sábado, 29 de julio de 2017

MISS DERMARK'S VERDIAN OTHELLO - ACT II

R-r-right! I had made the promise to finish the second act before the end of July, and it's three days until the month ends! So here comes another Saturday night perfect for devoting to operatic translation... I said one act per fortnight, and that makes four acts...
For those who have not kept up... here's a quick recap of Act One:
After a storm overruns the enemy fleet, bringing peace and victory to the little outpost, everyone decides to celebrate. Non-commissioned officer Iago, feeling passed over as aide-de-camp to the local governor Othello, decides to take advantage of the scenario and of the fact that dapper young Lieutenant Cassio, his rival, is on guard duty, by plying Cassio with strong drink and subsequently getting him embroiled in a row with the other soldiers on guard, then, when Othello arrives on the spot, by filling in the blanks in the recovering lieutenant's mind and making him appear as the real culprit. And Iago, with help of his foolish henchman Roderigo (who is hopelessly in love with Desdemona, the governor's lady wife), carries out this cunning plan, which succeeds with flying colours. While Othello and Desdemona enjoy a romantic tryst, Cassio broods and Iago is ready to make the next move of his gambit pile-up...


ACT TWO

TRACK LIST:

  • DO NOT DESPAIR
  • RIGHT THERE!
  • I BELIEVE IN A CRUEL GOD (IAGO'S CREED)
  • SHE'S RIGHT THERE... CASSIO... RIGHT NOW!
  • I DON'T LIKE THIS...
  • WHERE YOUR STARRY EYES LOOK
  • I BRING A WISH FROM A YOUNG MAN WHO SUFFERS
  • MY LADY, BETRAYING?!
  • HOW DARE YOU CRUCIFY ME?!
  • TWAS IN THE NIGHTTIME
  • WHAT PROOF?
  • I SWEAR BY THE MARBLE HEAVENS

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

A patio within the keep. A terrace in the colonnade, with a view of the sahn-like flower garden. Iago toying with his pommel on the left side of this terrace, Cassio sitting listlessly upon the edge of the fountain, plunging his head in to drink and wash himself, after which, responding to a friendly wave from Iago, he runs towards the older non-com, and thus we have, as Iago tries to reassure him, the young lieutenant awkwardly shying away, with his head buried in his hands, leaning to the right.


IAGO:
Do not despair; believe me, and you soon shall
return upon the lovely bosom
of Miss Bianca... my dapper young lieutenant
with golden sword-hilt on your left hip and baldrick.

CASSIO:
Flatter me no more!

IAGO:
Pay heed to what I'm saying!
You surely know that Desdemona
is our General's commanding officer...
He only lives for her sake.
Ask her yourself, that kind-hearted soul,
to intercede for your sake...
and you'll be soon forgiven!

CASSIO:
But then... how can I reach her?

IAGO (pointing to a shrubbery in the garden):
She has the custom to take a stroll every morn
around these myrtles with my own wife, her handmaid.
She'll come right now... wait just an instant;
redemption's round the corner!
Wait there!


(Cassio walks further to the right, with a brisker pace, waving sincerely to Iago)

IAGO (turning left, facing the audience, gradually more and more ominous):
Right there!
I see your goal in my mind's eye...
Your evil spirit leads you,
and that evil spirit's me...
And I'm led by my own god,
the dreadful and relentless one I believe in...


(As Cassio reaches the furthermost right on stage and stops to set his whole lieutenant's uniform right to make a good impression, Iago keeps on looking at us from stage left, ominously addressing us.)

IAGO:
I believe in a cruel God,
who made us apes in his own image so odd...
From a filthy infectious 
germ and the soil-dust 
I was created;
I'm reprobate, due to
human affections...
honour's and virtues' striving I mock indeed!
Yes... that's my very own creed!
I believe in the Only Son
who has inherited his Lord Father's penchant for all things wicked...
which means all wickedness I have quietly thought of
ensures my fruit's reached and picked!
And I believe in the Doubtful Ghost,
that strips away delusion;
in righteous' hearts' confusion,
for the righteous are all liars
in laughing, in crying, love's fires,
kisses, and sacrifice the most!
We're playthings in a game, there's no denying,
from cradle to the gravestone,
as long as we can tell...
Then all of us are equalised in dying,
and then? Post death there's nothing,
neither heaven nor hell...


