DOVE Marx in London A Comedy Libretto by Charles Hart
Marx in London A Comedy
Libretto by Charles Hart after an original scenario by Jürgen Weber
ALLE RECHTE VORBEHALTEN
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
EDITION PETERS LEIPZIG
to Santiago Cabrero Puertas
Jonathan Dove MARX IN LONDON A comedy Libretto by Charles Hart After an original scenario by Jürgen Weber Libretto © Charles Hart 2017
CHARACTERS Principal roles MARX (Karl Marx, 53) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Baritone JENNY (Jenny Marx, 57, wife of Karl) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Dramatic Soprano TUSSI (Eleanor “Tussi” Marx, 16, youngest daughter of Karl) . . . . . Lyric Soprano FREDDY (Freddy Demuth, 18, Marx’s illegitimate son) . . . . . . . . . Lyric Tenor HELENE (Helene Demuth, 51, Marx’s housekeeper) . . . .Mezzo-soprano (Contralto) ENGELS (Friedrich Engels, 51, a wealthy industrialist) . . . . . . . . . Heldentenor
Secondary roles SPY (A Prussian agent) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Tenor PAWNBROKER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Bass Baritone MELANZANE (a political speaker) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Tenor FRANZ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Baritone CHIEF INSPECTOR LITTLEJOHN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Baritone SERGEANT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Baritone FOREMAN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Baritone Workmen Workmen of the Future in Marx’s dream Crowd at the Red Lion People on Hampstead Heath
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Chorus
The action takes place in London over the course of twenty-four hours during the summer of 1871.
ORCHESTRA 3 Flutes (3rd doubling Piccolo) 3 Oboes (3rd doubling Cor Anglais) 3 Clarinets (3rd doubling Bass Clarinet) 3 Bassoons (3rd doubling Contrabassoon) 4 Horns 3 Trumpets in C 3 Trombones Tuba Timpani Percussion (3 players) Harp Piano/Celeste/Harmonium*/Keyboard (typewriter sample) Strings *Harmonium may be a sampled sound on keyboard
Act One approximately 60 minutes Act Two approximately 55 minutes
Commissioned by Theater Bonn on the occasion of the 200th birthday of Karl Marx sponsored by the Kunststiftung NRW First Performed at Theater Bonn, 9 December 2018
All rights of theatrical, radio and television performance, mechanical, electrical and electronic reproduction in any form (including film), graphic reproduction of the opera, music and/or libretto (or any part thereof), and translation of the libretto are strictly reserved. Performance material available from Peters Edition Limited.
2 ACT ONE Scene One (A dingy office, furnished only with a small desk, a plain chair and a rudimentary typewriter, on which an unidentified MAN -- the SPY -- is typing.) SPY Fourteenth August, Eighteen Seventy-one. Surveillance Begun. Suspicious actions: None. So far, Excellency, Nil news, Excellency. Still hope, Excellency, That any day Will bring us vital clues As you say, Excellency, Subterfuge Is key, Since I Sense we may Soon see An anarchist Volcano. (Maitland Road, drawing-room. The time is the same. Mid-morning sun streams through the heavy, half-closed curtains.) KARL MARX and his housekeeper, HELENE DEMUTH, are playing chess.) MARX Helene? HELENE What? MARX Are you not hot? You must be hot.
Edition Peters 73316
Libretto ÂŠ 2017 by Charles Hart. Reproduced by permission.
3 No? In all those layers. (HELENE moves a piece on the chess-board. MARX sees, with displeasure, what she has done.) Ah. Oh. (With irritation, he counters her move.) MARX Helene? HELENE Yes? MARX A game of chess Is more than chess. No? With certain players. (HELENE again moves a piece on the chess-board. MARX again responds with displeasure.) Ah. Oh. (Again, he seeks to counter her move.) MARX Helene, come to me! How I need us to be one! HELENE You need your fun. The workers pray For liberation. MARX Helene, be with me! Volume Two is all but done! HELENE Volume Two Is overdue. MARX (ignoring her) If you should run,
4 | Where will I find My inspiration? HELENE (flatly) | We should be working. | |MARX | Less talk of working … HELENE | If we were working … | |MARX | … And more of playing … HELENE | … Instead of playing … | |MARX (moving closer to HELENE) | … As I was saying … (MARX rests his hand gently on HELENE’s knee, as … a sudden knocking at the door, followed -- before EITHER can respond -- by the appearance of TUSSI, MARX’s youngest daughter, in a state of high agitation.) TUSSI Father! MARX (springing away from HELENE) What now? | I’m working! | TUSSI | But Father … HELENE (drily) Not now. He’s working. TUSSI | But Father … | MARX (crisply, to HELENE) | And you, Stop smirking. If you can. TUSSI But Father, There’s a …
MARX (irascible) What? There’s a what? TUSSI (deflated) There’s a … (MARX closes the door on her firmly, leaving TUSSI to finish her sentence from outside.) … Man! (Her warning goes unheeded, and she marches grumpily away, as MARX resets the chess-pieces. In the street outside, the FIGURE of a shifty-looking YOUNG MAN emerges from the shadows, a hat pulled down low over his face. He peers up at the house.) YOUNG MAN (FREDDY) This must be The place. This is where She lives. This is where I do what must be done. At number forty-one. (We focus again on the SPY, at his typewriter again.) SPY Fifteenth Statement Agent Seventy-eight No data to date Intended action Infiltrate (ensemble) MARX Ah! FREDDY If this is The place, If this is Her house,
6 This is where I find out what was done In eighteen fifty-one … SPY The less I show, The better. The less They know, The better. Lest they know That I know The very Things that they know … And therefore all they may know … HELENE We could play chequers, If you would rather… TUSSI There’s a man! (Another knocking at the door. It is TUSSI again, in even higher agitation.) TUSSI Father! MARX (springing away from HELENE again) What now? I’m thinking! TUSSI But Father … MARX (to HELENE, sotto voce) I swear, It’s shrinking. (No, don’t try.) TUSSI But Father, He’s a … MARX (incensed again) What? A Thief? A Zu-
7 -Lu chief? TUSSI (slightly crestfallen) He’s a … (MARX shuts the door on TUSSI again, leaving her once again completing her sentence outside.) … Spy! (Again she trudges off angrily, this time out into the street, where she can continue to observe FREDDY. Helene goes off to do housework, Marx attempts to work on his book) Scene Two (The street outside. Alone, TUSSI paces angrily and anxiously up and down.) TUSSI My father Is the leader of the Non-conformist pack: The sons of revolution Are sworn to his destruction. My father Is their mentor, yet their Object of attack. They dream of insurrection, Yet scheme at his subversion. (Unseen by her, THREE WORKMEN and a FOREMAN are meanwhile making their way up the street, pushing a large handcart.) The tradesmen come, The tradesmen go; I see, I hear, I know The party faithful From the foe. My father Is the lynchpin of a World-transforming plan. And so, Let them silence him, Who can! For oh, His daughter (His youngest daughter) Is a match (And a catch!)
8 For any man! (Unseen by TUSSI, FREDDY is once more coming into view, his eyes on the house.) TUSSI (suddenly seeing him) You! FREDDY (startled) Who? TUSSI You! FREDDY Who me? TUSSI Yes, you! (He reaches into his bag. TUSSI gasps, and to his astonishment seizes his hand.) TUSSI (contd) Assassin! FREDDY (wincing) Ow! TUSSI Forbear! FREDDY How? I’m innocent, I swear! TUSSI (seizing his arm) Assassin, Desist! FREDDY Now You’re damaging My wrist! TUSSI (releasing him) Explain yourself, Or fight! FREDDY I can Explain myself
9 All right! TUSSI (releasing him) All right! (She suddenly notices the WORKMEN.) Oh, my goodness! What have we here? THREE WORKMEN Haul away, Harry! Haul away, Tom! Drink, and be done with your sorrow! Heave away, Jerry! Heave away, Dan! Drink, and be done with tomorrow! (Tussi turns to the utterly bewildered FREDDY in alarm.) TUSSI Oh, my goodness! (pacing, thinking) Oh, dear! (Sensing that he is in too deep, FREDDY bows to TUSSI and moves to go. She stops him.) No, wait! Don’t disappear! (As the WORKERS now begin to emerge from the house carrying items of furniture, she drags him with her into the house, before heading up the stairs.) FREDDY Wait? for what? TUSSI (disappearing) That is not Your concern. Stand by … … Till I Return! (So saying, she hurries upstairs, leaving a puzzled FREDDY alone to peruse the mishmash of knick-knacks and furniture in the drawing-room, as meanwhile the WORKMEN enter the house and begin to divest it of its contents.)
