April 18, 2013

Breaking Bad: the Elixir of Love version

I've become obsessed with the AMC drama Breaking Bad as with no show since the demise of Lost.  The slow corruption of Walter White has sucked me in and left me breathless with anticipation for the series' final episodes.

In the meantime, having previously produced operatic-themed parodies of Law and Order, Criminal Minds and House, M.D., I shall now amuse myself (and, um, maybe you too?) by imagining Donizetti's comedy The Elixir of Love re-written as a typical episode of Breaking Bad. Ready? No? Too bad, because here comes:

BREAKING ITALIAN: THE ELIXIR OF LOVE
CAST
Walt "Doc" Dulcamara, kingpin of a vast elixir empire and former professor of voice at the Milan Conservatory of Music
Sargeant Hank Belcore, who has retired from the army and is now an investigator for Alcoholic Beverage Control.
Nemorino Uomorosa ("Uomorosa" = "Pinkman" in English; clever, right? See what I did there?), Walt's former voice student, now his partner and chief distributor throughout Italy
Adina, Nemorino's wife. She is totally in the dark about her husband's true line of work, though lately she's begun to have some suspicions.
Gianetta, a young girl tragically addicted to elixir; she's in rehab, trying to get clean.

Elixir Kingpin "Doc" Dulcamara,
peddling his blue poison
(Scene 1. It's Nemorino's birthday, and everyone has gathered for a party at Nemorino and Adina's home in the suburbs. There's a cake, gifts, and glasses of red wine.)

ADINA
Hey, everybody! Let's all raise our glasses and toast my sweet hubby on his birthday!

BELCORE
(to Dulcamara) Hey, Dulcamara, where's your glass? Whatsamatter, a little wine too much for ya? (He laughs boisterously, slapping Dulcamara on the back.)

DULCAMARA
I'll just have a little sparkling water, thanks. I try to stay away from alcohol; I never could handle it.

BELCORE
Well, I just wish more people had that attitude. I see how the strong stuff messes up people's lives on a daily basis. But then again, tracking down illegal hootch is how I make my living. Hey Nemorino, I don't need to take you into custody, do I? HA HA HA!!

NEMORINO
Very funny, Hank. This is good wholesome red wine - none of that "blue elixir" wine you hear about. Hey, you ever gonna catch the guys who make that stuff?

BELCORE
I'll tell ya, I'd like nothing better than to catch the guy who cooks that stuff - it's everywhere. His street name is "Doc", and his elixir is the highest quality I've ever seen. The lab guys who've analyzed this stuff say it gets its blue color from pure blueberry juice he mixes in with the grapes. It's his trademark. Plus, this gives it nice notes of cedar, chocolate, smoked salmon and ripe kumquat. One glass, and normal people turn into amorous BEASTS.

DULCAMARA
Sounds like this "Doc" is one clever fella, Hank. Why, it could be anyone - even someone you know.

ADINA
(laughing) Why, it could even be YOU, "Walt"! (Everyone roars with laughter at this.)

DULCAMARA
I have enough to do just teaching poor Italian villagers how to sing opera...

NEMORINO
Uh, everyone? I hate to bring you down with bad news, but... I have announcement to make. I've been to the doctor, and... well... (his voice breaks with emotion) I've been diagnosed with a bad case of nodules on my vocal cords; I may never sing in public again.

BELCORE
We're here for you, buddy. Anything you need... seriously... you got it.

Scene 2. Adina is seated at the kitchen table with a stack of bills. Nemorino is looking through a piano-vocal score of Handel's "Rinaldo".

ADINA
Oh, Nemmy, I don't know what we're going to do. These medical bills for the treatment of your nodules are going to ruin our family.

NEMORINO
No worries. I've got it covered. (He disappears into their wine cellar and returns with a huge sack full of  gold scudi. That's an old kind of coin they always use in Italian operas - you knew that, right?) Here, baby, this should take care of it.

ADINA
What?!?! Where did you get this? You're a light lyric tenor who sings in comic operas; you don't make this kind of money! Oh Nemorino, what have you gotten involved in? I'm frightened for us! We might find ourselves in... in.. a dramatic opera!!

NEMORINO
You clearly don't know who you're talking to, Adina, so let me clue you in. I am not "in" a drama; I AM the drama!! I AM THE DRAMA!!! A guy walks onstage and has someone sing a high C in his face and you think it happened to me? No - I AM THE ONE WHO SINGS!

ADINA
You're... weird.

