Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Figaro - Complete Narrations and Narration Stage Directions

First Act

First Narration: (everybody)

Narrator: Invisible from the stage -

Hey Kids! It’s the Marriage of Figaro!

(cue overture)

Operation: Opera 501c3 presents a Belinda Lau Production of an Evan Tucker Joint. Lyrics by Lorenzo DaPonte and Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart! (everybody cheer loudly offstage continue the second the applause lets up)

Go on the stage one by one to the center of the stage, then leave the stage as the next person comes out. Each of you come up with motion to capture your character’s essence, you should be clear of the stage in five seconds before each credit:

Starring Justin Wilson as Figaro!

Belinda Lau as Susanna!

Johnny Wagstaff as the Count!

Julia Turnbull as the Countess!

Vanessa Rosas as Cherubino!

Joshua Zanze as Bartolo!

Lane Rosen as Marcellina!

Evan Tucker as Don Burzio!

...and Jason Alexander as George!

Featuring Blair Skinner as the Conductor!

Hui-Chuan Chen on the Piano!

“   “ on Violin 1!

“   “ on Violin 2!

“   “ on Viola!

“   “ on Cello!

“   “ on Double Bass!

and Fred Armisen on Drums!

(narrator shows up onstage)

And me? I’m Rex Anderson!

All costumes are provided by the Alicia Puglionesi Collection. All housing and lighting is provided by 2640 and the Windup Space!

(wait thirty seconds… or less depending upon where you are in the overture)

And now, a word from our sponsor: the Mozart Effect.

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(end of overture)

Second Narration: (Figaro and Susanna)

(said while sitting on the bed)

The name of the town is Seville, Spain - home to the characters of so many great operas and just around the corner from North Africa - latitude 37 degrees 22 minutes North, longitude 5 degrees, 59 minutes West - a hundred-twenty-five miles due North from the Strait of Gibraltar and the hottest, most tropical area in all Europe. Excepting the characters in this opera and half-a-dozen others, nothing of note ever happened in this town. We're in a castle right outside the town called Aguasfrescas. For those of you who don't speak Spanish, Aguasfrescas is Spanish for... Watersfrescas... It’s a nice castle, know what I mean? Nothing too special or extraordinary ever happened in it. Christopher Columbus once flogged a Native American right over there (point to someone in the front row).

(Enter Figaro and Susanna. who goes to the seat and sits down to work on her wedding hat. Figaro gets on the ground, puts his ass in the air towards the audience. From the pit or from the onstage stairs at 2640.)

Here are two lovers on the morning of their wedding, living in what seems like perfect bliss. But reality has its ways of intruding on our dreams, especially on our wedding days. Their names are Figaro and Susanna, and you’ll get to know them well tonight. You already know them. Figaro and Susanna are us - doing our best to stay happy when life does everything it can to beat us down, living by our wits while others live fat off their labor.

(cue Cinque…)

Third Narration (Figaro and Susanna)

(said next to them)

(Susanna and Figaro in freezeframe)

These characters are domestic servants in the chateau of a nobleman - a kind of Anna and Mr. Bates for the 18th century. Their boss, Count Almaviva, gave them the most convenient room in his castle, and Figaro seems quite eager to live in this room which has the Count living on one side, the Countess on the other. It makes work convenient for them, a little too convenient. Three years ago, when helped the Count win his wife as a bride, the Count was so thrilled that he abolished his right to Prima Nocta - the nobleman’s right to deflower any commoner who lives on his property before her husband fulfills his conjugal duties. You can find a deeper explanation of this concept in the movie, Braveheart. But upon discovering that marriage isn’t an endless font of romance and guilt-free sex, the Count puts his interests elsewhere.

(cue Se a Caso Madama…)

Fourth Narration: (Figaro and Susanna)

(spoken from the chair)

(exit Susanna right away.)

