The marquise of Havana
A two act musical comedy

By Eduardo Quiles

Translated by Lourence Sharpe

What is life without a dream ?
The Cast

Don Dámaso
Revenue Officer
Night Rooster
Don Ramón de Ramones
Flor de Lis
Marquise of Havana
Don Wenceslao
Parisian Gentleman


A spotlight throws a reddish haze on the face of the Revenue Officer. And we notice a spasmodic tic galvanizing his legal, post-modern features. He is wearing a suit and his figure is well rounded out with his hat and the batch of legal documents under his arm.


Greetings from His Gracious Majesty of Revenue
whoever doesn´t flatten out his pockets, will be flattened by me.
The bloom of delight peeps from between my teeth.
to conjugate the verb "to compel" is a veritable orgasm,
and this café frequented by mere scraps of citizenry
will on this floral fiscal day be closed down.
Open doors onto halls of dialogue
or close down cafés that echo only the past?
That is the question for the tax collector´s preacher!
The chorus of smart citizens may well mutter.......

(The owner appears with tray, bottle and glass. Don Dámaso seems to be a washed-up member of the
human race, sometimes deaf, always with stooped shoulders, a brittle voice and a limping gait. His features are repeatedly filmed on the spirit of the glassware of The Green Cat

DON DÁMASO Dance, dance, Your Honour, there will be time enough to darken this café of illuminated talkers. (Serves a drink to the Revenue Officer then he hobbles away with a table lamp in his hand) We're even threatened with having our electric light cut (Sighs) Ah! What a dismal day for the musical café that so distinguished a whole era. (Tears a leaf from a grotesque calendar) Nineteen thirty odd.....(Picks up a newspaper, balances his spectacles, draws the lamp closer and takes a look at the paper) "An extra-parliamentary baby is born, fruit of a frozen embrion" (Pause) Rubbish. (Pause) Can't understand a word. Maybe it's because of this calendar where all the days are shuffled around?

(Tears off one page after another, meanwhile the Revenue Officer recites and hums)

My wild tax-collector's heart suggests:
either close, or half-close, your calculating eye.
However the mysticism of collecting cash on the nail
requires: put into bond, seal, close down
oh, faithful patriot of public wealth.
What's to become of my duty and obligation?
By the eminent beards of the Treasury
to pry and to collect is my Holy Office.
I'll keep quiet, pull my hat down over my brow
and I'll wait around, knock back this drink, and hold on.

(The visitor stops his singing, goes to a table, makes himself comfortable and finishes his drink, while don Dámaso hobbles from one side to another.)

DON DÁMASO. The Revenue Officer wants to close my premises down just because I haven't paid taxes or rates for a few days or years What a poor spirit is to be found in some institutionalized spirits!
(hesitates, meditates and moves over to a corner in the café where an overhead light shines on a manikin before an easel) Pablo, Countryman, you must tell us,- Just how much pictorial imagery was granted to you, here in The Green Cat? (to the visitor) You can't leave Picasso outside to the mercy of the elements. (another manikin is illuminated) Luisito, admit that it was at this very table where you grasped the idea for your script of "Le chien andalou". By the drums of Calanda, say it, or His Honour will chuck us out into the street..... (don Dámaso moves over to another area of illumination and addresses himself to another manikin) Salvador, haul this Music Hall that nourished your bohemia up out of the ruin. (his eyes take on an erotic gleam) His Honour perhaps doesn't realise that it was here that you stole Paul Eluard's muse ..

(A Chinese shadow appears on the mini scenario, it is the singular Lady of Surrealism , smoking a large

GALA (her voice) It's true, Monsieur. I left Paul for Dali, even though Buñuel made fun of my legs
DON DÁMASO Do you hear that? It's Gala,- a sylph of poetry and painting-
(Gala's spotlight goes off)

REVENUE OFFICER I can't see anything.
DON DÁMASO. Because your drink has hardly been touched (adds more liquor) Can you see that
blotch flickering at the back of the bar ? Juan Gris forgot to sign it. If that's untrue, this humble servant will be pleased to pay his taxes with that canvas.
REVENUE OFFICER I can't see anything.
DON DÁMASO Listen.. Would you like ......? (pauses....raises the tone of his voice, while a manikin
reading a book is illuminated) Don Ramón, Ramoncín....this gentleman here begs of your famed pen one of your witty metaphors.

(our visitor hiccups, appears cross, knocks his glass over and stands up, slightly tipsy)

REVENUE OFFICER Stop bothering me with your whimsies of the past. You've got 48 hours to
liquidate your debt with the Tax Office. (gathers up his documents, puts his hat on) Get rid of these

(points at the faces of illuminated manikins and makes his way in a zig-zag fashion, towards the door,
don Dámaso right behind him)

DON DÁMASO Phantasms? You are a real public fantasy, you are. The Green Cat is my hole and i have the date I feel like having. (the Sentry of the Tax Office doesn´t flinch) You can close down any
premises you like, but no dreams at all - that's unconstitutional , and I'll take you to court over it.

(the Revenue Officer puts on a filibuster's grimace, and exits. The theatre lights up and now it is Gala
as a diffusive soprano with a flower in her hair, who sings an aria. Her spotlight goes off and don Dámaso goes off in search of the singer, lamp in hand.)

DON DÁMASO. What a voice! From The Green Cat to La Scala. I can guarantee it.

(The mini scenario takes on the brilliance of a cabaret. Don Dámaso takes a seat and his gaze follows the
silhouette of the straw hat and the tap dancer's cane)


Visiting cards dream in my brief case
with star names that make people smile
Go-between, Story-teller. Impersonator
And your titles? Ha! And the honours?
Graduated from the University of Gossip`.
Honoris Causa through the Foundation of Hearsay.
I admit, being grateful and of good birth,
that in The Green Cat I became a player.
In a single pirouette I change both my soul and my jacket
In the twinkling of an eye I dress and undress the public.
My hard drug is to live other people's lives
In this very den I made and unmade myself.
where the mice are first class customers
What's to be done, if this is cabaret

(Change of lighting. The Impersonator stops singing as he notices the humiliating pantomime a customer is enacting with a foggy telephone)

YOUNG MAN Back payments, Hullo? I'm sorry, busy,- call back. (drinks)
IMPERSONATOR Night Rooster, that tango is going to ruin your soul. Forget about it.
NIGHT ROOSTER. Night Rooster is the leading figure in a novel which is coming to life thanks to my
sleeplessness (drinks)
IMPERSONATOR Write on your own nerves.. I'm Night Rooster, king of dreams
NIGHT ROOSTER. I've only got one dream: - to bring the roman noir back to life.
IMPERSONATOR. Get inside the skin of your characters. Never forget that the fairy of aesthetics
and the muse of existence are lovers-
NIGHT ROOSTER. (drinks) Let me get drunk.
IMPERSONATOR. But not here


On these boards, under these lights
I did my first steps in dancing
my choreographer was a cane
wielded by one of Fred Astaire's epigones
Fellow, he said, forget the legend of the music-hall
and let the magic spell of the cabaret bubble up and hold sway
It's true that times were never easy
And now a death blow threatens our café.
Though I, Impersonator with my faces, I
offer my whole estate of parodies
for our little café - meeting-place and dining-club -
will never be silenced by a mere mandarin.


NIGHT ROOSTER Bah! Let me get drunk.
IMPERSONATOR. If Night Rooster is the great character in the cave of fantasy, he should be the same in everyday life.
NIGHT ROOSTER. Impersonator, you're the leading rhetorician when it comes to the didactics of
the living world.
IMPERSONATOR. What a waste. You've only got eyes in the back of your neck.
NIGHT ROOSTER. If I don't give birth to the anti roman noir of my day I'll take you to court as the card-sharper of aesthetics. (drinks)
IMPERSONATOR. You're so resourceful... and your postmodern cox- comb knocks everybody out,
really. Night Rooster, you're so cool.

(Different lights. Music)
This impersonator is a teller of tales,
just judge for yourselves:
my self confidence is a bit of rag
my fate is like a cockroach's,
a dull café- bar peacock
struts my ill luck around and
takes pride in calling me Night Rooster

Juggler of dreams,
How many torn fantasies
have you sown with decoys?

My personal reality is
a crisis of identity,
doubts about vocation.
Everyone knows I don't write
everyone believes I don't write
everyone says I don't write
and a miracle-worker in a café
hums along with his saxophone
being as I am an ace in fiction

Juggler of dreams,
How many torn fantasies
have you sown with decoys?

My heart takes that tango
and my feet are longing to dance;
but the show is flagging
inspiration has been denied
to yield unusual paragraphs.
Dear friend, don't enlarge on the point. just
let this shipwrecked sailor drink.
Back payments, Hullo hullo?
Busy, call back later.

(a change in the lighting as the Impersonator's silhouette outlines with the saxophone an atmosphere that's far beyond reality. Then a burst of musical sobbing causes despair among the manikins of The Green Cat, while don Dámaso, limping with fright, lamp in hand, comes out to see what the footsteps that can be heard in the shade are all about)

DON DÁMASO: Who's there?
UNKNOWN VOICE: A newcomer.
DON DÁMASO: Comer or goer?
UNKNOWN VOICE: Who's going?
DON DÁMASO: My hearing.
DON DÁMASO: Which Ramón ?
UNKNOWN VOICE, I'm the reincarnation of the Ramones who kidnapped life itself to take it down to cafés where good talk is cultivated (pauses). I am don Ramón of all the Ramones.
DON DÁMASO: Beneath his monocle there shines the greatness of a café parliamentarian.
RAMÓN DE R. I was writing in a café in a different quarter.... sharpening my wit between cloud and cloud.. searching for a brand new aesthetic... when I felt the intuition that in the Traitors' Gate Set conspiracy was being planned against The Green Cat. (pauses) Here is the edict. (pulls papers out from under his beard.)
DON DÁMASO: Don Ramón, impenitent companion of our conversations, eternity is itself in debt with you for this betrayal (pauses) Read the document, please,- the years have woven cobwebs over my eyes.
RAMÓN DE R: (adjusting his spectacles for his short sight) Before this Court of Law, number 17, at Primary Level, in our City, an Order of Seizure has been submitted against The Green Cat, premises with a halo of legend, being a meeting place for the most eccentric fauna known in the Republic of Unfine Arts. (pauses) This Order, fruit of dishumanization, has made me go back again towards Life.
DON DÁMASO. ( stands up, enraptured, picks up the lamp and roars) Fire!
DON DÁMASO: Go? Don Ramón, go - only life itself goes.
RAMÓN DE R. And, as till today...........
DON DÁMASO: Don Ramón, anarchist and myth of the café, you're far more than someone who has returned to life. You are a living creation of this very moment.
RAMÓN DE R: And as till today there has been no way whatsoever, neither administrative nor human, to find out whether the fiscal authorities have discovered anything relevant, either assets or liabilities, this Magistrate hereby orders the execution of Seizure and a posteriori that a bulldozer be called upon to
demolish the said building which menaces imminent collapse.
DON DÁMASO: Wretched livers! The Green Cat always welcomed the ideas of the day and now they want to demolish (a sob) this museum of dialogue. Not a scrap of museum friendliness (addresses the manikins, fellow-conversationalists) Gentlemen, let us drown our disappointment in champagne (pauses) Waiters, French champagne (He personally uncorks a bottle, pours, and serves some glasses)

RAMÓN DE R :For this theatre-loving cat ! (All toast)
DON DÁMASO. Don Ramón, please wear whichever glorious surname you wish, but don't allow The Green Cat to die.

