Amazing Journey
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     Passion

Scene One

Giorgio and Clara's room. Drums. Lights slowly illuminate a bed with two figures who are making love on it.
Happiness

Clara (quietly) I'm so happy, I'm afraid I'll die
Here in your arms
What would you do if I died like this
-
(She languishes across him)
Right now, here in your arms?
That we ever should have met
Is a miracle
Giorgio No, inevitable -
Clara Then inevitable, yes,
But I confess it was the look
 
Giorgio The look?  
Clara The sadness in your eyes
That day when we glanced at each other
In the park.
 
Giorgio We were both unhappy.
Clara Unhappiness can be seductive.
Giorgio You pitied me ...
Both How quickly pity leads to love.
Clara All this happiness
Merely from a glance in the park
So much happiness, so much love ...
Giorgio I thought I knew what love was.  
Clara I wish we might have met so much sooner
I could have given you -
 
Giorgio I thought I knew what love was.
Clara - my youth.
Giorgio I thought I knew how much I could feel.
Clara All the time we lost ...
Giorgio I didn't know what love was.  
Clara I've never known what love was.  
Giorgio But now -  
Clara And now -
Both - I do.
It's what I feel with you,
The happiness I feel with you.
Clara So much happiness -
Giorgio You are so beautiful ...
Clara - happening by chance in a park.  
Giorgio Not by chance, by necessity -  
Clara Surely, this is happiness -  
Giorgio - by the sadness that we saw in each other.  
Clara - no one else has ever felt before!  
Both Just another love story, that's what they would claim.
Another simple love story - aren't all of them the same?
 
Clara No, but this is more, we feel more!  
Both This is so much more!
(Smiling at each other)
Like every other love story.
Some say happiness comes and goes.
then this happiness is a kind of happiness
No one really knows.
Giorgio I thought I knew what love was.
Clara I'd only heard what love was.
Giorgio I thought it was no more than a name for yearning.
Clara I thought it was what kindness became.  
Giorgio I'm learning -  
Clara I thought where there was love there was shame.  
Giorgio - that with you -  
Clara But with you -  
Both - there's just happiness.  
Clara Endless happiness ...
(Music continues underneath as they lie silently next to each other for a long moment)
What?
Giorgio Not now ...
Clara Tell me ... please.
Giorgio I received my orders from headquarters. I've been transferred to the Fourth Brigade.
Clara (sad) When?
Giorgio I leave in five days.
(Clara takes this news in, then slowly reaches for her chemise)
Though I'll be far away ,we'll always have each other. Oh Clara, please don't look so sad.
We'll make the most of the next four days.
I'll steal as much time as I can. Then after I leave, we'll write to each other ever day. We'll make love with our words. You'll be with me ever day, Clara.
(She starts to dress while Giorgio watches her)
Clara I must go. I'm expected.
Giorgio God, you are so beautiful.
I love to see you in the light,
Clear and beautiful, memorize
Every inch, every part of you to take with me.
Clara Giorgio ...
Giorgio Your feet so soft,
As if they'd never touched the ground.
Clara I can't ...
Giorgio Your skin so white, so pure, so delicate.
Your smell so sweet, your breathe so warm.
I will summon you in my mind,
I'm painting you indelibly on my mind.
Clara Don't ...  
Giorgio We must fill every moment.  
Clara All this happiness ended by a word in the dark.
Giorgio Oh my love, oh my darling ...
Clara So much happiness wasn't meant to last.
Giorgio I am here, I am with you
I am yours.
Clara I never knew what love was.
Giorgio Your skin, your silken hair ...
Clara I always thought I didn't deserve it.
Giorgio Your breasts, your lips ...
Clara I didn't know what love was.  
Giorgio I want you every minute of my life ...
Clara I don't know how I'll live when you're gone!
Giorgio I will always be here.
Clara I don't know how I'll live ...
Giorgio ...
Don't leave me ...
(As they move away from each other, military drums join the orchestra, quietly at first, then building in intensity to a climax. This time the drums drown the orchestra, and we segue into a military formation, which takes us into the Officers' mess hall)   

Scene Two
The dining quarters of the post's commanding officer, Colonel Ricci.

