Nocturnal
Pleasures

Rhinegold
A Musical

MUSIC
Jim Steinman

LYRICS
Barry Keating

BOOK
Jim Steinman & Barry Keating


"If light were dark
And dark were light
Moon a black hole
In the blaze of night,

A raven's wing
As bright as tin,
Then you, my love,
Would be darker than sin."


CHARACTERS:

VENDELA, a Rhinemaiden

GOLDA, a Rhinemaiden

FLOSS, a Rhinemaiden

ALBEREECH, a Nibelung

ODIN, King of the Gods

FRICKA, Queen of the Gods

FRIEA, Goddess of Youth and Beauty

FAFNER, a Giant

FASOLT, a Giant

THOR, God of Thunder

FROH, God of Fertility

LUGE, Demi-God of Fire

MIME, a Nibelung, brother to Albereech

MIKA, a Nibelung, brother to Albereech

ERDA, the Earth Goddess


TIME - - - Primeval

PLACE - - - Middle Earth

SCENE ONE: THE BOTTOM OF THE RHINE RIVER

(Watery music. Lights fade up to reveal the depths of a river. Fish and sea creatures float freely about. In the background, an altar-like rock formation, upon which rest the Rhinegold. Vendela, a scantily clad Rhinemaiden, swims peacefully back and forth through the water.)

VENDELA
(as she swims)
SWIMMIN' IN THE RHINE AND IT'S FINE (SO VERY FINE)
SWIMMIN' IN THE RHINE AND IT'S FINE (SO VERY FINE)
SURGING FOAM AND A WATERY WATERY HOME
GUARDING OUR DEEP-SEA SHRINE

(Two more Water Maidens join her. They sing together in 1940's harmony.)

RHINEMAIDENS
(as they swim)
SWIMMIN' IN THE RHINE AND IT'S FINE (SO VERY FINE)
SWIMMIN' IN THE RHINE AND IT'S FINE (SO VERY FINE)
SURGING FOAM AND A WATERY WATERY HOME
GUARDING OUR DEEP-SEA SHRINE

(dancing)
ROCK US, O WATERS
ROCK US, O WATERS

(floating)
WAFT US AWAY ON A WAVE
LULL US, YOU WATERS
WAFT US AWAY ON A WAVE
LULL US, YOU WATERS

(dancing)
CRADLE US CUDDLE US (AWAY ON A WAVE)
CRADLE US CUDDLE US (AWAY ON A WAVE)

(swimming)
RIVERBED RAPTURE
RIVERBED RAPTURE WE CRAVE

RHINEMAIDENS AND SEA CREATURES
(exultantly)
HI YA BY YA LY YA MY YA WHY YA DOO WA ZAT TO ME?
DOO WA BOO WA WHO WA YOU WA -- GUARDING GLITTERING G-O-L-D!
HI YA BY YA LY YA MY YA WHY YA DOO WA ZAT TO ME?
DOO WA BOO WA WHO WA YOU WA -- GUARDING GLITTERING G-O-L-D!

(Music continues under dialogue. Sea Creatures disperse somewhat.)

VENDELA
(still swimming, sultry)
Oh lazy me! Bored with guarding the gold all day! Let's take off and have some fun.

(The Maidens deliver their lines like the wise-cracking comediennes of the 40's movies --
Ann Sheridan, Florence Lake, Carole Lombard, Hattie McDaniels, etc.)

FLOSS
(the gruff one)
And what kind of talk is that? You know what would happen if we gave up that gold.
(sternly)
Father always told us --

VENDELA
(disappointed)
It's our sacred duty -- I know. I know. But that's ancient history!
(showing her skin)
I'm turning into a prune! Too much swimming -- it's unhealthy.

FLOSS
And if a thief got wind of the secret? Think what could happen --!

GOLDA
(wide-eyed)
Sisters, shush.
(looking suspiciously about)
We can't be too careful.

FLOSS
(also looking fearfully about)
Right-O. The spies are around us.

VENDELA
(sitting down on a rock)
I hate to burst any balloons -- but let's face it, we've been out of touch. Suppose nobody even cares about the gold now? Suppose --!

GOLDA
(not believing what she's hearing)
Girl, what's come over you? Are you feeling all right?


FLOSS
(hurt)
Vendela Voglela, you know the world is greedy for our gold!

VENDELA
Well, all I'm trying to say is --
(A loud crash from off-stage)

FLOSS
(always efficient)
The gold! Emergency stations! Quick, everybody!

(The sisters swim to their positions by the gold.)

(Albereech, the Nibelung enters, wet and lost. He looks like a character out of a very sick Walt Disney cartoon. Huge lantern eyes, long nose, scraggly hair and beard, pointed teeth. He is about half-human height with long arms and very short legs. Skinny, claw-like hands. Right now he is more frightened than frightening, but later on in the story...)

(He looks about, clumsy in the water, trying to be cheerful.)

GOLDA
(swimming frantically)
Who is it? What is it? Is it a man?

FLOSS
Shush, you two, it'll hear!

VENDELA
(to Golda)
Stop pushing!

(The three swim into a huddle. They can now see Albereech clearly. They whisper.)

VENDELA
Omigods!

GOLDA
It's a tiny man.

VENDELA
It's a dwarf.

FLOSS
It's absolutely revolting!

(Albereech stumbles about on the River floor, tripping over shells.)

GOLDA
What's it doing?

FLOSS
(one track mind)
It's after the gold, mark my words.

GOLDA
Kinda ugly, isn't he?

VENDELA
He looks a little wan.

GOLDA
He is a little one.

FLOSS
(sharply)
Fools! Silence!
(watches him attentively)

(Albereech trips and falls)

VENDELA
(adventurously)
I'm going down to him!

GOLDA
(shocked)
Nix on that!

FLOSS
(adamant)
You'll do nothing of the kind.

VENDELA
Oh, let's have some fun!

FLOSS
(warning)
Vendela --!

(Vendela swims luxuriously down to the dwarf.)

VENDELA
(breathy)
Hi!

(Albereech, who hasn't seen her, jumps nervously)

VENDELA
(seductively)
I didn't mean to scare you.

ALBEREECH
(stuttering)
P-p-p-p-p-p-p-p-perfectly all right, M-m-miss.

VENDELA
(laughing, to her sisters)
Isn't he the end?
(to Albereech)
What are you doing here all alone, you odd little man?

ALBEREECH
(sheepish)
Oh, um, l-l-l-l-l-l-l-lo-lo----Can't find home.

VENDELA
(sympathetic)
Gee.
(getting closer)
Well, I must say you've come to the right place. How about a little action, lover boy?

ALBEREECH
(very shy)
Oh -- I -- uh, uh -- Hmm?

VENDELA
C'mon, sweetie, how about a little kiss?

ALBEREECH
(blushing horribly)
Wa-wa-wa-wa-wa-wa-wa-well, I dunno. I-I-I-I-I-I-I d-dunno.

VENDELA
Well that's easy for you to say!
(puckering)
Come on -- just a harmless smooch. Not afraid, are you?

(Albereech musters up his courage, puckers up, closes his eyes, and gives Vendela a gentle peck on the cheek.)

VENDELA
(gagging)
Ach! Kissed by a toad. I'm dying! I'm dead!
(swimming blithely away)
And so ends our romance, Mr. Toad!

VENDELA AND FLOSS
Hahahahahahahahahaha!

GOLDA
How cruel!

FLOSS
Just keep an eye on that gold.

(Albereech, crushed, bursts into tears.)

GOLDA
(clucking)
Poor little thing.

FLOSS
Golda, leave him alone!

GOLDA
He's just crying his eyes out.

FLOSS
(warning)
Sister!

GOLDA
(swims down)
(sweetly)
Heia Hi!
(calling Albereech)
Oh, Odd little man!

(Albereech sneezes between sobs)

GOLDA
(admiring)
What a delicate sneezer.
(nearer, confidentially)
Hey, talk to me.

ALBEREECH
(still crying)
L-lost. V-very lost

(Floss and Vendela laugh)

GOLDA
(calming him)
There there. Don't mind them. I will help you find your way. But first you must tell me where you live.

ALBEREECH
Where the N-N-Nibelungs d-dwell. N-Nibelhome.

GOLDA
(cooing)
Nibelhome. And you are a little Nibelung. You have lost your way. I will help --
(Albereech looks up)
-- if in exchange you will give me a small hug -- would that be agreeable?

ALBEREECH
(blank)
Hug?

GOLDA
(pouting)
It gets so lonesome in this damp old river.
(persuasive)
Put your arms about me -- those masterful Nibelung little arms -- and squeeze me tight, tight so that I shall be thrilled. You will do this for me?

(Albereech nods "yes," and trustingly hugs her.)

GOLDA
(removing his arms gently)
Good. And, oh, that was exciting. Now follow my instructions and you will get home.

(Albereech readies himself to do what she says.)

GOLDA
Take eight baby Nibelung steps over to the Seaweed Wall.
Ready? Go.

(Albereech takes eight little steps across the riverbed)

GOLDA
Now turn south --
(he does)
-- five man size strides toward the coral patch
(she counts as he does it)
(he almost trips)
(he smiles at her)
Fine, you're doing fine, my love. Now six vigorous Troll-hops and you will be on your way!
(he hops across the stage)
One...two...right...three...four...into...five...and Octopus Pit!

(Albereech disappears into a hole. Huge crash -- another crash! The Rhinemaidens laugh uproariously)

GOLDA
(swimming back to her sisters)
And so, my toadie, good-by! Hahahahahahahahaha!

(Albereech re-appears from the Pit, covered with rubble.)

FLOSS
Sisters, stop! Stop your teasing! Look, you've gone and hurt him!

(Albereech angrily shakes himself free of fish)

FLOSS
(swims down)
Here, let me help.
(he angrily pulls away)
But I only want to help.
(he growls at her)
I don't blame you. After what they did. Here, honey, let me brush you off, you do look a sight.
(he pulls away)
You look kinda silly with all them fish over you.

(She giggles, friendly. He tries to untangle an octopus from his hair)

FLOSS
Now don't be that way. They were just teasing. Couldn't see you were special.
(turning on the charm)
You got class. Here, let me --
(she brushes him off)
There's my Nibelung sport. All better now -- Nasty sisters far away.

(They lie down together in a big sea-shell)

FLOSS
(languidly)
Look at me, beloved. Feel my hair: soft and wavy as the ocean depths -- and my skin, smooth as river foam. Say you love me -- do! Those eyes -- sensitive, daring as a mackerel. And your skin, so toad-like -- how it tickles me to touch it. Are you ticklish, my pet?
(tickles him. he giggles shyly)
The gentle laugh of a sea-shrimp.
(running her fingers through his hair)
Your ebony locks of porcupine hair, tangled and twisted as adders and eels -- your worm-like breath and bony teeth -- the scent of your body which staggers my nostrils. Never leave me, my garbagy toad -- Never never never NEVER!
(She slams the shell shut on him)
On second thought, let's forget the whole thing! Hahahaha!

VENDELA AND GOLDA
Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

(Albereech painfully extricates himself from the sea-shell. He is in a rage)

VENDELA
(for Albereech's benefit)
Floss, do you believe our Toad knows the Law of the Waters?

GOLDA
(playfully)
"Capture a Rivermaid, and win her heart forever!"

VENDELA
That's the one!

FLOSS
He wouldn't have the nerve.
(teasing. swimming by him)
Care to try your luck, sport?

(They sing as he tries, madly, to catch them. But they always manage to elude his grasps, and he becomes more and more desperate.)