RAMÓN DE R. Quick. We've got to make everybody know of the agony that is afflicting this extraordinary feline (adopts the pose of memorialist-laureate while he takes out pen and paper) To the attention of Public Opinion, colon
DON DÁMASO. Get to the point.
RAMÓN DE R. Let's take it easy (pauses) Unless a philanthropic hand appears, The Green Cat, abode of spiritual leisure, as my celebrated namesake would say, will be turned into a heap of ruins
(pauses) Don Dámaso, have these lines inserted in the press.
DON DÁMASO. ( stands up, enraptured, picks up the lamp and roars) Fire!

(The lights grow dimmer. The figure of don Dámaso flares up as he spews out words nobody can understand)

RAMÓN DE R. Publicity is waiting
DON DÁMASO. Sooner fire than that an infernal machine should sully with its iron teeth the sacred crypt of The Green Cat.
(music sounds and the Impersonator appears on a spot light)

IMPERSONATOR. Hand me that torch, don Dámaso....and allow me a truce.
DON DÁMASO In exchange of what?
IMPERSONATOR. That Miss Philanthropia visits The Green Cat to free us of our debts.
DON DÁMASO. And who will persuade her to give us a hand?
DON DÁMASO. The Impersonator (relaxes) I'll postpone the fire (blows out the torch and raises his voice) Teller of tales, fetch this distinguished lady. And don´t come back without her.

(darkness. A few notes of the saxophone respond and both conversers take each other by the hand,- their eyes are moist. Now there is a play of lights beneath the whistle of a wintry wind. Next to a lamp-post
in a cold night on the desolate outskirts of town the Impersonator appears, wearing a bow-tie and with his tap-dancers cane pokes at a heap huddled up among rubbish and bags of garbage. In the distance, the wail of an ambulance)

IMPERSONATOR. Who is breathing among all this muck? (moves away bits of cardboard with his cane so that we see the head of a woman - of a certain age - frozen cold) Well, well! If it isn't Anita Farolas. (shocked) Do you think it's socially acceptable to exhibit your helplessness out here on the asphalt?
ANITA FAROLAS. D'you want to buy a lottery ticket? (shows some tickets) You don't? Then let me die in peace, for God's sake.
IMPERSONATOR. Can you hear the ambulance? In a hurry to get rid of another bag of dead bones
(she gets up and stretches her arms out, awkwardly, trying to get some liveliness into her bones)
ANITA FAROLAS. What a life, God help me (pauses) You're not a tax collector? Do you want me to file a return before I kick the bucket?
IMPERSONATOR. I demand at least a spark of talent just to turn into a stiff. (examines her) Die of cold in the days os computer science? Got a crack in your brain-box, Farolas.
ANITA FAROLAS. If Bill Gates happened to be a relative of mine.......
IMPERSONATOR. And what about your grey matter. Use it, (sibylline tone) If you wanted to, you could be a real lady.
IMPERSONATOR. No idea. Let me think.
ANITA FAROLAS. How about buying this cigar? It's the real thing. From Havana
IMPERSONATOR. From Havana, eh? (his eyes grow bigger and bigger)
ANITA FAROLAS. What's wrong with you?
IMPERSONATOR. I'm thinking.
IMPERSONATOR. Nothing at all, Marquise of Havana.
ANITA FAROLAS. (speechless) Marquise of Havana, , me?
IMPERSONATOR. For a circle of nobodies
ANITA FAROLAS. Marquise of Havana, me?
IMPERSONATOR. And why not? Why not indeed?
(music - she sings and dances with him)
Got no money? God what a mess.
Bright minds and a quick tongue
All kinds of good things within reach.
Mr Money has got control of all social prestige
What are you waiting for? Get hold of him once and for all.

Brag unbashfully about your stocks and shares
Stashed away in a rococo, or ordinary, trunk
The press will report that a lady
Has just arrived from Havana, to a salsa rhythm
And in the little wine and poetry clubs
The swells and the eunuchs will all bend their knee

What a dream. A young Caribbean lady
becomes the Muse and leader of declining Bohemias

(Anita Farolas sings and dances with the impersonator)

Hear me all, the Stock Exchange is my blue heaven
and the brokers sway me with the lute.
My principle, morally illustrated
is to hit reality hard.

I'm a glasshouse tropical flower
all I desire is a loving breeze.
Throw open the gates of Society
to a most exemplary Patroness of Arts.

What a dream. A young Caribbean lady
becomes the Muse and leader of declining Bohemias.

(the choreography vanishes. Dawn lighting)

IMPERSONATOR. Farolas, that face of yours sparkles already like a sea shell. Do you hear that siren? The ambulance has gone back to pick up another stiff. (touches the rim of his hat) Good-bye.
ANITA FAROLAS. He's a funny guy, isn't he?

(The Impersonator stops, inclines his head, meditates and takes Anita Farolas by the arm, towards another spotlight. Hyperrealism gushes around a trunk, a hat-stand and a great mirror with an ornate frame, yet no glass. The Impersonator, like a juggler, shows fancy items of clothing)

IMPERSONATOR. This wig belongs to a legendary actress. Show off with it.

(she puts it on before the mirror)

ANITA FAROLA. Just who on earth are you?
IMPERSONATOR. A reveller who performs magic tricks with metaphysics. (shows her a false mink coat) Classic and modern, isn't it? (helps her put it on) Look at her, the one and only Marquise of Havana.
ANITA FAROLAS. Bah., leave me alone, trickster.

(the Impersonator takes an original flower hat of the rack)

IMPERSONATOR. And this hat (adjusts it to her head)
ANITA FAROLAS Get out of here
IMPERSONATOR. (takes a step back, looks at her and whistles) Not even the Duchess of the Mediterranean
ANITA FAROLAS (continues looking at herself in the mirror) Gossip with other dames, Flatter your own broad. I'm not here for fancy talk, (stifles a sob) I'm here to go to hell, but when I get there I'll make myself heard (mumbles an oath)
IMPERSONATOR The lack of stimuli took away your breath.
ANITA FAROLAS And what do you know about all this, you quirky hangabout?
IMPERSONATOR I graduated in Occult Science (pulls out a piece of paper and writes an address) You are now the Grand Marquise of Havana and you're going to have the bankruptcy of a Utopian Café held up for a few hours. Here you are Marquise (gives her the address) They will pay you homage in The Green Cat. (looks at her in silence) Is it a deal?

(she thinks about it, hesitates and scans the mirror)

ANITA FAROLAS The caricature of Greta Garbo in the mirror.
IMPERSONATOR (eagerly) Is it a deal ?
ANITA FAROLAS You don´t want any lottery ?
IMPERSONATOR Marquise of Havana.
ANITA FAROLAS. Alright. It's a deal

(the impersonator, shyly, gets closer to her, takes her chin and kisses her)

IMPERSONATOR Good health, Marquise!
ANITA FAROLAS (overcome by so many mixed feelings) You're a funny guy, aren't you?

(Lights and shadows in The Green Cat. A feminine sob makes don Dámaso rise from his seat and , lamp in hand, go toward a table where a heavenly-eyed lyrical waif is in tears)

DON DÁMASO. Young lady, at this very table an illustrious conversationalist exclaimed: " I am in doubt, so I disagree" (pauses) And he observes you now from that mirror.
LYRICAL WAIF. (holding back the tears) Which mirror?
DON DÁMASO. That one, with the mahogany frame.
LYRICAL WAIF. I'm ruined, don Dámaso, stone broke I am.
DON DÁMASO. Perfect. We'll form a society of stony brokers.
LYRICAL WAIF. Don Dámaso, my modest little boutique has come to nothing. Me, with a pair of scissors and pieces of cloth designed the latest fashion in our quarter (wipes her tears) I need a million to get my business running again. (weeps) So I said to myself, for one night you call yourself Flor de Lis and you´ll be worth a million
DON DÁMASO. (voice of an old satyr) And when will that carrousel night be, young lady?
FLOR DE LIS . The one that we're into now (sobs) And I'll pay the mortgage
DON DÁMASO. What a world, eh?
(Don Dámaso, limping, moves away while she glimpses the arrival of Night Rooster and adopting the air of a high- class courtesan goes towards his table)

FLOR DE LIS Listen, my good man, my name is Flor de Lis and my price is a million.
NIGHT ROOSTER. (Floating in a cloud of alcohol) Can´t you see I'm on the phone? (wide awake) What were you saying?
FLOR DE LIS. My name is Flor de Lis and my price is a million. (a tragicomic erotic pose) Is your current account at that level?

(He stands up all at once, but being drunk he wobbles, Then he unhooks his unconscious mind from the telephone and becomes aware of a communicating force).

NIGHT ROOSTER. I need it, Flor de Lis, take me up the garden path.

(takes the girl by the hand and on their way to the door, she whispers)

FLOR DE LIS. But, my good man, remember that a walk up my garden path costs a million.

(As the couple leave, the Impersonator's shadow, with saxophone, escorts them with a ballad. Then we see don Dámaso talking to a pipe smoking manikin)

DON DÁMASO. Have you seen what I've seen? (examines the manikin's face) Night Rooster's going down hill, but not as far as aesthetics are concerned - he's walked off with none other than Flor de Lis. He should be situated in the mainstream of life, as an illustrious don Ramón would advise him,; but not a bit of it, he'd rather take a seat on that young Flor's buttocks (to another manikin) What times we live in, don Ramón. There you are with holes in your pockets, very few first performances of your works, and me .............

(the lighting becomes more intimate, strokes the skin of the penumbra, and invites one to dream. And soon we hear a concert of snoring. Orpheus rocks the cradle of our café conversationalists, while the tick-tack of the café clock tells us that time is passing. Cabaret lights suddenly throw their beams on the mini scenario. Music)

Louse. Cheater of whores.
Instead of a million
you give me an address.
Maybe the dandy forgets
that in this trade
payments a re in cash?
If you don't accept and respect
market prices
inflation will rise.
Dandy, no beating about the bush,
you have to show more tenderness
towards a luxury Venus.
The dialogue of bodies
was no abstraction.
Neither was it Utopia between sheets
Nor even a pseudorelationship.
By means of alcohol
we came across love
where the gentleman who takes part
pays cash but no TAV
I was soft, careless
Perhaps even an overmanageable broad?
I'll control my ingenuity
my operetta style erotism
or I won't make a peseta.
But, too bad for me, I haven' t
got a scrap of infrastructure
with wide awake counsellors
who can offer protection.
And so here I am, deflowered
by a smart café boy
who refused to pay
the erotic transaction

Ah, Flor de Lis, how many
scatter-brained, silly girls there are all around?

