MUSIC: COREY ARNOLD
AVAILABLE FOR COMMISSION!
BOOK: KYLE DEREK MCDONALD
I Lie Again
The NAGY family
COPERNICUS (Nicus), the eldest; a priest………………….Tenor
KATERINA (Katta), middle child; atheist, student.........Mezzo
CLARA, youngest; left to care for their mother…………..Soprano
ZOLTÁN, a bishop, and mentor to Copernicus..…………Bass
SZONJA Lupa, a beautiful traveler.................................Soprano
MÁRTON, betrothed to Clara……………………………………Baritone
Priests, townspeople, spirits etc…………………………………SATB
Setting: Hungary 1841. The Nagy family’s manor is on the outskirts of Buda. The Church is in Buda.
Beauty may be Skin Deep,
But Possession goes right to the Soul.
In 19th C Hungary, just before the revolution, the Nagy family run a boarding house for travelers. The eldest, Copernicus, is a Priest who struggles with a secret sin from his past; the middle child, Katerina, is a rebellious ideologue who insists on being treated like a man; the youngest, Clara, is the mother hen of the group who cares for their ailing mother.
Theirs is a tempestuous household, frequently riven by arguments between Copernicus and Katerina – the one advocating for a life of Christian virtue, the other, repudiating the church as a corrupt institution. Into this loving, albeit, chaotic home comes a new boarder: a mysterious and alluring woman named Szonja. Everyone but Clara is positively charmed, though Szonja takes an instant liking to the youngest Nagy…
Soon, bizarre phenomena start occurring in the house – strange smells, enhanced sensuality, and feelings of impending dread. What’s more, Copernicus’ mentor – Cardinal Zoltán – has come to town to warn him an evil presence.
It all comes to a head when mother Nagy dies, and Clara falls ill…though there’s more to her illness than meets the eye.
This culminates in Copernicus having to exorcise his sister, since Szonja, who’s actually the vampiric Countess Bathory, has bitten her, and projected her dark spirit into her body!
Can Copernicus, possessed by guilt, overcome his feelings of impurity? Can Katerina, possessed by revolutionary fervor, put aside her resentment in order to save her family? Can Clara, possessed by Hell, resist the lascivious terrors of Szonja?
The action proceeds in Hungary, 1847.
A tempestuous exorcism is underway in a church in Rome, as Copernicus Nagy attempts to drive a demon out of a young woman. The priests chant desperately as the demon taunts them. Copernicus’ faith fails him, and the girl’s father is forced to shoot the young woman.
Nicus (Copernicus) awakes from his nightmare, but he’s at home now, just outside of Buda. His baby sister, Clara Nagy, runs in to comfort him, and invites him to breakfast. She leaves, and he reflects on his sins. Downstairs in the kitchen, the middle sister, Katerina Nagy, Katta, dressed as a man, thumps the tables in revolutionary spirit as Márton, Clara’s beau, watches in amusement. Clara enters and hushes Katta because their ailing mother is trying to rest in the other room. Katta ignores the request until Copernicus comes in and chides her for having woken their mother. Clara rushes off to tend to her as a mysterious young woman, Szonja Lupa, enters. Everyone is a little tongue-tied before her beauty, and Clara, as she returns, upbraids them for their incivility: Szonja is their new boarder. Szonja is dazzled by Clara’s beauty, which makes Clara uncomfortable. Szonja then tells them she’s come on business, though she grew up in the area. Clara then gives Nicus a letter, which informs him that his mentor is in town. He goes off to visit him. Szonja retires to her room, and Márton serenades Clara. Suddenly, the Nagy mother coughs, and Márton goes off to tend to her, but notices an unusual odour before he goes. Clara, reflects on how she doesn’t know what to do with herself when she’s alone.
At the Church in Buda, Cardinal Zoltán thunders from the pulpit with a sermon of fire and brimstone. Afterwards, Nicus greets him, and Zoltán reveals that there’s a maleficent presence in Hungry, and that is why he’s come from the Vatican. A young woman has been possessed! And Zoltán needs Nicus to help him exorcise her. Nicus demurs, unsure of his purity.
