COMMEDIA!

"The Comedy of Love and War"

                                                by Richard Nathan

Act II

SCENE ONE:

Scene One continues where we left off at the end of Act I.  We are in the parlor of Pantalone's house.  The Captain has just announced he intends that his daughter Isabella will wed King Brighella.  Isabella has fainted into Lelio's arms.  The servants Truff, Arlo and Smeraldina are aghast.  Pantalone tries to figure out how he can best profit from the situation.

                                                            LELIO
                                    How can you give your daughter to your sworn
                                    enemy?

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    He was only my enemy during the war.  Now that
                                    the war is over, we're allies. 

                                                            LELIO
                                    I thought you hated Zanniland!

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    I did, with a passion.  I lost my only son on the
                                    battlefield in the first war with Zanniland.  But
                                    now it's time to move on to new wars, with new 
                                    enemies to hate.  Zanniland and Commedia have
                                    changed from enemies to allies.  It happens all the
                                    time.

                                                            LELIO
                                    The war with Zanniland is only over because I took  
                                    Brighella prisoner.

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    That's King Brighella to you.

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    That's right.  Show some respect.

                                                            LELIO
                                    I captured him for you, to win your war for you!!!

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    That's right, you robbed me of the glory of beating 
                                    him myself.   

                                                            TRUFF
                                                        (under his breath)
                                    You couldn't beat a dead rat which was tied  
                                    to a stake.

                                                            PANTALONE
                                    What was that?

                                                            TRUFF
                                    I said, who wouldn't eat a red radish beside
                                    a lake?

                                                            ARLO
                                    I wouldn't.  I don't like radishes.

                                                            LELIO
                                    It doesn't matter what anyone says or does.  I'm
                                    going to marry Isabella!

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    Don't be absurd.  Why would I let her marry you 
                                    when she can marry a king and be queen of a
                                    kingdom?

                                                            LELIO
                                    Because we love each other!

The Captain pretends to weigh the value of love in one hand against the value of a kingdom in the other hand.

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    Let's see,... love... kingdom... love... kingdom...

Surprise!  Kingdom wins over love!

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    Sorry, kingdom wins!  Come, your Majesty, let's
                                    plan the nuptials.

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    Oh boy, nuptials!

Brighella says "nuptials" as though he thinks it means something sexual.  Exit the Captain and Brighella.  Pantalone calls after them.

                                                            PANTALONE
                                    Captain!  Perhaps you have a lucrative post in the
                                    government of Zanniland that you'd like to give to
                                    your old friend.  

Pantalone exits, following the Captain and Brighella.  Isabella moans, starting to regain consciousness.  Smeraldina decides to give Lelio and Isabella some privacy.

                                                            SMERALDINA
                                    I think they deserve a moment to themselves.

She pulls Truff and Arlo out of the room.  Lelio and Isabella gaze into each other's eyes before speaking.

                                                            LELIO
                                    Now everyone against us starts to scheme, 
                                    Like armies joining forces for a fight.

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    As raindrops merge together in one stream,
                                    The foes who fought each other now unite.

                                                            LELIO
                                    They join as allies to attack our love! 
                                    They think their greater numbers will prevail,
                                    Like scores of savage eagles 'gainst one dove!

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    But they can't win!  We know they're bound to fail. 
                                    For we'll outfight whatever odds we face
                                    And we'll endure our testings and our trials. 
                                    What matters is who finally wins the race.

                                                            LELIO
                                    And we can run a million times their miles. 
                                    We'll take whatever torments fate may send.

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    Because our love will triumph in the end.

They kiss.  Smeraldina enters, followed by Truff and Arlo.

                                                            SMERALDINA
                                    It's time to get to work.  I've got a plan.

                                                            LELIO
                                    I hope it works better than your last plan.

                                                            SMERALDINA
                                   My last plan captured Brighella, didn't it? 

                                                            ARLO
                                    Yeah.  It's not her fault the Captain is such a
                                    fat head.

Lelio cuffs Arlo.

