12a 1914 THE TEMPEST JOINS THE IMPERIAL
The terrace of Alma’s villa in Breitenstein/Semmering. Oskar Kokoschka is mad with anger. Alma enters, carrying a dead toad. She is frightened by the sight of Kokoschka’s madness.
OSKAR Alma! Alma!!! Where are you?! Alma! Come here! Will you?! Come to me! You fucking bitch! You hear me! Get out of your hole, you slithery asshole , or I’ll crush all your bloody toads! You hear me, Alma?! I’ll smash all your aquariums, terrariums, and vivariums!
ALMA Oscar! You crazy nutcase! Look what you’ve done! It’s Doctor Kammerer’s Midwife–Toads. His favorite animals!
OSKAR Where is your stinking bastard?!
ALMA You’ve destroyed months of work, you brute.
OSKAR Where is this asshole?! Doctor Kammerer?! Get out of your hole, I’m warning you!
ALMA He’s not here, Oscar, I swear! He’s not here!
OSKAR If I get hold of him I’ll break his bones, that motherfucking asshole! I’ll smash his dirty face, that slimy, ugly, stinking toad–fucker! That cockroach!! – Can you hear me, Paul Kammerer?
ALMA Stop it, Oskar, will you! Stop it at once, or I’ll throw you out of my house! Do you understand?
OSKAR Where is your bloody toad-fucker? Hmmm?!! That backwoods shit-ass?!
ALMA Oskar, you're acting just like Kammerer’s silly wife. He is not my lover. He is a good friend. Do you understand?!! That’s all. I’m interested in him as a great scientist, not as a man. You have absolutely no reason to be jealous. He’s a friend! You hear me?!
OSKAR “He’s a friend! A bloody friend! I want to fuck your friend and shit in his face! A friend! A bloody friend!” – How dare you lie to me, you stinking whore? How dare you lie to me, you goddamn bitch?!
ALMA You’re getting on my nerves, Oscar. I’m sick and tired of you. I can’t stand your paranoia for a second longer. Get the fuck out of my house!
OSKAR You lying bitch! You lying bitch! l’ll kill you! I’ll kill you!
ALMA Yes! Kill me, kill me! Come on! Kill me! - Tear me to pieces, you pervert. You’ll save me an abortion!
OSKAR What?! What did you say?
ALMA Come on, come on, come on, come on, come on! Kill your own baby!!! Kill it! Kill it! Kill it!!
OSKAR My baby?!
ALMA Your baby! Your ugly little child! Rip it out of me, and squash it, like one of Kammerer’s stupid toads! I don’t need it!
OSKAR Alma! You’re not really pregnant – ?
ALMA I am, God damn it! I am!
OSKAR You mean with my child?
ALMA Who else’s , you barbaric stallion?
OSKAR Alma! Is that true? Is that really true?!
ALMA Why not, you damn bastard? I’m dripping all over with your sperm. It’s oozing out my pores!
OSKAR Oh! Alma! Alma! Alma! My sweet little dripping horny bitch!
ALMA No! Don’t touch me! Don’t touch me! You just come near me, and I get pregnant. And don’t stare at me with your bloodshot goat’s eyes, you make me all wet and drippy .
OSKAR Take off your clothes! Take off your clothes. I wanna see you naked.
ALMA No, Oskar. Leave me alone! Leave me alone!
OSKAR Sit on my face! Sit on my face! Come here! Come here! I wanna eat you. I want to bury my mouth in you.
ALMA No, stop it, Oscar! Stop it! Don’t touch me! Sensuality is not the only thing in life. I don’t want to lose my head.
OSKAR Oh my God! What a fool I am! What a fool I am! There’s a totally new expression on your face. How could I have missed it? It’s like you've just been born! Your eyes, your mouth, your skin, even your smell… You’re a totally different creature !
ALMA Oh no!
OSKAR Oh yes! Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes! And your face looks different. It’s softer, sweeter, broader...
ALMA My God! As if it wasn’t broad enough before...
OSKAR And your breasts! Alma, please look at your breasts! Look at your breasts!
ALMA What about them?
OSKAR I love these breasts. I love them! Look how big they are! Sooo big! Sooo big! They’re swollen. Balloons! Melons! And your nipples blossom like buds in the spring. Let me suck them. Let me lick them!
ALMA Stop it, you idiot! Don’t treat me like a milk–cow.
OSKAR But you are a milk–cow now! You are a milk–cow. Muumuu! Muumuu! And I am your longhorn bull ! Muumuu!–
ALMA No! Come on, Oskar, stop it! Get away!
OSKAR You know what, Alma? I’m already jealous of our baby!
ALMA You don’t have to be.
