Das Polydrama
   Rollen > Szenen


> download Word-Doc

Vienna, 1901. Alma and Alexander Zemlinsky, her composition tutor.

ZEMLINSKY   Alma! - What's the matter with you? - Did I do something wrong? Alma, stay here! Did I say something that hurt you? ... Alma!! Hold it! Why are you so cross with me all of a sudden?, Remember, Alma! Remember yesterday, won't you! Please, Alma! Have you forgotten it all? Yesterday everything was fine, so good between us, and now, all of a sudden...? Please don't run away, Alma! ... At least say something ! What did I do to deserve this? How could you change so brutally.? Alma, how can I understand it if you don't speak to me? What deadly sin have I committed?

ALMA   Poor Alex...

ZEMLINSKY   »Poor Alex!« Is that an answer? Is that supposed to console me? ? For what? Being poor? I know I'm poor, in every sense of the word. You've always made it a point to remind me how unimportant I was, how little I have. I'm a needy, unsightly, insignificant, wretch...

ALMA   Don't be ridiculous!

ZEMLINSKY   And to top it all off, now I'm ridiculous . I am! You said it! You can't take it back, , it doesn't make it any easier for me.

ALMA   We've been such good friends... Let's leave it at that.

ZEMLINSKY   "Good friends"? Come on, are you joking, Alma? We've been lovers, my dear. Please don't forget that! I've kept no secrets and neither have you. ! Not a thing! I've touched you ...

ALMA   You've passed through my life, and I've touched yours..

ZEMLINSKY   “Touched”? My »life«? You call it my »life«? In that case you've been playing with my life. You took it in your hand, you let it melt on your tongue...!

ALMA   Don't be vulgar!

ZEMLINSKY   Alma, I know I'm ugly -

ALMA   Stop it, Alex!

ZEMLINSKY   Yes, you've said it to me so many times.

ALMA   I was joking.

ZEMLINSKY   No, you weren't. You weren't at all! I know how your family talks about me, I have no illusions. I know that your friends keep telling you how ugly and poor I am. It's true, I have no money -

ALMA   Money doesn't mean a thing to me.

ZEMLINSKY   You're after money, talent and fame. I have none of all these.

ALMA   That isn't true. You have talent, and you know it .

ZEMLINSKY   I'm not sure of that either any more.

ALMA   You have talent, Alex. i can assure you of that.

ZEMLINSKY   Alma! Don't leave me! I want you. I need you. I have to have you, do you understand?! For ever! I want you for ever. Do you understand?! I have nothing. I'm a lost child. Please, love me a little. - Don't let me beg like a little child. Do you really have so much to give that others must always beg? Well fine, I have nothing. I have to beg!

ALMA   Stop it! Stop it right now!! I can't bear it! Do you understand me?! Stop humiliating yourself right now. I can't stand it. You must never, do you hear, never humiliate yourself in front of me. You should never, never, never beg for my love!

ZEMLINSKY   If you don't give it to me -

ALMA   This is the most deadly killer of love, don't you understand that? If someone asks for help, you shouldn't give it to them. Because that means they aren't worthy of it! Why can't you see that? If a man asks me for something - if he begs for it - then to me, he's dead.

ZEMLINSKY   Am I dead to you?

ALMA   You are doing all you can to make it easier for me.

ZEMLINSKY   To make WHAT easier?! To make WHAT easier?! Is there anybody... ?

ALMA   I have an awful dilemma.

ZEMLINSKY   So there is someone.

ALMA   My love... Alex...

ZEMLINSKY   Who is it? - Don't say »Alex«! - Who is it? I want to know his name!

ALMA   It's your name.

ZEMLINSKY   My name? Why? Another Alex?

ALMA   No, you idiot! I'm experimenting.


ALMA   No, I'm just experimenting with myself: I whisper »My love«, and it's always your name that comes first.

ZEMLINSKY   And whose name comes second? I can smell him on you. What has he got that I haven't? Is he younger than me? Better-looking? Richer?

ALMA   No.

ZEMLINSKY   You want to sparkle like a star in the Viennese sky. For that you don't need love. And that's all I can give you. But you need a handsome, rich and respectable man. What are you laughing at?!

ALMA   »A handsome Man!« Oh, God... What do you know!

ZEMLINSKY   So he isn't handsome? Then he must be very rich.

ALMA   He isn't rich either.

ZEMLINSKY   Then he must be famous.

ALMA   Alex, I'm yours, I belong to you.

ZEMLINSKY   Is he famous? World famous?

ALMA   Not yet.

ZEMLINSKY   Aaahhh! - Who is it?

