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The Mikado (or, The Town of Titipu)

Summary

The MikadoNanki-poo has fled from the court of his father, the Mikado of Japan, to escape marriage with an elderly lady named Katisha. Disguised as a wandering minstrel, he enters the town of Titipu seeking the beautiful Yum-Yum, with whom he has fallen in love. From Pish-Tush, a noble lord and Pooh-Bah, the most high of all noble lords, Nanki-Poo learns that Yum-Yum is to be married that very day to her guardian, Ko-Ko, the Lord High Executioner. Yum-Yum arrives with her schoolmates and soon she and Nanki-Poo are left alone. Nanki-Poo reveals that he is the son of the Mikado and declares that he would express his love for her if only she were not already engaged to Ko-Ko.

A letter arrives from the Mikado announcing his imminent visit to Titipu and expressing displeasure about the decline in executions since Ko-Ko was named Lord High Executioner. Concerned about his own fate, Ko-Ko laments the lack of available candidates. Nanki-Poo appears carrying a rope, declaring he would rather die than live without Yum-Yum. Ko-Ko suggests that instead of committing suicide, Nanki-Poo should allow himself to be executed. Nanki-Poo consents under the condition that he be permitted to marry Yum-Yum first and enjoy his honeymoon. Reluctantly, Ko-Ko agrees. There is general rejoicing, marred only by the unexpected appearance of Katisha in pursuit of the object of her affections, Nanki-Poo. She is driven away, but threatens vengeance upon them all.

The second act opens with Yum-Yum preparing happily for her wedding, though the horizon is clouded by the scheduled execution of her new husband. Ko-Ko announces the discovery of an old law declaring that when a married man is beheaded, his wife must be buried alive with him! Immediately the wedding is called off and Nanki-Poo renews his plan to commit suicide. Ko-Ko cannot allow this and proposes falsifying the execution records so all may live happily ever after. Pooh-Bah draws up a document stating that Nanki-Poo has been officially executed. The Mikado arrives with Katisha and is gratified to hear that an execution has taken place. Upon learning that the victim was her own beloved Nanki-Poo, Katisha is overcome with rage. The Mikado, most enraged himself, announces that the conspirators shall be executed–after he has attended to lunch. Ko-Ko immediately tries to persuade Nanki-Poo to come back to life but he refuses unless Ko-Ko agrees to marry Katisha. Ko-Ko realizes this is the only solution and sets about his duty. When the Mikado returns from lunch he is greeted with a most satisfactory resolution and all revel in "laughing song and merry dance!"

 



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