Scene Two: Papageno

Tamino: (Stirs and awakens). Uhng… Where am I? Am I dead? (Pinches arm). Ouch! Guess not. (Looks behind him). Oh, but the snake is! Phew, that was a close one.

Narrator: A pipe sounds off in the distance

Tamino: Uh-oh. Now what? Considering my luck with the snake, I'd better hide till I figure out who that guy is coming toward me now. (Dives for cover behind a convenient tree).

Narrator: Enter Papageno, a silly looking fellow all covered in feathers.

Papageno Character Synopsis

Papageno is a simple man with but few aspirations in life. Food and drink are all he cares about and – but there! He is about to sing everything we need to know about him right now. See? I told you he was a simple fellow…

Papageno: (Dances around the stage, piping a panflute to attract birds and singing in German – a song of which a rough translation appears below):

I am the birdcatcher, yes that's me!

Always happy, oh yessiree!

The birdcatcher is who I am,

Known by every man and child in the land.

I can pipe and play little songs,

And so all the birdies come to me in throngs.

(Repeats first four lines)

Wish I had a net for girls, I'd catch them all quite fine,

And lock them up by the dozens, then all the girls would be mine!

If all the girls were mine, I'd pick my favorite by a test,

And by my side would she always rest.

Three Feminists in Audience: (Booing). Disparagement of the female sex!

Narrator: Really?

Three Feminists in Audience: (Desist booing and commence disgruntled murmuring).

Tamino: Hey you!

Papageno: (Loses a few feathers in surprise). Hey who?

Tamino: (Affecting fine princely tones and approaching Papageno). Tell me my good friend, who are you?

Papageno: Who am I? I mean, there are stupid questions and then there are STOOpid questions. That was a really, really STOOOOOOPID humdinger doozy! (Frowns at Tamino) Um, didn't you listen to my song?

Tamino: (Innocently). What song?

Papageno: What song? What song? WHAT SONG?

Narrator: Woo-hoo! Triplets score!

Papageno: (Fluffs his feathers and looks pleased with himself before remembering to get back to being miffed with Tamino. His feathers stick straight out and he glares at the prince). Do you mean to tell me that I ran around the stage singing at the top of my lungs for two minutes and twenty-six seconds only for someone to bother me with nothing but stupid questions?

Tamino: (Shrugs). I guess…

Narrator: Now lest the reader think Tamino as stupid as Papageno believes him to be, let it be known that it isn't really Tamino's fault. Tamino is a prince, and as such suffers from a condition peculiar to royalty: Selective Auditory Awareness Syndrome (SAAS). It is a syndrome brought on by years of whiney peasants complaining about taxes, forced labor, and everything they think they're entitled to when really they're not, thereby inundating royal ears so completely, that in order to survive with sanity intact, the royal mind ceases to listen. Royalty with whinier subjects than most are at the greatest risk to develop this syndrome, higher risks are also noted in kings and queens, as opposed to princes, princesses, dukes and barons etc. Tamino didn't have a terrible case of it just yet – his peasants were average whiners and he was just a prince, so his risk factors were low at this point. However, he would still suffer the occasional exacerbation of the syndrome – particularly around commoners – and he happened to completely blank out during Papageno's song. Thus it was that he had not benefited from any of the information it provided. However, Papageno was unaware of Tamino's Selective Auditory Awareness Syndrome. He didn't even know yet that he was a prince. Therefore, he was rather inclined to be cheeky with his reply.

Papageno: (Snorts). I'm a man – just like you! (aside to himself) Except I'm smarter…

Tamino: (Snapping out of SAAS mode). What did you say?

Papageno: (Strikes noble, distant staring pose) They're taking the hobbits to Isengard! To Isengard! To Isengard-gard g-g-g-gard! (aside to himself, giggling) You can really have fun with this guy!

Narrator: Score for pop-culture reference!

Papageno: (Takes a bow) Thank you! Thank you very much! (Turns to Tamino) Now, what would you say if I asked who you are?

Tamino: (Attempts to recover air of great dignity and nobility). I am a prince of royal blood! My father rules over a land of many thousands of people and –

Papageno: (Interrupting). Thousands of people? Ha! I could make good business with my birds there, I think.

Tamino: What? Business not so good around here?

Papageno: (Shrugs). The queen of the night always buys my birds and gives me cake and wine in exchange. I guess I can't complain. (Starts to preen ruffled feathers).

Tamino: (Stares with raised eyebrow).

Papageno: Hey man, you're creeping me out! Why are you staring at me?

Tamino: Um, you look kind of like a… like a…

Papageno: (Laughs). A bird? (Laughs again. Suddenly comes to a realization and freaks out).

Narrator: What he realized we may never know, but Papageno always was one to frighten easily… Not unlike a bird… Perhaps his fear was that Tamino had just come way too close to the truth…

Papageno: (Hopping around frantically). You just stand back! I – I am the strongest brute you ever tangled with! (Punches air in Tamino's general direction).

Narrator: Tamino is completely unphased by these displays of ferocity, and comes to – apparently – the only obvious, logical conclusion.

Tamino: Oh, so it was YOU who killed the great serpent!

Papageno: (Screeching like a little schoolgirl). Serpent?! I hate snakes I hate snakesIhatesnakesIhate – wait, it's dead? Oh, yeah, sure I killed it!

Narrator: Unfortunately for Tamino, he was unable to see through this obvious lie as his SAAS kicked back in again and he missed the part of the scene where Papageno ran around freaking out. So, he believed the fellow implicitly.

Tamino: How can I ever thank you?

Papageno: Um, let me see…

The Three Ladies: (Very angrily). Papageno!

Papageno: Rats. They just pop up out of nowhere, don't they?

The Three Ladies: Papageno!

Papageno: Boy, they sure sound grouchy!

Tamino: Who are they?

Papageno: Beats me. They always take my birds and give me my cake and wine, though.

Tamino: Cool.

The Three Ladies: (Even angrier). Papageno!

Papageno: Third time's the charm my beauties! Here I am and here are my birds. Where's the food?

First Lady: Hmph!

Second Lady: Hmph!

Third Lady: Hmph!

Papageno: C'mon girls, how can I know what you're angry about if you don't tell me?

First Lady: You should know!

Papageno: What? Why don't we try communicating and get this all straightened out.

First Lady: Hmph! Here's some water instead of wine!

Second Lady: And here's a rock instead of a cake!

Papageno: Hey, wait a minute!

Third Lady: And here's a lock for your mouth!

Papageno: Wait what? What happened to communication? I – Mmmmm ermmm! (Papageno can no longer speak as the Third Lady has managed to seal his mouth shut with a magical lock).

Third Lady: That oughta do it!

Tamino: Wow. Wish I had one of those – or a couple hundred. It could be the cure for Selective Auditory Awareness Syndrome! We could put all that funding to some better use. No more marathons, awareness campaigns, ribbon sales…

The Three Ladies: Hey, cuteness! Wouldn't you like to know who really saved you? It was us!

Tamino: Oh… And it is preferable to be saved by three ladies than one idiot because?

Papageno: MMMM!

Three Feminists in Audience: Hey! That was uncalled for!

Tamino: Sorry, I just made that up myself – it's not actually in the opera.

Narrator: And the rest of this is?

Tamino: Umm…