Livret complet - Livret anglais

Livret anglais - Acte I




ACT ONE

Prologue

The Museum


Lights up on the Egyptian wing of a Modern Art Museum. A contemporary crowd, chic and beautifully dressed, is gathered around various artifacts, all under glass: a small boat, a model of a soldier with a bow and arrow, a mannequin of AMNERIS, ancient female Pharaoh of Egypt.

The crowd moves appreciatively around the exhibits. In the center of the room, also behind glass, is a mysterious object - an ancient burial chamber, a tomb. A man and a woman also dressed in the fashions of today approach the tomb from different sides.

They are both drawn to it. They circle it, intrigued as if they have seen it before. The man is RADAMES; the woman is AIDA. In a musical moment, they look up. Their eyes meet and all the action in the room freezes as AMNERIS, wearing a royal headdress, emerges from the glass encasement.

As she sings, the cast of the modern museumgoers leaves the stage.



1. EVERY STORY


AMNERIS

Every story, tale or memoir

Every saga or romance

Whether true or fabricated

Whether planned or happenstance


Whether sweeping through the ages

Casting centuries aside

Or a hurried brief recital

Just a thirty-minute ride


(AMNERIS steps off of the pedestal and stands before the audience.)


Whether bright or melancholy

Rough and ready, finely spun

Whether with a thousand players

Or a lonely cast of one


Every story, new or ancient

Bagatelle or work of art

All are tales of human failing

All are tales of love at heart


The lights change violently with a rock and roll chord. Frozen on stage: the Man staring at a model of the boat. The WOMAN looks at the figure of the Archer.


This is the story

Of a love that flourished

In a time of hate


Of lovers no tyranny could separate

Love set into motion on the Nile's shore

Destiny ignited by an act of war


Egypt saw the mighty river as its very heart and soul

Source of life for all her people

That only Egypt could control

Destruction of her southern neighbor justified

Nubia exploited, left with little more than pride

Ohhhhhhhhhh.




ACT ONE

Scene One

A SLAVE BARGE


As the WOMAN moves off with the model of the boat, large red sails fly in,

creating an Egyptian barge on stage. EGYPTIAN SOLDIERS man the sails as

riches and the spoils of war are loaded on to the deck of the ship.


2. FORTUNE FAVORS THE BRAVE


SOLDIERS

Oh, Oh

Fortune Favors the Brave

Oh, Oh

Fortune Favors the Brave


(RADAMES, an Egyptian Army Captain enters.)


RADAMES

We have swept to glory,

Egypt's mastery expands

From the Nile's northern most delta

To the dry, dry southern sands


The more we find, the more we see,

The more we come to learn

The more that we explore,

The more we shall return


SOLDIERS

Oh, oh

Fortune favors the brave


RADAMES

It's all worked out, my road is clear

The lines of latitude extend

Way beyond my wildest dreams

Toward some great triumphant end


We seize the day

We turned the tide

We touched the stars

We mocked the grave

We moved into uncharted lands


RADAMES & SOLDIERS

Fortune favors the brave


RADAMES

The more we find, the more we see

The more we come to learn

The more that we explore

The more we shall return


Nothing is an accident

We are free to have it all

We are what we want to be

It's in ourselves to rise or fall


This is easy to believe

When distant places call to me

It's harder from the palace yard

Fortune favors the free


SOLDIERS

Oh, oh


RADAMES

Fortune favors the young!


SOLDIERS

Oh, oh


RADAMES

Fortune favors the brave!


Suddenly, AIDA and NUBIAN WOMEN are pushed onstage. She stumbles. RADAMESgoes over to inspect the Nubians.


RADAMES

What have we here?


SOLDIER #1

We found them along the riverbank, Captain.


SOLDIER pushes AIDA forward, into RADAMES' path.


RADAMES

to AIDA

Your country is at war and you go wandering along the Nile's edge. Your must

have a burning desire to see Egypt.

to SOLDIER

Put her in Chains

SOLDIER begins putting AIDA in chains. RADAMES turns to another SOLDIER.

Have you finished the map?


SOLDIER #2

Yes, Captain.


RADAMES

Good work. But this is wrong.

He traces his finger over the map

But this is wrong, from the mast it looked like it curved to the North...like

this. Here, let me show you.


AIDA has taken a sword from a drunken soldier and is pointing it at the

man who shackled her.


SOLDIER #1

My sword! My sword!


AIDA sword fights with the soldiers, taking one captive.


AIDA

Release them.


RADAMES

(Crossing to AIDA)

Hand it over. Now!


AIDA

(She holds the sword close to the soldier's neck.)

You took us from Nubia...and now you say we belong to you, yes?


RADAMES

Yes.


AIDA

Well, I took this soldier from your ranks. So, by your own logic he belongsto me. Now let them go.


(RADAMES smiles in acknowledgement, then points to THE WOMEN. SOLDIERSinstantly grab them. AIDA lays down the sword. A SOLDIER snatches it up.)


SOLDIER #1

Throw her in the River.


RADAMES

No, I have a better plan for her.




ACT ONE

Scene Two

RADAMES' QUARTERS


RADAMES leads AIDA off as the set rises to reveal the ship's lower quarters.


AIDA

Don't.


RADAMES

You don't want me to remove your shackles?

(She holds up her hands for him and he unlocks her manacles.)

They'll only get in the way. Very impressive up there. I should enlist youin my army. Make you my Lieutenant.


AIDA

Are you mocking me, Captain?


RADAMES

No. Admiring you.

(He removes his coat, dropping it to the floor almost as a dare.)

Do you know what's going to happen now? You're going to scrub the filth ofbattle from my skin.