(light and music now taken on an oniric tone. On a bench, next to an 1800 lamp-post we see the Impersonator seated, straw hat covering his brow, absent from the starry night brilliance. Flor de Lis appears, the heels of her patent-leather shoes strike the pavement.)

FLOR DE LIS. . Amoral! Exploiter of maidens .without chaperons.
IMPERSONATOR. You mean, without the café pimp.
FLOR DE LIS. Eh! Who do you think I am?
IMPERSONATOR. A night-lady who hasn't had her night. But smile, you're the rainbow for a dream.

(she takes a seat on the bench, somewhat cheered)

FLOR DE LIS. You don't know who I am.
IMPERSONATOR. I'm an old bird, Mademoiselle. (pauses) You belong to the world of Art.
FLOR DE LIS (sulky) The Art of ............
IMPERSONATOR. I'm sure your art gives freedom. So it must be Art.
FLOR DE LIS. My name is Flor de Lis and I charge a million to .........
FLOR DE LIS. Perform (pauses) I gave a performance
IMPERSONATOR. Performance ?
FLOR DE LIS (nodding her head in affirmation) And I didn't get least not in cash (sighs and looks at the man she's talking to) And who are you? And why are you out here in the early hours.....?
IMPERSONATOR I am whatever I'm needed for. (ponders) And I am wherever I'm needed (pauses) Flor de Lis, you can't go through life without protection .
FLOR DE LI.S Oh! How do you know that! (perplexed) And you're using my very own words....(pauses) Just who are you?
IMPERSONATOR. If you will allow me,- your municipal guardian angel
FLOR DE LIS. Did The Green Cat's councillors win the elections ?
IMPERSONATOR. In our conversational Senate there is always a chair reserved for Utopia (on ceremony) We unanimously nominate you High Waitress at The Green Cat (changes tone) Your price is no longer a million.
FLOR DE LIS. Ah! My price is no longer a million. (pauses) You're an honest magician (kisses him) But I don´t know what your name is.

(The Impersonator pays his respects, performing a few spins as champion tap-dancer)

IMPERSONATOR. Signore Teller of Tales, I'm at your service. Quick, you have to punch in !
FLOR DE LIS. A Job. (a few steps of ballet) Thank you, my municipal guardian angel.. I'll work, I'll save and I'll be once again the Coco Chanel of my street
IMPERSONATOR. Hurry up. Your checking in time at work has past.

(curtsies. Overhead a set of lights and the tick-tack of The Green Cat's clock. Gas lamps illuminate the principal table of conversation, where manikins and customers are chatting

DON DÁMASO. High Waitress of The Green Cat, you are not on time.
FLOR DE LIS. ( comes forward with tray and bottle) I'm sorry, but I missed the bus and ........
DON DÁMASO May I introduce you to my fellow conversationalists, and especially, to don Ramón de Ramones.
RAMÓN DE R. This child is a flower in bloom.
FLOR DE LIS. Your Honour.
DON DÁMASO. Take a seat, Flor de Lis. (pauses) Don Ramón de Ramones, our Impersonator has let us down (pauses) Do something.
RAMÓN DE R. (makes a slight gesture of reflection, and writes) Under the threat of seizure that hangs over The Green Cat the High Priests of all the cafés where good talk is encouraged, are meeting, with the support of the most critical fantasies and the solidarity of the Third Bohemian International and it is agreed.....(questioning eyes) What is agreed?

(Night Rooster enters in the café)

NIGHT ROOSTER. That all rituals concerning cafés of fine talk are to prevail.
FLOR DE LIS. Rooster, I' m out for your blood.

(she gets off her chair, knocking it over, and throws herself, knife in hand, against Night Rooster. Those present stand around the couple)


(suggestion of dance-pantomime). Flor de Lis stabs at him, but he gets out of the way with a machista grin. The customers cheer them on.

Bravo, Flor de Lis !
Pluck the feathers of this chicken
with a good one-hander..
FLOR DE LIS, Rooster, here comes the end of your crowing.
NIGHT ROOSTER. You're just one of the hens I took with me to the hay-stack.
CHORUS. Cheep, cheep
this literary turkey
is a donkey.

(From the doorway we can hear steps of afrocuban rhythm)

RAMÓN DE R. Who's there?
WOMAN'S VOICE. The Great Marquise of Havana
CHORUS. From Havana !
MARQUISE OF H. Make room for the prime philanthropist of the Greater Antilles.
DON DÁMASO. Impersonator,- you're God !
CHORUS, Rumba !

(insinuation of music. Among the chorus members, silhouettes, some real, some unreal, of blacks, mulattos)

CHORUS. Zun-zun Babaé.
FLOR DE LIS. (puts the knife down) Batá drums ?
CHORUS. Obiní Batá.
NIGHT ROOSTER. Merced the negress ?
CHORUS.. Babalú too.

(drums, dancing and musical riot)

MARQUISE OF H. That's enough ! (sudden silence) Leave room for ......
DON DÁMASO. Marquise, not a step further. You should be received in The Green Cat beneath a panoply (pauses) Quick, the panoply.

(everybody gets moving and a termite- ridden piece of furniture is duly fitted out with drapes.

FLOR DE LIS. When you wish.

(Anita parades beneath the panoply)

MARQUISE OF H. Nobody has ever done anything like this, not even in Key West, where I first saw the light of day.
RAMÓN DE R. The Green Cat puts our philanthropist in the place which is her due and names her
First Lady of the Cave of Creative Artists
MARQUISE OF H. And all this isn´t a dream ?
DON DÁMASO. In this circle, dreams are citizens of the very first rank. (pauses) Madame, we are all grateful for the millions you are about to contribute.
CHORUS. Long live the Marquise of Havana !

(The choreography gets underway in a rush. Joy and Hilarity are the superstars of the festival of dance)


(everyone stands frozen still)
MARQUISE OF H. Just who is this Rodolfo Valentino that looks like a newly-laid poet?
NIGHT ROOSTER. Your Excellency, The Green Cat has come to the end of the line. Don´t throw your dollars to the wind. Marry me.
RAMÓN DE R. In the sanctuaries where fine talk is cultivated, no gigolo should be allowed to tread.

(unexpectedly, Flor de Lis breaks into tears)

CHORUS. Why are you crying?
FLOR DE LIS. Night Rooster, don´t do that (caresses his cheek) I´m not mad at you, really, you look like a sculptor's dream, so handsome.
DON DÁMASO. Toad. That's what I call him - a toad.
CHORUS No, no.
DON DÁMASO. I heard that, I did. Toad, toad.
FLOR DE LIS. No, no.
NIGHT ROOSTER, (Rebuffing Flor de Lis) Marquise, I'm a talent and I've got half a page guaranteed in the history of the roman noir.
CHORUS. This rooster hasn't got a grandmother who can say nice things about him.
NIGHT ROOSTER. I'll say it again,- all these people are on the point of being picked up by the house demolishing crane.
RAMÓN DE R. My glove !

(takes a ragged piece of cloth off his wrist and slaps Night Rooster's cheek with it)

CHORUS. Night Rooster slapped !
NIGHT ROOSTER. Do you see that, Marquise, They are just stale old puppets, quite out of touch with reality.
FLOR DE LIS. Rooster, it'll be a wedding without violins, (sobs). And you still owe me a million.
CHORUS. Swindler. Double crosser, You never pay your debts.
MARQUISE OF H. Keep quiet (economic pause) Rooster, will you really put my solitude on a cathedral altar?
FLOR DE LIS. (between sobs) I´m marrying a clown, I'm marrying a clown. Tell her that Night
MARQUISE OF H. Speak up.

(the lights go down and the telephone rings in Night Rooster´s subconscious mind, with his own recorded voice too)

NIGHT ROOSTER. Back payments, hullo? I'm sorry, busy, call back.
MARQUISE OF H. (whispers) An altar adorned with emeralds, Rooster
FLOR DE LIS. No, no.

(all the members show their sympathy toward Flor de Lis,- they sing and dance)

This lady is fickle
And doesn't realise a wedding
Is brittle like a rose.
She treats the sweet, beloved object
as if it were a lizard,
it almost seems obvious to her
that her own self-esteem
should be the driving force of everything.
The lady from Havana,
a ruby in petticoats
should travel in a gondola
to hear the calls of a
discouraged dove.
Marquise of frivolities
Or a real player?
We have to make up our minds
by which way of life
she wants to be happy.
Saving a café of
stubborn arguers
or flying down to the tropics
cacique of the guava
and muse of the candombe dance.

(Night Rooster gesticulates, imposes silence and boasts)

NIGHT ROOSTER. I've thought it all over. I'm getting married.
RAMÓN DE R. It is a brutalised cockerel
FLOR DE LIS. Not at all, he's good and handsome, but the Marquise has put the evil eye on him.
NIGHT ROOSTER. Literature. From now on my only girl friends will be the erotic credit cards.
FLOR DE LIS. Ah! Ah! You're leaving me for a marquisate.
MARQUISE OF H. (offers her arm) Illustrated cockerel.
NIGHT ROOSTER. Wealthy dame.

(The couple are quiet in midst of considerable consternation)

DON DÁMASO. Let's drink and forget this disgraceful scene.
RAMÓN DE R. High Waitress of The Green Cat, whisky for everyone.

(Flor de Lis serves, everyone takes gulps)

DON DÁMASO Night Rooster hip! Stole our philanthropist and has left us completely broke
RAMÓN DE R. (as tipsy as don Dámaso) Completely and utterly broke, and broken.

(an infernal noise breaks out while the gas lamps jig And dance. Flor de Lis runs around trying to find out what is going on)

DON DÁMASO. It must be the festivities for Carnival
FLOR DE LIS. Don Dámaso, they're bricking in a window.
DON DÁMASO. What! All thus ceremony for us so early in the morning? (tottering, he goes up to the calendar and tears leaf after leaf off, trying to put it up to date) I said so! The leaders of hope are guiding us with an ethical grip towards this end of the century,- while we were all yawning.
FLOR DE LIS. Don Damaso, they're bricking in The Green Cat.

(he continues his work with the calendar along with the noise of the hammering )

RAMÓN DE R. Leave him alone, he's full time deaf.
DON DÁMASO. How can I be other than hard of hearing if the reaction organised against our premises are burying our - legendary - café?
RAMÓN DE R. What ? You're not stone deaf?
DON DÁMASO. What ? You're not stone deaf ? The fairy tale about the dough could save this elisabethan forum, but then along comes that rake, Night Rooster and carries her away. Alas! (Yells) Tale-teller.

(don Dámaso manages to stand up, with great difficulty, picks up his lamp and vanishes among the shadows)

RAMÓN DE R. Don Dámaso, stop playing at Aladdin with those magic lamps. The recipe isn't hidden in the fantasy of a tap-dancer's cane, but in the re-conversion of The Green Cat into a Bingo Hall.

