Alevtina – a psychoanalyst, a gambler, a trader (50-60 years old)
Katya – a young provincial girl who has come to Moscow to try and follow a good career, and to get married
Sergey – a young millionaire
Tukhlevsky Alexander Ivanovich – a writer, Alevtina’s friend; nobody reads his books
Tamara – also girl No.1, Tukhlevsky’s wife
Alla Ivanovna – Tukhlevsky’s mother, also female patient No.4
Gambler No.1 – a dental surgeon, also male patient No.1
Gambler No.2 – also male patient No.2
Gambler No.3 – also male patient No.3
Gambler No.4 – also male patient No.4
Gambler No.5 – also male patient No.5
Cashier – also ‘small man’
Guard – also ‘Spring beloved person’
Female patients NN 1,2,3,5
A table and two chairs. On the table there is a notice: ‘Psychoanalyst-psychic’. Alevtina and Katya are at the table. They are talking . Behind the screen – a row of chairs; male patients NN 1,2,3,4 and female patients NN1,2 take their seats in turn. Patient No.1. goggle-eyed, sits down and immediately starts to pour out of the flask and drink continually like a wound-up mechanism; male patients NN2,3 and female patient No.2 between them come out dancing and giggling; female patient No.3 recurrently takes out a photo and sticks a needle into it angrily; patient No.4 with a loop instead of a tie, adjusts it time and again.
Alevtina. Dear Katya, who recommended you to appeal to me?
Katya. I went to the gynecologist. I needed to become pregnant urgently. I don’t care how. You understand me – I need it!
Alevtina.. And what advice did the gynecologist give to you?
Katya. To appeal to a good psychoanalyst, he gave me your phone number.
Alevtina. Fine, fine. And why the urgent need of becoming pregnant?
Katya. I met Sergey. We hadn’t seen each other for seven years. I was fourteen then, and he was already a petroleum college student in Ufa. We met at the course of extra sensory perception in the Teacher House. He accompanied me after the classes. It was so interesting! Sergey seemed so grown up to me! My heart simply stopped beating. I thought, ‘but, suppose, he will kiss me?!’ But the course came to an end and so did our dates.
Alevtina. And how had it happened that you found yourself at the course?
Katya. Yes, everything is so strange in life! I tried to explain many things to myself. When I was five I lost the power of my feet. I couldn’t walk for a year. It might have been because my father had abandoned our family. Mother had been preparing me for that. And I realized: father and mother didn’t love each other any more, and that’s why they were getting divorced. And what about me? I didn’t count! Although, by the way, father had said that he loved me. And since he left I had never seen him.
We lived in poverty. My mother, my younger brother and I. Sometimes mother got into mental hospital, neurology department. I realized that I couldn’t count on anybody. Why does it generally happen this way? I didn’t cease to love my father, you know, but he left all the same. For ever. It’s difficult to understand, he loved me, after all.
Alevtina (Comes to the edge of the stage, addressing the audience). That’s how I became dear Katya’s psychoanalyst. She is a clever girl, all the things considered. Our generation weren’t that energetic in our youth. In my opinion dear Katya is a typical business-lady. Somehow between times she graduated from Ufa University, Journalism Department. From the age of sixteen she
earned additionally in a coal company. Once its department was opened in Moscow – and here she was already.
(Four girls come running on to the stage. They show the dance ‘business-woman’, Katya is the fifth.)
She dances excellently, goes roller-skating, prances on horseback, and, of course, plays lawn-tennis. If you only saw her in the office! Katya’s smile, baring all her thirty-two teeth is charming. I am not exaggerating. And such a skill of hers to do everything in the manner as if it doesn’t take her any effort: precisely, quickly and somehow between times! God! If you take our generation, how poorly they look on the background of these Americanized young people. We, with our sluggish infantilism, with our subsequent game for meritorious service?! And why? What comes out of it? Exactly, the thing is that both Katya and I are off here in search of living, we are, in other words, casual workers, ‘gastarbeiters’. What does it mean? Exactly that you aren’t sufficed with our state’s attitude to its citizens.
(Alevtina joins the dancers. The girls run away. Katya and Alevtina sit in the armchairs).
Katya. Well, how do you like my idea of becoming pregnant?
Alevtina. From whom?
Katya I don’t care who from…
Alevtina. Then, what the problem?
Katya. Here is my Past Medical History.
Alevtina. Multicystic ovary decease, syncretical agenesia, well, after all, dear Katya, I suggest you receive some treatment of leeches, and, well, take advantage of my service as a psychoanalyst. As far as I see it, dear Katya, you want to make Sergey marry you.
Katya. Yes, yes, yes! Three months ago we met at the birthday party of a big thug from Ufa. Now Sergey is the vice-president of an oil company!
Alevtina. Well, then let’s amalgamate my life experience and the tension of my unrealized feelings with your youth, body and purposefulness in one striking power. Just, dear Katya, have patience! Listen to me and do as I say. Exactly as soon as you become both a wife and mother, you will have the right to command!
Katya (goggles, then her face becomes pathetic). Right now. I’ll throw everything away right now and go to my mother!
Alevtina (looks at her with surprise)…? Well, well, no, darling, what fell upon you? You’ll spoil your make-up. You’ve come to Moscow not meaning to leave it, true? Everything is only beginning! Let me provide you with an appointment (looks in her notebook and writes out a ticket and gives it to Katya). Don’t be late.
Katya. All right.
The rest of the characters and everybody who was sitting in the chairs in the line to be received come through the study and disappear behind the scenes. Alevtina stays alone and phones the reception desk.
Alevtina (Into the receiver). Girls, is there anybody appointed with me? It’s time to finish…Then, well, let them in.
(Tukhlevsky comes in).
Tukhlevsky. May I?... (Smiles).
Alevtina. Wow! Tukhlya! (Leaps up and falls into his arms. He lifts her slightly and whirls around. He is a bit in dismay by her wild reaction. They sit down. Alevtina recites Tukhlevsky’s poems ecstatically.)
‘Only the wind of the sunlight
Is free and bright!
And we are the children
Of the sun and wind.’
Tukhlevsky. Ugh! It’s pleasant when you are quoted. (Looks around). And it’s not bad here… I’ve never expected to see you in this capacity in a white doctor’s smock! Well, and what do you do?
Alevtina. Different things. Leeches, for example. Psychoanalysis, extra sensory perception.
Tukhlevsky. Ugh! How sharp you are, provincials, though! Bought the diploma in the Underground, I presume.
Alevtina. Yes, there are still enough diplomas that I have. You see, all that was my hobby before the Perestoyka. Now the hobby has become my profession. It wasn’t just very long ago when I was working in the editorial office of a provincial party newspaper. And if anybody had told me then that I would find myself up here in a Moscow Medical Centre and receive patients, I would have decided that the man had gone mad!
How much time has passed since you appeared in person in our editorial office?
Tukhlevsky. I wasn’t yet married to Tamara, and Pashka was not yet born; now he is over nine already.
Alevtina. My God! How fast time flies! You know, I like to meet people this way in a different town, under different circumstances. Like in another life!
Tukhlevsky. Alya! Why you didn’t you marry me then?
Alevtina. And did you propose it to me? You’d better tell me how is Tamara, how’s the little one.
Tukhlevsky. Every day I assist him with English and geography.
Alevtina. You’ve proved a good father…Tamara became pregnant and you got married. It’s simple.
Tukhlevsky. I don’t understand it absolutely. HOW IS IT POSSIBLE TO TREAT YOU LIKE THAT! Like leave a woman alone, with a child…
Alevtina (Casts down her eyes, then looks at Tukhlevsky). Yes! You are a good father!
Tukhlevsky. And Tamara, she is an excellent wife! I sometimes even don’t know if she is at home. Well, where could I have found such a woman who wouldn’t disturb?!
Alevtina (Skeptically). Well…ll. Tamara is a wonder. I remember your trick when you, still a student, got the job as a guard for some excavations in Taman. Invited five girlies with an account of two weeks for each. And it was only Tamara who arrived. And forever. You also said then that you would have been able to find a woman equal to her in the bed, but, actually, better – never!
Tukhlevsky. Only now I have realized that it is necessary to court a woman, strive for her. And she must be the finest, she must be sweetheart! Alya, do you think our friendly relations would have been spoilt if…
Alevtina. To hell with you! Tukhlyak! You, rotten creature! You’d better tell me what you are writing now.
Tukhlevsky. You have finished work? Let’s come to my place. You’ll see Pashka.
Alevtina. Let’s go !
Tukhlevsky. Tell me, do you still play with one- armed bandits?
Alevtina. And you, are you still making sour?
Tukhlevsky. Let’s change the subject for clarity. (They go away).
There are 5 one-armed bandits on the stage. They are on roller legs. On the reverse side – barres for choreographic warming up. There is a chair beside each. Four gamblers come onto the stage. They take their seats beside the one-armed bandits on revolving chairs. The Guard and the Cashier are at the table with a notice ‘Cash register’. There is a broomstick nearby.
Gambler No. 1 (Broadly crosses himself and the one-armed bandit.) Well, with God!
(Gamblers begin to batter on the keys. And each occasionally drops money on the floor. The Cashier sweeps up the floor with the broomstick, sweeping the notes into the dustpan.)
Cashier Well, I never! How people throw their money about! (Addressing the Guard): Yesterday Vovchik (Little Vova) doubled the stretch on the 2d machine and missed on the seventh go. And just did hit the machine! Fell off the chair and broke his arm. (Sniggers.)
Gambler No. 2 (Turns around facing the audience and looking at the Cashier and the Guard angrily recounts.) And there they wrote in the newspaper… “A lady in maternity hospital is in labor and the young daddy at the same time decides to have a good time with the one-armed bandits. Loses everything and asks the cashier to lend him some. And the cashier used to be a ‘machine man’ himself, he knows that there is no stop. And it is forbidden to them to lend. Well, the poor cashier gets a knife stabbed in his heart for his refusal. Celebrated the birth of the son, that’s what we name it.
(The Cashier and the Guard frowned. Pause… One can only hear beats on the keys.)
Gambler No. 4 (Unexpectedly) A a…a Ah!!!
(Everybody startles and, looking at him askance, keep on playing. The gambler starts to speak with an Armenian accent.)
Ah .I…Ask, brother, give me a light! What people! Woy, woy, woy! They say if you are playing, then you have money. Go and buy. And I just can’t tear myself off the machine,you know. (Mime…) Woy, woy, woy!
Gambler No. 5 (Reproachfully to Gambler No.4) You should give back what you have taken from your wife first. You are being at her expense, and, in addition to it, pinch from your home . Who are you? An Armenian. Then where should you live? Where? In Armenia! And, preferably, in Nagorny Karabakh!
Alevtina (Comes up to the central machine, sits down. Addresses the Cashier.) Just load it for three hundred. (Addresses Gamblers NN 4 and 5.) The idea of national patriotism finds the response somewhere in the deep of one’s subconscious as a biological instinct of the desire to survive for one’s own clan, and, further,- ethnos, it is, in other words, some substitution for the desire for immortality, being the more protected the fewer of the others remain alive, - it’s a variant of interspecific struggle.
