The Polydrama
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ALMA 1 & 2   Walter! Walter!!! Oh, Walter, I'm burning for your naked body to lie at my side, with nothing to separate us but sleep! Come, my love! I I live only for the time when I'll be completely yours! Your wife. My Walter - I want your child - to cherish and nurture - until the day comes when we can be united and drown in each others' arms without remorse. Your spirit and my body - such dual perfection could only engender a demigod. I want to have you over me again, physically, inside me! I want to see you like your god created you - for only a god could produce such a creature. I want your whole beauty to melt inside me! I am aching for your embraces! I'll never forget the touch of your hand on my most intimate parts. You sent fire and joy flowing through me. Yes, one can be entirely happy, there is such a thing as perfect joy. In your arms I have known it. One little nuance more, and I would have become a god. Everything about you is holy to me. I want to kneel down & kiss your loins-kiss everything, everything. Amen!

ALMA   Oh, Walter, I missed you so much!!! If you knew how much I missed you all these months, you would have left everything and come to be with me! Finally an end to all those secret games! Woowww!! We don't have to hide anymore, We don't have to wait until he leaves for rehearsals, We don't need to make secret last-minute appointments anymore in all those hotels, and sneak in and out like thieves in the night…!

GROPIUS   I couldn't, while Gustav was still alive. It would have been too cruel.

ALMA   Oh yes, it was cruel. Very cruel .

GROPIUS   How did he die exactly? Did it happen all of a sudden?

ALMA   What difference does it make, , my love? We're finally together. That's what counts. Only that. I need you so much… I need you! I want to forget all about him.

GROPIUS   I need you too, my love. I'm shattered too by the death of my father. There are so many questions I want to ask you. You never said anything. Did it happen out of the blue? Was he sick…? I mean… was he still able to function or… had he been neutralized and bed-ridden all these months? Was he an invalid?

ALMA   Why all these questions, Walter?! I'm free! We're free! Finally free! It's so humiliating to have to lie when you'd rather be shouting your love to the world. Instead you have to live with delusion, treachery and deceit, like thieves in the night… But now we are finally free to fulfill our desires…!

GROPIUS   Did he know he was going to die?

ALMA   No, he didn't. The doctor lied to him.

GROPIUS   I see! So he was... fit?

ALMA   Embrace me.

GROPIUS   Was he fit?

ALMA   Oh Darling!

GROPIUS   Why don't you answer my questions, Alma?

ALMA   What do you want to know? We haven't seen one another for months and you're still thinking about Gustav's death... Why talk about him all the time?

GROPIUS   You're avoiding me.

ALMA   Come on! Why torture yourself with useless questions with no answers?! You should be happy that there's nothing to separate us anymore !

GROPIUS   That's exactly why the time has come to ask ourselves some serious questions. About our feelings for one another... about us living together, about the future...

ALMA   Have you got any doubts about your feelings towards me?

GROPIUS   No. Of course not. I have no doubts about my feelings at all. I love you, Alma. I love you, and I want to marry you.

ALMA   Oh, Darling!!!

GROPIUS   I want you to be my wife. Will you marry me?

ALMA   I am your wife. I am already. I was your wife when Gustav was still alive. You know that.

GROPIUS   Yes. Yes. That's true. - It was his heart that failed, wasn't it?

ALMA   Yes, it was his heart. It stopped beating.

GROPIUS   He must have been very feeble all these months, very frail, very… weak. There's no other explanation…

ALMA   He was.

GROPIUS   But you said his heart was never very healthy.

ALMA   That's right. His heart was never very healthy…

GROPIUS   Strange. And still he used to swim a lot, take long walks, exercise, sports... You told me that, didn't you?

ALMA 2      He didn't know his heart was weak. Until our daughter Putzi died, four years ago. That was when Doctor Blumenthal gave him a routine check-up, and brought it out into the daylight. And just like that he had to give up all physical exertion.

GROPIUS   But he didn't change his way of life, did he? I mean, he went on working and exerting himself exactly as before, didn't he? He went on directing, giving concerts… it must have been incredibly tiring!