(The figure of the Impersonator comes into view, under a spotlight)

IMPERSONATOR. Don Dámaso here thinks I'm Santa Claus. As soon as he feels a psychic or social crisis......Impersonaaator! (pauses) Ladies and Gentlemen, in The Green Cat a collective suicide is under preparation. So I worked out a scheme for winning time. That's why I turned on Anita Farolas..... and with a breath of Marx Brothers' magic I changed this cigarette girl into an aristocrat from the Pacific. And how do I get paid. ? She ignores the agreement we came to and she gets involved with a scribbler who can't even express what his world is about in scrawls.
DON DÁMASO (his voice) Miracle worker
RAMON DE R. Maybe we´d better call on the Third Bohemia International.
IMPERSONATOR. It isn't easy to save a well-read cat right in the middle of death rattle.
DON DÁMASO. (his voice) Go-between.
IMPERSONATOR. No, not easy at all.
DON DÁMASO. (his voice) Teller of tales.
IMPERSONATOR. Who? Go-between......... Who?

(Music and other lights pick out his straw hat)

If a Museum of Life is cabaret,
whose influence touches us all
Oh, with what tact so nobody remains
intact from the phantasm of the cabaret.

If a weaver of high dreams
revolutionises us with his sax,
his voice and his leaps. Oh, what tact
that the cabaret leaves nobody intact.
If running away from the snares of the day,
we park our souls somewhere,
Oh, with what tact, so nobody remains
intact from the phantasm of the cabaret.

Gossipers, hang-abouts, greenhorns
swells, wise guys, turn-coats;
all brothers in dialectics
and in the hectic world of the cabaret

Highly gifted shrinks
forget their skills of ruling
And dressed up in music come
to hear black jazz in the cabaret

Said an illustrious star of the intellect:
We are Happiness,
And Duke Ellington's muses
to the rhythm of his trumpets
leaves a new gateway ajar for us.

So, let's draw the curtain on theory,
and say that if living is laughing
why not offer the citizen
Music Hall on cloudy days ?

Oh, with what tact, so nobody remains
intact from the phantasm of the cabaret.

(choreography ends, the light becomes more realistic)

IMPERSONATOR. All at once, a spark lit up my brain. And I thought ( raises his voice) Flor de Lis, please. (she approaches, intrigued) And I took her to .....(an ambiguous smile) Follow me, please.

(It grows darker, We hear a typewriter. Night Rooster's garret comes into view. He's absorbed in thought, in shirt sleeves, with a cigarette hanging from his lips. The waste paper basket, next to the typewriter, is overflowing with rumpled papers)

FLOR DE LIS. Oh Impersonator!
IMPERSONATOR. Yes, you're before the future king of modern narrative (pauses) Cheer up, Flor de Lis.

(makes a cabalistic gesture with his cane and vanishes. Then Night Rooster notices Flor de Lis, who has a flower of love in her hand)

NIGHT ROOSTER. What! You here? And with a flower?
FLOR DE LIS.. What flower?
Night rooster. Leave me alone. I'm all creativity.
(she, taking a second look, sees the flower in her hand, blinks and looks to see where the Impersonator is)

FLOR DE LIS. Can you give me a glass of water for the flower?
NIGHT ROOSTER Get out! (they take a hard look at each other) I know I owe you a million
FLOR DE LIS. Are you really going to pay me? Then I'll open up again.
NIGHT ROOSTER. A nice sophisticated brothel, eh?
SLOR DE LIS. Brothel?

(Silence. Night Rooster writes, crosses out words and consults dictionaries)

NIGHT ROOSTER. My memory is not all that poor, Flor de Lis.
FLOR DE LIS. The flower loses its petals. (pauses) Where did you leave your fiancée?
NIGHT ROOSTER. She's not my fiancée.
FLOR DE LIS. (throwing herself in his arms) Oh! Night Rooster !
NIGHT ROOSTER. But she'll be my wife because every time she sneezes, she sneezes gold coins.
FLOR DE LIS. Yes, of course (a very thin voice) And where is she now?
NIGHT ROOSTER. On the terrace of the Grand Hotel, I suppose. (abruptly) And how about you?
FLOR DE LIS. As I didn't get the million, I shut shop and now I don't.......I'm really broken up Night Rooster, because with a pair of scissors, I make a slash here, another there, and another over.......

(instinctively, he covers his crutch)

NIGHT ROOSTER. The Marquise de Sade !

(she puts her spectacles on for her short-sight)

FLOR DE LIS. May I read...?
NIGHT ROOSTER. And you look like Snowwhite, you old bitch.
FLOR DE LIS. Me, an old bitch?
FLOR DE LIS. You're the son of a bitch, Night Rooster, you owe me a million.
NIGHT ROOSTER. I'll pay up. The Marquise will be my publisher. We're working on a boom. Do you see this manuscript.? I'll be autographing examples at the Frankfurt Book Fair.
FLOR DE LIS. Do you mind if I leaf through these pages?
NIGHT ROOSTER. You can read?

(flinches at the jab, snatches at the sheets of paper)

FLOR DE LIS. The Marquise is really loaded with dough, isn't she?
NIGHT ROOSTER. Her wisdom tooth is a diamond.
FLOR DE LIS. Look at this...where there should be a synonym, you've put an antonym.
NIGHT TOOSTER. Antonym? Synonym?
FLOR DE LIS. Yes, in the third line.
NIGHT ROOSTER. Show me. (examines his unfinished work) Don Ramón de Ramones has been soaking his whiskers again. (gives the original back to Flor de Lis and faces the public) Only in The Green Cat can a harlot like this here acquire the status of a linguist. (goes back to her) What are you reading?

FLOR DE LIS. There's something missing in this chapter....
NIGHT ROOSTER. Just a minute! What the hell's missing?
FLOR DE LIS (takes off her spectacles) Perhaps it's suffering from an excess of mannerism...maybe.
FLOR DE LIS. Rooster, forget about it. I haven't got a single foot inside the Academy.

(walks up and down his garret, stupefied )

FLOR DE LIS. (goes up after him) Did you know? They've bricked in one of the windows at The Green Cat.
NIGHT ROOSTER. My style. Mannerism.
FLOR DE LIS. And our young blade only thinks about making off with the Viscountess' silver.
FLOR DE LIS. The sanctuary of the cafés where chançons can be heard will go down the drain.
NIGHT ROOSTER. Mannerist, me? (leafs feverishly, through his pages)
FLOR DE LIS. Anyhow, that lady could well be your mother. Oedipus, you're an Oedipus of the discotheque.
NIGHT ROOSTER. My literary aesthetics, distorted?
FLOR DE LIS. Think it over, Night Rooster (strokes his cheek) You're a real Apollo.
NIGHT ROOSTER. Get out of my way, little café tart
FLOR DE LIS. Another insult from you and I'll have the Ombudsman onto you.
FLOR DE LIS. And before the European Parliament I'll tell them you're a transgressor of Feminine Rights. And they'll put a heavy fine on you.
NIGHT ROOSTER. For taking a hot little hooker to bed ? Ha ha!
FLOR DE LIS. Which I am not. (hesitates) Anyway, you owe me a million.
NIGHT ROOSTER. Always the same old song. Beat it! Mannerism !

(Flor de Lis sobs and moves to the back; he snorts, sits at his desk and throws a handful of papers over his head, and bangs the keys of his typewriter in rage. She continues moving till she finds herself close to the Impersonator, who takes her hand)

FLOR DE LIS. Oh, it's you. (wipes away a tear) What have I done to him ?
IMPERSONATOR. I think---------well, he's going to tell you.

(musical notes)

FLOR DE LIS. I love Night Rooster. I adore him.
FLOR DE LIS. Not what it seems, not at all, -but in a big, big way (pauses) Have a flower.


A string of years
tied down to the pen,
smashing at the paragraph
hitting at the line.
Then along comes this bird.

Dilettant looking,
warbles a moment
blows up your art.
Says you're sensationalist
And your prose is vapid.
Your Philosophy of Art
Is nonsense.
She questions your style
your attitude as fabulist
and goes on and on about
your not being creative.
Worms of pride
gnaw at your work,
that reptile, mannerism
upsets your virtuosity.
Not even the Lady of
Havana can put wings
On your idle plume.
Nondescript describer
Cardboard stylist;
Go to work as a hack,
Creativity is not your line
Creativity is not your line
Not even a creative atom,
Practitioner of aesthetics with a dim future.

(the choreographic finale loosens Night Rooster's hypochondriacal tendency - head bowed, he goes to his desk; Flor de Lis' heart misses a beat, she turns away and sobs)

IMPERSONATOR. It's like this. Night Rooster scribbles madly away because he found in Anita Farolas his dream publisher. He leaves Flor de Lis with her heart smashed to smithereens. (sighs) Everything gets complicated (pauses) Well, I just have to admit that this story is getting out of hand for this goblin of cabaret.

(moves off among the shadows, waving his hat - meanwhile the lights go on)



(Regular member and manikins all appear sunk in wine-hazy dreams)

RAMÓN DE R Haven't heard any hammering for some time.
DON DÁMASO. Not a bit
RAMÓN DE R. And our High Waitress is going to wreck us all with her weeping. And, on top of that, she's going to get so ugly.
DON DÁMASO. Unlikely. The Green Cat doesn't spawn monsters, at the very best, puppets of the talking table.
RAMÓN DE R. She'll get uglier than sin
DON DÁMASO. Discussion praxis must award the laurels we deserve.
RAMÓN DE R. As ugly as crime and twice as ugly as sin.
DON DÁMASO. Don Ramón de Ramones, you have got completely mixed up.
RAMÓN DE R. And the, who's going to unravel all that ugliness?
DON DÁMASO. (gets up, aggressive stance) Dialectical distortion has no future in The Green Cat.
RAMÓN DE R. (gets up, virulent stance) Don Dámaso, don't try to haul me down to polemics, I've got a weak stomach.
DON DÁMASO. I'll prepare you a couple of breezy eggs.
DON DÁMASO. Then maybe, a omelette of frogs' legs.
RAMÓN DE R. My stomach goes queasy with these gastronomic utopias. (thumping his belly) Good day. I'm going to ask the Marquise of Havana for a mortgage loan.
DON DÁMASO. I always believed you to be more a hedonist than a cadger.
RAMÓN DE R. Remember: I'm the reincarnation of those Donramons who elevated café discussion to folk university category.
DON DÁMASO. She won't listen to you. She's a Marquise of a squanderers' society (pauses) How about some caviar of winged newts?
RAMÓN DE R. I recover from my spells of lower quality at the Holy Company of the Revived, Co. Ltd, of which I am Guest of Honour.

(banging at the door)

DON DÁMASO Stop crying, Flor de Lis, go and open the door and if it's someone who's not a café type, let him in.

