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The Knot Garden

Today, I went to see a production of the Knot Garden. It's one of those modern operas, created by those people who look at great works that broke the rules, then decide to break all the rules at once. It's supposedly about Shakespeare's Tempest. Although, of course, actually letting any Shakespeare in wouldn't be modern, would it?

Whilst suffering through it, I amused myself by coming up with my own version. I needed to get rid of some hate and bile.

NOTE: Anything placed within *'s is set to the same rising, discordant theme.

THE NOT RUDDIGORE.

Opening Scene: A room with 8 chairs. On four of them sit Rose Maybud (disguised as a young boy), Dame Hannah (terribly disfigured), Mad Margaret, and Roderick. Enter Despard. Everyone switches chairs. Enter Robin. Everyone switches chairs. Enter Old Adam, who is black because we must have racial politics in a modern opera. Everyone switches chairs. Enter Richard. Everyone switches chairs. Roderick stands.

DISCORDANT RECITATIVE: RODERICK:
With these people, I will *create Ruddigore!*

The scene switches to a dead garden, with a house in the middle. Roderick leads in Mad Margaret. She sets to pruning a dead rose bush, removing the roses. Although in the original, the symbolism didn't make sense. Roderick comes over to her.


DISCORDANT RECITATIVE:
RODERICK: *I thought I'd help you prune!*
MARGARET: *Only I may prune the* roses.

Roderick brings on Despard. Enter Rose, who steals Margaret's secateurs, and threatens to cut her wrists.

DISCORDANT RECITATIVE:
ROSE: Hurts! Hurts! Hurts! Aaaaah! Aaaaah!

Despard and Margaret wrestle the shears away from her, and leave. Roderick brings on Richard and Old Adam, who are in drag, because who would expect gay men in the theatre? But if we're going to have gay men, we'll need to make them really stereotypical.

DISCORDANT FAUX 1950'S ROCK NUMBER:
BOTH
Old Adam
Was a serving man
Old Adam
Was a serving man
Old Adam
Was a serving man

Rose enjoys this, and joins in the "fun", "upbeat", discordant singing.

Roderick leads Old Adam and Rose off. He then brings Despard on. Despard is greatly attracted to Richard.

DISCORDANT RECITATIVE:
DESPARD:
*I want to have sex* *with all that moves*
*Because I'm the villain* *of the piece*
*Who cares about* *characterisation*
*And don't you just love* *This discordant*
*Rising theme?* *The composer does*
*That's why he uses it* *All the time!*
*He also likes* *Diabolus chords*
*And setting things* *so that you cannot hear them*
*Now, let's flirt* *So my wife can discover us*

Margaret enters, flirting with Old Adam. The four see each other. Awkward scene set to the same sort of annoying music. Rose enters.

DISCORDANT RECITATIVE:
ROSE:
By the way, mother, I forgot, *this letter arrived*
It seems *your sister, Hannah*
*Is coming today!*

Enter Hannah, she's a victim of terrible torture, probably. You kind of have to guess from the 6 or seven words that you can hear of her song that isn't drowned out by the entire brass section.

DISCORDANT SONG, COMPLETELY DROWNED OUT BY THE ENTIRE BRASS SECTION PLAYING UNDER EVERY WORD HANNAH SAYS.

HANNAH: (Really, you can't hear it).

Old Adam and Richard are up to the situation - They'll get everyone to sing an anthem, with extra servings of Diabolus chords! Plus, we can talk about slavery!

DISCORDANT ANTHEM - BUT IT STILL HAS NO RHYME OR METRE.
OLD ADAM: Don't oppress me!
RICHARD: Don't oppress me!
ROBIN: Don't oppress me!
ROSE: Don't oppress me!
HANNAH: Don't oppress me.

This goes on for some time, moving into boogie woogie at one point, but just in case that boogie woogie piano makes things *gasp* melodic and enjoyable, we'll have the woodwinds adding discordant notes over it. Don't worry! Finally, the first scene ends.

In the next scene, Despard rapes his daughter (On stage), Mad MArgaret interrupts him, Rose cuts her wrists, Richard discovers her and tries comfort her after her mother and father leave her lying in blood. There's no way I'm writing out that part, it was bad enough watching it. We resume after Richard has come to comfort Rose.
DISCORDANT RECITATIVE
RICHARD:
Do you like music? The composer doesn't.
*Can you siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing?*

SONG STOLEN FROM A BETTER COMPOSER, AND DONE WITHOUT DISCORDANCE
ROSE:
I shipped, d'ye see, in a revenue sloop,
And off cape Finestere -
(Interrupted by the composer, because it's far too old fashioned)
DISCORDANT RECITATIVE:
RICHARD: But, Rose, *that's a man's song.*
ROSE: (Tearing off her wig, so she looks like a man. - and, oh, god, I can't believe I'm not exaggerating.): Sometimes I dream I am a man, but then I wake up.
RICHARD: *Let's sing another song!*

DISCORDANT PSEUDO-1980's GRUNGE SONG:
RICHARD:
I come from a great big city
Where they build things very high
They touch the sky
I come from a great big city
Where they build things very high
They touch the sky
ROSE AND RICHARD:
I come from a great big city
Where they build things very high
They touch the sky

The act eventually ends, thank god.

Act II: Remember that creating of Ruddigore? Time to do it!

As the curtain rises, Rose is centre stage, reading a huge libretto of Ruddigore. Roderick, carrying his frame, enters with Robin and Mad Margaret

DISCORDANT RECITATIVE:
RODERICK:
It may be *breaking the fourth wall*
But we like to *call i-i-it deep*
The *opera requires*
That you disap*pear fo-or a-a bit*
Things *don't make sense in opera*
Particularly this one.

Mad Margaret and Robin go off. Roderick turns to Rose

DISCORDANT RECITATIVE. WHO NEEDS MELODY? GOT TO LOVE THAT MOTIF
RODERICK:
Now Rose, my *ghostly powers*
Will show you, *my granddaughter*
*How you were born*
As you may read in your book (Indicates libretto of Ruddigore)
Which we are pretending to follow
Although, of course, it won't be anything like it.

Despard and Hannah enter. Despard rapes Hannah. Hannah, crying, runs into hiding. Noone reacts.

Enter Robin, pulling Richard at the end of a long rope, á là Waiting for Godot, only crap.

DISCORDANt RECITATIVE
ROBIN:
Roderick, should we free this sailor?
He used to sing, but now won't!
But he does all his work.
And, in case you missed, he's white!

RODERICK: What does he want?
RICHARD: I want love!
RODERICK: Let's free him!

Robin leaves, then re-enters, pulling another person on a rope. It's OLD ADAM

ROBIN: What about this servant.
He sings enough, but it's actually melodic!
And we can't have that!
He doesn't do his work.
And he's black!
I think you should free him.

RODERICK: No! Don't free him!

RECITATIVE:
RODERICK:
*This opera won't go right*. Let's destroy the book and painting! (burns the libretto of Ruddigore, and his frame)

MARGARET:
Now we need a closing chorus
As dischordant as the rest.
After all, I bet the audience
Think we're finished.
Ha! Ha! We can stretch this out
Another fifteen torturous minutes!
And you'll watch, because you think putting crap on stage
Means you're cultured!

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