sábado, 23 de abril de 2016

THE TRAVESTY OF OTHELLO - IV CENTENNIAL EDITION

Today, the Travesty is finally back, with Moor pentameter, Moor characters, Moor shout-outs, Moor songs, Moor excitement... long story short, Moor of everything; right in time for the fourth centennial of the Bard of Avon's birthday/deathday.


THE TRAVESTY OF OTHELLO
A MOOR THAN BLOODY DRAMA IN "FOOR" ACTS 
(PLUS ONE, THAT MAKES FIVE ACTS)

ENHANCED, EXTENDED, and UNCUT
"FOORTH" CENTENNIAL EDITION
23rd OF APRIL 2016


WRITTEN BY
WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE - original script
SANDRA E. DERMARK - summary
SANDRA E. DERMARK - adaptation (as well)
DRACO MALFOY FANLISTING - support
LUNA LOVEGOOD FANLISTING - support (as well)
"THE RAGE OF CASTAMERE" LANNISTER FANGROUP - support (even more)
MARÍA CALZADA PÉREZ - friendship
LIZA PLUIJTER IZQUIERDO - friendship (as well)
UTTAM PAUDEL - friendship (even more) and kudos
PILAR EZPELETA - encouragement and Shakespearean expertise
NORDENS ARK - moose
OYSHO - pyjamas
NËSC@FÉ - coffee
TIME - for letting the years and months roll up to this relevant date

SPONSORED BY
RED COW, gives you wings.
HAINEKEN.
GENERAL ELECTROCUTION.
"THE RAGE OF CASTAMERE" LANNISTER FANGROUP.
KÁRPÁTIA.
RESTAURANTE ÁGORA - where to eat at Jaime I University.
HILLARY FOR PRESIDENT - and down with Trump.
GUNS & RODENTS MILITARY FICTION FANGROUP.
SIR REGINALD PIKEDEVANT, ESQUIRE.
PLANET OF THE DRAPES, curtains for all stages.


STARRING (DRAMATIS PERSONAE)
OTHELLO - a tall dark general.
CASSIO - an honest lieutenant.
IAGO - a not so honest ensign.
DESDEMONA - Othello's beloved lady wife.
EMILIA - Desdemona's maidservant, married to Iago.
RODERIGO - a naive young aristocrat, Lord of the Friendzone.
BIANCA - a young tsundere sutler courtesan, Cassio's mistress and fiancée.
SANDRA - the author of the hypertext herself.
OFFICERS, NON-COMS, PRIVATES, TOWNSFOLK, COUNTRYFOLK, BOHEMIANS, SPEAR-CARRIERS.

The story takes place in an outpost somewhere on Northern Cyprus, in the late sixteenth or early seventeenth century.

ANNOTATION:
"Lieutenant" should always be pronounced "leftenant" in this play.


UP WITH THE CURTAIN!

PRELUDE

SCENE 1:
THE DOCKS NEAR THE OUTPOST. IAGO AND RODERIGO STAGE LEFT, SANDRA STAGE RIGHT.
SANDRA (dramatically, addressing the audience): Mesdames et messieurs! Mina damer och herrar! Hölgyeim és uraim! Larvae of all stages! Today is a wonderful day, and why?
And why, you may ask? Because 'tis Saturday?
Not at all, since the Jews do nought today!
Because 'tis sunny? Neither, not at all!
Well, let me tell you and stop this fricking pentameter. This is not the time or place for pentameter. Ok, three, two, one, fire!
Mesdames et messieurs! Mina damer och herrar! Hölgyeim és uraim! Larvae of all stages! Today we are going FOURTH! Because it happens to be EL CUARTO CENTENARIO, THE FOURTH CENTENNIAL!!! Four hundred years ago, two of the greatest literary minds of all times left the grand stage of the world, never to return, into uncharted lands. They had led parallel lives at the same time and both of them had made literary history. One of them had a very adventurous life, "fue capturado por piratas moriscos..." was taken prisoner by Moorish pirates... "perdió la mano izquierda de un arcabuzazo en Lepanto..." he lost his left hand to arquebus fire at Lepanto (tucks her left hand into her left sleeve, then pulls it out again)... but, fortunately, he was right-handed, otherwise we should have never known the famous phrases (clears throat): "Somewhere in La Mancha, I cannot exactly remember the name of the place, not long ago, there lived an hidalgo who owned a rusty lance, an ancient shield, a scrawny nag, and a speedy greyhound. A stew with a little more beef than mutton in it, meat salad on most evenings, ham and eggs on Saturdays, lentils on Fridays, an extra young pigeon on Sundays, comprised three quarters of his fortune. The rest of it consisted of a velvet doublet..." You know the story. This fiftyish unmarried hidalgo read adventure novels until he went psycho, and the rest is history. But we are not here to tell you THAT story, though it is exciting and fraught with both comedy and peril. No sirrah. The other author, who led a more quiet life and wrote an even longer and more internationally canonical list of works, is the inspiration behind today's entertainment. Yes, the Bard of Avon. A plaque on all his houses! (Pause.) And today you will laugh and cry, tremble and think, with my own personal rendition of my favourite among his internationally renowned tragedies. So why not begin with a little exposition before we let our tale begin? And indeed, now is finally the time for the pentameter. (Clears throat)
A fortress on an isle between two realms
once stood, a tall and steadfast keep of war.
Here lived, during the reign of Charles the Fifth,
an ensign (sergeant major, in our days),
a righteous, honest man, Iago. This
is the story of everything he wrought.
Listen and see everything for yourselves!
IAGO (turns away from Roderigo, towards Sandra): And who are you, strange maid in stripling garb?
SANDRA: The author of this very hypertext.
I wrote it once before, though far more short,
and now, for the grand deathday of the Bard,
I made it longer and far more intense.
(Pointing at Roderigo) See Roderigo? Yes, that fair young lord
who is your henchman? I gave him no lines,
but now he will get some more dialogue.
IAGO: That's right, my lady. Screentime's what he needs...
but not four or five lines like Boba Fett.
SANDRA (right hand on heart): So shall it be, I promise and I swear.
I'll make it like a Tarantino film.
(Roderigo approaches the end of the stage, crossing himself Catholic style, as if he were to do stage-diving. BACKGROUND MUSIC: "RAZZLE DAZZLE.")
IAGO: Thanks. Now I have some things more to discuss
with yonder lordling. May you take our leave,
before the twat does commit suicide.
SANDRA: Au revoir! Now let the play begin! (SHE EXITS AS IAGO APPROACHES RODERIGO. BACKGROUND MUSIC: "TEENAGE ICON.")
IAGO (rushes to Roderigo's side): Roderigo! (Pulling him backwards, reining him in): What were you... gonna kill yerself, eh? You're too young to...
RODERIGO (whiny as a disappointed alpha b*tch): I just cannot... pardon my French... I just cannot fooking bear it! (singing from Jesus Christ Superstar): I don't know how to love her...
what to do, how to mo-o-ove her...
I've been changed, really changed,
in these past few days...
IAGO (ironic, slightly sinister): Ha, ha, ha, the Lord of the Friendzone... your ice princess found herself a chocolate soldier who warmed her heart at last... and, Roddy boy, you're too chicken to crash the wedding... (loudly, irate) TWAAAAT!!!
RODERIGO (scared): Whoa, whoa, cut it out... you dissed me and scared me at the same time!
IAGO (harsh): Drown yourself? Drown kittens!! Only a twat would kill himself for heartbreak.
RODERIGO (shocked by these words): Then, I AM a twat, pardon my French, if a twat is a lover too shy to tell his beloved the truth about his feelings... Now, Iago, how's that campaign, running for His Chocoship's right hand?
BACKGROUND MUSIC: "THE ART OF THE POSSIBLE."
IAGO (changing tune, now more cheerful): I hope you don't mind I am ruining your parents, for a little more of their fortune would suffice to buy the Moor and become his aide-de-camp. Having already saved his life thrice or four times upon the battlefield is not enough, it seems... (He strips his developed left arm, showing scar marks all the way up to the shoulder.)
RODERIGO (a tad clueless): Is there anyone else applying for the post...?
IAGO (coldly, confident): There is. A young lieutenant, a stripling, of this new kind of "educated officers," still with wispy peach-fuzz on his upper lip. A childhood friend of your lady fair's, or so rumour has it. He's read a lot about warfare, but never trod on a real-life battlefield. Looks like a student expelled from university who had no other choice than to enlist...
RODERIGO (excited): There's no way he gets the post of aide-de-camp in this regiment! It's tailor-made for you!
IAGO (still confident): Indeed it is. Let's see how it all unfurls... (Singing.) One has no rules... is not precise!
one rarely acts... the same way twice!
One spurns no device
practicing the art... of the possible!


