5.2.92 GOGOL92

Contact: Anatoly Antohin, director Theatre UAF, Fairbanks AK 99775 USA 907/474-7751, fax 907/474-6841

(Russian Tale of American Bureaucracy)

*Revizor, 1836 by Nikolai Gogol

"A satire on the duplicity and greed of humanity. The citizens of a provincial town abounding with civic graft and bribe-taking discover (through the unscrupulous postmaster, who intercepts a letter) that a government inspector is to visit the town. In sudden terror the civic officials mistake a young, out-of-pocket clerk and his disreputable companion, who are staying in the local hostelry, for the government inspector and his valet. They confront him with this and he, Klestakhov, being an opportunist, accepts their blandishments, bribes, protestations of honesty, and the proffered affections of the mayor's daughter. Finally, he escapes with his loot; and, while the townsmen are busily recriminating one another, the true inspector arrives, and they are frozen in a tableau of terror as the final curtain drops."

Men (approximately 20), 10 superb character portraits. Women (6).
SETS: The parlor of the mayor; a wretched hotel room.

Summer 92: St.Petersburg, American-Russian Theatre Company
Fall 92: Main Stage Theatre UAF, Alaska

Story takes place in Alaska, time - present.

TEXTS: David Magarshack trans. in The Storm and Other Russian Plays (Hill and Wang), of F.D.Reeve trans. in An Anthology of Russian Plays (Random), Vol.I


Alaska? What inspection is coming? Feds! Sauna, health club - president of the state university (how get Positions to be translated in Academia?) American bureaucracy = Russian = Soviet! Communism didn't die, but won! Secretary of Education, or any American socialist program - mister K. dpeartment.


The Mayor, Anton
Wife, Anna
Daughter, Maria
Luka, Superintendent of Schools
His wife
The Judge, Ammos
Welfare Commissioner, Artemy
The Postmaster, Ivan
Peter I and Peter II - 
Dobchinsky, Bobchinsky - Landowners
Khlestakov, a clerk from St. Petersburg
Osip, his servant
The District Doctor, Christian Ivanovich
Retired officials
A police captain (Chief)
Abdulin, a merchant
A locksmith's wife
A Sergeant's widow
Mishka, the Mayor's servant
A waiter
Other policemen, guests, merchants, citizens, petitioners

"Dancing Set": Moving doors. Rolling furniture. Portraits on the back of the doors.
Directions for the Actors (Gogol)


PLAYS directory @ Film-North *

TOPICS: drama + comedy + postmodern + american age + self + future + death + past + present + time + space + love + family + generations + god * 2007
... "Инвестор" вместо "Ревизор"?

[ advertising space : webmaster ]
Fall 2005 = Chekhov-One-Acts "Chekhov: Take 2" -- "Four Jokes + One Funeral", 1904 Anton's death (new one-act): last day, last hour. Six years since I directed "The Three Sisters" (why now and why the farces?)
Annensky about Chekhov (in Russian, the summer read), I envy the style -- very personal, almost if he himself wrote the play, as if he knows them, Masha, Olga, Irina... The secondary characters became the heroes, the jerks, the types from the comedies -- and we got the tragedy, Beckett only finished this journey... Now -- The American mini-Chekhov!
Script Analysis Directory

filmplus.org + vtheatre.net
index * acting * SHOWS directory * WRITE directory @ GeoAlaska * Script Analysis * Film Analysis * Directing * Acting * Theatre Books * Film Books * 200X Aesthetcis * Bookmark vTheatre! * My Nonfiction (webtexts): Theology of Technology * POV * PostAmeriKa * Father-Russia * Anatoly Theatre Blog - News

Investor General UAF cut


A Modern Old Tale 
(Adaptation of Gogol's comedy)

@1992 all right reserved
Anatoly G. Antohin


MISTER K, man from America
JO, his Russian friend and assistant 
MAYOR, the mayor of the small Siberian town 
ANNA, his wife  
MARY, his daughter 
SUPER, schools' superintendent  
JUDGE, local judge  
DIRECTOR, Director of Social Services 
EDITOR of local newspaper and councilman 
DOB Chinsky & BOB Chinsky, local councilmen and businessmen
CHIEF, police captain

     Time: Christmas 199...
     Place: small Siberian town "Leninsk" recently renamed back
to "Little Mudhole"
     Set: Mayor's office, Room in local hotel, Mayor's house

     "Dancing Set" - everything moves, including doors.  At some
dramatic moments by themselves.  Mayor's office equipment has
life of its own - telephones, fax or printer don't work, except
for the time when you don't need them.  Slogans: "Lets Complete
Our Historic Leap to Capitalism before Christmas!"  "God Bless
Free Market!"  "Army and Police for Democracy!"  "Re-elect Mayor,
the Industrial Christianity Party Leader!"  
     The sky is Russian Paradise, and/or American Dream; bright
advertizing, happy bill boards, gigantic hamburgers, tuxedos,
tacky wedding dresses, big cars and smiles of movie superstars,
canned food - The Americana - suspended in the air an overblown
junk yard, a heavenly garage sale - oh, a sweet dream of every
Russian!  On the floor - a  blue print of success, ways to
riches, dollar signs - a monopoly game board.  The flies bring
"America" down when they, little people on the floor, are
dreaming, and take it away back up to the dream land - up, up,
till everything is out of sight.  Even furniture leaves.  An
Empty Space.  Dumb Scene.
     What a strange way we're moving into "global village" -
there's more socialist spirit in Alaska then in Russia, and more
capitalist crusaders in Siberia then in America.  Russia finally
entered the American Age and of course became more American than
America itself.  So I looked at the Gogol's play as a true
classic and used the story as a myth for a contemporary tale.  A
traditional comedy of errors in which an American student
stranded in a small Siberian town on his way to Fairbanks is
mistaken for a big time American investor...  
     What's wrong with America is more visible in "American
Russia".  What's wrong with Russia is more obvious when Russians
try to be true Americans.

