COMMEDIA!

"The Comedy of Love and War"

                                                by Richard Nathan

Act III

SCENE ONE:

Scene One takes place in  the parlor of Pantalone's house.  The Captain is berating his daughter Isabella.

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    Isabella, you refuse to show Brighella any
                                    kindness, the only time you speak to him
                                    is when you insult him, and you never
                                    allow him to touch even your hand.  Do you
                                    think that's the way a woman should treat 
                                    the man she is going to marry?

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    Certainly, if the man is an uncouth buffoon, as 
                                    charming as a rabid dog, as attractive as a
                                    festering sore, and as endearing as a dead skunk.

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    I sense you're afraid your love for Brighella won't
                                    last.

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    It won't last because it never started!  It doesn't
                                    exist.  It never will exist.  I don't love him.  It would
                                    be impossible for me to ever love him.

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    I sense you're telling me you don't love him.  Can we
                                    at least agree that you like him?

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    If he were dying, and if all I had to do to save
                                    his life was to lift my little finger, I would not lift
                                    it!  I would cut it off, smash it with a club, cut it 
                                    into bits with an axe, burn the bits, and bury
                                    the ashes six feet underground to make certain I
                                    would not accidentally lift my little finger!

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    I understand.  You don't like your little finger.  But
                                    do you like Brighella?

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    No!

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    Could you could learn to like him?

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    I'd sooner like being whipped.

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    There are people who like to be whipped.  So 
                                    there is hope.

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    I will never like him and I will never marry him!

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    I pledged you to Brighella!  I lost my only son in the
                                    war with Zanniland, but if I can make my peace with
                                    the king of Zanniland, the least you can do is marry him. 
                                    If you won't marry him, you'll dishonor me.  If you dishonor
                                    me, I'll have to fall upon my sword.

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    Are you threatening to kill yourself, or telling me you're  
                                    clumsy?

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    You leave me no choice but to kill myself.  I'll give
                                    you three chances to change your mind.  If you 
                                    don't, I will fall upon my sword and die!

The Captain takes out his sword and sharp end at the floor and the handle at his stomach.

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    You need to turn it around the other way!

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    Don't you tell me how to commit suicide!  I'm a
                                    soldier.  Now  remember, you have only three  
                                    chances to cooperate!   One...

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    I won't do it!

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    Two... 

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    I won't do it!

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    Three...

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    I won't do it!

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    Then neither will I!!!

The Captain throws down his sword.  Enter Pantalone with a scroll.

                                                            PANTALONE
                                    Captain!  The King has responded to the wedding
                                    invitation.

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    I would hope so.  He's the groom.

                                                            PANTALONE
                                    Not Brighella!  Our king, Carlo the king of
                                    Commedia!  He's delighted you've arranged
                                    a marriage to end the war with Zanniland!

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    You hear that, daughter?  Now you have to
                                    marry Brighella!

                                                            PANTALONE
                                    King Carlo doesn't think he can attend because he's 
                                    busy hunting pirates.  He always hunts pirates at
                                    this time of year.  But he is sending the Queen
                                    to represent the royal family!

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    When is she arriving?

Pantalone scans further down the scroll, looking for the answer to the Captain's question.

                                                            PANTALONE
                                    It says we can probably expect her highness on
                                    Saturday.  That's today!  And she wants us
                                    to have the wedding on Sunday!  That doesn't
                                    give us much time!  She can't expect a big
                                    expensive meal on such short notice.

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                                    (shouting)
                                    Brighella!  Brighella!

Brighella enters.

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    What's all the shouting about, Pops?

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    The Queen of Commedia is coming to your wedding!

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    Is she bringing a present?  I don't want any guests
                                    let in without a present!

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    I'm sure she'll bring something delightful.

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    She better, cause if I don't like her gift, she can't have   
                                    any food.  Or drinks.  Have you ever noticed the real
                                    lushes always bring the worst presents?  Which
                                    reminds me, when are Isabella and me getting hitched,
                                    anyway?

                                                            PANTALONE
                                    The Queen expects to attend the nuptials on
                                    Sunday.

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    Oh no!  She can come to the wedding, but the nuptials
                                    are strictly private!

                                                            PANTALONE
                                    Nuptials means the wedding.  The ceremony is called
                                    the nuptials.

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    In that case, she can come.  Right, sweetie?

He gives Isabella a swat on the rear.  She pulls back her fist to punch him in the gut, but Pantalone and the Captain grab hold of her arms and restrain her.  Enter Smeraldina.

                                                            SMERALDINA
                                    There are two morons here to see the stupid oaf.

