Desert of Roses

 

DESERT OF ROSES
an opera in two acts, based upon the Beauty and the Beast Story
Music by Robert Moran
Libretto by Michael John LaChiusa


This opera was commissioned by Houston Grand Opera, and given its
world premiere in February 1992.  Its European premiere was in Bath, England, February 2001.

Excerpts from this opera have been recorded on the ARGO label of London Records with Jayne West, soprano.

Act One:  approximately one hour’s duration
Act Two:  approximately 50 minutes duration

Scored for:
flute/piccolo, oboe/english horn, clarinet/bass clarinet, bassoon;
trumpet, horn, trombone; harp; three synthesizers; two sets of percussion
(two players); 2 violins, viola, cello, string bass (or string orchestra)

Cast:

A Woman……………………….mezzo soprano
A Man/Monster……………………….baritone
A Girl………………………………………….soprano
Eldest Sister……………………mezzo soprano
Middle Sister…………….coloratura soprano
Brother…………………………………………..tenor
Father……………………………….bass-baritone

SATB Chorus

Performance rights to performances and rental of materials via:
Charlotte Benson Music Publ. (BMI)

1719 Bainbridge St.

Phila, PA 19 146

Contact Robert Moran at his email address.

_______________________________________________

Libretto:

Prologue:   a wasteland, a desert.   The Man stands in the center of a
scene of recent destruction.   A Woman is heard.   Her presence throughout the story is mysterious; she could be a goddess, or a voice of conscience, or the spirit of the Girl’s mother, Mother Earth, etc..

Voices of the dead and dying….

Woman:  Some don’t know what love is.  Some don’t know where beauty lies. Nothing remains. All is in ruin.
Chorus:   Where is the night?
Woman:   Look at the dying.  Look at the dead.   Look at these dead. No man could do this, never to this.
Chorus:  Is this what death is? Where is the sun?
Woman:   Nothing is left.   Nothing.   Not even an animal could do this.
Blood on your hands, and such hate.   Do you want more blood…and death?  This empty and dead and quiet desert will be your prison.
Chorus:   Here is your prison.
Woman:   Out of this blood-bath of children and their butchered mothers
roses will bloom.
Chorus:   Blood and sand….
Woman:  ….and from these roses you’ll grow a garden.  Do you want more blood?
Chorus: You want more blood?
Woman: You’ll taste your own…dripping from the thorns, your blood.
You’ll work in the thorns and cut your skin, and soak the sand with your blood.
Chorus:  Roses will bloom.
Woman: Look into my eyes.  You’ll see a monster.  For every hand you
raised in battle, these roses will bloom. I will keep you alive.  You’ll want to die…From the child you took from me, roses and thorns will tear you apart.  You’ll want to die.
Chorus: You killed the Innocent, monster!
Woman: Those who look in my eyes will know.  They all will know.
Chorus:  Look in your eyes, and all will know.
Woman:  But you will not die, not yet!   You killed the Innocent, and only
they’ll end you. They will end you…..among your thorns and roses….

A violent storm: thunder, wind and rain throughout the transition, as the
wasteland and Man dissolve into the storm!

Act One, Scene I:   Father’s house.

The Girl is outside, working in her garden.  She stops; she looks up as if
hearing the distant howl of the Man.  She picks up her tools and goes
inside.  Within, Sister l is singing.  She sports an elaborate hairdo.
Sister 2 accompanies her on either a piano, guitar, etc., trying to eat and
play at the same time.  Brother is drunk.