SCENE 1: Secret Meeting
               (MAYOR, SUPER, JUDGE, DIRECTOR are in the room. 
Voice on the tape "English for Beginners": "And now lets sing
together!  Ready?  "Old Mcdonald had a farm..."  Mayor sings,
others follow).
                               MAYOR  (Turns off the tape player) 
     I have invited you all here to tell you -- it's coming.



     Money.  Greenbacks!  But secretly.

     Money!?  Secretly?  From where?

     Let me show you a fax I've received from my friend in
Moscow.  (Reads)  "An American businessman has arrived to
investigate all of Siberia, and your region in particular. 
Although he pretends to be a tourist, he is in fact a
millionaire, planning to invest billions."

     Millionaire!?  To us!?  To invest!?  Incredible! 
Unbelievable!  Billions?!  And to us?!

     Now listen closely.  Until now, they've only been
approaching big cities.  Well, now it's our turn to steal western
aid.  Watch out and don't fall on your face.  I've made some
arrangements already, and I recommend that you do the same.  (To
DIRECTOR)  Especially you.  The American for sure will want to
check out our health conditions for his investment.  Make the
place presentable, so your patients won't be walking like a gang
from the Gulag.  Also, write things in English everywhere.  Oh,
and it's no good that your patients are smoking in bed and
damaging the environment.  In America, there is a campaign
against smoking.  In fact, it's better if there are fewer
patients altogether.

     Oh, we have our methods.  The closer to nature, the better--
we don't use fancy medications.  Man is a simple animal; if he's
about to die, he'll die, if he's about to get better, he'll get
better, no matter what.  

                         MAYOR (To Judge)
     And you should pay attention to your court.  The staff is
keeping geese in the courtroom, and the damn birds are constantly
underfoot.  Now, it's understandable that, according to the
president's decree, everybody must have a private enterprise,
but, you know, in such a place it's unsuitable.

     Alright, by a court order they all will be killed. 
Immediately.  I mean, the birds.  

       Besides, you have all that rubbish drying everywhere. 
Skins, fish, and on the file cabinet, a machine gun!  I know that
you like to hunt, but for now, you'd best hide it.  After the
American leaves, you can hang them all up again.  Oh, and then
there's your court clerk.  He is, of course, a hero and a
veteran, but he smells as if he's just crawled out of a vodka
bottle.  There are natural remedies for it, if it really is, as
he claims, his natural odor.  Advise him to eat onions or garlic.

      Impossible!  There is no way of getting rid of it.  He says
they dropped him in delivery room, and ever since, he's smelled
of vodka.

     Alright, alright.  Just order him not to breathe in the
presence of the millionaire.  And one last thing.  I want you all
to take it easy with the privatization campaign while the
American's here.  I mean, stop stealing openly.

     But that depends on what you mean.  I tell everyone honestly
that I take bribes.  But in what manner?  Dollars, marks, franks. 
That's different.  That is collector's items.

     A bribe is a bribe!

     I disagree, Mayor.  For example, let us take the following
case: when someone has a wife, and the wife has a fur---

                      MAYOR (Interrupting)
     That's not the point, the point is that you don't believe in
right democracy and proper God, whereas every Sunday I am in the
church reading newspapers.  But you?  When you start talking
about reforms, it's hair-raising!

     I came to the discovery of the Universal Law of Progress by
myself, using only my own brain.

     In some cases, too much brains is worse than no brains at
all.  (to SUPER)  And you, as the school superintendent, you must
do something about those teachers of yours!  I realize they're
intelligentsia of every sort, but they have some strange
behavior.  Which I suppose goes along with a teaching profession. 
One of them, for instance--I can't recall his name--he can't get
up in front of the class without making a face, and then he
scratches his hairy chest.  Okay, if he makes such a face to a
bad student, it may be necessary to the educational process, but
imagine if he does it to our American.  Mister Investor might
take it personally.

     What can I do with him?  I've told him a million times.  The
other day, when our congressman came to visit the school, he made
a face worse than anything I had ever seen before.  He did it out
of his good heart, but I got reprimanded, "Why are reactionary
ideas being implanted in our the youths' heads?"

                      MAYOR (Interrupting)
     Also, I must talk to you about the history teacher.  He may
be a Ph.D. candidate, that's obvious, and he's got plenty of
historical facts in his head, but why does he have to explain
everything with such passion?  Why, once I heard him--well, when
he was talking about the Czars, it was alright, but when he got
to Stalin, I can't describe what happened to him.  He began to
run about crying, and he smashed his chair on the floor like a
madman.  Now, I understand that Comrade Stalin was a tyrant, but
why smash the chairs?  It's damaging to the democratic property.

     Yes, he's hot.  I've mentioned it to him a billion times,
but he just tells me, "You can do whatever you want, but for the
sake of progress and the human race, I am ready to take my own
life at any time!"

     Yes, that's one of the mysterious rules of nature, an
intelligent man is either a drunk or an idiot.

     Exactly!  I hope own my worst enemy never has to serve in
the department of education, sir. 

                       MAYOR (Interrupts)
     All right!  Comrades!  This American is our ticket to a big
time game!  We'll milk mister America until he has nothing to
invest anywhere.  Now, what is our strategy?  Our major task is
to create an image for this city!  To show that we are also a
part of Europe, but simply as yet undiscovered by America. 

     (Phones ring, all panic)

Scene 2: Getting Press Ready
     (EDITOR enters, with papers, smoking)

     What's going on?  What's this about an American coming?

     Well?  What do you think about it?

     What do I think?  War is coming!

     Just as I thought!

     I'm telling you, a war is coming between Siberia and Russia.

     What war?  I have this fax.  (Shows the fax)

     Well, in that case, there will be no war.

                        MAYOR (to EDITOR)
     Well, what do you think, Mister "Press"?

     Me?  I'm a small fish.  How do you feel, mayor?