ACT ONE

SCENE 1:
IN THE COURTYARD. OTHELLO, IAGO, CASSIO. BACKGROUND MUSIC: BLACKADDER THEME SONG
OTHELLO: And thus, I promote hopeful young Cassio to the rank of Lieutenant... (He gives Cassio a fine sword and a nice plumed hat).
IAGO (to himself): I have fought by his side in countless battles, on the frontline itself, risking life and limb by his side, and yet... (Pause.) That frilly little upstart... that stripling of this new kind of "educated officers", who knows as much of tactics as a novice in a nunnery... has just usurped the rank which is mine by right! He should rather die! Er... Why not? (He gives the audience a mean death glare)
MUSIC: TOCCATA AND FUGUE IN D MINOR BY J.S. BACH.

SCENE 2:
AT THE SHUT CHAPEL DOOR, IAGO ON HIS OWN
DESDEMONA (off-stage, from inside the chapel): I do.
OTHELLO (off-stage, from inside the chapel): I do.
(Wedding bells peal, the refrain of ABBA's "I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do!" can be heard)
ENTER RODERIGO, STAGE LEFT. BACKGROUND MUSIC: "THE ART OF THE POSSIBLE."
RODERIGO: Seeing that you lost that commission, I expected that you would not be in such a sunny mood. What, Lieutenant Prettyboy got it, am I right?
IAGO (coldly): In the good old days, privates or non-coms became officers through good honest fighting. Nowadays an officer, for some reason, needs an education... and scarred veterans are left in the shade. Like... completely overlooked. Given non-com ranks in spite of their prowess... Yet I don't think anyone will see it coming... for I will poison their minds to break their ties, and then, once they are parted, strike them one by one in the back! If I were Othello or Cassio, I never would accept the Iago kind of fellow by my side... So I don't wear my heart upon my sleeve... The fun in the game is the fact that the cards are hidden. (Pause.) I am not what I am!
(BACKGROUND MUSIC: "TEENAGE ICON.")
RODERIGO (impressed): And that is why I admire you. Because you, unlike others, have got the guts to express yourself.
IAGO: That is right, Roddy-baby, but there are still others who surpass me. For instance... That lieutenant knows how to appeal to ladies. And yes, he is a childhood friend to your princess. He was the best man at her wedding, to add insult to injury... I am sure he is up to something, and she has caught up with his scheme.
RODERIGO (clueless): You mean?
IAGO: Everyone grows weary of too much chocolate at the end of the day. And yes, the lieutenant is dashing, charming, cheerful, intelligent, well-spoken... and she knows him as well as if they were brother and sister. But now they are no longer children...
RODERIGO (sighing): Which means... I've got two rivals. Iago... you're always there to help me out of distress... can't you cook up something to get me out of this blasted mess?
IAGO: I have up my sleeve a treacherous and cunning plan that abso-freaking-lutely cannot fail. When the new lieutenant is on guard duty, we'll ensure that he becomes unworthy of his rank! You see, he's got a short fuse, and I'll show you a way to make it even shorter... (Singing.) One always picks... the easy fight!
One praises fools... one smothers light!
One shifts left to right;
it's part... of the art... of the possible! (Cue baritone evil laugh.) MWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
(The Wedding March plays in the background.)



ACT TWO

SCENE 1:
EVENING IN THE COURTYARD: OTHELLO, DESDEMONA, AND CASSIO.
OTHELLO (To the audience, loudly and confidently): Rejoice! The war is over! The enemy is no more! These are now days of victory and peace! (To Cassio) Lieutenant, you shall be on guard duty tonight.
CASSIO (saluting): Yes, sir! I will do my best!
(Othello takes Desdemona by the hand and both of them walk offstage holding hands, locking eyes, and cooing. Cassio stands at attention).
ENTER IAGO.
IAGO (approaching Cassio): Hey Lieutenant! So we got this kegger, and it must sure be dull to stand there all night long on your own. So I'd like to ask... voulez-vous come with us ce soir?
CASSIO: Sorry, Iago. I have orders to take. Right now, I’ve had just one drink this evening (touching the left side of his chest with one hand and his head with the other), and revolution’s broken out in here. (Sighs.) I ought, in fact, to stay sober on duty...
IAGO: If that's the... you're not a teetotaler, Lieutenant, am I right? Aww... It's only one shot...
CASSIO: Then... Just a sip, to quench my thirst, and to warm myself from within, won't be wrong! Let's see if my system can hold it!
ENTER THREE OR FOUR OFFICERS MORE, RODERIGO BEING ONE OF THEM, CARRYING SHOT GLASSES AND LIQUOR. IN THE BACKGROUND, "LIVET ÄR EN FEST" BY NATIONALTEATERN.
IAGO (pours each officer a shot glass, then one for himself): Here's to our general!
(They clink their glasses and drain them, Cassio puts his doubtfully to his lips)
CASSIO: All right, this one and no more! Down the hatch! (He drains his glass to the last drop, and Iago gives him a refill)
IAGO: Now I'd like to propose a song.
CASSIO: Hope it's a good one. A love song of the kind that makes me think of a beautiful lady... Of how wonderful the stars are, and how wonderful is the power of love...
IAGO (singing): Twas on the good ship Venus,
by Lord, you should have seen us!
The figurehead was a whore in bed,
and the mast a rampant penis...
Frigging in the rigging,
frigging in the rigging,
frigging in the rigging,
there was fuck all else to do! Skål! (He raises his glass, and so do all others, and they clink and drain their glasses. Including Cassio this time).
CASSIO (now cheerful and over-the-top, after smacking his lips): Iago! Couldn't you have chosen a less... vulgar song?
IAGO: Sorry, Lieutenant. I'm only a critic. Anyway, you're in charge. So if you would rather be pleased with some more... courteous lyrics, let's see what I can find! (Pause) A-ha! (getting on the table and pouring each officer a third drink, singing once more): Well, a Scotsman clad in kilt left a bar one evening fair,
and one could tell by how he walked than he'd drunk more than his share...
CASSIO (interrupting, loudly and irritated, packing Iago by the collar): Cut. It. OUT!!! NOT THAT ONE, NOT ANY OTHER LEWD SONG!! This is an ORDER, given straight by your COMMANDING OFFICER!!! (He lets go of Iago's collar.)
IAGO (raising his shot glass): If that's your command, Lieutenant, I say yes sir! Right, a song that's not lewd... not lewd... A-ha! As you requested, Lieutenant! This third time's the charm! (Singing to a different tune.) The more we are together,
together, together,
the more we are together,
the merrier we get.
If I am merry, then you are merry.
If you are merry, then I am merry.
The more we are together,
the merrier we get! Skål! (He raises his glass, and so do all others, and they clink and drain their glasses. Including Cassio this time).
IAGO (to Roderigo): Now we've got him, Roderigo!
RODERIGO (to Iago): Yeah, he's getting wasted!
CASSIO (his eyes now glazed, his cheeks flushed): I'm so excited!! I just can't hide it!! I'm about to lose control, and I think I like it!!
IAGO (still on the table, pouring each officer a fourth drink, then clearing his throat and singing once more): What do you do with a drunk lieutenant,
What do you do with a drunk lieutenant,
What do you do with a drunk lieutenant,
early in the morning?
Hey, hey, and up she rises!
Hey, hey, and up she rises!
Hey, hey, and up she rises,
early in the morning!
Put him in the guardroom till he’s sober,
Put him in the guardroom till he’s sober,
Put him in the guardroom till he’s sober,
early in the morning!
Hey, hey, and up she rises!
Hey, hey, and up she rises!
Hey, hey, and up she rises,
early in the morning! Skål! (He raises his glass, and so do all others, and they clink and drain their glasses, including Cassio).
CASSIO (still ecstatic, now reeling, with slurred speech, reaching his shot glass to Iago): This song was the best one so far! (Pause) Iago... why is the room reeling? (Singing) Now the room's reeling,
and I'm feeling
so ho-ho-ho-ho-ho-ho-ho-hot!
Hot to trot!!
IAGO (sauntering off the table): A fifth one, Lieutenant?
CASSIO: If it gives more elation... (Iago pours him a fifth shot) 
IAGO (singing and raising his glass for the fifth time): If you think the grave's too deep and dire,
why not take a draught of liquid fire?
Then another, a third, make it four, make it five...
and you'll feel more alive! Skål!
(The officers clink glasses for another time, and Cassio's fifth glass shares the fate of all the previous ones. Then, the lieutenant nearly falls head first on the table).
IAGO (helping Cassio to get up): Lieutenant...? Are you alright?
CASSIO (slurred): Of course, Iago... Tsk! Tsk! (Difficultly getting up) I am not dwunk, good folk, I am not dwunk at all. (Waving his left hand) Thish ish my wight 'and. (Waving his right hand) Thish ish my weft 'and. I gan tell weft fom wight, yoo shee. (Walking a few steps, staggering) Weft, wight, weft, wight. I can shpeag perfegdly and walk in a shtwaight wine. Don't shink I em intoshigay... how wash it?
RODERIGO (chortling): It's "intoxicated," Lieutenant.
CASSIO (irate, flaring up, his right hand springing to the pommel on his left thigh): Laffing ad me!? Ad yer commanding offisher!? And 'ow dae ya teww me how to shay whad I shay!?
IAGO (pushing Cassio out of Roderigo's path): Lieutenant! Did you have too much to drink? Please snap out of this!! It's me, your second-in-command!
CASSIO (furious): Did you jusht nudge yer commanding offisher!!?? (After hitting Roderigo in the left eye, he draws steel and starts to swish his sword left and right, all over the courtyard, staggering and eventually wounding Iago, who at first, tries to stop Cassio with his own left-handed partizan, in the right arm. Background music: "Vltava", Smetana)
CASSIO (still furious): You twue bashtard!! You twaiter!! I nogg u out!!!
IAGO: Lieutenant! Lefteeenant! Wait until the general sees this! (To the other officers) The lieutenant is berserk!! Please help me restrain him! (Iago and the other officers seize Cassio, who falls unconscious and drops his bloodstained sword).
ENTER GENERAL OTHELLO, FOLLOWED BY HIS DESDEMONA. BOTH ARE RUMPLED, STILL IN THEIR NIGHTCLOTHES, WITH MESSY HAIR. BACKGROUND MUSIC: "SARKA," SMETANA
OTHELLO (stern): What on Earth is going on? Have we all turned Turks? Or Dornish? Or whatever...? Lieutenant Cassio, could you explain all this?
CASSIO (coming to, light-headed and confused, looking left and right): Eh...?
OTHELLO (stern): His blade is stained with blood, and he reeks like a drunkard... (Pause.) This is a warzone, and we have just reached a fragile peace that we thought never would come. Everyone within these walls is still on edge after the war, and this young officer was supposed to be on guard duty... (Pause.) Ensign Iago, my old friend and brother in arms, could you give an explanation?
IAGO (wincing slightly, clutching his wounded arm): Let's see. The lieutenant here is a really good and reliable young fellow, if it weren't for his liquid courage issues. So I tried to stop him, but in vain. He got completely intoxicated, and then he went berserk. We tried to stop his rampage, and I'm proud to say we have succeeded. Anyway, nobody's perfect, not even the Pope is infallible, so why should it be a young lieutenant? Why should he not, like so many youngsters, drink himself out of reason and lose control of himself?
OTHELLO (stern, looking at Cassio): You've even startled my dear lady fair... I'm sorry, Cassio. Though I love you, you will never make a lieutenant. You're fired. (He takes Cassio's sword and his hat, and gives them to Iago).
EXIT IAGO AND CASSIO; THE FORMER CONFIDENTLY, THE LATTER DOWNCAST.

