Аннотация: VICTOR LIAPIN
HIPPO'S DREAMS FARCE Translated by Ivan Lyapin "Hippo's dreams" was staged in Australia, Albania, Chech Republlic and Russia.Victor Liapin Russian site http://lit.lib.ru/editors/l/ljapin_w_w/
There are four chairs on the scene. All characters are sitting on these chairs. During the whole action they practically do not depart from the scene.
Father rises to his feet and drags a bathtub full of water on the little wheels. He is in pajamas and slippers.
He sweetly stretches himself. He looks at the bathtub. He approaches it and blissfully flops into the water, spilling it around himself.
FATHER. I am a hippopotamus! I am a tsar of beasts!
Hey, servant! Give viands, spectacles, pleasures! Otherwise I will cut your unwashed neck! I am a righteous man, and you are a sinner. Remember who is the master here and who you are and what your life costs.
Abyss is before you. Abyss is after you. You are altogether only my dream, a strange dream of a good-natured animal, that closes its eyes in the warm rays of the ascending sun.
I never sin... Not by word. Because I cannot speak. Not by action. Because all my deals have been done before me... Neither by contradiction, nor by disobedience nor by slander... I have no one to slander on...
There is neither envy, nor hatred, nor selfishness in me. My closure is solidly fenced. Stranger cannot come in here. They bring food to me at fixed time. If they cease bringing it, I will simply die, having no thought of what's happening with me.
I love everyone and love no one. My love is a patience and a charity. It does not envy, it does not extol and it does not take pride, it does not vandalize and it does not search for anything, it does not get irritated and lie doesn't make it happy, it covers everything, it believes in everything, in all it hopes and endures everything.
I turn my tail like a cedar; my feet are like copper pipes, my bones - like iron twigs. My breathing makes coals red-hot, a flame leaps from my mouth. My heart is as solid as a stone, and as hard as a nether millstone. On the earth there is nobody like me; I was born fearless. I look boldly at all others; I am the tsar above all sons of Pride.
I am the hippopotamus...
Is it? ... It is ... It is enough... (Coming out from the bathtub) Uh, it's cold today, it's dank... Now! Should go under the blanket again!
Father runs away.
Mother, Daughter and Guest have an active conversation after the morning coffee.
Guest examines a magazine of impressionism.
MOTHER. Amazing picture, simply amazing! ...
GUEST. Yes, but Lotrek is more erotic.
MOTHER. You have a peculiar view on things.
GUEST. Cream is remarkable.
MOTHER. Help yourself with some more.
GUEST. With pleasure.
You know, when I lived in Moscow, I had an excellent dog. Cocker-spaniel. A bough. She was clever, beautiful, obedient, kind. It used to sit on my knees, place its head on my breast and stand still. And there was such a sincere affection spreading from her, such love, that, you see, I just shut my eyes - and it seemed that my mother caressed me.
MOTHER. You are such an impressionable person.
DAUGHTER. And you narrate so lively. You must have felt so lonely.
GUEST. There is none more faithful than a dog.
Father comes in.
FATHER. Didn't I interfere anyone?
MOTHER. You are in a good mood, I see. Jokes early in the morning.
GUEST. Good morning, Anton Ivanovich.
FATHER. I am good, I am very good, my darling, and I hope the same for you.
Had a good night?
MOTHER. Excuse me, who are you asking?
FATHER. What are we talking about?
GUEST. About dogs.
I must say to you, Anton Ivanovich, I have obtained an encouraging letter from my scientific leader. He sent money to me to equip the mission. Soon I will pay you my debt.
FATHER. This is so nice, really, very nice. I've never doubted, that you are a noble man. Isn't he, Galochka?
MOTHER. Well here, again it begins. All my life I am under suspicion. As soon as a young person appears in our house - and there it is: a distorted face and these groundless womanish scenes of jealousy.
Yes, we have to keep a guest. But this only because your salary is good for nothing!
Well, maybe I am in sympathy with him, maybe I do allow a slight flirtation and advances. So what? My life is one constant kitchen and listening to your idiotic reprimands. Is that life? Do you want me to go mad with the boredom and the hopelessness?
Apart from all that we have an adult daughter and she is a fool, who is not able even to get married. Okay, find lovers for her by yourself, if you do not like what I make of it!
DAUGHTER. You are always quarrelling in the morning! For God's sake, when will you stop it? While the precious lodger, look at him, smirks with his oily mug! Nonentity! And mom scolded her feathers in front of him as a fifteen-year-prostitute! If you knew what he speaks about you in my bed...