The Count promised a dowry for the marriage of these servants, but through an intermediary whom we’ll meet in a few minutes, the Count explains to Susanna that the dowry was not a gift to be rendered without a “reciprocal service.” It’s a field of landmines on which they’ll have to dance. How can Figaro keep Susanna untouched by that dirty prick and still get his money?

Fifth Narration: (Bartolo and Marcellina)

(spoken from the audience)

If the characters you just met are us. Then the characters you’re about to meet are the Richard and Pat Nixons we should all be afraid of turning into.

(enter Bartolo and Marcellina. Go to your places. Sit casually.)

(There’s a lot of exposition here, get through it very quickly)

These two old farts are staring down their remaining years and see nothing worth celebrating. They’ve grown so self-centered and bitter that their greatest happiness comes from preventing happiness in others. (go up to Bartolo) Three years ago, the Count’s wife was merely the ward of Doctor Bartolo, and he kept her a virtual prisoner in his house so that she would never meet another man and marry him instead. (beat) And sadly, this was a fairly common practice once upon a time. One day, the Count saw her staring longingly from his balcony, and resolved to win her away from Bartolo's prying hands - but in order to do so, he needed help from a much cleverer man, and procured the services of Figaro, The Barber of Seville. But barbers rarely had their own shops in the days before Vidal Sassoon, so the Count gave Figaro permanent employment as his valet.

(go up to Marcellina)

Three years later, the Countess’s governess, Marcellina, had the same idea. Figaro, like so many of us, was in terrible debt and needed money immediately. Marcellina loaned him a sum so long as he signed a contract promising to marry her if he couldn’t pay her back….

(Marcellina goes up to Bartolo and gives him the contract.)

…. Even though it's Figaro and Susanna's wedding day and Figaro's clearly in love with Susanna, Marcellina still has every intention of making Figaro honor his contract.

Sixth Narration (Cherubino, Susanna, The Count)

(back in the seat)

Now what would opera be without a good ol’-fashioned catf-(SCREAM from back of the auditorium - both Cherubino and the Count. The Count chases Cherubino onstage. The Count doesn’t see him go onstage and keeps going to backstage.)

This character was just chased onstage because the Count discovered him in a compromising situation with the gardener’s daughter...

(Cherubino must look breathless onstage. Susanna must have the ribbon onstage already. Susanna is doing something with the ribbon, Cherubino then grabs it out of her hand and runs to the other side of the room with it, perhaps smells it. Susanna puts her hands on her hips and shakes her head.)

...In the time that elapses between the singing, he will snatch a ribbon out of Susanna’s hand because he was told it belonged to the Countess, and he therefore insists on keeping it forever. He is the third image of ourselves we meet. If Figaro and Susanna are us, and if Bartolo and Marcellina are our future selves, then Cherubino is who we were.

(At Windup, Cherubino goes Center Stage. At 2640, he leaves the stage for the audience immediately.)

He’s a page in the Count’s service, as innocent to life and love as Kenneth the Page, and as we all were when we were teenagers. But since he’s like all teenagers, he just can’t help himself. His song technically is about how much he loves love, but it talks about wet dreams, masturbation, even orgies. Not for no reason is this song the music from The Godfather when Sonny Corleone fucked Connie’s Maid of Honor. (beat) Cherubino is still too young to know that his thoughts are filthy beyond belief. But when you hear Cherubino, you remember who you were when love was new and before it ever disappointed you.

Seventh Narration: (Don Burzio, The Count, Susanna, Figaro)

(moving around the stage with the characters)

We just met Cherubino, and now we’ll meet the man who chased him.