SCENE TWO:
OTHELLO AND DESDEMONA, LOCKING HANDS AND EYES, LOOK UP AT THE NIGHT SKY. THE WHOLE SCENE IS SUNG TO THE LOVE DUET (“GIÀ NELLA NOTTE DENSA”) FROM VERDI’S OTELLO OPERA.
OTHELLO:
Now in the starlit nighttime,
each clamour fades away;
right now, my restless heart is
within your embrace soothed and
comes to its senses...
Let war break out, and let the end of days come,
should, after that great fury,
come even greater love!
DESDEMONA:
My warrior, so proud and tall!
How much I've sighed, how much I've shuddered, my darling,
and how much hope that
has led me to such soft, warm embracing!
Oh, how sweet is our lively conversation!
Do you remember? (Pause.)
When you told me of all your wayward lifetime,
shocking events that so long pain had wrought...
I listened to you, entranced... rather enraptured...
shuddering, teary, my heart 'gainst reason fought!
OTHELLO:
I painted for you battlefields,
and stormings,
perilous breachings through keep walls...
or climbing, clinging to ivy ropes,
up all the way to battlements,
as gunshots rang around!
DESDEMONA:
Then, you took me to dazzling remote wastelands,
to the parched grasslands of your own native soil...
how you, one day, were torn away from everything,
orphaned, enchained, constrained to want and toil...
OTHELLO:
Sweetened with crystal tears was
the story, by your lovely visage,
upon your lips, a sigh...
Upon my darkness then descended
glory, paradise, and...
all the stars in the sky...
DESDEMONA:
And I saw then upon your raven tresses
of wit the bright, unearthly beauty shine...
OTHELLO:
And you loved me for all of my distresses,
and your compassion made your heart be mine...
DESDEMONA:
And I loved you for all of thy distresses,
and my compassion made my heart be thine...
OTHELLO: 
And your compassion...
DESDEMONA:
And my compassion...
OTHELLO:
And your compassion made my heart be mine...
DESDEMONA:
...made my heart be thine...
OTHELLO:
If I could die now!
May I pass away in the elation of these embraces,
as we crown all our pleasure!
Such is my heart's enjoyment, that I dread that...
dread that...
that I will nevermore be given
this instant of such glee
within my unknown future destiny...
DESDEMONA:
Ne'er be to me a stranger,
may love with the years ne'er change him or change her!
OTHELLO:
May granted be your prayer...
How wonderful the stars are, and the power of love is!
DESDEMONA:
May it be granted...
OTHELLO:
Ah!! The floodgates of joy within me have opened!
I lie down to rest now...
Please kiss me!
(They kiss.)
DESDEMONA:
Othello!
OTHELLO:
Please kiss me!
(They kiss a second time.)
Please kiss me once more...
(They kiss for the third time.)
Right now, the Seven Sisters are descending!
DESDEMONA:
It's early morning...
OTHELLO:
See? Venus is shining!
DESDEMONA:
Othello! (They kiss for the fourth time.)
EXIT OTHELLO AND DESDEMONA, HAND IN HAND.