GUEST. (to Father) It is better to be sweet with the mummy. Otherwise, she'll make me pay my debts. Mother or daughter... Which is better? Think, I should get laid with them both. Well, good idea!
'Forget about modesty, darling! Stay just women!' It will be something.
FATHER. (To Guest) Unfortunately, there are no doubts. Everything I dedicated my life to turned out a lie and nothing. I will burn all my notebooks, all my books and never more, never more, never more... Now I have only one support - these pretty close faces. Yes, yes, yes! Nothing but the family, nothing but quiet evenings together, reading Gumilev, talking about painting...
FATHER. Excuse me, what did you say?
GUEST. I said that it is so nice to have such a lovely and modern family. When I look at you, I imagine the same pleasant future for myself. But unfortunately, man proposes, and god, as you know, disposes, and we never know what we will have tomorrow.
MOTHER. Get out and come back like all normal people.
Father obediently goes out and comes back.
FATHER. Good morning, comrads.
MOTHER. (Joyfully) Let me introduce to you our dad, the head of family, Antoine Ivanovich, a well-known specialist of applied history of literature, almost a professor.
DAUGHTER. Daddy, this is Sergey Petrovich.
FATHER. I do not understand.
MOTHER. Here is your coffee.
FATHER. Where's my cream?
MOTHER. Sergey Petrovich's eaten the cream.
GUEST. I am very glad to meet you.
FATHER. What time is it?
MOTHER. It's quarter past nine.
FATHER. Do we have guests?
MOTHER. Since yesterday evening. Wonder that you haven't noticed.
FATHER. Are you a scientist?
GUEST. N-n- n... Partly. I think I am a businessman. You have amazingly hospitable wife and daughter.
FATHER. Do I? ... Seemed to be windy yesterday?
GUEST. It depends on our view on meteorology as a science. There was a draught.
FATHER. I was looking out the window the whole evening. The wind felled the trees.
GUEST. Similar facts did take place. But it did not disturb our pleasant party.
DAUGHTER. Sergey Petrovich's from the capital. He tells us about delights of contemporary life. It was amazing! Ah, I am charmed!
MOTHER. It is not important, where the man lives. It is important what kind of person he is.
FATHER. Why did I sleep in the kitchen?
MOTHER. You had to do your scientific work. We did not want to disturb you.
FATHER. My work moves at an extremely slow pace.
MOTHER. That's right. You keep on your arms a heavy burden.
GUEST. Would you be so kind as to tell me something of the theme of your studies?
DAUGHTER. Problems of the sufferings of male-praying mantis in the context of the development of the cultural tradition of the twentieth century... Oh, our daddy is a great scientist!...
FATHER. You know, my daughter is a fool, and wife is a coquette.
GUEST. This is very original.
FATHER. Where did you stay in our city?
GUEST. Hum, hum... See, to a certain extent... here. Galina Ivanovna and Elena Antonovna were so amiable to host me at your house under mutually advantageous conditions. I could not refuse.
MOTHER. Yes, that was inevitable. We are extremely hampered materially and, furthermore, for our Helen... you understand me... it's of high value... cultural society, polite conversations and other things like that...
DAUGHTER. Sergey Petrovich adores Goethe and French impressionists. So do I. We are close souls.
FATHER. And what about your last lover?
MOTHER. How dare you, Antoine?!.. Don't rub it in! ...
DAUGHTER. This is so out of place here, daddy! ... I'm so sorry, dear Sergey Petrovich. What can you think about us?
GUEST. The room is nice. It is clean, comfortable. The windows are on the sunny side.
FATHER. So, you've got nowhere to live but here. A long journey?
GUEST. M-m... This is a very complicated question.
FATHER. You see, I have lived here a long time... A very long time... I have seen enough... I am not surprised anymore...
Three years ago my wife brought in a chimpanzee. Domesticated. My wife and daughter hosted him like you. Nothing wrong with that, it was a good animal. Quite neat. And it did not bother anybody with conversations. I put up with it. For three months. We even breakfasted, if you believe it, at one table. Here! And it sat, by the way, at your place.
MOTHER. Would you like some more coffee, Sergey Petrovich?
GUEST. Thanks. Enough.
FATHER. Please, have some more! Don't be shy. We won't get poorer.
DAUGHTER. (With tears on her eyes) Why are you keeping silent, mom?!
MOTHER. Do not cry, girl, do not cry! Calm down!... Antoine, say that you are joking! ...
FATHER. I am not Antoine. I am Anton.
MOTHER. Of course, Anton!
FATHER. I do not give a damn, though.
