Ансельм Людмила Николаевна
To Moscow, To Moscow...

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  • © Copyright Ансельм Людмила Николаевна (luanselm@yahoo.com)
  • Размещен: 12/12/2019, изменен: 12/12/2019. 52k. Статистика.
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  • Аннотация:
    The Director and the Actors return to St. Petersburg after a theatrical tour in America. At this time, they see on TV , that in Moiscow began putsch. They do not know how to return to Russia, when in Moscow shoot.

      NATALIE -- an actress, about 45 years old or more;
      SERGEI - the director, about 59 years old or more;
      RAISA -- an actress, about 50 years.
      DIMA'S VOICE - Dima -- an Natalie"s ex--boyfriend, about 29 years old.
      TIMES: Fall of 1993
      PLACE: One of the cheap New York hotels, where Russian actors stayed before their return to Russia after two week tours in America.
      SCENE I
      A room in the American hotel. Natalie lies on the bed. The phone rings. Natalie picks up the phone.
      DIMA'S VOICE. Well, how"re you?
      NATALIE. Lying, it"s hot here...
      DIMA'S VOICE. I ask you whether you"ve made up your mind?
      NATALIE. Not yet.
      DIMA'S VOICE. Natasha, I beg you, from the bottom of my heart, stay here. I understand that you"re an actress you have leading parts, but don"t forget that you"re also a human being. I need you. We"ll be together!
      NATALIE. If I stay, what am I to do in America?
      DIMA'S VOICE: What everybody does. America is big... You"ll find some job...
      NATALIE. What job? Not as an actress.
      DIMA'S VOICE: Is it necessary to be an actress? There are a lot of former actresses from Russia here, they live like other people do and don"t complain, bought cars, got houses... By the way, you can sew. Remember how well you hemmed my jeans?
      NATALIE. You want to say that I can hem...
      DIMA'S VOICE: Either to sew or hem, that"s not important. We"ll make up something, we"ll be together... Oh, can you clean streets from snow?
      NATALIE. I don"t know, never tried.
      DIMA'S VOICE: Well, you"ll try it here in America.
      NATALIE. Dima!
      DIMA'S VOICE. Kidding, kidding! And what about baby-sitting?
      NATALIE. I"ve never had kids. Where do you work now?
      DIMA'S VOICE: In a night restaurant. It is just a job.
      NATALIE. Are you again kidding? What are you doing here?
      DIMA'S VOICE: Washing dishes. I"ll soon quit this job, I get enough from my main job. In America plumbers earn as much as professors do. Give me a call, I"ll be waiting. Bye-bye.
      (Natalie hangs up. A knock on the door. Enters Sergei)
      SERGEI. Natalie, may I come in? I need to talk to you. Tete-a-tete. Don"t worry, I"ve brought my beer with me.
      NATALIE. Come on in.
      SERGEI. Tell me, if I disturb you.
      NATALIE. OK... OK.
      SERGEI. Do you want some beer?
      NATALIE. No, I don"t like beer.
      SERGEI. But I do. I'll put a few cans in the frig?
      (Puts the beer in the refrigerator)
      When it"s hot the beer should be cold... When " perestroika" happened, and we started going abroad on tours, I set a goal for myself: to taste all sorts of beer... Here I added the American beer to my collection. Good beer, I must say, but Guinness is cool.
      NATALIE. And what is Guinness?
      SERGEI: Beer, Irish. As soon as I tasted it, I understood it was just what I liked, can"t live without Guinness.
      NATALIE. A lot of beer is harmful.
      SERGEI. I know, but I drink. Were you watching TV? There is again some commotion in Moscow. The parliament, the constitution, the president - again the same "love triangle".
      NATALIE. And what is it that they cannot divide?
      SERGEI. Power. I"ll tell you frankly, I am sick and tired of all this. When I look at all these civilized countries I feel envious: the people are living... They are living well and don"t bother anybody... Why can"t we do the same in Russia? Are we worse than they?
      NATALIE. How do I know?
      SERGEI. Now I visit different countries and mentally try each of them on myself: whether could I live here? One is like too small: too tight under the arms, another - too tight in the collar... But America is just right, my favorite size: it is as big and wide as Russia... A large, great country, but I"ll tell you straight - alien. I"ll tell you frankly: if I were offered now to stay here for a month or a year and to stage any play I"d agree without a moment"s thoughts
      NATALIE. And if for your whole life?
      SERGEI. For my whole life? I don"t know. I"d rather not... Absolutely not.
      NATALIE. Why?
      SERGEI. I am an irreparable optimist, I believe that in Russia, we"ll crawl out to the temping coast and warm up under the sun of the wester civilization. Why do you ask me about this?
      NATALIE. For no particular reason. You sound so sure now, but after you live here for a year you"ll think in a different way.
      SERGEI. I don"t think so. One smart person said: now our Russian society is not divided according to classes or national characteristics; it is divided into those who want to live in Russia and those who prefer to live in the West. And I"m one of those who want to live in Russia.