SCENE THREE:
ENTER IAGO AND CASSIO, WHO SIT DOWN ON ADJACENT CHAIRS.
IAGO (sarcastic): Are you hurt... Lieutenant?
CASSIO (still with that hangover): Nyes...
IAGO (concerned): I see no physical injury, so it must be something deeper. (Touching the left side of Cassio's chest, where he thinks the heart is). This looks very serious, Lieutenant. (Shakes his head. Pause.) Tell me, honestly, what you feel. Where in there does it hurt you? Your career? Your reputation? (Pause.) Anyway, what is a career? What is a reputation? (Shrugging his shoulders.) Much ado about nothing!
CASSIO (still hungover, sarcastic, cleaning his blade with a damp cloth): Good advice from a ranker to an officer.
IAGO (cheerful): Anyway, Lieutenant, in my own humble opinion, young people should let down their hair every now and then. If something's off limits, that doesn't mean it's the end of times if you dare to try it. Lieutenant, we all have learned most the things we know through trial and error. (Pause.) Now try to remember what happened last evening. Anyway, how much liquor went under your belt? How strong was it? And why were you swishing your sword all over the place?
CASSIO (still depressed and hungover, cleaning his blade): If only I could remember! (Pause.) Iago, to tell you the truth, my recollections of last evening are rather hazy. So here are the few pieces of the puzzle I can put together. (Pause.) I have I don't know how many drinks, strong drinks, with other men in uniform. Then, I suddenly flare up, I don't know why, and we are chasing each other. And then, fighting each other. That other person, who must have been a he... I never saw his face, but his chest was flat as a table... brings me down on the floor, and then the lights go out... I must have shut my eyes... and then I wake up with a throbbing head, a heavy heart, and an irrational urge to throw up. His Lordship and Her Ladyship are standing before me. And you are there too, bleeding and in pain. But what shocks me the most is seeing my sword all bloodstained. Here, Iago. You wouldn't bother to have a traitor's blood on your bandage? Besides, your wounds will heal sooner than mine. (Having wiped his sword clean, he gives the cloth to Iago, who dresses the wound on his right arm with it.)
IAGO (as he bandages his right arm): Why, I don't care, Lieutenant! Still, I think it was a shame, and a great shame, to waste good steel on your own subordinates.
CASSIO (still depressed and hungover): It's more than a shame! Drunk? A drunken lieutenant? Reeling, faltering, staggering? One who draws steel against his own shadow? (Pause.) One naive enough to let in, through his parted lips, a usurper who claimed reason's throne? (Pause.) How strange! How foolish! Should not have overestimated how much I can hold! Every glass I drained contained a regiment for a coup d'état... for the successful coup of the usurper who claimed reason's throne! You know, Iago, I came here after I was expelled from university... well, long story short, let's say I have been such a twat, pardon my French, for falling into the same snare twice!!
IAGO (encouraging Cassio): Aww, Lieutenant! Now you've learned your lesson: drink less liquor next time and prove that you're responsible! Keep calm and carry on! If the general had you fired, I bet his spouse could have you reinstated. She's his commanding officer, and anything he can do, he'll do for her sake... even kill her in one gruesome way or another. That's just an example, Lieutenant. (Pause.) Surely, she's, like, too good for this sinful reality... And you know she would never say no to being kind towards a good friend... in fact, I swear, right hand on heart, that she will not only bridge the gap between you and her spouse, but even make that bridge stronger!
CASSIO (embracing Iago): That's right... Thanks, Iago! See you when I've met her! (He waves Iago goodbye.)
IAGO: See you, Lieutenant! Now it's yours truly on guard duty...
EXIT CASSIO.
IAGO (to the audience): And this is only half the battle. The climax is up right now! Let's see. I have already ensnared two of them, and soon the third will be trapped as well... Now who dares to guess I play the villain on this stage? (Singing to the audience.) One always claims... mistakes were planned!
When risk is slight... one takes one's stand
with much sleight of hand;
it's part of the art of the possible...

SCENE FOUR
ENTER RODERIGO. BACKGROUND MUSIC: "TEENAGE ICON."
RODERIGO: Talking to yourself... or breaking the fourth wall once more, Iago?
IAGO (coldly): The latter. Telling the audience secrets that are too confidential for clueless upper-class twats. And no, don't ask anyone across the fourth wall. They're all surely on my side.
RODERIGO (sighing): All right. Now... (singing from Jesus Christ Superstar): I don't know how to love her...
what to do, how to mo-o-ove her...
I've been changed, really changed,
in these past few days... (Wincing, pointing at his black left eye.) I knew from the start that love hurts... but never that it should be taken literally. Guess I should stop following that elusive white whale and find myself a new prey, preferently a dark, sexier one...
IAGO (soothing): Where's the spirit, eh? Where's that never-give-up attitude? Keep calm and carry on! All good things come to those to wait! Now... Your picture of this evening is too narrow, so let me broaden it for you: Lieutenant Prettyboy gave you a black eye, which hurts for sure; but we shattered his reputation... now that hurts even more than bodily pain! Think of being in his place now...
RODERIGO (sighing): Once more, you're right as always, Iago. Ever so effing right. Demoted to ensign and ill at ease with hangover... I would never like to be in his place at all. (Pause.) Now on to make my new persona ready. (Takes a checklist out of his pocket and begins to read it) A fancy pin on my cravat? Got one with a crystal quartz. Rive Gauche Pour Homme? The little black bottle on my nightstand table. Hairstyle? Slicked back with water, just like Draco Malfoy. The guts to tell Desi I love her...? (Breathing deeply thrice, as he exits, then, anxiously): You can make it, you can make it (Gradually switching to the song),
you're gonna win, you're gonna win,
you're gonna be the champion...
EXIT RODERIGO. BACKGROUND MUSIC: "WE'RE GONNA WIN."
THE SUN RISES.



ACT THREE

SCENE ONE:
IN A FRENCH GARDEN. DESDEMONA AND CASSIO. BACKGROUND MUSIC: "EVERYTHING I DO, I DO IT FOR YOU."
DESDEMONA: Trust me, Lieutenant. Just have faith in me, your childhood friend, the sister you never had. For you are the brother I never had. At heart, we are still the same as before. I'll talk to him about your pain at the table, in bed, in the courtyard... even in the privy. (She chuckles and takes Cassio by the hand.) In the end, he'll be so annoyed that you will surely get your rank back.
CASSIO: I cannot be thankful enough. Eh... The general is coming! Remember the promise you made!
EXIT CASSIO, LOOKING OVER HIS SHOULDER. ENTER OTHELLO, FOLLOWED BY IAGO.
DESDEMONA (to her husband): I wish to intercede for the sake of Lieutenant Cassio. He's so sorry for what he's done!
OTHELLO: All right, perchance I was a little harsh with that punishment, but I will give him a second chance.
DESDEMONA: Darling, you are so kind! That's the best you've done since we married! (She kisses Othello.)
OTHELLO (wincing, clutching his head with both hands): Ahhh!!! Such a painful headache!
DESDEMONA (taking up a strawberry handkerchief): Let me soothe you, darling...
OTHELLO (pushing her hand aside, now feeling better): It's all right, love. Just a spell of pain from the shrapnel in there... It comes and goes fast as lightning, as you know...
DESDEMONA (cheerful, sighing in relief): I can't wait to tell Cassio! He will be so happy! And then we will embrace once more and twirl like a waltzing couple, just like when we were children...!
EXIT DESDEMONA, AS SHE DISTRACTEDLY LEAVES THE HANDKERCHIEF ON THE FLOOR.
IAGO (whispering to Othello): As slippery as an eel.
OTHELLO: Excuse me?
IAGO: Really, it was nothing. Nothing in particular.
OTHELLO: A penny for your intrusive thoughts.
IAGO: I only wonder some things about Desdemona and Cassio. First things first. Was he acquainted with her, or her with him, before she was acquainted with you? Wink wink...
OTHELLO: Why, he introduced me to her! And, since I was too shy the first days, he decided to auspisticize between the two of us… He’s our auspistice… you read Homestuck, don’t you?
IAGO: I have merely heard of it. Not the kind to waste my time with fictional universes. There’s enough interesting stuff in real life… Did you say “ozpi-what?”
OTHELLO: Auspistice… since it’s all Alternian to you, “third wheel” or “go-between” would be the right term to explain it for you. And thus... it came as no surprise that he became the best man at our wedding!
IAGO: Right. And... which distance do they keep in conversation? Wink wink, nudge, nudge...
OTHELLO: They're actually pretty close to each other. I assume because they've always been good friends. Again, my wife and I think that there could be no better auspistice that could have helped the two of us break the ice.
IAGO: And... what's their star sign? I'd like to know the signs of both. Say no more, wink wink, say no more!
OTHELLO: Well, she's a Taurus and he's a Scorpio, but... why such a sudden interest? Aren't you actually trying to insinuate that my lady wife is having an affair with that trusted lieutenant? That he is more than our mutual auspistice? That they're more to each other than just good friends, or like brother and sister?
IAGO: Why, he's trustworthy. And so is she. Why on Earth would both of them ever dare to betray you?
OTHELLO (calmly): I doubt so. Consider young Cassio. He's seen the light after that fateful incident... Haven't you noticed how by-the-book he acts? As I said before, he must surely still be auspisticizing for the two of us like he has done before. And my beloved Desdemona... she dances the minuet, she sings like an angel, she plays the high harp, she speaks French and Latin as easily as you please. She could even tame wild bears, for she is bold enough to dare to do so! Pure, and popular, and talented, and cultured. As much as he is. So I need proof of their guilt before I can believe.
IAGO: And beware of jealousy, my lord. It's a green-eyed monster...
OTHELLO: I'm not sure what to believe. I love my lady wife, and I believe in her faithfulness... but I also trust Iago, my honest comrade, always like a brother to me...
(Iago notices the handkerchief and picks it up.)

