Libretto list

The Medium Libretto

ACT I


(The action takes places in Madame Flora's parlor in              
our time. A squalid room in a flat on the outskirts of
a great city. A narrow descending stairwell, stage left
(leading down to the street). Stage right at the rear,
a tall primitive puppet theatre, with a white curtain to
hide the standing puppeteer. Next to it a small trunk.
On the back wall a large astrological chart which
will become transparent when light is placed behind
it. Downstage right, a door. Upstage left, above the
stairwell, a curtained doorway. Downstage left, near
the center, and old-fashioned three-legged table.
Suspended above it a circular lamp of the Victorian
period, which is lighted by means of a string. In a
corner a tiny statue of the Virgin, with a rosary
hanging from it, and a small votive candle in front of
it burning in a red glass jar. Four chairs and a couch.
On the wall, near the top of the stairwell, a small
buzzer which unlocks the door downstairs. The doorbell
which announces the visitors below must be very loud
and strident, so as to be clearly heard above the
orchestra. No windows. The time of the day will
be ambiguous throughout the play.

(A s the curtain rises, Toby is seen kneeling near the
open trunk from which he draws out brightly colored
pieces of silk and bead necklaces, bangles, etc. With
some of these he improvises for himself a fantastic
costume. Monica stands near the couch, which is
covered by a long white dress and a white veil. She
holds a mirror in one hand, combing her loosened
hair with the other)

MONICA
"Where, oh, where
Is my new golden spindle and thread?
If I don't bring them home
The King will strike me dead!"
Thus spoke the weeping queen to the gnome.
"Where, oh, where is my spindle and thread?"

(She suddenly sees Toby in her lifted mirror
and turns around)

Oh! Toby, you foolish boy'
Baba will soon be home and nothing, nothing is ready!
Besides, you know she'll beat you
If you touch her things.

(She continues combing her hair)

"Queen, fair queen,
If you give me the crown on your head,
I'll tell you where I have seen
Your golden spindle and thread."
Thus spoke the wicked gnome.

(suddenly struck by Toby's fantastic attire)

Oh! Toby, how handsome you are!

(playfully)

Behold the King of Babylon
On his purple throne!
I shall be your servant,
I shall be your princess,
I shall be your foreign bride
Come from distant northern seas.

(bowing to each other)

How d'you do, my master,
How d'you do, my King,
How d'you do, my love?

(putting her arms around him; with great feeling)

Ah! Toby, if you only could speak'

(A door slams below)

Be careful, Baba's coming!

(Frightened, Toby helped by Monica, tries
unsuccessfully to free himself from the tangled
silks and necklaces, but as soon as Baba appears
they both stand frozen. Baba, who has been mounting
the steps slowly, on seeing Toby, stops suddenly before
reaching the stage level, so that only the upper part
of her body will be seen at first)

BABA
(after a very long silence, freely, very quietly,
with sinister calm)
How many times I've told you not to touch my things!

(scornfully after another long silence)

Look at you!
Dressed with silk and bangles like a woman!
Fancying yourself a King or something?

(with sudden anger)

Stop dreaming, you feeble-minded gypsy!
I told you not to touch my things'

(She mounts another step; quietly again)

Is anything ready? Of course not'
And the people will be here at any minute.

(She mounts another step)

If anything goes wrong tonight I'll make you pay for it!

(She reaches the stage level, with mounting anger)

What do you think I'm feeding you for?
You good-far-nothing, you dirty bastard!

MONICA
(restraining her)
No! Baba, don't'

(Baba takes off her coat and hat)

Where have you been all night?

BABA
Where have I been?

(throwing a roll of bills on the table)

Ah! ah! money, my dear, money.
Look, don't worry, my sweet,
you have a very clever mother'

MONICA
Where did you get it?

BABA
Where?
I sat on Mrs. Campi's steps all night;
She got so scared of seeing me there she paid
Ev'ry cent she still owed me.

(She breaks into raucous laugher)

MONICA
You shouldn't have done it.

BABA
Why?

MONICA
Mrs. Campi's so poor.

BABA
Pf! She owed me the money, didn't she?
Get ready' Hurry!