MOTHER. You see, Helen. Daddy's just joking.
GUEST. You know, in the capital exotic animals are also very fashionable.
FATHER. That's what I said. It is fashion.
Let me introduce myself? Anton Ivanovich Kulebyakin. Personally. As the fates decree. An awfully nice man. I dare assure you. What am I? A bounder, one in a thousand, but have a pure crystal soul. Light-fingered, a little bit. It is what it is. Been caught and beaten not once, but still nice and sociable. The life and soul of the party, in one word. You'll see, we'll become friends. We'll be like brothers until one of us bites the other's head off.
I am so glad to meet you. So glad.
GUEST. Galina Ivanovna has a very high opinion of you.
FATHER. Frankly speaking, Galina Ivanovna's opinion does not interest me. Neither yours.
GUEST. What problem is your work focused on?
FATHER. Are you really interested?
GUEST. Undoubtedly. As a child, I dreamed of becoming a scientist.
FATHER. To the hippopotamus.
GUEST. Excuse me?
FATHER. To the animal, the cattle, class representative of mammals.
GUEST. Are you zoologist?
FATHER. Probably. To a certain extent. However, I see, it does not interest you, you are tired.
GUEST. No-no. This is extremely interesting.
DAUGHTER. Our dad is a big original.
FATHER. Let me ask you one question, in this case?
GUEST. I would be glad to satisfy your curiosity.
FATHER. Did you sleep in the bedroom of my wife last night?
MOTHER. Anton! ...
GUEST. I... I was too drunk. I overdrank last night.
FATHER. It's a pity. It means, you hardly have noticed.
FATHER. The window in the bedroom of my wife. It faces the school courtyard. It is planted with poplars. There is a road beside them. It's always deserted.
And further...Further there is a local zoo. Its iron fence usually glistens in the rays of the evening sun.
I'll lend you my binoculars this evening if you want! ... Or we can look at this together.
GUEST. Look at what?
FATHER. At how he's getting out from his dirty pond and warming himself in the sun. Unfortunately, this occurs extremely seldom and only before the sunset. The last time this happened... well, let me concentrate... about a month ago. Yes, exactly a month ago, when you, darling, hosted an architect from Petersburg.
I have everything recorded. If you want, I will bring my diary.
GUEST. No, thanks. Not now. I've got a headache after yesterday's party.
FATHER. As you wish. May I go?
FATHER. I thought, I prevent you from drinking your morning coffee.
GUEST. No, not in the least.
DAUGHTER. Our daddy takes his scientific work very seriously. He has already written several volumes of studies.
GUEST. It must be very funny. Are you going to publish them?
FATHER. No. Not until twenty-five years after my death.
GUEST. Why the hippopotamus?
FATHER. I ask myself about that.... Every day, every hour, every second ... Why precisely the hippopotamus? Why? Why? Why?
It can't be just because of my humiliation, can it? No, it cannot. Am I not humiliated enough without that?
What power made him so isolated from others? What did he stand out for?
Does he have more compassion, conscientiousness, respect? Does he have a special philosophical type of mind? Is his love for his female more refined? Is he marked by some other feasts, unknown for me?
A formless heap of bones, skin and meat with reckless, senseless eyes. Am I not right?
GUEST. Excuse me, I do not altogether understand, why are you so agitated? ...
MOTHER. Calm down, my darling. Drink your drops.
FATHER. Sorry. The architect was better, to my mind. At least, he was quicker in the uptake.
What will you do in our city?
GUEST. I will construct a new water-supply.
DAUGHTER. Sergey Petrovich, will you help me to clean up my room?
GUEST. With greatest pleasure. (They depart)
MOTHER. What a courteous cavalier!
FATHER. At last we are alone.
MOTHER. What's happened to you today? You are sad.
FATHER. I don't know. Have a lump in my throat. My organism is getting more subjected to natural cataclysms. There is a storm outside - and there is a storm in me. Like in communicating vessels. Probably, I'm getting ready for being a part of nature.
MOTHER. Does he strongly irritate you?
FATHER. ... No. Not more than the previous ones.
MOTHER. You gave me freedom yourself.
FATHER. You wanted this.
MOTHER. A woman never knows, what she wants.
FATHER. Is anything wrong within you?
MOTHER. Just the absence of love.
FATHER. (After pause) Today again I woke up with your name on my lips. The window into the garden was open. A nightingale hid in the branches of the linden, planted by my old grandfather. Its joyful song made my heart quiver.
I wanted to run to the river barefoot, rush into the boat and swim, swim, swim, whispering your name to the sky: - dear, my loved, the only one! How clean your eyes are! How light your smile is! What a bubbling light fills my life, when you are next to me!
