Act I: Somewhere in a forest. Or on a mountain. Or some combination of the two. Everything looks vaguely mythological and there are probably triangles everywhere because MASONIC SYMBOLISM. Prince Tamino runs on, pursued by a giant phallic metaphor.
The Audience: Okay, so the opera is off to a pretty exciting start. This guy is probably gonna slay the shit out of that dragon... serpent... thing, right?
Tamino: HOLY SHIT SOMEONE HELP ME
The Audience: ... or not.
Tamino: I'M SO SCARED I'M LITERALLY ABOUT TO VOID MY BOWELS
The Audience: Wow. What a pussy.
[And then he faints.]
The Audience: This is the worst opera ever. We're outta here.
[Just as the serpent is about to sink its fangs into Tamino's soft, supple body, a trio of foxy ladies appears.]
The Audience: Hellooooo nurses.
The Three Ladies: WE HAVE HAD IT WITH THESE MOTHERFUCKING SERPENTS IN THIS MOTHERFUCKING FAIRY TALE
[The Three Ladies zap the creature with some crazy magic mojo and kill it totally dead.]
First Lady: That's right, bitch. No one messes with the Three Ladies.
The Audience: So, wait. Are they actually just called "the Three Ladies?"
The Audience: Huh. So what are their names? Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup? Azula, Mai, and Ty Lee? Charlotte, Emily, and Anne?
Mozart: First Lady, Second Lady, and Third Lady.
The Audience: They probably don't like that too much.
Mozart: Don't be ridiculous! Women don't have feelings.
The Audience: [facepalm]
Third Lady: Woooo we totally just saved this guy's life!
Second Lady: ... he's not moving. He is still alive, right?
[They move in closer to get a better look.]
First Lady: Yeah, he's still breathing. I think he's just unconscious.
Second and Third Ladies: Yaaaay
First Lady: And he's also really hot.
Second and Third Ladies: Yaaaaaaaaay
First Lady: DIBS
Second Lady: Hey, no fair!
Third Lady: I already called dibs in my head!
First Lady: That's stupid and so are you.
Third Lady: You're stupid!
Second Lady: BOTH OF YOU SHUT UP
First Lady: ...
Third Lady: ...
Second Lady: There's only one way to settle this – rock, paper, magic glockenspiel.
First Lady: You always win that because you cheat.
Second Lady: No, you always lose because you always pick rock.
First Lady: Because rock should beat glockenspiel! It's a fucking rock, for god's sake!
Second Lady: Nothing beats glockenspiel. It's magic.
First Lady: grumble grumble
Third Lady: [getting an idea] Hey, do you think maybe this guy could help out the Queen?
First Lady: Maybe. You two go ask her; I'll stay here and guard McDreamy.
Second Lady: Nnnnope.
Third Lady: Yeah, I don't trust you to be here alone with him.
First Lady: [offended] And why not?
Third Lady: Because you're a weak-willed woman and you'll give in to your lustful desires as soon as we're gone?
First Lady: Hmph. Well, I could say the same about both of you.
Second Lady: Touché.
Third Lady: [sighing] If only we had a big, strong man to tell us what to do!
The Audience: This is awkward.
Me: Just wait; it gets worse.
First Lady: So I guess the only solution is for the three of us to go find the Queen together.
Third Lady: Unless we wanted to take turns... ?
First Lady: I don't share. Let's go, Ladies.
Second Lady: So, wait. We're just gonna leave him here?
First Lady: What's the worst that could happen?
Second Lady: Umm... he could get eaten by a fucking dragon, apparently.
First Lady: I'm sure he'll be fine.
[The Three Ladies depart, blowing kisses to their unconscious sweetheart. Tamino wakes up and sees the carcass of the serpent.]
Tamino: AHHHHH IT'S GONNA EAT ME AHHHHH oh wait it's dead. Huh.
[A pan flute sounds nearby.]
Tamino: OH GOD SOMEONE'S PLAYING A FLUTE I'D BETTER HIDE
The Audience: You're the worst mythological hero ever.
