Love and defection

Dan Rodricks

November 07, 1990|By Dan Rodricks

And now, appropriate to the day, we come to the third and final act of "L'Infuriato (The Infuriated One)," being the fourth opera in the Don Donaldo Ring Cycle, based loosely on the life and times of the Lord Governor of Maryland.

Seeking the affirmation of his people, Don Donaldo agreed to nTC stand for re-election. In the primary, however, he received only 78 percent of the vote of his party. Infuriated at this unimpressive margin of victory, Don Donaldo admonished his Staff Sycophants to deliver a unanimous vote in the general election. Singing, "No More'a Mista Nice'a Guy," the Lord Governor erupted in a demoniacal rage that shook the countryside, not to mention his trailer home in Ocean City. Despite the reasoned counsel that he lower his expectations, Don Donaldo insisted on 100 percent loyalty from his subjects. In Act II, Padre Michino, the Lieutenant Lord Governor, lamented that such expectations ,X could only lead to further annoyance.

Now, it is Election Night 1990.

As the curtain rises on Act III, we see a darkened salon in the Governor's Palace. Discernible in the shadows, stage right, is the 10-foot-tall statue of the Lord Governor. The first chords of music are gloomy and menacing, reminiscent of the final, horrific scenes from Mozart's "Don Giovanni."

As the music builds, the statue stirs. It comes to life! Each step the statue takes lands on the stage with a frightening, echoing Thud-dud-dud-dud! Thud-dud-dud-dud!

Suddenly, a door opens. It is Don Donaldo and his angst-ridden entourage.

There is a dramatic burst of light. The music explodes. Don Donaldo sees the monstrous statue and shrieks: "Ahhhhhhh!" His longtime companion, Brunnhilde Mae, covers her eyes and shrieks: "Ahhhhhh!" Crushed with fear, Don Donaldo's courtiers fall to their knees. Everyone shrieks: "AHHHHHHHHHH!!!"

The statue of Don Donaldo, fists clenched, walks toward the real Don Donaldo: Thud-dud-dud-dud! Thud-dud-dud-dud!

And then, the statue starts to sing, in thunderous basso:

"Don Don-a-a-a-a-l-do! Don Don-a-a-a-a-ldo! On your knees, Don Don-a-a-a-a-ldo!"

The Lord Governor cowers. Everyone else in the room freezes in fear. Don Donaldo raises his head and sings.

Donaldo: "Oh, great ghost."

Statue: Don Don-a-a-a-a-ldo!

Donaldo: Great, BIG ghost!

Statue: Don Don-a-a-a-a-ldo!

Donaldo: Great, big, SCARY ghost!

Statue: Don Don-a-a-a-a-ldo!!

Donaldo: WHAT?!!

Statue (breaking into rap song): You won re-election, with lots of defection. You lost Arundel, votes by the bundle. An even badder sign: You lost in Caroline. . . .

Donaldo (weeping): Oh, great spirit, spare me!

Statue: You took a dent, by losing in Kent. You lost in Garrett, lost in Somerset, lost in Talbot, I ain't finished countin' yet. You lost in Washington, lost in Fred'rick, lost in Wicomico, lost in Carroll. . . .

Donaldo: Sing this litany no more!

Statue: You lost Dorchester and you lost Queen Anne's; I'd say all over you lost some fans. Mick Jagger sang, in words that haunt: You can't always get WHAT YOU WANT! . . . So feel yourself lucky and breath a sigh, get a fork, Ego Man -- EAT SOME HUMBLE PIE!"

With that, the statue explodes into dust:


Don Donaldo, dazed and trembling, rises to his feet. So does Brunnhilde Mae, and all the Lord Governor's attendants. The Lobbyist Cabal, the Merchant Chorus and the Peasant Chorus rush into the salon. Everyone has heard the explosion. All are stunned. Don Donaldo looks around. Oddly, he seems serene. His mood brightens. Something wonderful has happened. An epiphany of sorts.

Donaldo sings (to "What Kind of Fool Am I?"): What kind of fool am I? Who never saw the light? I used to pout and whine and stay up brooding . . . all through the night. What kind of crab was I? An empty shell? A crab who kicked and screamed and raised . . . all kinds of hell? But now I've learned the truth! Straight from the voting booth! And now I know just what I am! I'm only a man! A man who finally knows what kind of fool . . . I AM!!"

Chorus (sweetly): Yes, he's just a man! A man like any man! A man who finally knows what kind of fool . . . he AM!!!!


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