     Well, I don't have any fear, as such, but then, you know,
the taxpayers, the business people, the population, they make me
worry.  They say that I'm bad.  Even if I took and gave, here and
there, it was done without bad feelings.  I'm sure there will be
some letters to the editor against me.  Listen, couldn't you, for
our common good, if any such letter arrives, just, you know, just
"correct" it a little bit.  And then, you can print it in the
paper, or even not print it at all.

     No need to tell me, I do it all the time.  Not out of
precaution, but simply out of love for the Russian language.

     One day, you will get in trouble for such editing.

     Yes, yes.  It would be a different matter if we were making
personal use of it.  But this is for the city's sake, so to
speak.  Because of our patriotic intentions!  Just imagine, a
millionaire!  Billions of dollars!  And it could happen any
minute now.  Any minute the door could open and--...

     (Doors open and move.  Voices BS, arguing)

SCENE 3: He is Here!
                                   (BOB and DOB CHINSKY enter
                                    breathless, with dark glasses
                                              and brief cases)

     Amazing incident!

     Heavy news!

     What, what is it?

     We went to the hotel...

                       BOB (Interrupting)
     Me and Dob, we went to the hotel...

                       DOB (Interrupting)
     Shut up Bob, let me tell the story!

     Oh no, let me tell it, let me, you have no style.

     And you will stumble and won't even remember the whole

     I will, I swear I will!  Please, don't interrupt, let me
tell it.

     I'm about to have a heart attack!  Everybody sit down!  Now,
what is it?

     Let me start from the very beginning.  As soon as I left you
after your fax--(To DOB) Please don't interrupt--I ran to the
judge, from the judge to the director, from the director to the
editor and at the "Golden Mud" I meet Dob.  Yes, and after I meet
Dob I say to him, "Have you heard the news our mayor got from his
reliable sources?"  (To DOB)  Don't interrupt me!  He, Dob, said,
"Let's stop by a hotel, there's an headache in my stomach.  Let's
get a couple of wake up drinks," and just then as we walked into
the restaurant and suddenly a young man...

                       DOB (Interrupting) 
     With a foreign face, American smile and western eyes...

     With a foreign face, smile, and eyes was walking around the
cafeteria and on his face he had such a look of deliberation, so
to speak.  And I said to Dob, "Here is something not of our
make!"  Yes!  And Dob had already asked the owner, whose wife
gave birth three weeks ago and the little boy is an businessman
already--he will be a crook like his father--  (To DOB)  Oh,
please, don't interrupt, don't interrupt me, you have one tooth
that whistles -- "That young man," the owner says, "is a
foreigner from Alaska and behaves very strangely.  It's his
second week here and he doesn't pay!"  Well then it hit me
suddenly.  "Aha," I said to Dob--
                        DOB (Interrupts)
     No Bob, it was me who said, "Aha."

     You said it first then I said it.  "Aha," we said together, 
"What is he doing here in Mudhole if he is an American?  And if
he is from Alaska, how come he has no money?  Aha!"  Yes sir,
that's him, that's your American.

     What?  From Alaska?  "My American"?

     The one you received your fax about, the billionaire.

     No!  What are you talking about?  It can't be him.

     It's him!  He doesn't pay and doesn't leave.  What other
kind of foreigner would stay here, and for what reason?
     Him, him!  It must be him - the investor.  He is so
observant.  Examines everything, notices us drinking -- because
of Dob's stomach, he even peered in our glasses.  So sharp I
thought I was going to die.
     Jesus Christ, in our "Golden Mud"!  What room?

     Under the stairs.  The same room where the guys from the air
base got into a big fight last year.

     The storage room!  Oh!  No!  Has he been here long?

     Second week already.

     What!?  Two weeks!  In those two weeks we had two labor
strikes, eight anti-government demonstrations, joint communist-
monarchists rally, anarchists' hunger strike, not counting street

     Well, Mayor, should we pay him an official grand visit?

     Yes!  The first to go are the children, the war veterans,
the single mothers...

                      MAYOR (Interrupting)
     No, no.  Let me handle it my quiet diplomacy way.  Everybody
get busy.  (To CHIEF)  Get the car!  No, wait.  Stop!  Let me
brush my English.  (Turns on the tape.  Voice: "And now lets sing
another beautiful song!  Are you ready?  Music!  "Head and

ACT 2: Hotel "Golden Mud"
Scene I: American Hunger in
     (Jo and Mister K, two beds, chairs)



     Go there.


     Down there, to the cafeteria.  Tell them!  Tell them to give
me something to eat.

     What's the point?  They said, no way.  Period.

     How dare they to refuse?  I'm on credit!

     Exactly!  That's why they want to call the police.  "You
with your American, they say, are the thieves, and your American
is fake one.  He will sit together with you, they said, in our
jail very very soon."

     They won't give me anything on credit and talk about a
market economy!  No transfer money by phone, no credit cards, no
tickets, no planes, no trains, no phones!  No nothing!  And a
poor American student must go on hungry in studying their rich
Russian language!  Communists!  I have to eat something!  Man
must eat every day, money is another matter!  Later, I said.  My

father will send me money from Fairbanks.  May be he did send it
already and I might receive them at any moment.
     "Later" I or you can die.  Or both, or all of us.  They
could start building communism again or nuke your America. 
"Later" is time, not money.  Later!  You don't know Russia!

     I love Russia, and you hate all Russian!  You hate even your
Russian name!

     Because I know them.  That's why I don't want to know them.  

     Food!  They must!  I'll go to the mayor!  To the police!..  

                              JO (returns)
     There are some people outside asking about you.  Mayor and
other officials...

     About me?  No, they have no right!  I am an American!  I
will not go to jail!  Tell them...
     No, thank you much, buddy.  I am out of sight.  Sorry and
goodbye.  (Exits)

                              K (after JO)
     Jo!  George!  Joseph!

     (Door moves.  Beds move.  K runs around, packing)  

Scene 2: Two Wrongs
          (K runs into MAYOR and DOB who enter, long pause)

     How do you do, mister American?

