MR. CHIMPANZEE: Operetta in one act


Jules Verne (1858)

Translated and adapted by

Frank J. Morlock (2003)

Translation and Adaptation Copyright © 2003 by Frank J. Morlock

This Etext is for private use only. No republication for profit in print or other media may be made without the express consent of the Copyright Holder. The Copyright Holder is especially concerned about performance rights in any media on stage, cinema, or television, or audio or any other media, including readings for which an entrance fee or the like is charge. Permissions should be addressed to: Frank Morlock, 6006 Greenbelt Rd, #312, Greenbelt, MD 20770, USA or FrankMorlock at Other works by this author may be found at CadyTech, Blackmask Online and Project Gutenberg.

Edited to HTML by Zvi Har’El from an Etext by Dagny


VAN CARCASS, employed at the Museum of Rotterdam

ETAMINE, his daughter

BAPTISTE, his servant


AT RISE, Baptiste is alone on the stage waxing the floor, proudly he interrupts his work and stands straight up.

BAPTISTE: What! to leave possibly one of the greatest families in Spain and to be reduced to entering the domestic service in the home of a museum curator! To descend from the Dukes of Las Pirouettas y Guimbardo y Tambour de Basco de la Cibouletta and to ceaselessly climb up to the top of a granary! to serve a man who lives in the midst of stuffed animals! Fatal destiny! bitter scorn! (he waxes, raging) After that, Doctor Van Carcass, my master, has a very pretty daughter, Miss Etamine! Truly, beside her, the Queen would almost seem ugly! I love that young girl whose childhood was spent in the midst of animal skeletons of all sorts: why doesn’t she love me? (he clasps the mop to his breast) Under this broom beats a manly heart? Yes! a warm heart beats! meaning, no! a heart beats warmly! No. In the end, never mind! (coming forward) Ah! If I was in Spain, young girl, if I had a jerkin with sleeves like they have there. (he points to his used smock coat) If I wore the high breeches of my ancestors—I would sing you a serenade.

(Baptiste sings and accompanies himself with his broom.)

BAPTISTE: By Saint James of Compestella,
I would say to you: Hey, beautiful,
Come smoke a cigarette,
Come with your caballero,
Come with me to Castilla!
Come where the Sherry sparkles,
Come to the palace of the Alcazar,
By our lady of El Pilar!
In your promenade
It’s my serenade
Following your steps
Nothing can separate us.
My mad guitarre
Shivers down low!
Under your mantilla
Hide, young chica,
Your blond attractions,
And in the somber night
Listen in the shadows.
Don’t you hear it?
By Saint James de Compestella
I would say to you: Hey, beautiful
Come smoke a cigarette,
Come with your caballero,
Come with me to Castilla!
Come where the Sherry sparkles,
Come to the palace of the Alcazar.
By our lady of El Pilar!
To you
To me! (as he says these last words, he receives a violent kick, he turns saying and singing)
To me! By our lady of El Pilar!

VAN CARCASS: I just put money in an envelope to throw in the street and it’s you singing, Baptiste.

BAPTISTE: I’m humming, not to displease your honor.

VAN CARCASS: Did I take you into my service to hum: since when do my mops get transformed in your hands into Spanish mandolins?

BAPTISTE: Since the noble family de las Cabriolas della testa—

VAN CARCASS: Enough, Baptiste. I’m aware of your mania. You are not descended from anyone, your race begins with you; but I will have your name transmitted for future centuries throughout the world.

BAPTISTE: (moved) Thanks for that fine word, sir, thanks. (shaking Van Carcass’s hand)

VAN CARCASS: (prying his hand loose) You know what I promised you. When your soul leaves this prison of a yellow vest with its horned buttons and green-smock coat with orange tassels, in other words when you accomplish the act of death, I promised you a favor which has, until now, been reserved for the great of the earth, and kings beneath their golden arches, a favor which will preserve you for the admiration of posterity more than all the glory of the Las Cabriolas. In a word I will stuff you, Baptiste!

BAPTISTE: Oh! Thanks for that fine word! thanks. (he shakes his hand again)

VAN CARCASS: Take it easy! I will stuff you with vegetable fibers! I will place you in my museum between the icthyosauras and the Megalatheurium and in a posture that will suit you!

BAPTISTE: (posing) Like this.