At center is a large dining table. At the back of the stage is a long staircase which leads to the living quarters.
Around the table sit: Colonel Ricci, a rather taut gentleman, who carries the weight of his position with authority and ease; Lieutenant Torasso, a man often given to laughter and opera singing; Major Rizzoli, a sober, straight-arrow type; Lieutenant Barri, a veterinarian with a love of gambling and not much else; and Doctor Tambourri, a somewhat aloof and distinguished older officer.
As the lights bump up, a Cook (Sergeant Lomabardi) is overseeing the serving of the meal. Torasso breaks into an aria from "Rigoletto" while the others talk amongst themselves, ignoring him. After a beat:
 
Colonel (having had enough) Thank you Lieutenant.
(Torasso stops singing)
 
Doctor: How was the opera?
Torasso Terrible. These touring companies get no better.
Lombardi Nor do you.
Torasso I sing to lighten impact of your heavy cooking.
Barri (examining his plate) Sergeant, what is this?
Lombardi It's veal.  
Barri Again? We had veal four days ago. And from the looks of it, it was this veal.  
Lombardi Lieutenant Barri, if I hear -
 
 
(They are suddenly interrupted by a woman's distant scream upstairs. They pause momentarily before resuming their conversation, as if nothing unusual had occured)
 
Rizzolli Colonel, I've heard a rumor that the King is about to sign a treaty with the French.  
Doctor Really?  
Colonel I've heard no such rumor, Major.  
Doctor Where did you come by this information?  
Rizzolli (uncomfortable) In town.
Colonel You can't believe everything you hear in a whorehouse.
Rizzolli (serious) That is where Garibaldi got much of his information, sir.
Doctor Ah, so that's why you go there!
(Giorgio enters)
Colonel Ah, Captain Bachetti.
Welcome. We wondered when you were going to arrive. May I introduce Doctor Tambourri, Major Rizzolli ...
Torasso Lieutenant Torasso.  
Barri Lieutenant Barri.
Lombardi Sergeant Lombardi
Barri Our cook.
Colonel Come. Come and join us.
(Giorgio hands a letter to Augenti.)
 
Giorgio Could you post this one for me?
(Giorgio sits; to his right remains an unoccupied chair and place setting)
Lombardi You'll have to excuse our rather limited menu, Captain.
Doctor We're not just isolated from life and ideas here, Captain but anything green and edible as well.
Rizzolli I just add vinegar to everything.  
Torasso Captain Bachetti, the Colonel has been telling us of your triumphs pinning down the Russian infantry
Giorgio I'm not sure that my actions deserve your attention.
Torasso Come, come. Didn't you rescue a wounded man in the midst of fire and then carry him on your horse to camp?
Giorgio Only to our battalion.
Barri Say you brought him back to camp! Why settle for being half a hero when full-fledged is just a white lie away?
(The lights suddenly bump up; music under, agitated. Clara enters to the side of the stage, singing from a letter she holds.)
First Letter
Giorgio Clara ...  
Clara Clara ...
Giorgio I cried.
Clara I cried.
Both Imagine that, a soldier who cries.
Clara I had to hide my eyes, so the others on the train
That carried me away from you would think I was asleep.
(a piano sounds offstage)
Giorgio Music?
Doctor That's Signora Fosca playing.  
Colonel My cousin. I have no family and neither does she.
She's in such poor health, it's a continual worry.
Doctor That's her place setting, but she stays in her room most days.
Perhaps soon she'll be well enough to join us for a meal.
Rizzolli She eats like a sparrow.
(Torasso lets out an involuntary laugh, which is immediately stopped by a cold stare from the Colonel)
Torasso (sober) My apologies, sir.
The comparison has struck me as funny. A sparrow seems to eat more than Signora Fosca. A pity it is ...
Colonel (to Giorgio)
My cousin loves to read - it's her only passion, really. I can't find enough books for her.
Giorgio I also love reading. I've brought a few of my favorite books down.
Perhaps I could lend them to Signora Fosca, though I can't promise they'ill appeal to her.
Colonel Young man, she's been driven to reading military handbooks.
I've no doubt she'll welcome anything in print.
(Private Augenti enters and delivers a few letters, one of which goes to Giorgio)
Augenti Post arrived!
Rizzolli Hand it round Augenti.
(surprised) Nothing for me again? It's been two weeks.
Augenti It smells to me as if Captain Bachetti has a letter from an admirer.
(Music under; the lights bump up. Clara reappears)
Second Letter
Clara Giorgio ...
I, too, have cried inside.
Both You must not be ashamed of your tears.
Clara I love you for your tears.
Both Your absence only makes my love grow stronger.
And when I cannot bear it any longer -
 