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    That's no way to talk about my future son-in-law!

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    How did you know she meant him?

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    It's obvious!

                                                            PANTALONE
                                    I thought she meant my son!   But I don't know 
                                    where he's gone off to.

Enter Scapino and Fichetto.  They bow before Brighella.

                                                            SCAPINO & FICHETTO
                                    Your majesty! 

                                                            PANTALONE
                                    I see two noblemen have come from your court!

                                                            BRIGHELLA,
                                                            SCAPINO & FICHETTO
                                                    (together)
                                    Where?

Brighella, Scapino, & Fichetto look around for the noblemen.  Pantalone indicates he was referring to Scapino and Fichetto.

                                                            PANTALONE
                                    Aren't these noblemen from your court?

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    Right.  These are my finest noblemen!

                                                            PANTALONE
                                    Are they perhaps viscounts?

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    Viscounts?

                                                            FICHETTO
                                    Viscounts?

                                                            SCAPINO
                                    Vhy not?

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    Right.  This is Fichetto, the Viscount of Monte Three-
                                    Card, and this is Scapino, the Viscount To-Ten.

                                                            FICHETTO
                                    Your majesty, we've got to talk to you right away. 
                                    In private.

                                                            SCAPINO
                                    Without anyone else around.

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    You'll excuse us, won't you? 

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    Of course.

Isabella, the Captain, Pantalone and Smeraldina exit.   Scapino and Fichetto start to follow Smeraldina, but Brighella grabs them.  

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    What's up?

                                                            FICHETTO
                                    Three guys from Commedia and that know-it-all
                                    Doctor helped Scaramouche get out of the
                                    dungeon!

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    How'd they do that?

                                                            SCAPINO
                                    They didn't bribe us!!!

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    How much didn't they bribe you with?

                                                            SCAPINO
                                    A hundred scudi.

Brighella slaps Scapino on the forehead.

                                                            FICHETTO
                                    You haven't heard the worst part!  Scaramouche
                                    pulled the slapstick out of the stone, and now he's
                                    going to be the new king of Zanniland.  And two 
                                    guys who helped him escape came back here to
                                    spoil your wedding! 

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    I bet those guys are the same ones who captured me!
                                    They were working with that servant girl, Smeraldina.  
                                    If anyone here can spoil my wedding, it's her!

                                                            FICHETTO
                                    You don't give yourself enough credit!

                                                            SCAPINO
                                    That's right!  If anyone can spoil your
                                    wedding, it's you!

Brighella slaps Scapino on the forehead.

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    We need to find out Smeraldina's plans.  You two  
                                    hide!  I'll get her and Isabella to come in here, and you 
                                    can spy on them and find out what they're up to!

Fichetto and Scapino hide wherever they can find hiding places on the stage.  Brighella calls to Isabella.

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    Hey, Isabella!

Smeraldina enters.

                                                            SMERALDINA
                                    Isabella has nothing to say to you.

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    Good.  I like a woman who keeps her mouth shut. 
                                    I just wanted to let you know my friends have left,
                                    and I'm going for a walk, so you and Isabella can have
                                    this room all to yourself, if you like.

Smeraldina just stares at him.

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    So, I guess I'll be going.  I'll be gone for at least an
                                    hour.  There's nothing I enjoy so much as a nice
                                    long walk!

                                                            SMERALDINA
                                    I don't see anyone keeping you here.

Brighella exits.   Smeraldina calls to her allies.

                                                            SMERALDINA
                                    It's all right!  He's gone.

Isabella, Truff and Arlo enter.

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    What can we do?  The Queen wants me to 
                                    marry Brighella!  And she's coming here for
                                    the wedding.  She's expected today!

                                                            ARLO
                                    Lelio will be here as soon as he gets the new
                                    king crowned.                                   

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    But what if the Queen gets here first?  How can I
                                    change her mind about Brighella?

                                                            SMERALDINA
                                    We don't have to change the Queen's mind, if we
                                    can change the Queen!

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    What?

                                                            SMERALDINA
                                    No one here has ever met the Queen, right?  So I'll
                                    disguise myself, pretend to be the Queen, and then as
                                    the Queen, I'll order you not to marry Brighella!

                                                            TRUFF
                                    What if the Queen shows up while you're doing
                                    your act? 

                                                            SMERALDINA
                                    You and Arlo have to watch out for her.  Go quickly! 
                                    If  you see her coming, tell the Queen this house is
                                    quarantined because of the plague!

Arlo and Truff start to leave, but Smeraldina stops them.

