SONG:  “Lip Service Tango

           

(The Weaving Room)

 

     Mach               

IT STARTS WITH LIP SERVICE.

A TINY LIE,

A MERE HALF-TRUTH.

A MINOR STRETCH BETWEEN THE TOOTH.

 

IT STARTS WITH LIP SERVICE.

A LITTLE FLIM.

A LITTLE FLAM.

THE FINEST PEARL NOT OYSTERED – BUT FROM CLAM!

 

AND THEN ONE DAY

WE QUITE BELIEVE

IN WHAT WE ONCE

COULD SCARCE CONCEIVE:

 

FORKS ON THE LEFT,

SPOONS ON THE RIGHT.

KEEP YOUR CONVERSATIONS

DULL AND TRITE.

 

THE TOP IS THE TOP

WHERE WE ALL WANT TO BE,

AND SCUM FAR BELOW,

PARDON ME.

 

            (Potts and Pitts join in.)

 

     All

IT STARTS WITH LIP SERVICE.

A NICE NEW WORD

YOU’VE OVERHEARD

IS ALL IT TAKES

TO JOIN THE HERD.

 

IT STARTS WITH LIP SERVICE.

 

     Mach               

APPEAL TO THEIR PRIDE

IN WORDS DIGNIFIED,

AND THEY GLADLY CAST

THEIR EYEBALLS ASIDE.

 

     All

AND THEN ONE DAY

WE QUITE BELIEVE

IN WHAT WE ONCE

COULD SCARCE CONCEIVE:

 

     Mach

SOME DAZZLING CLOTHES

THAT NOBODY KNOWS

ARE NAKED SKIN

FROM HEAD TO TOES.

 

            (Ladyship steps out.)

 

     All

IT STARTS WITH LIP . . .

 

     Ladyship         

Bravo, Mr. Mach!

 

            (Mach, Potts and Pitts all freeze.)

 

     Ladyship         

Very well done, Sir Afashionado, I see your game.

                             

     Mach               

                                                (relaxing)

Madame Ladyship, I am very pleased you see it.  Don’t I make beautiful things?

 

      Ladyship        

I see your game, Mr. Mach.

 

     Mach               

            (He shoos Potts and Pitts off. They exit.)

Shall we play our game together, my dear? 

 

            (Mach forces her into a brief tango turn, which she halts abruptly.)

 

      Ladyship        

I play no game! 

 

     Mach

The empire?

 

     Ladyship         

Is truth and wisdom.

 

     Mach               

Oh, please, not those two in the same bag, my dear.  Wisdom says truth is far too painful, so let’s lie.

 

            (Mach forces her into another tango turn.)

 

     Ladyship         

Your fancy fashions for the Emperor are nothing! You just admitted it.

 

     Mach               

And you think empire is solid?

 

     Ladyship         

Of course it is!

 

     Mach

And your little Plan is real, too?

 

     Ladyship         

Of course! It’s written down on paper.

 

     Mach               

An empire on paper, hmmm. And when you look at the paper, Ladyship, do you see the Plan?

 

     Ladyship         

Of course you do!

 

     Mach               

All I see are dark little marks called letters of an alphabet.

 

     Ladyship         

This is ridiculous! The Plan is in my mind.

 

     Mach               

And if I crack open your skull?

 

     Ladyship         

I won’t be tricked.

 

     Mach

My tongue is no trickier than yours, Ladyship.  This Plan is mere words. Someone invented it.

 

            (A long pause.  No answer from Ladyship.)

 

     Mach               

Just as I invented these beautiful vestments. We are comrades in creation, my dear, making empires out of lies.

 

     (He gives her another dancing twirl.)

 

     Ladyship         

This empire is no lie!

 

     Mach

Oh, come, come. In some parts of the world, people vote to elect officials who tell everybody precisely what they must do – and they call it “freedom.” We are dealing, Ladyship, not with a few fakeries, but with cherished beliefs.                                               

 

     Ladyship         

            (she pulls herself away)

I refuse…

 

     Mach               

And what you and I don’t want is to let anyone know it. Because if they know it’s all lies, the whole empire falls apart, doesn’t it? Partners, my dear?

                                               

(Ladyship has been defeated. Mach grabs her hand. She yields. He swings her for a few more turns as she limply follows him. Ladyship pulls away and exits.)