     Excuse me... It is my duty, as chief official of the town,
to see to it that travelers suffer no inconveniences...

                         K (at first stammering a bit, but
speaking loudly toward the end of the speech)
     It's not my fault.  I'll...  honest, I'll pay...  They'll
send money from home.  (BOB peeks in from behind the door)  Blame
your Aeroflot, your rail road and bank system, your
telecommunications, your government, not me!  Why me?  This is

                         MAYOR (frightened)
     I'm very sorry.  If you don't like here, may I suggest you
accompany me to other lodgings...

     What?!  How dare you?  By what right?  I know what you mean! 
You cannot throw an American citizen in your jail!  I'll write to
Moscow, to Washington!  I, I, I...  Even if you came with your
whole police department, I won't budge!  I'll talk to the
president!  To all the presidents!

     Sir, forgive me, I have a wife, little children...

     What?  Just because you have a wife and children, I must go
to jail?  Great!

     My inexperience, sir, merely inexperience.  Everything is
just falling apart.  The country, our moral principles and
infrastructure.  Plus the insufficiency of my income - my salary
isn't enough for instant coffee and baby food.  Desperation and
confusion, confusion and desperation!  Don't ruin our dreams! 
The economy needs your investment, people are working unemployed. 
Communists could come back any minute.  Today I'm a mayor,
tomorrow a party chief again!  Just think what it does to my

     Why are you telling me about all that stuff?  Your income is
a very different matter, but you can't imprison me.  No, you're
not big enough for that!  And I'll pay, only I don't have any
cash on me now.

                         DOB (to Mayor)
     Oh, what a smoke screen!  Millionaire - and has no money? 
He is testing us!

     Money?  Did you say - money?  If you're in need of money or
anything else, sir, I'm at your service.  It is my civil and
humanitarian duty to assist visitors to the town.

     Really?  You mean it?  All right!  Give, give me some money! 
(Taking the money, counting)  Oh!  Much, much obliged!  I'll send
dollars to you the minute I get home.  

                         DOB (to Mayor)
     Praise the Lord!  He took the dough.  Now we are sailing!

     Jo!  (Jo enters)  Settle with the hotel.  (JO takes money,
exits)  That's Russia!  Now I see that you are true Russian
                         DOB (to MAYOR)
     You must be bolder, sir.  He wants to stay undercover.  

     (to DOB)  Fine.  We can bluff too, as if we don't know who
he really is.  (To K)  Dob and me  - Dob is the businessman,
total democrat and city councilman - since we were in the
neighborhood on an official trip, we made a point of stopping in
to determine whether the guests are being treated properly
according to the Christmas spirit.  Some mayors may not concern
themselves with the welfare of humanity, but I, I insist that a
good reception be extended to all races, minorities and animals. 
Not only because my position demands it, not because of duty,
sir, but also out of my democratic love for every mortal.  But
may I ask, sir, what parts are you from?

     Alaska.  I am on my way home from Moscow.

     Alaska?  Our next door neighbor!  Excellent!  I imagine
you're traveling for your own pleasure, sir?

     No, I am a graduate student.  But my dad sent for me.  The
old man is upset because I haven't gotten anywhere with my
studies in Russia.  Well, I'd like to see him scrambling in
Russian universities for a while.

                         DOB (to MAYOR) 
     Just listen!  A student!  He's tough!  He's even dragged in
his old father! 

     My dad is stupid and stubborn as a log.  I tell him straight
to his face: I must travel!  Go from one university to another! 
I want to see the world!  To have my Ph.D. in everything.  Why on
earth should I waste my life in Alaska?  

     Very, very true, sir.  What can be accomplished in the
wilds?  Our town, for instance; you spend sleepless nights doing
your best for the nation, sacrificing everything, and as for
reward - complains and insults.  This room seems a bit damp?

     Absolutely!  And the management has turned off the light.  I
need to read, or to write my notes, and I cannot!

     May I suggest, sir...  Not being presumptuous, sir...  I
have an excellent room at home, but no, I fear the honor is too
great.  Don't' get angry, sir, believe me, in the simplicity of
my heart I offered it.

     On the contrary, by all means.  I would much rather be in a
Russian family than in this joint.

     Oh how happy I am now!  And my wife will be ecstatic!  It
has always been my way from my earliest childhood to put the
Russian tradition of hospitality before everything, especially if
my guest is a man of American culture, a professor!  I'm not
saying this to flatter you, no, I'm free from that vice, sir.  
Perhaps, you would like to see how things are running in our
city...  the management...  (BOB pops his head in at the door) 
Our hospital, for example.  Or we might proceed to the school and
observe our methods of instruction in the sciences and foreign
languages.  Then you might wish to visit the city prison and the
police station...

     Police?  The jail?  I'd rather look at the hospital.

     As you prefer, sir.  (To DOB)  We shall see how things will
go after lunch and a couple bottles of vodka.  

     (DOB runs to the door and  hits BOB, who has been listening
outside.  All exclaim.  BOB picks himself up)

     It's really nothing, sir.  After you, sir.  
     (Shows K. out and follows him, scolds BOB)
     Just like you, constitutional anarchists!  Couldn't you find
a proper place to flop?  
     (Goes out, BOB after him.  The furniture moves in)

SCENE 1: More or Less Millionaire
     (Mayor's home is his stolen castle: the same office
furniture but with linen covers like expensive.  A door opens and
BOB, DOB and JO come in carrying one suitcase)

     Guys, where do we dump this?

     Right here, brother.

     No, over there is better.

     You did it again, Bob.

     What did I do?  I did nothing!

     You see!  You do it all the time!

     No, I don't.  I never do this!  

     But you are doing it right now!  You contradict!

     No, I don't!  It's my opinions!  My principles!

     Hold on.  Here.  (They drop the case)  



     Tell me, friend, how soon your millionaire be opening his
bank here?

     What bank?  What millionaire?