VAN CARCASS: Yes, but on the condition that you behave during your life, which we will shorten little by little in perfect domestic service. And, on that topic, I am expecting today a guest to whose service I am conditionally attaching you.

BAPTISTE: A new master to serve! And where will I have the time for it! Make me another arm!

VAN CARCASS: You’re arguing, Baptiste! Be careful I don’t stuff you with hay and old oakum.

BAPTISTE: (furious) Why not old rags that beggars put on!

VAN CARCASS: It will be put on, beware of doubting it, if—

BAPTISTE: Well, who are you waiting for?

VAN CARCASS: You will be very astonished, Baptiste, really stupefied, really speechless when I tell you who it is—but here’s my daughter. (enter Etamine) Come closer, daughter, the pride of my museum; embrace your father, whose day today is one of the most beautiful days.

ETAMINE: You spent a good night?

VAN CARCASS: No, not good, but excellent; I dreamed of a monkey.

BAPTISTE: That means money!

VAN CARCASS: It means honor and glory!

BAPTISTE: (considering Etamine) Oh! I love her! I love her.

VAN CARCASS: What’s gotten into you, Baptiste? This duster isn’t a chicken needing its feathers plucked.

ETAMINE: Poor Baptiste, always the same, always idiotic.

BAPTISTE: Oh! Thanks for that kind word!

VAN CARCASS: And now Etamine, as you have sufficiently embraced your father, loan me an attentive ear.

ETAMINE: I’m listening to you.

VAN CARCASS: You know I’ve neglected nothing to make you happy; I’ve surrounded your childhood with the most interesting animals in creation, while waiting to find you a husband.

ETAMINE: Father, you know I love Mr. Isidore who you won’t receive!

VAN CARCASS: Isidore, the son of that dabbler in tulips from Rotterdam!

BAPTISTE: Never, miss! Never! The marriage cannot take place; it won’t happen! By the Alhambra!

ETAMINE: Why’s Baptiste meddling!

VAN CARCASS: Indeed, who asked your opinion? I find you very bold! If ever you permit yourself to give your opinion—After all, as it conforms to mine, I pardon you—


VAN CARCASS: Never shall the daughter of a Van Carcass be the daughter-in-law of a tulip-tree whose collection attracts more tourists than my museum! To return to what I was saying, where was I, Baptiste?

BAPTISTE: While waiting to find you a husband.

VAN CARCASS: Ah! I’ve surrounded your childhood with the most interesting animals in creation while waiting to find you a husband. To complete my work I’ve addressed myself to correspondents in Brazil and I’ve received noice that one day very soon I will receive by Steam Boat—

BAPTISTE: The one who is as yet unknown. A spouse for Miss.

VAN CARCASS: A monkey of the largest type.

BAPTISTE: A monkey! You are giving her to a monkey!


VAN CARCASS: Not a little mongrel of a monkey, a South American monkey, a marmoset, but the type that my natural history exhibit is lacking, a true man of the forests, the unique, the last of the chimpanzees.

BAPTISTE: A chimpanzee!

ETAMINE: And what are we going to do with this villainous beast?

BAPTISTE: And that’s the being to which you are going to provisionally attach me?

VAN CARCASS: Don’t be afraid, Baptiste! This animal isn’t ferocious except when it reaches a ripe old age!

BAPTISTE: But the one you are expecting is young?

VAN CARCASS: Of that I am completely unaware!

BAPTISTE: Eh! well! thanks! a man of the woods, an ourangoutang.

VAN CARCASS: Where’s this speech headed?

BAPTISTE: I positively refuse to have any relations with him.

VAN CARCASS: You don’t have any common sense, Baptiste.

BAPTISTE: No, I have noble sense, and I am not made to be the valet de chamber of a Barbary ape!

VAN CARCASS: Take care! this monkey is becoming my guest, my boarder.

BAPTISTE: What, dirty, even very dirty.

VAN CARCASS: And I won’t tolerate the laws of hospitality being violated in the home of Doctor Van Carcass.

(A ringing is heard.)

VAN CARCASS: See who that is?

ETAMINE: It’s him without a doubt!

(A formidable shriek is heard.)

VAN CARCASS: I recognize his voice! Obey, Baptiste. (Baptiste leaves, furious) Be happy, daughter, this chimpanzee was lacking to the happiness and museum of your father.