Sister l:  (singing an art song) “O tell me, beautiful waters, tell me
where has my lover
gone?  Reveal him to me.  I peer into your dismal depths, and alas!
Only my
reflection do I see; my own sorrowful reflec….” (to Sister 2)
Fool!  You dumb fool!  Play the right notes!
Sister 2:  I lost my place.
Sister 1:  You were stuffing your face instead of following me.
Sister 2:  I’m hungry.
Sister 1:  Fool!  I haven’t finished yet.
Brother:  Shut up!   (to the Girl) Bring me more wine!  (Girl spills it on
him) You clod!
Sister 1 (to 2):  How can you eat that pig slop?
Sister 2:  Where’s the gravy?
Sister 1:  An artist shouldn’t have to put up with such abuse.
Brother:  Shut up!
Sister 2:  Both of you shut up.
(A fight ensues)
Sister 1:   My hair!  When Father returns, I’m telling on you.  He’ll skin
you alive.
Brother:  The old man is afraid of me.
Sister 1:  My father is a failure; my brother is a drunkard; my sister is a
cow.  This family
is going crazy.  (to Girl)  Help me with my hair.
Brother:  This wine is rancid.   I hate my life.
Sister 2:  Pass the ham (something is thrown at her).  I said “the ham”!
(Note: the follwing lines overlap:)
Sister l:   When Father returns from selling his horse, we’ll move back
into town. I’m
sick of this hovel.  I’m sick of poverty…roosting with chickens,
living like trash…
This is not the life an artist should lead.
Sister 2:  When Father returns from selling his horse, I’ll have a fabulous
feast.  I’ll
have lobster every night.  I’ll eat my weight in choc’late
pudding…That’s the life I
should lead.
Brother:  I’ll buy a handsome wardrobe, and do what I do best: lead a life
of decadence.
I’ll go into town and buy my pleasure.  When Father returns, I’ll be rich!
Sister l:   I’ll be rich!
Sister 2:  I hate being poor.
Brother: When Father returns, I’ll be rich.  I can lead the life I was born
to lead.  Days
of leisure; nights of pleasure.  Endless means to unending ends!  The
finest women;
the finest wines….
Sister 1:  When Father returns, I’ll be rich.  The finest house.  The
finest music. The
finest hairdos.  I’ll commission composer to write for me….
Sister 2:  When Father returns, I’ll be rich.   I’ll hire a breakfast chef,
a teatime chef, a
dinner chef, a bedtime chef….
(Brother throws food)

Girl:  Don’t throw food.
Sister l:  It’s slop.
Brother:  Clean it up.
Girl: It’s a waste.
Sister l:  Our little sister likes poverty.
Girl:   We don’t have it as bad as some.
Sister l:  Lepers, for instance.
Sister 2:  She likes to slog through the pig-pen.
Girl:  The pigs keep it clean.
Brother: When we’re rich again, what will you do, little sister?
Girl:  I don’t know.  I’m worried for Father.  And he loves that horse so
much…
Siblings:   (I hope he’s sold it)
Girl:  I hope he’s safe.
Brother:  You must have asked him to bring something home to you.
Sister l:  She did.   She asked Father for a rose.
Brother:  A rose?
Sister l:  I asked Father for silver combs.
Sister 2:  I asked for a girdle of silk.
Brother:  She asked for a rose?
Sister l:  How stupid.
Brother:   But clever.  You know hot to please the old fart.
Sister l:  ….worming your way into his will.
Sister 2:  ….smells like that horse.  Father’s pet.
Sister l:  Utterly useless.  (to Brother) She takes after you.
Brother:  Shut up.
Sister l:    You shut up.
Sister 2 (to the Girl):  You smell like a chicken ca-ca….
Sister 1:  I swear you are retarded.
Sister 2:   She’s always making us look greedy.
Brother:  We are greedy.
Sister l:   Shut up.
Brother: You shut up.
Sister 2:  Both of you shut up.
Girl:  I thought of asking for combs.  I thought of asking for silk.  I
thought:  but I
couldn’t think.   So I asked for a rose.
Brother:   She’s simple.  Simple-minded poor fool.
Sister 2:  When Father returns from selling his horse, we’ll be rich.
Sister 1 (to Girl):  ….To think that Mother died having you….

Girl:  My garden won’t grow roses. Pumpkins, yes. Cabbages, yes.  Rhubarb,
yes.  But
no roses.  I wonder why that is.  Everything else grows.  Sunlight every
morning;
water, earth and care…but no roses…You can ask for silver combs.
You can ask for
silk.    Silver combs and silk are things you need.  Why would I need
silver combs?
Why would I wear silk?   Why ask for something I’ll never need?  My
garden won’t
grow roses; not for anything. not for fools like me.  I’ve dreamed of
roses…one is all
I need.

Sister l:  Whatever you grow in that awful garden always ends as slop in
our plates….on
our dinner table.   Go and daydream with your chickens.
Sister 2:  Here chick, chick…(they pelt the Girl with food.   Father enters)

