THE PHARAOH'S PRIVATE BANQUET ROOM
(Upstage three exotic dancers, preparing for the Palace entertainment, begin
to dance. Downstage MEREB enters and immediately after, RADAMES searching him
out. They cross the stage.)0
Mereb, was the Princess please with my gift?
Yes. Aida managed to make herself indispensable in record time.
I'm not surprised. Did she tell you anything about herself? Because, I've
never met a woman like her before. And I can't help but wonder...
No! Nothing! She said nothing.
(MEREB exits quickly. And the THREE DANCING GIRLS sweep downstage in an
ecstatic display. The music builds. The PHARAOH makes a grand entrance on a
special sedan chair, carried on shoulders by Palace Servants. He appears
very ill. The stage is set with a long low table filled with delicacies.)
You look lovely tonight.
Is this the latest fashion?
It is now. So your expedition went well?
Oh yes, we got well past Aswan, into territory where no Egyptian has ever
Really? That sounds very... scenic. Maybe next time I'll go with you.
If you like, Princess. We sleep with sand mites; live on dried monkey meat;
and this time the water was so tainted we vomited for days.
Whew! Then again, I'm pretty busy.
(The dance continues for a bit and dissolves into the scene with the dancing
girls showing themselves off to the rich and powerful men of Egypt. AIDA is
pouring wine. A NUBIAN SERVANT passes her.)
Princess, the word of your arrival has spread through the Nubian camps.
(Another NUBIAN slave, dancing with the court dancers, addresses AIDA while
Your people cannot wait to see you. Welcome, welcome.
(Calling in MEREB'S direction.)
Okay, so I told one person. Maybe two. Princess, your people need to know.
(Holding his chalice up for a toast.)
Captain. To a successful expedition. Thanks to the routes you have
discovered, our troops will now be able to attack Nubia with overwhelming
force. The Gods willing, this long war shall soon end, with Egypt's complete
and final victory.
(The court drinks to the toast.)
Amneris, shall I continue?
What ever you think is best, father.
Radames. You came to me this morning with a request to set out on another
journey. But I have a more important mission for you. Although it means you
can never leave Egyptian soil again, I believe this will be a joyous
assignment. One I would only trust to a man I have long regarded as a member
of my own family
It has been my privilege to serve you, Your Majesty.
As you all know, Captain Radames and my daughter have been betrothed for nine
years now. Long enough, I'd say.
(PHARAOH laughs, but is stopped by a debilitating coughing attack.)
I want to see her and our nation happily settled before I leave this world.
Therefore, in seven days, Radames, son of Zoser, will wed the Princess
Amneris. The Son of Isis has spoken.
(AMNERIS runs to her father's side and shows her appreciation for the
announcement. The men gather and congratulate RADAMES. Suddenly, PHARAOH has
another attack, coughing uncontrollably. The court gathers around him and
escorts him offstage. ZOSER and RADAMES are left alone in the banquet hall
with AIDA and another servant.)
A toast to the bridegroom. If I'd known such an awkward young girl would turn
into such a stunning young woman, I would have offered for her myself.
It's not too late.
I thought you loved Amneris?
Of course I do. We grew up together.
Then what is it?
(He waits for an answer.)
Radames I've spent years working toward this day. And you are not going to
ruin it - not for yourself, or me! Welcome to your new life, son.