Meanwhile, back at the house, Szonja chills the listening Márton, Katta, and Clara with tales of the bloody deeds of the Countess of Bathory, who drank and bathed in the blood of virgins to preserve her youth. Finally, Clara is overwhelmed by horror, and puts an end to it before she runs off to tend to her coughing mother. Márton follows. Katta then mocks Clara for being in love, whereat Szonja, sensing Katta’s attraction to her, teases her by saying that perhaps she is in love. Nicus, flustered, enters, at which point Katta runs away. Szonja is able to cajole Nicus into sharing his troubles, wherein he confesses to having had an illicit relationship with a young woman while he was in Italy. Nicus then feels drawn to the guest, but the moment is dispelled as Zoltán enters. Szonja leaves them, and the cardinal is instantly suspicious of her – and comments on an unusual smell. He then turns on Nicus with fury: where had he been for the exorcism? Thankfully, the girl was saved, but Zoltán has learned that they may be dealing with something far more dangerous than a mere demon. They may be dealing with one of Satan’s women, a Succubus! Katta, during the dialogue, sneaks in unseen to listen. Suddenly, a scream emerges from Clara offstage. She comes in and announces that their mother has died! The family begins to bicker, and, in the mayhem, Clara faints!
Clara is sick in bed, Katta watching over her. Resentful of her task, Katta says she doesn’t do things like a lady, and that she hates romance. Her complaints grow loud enough to summon Márton and Nicus. As Nicus and Katta argue, Clara begins to moan and writhe, their rancour feeding something inside of her. Márton quiets them and they leave him with her. He sings to her tenderly, but is interrupted as the floors tremble and the walls scream! He throws himself down, hands on his head, but just as suddenly, all the noise stops. He runs to tell Nicus. Clara, alone now, is dogged by the sounds of coughing – she calls on their mother, begging patience as she struggles to tend to her. But, as she tries to step out of bed, the floors tremble. A voice then tells her not to fear. In a delirium, Clara speaks of the darkness of the times, lamenting the lack of happiness in the world. The voice promises to take all the pain away as a shadowy figure dances across the stage – whereat, it bites into the weakened Clara!
Later, at the church, it’s now Nicus who rails and rants of hellfire and sin as he delivers a frenzied sermon, which only the sober voice of Zoltán quells. The congregation leaves and the cardinal insists that Nicus check Clara for the marks of the Succubus. Nicus says he doesn’t have the strength, that he’s too sinful, but Zoltán comforts him saying the he, too, once had fallen. Nicus confesses to his relationship with the girl in Italy…and that it was the same girl who was shot during the exorcism that we saw in the opening scene. Zoltán absolves him, and they agree to check Clara for possession.
Katta inspects Clara as the men stand by. Clara has been marked! Suddenly, Clara is possessed of incredible strength, and the demon’s voice fills the room! She resists the priests’ attempts to drive her out, and they’re barely able to drive the demon back long enough to move Clara to the church. Katta is left and she calls out the demon – who appears as Szonja! Katta begs to serve Szonja, but is rejected mockingly, accused of being an ungrateful wretch because she disdains her loving family. Katta then reflects bitterly upon her rejection, and realizes that her family does love her, and that they need her help.
Meanwhile, at the church, Clara is set up in a bed and is surrounded by Nicus, Márton, Zoltán, and the clergy. They perform the rite with difficulty as Szonja’s power has increased. After a harrowing encounter where Zoltán and the clergy are cast aside, and the gun is raised to end the torment, Nicus, with the help of Márton, and the newly arrived Katta, is able to drive the Succubus out of his sister! Victorious, the family and friends retire – all but Katta, who stays to taunt the Succubus. The lights go dark, and when they come back up, Katta lays slain onstage, her throat opened, as the demon laughs.