has he? Hmm. Just looking at you I should think would be enough to give him rise. What does he need?

Eggarol:

Itís not like that. I have no interest in Dr. Chicano, but he said I should come to you for a love potion.

Tolkien:

A love potion, eh? And who is this lucky lad with such bad taste that he isnít already a slave to your comeliness?

Eggarol:

His name is Peter. I want to marry him ó tonight ó but he doesnít love me. Can you help?

Tolkien:

Marry him tonight? A short engagement, no?

Eggarol:

Itís because my father has promised me to someone else on the morrow. If Peter doesnít marry me before then, my fate will be sealed to an unworthy wretch: Count DeWayne.

Tolkien:

Oh ho! That farshtinkener! No wonder you desire my services (though usually Iím consulted as a shadkhn).

Eggarol:

A what?

Tolkien:

Itís a Jewish thing. Love and all that.

Eggarol:

So can you cast a spell that will make Peter love me?

Tolkien:

A spell? No. Thatís not what I do.

Eggarol:

But I thought you were a wizard.

Tolkien:

Oh, this [indicating his costume]. Iím not really a kishef macher. I just use this to frighten away the meddlesome children that annoy me to no end.

Eggarol:

Then what...?

Tolkien:

In reality I am a chemist. But I have indeed invented a potion that will bring its user to the highest flights of fantasy. Would that Pfizer were around now. I could make a mint! Here. [Takes the potion from his pocket and hands it to Eggarol.]

Eggarol:

Lipstick?

Tolkien:

Much more than that! The compound is such that I can only make it in a paste form. You must apply it to your lips, then plant a kiss on your beloved. The effects are almost immediate.

Eggarol:

But wonít the potion affect me as well?

Tolkien:

Of course. The two of you then fly off together to Everland.

Eggarol:

[Hesitates] Hmm.

Tolkien:

So whatís the problem, meydele? If you love him, donít you want to undertake a little yentzen?

Eggarol:

[Hedging] Itís just that ... I have such strong desires without a potion. Iím afraid the added curative would be too much. I want to marry him, not kill him.

Tolkien:

Oooo! Strong desires, eh? Hmm. Say, could I interest you perhaps in taking a look at my laboratory? Itís just up the steps into my hut.

Eggarol:

You do flatter me, kind sir. But I wish to save myself for my beloved.

Tolkien:

You canít blame a yat for trying. But I understand. Love is indeed curious.
Love is a curious thing.
If you have someone to bring
to the threshold
you must be bold,
for love is a curious thing.
Love is a wonderful thing.
It can make your heart to sing
of its treasures
and its pleasures.
Yes, love is a wonderful thing.
But sometimes love
like a glove,
will fit one hand and not the other.
Love is a meddlesome thing.
If you desire but a fling,
but your amour
has more serious intentions,
love is a meddlesome thing.
Love is an exquisite thing,
enjoyed by pauper and king.
Knowing no bounds,
wise men it confounds.
Yes, love is an exquisite thing.
Surely you
know that too,
my dear, Iím not surprising you.
Love is a marvelous thing.
I can but tell of its wonders:
how it touches us night and day
and oft at noon.
Love is a marvelous thing.
Come, my child,
undefiled
by loveís oft hidden blunders.
Love is a plasuible thing,
beguiling and sometimes scheming.
But you know, my child,
how it is to love in vain.
Love is a constant pain.

Eggarol:

Indeed, love is strange. So tell me, what do I do?

Tolkien:

Well, if you really feel you donít need the added benefits of my potion, take this [hands Eggarol a small pill] before applying the paste to your lips. It will render you immune to its effects. Then simply kiss the lucky goy firmly on the lips and wait for the result. Heíll be yours in a New York minute! Then the two of you can fly off to Everland.

Eggarol:

Everland?

Tolkien:

A place where the joys of love are ever found. Donít worry, youíll soon find out.

Eggarol:

Thank you, Tolkien. I donít know how to repay your kindness.

Tolkien:

Thatís not hard at all! [Takes a scroll from his pocket] Here is a list of my charges.

[Eggarol examines the list, takes several coins from her coinpurse and gives them to Tolkien.]

Tolkien:

Thank you, bubele. [Counts coins and then pockets them] Now, run along ... and enjoy yourselves. [Eggarol exits]
Meet him tonight in Everland.
Find fresh delights in Everland.
Youíll soar,
youíll score
in Ever-ever-ever-land,
thereís more
in store
in Ever-ever-ever-land.
Go meet your love in Everland.
Thereís nought above sweet Everland.
A kiss
is bliss
in Ever-ever-ever-land.
New joys await you there!
[After seeing Eggarol off, Tolkien goes back to the hut, pausing to look after Eggarol with an approving smile.]


Scene 2. (Eggarolís boudoir)

Two Maids:

[Busily making the bed]
Fluff them, puff them,
donít muff them,
make the bed with corners tight.
Shake them, make them,
donít fake them,
sheets and pillows will invite.
It is our duty,
with grace and beauty,
to serve our mistress
both day and night.
But sheís not fussy.
At times just gussy.
But being thus is just her right.
Fluff them, puff them,
shake them, make them.
Sheets and pillows will invite.
[Enter Eggarol carrying a box.]
Good morning, mistress.

