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Mad King Ludwig
The Last Hours of Ludwig II, King of Bavaria

Author: Lourdes Ortiz
Translated by: Sarah Maitland
Language: English
ISBN: 978-84-95683-53-3
Price: 2,00 €
File size: (ReyLocoEN.pdf) 1.490 Kb.
Available in: Spanish

(2 female characters and 12 male characters; some characters can double up.)
Illustrated in colour and black and white.
Set in the famous palaces of King Ludwig II of Bavaria, and based on rigorous historical research, the author weaves a rich literary reality intermingling the king, Richard Wagner, his lovers, friends and enemies, lyric opera, desire, art, economics and politics.
Excerpt

Mad King Ludwig

WAGNER  The city of Venus, with no place for a single woman? You really are quite mad.

LUDWIG  Venus is the god of love and desire. Each night she comes to life within me and mischievous Eros shoots me with his arrows. To tell you the truth there is more Hippolytus in me than Venus. Its been a long time since I swore allegiance to Diana. Lately I settle for watching. I am the contemplative and toothless king. I am tired. A moon king who once dreamt of killing the dragon. Yes. I too was Siegfried, I too thought I could speak the language of the birds and read mens minds. But my back was my weakness, and my downfall the hungry monsters that surround me. Waiting for the perfect moment to deal the mortal blow and seize my people and all they have. Poor Bavaria. Just like old Siegfried and his birdsong, while I delighted in your music, they were preparing to strip me of my power.

WAGNER  Youve been a good king. They never understood you.

LUDWIG  Neither did you. I was gold mine for you. Much like the ring. You squeezed me and milked me for every drop. And I let you because I . . .

WAGNER  Because you believed in my music. And you still believe. We are ephemeral. But music . . .

LUDWIG  Yes. But I also believed you were my friend. But a king doesnt have friends. That lesson I learned too late. You left me all alone.

WAGNER  They took me away from you and you allowed it to happen.

LUDWIG  A bon vivant who took advantage of his Majesty. A fake who harvested the public coffers. You never were very prudent.

WAGNER  Neither were you.

LUDWIG  Leave me. Im tired. Its all hopeless now. You lie rotting in your grave and soon Ill be . . . They want me gone, you know. Im not even any good to them as a ghost.

WAGNER  Do not fear them. They are nothing. The world will remember you . . .

LUDWIG  Because I sponsored you and financed your precious opera house? My palaces are a place of pilgrimage. Yet underneath it all theyre just a pile of stones . . . Let us talk no more about such things. Tell me about Cosima. You have no idea how much I understand you now. The older I get the greater my weakness for young flesh. And yet she and I never did get on.

WAGNER  Shes fond of you.

LUDWIG  No, not fond of me. Fond of my money. Even more than you are. But I must confess, I do envy you. A beautiful and intelligent woman, yours body and soul. For you and your work, a muse to rest in during your final years. Your rock and your fortress, complete with obliging husband and consenting father. Youve done it all. And they forgave you for all of it. In the end, youre the genius and Im the madman. You had her and so many others while I . . .

WAGNER  They say you can have anyone you desire. They say you . . .

LUDWIG  (Lets out a guffaw) Let them talk. I have almost everything I could ever desire, but I never found my Cosima. Perhaps I never looked for her. Perhaps I actually wanted to be Cosima myself, but had to settle for being Ludwig instead.

WAGNER  Youre delirious.

LUDWIG  The vultures circling above me, my so-called my ministers, say I lost my mind a long time ago. They want me to abdicate. Im no good to them any more. Any day now they will make me disappear, just like they may have made my father disappear. Theyll put Otto in my place, and he truly is the sick one. Between two sick men they prefer the one that doesnt fuel the rumour mill. Quiet, with no hint of scandal. My uncle Leopold conspires behind my back with Baron von Lutz and its always Prussia pulling the strings. Ive given them everything. What more do they want?

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