Act II: The Gypsy Woman
Scene I: A gypsy camp in the mountains, several weeks (or possibly months) after Act I. It's almost dawn, and the camp-dwellers are sitting around a fire. Azucena (an old gypsy woman) and Manrico are both present, and doing what all Verdi characters do best: brooding.
Verdi: To be fair, most of my characters also have a particular affinity for fits of jealous rage. And sometimes murder.
Me: Duly noted.
[As the sun rises, the gypsies begin to sing.]
The Chorus: IT SURE IS NICE TO SEE THE SUN SHINE BECAUSE IT'S KINDA LIKE WHEN A HOT WIDOW DECIDES THAT SHE'S OVER HER DEAD HUSBAND AND SHE NEEDS TO GET HERSELF A NEW MAN SO SHE STARTS DRESSING ALL SLUTTY AGAIN AND EVERYONE IN TOWN IS LIKE “DAAAAMN” AND SHE'S LIKE “YEAH YOU WANT A PIECE OF THIS”
The Audience: … is that a thing that happens often?
The Chorus: NOT VERY OFTEN WHICH IS WHY WE HAVE TO APPRECIATE IT WHEN IT DOES HAPPEN
The Audience: You people are weird.
The Chorus: WHAT DO YOU MEAN “YOU PEOPLE”
The Audience: Nothing. Keep singing.
The Chorus: WELL NOW THAT THE SUN HAS RISEN DO YOU KNOW WHAT TIME IT IS
The Audience: No.
The Chorus: IT'S HAMMERTIME
[And then they all start pounding on anvils for no goddamn reason. Like... they're not in a blacksmith's shop and they don't have forges or anything. They just want to make some fucking noise.]
The Chorus: LA LA LA ANVIL CHORUS LA LA LA
The Audience: It's a catchy tune, though.
Verdi: I know, right?
The Chorus: THE ONLY THING WE LIKE MORE THAN POINTLESS HAMMERING IS HOT GYPSY BITCHES
The Audience: Is this at all relevant to the plot?
Verdi: Are chorus scenes ever relevant to the plot?
The Audience: … touché.
The Chorus: OH AND BOOZE
WE ALSO LIKE BOOZE
[Then Azucena gets up and totally bums everyone out by singing about death and stuff.]
Azucena: THEY THREW MY MOM IN A BURNING RING OF FIRE
SHE WENT DOWN, DOWN, DOWN AND THE FLAMES WENT HIGHER
AND IT BURNED, BURNED, BURNED
THE RING OF FIIIIIRE
THE RING OF FIIIIIIIIIIIIIRE
The Audience: So she's the daughter of the gypsy woman that Captain Whatshisname was singing about in Act I?
The Chorus: Way to kill the mood, Azucena. Now we're all hella depressed.
Azucena: You're depressed? I saw my own mother get burned at the stake, you assholes. I had to avenge her death and stuff.
[She looks meaningfully at Manrico.]
Manrico: Could you maybe stop giving me creepy looks when you talk about vengeance? It's kinda wigging me out.
An Old Gypsy Man: Okay, folks. It's time to get to work.
[And then everyone gets up and leaves, further proving the utter pointlessness of their short-lived anvil-banging schtick. No one seems to be a metal-worker by trade, so why the fuck do they keep anvils and hammers around? It literally serves no purpose whatsoever, except to give Leonora and Count di Luna three more minutes offstage.]
Di Luna: Bitch, this is some heavy-ass singing. We need all the rest we can get.
Verdi: Oh, stop being such a pussy.
[Once Manrico and Azucena are alone onstage, he starts pestering her.]
Manrico: Sooo can you explain that story you were telling earlier?
Azucena: It's pretty goddamn self-explanatory. The last Count di Luna had my mom burned at the stake for witchcraft.
Manrico: Seriously? That's rough.
Azucena: Yeah, jackass. How is it that you've never heard this story before? It was pretty much the defining moment of both of our lives.
The Audience: So, wait. Is she his mother or something?
Verdi: Yes. No. Kinda.
The Audience: What? She's either his mother or she isn't.
Verdi: JUST WATCH IT GETS EXPLAINED
Azucena: Sooo I was standing there, watching my mother get burned at the stake, and carrying my adorable infant son –
Manrico: And that was me?
Azucena: – yeah, I'm getting to that part. Anyway, when they lit the fire, she called to me and told me to avenge her death.