Eggarol:

And a good morning I hope ítwill be.
[Removes a wedding veil from the box]

Maid 1:

You have decided to go through with the wedding?

Eggarol:

A wedding, yes.
But I have plans my father does not know about.

Maid 2:

Ooo! I love a good intrigue.
Pray, do tell us!

Eggarol:

I shall, for I need your help.
You both agree with me
that a marriage to Dewayne would be disasterous?

Maid 1:

Yes, my lady.
He is such a lothario!
Thereís hardly a skirt in Monte Blotto
he hasnít chased.
I dare not go to market
when I see him on the prowl.

Maid 2:

How true. He even once
tried to seduce me.

Maid 1:

Iíd heard rumors about farm animals.

Maid 2:

Shrew!

Eggarol:

Now, ladies, we must focus. Weíre all in agreement here, and my plight truly is desperate. I must be married before noon or else my fate is doomed. Do you both know Peter Aereophagus?

Maid 2:

The quiet fellow who works in the salt mine?

Eggarol:

Thatís him. I have a plan to make him my emergency bridegroom.

Maid 1:

But, my lady, heís far below your station.

Eggarol:

Not as far as that wretch Dewayne. Besides, all I need is for him to become my husband until Dewayne marries one of his harlots or drinks himself to death. Then Iíll annul my marriage to Peter and become the wife of a real gentleman.

Maid 2:

Ah! Devious but lovely!

Maid 1:

How can we help?

Eggarol:

I have obtained a love potion from Tolkien Jew, the wizard who lives in the forest. All I have to do is kiss Peter while the potion is on my lips, and he is sure then to be agreeable to marriage. I need you two to go and fetch him for me. Make up some exotic tale, tell him anything you like, but get him here posthaste. My future is in your hands. Go now, and hurry!

Maid 1:

That wonít be difficult, my lady. I saw him downstairs earlier this morning. Dr. Chicano was checking some injuries he received recently. He looked as though there had been a cave-in at the mine.

Eggarol:

No, that was Dewayneís and Fatherís wrath. But go, bring him here right away.

Maid 1:

Yes, my lady. [She exits]

Eggarol:

[To Maid 2] Hand me some water and my looking-glass. I need to prepare myself for his arrival.

Maid 2:

Yes, mistress. [Brings items to Eggarol who takes her antidote and applies the potion to her lips] Pardon my asking, but are you sure this is safe?

Eggarol:

Dr. Chicano recommended it. And Tolkien Jew assured me I shall come to no harm. But even if they be proved false, a persistent vegetative state is preferable to marriage to Dewayne. Now here is my plan. [Whispers in Maidís ear] Clever, no?

Maid 2:

Your cunning is truly admirable, my lady. Thatís quite ingenious and has never been tried before in the history of opera.

[Maid 1 enters with Peter in tow]

Maid 1:

Here he is!

Peter:

You have need of me, my lady?

Eggarol:

Dear Peter! Do come and sit with me.

Peter:

I think that is not a good idea, miss. Iím still smarting from our first encounter, and your behavior has been most unbecoming of late.

Eggarol:

I do apologize. But please come, and I promise to behave. I just want to speak with you.

Peter:

[Looks round the room to make certain neither Dewayne nor Boniface are about]
Very well. [He sits]

Eggarol:

You know that I am to be married today. But having never known marital bliss, I wanted to learn from you what love is all about. You told me you had loved once and that at first you knew happiness. What can you teach me about love?

Peter:

True, I loved once, and joy was mine to hold.
But love, though hot, too soon grows cold.
íTwas my heart she did first allure,
only to leave me for a Spanish Moor.
She won my heart and my affection
and gave me hope and new direction.
But just as we our troth had pledged,
I learned her faith was but alleged.
We two had gone to Ste. Marie
to celebrate with glee.
But ífore the moon that night arose,
she took a course that I opposed.
A chance encounter at jeu de boulle
destroyed my hope, made me a fool.
††††††She found líamour with a Moor,
††††††líamour with a Moor.
They met beneath a spreading oak ó
there they met, and there they spoke,
she so fair and full of life,
he the cause of all my strife.
Dark and handome, tall and manly,
he charmed his way with her quite handíly.
She left me there amidst the crowd
of revel-makers, alone and cowed.
They left together, my sweet princess,
and that blackamoor, for sensual bliss.
††††††She found líamour with a Moor,
††††††líamour with a Moor.
I tried to follow, to retrieve my wife,
but between her will and his big knife
I was persuaded to let them flee
and say farewell to my honeybee.
Alone I wandered hill and dell,
my life a shambles, a private hell.
I learned that she and her paramour
knew all the pleasures of líamour.
But though he would not deign to leave her,
she died soon after of scarlet fever.
But from this loss one thing I gained:
I learned that love is only pain.
††††††She found líamour with a Moor,
††††††líamour with a Moor.

Eggarol:

Oh, what a doleful tale. Would you like a chocolate?
[Proffers a box of chocolates to Peter]

Peter:

No, thank you.
[Eggarol takes a petit four]
May I go now, my lady?

[Eggarol feigns choking on the chocolate. The maids rush to her aid.]