(RADAMES sits on a stool in front of her. AIDA sees the basin of water andthe sea sponge.)

It's been a long time since I've felt clean.

(AIDA begins to scrub his back with all her force.)

You're much better with a sword than you are with a sponge.


AIDA

I wish I had a sword now.


RADAMES

There's mine. Help yourself. Who taught you to use a weapon?


AIDA

My father.


RADAMES

Because he knows that Nubian men can't protect their women?

(She straightens, furious.)

You're not finished.


AIDA

Yes, I am.


RADAMES

On your knees!

(He stands to confront her.)

You enjoy living dangerous, don't you?


AIDA

About as much as I enjoy washing your filthy Egyptian skin


(AIDA throws the sponge to the ground. RADAMES raises his hand to strike her.)


RADAMES

You...


3. THE PAST IS ANOTHER LAND


AIDA

No...


You know nothing about me and care even less

How could you understand our emptiness

You've plundered our wisdom, our knowledge, our wealth

In bleeding us dry

You long for our spirit

But that you will never possess


The past is now another land

Far beyond my reach

Invaded by insidious

Foreign bodies, foreign speech

Where timeless joys of childhood

Lie broken on the beach


RADAMES

What is your name?


AIDA

Aida...


SOLDIER #3 (offstage)

Captain, we're ready to dock!


(RADAMES scoops up the shackles from the floor and forces them on AIDA.)


AIDA

Please, leave them off.


RADAMES

You're a slave now! And if you want to survive you better remember it.


AIDA
WOMEN

The present is an empty space
Ah

Between the good and bad
Ah

A moment leading nowhere
Ah

Too pointless to be sad
Ah

But time enough to lay to waste
Ah

Every certainty I had


(The platform from RADAMES' ship appears onstage, as slaves exit from theship and onto the dock.)


The future is a barren world
Ooh ooh ooh ah

From which I can't return
Ooh ooh ooh ah

Both heartless and material
Ooh ooh ooh ah

Its wretched spoils not my concern

Shining like an evil sun

As my childhood treasures burn
Is stitched in time

Shining like an evil sun
Ooh ooh ooh ah

As my childhood treasures burn
Ooh ooh ooh ah

Ooh ooh ooh ah



ACT ONE

Scene Three

THE DOCKS


The scene has now changed to the docks in Egypt, where RADAMES' soldiers areunloading the ship and securing the slaves. A MERCHANT enters, carrying gold.MEREB, RADAMES' young servant, enters after MERCHANT, carrying a few casksof wine.


MERCHANT

Mereb, Mereb...Is that the wine?


MEREB

You have the gold?


(They exchange gold and wine. The MERCHANT runs off. RADAMES comes down theplatform and onto the docks.)


RADAMES

Mereb!


MEREB

(He stuffs the bag of gold down his shirt, then turns.)

Master, I am so glad you've returned.


RADAMES

(Descending gangplank.)

Have you kept my house in order?


MEREB

Yes, well except for a few casks of wine, which have mysteriously disappeared.


RADAMES

Again?


(ZOSER and his MINISTERS enter from SR to RADAMES and MEREB.)


ZOSER

Here you are my son, home at last! Step aside Mereb!


MEREB

(He bows to ZOSER)

Yes, oh Chief Minister Zoser... loved by the Gods, the people and himself.


ZOSER

Careful boy or I'll have you...


RADAMES

(He embraces ZOSER.)

It's good to see you father.


ZOSER

You were gone for so long Radames, I was beginning to worry. You weren't injured in battle?


RADAMES

No.


ZOSER

I kept telling the princess that no man could best you with a sword.


RADAMES

No man got the better of me. Though a certain woman might have...


ZOSER

Really?


RADAMES

Listen, beyond the fifth cataract the Nile heads directly toward Khartoum.


ZOSER

Then we can attack the city by water? Excellent! You recorded the landscape?


RADAMES

With the maps we made, an illiterate foot soldier could find his way through Nubia.


ZOSER

And you brought us captives. Good. Take them to the copper mines. We can't seem to keep them alive down there.


(ZOSER motions the GUARDS forward)


RADAMES

Stop! Not this one.

(He takes AIDA from the GUARD.)

I need a gift for the princess.


ZOSER

Yes. She'll be expecting something.


RHADAMES

Take the others to the Palace Groundskeeper. They can help with the harvest.

(To ZOSER.)

They're all women. They wouldn't last a day underground.


ZOSER

As you wish. They're your slaves.


(RADAMES turns AIDA to face him.)


AIDA

Thank you.


RADAMES

Give me your hands, Aida.


MEREB

Your name is Aida?


RADAMES

Mereb.

(To Aida, taking her chains off.)

I'm going to remove these. But know that if you dare try to escape, I will come after you myself.


AIDA

You flatter me, Captain. You don't look like a man who would chase after any woman.


RADAMES

I'll make an exception for you.

(To Mereb.)

Mereb, take her to Princess Amneris with my compliments.


(AIDA and MEREB exit.)


ZOSER

You've been gone six months. I really think a personal appearance is in order.


RADAMES

In good time, father. Though you and the Princess should know that as soon as my crew is rested, I am setting out again.


ZOSER

You can't. Radames, Egypt needs you now. Pharaoh is not the powerful leader he was when you left.


4. ANOTHER PYRAMID


ZOSER

While you've been away cavorting

Matters here have moved apace

Now I need you home supporting

All the plans I've put in place


First of all this means your wedding

You'll recall your future bride

For the way that Pharaoh's heading

Time's no longer on our side


According to the hawk god, Horus

Our most regal invalid

Is not that much longer for us

Build another pyramid!


RADAMES

You mean Pharaoh has fallen ill? Is it serious?