(TUSSI meanwhile hurries up to MARX’s study. She knocks and enters. This time, her FATHER really is at work, head buried deep among his papers.) TUSSI Father! MARX What now? I’m writing! TUSSI But Father … MARX (emphatic) Not now. I’m writing. TUSSI But Father … MARX Please, no More fighting! TUSSI Father, look! (She seizes his manuscript, crosses to the window, and thrusts her arm out, dangling the papers over the street, where the WORKMEN are busy emptying the MARX’s home. Horrified, he rushes over to the window.) MARX (wails) Not my book! (In grasping for the papers, he sees the activity below, and is finally confronted by the gravity of the situation.) TUSSI Look below, Dearest Father, And despair! MARX Where? TUSSI There!
11 MARX No! TUSSI Yes! MARX Robbery, No less! TUSSI At the risk of seeming uppity They are pilfering our property (MARX rushes to the window and sees the WORKERS taking out the furniture.) MARX The mercantile lickspittles … TUSSI … Expropriate our chattels! MARX That’s my Welsh dresser! TUSSI That’s our Welsh dresser! MARX And my four-poster! |TUSSI And our poor sofa! MARX My nest of tables … TUSSI Our best bone china! MARX & TUSSI No! (They hurtle downstairs and past the drawing-room, where FREDDY is still patiently waiting. MARX rushes outside. Seeing FREDDY, TUSSI pauses for the briefest of moments.) TUSSI (as if in answer to his unasked question) This isn’t Your affair.
FREDDY I really Ought to go. TUSSI Oh, no! Mister Spy! You stay right there! (And off she runs, leaving the bemused FREDDY alone again.) FREDDY (to HIMSELF) Fool To go snooping Like a criminal Mad To be prowling Like a sleuth. Could she at last Unearth The secret of My birth? Unravel And reveal to me The truth? Who is she, Luring me like destiny? Why am I Drawn into her mystery? (HELENE enters, and the TWO see ONE ANOTHER. A strange moment of semirecognition.) HELENE You! FREDDY (startled) Who? HELENE You! FREDDY Who me? HELENE Yes, you!
13 What are you doing here? FREDDY Truth to tell, I don’t know … HELENE You must go. FREDDY (half to HIMSELF) (Truth to tell, I rather wish That I was not here.) HELENE Indeed, no! You must go! TUSSI (suddenly entering) But he just got here! HELENE (cautiously) You mean you | Brought him? | |TUSSI | I didn’t Bring him. HELENE How did you meet? TUSSI | He wandered in … | |FREDDY | She dragged me in … BOTH … From [off] the street. HELENE But why? Who is he? TUSSI (glowing) A spy! A spy, Helene! A living, breathing spy!
(Before she can elaborate, attention back outside, where MARX has now emerged. Finding a conveniently placed chest-of-drawers, he mounts it, using it as a podium, the WORKMEN quite oblivious to him.) MARX (interrupting) Workers of the world! (The WORKMEN ignore him. MARX (Interrupting again) Workers of the world! (We now see both scenes, indoor and out, simultaneously.) MARX (persisting nonetheless) Workers of the world! I fear there must Be some confusion! HELENE (pushing FREDDY out) We must dispose of him! TUSSI (pulling FREDDY back) No! FREDDY (attempting to speak to HELENE) Do please forgive This rude intrusion. (ONE of the WORKMEN shows MARX a piece of paper, which he reads. They carry on removing the furniture.) MARX (grandstanding) Workers of the world! You toil beneath A grave delusion! HELENE (pushing) What if your father sees? TUSSI (pulling) So? FREDDY (determined to speak to HELENE) You see, youâ€™ve drawn The wrong conclusion. (The WORKMEN now begin emptying the drawing-room. Only now does HELENE notice their activities.)
HELENE (to TUSSI, releasing FREDDY) Dear God, Our furniture! And on This day of days! (TUSSI releases FREDDY, and turns her gaze heavenwards.) TUSSI Dear God, Tell Daddikins To mend His spendthrift ways! HELENE (remembering, gasps) Dear God, The party! TUSSI The party? HELENE The party! TUSSI (gasps too) The party For the party! HELENE The party party! Quite! BOTH (horrified) Tomorrow night! (MARX meanwhile confronts the WORKMEN, positioning HIMSELF between them and the furniture.) MARX Workers of the world! Pray, welcome to your fold A saviour, Who sings Of things Which will be! Paradise restored to all! (producing a quart-bottle of gin)
16 Till then, be pepped By Master Gilbey! (He dispenses gin, to the approval of the OTHERS.) WORKMEN Drink, and be done with tomorrow! (The WORKMEN interrupt their work to enjoy MARX’s gifts. Meanwhile, in the drawing-room...) HELENE (to FREDDY) Go now, Before you’re seen! (Business of HELENE trying to conceal FREDDY in a cupboard, or push him out of the door.) TUSSI But whatever Can you mean? HELENE (expelling FREDDY) We have a party To prepare for. And your father Will not care for This commotion! TUSSI But the spy … FREDDY (re-entering) … Is a student. HELENE (expelling FREDDY again) A departing one. TUSSI Thank God I rumbled him! HELENE (incredulous) A spy, You say? TUSSI (nods) A spy. FREDDY (re-entering)
17 I am a humble student. TUSSI Humble? That’s a lie! HELENE (attempting to expel FREDDY) Our “visitor” Must go. Your father Must not know. MARX Comrades of my heart! Pray, abrogate your old Behaviour! Instead Be fed With manna! (Next year in Jerusalem.) (producing a box of cigars) Till then, accept A fine Havana! ONE WORKER Hosanna! WORKMEN Smoke, and be done with your sorrow! (He dispenses cigars, to the approval of the OTHERS. Leaving the WORKMEN to relax, MARX has meanwhile made his way back inside, and now enters, seeing FREDDY. ) MARX What’s amiss? Who’s this Plebeian-looking Creature? TUSSI A spy. MARX A spy? Here? But why?
18 HELENE He’s no spy, He’s the … MARX He’s the … ? FREDDY (sensing he must collude in the deception) I’m the new … (The OTHERS ALL look at HELENE.) THE OTHERS He’s the new … ? HELENE (still thinking) The new … (inspired) … Piano-teacher! ALL FOUR Ha! (The FOREMAN reappears to find his MEN smoking and drinking.) FOREMAN (to the WORKERS) What’s going on here? HELENE But all Our tableware! TUSSI Our kitchenware! HELENE My underwear! These items are essential When we host Tomorrow night! TUSSI Or else our party For the party Will seem A sorry sight.
19 MARX (beams reassuringly) All is calm! All is bright! These workers of the world Have seen the light! FREDDY (seeing the returning FOREMAN) Not quite. FOREMAN (showing MARX a paper and shaking his head) Till you pay Mister Marx, Sad to say, Mister Marx … (indicating a trunk) … This alone, Mister Marx, Can stay. (HELENE turns to FREDDY.) TUSSI Come again … HELENE Come our way … MARX … When there’s a piano For you to play. (HELENE swiftly ushers FREDDY out) ONE WORKMAN (looking up) What about this Thing here? MARX (tearful) No, not my chandelier! I beseech! FOREMAN (looking up) Out of reach. WORKMEN Let’s leave it. FOREMAN We’ll be back
20 After dark, To retrieve it. (The WORKMEN and FOREMAN chuckle and exit, cheerfully wheeling away the piano, the OTHERS looking on in helpless dejection.) MARX (calling after them, as they vanish) Workers of the world? Unworthy of the name! Leeches on the lame! For shame! TUSSI (echoing, sadly) For shame! MARX, TUSSI & HELENE (shaking their heads) For shame! (HELENE and TUSSI also exit, in opposite directions. MARX is left alone, mournfully pacing around the now completely empty room.) MARX Always, Always Some setback of some kind. But always, always Fate kicks us In our communist Behind. Is it so very wrong To want a Chinese dinner-gong? To end an evening with a song Around the piano? To sip oneâ€™s claret from a glass Blown in Murano? Enough, enough! No farce was so unfunny! Did ever any scholar Who spoke so much of money Reside in greater squalor With so little Of the bloody stuff? Oh, when Will I awaken From this God-forsaken Nightmare of a life?