      (Sergei gets another can of beer from the frig; at first he resolutely pulls it aside, but after a second"s thought, opens it and slowly drinks it with relish)
      SERGEI. Yes, Guinness, is Guinness even in America.
      NATALIE. Why don"t you drink Guinness in Russia?
      SERGEI. I can"t afford it. To speak frankly, Natalie, I don"t understand how we would live there, in Russia, without these tours. I know that in other theaters the actors are not paid salaries.
      NATALIE. People do not get their salary everywhere, not only in the theaters.
      SERGEI. Well, I think, we"ll go back to Russia and again the same ordeal: what play to stage, how much it will cost, how much we will get from it. Nowadays everything is measured by rubles including arts. And we cannot count money, we"re not used to it... Because great art and money are "two incompatible things"... And new theaters grow up like mushrooms; whether you want or don"t - you"re supposed to compete...
      NATALIE. Have you come to complain?
      SERGEI. Wrong. I need to speak... about something very important...
      NATALIE. Speak out!
      SERGEI. My throat is drying out. I feel excited. It"s hard to start.
      (Natalie raises herself, lowers down her feet from the bed, fumbles for slippers and puts them on)
      NATALIE. Just make an effort.
      SERGEI. Wait a little... Firstly about our performance: "The Cherry Orchard". It is the last of Chekhov"s plays, the most impressionist, the most inexplicable... He weaved such subtle human relationships in this play like a spider the weaves its cobweb. And now see, you may call it a success. People come, watch, applaud, whistle, even rise from their seats...The audience is of different colors. What does Chekhov mean to them? What do they mean for Chekhov?
      NATALIE. Why did you decide to stage Chekhov?
      SERGEI. My inner voice said: "Sergei, if you want to go abroad - stage Chekhov". And I chose "The Cherry Orchard". At first I didn"t understand what this play is about. All our "know-it-all"s" explained to me that it is either about the arising bourgeoisie or about the wearing out nobility...
      NATALIE. We learned it in school...
      SERGEI. But I just thought that while writing his plays Checkov lived in Yalta, waiting for his wife - actress Olga Knipper... She used to come from Moscow and go away, left him, and he stayed alone... God, how I suffered while directing it... It was you who helped me to understand the play...
      NATALIE. How?
      SERGEI. When I gave you the leading part, and you went out on the stage so mysterious and thoughtful, so beautiful, ... I understood that this play is about love, a strange love, called delusion... Your first entrance: the main character Ranevskaya is arriving from Paris; she left her lover there. If her lover calls her, she will go back, because she loves him more than the cherry orchard, more than her daughters... But I just cannot understand one thing: how could you so coldly ... I don"t know how to say, ... play this love?
      NATALIE. I played myself...
      SERGEI. Yourself? Why? ... Who is he?
      NATALIE. Do you remember the young man to whom you gave the role of a "passer-by" in "The Cherry Orchard"?
      SERGEI. Your nephew? I remember... (pause) Oh, now I understand, you like teenagers... And I, an old fool... I guessed always, you had some secret...
      NATALIE. Why?
      SERGEI. Because... you never responded to my courting.
      NATALIE. There was no courting at all.
      SERGEI. There was, there was, you just didn"t pay attention to it...
      NATALIE. When?
      SERGEI. Since our first meeting in the Crimea, in the House for Actors? You were there with your husband, Pyotr Georgiyevich himself. I was head over tail in love with you, I was worried...
      NATALIE. I thought you were flirting with my husband.
      SERGEI. Don"t talk nonsense, I am a normal guy with a normal orientation. Pyotr Georgiyevich was certainly a wonderful director... Yes, he left us and the stage very early. But you, if my memory doesn"t fail me,... you had left him much earlier...
      NATALIE. I divorced him just after the vacation, before his death.
      SERGEI. I followed you everywhere, and it turns out that you didn"t notice me... Natalie, you"re a mysterious woman...(Grins.)
      NATALIE. What"s up?
      SERGEI. My friend gave the definition of a mysterious woman...
      NATALIE. What is the definition?
      SERGEI. It"s a woman,... how to say it in a simple way, with whom you don"t know exactly whether you could have sex or not, in short, whether she could give... or not... Such a woman passes you by... and leaves behind this damned uncertainty... What was his name?
      NATALIE. Whose name?
      SERGEI. Your great ...- your nephew...
      NATALIE. Dima, Dymich, Dimulya.
      SERGEI. How come I didn"t understand it at once?... Because I was busy... Now I know what my basic sin is... I have always thought: I have time, the whole life is still ahead... Tell me about him...
      NATALIE. When I remember what happened to me three years ago - the delusion, that"s it... I was crazy about him, he was too... Six months passed like a moment, neither quarrels, nor discord, all this happened later... I used to run home from the theatre with shopping and string bags, everything was easy for me... I cried out from the threshold: "kids, kids...", and Dima was already at the door, taking my bags... and If used to see dreams like those of my youth: I was flying, flying... They say, if you fly in the dream you grow-up, but it"s not true...