GOLDA
CATCH ME AND YOU'RE GONNA YOU'RE GONNA BE MINE (SO VERY FINE)

FLOSS
CATCH ME AND YOU'RE GONNA YOU'RE GONNA BE MINE (SO VERY FINE)

VENDELA
HOLD ME AND SEE HOW SUBLIME A LIFE CAN BE
AT THE BOTTOM -- AT THE BOTTOM OF THE RIVER RHINE

RHINEMAIDENS
(together and variously)
CATCH ME, O LITTLE ONE
CATCH ME, O LITTLE ONE

(tantalizingly)
CLUTCH ME AND CAPTURE MY HEART
WIN US AND MAKE US
CLUTCH ME AND CAPTURE MY HEART
WIN US AND MAKE US

(seductive)
CRADLE AND CUDDLE US (AWAY ON A WAVE)
CRADLE AND CUDDLE US (AWAY ON A WAVE)
RIVERBED RAPTURE
RIVERBED RAPTURE WE CRAVE

(eluding his frantic advances)
HI YA BY YA LY YA MY YA WHY YA DOO WA ZAT TO ME?
DOO WA BOO WA WHO WA YOU WA -- GUARDING GLITTERING G-O-L-D!
HI YA BY YA LY YA MY YA WHY YA DOO WA ZAT TO ME?
DOO WA BOO WA WHO WA YOU WA -- GUARDING GLITTERING G-O-L-D!

(The music suddenly changes. The Rhinegold begins to shine radiantly through the water. The whole atmosphere becomes tinged with golden light.)

FLOSS
(serious)
Stop, sisters. Be quiet.

VENDELA
(noticing the brightness)
(religiously)
Father's Gold, shining through the water.

ALBEREECH
(still chasing wildly)
I'll get you. I'll g-get you.

FLOSS
(imperiously)
Silence, boob. The Rivergold calls us.

(The music has changed now to a hymn-like chorale. The water is alive with color. Floss recites her next lines as if she were a priestess)

FLOSS
"If light were dark
and dark were light.
Moon a black hole
In the blaze of night,

A raven's wing
As bright as tin,
Then you, my love,
Would be darker than sin."

GOLDA
O LUSTROUS GOLD
GLISTENING JOY
POWERS UNTOLD
YOU WONDERFUL TOY
EYE OF THE WATER
SHINE WHILE WE PLAY
SHIMMER AND GLIMMER
AND BRIGHTEN OUR DAY

RHINEMAIDENS
BEAUTIFUL GOLD
BEAUTIFUL GOLD
GOLD IN THE MORNING
GOLD IN THE EVENING
BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIFUL GOLD

(They scat-sing in the manner of "Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross" or "The Pointer Sisters")

BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIFUL GOLD

ALBEREECH
(half to himself, almost blinded by the gold's rays)
So b-bright! How's he do it?

GOLDA
Haven't you heard of the Rhinegold? You are stupid!

VENDELA
Say good-by to Love, kiddo, and the world will be at your feet.
(recites)
"Curse love forever
Make a ring of gold
And the world will be yours --
Powers untold"

FLOSS
(aghast)
Are you out of you mind? You told him the secret!

GOLDA
Vendela, really!

ALBEREECH
(fascinated)
So b-bright.

VENDELA
(to her sisters)
Stop your squawking! To make the Ring, you have to give up Love, right --

FLOSS
Right!
VENDELA
Well, take a look at our friend. Will he take the gold or us?

FLOSS
You've got a point.

ALBEREECH
(murmuring)
So bright.

FLOSS
I don't like it. We've never told anyone.

(All kinds of sea creatures swim in to worship the gold in its full glory. While they sing, Albereech makes his way unnoticed up to the top of the "altar".)

FLOSS
WAKE, FULL OF RAPTURE
LAUGH WITH DELIGHT
GLOW IN THE MORNING
AND GLEAM IN THE NIGHT
STAR OF THE WATER
SENSUOUS JOY
WE LOVELY MAIDENS
PROTECT YOU, O TOY

RHINEMAIDENS AND SEA CREATURES
BEAUTIFUL RHINEGOLD
BEAUTIFUL RHINEGOLD
GOLD IN THE MORNING
GOLD IN THE EVENING
BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIFUL GOLD

(Free-style scat singing)
BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIFUL -- !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(Everyone screams as they see Albereech just beneath the gold.)

ALBEREECH
(shouting down to all)
Y-y-you don't like me. Y-y-you make fun of me. I take th-this n-now, s-see what you do!

GOLDA
Stop him! He's crazy!

FLOSS
Fool, it's too late!

ALBEREECH
G-good-by Love! D-don't come back! C-C-CCurse you now and forever!

VENDELA
(screaming)
No! No!

ALBEREECH
(calling down)
Good-by, fishies! I'm laughing now! Haha! I'm l-l-laughing now!
Hahahahahahahahahahaha!

(He snatches the gold from its place, and plunges down the cliff with it. The stage goes completely black. We can only hear voices, echoed in the river's depth.)

Help! Bring it back! Oh sisters! I'm afraid of the dark! It's so dark! Bring it back! Bring it back! Noooooooooo!

(Through the blackness -- Eerie, thin, malignant light shines on the gold and Albereech caressing it in awe and wonder. All else is blackness. Music moans.)

ALBEREECH
"If light were dark
and dark were light,
Moon a black hole
In the blaze of night,

A raven's wing
As bright as tin,
Then you, my love,
Would be darker than sin."

(Light fades slowly on him. Mist covers the stage. Music of the gods begins.)

SCENE TWO: PEAK OF THE HIGHEST MOUNTAIN -- MORNING

(Odin, King of the Gods, appears through the mists. He is large in stature, bears himself nobly. Long hair and beard. The fact that one eye is missing and only an ugly scar remains gives him a wild look, but he is the "conservative" one, the businessman of the Gods. He raises his spear dramatically, and calls out:)

ODIN
LET THE REVELS BEGIN WHILE THE LIGHT IS STILL YOUNG
LET THE REVELS BEGIN, CALL THE POWERS TOGETHER
LET THE REVELS BEGIN WHILE THE LIGHT IS STILL YOUNG
LET THE REVELS BEGIN, CALL THE GODS TOGETHER.

FROM THE MIST OF THE OLDEST MOUNTAIN
FROM THE LEAVES OF THE ANCIENT TREE
FROM THE EDGE OF THE ENDLESS FOUNTAIN
RISE TO ME. RISE TO ME.

THROUGH THE SILVER MORNING SUNRISE
'CROSS THE SKY-BLUE MEMORY LAKE
COME GODS, ARISE, LIFT UP YOUR EYES
AWAKE AWAKE AWAKE!

(Fricka, Queen of the Gods, and consort to Odin, rises from the void -- eyes closed, as if she were still dreaming, She is beautiful, but cold looking, white pale face, painted lips, unbelievably ornate hair-do. She is covered from head to toe with jewels and precious stones.)

(A great grey castle begins to appear in the distance through the mists. Odin points his spear towards it.)

(A blood-curdling scream. Friea, Goddess of Youth and Beauty, enters. Long streaming hair, circles under her eyes, clothes tangled and falling off.)

FRIEA
NIGHTMARE! NIGHTMARE!
THEY'RE CLIMBING THE HILL
THEY'RE CALLING MY NAME
THEY'RE AFTER ME STILL
I'M GOING INSANE
NIGHTMARE! NIGHTMARE!
I'M SEEING THEIR FACES
I'M SMELLING THEIR SMELL
I'M CALLING AND CRYING
AS THEY DRAG ME TO HELL
I'M AFRAID I'M AFRAID I'M AFRAID I'M AFRAID I'M AFRAID!

WHO DO YOU THINK YOU'RE FOOLING
WITH THOSE SWEET KIND WORDS YOU SAY?
CAUSE I KNOW YOU'LL STAND THERE SMILING
WHEN THEY COME TO TAKE ME AWAY!
YOU TELL ME I'M SO SAFE NOW
YOU SAY THAT I'M ALL RIGHT
AND IT SEEMS SO GOOD BY DAY NOW
BUT I'M ALL ALONE AT NIGHT!

(Friea screams pitifully as the two hideous giants, Fasolt and Fafner, enter from the back. They are gigantic puppets whose "legs" are always hidden by the rocky boundaries of the set. Drooling, they beckon threateningly to Friea.)

GIANTS
(who always sing or chant, and always in Giant language)
SHAU HAUSE KRO-HUN
SO SHEE SHWAN VER-SIN-NEN-NUN
BICH IN EINER GROSSEN MUNN
ZICH IN SHTELLAR LOSEN BUND.

SHAU HAUSE KRO-HUN
MAY-NAY BAY-DAY ZETSUNFAR
BAY-DAY SEE-SHAY VAHAZSHTAR
WINE-DIN BARDENZEE MAY-MIRE
SHTAYN DIN HERTZSHLAGEN KAY KEER.

FRIEA, ZU BIN
FRIEA KOMTZ-ZIN

(Out of the sky comes Thor, God of Thunder and Froh, God of Fertility, in the nick of time, protect their sister Friea. Thor carries a huge hammer.)

THOR AND FROH
(taunting the Giants)
WAR CRY BATTLE YELL
WE'LL TEAR YOU TO PIECES
AND HEAVE YOU TO HELL!
WAR YELL BATTLE CRY
WE'LL BASH YOU TILL YOU BLEED
AND LAUGH AS YOU DIE

BLOOD OF AN ANIMAL BLOOD OF A BEAST
HACK OUT THE HEART BRING IT BACK TO THE FEAST
BUTCHER THE ANIMAL IF HE STILL CRIES
STAB AT THE STOMACH AND TEAR OUT THE EYES!

KEER EE AY KEER EE AY
AY EE AY EE AY EE LAY EE AY EE AY EE
KEER EE AY KEER EE AY
AY EE AY EE AY EE AY EE AY!

ODIN AND FRICKA
(over the others)
LET THE REVELS BEGIN WHILE THE LIGHT IS STILL YOUNG
LET THE REVELS BEGIN, CALL THE POWERS TOGETHER, etc.


FRIEA
(over the others)
NIGHTMARE! NIGHTMARE!
THEY'RE CLIMBING THE HILL
THEY'RE CALLING MY NAME, etc.

GIANTS
SHAU HAUSE KRO-HUN, etc.

THOR AND FROH
WAR CRY BATTLE YELL, etc.


FRICKA
(imposing and haughty)
We shouldn't stand for it. This is no place for Giants. This is a sacred placed...It is, isn't it? A scared place? What a lovely thought...It's so reassuring...We live here -- in a sacred place...
(thinking it over)
We may not be happy, or content, but that's no matter. Happiness would be almost -- petty, irrelevant in sacred place. Like tinsel on stained glass, really...
(captured by the thought)
Oh. Nice metaphor that. Or is it a simile? I'm never sure. Who is?

(Friea looks impatiently towards Fricka)

FRICKA
(continuing, even though the giants look restless)
We can never really be sure, can we? But we can be reassured. Here. We live here -- in a sacred place. What a lovely thought...It's so -- reassuring...Ah...
(she sighs)
(to Odin)
Well, you'll have to do something about it, Odin. The Giants invade our hallowed hill, they glance quite lasciviously at Friea, they mock the Holy Ones...

FRIEA
(vacantly)
Holy Ones?

FRICKA
(reassuring)
We are the Holy Ones, dear Friea...It is us...Does that please you?

FRIEA
(looking at the Giants)
I'm not sure.

FRICKA
You're upset. It's only natural. We're all upset.
(to Odin)
You'll have to do something about it Odin.

ODIN
(holding out his spear)
(wearily)
The Giants built a castle for us, a great castle, strong and safe. They have come to be paid for their work.
(stressing this point)
I have given my sacred word. It is that simple.

FRICKA
(looking at him)
You're really a pedant, you know that?

FRIEA
(sullenly)
There were staring at me...What pay are they seeking?

FRICKA
They were doing a lot more than staring. They were --

ODIN
(absent-mindedly)
Drooling.

FRICKA
(with a withering glance towards Odin)
How crude.

FRIEA
(demanding)
What is behind all this?

FRICKA
(throwing up her hands)
This bargain was struck without my approval. I want to go on record with that. This blood-signed, spear-blessed, sin-signed (ooh!) bargain.
(firmly)
No good will come of it. Look at them grin...They're actually --

FRIEA
Drooling.