Gambler NN 4,5 (Simultaneously) What – What?
Alevtina (Edifyingly) The idea of national patriotism finds the response somewhere in the deep of one’s subconscious as a biological instinct of the desire to survive for one’s own clan, and further,-ethnos, it is, in other words, some substitution for the desire for immortality, being the more protected the fewer of the others remain alive, it is a variant of interspecific struggle.
(Gambler No. 5 twists his finger at his temple looking at Gambler No.4 meaning Alevtina. They both nod assent and become reconciled with each other.)
Alevtina It was good at Tukhlevsky’s. A family after all. And how Pavlushka has grown up! And here – having slaved away, you drag yourself to your rented flat. Frightful bore! (The Cashier loads. Alevtina follows him with her eyes. Says thoughtfully.) That’s how you become absorbed in playing and forget everything. No sick children, no aged parents. (Alevtina starts to play with the machine in the way like it is in a childish counting rhyme: palm – to herself, palm – to the machine.) I’m a machine, I’m a machine.
(Gradually gets in a muddle: pointing at herself, she says ‘machine’, pointing at the machine, – says ‘I’. Everybody around starts to communicate with the machines intensively.)
Gambler No. 1 Ah, you do it this way?! (Starts to box. The Guard approaches.)
Guard What are you doing? It’s not to blame of anything. It’s private property.
(The Guard begins to box with Gambler No.1)
Gambler No. 5 (Pours vodka into a disposable glass and says addressing the machine.) Do you respect me? (Hits the keys, and, seeing a winning combination on the screen, kisses the machine three times.) You respect! (Drinks up vodka and goes on communicating with the machine the same way.)
Gambler No. 2 (Hits the keys and, revolving on the small chair, turns to the right.)
Load it once more! (Hitting the keys, turns revolving to the left. And many times like that.)
Gambler No. 4 (Strikes the machine violently. Everybody stands still and looks at him with fear.)
God! How much I hate all of you!!! (Exclaims, raising his hands. A pause…)
A music sounds. (May be it is Ravel’s Bolero.) On the background of the music you see the text.
‘…the perniciousness of the game lies not mostly in the danger of putting oneself in a disastrous state as a result of a substantial loss, but much more in the daring to challenge a mysterious elemental force as if to a direct fight. Emerging from the darkness in front of us, the force assumes the shape of a mendacious enticing image and decoys us into the abyss, and there it mockingly plunges its chaws into us and tears us to pieces.
Fighting with this mysterious force is absorbing to such an extent exactly because of the risk linked with it. The man in his childish arrogance undertakes it willingly and then, once, having tied it up, he can’t already give it up and even in the last minute before the death still hopes for the victory. The mad passion of the gamblers depends on it, … the passion that causes mental disorder in them, so strong a passion that it is impossible to explain by the influence of the loss only. Sooner or later the mental disorder leads them to their final destruction.’ (Climacticly loud sound of the music.) The Elixir of Satan.
Ernest Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann.
(During the period when the text and the music were sounding, the gamblers were raving about each in their own way. The text comes to an end and they freeze - backs to the spectators and facing the one-armed bandits. The sound of the continuation of the quotation sounds quiet in contrast to the previous part.)
‘However, even in a less malicious case when it concerns a man still isn’t gripped by the passion for the game of chance, hence he isn’t in the chaws of the mysterious hostile force, the man can find himself in an extremely unpleasant and even disastrous situation as a result of the loss, although it was only the strength of circumstances that made him play.’
Alevtina (Turns her face to the spectators and takes out a ladies’ small mirror, paints her lips.) Do I want to appeal to a psychoanalyst then? (Laughs. The light fails. The gamblers turn the machine around. Then they go away.)
(The machines are turned their backs to the audience.The girls are standing near the barres. It brightens up. Tender music. (Variant of ‘To Lise’ by Beethoven.) The girls begin to dance. Katya and Alevtina are sitting at the table with a notice ‘Psychoanalysis’.)
Katya Father went away, and I lay for a year. And then, when I got up, mother sent me to a ballet school.
(The girls come running up to her, put ballet shoes on to her, take her by her arms and lead as if on crutches. Katya looks like a doll that has come to life.)
Girl No.1 (Putting the mask of a pictured laughing mouth onto Katya’s lips.) First just stretch your lips in a smile and say: ‘ha, ha, ha’, and then once you’ll feel yourself laughing.
Katya (With the attached lips says) Ha, ha, ha!!!
Girl No.2 (Runs out with a frame, a conventional mirror). And just look into this particular mirror only when you are happy. (The face of the Girl No. 2 in the frame is shining with happiness.)
Katya (The more she looks at the laughing girl in the frame the more pathetic her face becomes. Girl No. 2 passes the frame to Katya.) Just now I’ll throw away all this and go away to my mother! (Alevtina appears on the stage.)
Alevtina (Addressing the girls) Shoo! Takes the frame away out of Katya’s hands.) Are they Psychology department students by any chance?! My former also taught our little daughter, ‘Say ha, ha, ha!’ As a result the poor child said ‘ha,ha,ha’ and laughed separately. Why do we like to transfer our own complexes to others so much? May each one get their own; and each one possess their own. Tell me, dear Katya, how you’ve spent this week.
Katya Sergey gave me a diamond ring for a present. (Stretches her hand to show the ring and freezes in a majestic pose, then sighs and wrinkles her little nose.) He had better pay the rent for the flat.
Alevtina Well, well. Let’s get back to the moment of your first contact in Moscow.
Katya When I saw Sergey, it seemed to me that he was from a distant past. I’m far not the same girl already. Moscow teaches in its own way. However in his perception it is quite possible that I’m still a naïve little fool. Well, I never, he asked me out to Lengory to admire the views of Moscow! It’s a good job that not to the Mausoleum to do the same with Lenin.
Alevtina It is necessary, dear Katya, to take advantage of the thing that a man is always concentrated on beloved himself. And – hence – is easily suggestible. Mind you, when you are with him, you should be the same fourteen-year-old girl. His first love. And more precisely – as Sergey thinks – he is your first love. Dear Katya, let’s reflect together over ‘who is he?’.
A millionaire and twenty-nine years old, For him – women’s flesh, let us say, hasn’t already been sacred for a long time. But his instinct of self-preservation prompts him to be inspired at least by his own fancies. Who should a poor millionaire get married to? And it’s already high time for! And as for you, dear Katya, you are just a godsend, an embodied phantom.
Don’t get out of the role: to Lengory? – let it be Lengory, to Tretyakov gallery? – let it be the Gallery, to the Mausoleum? – let it be the Mausoleum!
(The light becomes dim. Alevtina is alone in the ring of the light. Addressing the audience.)
The first love! Where are you? Come and throw light on our life! May your wonderful light not fade!
Once my daughter and I got on an old and shabby bus. Only men’s faces there - gloomy out of hangover. They were workers of the wine factory going to their shift. It was a winding mountain road, specks of light - on everything, the spring green of the trees - all around. And, my leggy fawn, my thirteen-year-old little daughter with her eyes of the colour of the morning water, with the tender gold of her hair. The youth herself, not knowing herself. Everybody around grew sad. And, so it happened, it was like a quivering pipe singing its song of the first love. And the men’s faces brightened with a recollection of the first sweet suffering. And they became even more moved than those of women looking at their firstborn.
(Quiet, tender dance)
(Alevtina gets back into the armchair)
Alevtina: Dear Katya, remain the same little girl as you were when you met Sergey. Assol, waiting for scarlet sails. However, your experience will be useful. You have been working since the age of sixteen, you know. A real business-lady! And exactly this nontrivial combination should conquer Sergey.
You are a clever girl after all! I imagine - they threw sable fur coat on your small shoulders when you had just won at the ball room dance competitions, the best in such a big country! You are a fighter by nature, we could have made up a whole list of your achievements!
Katya: Yes, the fact actually took place, and my partner wanted to sell the fur coat and divide the money into two. A gay, by the way.
The main thing in a woman’s life is a wealthy husband, but so as to hold out as a wife you should meet his requirements. I think being a wife is also a profession. And not an easy one. I’m doing my best.
Alevtina: Yes, you haven’t been wasting time! Tell me, please, what you know about the woman who he had been going out with before you. Sergey would unlikely have taken on courting you if he had been satisfied with his personal life in that period. And since one’s life isn’t satisfactory, one wants to cry on someone else’s shoulder. And most likely to complain about the woman offender to her successor.
Katya: Yes, he told me… Professor’s daughter… Introduced Sergey to her parents and they didn’t like him. Muscovites in several generations. Whereas Sergey is from Bashkiria, although being Russian; having some strange sort of petroleum college behind. A fatherless child. His mother grew two sons alone… Ha! I remember. Sergey’s Mommy suggested her sons from their early childhood an idea that their main task in life was to promote the multiplication of the Russian nation. Produce children at every step.
Alevtina: How can that be?
Katya: Very, very simple. Sergey once made a slip in speaking. The more children are born the better. From different women in different countries.
Alevtina: Yeah… I imagine! Ah, dear Katya, choosing a husband you are choosing a mother-in-law at the same time. Then Sergey’s mother is imperious. And the firstborn didn’t make a petty thing under her thumb.
Katya: I have a girl-friend, ten years me senior. She has made an inquiry about him . A breathtaking career. In Ufa only Sergey of all his team remained alive somehow.
Alevtina: Judging from all that, he is the very male who beats all the males in the flock of rats. Having reached the desired social position, one turns into a respectable philistine eventually. Such people don’t divorce their wives. It is also lucky that you two met again when Sergey had already acceded to the throne. Intuitively he feels that it is time to get married, After a little while he won’t have enthusiasm for that. The corrupt sex, permissiveness can’t pass by without a trace for a man’s state of mind. His soul decays.
Men are different, but they all have one weak spot. We shall have to manipulate only this one for a while. And then, when you get married, you’ll have not only one key but just three: the bedroom, the kitchen, and the nursery.
Katya (Gloomily): We don’t meet that often however. He also goes on business trips. Yesterday I got depressed. I went for a chat to a friend of his. He is the owner of a jewelry shop. We spoke about Sergey for a long time. I reckon, he envies me!
Alevtina : Ugh… It was not difficult for me to detect. Nowadays many men become envious of women. They also want to gain from their sexuality.
Katya: And just the day before yesterday an acquaintance of mine asked me out to a restaurant. We drank, ate, flirted… I imagined myself in bed with him and I felt sick. I can’t bear it. I’m bored. I want to go and be with Sergey!
Alevtina : Then its perfect that you have a sentiment for Sergey! Why is it considered that love and calculation are incompatible. Life itself is so complex! It does not only combine many things but has also contents which seem alternative.
Katya: And more. Before the departure Sergey bought me clothing for horseback riding.