(wipes her tears and obeys. Calm returns to the table)

RAMÓN DE R. Look out of the window, don Dámaso. There´s a fellow there a cross between a tropical showpiece and the café scarecrow.
DON DÁMASO. Not a trace of Caribbean sun-light is visible on our Marquise's skull.

(Flor de Lis comes forward with a leading figure in extravagance)

FLOR DE LIS. This gentleman here is presenting his credentials as a collector.
RAMÓN DE R. Collector.....of what?
COLLECTOR. Of legends. (taking in a good look) And this café is a legend, isn't it? And I pay in good, hard cash.
RAMÓN DE R. Don Dámaso, come down to the arena of polemical common sense, think about it and sell the café.
DON DÁMASO. I'd much rather sell my soul in the wrecker's yard. (pauses) Don Ramón de Ramones, put this buyer in the picture and tell him exactly and technically what a circle of talk and discussion really is.
RAMÓN DE R. A breathing space for thought.
COLLECTOR. I applaud your semantic pirouette. (sits down and sniffs)
DON DÁMASO. I can read in the rings under your eyes. What's wrong, Flor de Lis ?
FLOR DE LIS. The Lady from the Antilles makes her entrance with her rooster.
DON DÁMASO. Ugh! Just who is Night Rooster?
RAMÓN DE R. The dirty rag of a dining club
FLOR DE LIS. I feel like having a cry.

(cries in silence, though in abundance)

DON DÁMASO. Don Ramón de Ramones, we are living in a world full of misery.
RAMÓN DE R. That's why you have to listen to the Collector. Recently the only thing we hear in The Green Cat is heavenly music.

(while the Collector rises and glances at the oil paintings, examines the furnishings, strokes the candle sticks, Anita Farolas appears with her wooer. All present stand up)

NIGHT ROOSTER. The Great Marquise of Havana.
CHORUS. (playing up to her with the echo) Ana .....Ana .....Ana.

(all sit)

MARQUISE OF H. Rooster, give my stock exchange adviser a call and if there's no inflationary pressure, have him invest a few million.
NIGHT ROOSTER. Very well, Marquise.
MARQUISE OF H. Forget about that and bring me a glass of grapefruit juice.
NIGHT ROOSTER. Very well, Marquise.
MARQUISE OF H. And fetch some cigarettes without filter.
NIGHT ROOSTER. Very well, Marquise.

(goes out on his errands, - Flor de Lis observes, amazed)

FLOR DE LIS. My God! I don't understand a thing. The dandy of literary saloons is her lackey.
RAMÓN DE R. Flor de Lis, it's better to know a lot about nothing than to be an expert in something.
COLLECTOR. What figure shall I note down for this unsigned canvas?
CHORUS. Millions.
COLLECTOR. But it's unsigned.
RAMÓN DE R. (signs) Well, I can read....
DON DÁMASO. Don Ramón de Ramones, you're a celebrated amanuensis,- examine the canvases and stand firm on the signatures.

(Night Rooster lights Anita Farola's cigarette and fusses over her, while Ramón de Ramones signs all the pictures he can lay his hands on)

DON RAMÓN DE R. Miró, Dalí, Picasso, Gris........
MARQUISE OF H. Look at those nails (like a goddess) Rooster, manicure.
NIGHT ROOSTER. Right away, Marquise.

(manicures her hands. Flor de Lis shows him hers)

FLOR DE LIS. Mine are far nicer.
DON DÁMASO. My good Sir, Collector, at every single table in The Green Cat there is a discussion in progress, yet fixed in time, all unrepeatable.

(buying-selling rites)

RAMÓN DE R. For the surrealistic table ?
CHORUS. Millions.
DON DÁMASO. For the ash-trays of the poets of 1927?
CHORUS. Millions
RAMÓN DE R. Buñuel's chair ?
MEMBERS. Millions
DON DÁMASO. For these candle sticks that illuminated Lorca's reading of the Poet in New York ?
CHORUS. Millions.
MARQUISE OF H. Rooster, send a fax to the world press announcing the imminent wedding of the Grand Marquise of Havana.
FLOR DE LIS. Good Lord !

(faints in the arms of don Ramón de Ramones, who fans her)

DON DÁMASO. Marquise, straighten things out and free yourself from Night Rooster. Then I' ll have this auctioneer of legends chucked out into the gutter.
MARQUISE OF H. I'm deaf in this ear.
DON DÁMASO. Stop plagiarising me - you'll be my ruin.

(cabaret lights, the visitor sings)

Listen, hallucinated talkers
at times the search of rare objects
defines my personality
Curious pieces, objets d'art,
call me everywhere.
My personal taste is framed by
a compass that my life woos.
True. All I've got and accumulated
dangles you in an aphrodisiac sea
To adore a coveted collection
more than an access of passions
may well mean underground reward
A strict classification strikes
a stern blow to idleness.
To be a collector is a profession
that requires maturity and precision.
The act of choosing with skill
defines and designs your style.
However, moderation, Cat,
to be obsessed with collecting
can dissipate moral, and moral can
debauch the monomania of collecting.

(music stops)

MARQUISE OF H. That guy makes me squirm. Why don't they let the dogs loose on him ?
DON DÁMASO. Madame, The Green Cat, rather than bark, what it does, is mew paradoxes
MARQUISE OF H. In that case, Rooster, fill my glass up with rum, and let that jerk carry on with his dancing.


You say that at The Green Cat
all that glitters is gold.
What do you chaps take me for?
I'm a professional appraiser
The science of the auction
is spiritual discipline.
So, there's no sense
In trying to load me with canvases of Renoir
Signed by nobody knows whom.
Please, worthy gentry
don't muddle my brain and
sell me that green puss
I'm an expert in kitsch ,
Out of something old I
make something new.
In that senile talk café
Anti-Art will have its nest.
Masterpieces or photocopies ?
Who cares if it is Mona Lisa.
Do you know what I want to do?
Out of that storehouse of follies
build a bazaar of café talk.
Out of something old I make
something new,
Café talk sells.
Welfare philosophy
needs a saloon for talking in.
Doctors in Marketing crow
that to publish copies of art
in industrial quantities
is no despicable deed.
You breathe tradition here,
vintage material to
build and to make modernity
A collector with renaissance marrow
in his bones affirms it.
Café -talkers at this end of century -
bury Utopia, and
give me a price for your feline, -
Café-talkers at this end of century.

(the collector's spotlight fades)

MARQUISE OF H. I just can't stand the sight of that sucker
RAMÓN DE R.. (without stopping to sign world famous signatures) Marquise, remember what I said, straighten out this affair and scorch that gate-crasher who's trying to stuff The Green Cat in his pocket.
DON DÁMASO. Don Ramón de Ramones, give up your fountain-pen terrorism and take over the fanning of Flor de Lis, who a lettered ponce has left in articulo mortis

(don Ramon de Ramones obeys, while the Collector zips up his brief case.)

COLLECTOR. Gentlemen, we need a certain period to think this over. Here's my card (with his silhouette he makes a bow) I'll shortly pop back (exits)
MARQUISE OF H. (letting loose a cry) Phew, am I feeling hot!
CHORUS. Marquise !
MARQUISE OF H. My hat. (stands up) Rooster, your ring.
NIGHT ROOSTER. Look, it shines like a sapphire.
FLOR DE LIS. (regains consciousness) Wedding? (staggers) Impersonator.

(darkens, and light shines on another point. Flor de Lis, head low, pouts. From behind, the Impersonator appears)

IMPERSONATOR. Hey, Flor de Lis, don't cry any more.
FLOR DE LIS. How can I stop crying if that benefactress has seduced him? (losing control) Teller of tales, you've got to do something, you've got to stop that wedding.
IMPERSONATOR. Flor de Dios, I'm not God, just someone who works in a cabaret, and now on the dole.
FLOR DE LIS. Go-between, please.
IMPERSONATOR. Alright, I'll have a word with the Grand Marquise of Havana. (moves away, almost on tip-toes)
FLOR DE LIS. Impersonator. (he turns towards her) You are God.

(each one goes off in a different direction. The light changes, now with visionary tones. He raises his voice, angrily)

IMPERSONATOR. Anita Farolas.

(an overhead light comes on and she steps forward)

MARQUISE OF HAVANA. Is it a voice? Or a sound? There must be a misunderstanding. I'm..
IMPERSONATOR . Anita Farolas.
MARQUISE OF H. That name (pauses) And you, who are you? Maybe one of those barbalaos who used to tell my future in the snails, back in Guanabacao ?
IMPERSONATOR. That's enough! (pauses) You're not keeping your promises, I'm going to sue you.
MARQUISE OF H. Discuss it with my lawyers. I' m going to get married.
IMPERSONATOR. Remember, Anita, your short term obligation is to bring hope to .......
MARQUISE OF H. Anita Farolas? I've heard that name somewhere. (ambiguous smile) You really don't feel like coming to my wedding?

(her spotlight fades. The impersonator wears a grimace of bewilderment, then his forefinger smoothes his brow and he thinks. Soon his face brightens)

IMPERSONATOR. Flor de Lis (silence) Flor (silence) High Waitress of the Cat. (silence) Very well.

(a bit of juggling and, beneath a spotlight, a hat stand appears with hats and cloaks; another movement and a hat lands on his head, and a violin in his hands, - this he plays with all the spirit of a violinist. Flor de Lis appears accompanied by brilliant lights)

FLOR DE LIS. Oh, what a beautiful top hat!
IMPERSONATOR. Hurry up, you're getting married right away.
FLOR DE LIS. To him?
IMPERSONATOR. To Night Rooster himself.
FLOR DE LIS. Teller of tales, what a fine fellow you are (pauses) Ah! And the wedding gown?

(another movement of sleight of hand. He takes off his top hat, moves his hands and pulls out a daringly designed gown)

FLOR DE LIS. Impersonator!
IMPERSONATOR. Get behind that screen and try it on.

(lights on the screen. She does as she was told, while the impersonator fills in the time with some tap dancing. When he sees Flor de Lis dressed as a bride, he gazes at her, astonished)

FLOR DE LIS. What's it like? (parades as models do)
IMPERSONATOR Miss Universe. (pauses) Here. (gives her a spray of orange blossom) But make haste, the groom won't wait.

(Flor de Lis looks at the flowers, breathing their fragrance, moves round, sings and dances)

Why did the Lord of Destiny
place under a green traffic light
watching The Green Cat,
a municipal angel ?

In a moment when you're going down hill
conscience steps in your path, it's
just an every day wizard
that puts me beside the one I love.

As mystic Pascal sang
on the sea-shore:
love bears thorns,
and a little orange blossom.

Seated on the saddle of wisdom
I wish to have you meditate,
Rooster, you have to choose
between a formal wedding
and a fatal marriage

Listen to the birds at day-break
twittering that a feathered turkey
unravels their wise trillings
and questions his fate

Why did the Lord of Destiny
place under a green traffic light
watching The Green Cat
a municipal angel ?

