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Walter Gropius and the Almaniac.

GROPIUS   You seem to know a thing or two about that woman.

ALMANIAC   You mean Alma? What do you want to know about her?

GROPIUS   Have you also been one of her victims?

ALMANIAC   Of her victims - yes, but not the way you imagine.

GROPIUS   Can you be less enigmatic?

ALMANIAC   I haven't been one of her husband nor - alas - one of her innumerable lovers.

GROPIUS   In what way then have you been her victim?

ALMANIAC   She once visited an orphanage where I had passed my unhappy childhood. I was chosen to offer her flowers, and she hugged me. Her magic touch bewitched me. It marked me for life.

GROPIUS   Come on, this can't be true!

ALMANIAC   It is, my dear friend. Ever since that supernatural exquisite contact I cannot love any other woman.

GROPIUS   You must hate her guts.

ALMANIAC   I hate her, I love her, I miss her, I dream of her, I make love to her in my fantasy, I am longing for her, I detest her, I wish I never met her, I am haunted by her, I collect every piece of memorabilia that has to do with her, I have in my possession a serviette - impregnated with her perfume and carrying the marks of her lipstick - that she dropped in a restaurant after wiping her lips…

GROPIUS   She has really cast her spell on you.

ALMANIAC   And how! I even went so far as to sneak into a toilet cabin when she left the closet to join her secret lover in the private compartment of a wagon lit going from Vienna to Munich to attend the world premiere of Mahler's 8th symphony.

GROPIUS   My God! You spied on her when she was betraying Mahler with me!

ALMANIAC   I spied on her when she betrayed Mahler with you, and when she betrayed you with Kamerer, and when she betrayed you with Kokoschka, and when she cheated you with Lili leiser, and when she was disloyal to you again with Werfel - I'm sorry if it hurts you---

GROPIUS   Not any more. All I feel for her is pity.

ALMANIAC   I can't believe you.

GROPIUS   I met her incidentally not long ago on some official occasion, at the inauguration of a contemporary art gallery, I watched her and I must admit I couldn't understand what I found so compelling about her in the past.

ALMANIAC   You must have been defending yourself by denying your emotions and feelings.

GROPIUS   I wish felt anything. But believe it or not: all I felt was a strong aesthetic aversion. She was huge, fat, heavy, elephantine, very unpleasant to look at, I dare say even there was something vile about the expression of her face.

ALMANIAC   You are unjust. There is a lot of anger in your voice. She must have caused you a lot of pain. You can't help seeing her only with the eyes of someone she has let down.

GROPIUS   You are wrong, my friend. The moment she started her romance with her plump muffin of a poet---

ALMANIAC   You mean Werfel---

GROPIUS   I lost all interest in her.

ALMANIAC   But when you first met her in Tobelbad you fell madly in love with her. You wrote her blazing love letters, you ran after her and you hung around her following her from the distance like a horny tomcat.

GROPIUS   That's true, though I don't understand what it was about her that intoxicated me so strongly. I knew young women who were much more beautiful than Alma

ALMANIAC   But there wasn't anyone as pretty as she was.

GROPIUS   I met women who were much smarter than her -

ALMANIAC   But no one was as smart as she was.

GROPIUS   And I knew girls who were much more attractive than her ---

ALMANIAC   But no girl was as attractive as Alma

GROPIUS   I even knew women who were much more exciting lovers than she was…

ALMANIAC   But no woman was as exciting a lover as Alma

GROPIUS   Thinking of it now, I simply cannot say what it was that made me fall in love with her.

ALMANIAC   My friend, if you want to understand what made you fall in love with her, you must go back to the first time you met her in Tobelbad, if you are ready to make that journey in time.

GROPIUS   Yes, I am ready to make the journey.

ALMANIAC   Then let's go to Tobelbad.

GROPIUS   Let's go to Tobelbad!