Alevtina : Wow!
Katya: And he wants to learn to dance tango.
Alevtina : Wel-ll. You can bring a lot of pleasant things in his life! I’m confident that he will never fall to thinking about how and where you could have learnt all that. What it cost you under those your circumstances! He wants you to be not just a big-head little girl but also a rival in everything!
The dowry of a modern bride includs many talents. You have the whole set of them and even more. And you even have me.
(Addressing the spectators)
In Katya’s personality I was surprised most of all at her readiness to follow my advice.
Write down what you should tell Sergey when you meet him.
Katya: Oh! If only there was a remote control device, with the help of which one could control a man!
Alevtina : It is an idea! Here is a task for you. Before going to sleep imagine that you’ve got such a device and you can do with Sergey anything you like. That will help you ,firstly, to formulate your desires more distinctly, and, secondly, it will give you power and confidence…
(There appears Sergey, and Katerina controls him with the remote control device. Mime or dance. Girls and gamblers run onto the stage. They join the main characters.)
(The barres are turned around changing into one-armed bandits. Alevtina takes a seat at the central one.)
Alevtina (Pensively): They say – it is a disease. At our last date Tukhlevsky said over and over again, ‘one-armed bandits and alcoholism are the same’. May be. But every disease has its own history. (Looks at a couple at the neighboring machine.) Surprising affair. One has only to confess his or her own vice – they immediately hear analogous revelations in response.
(Gambler N0.1 in a white robe takes a seat next to Alevtina, and, like a dental surgeon, looks into her open mouth.)
Let me pay at once.
Gambler No. 1 : Why?
Alevtina (With her mouth open and speaking with a burr): What if I squander everything into the machine?
Gambler No. 1 (Sits nearby): Yes… I perfectly understand you. I’m the same myself. Once they set up the machines in our club. Since then I have been going there the first thing after work. Earn one hundred roubles a day and squander all the sum of on the spot. Come home and, my hands of a dental surgeon are like those of a stoker. There used to be tokens here. Remember?
Alevtina : I do,I do.
Gambler No. 1 : So, my wife has got suspicious… I, she says, earn ninety roubles a month and you lose one hundred a day. What’s the sense of it? She made up her mind and retired. Began to meet me after work as if I’m an alcoholic. My wife, not I was the one who beat the one-armed bandit.
Alevtina : Don’t you play now?
Gambler No. 1 : May be once in half a year’s time drop at together. Have a small game.
Alevtina : Wise, wise… And, after all, once there is a machinoholism, you had better not step a foot in here.
Cashier (Comes up to Alevtina): Well, have you had enough chat? (Fastens Alevtina to the machine with handcuffs.)
Alevtina (Pathetically): And do you know that all the visitors here are sick people?
Cashier : Look what you say! (With joyful indignation). Mere human fervor! Only that.
Alevtina : Unhook me! I want to the ladies’.
Cashier : Well, never mind. Whoever thinks about it at the machines?
Alevtina (Pensively): May be up there (she nods upward) only you will be forgiven. You are ‘Afgani’ you know. Have you seen ‘The ninth company’?
Cashier : I have.
Alevtina : Was it like that in Afghanistan?
Cashier : Almost like it. As soon as firing starts, no orders can be heard. Each one is for himself.
Alevtina : Unlock me at last, don’t torture.
Cashier : What does it mean ‘unlock’? Get yourself out yourself.
Alevtina : Handcuffs.
Cashier: What handcuffs? You have trips, don’t you? Don’t disturb me. I’m going to work.
Alevtina (Frees herself of the handcuffs with difficulty. Smirks.) And for all that I’m different (Nods at the gamblers). A game with the game. To sink down to the bottom, admire yourself of this state and say good bye to it forever. (To the audience.) Do you think I’ll be able to do like this?
Gambler No. 1 A man can get rid of the vice as easily as part with the virtue, one puff will be enough for it to vanish into the air.
Alevtina : Games of reason…. Yeah…a... But you can become absorbed with playing up to the ruin… I wonder how your relatives, friends will behave. It’s the one thing when you are a source of various fats of the land for them, and, quite a different one – when it’s the other way round. Yes, yes, you thought about the right thing. Your relatives will try to finish you off and take away all the remnants. And your friends either turn their backs upon you in bewilderment or condemn you irreversibly with lightning speed.
Gambler No. 4 : Whatever impossible is unlikely in life!
Gambler No. 1 : As Anton Chekhov said, ‘Here are scissors, - they can cut anything, but not themselves’.
Cashier: If you only knew how many alcoholics there are among expects in drug and alcohol abuse and they aren’t the worst specialists. Paradox? I wouldn’t say so. You know, the one thing is your attitude to other people, and another - is that to yourself. Absolutely different yard sticks, alas…
Alevtina One could’t expect that to happen! The owner of some one-armed bandits happened to become a patient of mine. Essentially, she paid me with just my little lost money. Cycling flow of money in the Nature… That’s how we are interconnected. And her sonny is studying in England now, receiving good training. And he might become a Nobel prize-winner eventually…
Gambler No. 3: And I also knew an owner personally. His wife was my lover. Had a hard time with him. Drank, beat her… Our buddy was a physician. Then he suggested, ‘I’ll poison him so accurately that nobody will determine’. Good was the idea. The only weak point was that his old-aged mother was a former investigator. She would have suspected us of it. Decided not to run the risk. (Smiles genially.)
Cashier (Addressing one of the gamblers.) Yesterday Vasya picked up the Royal on this machine. And gave me half a buck. Hardly had ten minutes passed when he got the Royal again!
(All the gamblers turn to him simultaneously, ‘REALLY?’)
Cashier: (Hops) And once again – half a buck.
Gambler No. 4 ( Continually leaves his machine and, coming back and giving money to the cashier , mutters for himself.) Granny’s pension, wife’s wedding dress, the samovar, son’s bike, daughter’s earrings…
(The machines flash with red illumination periodically, victorious hymns and clinking of coins can be heard. Girls like ghosts in transparent dresses, illuminated by the red light gradually fill up the stage. They press themselves against gamblers passionately representing themselves as energy vampires. Their dancing is becoming faster and faster. The Cashier acts as the soloist. The machines shine brighter and brighter. On one of the machine there appears the inscription ‘Jack-pot’. The hymn and clinking of coins. Everybody falls silent and listens fascinated.
Gambler No. 2 (His machine has won.) Hurrah!!! (Pause) Right now I’ll gamble my full . (Hugs the machine. Everybody comes up to him, applaud, shake his hand and claps on his shoulder. Suddenly the clinking of falling coins stops abruptly. And in the coming silence the Guard’s snoring is heard. Everybody looks at him in bewilderment. The girls, representing themselves as alien entities, surround him and try to wake him up. In vain. Their clothes fade gradually and they leave the stage. The gamblers come back to the machines with dull expressions. The Guard keeps on sleeping. His mobile phone rings.)
Guard: Uh, it’s you, buddy. Yes, it’s my shift... Has grabbed a little shut-eye. They pay not badly, but I want to leave. Frightful bore. Everybody is somehow crazy here! Oh, yeah, we’re going fishing tomorrow. By 6 sharp. Well, so long.
(Puts the receiver away and goes to sleep again...)
(Gradually the noise increases, gambler’s exclamations, victorious marches of the machines, the Cashier rushing about from one gambler to another.)
Cashier: I’m flying! I’m already here! No problem!
Gamblers: Load! Pour off! Change it! Take off!
Alevtina (Addressing the audience): Ask me and I’ll answer. Is gambling with the machines – a disease? I’d rather be hungry and unwashed, but sit in front of a machine. But the moment came and I said, ‘I AM NOT HERE’.
I dislike monotony! You go, go circling like being wound up. How long can one bear it? What a third-rate life! What a bore!
(Alevtina walks circling putting her hands behind her back, like a prisoner.)
Gambler No. 1 (Smiles) Well, as long as it is a disease, one should get treated. But where? In asylum?
Gambler No. 2 A telegram. (Takes it out of his pocket and reads in a squeaky voice.) I ask not to proceed with the trial without me, and institute proceedings against my mother.
(Affectedly purses his lips and pulls up his chin haughtily.)
Gambler No. 3 Americans invented one-armed bandits and spread them all over the world. And everybody bump…! And got stuck to them. (Looks at Alevtina spitefully.) Such people have no right to live on the Earth !
Gambler No. 4 (Puts on a shawl and turns into a crone, hisses maliciously.) Has come in an agreement with a swindler! Alcoholism has worn me out! Inflicted moral damage on me, all in all one million dollars…Ah? What? I can’t either hear or see.
(Alevtina circles more slowly, distant bell ringing, spiritual singing (as background). A prayer is read) ‘ Save, God, and give Thy mercy to them who were seduced by my madness and averted from the ways of salvation, brought to evil and indecent deeds . Bring them once again to the way of salvation by means of Thy Divine Providence. Save, God, and bless those who hate and offend me and make misfortune to me and DON’T LEAVE THEM ALONE LETTING THEM PERISH FOR THE SAKE OF MY SINFUL SELF’.
Alevtina’s study. A table and a settee.
Alevtina: It is simple. You take a new copy book. No bad marks, no blots on your conscience. Blank! Neither creased nor cursed and you start everything from scratch with hope. How much did I like to start clean copy books! What a relief!
(Puts on her white doctor’s smock. There is a notice on the table with the inscription:
‘Psychoanalyst – Psychic’.
Patient No. 1 comes onto the stage.)
Patient No.1 (Rolls his eyes widely). There is tense in his whole body. Used to drink with friends on holidays,but now I drink up to the point when I have no strength to deliver the glass to my mouth. Was encoded with ten different doctors in a year. Got worn out. I wonder where to apply myself. Went to Yalta. Then got burnt in the sun up to having a scald.
Alevtina : Get undressed, I’ll see… (Patient No.1 lies down on the settee.) Not a man’s back but a sheer wound. It’s necessary to blow at it. (Blows, like in oblivion… Tender ringing of small bells turns into some meditative music.) Something happened. What? And it was only then that you started to drink like that.
Patient No. 1 What happened, what happened… Ah,yes, that’s it. We got into a casualty. Father was at the wheel. In the car – two mates of his and I. The auto – to pieces. And we – no bother, crawled out onto the edge, and here’s a stall. Bought up vodka and hit it pretty well to remove the distress.
Alevtina: Recollect it in more detail. You see: the road is going up. You are traveling in the car and looking through the window. A small turning and you are down the head-on lane There is terror in the eyes of the Muscovite the driver and you are going ‘head on’. The next moment your father pulls out to the left, and you feel that the car is flying. You have just enough time to think, ‘What is going to be then?’ Then – bump. Everything has stood still. And here you are- you get out of the car. Look around. In the distance – a woman’s silhouette. It’s your wife. She is running towards you. Tears are trickling on her cheeks. She opens the door of the car, bends down and kisses you in the lips. Your soul calms down. Poor girl! She has got frightened! You hug her, feel such familiar dear smell, you want her as insistently, as you have never…
Patient No. 1 (Grunts sensually. Alevtina looks at him frightened. Then sighs with relief. Takes air in and blows it sharply in the patient’s face. And he in his turn looks at her in surprise.) Why are you spitting at me?
