Phantom: A New Twist to the Classic Tale

Act 1 Scene 1

(stage is dark, a few lights on dimly.
fog rolls across stage.)

Erik:

(background)

Goodbye...I love you....remember that, Christine...I love you...

(lights go up, fog is gone. Set is a
drawing room, a piano sits off to the
left-hand side. There is a man kneeling at
the center of the room. His shoulders are
slumped,and his whole countinence is
that of one in pain. He shakes from almost
uncontrollable grief. He looks up, but
his face is in shadow. His face is deformed,
but we can only make out a little. A
mask lies on the floor in front of him.
He puts it on. Lights come up. He
notices the audience for the first time.
He stands up.)

Erik:

(sighs and addresses audience.)

Good evening, Ladies and Gentlemen. I'm sure you wish to know what has been happening here in my theatre. What all the commotion is about…. I really would prefer that you leave me in peace, but since you are not so inclined….

(looks around, hope some will leave. sigh)

No? Humor me as I share my story...

( closes eyes, remembering.)

( Blackout.)

It began just over a year ago, when I first heard the voice of Christine Daae...

( lights come up to reveal the famous horseshoe auditorium )

Erik:

(in Box 5)

I had been very busy that day, and had stopped in Box 5 for a moment to rest. My mind was on some frusterating matters concerning the managers…They were retiring soon, and I was concerned that the new management wouldn't be as superstitious as the old. Just then a loud noise startled me back to the present—a giggle.

Meg:

(giggle again)

She'll never find me here!

(devious grin)

It's the perfect spot to scare her!

(backs into the shadows)

Christine:

(nervous)

Meg? Where are you? I know you're in here. I saw you run in……..Meg?

(Meg jumps out, roaring)

Aaahhh!!!!!!!

(looks at Meg, who's doubled over with laughter)

It's not funny! You nearly scared me to death!

Meg:

Oh, it was priceless! You should have seen your face. It was almost as white as when I told you about the Opera Ghost! You do know he lives here?

(answers herself)

Of course you do. You know all the stories, don't you?

(Christine shakes her head)

No!?

(gleefully)

Well, for starters, he's made blood run across the floors, whole skeletons dance around…..and done many other scary tricks! I know he has at at least two different heads!

Christine:

Two!?

Meg:

Yes! He has one that's made completely from fire—he lets that one float around on it's own. Ooh! He has one that looks like a death's head as well! That's the one Joseph Buquet saw and told us about right before he hanged himself.

(looks mischivious)

Only that isn't quite true…..

Christine:

It's not?

(angry)

Meg! The police said it was a suicide. It's been proven! Stop making up stories to scare me.

Meg:

I'm not! The story that he hanged himself is being spread around so no one panics. Those of us who know the Opera and it's ghost know he did it!

Christine:

He?!

Meg:

"O.G.", Christine. The Phantom killed him!

(The figure in Box 5, who has, up until now, been quietly watching
and sipping on something, coughs and sputters. He recovers and
pays intensely close attention to Meg. We can feel the tense hostilitly
eminating from him.)

Erik:

(muttering)

That young Meg had better watch her tongue! Little Giry will go right back where she started if she continues…I had nothing to do with Buquet's death...well…almost nothing....

Meg:

He may seem mean sometimes, and I know he scares the managers, but……(looks around)

Christine:

What?

Meg:

You have to promise not to repeat what I tell you to anyone.

(Christine nods)

The managers have never paid any attention to me, even though I'm a good dancer. The Phantom noticed, though, and brought me to their attention through one of his notes. I'll always be grateful to him.

Erik:

(shadowy figure sinks back into his chair)

Ah, well….she is just a silly child...I'll overlook it this time…

Meg:

You should sing for him, Christine. I know the Phantom loves Faust. Mama says it's his favorite. She should know, since she's in charge of his box. Maybe if you sing for him, he'll make the managers notice you as well!

Christine:

I don't want to sing! Not for the managers, not for you, and especially not for some silly ghost! I won't!

Meg:

Please, Christine? If you won't sing for him or me, why not just sing something for fun?

(Christine looks as if she'll say no)

Please? Just a folk song, if you won't sing something from an opera…..