                                                            SMERALDINA
                                    Hey!  Why aren't you two fighting over me?

                                                            ARLO
                                    That's right!

                                                            TRUFF
                                    In all the excitement, we forgot!

Arlo and Truff try to kill each other, but Smeraldina stops them.

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    Later!  Go watch out for the Queen!

Arlo and Truff exit. 

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    What if someone recognizes you?

                                                            SMERALDINA
                                    I'm a master of disguise.  I guarantee no one will know 
                                    it's me.  But we have to move fast.  Come help me get
                                    ready!

Smeraldina and Isabella go of to another room.  A moment after they've gone, Scapino and Fichetto come out from their hiding places.  Fichetto goes to where Brighella exited and whistles.  A moment later, Brighella enters.

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    Did you learn her plans?

                                                            FICHETTO
                                    Yeah, she's going to disguise herself as the Queen!  
                                    But then the two guys are going to tell her the
                                    house is quarantined with the plague to keep her
                                    away.  And so when she stays away, you can go
                                    ahead and get married after all!

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    That's her plan?

                                                            SCAPINO
                                    Yeah!

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    That doesn't make any sense!!!

                                                            SCAPINO
                                    I guess she isn't as clever as you thought she was!   

Brighella slaps Scapino on the forehead.

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    Neither are you!  There must be some reason why
                                    she'd want to be told not to come here...

Scapino and Fichetto try to figure out a reason.

                                                            FICHETTO
                                    Some reason why she'd want to stay away...

                                                            SCAPINO
                                    Some reason she'd want to be warned of the plague...

They all to the same conclusion, simultaneously!

                                                            BRIGHELLA, FICHETTO
                                                            & SCAPINO
                                    The plague!!! 

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    Wait a minute!  If the plague was here, wouldn't
                                    someone be sick?  Has anyone seen any
                                    symptoms?

                                                            FICHETTO
                                    You don't look so good.  Your skin looks kind
                                    of gray  The bags under your eyes have bags.  And
                                    your breathe smells like a rat's armpit.

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    Sounds like the plague!  When did you first notice
                                    these changes?

                                                            FICHETTO
                                    What changes?

Brighella slaps Fichetto on the forehead.

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    What we need is a doctor!  What would you do if
                                    you were a doctor and I had the plague?

                                                            FICHETTO
                                    Stay as far away from you as possible!

                                                            SCAPINO
                                    Hey, that's not how doctors behave!  They're sworn
                                    to help the sick, to aid humanity.  Even if someone
                                    had a deadly, contagious disease, a doctor would 
                                    be the last person to stay away!

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    You sound like you know what you're talking about! 
                                    If you were a doctor, and I had the plague, what
                                    would you tell me to do?

                                                            SCAPINO
                                    Pay in advance!

Brighella slaps Scapino on the forehead.

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    Wait a minute.  If this house was really infected with
                                    the plague, why would Smeraldina leave her friends
                                    here? 

                                                           SCAPINO
                                    But she sent those two guys to warn the Queen away. 
                                    And Smeraldina said she was going to pretend to be
                                    the Queen.

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    You morons!  She sent those guys to warn the real
                                    Queen to stay away! She wants to be sure the only
                                    Queen who shows up here today is her, Smeraldina!

Brighella slaps both Scapino and Fichetto on their foreheads.  Enter the Captain.

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    Good news, your Majesty!  The Queen of Commedia
                                    has arrived.

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    Show her in!  Show her in!

The Captain exits.  Brighella turns to Scapino and Fichetto.

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    This will be Smeraldina in disguise!

Enter the QUEEN with the Captain.  This is not Smeraldina in disguise; it's the real Queen of Commedia.  However, she should be played by an actress who resembles the actress playing Smeraldina enough so that the idea that this might be Smeraldina in disguise would be credible to a group of morons.

                                                            QUEEN
                                    Which of you is the King of Zanniland?

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    That would be me.  Which of you is Queen of
                                    Commedia?

Both the Queen and the Captain are shocked by this effrontery.

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    Aw, I'm just kidding.  How ya doing, toots?

                                                            QUEEN?
                                    Toots?  Did you call me "Toots"?

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    What's the matter, Queenie?  Haven't you
                                    ever had anyone act friendly to you before? 
                                    Listen, you do what I tell you, and you'll
                                    have more pals than a cat has fleas!

The Queen turns to the Captain.

                                                            QUEEN
                                    Why didn't you tell me this king was deranged? 
                                    One can deal with deranged kings if necessary,
                                    it happens in the best of royal families, but one
                                    prefers to be warned beforehand.   