     Your boss.  Who else?
     My boss?  He isn't a banker.

     He isn't?

     Well, he is  - only the other way round.

     Is that more than a millionaire or less?


     I knew it! I knew it from the first moment I saw him!

     Look, guys, I see you are smart fellows.  How about getting
me something to chew.  What do you have here?

     Our mayor has everything.

     Great!  I can eat anything of everything.  Is there another
way out of the room?..

     (The three carry the suitcase into door.  Another door moves
also -- for mister K and his crowd, they sing together American
children song)

SCENE 2: American Dreams
     Mister K. enters, drunk, after him MAYOR, followed by
DIRECTOR and SUPER.  BOB and DOB also are rushing back from the
guest room.
     Excellent institutions!  I like the way you show visitors
everything in your town.  In Moscow and St.Petersburg I was shown

     If I may say so, in our capitals officials are primary
concerned about their own interests, while here, I must say, we
have no other thoughts but to deserve the world's attention by
our vigilance and virtue.

     Yes.  The lunch was very nice.  Do you have lunches like
that every day?
     Something special for our most welcome guest.  A
demonstration of our potentials.  You see, we can offer what big
cities don't have.  Cheap quality of good living.

     I'm crazy about good food.  Where was it that we had lunch? 
Seemed like a hospital.

     Exactly, one of our best institutions in town, in Siberia
and Russia.

     Yes, there were many empty beds.  Have all the patients

     All have recovered, sir.  It's the organization, the
management.  Ever since I took control over there - you may think
it incredible - they all get well like flies.  A patient sooner
sets foot in the hospital than he's cured.  And it's not so much
our medicines as honest and efficient administration.

     Yes, such are the obligations that rack the brains of a
mayor.  So many matters rest on his shoulders: sanitation,
repairs, civic improvements...  Some other mayor, of course,
would think only about his own benefits, but, I'm not after
bonuses, of course, that's for God to decide, but at least I'll
have a clear conscience.  The central square is clean, the dead
senior citizens are looked after, the drunks are in small numbers
staying at home - what more could I ask?

     Absolutely!  I must confess, I like to philosophize myself -
I think I have a Russian soul, gentlemen.

     Did you hear him, Dob?  He is ready to invest.

          (Sofa moves, door opens -- ANNA and MARY enter)

     Oh, let me to introduce my family, sir.  My wife and my

                         K (posturing)
     How delighted I am to have the pleasure of seeing you.

     It's even greater pleasure for us to see so distinguished

     Oh no, madam, not at all.  It's far more pleasant for me.

     How can you!  You say that only for the sake of a
compliment.  I understand, I imagine, after America, traveling
through Russia must have been very distasteful to you.

     Extremely.  Accustomed as I am to moving in high society, in
Moscow or Washington, and suddenly to find myself in the middle
of nowhere - filthy hotel...  If not for the good fortune... 
(Takes ANNA's hand)  that makes up for everything.

     Do you mean it?  We don't deserve it.  Oh, your Russian is

     Oh, your English is excellent!

     But I live in the Asiatic country...

     But as I see Russia, too, has its wonders...  (To All)  Of
course, there is no comparing it with Washington, New York or
L.A.!  That's the life.  You may think I'm only a grad student. 
No, I'm on a friendly terms with the head of the East European
desk at the State Department.  He'll pat me on the back and says,
"Come around to dinner, my boy!"  During my internship I only
dropped at the office for a minute or so, merely to issue
instructions - this must be done this way, that must done that
way.  And before you know it, the clerks, poor rats, go
scratching and scribbling away.  They even wanted to promote me,
but I said to myself, "What for?"  But why are you standing,

     ALL (speaking together): In our position...  we should
stand...  Such occasion...

     Forget about ranks and international diplomacy!  Sit down. 
(All sit)  I don't like any ceremonies and stuff.  In fact, I do
my utmost, my very utmost to pass unnoticed.  But it's impossible
to escape attention.  Simply impossible!  As soon as I appear
anywhere people shout, "There he is, there he goes!"  Once in
Washington I was actually taken for the Vice-President - the
marines all came out of the White House saluting.

     No!  How cute!

     Yes, I'm known everywhere.  Acquainted with all the movie
stars.  With Stalonne, Madonna, Cher.  You see, I have written a
few little things of all kinds for the stage, television and the
Hollywood too.  I'm in with the literary crowd.  Very friendly
with Norman Mailer.  Often I'll say to him "Well, Norman, my boy,
how goes it?"  "So-so, my man," he would answer,"So-so."  He's
quite a character.

     So you write too?  An author's life must be fascinating. 

     Oh yes, I am the author of lots of works - God Father,
Rocky, Superman.  I can't even remember all the titles.  And it
was all a mere chance - I had no intention of writing, but
directors and producers said to me, "Come, write something for
us!"  Well, I thought, why not?  And on the spot, in one evening
I dashed them all off.  My mind works with extraordinary speed. 
Everything published under the name of Stephen King - I wrote it
all!  I like to be published under different names, because I am
very private man at heart.

     Then I expect "James Bond" must be yours.

     But of course.

     I knew it all along.

     But Mama, it says in the titles it's by Mr. Fleming.

     There you go again!  Arguing even about this!

     Oh, yes, that's true, the first one is by Fleming, but the
rest of all the "James Bond" movies are mine.  I must confess, I
live for Art.  My house in Los Angeles is the finest, my home in
Washington is the best.  Gentlemen, if you come to America,
please, all come to see me, I give parties, you know.

     I can imagine the glitter and elegance!

