The Mikado


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Dialogue following No. 7

Mikado. All this is very interesting, and I should like to have seen it. But we came about a totally different matter. A year ago my son, the heir to the throne of Japan, bolted from our Imperial Court.

Ko-Ko. Indeed! Had he any reason to be dissatisfied with his position?

Katisha. None whatever. On the contrary, I was going to marry him — yet he fled!

1961 Production
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Pooh-Bah. I am surprised that he should have fled from one so lovely!

Katisha. That's not true.

Pooh-Bah. No!

Katisha. You hold that I am not beautiful because my face is plain. But you know nothing; you are still unenlightened. Learn, then, that it is not in the face alone that beauty is to be sought. My face is unattractive!

Pooh-Bah. It is.

Katisha. But I have a left shoulder-blade that is a miracle of loveliness. People come miles to see it. My right elbow has a fascination that few can resist.

Pooh-Bah. Allow me!

Katisha. It is on view Tuesdays and Fridays, on presentation of visiting card. As for my circulation, it is the largest in the world.

Ko-Ko. And yet he fled!

Mikado. And is now masquerading in this town, disguised as a Second Trombone.

Ko-Ko, Pooh-Bah, & Pitti-Sing. A Second Trombone!

Mikado. Yes; would it be troubling you too much if I asked you to produce him? He goes by the name of —

Katisha. Nanki-Poo.

Mikado. Nanki-Poo.

Ko-Ko. It's quite easy. That is, it's rather difficult. In point of fact, he's gone abroad!

Mikado. Gone abroad! His address.

Ko-Ko. Knightsbridge!

Katisha. (who is reading certificate of death) Ha!

Mikado. What's the matter?

Katisha. See here — his name — Nanki-Poo — beheaded this morning. Oh, where shall I find another? Where shall I find another?

Ko-Ko, Pooh-Bah, and Pitti-Sing fall on their knees.

Mikado. (looking at paper) Dear, dear, dear! this is very tiresome. (to Ko-Ko) My poor fellow, in your anxiety to carry out my wishes you have beheaded the heir to the throne of Japan!

Ko-Ko. I beg to offer an unqualified apology.

Pooh-Bah. I desire to associate myself with that expression of regret.

Pitti-Sing. We really hadn't the least notion —

Mikado. Of course you hadn't. How could you? Come, come, my good fellow, don't distress yourself — it was no fault of yours. If a man of exalted rank chooses to disguise himself as a Second Trombone, he must take the consequences. It really distresses me to see you take on so. I've no doubt he thoroughly deserved all he got. (They rise.)

Ko-Ko. We are infinitely obliged to your Majesty —

Pitti-Sing. Much obliged, your Majesty.

Pooh-Bah. Very much obliged, your Majesty.

Mikado. Obliged? not a bit. Don't mention it. How could you tell?

Pooh-Bah. No, of course we couldn't tell who the gentleman really was.

Pitti-Sing. It wasn't written on his forehead, you know.

Ko-Ko. It might have been on his pocket-handkerchief, but Japanese don't use pocket-handkerchiefs! Ha! ha! ha!

Mikado. Ha! ha! ha! (to Katisha) I forget the punishment for compassing the death of the Heir Apparent.

Ko-Ko, Pooh-Bah & Pitti-Sing. Punishment. (They drop down on their knees again.)

Mikado. Yes. Something lingering, with boiling oil in it, I fancy. Something of that sort. I think boiling oil occurs in it, but I'm not sure. I know it's something humorous, but lingering, with either boiling oil or melted lead. Come, come, don't fret — I'm not a bit angry.

Ko-Ko. (in abject terror) If your Majesty will accept our assurance, we had no idea —

Mikado. Of course —

Pitti-Sing. I knew nothing about it.

Pooh-Bah. I wasn't there.

Mikado. That's the pathetic part of it. Unfortunately, the fool of an Act says "compassing the death of the Heir Apparent." There's not a word about a mistake —

Ko-Ko, Pitti-Sing & Pooh-Bah. No!

Mikado. Or not knowing —

Ko-Ko. No!

Mikado. Or having no notion —

Pitti-Sing. No!

Mikado. Or not being there —

Pooh-Bah. No!

Mikado. There should be, of course —

Ko-Ko, Pitti-Sing & Pooh-Bah. Yes!

Mikado. But there isn't.

Ko-Ko, Pitti-Sing & Pooh-Bah. Oh!

Mikado. That's the slovenly way in which these Acts are always drawn. However, cheer up, it'll be all right. I'll have it altered next session. Now, let's see about your execution — will after luncheon suit you? Can you wait till then?

Ko-Ko, Pitti-Sing & Pooh-Bah. Oh, yes — we can wait till then!

Mikado. Then we'll make it after luncheon.

Pooh-Bah. I don't want any lunch.

Mikado. I'm really very sorry for you all, but it's an unjust world, and virtue is triumphant only in theatrical performances.

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