Girl:  Father!
Brother:  Father, you’re back!
Sister l:  You’ve finally returned!
Sister 2:  You look exhausted.
Sister l:  He has the glow of a wealthy man!
Sister 2:  You look so awful.
Brother:  He has the glow of a wealthy man.
Siblings:   He has the glow of a wealthy man.
(Father tosses one coin on the table)
Siblings:   Gold!
Father:  There’s our fortune.
Girl:  What do you mean, Father?
Father:  That is our fortune.  I couldn’t sell him.  I tried to, but I
couldn’t bear to do it.
There’s no gold.  There is nothing.  We were poor when I left, and poor
we will stay.
Sisters 1 and 2, Brother:  Ha! He’s joking!
Sister 2:  I’ll think I’ll be sick.
Brother:  You’re not joking.
Sister l:  No joke…
Sister 2:  I’m sick.
Girl:  Sit.  Have some stew.
Sister 1:  Who can eat in  time like this?
Brother:  You dragged us down into poverty.  And now you say we’ll stay in
poverty.
And you couldn’t sell that horse!
Father:  At least I sold the wagon.
Sister 2:  No girdle of silk.   Nothing.
Sister 1: My life is a tragedy.  I’ll kill myself….
Brother:  Please do.
Sister 1:  Shut up!
Brother:  You shut up!
Father (to Girl):  You asked me for a rose.  (He presents her with a rose.
It is beautiful,
almost glowing)
Girl:   Is it real?
Sister 1:  Ofcourse it is, idiot!
Girl:   A rose….I saw this rose before.
Sister l:  How can she be happy at a time like this?
Girl:   It’s perfect.
Father:  The price I paid for this rose is worth a wagon of silk and silver
combs.
Brother:  You didn’t pay for that weed.   Did you?

Father:  On my way home, an awful storm blew up.  Light’ning sizzled all
around me.
Thunder boomed and hollered.  I was worried…rain had washed the road
away.  The
stars disappeared.  My horse wandered into a dark and lifeless
country.  I was
very worried…a mysterious fog rolled in, thick as black bean soup.  I
couldn’t see my
my horse’s mane before me.  I couldn’t see my nose.  Then all at once
my horse
stopped in his tracks, and there I was, in front of a wall of thorns.
Then I heard a
voice, a whisper:  “Come in…come in….”

(The Woman is heard, as if from a great distance)

Woman:  “Come in….come in….”
Father:  ….and then the wall of thorns opened.  My horse gave a snort and
and a start.
He ran off leaving me here with a voice that told me:  “Come in….”My
horse was
very smart.   But I was very curious….
Brother:  I would have run.
Sister 1:  Of course you would have, coward.
Sister 2:  What did you see?
(As Father describes the following, the Girl and her siblings imagine being
there)

