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Antony & Cleopatra


Act 1 Scene 1
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by
Gene Tyburn


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Antony & Cleopatra
As the opera opens, Antony and Cleopatra enter with their entourage who applaud their overt amorous behavior. He kissing her fingers, then the hem of her garment, Enobarbus, Antony's advisor, is disgusted by this love-sick clowning and confides his thoughts to the audience.

Enobarbus

Look you at the doting of our General
See how it overflows the measure
His goodly eyes that once commanded legions
Now used to leer at an aging trollops pleasure
His captains heart which in scuffles of great fights
Had burst the buckles of his plated breast
Now becomes the bellows and the fan
To coo and cool this lusty gypsies hand
Note, you will see in him
The triple pillar of the world
Transformed into a strumpet's fool
No longer fit to command
No longer fit to rule

 

 

 

Antony and Cleopatra now express their love for each other. Then a messenger from Rome enters. Cleopatra chides Antony that he is still under the thumb of young Caesar. Antony deny's this and declares his love for her is more important than his allegiance to Rome. Then with pomp and flourish the entourage exits for a night of revelry.

 

Cleopatra

If you say you love me, then say to me how much

Antony

There's beggary in the love that can be measured

Cleopatra

I'll set a mark that no one else can touch
Antony

Antony
Needs find new heavens, new earth to act upon our pleasure


Messenger approaches antony, kneels to deliver a scroll

Messenger

News my lord, from Rome

Antony

Not now, AWAY!

Cleopatra

Hear him Antony, perhaps young Caesar has sent new mandates to you
Do this or that, enfranchise all kingdoms that you see
Then hurry back to Rome and do it on your knees

Antony

How now my love? You're losing faith in me

Cleopatra

Hear the messenger, my Lord, my Antony

Antony

Not so my love.
Let Rome in tiber melt and the wide range of the arched empire fall
Octavus may beckon, but none here will heed the call
The nobleness of life is to do thus

as they kiss passionately

When such a twin shall do it
On pain of death the world to weep
We stand up peerless.. Avant my sweet

They exit to drums and pomp. The Messenger follows after

End of Act-1 Scene-2

 

 

 

Act-1 Scene-3

Iris and Charmein demand their fortunes be read, but pay little attention to the dire warning.

Charmein

Tell us our fortune or get thee gone for a charlatan we paid thee well, now say

Iris

Mine first, here's my hand, read it without delay

SoothSayer

Silence all. This work demands I summon up the spirits
Bring me drink to clear the channels filled by daily use
This hand foretells no better fortune, no beter fortune
then your mistress dinner goose

Enobarbus

What have we here, fortunes or feasting?
Talk straight away dissembling words like worms, leads only to decay

Iris

Now remember profit, I love long life better than gold
So read me well and leave me old

Ominous music to indicate serious problems

SoothSayer

I make not the future, but tell what I see
You and your mistress, shall die exquisitely
But this line here doth a sudden curve
You shall both out-live the lady you serve

Iris & Charmein

Fie Fie, you blind old fool
No more riddles, break the rule
How many children must I bear,
to satisfy all who find me fair?

SoothSayer

If your every wish a womb, and fertile every wish
a million or more brats both of your should dish

All Laugh

Enobarbus

Away Away... comes Mark Antony in a military mood

All exit quickly

End of Act-1 Scene-3

 

 

 

Act-1 Scene-4


Antony

Griefs left unsettled now in Rome will only stew and rot
My present needs to face our Caesar and re-divide the world

Enobarbus

Cleopatra getting wind of this will die a thousand deaths
I've seen her rent her hair when small things go amiss
Leaving now will cause a row that I would rather miss

Antony & Enobarbus

Her sighs and tears are greater than any tempest known
She's cunning past mans thoughts that ever are renowned
The pipes not played or drum been made
where she cannot change the sound
I must break my going forth
and get her leave to part
You to our captains straight away
and make the army start
I would there were another way
I'll need a lions heart today


Curtain

End of Act-1 Scene-4

 

 

 

Act-1 Scene-5

You are now in Cleopatra's bed-chambers, She's very upset. She's pacing up and down plotting with Iris and Charmein how to stop Antony from returning to his wife in Rome. Even when Cleopatra is informed that Antony's wife is dead, She cannot stop trying to control his life until he promises to return to her waiting arms