Manrico: Did she say anything else?
Azucena: “SWEET JESUS I CAN FEEL THE WRINKLED FLESH MELTING FROM MY BONES”
Azucena: And also screaming. There was a lot of screaming.
Manrico: I feel a little sick.
Azucena: Yeah, that happens. Anywho, I decided that I'd avenge my mother by stealing the Count's baby.
Manrico: That's kinda fucked up.
Azucena: Oh, you don't know the half of it. I stole the baby and made my way back to the fire, and suddenly I went a little crazy with bloodlust and threw the little bastard into the flames.
Manrico: Jesus Christ, mom. You killed a baby?
Azucena: And here's the kicker – when my vision cleared, I realized that I was still holding the Count's son! Turns out I threw my own child into the fire. Isn't that awkward?
The Audience: Soooo wait a minute. You were holding two babies, you decided to murder one, and you didn't bother to check which baby you were about to throw into a goddamn fire?
Azucena: Yeah, it was a pretty big slip-up. Boy, was my face red.
The Audience: You know what else turned red? Your son. And then he turned black. And then he turned into ash and fucking bone.
Azucena: It was an honest mistake!
Manrico: Sooo... I'm assuming I was born a few years later or something?
Azucena: Nope, he was my only child.
Manrico: … so you're telling me that you're not only a murderer of children, but that you're also not my real mother?
Azucena: Hey, I never said that. I took care of you! I raised you! That counts for way more than conceiving you, carrying you, and pushing you out my birth canal. You are – and always will be – my true son.
The Audience: That's pretty cold comfort, considering how you treated the other one.
Azucena: Shut the fuck up.
Manrico: … okay, I'm confused.
The Audience: Big surprise.
Azucena: Of course you are. Strong, handsome, and intelligent was clearly too much to ask for.
Manrico: But –
Azucena: Listen – I'm old and crazy and my mind was such a jumble at the time of the baby-killing that I'm honestly not sure which child I threw to its horrific death. Don't pay any attention to my ramblings. Just think – haven't I been a good mother to you?
Manrico: [sighing] Yes, mother.
Azucena: And didn't I feed you and clothe you and stuff?
Manrico: Yes, mother.
Azucena: And didn't I drag your wounded ass off that battlefield –
The Audience: Wait, there was a battle? When the hell did that happen?
Verdi: It happened between acts.
The Audience: This is why we can't have nice things.
Azucena: – after the current Count di Luna kicked your ass and left you for dead?
Manrico: moooooooooooooom you're embarrassing meeeeeee
Azucena: Well, someone needs to tend to your wounds and keep you from dying.
Manrico: It wasn't my fault! All the other soldiers ran away and left me to fight di Luna's army on my own!
Azucena: Everyone else fled and you didn't?
Manrico: Because I'm brave!
Azucena: Because you're a fucking moron. And a terrible commanding officer, apparently.
Manrico: Sad face.
Azucena: This is why you should have killed that asshole of a count when you had the chance!
The Audience: Did this happen between acts, too?
Verdi: Kinda. It's from the end of Act I, just after the curtain fell.
The Audience: [growls]
The Audience: [growls]
Manrico: I know I should have killed him, but I just couldn't! There was some mystical force that held me back and told me to show him mercy!
The Audience: It's almost like he's your brother or something.
Verdi: SHHH YOU'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO FIND OUT UNTIL THE VERY END
The Audience: Seriously? Because she pretty much just told him that he was the old count's son. The fact that he hasn't put two and two together yet is only a testament to how fucking stupid he is.
Verdi: grumble grumble
Azucena: Look, all I'm saying is that if you ever get the chance again, you need to kill that motherfucker until he's dead.
[A horn sounds offstage. Manrico replies with a blast on his own horn (not a euphemism). A messenger enters, carrying a letter.]
Messenger: I COME BEARING NEWS OF WAR AND STUFF
[He hands Manrico a letter.]
Manrico: [reading] “Dear Manrico,
Our kickass rebel army has captured the town of Castellor, and the prince has selected you to defend it! This task is of the utmost importance to our cause, so please make sure that absolutely nothing distracts you from this goal. Go directly to Castellor. Do not pass go; do not collect two hundred doubloons.
PS – Remember your beloved Leonora? Well, she thinks you died in battle and so she's joining a convent tonight.”