Alevtina (Confused): Sorry.
Patient No. 1 : Have not got it. What has the accident to do with it?
Alevtina : What happened to you I call natural encoding. Once there is an accident – and your instinct of self-preservation is aroused. And… there is an action in this condition, namely – you drink vodka. And you’ll repeat this action forcedly if something threatens you. What threatens you?
Patient No. 1 (Cheerlessly): I am under inquest. An action was brought against me after the accident, but it isn’t connected with that.
Alevtina: Everything fell into place, and you are walking along this closed circuit. It is necessary to realize it. That’s what we are going to work at in our subsequent sessions.
(Patient No. 1 goes away)
Alevtina (Addresses the audience with surprise): Just imagine: it has worked out! When it works out, I am surprised each time!… But, of course, I don’t show it.
(Patient No. 1 comes back)
Patient No 1: I have some other small business to do with you.
You are a wizard, you know! How much will it cost me to win the case in the court?
Alevtina (Her face changes, she says with chagrin): It’s not to me ! It’s not my competence! It’s - to the study next door – to the black magician.
(Male Patients No. 2 and No. 3 come out onto the stage. They giggle, wink at each other. Female Patient No. 1 is together with them).
Alevtina : Come through, take seats, fire away.
Patient No. 1: As for my wife and I, the trouble is that our family gold has got lost. We are building up our house, it is a two-storey one, the doors are always ajar; our friends, neighbors and workmen occasionally drop in.
Alevtina : Well…ll. (Takes out a pendulum, small bells are heard again, the peal turns into meditative music.
Holds the pendulum at the level of her solar plexus.) Is the gold at home or not? (The pendulum starts to rock perpendicular to Alevtina.) The gold is at home. Let’s draw a sketch of the house and number the rooms. (Alevtina and Patient No. 2 bend over a piece of paper, then she works with the pendulum on the background of meditative music.)
The gold is in the third room. Then number the pieces of furniture (Gets to work again). Right here (Points at the sheet with her finger). When you come back home, phone me and tell whether you have found it or not. (With a tired look leans against the back of the chair.)
Female Patient No. 3: Boys, I’ll wait for you in the hall. Thanks, bye!
Patient No. 2 (Vividly giggles): Well, as long as you know everything, tell me what keeps us together? (Nods at Patient No. 3.) I should have come with my wife, you know, although all three of us have come here.
Alevtina : Simple logic is enough here. You said on the phone that you had two problems: gold and work. The first one has fallen apart. It’s work that is left. Therefore you work together.
Patient No. 2 : Well, then say how many co-founders are there in our firm?!
Alevtina : You know it yourself (Irritably). I begin to have a feeling that I am suspected of swindling (A meditative melody is heard). Do you think it is easy? Four co-founders, one of them wants to get out!
(Patient No. 2 and Patient No. 3 jump up simultaneously and opening their eyes wide look at each other.)
Patient No.3 :Have you told her?
Patient No.2:I haven’t told her anything!
(They both turn their eyes to Alevtina in dismay.)
Alevtina:(To the audience) Those visitors found me a year later when I had almost fully changed all that practice to massage and leeches.
Female patient No1: (Comes onto the stage with flowers and keepsake boxes. Excitedly)
When we came back home, the gold was in a cellophane bag under the cupboard.
Tell us, will we manage to emigrate to Canada?
Alevtina: (Bored) What do you need for that?
Patient No.1: Well, what we need…all the documents we have already prepared, and, then, to make things worse, they introduced an English test.
Alevtina: Are you learning ?
Patient No.1 (With a sigh): Well, yes, he, in particular, watches TV.
Alevtina: If he starts to learn, you will be able to leave.
Patient No.2: (Shows photos to Alevtina): Here, look it’s our little daughter. What will she do? I mean her fate.
Alevtina: If you stay in Russia it will be one way, if you leave for Canada – a different one. And generally… You should devote yourselves to your children, and not to keep on guessing about the realization of the fate!
(To the audience): Well, they found me for the third time.
Patient No.2 (Goggling): Our firm has been robbed, all the equipment has been removed. There are five businesses on that spot. There are both a guard and a fence.
Alevtina: A retired employee had come to an agreement with the guard.
Patient No.2: What should we do?
Alevtina: Well, it’s not my competence… (To the audience) Do I have to make up an instruction how I should be used?
Female patient No2 (Comes in. Speaks phlegmatically and shows a photo): Here is my child’s father. He is German.
Alevtina (Looks at the photo): Moreover, he is naked and, besides, in front of a mirror. Why is his genital place pierced all over with needles? Do you, my dear citizen, go in for amateur performances? Probably, want to get back his love? Then, he is useless for this business now.
Female patient No2 Not the point. Hasn’t sent me money for a long time.
Alevtina:Clee-aar… Now he will send… The session is over. Why are you still sitting?
Female patient No2 : Can’t believe somehow….
Alevtina : And what did you want? You wanted the transfer to be here on the table right now?
Female patient No2: Well, no…
Alevtina : Then go, go!
Alevtina ( To the audience): A man phoned the reception desk. He had already phoned several centers. Asked to receive him immediately. Everywhere they offered him to register. He told our receptionist that if he weren’t received immediately he would hang himself. Here, so to speak, I receive them without registration. (Falls to thinking.) It’s probably because I charge them little money. And have them long here…. I wonder, what is he like? (meditative music is heard). A tall man with chestnut hair, grey eyes, hasn’t struck thirty yet. In a brown suit… Who wears them now, those brown suits? Hardly anybody…
P 4 (A voice from behind the scenes) May I come in?
Alevtina ( Stands up to meet him) Come in. (P4 corresponds totally to the description. Alevtina and P4 are standing in front of each other. Slowly sit down in the chairs)
P 4 I feel bad… I feel very bad. My wife has abandoned me.
Alevtina (Aside): Not everyone would have got upset in his place…
P 4 (As if not hearing her) How could she? After all, she just used to run away to her mother. But this time even my mother-in-law says that Oxana won’t come back.
Alevtina : Does it mean that mother backs up Oxana’s decision as well?
P 4 Yes.
Alevtina : How many years have you been married?
P 4 Seven.
Alevtina : Do you make much?
P 4 What does love have to do with it?
Alevtina : (Comes up to the edge of the stage. To the audience). Frankly speaking, I was pleased by the thing that the man is upset about his break-up with his wife so deeply and sincerely.
It’s not a good job when we always calm down only women suffering from unrequited love! Now here is a young man suffering with his heart pierced by Amor’s arrow. His wife decided to put their home in order using such a drastic method as getting away to her mother: money should come every month and on time. It took me a couple of weeks to put their family relations right. Saying good-bye to me, the young husband promised…
P 4 But, from now on, she will never have such a husband as I used to be!
Alevtina (To the audience): What did he mean? It doesn’t occur to women in pain to take revenge on the men as a conscious desire.
However men might fairly often be to blame of it: they are inclined to hide and later on avenge themselves on the women-offenders. (Addresses P4) It’s already high time for you to give birth to a cute child.
P 4 (Gaily, enthusiastically) Alevtina Alexandrovna, tell me, when?
Alevtina: (Looks at him in a dumb perplexity) As soon as possible. In nine-months’ time!
P 4 Thank you, thank you. Thank you very much (Goes away).
Alevtina : I am all in. To friends, to Balashikha!
Tukhlevsky: Well, at last. Come through. I hope, you’ll stay for the night? To-morrow we’ll walk to the forest. My parents are in the country-home…
Alevtina : I’ll stay! My dear Tamara, hello, where is Pavlusha? (They hug)
Tamara: Hello, darling. Pavlusha is with his granny. He will, probably, stay there for the whole week. Let’s get at the table right now. You are hungry after work, I presume?
(Everybody sits at the table)
Alevtina : It’s pity that I won’t see Pavlik this time. To hell with washing hands! The only thing I do is washing my hands.
Tukhlevsky: (Pours out vodka). I wonder if you really have made a doctor. You should manage it automatically.
(Everybody raises their glasses) To our getting together!
Alevtina : Ye-e-es!
Tamara: Well, tell us about your abilities. My sister also takes an interest in extra sensory perception. (Looks at Alevtina, like a freshman at a teacher)
Alevtina (Pensively): You see, many are well read in this field. It’s in fashion now. They started to publish Blavatsky, Steiner, the Roerichs… A whole sea of literature, but it is theory. And, well, sensing energy, the skill of manipulating it… That is the case. The whole world is being revealed. Well, for example, it is becoming clear what superstitious, spells are based on. What spoilage and evil eye are…
Tamara (Listens spellbound): And is it possible to learn it? You, probably, have a gift!
Alevtina : I’m not sure. Trained for two years at Polyakov’s courses. He headed an association of parapsychologists in Leningrad. Now I wouldn’t possibly be able to make it. Tedious! We started with trying to distinguish a black sheet of paper from a red one tactually. (Shows it moving her palm over the table now to the left, now to the right with her eyes closed). Red is sensed warmer but not only that…
Tukhlevsky (Winces): In my opinion, it is all fairy tales. Now, let’s take me, I, for example, look at a steamboat and its structure, mechanism is clear for me. I can construct a car, a rocket. (Addresses Alevtina) You don’t know anything of this kind, you can’t deal with it, you know. That’s where people like you take all this dreg from.
Tamara (With disapproval): Alex!
Tukhlevsky: We’d better drink. (Pours out) To my new book!
Alevtina : Ye-e-s! I have read it!
Tukhlevsky: Well, how is it?
Alevtina : You know, I can’t separate you from what you have written. Yalta plots, Moscow plots – partially we lived them out together. I know what ‘litter’ gave birth to your novels. In fact it is so interesting.
Tukhlevsky (Reviving): Imagine, a girl, my reader found me through a bookshop. Says, ‘It’s possible to learn how to write with the help of your book’.
Alevtina : Yes, you are an excellent stylist. It has just occurred to me that literary criticism is pure mythology making. If, let’s assume, you are honored, and in the distant future your works are studied, who will be able to dig it out that a feuilleton by a pass-through Moscow journalist mentioned in the novel, is my tiny tale printed the other day in my native local newspaper under the pen name of Cricket.
Tamara: Well, you are about your personal matters again… No, you had better say if you believe in spoilage or evil eye yourself.
Alevtina : Well, how could I put it to you. I’m not interested in it very much. To violently influence another person!.. Disgusting. And what more, God save me from acquiring the skill of doing it – it’s a temptation.
Now, when I was coming into your porch I just saw a tiny little girl standing like Little Red Riding Hood eating an apple. And in such a fruity way! I even felt like it myself. And then I saw– it was not an apple, but a lemon that she was chewing. Sour, horror! (Everybody winces and gulps saliva).