(Two sailors carrying a huge sack; they open it and Isidore, covered with a monkey hide and a well adjusted mask, comes out triumphantly, with a terrible scream; Baptiste is tripped up, the sailors bow and leave.)


Ah! what an animal
How brutish he is!
He will harm us!
Ah! what an animal!

What a fine animal!
How colossal!
How like a judge!
Ah! what an animal!

Ah! what an animal!
He seems brutal.
He’s colossal
Ah! what an animal!


VAN CARCASS: Do you hear his scream!

BAPTISTE: I am completely confused!

ETAMINE: It’s a horrible scream!

BAPTISTE: I’m completely confused.



Ah! what an animal!
How brutish he is!
He will harm us!
Ah! what an animal!

What a fine animal!
How colossal!
How like a judge!
Ah! what an animal!

VAN CARCASS: Isn’t this the king of the forest!

BAPTISTE: A king of a horrifying race!

VAN CARCASS: Almost human!

BAPTISTE: How he grimaces and gesticulates!

VAN CARCASS: Observe this charming primitive!
How well he stands for a monkey!

BAPTISTE: He’s a man of the world,
Only lacking a fine lineage!


Ah! what an animal!
How brutish!
Ah! May the devil take him!
What a way he dresses!
Ah! what an animal!

The fine animal!
He’s colossal!
See how well he takes care of himself.
What a proud face and bearing!
The fine animal!

Ah! what an animal!
He is colossal!
To present himself this way!
He must leave right away!
Ah! what an animal!

VAN CARCASS: (to the monkey) Take it easy! hey, there, my pretty.

ISIDORE: Incriminieri!

ETAMINE: Take care, father, he’s going to bite you.

VAN CARCASS: No! it doesn’t bite!

BAPTISTE: (advancing his finger) Let’s see!

ISIDORE: (rushing on him) Ahi!


ISIDORE: Incriminieri!

BAPTISTE: What’s that mean in monkey talk?

VAN CARCASS: No doubt it signifies he’s hungry.

ETAMINE: What do these beasts eat, Papa?

BAPTISTE: I am allowed to say they swallow a little bit of everything, gloves, soles of shoes, the legs even, silk hats,—

VAN CARCASS: You are mistaken, Baptiste, those are ostriches. These monkeys are very fond of good things, of sweets. You are going to busy yourself with his meal!

BAPTISTE: Excuse me, Mr. Van Carcass, but I haven’t eaten yet.

VAN CARCASS: Well! You will eat later!

BAPTISTE: After a monkey! That degrades me.

VAN CARCASS: Well! That will nourish you, did you believe that you were worth more than this noble animal? What have you got more than he has, if you please? Are you more elegant, better turned out, isn’t he a true man, and who has the advantage over you of not saying stupidities? Didn’t you read in Mr. Bouffon that these animals are susceptible to good things, that they can stand attendance, drink and eat like natural people! and that they don’t exact wages for serving their master? The monkey is compared to a servant like a negro slave to a white man: His equal, except for the color. Try not to forget it.

BAPTISTE: Oh! humiliation! degradation of the human species! exploitation of man by monkey!

ETAMINE: On careful examination, he’s not bad, this animal.

VAN CARCASS: Say, then, Etamine, how full he is of nobility and grace; he seems very well brought up! If he had gloves he would be received in the best houses!

BAPTISTE: On his feet and his hands!


VAN CARCASS: That’s probably Brazilian! C’mon, baby, baby! give me your paw! You’re going to see.

BAPTISTE: Probably it’s necessary to talk in pigeon to him, sir.

VAN CARCASS: You’re right, Baptiste. Baby, gimme paw-paw!

(Isidore gives his leg.)

BAPTISTE: Oh-oh! He doesn’t know the difference between his leg and his arm!

VAN CARCASS: Why, no! He’s right! I asked him for his paw and he gave it to me. Ask him for his hand and you will see!

BAPTISTE: Baby, baby, gimme hand-hand! (Isidore rakes his head with his claws) Help! Help! Villainous beast!

VAN CARCASS: He is adorable! Baptiste, why didn’t you ask for his hand in velvet!

BAPTISTE: It’s an infamy!

ETAMINE: What shall we call him, papa?

VAN CARCASS: Etamine’s right! We must find him a name.