(The Count Knocks, Cherubino hides under the chair)

Like everyone else we've met, the Count is us, but we’d never want to admit that. Physically, Cherubino may be an adolescent, but emotionally, the Count is a child - accustomed to getting what he wants, when he wants it, and how he wants it. But the Count isn’t a villain, he’s a human being, and that makes him scarier. The Count is an evil man, but he’s the evil in us all, as people who spend too much and earn too little, as people who believe we deserve privileges simply by being born, as people who demand power over others simply by being older, or younger, or smarter, or dumber. Like us all, no amount of material comfort brings him happiness or peace. He embodies that phrase, ‘the rage of the entitled.’ And what he feels entitled to at the moment is Susanna.

(Enter the Count)

The Count comes in, and like Cherubino, he has one thing on his mind - hitting on Susanna...

(the Count comes up to Susanna, reaches for her and pulls her in)

...But any chance he has of Susanna acceding to his wishes is ruined by the arrival of Don Burzio….

(Don Burzio knocks)

...We know, we know, there’s no character in Figaro named Don Burzio. But for this production, let’s just imagine that Don Burzio is the slimy lawyer, musician and priest in residence for the Castle who sometimes has a stutter and sometimes doesn’t. Trust me, it’ll make things easier for you.

(enter Don Burzio)

Anyway, Don Burzio comes in to convince Susanna to sleep with the Count

(makes humping motion)

but also to imply that she’s already sleeping with Cherubino...

(disparagingly wags his finger)

(The Count reveals himself and comes up to them. Burzio is delighted.)

...The Count hears this and is so furious that he comes out from his hiding place. And Susanna is so humiliated that she faints.

(Susanna faints backward, both catch her.)

They try to move her over to the most logical place to put a fainting woman,  (Susanna wakes up, looks around) but Susa-(SCREAM! Susanna runs to the other side of the room).

Burzio asks the Count why he’s so angry about Cherubino?

(The Count makes hand motions relating a story)

Burzio tells a story of how he went to the gardener’s house. The gardener wasn’t home, but his daughter was, and she looked nervous as hell. The Count was immediately suspicious, so he began to search everywhere...

(reaches for the sheet that hides Cherubino. Susanna puts up her hands but realizes she’s too far away to do anything. Slowly lifts it up and walks away.)

Finally he gently lifted up the tablecloth, only to find Che-(SCREAM! Throws the sheet down like it’s on fire. Burzio laughs uproariously.)

We could tell you the rest of the scene, but it’s frankly not important. Let’s just get to the last number of the act, and a puzzling number it is. What the hell is this song doing in this opera?

(Enter Figaro)

It has a great tune, but it doesn’t advance the action, it doesn’t introduce a character, it’s just a vaguely military sounding march. But Figaro is speaking in this song about ensnaring an amourous butterfly within a net of war? Technically, he’s singing to Cherubino whom the Count newly ‘honored’ with an army commission to get him out of the castle immediately. But is he singing to Cherubino? Or is he singing to Susanna, the amorous butterfly whom Figaro's about to ensnare in the net of marriage? Or is he singing to the Count himself, whose amorous exploits, like so many noblemen of his generation, may yet lead his head to the guillotine?

(cue Non piu Andrai)

end of act I

Second Act:

First Narration: (The Countess)

(From Center Stage)

(no stage action)

Before we begin again, we have a word from another sponsor.

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We’ve thus far experienced little in this place but farce and high spirits, but this castle is as full of horror as happiness. And of all the people we meet on this journey through Aguasfrescas, no one has more happiness to earn than the Countess. No one suffers more, no one has more occasion to grieve, no one in this castle has more knowledge of the horrors which make our happiness so necessary.

Who is she? Where did she come from? Why is she so sad?

All we know about her is that like so many women of her time, ...of all time, she is a prisoner. She was born a prisoner, and she may yet die one. For her entire childhood, she was the ward of the self-aggrandizing Doctor Bartolo whom we recently met. And as so many legal guardians of a certain era, Bartolo raised his ward with the singular intention of creating a wife for himself, and shut her off from the world so that she would not be tempted by more fitting suitors, and the more worthy men would be completely unaware of the prize which dwelled among them.