Tukhlevsky: It’s from the third flat.
Alevtina : You see. It has become sour. And the girl didn’t exist, you know. I fancied that it tasted sour to me. And then the situation was communicated to you. A compound biochemical reaction started in your organism.
Tukhlevsky: Sour, sweet, bitter! To hell with you! (Pours out…)
Alevtina : Isn’t ‘Actor’s work on himself’ by Stanislavsky actually like a manual on extra- sensory perception? Just imagine the significance of the following chapter from it: ‘Radiating in and radiating out’.
Tamara: How is that?
Alevtina : Stanislavsky explains how an actor can control his/her energy: absorbing it from the audience is ‘radiating in’, giving it back to the audience – ‘radiating out’.
Alevtina (Showing off a little): Alla Demidova told me…
Tukhlevsky: Are you acquainted with Demidova as well?
Alevtina : In Soviet times whoever didn’t come and have a rest in Yalta! Journalists loitered in the House of Actor, of all places. And again, Chekhov’s Days in Yalta…
I told Demidova about my impressions: when Vysotsky came onto the stage, all the auditorium filled up with energy. And at this very point Demidova told me that once during a rehearsal. -have you got it?- I quote: … ‘I felt that it was even hard to stand near him .”Why are you hiding behind the back?”, Vysotsky asked. And there we began to manipulate the energy… Soon after that we decided to stage the play “The Two” based on a play by Tennessee Williams. He was both to play the part of a drug addict’s brother and direct the play, and I – to play that man’s sister. The scenery had already been ready!’…
Like that! I didn’t question her on what ‘to manipulate energy’ meant. I know that it isn’t possible to explain it in words, you know.
Tamara: And, still how can a person manipulate energy?
Alevtina : Well, right, then, Tukhlya, come here.
(Alevtina draws Alex from the table: he has had one or two too many. He is standing waggling, goggling his eyes.)
When Kashpirovsky gave his performance in a club of a boarding house in Yalta he was not yet allowed to perform on the main grounds – he worked as a classical hypnotist. He made viewers pick up apples, dance, type on the type-recorder. Generally speaking – a circus! And, well, they also fell down like poles. And, here, fancy that, everybody fell down, but one of them was able to remain up on his feet. He was waggling, but standing. And there were cheers from the audience, ‘Vasya, hold out, hold yourself!’
Tamara: Alex, hold youself! (Tukhlya waggles and looks at Alevtina with frightening eyes.)
Alevtina : I was sitting in the first row. Just heard Kashpirovsky say to the guy, ‘I’ll just drive a picket into the top of your head and from there down – up to your heels, and you will know!’
Tamara: And how’s that?
Alevtina : Yes, exactly, how’s that? Even if you know and able to do it, just try and explain!
Tukhlevsky (Sits at the table): To hell with you, ladies! (Pours out.)
Alevtina : Let’s drink the health of the two cities! When I am in Yalta, - I’m yearning for Moscow, when in Moscow – for Yalta. (Alevtina reads with inspiration.)
The spirit of acacia of Lencoran –
Pink, sweet delusion!
If I could only be thrilled by quiet surfs
In the warm rays!
If I could only air my soul with sea winds –
If I could only take off into the blue expanses
As if it has come true!
Tamara: Wrote it yourself? Great! But well, guys, I must go. Early to work tomorrow. (Goes away.)
Alevtina : Then tell me, my friend Tukhlya, while you’re still not blind drunk. What was that? (With pressure.) What did you mean when you set your face to become my son-in-law? You remember, we were walking down Pushkinskaya street and you said to my little daughter, a fifteen- year-old silly thing, ‘What will you think if your Mom becomes my mother-in-law?!’
The little thing was pleased to be addressed. An adult guy paid attention to her. She is my dear sick child. You understand? I thought you said it because you were drunk. And the next day you kept on talking about the same thing. Then, what was that?
Tukhlevsky (His face becomes reserved and hard, he keeps silent for a long time. Then having relaxed a bit, starts to speak confidentially): Was fed up with everything then…. Everything was somehow impenetrable, wretched. Tamara, the baby… I tinkered with those tables making them for sale. I thought, - now I'll just throw everything and leave for Yalta, and turn reporter in a provincial newspaper!
Alevtina : You’re twenty years older than my daughter, you know! However, whoever can be surprised by that nowadays…. And about the wife and the baby, we have already learnt it. So, that’s how it’s only possible to treat us… (Forces herself to change the topic.) I gave your book to my neighbor to read. He liked it. Said, ‘The author ‘wraps it up’ interestingly: like a spider weaving his web.’
Tukhlevsky: Is he a drug addict?
Alevtina : Happened to be that, I suppose. He told it himself how he transported drugs from China. They caught him there and put to prison. By the way, he is a talented manual therapist. But, I see, he isn’t going to start working. Either he is being employed as a guard or a person of escort. So it turns out that if a man can work, it doesn’t actually mean that he wants to work.
Tukhlevsky: Since he experienced drug addiction, then it is familiar to him how it ‘binds’.
Alevtina : You are an excellent stylist, of course.
Tukhlevsky: Who needs this now! (Getting incensed.) Centuries will pass by (gesticulating) and they will say, ‘Tukhlevsky was the last great writer!’ People ceased to read genuine literature. Nobody needs it. I gave it to Kim to read, and, half a year later asked him, ‘Well, how is it?’ And he, fancy that, hadn’t read!’
Alevtina : You were his best student, you know.
Tukhlevsky: And I don’t even read anything myself now. Once Sergey Solovyov searched for me, wanted me to write for the cinema. And I didn’t want to meet him. Of course! I’m a writer. I am not in the mood for a poor sort of cinema! Hence, I’m living in a miserable condition. Coo-coo! And nobody will reply to my ‘Coo-coo’!
Alevtina : Yes! You are still that very Coo-coo maker! How are your blitzkriegs? How are you courting your pretty hens?
Tukhlevsky: Why? It’s convenient! Phone Masha in the morning while her husband is at work. Arrive by 12 – the Underground station ‘Izmailovsky Park’. Have dinner with her too. In the evening it’s Valya on the Revolution Square. And spend the night at Tetyokha by ‘Pervomayskaya’. Come to her well-loaded. Tetyokha loves me in any state.
Alevtina : Coo-coo maker, Coo-cookh you are! Tukhlyak – rotten creature. GAI, GAI - MREO!
Tukhlevsky: Moscow is not Yalta. Everything is at hand there. And here – you have to economize on both time and money. Then I went for injections the other day. The nurse, she is not bad, it’s possible to… with her. Calculated minimal expenditure. No, that won’t do. Have to buy boots for my wife, and my blitz-cry is always awaiting me! And then, tell me frankly - do leeches help?
Alevtina : A leech is a mini pharmaceutical factory, about two hundred biologically active substances are in its saliva. A leech is also an energy producer. And so on…. Well, don’t get bored. Here, listen what verse my patient dedicated to me.
(Stands up and solemnly poses.)
From a visitors book
When you gently sat down on me
Not hastily, not hurryingly
I thought that such a tender soul
There is in this body!
And your timid fingers came
Into my nasty sacrum
And I said then (to myself), -
Get married, you, simpleton, at last!’
What a good woman she is at work!
Let her come into your house!
And look through you like X-rays
And all the stash she’ll take away from you.
There should be victims,
And you are a man, you know!
Marry her, marry in a few days’ time!
But suddenly – for no apparent reason
You let the slime upon me!
And that abomination adhered to
My favorite chakra.
High time to howl! And you said,
‘Your old age
I still can prolong…’
I lost control but didn’t dart,
I realized the tediousness of being.
I frankly got terrified
That I’m not of need for you!
You stepped aside without shocking,
But there, where you just now were
A leech is sitting, even three of them.
Ah, how wrong you were!
Tukhlevsky: How tenacious of life you are, provincials! Here you are already – a hirudotherapist!
Alevtina (Resentfully) : Yeah, I have been occupied with leeches for almost twenty years already. Let’s then go to bed, or we’ll fall out again in the end.
(Tukhlevsky and Alevtina come onto the stage and sit at the table.)
Alevtina : It’s good in the forest in the morning!
Tukhlevsky: That’s how I go for a stroll every day and meet my neighbor Grisha. Running to the fixed-route taxi to get to Moscow to work. And as for me: I breath the air. Then come back and work. And he is still traveling in the mini-bus.
Here I have my little pitcher, and a tea-urn and things (so that I won’t go out into the kitchen). Or else – you go out and the members of your household beat you off your working tune.
I light this particular candle when I write a novel. And this one – when it is a scenario.
Alevtina : What beautiful influxes...
Tukhlevsky: I say to Pasha, ‘Son, write a little, but every day. As a result you’ll write much.’
There happened a boffo to me recently. I was walking with ‘the princess’, then, I see – magazines with my story are being sold.
Alevtina : Is it that, who is you senior, a professor’s wife?
Tukhlevsky: Well, yes. I buy a magazine, sign it and give her for a present. A week later I phone her, ‘When shall we meet?’ And she says to me, ’Sergey, I have never thought that you are such a man. I don’t want to see you, I don’t want to have anything to do with you.’
Alevtina (Laughs): Yes, that doesn’t concern stylistics, but the contents of what you write, Tukhlya. And what are you creating now?
Tukhlevsky (Enthusiastically): A series of short stories. It’s such an idea. Here, imagine, if Vysotsky had’t died, but Makarevich. And Vysotsky would be the host of the program ‘Smack’. Or, here is another variant: if, playing a duel, Onegin hadn’t shot Lenskij, but the other way round. How would the plot have developed?
Alevtina (Muses): In the people’s consciousness there live the characters of books by brilliant writers and influence there lives. Those images are significant. They weren’t created by you, and it’s not your business to destroy them. How is it possible not to respect your reader, not to love him or her? Destroying for the sake of the boffo. It is especially horrible! Tukhlyak!
Tukhlevsky (Malignantly): I can’t care less about the reader. (Laughs, having recollected.) About ten years ago there was an exhibition of young artists of the avant-garde. Viewers came to the opening, and then the organizers turned off the light and started - to their utmost - to pour water from hoses on them.
Alevtina : Then the pictures might have been watered as well after all.
(Tamara appears on the stage.)
Tamara: Mother phoned. She is already at the porch. (To Tukhlevsky) Asks you to come downstairs and help her to lift her bags with potatoes to the floor.
Alevtina : Tamara, well, how is he? Does he drink much?
Tamara: Yes, when he gets drunk he becomes a real schizoid. During the last drinking bout he grabbed a knife and started to run after me to his utmost.
Alevtina : Just nothing but a trouble. (Tukhlevsky and his mother come in),
Hello, do you remember me?
Alla Ivanovna: Sure. Alechka, dear Alya, hello, welcome!
Tamara: Mama, this is Alya’s present, a bag for you. (Hands her a bag made of raincoat tissue.)
Alla Ivanovna (surprisingly): Seams like I don’t have enough bags!