Christine:

Oh, all right. I still don't—I don't think it will do any good. Don't say later that I didn't tell you so if nothing happens.

(Christine sings a simple folk song. The figure in Box 5 jumps to his feet, staring at Christine, his hands clenching the front of the box. Christine finishes.)

Happy now?

(Meg nods)

Good. Let's go. We're late for the meeting with the other dancers and chorus members, anyhow….

(both exit. Erik moves from box to stage)

Erik:

Christine….

(tilts head to one side, quirks mouth, shakes head)

What has gotten into me? I know what she looks like now…..I'll have to take care to avoid hearing her voice in the future…..

(starts to leave, stops, small quiet smile)

Christine!

(blackout)

Scene 2


Erik:

That girl had perfect pitch, beautiful tone, but her voice was flat, almost empty.

(lights come up, revealing Erik.
He's leaning against a pillar,
or sitting in a chair...)

Erik:

She put no emotion into her singing.

(stand up, start pacing, etc.)

It was then that I decided, against my better judgement, to follow her—to learn more. I had originally intended to avoid her at all costs as hearing her voice—that beautiful instrument that I knew I could mould and shape into perfection—caused me too much pain. She was very much alone in the world. Her father had died a few years before, and she was all alone and sad. She still missed him very much. She was young and beautiful…..I….I don't know quite why I followed her at first, other than the fact that everything about her fascinated me! I learned one evening, when listening behind her mirror that she believed in an "Angel of Music". An angel who supposedly gave the gift of perfect music to a select few that he chose. Her father had promised her before he died that he would send her the Angel. She still believed, though the Angel had never come. That decided it for me. I knew, because of the many secrets in the Opera House, that it would be simple to become her Angel…..she would never see me……I could never be a living man to her. Past experience had taught me that, but I could be her invisible, loving and all knowing Angel. I am somewhat ashamed to admit that I took full advantage of her innocence….I taught her to sing like an angel herself, and asked, in return, for faithfulness and love, which she gladly gave. If only it could have stayed that way…then maybe I'd have been satisfied with possessing only her voice…If only…..

(trails off…starts again suddenly, very angry)

Then he had to come into my picture perfect world and tear it into pieces around me! He was young, extraordinarily handsome, and of one of the noble families of France…..Everything a young woman could want! His name was Raoul de Chagny. He was infatuated with Christine, and was always following her around with some new gift. One day it was chocolates, another flowers…and yet another it was just that…..that….

(snarl)

dazzling smile of his! She knew my wishes, but try as she might, every time she saw him a small, almost unseen smile slipped past her guard….I daresay that's what encouraged him so! I suppose I should have been understanding…they were childhood friends, after all. But I was so angry! I still remember the day that I, as the Angel of Music, told her that I would teach her no more as a punishment for giving her love to Raoul de Chagny, when she had pledged all her love to me!

(gets a faraway look in his eyes.
blackout)

Scene 3


Christine:

(rushes in with a single rose in hand)

I'm sorry I'm late. I was…unavoidably detained.

Erik:

(furious)

So Raoul de Chagny is unavoidable?!

Christine:

(distressed)

What?....I..he..he followed me from the stage here. I didn't want him in here, so I
took the rose, told him never to give me flowers again, and sent him away.

Erik:

(still angry)

Ah...but my dear, you could have refused the flower and still sent him away. Yet you took the rose...

(lapses into an angry silence.)

Christine:

I...

(look down, ashamed)

I took the rose so as to not offend him....(looks up hopefully) but I was harsh with him and sent him away after...

Erik:

So, you would rather offend the Angel of Music by disobeying him, than to offend a mere mortal
man!!

Christine:

But, I--

Erik:

(interrupts)

No more excuses!! Until you can find the strength to rid yourself of this earthly
weakness, you will hear my voice no more!

(sudden overwhelming silence)

Christine:

No, wait! Please come back! Please!
(blackout)

(spotlight on Erik pacing)

Erik: I hate him! Oh how I hate him! Why does he have to bother her so? Because of that stupid boy I've had to punish her!

(sigh)

I've gone up several times now, but each time I go she's accepted some new gift from him, and I'm consumed with a terrible anger and leave without speaking to her....Oh, this is wicked! She thinks her angel has left her for good….I know I'm hurting her...but….