(Hearing SOMEONE at the door, he turns wearily, to HELENE.) What is it now? HELENE If I am not mistaken, It is your wife. MARX (panicking) My wife! No! Jenny! So soon! Helene, Assuage her with Some fib. HELENE Such as? MARX (exiting) Be brilliant. Ad lib. Just tell her … HELENE Tell her what? MARX (vanishing) I wish I knew … Tell her anything, (almost offstage) (… As long As it’s Not true.) (He has gone.) (JENNY VON WESTPHALEN erupts upon the scene. She surveys with fury her empty drawing-room.)
JENNY Where Is Marx? Where Is My husband? Where is that Miscreant? That misbegotten Wretch? Whom misfortune In some twisted fit of glee, Saw fit to foist On me! Why, Oh, Why? Why, Oh Jenny? Why did you Marry that Out-written, rotten Rogue? Once again, Once again Future prospects Seem rosy, And then In a trice Our lives are in the street! Once again, Once again This most feckless And reckless Of men Pulls the rug From underneath my feet! (In this case more Overtly than before.)
(Unseen by her, MARX steals back into the room. He surreptitiously removes from the trunk a slim, leather carrying-case, before our attention again shifts, this time to TUSSI alone in her room.) TUSSI | This house of ours! | A honey-trap | For spies! | |(She climbs out of her window, as meanwhile MARX looks into the case. We can’t see what is in it, but its contents produces a strange glow on MARX’s face.) | |MARX | This life of mine! | A spider’s web | Of lies! (MARX too climbs out of his window.) TUSSI (contd) | These fitful nights, | This daily dread. | |MARX | Is there one land | We haven’t fled? (Meanwhile, back downstairs …) HELENE Why not lie down, Frau Marx? JENNY (bitterly) Lie down? Hear, hear, Say I! Why stand When you can lie? Lie down? Yes, let’s! But that’s not possible! And why? There is no furniture! And why? Because someone With no thought of Home and duty,
24 With no sense of What is seemly (It would seem) … … Forgot To pay His debts! (JENNY opens the door to MARX’s study. HELENE is nervous. But NO-ONE is there. JENNY finds the bottle and downs a huge slug. HELENE takes an even bigger gulp. The TWO WOMEN slump together on the floor. Meanwhile, we see MARX falling from the window. He escapes the fall unscathed, only to find almost at once TUSSI at his side, having leapt from a tree, close to her bedroom-window. NEITHER speaks. Wordlessly, they communicate to EACH OTHER a conspiracy of silence. BOTH hurry off in different directions.) Blackout.) Scene Three (London streets, moments later, empty at first. We hear offstage the VOICES of the THREE WORKMEN and their FOREMAN. At the same time, the SPY is once more revealed.) SPY Oh, this Marx, Excellency! Madman! Quixotic! Chaotic! Bizarre! Look at him now! His life a curse! His wife a curse! Down to His last cigar! (Lights fade on him, as TUSSI appears. She is on the trail of FREDDY, who to her surprise suddenly rounds the corner.) TUSSI You! FREDDY You!
TUSSI The piano-teacher! FREDDY (remembering) Yes! How true! (That moment the WORKMEN appear from round the corner with the wooden cart, on which all the furniture -- including the piano -- is stacked.) TUSSI (unconvinced) Then prove it! FREDDY (appalled) Not … BOTH … While they move it! (She jumps onto the cart with the piano and plays a chord, interrupting the WORKMEN.) TUSSI So, Mister teacher, Would you care to Hear a waltz? A polonaise? An ecossaise? Just say! For each, Mister teacher, Will be my joy To play! (The concert-cart is moving down the London streets.) FREDDY It’s not that easy. TUSSI How so? FREDDY I’m feeling queasy. TUSSI I know. I’m too chromatic.
FREDDY No, you’re not. TUSSI Then what? FREDDY The piano Should be … TUSSI A Steinway? FREDDY (slowing her down) No. Just static. TUSSI (speeding away again) | Cure, | Mister teacher, | All the defects you detect. | Inspire me, | And move me!| Unlock me, | Improve me! | |FREDDY | The situation | Is not ideal. | This relocation | Has no appeal. | It’s too surreal. (He attempts to play, but is not very convincing. The piano careens down the street and away)
(We meanwhile see a very furtive MARX, case in hand, approach the door of a PAWNBROKER.) MARX (to HIMSELF) And is This night Now the nadir Of my narrative? And is this darkness As deep as Karl can fall? (A bell tinkles as MARX pushes open the door which leads him into the gloomy world of the pawn-shop.) PAWNBROKER (appearing from the darkness) My friend, Here both master And servant Come to call, For here We welcome One and all. (abruptly) What do you want With me? MARX Your gold. PAWNBROKER What do you have For me? MARX Behold. (MARX again opens the case, and the eerie light falls on the astonished PAWNBROKERâ€™s face.)
Scene Four (MARX’s house. JENNY and HELENE are in the study, getting drunk.) JENNY & HELENE Another little drink! JENNY On the brink Of defeat, One last treat! BOTH Another little drink! HELENE In the blink Of an eye We’ll be high! BOTH Another little drink! JENNY Let the clink Of our glasses resound … HELENE As our sorrows are drowned … BOTH By the glorious sound Of … JENNY … Another little drink! HELENE … Another little drink! JENNY Why should we give in, When gin Can brighten us? HELENE Isn't it a boon, How soon It soothes?
29 BOTH Helping us forget, That we ever met Anyone as gruff And unkempt, and Ungracious as He can be … JENNY (And to forget how Susceptible We can be.) BOTH Ah … JENNY & HELENE Another little dram! JENNY I say damn All those men Who say when! BOTH Another little glass! HELENE Flesh is grass, So make hay While you may! BOTH Another little sip! JENNY Let us trip The fandango or jig … HELENE For we don’t give a fig … BOTH While we still have a swig Of … JENNY … Another little drink!
30 HELENE … Another little drink! (HELENE tries to stand, up but is too tipsy. The mood slackens into self-pity.) HELENE How were we saddled With such a man? This was hardly My plan. JENNY Why did I settle For such a fate? How did I come to This lowly, Unholy estate? I am Jenny Von Westphalen! Born To a life of ease! How was Jenny Von Westphalen, With one blow, Brought so low? HELENE To her shame … BOTH To her knees … JENNY & HELENE (contd) Another little drink! Let them think What they will, While we swill! Another little drink! While we sink Into deep Not-quite sleep. Another little drink! Till we stink Like a jolly jack tar In a Bermondsey bar, And forget who we are …
31 Another little drink, Another little … (ENGELS has suddenly appeared at the door, holding in each hand a pair of handsome-looking bottles. At first, the TWO WOMEN do not see him, but he now strides forward.) ENGELS Ladies! The General has joined you, So be of good cheer! JENNY & HELENE (cheerily) Engels! ENGELS (raising the bottles) My modest donation To brighten the party! JENNY & HELENE (dejectedly) Engels! ENGELS A little libation To aid rehydration! (There’s far more Down the hall, Have no fear.) JENNY & HELENE (trying to mask their sadness) You’re a dear! ENGELS I’ve enough Of the stuff, To keep half Of the comrades Suppressed For the rest Of the year. (A pause, as he now notices the absence of furnishings.) What the hell Happened here? JENNY & HELENE (lingeringly) Engels! [General!]
32 (Very quickly the TWO WOMEN attempt a breathless explanation.) JENNY His publishers … HELENE His editors … JENNY My furniture … HELENE His creditors … JENNY The baker! HELENE The pewter! JENNY The piano! HELENE The tutor! JENNY Wholesalers! HELENE Tailors! BOTH Where do we Begin? (slowing down) HELENE The shame of it … JENNY The shock of it … BOTH (sadly) The slowly taking stock of it … HELENE (slurring slightly) The gin …
33 JENNY (urgently) We need money. ENGELS By when? JENNY Tomorrow night. ENGELS How much? JENNY One hundred pounds? ENGELS That might … JENNY At a guess … ENGELS … Prove rather tight. JENNY (Maybe less.) ENGELS And is there nothing Left at all To call Your own? JENNY One thing Alone. (She goes sadly to a trunk, the only object still in the room.) JENNY All that remains me On this dark and empty day; Complete but for one tiny thing, This treasure seems to say: (tragically) She was Jenny Von Westphalen, Who was bred
34 For a finer life … She was Jenny Von Westphalen, Born in bliss, Now brought to this: A spoon, A fork, A… (She opens the trunk. Her body shakes. Her eyes roll. Then an unarticulated scream comes out of her mouth. Clearly something is very much amiss.) _________________________________________________________ (Simultaneously, the PAWNBROKER is gazing transfixed at MARX’s offering.) PAWNBROKER What is this? MARX Does it matter? PAWNBROKER Who are you? MARX Hush your chatter. PAWNBROKER How did you come By them? MARX My wife. PAWNBROKER Yet you would part With them? MARX (sighs) That’s life. PAWNBROKER (suddenly fierce) Trader in mischief! Trafficker in sin! This honest soul will not Be taken in. MARX (grabbing his arm) You misunderstand me.
