Excerpts from Amazed
ARLECCHINO: Does anybody here have a peanut butter sandwich? I’m hungry. I’m also Arlecchino, but that’s the same thing.
This is the same old story starting all over. Hunger. Hunger in all its many forms: The command form. The infinitive. The first person . . . imperfect.
See, Flori hungers for Ricardo. No wonder: they haven’t seen each other since they were five years old. See, they were kids together, then years later she wrote him a letter and they fell in love. Isn’t that crazy? You’re not going to like this if you’re intelligent.
Ah! But the Professor, her father, disapproves. He hungers for All He’s Missed, so he’s on sabbatical. With his friend the Captain, who hungers for Success, while the Captain’s wife, Ellinda, goes nuts.
So Flori persuaded me to bring her here to meet Ricardo. Understand, I’m not a person, I’m a character, she read me in a book. I have been in many plays better than this one. Call me a guy who knows the ropes.
So what about that sandwich? I can’t start without it. That’s why my accent’s garbled, I salivate in ten languages.
Hunger: you think I run it into the ground, just watch it sprout back up. There’s going to be love and laughter all over the place, and I’ll be straining to fill my gut. It’s not fair, it’s unjust, it’s—
FLORI: It’s so exciting! It was just like Ricardo to pick this island—
ARLECCHINO: “Ricardo”?
FLORI: Well, Richard. But Richard sounds like Ricardo.
ARLECCHINO: His name is Roger.
FLORI: I know, but I call him Richard, because Richard sounds like Ricardo. Here, he’s Ricardo.
It’s like I dreamed it would be. It’s a dream come true.
ARLECCHINO: No more dreams! Flori, we stand in the midst of Life, and that’s no place for a young girl—
RICARDO: This is the most exciting thing I’ve ever done.
Oh. Yes. I’m wearing a dress.
See, I think this is the best disguise, because women don’t have so many problems, people wanta help them and nobody picks a fight. So if I meet anyone, I’ll pretend I’m a local farmer’s daughter or a happy nymph living in harmony with nature.
My legs are drafty. That must be how Flori feels. Fantastic! I’ll see this island through your eyes, Flori, and then I’ll understand you.
A flower! It’s . . . wow! No, Flori would never pick it. She’d say it’s there to be beautiful.
But beauty exists to bring pleasure. The flower asks us to pick it. But if I pick it, it won’t be there for Flori to see. Wait, I’m Flori now. It won’t be there for Ricardo to see. But I’ll give it to him, then he’ll be sure to see it. But then it will die. Die in his hands. How like life!
But we can learn from suffering. But what can the death of this flower teach Ricardo? He has suffered enough. This is very heavy.
Somebody’s coming! I’ll die if they see me like this! This is a terrible disguise! I better do something nobody’s ever thought of before.
I’ll pretend I’m a tree. A mighty oak!
PROFESSOR: Captain, we’ve arrived. How does it feel to have arrived?
CAPTAIN: My dear Professor, beyond words.
PROFESSOR: We tread where few men have trod. How does it feel?
PROFESSOR: It won’t be long. Consult the notebook. Let me see. . .
Theory of Relativity, Principia Mathematica, Origin of Species, Works of Rudyard Kipling, National Geographic—
CAPTAIN: Wide range of taste.
PROFESSOR: My dear Captain, this isn’t a matter of taste. I have read all the books there are—
PROFESSOR: All. This journal cradles the kernel of every one. It struck me one day that if you took all the books, digest’em, see where they lead—
PROFESSOR: Well, they lead here! To this island. Who would have thought?
ELLINDA: What happened? Did I do it? What time is it?
ELLINDA: Who are you?
ENCHANTRESS: I can’t quite remember. It seems to change. Call me anything. I’m just an old lady. They call old ladies anything.
ELLINDA: Where am I?
ENCHANTRESS: What a question. You’re here.
He shoves Professor.