FRICKA
(to Friea)
You're as bad as he is!

GIANTS
(very impatient)
SHAU-HAUSE KRO-HUN
IN HAAC BEIDE O-SEE-OHN
MAY NAY BAYD-OH KAY ZO FAR
IN NEE-KOLL SEE WILL NO MAR!

(The Giants reach out and grab Friea. Friea screams imploringly to the Gods)

THOR
(rushing to her aid with hammer ready)
Hammer crush Giant heart!

FROH
(threateningly)
Giant brains -- Giant jelly!

GIANTS
(defensively)
FRIEA ZU BIN -- FRIEA KOMPT -ZIN!

(The Giants reluctantly release Friea)

FRIEA
(wiping dirt from herself, sulking)
Only lust grin grunt! Nothing more! Lust grin grunt!

FRICKA
(looking at the Giants)
As if that weren't enough.
(wistfully)
Poor thing. If she only knew.
(contemplates Odin)
Odin, of course, is silent. Now see the truth in his eye: Friea will go to the Giants. Our Youth will pay for -- Home...It's pathetic...
(seeing the brighter side)
and yet somehow -- reassuring...
(sternly)
But, of course, it can't be permitted.

ODIN
(strongly)
Bargain cannot be reversed.
(to Fricka, defensively)
We needed the fortress. You begged for a home.

FRICKA
(disdainful)
I never beg.

FRIEA
(the truth dawning on her)
I'm not going!

FRICKA
I don't HAVE to beg!

ODIN
(adamant)
The bargain was just.

FRIEA
NO! I'M STAYING!

FRICKA
(parenetally)
She's going through a phase. It's to be expected.

GIANTS
(looking lustfully at Friea)
FRIEA DEE LUSTIGE. FRIEA DEE SCHLIMMINEE DAMN
KOMMT ZU TZEE OH-FEN-SCHLUMPFEN
KRYEN SIGHEN TRYEN BE KALM.

FRICKA
Have you ever heard such pomposity? I preferred their drooling.
(to Odin, firmly)
Look, I want you to break this bargain now. I've had enough! It's an irritation! It clutters!

ODIN
(majestically raising his spear)
Spear bargain holds. Honor rests in honest council. Spear law keeps us strong.

(The Giants nod, satisfied. Friea is furious.)

FRIEA
(threatening)
And what happens to honor with Friea gone and Gods sick and old...
(more and more dramatically)
Can't you just picture it now, getting weaker and weaker, until your brittle hair breaks and snaps, tiny icicles hang from your cold jewel eyes, tinkling ever so gently. And in the broken glass of the moonlight, you can see your trembling off-white hands as they reach...reach!...REEEEEACH!!!...
(the gods are becoming uncomfortable)
Oh, for one last drop of bloodshot wine! Which you gag on! And the night goes on and on, and you look worse and worse, for night was never your best season, until at last you slip away, slide and fall into the crack of dawn...A withered twig...Falling down into the crack of dawn...Disappearing...

FRICKA
(interrupting)
Enough! You don't have to be so melodramatic!
(to Odin, like a great detective)
Tell me, Wise One, who was it fathered this rotten bargain? Friea for castle, Friea for home? It stinks with the smell of Luge!

ODIN
Luge fashioned the bargain.

FRICKA
(exultant)
AHA! I was right!

ODIN
(somewhat confused)
You knew all along.

FRICKA
(looking furtively towards Friea, quickly)
Don't be so blasè!
(going into a rage)
Luge! LUGE --!

FRIEA
(spiteful)
Hates us and wants us dead!

ODIN
Will save us, is sworn to find ransom.

FRICKA
Him!? Our savior, the wild-eyed soul sucking Fire God!?

ODIN
Will bring us a ransom. Yes.

GIANTS
(impatient to Odin, seductively to Friea)
HEY, HAJZ-TAH, HEY! KOMMEN HEER MIT MAY!
LUMMEEENAY! LUMMEENAY!
BAR-GON NUGGEE BAY!

FRICKA
This is the noisiest crew I ever heard! GET OUT!

ODIN
Quiet.

THOR AND FROH
(chant)
Running flame, snapping bow, grinning wolf, coal-black crow, corpse still fresh, ice of night, grunting boar, adder's bite and Luge's tongue! -- never safe -- never trust them!

ODIN
(calling to the sky)
LUGE COME!

GIANTS
SHAU HAUSE KRO-HUN
MAY NAY BAY DAY ZEE TZO FAR--
ISHTAH NAJZ-TA KINDERN-SHTARR!

FRICKA
Where is the trusted scheme-shaper now, my husband?

ODIN
(worried)
GIANTS DON'T MOVE! LUGE COME!

FRIKA
YOU DON'T HAVE TO SHOUT!

(The Giants move to grab Friea. Thor and Froh leap in their way.)

THOR
Burleybones, skulls crack, bones bleed!

FRIEA
GO!

FROH
Dimwit, milk brains, skin rips, eyes slash, veins curdle!

ODIN
(desperate)
LUGE!

LUGE
(appearing from nowhere)
Hi. What time is it? Had a dream just. Restful or lecherous? Can't seem to remember...

(Luge, the Demi-God of Fire, is a bizarre creature dressed in glittering red and orange robes. Long beak nose, beady eyes that roll in his head, huge "Joker" grin, flaming red hair that always stands on end. He is always on the move -- gestures with a long jeweled cigarette holder. He is the ultimate Trickster -- nothing he says or does can be believed. His emotions can jump from ecstatic to despondent within the same sentence. His comedy style might be described as a mixture of Phil Silver, Leon Errol, and Dom DeLuise.)

LUGE
(continuing, always rapid and rhythmic)
What goes on? Why long faces? Castle finished. Work pretty good.
(bowing gracefully)
Hail Odin! Hail Fricka! Hail to the builders from over the Mountain! Hail to me! Hail to you! Hail to the dawning of the Castle of Joy! Hail to this good, great morning of Glory!

(The Gods -- who have been thrown by Luge's surprise entrance -- now begin to display their true feeling toward Luge -- hatred.)

THOR
(thundering, to Odin)
Shut him!
LUGE
(continuing)
Formalities finished. Work pretty good.

FROH
(appealing to Odin, scornful)
Worm-tongue -- tear it!

LUGE
What? Simple Luge rebuked, reviled? Gentle Luge? Nice Luge?

FRIEA
(with hate)
Luge the Liar! Tear him!

LUGE
(sympathetic towards Friea)
So young -- yet so vicious.
(to Friea, pleasantly)
Sweet Keeper of Love...

FRICKA
(regally)
Shut, Insolent Hot Mouth -- grovel!

LUGE
Rampant! You're all so rampant today! Luge hurt by this tongue lashing.

ODIN
Friea's ransom. What of it? Speak.

LUGE
(admiring)
Ah, God of action, not bluster.
(thinking)
Friea's ransom. Friea's ransom. Words ring in the memory -- thoughts not quite clear. Luge thinks. Ponders. Now Luge remembers. What was the question.

ODIN
(trying to hold his temper)
The promise! What ransom for Friea?
(grim)
Despair -- oath-swearer, if you have deceived.

LUGE
(remembering)
Oh, plan about Friea.
(explaining)
Well, no promise from Luge. Hoping to help. Tried to be nice. But to find you a treasure that cannot be found -- how could I say such a lie?

FRICKA
(to Odin)
Do you hear! AHA!

THOR AND FROH
(roaring)
Strike him!

LUGE
(continuing, unperturbed)
Friea is Youth. Freia is Beauty.

FRICKA
(sarcastically)
Aphorisms now!


LUGE
(ignoring)
Men like beauty. Women love youth. Said so myself. Who'd give them up?

FRICKA
(in triumph)
On your knees, Trickster! Now even the One-Eye can see how you lie. You lived on the earth like a woman, making babies, milked like a cow.

LUGE
(shifty)
Who says?! Who says!?

FRIEA
(needling)
You worked spells like a witch, flew in the sky like a bird, flounced like a girl!

LUGE
(outraged)
I never flounce! I don't have to flounce!
(whining)
Odin, help me! Luge hurt!

FROH
On your knees, Trickster -- Bonecrusher awaits!

LUGE
(to Froh)
You really are offensive.

THOR
On your knees -- I heave you to hell!

LUGE
You two ought to get together. Similar interests.

FROH
Splinter and scrape!

LUGE
(cowering)
Odin, protect me!

ODIN
The ransom, Luge. Where?

LUGE
Where? The ransom? No, listen to Fricka, speaker of truth -- I'm a liar! But -- I know a riddle.
(slyly)
Who gave a jewel to the Queen of the Gods to sit on her lap and tickle her -- fancy?

FRICKA
(mortified)
Oh!

FRIEA
Strike him down!

LUGE
Well, if you think it's that bad, I have a limerick you might like --

THOR
Slash and slice asunder!

LUGE
(maliciously)
And you, sweet Friea, witch and enchantress: what goddess enticed her own brother into bed, and then farted?

FRIEA
Oh!

FROH
Luge, no more!

LUGE
No more? But who, Froh, did serve as a piss trough for Troll girls -- made water in his mouth? Shame that where Gods go such a dung bird and coward should follow.

FRICKA AND FRIEA
Odin, SHUT HIM!

THOR
(wielding his hammer)
I pound you, flamer!

LUGE
Tut. For all your threats, Thor, I expect I'll live. Better luck to your wife, who laid with a lover once, they say, and the lucky one, I think, was -- time's up -- Luge!

THOR
(apoplectic)
Die -- !

LUGE
It is cast!...The part is yours...you play the cuckold. No need to rehearse, I think.

FRICKA
(stern)
Loud Luge, your tongue will soon rest, tied to a sword blade the guts of your ice-cold son.

ODIN
Fricka, no more. Luge spits fire, then comes council. Speak, flame-tongue.

(The Giants start to leave with Friea.)

GIANTS
SHAU HAUSE KRO-HUN SHAU HAUSE KRO-HUN SHAU HAUSE KRO-HUN!

LUGE
They do go on, don't they? Simple folk, but honest.
(calling after them)
Whoa, big ones! Why hurry?
(dramatically)
I've scouted and searched to the ends of the earth for ransom Giants might like. One creature there was who would let go Love. "What takes its place," says I -- No answer gives Albereech, grim little dwarf. But I watch, I prowl, I seek, I see. Gold he took from the Rhinedaughters -- now dark things happen in earth.
(conjuring)
Watch with me, friends. Watch, Gods and Giants. What goes on below? Join in my dreams, see with my mind. Ask me no questions and I'll show, I'll show...

(Luge waves his arms magically. Lights begin to whirl. Music begins. The scene begins to change, as he intones:)

"Something Dark Something Gloomy
Nibelung Gold - Robber -- show him to me!

Murk and mist Sulfur and Stone
What happened last night in the Nibelung's home?"

(The stage is plunged into darkness and a new scene whirls into view. A jangling jarring Gremlinesque music is heard mixed with the clanging sound of an anvil hammering. We are in a small dark cave in the bowels of the Earth. Albereech is working madly away at his anvil and bellows, forging the Ring. To either side of him, dancing and cavorting, are his two brothers, Mime and Mika; gremlins, the same size as he -- long nosed and hairy, with wild bulging eyes. They move like animated Zap-comic cartoons, with the warped but graceful panache of demented orangutans. They laugh and tease Albereech -- all too curious about his work.)

SCENE THREE: THE GREMLIN CAVES

(The gods watch from above.)