(Everybody is a little confused.)
Alevtina : I, strictly speaking, am already going. Good bye, Alla Ivanovna! Was pleased to see you.
Alla Ivanovna: Good bye, Alya! Sasha, let’s carry the potatoes to the pantry.
Tukhlevsky (Kisses Alya): So, long. I’ll ring you up. (Goes away with his mother.)
Tamara: Alya,let me accompany you. Well, we used to have so many guests. I rejoiced so much then. And hopped, hopped! (Hops many times. Alevtina looks at her with surprise and distaste.)
Alevtina : Firstly, Tamara, if I say ‘Mom’, I mean my mother and not your mother-in-law. Secondly, if I want to give somebody a present, I’ll do it without your help. When I showed you that bag yesterday, I spoke about my mother, not your mother-in-law. Have you got it?
Tamara (Fearfully): Oh, excuse me, Alya.
Alevtina : Well, all right, trifles of life… But then you’ve always got such a lovable, I would even say, childlike expression on your face!...
(They go away)
Alevtina (To the audience, sarcastically). It’s so good when you want to see your friends after work, and after seeing your friends you want to go to work. Oh, here is dear Katya!
(Katya comes onto the stage, fashionably dressed, self-confident, radiant. Comes up to Alevtina.)
Katya Hello, Alevtina Alexandrovna. (Both sit down)
Alevtina Hello, dear Katya.
Katya (Suddenly begins to cry loudly.) Just now I’ll throw everything away and go to Mom!
AlevtinaDear Katya, what has happened?
KatyaThe woman who Sergey went out with before me! She got pregnant during their last meeting.
(Stands up and walks up and down anxiously.) My boss’s adult daughter was thrown out of the window. He himself is sitting tight in Switzerland. The firm proclaimed bankruptcy. His deputy is opening a new office. Promises to employ me, but in return he wants… well ,you can see yourself what! And Sergey is sending me to Greece together with his mother. He wants to get rid of me!
Alevtina Katya, sit down for a while…
Katya If I go to Greece, I’ll lose my influential connections, my job, everything! He wants to get rid of me!
Alevtina Don’t make me laugh: what connections, what job?! You are beautiful, there is no denying, but how many girls of this kind are there in Moscow? You differ from them only by having a millionaire as your groom. Then just concentrate on it! And I kindly ask you, well, be patient! Do as I say. And when you become a wife and mother… You don’t forget to tell Sergey…
Katya How clever you are! How beautiful! How manly! It arouses me so much! Alevtina Alexandrovna, they phoned me again!
Alevtina And again that woman reports to you about every Sergey’s step, and you reply to her calls! How many times I have told you: the less you know, the tighter you sleep!
Katya But this time I already knew who was phoning!
Alevtina How had you ever managed to find it out?
Katya It’s Sergey’s secretary. She had fallen in love with him. She published her love-poems in a magazine and gave it for a present to Sergey.
Alevtina (To the audience)The hunt for men is going on, it is the hunting! (to Katya) Then, you told him about the calls. All right, that might be an advantage. Confirmed the credit.
Katya So it turns out that he had also been phoned and given reports about my every step. He even employed ‘didectives’! They went to Ufa, checked whether my dance-partner was my lover ,and he appeared to be somebody’s lady-lover himself!
Alevtina Everything turning out with you isn’t going to be boring! Dear Katya, he isn’t going to get rid of you. Sends you to Greece together with his mother. A man can consider a woman at his mother’s level only if she is his wife . And even not every man. Hence, he has you in his thoughts as his bride. And, well, to think about your feelings of being together with his Mommy – in nobody knows what capacity, - it is an unattainable height for a man.
(Girls run onto the stage.)
Girl No.1 He never thinks about me. He just has an opinion that since I’m his wife, I already feel well.
Girl No.2 But - ’well’ – is in his imagination.
Girl No.3 Compromises, compromises, and once more compromises.
(Girl No. 1 blindfolds Katya. Girl No. 2 brings out Sergey blindfolded. Katya and Sergey begin to search for each other.)
Girl No.4 She has such a great desire to pick up a pretty rich man as a groom.
Girl No.1 And he has such a great conviction that it’s time to get married.
Girl No.2 Or else it is not solid somehow.
Girl No.3 One should get married timely.
Girl No.1 Having that fuss, they almost can’t realize that they love each other.
Alevtina And, may be, a family means more than love? The fate brought them together – why? Faces of love are so different! Katya and Sergey loved each other as much as they could – each in his or her own way.
But, as it is said, – each one has one’s own way.
(Katya and Sergey find each other. They dance tango.)
Katya I went to Greece with his mother. Oh..o! It was a combination of something incredible! Once she announced…
Ludmila Ivanivna I can imagine a woman’s dependence but not to such an extent.
Sergey Yes, Mom and Katya, and I’m in- between. I had to make both the one and the other see reason. Had to entertain the girlie, we went for a drive around Europe.
Katya Yes, it was in Paris. I heard him speaking into the receiver to someone…
Sergey Yes, sweetheart…
(The scene of a quarrel. Katya, sobbing, pushes Sergey off herself. Sergey freezes in horror. Katya is becoming calmer and calmer and more majestic. He kneels and goes around Katya in this position. Katya kneels beside Sergey.)
Alevtina Harmony and love to you! Well, Why are you sobbing, dear Katya! You straight, as if on the sledge, drove into the registry office on Sergey’s feeling of guilt. A good stimulus, or otherwise so it happens that…
Sergey (Stands up over knees and gives Katya his hand. Says, addressing her.) The woman who I spoke to on the phone had given birth to a girl that day. Well, you know that story. That was before our time when you and I, you know… It was necessary to cheer her up somehow after all… (Looks at Katya cautiously.) When you fell asleep on my shoulder on the airplane with your tears still on your cheeks, I looked at your lovable face and thought about what would have happened to me if I had lost you. (They hug each other.)
Alevtina Dear Katya! Don’t pull the past on its tail! There are so many surprises in the future, you know! In family life you need not a cart but a convoy of patience.
The wise king Solomon was wondering about the miracle by means of which a woman’s love for a man is born in her heart. (Looks at Sergey with doubt.) I, in my turn, am wondering about the miracle of how some people manage to reach the registry office. Dear Katya, everything is for the better! Now you have already put in your application to the registry office, your wedding is soon!
Katya (Sobbing again.) Just now I’ll throw everything away and go!
Alevtina Well, be patient, you’ll be able to behave capriciously when you become a wife and the mother of his children.
(The girls begin to prepare Katya for wedding. Sergey leaves the stage. They change her into a wedding dress.)
Girlies! It’s our holiday! I can’t believe my eyes. The great alchemy of fate! When ashes turn into gold, Cinderella’s bare foot is dressed in a glass slipper and instead of beads and dried berries on the small Shulamite’s neck there appears a diamond necklace. (Sergey comes onto the stage, and Gamble No. 1 solemnly brings out a box. Comes up to Katya. Sergey opens the box, takes out a necklace. Gamble No. 2 takes photos of Sergey and Katya after Sergey imperiously puts his hand onto Katya’s bosom a bit lower than the necklace and looks into the lens of the camera domineeringly. Them Sergey and Katya diverge like it is in a minuet and converge again.)
Gamble No.3 (Solemnly addresses Katya and Sergey. There is a ribbon with the inscription ‘Governor’ on his chest.) He hangs ridiculous medals on Sergey and Katya’s dressing.) Henceforth you are honored citizens of our native town. Natives of Ufa, genuine Muscovites. (Everybody applauds and go away in different directions.)
Alevtina (To the audience) People should conquer their own towns in Moscow. (Comes up to Katya and solemnly leads her to the armchair.) At her wedding party – Katya danced the gypsy-girl dance so well that the gypsy got silent and made way. This girl should be done justice. She could do very much of what could be liked by a man.
(Only Katya and Alevtina remain on the stage. They are sitting in the armchairs. )
Katya After liposuction I was in the ideal form the whole year.
Alevtina Katya! What a horror! Why? Generally anesthetized? You are such a thin thing! (To the audience.) However, is there anything to wonder about? Teenage girls, still unformed are on diet to be thin. If Sergey ever did suffer from the lack of confidence in his near future before the wedding, then, sensing that you were slowly but steadily recovering, he threw away all his doubts. Everything is a mystery in a woman and everything has only one solution – pregnancy. (Laughs.) Is it worth the trouble tormenting oneselves with diets!
(A chorus of gamblers and girls perform the Russian wedding folk song ‘The Little Bee’, dancing. Katya comes out of the middle of the circle already with the belly.)
We’ve received the very thing we have been struggling for. And just in time too. Thanks to my little leeches.
Gamble No.4 (Performs the song in the form of chastushka – Russian folk ditty.)
The trunks were pretty old,
And the suspender was a bit weak.
And the leeches found me.
Well, I’ll tell you, guys,
If there are such frames or shots
To be able to contain such a miracle,
Then ‘Johimbe’ and ‘Viagra’
Will be on the standby for awhile!
I didn’t come to life, but just resurrected.
For three weeks I marched along the village
With something like a spear atilt!
(Gamblers are at one-armed bandits. Alevtina is beside her machine in the centre.)
Alevtina : And everything might be very simple. When you interpret your life as a chain of misfortunes and troubles, you want to distract yourself, entertain yourself, go into the virtual reality.
Gambler No.1: Having nothing to do, we came here during the lunch-break.
Alevtina : The beginning of ‘Perestroika’… The life was like a sandglass. Now – upside down, now – back , and they didn’t pay your wages.
Gambler No.2: Everything closes down, everybody is bankrupt, there is nothing to eat. Main foodstuffs are for coupons, vouchers.
Alevtina : And here we are - we dropped in here. Into this garbage- dump, the hall of one-armed bandits. And I think, what’s the nonsense?!Why do people sit here for hours on end, poking their fingers into the keys, and cram their money into the machines?
Gambler No.1 (Comes up to Alevtina and begins to press her fingers against the keys. Points at the screen with the other hand. Corresponding music sounds. Seeing that Alevtina is carried away, says…): Well, like this… And I’m going. (Goes away smiling.)
Alevtina : And he went into life! Now, it’s wondering, you know, he brought us here as if he did a business, and he had done it! I wonder if he will ever recollect me? Of course, he won’ t. But may be there, beyond the border of our life it will be shown to him how his action perverted my life. Sins intentional and unintentional! But I personally have no claim on him. In the end, probably each one will answer for himself.
Gambler No.2: Say honestly, Alevtina Alexandrovna, are you still gambling with one-armed bandits?
Alevtina : No. (Sticks bands crosswise on the machine.)
Gambler No.2 (Delightedly): How did you manage that?
Alevtina : Easily… in a sense.
God in me is greater than myself. That’s why with God’s help a man can control himself. To get out of the habitual rut, just one step! (The ‘March of a Slav-woman’ is heard. The voice of an announcer at the station, as if it is at the station: ‘The train is bound to…’ (the music muffles the words), ‘The loading of all the one-armed bandits is coming to the end’. (The March sounds muffled.)