(We hear another scream come from upstairs. Music stops as Giorgio rises, concerned; the others continue to eat, unfazed.)  
Colonel Don't be alarmed. It's my cousin. I am so accustomed to her outbursts that I forget how unsettling they must be to a newcomer. My apologies for not warning you.
Doctor She's not been having a good day. And a doctor is always expected to help hurt, even when there is nothing one can possibly do.
Torasso More lamb please.
Doctor (to Lombardi)
I've noticed you finally managed to track down some tarragon.
Lombardi Yes, I'm glad you approved ...
(Another scream; the Colonel looks to the Doctor)
Colonel Doctor.  
Doctor Excuse me.
Barri Sergeant, are there any more carrots?  
Lombardi Seconds for you, Lieutenant? Can I take that as a compliment?
Barri No, Sergeant, they're for my horses.
(Laughter. Torasso gives Giorgio a slap on the back. Giorgio is not amused.)
Colonel In time, Captain Bacchetti, you too will get used to life amongst us.
(Snare drums; everyone gets up. Clara enters while the soldiers formate to a march. Clara sings from another letter, accompanied chiefly by drums and sporadic bugle calls)

Third Letter
Clara Clara, I'm in hell,
Giorgio This is hell,
Soldiers Living hell.
Clara Living hell.
This godforsaken place -
Soldiers This godforsaken place -
Clara This sterile little town, these pompous little men,
Giorgio This military madness ...
Soldiers This military madness ...
This military ...
All Uniforms, uniforms ...
Giorgio Military madness ...
Soldiers Military madness ...  
Clara, Giorgio My days are spent in maneuvers ...  
Soldiers Uniforms, uniforms  
Clara, Giorgio My evenings in discussing the day -  
Soldiers This is hell -  
Clara My nights are spent in thinking of you.  
Giorgio Don't forget me, Clara ...  
(Clara exits as the Soldiers march off and the Doctor enters)
Doctor Good afternoon, Captain.
Giorgio Doctor.
Doctor Your troops seem to be responding well to your command.
Giorgio Thank you, sir.
Doctor How are you enjoying your new post?
Giorgio (polite) I find everyone most hospitable.
Doctor Good. Your company at meals has certainly been a welcome change for me.
Giorgio Thank you.  
Doctor I trust the occasional outburst from Colonel Ricci's cousin hasn't unsettled you today.  
Giorgio No. What exactly is wrong with this womanr?  
Doctor She is a kind of medical phenomenon, a collection of many ills.
Giorgio The those cries?
Doctor Hysterical convulsions. One might say that her nerve endings are exposed, where ours are protected by a firm layer of skin.
Giorgio Is she in danger of succumbing to this disease?
Doctor I don't believe so. Her body is so weak, it doesn't have the strength to produce a mortal disease.
Giorgio I don't understand  
Doctor The weak protect themselves. The defensive soldier often lives longer than the brave one.  
Giorgio Is she young?  
Doctor Late twenties, I would venture.
Giorgio Pretty?
   
Giorgio You don't suppose that she's the Colonel's lover, do you?
Doctor Captain Bachetti, it's good to see you enjoy an occasional bit of gossip.

(Giorgio is immediately embarrassed)

No need for discomfort, Captain. We're all human. Your curiousity is understandable. No, I'm afraid Signora Fosca's physical state prevents her from being anyone's lover. Good day.
(He moves off; bugle calls)
Giorgio Clara, don't forget me.
Keep me close to you, Clara ...
(We segue back to the Colonel's dining room; it is morning. Rizzolli and Barri are finishing their breakfast as Giorgio joins them and sits.)
Rizzolli Late for breakfast, Captain.  
Giorgio We had early morning exercises before the company departed for their weekly maneuvers.
Barri You're a better officer than I am. I let my sergeant oversee the morning drill.
Lombardi (Clearing Fosca's place setting)
Well, it looks as if Signora Fosca has disappointed us once again.
Rizzolli Why keep setting her place?
(Bugle call)
Barri (rises) Captain Bachetti, I'm sorry we'll have to leave you to dine alone this morning.
Giorgio We still have dinner to share, gentlemen.
Rizzolli Indeed.
Barri Any chance we might engage you in a game of cards tonight?
Giorgio No. I'm not a gambling man, sir.  
Rizzolli The boredom of this place will make a gambler of you yet.  
Barri Good day, Captain.  
Giorgio Gentlemen ...  
(Rizzolli and Barri exit. Giorgio takes out a letter, which he begins to read. Clara enters.)
Fourth Letter
Clara, Giorgio How could I forget you?
Clara Yesterday I walked through the park
To the place where we met.
Afterwards I sat on the bench
Where we sat all that sultry afternoon.
I thought about our room, our secret room
Where we were happy
And where we shall be happy again
Some day.
I see us in our room, our secret room,
And I don't feel so alone any more ...

(Against her song, the Chopinesque piano music which we heard before begins to play)
I close my eyes, imagining that you are there,
Imagining your fingers touching mine,
Imagining our room,
The bed, the secrecy, the world ourside,
Your mouth on mine ...

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