(the music ceases and she rushes towards the exit, but she stops, comes back, looks at the Impersonator and kisses him. And while the lights fade, a wedding march can be hard, very soft. Then the gas lighting of The Green Cat comes on)

NIGHT ROOSTER Marquise. Shall I call up a priest, a judge?
MARQUISE OF H. No. I want him to marry us.
DON DÁMASO. Me ? (pauses) Have you heard her speech, don Ramón de Ramones ? (silence) I'm afraid I am not empowered to legitimate a Conjugal Company.
MARQUISE OF H. (threatening to sign a cheque) Ten millions for the celebrant or for the match-maker.
RAMÓN DE R. And the cathedral of conversation is saved from bankruptcy.
DON DÁMASO. But what would I be officiating? It'll be a concubinage.
MARQUISE OF H. Who is at the helm of this boat full of poetasters?
CHORIS. Don Dámaso
MARQUISE OF H. Captain marry us or we´ll be beached.
CHORUS. Marry them or they'll be beached.
DON DÁMASO Well, it's a ......
CHORUS. Don Dámaso, don't put your foot in it, ten millions mean a lot of money.
DON DÁMASO. If it were at least, a marriage in extremis
MARQUISE OF H. (as if she were taking off a piece of jewellery) I'll give up my engagement bracelet.
CHORUS. Give it up.
DON DÁMASO. Very well (solemn look) The contracting parts will kindly come forward.

(pantomime - an improvisation of a dais with lectern for the solemn occasion)

MARQUISE OF H. Come on, idol of the boulevards, I am still very much worth cultivating.
DON DÁMASO Let us see now, details, An estimate of properties? Jewels? Capital brought together ? Wealth accumulated by both partners? Current condition ? Explain your situation.
BOTH. Explain our situation ?
RAMÓN DE R. Of course! Are you monogamists ? Bigamists ? Polygamists? Misogynists ?
DON DÁMASO. You keep quiet, I' m officiating here.
RAMÓN DE R. Is he taking her ? Is he leaving her ? Is this a shot-gun wedding ?
DON DÁMASO. Don Ramón de Ramones!
RAMÓN DE R. Are we before an exogamy? An endogamy? And talking about her,- is she ill-wedded ? Or a husband-killer ?
DON DÁMASO. Keep quiet.
RAMÓN DE R. Are your goods to remain separate ? And your bodies ?
DON DÁMASO. I've told you to keep quiet. (pauses) The donation própter nuptias will amount to ten millions for The Green Cat.
MARQUISE OF H. That's it.
CHORUS Come on, don Dámaso, come on.
DON DÁMASO. How about Flor de Lis ?
CHORUS. Come on, don Dámaso, come on.
DON DÁMASO. How about the Cinderella of the literary circles ?
CHORUS. Come on, don Dámaso, come on.
DON DÁMASO. We're just café pigmies if we show disloyalty towards our Snowwhite.
CHORUS). Come on, don Dámaso, come on.
RAMÓN DE R. Dispensation ? Impediment impending? Impediment dissolvent ?

(Flor de Lis enters, resplendent)

FLOR DE LIS. Gentlemen.
NIGHT ROOSTER. The bride dressed in white of the literary circles.
DON DÁMASO. Young lady, kindly climb onto the dais.

(Flor de Lis stands next to Night Rooster)

MARQUISE OF H. What does all this mean ? A wedding for three ?
DON DÁMASO. Silence (pauses) The rings (takes them) Three! (shrugs his shoulders) Who accepts as consort this writer, alias Night Rooster ?
BOTH. I do.
NIGHT ROOSTER. Please, Flor, be discreet.
DON DÁMASO. Night Rooster, ask the bride for her hand.

(they close their eyes and offer themselves to him, Rooster hesitates, sweats, ponders and takes Anita Farola's hand)

FLOR DE LIS. Oh, love ! (faints)
MARQUISE OF H. Rooster, that gesture means a whole string of real estate in your name.

DON DÁMASO. Young couple, you are now husband and wife

(Mendelssohn's "Wedding March", while he offers his arm to Anita Farolas and they proceed towards the door under a shower of rice from the hands of don Ramón de Ramones)

RAMÓN DE R. Rice for the just-married.
DON DÁMASO. Who said that no monsters are engendered in our tabernacle ?
RAMÓN DE R. (brightly) Hey, Marquise ! How about the cheque for ten millions ?
MARQUISE OF H. Indecent....
RAMÓN DE R. Really ? Well, not a single bottle will come out of the cellar of The Green Cat.
DON DÁMASO. Flor de Lis, come back to life.
MARQUISE OF H. Rooster, get rid of that drone for me.
RAMÓN DE R. Gentleman, if you so much as lay a hand on me, your ethical ruin will be complete.
NIGHT ROOSTER. (floating, undecided) Mon cherie ?
RAMÓN DE R. And as for you, Madame, don´t throw away your money on a Caribbean cruise. The Green Cat will offer you the literary banquet of the century instead.
RAMÓN DE R. People say André Breton got drunk on red wine at this table.
NIGHT ROOSTER. Don Ramón de Ramones, don't put her into Utopia, please.
DON DÁMASO. Flor de Lis, wake up, you're still a spinster and alone, although with a little green pussy-cat.

(her eyes open, like two seas)

RAMÓN DE R. Unless there's a pleasurable attitude, there's no worthwhile happiness. Marquise, don't give it another thought, or you'll soon be bald.
MARQUISE OF H. Let the big wedding feast get underway !
CHORUS. Let's have the tropicana rumba !

(Rumba rhythms explode. Those present, while they dance and make pantomime, decorate the long banqueting table, on trestles with white paper cloth. The diners and manikins sit facing the public.

DON DÁMASO. Don Ramón, you're the first café ironist, raise your buttock and declare the wedding and athenaeist banquet inaugurated.
RAMÓN DE R. Let's see the menu. On the menu depends the way my thoughts will fly.
MARQUISE OF H. I don't know. (pauses) We should celebrate the banquet on a yacht.
DON DÁMASO. Madame, forget all about yachts and be the Medicis of cafés of literary conversation.
MARQUISE OF H. And what will they whisper about in womens' magazines?
DON DÁMASO. Don Ramón, make your description of the agape.
RAMÓN DE R. Pen and paper, High Waitress.
FLOR DE LIS. Here´s the pen that belonged to our fellow member, Hemingway.
NIGHT ROOSTER. Don't start again.
RAMÓN DE R. (writes) The Bohemian tabernacle seated a Marquise at their table.
MARQUISE OF H. More description.
RAMÓN DE R. The magnate wore Christian Dior's latest design. A hundred leaders of all the lost causes paid homage to her.
DON DÁMASO. Except one, the Impersonator.
RAMÓN DE R. That's right. Where is that actor cum miracle-worker?
NIGHT ROOSTER. The love of my life demands publicity with a good bit more hype in it.
RAMÓN DE R. Today the marriage of the Marquise of Havana will be celebrated in the Abstract Hall of The Green Cat, The choicest crème de la crème of literary society will attend..
DON DÁMASO. Flor, hand this news bulletin in to the press agencies.
FLOR DE LIS. Very well, don Dámaso.

(takes the bulletin, and - where nobody can see what she's doing - destroys it)

CHORUS Speeches.
RAMÓN DE R. Noble lady from Havana, most eminent members, we have here a wedding between a pedestrian writer and a tobacco flower.
MARQUISE OF H. Dinner. Oh, I should have brought cooks from la Bodeguita del Medio.
NIGHT ROOSTER. (pretends to get up) I'll bring them in the twinkling of an eye, Marquise.
MARQUISE OF H. And a butler from el Floriidita, they're the only ones who know how to prepare mojitos and daiquiris.
RAMÓN DE R. Be quiet, Rooster, The Green Cat is famous for being where the finest criolla dishes are cooked.
MARQUISE OF H. Then let's see how the picadillo criollo and rice with frijoles turns out.
DON DÁMASO. Flor de Lis, the menu.

(she goes to fetch the food)

RAMÓN DE R. Table companions all, at The Green Cat we´ll turn each everyday instant into a round minute.
CHORUS The lady who receives our homage has the use of the Word, and the silver.
RAMÓN DE R. Her word is conversation, and her dough....into the till.

(Flor de Lis appears with trays overladen with sunflower seeds and bottles)

FLOR DE LIS. The bill.
RAMÓN DE R. Don Dámaso, are you giving us convent soup?
DON DÁMASO. Appetisers, to open up our appetite.
MARQUISE OF H. This is garbage.
FLOR DE LIS. (with more trays in her hands) More snacks.

(throws sunflower pips at the diners, Night Rooster seconds her)

CHORUS. The Marquise is looking for a fight?

(pitched battle with seeds as ethereal artillery)

MARQUISE OF H. Verbal tricksters.
CHORUS. Anti -banqueters.
MARQUISE OF H. Third-class regular members.
RAMÓN DE R. Everybody quiet! (hostilities cease) Now is the time to give support and to make speeches.
DON DÁMASO. Not at all. It's the time for a real sumptuous banquet. More dishes, High Waitress.

(the novelist whispers gallantries in the lady's ear and then in a loud voice gives his order to the waitress)

NIGHT ROOSTER. Enchilada lobster for my consort.

(FLOR DE Lis takes good note)

MARQUISE OF H. Those damned pips again.
NIGHT ROOSTER. (standing up and threatening with his fork) The Green Cat is going to be stained with blood.
MARQUISE OF H. Rooster, these pips provoke flatulence. (belches) A fine wedding night we're going to have.
DON DÁMASO. We've run out of champagne.
RAMON DE R. But we´ve only been served carbonic water.
DON DÁMASO. We had to take good care of the lady's kidney.
NIGHT ROOSTER (tasting the water in his glass) This is tap water.
MARQUISE OF H. Tap water at my wedding banquet ?
RAMÓN DE R. That's a mirage.
CHORUS. Speeches, toasts, don Ramón de Ramones.
RAMÓN DE R. The level of liberating bubbles in the champagne, and not the brand name, is the most important.
MARQUISE OF H. I demand authentic champagne at my wedding.
CHORUS. Silence (hedonistic pause) It's Don Ramón's turn.
RAMÓN DE R. The greatness of a literary banquet is to be observed in the ceiling-level of the diners' amazement.
MARQUISE OF H. My wedding banquet is a complete humiliation. Disgraceful !

(more skirmishing and general slinging of sunflower pips. Our reincarnation, his whiskers a-trembling, jumps up on the table, wielding a white flag)

RAMÓN DE R. I, Don Ramón de Ramones, call for a musical truce.
CHORUS. (performing acrobatics) Musical !