Fichetto pulls Scapino and Brighella aside to speak with them privately..

                                                            FICHETTO
                                    I don't think that's Smeraldina!

                                                            SCAPINO
                                    Of course it is!  She said she was a master of disguise! 
                                    And if she's really a Queen, where are all her guards and
                                    ladies in waiting? 

                                                            FICHETTO
                                    Yeah, but....

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    Shut up and leave this to me. 

Brighella turns back to the Queen.

                                                            QUEEN
                                    King Brighella, in your country, is it not customary for
                                    men to kneel when a Queen enters the room?

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    You heard the Queen, you saps!  Down on your knees!

Fichetto and Scapino bow.

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    Sorry, Queenie, these bums don't know how to show
                                    the proper respect to royalty like us.  Which reminds me,
                                    shouldn't a Queen like you have lots of beautiful ladies
                                    in waiting?  Why don't you bring them out?  We were just
                                    saying we could use a few good looking dames around here. 

                                                            QUEEN
                                    King Brighella, I can forgive your insanity, but the
                                    disparagement of my royal personage approaches
                                    the intolerable.

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    I didn't mean to suggest you were intolerable.  If 
                                    you took off about a pound of that make-up, you
                                    might do in a pinch!

                                                            QUEEN
                                     A what????

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    A pinch!  You know what a pinch is, don't you?

He reaches behind her and gives her a pinch.  She squeals!  Unnoticed by Brighella, the real Smeraldina, Truff and Arlo enter together and watch.

                                                            QUEEN
                                    I cannot believe you would lay your hand 
                                    upon me!

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    Yeah, lots of women are afraid I won't touch them. 
                                    You must think this is your lucky day!

He pinches her again, and she squeals again.

                                                            QUEEN
                                    Do you realize who I am?

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    You bet I do!  Now go get me some beer, like a
                                     good serving wench!

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    Your Majesty, please forgive us all.  I'm sure there's
                                    been some dreadful mistake.

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    Yeah, and the mistake's all hers.  Watch what
                                    happens when I take off that ridiculous wig!

Brighella grabs the Queen's hair and tries to pull it off.  The Queen yelps in pain.  Smeraldina decides it is time for her to speak up.

                                                            SMERALDINA
                                    I don't think it's coming off, Brighella.

Brighella stops, horrified!  The Queen looks at him enraged.

                                                            QUEEN
                                    I will not permit you to marry a Commedian girl.  I will not
                                    permit you to breathe our Commedian air.  Perhaps if  
                                    I start to feel more lenient than I am feeling now, I will
                                    permit you to be buried in our Commedian dirt.  But
                                    it is more likely, that I will feed your corpse to our
                                    Commedian wolves!

The Queen spins on her heels, and marches out of the room!  The Captain runs after her. 

                                                            SMERALDINA
                                    She seems angry!

Brighella turns on Fichetto and Scapino.

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    You nitwits told me you heard Smeraldina say
                                    she was going to disguise herself as the Queen!

                                                            SMERALDINA
                                    They heard what I wanted them to hear.  Do you think
                                    we didn't see them hiding in the room?  I guess this
                                    means an end to your marriage to Isabella!

                                                            TRUFF
                                    I wouldn't stick around here if I were you.  You
                                    might catch the plague!

Smeraldina, Truff and Arlo exit.  Brighella fumes at Fichetto and Scapino.

                                                            FICHETTO
                                    I tried to warn you that wasn't Smeraldina!

                                                            SCAPINO
                                    How did you know?

                                                            FICHETTO
                                    I knew her years ago.

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    You knew the Queen of Commedia?

                                                            FICHETTO
                                    No!  I knew her back when she was Flavia, the
                                    tavern-keeper's daughter.

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    Tavern-keeper's daughter!  Are you sure?

                                                            FICHETTO
                                    Absolutely.  Roberto the tavern-keeper!

Enter the Captain.

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    This is awful.  The Queen's guards have
                                    surrounded the house.  She says you'll never
                                    leave this place alive.

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    Don't worry about a thing, Pops.  You just
                                    tell the Queen I have a message for her from
                                    Roberto the tavern-keeper!   She'll
                                    understand.

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    A tavern keeper!  Are you sure that won't make
                                    things worse?

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    Trust me, Pops.  Everything's going to be just fine!

The Captain exits.

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    This could work out even better than we planned!

                                                            FICHETTO
                                    Yeah!  What was our plan?

                                                            SCAPINO
                                    To tell the Queen we had the plague!

                                                            FICHETTO
                                    Oh yeah!