[Tamino hides. A strange bird-man enters, carrying a net and cage and wearing pan-pipes around his neck, and proceeds to introduce himself to the audience.]
Papageno: Howdy! I'm Papageno, your friendly neighborhood bird-catcher. I'm everyone's favorite character because I don't give a damn about wisdom or destiny and I mostly just want to eat, drink, and fuck all day long.
The Audience: Sounds about right.
Papageno: I use this net to catch birds, but I frequently fantasize about using it to catch women! If I could, I'd catch all the foxy ladies in the world and then I'd lock them up and choose the one I liked best and trade the other women for sugar because that's totally a thing that people do and then I'd give the sugar to my favorite lady and then she'd love me forever and she'd sex me up and give birth to dozens of bird-children!
The Audience: That's kinda fucked up. But kidnapping and sex trafficking have never sounded quite so charming!
Mozart: I know, right?
[Papageno starts tending to the birds in his cage. Tamino finally decides that Papageno isn't going to murder and/or eat him, so he emerges from his hiding place.]
Tamino: Um... who are you?
Papageno: Just a guy who's trying to do his job without random assholes interrupting him. Who are you?
Tamino: Well, I don't mean to brag, but I'm a prince.
Papageno: Cool story, bro.
[Papageno starts feeding his birds again.]
Tamino: Sooo what's the deal with all those feathers? You look like a –
Papageno: – like a what? Like a bird? You know, I'm getting really fucking sick of everyone asking me about this. Just because I'm covered in feathers doesn't mean I'm some sort of disgusting avian hybrid creature. MAYBE I JUST LIKE FEATHERS YOU ASSHOLE
Tamino: ... I was just gonna say you look like an idiot.
Papageno: Oh. Fair enough.
Tamino: So hey, are you the one who killed that giant serpent?
Papageno: HOLY SHIT WHAT SERPENT
Tamino: That dead one over there. Did you kill it?
[The Three Ladies enter.]
Papageno: Oh. Ahem. Yes; yes I did. I kill dragons and serpents and shit all the time because I'm super strong and manly.
The Three Ladies: Aw, hell naw.
Tamino: Wait – who are those ladies?
Papageno: Oh, they're just the Queen of the Night's handmaidens or something. Every day they take my birds and give me food in return!
Tamino: Did you ever think that maybe you could just eat the birds and not bother with the exchange?
Papageno: ... no?
First Lady: Papageno, we need to have a little talk.
Papageno: We sure do! Here are today's birds; now hand over the food and wine!
Second Lady: Yeah, about that. Here's some water and a couple of rocks. Bon appétit, asshole.
Papageno: But –
Third Lady: And also here's a golden padlock for your mouth so you'll shut the hell up for once.
[And then they lock his mouth shut. Literally.]
The Audience: Wait, what the what?
Mozart: It's magic or something. Don't think about it too much.
First Lady: Okay, so let's ask you that question one more time – and if you lie to us, we'll murder you until you're dead. Got it?
Second Lady: Good. Were you the one who slew the serpent?
[Papageno shakes his head.]
Third Lady: Good boy. [to Tamino] We're the ones who saved your wonderfully-shaped ass, prince. You're welcome. Also, have a portrait of the Queen of the Night's daughter!
[She hands Tamino a locket with a picture of a pretty pretty princess, and the Three Ladies depart.]
Tamino: Wow. She's so hot. Like... seriously. I think I'm falling in love with her!
Papageno: [muffled sarcastic noises]
Tamino: I'LL BE THE PRINCE
AND YOU'LL BE THE PRINCESS
IT'S A LOVE STORY
BABY JUST SAY YES
The Audience: Once again... Worst. Hero. Ever.
[Tamino finishes drooling on the locket and the Three Ladies show up again.]
First Lady: We're getting really sick of leaving and re-entering every five seconds, so we're just gonna stay onstage for a while.