(the diners' skeletons, eager to dance, get set - then the rhythm hits their ear-drums and the choreography gets underway)

Here we have an eloquent banquet
but not repetitive jollity

Happy-go-lucky lot,

don't provoke
Keep the bean-feast moving.
Shovel it down
This is no sumptuous supper
You've only served seeds.
Marquise, that's just
to amuse the stomach.
But don´t believe that this is an agape
Of seeds and novices.
Quite the contrary, it's the feast
of utopian conscience
Ah! Parrots, you may serve
lobsters and enchilado turkey!
The enchilado turkey,
Sir, has flown away.
And cawed: brothers, don't
be human vultures.
How about the fish?
I was dreaming about algae, and
Flor de Lis chucked them in the water.
Can you hear that? A cry comes from out of my
gullet: I'm hungry
Give my Adam's rib something to eat
or we'll see each other on the field of honour
Flor de Lis, be Queen
Midas and bring more food.
If you bring more sunflower seeds, I'll
put on a show, but not exactly Music Hall
Who wants to roll some dice?
On her honey-moon, the lady
has sparks flying under her skin

(the literary gent displays a knife)

With her spray of orange-blossom
Still fresh and bright?
Then, gentlemen, we'll have her as the stake
in a game of poker.
As for me you can gamble for her
at canasta or blackjack
Swine. You'll find yourself
Get a divorce, Madame,
It's about time.
MARQUISE OF H. ( fanning herself)
If you've had enough of me, clear your throat
and I'll swap you for a guajira.

(music, - don Dámaso talks to don Ramón de Ramones)

DON DÁMASO. You're the expert in oniiric businesses, come to terms with the magnate before she drags us down to delirium.
RAMÓN DE R. I'd be glad to do so if you had in The Green Cat some radical project of membership renewal

(more songs)

NIGHT ROOSTER. (suddenly sentimental)
Your cottonish spirit
is what I love, Marquise

I'll believe you if you
coo it to me in French.
Don Ramón, combat our mountain cat's crisis
but be polite at all times.
Marquise, he's not even the shadow of
High Waitress, come now, it's the
moment to have our coffee.

(executing a harlequinesque gesture of servitude, Flor de Lis finishes the choreography)

FLOR DE LIS. Your Excellency, Night Rooster only knows how to say........merde ! (exit)
MARQUISE OF H. Tavern wench.
RAMÓN DE R. What language...(pauses) The greatness of our literary life down in the gutter.
DON DÁMASO. Don't fling pebbles at our feline of present-days ethics.
RAMÓN DE R. I just don´t understand a thing. To be a member of a café here, where literary talk is of the essence, - means to sponge, to be a parasite.

(Flor de Lis appears with coffee-pot and cups)

MARQUISE OF H. (sighs) At least at my wedding banquet there'll be coffee.
FLOR DE LIS. Cups, please, cups.

(coffee ritual. In a moment the Marquise of Havana is about to vomit)

MARQUISE OF H. What is this ?
RAMÓN DE R. (stands up) Don Dámaso, no freedom or independence can be guaranteed in our café of songs and singing, while - instead of coffee, we are served malt, and even that watered down.
MARQUISE OF H. Another offence! Rooster, we're leaving straight away for Venice.

(the couple stands up and he takes her by the hand. Frustration in The Green Cat. Blinking of lights. On the threshold, a tap-dancer's cane and hat detain the newly-weds. Next, music and choreography)

IMPERSONATOR. Who banned downheartedness from the literary cafés?
CHORUS. The Marquise of Havana.
IMPERSONATOR. Who gave all the detractors of The Green Cat a good piece of her mind ?

CHORUS. The Marquise of Havana.
IMPERSONATOR. Who appeared in our gathering of immortals, as an urban fairy?
CHORUS. The Marquise of Havana.
IMPERSONATOR. Who contracted marriage on the altar of polemics?
CHORUS. The Marquise of Havana.
IMPERSONATOR. Who granted the power of reflection to a café table?
CHORUS. The Marquise of Havana.
IMPERSONATOR. Who adjusted the clock to the hour of the human heart?
CHORUS. The Marquise of Havana.
IMPERSONATOR. Who moved learnéd bones to the rhythm of salsa?
CHORUS. The Marquise of Havana.
IMPERSONATOR. Who transformed a table of fools into a symposium of wit?
CHORUS. The Marquise of Havana.
IMPERSONATOR. Who was the financial cat that defended The Green Cat with her claws?
CHORUS The Marquise of Havana.
IMPERSONATOR. Who filled our literary porch with flowers?
CHORUS. The Marquise of Havana.
IMPERSONATOR. Who told the whole world about our epic café?
CHORUS. The Marquise of Havana.
IMPERSONATOR. Who, in this visual age gave an image to The Green Cat?
CHORUS. The Marquise of Havana.
IMPERSONATOR. Who, at eloquent festivities, danced a roguish tango?
CHORUS. The Marquise of Havana.
So, long live the great lady
who flew from Havana
in a wingèd Concorde
and with her cheque-book
settled the treasury debt
of a model literary café.

(The tap-dancers stick gives way to the couple, while coloured handkerchiefs wave and absorb thick tears of impotence)

MARQUISE OF H. You´re really crying. Don Ramón de Ramones too. (pauses) No, I can't allow this. There's no room for tears on my honey moon. (pauses) Come here, Night Rooster, (they sit at the table and she pulls out her cheque book) If The Green Cat least they will have a funeral party. I'm paying! Ten million.
CHORUS. Ten million.
NIGHT ROOSTER. What a waste!
CHORUS. Let's make merry!

(Music . They all leap, moved by the dancing itch, onto the floor, though a severe look from don Dámaso, cools their verve)

DON DÁMASO. First my Cat's spirit deserves a press write-up.

(all sit)

MARQUISE OF H. Don Ramón de Ramones, draw up the note for the obituary section.
RAMÓN DE R. (writes) The best loved musical and literary café passed away today victim of a collapse brought on by vile metal.
MARQUISE OF H. More obit.
RAMÓN DE R. It was admitted last night in the Unit of Intensive Stimuli, but it was already a café near death.
FLOR DE LIS. My poor little cat.

(Dark. The people get up, dismayed, walk about, wiping their tears, The Impersonator appears, on tip-toes, saxophone in hand and blows a few notes as a form of musical curtain.)

CHORUS. It's time for TV news.

(They sit before a false TV screen, on which the Impersonator's face can be seen)

IMPERSONATOR (TV broadcaster's voice) The Supreme Tribunal for Dialogue Rights has sent a message of sympathy to...
CHORUS. The Green Cat !
DON DÁMASO. Keep quiet.
MARQUISE OF H. Rooster, change the channel, On the second.....
RAMÓN DE R. Keep quiet.
IMPERSONATOR. The deceased is recognised as the father of theoretical debate.
MARQUISE OF H. On the 2nd they'll be talking about us, the wedding of the year.

(Night Rooster tries to get close to the TV set and receives a clout on the head from a tap-dancer's cane.)

FLOR DE LIS. You had it coming to you.
IMPERSONATOR. The Green Cat declared Patrimony of Humanity.
CHORUS. Just like the Alhambra in Granada.
NIGHT ROOSTER. Literature.
IMPERSONATOR. A last minute telex: the Table of the Literary World's Senate has agreed to award the Golden Medal for Fertile Talks to the father of the institution.
CHORUS. Don Dámaso !
NIGHT ROOSTER. Literature.
DON DÁMASO. This TV is going to turn my brain into `pulp.
FLOR DE LIS. Our little pussy was always so nimble, so lively, the members' plaything.
MARQUISE OF H. Shut that TV down.
IMPERSONATOR. Finally a day of national mourning has been called for all modernist and postvanguardist cats, both male and female.

(lights are dimmed, a choral requiem is heard, silhouettes can be seen passing along bearing a coffin,
amid sighs and sobs, this annoying Anita Farolas)

MARQUISE OF H. Today is the day of my erotic honey-moon, morons! And you're staging this funeral festivity!

(explosion of lights. Music)

No mournful ceremonies,
a big green cat when alive
The rascal had a real ball.
A loquacious Cat-in-Boots?
The hiss of modernity.
Conspicuous because he's gone,
if he breathes at all it's in anger.
Hallelujah, hallelujah, and no longer
a life-long rival

Ah, what a saucy cat
has gone off to Parnassus.

Bubbling soap bubbles,
dancing, rhythm and fun
obsequies for a well-read mewer
roses for a cultivated cat.
No wake,
honours or requiem.
Our feline moves on
without an oxygen cake

Up in heaven in the bars
Rapid agoras will be founded;
Our legendary cat
is a born talker
His Olympus is a café
his pleasure, the cabaret.
Friend of parliaments:
Your candle has come to an end
in this volatile fair.

Evergreens, sangria,
lilies, forget-me-nots,
hard pop, soft rock
the devil's taken
Our non-pareil Green Cat.

Farewell, farewell, what does it matter
one more, one less. One
less in the Traitors' Gate Set.
One more in the silent common grave.
Green Cat you were in a class of your own.

Ah, what a saucy cat
has gone off to Parnassus

(Underground thunder followed by a chain of softer explosions. The lamps shake and the floor of the café moves, with the clanging of the bull-dozer.)

CHORUS. To the barricades, to the barricades.

(a grotesque barricade is formed with bits of the furniture)

DON DÁMASO My cat will never die.

(From above an anonymous hand throws a bunch of newspapers. Don Ramón de Ramones stoops, unwraps the package, and announces)

RAMÓN DE R. News. Citizens mobilised against the demolition of The Green Cat. News
CHORUS. A member of the circle can´t have an opinion, if he hasn´t got the information.

(Don Ramón distributes newspapers to all and sundry)

RAMÓN DE R. Closure threat against The Green Cat by the anti-literary café reaction set. News.
CHORUS. A newspaper, please.

(everyone strolls from one side to another, eager readers. From a second unknown hand there's a rain of telegrammes Flor de Lis picks up the papers and reads)

FLOR DE LIS. Resist. Only in The Green Cat the Impossible becomes the leading figure of the day.
(changes tone of voice) Journal Oubert.

(a roar from the bull-dozers' throat)

CHORUS. More barricade, more barricade.

RAMÓN DE R. Public Opinion is really moved by the harassment organised against The Green Cat.. News.
MARQUISE OF H. (at her table, fanning herself) Rooster, a glass of rum with lemon juice and mint leaves.
NIGHT ROOSTER. Right away, darling.
MARQUISE OF H. Panticruzado Rum, of course.
NIGHT ROOSTER. Of course, Marquise.
FLOR DE LIS. Resist........You open the Gates of Thought, (changes tone of voice) New Age Times.

(the bull-dozer gives a demonic howl)

CHORUS. Turn the tables up side down, one on top of the other.
MARQUISE OF H. This rum tastes of bleach.
DON DÁMASO. Marquise, your aristocracy has gone down to gut level
RAMÓN DE R. News, campaign of opposition against the disappearance of The Literary Club Cat. News. News.
CHORUS. More water colours, more etchings, more cameos, more still life
FLOR DE LIS. Hang on. What's at stake is something much more than café chit-chat. (changes tone of voice) Vienna Presse.
DON DÁMASO. Marquise. It's up to you to turn this carnival round.
MARQUISE OF H. Rooster, warble close to my ear.
DON DÁMASO. That answer is a blind-folded runaway.