Maid 1:

Are you quite all right, mistress?

Maid 2:

Whatís wrong? Speak to us!

Maid 1:

She canít. Sheís choking on the petit four!
Quick, pound on her back!
[They both hit Eggarol on the back. Eggarol continues to feign choking.]

Maid 2:

Itís not helping.
[Goes behind Eggarolís back and wraps arms around her abdomen]

Maid 1:

What are you doing? No, you canít do that.
The Heimlich maneuver hasnít been invented yet.

Maid 2:

Oh, right. [Stops]
[To Peter]
You must save her!

Peter:

What could I do?

Maid 1:

Thereísonly one chance.
Youíll have to suck the chocolate out of her throat.

Peter:

Do what?

Maid 1:

The chocolate is lodged too deeply. Itís her only chance.

[Peter hesitates]

Maid 2:

Go on! You have to save her!

[Peter approaches Eggarol. She grabs him by the collar and plants a kiss on his lips. Peter struggles, but the kiss is prolonged. Once Peter is freed, Eggarol and the Maids stand triumphantly.]

Eggarol, Maids:

Now the deed is done!

Peter:

[Stammering] Eggarol, that wasnít ...
you werenít really ...
why did you ...
Oh, I have the strangest feeling!

Eggarol:

In your heart?

Peter:

No, lower down.

Eggarol:

[Quizzically] In your stomach?

Peter:

[Looks lustily at Eggarol] No. Lower down.

Maids:

Uh-oh! [Begin hurriedly to busy themselves again with domestic tasks]

Peter:

O Eggarol, Eggarol! [Begins to get slightly delirious] What have you done to me?
Iím feeling, Iím feeling
things I havenít felt since ...
O daughter of Severe!
Eggarol, Eggarol, Eggarol,
Eggarol, Eggarol, Eggarol,
Eg-ga-row, row, row your boat,
gently down the stream.
Marry me, marry me, marry me, marry me,
life will be a dream!

Eggarol:

[Whistles, signalling stagehands to change the scenery to a wedding chapel. While the scenery is being changed, she prattles:]
Why, this is such a surprise! I really donít know what to think. I really need more time. Oh my, what will father say? I do believe this is the shock of my life, and so sudden, too. Why, weíve only known each other for a short while, and what kind of a girl do you think I am, anyway? Iím not that easy, and Iím not flighty, or desperate, or anything like that. Youíll have to give me time to think it over. ... Of course Iíll marry you!

[The maids quickly add significant appurtenances to Eggarolís and Peterís costumes to ready them for a wedding. The scene sets up for a hasty but well-planned ceremony, complete with bridesmaids and full complement of guests (the full cast sans Grim Reaper) Priest enters and takes his position as the officiator.]

Priest:

Marriage is a laudable estate,
ordained by God our lust to satiate.
Through life we plod
alone till last we mate,
then as one bod-
y, two sould doth now one make.
Blessed union, more chaste than all the rest,
it is our hope that here you two find rest
within the scope
of loveís divine bequest.
Be not myop-
ic, but take what I suggest.
Fear not the morrow, for now you are complete
to face the dawn, no matter now how bleak.
Let fear begone ó
take courage and defeat,
defeat despair and cruel deceit.
(What a cute couple!)
If there are those,
as I suppose,
who think this wedding wrong,
I want to know
if this is so,
and thus I sing this song.
If someone thinks
this isnít right,
speak now or shut your mouth ó
and shut it tight.

[Boniface nudges Dewayne forcefully, eliciting a loud ďOomph!Ē Dewayne stands.]

Dewayne:

Pardon, please, this one exception,
but I must rise to make objection.

Priest:

On these proceedings most devout,
Pray tell the grounds that cause your doubt.

Dewayne:

[Leans down as Boniface whispers in his ear]
They have no license!

Eggarol:

Itís not license if youíre married!

Priest:

If this is true,
then itís taboo,
in fact, itís worse than leprosy:
Itís out and out heresy!
Heretic! Heretic! Heretic!
Heretic, there-a-tic!
everywhere a tic-tic!
Iím outta here.
[Exits]

Eggarol:

Wait! You canít leave!
Good Father, you must finish the ceremony!
Oh, crap!

Boniface:

So, my daughter, your scheme has failed,
your underhanded plotís unveiled.
No choice now but obey your father:
marry Dewayne and give me no more bother.

Eggarol:

Youíve yet to see my staunch rigidity!
Iíll never sacrifice my virginity
for such as this, this cur in heat!
From such a fate I shall retreat.

Boniface:

The priest has gone, you little wench!
Thereís no way now for you to wrench
the destined future of my mine
from out my hand. You shanít decline!

Eggarol:

Can it be that I am lost?
Youíd save your mine, but at what cost?
I canít fail now, Iíve come too far.
I appeal to you, bright morning star!
You led me once to a sure solution.
I yield my fate to your ablution.

Dewayne:

Why do you resist me?
Come rather and assist me.
Thereís much to do, my dear.
Make your father happy.
Come on, weíll both get scrappy:
let me nibble on your ear.