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    You half-wits!  That was Smeraldina's plan!

                                                            FICHETTO
                                    Well, if it was good enough for her...

He is interrupted by the entrance of the Queen, who glares at them. 

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    Hey, Flavia, how's your dad the tavern-keeper these
                                    days?

                                                            QUEEN
                                    I have no idea what you are talking about, you revolting
                                    insect!

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    This half-wit here claims you're Flavia, the daughter of
                                    Roberto, the tavern-keeper.

                                                            QUEEN
                                    Who cares what half-wits claim?

                                                            FICHETTO & SCAPINO
                                    Other half-wits.

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    There are an awful lot of half-wits in the world.

                                                            FICHETTO
                                    Yeah, and we listen to each other.

                                                            QUEEN
                                    I doubt anyone would listen to you after I had you
                                    beheaded!

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    Sure, you could cut off his head, but some other half-wit
                                    would rise up and take his place, and then another, and
                                    another, and soon there would be an army of half-wits
                                    out there, shoulder to shoulder, ready to march in
                                    unison...

Fichetto and Scapino try to demonstrate marching in unison, but one keeps falling out of step with the other.

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    Okay, maybe not in unison.  Half-wits have trouble  
                                    marching in unison.  But they'll be marching side by side!

                                                            FICHETTO
                                    Together!  United!

                                                            SCAPINO
                                    Millions of us!

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    There's no end to the half-wits of the world!  And they'll
                                    tell each other you're the tavern keeper's daughter!

                                                            QUEEN
                                    What is it you want from me?

                                                            FICHETTO
                                    Simple, your highness.  If you can't beat the half-wits, 
                                    join them!  Make us your allies.  Recognize Brighella 
                                    as the King of Zanniland, and every half-wit at his
                                    command will be devoted to you.

                                                            QUEEN
                                    For a half-wit, you make a surprising amount of sense!

                                                            SCAPINO
                                    So you're one of us?

                                                            QUEEN
                                    I'll never be one of you, but I'll support your cause, if you'll
                                    support mine.  My husband the King and our people
                                    believe I'm a princess from a far-off land.  If you don't say
                                    anything to disabuse them of their notions, I'll support you.

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    Thanks, Queenie!  Fichetto, go tell everyone the wedding is
                                    back on.  In fact, tell them it's been moved up to this
                                    afternoon!  

Fichetto exits.

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    There's one more thing.  There's a guy named
                                    Scaramouch who may show up claiming to be the new
                                    king of Zanniland.  If he tries to get in here, you've got to 
                                    arrest him as an enemy of Commedia.  That way, I stay
                                    King and Zanniland remains your loyal ally.

                                                            QUEEN
                                    Very well.  Give his description to my guards and tell
                                    them to arrest him on sight. 

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    And anyone who's with him!

                                                            QUEEN
                                    And tell them to arrest anyone with this Scaramouche.

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                                    (to Scapino)
                                    You heard the Queen!  Go tell her guards.

Scapino exits.

                                                            QUEEN
                                    But if you or any of your friends so much as breathes a  
                                    word about my being a tavern-keepers daughter, I'll have   
                                    your heads on pikes!

Brighella react to the threat.  He decides to change the subject.

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    Let's start getting ready for the wedding.  What do we
                                    need?

                                                            QUEEN
                                    Has the priest arrived?

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    I don't think so.  I'll go see if I can dig up a priest!

Exit Brighella.  As soon as he is gone, Isabella enters and falls to her knees in front of the Queen.

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    Your Majesty, tell me it isn't true!  You're not going to
                                    force me to marry Brighella, are you?

                                                            QUEEN
                                    He is a king, Isabella, and marrying him will bring peace
                                    between our countries.

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    But I love someone else!

                                                            QUEEN
                                    I am sorry, but you must do as your father and your
                                    Queen command!.

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    I know I owe allegiance to the crown. 
                                    My father too deserves my deep respect. 
                                    I'm not a fool who can't tell up from down. 
                                    For chaos reigns when order we neglect. 
                                    The rabbit does not bid the lion run. 
                                    The sparrow does not rule the eagle's lair.  
                                    The snowflake does not seek to freeze the sun.  
                                    The lesser can't the greater overbear. 
                                    But nothing overbears the love that gives
                                    A purpose for my heart to stay alive. 
                                    Without the heart the body can not live. 
                                    Without my love, my heart will not survive.
                                    And so the power of love grows greater still
                                    Than all the power of any tyrant's will.

Isabella starts to exit, but before she can leave the room, the Queen stops her.

