Libretto

October 18th, 2010 § 0

First tramp goes through his pockets looking for money… without success.
Second tramp rummages in the drawer of the table, … finds no money.
Third tramp rises from the bed, advances on the girl and violently orders her to stand by the window to lure men in from the street for the tramps to rob.
The girl refuses.
The three tramps repeat the command. She agrees unwillingly and goes hesitatingly to the window.

(first decoy game)

She sees a man – already he is on the stairs.
The tramps hide.
The shabby old rake enters, – makes comic gestures of love.
Girl: “Got any money?”
“Never mind money; – what matters is love”
He becomes more and more importunate.
The three tramps finally leap out from their hiding place, seize the old rake and throw him out. They turn angrily to the girl and force her to go to the window again.

(second decoy game)

The girl sees another man (the tramps hide).
The shy young man appears in the door. He is very confused. The girl strokes him to encourage him and takes this opportunity to feel his pockets (“Not a penny”), draws him towards her and dances – at first rather shyly.
The dance becomes faster and more passionate…but the tramps jump out, seize the youth and throw him out.
They turn to the girl: “Have some sense. Get us somebody suitable.”

(third decoy game)

Horrified, they see a weird figure in the street, which can immediately be heard coming up the stairs.
(The tramps hide.)
The Mandarin enters and remains immobile in the doorway; the girl flees terrified to the other end of the room.
General consternation – The tramps make signs from their hiding place that the girl should start, lure the Mandarin a little closer, ensnare him.
The girl overcomes her repugnance and calls to the Mandarin:
“Why dont you come closer?”
“Why do you stand so still and stare at me?”
The Mandarin takes two steps.
The girl: “Closer still!
Sit down on this chair.”
The Mandarin sits down.
The girl is undecided.
She shudders and draws back again.
At least she overcome her reluctance and begins a hesitant dance. (The dance gradually becomes livelier, as does the music, – ending in a wild erotic dance.) Throughout the whole dance the Mandarin regards the girl with a fixed impassive stare in which his incipient passion is hardly perceptible.
The girl sinks down to embrace him, he begins to tremble in feverish axcitement.
But the girl shudders at him embrace,
which she finally succedes in doing. She flees from him and he chases her more and more wildly.
The Mandarin stumbles but rises again like lightning and continues the chase more passionately than before.
He catches the girl. They fight.
The tramps leap out, seize the Mandarin and tear him away from the girl. They strip him of his jewelry and his money.
When they have taken everything: “What shall we do with him now?”
“We must kill him, stifle him under the pillows on the bed.”
They drag him to the bed, throw him on it, and pile up pillows, blankets and different heavy objects. Finally one of the tramps sits on the whole heap.
They wait a while
then the tramp gets down. All three move away. “He must be suffocated by now.” Suddenly the Mandarin’s head appears between the pillows and he looks longingly at the girl. The four shudder and stand aghast.
They discuss how he is to be killed.
One of the tramps produces a rusty old sword,
and stabs the Mandarin three times.
Then they release their grip; – he sways, – totters
and almost collapses.
Suddenly he draws himself up and leaps at the girl.
The three tramps stop him and hold him fast again.
While they hold him, Tthe Mandarin looks longingly at the girl.
The terrified tramps discuss how they are to get rid of the Mandarin at last.
“Let’s hang him.”
They drag the resisting Mandarin to the centre of the room and hang him on the lamp hook.
The lamp falls to the floor – goes out.
The body of the Mandarin begins to glow with a greenish blue light.
His eyes are fixed on the girl.
All four look with horror at the Mandarin.
At last the girl realises what will save them. She makes a sign to the tramps: “Take the Mandarin down!”
They take him down.
The Mandarin falls on the floor and at once leaps at the girl.
She resists no longer, – they embrace.
The Mandarin’s longing is now stilled, his wounds begin to bleed, he becomes weaker and dies after a short struggle.

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