(suddenly angry, throws something)

She knew my wishes. Yet she still disobeys me!!

(growl)

Raoul de Chagny! Be very grateful I have no wish to hurt Christine further! Otherwise I'd have killed you long before now!

(runs hand over mask wearily)

What am I saying? Even if I didn't care whether or not I hurt her, I still have to deal with Ravaare….Damn you, Daroga! Why did you have to complicate matters for me? First you had to make me promise that there would be no more killing…..no unneccissary deaths….

(flashback, lights dim)

Erik:

(voice echoing)

Then you had to show up in Paris and complicate matters further……

(lights up revealing auditorium. There is a rehearsal in progress.
A strange man is wandering around asking questions.)

Ravaare

(to ballet girls)

So there really is an Opera Ghost?

Meg:

Oh, yes! And he's always telling the managers how to run everything! They are really scared of him.

Ravaare:

(making notes in a small book)

What exactly does he do to scare them?

Ballet Rat I:

Well, he's disrupted the performances more than once….

Ravaare:

How?

Ballet Rat II:

Well, according to some of the older stagehands, he used to bother anyone in Box 5….

Ravaare:

Used to? Then he doesn't now?

Meg:

(interrupting)

He doesn't have to! The managers have given him full use of the box for every performance!

Ravaare:

I see.

(makes more notes)

What else does he do?

Meg:

Well, he likes to frighten us! He plays all sorts of tricks on us when we're practicing!

Ravaare:

(slightly alarmed)

What kind of tricks?

All Ballet Rats:

He makes blood run across our floors! He drops set pieces! He makes skeletons dance around! He makes eerie laughter echo around the auditorium!

Ravaare:

(raises a skeptical eyebrow)

I see…..and have any of you actually seen him?

Meg:

Joseph Buquet has!

Ravaare: Who?

Ballet Rat III:

He's a scene shifter. He says that the ghost has a death's head!

(Ravaare, who's only been paying slight attention,
snaps his head up.)

Ravaare:

Really? And exactly what does this death's head look like?

Ballet Rat IV:

He says that the ghost's head has no nose, just a big black hole!

Ballet Rat III:

Ooh! And he also said that the ghost had yellowish skin stretched tight across his skull!

Meg:

And horrible eyes that you can't see in the light, but glow yellow-gold in the dark like cat's eyes! He also said that the ghost was wearing fine quality evening clothing, but that they were hanging off him because he's a skeleton!

Ravaare:

(scribbling furiously, looks triumphant)

Interesting! And how does he tell the managers what he wants?

Meg:

He leaves notes for them.

Ravaare:

Where?

Meg:

Either in the managers' office or he leaves them in Box 5 and has Mama take them.

Ravaare:

(nods)

How does he get them into the managers' office and Box 5 with no one noticing?

Ballet Rat II:

He's a ghost! He can come and go as he pleases without anyone seeing him!

Ravaare:

Uh huh…..and uh….does this "ghost" have any other demands; any special treatment that he wants?

Meg:

(looks reluctant)

Well…..he…..he has an allowance of 20,000 francs a month…..

Ravaare:

Twenty thousand!?

(takes a deep breath)

Thank you girls. You have been quite helpful. Now, you had better get back to rehearsals before I get you in trouble.

(they run off giggling)

Ravaare:

(thinking to himself)

I already know that he considers the cellars his domain….maybe it's time I paid "O.G." a little visit.

(blackout)

(lights up to reveal the banks of the underground lake.)

Ravaare:

(pacing)

He has to notice that I'm down here sooner or later….

(shivers)

I just hope it's sooner. It's cold down here!

(Just then a figure materializes out of the mist and loops the
Punjab lasso around Ravaare's neck before he has time to react.)

Erik:

(doesn't realize it's Ravaare….voice is a quiet menacing hiss)

What do you want? Don't you intruders into my lair die?

Ravaare:

(clawing at the lasso, wheezing)

Erik!

(gasps)

I thought…..that you might…be the….one plaguing the managers!

Erik:

(eyes widen)

Ravaare?!

(quickly unloops the lasso)

How…what…

(suddenly angry)

What are you doing here?!?