(Desdemona and Emilia pass by across the garden from the left. Iago darts to Cassio's side, as the lieutenant has just made himself presentable and is entering the flower garden, leaving the terrace.)

IAGO:
She's right there...
Cassio... right now!
Get ready... there's Desdemona, right?

(Cassio approaches Desdemona and Emilia, tips his hat before the ladies, kisses Desdemona's right hand. She smiles in response. Then, they begin a lively conversation.)

IAGO:
He greets them... he kisses her right hand... 
oh my, she's smiling!
There's something for Othello!
My fine experiment unfurls just right now!
What a good conversation! Still she's smiling
warmly, fair lovely maiden!

(Desdemona and Cassio take a stroll together across the flower garden, cooing hand in hand)

IAGO:
One ray of light from that smile, dazzlingly laden,
suffices for Othello fore'er beguiling...
(Iago darts to the right end of the stage, stopping suddenly right before he leaves, to address the audience.)
All right! Chance gives me the right cards, to help me scheming...
Wait for it... get on place, no time for dreaming!

(He stands still at attention, watching Desdemona and Cassio cross the garden as the two young people's lively conversation goes on and on, both of them smiling and maybe he picks a flower and tucks it behind her ear... let the audience see that both of them are friends.)


(Enter Othello. As the general enters the sahn terrace, approaching Iago, Cassio darts off to the right, looking over his shoulder and waving Desdemona goodbye as he leaves.)

IAGO (pretending to be startled by Othello's "sudden" appearance):
I don't like this...

OTHELLO:
What ever...?

IAGO:
Nothing...  You here? A whisper
right through my parted lips stole...
OTHELLO:
That young officer leaving
my lady's side... was Cassio?
IAGO:
Cassio? No, he's run off
guiltily from your presence...
OTHELLO:
I'm sure he was none other.
IAGO:
Now, Your Lordship...
OTHELLO:
What ever...?
IAGO:
Cassio... e'er since your courtship began,
was with your lady acquainted?
OTHELLO:
Yes.
And wherefore ask this question?
IAGO:
My thought's not sinister at all, Ser;
just born of whimsy.
OTHELLO:
Still, speak your mind, Iago.
IAGO:
And you trusted the stripling?
OTHELLO:
Often he'd bring my gifts and letters
to his friend, my beloved.
IAGO:
Oh, really?
OTHELLO:
Yes, quite really.
Is he not honest?
IAGO (echoing Othello's words):
Not honest?
OTHELLO:
What is your heart concealing?
IAGO:
What is up for revealing?
OTHELLO (echoing Iago's words):
What is up for revealing?
Good Heavens, you're the echo of all my words... I wonder
if there's imprisoned within your chest some dreadful monster...
I understood you whispered, as I arrived: "I don't like this..."
But what were you not pleased with? Naming Cassio, then like this
you are wincing and frowning... 
Take heart, speak, trust your brother...
IAGO:
And you know I love you too...
OTHELLO:
Thus, speak the truth without bother,
and without feeling awkward...
May from your throat be rising
the thoughts and words most wicked, 
those that are most surprising!!
(He corners Iago.)

IAGO:
Even if my heart were upon my sleeve now,
you'd never know them...

OTHELLO (clutching his head, gasping):
Kyah!

IAGO (whispering in Othello's left ear):
Beware of jealousy, Your August Lordship!
That dark, green-eyed serpent, cold as ice, monstrous, that with its venom's pest,
as it feeds on its own heart's blood, tears up its very own chest!

OTHELLO:
Oh dire misfortune! No! Why that?!
Suspicion is vain and in this case not sufficient!
Ere I doubt, I must have seen it, 
and the proof must be efficient;
thus, once it's proven...
my code of honour says so forever...
both love and jealousy will disappear together!

IAGO (in a more earnest manner):
Those words have been the key that has opened the lips of this fellow...
I do not speak of proof yet, high-hearted Lord Othello!
Keep your eyes peeled...
Quite often, honest and decent spirits are blind to deception...
Keep your eyes peeled!
Pay heed to Desdemona's words with utmost precision;
a wink, a nod may either raise or lower that suspicion!


(Desdemona enters the garden once more, surrounded by a bevy of local women --including Emilia--, children, fishermen, and crippled/veteran soldiers. The women and children carry bouquets of flowers, while the men bring precious stones of the ocean: corals, pearls, amber. Also among her entourage are musicians with guitars and small harps.)