(Baba helps Monica into the white dress, and then
covers her head with the white veil. In the meantime,
Toby, after manipulating the lamp and the table runs to
the puppet theatre, opens the curtain, revealing various
levers and cables hidden behind it. He tests some of
them, one of which levitates the table, another of which
lowers the lamp. The doorbell rings. At a signal from
Baba, Monica runs out from stage right. Toby hides in
the puppet theatre, drawing the white curtain in front of
himself Baba presses the buzzer which opens the latch-
door downstairs, then gets a pack of cards and sits in
front of the table, pretending to be absorbed in a game
of solitaire Mr. and Mrs. Gobineau, followed by Mrs.
Nolan, enter from the stairwell)

MRS. GOBINEAU
Good evening, Madame Flora.

MR. GOBINEAU
Good evening.

BABA
(hardly looking up from her game)
Come in, come in.

(Mr. and Mrs. Gobineau come into the room After
a brief pause, Mrs. Nolan appears at the top of the
stairwell. She hesitates there, looking timidly about
the room)

MRS. NOLAN
(timidly)
Good evening.

BABA
(with more interest, but without getting up)
Good evening. Are you Mrs. Nolan?

MRS. NOLAN
Yes.

(Baba motions her into the room)

BABA
This is Mister and Mrs. Gobineau.

MR. AND MRS. GOBINEAU
How d'you do?

MRS. NOLAN
How d'you do?

BABA
Let us wait a few minutes for late comers.
Sit down.

(Mrs Nolan and Mrs Gobineau sit down Baba goes on
with the game. Mr. Gobineau hangs up his coat and
hat, then sits near his wife)

MRS. GOBINEAU
(to Mrs. Nolan, after a long pause)
Is this the first time that you come to Madame Flora?

MRS. NOLAN
Yes.

MR. GOBINEAU
You'll see she's quite wonderful'

MRS. GOBINEAU
(after a pause)
Is there some dear departed you want to speak to?

MRS. NOLAN
Yes, my daughter Doodly.

MRS. GOBINEAU
Oh, when did she die?

MRS. NOLAN
Last year, she was only sixteen.

(with sudden excitement)

Do you really think I shall hear her voice?

MRS. GOBINEAU
Oh, yes, you may even see her.

MRS. NOLAN
Oh, I couldn't bear that!

MR. GOBINEAU
Don't be so nervous. It is all very simple.

(A long pause, during which Baba gets up abruptly
and exits. When Mrs. Nolan is quite sure that Baba
has closed the door behind her she leans confidentially
toward Mr. Gobineau)

MRS. NOLAN
Have you known her a long time?

MR. GOBINEAU
Oh, yes' We have been coming here
Ev'ry week for almost two years.

MRS. GOBINEAU
We come to communicate with our little son.

MRS. NOLAN
(frightened)
And does he speak to you?

MRS. GOBINEAU
(smiling)
Oh, no, he couldn't speak!
He was only a baby when he died.

MR. GOBINEAU
But we hear him laugh. He sounds so happy.

MRS. NOLAN
When did he die?

MRS. GOBINEAU
(with simplicity)
It happened long ago.
We were still young, very young.
We had a house in France.
With a garden full of lilacs and mimosa.
The garden had a fountain,
A silly little fountain,
No more deep than that.

(sorrowfully)

It was just his birthday two years old.
We had given him a little boat,
a lovely little sailboat.
I still don't know how it happened.
He was playing by the fountain.
I was not far away, cutting some lilacs for the house.
I never heard a sound

(fighting against tears)

And when I looked.
And when I looked.
And when 1 looked.

(Her voice breaks; she is convulsed in silent
sobbing. Mr. Gobineau comforts her)

MR. GOBINEAU
There, there, don't cry.
You know that he is happier now than if he had lived.

(Baba reappears from the left, wearing a bright
colored shawl)

BABA
It's time to begin. Close the door.

(Mrs. Nolan, almost hysterical, springs up from her
chair, dropping her pocketbook Mrs Gobineau picks it
up for her, then helps her to take off her coat and leads
her to the table. Meanwhile, Mr. Gobineau locks all the
doors and helps Baba to place the chairs around the
table. They all sit down, Baba facing the audience.
Mrs. Gobineau shows Mrs. Nolan how to join hands
around the table. With a last look about her to see that
everything is In order, Baba slowly and deliberately
pulls the chain of the overhead lamp. The lights go out
except the little candle in front of the Madonna. There
is a long pause. Noticing Mrs Nolan's nervousness, Mr.
Gobineau leans towards her and speaks sotto voce)

MR. GOBINEAU
(freely)
You must be very silent. The hands must touch.

