Shows R

Hassan accepts his fate with an amazing equanimity which is not shared by the girls. He then tells them his secret. His happy-go-lucky nature is due to a life of confirmed drug-taking. He is a bhang addict, floating through life on rosy, drug-induced cloud of unreality. Rose-in-Bloom, however, is not the only member of the royal family out doing a little slumming. The Sultan, his Vizier, his Physician and his Executioner arrive at Hassan's home dressed as dervishes. Hassan, by now under the influence of drugs, claims himself to be not only the Sultan's equal but the Sultan himself. The real monarch resolves to play a trick on him, and orders that he be transported to the royal palace. ACT 2 Next morning in the audience hall of the Sultan's palace Heart's-Desire is swapping sweet somethings with Yussuf. The lovesick story-teller announces his intention to ask the Sultan for the slave-girl's hand, but the other girls point out that he cannot. If it is found out how the two of them met, it would render them all liable to one of the Executioner's more terminal forms of punishment. The Sultan enters and tells his entourage that he has decided to put Hassan to a test. Hassan shall be led to believe that he really is Sultan and that his life to date has been nothing but a dream. The Vizier, the Physician and the Executioner are ordered to transfer their grovelling and prostrating to the 'new' Sultan. In his new persona as non-Sultan he takes the opportunity to flirt democratically with the infuriated Executioner's lady friend. Dancing Sunbeam arrives, indignantly claiming that if her husband is Sultan then she - it goes without saying-is Sultana. The real Sultan is amused by this new extension to his joke, but when the news gets to Rose-in-Bloom that there is another lady in the palace calling herself Sultana she assumes ruse has been discovered and that she has been deposed. She is in the middle of begging effusive pardon when she discovers the truth and she has to do some fast backtracking to cover her error. In accordance with the Sultan's decree, Hassan set on the throne. He wakes incredulously to find the whole court greeting him with royal honours. The day's petitioners are brought before him. The first is Yussuf who asks for the hand of a royal handmaiden. Then comes Abdallah who discloses the injudicious visit of the Sultana to Hassan's house. At this disclosure the real Sultan drops his masquerade. If the Sultana favours low company then let her be married off to this story-teller who seems to be anxious to have a wife. As for the rest of the miscreants, behead them! Yussuf is distraught; he has no wish to wed Rose-in-Bloom and Heart's-Desire is upset at such an unforeseen turn of events. Fate takes another turn, and the instrument of fate is Dancing Sunbeam. She has impeccable hearing and wants to know what ceremony the Sultana is to attend? She and she alone is the Sultana. So, heavily veiled, Dancing Sunbeam goes to the divorce ceremony and is divorced from her husband and wed to Yussuf. Heart's-Desire finally manages to speak to the Sultan and explains that all this business is an awful mistake. It was she, she claims, wearing the Sultana's ring who was seen at Hassan's house; she was hearing from him a wonderful story which she was retelling to her mistress. The Sultan demands to know if the story has a happy ending. If so, he will hear it himself - but it must have a happy ending. Everyone tries frantically to think of a story fascinating enough to beguile the Sultan but nothing they can come up with seems to have the necessary ingredients. Time is getting short but, as the Sultan positions himself for the recital inspiration strikes Hassan and he confidently begins his story. It is the story of his life and, since it has been royally decreed that it must have a happy ending, he submits, the Sultan is obliged to rescind the execution orders. The Sultan confesses himself tricked and agrees that everyone must be pardoned, but he wins the last word for, as the curtain falls, he restores Hassan not only to his former wealth and position but also to the perpetual care of his number one wife, Dancing Sunbeam.