Father:  There I was in a garden, warm and green and sheltered.  There was
sunlight
yet it was strange.  It was certainly enchanted.  There I was in a
garden, empty and quiet and
shimmering in the sun, and everywhere from the sandy ground, reaching
to the
sun, there were roses.  All budding and blooming. All perfect and
thorny.   Everywhere,
beautiful roses….
Girl: I dreamed this place.  Everywhere, beautiful roses…
Father:  There I was in a garden.  I was really confused.  Absolutely
worried, and
certainly enchanted….
(The Woman can be heard as Father enters the garden….)
Woman:   “Come in…..come in…..”
Father:  Hello?
(A small tale with food appears: fruit, a roast turkey, wine, etc.  Father
tastes the wine)
Father:  Delicious.   (Voices are heard…invisible servants?)
Chorus:  Dine and drink.  Rest from your journey.  Drink till you’re woozy.
Eat till
you’re bursting.  Chocolate?  Have some pudding.  Try the turkey.  (A
chair appears. Father sits in it.)
Chorus:  Need an extra pillow?  Sleep….
(Father sleeps.  A moment.  Suddenly Father wakes with a start.  The
atmosphere is
suddenly menacing.)
Father:  Where am I?  Is it morning’ Where am I?  Hello?
(He decides to leave.  A rose, beautiful and almost glowing, captures his
attention.  He  touches it)
Father: ….a rose…
Girl:   My garden won’t grow roses….
Father:  Pumpkins, yes.  Cabbages, yes…A rose….YES….(he picks up the
rose.  The Man/Monster appears, furiously….)
Man:  Would you like to die?
Father:  What?
Man:  What are you doing?
Father:  I was…
Man:  Look at my face, and you’ll die….
Father:  No….
Man:  Why shouldn’t I kick your rotting bones?
Father:  I only meant to…..
Man:  …and you try to steal my roses!
Father:  Forgive me!   my youngest daughter, she asked me for a rose, and
there were so many
roses…
Man:   How many daughters have you?
Father:  How many?
Sister 1:  Three.
Father:  Three.  Yes, three….I am a poor widower with a son and three
daughters.
They need their mother very much.  My son is a drunkard…
Brother:  Thank you!
Father:…..but he means well.  My eldest daughter wants to be a singer…
Sister l: ….of art songs.
Father: ….of art songs.  My second eldest daughter likes to eat…
Sister 2:  It’s my glands.
Man:  And the youngest.  You love her.
Father:  Ofcourse.  I love her most.  She’s hardworking and never
complains.  She’s
very different from the others.  She’s like her mother.  Her sisters
call her foolish.
She’s only…innocent.  She asked me for a rose.  One rose….Her
garden won’t grow
roses.  Pumpkins, yes….
Man:  Her garden won’t grow roses…
Father:  I’m a poor man.  I’ve nothing to give her.
Man:  Would you like to die?  Or send your daughter to me?
Father:  You’re a monster.  How can you ask that of a father?  For a rose!
Only a rose!
Man:   My rose!   Would you like to die?
Father:  Die? Now?
Man:  Now!
Father: But let me see my family…
Man:  You can’t escape me.
Father:  What will you do to me if I don’t come back?
Man:  I’ll hunt you down.  And maybe I’ll burn you.   And set your skin on
fire.  Maybe I’ll
kick you till every bone is shattered.  Or maybe I will crucify you,
nail you to a
crossbeam.  I could kill your daughters.  Maybe you’ll watch as I rip
apart your
children, or maybe you’ll be smart.  Maybe you’ll come back.  You’ll
find your way…
Take the rose to your daughter as something to remember you by.   Be
brave. Brave
men find it easy to die…
Father:….and if I don’t come back?
Man:   Why are you afraid to die? (shouting) Leave before I change my mind
and kill
you now!!!
(The Man and the garden vanish)
Father:  My horse was waiting outside.  Smart horse.  Then we hurried home.
Brother:  The wine made you drunk, and you dreamed it all.
Sister 1:  Have you stooped to telling fairytales now?
Brother:  I have a fool for a father.
Sister l:  Living in dreamland.
Sister 2:  He must be going senile.
Father:   I wish it were a dream.
Girl:   It is.  I saw it.  I’ve dreamed it just like that.
Sister l:  You’re as senile as your father.
Father:  If it was a dream, then I should go back to it tonight.  I love
you all.   Forgive
a foolish father.  Forgive me.
Girl:   I wanted the rose.  I’ll go.
Brother:  She honestly believes him.
Father:  She loves me.  She believes me.  But if this is a dream, I’ve got
to finish it.
I’ll go back to this man who is a monster.  Hold me.  Forgive a foolish
father.
Girl:  I dreamed it.  I can go in your place.
(The next portion overlaps:)
Girl:  I asked you for a rose.  It’s not your fault.  I dreamed that
everywhere there were roses.
Father: I want no harm to come to you.  Forgive me.  I was a fool.  I
couldn’t even sell
my horse.   We have nothing.  Hold me.
(Brother):  Our father is a foolish man.
(Sister l):  How will I survive in a family like mine?
(Sister 2):  I hate being poor.
(Brother): Goodbye to the finest life.
Girl:  Hold me, I won’t say Goodbye….hold me…
Father:  If it is a dream, I have to complete it.  Hold me.
(Sister 2):  No girdle.  no pudding.
(Brother and Sister 2):  Goodbye…
(Sister l): Gone like a dream…goodbye….
***    ***
Girl:  You need a rest.
Sister 1:  Of course he does, you idiot.
Father:  A nap before my going back would be…would be good.
Sister 1:  You’re not going anywhere.
(The sisters take Father to his room…..The Girl follows)
Sister l:  You stay out.
Sister 2:  You stupid troublemaker.
Brother:   Did you wash my socks?
Girl:  I forgot.
Brother:   This family’s going crazy.

(All leave but the girl.  The rose falls from her hands.  She picks it up
and a thorn pricks her.  The Woman can be heard)
Woman:   Innocence.
Girl:  What?
Woman:  Kindness.
Girl:  Yes?
Woman:  You are filled with love.  Can you save him?
Girl:  I dreamed that everywhere there were roses
(The rose in her hand begins to glow)
Woman:  “Come in……”

End of Act One Scene l.

Act One, Scene 2:

The Girl arrives at the Monster’s palace.  The invisible servants’ voices
are heard:

Girl:  Hello?
Voices:  Come in.   It’s cool out there.  It’s warmer here.  Don’t be
frightened…
Girl:  Do you belong to the monster?  Where is he?
(The Man enters…unseen by the Girl)
Girl:  Will he kill me?
Man:  I could…don’t look at me…You found your way safely.
Girl:  I found my way.   I don’t know how I knew.
Man:  Your father sent you.  Not very brave of him.
Girl:  My father’s brave…he doesn’t know I’m here.  Not yet. He’ll try to
find me.
Man:  He will never find you….Are you frightened?
Girl:  No…what is this place?  Why are there so many roses?
Man:  I grew a garden from sand and blood.  I’m scarred from the thorns and
burnt
from the sun.  This is my prison.
Girl:….from sand and blood.
Man:  Are you frightened?
Girl:  No.
Man: ..from sand and blood.  You are frightened.
Girl: Yes.
Man:  Why did you come?
Girl:  You were going to kill my father.
Man:  Your father made a bargain with me.  For stealing my rose…
Girl:  One rose.  For me.
Man:  Your garden won’t grow roses.
Girl:  I don’t know why that is.  You have so many roses.
Man:  I don’t remember what I was before I learned how to kill.  I don’t
remember
why I tasted blood or why I had to murder.  I remember that I liked it
and needed
more.  I don’t remember how I killed.  I don’t remember before the
thorns and the
sun….before the quiet.  All I know is what I am.   I am a monster.  I
am in a prison.
I grow a garden nourished by my own blood.  I’ve been raked by the
thorns.  There
is nothing left of me to scar.  There is nothing here but sand and
blood and quiet and  roses…and              roses.  This is my prison in
a prison.  This is my desert of roses.
Girl:  I want to go home now.
Man:  Do you have a name?
Girl:  My mother died before she named me.  It’s true.  My father wasn’t
sure what to
call me.  I want to go home now.
Man:  Stay with me.   Anything you want I’ll give you.
Girl:  Stay?
Man:  Anything you want I’ll give you.
Girl:  You’ll kill me, won’t you?
Man:  Stay with me.
Girl:  No.  I don’t like it here.  I don’t like you.  Let me go home.
Man:  Why did you come?
Girl:  I want to go home.
Man:   Answer me.  Your hands are bloody.
Girl:  The rose from your garden, I pricked my fingers….
(She looks at him for the first time.  Their eyes lock)
Girl:  Your eyes…pain…in your eyes….
(The Man erupts in fury)
Man:  Will you stay or won’t you?
Girl:  Will you kill my father?
Man:  No.
(The Girl kneels at his feet)
Man:  Get up.  You need rest.  Come with me.
Girl:  This is your prison?
Man:  Yes.
Girl:  Am I a prisoner too?
(The Man does not answer)
Girl:  What is your name?
Man:  I haven’t one…..
(He leads the Girl out….An offstage chorus is heard:)
Chorus:    Moonlight is cold.  Moonlight stings my face.  I close…and
shut out the
moon…and wait for the sun…..

End of ACT ONE Scene 2.

Later…night.  The Girl wanders in the palace gardens.

Girl:  Look at all the roses.  Why does he want me here?  It’s too
quiet….and lonely.
Look at the thorns.   I can’t get out.   Mother…mother….
(The Woman is heard)
Woman:  Can you love what can’t be loved?
Girl:  Am I dreaming?
Woman:  Can you love what can’t be loved?
Girl:  Where am I?
(A violent sound, thunder.   The Girl hides.  The Man enters….thunder!)
Woman:  Do you want more blood?
Man:  Somebody end me.
Woman:  You are a prisoner.
Man.  Someone end me now.
(He tears at the thorns.)
Woman:  Listen.  There.  Blood.  Do you want more blood?
(The Man senses the Girl.  He thrushes her out.)
Man:  Why are you here?
Girl:  I’m lost.
Woman:  Do you want more blood?
(The Man attacks the Girl.  He throws her to the ground and climbs on top
of her.  He rips her clothing.  She fights back but is overcome)
Woman:   Do you want more blood?
(Suddenly the Man stops his attack)
Man:  No.  Not her blood.
(He holds the Girl, who is limp and faint)
Woman:  You need her love to leave your prison.
Man:  No. No more blood.
Woman:  You need her love to leave the desert.   It’s the only way to be
forgiven.
You need her love.
(The Man picks the Girl up gently and carries her away.  The invisible
chorus is heard)
Chorus:    Moonlight is cold.  I shut out the moon.  I wait for the sun.  I
wait…..

END OF ACT ONE

ACT TWO

Some time has passed.  The Man is working in his garden.  The Girl enters
and watches him.  The Man stops his work, regards her.  She turns and goes.
*********************
Some time passes.  The Man is working in his garden.  The Girl enters and
watches him.  The Man regards her, continues working.  She stays.
********************
Some times passes.  the Girl is waiting for the Man.  Finally he appears:

Girl: You’re late.
Man:   I know.
Girl:  Can I help you in your garden?
Man:  No.
Girl:  I don’t know how long I’ve been here. Months? Years? I don’t know
what I look
like.  Old? Fat?
Man:  You are beautiful.
Girl:  No.  I’m not beautiful.  It doesn’t matter what I look like.
Man:  Yes.  You are beautiful.
(He continues working.  She watches.)
*******************
Some time passes.  The Man is working in the garden.  The Girl watches.