                                                            QUEEN
                                    Wait!  You've claimed you'll die without the man
                                    you love.  What about all the people who will die
                                    if your marriage doesn't end the war between
                                    Commedia and Zanniland?

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    A new king is being crowned in Zanniland, and he's
                                    coming here!  Wait until he arrives, and you can
                                    make peace with him!

                                                            QUEEN
                                    What if the Zannies crown yet another king while your
                                    new king is here?  The Zannies are far too
                                    accommodating to the usurpers.  That sort of behavior
                                    sets a poor example to our own people.  No, if there is to
                                    be any peace and order, the Zannies must accept Brighella
                                    and submit to his rule and his alliance with Commedia. 
                                    As your Queen, I order you to marry Brighella, for
                                    the good of both our kingdoms!

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    But...

                                                            QUEEN
                                    I have spoken!  I will not change my mind!

Pantalone runs in and kneels.

                                                            PANTALONE
                                    Your Majesty, your husband the King has
                                    arrived!

Enter Carlo, the KING of Commedia.  Isabella kneels.  The Queen is surprised to see her husband.

                                                            QUEEN
                                    Carlo!  I thought you were hunting pirates!

                                                            KING
                                    We couldn't find any!  After the record numbers we
                                    killed last year, they must have decided to leave
                                    Commedia for good!  We searched the length and
                                    breadth of the Kingdom, and there wasn't a sign of
                                    pirates, not so much as an eye patch or a parrot to be
                                    found!

                                                            QUEEN
                                    That seems odd.  Commedia has always been troubled
                                    with pirates.

                                                            KING
                                    Not any more.  My finest pirate hunters searched
                                    everywhere!  Take my word for it.  There are no  
                                    pirates left in Commedia.

Enter Fichetto, Scapino and Brighella.

                                                            FICHETTO
                                    Hey! 

                                                            SCAPINO
                                    Guess what we found!

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    Pirates!

                                                            FICHETTO
                                    We went out looking for a priest to perform the marriage
                                    rites, and we found one.  He's a pirate priest!

Brighella notices that Pantalone and Isabella are kneeling.

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    Hey, why are you two kneeling?  Did someone drop a coin?

                                                            KING
                                    They are kneeling for me.

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    Oh, you dropped a coin?

                                                            KING
                                    I happen to be the King of Commedia.  And let
                                    me assure you, you did not find any pirates.  To the
                                    untrained eye, any coarsened sailor might seem like
                                    a pirate, but an expert can always tell a true pirate by
                                    very subtle signs.  What makes you think the men you
                                    found are pirates?

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                                (calling)
                                    Hey, Pops, bring in the pirates!

The Captain leads in Lelio, the Doctor and Scaramouche who are heavily disguised as pirates.  Each wears an eye patch and has a stuffed parrot attached to his shoulder.  Each has phony facial hair (a beard and/or mustache) to assist in the disguise.  Each of them looks and acts like he's competing in a Robert Newton impersonation contest.  (Robert Newton was the classic Long John Silver.)  Lelio and Scaramouche do excellent impersonations.  The Doctor tries, but he is too much of a boring old pedant to carry off a really good pirate impersonation.  Scaramouche needs to wear a sword for an upcoming sword fight.  Lelio and the Doctor don't need to have swords.

                                                            LELIO
                                    Harr!  We be pirates, that we be!

                                                            DOCTOR
                                    Aye, maties.  Sink me if I be not a pirate.

                                                            SCARAMOUCHE
                                    And I be a pirate priest!  You may lay to that! 
                                    Harr, me lads!

                                                            QUEEN
                                    How can a priest be a pirate?

                                                            SCARAMOUCHE
                                    The job of a priest be to save souls, be it
                                    not?  And whose soul be needing saving
                                    more than a pirate's?  Harr!

                                                            KING
                                    I am King Carlo of Commedia and I have outlawed
                                    piracy in this kingdom. 

                                                            SCARAMOUCHE
                                    Harr!  Begging your pardon, your highness, but
                                    be you not known far and wide for saying it's a
                                    good day when you can behold a pirate?

                                                            KING
                                    No, I am known for saying it is a good day when
                                    you can behead a pirate.

Lelio and Scaramouche glare at the Doctor. 

                                                            DOCTOR
                                    In Zanniland, it was always reported that he said
                                    "behold a pirate!"

                                                            KING
                                    In Commedia, the penalty for piracy is pain of death!

                                                            LELIO
                                    Harr!  No!  Not pain of death!  Harr!

                                                            DOCTOR
                                    Anything but pain of death!   Mercy, your Majesty!