Eggarol:

[Rebuffs Dewayne]
Is there no hope?
What to do, what to do?
[She sits in despair with her head in her hands]

Wedding Guests:

ďThrough the glooming,
oíer the foaming,
ítwixt the winding willow tree,
near the sounding
culverís homing,
there youíll find the hidden key.Ē

Eggarol:

[Sudden revelation] Of course! Tolkien!
Youíre a rabbi, are you not?

Tolkien:

If Peter is your Lancelot,
Iíll answer you as I think best
and take my stand at your behest.

Eggarol:

[Thinks a moment] Does that mean yes?

Tolkien:

It does.

Eggarol:

Then you perform the ceremony!

Boniface:

No! I wonít permit it!
You know I disapprove of mixed marriages!

Tolkien:

A boy marrying a girl is pretty mixed, all right.
So what do you want?
[To conductor] A little klezmer, if you please, maestro.
[Takes his place as officiator and removes a tattered scroll from his pocket]
There is nothing wrong with having you two wed,
this is precisely that for which Iím bred.
Potions have effect to meld two hearts as one,
and once begun, true love canít be undone.
[Peter and Eggarol exchange rings]
These rings signify that your love is without end.
Let now your souls in sweet surrender blend.
I pronounce you married both hither, far, and wide,
and if youíre smart, lad, then you will kiss the bride.
(I say you may kiss the bride!)

[Peter and Eggarol kiss. The cast respond with assorted oohs and ahs and ďHow sweet.Ē After the kiss, Peter and Eggarol exit through the exultant crowd. All but Boniface and Dewayne join in the celebration.]

Wedding Guests:

Happy days are here again!
Eggarol has won again!
L:ove triumphant reigns supreme again,
foiling all base gimmickry.
Come, celebrate and sing with joy.
Eggy has a new boy-toy.
Though he is a lowly, simple goy,
he will spare her certain bÍte noire.
[Chorus is repeated while Boniface sings]

Boniface:

He wouldnít have kissed you,
but he couldnít resist you.
He could hardly dismiss you:
he couldnít say no.
His thinking was hazy,
heís thoroughly lazy,
heís bound to be crazy
to marry you so.
Heíll think that he owns you.
You know that heís stoned. You
see, once heís known you,
youíll just have to go.
Heíll just want to use you,
but still it behooves you,
it behooves you, it behooves you
to come back Eggarol!

[Wedding guests slowly exit in twos and threes until only the Three Musketeers are left quaffing tankards of grog. Boniface and Dewayne move to center stage.]

Boniface:

[To Dewayne] Dewayne, Iíve been destroyed
by a man that I employed.
I see no hope for future gain
despite the best plans that I have lain.
Oh, I am fraught with hate ó
Wait! I will fulfill
still another desperate scheme.
Dreams are of what men are made:
laid up here are ideas that still
will help us reach our goal.
Souls are cheap, survival hard.
Scarred consciences achieve more.
We will fight!
Blight that Peter is, in Paradise
Iíd have him be,
removed for all eternity
far, most far, away from me.

Dewayne:

I donít understand.

Boniface:

Come, my man! We have plans to work.

[Boniface and Dewayne exit, leaving now only the Three Musketeers who quaff one final stein of ale and sing in tight harmony]

Three Musketeers:

Happy days are here again!
Eggarol has won again!
Her complexion will be clear again,
but our opera isnít done. Ooooo.

[ END ACT TWO ]



ACT III


Scene 1. (A forest, with a bridal tent)


Eggarol:

[Emerges from tent]
Who would have thought that such a small plan
could bring me such a treasure?
Who would have thought that such a small man
could give me so much pleasure?
That love could be born in such hasty scheming ó
I fear that the dawn will tell that I am but dreaming.
I did not plan for this:
my heart sealed with a kiss
of base intention.
Who would have thought my plan could go awry
and cause me such perplexion?
Who would have thought my heart could soar so high
from such a predilection?
To my mind he was just a convenient excuse
to escape from a terrible fate.
I but used him to guard me from Fatherís cruel plan.
Lowly digger of salt, he was only a toy old and worn.
Oh, but now, oh, but now!
Let him enthuse me,
use and amuse me.
Little thought I how soon I would fall heart and soul
for a man I could only disdain.
Now my pretense of loving gives place to true love.
What has he given me?
Not just my freedom:
he has changed my vision of the world.
No longer dismal, no longer hopeless.
Itís a garden of earthly delight,
a place where my dreams all take flight,
a heaven of sensual gladness,
a land of climactic transporting
where visions of rapture ignite,
where visions of rapture ignite.
Yes, Peter is now my brave knight,
in my garden of earthly delight,
with whips and inspirťd madness
his damsel he goes about courting,
and with me, his mistress, cavorting,
he makes me wish each day were night,
he makes me wish each day were night.
For my garden of earthly delight
appears when the sunset invites,
and darkness can hide our uncladness
while Peter and I go a-sporting
as fantasies twain do unite,
as fantasies twain do unite.
Who would have thought that such a small mind
could think of such inventions?
Who would have thought that such small hands
could reach to such dimensions?
That joy could be won
when life seemed so wasted!
My past now I shun,
now that true life Iíve tasted.
Who would have thought that such a small man
could have such a big ó

Peter:

[Emerges from tent]
Eggarol! Eggarol! Where have you gone, my love?