IAGO:
All right... watch her, eyes peeled...

COMMONERS:
Where your starry eyes look,
hearts are set on fire...
Where you walk, the ground blooms
and nothing looks dire...
'Midst lilies and roses,
in maiden shrine's ring,
parents, children, spouses
gather here to sing.

CHILDREN (spreading lily petals on the ground before Desdemona):
Fair lilies, soft, 
glittering with dew,
their stems like angels 
so pure and true,
clean-handed, we bring to 
the loveliest lady,
the fairest maiden,
a gift to you...

WOMEN, VETERANS:
In the springtime breeze we
merrily now sing,
to the deftly strummed tunes
of a dextrous string...

FISHERMEN (offering their ocean treasures to Desdemona):
To you bright amber, pearls, and hard corals,
gleaned for your sake, gifts from the ocean blue;
just like the wave-born, 
the loveliest goddess,
you on our strand now, 
thus chose to land now, 
sacred and true...

WOMEN, VETERANS:
In the springtime breeze we
merrily now sing,
to the deftly strummed tunes
of a dextrous string...

WOMEN (spreading cherry-blossom and apple-blossom branches before Desdemona):
For you this season's 
thickest of flowers
cover the ground now, 
like the treetops' bowers;
in April laden,
golden-haired maiden,
the sun is smiling warm
right back at you!

COMMONERS:
Where your starry eyes look,
hearts are set on fire...
Where you walk, the ground blooms
and nothing looks dire...
'Midst lilies and roses,
in maiden shrine's ring,
parents, children, spouses
gather here to sing.

DESDEMONA (sweetly):
Breeze caressing,
flowers dressing,
so warm the sun...

OTHELLO (sweetly):
This song sets me on fire...
If she deceives me, thus, heaven is a liar!

IAGO (ominous):
To everything lively and lovely... anthem so endearing...
I'll shrilly shatter such soft harmony to disappearing!

DESDEMONA:
Joy and hope and love sing
in my heart as one...

COMMONERS:
Live long and prosper,
live long and prosper!
Love leaves nothing undone!

(Desdemona musses some children's hair and kisses others on the brow, also greeting their mothers, who reach to touch and kiss her skirt. She also greets the veterans, the musicians, and the fishermen. The crowd of commoners depart except for Emilia, who is chaperoning her lady.)


DESDEMONA (approaching Othello):
I bring a wish from a young man who suffers
under too harsh your sanction.
OTHELLO:
And who is he?
DESDEMONA:
Cassio...

OTHELLO:
Was it he
who gave you such a lively conversation?
DESDEMONA (earnestly):
He was, yes;
into me flowed his earnest sorrow,
and it's so true that he's of mercy worthy.
I speak for him and pray for his forgiveness!
Please, dear, forgive him!
OTHELLO (harshly):
Not yet, no...
DESDEMONA:
So I take not your denial...
Please forgive him...

OTHELLO (wincing):
Not yet, no...

DESDEMONA:
Wherefore does your firm voice suddenly waver?
Is there something that ails you?
OTHELLO (wincing, his head buried in his hands):
My brow is throbbing...
DESDEMONA (producing her handkerchief, putting it to Othello's head):
That burning, throbbing pain will
fade away, if I fain will
with this soft silk give a fair hand's caresses...

OTHELLO (throwing the handkerchief on the ground):
I do not need this cloth...
DESDEMONA:
You are worried, my lord...
OTHELLO (harshly, irate, to Desdemona):
You leave me! You leave me!!

(Emilia swoops in and takes up the handkerchief from the ground, as husband and wife argue, not even noticing the maid claiming the cloth.)

DESDEMONA (sweetly, earnestly):
If I unwittingly 
have sinned, my dear, against you,
give me a sweet and cheerful 
word of forgiveness now...

OTHELLO (aside):
Perchance for I'm a warrior
more than a courtly lover...

DESDEMONA:
Behold your humble maiden,
your meek and friendly servant;
but still, your lips are sighing,
your gaze fixed on the ground...
Look in my eyes and listen
to love's harmonious sound...
I'll make your heart feel lighter
and sorrows fade around...