     Oh let me tell you!  Champaign, caviar!  I'm at some party
every day of the week.  The Canadian Foreign Minister, the French
Ambassador, the English Ambassador, The German Ambassador and I
play golf till we're exhausted.  I'm barely able to drag myself
up to my dorm...  What nonsense I am talking - I forgot that I
live in the mansion.  You would be interested to see my reception
hall in D.C. before I am even awake in the morning: there are
ministers and diplomats jostling each other, bussing like bees -
all you hear is bzz, bzz.  Sometimes even members of the
president's cabinet drop by.  At one time I even ran a country. 
Very curious - the president had vanished, nobody knew where. 
Well, naturally, there was a lot of talk, "How will we manage?" 
"Who will replace him?"  Many in the congress were eager and took
it on - but as soon as they tackled it they saw that the job was
too much for them.  What seemed easy, but look deeper into it and
it is a hell of a tough kind of job!  They see there's no way
anyone can manage it - so they run to me.  And all at once
politicians come racing, then more politicians, and more
politicians...  Think of it - thirty-five thousand politicians! 
"What's the problem?" I asked, "Sir, come and take charge of the
government," they say.  I must admit I was a bit taken aback.  I
came out in my robe, meaning to turn them down.  But there, I
thought... "Very well, gentlemen, I accept the post, I accept," I
said, "so be it.," I said, "only with me, gentlemen, you had
better look out!  I won't stand for any nonsense.  No, sir!" 
And, as a matter of fact, when I walked through the government
offices you would think an earthquake had stuck - they were all
trembling and shaking.   Oh, I am not one to play games!  Even
Saadam Hussein, Castro and the United Nations are afraid of me. 
And well they might be!  I am like that!  No one gets in my way! 
I tell them all, "Don't teach me!"  I am everywhere!  Everywhere! 
I pop in and out of the White House.  Tomorrow they're promoting
me to the Chief of Staff!     

     (Slips and almost falls.  All support him  respectfully)

                         MAYOR  (tries to speak)
     Your... yo... yo... yo...

                         K (sharp, abrupt tone)
     What is it?


                         K (in the same tone)
     I can make nothing of it.  It's all nonsense.

     You... your... yours... might wish to rest up...

     Nonsense!  But maybe I could use some rest.  The lunch,
gentlemen, was excellent.  I'm satisfied, completely satisfied. 
Labardan!  Labardan!  
     (Retires, followed by MAYOR)

SCENE 3: Shocked Russia
     Silence. Nobody moves.  Only furniture.  Stops.

                         BOB (To DOB)
     Now that's a man for you, Bob.  That's what I call a man. 
In all my life never I have been in the presence of such VIP.  I
nearly died.  What do you think, who is he? 

     I think he must be a president' son or something like that.

     And I think a president isn't fit to stand next to him, you
heard how he bullies their congress?  Let's run and tell
everybody to invest immediately.
          (Both go out)

                          DIRECTOR (to Super)
     Never mind the investment!  What if he sobers up and whips
off a report to Washington?  
     Or Moscow!

          (DIRECTOR and SUPER exit together through one door)

SCENE 4: Ladies Talk

     What a charming young man!

     Oh!  He's hot!
     What refinement!  You can see at once a man made in the
U.S.A.  His manners and everything...  Oh, I am awfully fond of
young men like that!  He seemed very much attracted, too, did you
notice how he stared at me?

     Oh, mother, he was looking at me!

     Don't be silly, my dear.  It's quite out of the question.
     No, he really was.

     What?!  Why on earth should he look at you?

     He was! He WAS looking at me.  When he talked about
Hollywood, he glanced at me, and also when he told about playing
golf with the ambassadors he gave me a look.

     Oh well, perhaps once or twice, but only out of politeness.
He must have said to himself, "All right, I might as well give
her a look."

                         MAYOR (entering on tiptoe)
     Shhh...sh-sh!  I'm sorry I got him drunk.  Suppose even half
of what he said is true?  And why shouldn't it be true?  When a
man's drunk, it all slips out.  Sure, he stretched things a bit. 
But then, nothing is ever said without a little trimming.  He
plays golf with the ministers and is in and out of the White
House...  Oh, I feel as if I'm standing on the edge of an abyss
or waiting to be hanged.

     And he didn't intimidate me at least.  As far as I'm
concerned, he simply is a man of the high society and European
culture.  His position and money doesn't interest me.

     Oh really!?  And let me tell you, honey!  You behaved as
freely with him, as though you had been talking to Dob or Bob. 
Oh how things are odd nowadays:  you expect a man who looks the
part, and you wind up with a skinny little jerk.  With all his
double talk I thought I'd never squeeze anything out of him.  But
he has given in at last.  In fact, he said more than he need. 
You can see he's still young.   Hush!  (Walks on tiptoe)  Not a
sound!  Get out!
     (ANNA and MARY go out)

SCENE 5: Last Instructions
     (Enter CHIEF, armed and with American flags)

     Sh!  Where the hell have you been?

     Acting on instructions, sir...

     Sh-sh!  (Claps his hand over CHIEF's mouth)  Stop!  Booming
like a drum!  Did you check his papers?  His name?

     As you suspected, a big shot!


     Kennedy.  Kenneth Kennedy, sir.

     I knew it!  Its explain everything!  Undercover, secrecy,
lies!  Kennedy!  Alaska, Siberia-- he must be in oil or gold! 
Not a word to anybody!  Put extra security, we have our own drunk
terrorists and decedents.  Don't allow any outsider into the
house, especially any of the environmentalists, minorities,
women, children, unions, businesses, state employees, senior
citizens, religious groups, press, media and the rest!
     Yes, sir!

               (Mister K is snoring.  They listen.  They walk
out, stopping at moments of silence)

ACT IV: Fun Time
  The same Mayor's house. 

SCENE 1: Lobbying Russian Way

                         JUDGE (arranging all)
     Hurry, in line!  The man is in and out of the White House,
damn it.  Bob, get over there, Dob stand here.

     (BOB and DOB run on tiptoe)

     You may say what you like, but we ought to take some steps. 
The fish is too big.

     What steps?

     We all know what.

     Slip him something?

     Well, yes, let's say we slip him something into his hand.

     To a millionaire?  

     Do you know why he is a millionaire and you are not?


     Because they are greedy, that's why!  They would take your
last ruble, that's why!  He is testing us, to see could we be his
partners or not!