Eggarol:

I am here, my sweet.

Peter:

Thank God! I thought Iíd lost you. I awoke to an empty bed, and it was dťjŗ vu. Memories of empty mornings raced through my mind, visions of the time I was abandoned long ago. It seemed as though fate was destined to bring me to despair again.

Eggarol:

Do you speak from the heart, or is this just the potion speaking?

Peter:

[Thinks a moment] No, the potion wore off long ago. But now I realize that love can be reborn. I truly love you, Eggarol.

Eggarol:

Oh, and I you, Peter! [They embrace] I must make a confession to you, my love. And I hope youíll not take away your love from me because of what Iíve done.

Peter:

What, that I wasnít really the first? No worries, love. Our hearts now beat as one.

Eggarol:

No, thatís not it. You really were the first.

Peter:

Really? Then how did you know ó

Eggarol:

I read a lot, but that isnít the point. When I married you, I didnít really love you. It was just a way to escape marriage to that dreadful Dewayne.

Peter:

[Crestfallen] So itís all a ruse? Youíre simply using me as a toy?

Eggarol:

Oh, no, Peter! Donít think that! But truthfully, I suppose that was what I had in mind ó at first. I was only going to go through the pretext of marriage until Dewayne was suitably married, then I planned to leave you and seek a groom of my own station.

Peter:

Then this is all a dream? A nightmare?

Eggarol:

No! It would have been ó it should have been. But tonight you showed me the meaning of true love. I am a new woman. My heart has been won ... by you. You, Peter, and you alone.

Peter:

You speak truthfully?

Eggarol:

I do. I want no one but you, my little miner. It matters nothing to me your station. Love transcends all social barriers that would conspire to keep us apart. I am yours ó forever yours, my love. My only fear was that your passion was due but to the potion, and that the morning would find you repulsed by me.

Peter:

Never, dear Eggarol. You have shown me that hearts once broken can indeed again be mended.
Once my heart was captured by a fair, young lass.
But soon it was fractured ó she was but an ass.
I thought then that love could bring nought but grief,
and though from above, like an autumn leaf.
it withers away and falls to the ground,
a woeful array of anguish profound.
In gloom did I wander from town to town;
my fortune did squander in an effort to drown
my sorrow, my loss of a heartfelt emotion,
my soul full of dross as deep as the ocean.
But at last you have shown that a heart grown unfeeling
can yet be atoned and again set to reeling.
While love did corrupt me and laid my heart waste,
your zeal did disrupt me and led me to taste
again the sweet wine from Cupidís own arbor.
Our souls now entwine in exquisite ardor.
Youíve shown me once more that love can revive
and bring one ashore at last to arrive

Peter & Eggarol:

at our garden of earthly delight,
a place where our dreams all take flight,
a haven of sensual gladness
where we, from the worldís constant madness,
take refuge and true love requite,
in our garden of earthly delight.
For our garden of earthly delight
appears when the sunset invites.
The darkness will hide our uncladness,
while fantasies twain do unite,
while fantasies twain do unite.

Eggarol:

This garden of earthly delight
is ours by legitimate right.

Peter & Eggarol:

Though schemes like yours/mine oft bring sadness,
we now find a new kind of badness
that doth our hearts truly excite,
that doth our hearts truly excite.

Peter:

Come, my wanton. Let us away.

Eggarol:

[Spoken as they enter the tent]
I donít want to appear a nagging wife, but that was an awfully strange love song.

Peter:

Itís called ďfiller,Ē my dear.
[From inside tent] Do you have any more of that potion?



Scene 2. (A park)

[Tolkein enters leading Provocadora by the hand.]

Tolkien:

Come, my bubele. Iíll show you the difference between a Jew and a Gentile.

Chicano:

[Rushes in chasing after Tolkien]
Hey, seŮor! You donít take my nurse so cheap!

Tolkien:

Iíve already got her, nebish.

Chicano:

Tell you what ó I wonít call the federales if you give me two hundred dollars.

Tolkien:

[Looks over Provocadora] Iíll give you fifty.

Provocadora:

Oh, Tolky, is that all?

Tolkien:

[Mutters to himself] Sie haut gevain a courva in de mommaís bouch.
[To Chicano] Sixty!

Chicano:

One-fifty!

Tolkien:

Seventy-five!

Chicano:

One-twenty!

Tolkien:

Ninety!

Chicano:

One hundred, and Iíll throw in my sister!

Tolkien:

Done!

[Tolkien hands Chicano the money and exits behind the shurbbery with Provocadora. Chicano sits on a bench and counts his money, quite pleased with himself. Boniface strolls onstage carrying a large jug clearly marked as poison.]

Chicano:

Oh, the lucky father, eh? Quite a ceremony yesterday, no?

Boniface:

[Stops and sits down with Chicano on the bench]
A most unfortunate turn of events. But I still have my pride and soon will reap revenge.

Chicano:

Si, entiendo. [Chuckles] You dispose of the upstart and maybe loan that lusty wench to me? That would iron her corset! So when do we greet the happy couple?

Boniface:

Soon. Peter must be back to work soon.

Chicano:

A couple of hours for a ó

Boniface:

I let him have five hours off today. Tomorrow heíll work the full eighteen ... his last shift!