MUSICAL NUMBER: CHINKACHAIN -- Sung and Danced by Mime and Mika

MIME AND MIKA
(imitating the sounds of the hammer and bellows)

CHINKACHAIN! CHINKACHAIN! CHINKACHAIN! CHINKACHAIN!
ZUM! ZUM! ZUM! ZUM! ZUM! ZUM! ZUM! ZUM!
WA OH! WA OH! WA OH! WA OH!
CHINKACHAIN! CHINKACHAIN! CHINKACHAIN! CHINKACHAIN!
CLICKETY CLICKETY CLICKETY ZUM!
CLICKETY CLICKETY CLICKETY BOOM!
CLICKETY ZUM BO! CLICKETY BOOM BO!
WA OH! WA OH! WA OH! WA OH!
BOOM! CHINKACHAIN! BOOM BOOM! CHINKACHAIN! BOOM BOOM!

FORGING AND TOILING AND FORGING AND TOILING!
AND SEETHING AND BOILING AND SEETHING AND BOILING!
WA OH! WA OH! WA OH! WA OH!
WA OH! WA OH! WA OH! WA OH!

(They break into a bizarre little dance: a mixture of the three little pigs, Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee, and all those grotesque little insect dances you see in Thirties' cartoon.)

(Albereech does his best to ignore them and hide his work from their prying eyes.)

(The Brothers throw themselves wildly into a final chorus and collapse in a giddy heap as the number ends.)

Note: The following scene is played fast and rhythmically with strongly stylized, almost choreographed movement for Mime and Mika -- they are like crazy old vaudevillians who have played out their routings a million times but still find them wildly funny. They speak and move almost as one. Poor Albereech is no match for them with his stuttering speech and plodding single-mindedness. All he can think of is the forging of the Ring, which is just what he is doing at this very moment. Mime and Mika are beside themselves with curiosity.

MIME AND MIKA
(chanting seductively)
Cat in the cradle, Silver spoon, Little boy blue, the Man in the Moon --

MIKA
Hey, baby brother --

MIME AND MIKA
HEY!

MIKA
Light shining down on you now. Light shining on me too, telling you to ANSWER ME!

MIME AND MIKA
(chanting seductively)
Cat in the cradle, Silver spoon, Little boy blue, the scars on the moon!

MIME
What?

MIKA
What?

MIME
What?

MIKA
What?

MIME AND MIKA
HEY!

MIKA
I'm talkin' to you!
(an insinuating sing-song, with a Bob Dylan inflection)
Na ni na ni na ni na!

MIME
I don't think he's listening to us, ni an ni na!

MIKA
I agree! Bad form! Bad stuff!

MIME AND MIKA
(truckin')
Cat in the cradle, Silver spoon, Little boy beaten black and blue,
Little boy bruised and slit up the middle...

(They snicker in unison.)

MIKA
Hey, come on...Baby Brother...what you do? What you do?

MIME
(lurking about the anvil)
Yeah, where's the toy?

MIKA
Somebody else's toy? Somebody else's children?

MIME
Can't be. Can't be.

MIKA
Nobody else's toy! Nobody else's children!

MIME AND MIKA
OURS! OURS! OURS!

MIME
(holding out a claw-like hand, greedily)
(Dylan inflection)
NA NI NA NI NA NI NA! GIVE IT!

ALBEREECH
(sullen)
G-g-go away.

MIKA
(mocking)
G-g-go away. N-n-no chance.

MIME
(jive talk)
Come on, shunted baby shadow, walkin' all alone, stutter on over to our side and lay the little jingle jangle down-and-then-you-sashay out like a flimsy bit of stink! Clear the air! Clear the air!

MIKA
(to Albereech)
Hear! Hear! What you do!? What you do!?

MIME
Hear! Hear!

ALBEREECH
N-none of your bees-wax!

MIME
Did you catch that?

MIKA
Would you like a bit of it?

MIME
Oh, I heard more than enough.

ALBEREECH
(They are starting to get to him)
N-n-n-none of you B-B-B-Bees-wax!

MIKA
(lunging toward the anvil)
Give us a look!

(Albereech hastily covers up his work. Mime and Mika confer amongst themselves.)

MIME
Been at it for days.

MIKA
When will it end?

MIME
What he do? What he do?

MIKA
(slyly)
I know...It's more than a jingle jangle...We're not fooled...

MIME
No -- must be special.

MIKA
A delicate treat.

MIME
(trying to grab)
Lemme See! Givit! Givit!


ALBEREECH
(with all the courage he can muster)
N-n-no!

MIKA
Adamant!

MIME
Of all things! Bad choice! Arrested development A-Number One!

MIKA
Perfect specimen!

MIME
All upset! Nervous wreck!

MIKA
Not to be trifled with!

MIME
Riding for a fall!
(threateningly)
We know a lot of games, baby brother. Teach you some tonight?

MIKA
All over the Universe, tombstones -- lonely and blank -- just waiting for the names...

MIME
Baby Brother's a clean slate...clean slate

MIKA
If I took my burning fingernails and scraped them slowly on Baby Brother's clean slate and there was nobody around to hear the high pitched screeeeeech! -- well, then, would it ever have happened at all?

MIME
If a tree falls in the forest --

MIKA
Nobody there to hear --

MIME
Did it fall?

MIKA
Sound of one hand scraping --
MIME
TIMBER!

MIKA
NA NI NA!

(Albereech continues with his work, trying his best to ignore them.)

MIME
Look at him. Hammer away, hammer away, all night long, all of the day --

MIKA
He goes at it --

MIME
Hammer and tong --

MIKA
Hammer and tong --

MIME
Push comes to shove --

MIKA
Needle and thread --

MIME
Stitch him up good --

MIKA
Hail-fellow-well-knit!

MIKA
Hammer and tongue!

MIME
Pay the lips service too!

MIKA
Now keep your mouth shut --

MIME
Till the needle-point's through!

MIME AND MIKA
Look! The needle points through!

MIME
Now hammer and tong just a lump in his throat --

MIKA
He's got nothing to say --

MIME
There's even less he can do --

ALBEREECH
(covering his ears)
N-N-N-N-N-Not L-L-Listening

MIME
(into Albereech's ear)
You're pretty blunt, Baby Brother!

MIKA
(into Albereech's other ear)
Blue Baby Brother Blunt! Give him a shove! Give him a shunt!

MIME
A shunt to his side? -- But that surely will hurt!

MIKA
So shunt him aside and then down in the dirt!

(They topple Albereech from his bench. He still clutches his treasure.)

MIME
(slow)
I want to get the toy.

MIKA
Let's go.

MIME
Let's not.

MIKA
(craftily)
I said yes.
MIME
(understanding)
Oh, yeah...let's go...

MIKA
(to Albereech, casually)
Bye, Boob...Off we go...

(Mime and Mika truck off, sniggering with glee. Albereech looks about furtively to make sure he is really alone. Then, slowly, majestically he holds up his newly forged Ring. He speaks to it in a trembling voice, forgetting his stutter.)

(As he speaks, Mime and Mika appear silently at either side of the stage, and slowly creep up on the unsuspecting Gremlin.)

ALBEREECH
(to the Ring, as if in a trance)
Now, my dear, you're with me...He was right...Light shining down on me, only me!...Finally...Never alone.
(He listens as if it were speaking to him)
Yes. I hear. But it's cold in there. Oh so cold. My dear...I'm afraid...Let me whisper to you, please...Oh, I'm afraid...

(Mime and Mika leap from their hiding places and pounce on Albereech.)

MIKA
(snatching the Ring)
Thank you, my dear!

MIME
Gotcha! Yeah!

MIKA
(examining)
Lookee, Mime, a boob ring

MIME
All that work and all Blue Baby Brother makes is a boob ring!

ALBEREECH
(fearfully)
Givit here!

MIKA
(teasing, tossing it up and down)
Here! Here! Trinket flits about wildly...!

MIME
And who's the lucky lady? That's why he was smiling, Mika!

MIKA
Of course, he was going to give the trinket to a beautiful trinkuless! A beautiful trinkuless!

MIME
Brother's got a new love! Trinkuless shine on down, and show your trinkly face!

(The following exchange is played like and old Vaudeville routine.)

MIKA
Who's gonna be the bride?

MIME
Do tell!

MIKA
Grimhilda? No no -- she hates him.

MIME
Can't see why.

MIKA
Druzelda? Nah, she married the priest.

MIME
Ah, what a cross to bear --

MIKA
Night after night!
(Three Stooges laugh.)

MIME
Hencynthia!

MIKA
Sounds reasonable!

MIME
Oh, almost forgot! She's dead!

MIKA
Still reasonable...Even better!

(Three Stooges laugh.)

MIME
(ape like)
Who? Who? Who?

ALBEREECH
(making a desperate grab for the Ring)
M-M-M-Mine!

MIKA
(shoving him away)
Then it's not for a girl.

MIME
No. Not for a girl.

MIKA
Unlikely. Girls wouldn't have him.

MIME
The girls do not like him.

MIKA
The boys do not like him.

MIME
Then who did he make it for?

MIKA
(sensuously)
The snazzy little toy...

MIME
The quivering jewel of a jingle jangle --

MIKA
The jeweled quivering quim --

MIME
The forging hard and burning quiver --

MIME AND MIKA
(Dylan sing-song)
NA NI NA NI NA NI NA NI NAH!

(They switch their attention from the Ring to Albereech, who stands stupefied.)

MIKA
Oh brother.

MIME
What brother?

MIKA
Don't you see?

MIME
What's to see?

MIKA
He's a good little booby.

MIME
A good little booby!? Amplify -- Clarify.

MIKA
(holding out the Ring)
He made it for me!

MIME
Rectify! FIE! FIE!
(grabbing the Ring)
He made it for me!

MIKA
(grabbing it back)
For me!

MIME
(grabbing it back again)
For me!

MIKA
Me!

MIME
Me!

MIKA
(giving Albereech a big Bugs Bunny kiss)
Thank you, my sweet...!

(Furiously, Albereech grabs for the Ring.)

MIKA
Uh-uh-uh -- can't take it back!
(tosses it to Mime)
Catch it, Brother!

(Mime and Mika toss the Ring back and forth in a game of keep-away. Albereech runs, panic-stricken from one to the other, totally unable to catch up.)

MIME
Oops!

MIKA
Alley oops!

MIME
Ah!

MIKA
Here it comes!

ALBEREECH
(pleading)
Stop!

MIKA
(shoving him out of the way)
Hopla!

MIME
En guard!

MIKA
Cartouche!

MIME
Carcass!

MIKA
Carcass! My ass!

MIME
Your ass? My foot!

MIKA
Your foot?

MIME
It's a match!

MIKA
Briar Patch!

MIME
Friar Tuck!

MIKA
Run amuck!

MIME AND MIKA
Lord!

MIME
Love a duck!

ALBEREECH
(stamping his feet)
STOP! STOP! STOP!

MIKA
Hip hop hip hop!

MIME
Hopalong hopalong!

MIKA
Knick a knock knick a knock!

MIME AND MIKA
Suck a sock! Suck a sock!

MIKA
Gotta rock gotta rock!

MIME
Roll away roll away!

MIKA
Stoned out stoned out!

MIME
Cock o' the walk cock o' the walk!

MIKA
Jack o' the stalk Jack o' the stalk!

MIME AND MIKA
(pointing to Albereech)
HEY YOU!
("Truckin'" pose)
LET'S EAT AGAIN REAL SOON!

ALBEREECH
(over the brink)
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGG!

(He hurls himself madly towards them, but they deftly dodge him, and he smacks into the wall. He slowly crumples to the floor.)

MIME AND MIKA
BOOGIE DOWN! BOOGIE DOWN!

MIME
(gazing disdainfully at the crumpled body)
Hey!

MIKA
Not much of a sport.

MIME
Never was and never will be.

MIKA
What a crank.

MIME
Let him wank.

MIKA
Boys hate him.

MIME
Girls hate him.

MIKA
A consensus.

MIME
He offends us.

(Mime moves to kick Albereech. Mika stops him.)

MIKA
Let him go -- he's a loser.

MIME
He's a doomster.

MIKA
Always was and always will be.

(They start to go. Mika thinks better of it, and they return.)

MIKA
(holding out the Ring)
Here's your toy, dummy. Much good may it do you.