                                                            SCARAMOUCHE
                                    We were leaving your kingdom, when we heard
                                    scuttlebutt that someone was looking for a priest
                                    to perform a marriage ceremony.  Being helpful pirates,
                                    we cast anchor to offer our assistance.  Harr!

                                                            QUEEN
                                    Carlo, perhaps you could be lenient this once.  We do
                                    need a priest for the wedding ceremony.

Isabella, still on her knees, turns to King Carlo.

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    I beg you, your Majesty, don't ask me to marry a
                                    man I hate!

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    Who's asking?  His Majesty is ordering you, 
                                    right, Carlo?

                                                            SCARAMOUCHE
                                    Harr!  And people say pirates be cruel! 

                                                            KING
                                    It's not a matter of cruelty.  It's a matter of requiring
                                    my subjects to do what is best for their country. 
                                    Young lady, you must marry this man.  And you,
                                    pirate priest, whatever your name is...

                                                            LELIO
                                    We calls him Father Scum-Bucket....

                                                            SCARAMOUCHE
                                    That's Captain Father Scum-Bucket!

                                                            KING
                                    You, Captain Father Scum-Bucket, will marry this girl 
                                    to this man now, or I'll have you and your friends 
                                    beheaded!

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    Gather round, maties!  It's time to start the wedding.

Smeraldina enters and curtsies before Pantalone.

                                                            SMERALDINA
                                    Pantalone, Arlo and Ruff wanted me to ask you
                                    if they may throw rice at the wedding.

                                                            PANTALONE
                                    Rice is so expensive.  I hate to see it wasted. 

                                                            SMERALDINA
                                    We won't waste any.
                                                        (calling to the boys off stage)
                                    It's okay boys!!

From the wings, Arlo and Truff through sacks of rice at Brighella (with the rice still in the sacks).  After they've thrown about ten little sacks, they enter carrying great big sacks and beat Brighella with them.  (All the sacks should be labeled "RICE" in big letters.)

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    Hey!

                                                            PANTALONE
                                    Stop that!  Wait until after the ceremony!

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    And take the rice out of the sacks first!

                                                            PANTALONE
                                    You mind your own business!

                                                            KING
                                    No more delays!  Begin the ceremony, now!!!   

                                                            SCARAMOUCHE
                                    Very well.  Maties, we be gathered here this day
                                    to splice together in the shackles of holy matrimony...

                                                            QUEEN
                                    Bonds of holy matrimony!  The correct phrase is "bonds
                                    of holy matrimony!"

                                                            SCARAMOUCHE
                                    Bonds or shackles, they be the same thing, be they not? 
                                    Very well, we be here to splice together in the bonds of
                                    holy matrimony this comely wench and this lubberly swab. 
                                    Be there anyone present who knows of just cause why
                                    these two should not be spliced, let him speak now or
                                    forever hold his peace.

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    I know just cause.  I don't love him.  He doesn't love me!
                                    He's just doing this to form a political alliance.  It's all
                                    politics!

                                                            QUEEN
                                    You say that like it's a bad thing.  This is a
                                    chance for Commedia and Zanniland to be
                                    allies!  This marriage should make everyone
                                    happy!

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    Except the bride!

                                                            SMERALDINA
                                    And the servants!

                                                            LELIO
                                    And the pirates!

                                                            SCARAMOUCHE
                                    Brighella isn't even the real king of Zanniland!

The King is genuinely surprised by this news.

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    Says who?

                                                            SCARAMOUCHE
                                    It is I, Scaramouche, the Zanni!  Ha ha!

Scaramouche throws off his disguise and draws his sword.

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    Oh, a usurper!  Get him, boys!

Brighella, Fichetto and Scapino all draw their swords, but Scaramouche quickly disarms them, even though he is fighting three to one.  The Zannies drop their swords.  However, while this is going on, the Captain sneaks up behind Scaramouche, draws his own sword, and deftly places the point of the blade against Scaramouche's back.
                                   
                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    Did you think I would let you steal the crown
                                    from my future son-in-law?

Scaramouche spins around and disarms the Captain.  He aims his own sword at the Captain's chest.

                                                            SCARAMOUCHE
                                    In a word, yes!

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    Well, .. I just thought I'd ask.   

                                                            SCARAMOUCHE
                                    Don't worry, I would never kill an unarmed man! 

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    Oh!  That's good!

                                                            SCARAMOUCHE
                                    Pick up your sword!

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    But wouldn't that make me armed?

                                                            KING
                                    Who is this man?

The Doctor removes his disguise.