Second Lady: Oh, and by the way – the princess is named Pamina and she's been kidnapped by an evil sorcerer and the Queen wants to you rescue her.
Third Lady: You know, because you proved your bravery so well against the serpent.
Tamino: Shut up.
First Lady: In any case, if you can rescue the princess, you'll get to marry her and make lots of beautiful royal babies.
Mozart: Because that's what women are for! Amirite?
The Audience: Fuck off.
Tamino: Sounds good to me.
Second Lady: But first, the Queen of the Night is going to sing at you for several minutes!
[There is a crash of thunder.]
First Lady: She's coming!
Second Lady: She's coming!
Third Lady: She's coming!
Papageno: [muffled laughter]
First Lady: Shut up, bird-man.
[The Queen of the Night enters, looking appropriately splendiferous.]
Queen of the Night: OH HI TAMINO I WOULD REALLY APPRECIATE IT IF YOU WOULD RESCUE MY DAUGHTER WHO WAS STOLEN FROM ME BY AN EVIL SORCERER NAMED SARASTRO AND I COULDN'T STOP HIM BECAUSE I'M JUST A WEAK WOMAN –
Mozart: This is going to be a theme of the opera, in case you couldn't tell.
Queen of the Night: – BUT FIRST LISTEN TO MY KICKASS COLORATURA SHIT AND MY HIGH F
Queen of the Night: But really. Go find my daughter or I'll cut you.
Tamino: She seems... intense.
Second Lady: You get used to it after a while.
Papageno: HM HM HM HM HRMF MRFLE
Tamino: I have no idea what you're saying.
Papageno: HLP MRF
Tamino: I'd take the lock off, but I'm too weak.
The Audience: Truth.
First Lady: Fiiiine, we'll take away the stupid lock.
[She unlocks Papageno's mouth.]
Papageno: YESSS I CAN TALK AGAIN
Second Lady: But don't tell any more lies, or else we'll find you and torture you some more.
Third Lady: Yeah, we do a lot of torturing.
Tamino: Really? That sounds kinda evil.
First Lady: What my stupid sister or friend or whatever meant to say is that we only hurt bad people like liars and thieves because we're the exact opposite of evil and you can always trust us forever.
Tamino: Sounds legit.
First Lady: Also, please take this magic flute! It can control men's hearts and the elements and shit.
Tamino: That's really cool, but I never learned how to play the flute.
Second Lady: You don't have to know how! It's magic!
Papageno: Wellllll this is a really great party and everything, but I should really be going.
Third Lady: Not so fast. You're going to help Tamino rescue the princess from Sarastro's castle.
Papageno: Oh, hell to the no. Sarastro will murder me and feed my corpse to his dogs!
First Lady: I fail to see the problem.
Papageno: I'm too pretty to die!
First Lady: Whatever. Just trust the prince; he'll keep you safe.
Papageno: Yeah, I'm gonna call bullshit on that. He's like... the prissiest prince ever. He doesn't even have a sword; he has a flute. What the fuck is he going to do against an evil sorcerer?
Second Lady: Fiiiiine. Just stop whining and take this magic glockenspiel.
Third Lady: It'll protect you or something.
First Lady: Kinda. It pretty much does whatever is necessary to advance the plot at any given moment.
Papageno: Yaaaaay for protection!
The Audience: Yaaaaay for advancing the plot!
Tamino: So, wait. How exactly are we supposed to find Sarastro's secret lair, anyway?
Second Lady: It's not a secret lair. It's a giant fucking temple full of sun-worshipers. You can't miss it.
Papageno: You say that, but you might not want to underestimate how incredibly stupid we are.
Tamino: Seriously. It's kind of a problem.
[The Three Ladies confer for a moment.]
Third Lady: Fine; we'll give you a few guides to make sure you get there safely.
[She whistles, and three figures appear.]
Third Lady: These are the Three Spirits!
The Audience: And let us guess. Their names are –
Mozart: First Spirit, Second Spirit, and Third Spirit!