      SERGEI. You"re right... All these flights in the dreams mean something to do with sex.
      NATALIE. It"s been always on your mind. My psychiatrist told me: "Flying means movement, liberty, the desire to be stronger and influential".
      SERGEI. Nonsense! ... What"s the difference in your ages - is it a secret?
      NATALIE. He was about fourteen years younger than me. I was his mother, sister and lover, all at the same time.
      (Sergei whistles)
      NATALIE. Don"t whistle. Now it"s quite unimportant: younger, older...
      SERGEI. What do you think is important?
      NATALIE. Love.
      SERGEI. You"re right. Love is an exotic flower that blossoms out once in the hundred years. Where did you get acquainted?
      NATALIE. By chance, at the meeting. During the first "Putsch", in 1991 just at the Dvortsovaya Square.
      SERGEI. Yes, it was an interesting time... We all gathered at the Dvortsovaya Square then. There was no room to swing a cat. Do you remember, the mayor raised his hand showing victory with his two fingers and the sea of hands flew up at the square and everybody, on the spur of the moment, showed "fuck you" to the putsch"s members. Those were thrilling moments. The whole square was crying out: "Li-ber-ty! Li-ber-ty!" I cried out with the all of them. I thought then that as soon as we got rid of the tireless tutelage of our beloved communist party, everything would be all right.
      NATALIE. We were wrong.
      SERGEI. It turns out so... Remember, after the first Putsch, how happy everybody was? People were walking in the streets, ready to embrace each other. We sensed the breath of history then; it breathed in our faces...
      NATALIE. And Dima breathed on my neck... I felt his stare and looked back. We started conversation. He was a student at the theatre college. He knew me and something about my theatrical career, how I had made my way through...
      SERGEI (ironically). Yes, your way of an actress was not easy... I think that you had to tread on the throat of your own song... and not only of the song...
      NATALIE. What do you mean?
      SERGEI. You know what I mean.
      NATALIE. Sergei, let"s drop the subject. If I start recalling what you had to tread on as the director...
      SERGEI (hasty). OK, OK, let"s drop-it... Where were we?
      NATALIE. Very soon Dima moved to my apartment from the hostel. I immediately understood: he needed a guide. He was such a darling, he obeyed me absolutely: all ears, all attention. I taught him how to win. He was my Galatea, I-his Pygmalion. He wanted to learn playing the guitar - I gave him money for learning. Then I paid attention to his muscles, and an idea occurred to me to make him our Russian Schwarzenegger. Dima jumped at the idea he found it to his liking. We set about it seriously. started cooking the food for him as required in the manual on...
      SERGEI. We call it culturism, they - bodybuilding.
      NATALIE. He did his best, trained all day long, did his foolish exercises with all his strength. I even became jealous of his training... But... later I understood that he would have never become "Iron Arni" -- he was too short.
      SERGEI. Did he give up when you told him about his heigh?
      NATALIE. Of course... Then he made up his mind to start business... All his friends had already become "dealers" and Dima borrowed money, went to Turkey, earned something, but there were still debts... And once I found a whole arsenal under my bed. Oh, I was hysterical, screamed, cried. Try to imagine, if grenades would explodes? Dima explained to me: he could not pay off the debt and was blackmailed, forced to deal with arms. I understood that he had gotten in a mess and decided to send him to America for a while... My friend from New York sent an invitation, we borrowed money for a ticket, and my dear Dima flew away...
      SERGEI. Yes, it"s very interesting, very interesting... Natalie, sorry. I"ll have to interrupt you: can"t stay without beer, throat is drying out... I"ll go and fetch some more. I"ll be in a flash.
      (Sergei exits. Natalie picks up the phone and dials the number)
      NATALIE: Hello! Hello! Dima, are you still at work?
      DIMA'S VOICE. Yes, a little is remained... Have you decided anything?
      NATALIE. Dima, I"ve been thinking: may be you will marry an American woman first?
      DIMA'S VOICE. What for?
      NATALIE. To get here the status, and then I"ll...
      DIMA'S VOICE. You don"t know what kind of women are Americans... they"re completely different. The only thing that worries them is: "Not to be used".
      NATALIE. Not answering the purpose?
      DIMA'S VOICE. Exactly answering the purpose.
      NATALIE. Why are you whispering?
      DIMA'S VOICE. It"s embarrassing to talk.
      NATALIE. Dima, have you already tried to be with American girls?
      DIMA'S VOICE. What sense does it make? Tried or not? I"ve been waiting for you...
      NATALIE. Avoiding a direct answer?
      DIMA'S VOICE. It"s you who avoids... Sorry, I don"t have time right now. We"ll talk later. Well, take into consideration there is still a shooting in Moscow. Give me a call later... Bye.
