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Moliere's
The Schemings of Scapin

in a new verse adaptation
by Timothy Mooney


About the Adaptation | Excerpt | Timothy Mooney Bio | Home | Order Copy

About the Adaptation
by Tim Mooney

The Schemings of Scapin (1671) is a hilarious farce set in Italy, about a scheming servant who brilliantly tricks two fathers out of money that their respective sons need to support their lovers. The way he pulls it off is a tour de force which cannot be captured in a single scene here, but the show is being planned for the Stage Two theatre at the Cuneo Museum in Vernon Hills this June. The attached further develops our theme of trashing the professions. In this instance it was the legal profession that Moliere cut loose on, as Scapin tries to frighten the father from initiating a divorce proceeding.

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The Schemings of Scapin
Act II, Scene 5
ARGANTE, SCAPIN

SCAPIN
That's just what I told him. "You cannot hope
To bluff with such a silly proposition,
You'll have to moderate your rash position.
The father's not one of those simple souls,
Whom you might dupe from six hundred pistoles."
And thus, he slowly started to be shaken
From thinking you would be so simply taken.
At last, he says to me, "I now aspire,
To join the army, and I will require
Equipment which will set me back a bit.
And though what you propose brings on my fit,
I have to have a horse to reach my goals.
A good one is at least sixty pistoles."

ARGANTE
Sixty pistoles? I might supply those funds.

SCAPIN
"I'll need a harness, and a set of guns.
Just twenty more pistoles should be enough."

ARGANTE
Add twenty to the sixty for this stuff,
We're up to eighty to fill his demand.

SCAPIN
That's right.

ARGANTE
That's more than I at first had planned,
But if it will get this out of the way ...

SCAPIN
"I also need a horse for my valet.
I've found one for just thirty more pistoles."

ARGANTE
The devil! Let him walk! The servant strolls!
I shall not give the man a single sou!

SCAPIN
Oh, sir!

ARGANTE
No that's too much.

SCAPIN
But, really, you
Don't think the servant ought to tramp and trudge?

ARGANTE
What I think is I'll take this to the judge.

SCAPIN
Oh, sir, don't stick at such a silly sum,
You must do what you can to keep this from
The court.

ARGANTE
All right! Tack on those thirty more.

SCAPIN
"I also need," he said, "a pack-mule for --"

ARGANTE
The devil take the man and take his mule!
Does he think me some simpleton or fool?
That's it! We'll take this matter to the judge.

SCAPIN
But sir --

ARGANTE
No, that's enough! I will not budge!

SCAPIN
Sir, just a little pack-mule that may pass --

ARGANTE
No mule, no donkey, not the smallest ass!

SCAPIN
But think about --

ARGANTE
I'd rather go to court.

SCAPIN
Oh, sir! If you think this man may extort,
Give thought to all the law's great machinations
Which frustrate men of endless wealth of patience.
Think of appeals and writs of jurisdiction
Rapacious beasts with wicked predilection
At every stage you pass another thief
Who look to give your pocketbook relief.
These bailiffs, lawyers, counselors, and clerks
Reporters and the judges; each one shirks
The fairness that they owe for slightest perqs,
And then you'll know just how the system works.
A bailiff serves a false writ on the case,
And you may disappear without a trace!
Your lawyer may be got at by your foe
And sell you out for bits of ready dough.
Your counsel might be won out that same way
And fail to make appearance on that day,
Or else he'll argue everything obscurely
And see to it you lose the case securely.
These court reporter's clerks find ways to hamper
By stealing the transcription which they tamper.
That is, assuming that the court reporter
Transcribed it all as said in proper order.
And even having made it past them all,
The judge himself might rather make you crawl;
Some pious folk solicit him against you,
Or else some woman that the man intends to ...
Signeur, I must beseech your sense of worth:
Do not get caught inside this Hell on earth!
To be at law is to be damned alive,
And I would sooner find ways to contrive
A trip to take me to the most remote
Location on the earth by fastest boat.

ARGANTE
So how much does he reckon for the mule?