(No reaction from Albereech. Mika shrugs and drops the Ring onto the crumpled body. Mime snickers.)

MIKA
Bye, boob.

MIME AND MIKA
HEY! --
(soft and sinister)

ROCK ON...

(They "truck" off, snickering to themselves.)

(Albereech slowly raises his head from the floor. He fondles the Ring lovingly. He cradles it as if it were a baby.)

POSSIBLE MUSICAL NUMBER – ALBEREECH Soliloquy prayer to the Ring for Revenge. (CIRCLE OF HATE) [used to be ‘Within’ which I don’t like]

(Albereech puts on the ring.)
[BLACKOUT]

(The scene fades back to the Mountain Peak where the Gods have observed all of the previous scene. Fricka turns to Luge --)

FRICKA
Well, that's all very interesting --

LUGE
Yes, I thought you'd like it --

FRICKA
But so what?

LUGE
I beg your pardon?

FRICKA
What does it mean?

LUGE
(haughty)
Well, if you want to get picky --

FRICKA
Luge! No more games! What is the point of this display? What power is in the Ring?

LUGE
(dramatically)
Rhinegold a toy in the waters of the Rhine -- but Ring gives infinite power of control.

FROH
(concerned)
Greater than that of the Gods?

LUGE
Endless might. Untold wealth --

FRICKA
Ah --

LUGE
Yes, I thought you'd like it --

ODIN
(sharply)
Continue!

LUGE
Untold wealth. Gods sucked under before they can spit. Nibelung makes slaves of his people. Day and night, piling up treasure: red gold for their master -- jewels and stones
ODIN
Control of that Ring would be wise --

LUGE
(under his breath)
You have to get up pretty early in the morning to fool the King of the Gods --

ODIN
What!?

LUGE
(fawning)
Nothing. Nothing, O great one!

FRICKA
We must get the Ring!

ODIN
But how, Luge?

LUGE
Easy. Steal the Ring -- snatch treasure -- give Giants treasure, they give back Friea. Give Ring to Rhinedaughters. Luge has promised. Then Ring be harmless.

FRICKA
(outraged)
The Rhinedaughters! That watery brood makes me offended! For many a man, I am sad to say, has perished, allured to their bath!

LUGE
(approving, to Fricka)
Crisply put.
(seductively)
But, a wife could keep her husband attentive, to say the least, if she but knew the trick of that trinket.

FRICKA
(slyly)
I have turned many a trick in my time, Luge, but this seems to add -- a new wrinkle, shall we say?

LUGE
Yes, I thought you'd like it.

THOR
(booming)
A warrior should capture the Ring!

LUGE
(rolling his eyes)
A warrior? Luge amused at such innocence. Great craft to be needed.
(gleefully)
I'll do the tricking.

FRICKA
(very suspicious)
Odin, beware him!

THOR
(to Odin)
Don't heed the hot-head!

FROH
Trust not the schemer!

GIANTS
(choosing this moment to grab Friea and finally go off with her.)
FRIEA ZU BIN. FRIEA KOMPT-ZIN!

FRIEA
(writhing in the Giant's grasp)
Leave me alone! Make the stop!
(a la Fay Wray)
Aaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiiiiiiy!

LUGE
(harsh)
Keep it down! We're conspiring!

ODIN
(calling to the Giants)
Will Giants accept Nibelung treasure as ransom?

(The Giants, who were listening attentively before to Luge's narrative, stop in their tracks.)

GIANTS
(grinning)
YA YA YA
NIBELUNG TRAY-CHEN MAYD-CHEN HO!
YA YA YA
YA YA YA

LUGE
Come back tonight, fellows! The gold will await you.

GIANTS
(dragging the screaming Friea from view)
YA YA YA
NIBELUNG TRAY-CHEN MAYD-CHEN HO!

FRIEA
(mournful)
Help!

(Thor and Froh start after the Giants. Odin raises his spear -- a loud thunderclap freezes them in place.)

THOR
(frantic)
Odin, help us!

ODIN
We must hold to the bargain.

FROH
We're lost! Ruined!

GIANTS
(from the distance)
YA YA YA
YA YA YA

LUGE
(observing them from a cliff)
Off they go! Hiea Hi!
(waves)
The blockheads...

(The day turns gray and murky. All the gods, except Luge, begin growing old. Fricka gasps as she sees what is happening.)

LUGE
(turns and sees them)
But alas -- what ails the Gods? So withered, pale. Luge concerned.

(Froh looks sick, hunched over and trembling.)

LUGE
(trying to cheer him)
Quick, my Froh, your feathers are drooping!

(Thor, his face and hair ashen, loses control of his strength and drops his hammer.)

LUGE
(sympathetic)
Thor, can't you keep your hammer up?

(Fricka at this point has turned into an old crone)

LUGE
(horror-stricken)
And what's wrong with Fricka?

FRICKA
(weakly)
Woe's me. Woe's me. What has gone wrong?

THOR
(his voice cracking)
My hand is sunk.

FROH
(arthritic)
My heart has stopped.

LUGE
(wistfully)
Ya. Friea gone now. No Youth. No Beauty: decay and dust! Poor Holy Ones!

FRICKA
(weak but hysterical)
Odin, greedy one -- your crooked scheming has brought us to this!

ODIN
(resolving)
Come, Luge! Down to the Nibelung caves! We must win the gold from the dwarf!

LUGE
And give it back to the Rhinemaidens, right?


FRICKA
Quiet, babbler! Friea, the noble! Friea must be rescued!

LUGE
(with a magical gesture)
Into my sleigh, Wise One.

(Luge's vehicle sweeps onto the stage, drawn by three fiery steeds.)

LUGE
(encouraging Odin)
Off to the Nibelung Caves!

ODIN
(turning back to the Gods)
Our youth will return when I capture the gold!

THOR
(as Odin gets into the sleigh)
Fare you well, Odin! Beware the Tricky One!

FROH
(an old codger now)
Fare you well, Odin. Steer clear of the Liar!

LUGE
(soft. intense. dejected)
They don't like me. They've never like me...
(he laughs wildly.)

(The lights are fading on the scene, and the sleigh begins to "take off." The flickering music of Luge's Song begins, and in the distance we hear the voice of the fading Fricka.)

FRICKA
(calling pitifully)
O come back soon to she who is afraid!

(Lights are down on everything except Luge and Odin in the sleigh. He begins his song "Dirty The Night Away!")

MUSICAL NUMBER: WHO’D DO THE DIRTY? performed by Luge

(Luge's Song is a pounding all out rock n roller with Little Richard piano and heavy Stones style guitar.)


LUGE
(insinuatingly to Odin's ear)
YOU SAY I'M EVIL
THAT'S WHAT YOU SAY
BUT I'M TRUE TO YOU, DEAR
IN MY OWN SPECIAL WAY
YOU SAY I'M EVIL --
THEN I GUESS I MUST BE!
BUT SUCH A NESSA NESSA NESSA NESSA NECESSARY EVIL
WELL YOU GOTTA PUT YOUR TRUST IN ME!

(to the horses, driving them and the music faster)

CHAKA! CHAKA! CHAKA! CHAKA!

(The music and the lights go wild, and during the rest of the song, via scenic effects and choreography, we see Odin's and Luge's journey through the sky down to the sulfurous caves! Luge's steeds and his fiery minions join in singing the choruses.)

LUGE
(a la Mick Jagger)

I CAN TEAR OUT YOUR HEART
I CAN SUCK OUT YOUR SOUL
I PULL YOU APART
AND PUT YOU BACK AGAIN WHOLE
I CAN FLICKER AND FLAME
I CAN DO AS I DARE
CAUSE IT'S ALL JUST A GAME
AND I REALLY DON'T CARE
YES, I'M VICIOUS AND MALICIOUS, AVARICIOUS, IT'S TRUE
BUT IF I WEREN'T AROUND, LOVE, JUST TELL ME WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
WHO'D DO THE DIRTY
WHO'D DO THE DIRTY
WHO'D DO THE DIRTY DIRTY WORK AND KEEP YOUR POWER ALIVE?
WHO'D DO THE DIRTY
WHO'D DO THE DIRTY
WHO'D DO THE DIRTY DIRTY WORK AND THEN THE SHUCK AND THE JIVE?
WHO'D DO THE DIRTY
WHO'D DO THE DIRTY
WHO'D DO THE DIRTY AND YA KNOW IT'S REALLY HOW YA SURVIVE
LISTEN TO EVERY LITTLE WORD I SAY
I'M GONNA DIRTY THE NIGHT AWAY!

I'M THE FATHER OF LIES
I'M A MAKER OF SCHEMES
A PHILANDERING, MEANDERING, A BREAKER OF DREAMS
THE BETRAYER OF LOVE
I'M THE CONVEYOR OF HATE
SO GO ON, PUT A LID ON ME
BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE
CAUSE I'M SO TREACHEROUS, SO KVETCHEROUS, SO LECHEROUS TOO
BUT THAT'S ONLY ONLY TO OTHERS, BABY, NO NEVER TO YOU!
AND I DO THE DIRTY
I DO THE DIRTY
I DO THE DIRTY
I DO THE DIRTY DIRTY WORK AND KEEP YOUR POWER ALIVE?
I DO THE DIRTY
I DO THE DIRTY
I DO THE DIRTY DIRTY WORK AND THEN THE SHUCK AND THE JIVE?
I DO THE DIRTY
I DO THE DIRTY
I DO THE DIRTY AND YA KNOW IT'S REALLY HOW YA SURVIVE
LISTEN TO EVERY SINGLE WORD I SAY
WE'RE GONNA DIRTY THE NIGHT AWAY!

WHAT'S HAPPENED TO US, LOVE
I JUST HAVE TO LAUGH
I GAVE YOU MY TRUST
BUT THEN YOU GAVE ME THE SHAFT
YOUR FRIENDS WANT ME ELSEWHERE
GET RID OF ME -- DO!
BUT WHEN I'M NOT AROUND
WHO'LL DO WHAT ONLY I CAN DO!?
OH, I'M SEDITIOUS, AND CAPRICIOUS, AND DELICIOUS, WELL, I GUESS
STICK WITH ME, BABE, YOU WILL SEE, I CAN CLEAN UP ANY MESS
I'M GONNA MAKE YOU A SUCCESS
AND I'LL DO THE DIRTY, etc.

(The song and journey end in a blaze of glory -- then -- BLACKOUT)


SCENE THREE: THE NIBELUNG CAVES

(Lights come up on the gloomy, but gleaming Nibelung Caves. Wild cries heard in the distance. The sound of thousands madly digging and tinkling away on anvils. Mad laughter is heard near-by and it turns out to be Albereech, greatly changed now that he wears the Ring. No more stutter -- he seems much larger because of his proud bearing. At the moment he is chasing his brother Mime, also greatly changed. The poor creature is a mess: haggard, blithering, eyes sunken, clothes -- for what they're worth -- disheveled and ragged. He is hiding something behind his back. He squeals and groans as Albereech chases him.)

ALBEREECH
(laughing cruelly)
Hahahahahaha! Mime, come here! Miserable dwarf, think of the tortures coming your way, if you don't hurry as I command! Lickety-split! Lickety-splitly. HERE, MIME.

(He holds out the Ring which draws Mime to him like a magnet.)

ALBEREECH
(towering over him, holding him by the ear)
Now, where is the helmet?

MIME
(unable to escape, shrieking)
Ohe! Ohe! Ow! Ow! Leave me alone! Ow!
(pawing him)
Nice brother. Sweet master. I have made the helmet just as you asked.

ALBEREECH
(unyielding)
Why the delay? Show it to me!

MIME
(hedging)
I thought maybe something you wanted was missing...

ALBEREECH
Missing? What's missing?

MIME
(at a loss for words)
Well, I don't know.
(shrugs)
You know, here and there...

ALBEREECH
(mimicking)
Here and there! GIVIT!

