Act IV: The Punishment *
* Since this opera is hell-bent on disappointing me at every turn, this act doesn't end with a medieval version of the Punisher showing up and shooting everyone in the face. Thanks for nothing, Verdi.
Scene I: A wing of the castle of Aliaferia. A tower can be seen in the background, which is apparently where Manrico has been imprisoned. Two cloaked figures enter and lower their hoods, revealing themselves to be Leonora and Ruiz.
Ruiz: Well, that could have gone better.
Leonora: Gee, you think?
Ruiz: I mean... it wasn't a bad plan, per se. It's just that the execution of said plan left something to be desired.
Leonora: What plan? You guys just ran out of the castle, yelling and waving your swords. It's no wonder most of you were killed or captured.
Ruiz: Your negativity is not appreciated.
Leonora: Shut the fuck up. Also, “execution” was a pretty poor choice of words, considering what's in store for my beloved Manrico.
Ruiz: Yeeeah. My bad.
Leonora: And while we're on the subject of dick moves, let's talk about why you apparently abandoned your best friend/my lover in the middle of a battle and let him get captured.
The Audience: Because Ruiz isn't a suicidal moron?
Ruiz: Look. We can sit here all day and play the blame game, or we can figure out how to rescue Manrico.
Leonora: There's no “we.” It's just me. Get the fuck out of here.
Ruiz: Are you serious? I helped you escape Castellor! And – against my better judgement, I might add – I helped you break into the enemy stronghold!
The Audience: Actually, that's pretty awesome. This guy's kind of a badass.
Ruiz: Long story short, you need me.
Leonora: Nope! This ring on my hand is all the protection I need!
Ruiz: Whatever, Green Lantern. Just try not to get your dumb ass killed.
Leonora: Actually, getting my dumb ass killed is crucial to my plan.
Ruiz: [facepalm] Okay, fuck this noise. I'm out of here.
The Audience: NOOOO RUIZ DON'T LEAVE YOU'RE THE ONLY ONE WHO'S REMOTELY COMPETENT
Ruiz: Goddamn right I am.
[He leaves, taking with him everyone else's capacity to make good decisions. From this point on, all the characters act like complete jackasses.]
The Audience: … and how, exactly, is that different from the other three acts?
Leonora: [stroking her ring] Yes, my precious, you shall be my salvation...
The Audience: Is she –
Leonora: … preciousssssss …
The Audience: – she is. Okay.
Leonora: It's so wonderful to be back in the presence of my beloved – or, you know, the general vicinity of my beloved!
The Audience: You're just a big bag full of crazy, aren't you.
Leonora: Even though he doesn't know I'm here, it would be awesome if the breeze could carry my feelings of love to his cell and comfort him in his loneliness!
The Breeze: whooooosh okay but that's really not how air currents work whooooooooosh
Priests: [offstage] DEAR GOD PLEASE HAVE MERCY ON THIS GUY WE'RE ABOUT TO PUT TO DEATH EVEN THOUGH HE TOTALLY HAS IT COMING
Leonora: OH GOD THEY'RE GONNA KILL MANRICO
Manrico: [offstage] I WELCOME DEATH BECAUSE I CAN'T BE WITH LEONORA
The Audience: Oh, for the love of god. STOP BEING SUCH A WHINY TEENAGER
Manrico: HEY I'M ABOUT TO BE EXECUTED SO I THINK A LITTLE WHINING IS ALLOWED
The Audience: [sigh] … fair enough.
Manrico: GOODBYE LEONORA
Leonora: NOOO I DON'T WANT HIM TO DIE
Manrico: LEONORA ON THE SLIM CHANCE YOU'VE SNUCK INTO THE CASTLE AND YOU'RE LISTENING TO ME RIGHT NOW I JUST WANT TO TELL YOU NOT TO FORGET ME BECAUSE THAT WOULD BE PRETTY UNCOOL
Leonora: I COULD NEVER FORGET YOU BECAUSE I LOVE YOU SO MUCH THAT I WOULD SACRIFICE MY OWN LIFE TO SAVE YOURS SO WE CAN BE REUNITED IN HEAVEN
The Audience: If death is the only way you can be reunited, why are you even trying to save his life? Wouldn't it just make more sense to kill yourself now?
Leonora: Because... I... uh...
The Audience: Yeah, that's what we thought.
Leonora: SHUT UP I'M TRYING TO BE ROMANTIC HERE
[Count di Luna enters with several followers. Leonora hides.]
Di Luna: Okay, so I'm going to go over it one more time. When dawn comes, I want you to behead the rebel and burn the gypsy at the stake. Got it?