The Audience: You're the worst.
First Lady: The Three Spirits will guide you to Sarastro's temple, where you will rescue Pamina from the light of the sun and return her to her rightful place in the darkness of night!
Papageno: That doesn't sound even remotely foreboding!
Tamino: I'm sure we can trust these nice ladies! Let's go!
[Everyone waves goodbye to each other, and the Three Spirits lead Tamino and Papageno off to start their great adventure. The scene changes to a room in Sarastro's palace; Pamina has just been caught trying to escape, and is being harassed by the evil moor Monostatos, a servant of Sarastro.]
Monostatos: Hey, baby. Did you miss me?
Pamina: Don't touch me.
Monostatos: Oh, stop being so frigid. I'm not really that bad.
Pamina: You're a disgusting barbarian and I hate you and I'd rather die than succumb to your advances.
Monostatos: It's funny that you think you have any choice in the matter. [calling to his slaves] Bring the fuzzy handcuffs!
[She faints. The slaves tie Pamina up and leave her alone with the evil black man who wants to spend all of his time raping white women.]
The Audience: Jesus Christ. Who wrote this libretto, Jefferson Davis?
Mozart: Emanuel Schikaneder. He's a friend of mine.
Emanuel Schikaneder: But I prefer to be called "The Schikanator."
The Audience: You're a douche.
[Papageno chooses this moment to wander in. Unsurprisingly, it has taken him under two minutes to get separated from the others and completely lose his way – but he still managed to find Pamina, so Papageno's complete incompetence is still more effective than anything Tamino has done this whole opera.]
The Audience: That would be funny if it weren't so depressingly true.
Papageno: Where the hell am I? Oh, wait – there are people over there! I think I'll just ask for directions.
[He wanders over and comes face to face with Monostatos.]
Papageno: AHH WHO THE FUCK IS THAT BLACK MAN
Monostatos: AHH WHO THE FUCK IS THAT BIRD MAN
Both: OH SHIT IT MUST BE THE DEVIL
The Audience: oh woooow this is uncomfortable
Me: I know, right?
[And then Papageno and Monostatos make angry faces at each other until Monostatos runs away, proving himself to be a slightly bigger coward than Papageno.]
Papageno: What a wuss. I guess it was pretty stupid to be afraid of him because he's black.
The Audience: Yuuuup.
Papageno: After all – there are black birds, so why shouldn't there be black people?
The Audience: But... that's not... wow. You just compared black people to animals.
[Pamina wakes up.]
Pamina: What the hell? What just happened?
Papageno: You passed out or something. Are you Pamina?
Pamina: HOLY CRAP WHO ARE YOU
Papageno: I'm Papageno! The Queen of the Night sent me and some jackass of a prince to find you.
Pamina: My mother sent you?
Papageno: Yes – assuming you're actually Pamina and not some random bondage enthusiast. I met this prince named Tamino earlier today and your mother thought he was handsome and stuff so she gave him your portrait and he fell in love with you right away!
Pamina: If he loves me so much, where the hell is he?
Papageno: Um... he sent me ahead to announce his arrival.
[He helps her out of the fuzzy handcuffs.]
Pamina: He has no idea where you are, does he.
Papageno: None at all. I'm completely fucking lost.
Pamina: Wonderful. I'm glad my rescuers are so competent.
Papageno: Look, can we just leave before Sarastro finds us and skins me alive? We have to get you back to your true love and everything.
Pamina: And I'm sure you have to get back to your wife!
Pamina: ... favorite prostitute?
Papageno: Surprisingly, there aren't many hookers who will accept payment in live birds.
Pamina: That's not as surprising as you might think.
Papageno: OH GOD I'M SO LONELY
Pamina: [patting him on the shoulder] It's okay. I'm sure you'll find a sweetheart eventually.