Gambler No.3: Vasya! What are you doing ? Leave the machine alone! They are being transported to the world’s end!
Gambler No.4: I can’t, yesterday I put 200 bucks into it, and the day before yesterday – 300. It will start giving back any minute. And what if it is ‘Jack-Pot’?
Gambler No.1: Then, that Potty- Sweaty Jack won’t be enough for you to buy even a return ticket!
Gambler No.4: You are naïve, guys, they’ll bring them back. Don’t doubt! See you soon!
(Alevtina is alone on the stage.)
Alevtina : Everything is so simple! ('The March of a Slav woman’ continues to sound.) Just took them and drove away…
No machines, no problems. Just take cigarettes away from a smoker and there is nowhere to get them. Will he die? Of course, not, he’ll survive. And a drug-addict will survive if there is nowhere to get. And that’s all there is to it. (Anxiously): However, we must have it out with each other. (Frowns, dials a telephone number.) Hello, Tukhlya! My daughter told me you had phoned.
Tukhlevsky: Hello, dear Alya, how was the journey here?
Alevtina : It was normal.
‘What peculiar acquaintances you have, Mom!’- my daughter said to me, - Alexander Ivanovich offered me to kill a man in Yalta. And, in my turn, I will have to kill a man in Moscow instead of Alexander Ivanovich’. As far as I can see it, you wanted to have a ‘chatty chat’ with a young girl. It’s your crazy way of speaking. I had told you that story with a rape, and you, only to attract her attention, hint at the thing that you know – there is a man in Yalta that she would like to kill. In other words – you are privy to that horrible matter. May you know that there are few women not having been raped in their lives. If you face the truth… If the rapist is your own husband, is it better? And what more… There are few women not having killed any of their children. Yes, you, men should be afraid of us!
A person who survived both a rape and committing a murder is capable of a lot. How don’t you understand it!
Tukhlevsky: The youth are being strange nowadays! Now, I come to the editorial office. Young girls, technical employees are sitting. I tell them a funny situation with a serious face, joking. No reaction. Then I represent gaiety. Speak a sort of nonsense – all of them laugh loudly immediately. Contemporary youth need voice-over laughter to make it clear how to react. No sense of humor.
Alevtina : If it was only a joke then, then why did you say, ‘Only don’t tell your mother?’ Were you afraid that I wouldn’t catch your humor? Let me then phone your sonny Pasha. I’ll say, ‘Babe, your Dad told me that he wants to kill your mother. You know it yourself, once he gets drunk he always rushes at people with a knife. And he can knife her even being sober. Keep an eye on him day and night. Just don’t tell anybody what I have told you.’
Tukhlevsky: He is still a little one!
Alevtina : Then here it will be for you to know. He will always be a little one for you and you’ll always feel sorry for him. In any case, as long as you feel yourself his father. (Hangs up.)
To be a male human is a diagnosis. Whatever merits he possesses, when it comes to sex – no honor, no self-respect, no head on the shoulders.
Ha! How many times I have said to dear Katya,’ Tell your sweetheart - “ You are the best of all, the cleverest, the worthiest. You are the best, the best…” And what else to do? Perhaps, if only sometimes, he will have a desire to correspond the suggested ideal’.
Well, all right, I have communicated with my friends, have had a rest and then – to work.
(Katya appears on the stage, her belly is clearly noticeable. Sobbing ‘with three floods of tears’.)
Katya: Just now I’ll throw everything away and go to my Mom! Scoundrel!
Alevtina : Katya, girlie! When your groom has become a husband and has turned from a lover into a potential father, is it worthwhile taking him seriously?! To worry because of him?! All he could do substantial he has already done.
Katya (Not listening to Alevtina): Here, just admire it. (Holds out a piece of paper to Alevtina.)
Alevtina : Subscription for a month. Paid. Brunette, height – one hundred, eight, 90-60-90, sixteen years old, twentieth of July, 16 o’clock sharp; twenty first of July, 12 o’clock, blonde, height one hundred fifty-four, 90-90-90, age – for those who like it; chestnut hair, brunette, blonde, blonde, oh, yes, uh-hum –oh ! - a fair-haired man (Rounds her eyes in fear). Where did you take it?
Katya: I hear! Click-click… click-click… He is dialing the code – locking his briefcase. Well, and I also clicked it… …M…M… (Weeps wailing).
Alevtina : Oh, Katya, Katya!!! How many times I have told you, ‘The less you know – the better you sleep! It’s banal, but nobody has canceled it yet. You preserve you complexion and the naïve expression of your eyes! It makes you so younger! (Makes naïve eyes, smiles delightedly). You had better tell me whether you went to the ultra-sonic observation or not?
Katya (Nods. Smiles through tears.) A girl…:
Alevtina : Have you made up a name yet?
Katya: Sergey wants to name her Elizaveta… (Becomes pensive… Her face becomes malicious.) Well, all right, he’ll pay for this! He’ll be dancing all right.
Alevtina (Comes up to Katya, sits close to her, hugs her in a motherly way.): Ah, dear Katya – kitten, my baby…
Katya: And it’s not all yet. (Takes photos and the Certificate of Birth out of her purse. Alevtina examines all of the things.) He adopted the illegitimate daughter and gave her his family name.
Alevtina (To the audience): My Goodness! It is that, the other girl in the photo! She and Katya are like twins. (Looks at Katya with sympathy.) And the little one - she is somehow fat!
Katya (With a sigh): And I like it!
Alevtina : And what name did they give her?
Alevtina : ?...
Alevtina : And I, by occasion, walked around here with a person under the stars yesterday. He was of tiny small stature.
Cashier: I beg your hand, Alevtina Alexandrovna. I have always taken a liking to tall women.
Alevtina : Really? Thanks for a kind word. And is your wife of high stature?
Cashier: I had two. It’s the third now. She isn’t tall and two years me senior. But looks younger. A ballerina in the past. And, do you know, I’m an astrologer, you see. (Dreamingly looks upwards.) Recently it has seemed to me that the souls who want to reincarnate have formed up a queue to me. (Smiles happily…) However, my wife is no assistant of mine in this business.
Alevtina (Looks at him surprisingly with a bewildered look. Addresses the audience.): Once,back in Soviet times I dropped in on my co-worker. As it used to be, the door was open. And with her – a lover, our mutual acquaintance. She begged, ‘Don’t tell anybody at work.’ – ‘Don’t worry.’ I said to her. Your lovers, I’d remark, are men of one type: tall, heavyweights, like thirty- three bogatyrs, the heroes of Russian fairy tales. And you are together with them – a kind of the uncle Tchernomor. As for me, - as a matter of fact, I have them all mixed, it makes me sick to recollect. And the co-worker commented on it like that: ‘my mother regarded people as men only if they were tall, and petty ones only deserved to be pressed upon, oppressed, trampled (looks at the Cashier with frightening eyes) like bedbugs. (Takes him by the collar, leads him out behind the scenes. Comes back, shakes her hands down. Addresses Katya.) You just look at him! Yours can maintain you at least! But that… (Takes him off.) ‘a long queue of non-reincarnated souls!’ Pah!!!
Katya: That’s what I say! If you want to provide for a woman, then provide! But don’t live in two families. Said that he went on a business trip, but actually… He went to her, I feel it!
Alevtina (To the audience): Men! We are two poles apart! We will never understand each other. (With annoyance.) Just gluttons! Stuff themselves with female essence! His wife is on the point of giving birth to a child. And he? Then they don’t only devour bodies, they devour women’s souls as well!
Katya (Sobbing): Actually, I don’t refuse him even now… Well, it is in accordance with Tchartkovsky, up to the very birth.
Alevtina (As if not listening to her): A season ticket to a brothel! Now, here you are, he has gone to the one who ‘is already’ from the one who ‘is still’. In fact, may all girls born be Elizavetes, Who count them? And boys – dear Ivans…
Katya (Her eyes sparkle.): Well, it’s all right, I’ll show him.
Alevtina (Looks at her with sympathy, maternally, then falls to thinking.): I imagine… Dear Katya, a woman should be like a sea. How many dirty streams flow in! And she is still gleaming with the purity of maternity.
Katya: Then how should I have it out with him so that he won’t go to her?
Alevtina : Then say it straight what your intuition has prompted to you . Sergey is of high opinion of himself. He regards himself as an honest man: doesn’t deceive, keeps his word. To deceive a woman doesn’t count with them, you know. He will confess. You, as his wife, have the right to require it that he wouldn’t live in two families. Bigamy isn’t legitimized in our country yet. Then require.
Katya: Oh! Let me better write it down.
Alevtina : Right, right, right. (Falls to thinking.) Introduction, culmination, ending. Write… (Bends to Katya. They speak whispering, gesticulate.) And then, we’ll get together, discuss what has turned out well and what hasn’t!
(Behind the transparent curtain Katya and Sergey’s shadows are playing the mime of a family quarrel. The scene ends up with Sergey leaving snatching at his head. Alevtina is sitting in an armchair waiting for Katya.)
Katya (With a feeling of satisfaction): We have had it out!!!
Alevtina : Is everything going on in accordance with the scenario?
Katya: Yes!!! I only made up the culmination myself.
Alevtina : ?...
Katya (With an air of pride): I said that if he doesn’t fulfill my requirements, I’ll initiate premature birth!
Alevtina (Struck dumb): …And he?
Katya: Says, ‘I don’t believe!’
Alevtina : And you?
Katya: And I say that I have already appointed the day and the time!
Alevtina : And he?
Katya: Says, ‘I have spoilt you!’
Alevtina (To the audience): …Ah, Sergey, up to now you have been dealing not with Katya, but with me, and well, now, here you are, - your sweetheart is in all her glory! With all her thirty two teeth: Bash! And what did you want? You, newborn millionaires! Both the virginity and the sex like hurricane. She’ll be able: if it’s tango – she will dance it, if it’s tennis, she’ll outplay you, if it’s roller-skating, she’ll overtake you, she’ll mount the horse at full gallop. In addition she’ll boil nice French soup. And all that-rubbing you the right way, the right way, as if she’s not 22, but all 50. There is a smell of special training, you know!
Katya (Offended): After all, you said it yourself, ‘when you become a wife and mother, you’ll get your own way’?!
Alevtina : Let’s think together, my dear Katya. Who are you if it’s already possible to speak to your baby through the wall (tapping at Katya’s belly with a crooked finger almost not touching it.) and you’re about to kill her. And what’s the purpose? To manipulate your husband, and the baby is his as well, you know! Then you respect neither your new life, nor your husband. To say nothing of love!
Katya (Flaps her lashes bewildered, then the expression of her face becomes arrogant.) Alevtina Alexandrovna, how much do I owe you for to-day’s specialist’s advice?:
Alevtina : As usual… Katya! Tell Sergey that you told all that nonsense against him not because of jealousy, but because of despair! Katya…
(Overcoming herself, she laughs. To the audience.)