Such a situation is horror enough in itself. But not even Bartolo could hide such a treasure from the Earth. And into her iron-barred world swept the Count - young, handsome, exciting, adventurous, and disguised as a soldier so she might fall in love with him and not with his money.

But the Count has become a very different man in the elapsing time, and because he has, so has everybody else. What happened in the last three years? Did the Count begin his marriage a good husband in good faith? Did the Countess become engorged on her newfound freedom and lose the Count’s love with too many demands? Did the Countess have a child? Did the Countess lose a child? All we know of this woman who beguiles three generations of men in this opera is that she was a prisoner her whole life, only to be liberated by the perfect man, and then discover her liberator to be yet another jailer, perhaps still more horrific than her first.

(Cue Porgi Amor)

Second Narration (The Countess, Cherubino, Susanna, The Count)

(from far stage left)

(Immediately after the applause dies down, Cherubino is, yet again, chased by the Count onto the stage.)

But the Countess still has one admirer whose ardor hasn’t cooled and still hasn’t resorted to underhanded tactics to control her life, even if he eventually might try. Cherubino still hasn’t left yet for the army. Figaro told him not to, and we’ll have more on why in a few minutes. In the meantime, let’s just listen to Cherubino’s song Voi Che Sapete, Mozart’s #1 song from the 1786 hit parade.

(cue Voi Che Sapete)

Third Narration: (Figaro, Susanna, Cherubino, Countess)

(From the orchestra pit)

So in the first act, Figaro had a line of dialogue we had to cut in which he told Cherubino not to leave just yet....

(Enter Figaro, who has a letter in one hand, wedding veil in the other.)

...And now we find out why that is. Figaro knows just how jealous the Count can be, so he shows the Count a letter which makes it look as though the Countess has a lover...

(Susanna finds the dress and brings it forward. The Countess looks at it and nods as though to show her approval. Cherubino batts his/her eyelashes at the audience.)

...Meanwhile, Figaro instructs Susanna and the Countess to dress up Cherubino as a woman so as to tempt the Count with a new woman in the castle - whom the Countess then will intercept as the Count tries to seduce this new servant girl…

(Figaro leaves. The Countess, Susanna, and Cherubino get into place for the scene. Then go into freeze frame.)

When the Count is caught trying to hit on the new girl, it will in fact be Cherubino dressed as a woman, and in order to avoid exposure of the fact that the Count has macked on an underage boy. He will marry Figaro and Susanna with all due haste. So now we must watch the onstage characters prepare what must have been a terribly erotic spectacle for its time - two beautiful women must undress a third beautiful woman who plays a man, so they can dress this man up as a woman. Are you confused? So are we.

(cue Venite Inginochiatevvi)

Fourth Narration: Cherubino, Countess, Susanna, Count)

(From next to the closet)

(Susanna leaves)

Holy shit, that was hot.

(Make sure the Countess and Cherubino are right near each other. Cherubino has the ribbon and puts it on his face.)

Sadly, we have to fast forward again through the bit where Cherubino once again demonstrates his ribbon fetish...

(The Countess should lean in to kiss Cherubino but right before she does...)

and the Countess comes within a hair of yielding to temptation,...

(The Count stomps on the steps to indicate that he’s knocking. Cherubino scrambles immediately over to the closet.)

...only for the Count to knock on the door and Cherubino having to scramble into the Countess’s closet with his clothes….

(The Count throws up his hands agitatedly. Then draws a sword and enters the room and goes straight up to the closet door.)

...The Count is already furious, thinking that the Countess has most likely taken Cherubino as a lover. In a moment of quick thinking, the Countess lies and pretends it’s Susanna in the closet, trying on her wedding dress. But if the Count opens the closet and finds Cherubino, he will not only believe that the Countess and Cherubino are having an affair, but also that his wife’s probable lover is dressed up as a woman.