PAWNBROKER Unhand me. The crest alone Belies you, Friend. Westphalen? You? I doubt it. Jew. MARX But these … PAWNBROKER (interrupting) Oh, please! Let’s not pretend. (suddenly slamming the case shut and calling to the back of the shop) My boys! Summon the police! MARX Police? Will horrors Never cease? (MARX grabs the suitcase and flees, as we once again see the SPY typing.) SPY Fourteenth August, Eighteen Seventy-one. The doer Undone. In debt and on the Run. (Attention off him and back to the house.)
36 JENNY (half to HERSELF) He’s gone too far This time. ENGELS & HELENE (tremulously) May God defend Our bushy-bearded friend … JENNY (cutting them off) This is the end! JENNY (contd, after a moment) Oh, man of the people! Protector of the poor! Will you one day Recall Who gave her all? Will you be sure Of those you did It for? HELENE & ENGELS Oh, voice of the victim[s]! Their agent and their aid! Do not forget The price, The sacrifice We three have made, And how we were Repaid. ENGELS I’ve had to settle Every other debt For him. JENNY I’ve had to sweat For him. HELENE (to herself) I’ve been confined. JENNY Could I have been a More devoted wife To him?
37 HELENE I gave my life To him. ENGELS I gave my mind. ALL THREE What did he do For those Who saw him through? Fobbed us off. Robbed us blind. (JENNY sinks to the floor and falls asleep. HELENE conducts a hushed conversation with ENGELS.) HELENE Is she asleep? ENGELS I’d say so. (She prods Jenny. No response.) HELENE (quietly) He was here. The boy. ENGELS (unsettled) You’re sure of it? HELENE I’m sure. | I saw the napkin-ring. | |ENGELS | You saw the napkin-ring? HELENE Need I say more? ENGELS He’ll reappear, The boy. HELENE I’m sure of it. ENGELS
38 He knows. Does Marx know anything … HELENE He can’t know anything. ENGELS … Do you suppose? BOTH Pray God he goes. (Lights fade on them. In the streets of London, TUSSI and FREDDY are still on the cart.) TUSSI | For, | Mister teacher, | How I’ll worsen, | If unchecked! | Oh, how I need | A guide to lead | The way! | [Oh] teach, | Mister teacher, | Yes, teach this girl | To play! | |FREDDY | The main improvement | Would be to halt. | This constant movement | Is like a physical | Assault. TUSSI So? FREDDY So … TUSSI Not a piano-teacher! FREDDY No. (She grabs his lunchbox. FREDDY is horrified.) TUSSI
39 And what’s in | Your bag? | |FREDDY | What’s in My bag? TUSSI Yes, in your bag. I hate to nag, But I’ve a hunch It’s more Than lunch. (With a shrug, FREDDY pulls out a brown-paper package. TUSSI gasps.) FREDDY | See for yourself. | |TUSSI | Let’s see myself … (He pulls out a bun.) FREDDY | A Chelsea bun. | |TUSSI | A Chelsea bun! [Ha!] To think That I could think It was a … (A vast collective gasp, as TUSSI pulls out a heavy revolver. She stares at it in incredulous horror, as ALL ELSE shrink away.) WORKMEN Gun! TUSSI | Gun! | |WORKMEN | Gun! TUSSI | I knew it! | (It pays you to | Intuit.)
40 | FREDDY (cornered) | Outfoxed! | Outplayed! | It may be | Time I ran … TUSSI & WORKMEN Ah! (FREDDY grabs the gun and runs off. TUSSI jumps down from the cart. Panic.) FREDDY (tipping his hat) So catch me … TUSSI & WORKMEN (shouting) Ha! Catch him! TUSSI (WORKMEN echoing) Catch him! He’s a spy! FREDDY Catch me If you can! (He flees, the OTHERS in hot pursuit. Shouting and confusion. TUSSI speeds off after the OTHERS, as meanwhile MARX hurtles on, clutching to his chest the precious case.) (As lights fade on him, MARX is seen flitting across the stage, heading for …)
41 Scene Five (The British Museum reading-room. (Exhausted, MARX staggers in making his uncertain way to a secluded corner, still furtively clutching the strange and precious case. Finding a suitable seat at a long, leather-clad partnersâ€™ desk, he attempts to settle into a padded chair but has difficulty finding a comfortable position. Something is causing him physical discomfort. He pulls from out of his frock-coat a jumble of notes, through which he starts to sift. But his attention is soon drawn to a fat reference book nearby, into which he hungrily delves.) MARX (contd, reading) Carbuncle. One. An epidermal boil. Brought on by subjection To bacterial infection. (in pain) Ah! (reading) Relieve With blackseed oil. (He turns a page.) Carbuncle. Two. A russet-coloured gem. Renowned for its brilliance And peculiar resilience. (in a reverie) Ah! (putting aside the volume) Would mine Were more like them â€Ś (He manages to sit, and turns his attention to his work. But soon he is drifting off into a daydream. A new, reflective mood.)
MARX This year in Paris The commune I foretold Saw light Of day. Will Paris Prove the place Which paves The way? (We realise MARX is falling asleep. As he dreams, a CHORUS of WORKERS emerges from the bookcases.) CHORUS Soon, soon Each man will play his part, Obeying no oppressor, But the promptings of his heart. And Paris will be seen As just the start. By day I hunt, By night I sew. By day I herd, By night I weave. By day I milk Or mow. By night I cook, Make cloth, Or pots, Or dough. For I am herdsman Or huntsman, And potter Or weaver, Or cook. I am the welder
43 Of the wheel, I am the builder Of the wall. No task, However small, Will ever pall. For I am none of these, And all. (One by one, in MARX’s dream, these very FIGURES have appeared.) Whichever trade I ply, Whichever part I play, I have a voice. I have freedom, I have choice. Here Is no slavery Of children. Here Is no enmity Of father For son. A new and shining daybreak Has begun! Arise! Karl Marx, awake! (MARX looks around in horror. The FIGURES have disappeared. So has his case.) MARX No!!! My silver! My silver! Where is my precious silver? (We fade on MARX’s anguish, as we rejoin TUSSI and the OTHERS, weaving through …)
44 Scene Six (The streets and houses of London, inside and out.) TUSSI | Run, Tussi, run! | Your man has got a gun! | He has it, and he | Means to use it! | (Still I wonder, who’s it | Who’s in charge?) Go, Tussi, go! | Or you may never know | The outcome of this | Thrilling thriller, | Not while there’s a killer | Still at large! |SPY | Fourteenth | August, | Eighteen | Seventy-one. | The doer | Undone. | In debt and on the | Run. |(At the same time, back at the museum …) | MARX | My silver! | My silver! | Where is my precious silver? | It was my one | Remaining hope! | Now I have none … JENNY | Oh, Marx! | Misfortune’s son! | What have you done? | HELENE | There’s no need | For any whining, | While you’re wining. | (If you’ll forgive the pun.)
45 FREDDY | I’m now regretting | This fable I’ve spun. | How awful letting | Her think I’m working for | The Hun. | |WORKMEN & FOREMAN We’re now regretting | This contract we’ve won. | This bloody Bechstein | Weighs a ton. | (ALL, apart from ENGELS, begin to move towards forming a tableau, advancing gradually downstage. We see ENGELS separately.) ENGELS (to HIMSELF, vexed) Another knot For Engels to untie! Whose lifelong lot Is not to reason why! The more than thorny issue Of one’s issue Reappearing Is surely no-one’s idea Of fun. … The greatest fear Of a lover Is one day to discover The existence Of a long-lost son. TUSSI | … Gun, Tussi, gun! | |SPY | … Undone! | … On the run! | | FREDDY | … For the Hun! | WORKMEN & FOREMAN | … Weighs a ton! | MARX | … Now I have none! |
46 JENNY | … Misfortune’s son! | HELENE | … Forgive the pun. ENGELS Long-lost son | (At the same moment, A MAN -- is it the SPY? -- appears suddenly and hurries across. He is carrying the missing case. MARX notices him and calls out.) MARX Not so fast, Good Sir! Don’t run! (But in dashing after him, MARX slips and falls, and the FIGURE eludes him.) MARX (contd, groaning) I think I’ve put my Back out … (He writhes in pain.) ALL (except MARX) Blackout. End of Act One. (Blackout. End of Act One.)