Cleopatra

Where is he Charmein?
Seek him out
If you find him sad, say I am laughing
If you find him merry, say I'm sick
Opposites attract they say, you know this little trick
I see him. I'm faint Charmein, help me away
But hold, I know by that wrinkled brow
this is not my lucky day

Enter Antony

What says the married man?
Would that had never come to visit Egyptland
You're free to go! You're free to go!
I never had power to hold you so
Never was a queen so mightily betrayed
I'll have this writ in marble
I'll have it carved today
How could I believe
you could be anything but false
after being false to Fulvia
could I expect better
though tutored well I was
I should have known better

Antony

Most sweet queen know the purpose that I bear
two things that I will tell you
that will finally clear the air

Cleopatra

O bid farewell and go!
Once there was a time for words.
Eternity was in our lips and eyes
but now, the greatest soldier of the world
now tells the greatest lies.

Antony

Hear me, queen.Strong necessity of service
commands my going hence
civil war threatens Rome
and young Caesar, now blames me.
To ignore this strife
would put the lie to my life
and could endanger thee.
The other news is less then dread
and should vouchsafe your curse
that Fulvia my headstrong wife
no longer walks the earth.

Cleopatra

Fulvia dead? Can Fulvia die?

Antony

She's dead, my queen, the impediment is done
stands not a breath of air
twix us and the blazing sun.

Cleopatra

She acts the betrayed woman

Most false love!
Note world, how he takes the passing of Fulvia
now I know how my death shall received be
not a tear to wet his cheeks
as he bids adieu to me.
I prithee sir, turn aside and weep for her
and say the tears belong to me.

Antony

Enough wrangling queen.

Antony starts out. She realizes that she has lost control and she stops him with...

Cleopatra

Sir! You and I must part but that's not it.
Sir, you and I have loved.... But that's not it.
That you know well. But yet....I sense
your royal honor calls you hence.
May smooth success lay flowers before your feet
and I all alone,
must wander through the streets.

Mark Antony tries to comfort her with...

Antony

My going forth persages quick return
Come my love
Come my sweet
One last night of love er we part
Must keep us both,
must keep us both in each others heart
Caesars army nor distance far
Shall slow my return
Shall slow my return to your waiting heart

Cleopatra

Come my love
Come my sweet
One last night of love er we part
Must keep us both,
must keep us both in each others heart
Caesars army nor distance far
Shall slow my return
Shall slow my return to your waiting heart

Both (Duet)

Come my love
Come my sweet
One last night of love er we part
Must keep us both,
must keep us both in each others heart
Caesars army nor distance far
Shall slow my return
Shall slow my return to your waiting heart

Now joined by Iris and Charmein

(Quartet)

Come my love
Come my sweet
One last night of love er we part
Must keep us both,
must keep us both in each others heart
Caesars army nor distance far
Shall slow my return
Shall slow my return to your waiting heart

As the quartest ends, Antony picks Cleopatra up in his arms, they kiss passionately. He turns up stage as the girls pull back the curtains surrounding the bed as the music crescendos.

End of Act-1

 

 

 

 

A ROYAL PALACE IN ROME


Antony has returned to Rome to make a political deal with Caesar, but is forced to marry Caesar's sister to seal the contract. As the scene opens, Enobarbus, Antony's friend and advisor, is having a drink with his old army comrades. They're dyeing to know all about the gossip regarding Antony and Cleopatra's relationship. Enobarbus then regales them with a detailed story of how Antony and Cleopatra first meet, and why the power of her personality will draw Antony back to her again. As the scene ends, Antony and his new wife enter to the cheers of the crowd.

HAIL TO THE HAPPY MARRIED COUPLE!


Mycena

Welcome Sir, from Egypt, back to civilization.


Enobarbus

Well met we are in peace not war
I've seen you oft in battle score
I've admired your skill and praised you high
'Tis better to drink than fight and die.


Chorus

'Tis better to drink than fight and die.

Enobarbus

Pledge me now, if we ever meet
To turn your back and call retreat
To kill a drinking friend would be
An affront to the gods, and sad for me.

They toast to this pledge


Mycena

How goes your time in Egypt?
'Tis oft reported that come from there
She's a wondrous lady if the word is square.


Enobarbus

Aye, sir. We did sleep day out of night
And drink the equal of the flowing Nile
So little is left for the crocodile.
As for Cleopatra, volumes I could write
When she first our Antony
T'was a historiographical sight.