OTHELLO (aside):
Perchance because my lifetime
draws near descending twilight,
perchance because than others'
quite darker is my face...
Perchance for I'm a warrior
more than a courtly lover...
She's lost, my golden dreams gone;
my heart is thus as broken
as that frail vow she'd spoken...
deceived I am, betrayed!

(Enter Iago.)

IAGO (to Emilia, commanding):
Bring me that tissue
that you have picked.
EMILIA (to Iago, with sarcasm):
What, something wicked?
I know that issue...
IAGO:
Still you're defying
what I've commanded...
EMILIA:
Still underhanded,
there's no denying...
IAGO:
Crazy suspicion!
EMILIA (clutching the handkerchief to her chest):
Well keeps this hand
with true precision!
IAGO (packing Emilia by the arms):
Give it to me!!
Or this irate grasp
your arms has broken...
EMILIA:
Your wife so harsh clasp,
like to a thrall spoken...
IAGO:
Vile thrall indentured,
I am your master!!
EMILIA (struggling to break free):
I feel disaster
and misadventure...
IAGO:
So I'm not dreaded?!
EMILIA:
Are you a man?!
IAGO:
Am I?
(Iago has broken Emilia's right arm and seized the handkerchief, which he puts in his coat pocket.)
EMILIA:
Did you do...?!

IAGO (coldly):
Just what I can.

EMILIA (now with a broken voice):
Are you a man?!

IAGO (to himself):
Claimed is the banner
that will be leading
me to my sure goal
through schemes and bleeding!

EMILIA (to herself):
Thus wins the traitor,
schemer and coward;
through perils, later,
he'll face me empowered!

DESDEMONA (sweetly):
Give me a sweet and cheerful 
word of forgiveness now...

OTHELLO:
Please leave me!! 
I'd like to be alone...

(Exit Desdemona stage right and Emilia stage left; the latter is stopped by Iago right before she can leave.)

IAGO (to Emilia, at swordpoint):
Be silent as the grave.
Don't even breathe a word!
Capisci?

(Iago appears to follow Emilia, stage left, after she has left, but he suddenly pivots on his heels and returns to Othello's side.)


OTHELLO (sitting down, head buried in his hands):
My lady, betraying!?

IAGO (taking out the handkerchief, then tucking it into his breast pocket once more, to the audience):
Out of this silk I will unfurl the proof of
their pretend innocence. Upon the nightstand
of Cassio I shall leave it...

OTHELLO (suddenly staggering):
I shudder, weighing!!

IAGO (looking at Othello, to the audience):
My poison is effective...

OTHELLO (reeling):
Betraying broken me... broken me...
(He suddenly falls backwards and has a grand mal epileptic seizure.)

IAGO (sinister):
Writhe and suffer!!

OTHELLO (during the seizure, furious):
Atrocious!! She... fie... me!!

IAGO (concerned, approaching Othello as the latter's seizure dies down, his tossing and writhing having given way to calm unconsciousness, he whispers in Othello's left ear):
Think about it no more...


OTHELLO (coming to his senses, yet still furious, aggressive, cornering Iago):
You... Away get... from me!!
How dare you crucify me?!
Good Grace!
More dreadful than any dreadful offenses
is always their suspicion...
In those days I knew not her lustful pretenses,
wrested from me... perchance a dreadful vision
made my heart throb then... I was carefree, so merry...
I knew nought of the truth, finding not e'en the query
upon that lovely form that still beguiles me,
on those lips of false blisses
the blazing kisses
of Cassio! And yet now... and yet now...
Yet now farewell forever, memories glorious;
farewell, of war enchantments so sublime;
farewell, glittering bayonets; hosts victorious;
ringing shots; horses charging at the same time!
Farewell, my guiding star, fluttering banner;
farewell, shrillest reveille at break of day;
warcries and cannons' thunder; in this manner
Othello's golden glory drifts away...

IAGO:
Keep calm, my lord.

OTHELLO (cornering Iago, packing him by the throat and pinning Iago to the ground):
Bloody scoundrel!! Give me the proof of her betrayal,
or I shall you impale...
You can't plead! And it's too late for fleeing!
I want a sure proof, one worth touching and seeing!
Or on your head, for sure, i-
ignites soon, when it strikes, the lightning flash
of my surging and throbbing, dreadful fury!!

IAGO (in a weak voice, from his trachea being crushed):
May mercy be upon me!

(Othello loosens his grip on Iago's throat and lets him rise up. The traitor clutches his neck, gaping like a fish for a while.)