OSKAR No, no: I’m not jealous. I’m not jealous in the least! I’m happy. I’m so happy! I’m going out of my mind! Yu-huuuu! We’ll have a baby! A baby! Alma! A child! A child born of our love! Alma, you don’t know how much I have longed for that. I prayed for it. I prayed for it to happen. But I didn’t dare believe it . I didn’t dare believe that it might come true. And now, Alma, and now? Now our affair won’t have to be secret anymore. Everybody will be able to see it!! I’ll walk by your side in the street, hand in hand with you, arm in arm! I’ll kiss you, Alma, in front of everybody I’ll kiss you. They will see that you are mine! You are mine, Alma! Mine! I will marry you! You’ll be my wife. Alma Maria Kokoschka. Alma Maria Kokoschka! – I think I have to call my mother, and tell her!
ALMA Wait a minute -
OSKAR No, no, no! You’ll see: this will completely change her feelings towards you, I know it! This will prove to her that she was wrong about you all along .
ALMA What did she say then?
OSKAR Well! She says that you are destroying me. That you are sucking up my life. That you are God’s holy curse on me. But now she will melt like butter in the sun, when she hears that she’s going to become a grandmother. Mama, I will say to her, Mama, I’ve got a surprise for you! Guess what ? Guess what? Hmm?! Guess, Guess!
ALMA Stop it, please!
OSKAR Oh no, no. no! Alma, We’ll go together, we’ll tell her together. You have to get to know my mother after all! You' ll tell her! You' ll tell her the good news!
ALMA Oscar, you’re so childish!
OSKAR You think I’m childish? Really? You’re right! I am childish. I am. I have to grow up. Childhood goodbye! Infantilism au revoir! Good-bye, good-bye, Oscar, you silly little idiot! Adieu, mon enfance, adieu, mon insouciance! But you’ll be surprised, Alma. You won’t recognize me anymore. I’ll be a father. A father. A real papa! The most serious, responsible, caring, thoughtful, gentle, considerate, compassionate, concerned father the world has ever seen! - But I warn you, you sweet little devil, if you take up too much of your mother’s love...
ALMA Don’t worry.
OSKAR … I’ll have to beat you up, my little sweetie pie !
ALMA You won’t have to. There won’t be any baby .
OSKAR Why not?
ALMA Oscar, come on, it’s over.
OSKAR What I s over?
ALMA Our affair is over. I’ve decided to end it .
OSKAR What? Our affair is over? Are you crazy?!
ALMA We don’t belong together.
OSKAR Are you mad? -
ALMA Oscar, our affair was one long lover’s quarrel.
OSKAR So what? It doesn't matter what we did . It only matters what we do now . Everything will be completely different! Everything will change once we have a child! – What’s the matter with you?
ALMA Never before have I tasted so much hell, and so much paradise.
OSKAR That’s good, Alma. That’s life, you know?
ALMA Not mine. I need solid ground under my feet. I need someone who will bring me back to earth when I start to fly!
OSKAR You're so stupid! You're so stupid!! I can give you more stability than anyone else in the whole world. Because I love you more than anyone else in the whole world, Alma. Don’t you understand that?
ALMA Oskar, you are much more mature as an artist than you are as a man .
OSKAR I am laying my life at your feet! I am laying my life at your feet! Can’t you see that? Give me a chance. Please! Give me one chance. I’ll grow, I promise! I’ll mature by your side. Please!
ALMA Oscar, it takes a long time and a lot of experience to reach maturity. And you still have a long way to go as an artist as well, if you ever want to do anything meaningful.
OSKAR Ah, I see! So that’s it! You don’t like my paintings any more?
ALMA They’re good.
OSKAR They’re very good, you stupid woman!
ALMA Of course I like them. Some of them more, some of them less. But you haven’t produced a masterpiece yet.
OSKAR I haven’t produced a masterpiece? Are you mad? What about “The Tempest” ?!
ALMA It’s a decent painting, that’s all.
OSKAR It’s a very decent painting, you stupid cow!
ALMA No. It is not a comprehensive expression of human experience.
OSKAR You’re talking nonsense!
ALMA It’s not going to be a defining work for our times. It lacks a universal dimension. You’d better not cling to any illusions about that.
OSKAR »Universal dimension« My ass! I couldn’t care less.
ALMA Oskar, your vision is divine, but you are still too lazy to work it all out in full detail with absolute precision. If you only knew how Gustav used to work!
OSKAR Fuck you! Fuck you and your Gustav Mahler ! Kiss my ass and Gustav’s too !
ALMA He never made concessions to his weakness. He fought it like a lion .
OSKAR Gustav Mahler can kiss my ass ! To hell with him! What are you getting at? Hmm? What are you getting at? What have you got in the back of your sweet little mind? Hmmm?! You can’t possibly mean that I’ve got to wait for our marriage until I’ve produced a masterpiece. It’s insane!
ALMA Why? It’s not such a bad idea to celebrate marriage with a masterpiece . If you’re capable of producing one.
OSKAR I have! My baby is my masterpiece.
ALMA This is not a joking matter .