Scene 3. An 12-step AA meeting at the local pizzeria. Junkies hooked on Elixir and other drugs sit in a circle, including Nemorino, Edgardo, Norma, Countess Rosina, Idomeneo and Lulu. Also Salome. Gianetta speaks.)

GIANETTA
Hi, everyone. Um, my name is Gianetta and... and.. *sob* ..I'm an elixir-a-holic.

EVERYONE
Hi, Gianetta

GIANETTA
I'm only here because the conductor and the stage director said they'd cut my part from the opera unless I got clean. I love elixir, that's my problem. It's so tasty! And I love that deep blue color! Once I start sipping I just can't stop. Plus, (her voice gets very sultry and husky as she begins slowly twirling a strand of hair between her fingers, staring at Nemorino)  it always makes me feel very... very... amorous, know what I mean?

NEMORINO
Hey, sweet-stuff, want to get some coffee afterwards?

GIANETTA
Let's leave now. I really want some............. coffee...

Scene 3. Dulcamara's secret elixir lab. As a cover, they're using the keyboard lab at the "Dulcamara Bittersweet Academy of Vocal Arts". He and Nemorino are in their bright yellow coveralls. Dulcamara is stomping on a big vat of grapes, sending juice flowing through tubes into giant glass beakers sitting atop bunson burners. Nemorino is stomping on a vat of blueberries, which produces a stream of - yep, you guessed it! deep blue nectar.)

NEMORINO
Hey, Doc - you know what would be AWESOME, dude?

DULCAMARA
(sighing patiently) No, "dude"; what?

NEMORINO
I want to add some minced garlic and crushed basil to this batch. That could be our trademark, you know? Like, our signature!

DULCAMARA
(exploding with anger) ABSOLUTELY NOT! You are NOT going to contaminate this product! We will produce a chemically pure and stable product that performs as advertised. I take pride in producing cheap, worthless wine of the HIGHEST QUALITY, do you understand?

NEMORINO
That is such bull-poop! Heil Hitler, dude... Oh, I have another gripe. In our duet yesterday, you gave me venti scudi. VENTI SCUDI? I happen to know that when you sold elixir in the village that morning you cleared cento scudi! Where's my fair share, man!

DULCAMARA
It's not that simple, you idiot. We have expenses. I have to pay the farmers who grow the grapes. I'm importing high-quality blueberries from Michigan. You do realize blueberries don't grow in Italy, right? Besides - if I give you  more scudi, you'll just go blow it all on elixir. Grow up and be a professional.

NEMORINO
(sulking, but lacking the guts to defy Dulcamara) Whatever...  By the way, I may have a little problem. Adina is starting to wonder where I'm getting all this cash from. I told her the opera company was paying workman's comp for my vocal trouble, but she's not buying it. And I've kind of gotten involved with a girl I met in rehab, and I'm kind of supporting her and her young son the Duke of Mantua.

DULCAMARA
He's a duke?

NEMORINO
It's kind of a nickname. Besides, Doc, I'm kind of thinking of getting out of the elixir game -- you know, like retiring and stuff. I mean, we've made all the money we'll ever need, right? We're rolling in scudi, and everyone has our blue elixir and they're all randy and amorous and everyone in the village is falling in love with everybody else, and... I think we've saturated the market. Plus, Sgt. Belocre is going to catch on to us any day now. So... this is it.

DULCAMARA
You are not getting out of the elixir "game", as you put it, do you understand? I want to expand our business. I want an elixir EMPIRE throughout the opera world! I want to sell our product in Valhalla and see Wotan and Fricka get stinking drunk and fall in love again! I want Figaro to take over distribution in the Seville territory - he can claim it's "aftershave". I want the Witch to use it to sedate Hansel and Gretel and all the other little children in the woods! We'll sell it to Calaf so Turandot will find him irresistible! We'll sell it to Baron Ochs so Sophie will forget about Octavian and choose him! Sparafucile can serve it in his tavern! We'll sell it to Isolde up in Ireland!

NEMORINO
Uh, Doc? I think she already has a steady supply of elixir...

DULCAMARA
OURS IS BETTER! I'll find out who her supplier is and I'll OFF the sucker! I'll plant a BOMB! NO ONE SELLS ELIXIR IN DULCAMARA'S TERRITORY AND MY TERRITORY IS THE WORLD!!!!! *pant pant pant*

NEMORINO
At this point, there's only one thing I can do.

DULCAMARA
What's that?

NEMORINO
Wait for your cancer to come back.

DULCAMARA
What are you talking about? I don't have cancer.

NEMORINO
Uh-oh. Crap.

THE END

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