(After a very long silence Baba moans louder
and louder, then suddenly breaks into a long,
anguished scream. Behind the chart hanging
on the wall, Monica slowly appears in a faint
blue light. As Monica's voice is heard, Baba's
moan dies away)

MONICA
Mother, mother, are you there?
Mother, mother. are you there?

MR. GOBINEAU
(excitedly)
Mrs. Nolan, it must be your daughter.

MRS. NOLAN
Oh! Oh!

MR. GOBINEAU
Speak to her! Speak to her'
Can't you see' She's looking for you'
Don't be afraid, don't be afraid!

MRS. NOLAN
(sobbing)
I... I can't!

MRS. GOBINEAU
(kindly)
Come, come! You must not behave like that.

MR. GOBINEAU
Ask her something.

MRS. NOLAN
(timidly)
Doodly ... is it you?

MONICA
(after a pause)
Yes.

MR. GOBINEAU
Goon!

MRS. NOLAN
Doodly, is it evil what I'm doing?

MONICA
(after a pause)
No.

MR. GOBINEAU
You must not be so afraid! Ask her something else.

MRS. NOLAN
(lovingly)
Doodly, Doodly, are you happy?

MONICA
Yes, mother, I am happy.

MRS. NOLAN
Doodly, Doodly, are you near your father?

MONICA
Yes, mother, I can see him.

MRS. NOLAN
(desperately)
Doodly, Doodly, why did you leave me?

MONICA
Mother! Mother! Are you so unhappy?

MRS. NOLAN
(with shaking voice)
I ... I'm very much alone.

(She bursts into tears)

MONICA
(with great tenderness)
Mummy, Mummy dear, you must not cry for me.
I'm still with you.
What is death but a sweeter change,
There's no parting, there's no end.
Mummy, Mummy dear,
Your sorrow's like a wound that keeps me awake.
The earth is light, the roots are sweet;
But the tears of those we love are heavy and bitter rain.
Mummy, my darling, when you go home,
Go to my room and bum my old gloves.
Bum all my schoolbooks,
Give away my dresses,
Give away my necklace.
Bum, bum, give away, give away,
And promise me never to cry again.
Mummy, Mummy dear, oh, let me sleep in peace,
My night is long.
Forget, forget my grave,
Let the silent grass clothe my bones.
Bum all my shoes,
Give away my bracelets.
Burn, bum, give away, give away.
Keep for yourself only the little gold locket.

MRS. NOLAN
(bewildered)
The gold locket? Which locket?
I have no locket.

MONICA
(begins to disappear little by little)
Mother, mother, are you there?
Mother, mother, are you there?

(dying away)

MRS. NOLAN
I don't understand.
Doodly, Doodly, don't go away.
Oh, please stop her!

(almost screaming)

Doodly' Doodly!

(Monica completely disappears. Mrs. Nolan rushes
toward the vanishing figure, but Mrs. Gobineau
restrains her and leads her back to her chair)

MRS. GOBINEAU
(spoken)
No! No! You mustn't... Sit down!

MR. GOBINEAU
(spoken)
Silence, please!

MRS. GOBINEAU
Yes, dear, yes.
I know, I know.
But you must keep calm.
Come, come, sit down. there'

MRS. NOLAN
But I must speak to her...
I must ask her to explain. Please let me...

MR. GOBINEAU
Silence!
You will wake her. Hold on to yourself, Mrs. Nolan.
Silence, silence, please!
Will you please be silent!

(Mrs. Nolan continues sobbing for a little while.
Baba sighs deeply, making a little moan)

MR. GOBINEAU
(very simply, almost mechanically)
Send my son to me.
Please send my son to me.

(Monica is heard simulating a peal of childish laughter.
Their faces suddenly animated with joyful anticipation,
the Gobineaus look about them, as if trying to discover
the direction of the laughter Mrs. Nolan seems startled
and frightened by the sound)

MR. GOBINEAU
(spoken)
Is that you, Mickey? Hello, Mickey'

MRS. GOBINEAU
(after a long pause, spoken)
Hello, darling! My darling!
You sound so near to-night!

MR. GOBINEAU
Yes, so near.

MRS. GOBINEAU
I can almost feel him.

MR. GOBINEAU
Oh, he is going away now.

(The laughter dies away little by little)

MRS. GOBINEAU
Good by, my sweet, kiss me.