BAPTISTE: Suppose we call him, Gonzalvo.

ETAMINE: Oh, no. That’s not swanky enough.

VAN CARCASS: The fact is, he has a bearing that couldn’t be more distinguished. Ah! I’ve got what we need! Mr. De Chimpanzee.

BAPTISTE: A noble! Never!

VAN CARCASS: Oh! I am going to get annoyed in the end! Baptiste! You will call him Mr. De Chimpanzee or we’re going to quarrel! You will speak to him in the third person or I am going to kick you out.

ETAMINE: Goodbye, Mr. De Chimpanzee.

VAN CARCASS: I am going to appear before the zoological society to share news of my acquisition! Prepare Mr. De Chimpanzee’s meal and have the care you ought for him and his species.

BAPTISTE: If Mr. De Chimpanzee would kindly permit me, I am going to have the honor of bringing to Mr. De Chimpanzee the meal I’ll prepare with my own hands for Mr. de Chimpanzee.

(All leave except Isidore.)

ISIDORE: (alone) Ouf! (he takes off his mask furtively after first having made some ape like gambols) I’m suffocating! How hot the apes must be! You see what love has reduced me to! To abdicate my dignity as a man! It seems to me that I am itching all over! Etamine! Etamine! At last I am going to speak to you and see you! Mr. Van Carcass had always shown me the door. Once I learned that he was expecting a monkey from Brazil, I didn’t hesitate to dress in this chimpanzee outfit! But let’s behave well and not be too nasty, for fear they’ll chain us up! Let’s have good manners to keep our freedom. Oof! It’s not easy, in this thing! I don’t know how the monkeys stand it.

Since I put on this macaque’s skin,
I feel like a hypochondriac!
I no longer have human feelings
And I feel myself sharpening my claws.
Oh! strange prodigy,
My whole being is changing.
Words in my throat take on another sound,
And end, alas, in a frightful croak!
I’m becoming a real monkey!
It’s no longer to be doubted!
The thing is very strahaange!
But if you could hear me,
How my voice is chaanged
I’m becoming a real monkey!
I’m playing the man of the woods
I think,
And only for you, young girl
A livery!
In me you see a chimpanzee
For this trick you must excuse me.
Oh! I love you.
But will you recognize me
For a fine young man?
My Etamine! See how
Briefly I am dressed!
I’m becoming a real monkey!
It’s no longer to be doubted!
The thing is very strahaange!
But will you listen to me
Since my voice is chaanged!
I’m becoming a real monkey!
This lovely day, I intend
To astonish your praise—ah!
Look with love
And do not chaange!
One day we will share
Happiness unchaanged!
Love for your love,
My clever!
I’m becoming a real monkey!
It’s no longer to be doubted!
The thing is very strahaange!
But will you listen
Now my voice is chaanged!
I’m becoming a real monkey. (spoken) Someone’s coming! That Baptiste! Alert, let’s conquer him, it won’t be difficult to abuse him.

(Isidore takes the mop in one hand, and puts brushes on his feet and vigorously waxes the floor.)

BAPTISTE: (bringing different foods) I’m bringing my dinner at the same time as the Chimpanzee’s! so what! What’s he doing there. (Isidore waxes with thousands of contortions and grimaces.) He’s waxing my floor! That’s great! Why he does it marvelously well. Bravo, Mr. De Chimpanzee. (placing his foods on the buffet)

ISIDORE: (with a friendly manner) IFPOINSIGHIGHI!

BAPTISTE: Yes, my friend, it’s shining enough like that! But take care of getting tired.

ISIDORE: Shifissfiss fiss! (he takes off the brushes and starts to sweep with a rare energy)

BAPTISTE: Decidedly, this animal has served in the best homes in America. By the Escurial, here’s an idea that’s not beastly; I will make him do my work, and I will only have to cross my arms! If I had the carriage of my ancestors, I’d make him mount behind like a slave.

(Isidore comes sweeping right up to Baptiste’s feet.)

BAPTISTE: Hey there. Let’s take it easy, my friend. Take care of breaking the mirror.

(Isidore dusts the mirror, he dusts with the feather duster, then he opens the clock.)

BAPTISTE: Easy! Easy! Let’s not joke with the big springs. Well! what’s he doing?

(Isidore cleans the clock with an exquisite delicacy and imitates the grinding of the springs.)