                                                            LELIO
                                    You're talking about fat head of the woman
                                    I love.  I mean, father of the woman I love.

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    It's all right. I know he's a fat head.

                                                            SMERALDINA
                                    The fat head wants my lady to marry Brighella so she'll 
                                    be Queen of Zanniland and he'll be Lord Chamberlain. 
                                    So we must make sure someone else is crowned
                                    King of Zanniland in Brighella's place.  If Brighella is
                                    no longer King, he'll have nothing to offer the Captain,
                                    and the Captain will have no reason to let Brighella 
                                    marry Isabella!

                                                            LELIO
                                    That makes sense.

                                                            SMERALDINA
                                    You three have to go back to Zanniland and make
                                    sure someone replaces Brighella on the throne. 
                                    I'll stay here and see that the wedding doesn't take
                                    place while you're gone.

Lelio takes Isabella's hands and looks into her eyes.

                                                            LELIO
                                    Now I have to part from you again, and it feels like we
                                    just reunited.

                                                            TRUFF
                                    You did, about ten minutes ago.

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    Our parting is bitter, but the next reunion will be that 
                                    much the sweeter.

                                                            LELIO
                                    Come on, Truff, Arlo.  We've got to go back to
                                    Zanniland, and find a king to crown.

Blackout.

 

SCENE TWO:

The public square in the capitol city of Zanniland.  In the middle of the square is slapstick stuck in a stone.  Fichetto and Scapino, who wear bandages to cover their wounds from Act I, try to pull the slapstick from the stone, but they fail.  As Fichetto and Scapino exit, Lelio, Truff and Arlo enter.  The notice the slapstick in the stone, and go to investigate it.

                                                            ARLO
                                    What's this?

                                                            TRUFF
                                    Looks like some kind of stick stuck in a rock.

                                                            LELIO
                                    There's writing on the stone.  It says, "Whoso pulleth
                                    out this slapstick of this stone is rightwise king born of
                                    all Zanniland."  And there's something on the other
                                    side.  "Made in Bergamo."

As Lelio is reading, the DOCTOR enters.

                                                            DOCTOR
                                    Come to try your luck, have you?  Though "luck" isn't
                                    precisely the right word.  It's more a matter of fate, of
                                    predestination.  A man's fate will never change, though
                                    his luck may change as often as he changes his underwear.

                                                            ARLO
                                                        (to Truff)
                                    What makes him think I change my underwear?

                                                            LELIO
                                    Is it true what is says on this stone?  Is this how
                                    your king is chosen?

                                                            DOCTOR
                                    You must be strangers.  We've used this method
                                    to select our rulers for generations.

                                                            LELIO
                                    Inspired by King Arthur, no doubt.

                                                            DOCTOR
                                    Who?

                                                            LELIO
                                    Arthur, King of the Britons.  He was chosen as
                                    king because he pulled a sword from a stone.

                                                            DOCTOR
                                    They took that idea that from us!  But they used a
                                    sword instead of a slapstick.

                                                            LELIO
                                    I think the sword in the stone was first.

                                                            DOCTOR
                                    Nonsense.  You only have to say them to see
                                    which came first.  Sword in a stone, stick in a
                                    stone.  Stick in a stone is obviously
                                    preferable.  The repeating "st" sound' has much
                                    more ass...  ass....  what's the word for when 
                                    the consonants sound alike but the vowels sound 
                                    different, or sometime the vowels sound alike, 
                                    but the consonants are different.  It starts with
                                    ass... asson... 

                                                            TRUFF
                                    Asinine.

                                                            DOCTOR
                                    Thank you.   A stick in a stone is much more
                                    asinine.

                                                            LELIO
                                    But why choose your king this way?

                                                            DOCTOR
                                    We tried a hereditary monarchy and our kings were 
                                    tyrants and fools.  We tried elections and our rulers  
                                    were liars and scoundrels.  So we asked a wizard
                                    to build this for us.  The results are no worse than
                                    those achieved by any other method.   

