COMMEDIA!

"The Comedy of Pirates"

                                                               by Richard Nathan

This play takes place sometime in the imaginary 18th Century, in the imaginary Caribbean.

Act I

SCENE ONE:

On board the ship "The Golden Zannie."  Upstage is the railing of the starboard side of the ship.  The deck should either be raked, or raised, so that later in the play, when someone goes over the starboard side, that person can disappear from view and someone can throw up a glass of water (to suggest a splash when that person falls into the ocean).  Somewhere on the deck is a coil of rope.

As the play begins, ISABELLA is alone on the deck.  She walks to the deck, and stares sadly out at the sea.  A moment later, her true love LELIO, disguised as a sailor, enters and starts to walk over to her.  Before he can reach her, Isabella's father the CAPTAIN enters.  (Please note, although this takes place on a ship, the CAPTAIN isn't the ship's captain; he's a military Captain.)  LELIO turns and walks off stage as the Captain greets his daughter. 

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    Isabella!  Good to see you on deck!  I
                                    don't think I've seen you out of your quarters
                                    the entire voyage.  Have you been seasick?

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    No, heartsick.  I miss Lelio!

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    Who?

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    Lelio!  My true love!  The man I've sworn to
                                    marry.

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    Lelio?  Have I met him?

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    Lelio!  The son of your old friend Pantalone! 
                                    Lelio!  The hero who overthrew the tyrant King 
                                    of Zanniland and installed your son, 
                                    Scaramouch, on the throne!  Lelio!

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    Sorry, doesn't ring a bell.

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    The man whom you swore you would never let
                                    me marry in a million years!

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    Oh, that Lelio!  If I can forget him so easily, I
                                    don't see why you can't!

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    Because I love him!

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    How can you love someone of no social status? 
                                    His father Pantalone has plenty of money,
                                    but he's never achieved any rank. 

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    I thought Pantalone was your friend!

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    He is!  But that doesn't mean I like him!  I know
                                    who I'd fall in love with if I were a young girl...
                                    Governor Gratiano!

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    Have you ever met Governor Gratiano?

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    No.

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    Do you know anything about him - his interests,
                                    his wit, his appearance?

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    No.

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    Then what makes you think you'd fall in love with him?

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    I said if I were a young girl!  Who knows why young
                                    girls do anything?  But I will say he is the governor of
                                    Zanniland's finest colony.

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    It's only colony!!!

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    So far.

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    I don't think the name of our first colony is very
                                    promising.

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    Why?  What's the matter with San de Feliquez?

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    It's not San de Feliquez!  It's Sand Flea Key! 

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    We changed the name.  We though San de Feliquez
                                    would attract more investment.

                                                              ISABELLA
                                    Investment in what, besides sand fleas?

                                                                CAPTAIN
                                    That is what we are going to San de Feliquez to find
                                    out!  I'm sure we will find that San de Feliquez is a 
                                    paradise! 

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    For the sand fleas!

BRIGHELLA and his two cronies SCAPINO and FICHETTO cross the stage carrying a large rope.  They wear garb a pirate might wear, including handkerchief tied around their heads.  Isabella is stunned to see them, but the Captain doesn't even notice them. 

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    Come on, boys!  Let's get that rope off the deck!

Brighella takes one end of the rope, and Scapino and Fichetto take the other end.  Not bothering to check to make sure they are all going in the same direction, Brighella goes off in one direction, and Scapino and Fichetto go off in the other.  Brighella is pulled off his feet when the rope becomes taut.   Brighella yanks on the rope and pulls Scapino and Fichetto off their feet.  He points the way he was going.

                                                            BRIGHELLA
                                    This way!

Brighella, Scapino and Fichetto all take the rope off, going in the same direction.  As soon as the three men exit, Isabella turns to her father.

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    Did you see that?  That was Brighella and
                                    his two cronies!

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    Who?

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    Our sworn enemy!  The villain who vowed to
                                    destroy us!

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    Oh, you mean Lelio!

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    Never mind.   

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    I think I'll go find Pantalone and ask what I owe 
                                    him for our passage.  Strange that he didn't ask  
                                    me to pay in advance.  On second thought, I'd
                                    better ask Cap'n Carbonado what our passage
                                    cost!

The Captain exits.  As soon as he's gone, Lelio re-enters and starts to approach Isabella, but before he can get to her, PANTALONE enters.  Lelio exits before either of them notices him.

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    Pantalone!  My heart is breaking.  Why wouldn't
                                    you allow Lelio to come with us?.