Ravaare:

I have been in Paris for a number of years. I heard about the "Ghost" here.

(gives Erik a wry look)

I thought it might be you…..it has your style written all over it.

Erik:

Yes, well, you've caught me out…what do you intend to do about it?

(looks tense nervous)

Ravaare:

Do? I should tell them all I know and bring them down on you! This is ridiculous Erik! You're above this! I should tell the police all I know!

(Erik takes a menacing step forward)

I won't, I won't! You are still my friend…and I don't think I could live with myself if I betrayed you so…

(sigh, looks suddenly sad)

But Erik, you promised me you wouldn't kill any more! Your first words to me tonight prove that untrue! I shall have to keep an eye on you.

Erik:

(snorts)

And how do you propose to do that?

Ravaare:

Simple. You'll come and meet me once a week….

(crafty gleam in eyes)

We could always meet at your home.

Erik:

(suddenly uncomfortable)

No!….That is…What makes you think I'm going to agree to this?

Ravaare:

(angry)

Simple logic Erik. If you don't agree I'll tell the managers everything I know and they'll be down here after you in seconds!

Erik:

(dangerously)

It seems you have me at a disadvantage, Daroga. Very well. But we will meet here, and no where else.

(sigh)

I don't see the need. I'm harmless, really.

Ravaare:

(bitter)

Harmless? They give you everything you want they're so terrified of you. Really, Erik! Box 5 for every performance….and 20,000 francs a month? That's hardly what I'd call harmless.

(no response other than a shrug)

Have it your way then. Waste your life away down here! But I'm warning you, Erik! If there is even one unexplained death…….

(Ravaare turns and stalks off)

(end of flashback. Blackout)

Erik:

(voice echoing as lights come up.)

Ravaare….you've found yet another way to complicate my life…..

(sigh)

(spotlight on Erik)

Erik:

(annoyed)

I'm starting to regret giving him my word...If I could just...eliminate Raoul, my life would
be so much easier. An accident of some sort, away from the Opera...

(sigh)

No. Even if it would make things easier for both Christine and myself, I won't go back on my word to Ravaare...(thinking, sighs) Christine should just have finished a performance. I must go to her…and I won't leave until I've spoken to her.

(blackout)

Scene IV

(Christine's dressing room. Lights

are dim, but grow noticeably brighter

around the mirror as Erik arrives.)

Christine:

(enters room)

That could have gone better!

(runs hands through hair)

I'm so glad to be done!

(sighs, looks sad, sits down

on divan. Slight pause, then

she brightens)

You're here, aren't you Angel? Despite your anger, you've returned!

Erik:

(after a pause)

It is true, child. I have forgiven you, and I am here.

(starts singing a soft enchanting melody.

Christine is drawn toward the mirror.

As she approaches, the singing

becomes increasingly intense and

insistant. Christine stops directly

in front of the mirror. It opens to

reveal Erik, who reaches thru

to guide Christine to him. Lights

black out, then come up slowly to reveal

a misty lake. A boat glides across. Christine

is asleep; Erik guides it. It bumps softly ashore,

and he carries her off, again singing the enchanting

melody. The song continues even as the lights dim.

They come up to reveal Erik's sitting room.

He lays her gently down on a divan.)

There.

(whispers)

Sleep my sweet angel….and have no fears….you are safe with me…..

(to himself)

I have to confess everything to her…I've had my wish; held her in my arms. Now I shall have to admit my whole sorry deception….

(sighs)

Tomorrow. I will tell her tomorrow.

(blackout. Lights up to reveal Erik-absorbed

in his music-playing the piano beautifully.

Christine awakens and watches him.)

Christine:

Angel? Where am I?

(no response)

Why have you brought me here?

(looks around, confused)

Where ever "here" may be….

(still no response)

Why do you not answer me?!

(reaches out to him)

Please…speak!

(again no response)

What have I done? How have I angered you? Please…please answer.

(no response yet again)

Angel?

(she approaches and spots the mask,

and starts.)

What's this? A mask hides his face? Why should you, the Angel of Music, one with such a beautiful voice, need to hide your face? Surely an angel would have a beautiful face—not one to be hidden behind a mask…I must see! I need to know you, know your face!