SCAPIN
Sir, for the mule, the horse, the harness tool,
The pistols and to settle something weighty
Between the man and his supposed landlady,
He asks in all for two hundred pistoles.

ARGANTE
Two hundred?

SCAPIN
Yes.

ARGANTE
The greediest of trolls!
Come on, we'll take this matter to the court.

SCAPIN
But think --

ARGANTE
I'll go to court.

SCAPIN
Do not resort--

ARGANTE
I want to go to court!

SCAPIN
But it will cost
At least as much, or case will be quite lost.
You'll pay out for the writ, the registrations,
The power of attorney, consultations,
The time your lawyer spends upon your case,
And time the advocates spend face to face,
Engrossing of the documents in piles
Will cost you long before you see the trials.
The substitutes reports, the judge's fees,
The signatures, provisional decrees,
The registrar, the warrants, verdicts, stamps,
Upon your pocketbook will place their clamps.
And while each honest player you subscribe
That doesn't count the folk you have to bribe!
And here's a matter straining all beliefs:
You even pay for your attorney's briefs!
If you pay out the money now, at first,
It's only once you'll be so badly cursed.

ARGANTE
But two hundred pistoles ...

SCAPIN
You'll end on top,
On all the little costs of getting justice
And find the process will quite quickly bust us.
By giving that two hundred as a giftie,
You save yourself at least a hundred fifty!
Which doesn't count the worries and the trouble
You'll find in getting through this awful rubble.
If all that you avoided was the snide
Remarks in which these lawyers take some pride,
Which they express for all the world to hear ...
I'd pay three hundred just to not appear!

About the Adaptation | Excerpt | Timothy Mooney Bio | Home | Order Copy

About Timothy Mooney

Tim Mooney has worked in, with and around the theatre for almost thirty years, as an actor, director and playwright, and everything in-between.

Tim received his bachelor’s degree from Southern Illinois University, and a master of fine arts degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He went on to internships with the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre and the Seattle Rep, where he was assistant director to John Dillon and Daniel Sullivan, respectively.

Tim taught acting and stage movement for two years with Northern Illinois University, before creating “The Script Review,” a newsletter that reviewed some 700 plays in manuscript form over the course of seven years, distributed to Literary Managers and Directors all over the United States. As a director, Tim’s production of “Secret Obscenities” was one of five winners at the Bailiwick Directors’ Festival in Chicago.

From there, Tim stepped in as Artistic Director of the Stage Two Theatre Company, where he produced nearly fifty plays in five years, most of them original works.

When Stage Two turned to the classics, Tim adapted his own sparkling rhymed, iambic-pentameter versions of the plays of Moliere creating fifteen new Moliere plays in seven years. Stage Two produced “Tartuffe,” “The Miser,” “The Schemings of Scapin,” “The Misanthrope,” “The Doctor in Spite of Himself” and “Sganarelle,” and companies around the world picked up on these plays too, with productions all across the United States, as well as Canada and even India. U.S. venues included the Pasadena Shakespeare Festival, M.I.T., Wayne State University and Universities of Colorado, Michigan, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Ohio and many more.

Tim’s writing work brought him full circle, back in front of the footlights as a performer, playing the lead role in many of the works he had written. (In fact, all of the roles in which he now found himself cast were the parts that Moliere himself had originated!) This was to give Tim the impetus for a one-man show, “Moliere Than Thou” (Best Adapted Work, San Francisco Fringe Fest). The play serves as a quick introduction to some of Moliere’s greatest works and speeches, and has been seen all over the U.S. and Canada. It has given tens of thousands of students their first exposure to Moliere, and along the way Tim has taught thousands of students in his workshops, introducing the concepts further developed in his upcoming text, “Acting at the Speed of Life,” as well as his collection of Moliere Monologues.

Most recently, Tim has further refined the art of the one-person show, creating a one-man Sci-Fi Thriller, “Criteria,” (Artistic Picks Finalist, Seattle Fringe Fest), as well as “Karaoke Knights” a “One Man Rock Opera.”

Tim continues to write new versions of the plays of Moliere, novels, short stories, songs, children’s stories and screenplays.

All website content © Timothy Mooney