ZOSER

I'm afraid so.


RADAMES

I must go to him.


ZOSER

Yes. That will bring him some comfort. I'll see you tonight at the banquet, Captain.


There are many who'll be tearful

As our leader fades away

But our architects are cheerful

And each dog must have its day


If our country is to flourish

Then my son must take the lead

Be our inspiration, nourish

All our hopes our dreams our creed


Soon our monarch will have filled a

Tomb just like his fathers did

Summon Egypt's greatest builders

Re: another pyramid


MINISTERS
NUBIANS

Build it, build it

Another pyramid
Aida!


There will be a time for mourning

But for now put plans on hold


MINISTERS
NUBIANS

Hold

Ah,ah,ah,ah,ah,ah

For I give the nation warning

That before the corpse is cold


MINISTERS

Cold


ZOSER

We'll extend fair Egypt's power

Egypt's glory strength and style

We shall have our finest hour

Far beyond the mighty Nile


He must have a vault that's grand by

Any standards, floor to lid

Put five thousand slaves on stand by

Build another pyramid!


MINISTERS

Build it, build it

Build it, build it

Build it, build it

Build it-


(DANCE BREAK)


ZOSER

Someone has been telling Pharaoh about our private meetings.


MINISTERS

Shhhhhhhh


ZOSER

(MEREB takes AIDA upstage)


Before that fateful morning

My family enjoyed

A privileged existence

For my father was employed

As advisor to the King no less

Which surely rings a bell


For as your are his daughter

You probably can tell

How I know you

Yes I know you


AIDA

You know too much and what you say

Is better left unknown

And now I'm just a slave like you

Our lives our not our own


MEREB

I never have abandoned

And nor I think could you

That spark of hope for freedom

No terror can subdue


AIDA

My only hope is silence

You've never seen my face


MEREB

No you remain a princess

In any time or place


AIDA

You don't know me


MEREB

Yes, I know you


AIDA

You don't know me


MEREB

How I know you

How I know you


Princess...


AIDA

Mereb, you must treat me like any other slave. If the Egyptians knew I was


MEREB

They would kill you. But our people will keep your secret.


AIDA

No. You must not tell anyone who I am. From now on, I am nothing but a gift


MEREB

Just so you know, Amneris is more than that to Radames. She's his betrothed.


AIDA

He's to be married? When?


MEREB

The day his ship sinks and the royal builders refuse to make him another.



ACT ONE

Scene Five

THE BATHS


Steam begins to fill the stage. WOMEN OF THE PALACE enter wrapped in sheets. SLAVES stand by with trays of fruit, oils and cosmetics. We see two girls swimming.



AMNERIS

(Climbing out of the pool and changing into robe)

It is such hard work maintaining perfection. But worth the effort, don't you think?


WOMEN

Oh, yes. Definitely worth it! You're perfect.


AMNERIS

Really? Perfect? Really? Then maybe one of you can explain to me why Radames, the man destined to be my one and only, is neglecting me?

(AIDA and MEREB enter unseen.)

He's been to see my father. I hear he's spent time with his father. In fact, he's probably chummed it up with every withered old man in Egypt. But clearly, the thought of visiting a ripe young princess, with fabulous hair, leaves him cold.


(AMERNIS powders herself.)


MEREB

(Bowing low.)

Princess Amneris - first in beauty, wisdom, and accessories. Captain Radames has not forgotten you. He knows you will be at the feast tonight in all your extravagant finery. And he can hardly wait. But for now, he sends you this gift.


AMNERIS

(Turns to see AIDA.)

Another handmaiden? I don't need another handmaiden. Does this gift have a name?


AIDA

Aida.


AMNERIS

Did you just speak?


AIDA

My name is Aida, Princess. And I think you might wish to know...


AMNERIS

How dare you! You do not lower your eyes. You do not tremble. Are you not afraid of me?


AIDA

Would it please you if I were?


AMNERIS

Not so much.


AIDA

Then I am doing as you please.


AMNERIS

True. Well that's true. You started to say something about...


AIDA

Captain Radames.


AMNERIS

What do you know of the captain?


AIDA

Only that he is well. He suffered no injuries in battle. I thought you might want to know that.


AMNERIS

I did. You see I've been so...You're very astute, aren't you, Aida?


AIDA

Only on occasion. But my true talent lies with a needle. And if you will allow me, Princess, I will make you a robe in a shade closer to that of your eyes. There's a dyeing process I use that makes fabrics glow. It's a secret that was passed down by the handmaidens of Queen Neferteti.


AMNERIS

A slave who knows her fabrics? I'm keeping her! Oh Radames, he knows me. He really, really knows me. Go, Mereb, show Aida the sewing room.

(AIDA and MEREB exit.)

All right ladies, let's polish this gem.


6. MY STRONGEST SUIT


AMNERIS WOMEN

In life one has to face a huge assortment

Of nauseating fads and good advice

There's health and fitness

Diet and deportment


And other pointless forms of sacrifice

Conversation? Wit? I am a doubter

Manners? Charm?