(moves determinedly next to Erik, who never

even sees her coming, and strips off the mask.

He cries out in rage, grief, and despair, then spins

toward her with another cry of rage and leaps off

the piano.)

Erik:

(thundering roar)

So you wanted to see?! Well look! Look upon my face! Does everything you see there please you?

(moves after her menecingly)

Look at me! Come. Look at my face—look at death itself!

(chases Christine, a murderous look in

his eyes. Lets out a bitter sob suddenly,

then turns away.)

Why?!….Why couldn't you have left the mask alone?!

(Erik covers his face with a hand

and backs away quickly. He stops

only when he is across the room

from her. In moving across the

room he ends up crouched, with

his face hidden from view. He

turns even further away from

Christine as she moves slightly,

and his shoulders start to shake

from trying to hold back sobs.

He takes a deep breath, fists clenched,

then slowly lifts them to his face.

With a sob, he slams them to the floor.)

Why?!

(takes another deep breath,

puts on an air of calm, though

he's raging inside.)

Now you have seen my face; seen why I wear the mask. I am a monster, a gargoyal, a demon, and many other things…

(bitterly)

Or so I've been told.

(more bitterly still)

There are only two who have ever shown me respect; treated me as a human being, and an equal…not as a monster. I…I had hoped there would be a third.

(looks at Christine, his eyes and voice full of sorrow)

…I had hoped that you would be the third.

(sighs)

You may see a monster now, but I hope you will find the man inside the demon, longing to be noticed, to be set free, and…

(reverently)

…Loved! You may feel only horror and pity now, but with time I hope you will find me, see me as I really am…and love…me!

(tiredly)

Now please…I will show you to your room, and I ask you to please stay there. We will talk later…and I will explain everything.

(takes her to her room and shuts the door)

Oh, Christine….

(despairing)

Why?!

(he replaces the mask and sinks into a chair,

burying his face in his hands.

Blackout)

Scene V

(Erik's sitting room, some time later)

Christine:

(somewhat bewildered, but angry)

(flatly)

So there is no Angel of Music…only you.

Erik:

(quietly, upset)

Yes. Only me; only a man, not an angel. I knew I'd have to admit my deception to you when I brought you here…only…I was not prepared to do so yet….Your actions earlier brought an end to that line of thought…

(looks up at her)

I am but a man…a lonely man…

(emphasizes lonely, then looks down)

Christine:

(ignores his last words as he's

making her nervous and uncomfortable)

But why the charade? Why not come straight to me?

Erik:

(bitter, hurt and angry)

I think you know very well why.

(stands up)

I have been shunned…

(eyes blaze)

…shunned by the world from birth. My mother..

(stops, fighting for control)

My own mother locked me away. My first memory is of a mask being placed over my face!!

("face" is turned into a bitter laugh)

No. No, Christine. I could not have come to you in any other way…

Christine:

Yes, you could! I would accept you—give you a chance!

Erik:

(angry, but hopeful)

Would you?

(walks toward her. She unknowingly flinches

and shies away.)

See!? You shrink from my very presence! I do not believe you!

(his face twists with self loathing)

Christine:

I would! I would have given you as much a chance as I would Raoul!

(eyes widen as she realizes that may not

have been the smartest thing to say)

Erik:

(whirls back to her furiously, speaking

in acid tones)

What did you say?

Christine:

(gulps and shrinks back, but answers

in a small voice)

I…I said….I'd give you as much a chance as I would Raoul…

Erik:

(snarls)

Don't you ever speak that vile name again!

(menecingly)

I warn you. Stay away from him, or I may be forced to do something drastic…

Christine:

(sudden show of fire)

You are a man, not an angel.

(flinches when he growls)

I cannot give you my love knowing you deceived me…I love—

Erik:

(cuts her off)

Who, Christine? Who? You promised me!

Christine:

(sadly)

No. I promised the Angel of Music, who does not exist. Therefore I have promised no one.