Chorus

Tell us, tell us, tell us, tell us, tell us, tell us.


Enobarbus

I will tell you
The barge she came in
Was a wonder to behold
It sat in green water
And the deck was beaten gold
Purple the sails and so perfumed
The winds were love sick that afternoon.
To the tune of flutes the rowers kept beat
The winds moved the perfume along the shore
And each stroke was made with a silver oar.
For her own person she was statue still
Her gown was silk of an azure blue
Diaphanous curtains obscured the view
But her eyes were dark and pierced right through.

Chorus

Oh, rare for Antony. Oh, rare for Antony.
We know about those conjuring eyes.
We know about those conjuring eyes.


Enobarbus

On each side of her stood pretty little boys
Like smiling cupids with ostrich fans
Which did cool the cheeks of the royal dam


Chorus

Others have tried Cleopatra to tame
Then return to Rome in abject shame


Enobarbus

Her gentlewomen were as mermaids dressed
Tended her needs and stood bare breast.
The city learning her approach was near
Abandon our Antony in the city square
And spilled they out on the landing pier
And left him to whistle to the empty air.

Chorus

Abandon, Abandon
Abandon our general
Abandon our general in the empty square
Egypt must bend to the empty state
Anything less we wont tolerate


Enobarbus

Upon her landing she invites him to dine
Being hungry and barbered ten time o're
He goes to the feats and pays much more
For the loss of his heart, to this paramour.


Chorus

He's broken the chains of her magic spell
He's back in Rome and all is well
Royal wench , royal viper
Now he has left her forever more.


Enobarbus

That our Antony will never do
Their fates are one, I fear its true.
Age cannot wither her, time passes her by
Other women cloy the appetite they feed
She makes hungry, where most she satisfies.


Chorus

The wanton Queen goes too far
Act we must to re-dominate
he's returned to us
It's not too late

Enobarbus

Child like things become themselves in her.
I saw her once hop forty paces
Through the public street
Lost her breath and made light to all
Hop forty more, when she did sprawl
Breathless and laughing she enchanted all

Chorus

Oh rare woman, oh rare witch.
She needs no army nor a drum
All Roman warriors
All Roman warriors
All Roman warriors
to her succumb.


Enobarbus

Antony married but his occasion here
Caesar's sister cannot hold him long
The east will call and he'll be gone.
The hoops that bind their friendship
Will end with a sudden snap,
For Marcus Antonius, and I know him well
Longs for his mistress' royal lap

Fanfare for entrance of Caesar and Antony with Antony's new wife Actavia on his arm.

Chorus

Hail Caesar, hail Antony, hail to the happy couple.
Hail, Oh hail, Oh hail to the happy couple,
Oh hail, Oh hail, Oh hail, Oh hail to the newly married couple.
Oh hail, Oh hail, hail, hail

All raise their cups to the happy couple. Enobarbus laughs, Antony gives him a look to silence him. Enobarbus understands that he must go along with the farce.


Curtain

End of Act-1

 

 


Egypt

In this scene Cleopatra is throwing a pleasure party, awaiting news from Rome that Antony will soon return. But she has just been informed by her spys that he is going to marry Caesars sister. Naturally she is very upset, and starts plotting to win him back.

Cleopatra

Married you say? Married you say!
How could the Gods treat me this way?
In praising Antony far too much
I dis-praised Caesar did I not?

Iris

O you did Madam


Cleopatra

Now I am paid, I'm paid, I am paid a terrible lot
Return to Rome honest fellow and report on all you see
Her years, her bearing, her hair, and bring it back to me
I'm sick Charmein, though he painted like a gorgon
He's still Mars to me
Bring me word of her disposition
Then I shall see what I shall be

She puts out her arms for support, they run to her side

Iris, bring me hot water. I would steep me in it deep
I'll wash out this temporal pain and let the waters creep
into the muddy Nile, thence to open sea
Up the Tiber's mouth
into Italy
Into Italy
into Italy
Then when my Antony but wash his curled beard
He will be kissing me
Her will be drinking me
Bring me hot water, water, torrents of it
Cloud bursts, floods!, floods!, bring us floods

Cleopatra is lifted up on the shoulders of the whole chorus and carried about the stage as the chorus continues to sing "Bring on floods"

Curtain

End of Act-2 Scene-1


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