      (Enters Sergei with beer. He looks confused)
      SERGEI. I ran across Raisa in the corridor just now... She saw something inexplicable in Moscow on TV; there are tanks in the streets, militia, crowds of people at the White House. The president tried to negotiate with the Parliament, but it didn"t work. They don"t want to negotiate with anybody. There can be a new putsch. O Lord, save and keep us alive! It"s good that we"re here.
      NATALIE. We"re flying to Russia tomorrow. Forgot?
      SERGEI. I didn"t forget, didn"t forget.
      (Puts the beer in the refrigerator)
       God, I can never understand why there"s no peace in our country. Just give us a little time, let the people work freely, pay them salary, and you"ll see in two, three, four years that everything will be OK. We have rich a spacious country, but why can"t we be happy and free in this country? To tell the truth, if compare us with Americans, the result isn"t to our credit. They"re satisfied, well fed, walk smiling at everybody. They feel well. They don"t need go anywhere, they"re already in America. Well, why are we like...?
      NATALIE. Like what?
      SERGEI. Shapeless, uncertain, undone in a way ... To tell you frankly: it seems to me that all our actors are watching me, as soon as I go out into the corridor...
      NATALIE. You have a persecution mania.
      SERGEI. No, they want to find out whether I'll be invited next year, whether they'll sign a contract with me or not. There're new times now, the director may invite anybody he likes, even Schwarzenegger himself, had one just money.
      NATALIE. I can understand them, you have certain obligations to the collective.
      SERGEI. Col-lec-tive... the word isn't ours. I dare say, may be from Germany. I don't know what Germans meant by this word, but in our country it got a frightening meaning. The collective is a scary beast with an shameless morale. It is always right... You should lay down your life for it to feel satisfied.
      NATALIE. Have you signed the contract for the next year?
       SERGEI. Later, later... We haven"t finished talking... For me our conversation is more important then all "obligations to the collective" Where were we? Yes, you said:" Six months passed like a moment, not any quarrels all this happened later". Why did you begin to quarrel?
      NATALIE. Something didn't suit him... I remember a newspaper article he read once: "My wife is a vampire". The wife makes scenes with fits of hysterics and screams every week, and after having shouted to her heart's content and brawling, she gets calm, even hums some tune. But the husband's hands and legs tremble, he doesn't know where to go after all these rows, how to live on. The article pricked up my ears. I listened to the article and asked him: " Why are you reading it to me. Was I a vampire?" He didn"t say anything. It was our first quarrel. Once I asked him: "What dream did you see, Dima?" He cried and moaned so loudly in his dream...Dima answered: "I dreamed that I stuck in the elevator and couldn't get out of it..." My doctor explained to me: "If a person has had such a dream, it means that in real life he feels that he is in a desperate situation".
      SERGEI. You're a mysterious woman, Natalie, you believe in dreams... But I don't care a pin for dreams...
      NATALIE. Right after those dreams, I saw grenades under my bed... Well, you already know the rest. And now I saw him in America, and he begs me to stay here.
      SERGEI. What's he doing in America?
      NATALIE. Works as plumber for cash, washes windows, dishes in a restaurant, cleans streets from snow. He doesn't have any status here and can't work legally.
      SERGEI (angry). He washes windows. What will you wash? What're you going to doom yourself to, to what ordeal?
      NATALIE. He lives a normal life here. He has an apartment in a decent neighborhood, he can get everywhere by subway. The apartment is comfortable and light.
      SERGEI. Natasha, I don't understand you.
      NATALIE. You yourself dream about different countries, can't I dream about a different life?
      SERGEI. You sure can, but just dream, nothing else. You're an actress, one of the very few. You've been invited to America, do you understand this?
       NATALIE. Yes, invited, but what's next? You explained to me five minutes ago that in Russia, complete uncertainty is awaiting us...
       SERGEI. All right, I'll tell you what's next... I've come to tell you about that, too. Yesterday, I signed the contract for the next year. They'll be waiting for us. We'll be staging Chekhov in America. They want to see "Uncle Vanya". You've been given the main part in this play. We'll again come to America, Broadway will applaud to us; and you're talking about "washing windows, babysitting". How do you have the heart to say this? You've already arrived; you should appreciate this...
      NATALIE. Besides the profession, there's another life, common, everyday, in which you're supposed to be just a woman, live with your beloved one, work a little, no matter where and in what quality...
      SERGEI. That will never happen! You can't prove it to me.
      NATALIE. I'm sick and tired of proving. I'm an actress, I've played several main roles. Why can't I stop and live quite a different, normal, human life; not to have to intrigue against one another hunting for main parts, but just live, love, be loved, have a home of my own, children?
      SERGEI. And I'll give you an answer... For each person there's a divine scheme, design, idea which he or she follows. Natasha, you won't be able to live a different life. It's late to have children. To love? Who was in your way in Russia to love your Dimych? But you couldn't.