ALMA 2   Yes, he used to work until he collapsed. In total exhaustion. There was no talking to him. Only his body could have stopped him. Nothing else had any influence over him. Not even his common sense. He didn't know how to cope with his fragile health.

GROPIUS   He simply destroyed himself.

ALMA 2   You could say that .


ALMA   I don't know!!!

GROPIUS   But you should. You should. He was trying to move you. That's obvious. You felt how he struggled for you. That was evident. He was fighting for you like a lion. Why did he have to fail ?

ALMA   Why all these questions, Walter?! It's over now, it's gone! He's dead.

GROPIUS   No, he isn't. He isn't. He's still there, between the two of us. He is here, I can feel him. He is lying here, between the two of us, between you and me.

ALMA   Walter, will you stop that nonsense! Gustav is dead and buried! He's six feet under…!

GROPIUS   I doubt that. I doubt that. I think he's trying to get close to you. He must be here somewhere. What have you done with him, Alma, what have you given to him, that he can't detach himself from you?

ALMA   Nothing! Nothing at all! I took care of him. That's all. I nursed him, to make dying easier. .

GROPIUS   You gave him all he needed…?

ALMA   Yes, I did.

GROPIUS   You gave him all he asked for?

ALMA   Yes.

GROPIUS   And when he asked for sympathy…?

ALMA   Then I gave him sympathy.

GROPIUS   And love --- ?

ALMA   Yes. Love, too. Lots of love.

GROPIUS   What kind of love?

ALMA   Love. Love.

GROPIUS   I mean... When you say “love”, what… do you mean exactly?

ALMA 2   What precisely do you want to know?

GROPIUS   Did you ever… make love to him?

ALMA 2   Come on, Walter! I had two daughters with him!

GROPIUS   No, no, I mean… during those last few months... as he lay dying... You knew it was coming to an end, didn't you? Did you ever… Did he ever... Did you… fulfil that wish for him too?

ALMA   Yes, I did.

GROPIUS   How often?

ALMA   As often as he asked for it.

GROPIUS   That is?

ALMA   As often as he desired me.

GROPIUS   Once? More than once?

ALMA   Dying people revolt desperately against their fate, you know...

GROPIUS   You really gave him… It's remarkable!

ALMA   I gave him all the warmth and tenderness that he needed.

GROPIUS   How could you be so cold-blooded! That's unbelievable!

ALMA   Who said I was cold-blooded?

GROPIUS   What do you mean?

ALMA   I told you already: I made love to him. I'm not the good Samaritan. And I'm not from the Red Cross either.

GROPIUS   But ... but… after he found out about us, he… became... I mean… he wasn't able to... anymore…? I mean… he became… “powerless”! You told me that!

ALMA 2   He recovered.

GROPIUS   He recovered?!!! - When?

ALMA   After he returned from his meeting with Doctor Freud. I told you that.

ALMA 2   Really, an extraordinarily astounding man, this Sigmund Freud. Gustav was only with him for four hours. And do you know what happened? Afterwards, he was as active as ever before. Active and strong and passionate. Curiously enough, he even became very sexually effective. It was exciting. Very exciting...!

ALMA   I remember…

GROPIUS   Oh my God! And I thought you were mine all those months...!

ALMA 2   It puzzles me that after Gustav's death, he sent me a bill. I mean, a man in
his position?!

ALMA   Maybe he wanted to get to know you…

ALMA 2   Who knows what Gustav told him about me...?

GROPIUS   Why did you do that?

ALMA 2   Oh Walter, sometimes you're such a bore...! I wanted him to die making love to me. I wanted him to die inside me. I'm so sorry it didn't happen.

GROPIUS   You loved him?

ALMA 2   Yes. I loved him. I loved that lonely man. That profound and wounded man. His love gushed out from his wounds in boiling, powerful torrents. You can't imagine how much he needed my love.

GROPIUS   Of course I can't. And I don't want to either. - What am I for you after Gustav Mahler? nothing but a thorough-bred. An animal. A pedigree! But I'll never reach the depth of feelings you had with Gustav, and I'll never awaken your emotions the way he did.