Papageno: But I want to get laid nooooow
Pamina: LOVE IS AWESOME AND IT MAKES LIFE WORTH LIVING
Papageno: FALLING IN LOVE AND HAVING BABIES IS A WOMAN'S MAIN DUTY IN LIFE
Both: WE LOVE THE IDEA OF LOVE SO MUCH THAT WE WILL BOTH ATTEMPT SUICIDE WHEN WE THINK OUR RELATIONSHIPS AREN'T GOING TO WORK OUT
The Audience: Nice to know you guys handle your problems in a healthy fashion.
[Pamina and Papageno have become best friends over the course of a three-minute duet, which is less of a problem than you might think because it actually makes more sense than instantly falling in love with someone's portrait. They join hands and run offstage. The scene changes once more, this time to a nearby grove. There are three temple gates here: the Temple of Nature, the Temple of Reason, and the Temple of Wisdom. Tamino enters with the Three Spirits.]
Tamino: Where the hell are we now?
First Spirit: We're at the Temple of Wisdom.
Tamino: And I'll find Pamina inside?
Second Spirit: Who said anything about Pamina?
Tamino: But –
Third Spirit: Here's the thing. You're kind of a wuss, so you won't be worthy of Pamina until you figure out how to be a man.
Tamino: And how do I do that?
First Spirit: You must be swift as a coursing river!
Second Spirit: With all the force of a great typhoon!
Third Spirit: With all the strength of a raging fire!
All Three: MYSTERIOUS AS THE DARK SIDE OF THE MOOOOON
Tamino: ... that didn't help at all.
[He looks around at the temples.]
Tamino: Welllll I still have to rescue Pamina, so I should probably go inside.
[He tries the door on the right.]
Disembodied Voices: NOPE
Tamino: Huh. Guess I'll try the door on the left.
Disembodied Voices: GTFO
Tamino: Son of a bitch. Well, let's see what's behind door number three!
[The door opens to reveal the Speaker, a member of Sarastro's order.]
The Speaker: What the hell do you want?
Tamino: Um... love and virtue and stuff like that.
The Speaker: You're a terrible liar. You're here to pick a fight.
Tamino: Not with you! Just with an evil sorcerer named Sarastro.
The Speaker: Sarastro's my boss.
Tamino: He lives in the Temple of Wisdom?
The Speaker: Yuuuuup.
[He starts to leave.]
The Speaker: You're just gonna walk away? What about your quest?
The Speaker: You know Sarastro isn't actually evil, right?
Tamino: He's totally evil! He kidnaps people and stuff!
The Speaker: Let me guess... you heard this from a woman?
Tamino: The Queen of the Night told me herself!
The Speaker: Yeah, you probably shouldn't believe anything that women tell you because they're all evil bitches and all they do is gossip.
Tamino: Huh. So Sarastro didn't kidnap Pamina?
The Speaker: Oh, he kidnapped the shit out of her – but he did it for a good reason.
Tamino: Which is... ?
The Speaker: I can't tell you. It's a secret.
Tamino: Well, how do I learn the answer?
The Speaker: Only by passing the trials of manhood and wisdom and joining our cult!
[He goes back inside and shuts the door.]
Tamino: Dammit. Will anyone ever tell me what's going on?
Disembodied Voices: Maybe soon! Or maybe never.
Tamino: GODDAMMIT STOP BEING SO MYSTERIOUS
Disembodied Voices: Nnnnnope.
Tamino: Fine. Can you just tell me if Pamina is still alive?
Disembodied Voices: Yeah, she's still alive.
[He celebrates by sitting down and playing his flute. A bunch of animals come out of the woods, become entranced by the magic music, and start dancing.]
Tamino: THIS FLUTE IS SO AWESOME AND MAGICAL THAT SOMEONE SHOULD WRITE AN OPERA ABOUT IT
The Audience: Soooo does the whole "controlling wild animals" thing serve any purpose in the opera other than taking up time?
Mozart: Nope. But it's pretty cool, right?
The Audience: Not really.
[Tamino keeps playing until he hears Papageno's pan-flute sounding nearby.]