PROFESSOR: Treason! You’ll regret it! I’m not the defenseless old fart you think! You want to kill me and have all the treasure yourself, but— Wait, I’ve gotta find the right page—
You’re the one that’s defenseless against these magic spells! I got Power, and you’re going to see what Power can do!
As the Professor pronounces his spell, he himself transforms, by degrees, into a duck.
Captain watches, dumfounded.
Ex bestia homus, ad bestium hominum. Man born of beast, beast born of man.
Tempus arandi et omnes bella animus contra stimulum. Et non putat Minerva et fortunis omnibus decernit ex rege dominus et spiritus sancti non postulo et alvus wraack. . .
Ut, quo sensum omnem wraaack wraackk. . .
Humanitatis ex animus revocare proto wraack. . .
Spell degenerates.
Infernaack infaack infeaaaack waaack waaack waack. . .
Janitor appears, picks up his necktie as a leash to lead him off. Stops, checks Professor’s notebook, removes centerfold, tosses rest away.
ELLINDA: I followed you.
CAPTAIN: I’m amazed.
ENCHANTRESS: Ah well, let’s have some truth.
She picks up page of the book.
ELLINDA: Why did you go without telling me?
CAPTAIN: I didn’t want you to worry. You know how you worry, and this was just business, I don’t want you to be anxious because—
Enchantress rips the page. His manner changes:
—when you worry you simper on in this sniveling little whine—
Solicitous again.
You understand, don’t you?
ELLINDA: Yes. What kind of business?
CAPTAIN: Just a great chance to make a lot of money so we’ll be very well fixed financially and never have to worry and—
Enchantress rips page. Change:
—so I can afford to divorce this bitch and marry some woman I respect!
Solicitous again:
You know what I mean?
ELLINDA: Yes. I feel you don’t love me. Do you love me still?
CAPTAIN: How can you ask? You’ve asked that a thousand times, I’ve said yes a thousand times and—
Enchantress rips page. Change:
—it’s a lie for the last five years because maybe I loved you once but it’s years and I can’t feel a thing!
Solicitous again:
You believe that?
ELLINDA: I have to believe it. I feel like I want to die.
CAPTAIN: That’s a terrible thing to say. If I ever lost you—
Enchantress rips page. Change:
—I’d be so happy, I’d be the happiest man alive, if you’d only die and I could marry someone who helps me advance instead of clutching on like a crab and dragging me back!
Oh how I wish to God you’d die!
Solicitous, drained:
If I could express what I feel!
ELLINDA: You didn’t have to express it. I knew it from your eyes, the way you looked down at your plate. The way you said “Good morning” or “God I’m tired” or “Good thing we don’t have kids.” I knew it all those times.
But I wasn’t supposed to know it. So I was ashamed to know it. So I kept it tucked down in the bottom drawer, and at night I’d take it out and keep it wedged in my mind so we couldn’t breed. And then mornings I’d put it back.
But now you’ve found it. And we both see it. And we don’t know what to call it.
PROFESSOR: I’ll just die and be done.
Lies down, sits up again.
This is no joke, I am really going to die.
Lies down, sits up again.
How? I’ve never died before. I could hang myself. (checking shoelaces) No. Poison? Tastes icky. Blow out my brains? That’s dangerous.
Wait. I’ll stop up my nose and mouth so no air can escape, and then I’ll die.
Tries it. Farts.
The air comes out below.
Listen, if one of you people would please die first, just to show me how?
Ah, you spend your whole life looking in the rear-view mirror to see if death’s after you for speeding, and then when you need him, where the hell is he?
Wait! The formula. I’ll think myself to death.
CAPTAIN: This can’t happen to me.
FLORI: I only want to be happy.
COREEN: Spent my whole life on my back.
PROFESSOR: Blind all my life.
CHARLIE: I’m too nice a guy.
RICARDO: I don’t know who I am.
ARLECCHINO: There is no free lunch.