      NATALIE. However, we know actresses who sacrificed their theatrical careers, quit theatre, became wives, mothers, left Russia, and now they live quietly and enjoy themselves.
      SERGEI. How do you know that they enjoy themselves?
      NATALIE. Sergei, I speak with you as my friend. I should make up my mind right away...There're such moments in life when one needs to talk to somebody, share... I need your advice from the bottom of your heart.
      SERGEI. And from what part of my heart do you think I'm giving you my piece of advice?
      NATALIE. I feel so lonely... He says he needs me badly.
      SERGEI. Natasha, I need you, too.
      NATALIE. I'm not sure what you need me for; probably, for making use of me.
      SERGEI. Natasha, do you want me to open my heart to you right now? Do you want me to kneel in front of you? I wanted to do this many years ago...
      (Sergei tries to kneel, but writhes with a pain and rises)
      "Can I look at you otherwise if I love you? You're my happiness, life, my youth! Here are my life and love; I don't know what to do with them. My feeling is perishing in vain like a ray of the sun that got into a hole, and I'm perishing, too. Dear, miraculous, luxurious woman!"
      NATALIE. Dragged in Chekhov...
      SERGEI.There's nothing to say more, "Uncle Vanya" is good.
      NATALIE. Don't you have the words of your own?
      SERGEI. I do, but Chekhov has all the better ones.
       (A knock on the door)
      SERGEI. If it's for me, I'm not here.
      (Sergei hides in the bathroom. Raisa runs into the room)
      RAISA. Is Sergei Vasilyevich in your room?
      NATALIE. He's recently left, I don't know where. What's up?
      RAISA. Did you switch on TV?
      NATALIE. No.
      RAISA. So, you don't know what's going on...
      NATALIE. I've heard something...
      RAISA. It turns out that in the White House where the Parliament is sitting there are lots of arms; the guards who had managed to enter the building are being armed there. Now they are going towards the City Hall, want to take it; everybody knows that it's not protected... All of us are looking for Sergei Vasilyevich; we need to discuss what to do. May be, we'll put off our flight and give back the tickets?
      NATALIE. Raisa, I don't know where he is. I'll switch on TV right away. Maybe he in his room...
      RAISA. OK, I'll go to his room.
       (Exit Raisa, Sergei appears)
      NATALIE (to Sergei). Did you hear?
      SERGEI (trying to switch on TV). Yes. Let's see what's going on there... An ensemble of songs and dances named after Michael Jackson... Did you ask her what channel was that on? There're lots of them here...
      (Sergey switches of the TV)
      NATALIE. I think, on the news channel.
      SERGEI. What, if there's a civil war in our country? Like in Yugoslavia... What's to be done then? So much for "Uncle Vanya", dear friends! That would be the end... Do you remember the expert from Chekhov? "Why did we get tired so quickly?... Our life will be beautiful after three hundred years. My huge Russia, unhappy Russia". What shall we do, I don't know...
      NATALIE. Me too...
      SERGEI. Well, what else about you? Tell me better about Dima...
      NATALIE. We just met here in New York, roamed about the city, he showed me "his" New York, and he talked on and on... " This is a great city, there's everything in it"... He took me to his studio. When he left Russia he only had a bag in his hand, and now he has lots of suits, shoes. He opened wide the door of the refrigerator: "What would you like to drink?" What hadn't been there! Dima took off his t-shirt, and I saw, imagine, I saw his muscles covered with fat, they didn't outline so beautifully as before, and his belly protruded over the belt of his jeans as if he were in the fifth month of pregnancy.
      SERGEI: If he is in the fifth month, I'm at least in the seventh.
      NATALIE. You're in the eighth.
      SERGEI: Did you tell him about his belly?
      NATALIE. Yes, I did, and what of it? ... Then he would speak on and on about freedom, about America and Americans, how wonderful and friendly they are, always smile, never frown... I tried to object saying: "You forget about crime." He replied: "What about crime? Russia has caught up with and even overrun America in all criminal indices". He praised America so highly that I got jealous of his love for it... And then we remembered our past ... those were unforgettable days...
       (A knock in the door. Sergei runs to the bathroom. Existed RAISA runs into the room)
      RAISA. Where is Sergey Vasilievich? There is nobody in his room. I saw, he went to you...
      NATALIE. Look, he isn't here.
      RAISA. May I look for him in your bathroom?
      NATALIE. Don't you believe me?
      RAISA. I saw, he went to your room.
      NATALIE. What is happening in Moscow?
      RAISA. They've just said the Moscow City Hall was taken by Parliament"s troops, the TV station is taken, too, broadcasting from there is stopped, but the Petersburg TV is working so far. There're no President's troops in Moscow. There's shooting everywhere. Where's Sergei Vasilyevich? We've decided here that it's impossible to fly to Russia tomorrow, we need to return the tickets. They say, there're some lists for execution...