(Smiling, her eyes closed, Mrs. Gobineau lifts her face
as if to receive the kisses of her ghostly child)


MR. GOBINEAU
We'll be back soon.

(Complete silence. There is a long pause. Suddenly,
with a loud gasp, Baba clutches at her throat with
both hands)

BABA
What is it? Who is it?
Who is there?

(Baba gets up suddenly, throwing her chair back and
turns on the light. She looks terror- stricken at her
clients, then runs wildly to the top of the stairwell
and looks down, then runs back. The clients look at
each other in great amazement and whisper among
themselves)

BABA
(terror-stricken)
Who touched me?

MR. GOBINEAU
(bewildered)
What do you mean?

BABA
I said, who touched me?

THE CLIENTS
I don't know,
But why be afraid?
There is nothing strange about that.
It often happened before.

MRS. NOLAN
I just don't see what's strange about that!

BABA
(trembling with fear)
No, no, you don't understand.
A hand touched me in the dark.

MR. GOBINEAU
Oh, yes, that has often happened to me.

MRS. GOBINEAU
(tenderly)
Me too,
I always feel Mickey's hand on my hair.

BABA
It couldn't be. I can't understand.

MR. GOBINEAU
You're not afraid, are you?

BABA
Go home, leave me alone.
Can't you see? I'm not feeling well.
Go home, leave me alone.

(stamping on the floor with sudden fury)

Get out!
Get out!

(Mr. and Mrs. Gobineau and Mrs. Nolan get their
coats hurriedly and then begin slowly to file out)

THE CLIENTS
But why be afraid, afraid of our dead?

(They all disappear down the stairwell. At the
slamming of the door downstairs, Monica runs
out from stage right, still wrapped in veils)

MONICA
Baba, what has happened?

BABA
(whispered)
Give me something to drink.

(Monica goes to the cupboard and pours out a
drink. Baba is shaking all over)


Monica.

MONICA
Yes...

BABA
We must never do this again.

(Baba drinks)

MONICA
But what has happened?

BABA
Monica.

MONICA
Yes.

BABA
We must give them their money back.

MONICA
(surprised)
But why?

BABA
Why? Didn't you see?
While I was still pretending to be in a trance,
All of a sudden in the dark
I felt on my throat a hand
A cold, cold hand.
It wasn't the hand of a man.
Monica, I'm afraid!

MONICA
Baba, Baba, you're imagining things'
You've been drinking again.
What else could it be?

BABA
No, no... no, it was there.
I felt on my skin... ev'ry finger... see. like this!
Monica, Monica, I'm afraid!
Yes, I'm afraid!
Where is Toby?

(She draws the curtains of the puppet theatre,
revealing Toby, motionless, as If in a trance)


He! He's the one!

(Toby starts)

I know now'
He did it!
Yes, yes... he did it!

MONICA
Ah, Baba, Baba, leave him alone!
You’re drunk again!

BABA
I can read it in his eyes.
Look at him!
The way he grins at me. He knows, he knows.

(Baba drags him out of the puppet theatre)

He did it to frighten me.

(to Toby)

Isn't it true?

MONICA
Nonsense'

(She tries to tear Baba away from Toby, who
is crouched on the floor trembling with fear)


BABA
It was you who touched me'

MONICA
Oh!

BABA
It was you' It was you!
He knows... he knows...
Ah! A helpless thing!

MONICA
O, Baba, stop tormenting him!
You know he is such a helpless thing.

BABA
Just because he cannot speak
We take him for a half-wit,
But he knows a great deal.
He knows much more than we think.
There is something uncanny about him.
He sees things we don't see.
Get up' Get up!

MONICA
Come, Baba'
Come, Baba!

BABA
I tell you, don't trust him!
I warn you - keep away from him'
Beware of him! Beware'

(Monica draws her away from Toby. She sits down,
and Baba lies at her feet, her head on Monica's lap)


MONICA
Come, Baba. Come, Baba.

(Monica begins gently to rock Baba)

The sun has fallen and it lies in blood.