SCENE 2:
EXIT OTHELLO. ENTER EMILIA, WITH QUICK STEPS.
EMILIA: But who's there! And what about my lady's wedding gift? She's been looking for it all over the place. Goodness you've found it!
IAGO: Hear up, Milly. I've got plans. Impressive plans. No women allowed. I just love the strawberry pattern on this handkerchief. So I'd like to give it to Her Ladyship in person. No matter if you're her handmaid, which you are in fact.
EMILIA: All right, I'll be leaving right now. I'll tell my lady that you'll hand her what she has recently lost. Think of that! She'll be missing that handkerchief terribly. Now, Iago, I hope you don't do anything wrong with that strawberry embroidery...
IAGO: Don't worry, Milly! Everything's under control!
EXIT EMILIA, LEAVING IAGO ON HIS OWN. MUSIC: TOCCATA AND FUGUE IN D MINOR BY J.S. BACH.
IAGO (to the audience): Now, a piece of cloth, in certain scenarios, may turn out to be as relevant as a peace treaty... or as a declaration of war. Suppose that Cassio finds this handkerchief in his quarters. What may happen then? His Lordship's worst suspicions will be aroused, and thus, the young lieutenant will fall from grace... even deeper than he has done before. Now who dares to guess I play the villain on this stage? (cue baritone evil laugh) MWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!


ACT FOUR

SCENE ONE:
THE COURTYARD. OTHELLO AND IAGO.
IAGO (concerned): Now, before I got promoted, I was Cassio's orderly. Shared the lieutenant's quarters. So there was this time I couldn't sleep at night... There's only one bed in each officer's quarters. So I stayed awake all night, with Cassio sleeping soundly by my side... Then, suddenly, he grabs me, hugs me tight, as if I were his living plushie... and then I learned he's a sleep-talker. Never noticed it before. Laid his left thigh on my right as he embraced me and sighed and said something like "Let me kiss you, sweetie." "You mean the world to me." "I wish this would never end..." Well, and he kissed me right on the lips. Once, twice, thrice. As the night went on, he went from slight pecks through butterfly kisses to French kisses, one right after the other, all while clutching me tight...
OTHELLO (sternly): Is that an innuendo of his love towards her, or of your love towards...
IAGO (startled, interrupting): Gasp! It's not what you think it is!! Besides, speaking of your wife, she ought to care more for the things she treasures...
OTHELLO (surprised): Really? Has she lost something...?
IAGO: I just have to wonder... Have you ever seen her with a silk handkerchief, spotted with strawberries?
OTHELLO: It was my wedding gift to her. Not lately...
IAGO: But... (Pause.) Haven't you seen Cassio with that handkerchief lately?
OTHELLO: Now I understand! How could I ever be that naive?! I thought her true, and, after all... She betrayed me, Iago...! She betrayed me! Chaos has come again! (He falls unconscious on the ground, then begins to twitch and toss and writhe violently, suffering from an epileptic seizure. Background music: "On The Run" by Pink Floyd.).
IAGO: Keep on that way, Your Lordship! Twitch! Toss! Writhe! How much I like to see you suffer!
ENTER CASSIO, WHO STANDS, SHOCKED, BY IAGO'S SIDE.
CASSIO (shocked, looking at Othello): Your Lordship! (To Iago.) Iago, since you have always been so helpful... why don't you do anything to save his life?
IAGO (looking concerned, to Cassio): Sorry, Lieutenant. (Shrugging his shoulders.) I have never done first aid to an epileptic before, and thus, all I can say is I don't know what the heck to do! (Pause.) But you, Lieutenant, you are an educated officer, and thus, most certainly in possession of that kind of knowledge.
CASSIO: And I thought I would never tend to an epileptic in the military... (He kneels close to Othello, places the general lying on his right side, and loosens his clothes. Then, he gets up and places himself next to Iago, whom he now addresses.) Good Iago... Will His Lordship, in exchange for such an act of kindness, ever forgive my transgression?
IAGO: Not immediately, Lieutenant. He may not have seen you loosen his clothes, and thus, he would rather trust another than you, believing that someone else saved his life. You should better keep on tending to your duties for today... Cross my heart and hope to die! Eh, Lieutenant?
CASSIO (To himself): This reminds me of something that may have occurred... My memories of that evening are still foggy, but Iago could have been there, all excited, singing and cheering... Or maybe not? That liquor is still playing tricks on me, even after being expelled... (To Iago, enthusiastic and reaching out his hand to the ensign.) So off we go!
EXIT IAGO AND CASSIO, HAND IN HAND. ENTER DESDEMONA. OTHELLO COMES TO.
OTHELLO (wincing, his head buried in his hands): I think I have got a fever... the usual shrapnel spell once more... Could you tend to me, please? Where's the handkerchief I once gave you as a token of my love?
DESDEMONA: I haven't found it yet at all, ever since I lost it two days ago. Isn't this some evasive to stop discussing Cassio and his reinstatement?
OTHELLO: That handkerchief was enchanted. The strawberry pattern was dyed red with the hearts of maidens. It was a gift from Mother, before she left this world. If you ever lost it, you would lose my love as well. For such is the spell on the handkerchief.
DESDEMONA: Such a lovely story! But... Isn't this some evasive to stop discussing Cassio and his reinstatement?
OTHELLO (singing, gradually more and more emotional): Tell me, does he kiss... like I used to kiss you?
Does it feel the same... when he calls your name?
I don’t wanna talk... about things we’ve gone through;
though it's hurting me, now it's history...
The game is on again:
a lover or a friend?
The loser has to fall;
the winner takes it all! (He slaps Desdemona in the face, making her wince. Then, speaking in a serious tone.) There is something more than the reinstatement... (He gets irate, then furious.) ...and you know well what I mean, you shameless whore!!! (He tackles her violently, bringing her to the ground. Then, he runs away from her.)
DESDEMONA: Maybe he's stirred, with the end of the war and all that. After all, men are from Mars, especially warriors. (She gets up, dusting her skirt and shrugging her shoulders.)
EXIT DESDEMONA. ENTER IAGO.
(Othello and Iago stand like a bride and groom before the altar. Background music: "Zadok the Priest", by Händel.)
OTHELLO: Do you agree that such a heartbreaker should no longer live to break more innocent hearts?
IAGO: I do.
OTHELLO: Do you feel capable of ending the life of Ensign Cassio within the space of these three days?
IAGO: I do.
(Othello gives Iago a nice sword and a nice plumed hat, as Iago bends the knee and kisses the general's hands.)
OTHELLO: By the power invested in me, I now pronounce you my lieutenant.
IAGO (kissing Othello's hands once more): I shall always be faithful. Never betray you. Stay true to you rather than to myself, come what may. As for Cassio, let me be his undertaker. The whore is all yours.
OTHELLO: As long as she breaks no more hearts... I don't want anyone else to share my fate... Patience, Iago, patience! Shall we use hemlock? Strychnine? Iocaine?
IAGO: No... (Pause.) Strangle her in bed.
OTHELLO (facepalming): Why didn't I think of that myself? Strangle her in the wedding bed she has stained. (He takes Iago by the hands.) That's brilliant, Iago. Only mind that you have three days to prove to me that Cassio does not live.
IAGO: That will come true... long before the third day is over.
EXIT IAGO.

SCENE TWO:
CASSIO IN THE OUTPOST COURTYARD, ON DUTY, IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY, WIPING HIS BROW WITH THE HANDKERCHIEF. A WILD BIANCA APPEARS.
BIANCA (ticked off): Now, Cassio, is it true what I heard this morning? Lieute-e-nant!!
CASSIO (confused, turning towards Bianca): Like... what, honey? You mean... The whisper going round that I've had an aff-...
BIANCA (chanting, ironic): Upstairs, and downstairs, and in my lady's chamber!
CASSIO (sincerely): It's a misunderstanding... We're just childhood friends, honey!
BIANCA (ticked off): Don't play innocent, darling! I know this trick a little too well!
CASSIO: It's the truth, sweetie! Both of us are only children, and we've grown up as close as siblings... When we were children, in fact, our parents arranged our marriage...
BIANCA (turning her back on Cassio): Well, "Lieutenant," if you two are so close to one another, guess our story as bride and groom is all over... (She walks away, not paying heed to his pleas, singing to herself.The game is on again:
a lover or a friend?
The loser has to fall;
the winner takes it all!
CASSIO (reaching for Bianca, following her offstage): Wait!! At least someday all of this will be cleared, and the two of us will make amends...