     Investors!  How do you invest?  Who gives money in the open? 
Crazy!  It's risky, damn it!  But maybe in the form of donation
for some American war memorial?

     Or we can say, "Here, sir, we found this money in the mail."

     Listen, these things are done differently in America.  Why
are we all here?  We ought to pay one by one, behind closed
doors, you know.  You bribe him, he invests, you steal - and
all're happy.  That's the way to do things in democratic society! 
(To Judge)  You go first.

     No, you go first.  After all, he got drunk in your hospital.

     It would be more appropriate if the educator would go first.

     No, not me, gentlemen, I can't.  If an important person, any
VIP, speaks to me, I go to pieces.  My tongue sticks in my
throat.  No, gentlemen, you must excuse me, you really must.

     (Footsteps and coughing in K.'s room.  All rush to the other
door, jostling and struggling to get out.  Door moves.  Several
are jammed in the doorway.  A few more cry, at last all squeeze

SCENE 2: Dark Cloud
           (K enters in his underwear, JO after him)

     Seems I can have a fun time around here... 

     Our time is running out, man.

     Especially when the Russians sincerely mean to please and
aren't trying to squeeze something in self-interest... 

     We'll get ourselves in trouble, I'm telling you.

     And the mayor's daughter is not at all bad looking.  Well,
and the mamma too might still...  

     I better go to check the next flight out of here.  (Exits)

     (Doors move.  K. opens one)

SCENE 3: Bribes, Part II -
Justice Boss

                         JUDGE (stands still behind the door)
     I have the honor of introducing myself, sir, Judge of the
District Court...

     So you are the judge here?  Do you find being a judge

     After nine years of service, sir...  (Extending his clenched
fist with the money.  Doors are moving closer) 

     What's that in your hand?

                         JUDGE (drops the money)
     Nothing, sir.

     What do you mean "nothing"?  I see you've dropped some

                         JUDGE  (trembling)
     Not at all!  Oh God!

                         K (picking it up)
     Of course it's money.  See - rubles.


     What?  You know what?  Lend it to me.

     Certainly!  Any time!  Joint-venture!  Thank you!

     I'll send your dividends to you as soon as I get them.

     Have you any orders to give me, sir?

                         K (Counting money)
     What sort of orders?

     I mean, will you be issuing any instructions to our district
court, sir?

     Why?  I have no use for the court now.

     The town is yours, sir!  At your service!  Any time! 
(Trying to get in the door, exits)

                         K (Closes the door, puts money away)
     The Judge is a good fellow!  

SCENE 4: Press 
     (Another door opens, EDITOR stands behind)

     Sir, I am an editor-in-chief of the local newspaper "Little
Mudhole World News Monitor"...

     Ah!  Please sit down.  You have always lived here, I

     Sir, yes, sir!

     I like this town too, you know.  Of course it's not a very
big town - but why should it be?  After all, it's not the
capital.  It isn't, is it?

     Sir, correct, sir!

     Only in a big city does one find the right spirit and no
country bumpkins.  Don't you agree?

     Yes, sir, indeed, sir.

     But one can live well in a small town too.  Do you agree?

     Yes, sir, exactly, sir.

     After all, what does a man need?  To be treated with respect
and to be liked.  That's true, isn't it?

     Yes, sir.  Perfectly true, sir.

     I must say, I'm glad you agree with me.  (Looking Editor
over)  So, how much would you like to invest?  Three hundred or
three thousand rubles?

     Yes, sir, of course, sir.  Three thousand.  I'd consider it
a pleasure.  Three thousand.  (Gets his money)  

     Good, very smart of you.  Are you better now?

     Sir, completely, sir.  Have you observations to make with
regard to the press, sir?

                         K (counting money)
     No, none.  (Closes the door and lighting a cigar)  The
editor is a very nice fellow, too... 

SCENE 5: Education Leader
     (Muffled voices off stage: "What are you afraid of?  Don't
freak out!  Go!" K opens the third door.  Here's SUPERINTENDENT)

     Super... intendent of... Schools...

     Ah, come in!  Would you care for a baby-cigar?

     I never expected anything like this.  Should I take it, or
shouldn't I?

     Take it, take it.  It's not a bad cigar.  Of course, it's
not what you find in the States.  I smoke cigars that sell for
twenty-five bucks each.  One puff and you're licking your lips. 
Here, light it up.  Hey, not that end!

                    SUPER (panics, drops the cigar)
     Damn it!  My damned shyness has ruined everything!

     Ah, you are not crazy for little baby cigars.  Not me!  They
are one of my weakness.  Girls too.  Oh yeah, I simply can't
resist women.  What about you, eh?  Which do you like best, dark
or blondes?  Come on, be frank with me - what about your school

     Sir, I have no opinion, sir.

     No, no, don't turn it off!  I must to know your taste.

     Let me report, sir...  I have no idea what I am talking

     Aha! A secret!  I bet some pretty little brunette school
teacher has crush on you!  Does she?  Yes?  Ah!  Blushing!  You
see, you see!   Tell me, tell me!

     I'm s-s-scared, sir...

     Scared?  Oh yes, there is something in my eyes, indeed,
something that inspires awe.  At least I never met a woman who
could resist them.  Yes?

     Yes, sir, certainly.

     So you would like to invest three hundred thousand?

                    SUPER (clutching at his pockets)
     Three  hundred thousand?  Three hundred thousand rubles?..

     Or dollars, whatever you have.

     I don't have dollars... 

     Doesn't matter what currency.  Four thousand rubles would be
fine.  Do you have four?

     I have, I have!  (gives money)

     Many thanks.   Bye!

     (SUPER runs out, hits the door)

SCENE 6: Medicine Man
                    DIRECTOR (hits by  another door)
     Sir, Director of the clinic...  I had the honor of
accompanying you...

     Yes, I remember.  Lunch was excellent.

     Always glad to serve our friendly nations!