The Audience: Sooo you tell him not to get distracted from this mission, and then you include the one piece of information that is absolutely sure to make him ignore his orders. Great job, Ruiz.
Manrico: AHHH I HAVE TO GO STOP HER
Azucena: NO YOU JACKASS YOUR WOUNDS ARE STILL HEALING
Manrico: I WILL DIE OF A BROKEN HEART IF I CAN'T MARRY HER
Azucena: YOU'LL DIE OF RAPID EXSANGUINATION IF YOU POP YOUR STITCHES
Manrico: TOTALLY WORTH IT
Azucena: DON'T LEAVE ME I'M JUST A FRAIL OLD GYPSY WOMAN AND ALSO DEFINITELY YOUR BIRTH MOTHER
The Audience: NO SHE'S NOT
Azucena: FUCK OFF
Manrico: I'M SORRY MOM I LOVE YOU BUT I LOVE LEONORA MORE
[Scene II: A convent, conveniently located near the town the rebels just captured. The Count di Luna enters with Ferrando and several soldiers.]
Di Luna: Okay. We're all clear on the plan, right?
Ferrando: You're going to kidnap a woman who would rather be celibate for the rest of her life than have sex with you. And then you're going to force her to marry you.
Di Luna: Well... when you put it like that, it sounds kinda douche-y.
Ferrando: Little bit.
Di Luna: Shut up. I finally kill that asshole Manrico, and just when I think there's nothing left to stop me from being with Leonora, the bitch decides to become a fucking nun! I mean, come on. Who does that?
Ferrando: The woman you're in love with, apparently.
Di Luna: [sighing] There's just something so attractive about the way she finds me utterly repugnant. And when I see her smile, I feel my soul ignite with a fiery passion that makes me want her even more!
Ferrando: … when was the last time she smiled at you?
Di Luna: SHUT THE FUCK UP FERRANDO
Ferrando: Yes, sir.
[The bells of the convent start ringing.]
Di Luna: OH SHIT THEY'RE COMING EVERYBODY HIDE
[Di Luna, Ferrando, and the soldiers conceal themselves in the shadows.]
Di Luna: Oh man, I'm gonna marry the hell out of this bitch. Not even God himself will prevent me from getting a piece of that ass!
The Audience: Again with the tempting fate. You can't say shit like that and expect things to work out in your favor.
[A group of nuns enter, leading Leonora and Inez toward the chapel.]
The Nuns: [offstage] YOUR HEART IS FULL OF SINFUL DESIRES BUT JOINING OUR ORDER WILL PRETTY MUCH GUARANTEE YOU ENTRY INTO HEAVEN
The Audience: Yeah, that's not really how it works.
Leonora: Why the hell are you crying, Inez? You're not the one who's forsaking the world here.
Inez: [wailing] I'M JUST GONNA MISS YOU SO MUUUUUUCH
Leonora: Calm your tits. If anyone should be sad, it's me. With my true love dead, there's nothing in life that will ever make me happy again! I'm just going to shut myself within the walls of this convent and pray for the sweet release of death, which will reunite me with my beloved!
Di Luna: [stepping out of the shadows] Not if I have anything to say about it!
The Nuns: OH HEAVENS IT'S THE COUNT
Ferrando: Nice dramatic timing, sir.
Di Luna: Thanks! [to Leonora] So hey, wanna get married?
Di Luna: Well, too bad. I like it so much that no power in heaven or hell will stop me from putting a ring on it!
Manrico: Not if I have anything to say about it!
Di Luna: GODDAMMIT THAT WAS MY LINE
Leonora: My beloved! Is it really you, or are you a vision sent from heaven?
Di Luna: AND ALSO YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO BE DEAD
Manrico: I GOT BETTER
Di Luna: Well, we can fix that. Guards! Someone kill this asshole!
Manrico: Yeah, that's not gonna happen.
[A bunch of Manrico's soldiers rush in and surround the Count and his guards.]
Manrico's Soldiers: LONG LIVE PRINCE URGEL
Di Luna: GODDAMMIT
Ferrando: Uh, we seem to be outnumbered. What do we do?
Di Luna: KILL EVERYONE EXCEPT LEONORA
Manrico's Soldiers: BRING IT BITCHES
Leonora: WILL SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME WHAT'S GOING ON
[Chaos ensues as the curtain falls. End of Act II.]
Next installment: Act III
Next installment: Act III