(Toby, already obvious of what has happened, takes
an old tambourine from under the couch, and lying
on the floor, accompanies the tune with soft taps on
the instrument)


The moon is weaving bandages of gold.
O black swan, where, oh, where is my lover gone?
Torn and tattered is my bridal gown,
And my lamp is lost, and my lamp is lost.
With silver needles and with silver thread,
The stars stitch a shroud for the dying sun.
O black swan, where, oh, where has my lover gone?
I had given him a kiss of fire,
And a golden ring,
Don't you hear your lover moan?
Eyes of glass and feet of stone,
Shells for teeth and weeds for tongue,
Deep, deep, down in the river's bed
He's looking for the ring.
Eyes wide open, never asleep,
He's looking for the ring, looking for the ring.
The spools unravel and the needles break.

MONICA, BABA
The sun is buried and the stars weep.
O black wave, take me away with you.
I will share with you my golden hair,
And my bridal crown, and my bridal crown.
Oh, take me down with you.
Take me down to my wand'ring lover
With my child unborn,
With my child unborn.

VOICE
(off-stage)
Mother, mother, are you there?
Mother, mother, are you there?

BABA
Sh!
Listen, listen.

MONICA
What?

(laughter is heard)

BABA
Can't you hear?

(Monica shakes her head)

MONICA
Again you're imagining things.

BABA
No, no, I'm sure I heard a voice like yours.
Someone must be hiding back there.
Toby, go back and see who it is.

MONICA
Baba, don't be foolish, Nobody's there!

BABA
(to Toby)
Go on, go on.

(Toby runs out)

MONICA
What has come over you, Baba?
I've never seen you like this.

BABA
We are not alone! We are not alone!
He's coming' He's running back.

(Toby reappears in the doorway After staring at
him in silence Baba says)


Did you see anything?

(Toby shakes his head)

MONICA
I told you, I told you there is nobody there.

BABA
(to Toby)
You're lying! You don't want to tell me.
Liar! liar!

MONICA
Baba, stop it!

BABA
Oh, God, what is happening to me?
What is this darkness?

(forcing Toby to h is knees)

Kneel down, kneel down,
and pray God to save our souls.

(Toby kneels down; Baba fetches the rosary
and sits as before, mumbling at Monica's feet)

BABA
(mechanically, in a deep voice)
Ave Maria, gratia plena,
Dominus tecum etc.
Sancta Maria, Mater Dei etc.

MONICA
Ah, The moon is weaving bandages of gold.
A black wave,
A black wave,
Take me down with you,
Take me down with you.

(Baba suddenly stops praying. Child's laughter is
heard as Baba hides her head in Monica’s lap)



ACT II


(Same setting as Act I. Evening, a few days later.
Monica is sitting in front of the puppet theatre
watching a performance. The puppets have
fallen in a heap. Toby comes out to acknowledge
Monica's applause)

MONICA
Bravo'
And after the theatre, supper and dance.
Music!
Um-pa-pa, um-pa-pa,

(During this song, Toby, barefooted. dances
about the stage)

Up in the sky
Some-one is playing a trombone and a guitar.
Red is your tie.
And in your velvetine coat you hide a star.
Monica, Monica, dance the waltz.
Monica, Monica, dance the waltz.
Follow me, moon and sun,
Keep time with me, one two three one.
If you're not shy,
Pin up my hair with your star, and buckle my shoe.
And when you fly,
Please hold on tight to my waist,
I'm flying with you.
O, Monica, Monica, dance the waltz.
Monica, Monica, dance the waltz.
Follow me, moon and sun,
Follow me.

(Toby seizes Monica abruptly by the arm She turns
and looks at him in complete astonishment)

What is the matter, Toby?
What is it you want to tell me?

(He looks at her in desperation, and gently touches
her face. Monica begins to understand)

Kneel down before me,

(Toby kneels)

And now, tell me...

(She kneels behind Toby, as if the words were coming
from him, and makes Toby look up as if she were still
standing in front of him. With slightly exaggerated
pathos she says:)

Monica, Monica, can't you see,
That my heart is bleeding, bleeding for you?
I loved you, Monica, all my life,
With all my breath, with all my blood.
You haunt the mirror of my sleep, You are my night.
You are my light and the jailer of my day.

(Quickly she gets up and stands before him)

How dare you, scoundrel, talk to me like that!
Don't you know who I am?
I'm the Queen of Aroundel!
I shall have you put in chains!

(She kneels behind him again. Toby, falling in
with the game, mimics her words with gestures)

You are my princess, you are my queen,
And I'm only Toby, one of your slaves,
And still I love you and always loved you
With all my breath, with all my blood.
I love your laughter, I love your hair,
I love your deep and nocturnal eyes.
I love your soft hands, so white and winged,
I love the slender branch of your throat.