Fifth Narration (Count, Countess, Susanna, Cherubino)

(Still from Stage Right)

(Make sure the Count and Countess stay onstage after Susanna or via Sortite)

(very hastily. Start in Freeze Frame.)

Let’s not take too long with this. The Count wants to get the door open to catch his wife with Cherubino, whom he thinks is having an affair with the Countess. Had he knocked thirty seconds later, the Countess and Cherubino may have already embarked upon an affair, but as of yet, the Countess is completely innocent. The Count threatens to call in his guards to break open the door, but the Countess reminds him that the outcome he supposes would cause a scandal….

(The Countess and the Count leave the room. The Count ironically offers the Countess his arm. The Countess is obviously scared)

...So the Count goes to his room to get tools to break open the closet himself, but not before insisting that the Countess come with him and lock the door. Aaaaand… Go!

Sixth Narration (Antonio, Count, Countess, Susanna)

(Even more hastily) When Beaumarchais first wrote the stageplay, the subtitle was to his work was “A Day of Madness.” And after an hour of exposition, the stage is finally set to unleash the full madness of Figaro’s world over a period of twenty minutes.

(Susanna goes into the closet. Enter the Count and Countess. They go to the center of the room, where the Count throws down his tools.)

Susanna has gone into the closet. The Count has returned to the room ready to pry open the closet door, and the Countess has no idea of what just transpired. The stage is set for all sorts of mayhem. What’s the mayhem you ask? It doesn’t really matter, because the characters are just as confused as you’d be. But just so you’re no more confused than you have to be, we’ll just let you know that you’re going to meet a new character.

(Enter Josh, waving to the audience in Antonio costume.)

Antonio, the drunk gardener whose daughter gets caught in compromising situations with Cherubino, and who’s played by Joshua Zanze, the same singer who plays Bartolo, and has a minute to change back into his Bartolo costume. The main point of his character is that he sees things happen in his garden which shouldn’t happen in a garden. … Actually there’s no intentional inuendo there.

(exit Josh)

Anyway, not to build up your expectation too high, but there is a reasonably well-known history professor lecturing down the street at the Peabody Conservatory who confidently announces to his every class that the following twenty minutes is the greatest music ever written. So here you go…the greatest music ever written… (shrugs)

(cue Esci, Omai)

end of act II

Third Act

(From center stage)

First Narration: Barberina, Count, Susanna, Mozart...

While we’re waiting for Act III to begin, we thought we might take you backstage and interview a performer or two. Firstly, let’s talk to our Barberina, Abigail Seaman.

“It’s great to be here Mr. Narrator”

“Thank you Abby. So in this opera you’re obviously in the vocal special teams division. You have to wait backstage for hours before you come out and sing a few lines of dialogue and a small aria. Certainly you can’t warm up backstage or talk on your i-phone, and it’s too noisy here to concentrate on a book or the internet. So what do you do back there all this time? What do you think about?”

“Well Mr. Narrator, I mostly try to oscillate between panic and enjoying the music. But usually there are two things I think about most:  what internet giff I’m going to make tonight and prepping myself for the binge drinking that’s inevitably going to follow this performance.”

(awkward pause) “...Well, it appears we’re out of time. (nudges Abby off the stage) Thank you so much for taking a moment out of your busy schedule to talk to us. …

Our next interview is with a very, very special guest, making his first ever American appearance, and first appearance on any continent in more than two-hundred twenty-two years. Behind the makeup of this character is none other than the Master Composer himself, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart!

“Guten Abend Herr Erzaehler.”

Maestro Mozart, I’m sure there are many different questions this audience would like to ask you. But as it turns out, you weren’t buried in an unmarked grave. That was a story you told so that you could freeze yourself cryogenically with instructions to be thawed during an era when nobody remembers your music.

“Ja, richtig.”

Well Herr Mozart, we’ll leave aside the logical inconsistencies because I know that you have tickets for a Dan Deacon show later tonight. So of all the questions I could ask you, I’m sure that there’s one which people would most want me to ask, and that is how you became so inspired to write such amazing music. Where did your inspiration come from?