Erik:

(shoulders slump)

Very well…

(thinking)

…but only under the roof of the Opera. There will be dire consequences should you try to do otherwise…

Christine:

(frightened, tries to change subject)

I still don't see why you didn't approach me like anyone else would…

Erik:

(depressed)

But don't you see? I am not like everyone else. I can never go into their world, never be a part of humanity with this face…

(whispers)

With this face I'll always—ALWAYS!--be regarded as a monster; never as another human being. I hope that you will, in time, see me for who I truly am…

(lapses into silence, leafing thru music)

Now, my dear, I must keep an appointment with an old friend. I shall be back within the hour. If you will excuse me?

(he bows then turns to leave)

Christine:

Wait!

Erik:

(patiently)

Yes?

Christine:

Before you go…I know nothing of you, save that you live down here. What are you called?

Erik:

Well…some know me as…

(shoots her a wry look)

The Angel…whether it be of Death of Music I shall not say. Most however, know me as the Phantom, "O.G.", or the Opera Ghost, but—

Christine:

No, no! I mean your name. What is your name?

(he hesitates, suddenly reluctant)

Please! I must know.

Erik:

(slight sigh and nod)

What I said before is true. Most do know my by one of those…titles….the Phantom especially. But among closer associates…

(hesitates)

Friends…I am known as…

(Looks right into her eyes.

His voice seems to echo throughout

the room)

Erik…There is only one who calls me that now, however, and he is probably quite impatient by now…so I must leave you….

(pulls out a pocket watch and looks at it)

Now if you will excuse me? I am late and Ravaare will be in quite a mood because of it.

(blackout)

Scene VI

(banks of the lake)

Ravaare:

(spots Erik as he materializes out of the gloom)

You're late.

(sarcastically)

Yet again. Where have you been?

Erik:

(exhasperated, rolls eyes—"not again")

I've been…preoccupied. Must you know what I am doing every second?

Ravaare:

When it comes to the affairs of the Opera and it's company—one of them has disappeared, I might add—I consider your affairs my own. I must take on the unpleasant task of finding out what that devilish mind of yours has been up to.

Erik:

(innocently—a little too innocently)

What do you mean, "what my devilish mind has been up to"? I certainly don't know what you're talking about. After all, they're always running off with no warning. Why blame this one on me?

(looks at Ravaare innocently)

Ravaare:

(annoyed)

Don't get sly with me!

(accusingly)

It may be true that they run off—but Erik—they usually run off with a lover! This time, however, the lover's been left behind! Christine Daae, Erik! Where is she?

(Erik shrugs)

Raoul de Chagny has been looking for her since her disappearance. He is quite upset. It is said that he loves her and wants to marry her. His brother the Comte is more than slighly angry with him. He has commanded the Vicomte to wash his hands of her. The Vicomte, however, refuses.

Erik:

(growing more and more angry thru

Ravaare's line. Leaps at him in fury)

Who has been saying such foul things?! I must know! Who!?

Ravaare

(looks at Erik curiously. Erik stands

back, uncomfortable)

It's being spread by word of mouth everywhere. It's even in some of the papers. He's quite taken with her, and the public has noticed. Where is she Erik?

Erik:

(angrily)

What makes you think she's with me? She could be anywhere in Paris. Why must you insist on coming and bothering me?

Ravaare:

(sighs, annoyed)

Because her disappearance is suspicious. Your touch was written all over it.

(gently)

Where is she Erik?

Erik:

(shoulders slump, looks about to cry)

I can't keep anything from you, can I?

(brokenly)

Alright. She is with me.

(Ravaare starts to speak, but Erik

holds up a hand, silencing him.)

But I swear she's here….er…there…of her own free will. She is free to leave at any time.

Ravaare:

Erik—you know I want to believe you, I really do, but I need proof. You are a man of your word, but I find that too often your words can deceive me too easily. No. I must have proof—physical proof—that she is with you of her own choice.

Erik:

(frusterated)

How can I show you that I speak the truth? She is with me already.

Ravaare:

(thinking)

Well….

(sudden idea)

There is a masqued ball, a masquerade party, tonight. Take her to it. Let her see whoever she wishes at the party. If she goes back to you after, I'll not bring it up again.

(thinking)

Have her wear a black domino costume…

(sighs)

Erik?

(Erik looks at him wearily)

It must be of her own free will, if she returns to you.

Erik:

(defeated)

I know…au revoir.

(disappears into the mist.

Ravaare shakes his head and

exits opposite Erik)