(Song: The Terror)
Act 3 Scene 4: June 8, 1794 The Festival of the Supreme Being
The main street in Paris. A large crowd is gathered. A giant paper mache mountain looms over the crowd.
Max descends from the top of the mountain to his speaking platform
Max: (Reading from a speech) The Author of Nature has bound all mortals by a boundless chain of love and happiness. Perish the tyrants who have dared to break it!
Republican Frenchmen, it is yours to purify the earth which they have soiled, and to recall to it the justice that they have banished! Liberty and virtue together came from the breast of Divinity. Neither can abide with mankind without the other.
O generous People, would you triumph over all your enemies? Practice justice, and render the Divinity the only worship worthy of Him. O People, let us deliver ourselves today, under His auspices, to the just transports of a pure festivity. Tomorrow we shall return to the combat with vice and tyrants. We shall give to the world the example of republican virtues. And that will be to honor Him still.
Max: (Continues but sotto voce so that the other actors can be heard) The monster which the genius of kings had vomited over France has gone back into nothingness. May all the crimes and all the misfortunes of the world disappear with it! Armed in turn with the daggers of fanaticism and the poisons of atheism, kings have always conspired to assassinate humanity. If they are able no longer to disfigure Divinity by superstition, to associate it with their crimes, they try to banish it from the earth, so that they may reign there alone with crime.
O People, fear no more their sacrilegious plots! They can no more snatch the world from the breast of its Author than remorse from their own hearts. Unfortunate ones, uplift your eyes toward heaven! Heroes of the fatherland, your generous devotion is not a brilliant madness. If the satellites of tyranny can assassinate you, it is not in their power entirely to destroy you. Man, whoever thou mayest be, thou canst still conceive high thoughts for thyself. Thou canst bind thy fleeting life to God, and to immortality. Let nature seize again all her splendor, and wisdom all her empire! The Supreme Being has not been annihilated.
It is wisdom above all that our guilty enemies would drive from the republic. To wisdom alone it is given to strengthen the prosperity of empires. It is for her to guarantee to us the rewards of our courage. Let us associate wisdom, then, with all our enterprises. Let us be grave and discreet in all our deliberations, as men who are providing for the interests of the world. Let us be ardent and obstinate in our anger against conspiring tyrants, imperturbable in dangers, patient in labors, terrible in striking back, modest and vigilant in successes. Let us be generous toward the good, compassionate with the unfortunate, inexorable with the evil, just toward every one. Let us not count on an unmixed prosperity, and on triumphs without attacks, nor on all that depends on fortune or the perversity of others. Sole, but infallible guarantors of our independence, let us crush the impious league of kings by the grandeur of our character, even more than by the strength of our arms.
(While Max is speaking, two sets of people located in two different parts of the crowd converse)
Man 1: (to Man 2) Who does he think he is? By the heart of Marat, does he think he's Moses coming down from the mountain to bless us poor peasants?
Man 2: He's in love with his own voice.
Man 1: He's in love with himself more like it. It's not enough to be master, he wants to be God as well!"
Woman 1: (to Woman 2) He's gone mad!
Woman 2: Shhh! You don't want the guards to hear you! They'll take you to The Silence Mill.
Woman 1: I don't care if they hear me anymore. Better to die like a queen than live like a mouse.
Secret Policeman: (Takes the woman from behind) Then you shall have your wish. (Drags her off to the horror of her companion)
Man 1: I'm tired of this megalomania, I'm leaving.
Spy: (Takes him by the arm) Please, allow me to escort you on your regretful climb.
A second secret policeman grabs Man 2 and leads him away as well
Tabby is spotlit in the back of the crowd watching them taken away, her fists clenched in rage
Tabby: (Song: The Terror reprise)
Max: (back to normal volume) Frenchmen, you war against kings; you are therefore worthy to honor Divinity. Being of Beings, Author of Nature, the brutalized slave, the vile instrument of despotism, the perfidious and cruel aristocrat, outrages Thee by his very invocation of Thy name. But the defenders of liberty can give themselves up to Thee, and rest with confidence upon Thy paternal bosom. Being of Beings, we need not offer to Thee unjust prayers. Thou knowest Thy creatures, proceeding from Thy hands. Their needs do not escape Thy notice, more than their secret thoughts. (Louder, emphatically) Hatred of bad faith and tyranny burns in our hearts, with love of justice and the fatherland. Our blood flows for the cause of humanity. Behold our prayer. Behold our sacrifices. Behold the worship we offer Thee.
Cut to black, sound of the guillotine three times
Act 3 Scene 5: Max's apartment main room
A scrim is hung by the door though it is backlit so all is visible behind it. Max is at his desk working, he appears gleeful as he signs a document we can assume is another death warrant. A guard enters from stage right.
Guard: Sir, there is a woman who wishes to speak to you.
Max: I'm busy at the moment, send her away. (waves his hand dismissively)
Guard: Sir, she claims to be your wife.
Max: (looks up, momentarily hopeful, but then suppresses that and returns to his papers) Another madwoman. Take her to the asylum.
Guard: (nervously) Sir, I thought so as well, but she had this certificate with her... (presents the marriage certificate)
Max: (stands, hopeful, whispers to himself) Tabby. Could it be? (To the Guard) Send her in.
Guard exits stage right. A moment later he re-enters followed by four guards surrounding Tabby who appears indignant, her hands are tied with rope.
Max: (In good humor) You can untie her, she's not going to stab me. Are you?
Tabby: (bitterly) No, Citizen Robespierre.
The guards untie the ropes while she stares daggers at him
Max: (Still in good spirits, to the guards) You may go.