“Ja ja. Sehr schnell. Zer ver many verry influential forces in my life. But, ze very greatest inspiration I alvays had vas from, definitely, ze vomen mit ze groesser bruesten (make a motion to show them). Preferably two vomen at a time, mit a French tickler und a mirror zo I can vatch myself.” (walks off)

Insightful commentary from the master himself. I’ve gotten the signal that we’re ready to begin again.

In case you were too confused by what happened in the Finale of Act II. Here’s the gist. Marcellina, Bartolo, and Burzio came in at the end of the act to present the marriage contract. All you need to know is that Figaro’s marriage to Susanna is in terrible danger.

So we begin in the Count’s chambers.

(Count walks to his desk. Sits down, looks down at the ground, freeze frame)

The Count is sitting alone and like so many noblemen, he has yet again fallen ass backwards into exactly what he wants. But his victories bring him no happiness. He may have triumphed over Figaro, but he has no idea how he did, and like the rest of us, he’s very, very confused…

(Enter Susanna, sit down at chair on other side of the desk, freeze frame)

...But in comes Susanna, and she is utterly despondent - on the verge of her would-be husband being trapped by a loveless marriage to someone else. Ostensibly she’s entered to get smelling salts for the Countess, but what is she truly doing here? Is she willing to do anything to ensure that she can marry Figaro?

Second Narration: (Figaro, Susanna, Count)

(Brief recit offstage…)

(The narrator is chilling right where the recit is happening. He then rushes to the stage right on top of the Count, who is sitting back at his desk.)

So after all that seduction and making out, apparently Susanna is not nearly as wavering in her affections as perhaps we thought. She just went up to Figaro and said 'Taci, senza avvocato, hai gia vinta la causa.' (stage whisper conspiratorially to the Count) Which means  "Quiet. Without a lawyer you've already won your case." (scamper off the stage)

(cue Hai Gia Vinta La Causa)

Third Narration: (Figaro, Count, Burzio, Bartolo, Marcellina)

(stand over Figaro)

As we told you before, this is a day of madness. But it would be foolish to pretend that the madness of this place is purely of a comic, delightful nature. Was what just happened the right interpretive choice? That can be determined only by you. But it won’t be long before a practical character like Susanna realizes that the money which the Count threw at Figaro is enough to pay off the Count. Who’s to say that this is not where Mozart meant the money to come from? (shrugs)

But now that the Count has Figaro completely humiliated and at his lowest ebb, the Count wants to spill one final cup of acid on Figaro’s wounds. He goes offstage to fetch Bartolo, Marcellina, and Don Burzio, who has acquired a terrible stutter since the last act… (shrugs) just go with it. But what the Count can’t possibly know is that Figaro’s fortunes are about to change forever. Just before the marriage contract is pronounced final, Figaro makes one last appeal - declaring that he is in fact a gentleman kidnapped as a boy. Nobody takes this claim seriously, until he points to a birthmark in the shape of a spatula on his arm. And when that happens, we realize exactly who Figaro’s parents are.

(enter Burzio, Count, Bartolo, and Marcellina)

Fourth Narration: (Countess, Barberina)

(everybody leaves the stage. The Narrator moves the chairs to their proper place.)

Welcome to the world of Mozart. Evil characters become good, sadness becomes happiness, commoners become nobles, men become women, and no character is the same person from one scene to the next. But the one character who needs change more than any other still hasn’t experienced it...

(enter the Countess, followed by Barberina holding the baby. Go to the chairs, freeze-frame)

...But in fact, it was the Countess who sent Susanna to seduce the Count as part of a greater plan to convince the Count to marry Figaro and Susanna and make the Count fall in love with her again. The Countess now waits for Susanna to come to her, so she can put the next step of the plan into motion. Will this be what it takes for the Countess to find the happiness she needs?