SCENE 3:
THE GREAT HALL OF THE KEEP. ALL THE CHARACTERS IN VARIOUS STANCES: IAGO AND RODERIGO IN CONVERSATION, EMILIA DOING DESDEMONA'S HAIR, BIANCA WASHING DISHES, CASSIO EXAMINING THE HANDKERCHIEF, AND OTHELLO PENSIVELY LOOKING AT HIS OWN REFLECTION ON HIS BLADE. THE WHOLE SCENE IS SUNG TO "ONE DAY MORE."
IAGO: One day, Moor!
Two days have passed of those you promised me...
I have 'till dusk to do as told to me!
That young lieutenant, way too fair,
bereft of life, will not be there!
One day, Moor!
CASSIO + BIANCA: I didn't know until today...
you were for me the one and only...
Tomorrow, we'll forget that cloth...
I don't want you to feel that lonely...
DESDEMONA: One day, maid, all on my own...
EMILIA: She will not wake up again...
DESDEMONA: One day, maid, with him not caring...
EMILIA: He's turned mad with love for you...
DESDEMONA: What a life we might have known...
EMILIA: Yet I know you're really true...
DESDEMONA: But he'll never love again...
IAGOJust one day before the dusk...
RODERIGODo I trust this noncom bloke?
IAGOWant to slay that young lieutenant?
RODERIGOShall I find my sweetheart, then?
IAGOWhen he comes to Bianca's inn...
RODERIGO: Do I stab him in the back?
IAGO: Will you take your place with me?
IAGO + RODERIGO: The time; at dusk! We'll slay him here!
OTHELLO: One more day to retribution,
we will nip hope's brittle bud!
She'll be stifled in her bed sheets,
he will drown in his own blood!
CASSIO: I'll come to the inn...
BIANCA: When the sun has set...
CASSIO + BIANCA: Never mind our argument and no regret!
CASSIO: Here's a little beau...
BIANCA: There's a little belle...
CASSIO + BIANCA: Neither one prepared for what they soon will tell!
OUTPOST DWELLERS: One day to our liege's breakdown...
This last week was full of strife!
The alarm bell will soon ring!
The alarm bell will soon ring!
There's a madman in our guardhouse!
There is one who'll kill his wife!
Do you hear the outpost sing?
(Everyone sings their own part of the song, at unison)
IAGO: Tomorrow I'll be far away,
tomorrow I'll have made my day!
EVERYONE: Tomorrow some will right here stay,
while others will sleep for eternity, for sure!
One Moor's dusk...
One Moor's night...
One day, Moor!


SCENE 4:
A CORNER IN THE OUTPOST COURTYARD AT TWILIGHT. IAGO AND RODERIGO (THE LATTER IN HIS NEW "CONFIDENT" PERSONA). BACKGROUND MUSIC: "THE ART OF THE POSSIBLE."
RODERIGO: Why have you called for me?
IAGO: Your hair... you combed it back à la Draco Malfoy, I see. (Slightly sniffing Roderigo) And what perfume is it you have put on...?
RODERIGO: It's Rive Gauche, sir. Means "Left Bank"  in...
IAGO: I know, I know, I know. But wearing Rive Gauche will not make you less gauche. There's a lieutenant still around...
RODERIGO (interrupting): I know, I know, I know. I know everyone in the fortress is talking about it. (At first stamping his feet) About... the AFFAIR he had... (exploding in a fit of rage, changing his hairdo from Draco Malfoy's to that of a shonen leading character) with HER... This I cannot fooking FORGIVE!!! (Breaks down like Azula) Pardon my French...
IAGO (soothing Roderigo): Well, Roddy boy, cut it out or he will realize where we are. And better get that Draco hairdo once more... Got your rapier ready?
RODERIGO (showing off his sword): Pure Spanish steel. I call it Lightbringer. (Pause.) So, we going to kill Lieutenant Prettyboy, eh?
IAGO (at first nods in silence): Get ready. Grab that pommel. He should be leaving the inn by now. (In the meantime, Roderigo licks his hair back once more.)
ENTER CASSIO, WHO, THIS TIME, WEARS HIS SWORD ON THE RIGHT SIDE (INSTEAD OF THE LEFT.) OMINOUS MUSIC: PSYCHO SHOWER SCENE.
IAGO (whispering): Speak of the lieutenant... Ready, Freddy?
RODERIGO (nodding, hand on pommel, whispering): My name's not Freddy... All right.
CASSIO COMES FACE TO FACE WITH RODERIGO. IAGO SAUNTERS, QUICKLY AND STEALTHILY AS A NINJA, BEHIND THE YOUNG LIEUTENANT.
RODERIGO (drawing steel quickly, aiming a thrust at Cassio's heart): En garde!!!
CASSIO (drawing steel left-handed, equally quickly, deftly parrying Roderigo's blow): Call that a rapier? Well, THIS is a rapier. What's more... (Disarming Roderigo.) I am not right-handed!
IAGO, NINJA-STYLE, DRAWS A LITTLE DAGGER AND QUICKLY SLASHES CASSIO IN THE LEFT CALF, THEN DISAPPEARS BACK INTO THE DARKNESS. THE LIEUTENANT, STARTLED, FALLS OVER IN A HEAP.
CASSIO (in pain, shocked, trying to stanch the blood): Aaaah! My leg! Blood! Help! Help! I need somebody! Help! (A loud thud is heard, as he falls down completely unconscious.)
A PAIR OF SOLDIERS ON DUTY ARRIVE, AND THEY ARE SHOCKED BY SEEING CASSIO ON THE FLOOR.
GUARD 1 (kneeling beside Cassio, addressing Guard 2): He's still breathing. Call the surgeon... (To Cassio, gently): Lieutenant, who would ever do this to you?
GUARD 2 LEAVES THE SCENE, RUNNING.
GUARD 1 (giving liquor from his flask to Cassio, pouring it down his throat): Easy now... This will make you feel better. The Good Book says "give strong drink to the perishing..." Hope you survive... and hope this injury does not wreck your career... But I promise to find and to smite the dastardly scoundrel who...
IAGO MAKES A SIGN FOR RODERIGO TO COME, AND THE LORDLING SAUNTERS OVER TO THE ENSIGN'S SIDE.
IAGO (holding Roderigo against the wall, pressing the still bloody dagger against the lordling's throat): Now the word will get around... and I need you to do one final service to me...
RODERIGO: Like... what? (Iago gives him the bloodstained dagger): Right. Make it look like I stabbed Lieutenant Prettyboy. Guess I am expendable... Hope you find yourself another, better henchman.
A WILD BIANCA APPEARS.
BIANCA (in shock): Cassio!!!
CASSIO (awakening, still half-conscious): Bianca... no need to worry... just a flesh wound...
GUARD 1: He's still alive. I sent Kurt for the surgeon, and I'm sure they'll come ASAP. Hope this so-called flesh wound won't make him hang up the uniform.
IAGO SHOVES RODERIGO INTO THE PRESENCE OF GUARD 1 AND BIANCA, WHO KNEELS BESIDE HER LOVER.
IAGO (popping up from the shadows): See, I've found the man who stabbed Lieutenant Cassio. (He takes out his pistol and puts it to the nape of Roderigo's neck, then whispers in his left ear) Adiós, Roddy boy. (He fires the gun, causing the henchman to fall over as if struck by lightning, stone dead). Now lemme have a look... (He comes near Cassio and kneels at his feet). Did you give him any pain relief?
GUARD 1: Eau-de-vie, sir.
BACKGROUND MUSIC: "I SEE THE LIGHT" FROM TANGLED.
IAGO (touching Cassio's left foot, kindly and softly addressing the lieutenant): Do you feel anything, Lieutenant?
CASSIO (shaking his head): It's as if I had no left foot...
IAGO (moving to the other side, touching Cassio's right foot): The right one is at least all right?
CASSIO (nodding and sighing): Guess my career is over. It's been so short-lived... (He falls backwards unconscious, Bianca supporting him.)
IAGO (taking off his doublet and shirt, wrapping the latter as a bandage around Cassio's left calf, speaking kindly and softly): Now easy, Lieutenant. At least this first aid will keep your life saved...
CASSIO (waking up, wincing slightly): Iago... thank you, thank you more than ever. Come close, I have something secret to tell you. (He whispers in Iago's ear) Now I notice... how good you look in the moonlight, without the shirt... (He falls unconscious once more.)
IAGO (smiling in response, sighing): And so do I, Lieutenant.
FOOTSTEPS FROM OFFSTAGE.
BIANCA: Guess Kurt and the surgeon are coming.
IAGO: Take good care of the lieutenant! He... he means the world to me!
BIANCA (singing to Cassio, soothing him as he gets half up, clasping her waist): It's so strange when you're down, and lying on the floor;
how you rise, shake your head, get up, and ask for more.
AS KURT AND THE SURGEON ARRIVE, IAGO LEAVES THE SCENE.
CASSIO (sitting down, clasping Bianca's waist, embracing her, singing): Clear-headed and open-eyed, with nothing left untried!
Standing calmly at the crossroads, no desire to run,
there's no hurry anymore when all is said and done...