(She stands up before him)

Toby, don't speak to me like that'
You make my head swim.

(She runs behind Toby)

Monica, Monica, fold me in your satin gown.
Monica, Monica, give me your mouth,
Monica, Monica, fall in my arms.

(Toby suddenly hides his face m his arms.
Monica stares at him, completely bewildered)

Why, Toby!
You're not crying, are you?

(She caresses his head. Then lifting his tearstained
face, looks into his eyes. With great tenderness she
says:)

Toby, I want you to know that you have
the most beautiful voice in the world'

(A door slams. Baba is heard dragging herself up the
stairs. Monica runs out, Into her room. Toby crouches
In the corner. Baba appears, dark, dishevelled, a bottle
in her hand)

BABA
Where is Monica'

(Toby points to the door at the right Baba takes off
her large shawl and sits meditatively at the table.
With strained affection she says)

Toby, what are you doing'
Come here, Toby.
I want to talk to you.

(Toby begins to crawl toward her, but very
hesitatingly, with apparent misgivings)

Come, come near me.
What are you afraid of?
Come, come nearer, this way.

(She takes his head in her lap)

(with calculated tenderness)

Toby, you know that I love you
As if you were my own son.
I'm often harsh with you, that's true.
Still, still, if it hadn't been for me,
Where would you be now?
I found you, a little starving gypsy,
Roaming the streets of Budapest
Without a tongue to speak your hunger.
If I hadn't taken you with me,
Who would have cared for you, poor little half-wit?
And now, listen, now we must be good friends.
I'll never punish you, never, never again,
And I will buy you a new shirt
Of bright red silk and a golden scarf.

(freely)

But first you must tell me.
Were you the one who touched my throat?
You know, at the seance a few days ago...
Don't be afraid of telling me.
I won't punish you.
I just want to know, that is all.

(very winningly)

Just tell me, yes, or no.

(after a long pause)

Come, don't be afraid, yes, or no

(making great efforts to contain herself)

I know it anyway, but show me how you did it.
Come on, wake up, wake up, I say, damn you'

(She suddenly springs up with rage. Then she sinks
back into her chair, regretting her outburst)


You see, you make me angry,
And I want to be your friend.
Now tell me, my sweet, my own little Toby,
Did you touch me that night?
You like that bolt of red silk, don't you?
Would you like to have it?
All you have to make is one little sign,
And they will be yours.

(gently)

It was you who touched me, wasn't it?
Perhaps it was not you after all.
Perhaps it was something else.
Something I couldn't see'
But you know, you saw it'
I can read it in your eyes!
Come on, say yes, or no'
Stop staring at me!

(Toby tries to run away, she grabs him by
his shirt and tears it off his back)

Don't go away!
You see, you're making me angry again!

(with mounting excitement)

You love Monica, don't you?
How would you like to marry her?
Yes, you could, you could.
But first you must tell me, did you have anything to do
With what happened that night?
Did you see anything?
A light? A shape?
Wake up!
Did you?
Stop staring at me!
Did you?

(With uncontrolled fury)

Ah, so!
You don't want to answer.
You're trying to frighten me.
I'll show you, damn little gypsy,

(She goes to cupboard and brings out a long
whip. Toby runs away from her in terror)


I’ll make you talk!
I'll make you talk!
You cannot get away from me!

(She chases him around the table)

I’ll make you spit out blood, I will.

(Toby trips and falls near the couch)

I'll make you spit out blood'
So you won't answer, eh!

(She whips him)

So you won't answer, eh!

(The doorbell rings repeatedly and very loudly. Baba
suddenly realises that the doorbell is ringing. She
stands still for a moment, panting hoarsely, then
walks haltingly to stage left and rings the buzzer.
Monica runs in from stage right)

MONICA
Ah, Baba, what did you do to him?

(She comforts Toby. Mr. and Mrs. Gobineau and Mrs.
Nolan come up the stairs. They stop rather surprised
on the landing)

MRS. GOBINEAU, MRS. NOLAN
Good evening, Madame Flora.

MR. GOBINEAU
Good evening.

BABA
What do you want?

MR. AND MRS. GOBINEAU
Isn't this the night of the seance?

BABA
The seance?
Yes, yes, I'm glad you came.
I've something to tell you, come in.