      NATALIE. What lists?
      RAISA. To shoot all those who backed up the President and democracy. We've decided to give back our tickets and apply for a political asylum.
      NATALIE. Who are "we"?
      RAISA. Why, should I name all of us? Everybody, but you and Sergei Vasilyevich. Give me a call if you find out where he is.
      NATALIE. OK. I'll give you a call, thank you. You, too, call me if you learn something else?...So long...
      (Exit Raisa. Sergei comes from bathroom)
      Have you heard? They got worried. You should go and discuss everything to them.
      SERGEI. What shall I tell them? Nothing's yet clear, but they're already going to stay, to apply... They may apply for asylum but who'll grant it to them? Where is there backbone?
      NATALIE. They are frightened.
      SERGEI. Why?
      NATALIE. There are some execution lists. Shoot all those who backed up the President and democracy...
      SERGEY (hesitate tone). Natalie, to say you frankly, I'm recalling the past years now, weren't they good times? You were quite sure about your future... All was planning in advance: your achievements, successes. When you become sixty five -- the Red Banner Order, at seventy -- the Lenin Order, and at seventy five, see, they'll make you a "Hero of Soviet Union" if you survive. Some have already survived!... Everything used to work: factories and scientific institutes. What grandiose constructions! And what discipline! Now, in perestroika, you can't gather actors in one building for a rehearsal: they rush around the town in order to earn enough money. But earlier? You planned a play, coordinated it with the upper Communist leadership, appointed the date, for instance, on the occasion of the anniversary of the Great October Revolution, and staged it...
      NATALIE. Why do you talking about our past time?
      SERGEY. So what, in your opinion, should I tell our collective?
      NATALIE. Unfortunately, Chekhov had no words for this case...
      SERGEY. Too bad that I've drunk so much beer and became heavy. But before, in those years, I didn't drink much beer...
       NATALIE. You drank vodka.
       SERGEI. Yes, you're right, so much of this thing was drunk then... OK, I'll go and talk to the col-lec-tive... Well, Natasha, as to the talk we had between us, I mean "Uncle Vanya" -- don't tell anybody...
      And as for you, ... my piece of advice is honest, without... you know, if you still need my advice -- stay in America... I'm leaving you... Lord, save and keep us...
      Exit SERGEI.
      SCENE II
      Next morning. Room in the hotel. Natalie packs things and cries. Knock on the door. Enter very excited Sergei.
      SERGEI: Natalie, may I come in? Yesterday we didn't finish our talk... Very important for me... I'll take the beer from the frig... left it here yesterday.
      NATALIE. You're fussing about this beer...
      SERGEI (opens the frig). Did you watch TV? What do you think? To attack the Parliament in this way! Here is the "Russian democracy", friends! On the other hand, deep in my thoughts, I can understand that this is the only way to act in our country. How do you like our democratic leader? President Yeltsin decided to call upon the tank units to enter Moscow. And in the morning those tanks attacked the White House in such way that the White House became black... So that's how it is... Well, at least we can fly to Russia. There won't be a civil war... So far...
      (Sergei is drinking the beer).
      Natalya, yesterday I gave you a piece of advice, don't pay attention to it: I was frightened... Those rumors about execution lists... In my opinion: gentlemen-comrades, you're fighting for power, fight to your heart content, but why to shoot the honest people?
      ( Sergei finish his beer. Pause)
      Well, do you remember that we should leave the hotel at twelve? Everybody, even to those who are going to stay here... The plane takes off at six p.m. "Good-by, America, I'll never see you again". A good country, rich but...
      (Natalie cries loudly)
      Natasha, are you OK? Why are you crying?
      NATALIE. I've argued with him!
      SERGEI. With Dima? What a funny thing!
      NATALIE. He doesn't understand how torn I am, I was trying to explain to him...
      SERGEI: And what did he say?
      NATALIE. I repeated to him your words about the design, divine plan and added: "When you lived in our country", he immediately interrupted me: "in yours", I agreed: "OK. When you lived in my country, you dreamed of becoming an actor. While leaving, you said that you could only realize yourself in America. And what happened to you when tested?" He interrupted me again: "Remember, it's a different country, and the design here is different, too, I've realized myself by the fact that I'm here"". "Dima, -- said I, -- that's not enough just to be in America" - "In your country", he replays-- "you need to suffer and prove that you're above all the repression, but here you're just a free person. Here you only need dollars to eat and drink" -- "Exactly, -- I said... So, it turns out that you've come here for food". - "No, you're wrong, -- he said,-- I've come here for freedom. So, I've paid by giving up the career of an actor for it".
      SERGEI. Well said, my director"s nose senses that he rehearsed this in front of the mirror.
      NATALIE. "No, Dima, -- I said, -- you didn't pay by your career, you paid by your future destiny".
      SERGEI (applauds). Well said, too. Give me your hand.