Fifth Narration: Susanna and the Countess

(From the audience)

(Susanna appears at the entrance, but stops right there in freeze-frame)

And here Susanna is, ready to take dictation on a letter that will make the Count think she’s finally ready to sleep with him, in a note composed by the Countess herself in a special code that only the Count will understand, and sung to a melody recognizable to anyone who’s watched The Shawshank Redemption.

Sixth Narration: Barberina, Cherubino, Susanna, Countess

(Still from the audience)

(Susanna and the Countess leave the stage)

So remember how we talked a few minutes ago about men becoming women?...

(Barberina chases Cherubino onstage. They arrive Center Stage.)

...Well, Barberina is buying Cherubino some time before the Count discovers him by dressing him up as a woman again. All the better so that Barberina can spend more time with Cherubino, the man she intends to marry. And according to Barberina, he’ll fit right in with the other women. In fact, according to Barberina, Cherubino might turn out to be the best looking woman in the whole castle.

Seventh Narration: Everybody

(move the chairs around again)

Y’know, Cherubino really is some of the best evidence in the world that some men are just born with game. What the hell do all those women see in him anyway?

(Enter Susanna and the Countess. Who admire Cherubino and jump up and down, silently screaming, with Cherubino and Barberina, the way adolescent girls do when they’re excited.)

So now we get to fast forward through the chorus of the flower girls and watching an entire chorus marvel over how believable Cherubino looks as a woman.

(All four characters leave the stage. Quickly. Susanna and the Countess through the side, Cherubino and Barberina through the front. Both Barberina and Cherubino run as quickly as they can through the audience and back to the side.)

Maybe that’s because Cherubino in fact is a woman, but I digress.

Anyway, I’m not the only character in this opera who wants to fast forward. Figaro does too so we can have his wedding. And he’s in luck because it’s finally time for the wedding.

(everybody runs out onto the stage. Figaro and the Count, then Susanna and the Countess, then Cherubino and Barberina, then Antonio)

So Figaro is determined to get the wedding done as quickly as possible. The Count is determined to delay it as long as possible.

(Antonio drags Cherubino by the ear over to the Count)

But Josh, back in his Antonio costume, notices that this lady over here bears an uncanny resemblance to Cherubino.

(The Countess goes up to Cherubino, puts her hands on his shoulders)

When the Count demands an explanation, the Countess pipes up that this was part of the wedding festivities,...

(start the Wedding March here)

and why Cherubino was dressed as a woman in her closet.

And here’s the Wedding March. PLACES EVERYBODY!

(everybody except the Count and Countess scramble off the stage and take the furniture with them. The Count and Countess take their seats. When everybody’s off the stage and in place.)


(The two married couples walk onto to the stage. Followed by Barberina, the Maid of Honor, laying flowers on the ground, followed by Cherubino, the Best Man who can still be in his female costume or not (doesn’t matter), followed by Don Burzio, Best Man to Bartolo and Marcellina. The Narrator stands between the Count and Countess with a book resembling a Bible in his hands.)

Steadfast lovers, companions of honour, let us sing the praises of a lord so wise. He cedes a privilege which wrongs like the odor of a rotten fish, and delivers you as pure as a newly hatched baby chick to your lovers’ arms.

By the power vested in me by The Union of Opera Narrators #305, I now pronounce you men and wives. (shut the book with a thud) You may kiss the brides.

(they kiss, everybody else applauds)

And now, let’s dance

(They then begin to dance a “fandango.” Figaro/Susanna, Count/Countess, Cherubino/Barberina, Bartolo/Marcellina, Burzio leaves the stage and starts handing out drinks to the audience. One by one, everybody leaves the stage. First Bartolo and Marcellina, then Cherubino, then the Countess. Susanna comes face to face with the Count during the minuet, and right before they join hands, she takes the letter out of her bra/bustier. Susanna leaves the stage. The Count then reads it with delight, folds the letter up, and gives it to Barberina. The Count then leaves the stage. Figaro sees the whole thing with a look of shock on his face. Finally leaves the stage. This leaves Barberina, who drops the pin and crawls on all fours.)