                                                            PANTALONE
                                    Isabella, I know how much you care for my
                                    son.  But as his father, it's my duty to do
                                    everything I can to ensure his happiness.  And
                                    that is why I had to keep you two apart - for his
                                    sake!

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    But why?  Do you think we are too young?  Do you
                                    think our backgrounds are too different?  Do you
                                    worry our passion isn't strong enough?

                                                            PANTALONE
                                    No, it's not your age or your background or your
                                    passion.  It's something more fundamental
                                    than that.  It's money.  I know your father can't
                                    afford to pay a dowry for your marriage.

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    But Lelio said it  wouldn't matter to him if I had no
                                    dowry!

                                                            PANTALONE
                                    I know, but it would make me miserable.  And what
                                    kind of son could stand to see his father miserable? 
                                    I couldn't do that to my boy!

Enter the Captain.

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    There you are, Pantalone!  I want to know what 
                                    I owe you for the passage.

                                                            PANTALONE
                                    Well, let's see.  I got a ticket for you, one for your
                                    daughter, Isabella, and one for your servant. 
                                    Smeraldina.  Now, normally, passage to Sand Flea Key..

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    San de Feliquez!

                                                            PANTALONE
                                    Sorry.  Passage to San de Feliquez would cost
                                     you Two Hundred Scudi per passenger, but I
                                     was able to get a slight discount from Cap'n
                                    Carbonado...

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    A slight discount?

                                                            PANTALONE
                                    Yes, and naturally I want to pass on the savings to you...

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    Excellent.  Because I was just speaking with Cap'n
                                    Carbonado, and he told me he gave you the tickets 
                                    for nothing!

                                                            PANTALONE
                                    That's not true!  I had to give him a very valuable book, the
                                    journal of my late twin brother, Pietro Pantalone!  

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    I never knew you had a twin brother.

                                                            PANTALONE
                                    That shows how little you know.  My brother was a great
                                    sailor!  He was such a great sailor that Cap'n  Carbonado
                                    was willing to take as many passengers as I wanted on
                                    this voyage in exchange for that journal.      

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    What happened to your brother?

                                                            PANTALONE
                                    He was lost at sea thirty years ago. and that journal was
                                    all I had to remember him by, the only memento of my
                                    own twin brother!  A man who was not just my twin,
                                    but the closest friend I ever had.  And you say I got
                                    the tickets for nothing!  I'm sorry I gave that journal to the
                                    Cap'n.

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    Maybe you could buy it back from him if you paid
                                    for the tickets.

                                                            PANTALONE
                                    Are you crazy?

                                                            CAPTAIN
                                    Let's go find Cap'n Carbonado and ask him what that
                                    journal was worth.

                                                            PANTALONE
                                    All right, we'll ask him.  Come on!

The Captain and Pantalone exit.  As soon as they're gone, Lelio re-enters and crosses to Isabella, who is standing by the railing, staring out at the sea.

                                                            LELIO
                                    Good morning, my lady.  Care for a shipboard
                                    romance?

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    Lelio!

She spins into his arms.  They share a passionate kiss.  Then her curiosity gets the best of her.

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    But... how...?

                                                            LELIO
                                    You didn't think I'd let them take you away from me,
                                    did you?  I signed on as a sailor!

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    Lelio, you must be careful.  I think I saw Brighella and
                                    his cronies!

                                                            LELIO
                                    I've seen them too.  Fortunately, they didn't
                                    recognize me.  I'm sure they're up to something,
                                    but I haven't found out what yet!  In the meantime,
                                    let's enjoy ourselves. 

They stand, with their arms around each other, looking out over the rail at the ocean.

                                                            LELIO
                                    I feel the kiss of life within these winds.

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    A tropic climate's best for nursing life.

                                                            LELIO
                                    Oh no - your eyes are where my love begins,
                                    And lives, and grows, protected there from strife.

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    But tears fill up my eyes when you're away
                                    And fall in torrents like a tempest wild.
                                    In such a storm, has love the strength to stay? 
                                    Or can it only thrive in climates mild?

                                                            LELIO
                                    My love won't wash away because you weep,
                                    Although your eyes are where my love did start.
                                    But since its birth my love has grown so deep
                                    You'll find its roots are planted in your heart.

                                                            ISABELLA
                                    And yet, the tropics are a place for birth.

                                                            LELIO
                                    But our love's fit for any place on Earth!

     

TO BE CONTINUED

                                                                                               

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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.