IAGO (standing up, no longer gaping):
May mercy be upon you.
Your ensign's up for resigning.
I want the universe to be my witness;
honesty's fraught with perils...
(Saying these words, he turns his back to Othello and sets off to leave the stage.)

OTHELLO:
No... Stay here now. Perchance you are honest still...

IAGO (walking off):
It would be better if I were a con man...

OTHELLO:
By all Olympus!!
I believe in Desdemona's faith and I believe
her elusive. I, too, believe you're honest and that
you're disloyal... The proof I wanted?!
Still nothing is certain!!

IAGO (returning to Othello's side, gradually more and more ominous):
My lord, restrain your anger!
And what's the proof Your Lordship's needing?
To see them sleep together?
OTHELLO:
Aaah... Death of gods, damnation!!

IAGO:
The task would not be easy... and what d'you dream of,
what certainty, if such "noble performance"
always eludes your gaze's reach? Yet I say
there are theories of mine I present now
which may lead to of certainties the strongest,
should you pay heed, attention. Now listen...


IAGO (vividly --throughout this song, whenever he reproduces Cassio's speech, he does so in falsetto and with shut eyes--):
Twas in the nighttime,
Cassio was sleeping,
I waked by his side...
His voice was broken,
betraying, spoken,
love-sorrows in stride...
Writhing and dreaming,
sighing and screaming,
flushing, perspiring,
tossing and turning,
sighing, his yearning
I heard inspiring:
"My dear Desdemona!
Our love is sadly meant for concealing...
Keep watchful eyes, my lady!
This flood of ecstasy
still keeps me reeling!"
Then, as the rêverie left him, he reached out,
clutched me, and with passion,
kissing Yours Truly as his inner goddess,
he sighed in this fashion:
"I curse the fate so wicked
that to my lord you gave..."
Then, with his lips on mine, our limbs entwining,
deeper he plunged; breathing, yet still as the grave...


OTHELLO:
Oh! Such a monstrous shame, gods!!
IAGO:
Mind that he then was dreaming...
OTHELLO:
Dreaming, revealing his dark secret...
IAGO:
That rêverie can help confirm thus
another proof, right?

OTHELLO:
What proof?

IAGO:
You've surely seen it;
in Desdemona's hands, a fine silken kerchief,
strawberry and flower brocade?

OTHELLO:
Our ancestral handkerchief I gave to her
as my first token of love...

IAGO (gradually more and more sinister):
That silk, and this is for certain,
yesterday, I saw Cassio wipe his brow with...

OTHELLO:
Ah!! Nine lives are not enough that he'd be given!
Taking his only one's too easy striven!!
Iago, my heart is frozen.
Away from me, all mercy and compassion!
The shred of hope and love once found within me...
fades in... this fashion...
(Saying these words, he blows into his cupped hands.)
The green-eyed serpent's venom overcomes me!!
Ah! Bloodshed! Bloodshed!! BLOODSHED!!!


(Othello and Iago stand face to face, like a bride and groom before the altar.)

OTHELLO (kneeling before Iago, right hand on heart):
I swear by the marble heavens,
by lightning in blazing flash,
by the beauty of our weapons,
by the darkness of the night,
and by the storm-waves' clash...
By the hate and rage that sear me,
that what this broken heart claims,
this hand will reach! So hear me!
(At the end of this oath, Othello stretches his right hand to the sky. He is about to rise when Iago restrains him and forces the general to sit down at his --Iago's-- feet.)

IAGO (kneeling to stand at the height of Othello, left hand on heart):
Rise not yet!
Dazzling sun, please be my witness,
spread to me your heat and light;
you, vast earth, and all the breathing
of the universe as one;
to Othello consecrating
this true heart, and soul, and hand
for a righteous cause, one sacred,
may his will be said and done!
(At the end of this oath, Iago stretches his left hand to the sky as Othello raises his right; both men lock outstretched hands and look into one another's eyes.)

OTHELLO, IAGO (unison; the former raising his right hand and the latter his left; locking hands and eyes):
I swear by the marble heavens,
by lightning in blazing flash,
by the beauty of our weapons,
by the darkness of the night,
and by the storm-waves' clash...
By the hate and rage that sear me,
that what this broken heart claims,
this hand will reach! So hear me!
May revenge them dash!!



















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