(The machine snorts, threatens and chaos takes over.)

CHORUS. More trenches, more stools, more syphon bottles.
RAMÓN DE R. News. Nobody doubts any more that the homo novus will spring from The Green Cat. News.
MARQUISE OF H. I've made up my mind. We'll spend our honey-moon in Villa Iguana.
NIGHT ROOSTER. In Villa Iguana, Marquise.

(the machine neighs and whinnies like a maddened beast)

CHORUS. More barricades, more Chinese screens, more wall clocks, more candle-sticks more flower vases....
RAMÓN DE R. News. To hell with newspapers (tosses them onto the floor) We have to lance a campaign of aesthetic agitation to save the freedom of our free time.
FLOR DE LIS. Resist. Physical elimination of a metaphysical café signifies the shattering of Hope itself. (changes tone of voice) Art Teatral.
MARQUISE OF H. (smoking a cigar) Husband, a terrible mistake. I forgot to invite Luciano Papelli to the wedding,- the dandy of European economy. Last year he had a turnover of 7,( million.
NIGHT ROOSTER. A terrible mistake, Marquise.

(they continue drinking)

DON DÁMASO. Flor de Lis, hand me one of those telegrammes of support

(she does so, he seats his spectacles on his nose,- meanwhile the machine keeps on bellowing)

CHORUS. Read it, don Dámaso, read it.
DON DÁMASO. (his hands tremble) It's almost illegible.
CHORUS. Come on, don Dámaso, come on.
DON DÁMASO. Resist.... To commit an outrage where creative imagination makes merry is a reflection of a frightened society.. (changes tone of voice) El Observador Matinal.
MARQUISE OF H. We've got to be going. In this café here, there's noise just for the sake of noise.
FLOR DE LIS. Here, read this last telegramme, don Ramón de Ramones.
RAMÓN DE R. (reads) Resist. There's nothing unrealisable in The Green Cat. (changes tone of voice) Il progresso al Giorno.

(Big explosion. A cloud of dust invades the café. In that moment the Revenue Officer makes his entry, his suit in tatters. Wears a protective helmet)

CHORUS. The Revenue Officer.
REVENUE OFFICER. This is the end. (to don Dámaso) You had it coming, - always up to your eyes in debt, moonstruck bird..
MARQUISE OF H. I can't stand cock-fights when I'm having a drink. Rooster, stroke one of this newcomer's bones.
NIGHT ROOSTER. It'll be a pleasure, Marquise.

(gets up, moves towards the Revenue Officer and shakes him as if he were a fair-ground puppet, making him shed wigs and other fake trappings.)

CHORUS. Look, it's the Collector.
COLLECTOR I'm sorry, I ..........
CHORUS. Impostor
COLLECTOR. Please, .......

(The queen of the papaya gets angry and issues the order)

MARQUISE OF H. I can't stand professional fakers. Give him a good hiding.
NIGHT ROOSTER. It'll be a pleasure.

(starts thrashing the Collector, but further pieces of disguise come off)

CHORUS. Look it's don Wenceslao, the owner of the Café El Siglo.
DON WENCESLAO. I beg your pardon, I ......
CHORUS. Phony.
DON WENCESLAO. I didn´t mean to ......
CHORUS. Clown.
NIGHT ROOSTER. Do you want me to cave his ribs in, Marquise?
MARQUISE OF H. Suppose he's wearing a whole carnival? We'll be up all night.
DON DÁMASO. Revenue Officer, eh?
RAMÓN DE R. Collector, eh?
DON WENCESLAO. Leave me alone. You seem to forget El Siglo is just across the street ?

(he unexpectedly bursts into song)

My café el Siglo
is just like it should be.
Here the customer
has a drink,
changes an idea,
drinks some wine
if he's in a poor mood.
My place looks nice
socially proper
as is customary.
Day is day,
night, night, on the tables
there's no shadow,
no hats
of duchesses.
Nobody doubts it .
this end of century
found its café at my place, el Siglo.
And, look how things are
One has to put up with
a café wounded by adversity
right in the neighbourhood.
And that ruin
has the nerve to
take the place of the café
that is the hall mark of common sense.
In this eye-ball to eye-ball
I'm like a mouse.
Just what can the bar
of normality do
against maximum
So I demand
an explanation
from who strikes me
with injustice
And hurls my leisure industry
down into a pit.

(the music stops. Don Wenceslao shrugs his shoulders, and gabbles on)

DON WENCESLAO. I couldn't do anything against the unfair rivalry of The Green Cat.
RAMÓN DE R. Don Dámaso, don't allow any further grievance against the casino of the communicologues.
DON WENCESLAO. The Green Cat is legend. The Green Cat is prestige. The Green Cat is history. And my Siglo is, what ? Humiliated more and more, one trauma on top of another, poor little thing ..(stifles his sobbing)
FLOR DE LIS. But The Green Cat is only a myth..
DON WENCESLAO. What is this' (picks a telegramme up off the floor and reads) World Press accredited to cover information concerning the imminent disappearance of the most celebrated of literary cafés. (hardly able to stop weeping, he waves the telegramme)
RAMÓN DE R. Ahem! Before I was cook, I was a telegraphist and ....
DON WENCESLAO. All this hyperrealism here, postmodernism there. And my café, what of it? How about my café?

(tears rolling down his cheeks, the music starts and the members sing and dance)

Your café, Sir, isn't
prose, it's something else.
Something else, eh?
I can hardly believe it.
Gentleman, your café is the
highest grade of reality.

You're going to give me an attack.
Or is it all just sarcasm.?
Oh, get reality out of here,
it's a nuisance and out-of-place.
You're great, and I got lots of moral together
as a rival and I wanted to take over
a pussy-cat that was like the sun.
Is my wedding night
going to be ruined by
a sentimental barman?
What a terrible louse I've been!
I´m on my way to the Ladies' room.
When I finish there, we'll have
a honeymoon in strict intimity.
Marquise, we'll make
love flying
in the Concorde.

(the background choreography comes to a close, and the lady goes towards the spiral staircase, while don Wenceslao exits, crying)

DON WENCESLAO. What fine people you are! Oh....oh......
MARQUISE OF H. (turns back before reaching the toilets) I'll have a pee in the clouds. (pauses) Rooster, we've got a dawn waiting for us on the malecon.

(Flor de Lis steps in the couple's path)

FLOR DE LIS. No, Night Rooster! Don't go.
NIGHT ROOSTER. Get out of my way.

(Flor de Lis falls to the floor, sobbing mildly, her head resting on a chair)

DON DÁMASO This child has suffered too much. Somebody should do something.

(all of a sudden, an overhead light shows us an elegant Caribean swell,- he's wearing a white linen suit, a straw hat nonchalantly over one brow and smoking an arrogant Cohiba)

UNKNOWN. Young couple, your honey-moon is quite out of the question.
NIGHT ROOSTER. And who is going to boycott it?
UNKNOWN. (bows) The Parisian Gentleman, by your leave.
MARQUISE OF H. Liar! In Havana that gentleman is mere smoke and ash.
PARISIAN GENTLEMAN. The Marquise of Havana was never even that.
NIGHT ROOSTER. (totters) My God !
CHORUS. Another rip-off? This has gone too far.
MARQUISE OF H. (waves a document) Look at this. Shows the list of titles of nobility in the Great World Year Book.
CHORUS. Don't know, don't know.
MARQUISE OF H. I used to play cards - tute habanero - with the Marquise of Aguayo and a dozen handsome guajiros would escort me home on horseback. (nostalgic) Seems like yesterday.
CHORUS. Who knows? Who knows?
FLOR DE LIS. (takes Night Rooster, who has swooned, in her arms) My love, you'll always have me.
MARQUISE OF H. (reads) The title of the Marquisate of Havana was granted by Archduke Carlos of......
MARQUISE OF H. (rumples the document) As can de consulted in the Registry of Nobility.

(using his cane typical of an Havana fop, he sketches a couple of magician's strokes and undoes the hair-do and make-up of the lady, who is astonished to see how items of her attire come loose)

RAMÓN DE R. But if it isn't .....Anita Farolas !
CHORUS. Anita Farolas ?
RAMÓN DE R. The cigarette-girl from the other side of the tracks.
NIGHT ROOSTER. Me? Related to someone from the other side of the tracks? (collapses again onto the lap of Flor de Lis and unhooks his foggy telephone, while she caresses him) Back payments, hello? I'm sorry, busy. Call back later.
FLOR DE LIS. Night Rooster, she's a mirage. Quite unworthy of you.
ANITA FAROLAS. In Havana, there was a hallucinated, aristocratic vagabond, but you don't even come up to his shadow.

(throws herself at him, gives him a drubbing, letting us see his true identity)

CHORUS. The Impersonator !
DON DÁMASO. What sort of fancy-dress fair is this ?
NIGHT ROOSTER. Flor de Lis, I've got to tell you a secret; I love you, although you're just a whore-shop rose.
IMPERSONATOR. What a lot of crap! Flor de Lis is poetry in fashion, but her shop closed down and she needed a million.
FLOR DE LIS. Rooster, I've got to confess something to you too: you don't owe me a million. You were so drunk that you got lost way off the garden path.

(they kiss, and a telephone is heard from the unconscious, but we hear the busy sound. Anita Farolas sighs, puts her dress somewhat in order and goes towards the door, but don Ramón de Ramones blocks her passage)

RAMÓN DE RAMONES. Anita, look at me. You don't recognise my voice? my face? In general, what I look like as a night-walking clown?
ANITA FAROLAS. Well.......

(doubts, takes a close look at him)

RAMÓN DE R. Anita, my little girl.
ANITA FAROLAS. Yes... you look a bit like.... an old admirer.
RAMÓN DE R. I used to write to you......
ANITA FAROLAS. The sonnet writer ! (her voice breaks) How's the sale of poems going in the cafés?
RAMÓN DE R. There's a crisis, although poetry is the big business of the heart. (sighs) My Anita Farolas, mine today and maybe tomorrow, too.

(silence, they look at each other and they melt in a hug. The Impersonator clears his throat and puts a quick end to the couple's kiss)

IMPERSONATOR. Fine. If at The Green Cat the fancy dress Fair has finished and also the dangers that threatened its very existence, let's have that candombe and the conga and the music of the maracas!

(music. Everyone dances. All at once a loud noise can de heard, the walls shake, the gas lamps swing, the music stops. Flor de Lis runs out , the rest are in silent expectation when she returns at the doorway, all a-tremble and her face disfigured)

FLOR DE LIS. Don Dámaso, this time it's for real.....they've sealed doors and windows and there´s a bull-dozer knocking the café down.

(the snorting of the machine increases, the walls crack and bits of plaster fall everywhere, together with a cloud of dust which cover all those present)

DON DÁMASO. Bah! The Green Cat has always been the happy gateway for shipwrecked bohemia. (his voice breaks) Let the Caribean festivity continue !

(More music and the choreography becomes even more joyful, while a huge arm with steel claws writhes towards the characters)