ISIDORE: Crrrri! crrrri! crrri!

BAPTISTE: Crrri! Crrri! Now he’s making me speak Dutch. Why he knows everything! He’s truly a fashionable monkey! My word, the only thing left for me to do is eat.

ISIDORE: (opening his mouth) Am! am! am! am!

BAPTISTE: You’re hungry, my treasure! Don’t worry,! I’ve got the remainder of my old veal which will do for you.

(Isidore brings the table to the middle of the room and puts a napkin and place mats on it.)

BAPTISTE: Why he knows how to lay a table! Now there’s a lad who’d have no trouble earning a hundred crowns a year, and even more if he were given a chance.

(Isidore brings a glass for Baptiste, he spits and dries it carefully with his napkin.)

BAPTISTE: Why he’s of the latest type! He must have served in the homes of Princes!

(Isidore brings up a chair.)

BAPTISTE: My word, this is the first time I’ve been served at table! Why he must really be a descendant of Las Pirouettas.

ISIDORE: (laughing) Aeion! Aeion!

BAPTISTE: Why one would say he understands! This is prodigious! Now there’s a character who can do everything.

ISIDORE: Am! am! am!

BAPTISTE: Yes, you’re hungry! because I understand you! Well, Mr. De Chimpanzee, I want you to take a seat at my side.

(Isidore makes ceremonious manners.)

BAPTISTE: No, indeed, I tell you! I permit it!

(Isidore excuses himself better.)

BAPTISTE: Since I repeat to you that you would be pleasing me! Look, don’t make me beg you!

(Isidore makes a sign that he would never dare.)

BAPTISTE: I wish it! Look! Do you want me to get annoyed at the end?

(Isidore finds a chair and sits near Baptiste.)

BAPTISTE: I am going to make him drink a little glass, and he will really enjoy it! Decidedly, he’s a precious animal, I will make him my intimate friend.

(Isidore pours a drink for Baptiste after having uncorked a bottle and poured a few drops in his glass.)

BAPTISTE: He’s amazing!


BAPTISTE: (drinking)
Hey, Mr. Chimpanzee,
You are so civilized!
Allow me to call you
A gallant man!
Thus I am honored
To drink your health.

(They both drink, rise and click glasses.)


ISIDORE: (aside)
Here my ruse
In the end takes him in
And everything’s going fine.
What an imbecile,
Easy tempered.
Come, I fear nothing,
Everything’s fine!

How useful he is!
Ah! How he amuses me!
Why the way he drinks is very fine!
He’s docile,
Easy tempered
I’m no longer afraid,
Always fine!

BAPTISTE: Hey! How fine is this wine!

ISIDORE: Ah! ah! ah! ah! ah! ah! ah! ah!

BAPTISTE: He never tasted any.

ISIDORE: Hey! hey! hey! hey! hey! hey! hey! hey! hey!

BAPTISTE: As for me, I love it when he drinks this way!

ISIDORE: Hi! hi! hi! hi! hi! hi! hi! hi!

BAPTISTE: Elbows high and glasses high!

ISIDORE: Ho! Ho! Ho! Ho! Ho! Ho! ho! ho!

BAPTISTE: Ah! I have never drunk so much!

ISIDORE: Hu! hu! hu! hu! hu! hu! hu! hu!

(They click and drink again.)

BAPTISTE: To your health!

ISIDORE: Hiricriminieri!


Here my ruse
In the end takes him in
And everything’s going fine!
What an imbecile,
With an easy temper.
Come, I fear nothing,
Everything’s going fine!

How useful he is!
Oh! how he amuses me!
Why, he does drink well!
He’s so docile,
With an easy temper.
I’m no longer afraid.
Never afraid again!

(Baptiste empties the bottle and becomes drunk little by little.)

ISIDORE: (aside) He’s drunk now!

BAPTISTE: How interesting he is!

ISIDORE: He’s starting to lose his head!

BAPTISTE: Give me a hand!

ISIDORE: Yezolechum!

BAPTISTE: You’d say he was speaking.

ISIDORE: Nahitzda wine!

BAPTISTE: Yez, it’s the wine!

(Baptiste puts his arm around Chimpanzee.)

BAPTISTE: Friend, on my word,
I want to teach you
A Creole song.

ISIDORE: Zuitsme!