                                                            LELIO
                                    Can anyone try, or only citizens of Zanniland?

                                                            DOCTOR
                                    Anyone may attempt it.

Lelio tries to pull out the slapstick, but it won't budge.  Truff tries to pull out the slapstick, but it won't budge.

                                                            DOCTOR
                                    Not many of our own citizens will try
                                    anymore.

Arlo tries to pull out the slapstick, and it comes out easily.  Lelio and Truff are busy looking at the doctor, and the doctor is looking away, so no one notices what Arlo has done.

                                                            DOCTOR
                                    I suppose that's because the King keeps being
                                    assassinated.

Arlo plunges the slapstick back into the stone before anyone can see he's pulled it out.

                                                            DOCTOR
                                    The problem is the stick usually recognizes more
                                    than one suitable King at a time, and all those who are 
                                    selected keep killing each other.  Over the past decade,   
                                    the average reign of the King of Zanniland has been 
                                    slightly less than two months.  However, things have
                                    been improving lately.  Because so few are willing to
                                    risk wearing the crown, the assassinations are less
                                    frequent.  They say the life expectancy of the next King
                                    should be greatly increased over the old averages.

Heartened, Arlo pulls the slapstick loose again.  Arlo starts to walk away from the stone, carrying the slapstick.

                                                            DOCTOR
                                    He might last as long as five or six months! 

Arlo leaps back to the stone and sticks the slapstick in.  This time, when he puts the slapstick in, it starts to pop out on its own.  Arlo has to lean upon the stick to keep it in the stone.

                                                            DOCTOR
                                    Our last king, King Brighella, lasted four months before
                                    he was assassinated.  Of course, the government is
                                    claiming he just disappeared one day, but I'm sure
                                    he was assassinated.

                                                            LELIO
                                  Sir, ...

The Doctor interrupts him.

                                                            DOCTOR
                                    Please address me by my proper title: doctor. 
                                    I am Doctor Baloardo, the most learned scholar
                                    in Zanniland.

The Doctor offers his hand to Lelio, and they shake hands.  Arlo manages to get the slapstick wedged securely in the stone.

                                                            LELIO
                                    Doctor, are there any untried candidates 
                                    who you think could pull out the slapstick?

                                                            DOCTOR
                                    It's hard to say.  No one has been able to
                                    ascertain exactly what qualities the magic finds
                                    kingly.  But if I were to choose, there is one
                                    man who is handsome, brave, generous,
                                    intelligent, a born leader - unfortunately he's in the
                                    dungeon serving a life sentence for moral turpitude.

                                                            LELIO
                                    Wouldn't that rule him out as King?

                                                            DOCTOR
                                    No, if he were King, he could pardon himself. 

                                                            TRUFF
                                    What did he do?

                                                            DOCTOR
                                    By his own count, he seduced four thousand
                                    six hundred and fifty-three young women.  So of 
                                    course we had no choice but to lock him up.  The
                                    odd thing is we weren't able to find a single woman
                                    who would  corroborate any of his seductions.
                                    Every single woman said he was an insufferable
                                    bonehead.

                                                            TRUFF
                                    What did the married women say?

                                                            LELIO
                                    What's his name?

                                                            DOCTOR
                                    He's called Scaramouche. 

                                                            LELIO
                                    May we see him?

                                                            DOCTOR
                                    Are any of you related to him?  Oh, no, you
                                    couldn't be.  He was a foundling, so there are
                                    no relatives.  The only way you could see him
                                    would be if you were to be imprisoned yourselves. 
                                    Have you committed any crimes?

Lelio, Truff and Arlo take a moment to whisper privately to each other.  Then they turn back to the Doctor.

                                                            LELIO
                                    What if we were to tell you we were Commedian
                                    spies?

                                                            DOCTOR
                                    I'd say that's a capital offense, punishable by
                                    death.

                                                            TRUFF
                                    Then it's a good thing we're not going to tell you
                                    that.

                                                            LELIO
                                    How many women did you say Scaramouche had
                                    confessed to seducing?