47 ACT TWO Scene One (The streets of Bloomsbury. Moments later. MARX is still writhing on the ground in pain, but now he is alone. He struggles to his feet and dusts HIMSELF down.) MARX The silver Is lost. The deadline Is missed. The furniture is God-knows-where, And all attempts At heaven With Helene Bring disdain, Or “don’t you dare”! Oh, scandal, Discomposure, Despair! (Out of nowhere, the MAN last seen at the end of Act One scuttles suddenly across, still carrying the case identical to that belonging to MARX.) MARX (contd, leaping up) My case! By Zeus! Police! My case! (Seeing MARX, the MAN dodges him deftly, and the TWO zigzag across he stage, chasing and evading ONE ANOTHER.) My silver! (The MAN disappears. MARX is losing breath. He staggers off in pursuit of the vanishing MAN.)
48 Scene Two (The streets of Soho. Same time. TUSSI has at last caught up with FREDDY. She confidently blocks his way, before grabbing him in headlock.) TUSSI (releasing him) Why Did you run? and why, Mister Spy, That gun? Are … You … An … … Anarchist? A terrorist? A Fenian? Armenian? A fan? A man Of peace Or man of war? (indicating the revolver) If not, Then what (Or whom) Exactly is that for? (Feeling more at ease, he confesses to her.) FREDDY Ah, Miss, There’s a very Simple reason For the gun. TUSSI Oh. Not involving Death or treason?
49 FREDDY No. I am A gun … TUSSI (ever-hopeful) … Slinger? A gun-slinger? FREDDY (simply) Gunsmith. TUSSI Oh. FREDDY And my dream Is one day To be able To claim To have crafted such a weapon As puts the rest to shame. (eyes suddenly agleam) An instrument of death which Never fails to meet its aim! TUSSI And with the spying, What exactly Is your game? FREDDY (after a moment, sighs) I am an orphan, I should say. TUSSI (sad face) Oh, no! FREDDY My name is Freddy, By the way. TUSSI (bright again) Hello. I’m Tussi.
50 FREDDY Hello. (They sit.) FREDDY My parents (who have died), For years (I learnt) had lied. I was, in fact, adopted As a child. TUSSI (excited) Itâ€™s like a novel! FREDDY Till then I had not known That I was not their own, My home was just where I was Domiciled. TUSSI (full of sympathy) Was it a hovel? FREDDY And so I longed to know What happened To me eighteen years ago. TUSSI But why is it you think That our house May be the link? FREDDY The pair I never knew Left one important clue, A tiny, yet extremely Telling thing. TUSSI My word, what is it? FREDDY I keep it like a charm, To keep me safe from harm: This small and slightly tarnished Napkin-ring.
51 TUSSI My, how exquisite! FREDDY I wear it on this chain. And there it will remain, Till one day My enigma has been solved. (He shows it to her.) You recognise the crest? TUSSI (seeing it, gasps) So that explains your quest! BOTH Proof positive Your/My family’s involved! Who Holds the answers To this mystery? Who Is the offspring That a mother chose to shun? (a tiny pause, then:) TUSSI May I Play with Your gun? (Their eyes meet. He hands over the weapon. Cross-fade to …)
52 Scene Three (The streets of Bloomsbury. Same time. MARX (contd) That case is mine! Stop! MARX has at last tracked down his QUARRY. He grabs hold of the bewildered and terrified MAN.) MAN (FRANZ, shouting) Let me Go! MARX (shouting) No! No! (breathless but victorious) Your race, Is run! The chase, Is lost! The case Is won! (Triumphant, MARX tugs at the case, but the MAN is unyielding in his grasp. During the following, an unseemly scrabbling, pushing, pulling, yanking tug-of-war ensues, with NEITHER emerging the victor.) MARX (contd) This case is mine! FRANZ No, it’s not! MARX Yes, it is! FRANZ No, it’s not! MARX Is! FRANZ Not!
53 MARX Clot! FRANZ Sot! BOTH (outraged) What?! (By now BOTH have their hands round EACH OTHER’s throats, so that NEITHER can move. MARX gives a final, violent tug at the case, and it breaks open, disgorging banknotes all over the stage. FRANZ raises his hands in helpless despair, while MARX gazes on in amazement.) MARX Where is my silver? (realising) This isn’t my case FRANZ This isn’t your case (FRANZ staggers to his feet and dusts HIMSELF down, regaining his breath.) MARX What have you done with it, You piece of bourgeois trash? (FRANZ scrabbles to gather up the money) MARX (staring at the scattered banknotes) And what the hell … (goggle-eyed) Is all this cash? (FRANZ quickly gathers up the notes, stuffing them back inside his case. He disappears, MARX staring after him.)
54 Scene Four (The streets of Soho. Same time. TUSSI is fondling the gun, as FREDDY looks rapturously on.) TUSSI (not without insinuation) So, Master gunsmith, Will you show me How to shoot? Is this bit The trigger? Up close it Seems bigger. Show, Master gunsmith, How you master Such a brute! For firearms Was why our arms Were made! [Oh] share, Master gunsmith, The secrets of Your trade! FREDDY (intrigued) Youâ€™re an original, Young lady, Whatever else you are, The most original Young lady That Iâ€™ve met, In fact, By far. TUSSI I am original, I grant you, And older than my age, Though unoriginal In dreaming Of a life Upon The stage. You find that funny?
55 FREDDY (shakes his head) Not me! I’d pay good money To see Your… TUSSI Jocasta… Cordelia… Orlando… Ophelia! BOTH And your origins Intrigue me, Your people and your past. Is it affinity I’m feeling? Can such feelings Come so fast? And are these feelings Those feelings Of which the poets So frequently And eloquently sang? (They kiss. Then, as they separate, TUSSI gently points the gun at FREDDY.) TUSSI (softly) Bang, bang … (They kiss again, as lights and music carry us to …)
56 Scene Five (The Red Lion public-house. The pub is full of ENGLISH WORKERS, EUROPEAN IMMIGRANTS and miscellaneous INTELLECTUALS, ALL eagerly anticipating the arrival of the great MELANZANE.) CHORUS (severally) Have you seen? Have you heard? Is he here? Whatâ€™s the word? Melanzane! Melanzane! Did they say? Will he show? Will he speak? Do they know? Melanzane! Melanzane! (In the THRONG, we find MARX in one part of the tavern, and ENGELS in another. To their mutual delight, they soon see ONE ANOTHER, and embrace warmly.) MARX My friend! ENGELS My friend! MARX My oldest friend! ENGELS My dearest friend! BOTH No matter When, Or why, Or even where, You, My friend, Are always there: The dynamo On whom I know, In truth, I so Depend!
57 My clever, Never Untrue, One true Friend! ENGELS I was at Maitland Park. MARX You were? And so you saw? (ENGELS nods) All that remains me Is a paltry two-and-six. Poor Karl is in a fix. (FRANZ now makes his way through the CROWD, and mounts the rostrum. Some applause, then hush.) FRANZ Anarchists! Workers! Friends! My name is Franz, A native of Westphalia. One whom The gold-rush in Australia Has blessed with independence. My aim is this: To use my cornucopia To fund A communist Utopia, Since I have no descendants. (He holds aloft his case.) The finest of the speakers Will be free to spend The contents of this case, Pursuant to his end. (And I suspect It may well be Our Italian friend.)
58 CROWD Melanzane! Melanzane! FRANZ And so … The game is on! A generous donation Awaits. The master of oration Will pocket all this money. CROWD Money! Money! FRANZ And I am not being funny. Indeed I’m not. He gets the lot. MARX (to ENGELS) And it’s a lot. FRANZ Signor Melanzane! CROWD Melanzane! Melanzane! (MELANZANE can now be seen approaching the make-shift podium. The CROWD twitters in anticipation. A hush descends, as the great ORATOR surveys his AUDIENCE.) MELANZANE Freedom and justice For all! Though great tyrannies have held us In their thrall, I say … MARX (standing up, interrupting) … Let’s put this half-wit Up against the wall. Today. CROWD (severally) Ha ha ha ha! Sh! (MELANZANE glares at MARX, who bows and sits down again.)