The guards exit stage right, Tabby rubs her wrists where the ropes were
Max: I thought I told you not to call me that. (Goes to where she is standing, looking her over) You haven't put on much weight. (Places a hand on her stomach) How is the baby?
Tabby: He is small, but strong.
Max: Like his mother.
Tabby: Like his father used to be, Citizen Robespierre
Max draws back from her.
Max: We're alone now, you can call me Maxim.
Tabby: Maxims speak truths, Citizen Robespierre.
Max: And I don't?
Tabby: I'm not even sure you know what the truth is anymore. Your mind's been so poisoned by paranoia and power. (Her edge softens and the love she held for him shines through) Maxim, please! You have to stop this! This this... murder! This isn't the world you wanted to build for your son, one bathed in the blood of innocents! This isn't who you are! Maxim, if you ever loved France, if you ever loved me, if you ever loved our child, you would stop this before it's too late! (Song: What would you sacrifice? Reprise)
Max stares out the window at the guillotine with sorrow. He quietly sings two lines of Can't You See It? His expression hardens. He turns and hands her the certificate.
Max: (coldly) Go. I will send you any money you need to support the child.
Tabby: (snatches the certificate) I was just leaving.
Tabby storms out toward the door. There is a flash of light and she disappears behind the scrim before she reaches the door. Max stares in complete shock
Fade to black
Act 3 Scene 6: 28 July 1794, Max's jail cell
Max is lying on the floor of his jail cell, a bloody bandage around his face from a (self-inflicted) bullet to the jaw. He is too weak to move, not that he wants to. His natural hair has been cut short in preparation for the guillotine. The cell is large with straw in patchy piles on the floor and a door in the back wall with bars on the window. Guard approaches the cell door.
Guard: You have a visitor. Some girl who claims to be your wife.
Max is silent and makes no move
Guard: She has a certificate of marriage signed by you.
Max manages a slight nod
Guard: Let her in.
Tabby comes in through the door. She is shocked to see him in such a terrible state. She kneels down next to him and gently puts his head in her lap.
Max: (Reaches up to her, brushing her hair away from her face, the action appears difficult and painful for him, when he speaks it is in a halting, hoarse whisper) You haven't aged a day... (he looks to her stomach and smiles weakly)
Tabby: (crying but fighting not to break down, smiles through the tears) Yes, that's him. He likes to kick.
Max shakes his head as if finally believing her.
Tabby: (Stroking his hair) We have to get you out of here! Perhaps if we-
Max puts a finger up to her lips and shakes his head no
Tabby: What am I supposed to do? I can't just let you die! I love you, Maxim!
Max brushes her cheek with his hand
Max: (slowly, haltingly, as if it is painful for him to sing) (Acapella Stay With Me: Final Reprise)
Stay with me
Until the morning comes and the blade falls
Stay with me
Just one last night let me hold you in my arms...
Max curls up around her kneeling form, wrapping his arms around her waist. She continues to stroke his hair as the lights fade to black
Lights fade up, signalling morning. Guards come.
Tabby: Please... Just a few more minutes?
The guards ignore her and roughly grab Max from her
Tabby: (as he's being torn away) Maxim!
Max: (weakly) Stay with me...
Tabby: (desperately reaching out to him as he's pulled from her) I will! To the very end.
Jail is removed to reveal the guillotine behind it
Tabby stands as the guards lead Max up to the guillotine and place his head in the stock. Their eyes lock. Tabby mouths "I love you, Maxim."
The executioner yanks off the bandage, Max screams.
Flash of light, then dark. The sound of the guillotine.
Act 3 Scene 7: Modern Paris in a park
Tabby, who hasn't moved from her position in the last scene, stares in shock at her surroundings
Guide in the background: And here we have the famous statue of the revolutionary, Georges Danton. You may wonder why he looks so ugly. When he was a baby he was attacked by a bull and then trampled by pigs which left him permanently disfigured. Now, I'm certain he would not be happy to be sharing the square with our next bust who is on a special loan to us from the Museum of the French Revolution in Allas. But then again, I think he would appreciate looking down at his head. (Guide continues to pantomime a tour)
Dad: (parents come jogging up to Tabby) Tabby! There you are! We were worried sick!
Mom: We thought you might have gotten lost in the catacombs.
Tabby: (still disoriented as if waking up from a very vivid dream) Sorry, I thought I'd catch up with you at the next stop...
Dad: (putting an arm around her) No, it's our fault, we should have remembered you hate skeletons.
Mom: Your dad and I had a talk about it and we're sorry. We got so caught up in what kind of trip we wanted we didn't even think about what you would want to do. Or wouldn't want to do. We were teenagers once, too, but I guess we forgot what that feels like. I don't think I ever would have forgiven my parents if they took me to Paris and made me go on a bunch of educational tours with old people instead of enjoying the city.
Dad: So we decided tomorrow we're going to ditch the tour group and go explore the city. We'll do whatever you want. What do you say?
Tabby: (still unsure about things, but she manages a weak smile) Yeah, Dad. That sounds great.
Mom: (Pulls up Tabby's hair and lets it drop) Perhaps we should make our first stop at one of those Parisian salons. When did your hair get to be so long? I guess I'm just so used to seeing it in a ponytail I never realized. But it looks nice down, especially with that dress.
Tabby suddenly looks thunderstruck, realizing it was all real. Her hand goes to her stomach.
Dad: I don't remember you having that dress, did you go shopping? I hope it wasn't too expensive. (Tabby doesn't answer but stares off at something. He smiles) Well, I suppose it wouldn't be a trip to Paris without one fashion splurge.
Tabby walks forward as if in a trance, toward a bust standing on a plinth. As she walks toward it it is revealed to the audience. When she gets to it she falls to her knees weeping, hand still on her stomach, in front of the bust of Robespierre.