(shakes Mime and the helmet falls from where Mime was hiding it)

ALBEREECH
(sarcastically)
Spare change, I suppose?
(holding up the helmet)
Look, everything perfect just like I asked.
(narrowing his eyes)
Would my own brother betray me and keep the beauteous work for himself -- work that my magic has taught him?

(Mime cowers, not daring to move. Albereech puts on the helmet.)

ALBEREECH
(satisfied)
Yes, it fits.

MIME
(trembling)
It's you. It's you.

ALBEREECH
But will the magic be there?
(whispering a spell)
"Secret darkness
Mists of night
Holy blackness
Hide me from sight."

(He disappears in a glittery flash -- audience can still see him however, he merely moves upstage.)

ALBEREECH
(softly)
See me, O brother?

MIME
(astonished)
There's nobody here! You are gone!
(looking around)
I cannot see you!

ALBEREECH
(viciously)
Then feel me instead, piggy! Take that for your greed!

(During the next speech Albereech beats poor Mime mercilessly. It is choreographed with Mime in the foreground, Albereech far behind him. Albereech strikes various blows, pulls, twists, and pranks in the air before him -- and Mime "magically" reacts as though he were being beaten. The effect is of Mime being worked like a puppet by Albereech.)

ALBEREECH
(hitting, kicking, or twisting on underlined words)
Hahahahaha! Ha ha! Thanks for your pains, fool, your work was tried and true. Hooooohohoho! Hoo! Hoo! Nibelung elves, bow down to your King! Peace and rest have now been banished! Work for your master who watches unseen -- You are his slave now and forever! Hoho! Hoho! Hahahahaha!

(Laughing wildly, and still "invisible," Albereech storms out. Mime is left standing, but crumples cartoon-style when he realizes Albereech has stopped beating him.)

(Enter Odin and Luge, briskly)

LUGE
Here we are! The Nibelung Cave!
(gushing)
Isn't it authentic?

MIME
(writhing on the floor)
Ow! Ow! Ow! Auggggh!

LUGE
(not seeing Mime)
Bats! Be careful...

ODIN
Bats do not speak.

LUGE
(spooky)
There are great mysteries still unsolved that even we, so omnipotent, do not yet --

ODIN
Quiet!

LUGE
(insulted)
Well!

MIME
(still writhing)
Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow!

LUGE
(listening carefully)
Something's missing --

MIME
AUGGGGGHHHH!

LUGE
(satisfied)
Ah. There it is.

ODIN
Who groans so loud?

LUGE
(trying to lead Odin away)
I don't want to get involved.

MIME
Ow! Woh! Ow! Woh!

LUGE
(who has, of course, seen Mime all along)
As, see here! It's only a dwarf! Hi, Mime -- merry dwarf! Luge didn't recognize your mournful cry! Luge thought it was bats! Isn't that silly --
(running on)
So much on Luge's mind, but still nobody knows the subterranean sulfurous caves like Luge --

MIME
(crawling)
Please --

LUGE
Yes, nobody knows the peaks and nobody knows the pits like Luge!
Why only yesterday I --

MIME
(wild)
SHUT UP! GET AWAY! LEAVE ME ALONE!

LUGE
How rude.

ODIN
Luge, we must help him. He's in agony --

LUGE
Oh, really? Well, in that case --
(very sympathetic)
Poor Mime, take courage! Help is on the way!

MIME
(bordering on the hysterical)
Help! Who can help me?! Brother is on the rampage. He hurts me and works me and makes me his slave. He's a horror. He's a terror. I'm afraid! I'm afraid!

LUGE
(patronizing)
And well you should be.
(enthused)
But who gives him power?

MIME
(looking about suspiciously)
Don't tell --

LUGE
Me? Tell? Poor merry Mime, your secret starts and ends right here with Luge, and only Luge!
(aside to Odin)
Take notes...
(back to Mime)
Now! --

MIME
(getting into the story)
One day he comes home with arms full of gold -- wet and slimy. Then he works and he works for weeks, without end, and he makes a little Ring. A silly little Ring. How could we know -- we laughed and knocked him down. But then he puts it on and hurts us, he hurts! He makes us listen. He makes us work! He don't let go! Oh, I'm a wreck! I'm afraid! Help! Quick! He might be here right now...

(he has a fit)

LUGE
You are safe. But why are you crying?

MIME
(looks about suspiciously again)
Don't tell. I make him a helmet. The Ring tells him, and he shows me how. So I forge and toil and I hammer and oil and I make it. But, why, says I, should I give it to him? Find out the secret, boy, snatch up his trinket! He'll be sorry! I'll be the boss! I'll be the King! I'll hack him and hit him and make him eat crow! Then kill him. Then hang him. Then make him drink glass! --

LUGE
And you're the one to do it too! Now -- getting on -- what happened then, you sly little slinky? Why did you lose?

MIME
(furious)
HOW DID I KNOW?! He never told me about the magic -- he wouldn't show me! He didn't trust me! And when I looked, he wasn't there -- and then he hits -- bop bop bop -- and I drops --
(sad)
Plop. Plop. Plop.
(a wail)
Oh, I'm distraught.
(he cries)
I'm distressed...I'm a mess!
(he falls apart, sobbing and writhing)

LUGE
(to Odin)
Admit it, it's not an easy job.

ODIN
(confident)
The Nibelung will fall, Luge, thanks to your craftiness.

MIME
(suddenly suspicious)
Who are you people? Snoopers?!

LUGE
Of course not! We're friends. Out for a stroll.

MIME
Down here?

LUGE
We're slumming. But now that we've heard your tale of woe, you must let us help. Tell us --

(Wailing and screaming from the background. Sound of a whip cracking. Albereech's laughter.)

MIME
(panicking. running every which-way)
Look out! He's coming! Albereech is coming! OOOOH!

ODIN
(unimpressed)
We'll wait here for your Lord --

LUGE
(cracking his knuckles)
I'm all a-tingle...

(Albereech enters, carried aloft by a pack of miserable Nibelungs. He sings the song "Master Of The Earth" -- a thunderous march. During the song, the dwarves must dig and pile up gold for Albereech, who commands with a whip. The number alternates between declaimed verses and sung choruses.)

ALBEREECH

MUSICAL NUMBER: MASTER OF THE EARTH

MASTER OF THE EARTH AM I
I TAKE WHAT I DESIRE
WEALTH NEVER ENDING
POWER ASCENDING
HIGHER AND HIGHER AND HIGHER.

RULER OF THIS RACE AM I
I'M WHAT THE WORLD HAS BEEN WAITING FOR
DIG FOR MY PLEASURE
PILE UP THE TREASURE
MORE AND MORE AND MORE,

HOI HO! HEY HEY!
PILE UP THE BOUNTY
AND A HUSTLE
AND A HUSTLE AWAY (repeat)

HITHER AND THITHER AND QUICKER AND FASTER
UP AND AROUND AND OVER AND DOWN YOU GO
FORGING AND TOILING AND SEETHING AND BOILING
REMEMBER WHO'S A RUNNIN THE
REMEMBER WHO'S A RUNNIN THE SHOW

ALBEREECH NIBELUNGS
I'M RUNNIN THE SHOW (HE'S RUNNIN THE SHOW)

ALBEREECH NIBELUNGS
I'M RUNNIN THE SHOW (HE'S RUNNIN THE SHOW)

YOU PITIFUL FOOLS I MADE UP THE GAME AND I MADE UP THE RULES
ATTEND TO MY WISHES -- OBEY AND BEWARE
DON'T ASK ME FOR PITY 'CAUSE I REALLY DON'T CARE

SHRINKING AND SQUIRMING SQUEALING WITH FRIGHT
SLINKING AND WORMING -- BRING ME MORE BACK TONIGHT.

MASTER OF THE EARTH AM I
I TAKE WHAT I CAN SEE
FIGHT FOR IT -- BRAWL FOR IT
DIG FOR IT -- CRAWL FOR IT
BRING IT ON HOME TO ME...


ALBEREECH AND NIBELUNGS

HI HO HOI HEY HI HO HOI HEY, etc.
BRING IT HOME TO ME

(The number ends. Gold and trinkets have been piled high around Albereech. He sits on a golden throne. He hold up the Ring and his followers scream as if in horrifying pain, and disperse into the dark corners of the cave. Mime and Mika stay to serve him. Albereech catches sight of Odin and Luge. The two have watched the previous proceeding carefully, Odin greatly disturbed by what he sees -- Luge couldn't care less.)

ALBEREECH
Bring the intruders.

(Mime and Mika lead over Odin and Luge.)

ALBEREECH
(sure of himself)
Speak, strangers. Tell the truth or die.

LUGE
(aside to Odin)
I'll handle this...
(to Albereech)
No die, I hope, Holy One!
(presenting formally)
This is Wanderer, surely you've heard of him, and I -- I am simply his humble servant. We hear of the great deeds of the magical dwarf. Come to worship...Maybe stay to grovel...

ALBEREECH
(to Mime and Mika)
Kill them. They are spies.

LUGE
No no no. No spies.
(smiles)
We friends.

ALBEREECH
Friends to the Gods are no friends of mine.
(eyes narrowing)
I know who you are -- one-eyed traveler and simpering slave --
Why do you come here? I know it must hurt you to witness my power.

LUGE
(incredulous)
Hurt!? Hurt!? Why don't be silly...We're happy! Happy! Joy!
An abundance of joy!
(aside to Odin)
I'm going to be sick
(back to Albereech)
You guess who I am -- what fun! -- much wisdom -- Luge impressed. Luge your friend. When little dwarf lonely and cold, who gives heat and light to brighten his cave?

ALBEREECH
Nobody!

LUGE
(taken aback)
True, but the thought has occurred to me --

ALBEREECH
You are not friend, flame-tongue. You run with Gods now -- hate the God haters. And Nibelung hates you.

LUGE
(with a winning smile)
Isn't this a face you can trust?

ALBEREECH
(stony)
I'm the boss now. I trust nobody.

(Motions Mime and Mika to go. They do.)

LUGE
(pouting)
Luge hurt. Luge crestfallen.

ALBEREECH
Except one --

LUGE
(attentive)
Who do you trust?

ALBEREECH
(showing the ring on his finger. affectionately)
My little one: see what she gives me.
(he climbs up on the treasure)
My brothers and sisters bow low. For me they work and slave, all for me -- for me. Look what they did for me: red gold and jewels, beautiful stones--

LUGE
(like a mixture of Edd Wynn and Daffy Duck)
Say, that's really something!

ODIN
What good is treasure here in this gloom, where nothing is bought with such wealth?

ALBEREECH
(Fixing his gaze on Odin. Amused.)
The one-eye speaks, what does he know! Does he dream of what's coming?! Haha! Red gold, jewels, beautiful stones someday will be armor, weapons, castles and prisons. And who will be first to go under? -- I know -- I think you can guess.

LUGE
Say, that's really something!

ODIN
(to Albereech)
Speak on, dwarf.

ALBEREECH
(enjoying himself. acting things out for them)
What will you do when you're nothing? When the gods are brought lower than the lowest dust? I'll keep you entertained never fear -- when I'm on top! Ha! I gave up love. You'll give it up too. But we'll still have fun. I'll let you grab for my gold through the bars of your prison. But you'll never get any. No gold for you. Ha! I'll let you gnash teeth and pop your eyes while you watch as your women make love to me --

LUGE
Say, that is really something!!!

ODIN
(grim)
Luge, quiet!

ALBEREECH
(carried away by his vision)
Ha! When I'm on top -- (and I will be on top!) -- I'll have the best fun of all! But you don't believe me?
(sinister)
Beware, beware now the armies of night! The Lord of the Nibelung shall rise from the darkness today!

ODIN
(disgusted)
Away, wretch!

ALBEREECH
(furious)
What!?

LUGE
(stepping between them. enthused)
O Wonder of Wonders! The Ringmakers words strike fear into our hearts!