His Followers: Probably!
Di Luna: Good. Now get the hell out of here; I need to get my brood on.
[His followers exit.]
Di Luna: You know, it's entirely possible that I'm abusing my power by ordering these executions, but fuck it. The only thing I care about anymore is having dirty, violent sex with Leonora, and that bitch is nowhere to be found! HOW IS THAT REMOTELY FAIR
[Leonora emerges from her hiding place.]
Leonora: I think we need to have a little talk.
Di Luna: HOLY CRAP HOW DID YOU GET IN HERE
Leonora: I had a little help from a stone-cold badass.
Ruiz: [offstage] wooooooooo
Leonora: Basically, I'm here to ask you if you might be willing to let Manrico go.
Di Luna: Nnnnnope.
Leonora: Pretty please?
Di Luna: Nnnnnnooooope.
Leonora: PLEASE I'M BEGGING YOU I'D DO ANYTHING
Di Luna: LISTEN YOU HEARTLESS BITCH THE MORE YOU BEG FOR HIS LIFE THE MORE I WANT TO KILL HIM SO THERE'S NOTHING YOU COULD POSSIBLY DO TO MAKE ME –
[Leonora shimmies seductively.]
Di Luna: … I stand corrected. You'd do anything, you say?
Leonora: [sigh] Yes, I'd even marry you.
Di Luna: Oh, we're way past that. The way I see it, there's a pretty solid chance that you and Manrico have already gone to town on each other – and there's no point in marrying a woman who's lost her virginity to someone else, because that's literally the only thing of value a woman has to offer a man!
The Audience: [growl]
Di Luna: Well, that and a hefty dowry.
Leonora: So... you don't want me anymore?
Di Luna: Oh, I never said that. I'm just thinking that maybe we could work out some kind of fuck-buddy arrangement instead of actually getting married. [undoing his pants] All aboard the Di Luna Express, baby.
Leonora: I think I just threw up a little.
Di Luna: I BEEN REALLY TRYIN' BABY
TRYIN' TO HOLD BACK THESE FEELINGS FOR SO LONG
AND IF YOU FEEL LIKE I FEEL BABY
THEN COME ON OHHH COME ON
LET'S GET IT ONNNN
Leonora: Aaaand I'm gonna stop you right there.
Di Luna: But you said –
Leonora: You free Manrico first, and then you can ravish me and whatnot.
Di Luna: Fiiiine. You promise?
Leonora: I swear on my own grave!
Di Luna: That sounds completely trustworthy!
[Di Luna calls a guard and takes a moment to confer with him.]
Leonora: Yeah, I'm totally gonna poison myself before he can get all up on this.
The Audience: Isn't that kinda breaking your promise?
Leonora: I mean, not really. He's welcome to do whatever he wants with my corpse.
The Audience: … gross.
[Leonora opens the Secret Poison Compartment™ on her ring.]
Leonora: DU RING AN MEINEM FINGER
MEIN GIFTIGES RINGELEIN
ICH DRÜCKE DICH FROMM AN DIE LIPPEN...
[She swallows the poison. Di Luna dismisses the guard.]
Di Luna: Okay, it's all set. We'll release Manrico –
Leonora: OH WONDERFUL RAPTURE AND BLISS
Di Luna: – and then I can take you back to my chambers and tear off all your clothes.
Di Luna: WOOO THERE'S NO POSSIBLE WAY THIS COULD GO WRONG
[Scene II: The dungeon of Aliaferia. Azucena is lying on a mat in the corner; Manrico is seated a few feet away.]
Manrico: Hey, mom.
Manrico: Are you still awake?
Azucena: I am now.
Manrico: Well, that's no good. You should try to get some sleep.
Azucena: … you're the worst son ever.
Manrico: Hey! I tried to come rescue you from a fiery death, so I think a little gratitude might be in order.
Azucena: I'd be more grateful if you had actually succeeded.
Manrico: Shut up. It's the thought that counts.
Azucena: I'll keep that in mind when my flesh is being seared by ravenous tongues of fire.
Manrico: You know what? I can't talk to you when you're like this.
Azucena: So do us both a favor and stop talking.
Azucena: Look, I'm sorry. I'm just a little on edge because of the whole “being sentenced to death” thing.
Manrico: I know the feeling.
Azucena: But it's okay, because I'm pretty sure I'm going to die before they come throw me on the fire.
Manrico: Oh. Are you sick?
The Audience: No, but really. Is she actually dying?
Verdi: What do I look like, a doctor?
Azucena: Yes sir, they're only going to find my lifeless corpse when they come to get me and OH GOD THEY'RE COMING TO GET ME RIGHT NOW
Manrico: No one's coming, mom.