ACT FIVE

SCENE 1:
THE GENERAL'S BEDCHAMBER AT NIGHT. DESDEMONA AND EMILIA. BACKGROUND MUSIC: SCHUBERT, AVE MARIA
EMILIA (reassuring): Right, I have ensured you will sleep tight under your honeymoon cover and sheets. Freshly washed with Marseilles soap and lavender by yours truly, which will soothe you and ensure all those pesky sorrows will fly away. Shoo! Shoo! (Waving her hands like hummingbird wings, as if to scare the sorrows away).
DESDEMONA (a bit worried): You remind me of a person I once knew... I once knew someone like you, only that... she was not that strong as you are. And that is what encouraged me to become stronger. It's a childhood memory I have hitherto not felt like I was able to tell you, but now in our circumstances... for her sake, and for our sake, you ought to know this story, Emmie.
EMILIA (holding Desdemona's hands): Right, I'm all ears. And I promise I won't cry at all; you know what kind of hardy stuff I'm made of.
DESDEMONA (sighing): I was about nine or ten when it happened, one year after mum passed away, when the mourning period was over and our windows had colourful curtains once more... still dad was too busy for me with affairs of state, anyway, he had always been detached and more attentive to statescraft than to social life, but anyway, one day he brought home a nanny for me, a young Eastern European. She was my first aunt or older sister figure. Your predecessor, one may say. But Varvara was not as strong as you are. She had taken up her duty as my governess because... her lover had left her, brokenhearted, dirt poor, and alone in foreign lands. For another man. (Pause.) So she was that fond of me because she needed a shoulder to cry on, and I needed one as well. And she usually sang me to sleep with a lullaby that was at once so mournful and so warm...
EMILIA: You said she was far more fragile than I... what makes some people stronger may kill others indeed. I suppose you're right about to sing that song... May I hear it, please?
DESDEMONA (singing): There was a time when men were kind,
and the world was a song, and that song was exciting...
There was a time... then it all went wrong...
He slept all summer by my side...
he filled my days with endless wonder...
he took my childhood in his stride...
but he was gone when autumn came!!! (Sobbing into Emilia's chest, clasping her waist.)
Yet still I dream he'll come to me,
that we will live the years together...
but there are dreams that cannot be,
and there are storms we cannot weather... (Pause.)
I dreamed a dream my life would be
so different from this hell I'm living!!!
So different now from what it seemed...
Now life has killed... the dream... I dreamed!!! (Sobbing into Emilia's chest, clasping her waist.)
One winter's day, she... my nanny went missing. The lackeys at our garden gate found her body in the canal, under a crack in the ice, frozen cold and pale. It was then I decided to become stronger. For mum, for dad, for Varvara, for Cassio... for those I loved whom I had lost and those who are still by my side. But right now my strength, unlike yours, is put to the test and beginning to waver...
EMILIA: Now men are men, and I know that they, as a group, are rather stupid. Especially married men. With a few exceptions. That change of heart won't last forever. I'm sure. Take it as wise advice from a desperate army wife with decades of experience.
DESDEMONA: Anyway, I can't stop worrying. Maybe you're right and he will be back to normal tomorrow... or someday soon.
EMILIA: So I hope. Good night, Desdemona.
EXIT EMILIA.
DESDEMONA: Good night. (Hands folded in prayer.) Four angels around my bed,
two at my feet, two at my head.
One to watch, and one to pray,
and two to bear my soul away.
Amen. (She goes to bed and then, after a little tossing and turning, she finally falls asleep. She doesn't put out the nightlight, leaving the room still well-lit.)
ENTER OTHELLO. BACKGROUND MUSIC: HEADHUNTER, FLASH AND THE PAN
OTHELLO: Put out the nightlight. Then, put out her light. I can turn this nightlight on, but... is there a way to bring you back to life, mon amour? There isn't, obviously... How much I still love you...! No, no. You shall break no more hearts. Yet you are so beautiful... How much I will miss you! Just one last kiss before I quench your flame. (He kisses the sleeping Desdemona's lips.)
DESDEMONA (waking up, singing): I know you, I walked with you once upon a dream…
Yes I know it’s true, that visions are seldom all they seem…
But, since I know you, I know what you’ll do:
you’ll love me at once...
OTHELLO (singing, restraining his tears): The way I did once upon a dream… (Soothing.) Calm down, my darling. I will not kill your soul...
DESDEMONA: What?
OTHELLO: Confess! You know well what you've done!
DESDEMONA: I swear I'm innocent and true!
OTHELLO: Then... Why was Cassio wearing that handkerchief?
DESDEMONA: I lost it... he must have found it!
OTHELLO (irritated): And I'm tired of excuses! Liar, liar, I swear you were on fire!
DESDEMONA: I swear by the Magna Carta that there was nothing between that officer and me. And he is aware as well! Cross my heart and hope to die!
OTHELLO: "That officer" has just expired. So it's no use to ask him for the truth... which you are constantly denying!
DESDEMONA (cries): Oh no... He is dead!
OTHELLO (ironic): And you still love him beyond... Then, I will reunite you two!
DESDEMONA (cries): Mercy! Mercy! Let me live until dawn!
OTHELLO (enraged): Unfaithful, dishonest, two-faced... despicable snake of a whore!
DESDEMONA: Let me live just for a while! Mercy!
OTHELLO (furious): Shut the goddamn hell up!!!
(Othello strangles Desdemona in a fit of jealous rage, and then he throws her body on the mattress again).
DESDEMONA (gasping and struggling for her life, right before dying): Yet still I dream he'll come to me,
that we will live the years together...
but there are dreams that cannot be,
and there are storms we cannot weather... (Pause.)
I dreamed a dream my life would be... (Her airway shut at this point, she can only gape frantically, before finally being forever still).