OSKAR Who’s joking, Alma? Who' s joking? I’ve never been so serious in my life . Even if I live to be ninety years old, I’ll never create a greater masterpiece than our baby. You can be sure of that.
ALMA Forget the baby. (Alma starts opening the cardboard box.)
OSKAR What do you mean: “Forget the baby”? What kind of nonsense is that ?
ALMA My dear Oskar... There’s a war coming.
OSKAR So what? What has our poor baby got to do with that ?
ALMA So many young men will lose their lives. The whole world is going to change! Do you really think this is the time to give birth to a baby and indulge in the sweet family life?
OSKAR Of course.
ALMA I wonder!
OSKAR I don’t.
ALMA I do.
OSKAR I don’t.
ALMA I do.
OSKAR But I don’t. - “Forget the baby” - What’s that supposed to mean? You can't just make a child disappear into thin air... — Oh no…! Alma, no! Please! Alma! No!! You're not going to... Alma, you’re not thinking of… of aborting the child...? Are you crazy?!
ALMA I know the price you pay for giving up your calling .
OSKAR Are you completely crazy?!
ALMA Gustav, Gustav! I wish I was still the young aspiring artist that I was when your trajectory crossed mine. Oh Gustav, you diverted me so cruelly from my path as a composer, and condemned me to be unfaithful to myself for the rest of my life. If I were given the chance again, I wouldn’t give up my calling for anything in the world, including your goddamn babies!
OSKAR Alma, you're going to keep that child! I’m telling you.
OSKAR I’m warning you!!
ALMA I am not going to keep the child.
OSKAR (breaks a glass and holds it to her neck)
ALMA Do you want to kill me?!
OSKAR Yes, Alma, yes. Yes. Because I can't live without you. I can't be without you. I cannot even breathe. I can't take a single step without you. I wake up in the morning and I think of you. Every time I blink my eyes, I think: Alma - Alma - Alma - Alma - Alma! Will you marry me?
ALMA I will. One day.
OSKAR If I loose you... if I really have to give you up… … I’m going to l ose my mind. I’m warning you. ! I don’t know what to do. You have to marry me, there is no other way! You have to.. !
ALMA Oscar, you could be such a great artist. Such a great painter. You have everything it takes. But you've got to ration your time, and not smear it out like shit, the way ordinary people do, w asting it, squandering it, frittering it away..
OSKAR I’ll do whatever you say. I’ll do whatever you want . Anything you say!
ALMA You’ve got to learn to stand on your own feet. You’ve got to acquaint yourself with reality. You have to join the army. Do You hear me?
OSKAR Yes. Yes. Yes.
ALMA No, no. The moment war breaks out, you've got to join the fighting.
OSKAR I will. I will.
ALMA Your future as an artist depends on it. Do you understand?
OSKAR No. But I'll do it. I'll do it. Because you told me to . I’ll sell ‘the tempest’, buy myself a horse and join the Austrian army, as an Imperial Dragoon.
ALMA That’s a wonderful idea.
OSKAR Will you keep the child?
ALMA No, my love, I can’t.
OSKAR Please! Please! Please!! Alma! I’ll join the Cavalry no matter what . I’ll join the Cavalry. I'll fight on the front lines. I'll fight on the front lines. Just Please, keep the child!
ALMA Stop it, Oskar!! Stop it! No…!! –
OSKAR Please keep the child! Please!!! Please…
ALMA (sets herself free, and goes to take a uniform out of the cupboard) Oscar! You make me so proud of you. I’m so thrilled for you. . This is the time to rise above yourself. Forget your personal desires. Be ahead of your times. Don’t w ag behind them like a tail. You’ll look wonderful in your uniform. I’m already very excited. I can hardly wait to see you fighting. I wish you all the luck in the world.
OSKAR Thank you. You’re very kind. I just hope we won’t have too many victories. That would be the greatest sin of all. But don’t worry, Alma, don’t worry. You’ll be proud of me. You’ll be very proud. I will go where the battle is fiercest. Where the battle is bloody, where it is lethal. I will go straight to hell. And you’ll be with me.
ALMA Yes, I will always be with you in spirit...
OSKAR In spirit? No. No, no, no, no. Not in spirit, Alma. You will be with me in body. In body, in your perfect body you’ll be with me. I will create your puppet. Your puppet. Your life-size puppet. A precise copy of you. In all details, in all details. Down to the most intimate fiber s: your face, your head, your lips, your nose, your eyes, your ears, your neck, your arms, your legs, your elbows, the hollow of your knees, your armpits, your breasts, your belly, your vagina, your pubic lips, your hair… everything. Everything! And then you will be with me, wherever I go, whatever I do. On the battlefield, in the camp, in the hospital, in captivity, even in death. (They kiss.) Adieu, Alma, my love. I’ll wait for you. Don’t forget it , do you hear me? Don’t forget ! I love you so much! But I’ll come back…