59 MELANZANE Freedom … MARX Freedom? Justice? MELANZANE Justice … MARX (to the CROWD) This numbskull Peddles pap. FRANZ (to MARX) I find in him Much merit. MARX I find in him Much crap. (Laughter and jeering from the CROWD.) MELANZANE All I know is this: That capital Must fail, And communist Prevail. We must just wait. (MARX begins to advance on MELANZANE, who is growing ever more fearful of this MADMAN.) CROWD (muttering) It’s Marx! MARX You whitlow! You papule! You canker! You pustule! You weeping inflammation! You seeping vesication! An end to your abstraction, You copycat! Or give me sat-Isfaction!
60 (So saying, MARX draws from his cane a formidable-looking swordstick. The pace suddenly accelerates as, assuming a fencing pose, MARX advances on the tremulous MELANZANE, who however is not slow in indicating to TWO BODYGUARDS that they should intervene. Effortlessly, MARX overpowers the TWO MEN, and soon has MELANZANE at sword-point.) MARX You speak of capital As if You had a clue Of what it is, And what it does, What it can do. FRANZ And do you? MARX Capital Is what enslaves the soul. Capital Is all that you are owed. Capital Is what your masters stole. Capital Makes squalor of your toil. Capital Is one relentless goad. Capital Seeks only to despoil. It festers In the hands Of the landlords Of these lands. For while one or two Might make some slight advance, The poorest stand no chance. For capital will feed On those poor creatures Most in need â€Ś The unemployed, The orphans, The starving And the sick; The sick-at-heart, The widows, The wounded,
61 And the weak. The dispossessed And aged, The ragged And unclean. These are the wretches, Who have Forever been The fuel, The lifeblood Of that terrible, That ravenous Machine! (The LISTENERS have become more and more enthralled by what they hear. Sensing this, MARX warms to his theme.) From capital there springs A tide of evil things: Wealth to the wealthy. Torment to the poor. And as the beast gains ground It feasts on all around. The working wage may grow, Yet seems forever low, While work is sold Beneath what it Is worth; While workers sweat And bleed, Because they must; Bound fast upon A wheel Of boom and bust; As commerce Puts a girdle round The earth, Depending more and more On new technology and war. And with this growing, Comes the need To foster ever-growing greed, [All] in order to ensure â€Ś â€Ś Wealth to the wealthy, Torment to the poor. (FRANZ now quietly makes his way back to the podium, and looks up at MARX.)
FRANZ If capital Is what the bourgeois steals, Then what of the communist? And what of those ideals? MARX (suddenly enlivened) The communist Demands That we shall have No private property! CHORUS No private property! MARX No more Inheritance! CHORUS No more Inheritance! MARX No, nor Proprietor[s]! CHORUS No, nor Proprietor[s]! MARX The communist Commands That there shall be One rule for everyone! CHORUS Yes! MARX A school For everyone! CHORUS Yes! MARX No wage
63 For anyone … CHORUS What? MARX … Below what’s only fair! CHORUS Yes! MARX To those prepared To fight, I offer you The light! A new and shining daybreak Will begin! CHORUS A new and shining daybreak Will begin! MARX And capital will crumble And cave in. Working men and women, Now unite! There is A brave and bright New world For you to win! CHORUS There is A brave and bright New world For us to win! (FRANZ walks slowly over to MARX, and offers him the battered case.) FRANZ (stirred) Comrade Marx, You are The miracle of hope. You are The oracle of truth. Accept the prize.
64 (Overjoyed at this turn of events, and his new-found FOLLOWERS, MARX grasps in turn a profusion of proffered handshakes, while deserted by his turncoat HEAVIES, the humiliated MELANZANE staggers to his feet, dusting HIMSELF off.) MARX Claret and cognac For all! Help yourselves, my friends, And have your-Selves a ball! (Frenzied ordering of drinks. The assembled company also help themselves to the contents of the case) FRANZ Your diatribe, Though long, Was wise. ENGELS (slaps his back) Top dog in any quarrel (Material or moral), It’s only fair That you should wear The rabble-rouser’s laurel. MELANZANE (mutters to HIMSELF) This briccone, he Is riding For the fall … (Unseen, he stumbles out, oozing menace.) CHORUS A new and shining daybreak Will begin! There is A brave and bright New world [For us] to win! (The LANDLORD brings the bill.) ENGELS Here’s your change. MARX (sadly) How strange. A paltry two-and-six.
65 ENGELS Another Marxist fix. The first rule of capital: You sow Before you reap. MARX Mind you, prices here are steep. (dejected) Oh, Engels, Whenever will we win? ENGELS Soon, let us pray. CHORUS A new And shining Daybreak Will begin! (Tableau. Blackout.)
66 Scene Six (Maitland Park, 03:00. JENNY alone, in the gloom of her thoughts.) JENNY Now the dark is closing in, Now the fantasies begin To stalk my mind. Blacker than the blackest night, Blocking out all life and light, Till I am blind. Where are they? The homeland, The children I have lost? How many? The children? The continents I’ve crossed? Oh Jenny, You cannot And you must not Count the cost … Now the dark is closing in. Now my mind needs more than gin To fight the fear. Now with every passing day, Further still he drifts away, And leaves me here. Oh, let what is past be past, As long as he Comes home to me At last … (HELENE appears. JENNY looks sadly at her. The TWO WOMEN embrace. JENNY returns to her room, leaving HELENE alone. Her reverie is interrupted by …)
67 (… FREDDY and TUSSI enter. A moment, as ALL THREE assess ONE ANOTHER. HELENE breaks the moment.) HELENE You! Did I not tell you Not to call? TUSSI No! He has a story For us all. HELENE So? You know his story? TUSSI (significantly) Yes. But not as much As you. FREDDY (showing her the napkin-ring) Look. The Westphalen Family crest. HELENE (with a sigh) Very well. Perhaps it’s time You knew. (ruefully) perhaps it’s best. HELENE (contd, heavily) Eighteen years ago Weak of will, and wild, Silly and seduced, Easily defiled, I produced a child. (TUSSI and FREDDY are as astonished as EACH OTHER.) TUSSI |A child?
68 | FREDDY |A child? TUSSI | You mean … ? | HELENE | I mean … | FREDDY | … That I … ? | TUSSI | … That he … | FREDDY | … That you … ? | TUSSI | … That she … | ALL THREE | … Would seem | To be … | FREDDY | My … | TUSSI | His … | HELENE | Your … | ALL THREE … Mother! (FREDDY and HELENE embrace, at first with hesitation, then with real warmth.) FREDDY (cutting in) But why did you abandon Your only son?
69 HELENE To shelter someone From the scandal Which otherwise would break, A man whose fate and future Were at stake. (She draws their attention again to FREDDY’s make-shift pendant.) HELENE (contd) All I left was this, On a silver chain, So one day I’d know My boy of Eighteen years ago. FREDDY Then who was my father? HELENE (looking away) It’s not for me to say. FREDDY But will I know one day? HELENE It’s not for me to say. TUSSI A man of reputation? FREDDY A man of certain station? FREDDY & TUSSI A man that we may know? HELENE (reluctantly) You may. TUSSI & FREDDY (comprehending) It was Engels, Who led you Astray! HELENE (troubled) It’s not for me to say. (A pause. HELENE quickly changes the subject.)
70 HELENE (briskly) She must not know the truth, Your mother. TUSSI & FREDDY (earnestly) Agreed. HELENE She is sick, and badly shaken. She must not know the truth. TUSSI & FREDDY No, indeed. HELENE (to TUSSI) nor your father. TUSSI Meaning, lie? FREDDY And so? HELENE They never know. ALL THREE (solemnly, linking hands) They never know. (… They are interrupted by the arrival of MARX, drunkenly singing, a bottle in his hand. Startled, the OTHER THREE break apart.) MARX Freedom and justice My arse! That assembly was an utter Fucking farce … (seeing TUSSI, bows courteously) Well hello, Little trio! I embrace you all Con brio! Hail to the ladies And … (MARX drags HELENE to one side, while FREDDY and TUSSI form a close huddle on the other.)