Girl:   Can I help you in your garden?
Man:  No.
Girl:  How long have I been here?
Man:  Are you happy?
Girl:  I don’t know if I’m happy…you’ve been so kind to me.  You give me
tenderness.
And I…what do I give you in return?  Let me help you work the earth.
I’ll help you
work the earth.  You’ll teach me how to turn the sand into roses.  Why
can’t  I
help you in your garden?  I could help you tend the roses.  You’ve been
so kind to
me.  I would like to work next to you.  We’ll work together.  In the
sun together.
We won’t feel so lonely…You’ve been so kind to me.  I would like to
be as kind to you.
(The Man produces a small mirror.)
Man:  What about the thorns? Look into the mirror. See what I see? Can’t
you see
yourself?  Can’t you see you’re beautiful?  Too beautiful for thorns.
To beautiful
for me.  No one’s been as kind to me before.
Girl:  (looking into the mirror)   I look the same…but I’m not the same….
Man:  Is there anything you wish for?
Girl:  I’d like to see my father.
Man: Look into the mirror….

(Father’s house appears.  The siblings are in sorry shape.  Sister 2 is
cooking poorly.  Sister 1 is singing poorly, her hairdo in shambles;
Brother is very drunk)
Sister 1:  “Poor Little Bird with your chopped-off wing; never will you
fly! A pity you
will die in the winter’s cruel…frost….”
(She tries another note)  “Frost…”
Brother:   That song is depressing.
Sister 1:   It’s way too high.  If you hadn’t sold my pitchpipe for
alcohol, I’d sing within
my range.
Brother:  It’s depressing.
Sister l:  You’re depressing.  This house is depressing.  My hair is
depressing.
Brother:  Nothing’s the same since little sister died.
Sister l:  What’s burning?
Sister 2:  Dinner.
Sister 1:  It’s burning.
Sister 2:  It’s dinner.
Sister 1: Disgusting.
Brother:  Depressing.
Sister 2:   There weren’t any pigs or chickens left.
Sister l:  What is it?
Sister 2:  Horse.
Sister l:  Father’s horse.
Brother:   Poor horse.
Sister 2:  He really loved that horse.
(She serves the horse-stew)
Sister l:  My aesthetics are offended.
Sister 2:  They can starve for all I care.
Brother:  Nothing’s been the same since little sister died.
(They taste the stew)
Sister l:  Needs salt.
Sister 2:  Needs pepper.
Brother:  Needs something.

(Father enters.  He looks terribly old and ill)

Father:  Where is she? Where is my little girl?
Sister l:  Father, you’re out of bed.
Father:   Where is my little girl?
Brother:  He hasn’t been the same since little sister died.
Girl:   (into mirror) I’m not dead.
Sister 1:  Sit down, Father.  Now you know the monster ate her.  Have some
stew.
Sister 2:  How could she do that to us?  Leaving us with all the chores.
Sister 1:  This family is falling apart.
Father:  I need my little girl.
Sister 2:  She’s dead.  The monster ate her.  Pull yourself together.  You
have other
children.
Father:  What’s burning?
Sister 1:  It’s dinner.
Father:  What is it?
(Father tastes.  The siblings look on)
Sister l:  It needs salt.
Sister 2:  It needs pepper.
Brother:  It needs something.
Father:   It needs my little girl.  I need my little girl….(He begins to
cry in his bowl of horse-stew.  The vision fades.)

Girl:   Don’t cry.  I’m not dead. I’m here. I’m safe…..He can’t hear me.
He needs me.
They need me.
Man:  I need you.
Girl:  Why? Answer me…
Man:   Do you love me?
Girl:  I don’t know how long I’ve been here…I don’t know anymore.
Man:  Answer me.  Do you love me?
Girl:  If I say NO, will you kill me?
Man:  You will kill me first.
Girl:  I would never do that.
Man:  Do you love me?  Answer me.
Girl:   I don’t know.  Don’t ask me that.
Man:  Tonight I will give you a dance.  That will make you happy.  A
beautiful dance
with lots of lights and color.  You’ll be happy.  It will make you forget.
Girl:  I can’t forget my father.  He looked too old.  Am I old, too?
(The Woman is heard)
Woman:   Do you know where Beauty lies?
Girl:  (to herself)  Your eyes.  I want to see your eyes.
Woman:  Do you have to look inside?
Man: (to himself)  I’ve waited years for you.
Girl:  I don’t know what is real or what is a dream anymore.

(The three voices are combined)
Woman:  Doesn’t Beauty have its thorns?  Don’t you have to look inside?
Walk through thorns.                 Won’t be hurt if you can love….
Girl:  You weren’t kind before.  Something made you change….but how can
you ask
me to love you?  I can’t…I don’t know how ….
Man:  I’ve waited centuries for you.  Love me and I’ll be free…..Love me
and I’ll be
free….
-End of Act Two Scene l-
Act Two, Scene 2

In the Palace Ballroom a marvelous party is in progress.  Guests arrive.
They are a menagerie of half-animals/half humans or insects, all grotesque,
some smartly dressed for the occasion.   They are excited to be here.