(The three clients advance into the room)

There will be no more seances.
There is your money.

(She brusquely throws a wad of money on the table)

MRS. NOLAN
No more seances?

MR. GOBINEAU
What do you mean?

BABA
Listen to me!
There never was a seance!
I cheated you'
Do you understand?
Cheated you, cheated you'

THE CLIENTS
How could it be?
It isn't true, you must not say so!

MRS. NOLAN
I clearly saw my daughter,
I saw her, with my own eyes!

MR. AND MRS. GOBINEAU
And little Mickey, laughing, touching my hair!

BABA
Nothing but a fraud,
I can prove it to you.

(She goes to the puppet theatre and pulls the cables
which levitate the table and control the lamp)

Look here, the lights, the wires to make the table move.
The hidden microphone.

MRS. NOLAN
(intensely)
Oh, no! I saw my daughter, I saw her!

BABA
Your daughter, here she is!
Cheap white gauze, nothing else.

MRS. NOLAN
But I spoke to her.

BABA
Monica, Monica, let her hear your voice, show her.

MONICA
(reluctantly)
"Mother, mother, are you there'
Mother, mother, are you there?"

MRS. NOLAN
Oh, no, no, no, that isn't the same voice!

BABA
And do the little boy laughing.

(Monica imitates the peals of childish laughter
as in the first Act)

MRS. GOBINEAU
(with desperate determination)
Oh, no' You know that isn't the same!

BABA
You fools!
What more proofs do you want?

MRS. NOLAN
Not to know my own daughter's voice!
Could that be' Could that be'

MR. AND MRS. GOBINEAU
Not to know little Mickey's touch'
Could that be? Could that be?

THE CLIENTS
O, no, no, it wasn't a fraud!
What you said is not the truth!

BABA
What? You don't believe me'

MRS. NOLAN
I even found the little locket she talked about.

MR. AND MRS. GOBINEAU
Did you?

BABA
The locket?
Ev'rybody has some old locket.
It's an old trick; we use it on ev'ry mother!

MR. GOBINEAU
(almost fiercely)
It might well be you thought
You were cheating all the while,
But you were not, you were not.

THE CLIENTS
Surely now, you won't let us down'
What would we do without your guidance?

(The three clients suddenly stand expressionless
like automatons)

Please let us have our seance,
Madame Flora'
Just let us hear it once more,
Madame Flora'
This is the only joy we have in our lives,
Madame Flora'
Our little dead are waiting for us,
Madame Flora!
You wouldn't keep us away from them would you,
Madame Flora?
Please let us have our seance,
Madame Flora'
Just let us have it once more, just once more,
Madame Flora'

BABA
You must believe me!
You must believe me!

(declaimed at a high pitch, as before)

It is foolish of you'
You must believe me!
You must!

(trying in vain to force the money into their hands)

Here is your money.
Take it! Please'
Take it'
Go to someone else!
Please! Please!

(with sudden fury)

Get out of here, get out, get out' Get out of here.
You fools' You fools!

(The Gobineaus and Mrs. Nolan greatly frightened,
disappear down the stairwell)


Fools!
Fools'

(The door slams)

(to Toby)

And you, you too get out and never come back!

MONICA
Don't say that! Toby, so helpless!

BABA
Yes, he must go!

MONICA
No, Baba, you cannot send him away.
You know he can't take care of himself.

BABA
I don't care.

MONICA
He is hardly more than a child.

BABA
That may be, but still he must go away.
I cannot bear to see those hunted eyes.

MONICA
Then let me go and take care of him!

BABA
You'll do nothing of the sort'

MONICA
Yes, Baba, if he must go, I will too.

BABA
You'll do nothing of the sort!

MONICA
Baba!

BABA
He must go!

MONICA
Baba!

BABA
He must go, go away!

MONICA
How can you be so cruel?
Poor boy'

BABA
Don't worry, he will take care of himself,
He'll surely find a place where he can stay.

MONICA
Oh, please don't let him go!

BABA
I cannot bear to look at him'
I tell you he must go'

MONICA
Oh, please don't let him go!

(to Toby)

Don't go!

BABA
Yes, he must go before it is too late!
Get out, get out'

(Toby starts quickly down the stairwell)

MONICA
(shouted)
Toby'

(At the sound of Monica's voice, Toby stops and turns
hesitantly toward her Monica runs to him, they clasp
each other in a brief but desperate embrace. Then
Toby frees himself and disappears down the stairwell.
Monica sees the puppets lying on the floor She picks
them up)

BABA
Don't stand there like a fool!
Go into your room!
Leave him alone.
He'll take care of himself.