71 MARX (aside to HELENE) | Helene, | I yearn | For a return | Game of chess! | FREDDY | Dear lady, | I’m burn| -ing to return | your caress. | HELENE | The kind | Where I | Remove my dress? | TUSSI | You’ll find | That my | Response is yes! MARX | The kind | Whereby | We share | Our species essence … | FREDDY | Entwined, | Will you | Not share | My incandescence? | HELENE | To diminish | Your tumescence? | TUSSI | May I voice my | Acquiescence? | MARX | So you’re open to persuasion? | FREDDY | You forgive my rude invasion? | HELENE | Forgive my evasion,
72 | But itâ€™s hardly the occasion. | FREDDY & TUSSI | We need no persuasion | HELENE | There is | A better time than now | For you | To break your marriage vow! | FREDDY & TUSSI | There is | No better time than now. | For us, | The only thing is: how? MARX (hissing) | Sow! | Hausfrau! We suddenly hear the VOICES of the THREE WORKMEN.) WORKMEN (offstage) | Haul away, Harry! | Haul away, Tom! | Drink, and be done with your sorrow! | Heave away, Jerry! | Heave away, Dan! | Drink, and be done with tomorrow! | HELENE, MARX, TUSSI & FREDDY (hearing this) | Ha! (The WORKMEN and the FOREMAN enter, their cart piled high with the missing furniture.) (Behind them comes the CROWD from the Red Lion, including FRANZ, carrying the remainder of the confiscated items.) HELENE, MARX & TUSSI (stunned) | How has this happened? | TUSSI | Where are they from? | MARX (in wonder) | Every last one! |
73 TUSSI (in wonder) | Son of a gun! FOREMAN (cutting them off) There! That’s the lot! (EVERYONE crowds into the house. From offstage we hear the familiar clarion VOICE of ENGELS, before seeing him borne in on a velour chaise-longue.) ENGELS Comrades! The General has heard you, And here’s all your gear! HELENE, MARX & TUSSI (enraptured) Engels! (The items now in place, most of the CROWD leave. FRANZ remains, and ENGELS assumes centre-stage, flamboyantly raising a glass, which SOMEONE has thoughtfully filled.) ENGELS (indicating the furniture) You Can still hold your Communist beano! It’s all taken care of. I sold a small share of My legendary Cellar of vino! HELENE & TUSSI The Merlot? ENGELS The Pinot. No nonsense! No messing! And that is the blessing Of capital! MARX Capital! ALL Capital! (Delighted, MARX embraces ENGELS.) MARX
74 My friend! ENGELS My friend! MARX My oldest friend! ENGELS My dearest friend! BOTH My rock through Thick And thin Forever true. You, Old friend, Have stuck like glue. My writing hand, My fatherland, Beginning and My end! My clever, Ever-Ready, Steady Friend! (Everything is suddenly interrupted by the blood-chilling sound of JENNYâ€™s offstage voice.) JENNY (offstage) Where Is Marx? EVERYONE ELSE Oh! JENNY (offstage) Bring Me My husband! MARX (tremulous) No! (TUSSI and HELENE quickly remember that JENNY must not catch sight of FREDDY.)
HELENE (in panic) The changeling! TUSSI (likewise) My “tutor”! HELENE His secret! TUSSI His shooter! Conceal him! HELENE Seal him Swiftly in This trunk! TUSSI If he should know … HELENE If she should know … HELENE & TUSSI If anyone but we should know … BOTH We’re sunk! (FREDDY is speedily bundled into the empty trunk.) (JENNY bursts in, only very partially dressed.) JENNY (livid) Ah! Bring me that Reprobate! My blessing and my bane! Marx, my alpha And my omega of pain! (EVERYONE is stunned into silence. Accustomed to such histrionics, however, MARX beams with ingratiation.) MARX My dear, I’m here And can
76 Explain! JENNY (darkly) Where is my Silverware, My birth-right and my pride? Bring Me the thing You seek to hide. (But before MARX can respond, all attention is taken by the sound of OFFSTAGE VOICES.) CHIEF-INSPECTOR & SERGEANT (offstage) Police! Stand aside! [repeated during progress into the house] MARX (what now?) Police? Will horrors Never cease? (In panic, he disappears into a broom-cupboard, while at the same time JENNY’s state of undress is hidden under a dust-sheet by a quick-thinking HELENE. In alarm, the OTHERS freeze for a moment, as the CHIEF-INSPECTOR OF POLICE now enters. He marches up to FRANZ.) CHIEF-INSPECTOR Mister Mark? FRANZ Er … TUSSI (correcting him) Marx. MARX (behind the door) And it’s Doktor. CHIEF-INSPECTOR (introducing HIMSELF) Chief-Inspector Littlejohn. Might I have A word? FRANZ Er … ENGELS (helpfully intervening) Pray, what has Occurred?
(A POLICE-SERGEANT now enters, accompanied by the PAWNBROKER from Act One.) CHIEF-INSPECTOR A man approached This officer, While out on Patrol. SERGEANT Itâ€™s a case Of a case Which this man Says that Mark Here stole. EVERYONE ELSE (shocked) Stole? PAWNBROKER (gravely) Stole! ENGELS (all charm) My dear Chief-Inspector, As the managing director Of a highly trusted firm, Might I implore You to ignore This mendacious Little worm? PAWNBROKER How dare you? (The enraged PAWNBROKER flies at ENGELS, but is quickly restrained by the SERGEANT.) ENGELS Shall we just forget This whole affair, Chief-Inspector? (ENGELS gestures to the crate of wine, an open bottle of which, which TUSSI winsomely produces, a glass in her other hand.) As we share A drop of ruby nectar?
78 CHIEF-INSPECTOR (ignoring the proffered glass) Sir, it’s not some Common case we seek. The contents were unique. JENNY (poking her head from beneath the dust-sheet) May I speak? (ALL eyes are on JENNY, in breathless anticipation.) JENNY Such scenes I’ve learned to face With patience and good grace. (with a sad smile) But like me, you have no case. CHIEF INSPECTOR (to JENNY) The case was yours You mean? JENNY But what is mine Is his. CHIEF INSPECTOR (to FRANZ) You don’t know where It is? JENNY I wish. SERGEANT Fair play. ENGELS (deftly intercepting) I’d say You chaps Have had a wasted visit. CHIEF-INSPECTOR Perhaps. (still troubled, thinking) But where the devil is it?
79 JENNY Who knows? ENGELS (looking at the trunk) Back in its box, Do you suppose? HELENE (quickly) No, no. We looked. TUSSI (quickly) No, no. It’s locked. HELENE & TUSSI (emphatically) And there Are two locks On that box. CHIEF-INSPECTOR How could you look, If it was locked? HELENE & TUSSI (improvising) Let’s see … CHIEF-INSPECTOR Do you have the key? HELENE & TUSSI She does. Not me. (to EACH OTHER, indignantly) No, I don’t! (The CHIEF-INSPECTOR looks sternly at FRANZ, who until now has been doing his utmost to mingle with the CROWD.) CHIEF-INSPECTOR Does he? (NO-ONE responds, including FRANZ, who looks deeply uncomfortable.) CHIEF-INSPECTOR (contd, to FRANZ) Well, Mister Mark, Do you know where The key is?
FRANZ Not a clue. CHIEF-INSPECTOR (to FRANZ) I think Mister Mark, You do. CHORUS He’s not Karl Marx. CHIEF-INSPECTOR (to FRANZ) You’re not? FRANZ No, he is! (And with this, FRANZ throws open the door to the broom-cupboard where MARX was hiding. Some brooms tumble out. But not MARX. He has vanished. General astonishment.) CHIEF-INSPECTOR Sergeant, Shoot off the locks, With all due speed. (EVERYONE cowers. The SERGEANT pulls out a revolver, and is about to shoot, when TUSSI interposes HERSELF between trunk and gun.) TUSSI No, no! EVERYONE ELSE No, no? SPY (appearing from nowhere) No, no! (ALL turn in amazement to see the SPY. He is dressed identically to FRANZ. With him is the missing case.) CHIEF-INSPECTOR (beginning to lose his grip) Who’s this?! SERGEANT (who hasn’t seen the SPY) Who’s who? CHIEF-INSPECTOR (almost screaming) This man!!
SPY (suavely) I can, Quite simply resolve The riddle Round which Your muddles revolve. JENNY You can? ENGELS You can? TUSSI You can? HELENE You can? CHORUS You can? SPY it’s as simple As A.B.C. is! CHIEF-INSPECTOR & SERGEANT Then you are Karl Mark? JENNY & ENGELS No, no! TUSSI & HELENE No, no! CHORUS No, no! (With a flourish the SPY opens a laundry-cupboard on the opposite side of the stage to the broom-cupboard. In it is the missing MARX, bewildered and irate.) SPY No, he is! (EVERYONE is highly impressed by this coup-de-théâtre, even the TWO POLICEMEN.) MARX (confused and fulminating) Arrest this brute!