Chicano:

[Pointing to jug] Say, gringo, what is that?

Boniface:

I call this my hate potion. Iíll not be undone by a duplicitous shrew. A special elixir in honor of the groom. Have a sniff.

Chicano:

[Boniface uncorks the jug and Chicano takes a whiff. He coughs and gags.]
Madre del dios! You could kill a whole army with that.

Boniface:

Then it will kill Peter! Revenge, revenge, revenge, my sweet accomplice! Iím through with taking chances, taking wishy-washy stances. I want Peter dead, and Iíve prepared a feast to give the merry couple their honored due.
[Peter and Eggarol stroll onstage, hand in hand]
Speak of the devil!
[To Peter & Eggarol] Ah, good daughter, and my new-found son! How fare you both this lovely morn?

Eggarol:

[Apprehensive] We are fine, Father. And you?

Boniface:

Oh, donít act so fearful, my dear. A good nightís rest has assuaged my ire. We all must accept our fate ... mustnít we, Peter?

Peter:

Iím happy you see it that way, for I have come to love your daughter truly.

Boniface:

Then we must celebrate and make amends! I have prepared a wedding feast for you tomorrow at Chez Danton. Two oíclock. Youíll join us?

Peter:

Eggy and I had plans.

Boniface:

But the feast is already in preparation.

Peter:

I have to work.

Boniface:

Iíll give you an hour off.

Peter:

I have to bathe.

Boniface:

Iíll give you three hours off!

Peter:

[Peter and Eggarol look at each other]
Very well, weíll come, for the sake of restoring conviviality.

Boniface:

Splendid! I must then make final preparation,
though I do regret this momentary separation.
Adieu! [Boniface and Chicano exit]

Eggarol:

Oh, Peter, must we go?

Peter:

Itís in our honor, I couldnít say no.

Eggarol:

I feel as though a tomb ó
I see impending doom.
Death permeates the air.
We mustnít go.
Something dreadful will happen,
this I know.
My father doesnít quit.
Heíd kill you for the thrill of it.
He hates you more than any other man.
He must ó you spoiled his plan.

Peter:

He is a man of intellect.
Surely our vows heís come to respect.
His scheming ways have all come undone,
and surely now he sees that weíve won.

Eggarol:

True. Thus far my luckís been good,
and nothingís happen that I think should
make me see things otherwise.
Could cruel fate strike in such disguise?

Peter:

Surely now heíll forgive us two,
so we must go and see this through.
We cannot thrive on my salary,
and Iíve yet to see your dowery.

Eggarol:

Still, I feel deep down inside
a need, a longing to run and hide.
Oh, save me from his reckless will!
I still believe he plans to kill.

Peter:

Me? Impossible! It just canít be.
Iím very careful with my life,
especially around his knife.
Heíll never see the back of me.

Eggarol:

We have to go?

Peter:

Yes. Now let us prepare,
and forget your female despair.

[They exit. Nighttime falls, and the street lamps come on. Two nightwatchmen (Athos & Aramis) enter from opposite ends of stage.]

Aramis:

Youíre new here?

Athos:

Yes. Isnít the weather clear?

Aramis:

Balmy. Wait a sec. [Calls out] Eleven oíclock an allís well!

Athos:

[Looks at his pocket watch] But itís only ten fifty.

Aramis:

I know, but I call out every fifty minutes.

Athos:

But ...

Aramis:

It gets me back to bed much sooner.

Athos:

But it makes the night too short.

Aramis:

But it makes the day longer. Sort of a one-man daylight-savings time plan.

Athos:

Well, it doesnít really make the night longer.

Aramis:

Granted, true. But so long as everyone thinks it does, I get my sleep.

Athos:

You call out all twelve hours in only ten?

Aramis:

Sharp, arenít you?

Athos:

But what about the day shift?

Aramis:

They work fourteen hours.

Athos:

And they call out only twelve?

Aramis:

Of course.

Athos:

They must be very slow.

Aramis:

Violists.

Athos:

Same Difference.

Aramis:

Sort of. [Looks at watch, then announces:] Eleven three and seventeen point nine-one seconds and allís well!

Athos:

Thatís rather unorthodox, donít you think?

Aramis:

Yeah, but Iím bored. [They exit]



Scene 3. (The banquet hall at Chez Danton)

Boniface:

I havenít slept the last two nights.
I quake with fear, and then delight.
Iíll see my misery vindicated.
The man I have learned to hate
will die to make me satiate.
Death for Peter will be most sufficient.
Poison to kill an army, highly efficient.
My mine may stay beyond repair,
and Eggarol will face despair
from her loss and thus hate her father.
Iíll no doubt lose the love of my only daughter.
This could in no way be changed.
The murder most foul that Iíve arranged
will yield me such needed joy
that I will my last resources dare employ
to make certain that this Peter Iíll destroy!
[Enter Priest]
Ah! I see the guests are arriving.
How are things with you, Father?

Priest:

[Meaningfully] How are things with you, my son?

Boniface:

Thereís plenty of food. Just dig in.
Perhaps youíd like one of those fryers?