They're no way to impress

So forget the inner me , observe the outer

I am what I wear and how I dress


Oh now I believe in looking

Like my time on earth is cooking

Whether polka dotted

Striped or even checked

With the some glamour guaranteeing

Every fiber on of my being

Is displayed to quite remarkable effect



From your cradle via trousseau

To your deathbed you're on view, so Ah

Never compromise, accept no substitute Ah

I would rather wear a barrel Ah

Than conservative apparel Ah

For my dress has always been Ah

My strongest suit Ah

Ah

Overwear

Underwear

Anytime

Anywhere



Staying in or hitting town wards

From the top and working downwards Ooh ooh ooh ah

I ensure that every stitch Ooh ooh ooh ah

Is stitched in time Ooh ooh ooh ah


Whether wig or hat or turban

Whether clad boudoir or urban Is stitched in time

Not to strut your stuff Ooh ooh ooh ah

Outrageously's a crime Ooh ooh ooh ah

Ooh ooh ooh ah


And the few who are invited Such a crime

To my wardrobe are delighted Oooh overwear

As they wander through my things Oooh underwear

To find en route Oooh anytime

We're wandering through your th


That in negligee or formal Ooh negligee

I am anything but normal Ooh anything but normal normal


Ooh ah

For my dress has always been

My strongest suit Overwear, underwear

Anytime, anywhere

Overwear, underwear

I am what I wear Anytime, anywhere

Overwear, underwear

Anytime, anywhere

I said anytime Overwear,underwear

Anytime

Anywhere


Finest

So bring me all my finest Divinest

Most audacious, my divinest

Most revealing

Most expensive and to boot

Most revealing most

expensive

Most arresting Most arresting

Most heartstopping

Most heartstopping Most heart-stoping

Most free-flowing Overwear

Most eye-popping Underwear

Most arresting Anytime

Most heart-stopping

Anywhere

Dress has always been Dress has always been

My strongest suit

I am what I wear

My strongest suit

I am what I wear

You know that

I am what I wear I am what I wear


Dress has always been

Dress has always been My strongest

My strongest My strongest

My strongest My strongest suit My strongest

My strongest My strongest

My stroooooooooongest suit My strongest suit


My strongest suit!



ACT ONE

Scene Six

THE PHARAOH'S PRIVATE BANQUET ROOM


(Upstage three exotic dancers, preparing for the Palace entertainment, begin to dance. Downstage MEREB enters and immediately after, RADAMES searching him out. They cross the stage.)0

to dance. Downstage MEREB enters and immediately after, RADAMES searching him

out. They cross the stage.)0


RADAMES

Mereb, was the Princess please with my gift?


MEREB

Yes. Aida managed to make herself indispensable in record time.


RADAMES

I'm not surprised. Did she tell you anything about herself? Because, I've

never met a woman like her before. And I can't help but wonder...


MEREB

of my own family


RADAMES

It has been my privilege to serve you, Your Majesty.


PHARAOH

As you all know, Captain Radames and my daughter have been betrothed for nine

years now. Long enough, I'd say.

(PHARAOH laughs, but is stopped by a debilitating coughing attack.)

I want to see her and our nation happily settled before I leave this world.

Therefore, in seven days, Radames, son of Zoser, will wed the Princess

Amneris. The Son of Isis has spoken.


(AMNERIS runs to her father's side and shows her appreciation for the announcement. The men gather and congratulate RADAMES. Suddenly, PHARAOH has another attack, coughing uncontrollably. The court gathers around him and escorts him offstage. ZOSER and RADAMES are left alone in the banquet hall with AIDA and another servant.)

announcement. The men gather and congratulate RADAMES. Suddenly, PHARAOH has

another attack, coughing uncontrollably. The court gathers around him and

escorts him offstage. ZOSER and RADAMES are left alone in the banquet hall

with AIDA and another servant.)


ZOSER

A toast to the bridegroom. If I'd known such an awkward young girl would turn

into such a stunning young woman, I would have offered for her myself.


RADAMES

It's not too late.


ZOSER

I thought you loved Amneris?


RADAMES

Of course I do. We grew up together.


ZOSER

Then what is it?

(He waits for an answer.)

Radames I've spent years working toward this day. And you are not going to

ruin it - not for yourself, or me! Welcome to your new life, son.


7. FORTUNE FAVORS THE BRAVE (Reprise)


RADAMES

Nothing is an accident

We are free to have it all

We are what we want to be

It's in ourselves to rise or fall


(RADAMES picks up a goblet from the table.)


This is easy to believe

When distant places call to me

It's harder from the palace yard

Fortune favors the...


(RADAMES turns upstage and throws the chalice off. AIDA and the SERVANT turn and begin to walk off.)

and begin to walk off.)


RADAMES

(To Aida.)

No, stay...


AIDA

Yes, Captain?


RADAMES

Where are you from?


AIDA

Ikaita. It a village near...


RADAMES

...near the Second Cataract. The river's an entirely different color there.


AIDA

No, it's an entirely different color here.


RADAMES

Fair enough.


AIDA

My father and I use to spend days sailing the Nile. He'd let me choose the

course. And sometimes I'd even run us aground on purpose... whenever I wanted

to see something on the shore.


RADAMES

Did you ever sail north?


AIDA

No. My father felt the First Cataract, being so close to the border of Egypt

was too...Was too dangerous a place to take me.


RADAMES

But there are no Egyptians in the First Cataract. Only these tiny, grassy

islands. And the sunlight is different there. In Egypt it is direct and

harsh. But there it shimmers. It's the most beautiful place I've ever seen.


AIDA

Of course, it's Nubia. I would like to see that part of my country.


8. ENCHANTMENT PASSING THROUGH


RADAMES

To sail away to half discovered places

To see the secrets so few eyes have seen

To see moments of enchantment on our faces

The moments when we smile and those in between


AIDA

Are you talking about Nubia now?


RADAMES

Yes, in a way.


AIDA

If I could leave this place then I'd be sailing

To corners of my land where there would be

Sweet southern winds of liberty prevailing

The beauty so majestic and so free


RADAMES

I will take you sailing. South, you can be my guide.


AIDA

Would you let me steer?


RADAMES

Would you run us aground?