82 And confiscate that loot! (double take) My case! The silver! JENNY My silver! MARX Defrauder! SPY (coolly) Not so. (calmly) I think youâ€™ll find My papers are in order. (With a click of his heels, the SPY hands over an official-looking document. Impressed, the CHIEF INSPECTOR salutes him.) SPY (indicating MARX) This man, Chief-Inspector, Mislaid, Chief-Inspector, What was, Chief-Inspector, Not quite the stash Of papers I had thought. (gloomily) My probing of Herr Marx has come to naught. SPY (contd, sighs) Sure it Contained some Fiendish plot, I impounded This portmanteau, To disco-ver it did not. ENGELS And even if
83 The contents Had been more exciting, There isn’t anyone, From Timbuktu to Twyford, Who could ever in A decade have deciphered Marx’s fucking awful writing. (Apart, That is, From me.) JENNY (And me.) But let what is past Be past! Now what I love Is home At last. SPY (to MARX) Fine gentlemen, Sweet ladies, Goodbye. (He kisses JENNY’s hand, bows to the OTHERS and strides away, casting a final look in the direction of a blushing TUSSI.) TUSSI Oh, my … At last! A living, Breathing Spy! I think that I shall die! A spy! CHIEF-INSPECTOR Well, good day, Mr Mark … MARX Marx. SERGEANT … If we may, Mrs Mark … JENNY Marx.
CHIEF-INSPECTOR & SERGEANT … We’ll be off On our home-ward way. (Their exit, however, is interrupted by the sudden arrival of …) MELANZANE (shouting, as he enters) It’s Marx!!! (wildly) Freedom and justice For all! I shall have freedom From you, And justice For me… (MELANZANE pulls from inside his coat a makeshift bomb. ALL gasp in horror and back away, MARX shielding JENNY with his body. MELANZANE lights the fuse and prepares to hurl the bomb.) Buona notte, You fool Of a professor! (Just as he is about to throw the device, and to the amazement of ALL, FREDDY bursts suddenly out of the trunk, pulling out his gun.) FREDDY Assassin! Forbear! JENNY (astonished) A gunman Was in there? EVERYONE ELSE A gunman! Bloody hell! FREDDY (extravagantly) Assassin! Farewell! (Trembling, FREDDY shoots at MELANZANE. But the shot misses wildly, and the ricochet hits the small chandelier seen in Act One, which falls, hitting MELANZANE and pinning him, helpless, to the floor.) MELANZANE (cursing) Maladetto!
85 Maladetti! EVERYONE ELSE Away, You Eyetie yeti! CHIEF INSPECTOR & SERGEANT Come along! Away with you! (The two POLICE drag off the embittered MELANZANE, still entwined in the tiny chandelier. FRANZ and the PAWNBROKER tag along. Only FREDDY, TUSSI, MARX, JENNY, HELENE and ENGELS remain.) (MARX warmly shakes FREDDY’s hand, offering him the Gilbey’s bottle from Act One.) MARX Here, Mister teacher, Have a hearty Tot of gin! (He embraces FREDDY warmly.) You have saved my Scabby skin … (almost tearful) It’s as though we’re Kith and kin … (MARX holds FREDDY at arm’s length, giving him a penetrating look.) TUSSI (drily) So that Was the weapon Which would never miss Its aim? FREDDY It’s me, Not the weapon, Which I fear We have To blame. TUSSI May I touch it?
86 FREDDY (gently) Take care, It’s just been shot. TUSSI (looking at him) I know. It still feels hot. (Sensing their mutual interest, ENGELS and HELENE usher TUSSI and FREDDY speedily out of earshot of the OTHERS. Breathlessly, overlapping:) ENGELS (to FREDDY) |We need a private word. | HELENE (to TUSSI) |A plot-twist has occurred. | ENGELS |Helene … | TUSSI (matter-of-fact) |… Yes, we know, |Is Freddy’s mother. |And you |Are Freddy’s father. ENGELS (horrified) |Freddy’s father? |No, |Karl Marx |Is Freddy’s father. | |TUSSI & FREDDY (springing apart) |No! | FREDDY |Now, that is |A twist! |HELENE |Meaning Freddy |Here is basically your brother. | TUSSI |Brother?! | ENGELS |Well, yes. |More or less. |
87 (FREDDY and TUSSI are suddenly regarding ONE ANOTHER in a quite new light.) | TUSSI & FREDDY |Oh, Jesus! |We kissed! | TUSSI (playfully) |Assassin, |Desist … | MARX & JENNY | True, I’m/you’re an | Idiot … | MARX | … Whom you alone keep sane … | JENNY (gently) | My blessing and my bane. | JENNY & MARX | Marx, my/your alpha | And my/your omega of pain. (They embrace tenderly. MARX slips a dressing-gown around JENNY’s shoulders. For a moment they are again a young loving COUPLE.) (Unseen by ANYONE, FREDDY returns his napkin-ring to the box, completing the cutlery-set.) (We meanwhile find MARX and JENNY, reconciled at last.) MARX Jenny, My Jenny. It was only ever you. JENNY (with a smile) Why do I half-believe You mean that? MARX (taking her hand) Perhaps Because It’s true. (They make their way gently upstage, as …)
88 (The walls of Maitland Park fly out, and we are magically transported to Hampstead Heath, where the MARX FAMILY enjoy a picnic idyll. MEN and WOMEN arranged on rugs spread across the endless green of a summerâ€™s day.) TUSSI Look! Down there! HELENE The city stretched Beneath us JENNY Bright and clear. MARX This is my perfect Time of day. My perfect Ones are here. TUSSI, JENNY, HELENE, ENGELS, MARX (severally) The grass Is fresh, The glass Is full, The sun Confers her blessing. The breeze Is warm, The cheese Is soft, No scent Of storm To cloud content, Or sour The salad dressing. CHORUS The day now takes its ease, And we are free to laze Beneath untroubled skies. TUSSI, JENNY, HELENE, ENGELS, MARX (all together) And faces, fond And fair Invite the world To share The acres and Uncomplicated air.
MARX There’s still So much to do. ENGELS That’s true, Old friend, That’s true. But look, Karl, look. Look at the view. (MARX turns his gaze out over the smoky expanse of London, sunk in thought.) ALL (severally) Look, Karl. Look at the view. (As the sun sets over London, we are returned to the SPY and his typewriter. He is reading his report back to HIMSELF. He fits the cover back over the typewriter, clicks it locked, files the papers in a desk-drawer, and slowly smiles, as …) SPY End of Act Two. End of Act Two.
Photo © Andrew Palmer
Jonathan Dove (b. 1959) studied composition with Robin Holloway at Cambridge and worked as a freelance repetiteur, animateur and arranger. His first major projects came via Glyndebourne, including his breakthrough commission, the opera Flight, for Glyndebourne Touring Opera. Other operatic works include The Adventures of Pinocchio, Swanhunter, children’s opera The Hackney Chronicles, When She Died – examining the response to the death of Diana, Princess of Wales – and Man on the Moon. Works for orchestra include the trombone concerto Stargazer, and Moonlight Revels for trumpet and saxophone. Dove was presented with the Ivor Novello Award for Classical Music in 2008, and in 2010 A Song of Joys opened the Last Night of the Proms. Jonathan Dove ( *1959) studierte bei Robin Holloway an der Universität Cambridge Komposition und arbeitete als freischaffender Korrepetitor und Arrangeur. Erste größere Werke entstanden in Zusammenarbeit mit dem englischen Gl++yndebourne Festival, darunter die Oper Flight – ein Auftragswerk der Glyndebourne Touring Opera, das ihm zum Durchbruch verhalf. Sein Opernschaffen umfasst außerdem The Adventures of Pinocchio, Swanhunter, die Kinderoper The Hackney Chronicles, When She Died – das die Reaktionen auf den Tod von Prinzessin Diana beleuchtet – sowie Man on the Moon. Zu seinen Orchesterwerken zählen das Posaunenkonzert Stargazer sowie Moonlight Revels für Trompete und Saxofon. 2008 erhielt Dove den Ivor Novello Award für klassische Musik, und 2010 bildete A Song of Joys den Auftakt zur „Last Night of the Proms“.
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Libretto by Charles Hart