Klaus Hnilica
Thursday February 23rd, 2012

Othello – and the Lust to Strangle Someone


Because, as a matter of facts, even after eight weeks, he had not the slightest idea where his ’fervently loved minx’ Gerlinde – if she still was ’his’ – resided, or with whom she was gallivanting … Which he was sure she did!

She had never been someone to suffer from long spells of sadness. God be praised for this! But now it was this of all facts that made him nervous! And how nervous it made him! He felt like he was going crazy! Just like Othello! Except Othello had less reason; because his ever so modest Desdemona had never strayed from his ’strangling horizon’!

Which was a lot more than could be said about his Gerlinde. Not only had she made herself scarce and made poor yours truly sad and look humble before the entire world, but she even took away any chance for him to strangle her! Bitch: if he was perfectly honest, he would actually not have minded starting a bit of ’strangling’ …

Since that, however, was not possible, he hoped that he would at least manage to stay awake long enough to witness Othello doing the strangling.

Because regardless of all his rage, the usual attacks of sleepiness started coming from the very beginning. It was a lonely, heroic struggle from aria to aria! It took all his strength for Carl not to let his head sink onto Hannelore’s inviting shoulder. Or even onto her soft lap! No, he absolutely was not going to give in to this sweet, luring temptation. On the contrary: he had to and wished to show how clearly he differed from her boring Kurt and sit there all the time – or almost all the time – with an upright posture and his head held high!

In fact, he wanted to pretend with all purpose that the caterwauling on the stage fascinated him! Just like the crowd of music experts listening around him.

The only thing that at least Carl found strange was that none of the audience seemed to be surprised about Othello in this version being ’White’?

And the usual ’Coloured Person’ lay at the right hand corner of the stage like a worn-out ’Nigger’! And it even seemed like he was asleep! How enviable; this would certainly have been the ideal role for him!

Not to mention that there was no Hannelore sitting regally next to this ’slumbering black bliss’ and ramming her merciless elbow into his side as soon as, regardless of all the pain he was taking, his tired head rolled onto the white tie-adorned breast for as much as a fraction of the thousandth part of a second…

But he – certainly – had not snored! That was something Hannelore, who now actually showed her red ears, should not have accused him of during the interval!
It just was not the truth!

After  two glasses of expensive champagne, she obviously also saw reason and changed the subject abruptly to an instructive lecture about Verdi and how he had, in this brilliant late work of his in the genre of opera, ventured on totally new paths and adapted his composition style to that of Wagner! With the sensational result that he composed a ’dramatic Italian opera’, with wonderful aria-like songs, Hannelore cried out with such enthusiasm that all the previously ordered salmon rolls seemed to disappear by themselves into her greedy little mouth!

Carl did not openly object, but he remembered with melancholy that, with Gerlinde by his side, it had always been he who ate all the snacks – and it had also been he who got to drink her champagne…

But then Hannelore said something that really caught him off guard, because something similar had been in his mind all along!
She said the role of the evil creature Jago was the one she liked best by far: his ingenious perfidy was just marvellous, even she herself could learn from him!

Luckily, the interval was at its end, because Carl felt how he suddenly got cold and hot all over. Each additional sentence spoken by Hannelore would make him more certain that this bitch was just the same kind of hussy as his Gerinde and both of them had doubtless conspired against him! After all, hadn’t they also cleverly arranged his affair with Gerlinde at the time? Why not also the end of said affair?

And when Hannelore, during Act III, touched Carl’s left hand without love again and Desdemona again asked the jealous Othello to forgive Cassio this unfortunate handkerchief affair, Carl literally enjoyed how rage started slowly building inside him …
And he found all this fuss about the handkerchief just disgusting!
In order to get a little distracted, he whispered to Hannelore that he was glad he used paper napkins! Jago would not have had a chance with those, because you cannot start an intrigue with a used ball of paper napkin from Desdemona …
But instead of giving him an affirmative smile or appreciating that he was still awake, she only hissed a poisonous ”moron“ in his direction!
Somehow it seemed not fit that, at this of all moments, Desdemona – driven by a premonition of death – started the famous ’Song of the Meadow’, which then got the ball rolling …
Well, it so happened that Carl, during the following act, as Othello entered Desdemona’s sleeping chamber and strangled her singing very theatrically after a kiss, suddenly pulled the totally guileless and surprised Hannelore towards him and, regardless of her fearful expression, put both his hands around her neck in a peculiarly dreamy fashion and trumpeted into her ear that he was now going to strangle her just like Othello, unless she finally told him in the ”Fundus“ where he could find his Gerlinde?
”Are you now totally mad?“ screeched Hannelore and angrily pushed him away.

People sitting behind and next to them began grumbling, obviously perplexed.

Hannelore stroked her allegedly mistreated neck in an exaggerated way and loudly complained about Carl. Visitors sitting in front of her angrily demanded quiet! Taken by surprise with these unfortunate events, Carl initially smiled bashfully, then turned his head so vehemently from one side to the other and then in circles that he would certainly have strangulated himself had not Othello, thank God, put a stop to these unmentionable antics by committing suicide …

Followed excited applause!

People jumped up from their seats enthusiastically!

Carl noticed that he had been lucky, because the couple sitting behind them, while applauding rhythmically with the others, got louder and louder with their abuse against him! Both of them shouted loudly for three times ”swinishness, swinishness, swinishness!“ Which in turn upset other visitors sitting in front of Hannelore, who were fascinated by Othello, in such a way that they abused the ’swinishness couple’.

Now that boiled the blood running inside the fatty sitting next to Carl in such a way that, all of a sudden, not only his head turned purple, but he also threatened all visitors who were berating others from behind that he was going to strangle them immediately! Just like Othello, he hissed, just like Othello! Upon which his companion, a mince, hideous lady, cried out hysterically and, without regard for others who also started getting upset, pushed her Victor through the entire line of chairs towards the exit …

Only the young girl sitting next to Hannelore remained composed; she embraced Hannelore and asked with a worried expression if she could help – which Hannelore, faking serenity, thanked her for and declined…

And Carl laughed, countered all abuse with abuse and applauded! He was surprised to notice that the wave of outrage he had caused was now turning into calls of ’swinishness’ that got more and more aggressive and even started turning towards the stage in an unsettling manner, assisted by the fact that the entire opera house gave Desdemona and Othello standing ovations!

And then Carl finally noticed that Hannelore had disappeared! Her seat was empty! The young girl who had been worried a moment ago indicated that Hannelore had left. In fact, he even could still glimpse her as she disappeared through one of the exits without even a single backwards glance …

Oh My – what a jumbled up situation was this? Now he could go and strangle himself!

KH
(Translated by EG)

PS:
And two weeks from now, on March, 8th, 2012, we will already meet again with “Carl and Gerlinde”

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