                                                            DOCTOR
                                    Four thousand six hundred and fifty three.

                                                            LELIO
                                    An amateur.  I've seduced five thousand this
                                    year alone.

                                                            TRUFF
                                    I seduced five thousand this past month!

                                                            ARLO
                                    I seduced five thousand this morning. 

Lelio and Truff give him a look of disbelief.

                                                            ARLO
                                    I think.  I might have lost track after the
                                    twins.   

                                                            DOCTOR
                                    Guards!  Take these degenerates and lock
                                    them up!

The Doctor looks around for guards, but there don't seem to be any guards within earshot at the moment.

                                                            TRUFF
                                    You only had one set of twins?

Truff is making an accusation that one set of twins isn't sufficient.

                                                            ARLO
                                    Did I say one set?  I just said twins.  I meant
                                    three sets of twins.  Six ladies.  I call them "the
                                    twins" for short.

                                                            DOCTOR
                                    You expect me to believe that you made love to
                                    three sets of twins at one time??????

                                                            ARLO
                                    Sure.

                                                            LELIO
                                    Of course!

                                                            TRUFF
                                    Any man who's never made love to three sets
                                    of twins at one time can't really call himself a
                                    man, can he?

                                                            LELIO
                                    Doctor, you don't mean to tell me that you've never
                                    made love to three sets of twins at one time, do you?

Lelio, Arlo and Truff giggle at the Doctor.  Enter Fichetto and Scapino.  The Doctor doesn't see them.

                                                            DOCTOR
                                    Who, me?  Of course I've made love to three sets
                                    of twins.  I was just surprised to hear that this
                                    fellow had done it!

The Doctor points at Arlo.  Fichetto and Scapino grab the doctor from behind.

                                                            FICHETTO
                                    Come along, you pervert!

                                                            SCAPINO
                                    You're under arrest!   

They start to march off with him.

                                                            DOCTOR
                                    No, they're the perverts!  They corrupted my
                                    thoughts.

                                                            LELIO
                                    It's true.  We're no less perverted than the
                                    Doctor.

Fichetto studies Lelio, Truff and Arlo, then he turns to Scapino.

                                                            FICHETTO
                                    Hey, don't these guys look like the spies we were
                                    questioning last week, when we got knocked out
                                    and Brighella disappeared?

Arlo, Truff and Lelio examine Fichetto and Scapino.

                                                            ARLO
                                    No, the guys who were questioning us didn't look
                                    anything like you.

                                                            TRUFF
                                    Definitely not.

                                                            SCAPINO
                                    It must have been somebody else then.       

                                                            ARLO
                                    But we are perverts!

Fichetto and Scapino take Lelio, Arlo, Truff and the Captain off-stage.

Blackout.

 

SCENE THREE:

Fichetto and Scapino push Lelio, Truff, Arlo and the Doctor into a dark dungeon cell.  Chained to a wall of the cell is SCARAMOUCHE.  He is dashing, but surprisingly short.  In attitude, he resembles Errol Flynn on even more uppers than the real Errol Flynn ever dreamed of taking.

                                                            SCARAMOUCHE
                                    More guests!  The more the merrier!  Ha ha!

                                                            ARLO
                                    Who is that?

                                                            SCARAMOUCHE
                                    Ha ha!  I am Scaramouche!  You may have caught  
                                    me up short, but I won't be caught up for long!

                                                            SCAPINO
                                    You've been saying that for five years!

                                                            SCARAMOUCHE
                                    Perhaps I am lulling you into a false sense of
                                    security!

                                                            FICHETTO
                                    We're lulled already!

                                                            SCARAMOUCHE
                                    Ha ha!  My plan is working perfectly!  I have
                                    you exactly where I want you.

                                                            FICHETTO                                               
                                    You new prisoners behave yourselves, or you'll be
                                    chained up like he is.

Fichetto and Scapino leave.  They leave, and once they are offstage, we hear the sound of the prison door slamming shut. 