AIDA

Oh yes. Wherever there are no people. I'd jump out of the boat, kick off my

sandals and run. And there'd be no one there to scold me and tell me to

behave like a good...to behave.


RADAMES

There'd be no ties of time and space to bind me


AIDA

And no horizon I could not pursue


RADAMES

I'd leave the world's misfortunes far behind me


AIDA

I'd put my faith and trust in something new


RADAMES & AIDA

But why should I tell you this


AIDA

A stranger I just met


RADAMES

A woman whom I hardly know at all and should forget


RADAMES & AIDA

A journey we can only dream of

Enchantment passing through

And how is it I say these things

So easily to you


RADAMES

This is meaningless! I'll never take you sailing. I'm never going to leave

Egypt again. Instead, I'll sit on the throne and send other men off on

their expeditions.


AIDA

You talk as though you've been enslaved.


RADAMES

Not with chains, maybe, but with a marriage promise.

(AIDA begins dabbing her eyes with her dress.)

What is that for?


AIDA

To dry my weeping eyes. Forced to marry a princess? Oh, what hardships. I

know - you want to go to lands where people have been living for centuries

and say that you "discovered" them. But instead, you're being thrust onto

the Pharaoh's throne. It is a great tragedy.


RADAMES

You go too far.


AIDA

No! You go too far. If you don't like your fate, change it. You are your own

master. There are no shackles on you. So don't expect any pity or

understanding from this humble palace slave.


RADAMES

Stop! I command you to stop!


RADAMES

But why did I tell her this?

A stranger I've just met

A woman who I hardly know at all and will forget

Anonymous and gone tomorrow

Enchantment passing through

And all I've done is tell her things

she already knew

She knew ...She knew....


ACT ONE

Scene Seven

AMNERIS' DRESSING ROOM


AMNERIS sits at her dressing stand, brushing her hair, forcibly. AIDA enters.


AIDA

(Offers to brush AMNERIS' hair.)

Here, let me.

(AMNERIS hands her the brush. AIDA brushes the Princess' hair.)

How is your father?


AMNERIS

I don't understand it. This illness of his came on so suddenly. Weeks ago he

was healthy. And the court physicians, they have no idea what it is. Well,

it was a magnificent feast, though, wasn't it?


AIDA

Yes, princess.


AMNERIS

Oh, there is so much to do to get ready for the wedding ceremony. From the

bronzed entry statue of me, to the centerpieces of lilies and roses arranged

to look like... me.


AIDA

It must be difficult.


AMNERIS

Planning a wedding?


AIDA

No. Being a Princess.


AMNERIS

Oh, you have no idea. The responsibilities are... overwhelming.


AIDA

Your people must expect so much.


AMNERIS

They want a goddess and I'm just...


AIDA

Human.


9. STRONGEST SUIT (Reprise)


AMNERIS

I may leave a great impression

As I race through a succession

Of the latest crazes, chase the newest fad

I feel better when beguiling

Find that fashion keeps me smiling

But in my heart I know it's rather sad


AIDA

That a life of great potential

Is dismissed, inconsequential


AMNERIS

And only ever seen as being cute

So I'll flutter to deceive


AIDA

Oh no you must believe

That one day you're bound to find


AIDA & AMNERIS

A Stronger Suit


(RADAMES enters the room, catching AIDA & AMNERIS off guard.)


AMNERIS

Radames! This is my bedchamber. You can't just... you know you shouldn't...

Aida, leave.


(AIDA turns to walk out.)


RADAMES

No, stay. Pour the princess a cup of wine.


(AIDA goes to the wine pitcher and pours the wine.)


AMNERIS

Are you trying to get me drunk, Radames? You know it's not necessary.


RADAMES

Is that your bed in there?


AMNERIS

Silk covered and fat with feathers.


RADAMES

Why don't you go in and I'll join you in a moment.


AMNERIS

Radames, are you sure? We're going to be married in a week.


RADAMES

Amneris, we've been engaged nine years.


AMNERIS

Good point.


(AMNERIS turns and runs offstage.)


RADAMES

You think you can speak to me like that, scold me like a shrew then walk

away? You forget that I can have you carried off to the copper mines.


AIDA

And you forget that I am her property now, not yours.


(AIDA turns to leave.)


RADAMES

It doesn't matter. Because I know now that you were right.

(AIDA gives him a disconcerting look.)

What?


AIDA

I'm shocked. Even in enlightened Nubia, one never hears a man admit he's

wrong.


AMNERIS

(Offstage.)

Radames, I'm ready!


RADAMES

(Calling offstage.)

I'll be right in princess.

(He turns back to AIDA.)

Aida, I was wrong. I have been selfish. If Pharaoh does not recover, Egypt

is going to need a new leader. A strong leader. And I don't think that is

Amneris.


AMNERIS

(Offstage.)

Radames, your engagement party is waiting.


AIDA

You should go to her.


RADAMES

Were you a noblewoman before you were captured?


AIDA

What does it matter? There's nothing noble about me now.


RADAMES

You're wrong. You are noble and courageous. Very few of us dare to speak so

honestly. And considering you're a slave...


AIDA

Yes, we mustn't ever forget that I'm a slave.


RADAMES

I cannot take back the past, Aida. But even if I could... I'm not sure I

want to. Aida, I -


(AMNERIS interrupts him, storming into the room wrapped in a sheet.)


AMNERIS

Radames! You barge into my bedchamber, waging a full-frontal attack, so to

speak... and now you're stalling. Why?


RADAMES

I'm sorry, I didn't realize...


AMNERIS

There's a buck-naked princess lounging in her bed, calling your name. What

exactly didn't you realize? Before our wedding night, pack up some of that

dried monkey meat and have the royal cartographer draw you a map of the

female body, Captain. Maybe then you'll be more inclined to come explore.

