Аннотация: The Director and the Actors return to St. Petersburg after a theatrical tour in America. At this time, they see on TV , that in Moiscow began putsch. They do not know how to return to Russia, when in Moscow shoot.
TO MOSCOW, TO MOSCOW... HISTORY OF the 90'S.
NATALIE -- an actress, about 45 years old or more;
SERGEI - the director, about 59 years old or more;
RAISA -- an actress, about 50 years.
DIMA'S VOICE - Dima -- an Natalie"s ex--boyfriend, about 29 years old.
TIMES: Fall of 1993
PLACE: One of the cheap New York hotels, where Russian actors stayed before their return to Russia after two week tours in America.
A room in the American hotel. Natalie lies on the bed. The phone rings. Natalie picks up the phone.
DIMA'S VOICE. Well, how"re you?
NATALIE. Lying, it"s hot here...
DIMA'S VOICE. I ask you whether you"ve made up your mind?
NATALIE. Not yet.
DIMA'S VOICE. Natasha, I beg you, from the bottom of my heart, stay here. I understand that you"re an actress you have leading parts, but don"t forget that you"re also a human being. I need you. We"ll be together!
NATALIE. If I stay, what am I to do in America?
DIMA'S VOICE: What everybody does. America is big... You"ll find some job...
NATALIE. What job? Not as an actress.
DIMA'S VOICE: Is it necessary to be an actress? There are a lot of former actresses from Russia here, they live like other people do and don"t complain, bought cars, got houses... By the way, you can sew. Remember how well you hemmed my jeans?
NATALIE. You want to say that I can hem...
DIMA'S VOICE: Either to sew or hem, that"s not important. We"ll make up something, we"ll be together... Oh, can you clean streets from snow?
NATALIE. I don"t know, never tried.
DIMA'S VOICE: Well, you"ll try it here in America.
DIMA'S VOICE. Kidding, kidding! And what about baby-sitting?
NATALIE. I"ve never had kids. Where do you work now?
DIMA'S VOICE: In a night restaurant. It is just a job.
NATALIE. Are you again kidding? What are you doing here?
DIMA'S VOICE: Washing dishes. I"ll soon quit this job, I get enough from my main job. In America plumbers earn as much as professors do. Give me a call, I"ll be waiting. Bye-bye.
(Natalie hangs up. A knock on the door. Enters Sergei)
SERGEI. Natalie, may I come in? I need to talk to you. Tete-a-tete. Don"t worry, I"ve brought my beer with me.
NATALIE. Come on in.
SERGEI. Tell me, if I disturb you.
NATALIE. OK... OK.
SERGEI. Do you want some beer?
NATALIE. No, I don"t like beer.
SERGEI. But I do. I'll put a few cans in the frig?
(Puts the beer in the refrigerator)
When it"s hot the beer should be cold... When " perestroika" happened, and we started going abroad on tours, I set a goal for myself: to taste all sorts of beer... Here I added the American beer to my collection. Good beer, I must say, but Guinness is cool.
NATALIE. And what is Guinness?
SERGEI: Beer, Irish. As soon as I tasted it, I understood it was just what I liked, can"t live without Guinness.
NATALIE. A lot of beer is harmful.
SERGEI. I know, but I drink. Were you watching TV? There is again some commotion in Moscow. The parliament, the constitution, the president - again the same "love triangle".
NATALIE. And what is it that they cannot divide?
SERGEI. Power. I"ll tell you frankly, I am sick and tired of all this. When I look at all these civilized countries I feel envious: the people are living... They are living well and don"t bother anybody... Why can"t we do the same in Russia? Are we worse than they?
NATALIE. How do I know?
SERGEI. Now I visit different countries and mentally try each of them on myself: whether could I live here? One is like too small: too tight under the arms, another - too tight in the collar... But America is just right, my favorite size: it is as big and wide as Russia... A large, great country, but I"ll tell you straight - alien. I"ll tell you frankly: if I were offered now to stay here for a month or a year and to stage any play I"d agree without a moment"s thoughts
NATALIE. And if for your whole life?
SERGEI. For my whole life? I don"t know. I"d rather not... Absolutely not.
SERGEI. I am an irreparable optimist, I believe that in Russia, we"ll crawl out to the temping coast and warm up under the sun of the wester civilization. Why do you ask me about this?
NATALIE. For no particular reason. You sound so sure now, but after you live here for a year you"ll think in a different way.