                                                            SCARAMOUCHE
                                    What crimes did you commit to be thrown in here
                                    with me?

                                                            LELIO
                                    Nothing.  We only pretended we were guilty so we
                                    could rescue you, and make you king of Zanniland!

                                                            SCARAMOUCHE
                                    King Scaramouche!  An excellent plan!  I approve!

                                                            DOCTOR
                                    You mean, you didn't make love to three sets of twins?

                                                            LELIO
                                    Of course not!

                                                            ARLO
                                    Don't be ridiculous!

The Doctor looks at Truff, waiting for his answer.  Finally, Truff responds:

                                                            TRUFF
                                    Mind your own business.

The Doctor looks at Scaramouche.

                                                            DOCTOR
                                    Scaramouche, do you still claim that you made
                                    love to thousands of women?

                                                            SCARAMOUCHE
                                    I never claimed to have made love to thousands
                                    of women.  I said I seduced them.  I seduced
                                    them into lusting after me in their hearts, which is
                                    just as bad as making love to them.  I am guilty of
                                    making thousands of women want me carnally.  But, 
                                    on the other hand, who can blame them?

                                                            ARLO
                                    I heard that all the women said you were a bonehead.

                                                            SCARAMOUCHE
                                    Ah, the darlings, so shy they dare not confess how
                                    much they love me!

The Doctor turns back to Lelio.

                                                            DOCTOR
                                    What is your plan to rescue him?

                                                            LELIO
                                    We thought - once we were here - we'd think of
                                    something.

                                                            SCARAMOUCHE
                                    Ah!  That's my plan too!  Great minds think alike!
                                    Ha ha!

                                                            DOCTOR
                                    What about me?   I'm stuck in here, and I didn't do
                                    anything!

                                                            TRUFF
                                    What do you mean?  You were the one who called
                                    the guards!

                                                            DOCTOR
                                    But you wanted me to!

                                                            LELIO
                                    But you didn't know that!!!

                                                            SCARAMOUCHE
                                    Don't worry, my friends.  When I, Scaramouche,
                                    escape, I will bring all my friends with me to
                                    freedom.

Very, very long period where no one speaks.

                                                            LELIO
                                    These walls look very solid.

                                                            ARLO
                                    Do you ever get any earthquakes around here?

                                                            DOCTOR
                                    Not for as long as anyone can remember.

                                                            ARLO
                                    Maybe we're due.

Another very, very long period of silence.

                                                            LELIO
                                    I wish Smeraldina were here.

                                                            TRUFF
                                    Yeah, that would be fun.  But then they'd have a
                                    reason to lock us up.

                                                            LELIO
                                    No, I mean if she were here, she'd think of a way
                                    for us to escape!

                                                            DOCTOR
                                    Why do you wish someone else were here, when
                                     you have the finest mind in all Zanniland right next
                                     to you?

                                                            SCARAMOUCHE
                                    How perceptive of you to notice.  It's true, I am a
                                    genius.

                                                            DOCTOR
                                    I meant me!

                                                            LELIO
                                    All right.  What do you think we should do? 
                                    Should we try to convince them we're
                                    innocent?

                                                            DOCTOR
                                    No, it wouldn't matter that we haven't actually 
                                    done anything.  By bragging about our supposed
                                    sexual conquests, we've displayed a contempt for
                                    basic moral standards.  My countrymen take matters  
                                    of morality extremely seriously.  We always say, if
                                    one can't live morally, why bother living at all?
                                    If a man doesn't have honor, he has nothing! 
                                    That's what my countrymen believe.  It is how  
                                    they live their lives.  I'm afraid our chances are slim. 

                                                            TRUFF
                                    Hey guards!  Would you take a bribe to let
                                    us go?

Fichetto and Scapino run in as fast as they can.

                                                            FICHETTO
                                    How much?

                                                            TRUFF
                                    How about fifty scudi to let all five of
                                    us go?

                                                            SCAPINO
                                    A hundred scudi - and not a scudo less.

                                                            TRUFF
                                    We need to talk among ourselves.  Come
                                    back in a minute.