ALBEREECH
(at Odin)
What did you say to me!?

LUGE
Nothing! He said nothing!
(aside to Odin)
I can't take you anywhere! Watch what you're doing!...
(to Albereech)
Prince of Elves, Conqueror of the Universe! -- Moon and stars, the sun and all his rays -- all got to bow down to you! Luge thrilled! Luge impressed! Luge --
(a thought seems to occur to him)
but, wait -- what if, by chance, some hateful thief slipped into your bed and robbed you by night? Couldn't a sneak ease that ring off your finger -- and leave you unguarded and trembling?


ALBEREECH
(amused)
Ha! You are worried? Is that your plan? Forget it!
(fondling his ring)
My Little One warned me about creepers like you. Make a helmet, she says, to guard you with magic. The helmet is done -- now nothing can touch me!

LUGE
(feigning confusion)
A helmet? But what can this do?

ALBEREECH
It can change me.

LUGE
Change?

ALBEREECH
Change.

ODIN
Change?

LUGE
(to Odin)
Stay out of this!

ALBEREECH
(taking out the helmet)
Any shape, any creature -- or disappear. I'll be what I choose.

LUGE
Ah, Luge excited. Luge in awe...But Luge no fool. You tell him a joke.

ALBEREECH
Joke?

LUGE
Joke.

ODIN
Joke?

LUGE
(aside to Odin)
Stop butting in --

ALBEREECH
(cradling helmet)
This is no joke!

LUGE
Much I have seen. Some of it terrific. But a helmet that changes your shape?
(looks at the helmet)
Highly unlikely.

ALBEREECH
You think I'm a liar?

LUGE
(coy)
Luge is skeptical. Much as he likes you. Strong proof would convince him.

ALBEREECH
Proof! Ha! See for yourself!

(He puts on the helmet and recites a magic spell.)

ALBEREECH
"Oozing venom
Seething with hate
Wings of iron
Scales of slate
Hissing, coiling
Evil pet
Give them a vision
They'll never forget."

(Albereech disappears. In his place is a venomous dragon, very large. Odin laughs. Luge pretends to be terrified.)

ODIN
(chuckling)
Good, little fellow, how quickly you showed us the true shape of your mind.

LUGE
(eyes bulging)
Oh! Ohe! Horrible serpent! Go away! Spare the life of poor cringing Luge!
(to Odin)
Dragons, I ask you -- tacky?...


ALBEREECH
(suddenly re-appearing)
Convinced?

LUGE
My trembling surely should prove it.
(demonstrates his trembling)
Ah, Luge sweats. Luge shivers. Luge having a heart attack...But he believes.
Oh yes, he believes.
(dropping his fear)
But big monsters one thing, true slyness another. Could you change to a small thing and sneak from a foe?

ALBEREECH
A small thing?

LUGE
More refined. Use less energy. Don't sell it so hard. True craft involved. But you rest now -- exhausted by magic display.

ALBEREECH
(not to be put off)
How small shall I go?

LUGE
That the tiniest crack might contain you. A size just right for a -- oh, something disgusting, that would be nice -- a toad!

ALBEREECH
(putting on the helmet)
"Creeping jimmy-jim
All alone
Ugly as sin
And sly as a stone
Hide in the cracks
So no one can see
Show the big fools
How small we be."

(He disappears. Over by a corner of the cave hops a little toad. Luge spots it.)

LUGE
There! He did it! Grab him!

(Odin puts his foot on the toad and captures it.)

ALBEREECH
(still the toad)
Aaaaaaaaaaa-iiiiiiiiiiiiiii-eeeeeeeeeeeeegh!

ODIN
(clutching the toad)
Good work, my trickster!

LUGE
Duck soup!
(leading the way)
Up now to Heaven! There we shall deal with the Lord of the Ring!

(The two seep out, with their captive. BLACKOUT.)

(There is a MUSICAL INTERLUDE depicting Luge's and Odin's travels upward.)

SCENE FOUR : THE GOD'S ROCKY PEAK

(As we left it: gloom and mist, the castle, Valhalla, cannot be seen through the clouds. Odin and Luge bring Albereech in his natural form, heavily bound. They throw him roughly to the ground.)

LUGE
(to Albereech, needling)
Here we go, fellah. Sit down! Take a seat! Don't you worry! We won't put the chill on you -- maybe!
(gestures sweepingly towards the valley)
Look, O Master, at the world you would conquer. Where, pray, is prison where you'll rot me in jail.

(He throws fire balls at Albereech.)

ALBEREECH
(struggling with his fetters)
Hot breath, untie me or someday you'll be sorry!

ODIN
(cold)
You're really caught now, just when you thought that we'd all be your slaves.

ALBEREECH
(beside himself with frustration)
Traitors!
(aside, to his ring)
They'll pay for this, Little One. We never forget.

LUGE
(filing his nails)
We'll need a ransom, of course, before you go free.

ALBEREECH
Ransom? What terms?

ODIN
Your treasure -- all of your glittering gold.

ALBEREECH
Robbers! Scum of Sky!

LUGE
(still filing his nails)
Oh, I like that one --

ALBEREECH
(aside, to his ring)
We're getting off easy, dearest, if that's all they're after.
(to Luge)
Untie my hand.

(Luge unties his hand. Albereech whispers a command through his ring.)

ALBEREECH
Now, let me go.

LUGE
No chance, until all has been paid.

ALBEREECH
Untie!

(The pack of Nibelung enter, led by Mime and Mika, who glance fearfully at Albereech. They make a huge pile of treasure. While they work, they sing a reprise of "Chinkachain.")

ALBEREECH
(as they sing, he directs their work)
Hurry! Be quiet! Pile it up! Hurry! They love it! They like seeing me like this! They're laughing! I'll make you pay! I'll make you -- Quicker! Be quiet! Heap it up high! Get out of here! All of you! Faster! Faster!

(He kisses the Ring and stretches it out threateningly. The Nibelungs let out a horrible screech and run, panic-stricken, in every direction. The treasure stands alone.)

ALBEREECH
(as he holds out the Ring)
OUT OF MY SIGHT!!
(when they have dispersed)
There. That's what you came for. Cut me loose.
(They don't. He sees Luge with the helmet.)
The helmet Luge holds, give it here, please, be nice.

LUGE
(tossing helmet on treasure heap)
We take it as part of the booty.

ALBEREECH
A curse on all thieves!
(aside)
What a lesson, Little One, we'll never forget!
(to Luge)
All right, all right. You have what you want. Now let the poor Nibelung go.

ODIN
(gazing at the ground)
There's a Ring on your finger -- it goes with the treasure.

ALBEREECH
No! My hand, my heart, my ears, my eyes, my soul, my dreams -- take them all but not the Ring!

ODIN
(grimly)
I ask for the Ring. With the rest, do as you will.

ALBEREECH
(nervously to the Ring)
Don't worry, Little One, they'll never get you. I know how you love me, I won't let them. I won't let them. There, there, there, my dear. There, there.

ODIN
(moving towards it)
Give me it.

ALBEREECH
(clutching his hand)
Get back! It's mine! Mine alone!

ODIN
Liar! Ask the Rhinemaidens how you came by the gold!

ALBEREECH
(nearly hysterical with rage)
You hypocrite! You'd have snatched it yourself if you'd only known how!
(to Ring)
It's all right, dear, all right.
(to Odin)
You think you're so lucky now to steal it -- to grab my Little One -- and still love, but you are wrong! Oh so wrong. You can't do it. If I don't have her, nobody will! That I guarantee, oh yes, oh no -- You'll be sorry. Yes! Sorry!

ODIN
(going to him)
Stop babbling and give it to me!

(Odin grabs the Ring off his finger -- it is like pulling off a limb. Albereech moans and screams in agony.)

ALBEREECH
Back! No! Mine mine mine MIIIIIIIIIINE!

(Odin tears off the Ring. The dwarf falls to the ground -- completely drained.)

ODIN
(Holding up the Ring. Quietly)
With this gold, I hold power over every living thing.

LUGE
(looking down at Albereech)
Well, now shall he be freed?
(Odin nods)
Off you go, fellah. Free as a bird.

(He unties Albereech. The dwarf does not move.)

LUGE
(kindly)
I hope you're not resentful. It's just that -- we had a very big stake in your poor stunted life, and we simply decided to drive that stake home...To your heart...Where your love is! Where your love shines...
(caressing the Ring with Odin)
...and shines...and shines --

(Albereech sees that he is free. Looks up in a daze. Then grins maniacally.)

ALBEREECH
Am I free? Really free? -- I greet you then with my freedom's first salute!

(His voice and bearing are now stronger than they have ever been. He is in complete control -- we can see into the depths of him really for the first time.)

ALBEREECH
As the Ring came as a curse, so cursed be it now!
Let none rejoice, owning the Ring.
Let no gleam from it shine on a happy mind!
Care shall consume the ones who posses it,
and envy gnaw those who wish they did!
Let its owner never be blessed,
Let it draw the slayer to his doom!
Let death be his portion, fear be the bread that he eats!
And while he lives, let him long for his death --
till I hold again in my hand the Ring I was robbed of!
So keep it now--
(laughing)
guard it with care!
(wrathfully)
But you cannot flee from my curse!

(Laughing wildly, he disappears through a rocky crevice.)

LUGE
(after a pause)
Did you hear that?

ODIN
(gazing quietly at the Ring)
Grant him the joy of complaint.
(he puts on the Ring)

(The murky atmosphere of the Mountain begins to clear somewhat as the rest of the Gods re-enter, still old. They hobble towards Luge and Odin.)

FROH
Welcome, Odin.

FRICKA
Have you brought us good tidings?

LUGE
Good news, Fricka --
(points to the treasure pile)
Ransom ready.

THOR
(looking directly off-stage)
Friea is coming, free of the Giants.

(Friea enters, running, at the edge of the stage.)

FRICKA
(holding out arms to Friea)
Come to me dear one!

(As Friea rushes to Fricka, all the Gods instantly regain their youth.)

FRICKA
(exultant)
Oh, it's good to be young again!

(The Giants now appear and silently motion for their ransom.)

LUGE
(signaling others)
Thor, Froh! We pile up treasure! Cover up Friea!

ODIN
(unable to meet Friea's gaze)
Let's be done with this quickly.

(Friea stands center stage, as Luge, Froh, and Thor pile up treasure around her to cover her completely from the Giants sight. Fasolt, the Giant who has fallen in love with her, looks on mournfully. Fafner, the mercenary one, directs the proceeding. Friea closes her eyes in shame.)

FRICKA
This is a disgrace, and I hold Odin responsible.

(Odin quiets her with a look.)

ODIN
Enough. Friea is now covered by the gold.

(Friea is indeed covered by the treasure. Fasolt sadly points to a hole in the pile which reveals some of Friea's hair.)


LUGE
(catching on)
Sheen of her hair showing through. Giants say helmet should plug up cranny!

(Giants nod. Anxious pause while the Gods look over to Odin.)

ODIN
(reluctantly)
Let it go.

LUGE
(tossing helmet on treasure pile)
All done. Giants be happy now...
(under his breath)
The big lugs...

(Fasolt inspects for chinks. Sees one and cries out. Fafner makes another demand to plug up the hole.)

LUGE
Giants can't see good. Treasure exhausted.

GIANTS
(pointing to Odin)
ZEE RING ODIN'S RING SEE RING ODIN'S RING!

ODIN
(astonished)
What!
LUGE
(to Giants)
Oh no. Ring goes to Rhinemaidens. Luge has promised.

ODIN
(curtly)
Stop babbling, Luge. The Ring I keep for myself.

LUGE
But Luge has promised!

ODIN
What you said is not binding to me! The Ring is mine!

(He fondles the Ring.)


GIANTS
(pointing. determined)
ZEE RING ODIN'S RING ZEE RING ODIN'S RING!

ODIN
(clutching the Ring close to him)
Ask what you will. All will be granted. But never will I give you this Ring!