SERGEI. I don"t think so. One smart person said: now our Russian society is not divided according to classes or national characteristics; it is divided into those who want to live in Russia and those who prefer to live in the West. And I"m one of those who want to live in Russia.
(Sergei gets another can of beer from the frig; at first he resolutely pulls it aside, but after a second"s thought, opens it and slowly drinks it with relish)
SERGEI. Yes, Guinness, is Guinness even in America.
NATALIE. Why don"t you drink Guinness in Russia?
SERGEI. I can"t afford it. To speak frankly, Natalie, I don"t understand how we would live there, in Russia, without these tours. I know that in other theaters the actors are not paid salaries.
NATALIE. People do not get their salary everywhere, not only in the theaters.
SERGEI. Well, I think, we"ll go back to Russia and again the same ordeal: what play to stage, how much it will cost, how much we will get from it. Nowadays everything is measured by rubles including arts. And we cannot count money, we"re not used to it... Because great art and money are "two incompatible things"... And new theaters grow up like mushrooms; whether you want or don"t - you"re supposed to compete...
NATALIE. Have you come to complain?
SERGEI. Wrong. I need to speak... about something very important...
NATALIE. Speak out!
SERGEI. My throat is drying out. I feel excited. It"s hard to start.
(Natalie raises herself, lowers down her feet from the bed, fumbles for slippers and puts them on)
NATALIE. Just make an effort.
SERGEI. Wait a little... Firstly about our performance: "The Cherry Orchard". It is the last of Chekhov"s plays, the most impressionist, the most inexplicable... He weaved such subtle human relationships in this play like a spider the weaves its cobweb. And now see, you may call it a success. People come, watch, applaud, whistle, even rise from their seats...The audience is of different colors. What does Chekhov mean to them? What do they mean for Chekhov?
NATALIE. Why did you decide to stage Chekhov?
SERGEI. My inner voice said: "Sergei, if you want to go abroad - stage Chekhov". And I chose "The Cherry Orchard". At first I didn"t understand what this play is about. All our "know-it-all"s" explained to me that it is either about the arising bourgeoisie or about the wearing out nobility...
NATALIE. We learned it in school...
SERGEI. But I just thought that while writing his plays Checkov lived in Yalta, waiting for his wife - actress Olga Knipper... She used to come from Moscow and go away, left him, and he stayed alone... God, how I suffered while directing it... It was you who helped me to understand the play...
SERGEI. When I gave you the leading part, and you went out on the stage so mysterious and thoughtful, so beautiful, ... I understood that this play is about love, a strange love, called delusion... Your first entrance: the main character Ranevskaya is arriving from Paris; she left her lover there. If her lover calls her, she will go back, because she loves him more than the cherry orchard, more than her daughters... But I just cannot understand one thing: how could you so coldly ... I don"t know how to say, ... play this love?
NATALIE. I played myself...
SERGEI. Yourself? Why? ... Who is he?
NATALIE. Do you remember the young man to whom you gave the role of a "passer-by" in "The Cherry Orchard"?
SERGEI. Your nephew? I remember... (pause) Oh, now I understand, you like teenagers... And I, an old fool... I guessed always, you had some secret...
SERGEI. Because... you never responded to my courting.
NATALIE. There was no courting at all.
SERGEI. There was, there was, you just didn"t pay attention to it...
SERGEI. Since our first meeting in the Crimea, in the House for Actors? You were there with your husband, Pyotr Georgiyevich himself. I was head over tail in love with you, I was worried...
NATALIE. I thought you were flirting with my husband.
SERGEI. Don"t talk nonsense, I am a normal guy with a normal orientation. Pyotr Georgiyevich was certainly a wonderful director... Yes, he left us and the stage very early. But you, if my memory doesn"t fail me,... you had left him much earlier...
NATALIE. I divorced him just after the vacation, before his death.
SERGEI. I followed you everywhere, and it turns out that you didn"t notice me... Natalie, you"re a mysterious woman...(Grins.)
NATALIE. What"s up?
SERGEI. My friend gave the definition of a mysterious woman...
NATALIE. What is the definition?
SERGEI. It"s a woman,... how to say it in a simple way, with whom you don"t know exactly whether you could have sex or not, in short, whether she could give... or not... Such a woman passes you by... and leaves behind this damned uncertainty... What was his name?
NATALIE. Whose name?
SERGEI. Your great ...- your nephew...
NATALIE. Dima, Dymich, Dimulya.
SERGEI. How come I didn"t understand it at once?... Because I was busy... Now I know what my basic sin is... I have always thought: I have time, the whole life is still ahead... Tell me about him...