      NATALIE (holds out her hand to Sergei, who kisses it). I just blurted it out unexpectedly, and we quarreled, he threw down the receiver.
      SERGEI. What did you decide?
      NATALIE ( very nervously). I don't know... Help me, I'm at a loss. He's completely changed. He's become so independent within a year... He's so twisted, nervous, takes offense easily, splits hairs; cuts short every word...
      SERGEI. Natasha, I've recently talked nonsense, lost heart, paid no attention... you...
      NATALIE. I don't know who to ask for advice... There're so many friends at home... I don't know why I addressed you...
      SERGEI. It was me who asked you. You forgive...
      NATALIE. You know me, I'm full of energy, very independent... You signed the contract for the next year, but nobody knows what'll happen to us in a year. What if there's another putsch?
      SERGEI. I've explained to you...
      NATALIE. He's changed so much. I don't know English... He controls me, command... Here I'm like a "second-hand" person...
      SERGEI. I see, I don' know either what's going on with me? May be because it's a foreign country, or may be it's because of the nervous situation there in our country... But I'll tell you what's going on with us. Our youth, all previous life has passed in the expectance of the hour when we would be allowed to do something by ourselves, without the communist party and government directions. The hour's struck, but there's neither time nor strength left... We're getting older... I envy young people very much: it's their time. And what's left for us? What's ahead... a pension?... No, we will fight on, we will carry on war still...
      Natasha (taking a decision), ... the tune's been lately sounding in my head: "There's no better fire that won't die out, and there's no better home than your own, where the grandfather clock is ticking diligently in the kitchen, where there is my sweetheart, my sweetheart, and a whistling teapot".
      NATALIE (singing together with Sergei)." Where there is my sweetheart, my sweetheart, and a whistling teapot".
       SERGEI. And it wouldn't be bad... "a teapot with a whistle"... Natasha, I would like to tell you... You're alone, and I'm alone now... How about performing such a play? I could offer you the main part... Two aging people, worldly-wise, are reaching for each other, they mutually sympathize, they feel fine together... A beautiful and comfortable apartment, clean and cozy; a cup of flavored coffee with cream in the morning... He's a gifted, talented director, she is talented actress, but it"s doesn"t matter... Matters only the movements of souls...
      NATALIE. Yes, the play's good...
      SERGEY. You never think about this at all when you're young, but towards the end of your life you understand what luxury it may be to have a dear person who at the fatal minutes will give you a glass of water...
      NATALIE. Yes, the play's good... but the main part in it isn't mine. Spare me!
      SERGEI. But I think it'd suit you. Think of it, I'm serious. I was going to tell you about it earlier but couldn't make up my mind...
      NATALIE. But now you've made up your mind... How old are you?
      SERGEI: Fifty nine.
      NATALIE. Exactly. Therefore, you'd like the one with a passion for tidiness.
      SERGEI: Yes, I would,
      NATALIE. But I think that at the fatal minutes you won't need a glass but something different,,,
      SERGEI: What?
      NATALIE. A bedpan...
      SERGEI (offended). You're wicked, Natalie, how wicked you are! I've known this, but quite forgotten, lost the orientation...
      NATALIE. It's late to offer me this part... You are already worn out, had enough of running about, and now, please, give him the movements of the souls... Where've you been earlier?
      SERGEI. You're so wicked that I think you didn't love Dima.
      NATALIE. What!
      SERGEI. May be you loved him, but for a short time, while he was obedient.
      NATALIE. What makes you think so?
       SERGEI. You used to hurt him mentioning his short height, mocking his belly ... It seems to me that Dima came to America not for food... He wanted to go away from you. You want to dominate, rule, give orders. But real love ... it's different. "Love tolerates for long, it's merciful; love doesn't envy, it doesn't put airs; it isn't proud, it doesn't commit excesses, doesn't look for anything for itself, doesn't get irritated, doesn't plan evil"...
       NATALIE. How do you know what love is? You've read the Bible and think that you can teach others.
       SERGEI. Natalie, calm down, keep quiet a bit. Remember, we shouldn't quarrel. We've joint work. Such a Chekhov's woman and suddenly...
       NATALIE. Not suddenly. Do you know what he told me?
       "I'll tell you honestly, the worse is the situation in Russia the happier I'm here in America". And threw down the receiver. Well, why did he say so?
       SERGEI. You got back what you taught him. Galatea is the same as Pygmalion.
       NATALIE. So, am I again guilty?
       SERGEI. It is not you... All of us... How we don't love one another! ... It"s our basic sin. Now we've freedom, food and beer, we've everything, but we lack love and respect! We can't become a civilized society without love. The task's hard: we need love everybody... I've been thinking why Chekhov in "The Cherry Orchard" left the old servant to die in the tightly nailed up house? What did he mean? May be he meant to give us a piece of advice: love one another, love everybody, even the old, sick, unnecessary one. It's important, it's very...