BAPTISTE: Here goes: (singing)
Coco zin zin!
La passio di zin zin,
Cocorico corico,
Gimme a drink.

(As Baptiste repeats the song, Isidore dances a roulade.)

Sing with me!

Coco zin zin!
La passio di zin zin,
Cocorico corico
Gimme a drink!

Ah! ah! ah! ah!
Ah! ah! ah! ah! ah!
Ah! ah! ah! ah!
Ah! ah! ah! ah!

BAPTISTE: Ah! me very happy!
Chimpie you pleez me!

ISIDORE: Wannadoitagain?

BAPTISTE: Since you’re here
We’ll dance the cha-cha!

(Isidore and Baptiste dance a negro dance. Isidore performs the most hazardous cabrioles. He tosses chairs in the air, overturns the table, etc.)

Tra, la, la, la, la.
Let’s dance the cha-cha.

(At the end, exhausted, Baptiste falls to the ground. Isidore fans him with his handkerchief. The door opens. Etamine rushes in over all this uproar.)

ETAMINE: What an uproar! what a brouhaha!

BAPTISTE: (to Isidore) Kiss me, my sweet friend!

ETAMINE: Well! Baptiste!

BAPTISTE: We are the best friends in the world!

ETAMINE: You are going to get yourself bit!

BAPTISTE: Him, bite me? Rather he will dine on me! I’ve never met a better bred man. See, Miss. (Isidore picks up the table and brings a chair for Etamine.) Could he be more gallant?

(Isidore offers his paw to Etamine.)

ETAMINE: (frightened) Oh!

BAPTISTE: Don’t be afraid; I’m sure he’s going to pay court to you.

ETAMINE: You’re out of your mind, Baptiste.

BAPTISTE: (with nobility) By the castanets of my ancestors! Am I not here to defend you! Would I tolerate a clown to come lack respect to you! Etamine, Miss Etamine! doesn’t my life belong to you?

ETAMINE: He’s babbling! Here I am between a monkey and a madman!

BAPTISTE: My whole life is devoted to you! I don’t give my broom a whisk without thinking of your beautiful little white hands! I don’t wax a tile in the floor without thinking of your pretty Andalousian feet.

ISIDORE: (aside) Wait, wait! I’ve got a foot, too!

BAPTISTE: Oh! young lady, I love you! How Gatilbaza loves Dona Etamine! Besides your dove like beauty! The King said it to his nephew! Dance peasants! The wind which blows across the mountain has blown me to Mount Falou!

ISIDORE: (giving him a kick) Here! He needs it!

BAPTISTE: Hey! (new kick) What’s got in to him? It’s a twitch! (he runs around the room pursued by Isidore’s kicks) Enough! enough! Damn! Double damn! Goddam! A descendant of Las—he’s rabid!

(Isidore sends him into the wings with a final kick. Etamine bursts into loud laughter.)

ISIDORE: We are alone. (he removes his mask)

ETAMINE: What! It’s you, Isidore! It’s not a dream!

ISIDORE: (taking her in his arms) No, it’s not a monkey! Here’s the moment to sing a real duo in a comic opera situation.


ETAMINE: It’s really you!

ISIDORE: Yes, it’s me!


Supreme moment,
Extreme joy.
The one I love
Is near me.
O sweet intoxication!
Darling mistress,
Yes, my tenderness
I’m all yours.

Supreme moment,
Extreme joy.
The one I love
Is near me.
O sweet intoxication!
I’m your mistress,
Whose tenderness
Is all yours.

ETAMINE: But they must hear us!

ISIDORE: Someone might surprise us
And separate us forever!

ETAMINE: (with exaltation) Heaven protect out love! (spoken) Still—

Be prudent,
Sing lower.
Let silence be heard.
Don’t speak,

ETAMINE: God! if my father comes to discover us—why how will you be able to escape?

ISIDORE: By jumping out the window!

ETAMINE: You will break your neck!

ISIDORE: Come on! Am I not a chimpanzee! I cross the steepest rocks, I scale the highest trees; I am susceptible to attachment, I live in groups in the forest, and I have for my little ones a particular affection—says Mr. de Bouffon.

ETAMINE: Poor Isidore! He finds a way to laugh under this garb.

ISIDORE: You forgive me, right, and you love me?

ETAMINE: Oh! yes!