SCENE 2:
ENTER EMILIA, WITH A WOUNDED, REELING CASSIO LEANING AGAINST HER. THE LIEUTENANT IS ALSO HOLDING A CRUTCH AND BANDAGED ON THE LEFT CALF WITH THE HANDKERCHIEF AND IAGO'S SHIRT.
EMILIA (surprised): Lord of Light...! Is she really dead? Have you...?
OTHELLO (calmly): That's for her to break no more hearts.
EMILIA: She was faithful! She was honest...!
OTHELLO: Iago told me the opposite!
EMILIA: You have been deceived, Your Lordship. Your assistant, my spouse, has devised all of this for revenge for not getting that promotion. Or for some other mysterious reason. As for your lady wife and your former lieutenant... she was innocent. And he IS innocent.
CASSIO: Emilia knows the whole truth. Iago has been playing with us, a rather nonsensical game of hitting soft spots.
OTHELLO: Cassio? Alive? And Iago... dishonest? Now what is the truth? Are we actually characters in a play which is being parodied by a cultured twentyish student?
ENTER IAGO (NOT SHIRTLESS). BACKGROUND MUSIC: BEETHOVEN'S FIFTH SYMPHONY.
IAGO: This wench knows too much, and she's too extraverted. I hate to do it, but... (Pause) Adiós, Milly!
(He stabs Emilia in the back.)
(Background music switches to The Rains of Castamere.)
EMILIA (reeling, coughing up blood every now and then): Believe me! This is the truth! Iago is the villain, Desdemona was innocent, Cassio is innocent, and we all are characters in a play... Let me die with one last request... I would like to die singing... (Singing in a faint voice, coughing up blood.) I dreamed a dream my life would be
so different from this hell I'm living!!!
So different now from what it seemed...
Now life has killed... the dream... I dreamed!!! (She dies.)
OTHELLO (drawing steel right-handed and lunging towards Iago, roaring at the top of his lungs): Raaaaargh!!
IAGO (disarming Othello with a quick gunshot to the right wrist): Now let's see how you find a way out of this!
OTHELLO (drawing a second sword left-handed from under his right coattail): You knew me well enough, didn't you, Iago? Well, I still have my good hand, and which general would storm into battle without a spare sword? (Looking at his own reflection in the blade.) An impressive rapier it is... quenched in so cold water, with a thin glass layer on the surface, that I chose to call it Ice.
CASSIO (gasping): Only Othello can defeat Othello...
IAGO: The show is not over yet literally, but let's say that it's over now...
OTHELLO (crying his eyes out, though not literally, on Desdemona's bed): My beloved lady wife! Bereft of life... How sweetly you sleep, never to awaken! What have I done, Lord of Light, what have I done? (To Cassio) Cassio, you are forgiven. And now you are the general, my heir and successor. Hope your reign takes place in interesting times. Ensure that Iago gets what he deserves. The bloodier the better. (To the audience) Speak of me as I am, nothing extenuate. Of one who loved not wisely, but too well. Stress the internal turmoil that I felt when I believed that my lady had stabbed me in the back, and give rants on the traitor whom I trusted from the start. (To Desdemona's body, sobbing) My beloved lady wife! Bereft of life... How sweetly you sleep, never to awaken! What have I done, Lord of Light, what have I done? Draw a reed at my chest, and the man who once was Othello will surrender; Othello is no more!! Plunge me into the fierce, surging Phlegethon, head first; sear the flesh from my limbs over and over!! I kissed you before I killed you... so now I will kill myself and die upon a kiss! One last kiss!
(He stabs himself in the sternum with his spare sword, falls on the bed, and quickly dies kissing Desdemona's corpse.)
CASSIO (to Othello): I was afraid this would happen to you, my lord... for no one else should kill someone so great of heart... I do not fully know if I am a worthy successor of such a commander, but anyway I will do my best and give it all, no matter if I am crippled and brokenhearted. After all, 'tis my own fault and my own fault alone... or is it? (He turns towards Iago, with a sinister glare in his eyes.)
ENTER TWO GUARDS.
CASSIO (To Iago): There is no insult offensive enough to describe you! All these innocent souls have suffered and... it's your fault! You will be executed for disgracing the regiment! Though I have to admit that this has been a great story! Guards!
(The guards seize Iago and drag him away.)
IAGO: Come on! Smite me! Castrate me! Tickle me to death! I will not speak a single word!

SCENE 3:
A WILD BIANCA APPEARS.
BIANCA: Now, darling, I'm so glad you're all right!! Now what will you do, when you hang up that uniform after you've recovered?
CASSIO: First, we'll have an officer's wedding, for you and me!! Give me your left hand... (She gives him her left hand, and he puts a simple silver ring on her left ring finger.)
BIANCA (puzzled): And... after we're husband and wife?
CASSIO: I have Kurt, he's an excellent woodcarver, in cahoots with the surgeon, making me a new left leg from the knee downwards. For I have surgery due after our wedding... Wish me good luck and the strength to live through. And to recover from that laudanum hangover.
BIANCA (chortling): Guess "break a leg" would be an ironic wish... And then, if you make it through?
CASSIO: Best to seek out some other veterans in this outpost whose disabilities have ended their careers. And a fine shipwright. We will have a three-master and call her Desdemona. You will be my first mate, and your first duty will be to design and sew our crew flag.
BIANCA (delighted): Not only will we go sailing on honeymoon... we'll search and scour the seven seas... Think of that, from university student to army lieutenant to pirate captain... you're already making a name for yourself as a dashing fellow... (He gives her a peck, and she responds with a French kiss.)
EXIT CASSIO AND BIANCA, DEEPLY IN LOVE, HAND IN HAND.
CASSIO + BIANCA (singing both of them, cooing as they leave): Clear-headed and open-eyed, with nothing left untried!
Standing calmly at the crossroads, no desire to run,
there's no hurry anymore when all is said and done...


AFTERWORD:
ENTER SANDRA, WHOM WE HADN'T SEEN FOR MOST OF THE SHOW.
SANDRA (clearing her throat): You wish to know whatever occurred next?
Well, our lieutenant and his barmaid bride
have already disclosed it, dearest friends.
And, after sailing many stranger tides,
through storms, and battles, and perils galore?
The Desdemona would, friends, after all,
be anchored on familiar southern shore.
'Twas then when Captain Cassio brought his spouse
to the lovely estate where he'd been born,
a keep whose name, dear audience, was Belmont.
And though his widowed mother was at first
shocked by her heir's rough life and left-hand bride
(and by fiancée Desdemona's fate),
she realized that such was fate's decree,
and that young people are at best when free.
Let us proceed to three years afterwards,
when chapel bells peal and the windowpanes
are draped in black, since the halls of Belmont
have seen a life come, another depart:
for a child's birth and her mother's farewell
are, on the same day, strangely intertwined:
and, as Lady Bianca's laid in state,
a sleeping beauty among roses white,
her only daughter, a fair, healthy child,
is christened Portia. Thus, the widowed lord
will to his only daughter turn his heart,
bestowing on her all his hope and love,
like he had seen in Desdemona's sire.
And, with the years, this golden rose unfolds,
now at the spinet, now before her books,
now to and fro, a-swinging on the swing
in the Hall's gardens, fair hair fluttering.
She will not enter university,
though she'd love to and wonders why it's so,
yet renowned tutors brought from far and wide
rear her as if she had been a male heir,
a second Desdemona shining there
with wit, with an answer for everything.
The light-haired child becomes a clever maid,
whom suitors come to woo from far and wide,
yet her sire has told her that she must find
a spouse worthy of her, learned, bold, and fair,
and first of all, secure down to the core:
"I knew a maiden who was just like you,
my child: she was to me the dearest friend,
like a sister. She married on a whim,
and her life-light was quenched by her spouse.
Thus, tested be the ones who tie the knot,
for whims are short, yet rue is harsh and long."
And now, fair Lady Portia's turned sixteen,
and reeling Cassio, faint, on her now leans,
the daughter caring for her ailing sire,
who, suddenly, with pain in his left arm
and heart, falls backwards, and is brought to bed.
Now there he is, beneath the canopy,
his light-haired heir and her dark-haired handmaid
listening that there's no hope for his life,
he calls her, strokes her fair face, golden locks,
and then he's still, closing his weary eyes,
breathing his last. As she bursts into tears,
she listens to the reading of the will
and looks at the three caskets that are placed
upon the table: golden, silver, lead.
The young man to guess where her portrait is
will be the one who'll win her heart and hand.
And, as Nerissa dries up the blonde's tears,
we bid to Belmont Hall a fond farewell,
knowing that, in the end, she'll find a spouse
worthy of her: student and officer
undaunted by her power and her wealth,
who'll win her through her clever liveliness,
sincere and pure, just like her loving sire.
Yet that's, like Ende tells, another tale,
that will perchance be told another time.
And Iago? Remember he was seized?
Well, rumour has it that th'ensign escaped
before his execution could take place,
and kept on spinning his intrigue elsewhere.
Yet that's another story, friends, as well.
The curtain will now fall, and everyone
will us salute, even the dead, reborn,
and Cassio just healed of his injury,
for now, we'll return to reality
and realize it all has been a play
to entertain you, friends, on any day.
(Singing.) Thanks for all your kudos, friends, and thanks for all the fun;
there's no hurry anymore when all is said and done!


CURTAIN FALLS

CURTAIN CALL

THE END

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