NATALIE. When I remember what happened to me three years ago - the delusion, that"s it... I was crazy about him, he was too... Six months passed like a moment, neither quarrels, nor discord, all this happened later... I used to run home from the theatre with shopping and string bags, everything was easy for me... I cried out from the threshold: "kids, kids...", and Dima was already at the door, taking my bags... and If used to see dreams like those of my youth: I was flying, flying... They say, if you fly in the dream you grow-up, but it"s not true...
SERGEI. You"re right... All these flights in the dreams mean something to do with sex.
NATALIE. It"s been always on your mind. My psychiatrist told me: "Flying means movement, liberty, the desire to be stronger and influential".
SERGEI. Nonsense! ... What"s the difference in your ages - is it a secret?
NATALIE. He was about fourteen years younger than me. I was his mother, sister and lover, all at the same time.
NATALIE. Don"t whistle. Now it"s quite unimportant: younger, older...
SERGEI. What do you think is important?
SERGEI. You"re right. Love is an exotic flower that blossoms out once in the hundred years. Where did you get acquainted?
NATALIE. By chance, at the meeting. During the first "Putsch", in 1991 just at the Dvortsovaya Square.
SERGEI. Yes, it was an interesting time... We all gathered at the Dvortsovaya Square then. There was no room to swing a cat. Do you remember, the mayor raised his hand showing victory with his two fingers and the sea of hands flew up at the square and everybody, on the spur of the moment, showed "fuck you" to the putsch"s members. Those were thrilling moments. The whole square was crying out: "Li-ber-ty! Li-ber-ty!" I cried out with the all of them. I thought then that as soon as we got rid of the tireless tutelage of our beloved communist party, everything would be all right.
NATALIE. We were wrong.
SERGEI. It turns out so... Remember, after the first Putsch, how happy everybody was? People were walking in the streets, ready to embrace each other. We sensed the breath of history then; it breathed in our faces...
NATALIE. And Dima breathed on my neck... I felt his stare and looked back. We started conversation. He was a student at the theatre college. He knew me and something about my theatrical career, how I had made my way through...
SERGEI (ironically). Yes, your way of an actress was not easy... I think that you had to tread on the throat of your own song... and not only of the song...
NATALIE. What do you mean?
SERGEI. You know what I mean.
NATALIE. Sergei, let"s drop the subject. If I start recalling what you had to tread on as the director...
SERGEI (hasty). OK, OK, let"s drop-it... Where were we?
NATALIE. Very soon Dima moved to my apartment from the hostel. I immediately understood: he needed a guide. He was such a darling, he obeyed me absolutely: all ears, all attention. I taught him how to win. He was my Galatea, I-his Pygmalion. He wanted to learn playing the guitar - I gave him money for learning. Then I paid attention to his muscles, and an idea occurred to me to make him our Russian Schwarzenegger. Dima jumped at the idea he found it to his liking. We set about it seriously. started cooking the food for him as required in the manual on...
SERGEI. We call it culturism, they - bodybuilding.
NATALIE. He did his best, trained all day long, did his foolish exercises with all his strength. I even became jealous of his training... But... later I understood that he would have never become "Iron Arni" -- he was too short.
SERGEI. Did he give up when you told him about his heigh?
NATALIE. Of course... Then he made up his mind to start business... All his friends had already become "dealers" and Dima borrowed money, went to Turkey, earned something, but there were still debts... And once I found a whole arsenal under my bed. Oh, I was hysterical, screamed, cried. Try to imagine, if grenades would explodes? Dima explained to me: he could not pay off the debt and was blackmailed, forced to deal with arms. I understood that he had gotten in a mess and decided to send him to America for a while... My friend from New York sent an invitation, we borrowed money for a ticket, and my dear Dima flew away...
SERGEI. Yes, it"s very interesting, very interesting... Natalie, sorry. I"ll have to interrupt you: can"t stay without beer, throat is drying out... I"ll go and fetch some more. I"ll be in a flash.
(Sergei exits. Natalie picks up the phone and dials the number)
NATALIE: Hello! Hello! Dima, are you still at work?
DIMA'S VOICE. Yes, a little is remained... Have you decided anything?
NATALIE. Dima, I"ve been thinking: may be you will marry an American woman first?
DIMA'S VOICE. What for?
NATALIE. To get here the status, and then I"ll...
DIMA'S VOICE. You don"t know what kind of women are Americans... they"re completely different. The only thing that worries them is: "Not to be used".