(RADAMES looks around and then runs out of the room.)

Was it something I said? When we were children we understood each other so

well. Now he's a mystery to me.


ACT ONE

Scene Eight

THE NUBIAN SLAVE CAMP


As AMNERIS exits offstage, the set changes to the Nubian camp. AIDA stands in

the middle of the stage as MEREB approaches her.


MEREB

Aida, there you are. Will you come with me?


AIDA

Where?


MEREB

The Nubian camp. Look, everybody knows that I'm the one who can get things.

And our people... They've have asked me to bring them... you.


AIDA

Why? So they can see a reckless fool dressed as a servant? No that is what I

am, Mereb. My father told me not to leave the boundaries of our village, but

I could not be so constrained. I took Nehebka and the other women up the

river. I had to see the countryside. And that's where the Egyptians captured

us. I deserve this. And our people deserve a leader who thinks of them. Not

of her own selfish pleasures.


MEREB

Aida, the Nubians want their princess.


10. DANCE OF THE ROBE


AIDA

It's knowing what they want of me that scares me

It's knowing having followed that I must lead

It's knowing that each person there compares me

To those in my past whom I now succeed

But how can whatever I do for them now

Be enough

Be enough


NUBIANS

Aida! Aida!

All we ask of you

Is a lifetime of service, wisdom, courage

To ask more would be selfish

But nothing less will do

Aida! Aida!


NEHEBKA

You robe should be golden, your robe should be perfect

Instead of this ragged concoction of thread

But may you be moved by its desperate beauty

To give us new life for we'd rather be dead

Than live in the squalor and shame of the slave

To the dance!

To the dance!


NUBIANS

Aida! Aida!

All we ask of you


All we ask is a lifetime of

Service, wisdom, courage

To ask more would be selfish

But nothing less will do

Aida! Aida!


NUBIANS

Aida! Aida!

Aida! Aida! Aida!


AIDA

I know expectations are wild and almost

Beyond my fulfillment but they won't hear

A word of a doubt or see signs of weakness

My nigh on impossible duty is clear

If I can rekindle my ancestors' dreams

It's enough

It's enough


AIDA

It's enough

NUBIANS

Aida!


NUBIANS

Aida! Aida!

Aida! Aida! Aida!


AIDA

It's enough

NUBIANS

Ah,ah,ah,ah,ah,ah


(When the song ends, the NUBIAN give AIDA her robe and she places it on her head. She is escorted onto the back of another NUBIAN and is carried around the camp. They exit.)

head. She is escorted onto the back of another NUBIAN and is carried around

the camp. They exit.)


ACT ONE

Scene Nine

THE NILE'S EDGE


The great washing day. Under the music, a parade of WOMEN enters with baskets

of laundry on their heads. A ritualistic rhythm takes hold as the linens are

soaked, wrung and beaten to dry. AIDA enters and joins in the work. RADAMES

enters with a SOLDIER. As they talk, AIDA watches him covertly. RADAMES

dismisses the SOLDIER.


RADAMES

(To AIDA.)

You were watching me again. All week your eyes have been on me.


AIDA

What do you mean?


RADAMES

Do you think you're going to gain your freedom, just because you've gained

my attention? You are beautiful, but I am not so easily led.


AIDA

If I've looked in your direction, it was only to see if your chalice needed

refilling.


RADAMES

I have no chalice now... and yet you're looking.


AIDA

(Getting up from the bank, picking up her basket and linens.)

Excuse me, Captain, but I have linen to wash.


RADAMES

(As AIDA walks away from him, he turns after her.)

I do not excuse you. Stop there.


AIDA

(She turns to look back at him.)

You wanted something from me?


RADAMES

Oh yes. I want to make your life easier, Aida. Tell me how. What can I do for

you?


AIDA

Help my people.


RADAMES

I want to help you.


AIDA

I am my people. And I cannot continue to live in the comfort of the palace

while my countrymen are dying. You want my "affection," captain?


RADAMES

I can have your "affection" right here if I command it. I want to know if

you feel anything for me - aside from contempt.


AIDA

I don't know.


RADAMES

Then let's find out.


(RADAMES kisses AIDA, she drops her basket; they are stopped when MEREB

enters.)


MEREB

(Shocked at the sight of seeing RADAMES and AIDA kissing.)

Aida, I just saw - Aida, Amneris requests your presence. The princess...

(To RADAMES.)

...your betrothed.


(AIDA leaves)

11. NOT ME


RADAMES

I once knew all the answers

I stood on certain ground

A picture of true happiness

Confidence so effortless

No brighter could be found


MEREB

Oh No


RADAMES

I never asked the questions

That trouble me today

I knew all there was to know

Love worn lightly

Put on show


My conquest on display

MEREB

I can't believe He's changing


And who'd have thought that

Oh, no

Confidence could die?

Not me, Not me

Not me, not me

That all I took for granted was a lie


Not me, Not me

And who'd have guessed

I'd throw my world away


To be with someone I'm afraid will say

Not me, not me

This can never

be


(RADAMES exits as the backdrop rises above the stage.)


MEREB

He's in love

But he's not the only one

Who'll be changed


(AMNERIS and AIDA enter. AIDA is carrying a piece of cloth. AMNERIS is carrying an umbrella.)

carrying an umbrella.)


AIDA

(Showing AMNERIS the cloth in her hand.)

This would be lovely on you. I'll say this for you Egyptians; your thread

count is amazing.


AMNERIS

Why hasn't Radames come to see me again? We're to be married in three days

and yet...Aida, I must make things right with him.