Priest:

If at first you donít fricassee,
fry, fry a hen! [Chortles, then goes to banquet table]

Boniface:

[Feigns laughter, then mutters] Holy idiot!
[Musketeers and Gnome enter]
Athos! Porthos! Aramis! Welcome!
[Musketeers head straight for the food while the Gnome stares grumpily at Boniface]
Iím sorry, I donít recall your name.

Gnome:

I met Peter in the salt mine.

Boniface:

You were at the wedding too, were you not?

Gnome:

It gets very lonely in the salt mine.
Peter wanders sadly through the forest.

Boniface:

You live in the forest?

Gnome:

No! In the city.

Boniface:

Youíre a metro gnome?

Gnome:

Humph! [Walks to the table. BrŁnhilde and other guests enter.]

Boniface:

BrŁnhilde! How are you this lovely day?

BrŁnhilde:

Fine!

Boniface:

Glad to hear it.

BrŁnhilde:

And where is your lovely daughter and her new groom?

Boniface:

Theyíll be here shortly, I presume.

BrŁnhilde:

Tell me if this is none of my business, but how did you arrive at the name Eggarol?

Boniface:

She is my only daughter and sixth child, and with six you get ...

BrŁnhilde:

... Eggarol! Oh, how charming! [Moves to banquet table]

[Enter Peter & Eggarol]

Boniface:

Ladies and gentlemen ... and gnomes ... Mister and Missus Peter Aereophagus!

[Guests applaud. Congratulations are extended all round. The celebration continues for a short time sans music.]

Boniface:

What kind of a wedding feast would this be without a dance from the lovely couple?
[To conductor] A choreography tune, maestro!

Conductor:

[Shuffles pages]
[Mutters]
Merde! …crivaillon.
[To Boniface] There is nothing in the score. How about a rehash of another work?

Boniface:

Thatíll do.

Conductor:

[To orchestra] Winds, percussion ó take five.

[Orchestra tunes. Peter and Eggarol pose as though to begin a minuet, but in the event they dance a sensual habaŮera. During the dance the guests watch with approval while Boniface busies humself pouring wine into goblets. All glasses are filled with a clear, white wine except one, which when the poison is added turns bright red. Also during dance puffs of smoke emanate from the pit as though the winds and percussion are smoking. Following the dance, the guests begin eating amongst general hubbub. Athos, Porthos, and Priest move to center stage.]

Athos:

[To Priest] Hoo! Boffo party. Some dance, eh?

Priest:

Indeed. Quite an exhibition of mortal depravity.

Porthos:

I think if I were given the chance, I could transpose that mortality into eternal bliss.
[To Athos] Did you get a look at those gams?

Athos:

Not as much as Iíd like.

Aramis:

[Joins group with a large turkey leg] What a feed!

Priest:

Yes, it is rather a handsome feast, isnít it?

Porthos:

You said it, revírun! More food than Iíve seen since the coronation.

Athos:

Hey, what happened to the music? Dang, I think the orchestra is just getting downright lethargic!

Priest:

Think, my son. If you had to play through two and a half hours of this drivel, youíd be wasted too.

Porthos:

Hey, Aramis! Why donít you help the poor schmucks out and start a song. Maybe that will inspire them.

Athos:

Capital idea! Go for it, Aramis.

Aramis:

[Wipes his mouth] Give me a G. [Athos blows a G on a pitchpipe]

Aramis, then Porthos, then Athos, followed by Chorus:

Food, food, glorious food!
Food is good for the soul.
Food, food, marvelous food!
Food makes the body grow,
itís good soul food!

Porthos:

All together now!

Full Chorus:

Food, food, glorious food!
Food is good for the soul.
Food, food, marvelous food!
Itís the best thing that we know!
Food, food, glorious food!

Boniface:

[Hands Peter the red goblet]
Here, Peter. Drink this.

Peter:

Okay. [Drinks, after which he emits a loud belch]

Chorus:

Oh, Peter!
That was really rather rural,
really rather rural,
really rather rural,
rural, rural, rural, rural, rural,
rural, rural, rural, rural, rural.
That was rural!

[Peter drops the goblet and falls to the floor writhing in pain. Eggarol rushes to his side.]

Eggarol:

Peter, whatís wrong?

Boniface:

Nothing, my dear. Itís just the excitement.

Eggarol:

Heís sick!

Boniface:

Donít worry. Heíll be better off soon.

Eggarol:

What have you done to him?
[Picks up and sniffs goblet] Heís been poisoned!
[Stands and points at Boniface] You did it! Murderer!

Boniface:

Silence, girl! Anyway, heís dead now.

Eggarol:

No, heís not!

Boniface:

Nonsense! Heís had enough poison to kill a whole herd of hippopotamuses.

Eggarol:

No! Never! Heís not going to die!
[Peter painfully clutches Eggarolís skirt]
Heís ... hanging on! [Jerks skirt from Peterís grasp]

Boniface:

[Kneels down to examine Peter]
Heís been in the salt mine so long that heís pickled!

[Peter cluches Bonifaceís collar and attempts to speak to him. He succeeds only in belching in Bonifaceís face. Boniface clutches his throat, swoons, and dies.]