(Monica goes into her room, banging the door Baba
is left alone on stage)

VOICE
Mother, mother, are you there?

(She stands stock-still and terror stricken)

BABA
Who's there? Is it you, Monica?

(She abruptly moves toward the bedroom. After
listening at the door, she quickly locks it, then
leans against it with a sigh of relief She begins
to walk toward the table)

VOICE
Mother, mother, are you there?

(At the sound of the voice, she stands frozen
She interrupts the voice with a cry)

BABA
(shouted)
Stop it!

(She goes to the cupboard and pours herself several
drinks then brings the bottle and glass to the table.
She sits down)

Afraid, am I afraid?
Madame Flora afraid!
Can it be that I'm afraid?
In my young days I have seen many terrible things!
Women screaming as they were murdered,
And men's hands dripping with blood,
And men haunted by knives.
And little grotesque children drained
White by the voraciousness of filth,
And loathsome old men insane with vice,
And young men with cankers crawling
On their flesh like hungry lizards.
This I've seen, and more, and never been afraid.
O God'
Forgive my sins, I'm sick and old.
Forgive my sins and give me peace!
What ill wind shakes my hand?
What unseen ghost stands by my side?
No, no, it cannot be the dead!
The dead... the dead.
The dead never come back.
They sink down in the dust
With no eyes to dream and no silence to keep,
A secrets to hide'
Gone, empty, nothing, nothing.

(drowsily and a little drunkenly)

"O black swan, where,
Oh, where is my lover gone?"

(Wheeling about in her chair, she breaks
off the song with a startled cry)

Who is there?

(Her voice shaking, scarcely daring to breathe,
she stares fixedly into the darkness and listens)

"O black swan, O black swan. "

(turning again with a cry)

What?

(After a long silence, with a sigh of relief)

Nothing, but then if there is nothing
To be afraid of why am I afraid of this nothingness?
I must forget about it, laugh at it,
Yes, laugh at it!

(She chuckles drunkenly. Little by little, her laugher
becomes wilder. Her laughter has now reached an
hysterical pitch. She suddenly stops laughing)

O God, forgive my sins,
I'm sick and old.

(She falls asleep. Toby comes up the stairwell.
Cautiously, he walks tiptoe to Monica's door. He
finds the door locked. He scratches softly on the
door. Baba stirs in her sleep, knocking the bottle
down Toby runs behind the couch, then very slowly
creeps out again Toby again tries the door. He
knocks at it, whimpering softly like an animal.
Receiving no answer, Toby runs to the trunk
and begins to rummage among the silks in search
of his tambourine. The trunk lid falls sharply.
Baba wakes up with a start. Toby hides behind
the curtain of the puppet theatre)

Who's there? Who's there?
Answer me!
Monica, Monica, is it you?
Who is it then?
If you are human, answer me!
Who is it? Who is it?

(She takes a revolver out of a drawer in the table.
She says hysterically:)

Speak out or I'll shoot!
I'll shoot! I'll shoot!
Answer me' Answer me!
I'll shoot! I'll shoot!

(The curtain moves. Baba screams and fires at it
several times. Suddenly Toby's hand appears above
the curtain, as if to ward off the bullets. Then the
fingers slowly clench and the hand disappears The
curtain is now clutched tightly from inside. A spot
of blood gradually appears and runs the length of
the white cloth)

I've killed the ghost!
I've killed the ghost!

(Both of Toby's hands are now seen clutching at
the curtain. The rod breaks under his weight, and,
wrapped in the curtain, he falls headlong into the
room. Monica pounds at the door from within)

MONICA
Baba! Baba!
Let me in! Let me in!

(Baba slowly unlocks the door Monica rushes in.
Seeing Toby's body she stops short and sways as
if suddenly ill)

Oh!

(Calling in a faint, broken voice she slowly
moves toward the stairwell)

Help! Help!

(louder as she runs downstairs)

Help!

(The door slams. Baba slowly bends
over Toby)


BABA
(in a hoarse whisper)
Was it you? Was it you?

(She knells beside him, and like
a hunched spider, looks searchingly
into his unseen eyes. The curtains
fall very slowly)