Azucena: MANRICOOO PROTECT YOUR POOR MOTHER
Manrico: Calm your tits, mom.
Azucena: OH GOD I DON'T WANT TO BE BURNED ALIVE
The Audience: To be fair, I don't think that's a thing that anyone wants.
Azucena: I STILL REMEMBER THE SIGHT OF MY MOTHER ON THE PYRE IT WAS AWFUL
Manrico: Well, take comfort in knowing that you're apparently going to die for some other reason before they can come get you.
Azucena: I WAS JUST MAKING THAT SHIT UP
Manrico: Oh. Then yeah, you're pretty much fucked.
Azucena: OH GOD I'M GONNA GET BURNED ALIVE
The Audience: If it's any consolation, you'll probably die from carbon monoxide poisoning before the flames can do much damage.
The Audience: Well, unless the pyre-builder is really good at his job. If it's done right, it can last for hours and be utterly excruciating.
Azucena: YOU'RE NOT HELPING ANYMORE
Manrico: Just calm down and go to sleep, mom.
Azucena: Okay, but wake me up if I start having nightmares.
[Azucena drifts off to sleep. Leonora enters.]
Leonora: MANRICO MY BELOVED
Manrico: SHHHH MY MOM IS SLEEPING
Leonora: MANRICO MY BELOVED
Manrico: Thank you. What are you doing here? Is this one of those conjugal visits I've been hearing about?
Leonora: Even better – you're free!
Manrico: Holy shit. They're just letting us go?
Leonora: Well... not “us” so much as “just you.”
Manrico: You're not coming with me?
Leonora: Yeah, but it's fine. Just leave already!
Manrico: Waaaaait a minute. Did you promise to marry Count di Luna in exchange for my freedom?
Leonora: Well, not “marry,” exactly...
Manrico: YOU DIRTY HUSSY HOW COULD YOU BETRAY OUR LOVE
Leonora: I'M SAVING YOUR LIFE YOU UNGRATEFUL ASSHOLE
Azucena: [mumbling in her sleep] … yeah, more pancakes … sing me a song about the mountains …
Manrico: WELL I'M NOT GONNA LEAVE BECAUSE FUCK YOU
Leonora: JUST LISTEN TO ME
Manrico: LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU BECAUSE YOU'RE A SLUTTY SLUT SLUT
Leonora: I TOOK POISON SO I WOULDN'T HAVE TO YIELD TO THE COUNT'S ADVANCES
Manrico: … wait, what?
Leonora: I'm literally dying to save your life. Now get the fuck out of here.
[She falls over.]
Manrico: OH NO WHAT HAVE I DONE I CAN'T BELIEVE I WAS A JERK TO YOU
Leonora: It's … fine. I didn't expect … it would be so quick …
The Audience: thaaaaaat's what she said
Manrico: OH GOD TAKE CARE OF THIS BEAUTIFUL ANGEL
Leonora: … just leave already …
Manrico: NO I'M GONNA STAY WITH YOU
[Di Luna enters and sees what's going on.]
Leonora: I'm just glad … I'll never have to sleep with that asshole …
Di Luna: GodDAMMIT.
Di Luna: Well, since she broke her promise, I don't have to keep mine. Guards! It's time to execute the prisoner!
[Several guards enter and drag Manrico out.]
Manrico: GOODBYE MOM YOU WERE THE BEST BIOLOGICAL MOTHER A REBEL GENERAL COULD HAVE ASKED FOR
Azucena: [waking up] Manrico! [to the Count] What have you done with him?
Di Luna: Oh, you know. He's just about to get beheaded.
Azucena: See, the thing about that is...
Di Luna: No time to listen to you! Look out the window!
The Audience: Now might be a really good time to mention that he's actually the Count's long-lost brother.
[Azucena goes over to the window and watches Manrico get beheaded.]
Di Luna: Aaaaand now he's dead! Hooray!
The Audience: Or not.
Azucena: YOU FOOL HE WAS YOUR LONG-LOST BROTHER
Di Luna: OH GOD WHAT HAVE I DONE
Azucena: AND NOW MY MOTHER'S VENGEANCE IS COMPLETE
Di Luna: Fuuuuuuck.
The Audience: … so, wait. Instead of possibly saving the life of the man you raised as a son, you decided to wait until after he was dead to reveal your big secret.
The Audience: And the only reason he was captured in the first place was because he was trying to save your life.
Azucena: Yuuuuuup. But it was totally worth it to see the expression on the Count's face!
The Audience: … you're a bitch.
[End of the opera.]