Fichetto and Scapino leave.  We hear the cell door slam shut.

                                                            TRUFF
                                    How much does everyone have?

Everyone counts their money and hands it to Truff.  Scaramouche, being chained to the wall, is unable to check his purse, so Truff checks it for him and takes his money.

                                                            LELIO
                                    I've got twenty-five scudi.

                                                            DOCTOR
                                    Here's thirty, but I want it paid back!

                                                            ARLO
                                    I have five.

                                                            SCARAMOUCHE
                                    I think I have ten, but you'll need to check my
                                    scudi bag for me.

                                                            TRUFF
                                    Together with what I've got, that's seventy-five scudi. 
                                    That should be enough.

He calls to the guards.

                                                            TRUFF
                                    Hey, guards, come here!

Fichetto and Scapino run in.

                                                            TRUFF
                                    You said you wanted a hundred scudi right?

                                                            SCAPINO
                                    That's right.  Not a scudi less.

                                                            TRUFF
                                    I'll tell you what.  I'll pay you half what I owe you
                                    now, and I'll pay you half what I owe you when
                                    you unchain Scaramouche.

                                                            FICHETTO
                                    You can pay us the whole thing when we unchain
                                    Scaramouche.

                                                            TRUFF
                                    I don't want to take advantage of you.   I'll pay you
                                    half of what I owe you now.  Half of a hundred
                                    scudi is fifty scudi.  Here's fifty scudi.

He pays them.

                                                            SCAPINO
                                    Now we'll unlock Scaramouche!

Scapino unlocks Scaramouche, who steps away from his chains.

                                                            TRUFF
                                    Now I'll pay you half what I owe you.  I owe you
                                    fifty scudi, and half of that is twenty-five scudi, so
                                    here's twenty-five scudi.

                                                            FICHETTO
                                    Wait a minute.  I though you owed us fifty scudi
                                    when we unchained Scaramouche!

                                                            TRUFF
                                    That's right, and our deal was that I'd pay you half 
                                    what I owed you when you unchained Scaramouche, 
                                    and half of fifty is twenty-five.

                                                            FICHETTO
                                    But we agreed it cost a hundred scudi to get out of here,    
                                    and all I've got is seventy-five!!!

                                                            TRUFF
                                    Is it my fault if you can't keep track of your money?

Scapino turns on Fichetto.

                                                            SCAPINO
                                    How could you lose twenty-five of our scudi!!!

Scapino slaps Fichetto on the forehead!

                                                            FICHETTO
                                    Can we run through that again?

                                                            TRUFF
                                    Sure, but first you have to give me back a hundred
                                    scudi.

                                                            FICHETTO
                                    What?

                                                            TRUFF
                                    You don't expect me to pay you twice!  I already
                                     paid you once.  If you want to run through it again,
                                    you've got to pay me back the whole bribe so I
                                    don't pay you twice.

                                                            SCAPINO
                                    Wait a minute!  We're not going to fall for that! 
                                    This time I'll be you, and you be the guard!

                                                            TRUFF
                                    Okay.  Let's start.  You have to pay me a hundred
                                    scudi to get out of the dungeon.

                                                            SCAPINO
                                    Okay, I'll pay you half now, and half when you 
                                    unlock Scaramouche!

                                                            TRUFF
                                    Scaramouche is already unlocked.   How about half 
                                    now, and half when I show you the key to the dungeon
                                    door?

                                                            SCAPINO
                                    Okay. 

                                                            TRUFF
                                    So - give me half now.

                                                            SCAPINO
                                    Here's fifty scudi.

He pays Truff.

                                                            TRUFF
                                    Now give me the key so I can show it to you.

Scapino gives Truff the key to the dungeon.  Truff takes the key and shows it to Scapino.

                                                            TRUFF
                                    Now give me half of what you owe me.  You
                                    owed me a hundred scudi before and fifty now.  A
                                    hundred plus fifty are a hundred and fifty scudi.