ISIDORE: A kiss for the trouble it cost me.

ETAMINE: Oh! never!

ISIDORE: Suppose that I am a greyhound, a pretty tom-cat, nothing would prevent you from kissing me, from caressing me.

ETAMINE: Yes, but it’s not the same thing.

ISIDORE: Think carefully, that if I hadn’t put on this parakeet’s skin I would never have been able to get in here.

(He kisses her.)

ETAMINE: Heavens! They’re coming. Put on your muzzle!

(Isidore leaves and quickly returns with his masque.)


BAPTISTE: (off) Don’t go in! I tell you he’s rabid!

VAN CARCASS: Out of the way, imbecile, and don’t be afraid. I am armed.

(Van Carcass comes in passing in front of Baptiste.)


ETAMINE: Father!

VAN CARCASS: My daughter! Just in time!

(Isidore shows his teeth to Baptiste who hides behind his master.)


VAN CARCASS: Hush! Don’t budge! He’s capable of jumping out of the window! And I don’t want him to escape me.

ETAMINE: What’s your plan, father?

VAN CARCASS: Hush! Since he’s gone bad, and he’s breaking my furniture, I’ve decided—

ETAMINE: To do what?

VAN CARCASS: (pulling an enormous cutlass from his breast) That he will become the most beautiful ornament in my museum. We are going to skin him right away!

ISIDORE: (aside) Skin me!

VAN CARCASS: We will stuff him afterwards.

BAPTISTE: But you were indifferent to stuffing him before.

VAN CARCASS: Imbecile!

BAPTISTE: Thanks for that nice word!

VAN CARCASS: Seize that animal.

BAPTISTE: (terrified) It’s that—

ISIDORE: (yelling) DAMMIT!

VAN CARCASS: Come on, go take one arm—I will hold the other.

BAPTISTE: I’m holding one arm.

VAN CARCASS: And me the other.

(They lead Isidore to the middle of the room.)


ETAMINE: (rushing between them) Stop, father, I love him!

VAN CARCASS: Huh! You love him! Don’t worry, Etamine, I will replace him with a more docile animal, a cat, a marmoset.

ETAMINE: No, father I love him—in love with him.

VAN CARCASS: In love! This monkey! Withdraw!

ETAMINE: Yes, in love!

ISIDORE: (knocking Baptiste over) Oh! thanks, my God!

VAN CARCASS: (stupefied) Huh!

BAPTISTE: He’s talking. A monkey genius!

ISIDORE: (removing his mask) No! just your future son-in-law.

VAN CARCASS: Isidore! Beggar! (raising his cutlass)

ISIDORE: Marry us! Or I will tell everybody that a scientist like Doctor Van Carcass let himself be taken in by a monkey skin!

VAN CARCASS: The devil!

ISIDORE: And he’ll become a public laughing stock.

VAN CARCASS: Enough! enough! You disarm me. (he lets his cutlass fall) My daughter is yours!

ETAMINE: Ah, father!

ISIDORE: Etamine, in my paws—no! in my arms! Let’s go to the registry.

VAN CARCASS: What are you thinking of doing? In that costume!

ISIDORE: I’ll put on a white vest.

BAPTISTE: This marriage will never take place, sir. The Las Pirouettas—

ISIDORE: Here! Now there are some pirouettes.

(Isidore spins Baptiste around and gives him a kick in the ass. Baptiste falls back down.)

VAN CARCASS: But with all this, I no longer have a monkey! My daughter has fulfilled her wishes, but as for me—

ISIDORE: Take my skin, and be satisfied!

FINALE (reprise of the Cha-cha theme)
Coco zin zin!
La passio di zin zin,
Cocorico corico,
Gimme a drink.

BAPTISTE: (on a tremolo from the orchestra) Mr. Van Carcass?

VAN CARCASS: Baptiste!

BAPTISTE: How many ribs?

VAN CARCASS: Twelve, one in the other.

BAPTISTE: (feeling) I only feel seven—five have been crushed.

VAN CARCASS: Bah! I’ll put them back for you in my spare time.

BAPTISTE: Thanks for that fine word! Bring on the Cha-cha.

Coco zin zin!
La passio di zin zin,
Cocorico corico,
Gimme a drink.

Copyright © Zvi Har’El
$Date: 2007/12/27 08:12:28 $