AIDA

I shall not envy lovers

But long for what they share


AMNERIS

An empty room is merciless

Don't be surprised if I confess

I need some comfort there


AIDA & AMNERIS

And who'd have thought

That love could be so good?

Not me, not me

And show me things I never understood

Not me, not me


NEHEBKA

(Entering with clothes and other items.)

Aida.


AIDA

Nehebka, where did you get that?


NEHEBKA

The Egyptian Captain! He's giving away everything he owns. And he's giving it

all to us.


ACT ONE

Scene Eleven

RADAMES' TENT


NUBIANS and other Egyptian slaves stand around RADAMES' tent. RADAMES appears

from the tent with a basket of food, and a jug of wine. MEREB appears with

another basket handing out fruit.


AIDA & AMNERIS

Who'd have guessed he'd

Throw his world away

To be with someone til his dying day

Not me, not me


RADAMES, AMNERIS, AIDA

And who'd have thought that love

Could be so good

Not me, not me

My/his secrets &

My/his passions understood

Not me, not me


Who'd have guessed

I'd/ he throw My/his world away

To be with someone til my/his dying day

Not me/not me


MEREB

Not me, not me

Not me, not me

This can never be


AMNERIS

Look, he is preparing to move into the Palace. So, whatever doubts he had the

other night must be gone. But you stay, Aida. Apologize for me.


AIDA

Oh, no! I can't.


AMNERIS

You can. You always say the right thing. I never do.


AIDA

No princess, please don't make me.


AMNERIS

I would never make you. But I am asking you, as my friend.


(AMERNIS exits just as RADAMES spots AIDA.)


AIDA

Thank you.


RADAMES

It was nothing. Actually, it was everything, but it doesn't matter.


AIDA

Captain, I just came to tell you that the princess is sorry for what she said

the other night. And she wants you to know that...


RADAMES

Aida...


(RADAMES tries to take AIDA'S hand but she pulls away.)


AIDA

You are betrothed to my mistress!


RADAMES

It was arranged by my father, and it will be unarranged by me.


AIDA

You could raid another country tomorrow and rebuild your fortune. Radames,

you're an Egyptian! Nothing will ever change that fact. I don't even know

why you bothered to do this.


RADAMES

Don't you?


12. ELABORATE LIVES


We all lead such elaborate lives

wild ambitions in our sights

How an affair of the heart survives

days apart and hurried nights

Seems quite unbelievable to me

I don't want to live like that

seems quite unbelievable to me

I don't want to love like that

I just want our time to be

slower and gentler, wiser, free


We all live in extravagant times

playing games we can't all win

Unintended emotional crimes

Take some out, take others in


I'm so tired of all were going through

I don't want to live like that

I'm so tired of all were going through

I don't want to love like that

I just want to be with you

Now and forever , peaceful, true

This may not be the moment

to tell you face to face

But I could wait forever

for the perfect time and place


AIDA & RADAMES

We all lead such elaborate lives

We don't know whose words are true

Strangers, lovers, husbands, wives

Hard to know who's loving who


AIDA

Too many choices tear us apart

I don't want to live like that


RADAMES

Too many choices tear us apart

I don't want to love like that

I just want to touch your heart

May this confession


RADAMES & AIDA

Be the start


(They kiss. The lights fade out. When the lights come up they are in each other's arms.)

other's arms.)


RADAMES

Are you cold?


AIDA

You could have at least kept a blanket.


RADAMES

No. I could not. Man enters this world naked, without possessions. I want to

be a new man for you, Aida. Cleansed of my past sins.


(Drums sound from offstage.)


AIDA

What is it?


RADAMES

My armies have returned. Pharaoh will expect a victory celebration. Go back

to the palace. You'll be safe there.

(He gets up and puts his shirt back on. He begins to walk away and then turns back.)

turns back.)

Wait, take my amulet. If anyone stops you, show them this and they'll let

you pass.


(He starts to leave again.)


AIDA

I love you.


RADAMES

I heard that. Say it again. I command you. I command...


(SOLDIER enters.)


SOLDIER

Captain!


(AIDA turns her face away from the SOLDIER.)


RADAMES

I heard the drums.


SOLDIER

But we have captured the Nubian King!


RADAMES

The king? You have taken him alive? Find out which men are responsible for

this. I'll see they receive the highest honors. Tell the others I'm on my way.


SOLDIER

Yes, Captain.


RADAMES

(He sees AIDA is upset by the news.)

Aida, our countries are at war. I can't change that.


AIDA

But he's my...He's my king.


(AIDA begins to cry as RADAMES exits.)


ACT ONE

Scene Twelve

THE NUBIAN SLAVE CAMP


She leaves him. RADAMES realizes what he's done - and hates himself for it.

A crowd of Nubians appear and circle AIDA. The light changes and we are at

the Nubian Slave Camp.


NEHEBKA

Princess - say it's not true!


MALE NUBIAN #1

I saw our king dragged through the streets with my own eyes.


FEMALE NUBIAN #1

I heard they've already executed him.


MALE NUBIAN #2

And they are carrying his head through the street on the end of a spike.


AIDA

No, No!


MEREB

Amonasro of Nubia is alive. I saw him taken to the prison.


NEHEBKA

But it's only a matter of time before the Egyptians slaughter him.


MALE NUBIAN #1

I always imagined that your father would march upon Egypt in triumph. But now

we have no hope. When the king dies - so does Nubia.


AIDA

Nubia will never die! Whether we are enslaved or whether we are far from our

native soil, Nubia lives in our hearts. And therefore, it lives.