                                                            SCAPINO
                                    Don't forget to divide by two!  I only pay you half when
                                    you show me the key!

                                                            TRUFF
                                    That's right.  I can't fool you.  Half of a hundred and 
                                    fifty is seventy-five.  So you only owe me another
                                    seventy-five scudi.

                                                            SCAPINO
                                    I thought I only owed you fifty!  Where did the other
                                    twenty-five come from?

                                                            TRUFF
                                    You remember how you hit your partner for losing
                                    twenty-five scudi?  Well, you just found it. 

                                                            SCAPINO
                                    I knew it!  I told you there were twenty-five
                                    scudi missing!

                                                            TRUFF
                                    Yeah, you were right, all right.  Nothing gets by  
                                    you!  So that's seventy-five scudi you owe me.

Scapino hands Truff seventy-five scudi, giving him a total of one hundred twenty-five scudi, plus the key to the dungeon.

                                                            TRUFF
                                    So long.  It's been a pleasure doing business 
                                    with you.

Truff motions for the others to follow, and he exits with Lelio, Arlo, the Doctor and Scaramouche.

                                                            SCAPINO
                                    I guess I showed him!

We hear the dungeon door slam shut.

Blackout.

 

SCENE FOUR:

The public square in the capitol city of Zanniland, with the slapstick stuck in the stone.  Lelio, Truff, Arlo, the Doctor and Scaramouche enter. 

                                                            LELIO
                                    There it is, Scaramouche.  All you have to do
                                    is pull out the slapstick, and you'll be king!

Scaramouche dramatically approaches the slapstick, puts his hand on the grip, then seems to hesitate.

                                                            SCARAMOUCHE
                                    You know, it really seems too simple.  I can't help
                                    feeling there must be a dragon to be defeated, an
                                    army to be vanquished. 

                                                            LELIO
                                    Just pull out the stick.

                                                            SCARAMOUCHE
                                    Are you sure that people won't think it was too
                                    simple for me?  I am sure there must be other
                                    countries where there are more heroic ways to
                                    become the king.  Perhaps we should go there.     

                                                            DOCTOR
                                    Just take it out before someone comes to arrest
                                    us!

                                                            SCARAMOUCHE
                                    It seems to be stuck.  Maybe it got rusted the 
                                    last time it rained.

Now we can tell that Scaramouche has been trying to pull out the slapstick.  Now he tries with both hands.  The stick won't budge.  Lelio turns to the doctor.

                                                            LELIO
                                    I thought you said he could do it!

                                                            DOCTOR
                                    I said he seemed like a good candidate to me!  I
                                    never said the magic would be as discerning as
                                    I am.

Scaramouche is trying harder and harder to pull out the stick, without success.  Enter Scapino and Fichetto!

                                                            SCAPINO
                                    You're under arrest for fraud!

                                                            FICHETTO
                                    Yeah.  We paid you good money to let us
                                    out, and you locked us in.

                                                            TRUFF
                                    So what are you doing here!

                                                            SCAPINO
                                    The joke's on you!  That lock is broken!

Scapino and Fichetto shake hands to congratulate each other, as Lelio, Truff, the Doctor and Scaramouche look on.  As everyone else's attention is captured by Scapino and Fichetto, Arlo grabs the slapstick underneath the grip where Scaramouche is still holding it, and pulls it gently out of the stone.  Then he lets it go.  No one notices what he's done.

                                                            ARLO
                                    Look!  He pulled it out!

As Scapino and Fichetto enter, everyone sees that Scaramouche is holding the slapstick free from the confines of the stone!

                                                            SCARAMOUCHE
                                    Ha ha!  How could you have doubted me?  I am
                                    King!

He attacks Scapino and Fichetto with the slapstick.  He repeatedly whacks them!  They retreat and then bow down in submission.

                                                            FICHETTO
                                    Don't hit us any more!

                                                            SCAPINO
                                    We surrender!

                                                            SCARAMOUCHE
                                    Ha ha!  All give way before the might of King
                                    Scaramouche.  I like this slapstick! 