ALMA   No, you won't. You're probably right about that . I shouldn't hide that from you. No. What he made me give him on that last night you'll get from me in a lifetime.

ALMA 2   But that's not your fault, Walter. I gave myself away too early. But there's no need to worry. There's enough left for you, Walter. I have taken you deep into my heart. That's your place, that's where you belong. I want you, Walter. Come on! I like you…

GROPIUS   Adieu!.... (He exits.)

ALMA 2   Poor Walter!... My poor Walter! (She answers in his absence his former question:) Yes, I'll marry you.

ALMA   Now you lost him.

ALMA 2   To hell with him.

ALMA   You don't mean it.

ALMA 2   I'm sick and tired of his jealousy. I'm fed up with his pestering me with his endless questions: “Did you make love to him? How many times did you do it? How good was it? Did you enjoy it?” He is sick in his mind and it sickens me to have to answer all these stupid questions.

ALMA   You could have lied to him.

ALMA 2   I wanted him to know the truth.

ALMA   Why?

ALMA 2   I wanted him to know once and for all he is not the perfect male he thinks he is. I wanted him to know that he is not doing me an act of Godly grace by making love to me. I couldn't stand any longer his stupid masculine vanity about his great sex performances.

ALMA   But this is the stuff men are made of.

ALMA 2   Gustav was different.

ALMA   He had his reasons. He knew his limits.

ALMA 2   They all have their limits.

ALMA   We too we have ours.

ALMA 2   No, we don't.

ALMA   We women we don't have our limits?

ALMA 2   Not when it comes to love.

ALMA   Can we make love without limits?

ALMA 2   I'm not talking of making love. I'm talking of loving. It is always after making love that I am filled with that exquisite feeling of overwhelming love for my partner. You know what I'm talking about.

ALMA   Yes, It is that feeling of gratefulness for the pleasure given and received. It is the moment of magic when your partner seems to you more beautiful than ever---

ALMA 2   And you want to extend that moment of happiness,

ALMA   That magic moment of relaxed happiness

ALMA 2   You want to embrace him and to be embraced---

ALMA   Endlessly, forever and ever---

ALMA 2   And exactly at that precious moment you feel him withdrawing and letting go of you.

ALMA   Losing contact with you---

ALMA 2   Letting you down.

ALMA   You are left to yourself, and you have to overcome it all alone.

ALMA 2   Our capacity of giving love is much too much for what men can take.

ALMA   This is not fair.

ALMA 2   That's how it is.

ALMA   It's tragic.

ALMA 2   No, it isn't.

ALMA   How do you mean?

ALMA 2   If you can give more love than one man can take, then you must take more than one man.

ALMA   But men are not ready to accept it.

ALMA 2   Then they have a problem.

ALMA   Of all the men I had, no one was ready to share me with another man.

ALMA 2   It only shows you how possessive and primitive they are.

ALMA   Would you be ready to share Walter with another woman?

ALMA 2   Why should he need another woman if I can give more than he can take?

ALMA   Yet it seems he is going to look for another woman.

ALMA 2   That's impossible!

ALMA   What makes you think so?

ALMA 2   No man who has been with me had ever left me for another woman!

ALMA   There's always the first time, and I'm afraid you should prepare yourself for I see it coming with Walter Gropius.

ALMA 2   Don't worry, I'll only make a sign with my little finger, and he will come running back to me like a good little puppy with his tail between his legs.
(The bell rings for Gustav Mahler's funeral.)

ALMA 2   What's that?

ALMA   It's the funeral.

ALMA 2   Don't tell me poor Walter committed suicide!

ALMA   Shame on you, Alma! Don't tell me you forgot whose funeral it is!

ALMA 2   Whose funeral is it?

ALMA   Alma! It is your husband's funeral!

ALMA 2   I hate funerals.

ALMA   Don't worry, you won't have to go to yours.

ALMA 2   Ha, ha!

ALMA   Come now! You have been waiting for some time for this one. Let's not miss it.

(They go.)