MOTHER. I couldn't fall asleep the whole night either. After we parted, I kept repeating your words. They sounded like music in my heart: - I love you, I love you, I'll lay down my life for you...
FATHER. And so it happened.
MOTHER. What happened?
FATHER. You took my life away. Have beens became have not beens, and vice versa.
MOTHER. This is an exaggeration. A metaphor. You cannot take away anything that doesn't exist.
FATHER. You can. Did you get warm?
MOTHER. A little. But you feel cheap today. There is no inspiration. Worn out words, false intonation. The fire was but little.
FATHER. Maybe it's because your Sergey Petrovich's eaten up my cream.
MOTHER. Fie, what a humdrum of life! What a meanie you are!
FATHER. The stomach requires itself.
Should we add some jealousy?
MOTHER. Why not? But do not exaggerate, as the last time... This running with an axe irritates the neighbors.
FATHER. I think quite on the contrary. At least it's kind of entertainment for them. They're simply dying with boredom. The burgers, the pigs, the insects.
MOTHER. No, I do not want this running about. A duel is better. Catch him in my bedroom and propose a fight with knives. The daughter and I will purchase champagne and candies, she'll call friends, and we will wave by white and red handkerchiefs - whether you should finish each other off or leave the life of the defeated.
FATHER. This is so foolish.
MOTHER. But it is still more intelligent than an axe.
FATHER. Do you feel well with him?
MOTHER. I don't know. Sometimes.
FATHER. Do you want to divorce, by any chance?
MOTHER. Maybe. We'll see. Certainly not today.
FATHER. Pack of swindlers. You surround me from all sides.
MOTHER. Alone you would be bored to death.
FATHER. We've been doing it for twenty years.
MOTHER. And we have succeeded, haven't we?
FATHER. Nonsense. Shake of air. Marking time.
MOTHER. Go, take a bath, darling. It'll calm down your nerves. Splash around, relax, blow a couple of bubbles...
FATHER. Do not give him my cream anymore. Okay, darling?
MOTHER. Okay, darling. Sorry, I did not know it was so important for you.
They solemnly go to the different sides.
Guest and daughter run in.
GUEST. Your mum is a fool. Will you marry me?
DAUGHTER. Why are you always making fun of me?
GUEST. Oh, don't be sulky. Your lips are thick enough as they are.
DAUGHTER. I wish we'd have a child.
GUEST. You're welcome. I don't mind. It's a usual practice and it hardly prevents my business trip.
DAUGHTER. Don't even my tears really warm your heart?
GUEST. Do not behave like your mother. Why to cry when you have such beautiful eyes?
DAUGHTER. Anyway I'll cry now. It will never be repeated.
DAUGHTER. First night of love.
GUEST. In your case - no. I can have as many as I want.
We can continue our lessons.
DAUGHTER. Do you love me?
GUEST. I do.
DAUGHTER. Why do you not caress me?
GUEST. I got tired a little. You are too frisky.
DAUGHTER. If you leave me, I will die.
GUEST. I know. Me too.
DAUGHTER. No, you do not love me.
GUEST. Idiot, I said I do.
DAUGHTER. I've told mom about everything.
GUEST. About what?
DAUGHTER. About our love.
GUEST. Oh, I know.
DAUGHTER. Mom's told me about everything as well.
GUEST. Has she? And what's she told you about?
DAUGHTER. You are scoundrel! Blackguard and scoundrel!
GUEST. Well, thank God at last I can leave.
DAUGHTER. No, wait! We must have a talk!
I'm going off into hysterics.
GUEST. Wait, I'll seat myself in the armchair. Begin, when I clap. Okay! Start! (He claps)
DAUGHTER. You poked fun at me like the last bastard. First you penetrated in our house, pretending to be an intellectual and an aesthete. My inexperienced soul yielded to your charm. But this was an insolent fraud! Fraud, fraud, abomination and fraud! You just wanted to amuse with me!
Oh, if I had only known how stale your heart was and how mean your thoughts were! Fool! Why did I believe your fine words?!
GUEST. Not bad. You see, no sooner I'd appeared in your house, then you threw yourself on my neck assuring that it was me you had been waiting for all her life. You told me my appearance accurately reflected your teen-age dreams. Even my voice seemed very familiar to you, as though you had been invited to rosy far away for a long long time.
You did not even let me open my mouth. I just found myself in your bed practically raped by you.
DAUGHTER. (Shouting towards closed doors) Mom, plug your ears! This is a dirty lie!