Tamino: Hey! That sounds like Papageno!
[The magic flute and the pan pipes play back and forth a couple times, and Tamino rushes offstage to find Papageno. Papageno and Pamina run onstage from the other direction.]
The Audience: [facepalm]
Papageno: Oh man, we're so good at escaping! We should be fine as long as we stay quiet –
Pamina: HEY TAMINO WHERE ARE YOU
Papageno: LOWER YOUR GODDAMN VOICE
[Papageno plays his pipes. Tamino's flute answers nearby.]
Pamina: Yaaaay let's go find my pretty prince!
[Monostatos and his slaves enter.]
Monostatos: Or not.
Pamina and Papageno: SHIIIIIT
Monostatos: You'll never escape me, princess! Evil laughter!
Papageno: Hmm. Let's see what happens when I play the Deus Ex Glockenspiel...
[He starts playing. Monostatos and the slaves are immediately entranced by the music and start dancing.]
Monostatos: wooowww soooo prettyyyyyy
The Slaves: yeeeeaaaahhhhhhh
Papageno: That's right, bitches. Twirl for me.
[Monostatos and the slaves dance right offstage.]
Pamina and Papageno: THIS IS THE BEST GLOCKENSPIEL EVER
The Audience: … that's not really saying much.
[Suddenly, there are trumpets and an offstage chorus!]
Offstage Chorus: LONG LIVE SARASTRO 'CAUSE HE'S PRETTY COOL
Papageno: Shit. What do we do?
The Audience: You could do the exact same thing you did two minutes ago and play your glockenspiel.
Papageno: No, because that would be the intelligent thing to do. Any other ideas?
Pamina: We'll just have to tell the truth and face our punishment!
Papageno: Screw that. I'm hiding.
[Papageno cowers and Pamina stands her ground. Sarastro enters with the chorus.]
The Chorus: YAAAY FOR SARASTRO
Pamina: [kneeling before Sarastro] Sorry I tried to escape; your evil black servant was just being super molest-y.
Sarastro: It's okay. I don't want you to feel uncomfortable or anything.
Pamina: So can I go back to my mother?
Sarastro: Nope. She's an evil whore.
Pamina: But –
Sarastro: If I let you go back to her, she'll ruin you with her womanly ways.
Pamina: In case you hadn't noticed, I'm also a woman.
Sarastro: But you're still relatively innocent – and if you stay here long enough, you'll become so masculine that you'll barely be a woman at all!
[Monostatos enters, dragging Tamino behind him.]
Monostatos: MASTER I FOUND THIS ASSHOLE SNOOPING AROUND THE TEMPLE
[Tamino and Pamina see each other.]
Pamina: My prince!
Tamino: My princess!
Both: [embracing each other] AND IIIIIIIIIIIIeeeIIIIIIIIIII WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOOOUUUUUUU
The Chorus: Aaahhhh they're touching each other! Gross!
[Monostatos pulls the lovers apart.]
Monostatos: GET YOUR HANDS OFF OF MY WOMAN
[He kneels before Sarastro.]
Monostatos: Master, this guy was planning on stealing the princess! You have to punish him and reward me for my loyal service!
Sarastro: Oh, you'll be rewarded, all right –
Sarastro: – with seventy-seven lashes on the soles of your feet!
[Several chorus members grab Monostatos and drag him offstage.]
Monostatos: do not waaaaaaaaant
The Audience: So, wait. Sarastro's supposed to be a good guy, right?
The Audience: But he's a misogynistic asshole who owns slaves and will torture them at the drop of a hat?
Mozart: He sure is!
The Audience: So... why exactly is he better than the Queen of the Night?
Mozart: Because he has a penis.
The Audience: [facepalm]
Sarastro: Let Tamino and Papageno be blindfolded and led off to undergo some dangerous trials which they may not survive!
The Chorus: LONG LIVE SARASTRO
[End of Act I.]
Next installment: Act II
[Partially adapted from the original post at Snark & Son, Inc.]