(Narrator says this as it’s all happening) And what’s this? Susanna has given the Count the letter….

...The Count is reading the letter...

…. And oh my god, Figaro’s seen the whole thing!

Well in any event, let’s all drink some Champagne. The Count’s paying for it.

(end of Act III)

Act IV:

(Right in front of the audience.)

First Narration: Barberina, Figaro, Marcellina, Burzio, Bartolo

It’s the night after a wedding. Everybody’s a little drunk, everybody’s emotions are running high, everybody’s acting a little bit stupid.

(Barberina breaks down in tears)

You might have noticed Barberina groping about the stage before she sang that beautiful song. It’s because she was searching for the pin which sealed the Countess’s letter.

(Enter Figaro,Marcellina, and Bartolo. Figaro is completely drunk, and held by his parents on either side, followed by Don Burzio.)

Figaro might be completely drunk, but he sees Barberina crying, and like any good soul, he wants to help her, he asks her what’s wrong.

(Barberina hands Figaro the letter. Figaro reads.)

Barberina says that she’s lost the pin which the Count gave her to return to Susanna, and to make sure that nobody sees her return it.

(Barberina leaves the stage. Figaro counts to three, then breaks down crying on his mother’s shoulder.)

But Marcellina isn’t convinced that the Count is meeting up with Susanna. (exit Marcellina) She leaves Figaro in Bartolo’s care and goes off to find Susanna.

(Figaro is helped off the stage to the audience floor - by stairs at 2640 and step off at Windup.)

But after everything Figaro’s been through, he now thinks he’s lost Susanna, and he’s finally had it with being a nice guy. He’s now all geared up for his Mel Gibson moment. He blames women for all the worlds’ ills, and his addled mind is focused on one thing only - avenging all husbands everywhere!

(cue Aprite)

Second Narration - Marcellina, Susanna, Figaro, Bartolo, Burzio

(Done from right next to where Susanna is.)

(exit Bartolo and Burzio)

Yet again, the dominoes are in place, but instead of falling down,the dominoes will fall up.

(Enter the Countess and Susanna, dressed as each other. They go center stage.)

...In this most famous of operatic denouements, we realize that the Countess and Susanna are dressed as each other, and the Countess will make love to the Count appearing as Susanna under the cover of night.

(Marcellina enters and tells Susanna what Figaro saw. Susanna looks both irked and amused. Marcellina then leaves. The Countess walks through the audience to the back of the space. Later quietly comes forward while the singing is happening to be ready for her place.)

In this final act, we have to find out how Figaro realizes this plan and uses it to play his own practical joke on Susanna. We have to find out how the Count falls back in love with the Countess. And we have to figure out why the Count allows Cherubino and Barberina can remain together. I’m sorry to spoil your fun by telling you that all this has a happy ending, but this is Mozart after all.

But humor me one last thought please. In the play, Amadeus, its writer, Peter Shaffer, wrote a line which didn’t make it into the movie version. In the play, Mozart boldly declares that in writing Figaro, he wanted to create characters so real that you could smell the shit from the chamber pot. And yes, look around you, these characters are as real as anybody you’ll meet tomorrow. But Mozart realizes that just like theater, life is a fairy tale, a complete mystery - beholden to no dogma or sect, and expressing the whole infinity of what life might be, because we have no idea what it is. This is the secret of his hold on our world, uninterrupted after two centuries. No matter how vivid the flames and demons through which he steers us, he always leads us home. If the day ever comes when Mozart is no longer played and studied, listened to and hummed, revisited and loved, opera will be near its end.

(cue Deh Vieni)

End of Act IV