(The Giants, furiously chanting "SHAU HAUSE KRO-HUN," etc. grab the screaming Friea out of the treasure pile and begin to make off with her again.)

FRIEA
(worse than last time)
AAAAAAAAAAAA-EEEEEEEEEEEEEE-IIIIIIIIIIIIII-ACGH!

LUGE
This is all really getting on my nerves --

FRICKA
(to Odin)
Haughty God! Do as they ask!

FROH
Give it up, Odin!

THOR
Hand them the ring!

ODIN
(still clutching it close)
The Ring is mine! It stays with me!

(A huge crash of music and thunder. Night falls. Out of one of the mountain peaks springs Erda, the Earth Goddess. She is clothed in black, covered with frost. Pin-spot on her eerie face. She sings the song "Hushabye" -- the number mixes the voice of a lyric-coloratura to the sound of a hard rock band. The song moves from a lullaby, to a jarring pulsing march, to pure rock sound, to an extended rock-coloratura passage, and back to the lullaby.)

(The Gods stand frozen, transfixed by Erda's presence.)

MUSICAL NUMBER: HUSHABYE performed by Erda


ERDA

I'M AS OLD AS A MOUNTAIN AND AS STILL AS A TOMB
WITH THE PRIMEVAL WISDOM OF AN EVERLASTING WOMB
OH I SLEEP IN THE SHADOWS AND I DREAM AND I SEE
EVERYTHING THAT EVER WAS AND ALL THAT WILL BE
SO LISTEN WHILE I SING TO YOU THIS WARNING LULLABY
THE UNIVERSE IS CHANGING NOW AND GODS ARE GOING TO DIE
TO DIE

BUT IT'S ALL RIGHT
FADE FROM SIGHT
GREET THE NIGHT
HUSHABYE

AND IT'S O.K.
PINE AWAY
YOU'VE HAD YOUR DAY
HUSHABYE

AND IT'S SO COLD
FINALLY OLD
COME THEN AND GO
HUSHABYE

HUSHA HUSHA MY BABY HUSHABYE HUSHA HUSHA, (etc.)

THERE'S A RING ON YOUR FINGER THAT YOU STOLE FROM A THIEF
IF YOU KEEP THE EVIL BAUBLE THERE'LL BE WOE WITHOUT RELIEF
THERE'S A CURSE ON THE GOLD ONLY TROUBLE SHALL IT BRING
ONLY MISERY AND SORROW, ODIN YIELD THE RING
FEEL YOUR DOOM IN THE AIR NOW FEEL YOUR DEATH DRAWING NIGH
OH YOU GODS DO PREPARE NOW TO BID THE EARTH GOOD-BYE
GOOD-BYE!

(Erda disappears back into the earth. Odin, stunned tries to follow her.)

ODIN
Stay! Speak again, Woman of Doom!

LUGE (softly)
Suddenly I seem to have an incredible headache --

FRICKA
(pulling Odin back)
You maniac! Keep away from her!

FROH
Do as she said. Remember the curse!

THOR
(to the Giants who have remained)
Back, Giants! Odin will give you the Ring.

(Odin at last takes off the Ring and places it on the treasure pile.)

(Pantomime scene between the Giants as they collect the treasure into huge sacks. Fasolt wants a fair share of the gold. Fafner refuses. Fasolt turns to the Gods for council.)

LUGE
(to Fasolt)
Never mind the treasure. Keep the Ring for yourself.

(Fasolt wisely accepts this idea. Unfortunately, Fafner slaughters him. Fafner puts on the Ring and, laughing at the gods, lugs all the treasure off. Gods stand horrified.)

LUGE (softly)
What luck, Odin. Enemies keep Ring. Curse gets rid of enemies.

THOR
(gazing at the grey sky)
Mist and Murk hang in the noose of the air. Stifles us.
Makes us sad.

(Intones a spell, with Froh.)

THOR
"Come, rain
Come, thunder
Drive the mist and swelter under
Clean the sky of heat and hate
Lead us to Valhalla's gate!"

(Music. The sky slowly begins to clear itself, turning to bright daylight during the following exchanges.)

FROH
Odin, the clouds are clearing.

FRIEA
(running to Odin, trembling, embraces him)
Father, I'm afraid, terribly afraid...The nightmare are not over, are they, Father?
ODIN
Everything will be all right.

FRIEA (amazed)
You're afraid, too, Father...All of us -- afraid...Why?!

ODIN
(staring into the distance, numb, cold, in a "trance")
You ask too many question...You must stop it....

(The castle can now be seen clearly in the distance. More and more sunlight.)

FRIEA
Father, are we really Gods?

ODIN
Of course. Yes. We are the Gods.

FRIEA
(weeping to herself)
Why, Father, Why?

ODIN
(troubled)
Why? Well, I'm not sure -- probably because -- because they worship us. Yes, that's it. Because they worship us.

FRIEA
Who worships us?

ODIN
Who? Well, I don't know -- it's been so long -- we never really stay in touch anymore -- I'm rather dark on that one --

(Rainbow colors flood the stage. "Rainbow" music begins.)

FRIEA
Tell me!

ODIN
Somebody, child...Somebody worships us...Somebody must -- Otherwise we wouldn't be Gods, I suppose -- would we?...

FRIEA
(stepping away from him)
You're all fools! You're pathetic! We're only Gods because they worship us, and we don't even know who they are?

ODIN
I don't remember all I used to! There's so much to care for, so much to do --
(angry)
Why do you mock me like this!?

(He slaps her brutally.)

FRICKA
(smiling)
It's all right, Friea...Quiet now...You've still got much to learn...

(A rainbow bridge now leads from the mountain to the castle. Thor and Froh gaze at it, transfixed.)

FRIEA
(harsh)
Can you tell me, noble queen? Can you tell me who worships us?!

FRICKA
(sharp, with a tinge of threat)
Never you mind. Somebody will turn up. Somebody always does -- in time...

ODIN
(reaching for Friea)
Child, wait until you see our new home...and inside thousands of mirrors, wherever you look...thousands of mirrors...for your beauty...so it will live everywhere, everyplace, forever...so it will never escape us!...Never!

(He holds her tightly, feverishly, almost crushing her...She is clutched desperately like a crucifix in the stiff hand of a dead man.)

ODIN
(with ardor)
Oh, very young!...My child...

(He kisses her full on the lips. She backs away in shock...He stares at her, icily.)

ODIN
You must have such a beautiful reflection...

LUGE
(on the side, observing...malevolent, sardonic, almost hissing)
And if you worship a God long enough and hard enough, you must be prepared for the terrifying possibility that eventually that God might answer you!
(continues)
That eventually that God will no longer need you at all! Because he will have grown strong enough to worship himself!

(He starts to laugh softly, then more and more insanely)

FRICKA
(exultant, observing the rainbow bridge)
Why tarry, husband. Your noble castle gleams in the sky, gladly awaiting the Lord of its Life!

(Odin goes to her side. The Gods sing the hymn-like "Rainbow" as the prepare to cross the bridge.)

MUSICAL NUMBER: RAINBOW & FINALE--Company

ODIN
RAINBOW LEAD US TO OUR HOME IN SPACE
CASTLE HIGH FOR A HOLY RACE
WALLS OF CLOUD AND A DREAMY DOME
HALLOWED HALLS IN OUR HOLIEST OF HOMES.

THOR
RAINBOW LEAD US TO OUR HOME IN SPACE
CASTLE HIGH FOR A HOLY RACE
WALLS OF CLOUD AND A DREAMY DOME
HALLOWED HALLS IN OUR HOLIEST OF HOMES.

GODZ
GLORY GLORY TO OUR HOME IN SPACE
GLORY GLORY TO OUR HOLY RACE
GLORY GLORY TO THE DREAMY DOME

OFF-STAGE VOICES
YEAH! YEAH! YEAH!

GODZ
GLORY GLORY TO OUR HOLIEST OF HOMES.
GLORY GLORY TO OUR HOLIEST OF HOMES.

(The Godz majestically approach the Rainbow Bridge.)

FRIEA
RAINBOW TAKE US TO THE MIGHTY TOWER
SHINING MONUMENT OF ALL OUR POWER
LONG MAY IT LAST, OUR PLACE IN THE SKY
HOME FOREVER CAUSE WE’LL NEVER NEVER DIE.

THOR AND FROH
RAINBOW TAKE US TO THE MIGHTY TOWER
SHINING MONUMENT OF ALL OUR POWER
LONG MAY IT LAST, OUR PLACE IN THE SKY
HOME FOREVER CAUSE WE’LL NEVER NEVER DIE.

GODZ
GLORY GLORY TO THE MIGHTY TOWER
GLORY GLORY TO OUR MONUMENT OF POWER
GLORY GLORY TO OUR PLACE IN THE SKY

OFF-STAGE VOICES

YEAH! YEAH1 YEAH!

GODZ
GLORY GLORY CAUSE WE’LL NEVER NEVER DIE!
GLORY GLORY CAUSE WE’LL NEVER NEVER DIE!

VENDELA
(suddenly appears from the Rhine waters)
GIVE US BACK THE GOLD!
GIVE US BACK THE GOLD!
WE’RE LONELY AND COLD
O GIVE US BACK THE GOLD!

FLOSS
(appearing beside VENDELAin the Rhine)
GIVE US BACK THE LIGHT!
GIVE US BACK THE LIGHT!
WE’RE AFRAID IN THE NIGHT
O GIVE US BACK THE LIGHT!

(GOLDA appears beside her sister in the Rhine)

THE RHINEMAIDENS
GIVE US BACK THE GOLD
GIVE US BACK THE GOLD
WE’RE LONELY AND COLD
O GIVE US BACK THE GOLD!

(The Gods parade majestically toward the Rainbow Bridge, ignoring the RHINEMAIDENS cries.)

GODZ
GLORY GLORY TO THE MIGHTY TOWER
GLORY GLORY TO OUR MONUMENT OF POWER
GLORY GLORY TO OUR PLACE IN THE SKY

THE RHINEMAIDENS
OH NO! NO! NO!

GODZ
GLORY GLORY CAUSE WE’LL NEVER NEVER DIE!
GLORY GLORY CAUSE WE’LL NEVER NEVER DIE!

(VENDELA subdues her tone, and softly pleads with them…)

VENDELA
PLEASE, SIR, LISTEN TO MY PRAYER
PLEASE, SIR, LISTEN TO MY PRAYER
PLEASE, SIR

GOLDA
PLEASE, SIR

FLOSS
PLEASE, SIR

VENDELA
PLEASE, SIR

GOLDA
PLEASE, SIR

FLOSS
PLEASE, SIR

THE RHINEMAIDENS
LISTEN, WON’T YOU HEAR ME?
LISTEN, WON’T YOU HEAR ME?
LISTEN, WON’T YOU HEAR ME WHEN I SAY---
(Pleading)
HI YA BY YA LY YA MY YA WHY YA DOO WA ZAT TO ME?
DOO WA BOO WA WHO WA YOU WA – GIMME GIMME G-O-L-D!

(The Gods boldy cross the Rainbow Bridge, mocking the Rhinemaidens below.)

GODZ (exultantly)
HI YA BY YA LY YA MY YA WHY YA DOO WA ZAT TO ME?
DOO WA BOO WA WHO WA YOU WA –GIMME GIMME G-O-L-D!

The RHINEMAIDENS still beseech from below.

GODZ AND RHINEMAIDENS
HI YA BY YA LY YA MY YA WHY YA DOO WA ZAT TO ME?
DOO WA BOO WA WHO WA YOU WA –GIMME GIMME

VENDELA (with all her heart)
G-O-L-D!

RHINEMAIDENS
(very softly, as they sink into the water.)
G-O-L-D!

(They disappear into the Rhine. The Gods enter Valhalla. Albereech slowly appears and crouches center stage staring at the castle.)

(The rainbow fades)

~ ~ CURTAIN ~ ~