       NATALIE (crying). You're philosophizing on and on but can't tell me anything humane, you can't. You only judge me, criticize me only... you .. you...
      (Goes off into crying)
       SERGEI. Natalie, you"re hysteric. I don"t know... May be I'll call for a doctor?
       NATALIE (cries out). What doctor? What doctor? We're in America. Besides, I am not hysterical. You're saying foul things to me, and should I keep silent? No, I'll tell you everything, all that I think of you... Now you need soul closeness, but all your life you've been afraid of normal relationships with women and changed them as gloves. You've always dumped them down earlier than they did you because you were afraid of responsibility. You're a coward! Coward!
      SERGEI. Natasha, I ...
      NATALIE. What, Natasha? If I'm unhappy why should you be happy?
      SERGEI. Natasha, calm down, don't...
      NATALIE. I've always thought that men love a woman until they're fifty. And after fifty their diseases preoccupy them. And you, you're a complete egotist, you've never loved anybody but yourself and beer; moreover, your health is in the first place...
      SERGEI. Natalie, calm down. Don't! Do you want me to kneel down before you?
       (Sergei kneels down)
      "My nice, kind dear, beautiful, I bless you. Don't cry, Natasha, you have a life ahead, you have your good, clear soul. Come with me, let's go away from here. We'll plant a new orchard, better than this".
      NATALIE. I know why you're saying this, because you're interested in me, because you need me as an actress. You want to use me, and then you'll throw me away to the rubbish heap like a squeezed lemon.
      SERGEI. No, no, you're wrong. I'm saying this because I... because... I love you!
      (Natalie stops crying)
      NATALIE. At last, I hear your own words, but I don't believe you, all the same.
      SERGEI. It's true, really true. To tell you honestly, I would have liked to tell you about my love yesterday...
      (The telephone rings)
      Natalie, get the phone!
      (Natalie listens to the phone ring but doesn't pick it up)
      NATALIE. Don't touch it, let it ring.
      (The phone stops ringing)
      Would you help me take the things down?
      SERGEI. Well, certainly, certainly.
      So, have you made up your mind? Well done, well done. Natalie, I believe you're doing right. Where are your things?
      NATALIE. Here, three suitcases and a bag. Oh, look here, your hands are trembling.
      (Natalie laughs .She is in a good mood now. Sergei is upset)
      SERGEI. It's nothing... It'll pass away. Why do you have so many suitcases? Oh, yes, you were going to stay here...
      NATALIE (Shouts). Now it's unimportant what I was going... it's unimportant.
      SERGEI. Yes, yes. I understand.
      (Suddenly Raisa runs in the room)
      RAISA. Natasha...(Raisa see Sergei) I'm sorry... Excuse me... I...
      SERGEI. Don't worry... We finished our rehearsal...
      RAISA. Im sorry... I came to say goodbye to Natasha... Yesterday I was told that you stay here, in America.
      NATALIE. Who told you?
      RAISA. Yesterday Sergey told us, during our meeting...
      NATALIE. It is a lie... I'm going to Russia.
      SERGEI. Yesterday, I joked.
      RAISA. Why you didn't go in the lobby? All actors went down. They are nervous. Soon will come bus to take us to the airport.
      SERGEI. Tell them, we will come soon.
      RAISA. It's interesting what kind a play did you rehears?
      NATALIE. "Uncle Vanya"
      SERGEI. Raisa don't believe... Natalie is joking.
      RAISA (offended). It is not time for jokes now... I'm going... We are waiting for you in the lobby.
      (Raisa exit)
      SERGEI. Natasha, I asked you don't speak about "Uncle Vanya". Did you forget?
      NATALIE. I didn't forget. I did it in revenge. Why did you shake up about me?
      SERGEI. Yesterday I needed to explain to actors, why you didn't come to the meeting. I'm sorry... Please, forgive me...
      NATALIE. Well... I'm ready to go down.
      SERGEY. It is time... Let's go...
      NATALIE. So, "To Moscow, to Moscow"... Just as Chekhov"s play "Three sisters"? I'm kidding...
      (Natalie laughs)
       Why aren't you laughing?
      SERGEI. I don"t know... May be because we are flying to Petersburg...
      NATALIE. But I would like to say: "To Moscow, to Moscow", because we dream to begin a new life, like three sisters in Chekhov's play...
      SERGEI (joyfully). Did you really decide to begin new life?
      NATALIE. What do you mean?
      SERGEI. It's not important... what I mean... Natasha, we must be going.
      NATALIE. You forget that Russians traditionally sit down before a trip... For good luck...
      SERGEI. You're right. Let's have a seat for good luck, may be it'll help...
       Lord, how unsettled all of us are...
      (They sit on the suitcases. The telephone rings. Natalie leans forward to pick up the phone. Sergei grabs her hand and kisses it. The telephone stops ringing. Natalie and Sergei are sitting on their suitcases).

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  • Обновлено: 12/12/2019. 52k. Статистика.
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