Guests:  Isn’t this a beautiful ball?  We can’t believe we were invited.
Note the Beauty         of the                  guests.  Such a feast and
plenty of excitement.  We can hardly stand it.  Isn’t this a beautiful
ball?
Breath-taking, entrancing! Glorious! Sparkling! Isn’t this?  Isn’t
this a beautiful ball? We can’t                 believe we were invited.
Spectacular!

(The Man and Girl enter.  Both are radiantly dressed)

Guests:  Such a beautiful gown.  Such a beautiful smile.  A beautiful
hostess.  A  beautiful host.  Isn’t              she?  Isn’t he?  Aren’t
we? Isn’t this a beautiful ball? Thank you for inviting us!  Thank you….
Girl:   My sisters would be jealous of me.
Man:  You are beautiful.
Girl:  Our guests are talking….
Man:  You are very beautiful.
Girl:  Thank you, but our guests will gossip.
Man:   What do we care?
Girl:  I don’t know how to dance.
Man:  I’ll show you.

(They dance. The guests join in.  The Girl follows gingerly at first, then
begins to enjoy herself.  The Man gestures and the guests appear to freeze.
The Man and the Girl dance alone, almost tenderly.  The Man gestures again
and the guests begin to dance again, this time at a more rambunctious
tempo.  Increasingly, the dance becomes disjointed as one of the guests, a
strange insect-like creature grabs the Girl and attacks her, trying to eat
her.  The Man pulls the Insect off of the Girl.)

Man:   Are you hurt?
Girl:  It tried to eat me.
Guests:  Isn’t this a beautiful ball?
Man:  Get out!  All of you!
Guests:  Isn’t this…..we can’t believe…beautiful….I was
invited…isn’t this ….beautiful…
(The guests vanish)
Girl:  Let me go.  Let me out of here.
Man:  I didn’t mean for this to happen…
Girl:  It’s ugly here.  This isn’t beautiful.  None of this is
beautiful.,,,Burn them! What
am I saying?  I didn’t know it was only an animal.  Am I a monster too?
Have you
turned me into a monster, too?
Man:  You are no monster.  This is my mistake.
Girl:  None of this is beautiful.  I don’t belong here.  I don’t love you.
I want to end this
now.  I’m not afraid.  (Screaming) Kill me! You can kill me!
(She stares into the Man’s eyes.  He stares into hers.  Neither can move)

Girl:   Let me go.
Man:  Let me go.
Girl: (speaking) I can’t love you….
(Silence, then slowly the Man falls to his knees)

Girl:  I’m sorry….  (she touches his head gently)…Let me go….
Man: Take this ring.  Once it’s on your finger anywhere you wish to go, you
will be.
Girl:  Anywhere I wish to go….I can go to my father?
Man:  If you keep the ring on, I’ll live.  And I will wait for you to come
back.  If you take
the ring off, I’ll die….and all this will end.  All this will vanish.
Girl:  I’ll come back.
Man:  Take the ring and the mirror…and this rose.  Plant it in your
garden, and
remember that I’m waiting.
Girl:  I’ll never take the ring off.  I promise.
Man:  Remember.
Girl:  I promise.
Man:  Remember that I love you.
Girl:  I promise…..

(The Girl takes the mirror and the rose.  She puts the ring on.  The entire
palace and gardens vanish around her.   The Man fades away as well….)

End of Act Two, Scene 2
*********************************

Act Two. Scene 3

The Girl stands before her family in her Father’s house.   She is
surrounded by her family.
(The text for Father and Siblings overlaps)

Father:  You’re back! I can’t believe it!  Will my hand go through you?  My
little girl,
you’re back!
Siblings:  You’re back.  I can’t believe it.  We thought the Monster ate you.
Sister l:  We thought you were a ghost.  A rose?
Brother:  A ring?
Sisters 1 and 2:   We thought that you were dead. How come the monster
didn’t eat
you?
Sister l:  A ring…
Sister 2:  A mirror….
Sister l:  and a rose…..
Brother:  Beautiful and expensive…
Sister l:  You will do my hair…
Sister 2:  You will have to cook our dinner…
Brother:  You will have to wash my socks….
Siblings:   Can we see the ring?
Girl:  I can’t take it off.  The Monster will die.  I want to plant this
rose in my garden.
Come with me, Father.
Father:  You’re back.
Girl:   For a while….
Father:  Forever….
Girl:  I love you.
Father:  You’re back.
(The Girl and Father plant the rose.  The siblings watch her and conspire.)

