by Martin Foreman
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GIACOMO I am in love.
SEINGALT With Henriette? Anna Maria? Bellino?
GIACOMO All of them.
SEINGALT You cannot have them all. Or if you have them all, you will lose them all. You will never be content.
GIACOMO You may be right about Anna Maria. An affair with a married woman can't last. Besides, there is a beautiful Marquesa who seeks my company . . . As for being content, that depends on money. Do you have money?
SEINGALT I have had.
GIACOMO Well, I want money, lots of it. And women, many.
During the following speech the NUN enters unobserved
GIACOMO There're beautiful women everywhere. With or without money I'll kneel at their feet. I'll draw them close, taste their scent, untie their ribbons, pull down their shifts. They'll moan as my fingers caress their most private parts. Gasp with joy when my weapon breaches them. I'll give them the greatest pleasure they can conceive.
SEINGALT Beware of that word conceive.
GIACOMO I can't be a priest. Too much hypocrisy. Perhaps I should travel. Is it true you have known emperors and kings?
SEINGALT I have been welcomed by the highest in many lands. I have lived in great houses. I have loved a hundred women. I have been . . .
NUN . . . a schemer, a plotter, a lecher, a liar, a deceiver and a thief!
SEINGALT Maria, welcome! I dispute none of these, except perhaps the last.
GIACOMO Sister, I . . .
NUN Relax, boy! I would much rather you pulled clothes off than pulled them on.
SEINGALT How long have you been watching us?
NUN Long enough to know that nothing interesting would happen. I prefer watching when your companion is a woman.
SEINGALT Always a performance, I said, even when we believe ourselves unseen.
NUN Does that shock you, young man? I like to observe the game of love. to SEINGALT He blushes. to GIACOMO I once had an affair with your guest. My lover ...
SEINGALT ... the French Ambassador; he later became a Cardinal ...
NUN ... liked to watch. When the Chevalier learnt of the subterfuge, he put on a better performance. to SEINGALT You were in deeply love with me, were you not?
SEINGALT How could I not be?
GIACOMO Sister, in the last hour my room has been invaded by every kind of stranger. None of them tell me why they are here. Can you enlighten me?
NUN As for the others, I cannot say. I came out of curiosity to see you.
GIACOMO Am I as you expected?
NUN More or less. A little younger, less sure of yourself.
GIACOMO May I ask you a question? If you sin with men do you not fear God's judgement?
SEINGALT Paradise in the afterlife does not preclude paradise on earth.
NUN Bravo! It was God who gave us the instruments of love. It is the Devil who wishes us to suffer; he is the one who would deny us the pleasures of the senses.
SEINGALT My dear Maria, it is wonderful to see you, but I wish to speak with our host alone.
NUN About what?
During the following speech the NUN distracts GIACOMO
SEINGALT Love. It is a madness, a sickness. A man in love cannot see his mistakes until he is no longer in love. Giacomo, I urge you before it is too late, do not let your eye be turned by every woman you see. Be loyal to one! Take her far from Rome or Venice. Buy a farm, an estate, high in the mountains. Have children. Write. Throw yourself into books. Study nature - there is so much to learn. Anything. But above all, be faithful to your wife; only then will you be happy.
The NUN disentangles herself from GIACOMO
NUN to SEINGALT He has his charms but he is still too inexperienced for my tastes. You are wrong about love, Jacques. It is a game, combat with thrust and parry in the drawing-room, the ballroom, in bed. It is only madness if you surrender to it. The strong can master it. Make your lover your friend and love will last a lifetime. If your lover is your goddess, you will always suffer. But you are right, I should go.
GIACOMO Must you?
NUN Your guest wishes it. Do not look so sad. We are sure to meet again.
Edinburgh Fringe 2018
"thoroughly enjoyable ... keep you on your toes ... have you laughing"
All Edinburgh Theatre
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