Priest:

Itís clear, my dear, that Peterís dying.
I must hear his last confession.
[Kneels beside Peter and makes the sign of the Cross]
In nomine Patris, et Filii, etó

[Peter belches in Priestís face. Priest swoons and dies. Eggarol sits beside Peter and takes his head in her lap to comfort him. Guests gather round in a semicircle. Grim Reaper slowly make his entrance.]

Eggarol:

Peter, my one true love,
you, my shining star amidst the gloom,
my fairest consort, my groom.
Oh, do not leave me
without a final word.

Peter: [Belches the words:] Got any Rolaids?*

[All except Peter and Grim Reaper fall dead. Peter crawls to edge of stage, heaves, and dies.]

Grim Reaper:

It is clear
a lesson is to be learned here.
A tragedy, even a travesty,
must make people stop and think
so that theyíll not wink
at evil.
This has been fundamental
since history primeval ó
unless the play is transcendental.
Daughters, obey your fathers.
Fathers, provoke not your children to wrath,
for thusly hath
the prophets spake.
Men,
be not lured to sin
by lust.
You must
be less harried
when you are married.
Evil men may oft repent
of brutish intent,
but rarely can
the deeds they have done
be unbegun.
Those who think
should avoid strong drink,
lest you come to the brink
of disaster,
as plastered
people often do.
And neíer presume
to know what the morrow
may bring.
Our future is known
but to the stars.
The next moment is a mystery to all.
[Turns to exit but trips on a corpse, falling on his scythe]
Ow! It sucks to be me.
[Dies]

[The corpses lie still for ten measures, then one by one slwoly stir, stretch, yawn, and awaken.]

BrŁnhilde:

Ooo.

Dewayne:

What the...?

Dr. Chicano:

This is different.

Porthos:

Whatís going on?

Provocadora:

What happened?

Athos:

I donít think weíre in Kansas anymore.

Peter:

I donít understand.

Maid 1:

I donít feel so good.

Aramis:

Anyone for some hair of the dog?

Priest:

What a party!

Tolkien:

Oy!

Athos:

Blimey! What a root!

Maid 2:

Wait a minute!

Provocadora:

This is crazy.

Peter:

[Loudly] Can someone please explain whatís happened?

Boniface:

It would appear that the wine I bought at a discount was somewhat below standard.

Tolkien:

What proof do you have?

Dewayne:

[Sniffing an empty bottle] Iíd say at least sixty.

Peter:

[Helping Eggarol to her feet] Are you all right, my love?

Eggarol:

Oh, a bit woozy, but I think Iím all here.

Peter:

[To Boniface] I still donít follow.

Boniface:

Well, my boy, it would seem that we all had some bad wine and have suffered the consequence. Evidently we passed out midway through the celebration.

Peter:

Celebration?

Boniface:

Why, your wedding feast, of course. Donít you remember?

Peter:

I remember you trying to kill me.

Boniface:

Kill you? What in heavenís name are you talking about?

Peter:

[Looks confused] Yes, you poisoned me because I married Eggarol. You wanted her to marry Count Dewayne instead.

Tolkien:

Oy! That wine was stronger than we thought!

Boniface:

[Laughs] Youíve been dreaming, lad. Why should I try to marry Eggarol to Dewayne when he is happily married to the lovely BrŁnhilde? [Dewayne and BrŁnhilde wave]

Eggarol:

Peter, youíre not making sense.

Peter:

[To Boniface] So youíre not opposed to our marriage?

Boniface:

Opposed! Ye gods, no! It has taken me months to drag you out of the mine long enough to propose to her.

Peter:

Your mine ... but itís going broke.

Boniface:

I should say not. Under your capable management and Tolkien Jewís financial advisement, weíre showing a greater profit than ever.

Peter:

So this has all been a dream?

Athos:

Criminy! You mean this whole bloody spectacle has been just one wretched dream?

Aramis:

More like a nightmare.

Porthos:

Especially to our audience.

Athos:

Crikey! Just like ďDallasĒ!

Boniface:

Weíve been here for hours celebrating the blissful union between you two lovebirds. And I assure you, my son, you have my blessing, dear ones.

Peter:

Then it would seem I owe the audience an apology.
[To audience]
Dear friends, we thank you all for your attention,
And we trust our ending youíll not mention
When asked about this cunning farrago ó
Our conclusion, please, we must embargo.
But for your time most prodigally spent,
We pray you will, with kind consent,
Grant us your pardon and forgiveness anon
For this shameless and lengthy egregious paeon.
We came here together for musical verse,
But sadly ítis time we all must disperse.
Take one lesson vital tonight from this house:
Go home, undress, make love to your spouse.
Know the tranquility of love undisparaged;
Prove the nobility of consummate marriage.
Take flight from this world of sadness and woe,
And venture where mirth and serenity grow.

Full Chorus:

Meet them tonight in Everland.
Find fresh delights in Everland.
Youíll soar,
youíll score
in Ever-ever-ever-land,
thereís more
in store
in Ever-ever-ever-land.
Go meet your love in Everland.
Thereís nought above sweet Everland.
A kiss
is bliss
in Ever-ever-ever-land.
New joys await you there!

[General celebration ensues to the end]


[ END OF OPERA ]



*Rolaidsģ is a registered trade name of the Pfizer Consumer Group


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