Sergey didn’t get married to dear Katya, but to me. Dear Katya, you will give birth to a dear baby. The great motherly love will clear your soul. And thereafter there will always be room for a heroic deed in your life for many years! (Comes up to the edge of the stage.)
I taught and taught my dear Katya and have taught her nothing. To help – yes! To teach – hardly ever. But hurrah! We have won! She’s both a wife and mother and she’s rich! My mission is over. We parted with Katya at that point.
Years passed… I thought the story was in the past. But nevertheless one day we met each other again.
(The backdrop is painted with graphs of currency pairs. Instead of the one-armed bandits – there are laptops. Instead of the inscription – FORTUNA – it’s – FOREX, and above – a poster with the inscription TeleTRADE. Gamblers in business suits are standing their backs to the audience. The Cashier is on the left beside the blackboard. Alevtina is on the right at the table on which there is a book.)
Cashier: We have been working since 1994 and today we are the largest company in the UIS (Union of Independent States) and the countries of Europe. Every minute, 24 hours a day 120 offices of TeleTRADE in 20 countries of the world work for you. The possessor of prizes :Best Standart Forex Broker 2009, European quality 2004, Company of the World 2010, Best European Company in the financial sphere 2009! And so on, and so on.
Alevtina : And what will happen if Russians acquire the American dream?
Gambler No.2 (Turns his face to the audience.): They’ll start to smile and stop repenting and wearing everybody out.
Alevtina : Do Americans like money?
Gambler No.2: Russians like money more.
Alevtina : But we can’t deal with them virtually, manipulate.
Gambler No.3: You wanted to say ‘profiteer’, ‘speculate’.
Alevtina : Money in itself is an abstraction, you know. We like live money. Money – life, life – money. In our country the value of life has always been low, and that of money – high. The wrong trend. Life is more than money – it’s obvious, you see.
Gambler No.4 (Turns to them): One’s own life is more than money, and, even then, not always.
Alevtina : The one who believes that he/she is such a person that is not interested in personal gain sooner or later becomes a victim of manipulations.
Cashier: We’ll philosophize later. Now, let’s go on with the studies. Do you know who Isaac Newton was?
(Gamblers look at him interrogatively.)
A ridiculous question.
First of all he was a brilliant scientist, naturalist. But there are few who know that he was a stock-exchange trader! Newton – a quick mind – by Lomonosov’s apt remark, – at the age of 43, in his prime, threw up science and became the Head of the Mint.
Alevtina (At the table with a book in her hands): He was broke in 1720 when the Company of the Southern Sea crashed.
(Gamblers turn their eyes to Alevtina in fear.)
Cashier: Pay attention that the conception of profit, derivative of the cost, had been widely practiced hundreds of years before the conception of acceleration, and it’s quite possible that it was the very thing that directed Newton into the discovery of the fundamental law of physics.
(Writes on the blackboard: f=ma.)
Just like that!
Gambler No.1 (Stretches his hand): May I ask?
Cashier: Yes, of course.
Gambler No.1: Does it mean that, where the stock exchange is – apples grow?
Alevtina : No wonder that ninety percent of beginner traders are kicked off the market.
Cashier: No, apples don’t grow there, but ‘bulls’ and ‘bears’ are found. Now the former win, now – the latter.
Gambler: And what do we do?
Cashier: They who win are right, and we follow them running.
Gamblers all together: Eh, well, it’s clear. We can do it.
Cashier: Let’s get down to studying indicators. And, remember, the stock exchange is not a casino, and not the hall of one-armed bandits, there should be scientific approach and persistent labor here.
Alevtina (Looks in the book, reads): ‘ Technical analysis is an exact science, all prognoses come true by all means. The only unknown thing is – when and where’.
What a fate – once again – to manuals! I’m nearly 60 already and only with the coming of menopause the nightmares of exams stopped appearing in my dreams. (Reads further.)’ Forty percent of the inhabitants of America profiteer on financial markets’.
(Leafs through the book pensively…)
M-M-M… Forty percent of the inhabitants of America profiteer on financial markets and we are going in the same direction. Here is a suitable quotation: ‘Necessity teaches to think’ and, here – ‘You can get down to any problem, but only a prepared personality has the strength to solve it correctly’.
(Looks at the audience.)
We ask one another, ‘Do you respect me?’ And why not to ask, ‘Do I respect myself? Aren’t I a personality?! I’ll be able to tear myself away from poverty!’
Cashier: So, I repeat: where the trend is going – we follow it. A trend is stable prolonged moving of the price in a particular direction for a given scale of time in the market. And now say all together, ‘Trend is my friend!’
Alevtina (joins the chanting enthusiastically): Trend is my friend!
(Everybody marches chanting)
Cashier (Writes currency pairs on the blackboard. The dance of currency pairs. The march changes to a waltz. With the Cashier as the dance-master.) Here are currency pairs. Money can serve as merchandise. For example, we buy dollars for yens, pounds for dollars and so on. When the price is going up - we buy, when it’s falling – we sell.
(The waltz changes to folk dancing.)
Let my darling have a stroll,
And I’ll go to become a trader,
I’ll play it up for boutiques
And I’ll mow it up for a car.
I told my wife that I’m going to a friend
But in fact - I went to the office of TeleTRADE
And my darling is already sitting there
Alevtina (Looking at the dancers): Oh, Youth! Time, Time, Time… Time, not money is the main thing?!
Cashier: Well, you’ve moved around a bit, rested, then– to work. Time is flowing, the graph is changing. Horizontally – time, vertically – value.
(Gamblers are working, silence… Pause… music performed on goblets sounds - light characteristic clinking. Pause…)
Alevtina : Well, that’s all. Let’s start from the scratch, from the Red Square. In the vicinity, on the cobble stone road there marked the Zero kilometer of Russia’s motor-ways. People of different ages come there and set themselves on the Zero, think of wishes and throw coins over their left shoulders. What do you think they ask the fate to give them: money or love?
I"m ready to start from the scratch once again… Interesting times have come! You can work without the boss and co-workers: may there be a computer and the Internet! And where are you yourself? Well, anywhere you like.
Gambler No.4: My granny thought that God needed a spectator who could value all the miracles and beauties of the Earth according to their merits. This means that God is more pleased with the person who has seen more and has been able to appreciate it.
Gambler No.2: It’s not a grandmother, but a sort of cosmopolite. And what about Motherland? What about the labor for the common weal?
Gambler No.1: Look, what you are speaking!
Alevtina : Not only potatoes, but also men will get smaller if for decades on end you have planted and replanted them into the same exhausted soil.
Cashier: Well, buy a car, then!
Gambler No.3: Ha! A woman at the wheel!
Gambler No.1 (With excitement): Baba, - the plain woman, sees a dream… In the morning she thinks, ‘What does it foretell?’ And decides that it’s for money. And exactly so – bumps into a bank collector’s car.
Alevtina: Alas, it’ about me…I got a driver’s license and …only 35 years later sat behind the
wheel. I wish I had employed an instructor! They had given the car to my father, a disabled serviceman of the first group of invalidity; naturally, it was that of home production. When all the nuts were put the screws on, the door, all the same, had to be rasped a little for it to be able to open. The first thing that broke down was the electricity generator, the diodes burnt out. In general, the whole thing had to be disassembled , and then – assembled again. Preferably, with new spare parts. That’s for you to see – the attitude of the state to the defenders of Motherland, that’s the attitude to a person’s life, here is the encyclopedia of the Russian soul. Isn’t it a garbage dump?!
Take any profession – wherever you look in – there is baseness, take any family – there a skeleton in the wardrobe.
Gambler No.1: What does it have to do with the Russian soul? It is the Soviet soul. We are all still Soviet.
Alevtina : Exactly. What good can go out of bad semen?
Gambler No.2: One lady was asked how much it had taken her to learn to drive.
-No, three cars.
Alevtina : And once again man’s myths about women! Their faces become lively and bloom with smiles - it’s the men who haven’t been at the wheel since their very birth - tell jokes on the topic ‘woman-driver’!
(Closes her laptop with irritation.Goes away.
Sharp noise of brakes from behind the scene. Everybody comes running to the left of the stage forming a worried crowd. At first they are silent, then speak almost simultaneously.)
Gambler No.2: And I see a foreign car is overtaking me, then - the second one… ‘Let them do it’, I think, I’m not in a hurry. And, well, I never!...One runs into the other.
Gambler No.1: Constructional work. Such a poor barrier! Only flags, and where is the sign?
Gambler No.3: And you, - look where you are going!
Gambler No.4: Keep the distance!
(Women’s screams behind the scenes. Mutual accusations, Katya and Alevtina run into the stage from the right, waving hands excitedly.)
Katya: You are a blind hen!
Alevtina : And where are you looking at? Is it necessary to draw in?!
(Katya stamps her feet like a child and sits down on the floor.)
Katya: Right now I’ll throw everything away and go to my Mom!
(Alevtina stands still and, being struck, throws up her hands. The joy of recognition.)
Alevtina : Dear Katya! Is it you?
(Lifts her up and hugs.)
Katya: Alevtina Alexandrovna!
Alevtina : Well, you’re a beauty! Used to be a pretty girl, and has become a beautiful young woman. Just a diamond in a suitable frame!
Katya (Again into tears): Sergey just bought me a newly made Opel for a present. Oh, he’ll be cursing!
Alevtina : Well, I’ll buy another car for you!
Katya: Really? Sergey will swear all the same.
Alevtina : Oh, then I’ll buy another Sergey for you!
Katya: You mean it?!
Alevtina : I’m joking. Oh, ho! And here are traffic wardens, they aren’t joking.
(Looks behind the scenes. Encouragingly hugs Katya again.)
The main thing is – WE are alive!
Cashier: Then you are acquainted? Here, Alevtina Alexandrovna, you can never open your account. You keep on learning. It’s good, but it’s already high time to get closer to the business. You’ve got wonderful results after all. You practically don’t lose. But you demonstrate incomprehensible indecision. Katerina Ivanovna, however didn’t get into long consideration: she brought her husband as an investor. And ahead! Plus some interest in addition to the winnings for bringing an investor.
Katya: Alevtina Alexandrovna! Then, can I switch myself up and duplicate your transactions?
Cashier: Of course, Katerina Ivanovna, our company provides clients with such a resource.
Alevtina : Well, dear Katya, we have between us our common experience how to win. Let’s try out a new round!
Cashier: Well, it’s good! As Alexander Sergeevich Pushkin used to say, ‘I’d rather die, than stop gambling.’ But, take it into account, dear ladies, he regarded the game with ‘excitement’ as something depraved, though he called commercial games virtue.
So, to business!
(Looks at the audience and winks at them.)
Family name First name Patronymics
Rudoy Anna Vladimirovna
Date of birth
14 January, 1954
Post code 98600
Yalta A.R. Crimea
Certificate No. 789 of registration of the work of art – the object of intellectual property. (ROPAS )
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