Sister l:  Now we’ll have roses in the garden.  I hope she isn’t staying.
Brother:  I’m thinking….
Sister l:  That mirror…
Siblings:  It’s beautiful….
Brother:  I’m thinking….we should have it.
Sister l:  We deserve it.
Siblings:  She isn’t dead….
Sister 2:  She’s rich.
Brother: ….our fortune….
Sister l:  ….that mirror…that ring….
Siblings:  Beautiful…expensive…we deserve to be rich!
(Father and the Girl reenter.)
Father:  My heart is doing somersaults.  I can’t believe you’re back.
You’ll never leave
again.  Here is where you’ll stay.  Forever!
Sister l:  Did the monster scare you?
Sister 2:  Did he hurt you?
Brother:  Is he evil?
Girl:  No.
Sister l: Is he kind?
Girl:  Yes.
Sister 2:    Did he feed you?
Girl:  Anything I like.
Sister l:  Does he entertain?
Girl:  He tries.  He really tries.
Sister 2:  Is he ugly?
Girl:  On the outside.
Brother:  Does he like you?
Girl:  Yes.
Sister 2:  Do you like him?
Girl:  Yes.
Brother:  Does he love you?
Girl:  Yes.
Siblings:  Do you love him?
Girl:  I don’t know….
Siblings:   Grab her!!!!
Father:  Stop!
(Brother grabs the Girl and holds her while Sister 2 tugs on the ring.
Sister 1 makes off with the mirror.)
Girl:  He’ll die!
Sister l:  Let the Monster die.
Sister 2/Brother:  (holding the ring) Beautiful….
Girl:  He’ll die.  You’ll kill him!
(She grabs the mirror from Sister l.  The Man appears, dying and wrapped in
thorns)
Man:  Remember….remember….I love you…
Girl:  Remember.  I’ll come back.
Father:  You want to go back?
Girl:  I love him.
Father:  What do you know about love?  I won’t let him take you again.
(Father takes the mirror from the Girl and smashes it)
Sister l:  ….the ring…
Sister 2:  ….it’s ashes….
Brother:…it’s gone….
Father:   The monster’s dead!
Girl:  He’s not a monster!  You are!  You wanted me to yourselves!  You’d
eat me if you  could.  He’s          not a monster….I am.   All he wanted
was my love.  All I had to give was love.  And I kept it.  He’s
not a monster.  I am!

(Suddenly the house disappears around them.   Violent storm. )
Directly into Act II Finale-

The Man’s palace garden appears, destroyed, dying.    The Man is dead,
wrapped in twisted thorns.   The Girl goes to him.

Girl:  Look into my eyes.  See what you are.   See what I see. Look into my
eyes, now.
See what you are.  See what I see.   Look into my eyes now.  Let me
look into yours.
It’s time to leave your prison.  It’s time that you go free.  Look into
my eyes.  Love….
See yourself in me.  And forgive me.  And forgive me….Let me love
you.  Let me
take your place.  Let me free you.  Look, Love…..
(She wraps herself in thorns)
Girl:   Let me end with you.

(The Woman appears.  She is ethereal.  She looks very much like the Girl.
Perhaps she is the Girl’s mother.  The Woman’s presence charges the air.
The Woman gestures.  The Man and the Girl stir.  They rise.  His face is
unscarred.)

(The concluding text overlaps…)
Man:  Let me look into your eyes.
Girl:  See who you are. Look into my eyes.
Woman:  Even Death can be conquered with love, brave and sweet.
Man:  I’m forgiven.
Girl:  You can leave your prison.  You can leave your desert.
(Father and siblings join them)
Father:  Beauty lies in lover’s eyes. Love is beauty.  Love can forgive and
conquer.  Even Death can be          conquered with love.  It’s such a
simple lesson: That with love even hate can be forgiven.
Siblings:  Greed can be forgiven with love.
Father:  Wrong can be forgiven.
Siblings:  Hurt can be forgiven.  Pain can be forgiven.
Siblings/Father:   We can be forgiven.

(An invisible chorus is heard)

Chorus:   Even Death can be conquered with love, brave and sweet.  Love and
Beauty
lie within.
Man:  Look into my eyes.  My love, my bravest love…even death can be
conquered with
love.
Girl:  Look into my eyes.  Let me see myself in you.  With love, brave and
sweet, with
love….
Woman:   With hope, with trust, with love…..with love….

(The shimmering scene vanishes into moonlight.)

The End.

_____________________________________________

Aria: “Look into my eyes” on youtube

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