ALMA   It's (indistinctly) …….


ALMA   (She can't bring herself to pronounce the name properly:) Gstml….

ZEMLINSKY   Stop this nonsense. Who is the man?

ALMA   I told you. Now leave me in peace, at last!

ZEMLINSKY   Don't make me crazy! (imitates her:) « Gstml…» Who's that supposed to be? - I want to know now, dammed! Who is it? Spell it out for me.!

ALMA   Alex! Stop it. You're getting on my nerves. Stop torturing me!

ZEMLINSKY   I'm torturing you?! You're torturing me! Who is the man? I want to know who it is! God dammed!!!

RESERL    (whispers) It's Gustav Mahler.

ZEMLINSKY   What? What?! (Suddenly it dawns on him:) No! No, you're kidding! It can't be... You don't mean... Gustav Mahler? That old fart?!

ALMA   You would have to say that.

ZEMLINSKY   Oh my God! He could be your grandfather!

ALMA   He couldn't be my grandfather. That's tasteless.

ZEMLINSKY   But he could be your father…

ALMA   He's only forty-two. So what?

ZEMLINSKY   Only? He's twenty years older than you!

ALMA   He loves me.

ZEMLINSKY   He loves you? That old, wrinkled, dried-up herring, that haemorrhoidal ape? Terminally ill, debt-ridden and impotent? Eats nothing but wholegrain bread and fruit, and that's exactly how he composes, too! That tasteless smearer of notes...

ALMA   Alright, he's not a Beethoven, but he has talent...

ZEMLINSKY   »Not a Beethoven«?! Tell me, are you totally crazy?! He's a sniveling scribbler of music!

ALMA   That's not true. His Lieder -

ZEMLINSKY   His Lieder! How do you know about them?

ALMA   He sent them to me.

ZEMLINSKY   Oh, look what we have here! His diet music! Spare me! It's all fake simplicity! It's so artificial!

ALMA   Calm down, I'm not saying I'm enthusiastic about his Lieder.

ZEMLINSKY   Alma! How can you? You are so intelligent, you have such refined taste. Your own music is so much superior to anything this pretender has composed! Alma, in 22 years you've composed better things than Gustav Mahler will cobble together in 200 years. Any one of your Lieder reveals more musical talent than all of his symphonies combined!

ALMA   I know. His music leaves me cold. It doesn't touch my senses, but - but him! Him! It's him that fascinates me. Only him. That's it. Nothing else. It's ... I don't know how to say…

ZEMLINSKY   Yes, sure, I know. The “unspeakable”, that »certain something«! That »je ne sais quoi«! - And his position as Director of the Royal Opera. That's true, isn't it? He occupies a key position in Vienna's musical life. To be his wife means glamour! Power! Status! Don't cheat yourself, Alma. You little fool! All you want to do is sit on the hurdy-gurdy, all dressed up, with a little red cap, a bowl of money in your hand, and Mr Mahler grinding the organ! While all Vienna dances to the tune! But not with me! Not with me!! Alma... Alma! Come here, come to me!
Suddenly Zemlinsky throws himself at Alma, trying to embrace and kiss her:

ALMA   Stop it! Stop it, Alex! No, don't kiss me! Alex... Leave me... alone! Don't touch me ...! Don't you dare ... Go away!! Go ... away!!! (pushes him away and spits out) Urrgh! - If only I'd met him just three years earlier, my lips would never have been tainted by yours.

ZEMLINSKY   Ahhhh... Now I understand you, Alma. At long last. I had to wait a long time. Your boundless vanity, your craving for pleasure, your ridiculous fantasies! You're dead! You're lost ...

ALMA   Quite the contrary, my dear. You can keep your advice to yourself. I won't need it anymore. I'll love him, my whole life . And I'll take care of him. I'll compose. I will even conduct! This man is pure oxygen for me! You get set on fire if you step too close !

ZEMLINSKY   And what about me? What have I been for you?

ALMA   Sulphur. It burns too, but it's stinkier.

ZEMLINSKY   Well, then…! Get out of my sight! Fuck yourself to fame and glory! That's what you were born for!

ALMA   That's not for you to judge, thank God.

ZEMLINSKY   Adieu ma vie, adieu mon coeur, adieu mon espérance! You will become the most important woman in the musical life of Vienna! Enjoy it! Go to your old Jewish goat! Go to your Gustav. When you're fed up with the wet lips of your old prune , join us for a drink. You're always welcome. I have to drown my sorrows and break the news to our friends. All it's worth is a good drink, and some juicy jokes. Adieu Alma!