Scaramouche is enjoying the slapstick so much that he threatens his allies with in.  Lelio, Truff, Arlo and the Doctor all back away from him and bow down.

                                                            DOCTOR
                                    Your Majesty, now that you've shown you are
                                    entitled to be King, it is customary to put the
                                    slapstick back in the stone.

Scaramouche whacks the stone with the slapstick.  The stone crumbles apart.

                                                            DOCTOR
                                    That could make it difficult to select the next king.

                                                            SCARAMOUCHE
                                    No, it will be easy.  We will get our next king the
                                    old fashioned, traditional way.

                                                            DOCTOR
                                    Assassination?

                                                            SCARAMOUCHE
                                    No.  By having babies!    My babies!  Ha ha!

                                                            ARLO
                                    It's nice that he's able to see the humor in every
                                    situation.

                                                            LELIO
                                    Your Majesty knows, of course, that a heroic
                                    king must use his slapstick to hit villains only.

                                                            SCARAMOUCHE
                                    Exactly!  As I am a heroic king, anyone I hit with my
                                    slapstick must be a villain!   Find me some villains!

                                                            LELIO
                                    I know of a terrible villain - he is about to force a
                                    beautiful young woman to marry him!

                                                            SCARAMOUCHE
                                    And no doubt you want me to marry her instead? 

                                                            LELIO
                                    No!  Only a genuine princess would be a suitable
                                    bride for your majesty.  In fact, I love the woman
                                    in question and hope to marry her myself.

                                                            SCARAMOUCHE
                                    Aren't you concerned that she will fall in love with
                                    me when I rescue her?

                                                            LELIO
                                    I'll take the risk.  The villain is Brighella, the former
                                    king of Zanniland.  The woman's father wants her
                                    to marry Brighella, because he believes 
                                    Brighella is still a king.  But if the father learns you are  
                                    now the king, he will stop the marriage!  You will have
                                    defeated the villain, and I can marry Isabella.

                                                            SCARAMOUCHE
                                    Yes, I must go to Commedia and defeat my enemy! 
                                    But as a favor to you, my friend, I will not let the woman
                                    get a good look at my face.  That way, she is less
                                    likely to fall in love with me.  When shall we leave
                                    for Commedia?

                                                            DOCTOR
                                    But you haven't had your coronation yet!

                                                            SCARAMOUCHE
                                    True, I can't announce I am King of Zanniland before
                                    I have been crowned.   First I will be crowned, then
                                    I will go to Commedia and save the girl.

                                                            LELIO
                                    Thank you, your Majesty.

Lelio turns to Truff and Arlo.

                                                            LELIO
                                    You two have to go back home and tell Isabella and
                                    Smeraldina to keep stalling the wedding.  I'll stay here
                                    and make sure the coronation goes smoothly.  Tell them
                                    I'll arrive with the new King of Zanniland in a few more
                                    days!

                                                            TRUFF
                                    You can count on us!

Truff and Arlo race off.

                                                            SCARAMOUCHE
                                    Come!  Let us arrange for my coronation!

Scaramouche leads the Doctor and Lelio off stage, leaving Scapino and Fichetto.

                                                            SCAPINO
                                    Did you hear that?  Brighella is still alive!  He's in
                                    Commedia!

                                                            FICHETTO
                                    So?   We've got a new king!

                                                            SCAPINO
                                    Yeah, but I don't know how nice he's going to be to
                                    the two guards who kept him prisoner for five years. 
                                    We'd be better off if we could get Brighella to come
                                    back and be our king.

                                                            FICHETTO
                                    You're right!  We better go to Commedia and find him!

Blackout!   

                                   

THE END OF ACT II

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COMMEDIA!

 

2004 by Richard Nathan.  All rights reserved

The author grants all internet uses to print these scripts for their own, personal, non-commercial use.  No other use may be made without the author's permission.  Without limiting the foregoing, the plays may not be staged without the author's express  permission.

Send e-mail to the author at Richard-Nathan@att.net.