                                                            DOCTOR
                                    He calls himself Scaramouche.  He was a baby, found 
                                    on  battlefield twenty-five years ago, when Zanniland
                                    last beat back the forces of Commedia.  No one knows
                                    who his parents were.

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    I believe I know.

                                                            SCARAMOUCHE
                                    What!  Did you kill my father?

                                                             CAPTAIN
                                    I am your father!

                                                            PANTALONE
                                    You said you lost your son in the war!

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    I did!  I misplaced him during the retreat!  And
                                    now my little baby boy has come back to me!

                                                            SCARAMOUCHE
                                    Father!

Scaramouche embraces the Captain.

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    Does that mean we're not allies anymore?

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    I can't ally with anyone against my own son, the
                                    King of Zanniland!

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    Queenie, you better tell him who's the real king of
                                    the Zannies!

                                                            KING
                                    Peasant!  You dare to address my wife the Queen as
                                    "Queenie!"

Brighella looks at the Queen, waiting for her to say something.  There is nothing she can say.  She shrugs.

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    Very well.  I hate to be the one to break the bad
                                    news to your Majesty, but your wife isn't really a
                                    princess from a far off land!  She's really a tavern
                                    keepers daughter!

                                                            KING
                                    Really?  A tavern keeper's daughter!

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    I have witnesses!

The King puts his arm around his wife.

                                                            KING
                                    You know, I always had a fancy for tavern keepers'
                                    daughters!  Were you saucy?

                                                            QUEEN
                                    I was very saucy.

The King gives her an affectionate squeeze.

                                                            QUEEN
                                    Oooh, your Majesty!

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    I'll be revenged on the whole pack of you!!!

Brighella storms out.  A moment letter he comes back on and drags Fichetto and Scapino off with him. 

Smeraldina turns to Isabella.

                                                            SMERALDINA
                                    You know what this means?  You can marry your
                                    true love, Lelio!

                                                            ARLO
                                    And I can marry Smeraldina!

                                                            TRUFF
                                    No, I can marry Smeraldina!

Arlo and Truff pick up the bags of rice and throw them at each other.  Smeraldina yells at them.

                                                            SMERALDINA
                                    Stop it!

Arlo and Truff stop fighting.  Smeraldina turns back to Isabella.

                                                            SMERALDINA
                                    As I was saying, you can marry your true love,
                                    Lelio!

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    Lelio!  He didn't even bother coming to your wedding!

Lelio whips off his disguise.

                                                            LELIO
                                    Of course I did!

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    Lelio!

The lovers run into each other arms!

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    Surely you will let me marry him now, Father!

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    I don' know.  Now that you are a King's sister.  I
                                    don't know if it is fit for you to marry a peasant!

                                                            SCARAMOUCHE
                                    He is my friend!  In time, I am sure he will show
                                    he is worthy to marry my sister.

                                                            LELIO
                                    In time?????

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    Don't worry, my love.  Think how far we've come.

                                                            LELIO
                                    Our path had obstacles at every turn,
                                    And turns like undulations of a snake...

                                                            PANTALONE
                                    You're not going to recite another bad sonnet, are
                                    you?

                                                            DOCTOR
                                    If there's one thing I despise, it's lousy poetry.

                                                            SCARAMOUCHE
                                    I never retreat from anything, except rotten verse!

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    Exactly right, my son!

Pantalone, the Doctor, Scaramouche and the Captain exit.  Smeraldina, Arlo and Truff look at each other, and they start to edge off the stage as well.

                                                            TRUFF
                                    We'd love to stay boss, but we've got to go fight over
                                    Smeraldina.

Smeraldina, Arlo and Truff exit.

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    Don't mind them, my love.  You were saying...?

                                                            LELIO
                                    Our path had obstacles at every turn,
                                    And turns like undulations of a snake.
                                    The route was long and difficult to learn,
                                    The road true lovers often have to take.

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    When countries go to war without a cause,
                                    When parents tell their children whom to wed,
                                    When tyrants rule by whim instead of law,
                                    Then from this world have truth and justice fled!

                                                            LELIO
    `                               But love remains and strengthens every day.
                                    This giant love knocks obstacles aside!

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    No force on earth can stop it or delay;
                                    No more than King Canute could stop the tide.

                                                            LELIO
                                    This love controls all aspects of my life!

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    This love will some day make us man and wife!

They kiss. 

Truff and Arlo roll onto the stage, wresting with each other.  Smeraldina follows them on, trying to separate them.

Curtain!
 

THE END OF ACT III

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COMMEDIA!

More plays coming soon. 
The next one will probably have a pirate theme.

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.