13. THE GOD'S LOVE NUBIA


Take me in my dreams recurring

Cheerful as a childhood dance

Into one more taste of freedom

One more longing backward glance


In the sway of somber music

I shall never, never understand

Let me slip into the sweeter

Chorus of that other land


The gods love Nubia, the beautiful, the golden

The radiant, the fertile, the gentle and the blessed


The pain of Nubia is only for the moment

the desolate the suffering

the plundered, the oppressed


NEHEBKA

The gods love Nubia, their glorious creation

Its songs roll sweetly across the harvest plain


NEHEBKA & AIDA

The tears of Nubia, a passing aberration

They wash into the river and are never cried again


AIDA, NEHEBKA, MEREB & NUBIAN WOMEN

The gods love Nubia, we have to keep believing

The scattered and divided, we are still it's heart


AIDA

The fall of Nubia, ephemeral and fleeting

The spirit always burning though the flesh is torn apart.


ALL

The fall of Nubia

Ephemeral and fleeting

The spirit always burning

Though the flesh is torn apart


Take me in my dreams recurring

Cheerful as a childhood dance

Into one more taste of freedom

One more longing backward glance

The gods love Nubia, the beautiful, the golden

The radiant, the fertile, the gentle and the blessed

The pain of Nubia is only for the moment

the desolate the suffering

the plundered, the oppressed


The gods love Nubia

we have to keep believing

Though scattered and divided we are still it's heart

The fall of Nubia ephemeral and fleeting the spirit always

Burning though the flesh is torn apart

The spirit always burning though the flesh is torn apart


AIDA

Apart


AIDA & NUBIANS

Take me in my dreams recurring

One more longing backward glance



END OF ACT ONE

(To the ACCUSED MINISTER)

Traitor! He's become a liability.


(The other MINISTERS instantly surround the ACCUSED MINISTER. ASSASSIN MINISTER crosses to MINISTER, pulls out a knife, and kills him. The Dance goes into high gear.)


MINISTERS

Build it, build it

Build it-


(DANCE BREAK)


ZOSER

He must have a vault that's grand by

Any standards, floor to lid

Put five thousand slaves on stand by

Build another pyramid!


ZOSER

(To one MINISTER)

You extracted more arsenic?

(MINISTER hands ZOSER a vile of arsenic)

Who would have thought the copper mines would yield such an abundant supply?

Put some in Pharaoh's wine tonight at the banquet. Again, only a few drops.

We don't want him dying...just yet.



ACT ONE

Scene Four

HALLWAY IN THE PHARAOH'S PALACE


AIDA appears in a uniform of a Palace Slave.


MEREB

Well now you look like a handmaiden. But at least the Captain saw that you are special.


AIDA

What that man sees and understands could be etched on a grain of sand.


MEREB

That may be, but Radames did save you and the other women from the copper mines.


AIDA

That was surprising and decent of him.


MEREB

When I was ten, Radames saved me from being beaten to death by a palace guard. He promised he'd look after me from then on. He has kept his promise.

(AIDA turns away.)

Look, I know what you are thinking...that I've become one of them. But I am still Nubian. I will always be Nubian.


AIDA

Of course


5. HOW I KNOW YOU


MEREB

I grew up in your hometown

At least began to grow

I hadn't got to my first shave

before the body blow

Egyptians in the courtyard


My family in chains

You witnessed our abduction

Which possibly explains

How I know you

How I know you


No! Nothing! She said nothing.


(MEREB exits quickly. And the THREE DANCING GIRLS sweep downstage in an ecstatic display. The music builds. The PHARAOH makes a grand entrance on a special sedan chair, carried on shoulders by Palace Servants. He appears very ill. The stage is set with a long low table filled with delicacies.)

ecstatic display. The music builds. The PHARAOH makes a grand entrance on a

special sedan chair, carried on shoulders by Palace Servants. He appears

very ill. The stage is set with a long low table filled with delicacies.)


RADAMES

(To AMNERIS.)

You look lovely tonight.


AMNERIS

Thank you.


RADAMES

Is this the latest fashion?


AMNERIS

It is now. So your expedition went well?


RADAMES

Oh yes, we got well past Aswan, into territory where no Egyptian has ever

set foot.


AMNERIS

Really? That sounds very... scenic. Maybe next time I'll go with you.


RADAMES

If you like, Princess. We sleep with sand mites; live on dried monkey meat;

and this time the water was so tainted we vomited for days.


AMNERIS

Whew! Then again, I'm pretty busy.


(The dance continues for a bit and dissolves into the scene with the dancing girls showing themselves off to the rich and powerful men of Egypt. AIDA is pouring wine. A NUBIAN SERVANT passes her.)

girls showing themselves off to the rich and powerful men of Egypt. AIDA is

pouring wine. A NUBIAN SERVANT passes her.)


NUBIAN

Princess, the word of your arrival has spread through the Nubian camps.


NUBIAN

(Another NUBIAN slave, dancing with the court dancers, addresses AIDA while

dancing)

Your people cannot wait to see you. Welcome, welcome.


AIDA

(Calling in MEREB'S direction.)

Mereb!


MEREB

Okay, so I told one person. Maybe two. Princess, your people need to know.


PHARAOH

(Holding his chalice up for a toast.)

Captain. To a successful expedition. Thanks to the routes you have

discovered, our troops will now be able to attack Nubia with overwhelming

force. The Gods willing, this long war shall soon end, with Egypt's complete

and final victory.

(The court drinks to the toast.)

Amneris, shall I continue?


AMNERIS

What ever you think is best, father.


PHARAOH

Radames. You came to me this morning with a request to set out on another

journey. But I have a more important mission for you. Although it means you

can never leave Egyptian soil again, I believe this will be a joyous

assignment. One I would only trust to a man I have long regarded as a member



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