     Wait, this morning it seems to me you were somehow a little
bit shorter.

     Quite possible, sir.  I can say that I spare nothing of
myself zealously performing my duties.  (In low voice)  But the
local newspaper' editor does nothing at all - you might wish to
investigate it, sir.  The Judge, too - does nothing but chase
rabbits, and as for his morals...  may I be frank with you?  Yes,
he's a relative and friend, but for sake of our countries I'm
obliged to do it - his conduct is most shameful.  We have one guy
-Dob Chinsky - and as soon as this Dob steps out of his house,
the Judge pops in to visit his very wife, I am ready to take an
oath...  You just look at the children: none of them is like Dob,
but every one, even the baby girl, is the spitting Judge.

     No!  I never would have thought it.

     Now, the superintendent.  It's beyond me how the authorities
could have entrusted him with such a post:  he's cramming the
heads of our youth with subversive ideas  - stuff too shocking to
repeat.  If you like, I can put all this in writing.

     Excellent, in writing!  I like it!  You know I like
something amusing to read when I am on the road...  Would you
happen to have five thousand on you?

     Five?  Yes, sir.  Here, in one bill.

                    K (Takes the money)
     How lucky!  Good for you!  Thanks.  See you.  (Slums the
door after DIRECTOR)

SCENE 7: Small Businessmen
     (Fight behind the door, BOB and DOB stuck in the doorway)

     I have...

     Bob Chinsky...

     Dob Chinsky...

     Oh yes, we've met.  Have you any money on you?


                    K (loud and quick)
     Ten thousand.

     Oh dear, not a such sum.  Haven't you, Dob?

     Not on me.  All my money, my wife has.

     All right, if you haven't got ten thousand, let me have five

     Haven't you got five hundred, Dob?  I have only forty.

                    DOB (checking his pockets)
     Twenty five - that's all.

     Search, search!  You have a hole in your pocket, I know you
     No, nothing in the hole.

     Never mind!  It's okey, sixty five will do.  (Takes the

money, closes the door)

                    DOB (opens the door)
     Sir, may I ask your assistance about a very delicate matter.

     What is it?

     It's extremely delicate, sir.  You see, I had my oldest son
before I was married.


     Though that's only in a manner of speaking, sir.  He was
born exactly as children of married people are born.  And
afterwards we did the proper thing, but you see, sir, I want him
to be my legitimate son before God...

     Fine.  Let him be, that's all right.

     I wouldn't trouble you, sir, I'm sorry, but he is so gifted! 
The boy can repeat all sorts of political jokes by heart.  Bob
can tell you.

     Yes, enormous talent, sir.

     All right, all right!  It'll all be taken care of.  (Closes
the door)

                    BOB (reopens the door)
     Sir, I  have a very humble request too.  I beg you, when you
go back to your nation's capital, say to all those great men -
senators, congressmen, and such,  "Do you know that in Little
Mudhole in Siberia lives a man called Bob Chinsky."

     Oh?  All right.

     And if you  have a chance to speak to the president, tell
the president, "Do you know, mister President, in the town of
Little Mudhole in Russia lives Bob Chinsky."

     Very well, very well.  (Closes the door)

                    BOB/DOB  (Behind the door)
     Sorry, sir, for troubling you.

     (All doors open by themselves - the officials behind,
smiling.  K slums them one by one)

SCENE 8: Better Leave

                    K (to JO outside)
     The place is stuffed with officials.  Seems they take me for
someone else.  I must have told them something this morning. 
What a bunch of idiots!  I really ought to write about them. 
(Begins writing in his notebook)  But they are a good-natured
bunch.  How much I got?  That's three hundred,  six hundred,
seven... what a greasy bill!  Eight, nine hundred... thousand... 

     (JO enters)

                    K (shows him money)
     So, now you see, you idiot, how they treat me, the fuss they
make over me!  

     Yes, only know what?


     Let's clear out.  We'd better get away at high time.

                    K (writing)
     Nonsense!  Why?  What for?

     Our luck may turn, and someone else arrive...

     No, I want to stay here for a while.  Tomorrow.  Exchange
the money on the street.  (Gives him money)

     Tomorrow is no good.  Let us be off, really.  It's certain
they've taken you for some big shot.

     Oh, all right, all right.  Did you get me a plane

     The Mayor's office did.  I'd better pack right away.  (Goes
     (The sofa moves to K.  Music.  Elvis again)

SCENE 9: RusAmerican Romance
                    MARY (enters)

     Don't be frightened, miss.

     I wasn't frightened.

     Oh?  But where were you going?

     Really, I wasn't going anywhere.

     And why, may I ask, aren't you going anywhere?

     You were occupied with important business...

     But your eyes are more important than any important
business.  You're incapable of disturbing me!  On the contrary,
you might offer me much pleasure.

     You talk as they do on television in American movies.  Oh, I
ought to be going.  (Sits down)

     What lovely jeans!

     Oh you, you are making fun of me.  Anything to laugh at us
provincial girls.

     How I wish I were your jeans, that I might embrace you...

     (The sofa moves to them)

     I don't understand what you are talking about...  Funny
weather we're having today.

     I'd much rather speak to you of my love.  Like in great
Russian novels!  (Drawing his chair closer)

     Love!  I don't understand love... I have never known what
love means.  (Moves her chair away)

     Why do you move your chair away?  It's more intimate sitting
side by side.
                    MARY  (moving away)
     Why side by side?  We can be intimate at a distance.
                    K  (moving closer)
     Why at a distance?  We can be even more intimate side by

                    MARY (moving away)
     But for what purpose?

                    K  (moving closer)
     Though we may appear to be side by side, pretend we're at a

     What bird was it flew up just now?  Or an airplane?


     No, that's too much!

     It was unexpected love, it really was!

     You think I am a common country girl...

     It was Russian love, true romantic love.  I didn't mean any
harm, it was only fun.  Don't be angry!  Oh!  I'll even get on my
knees to beg your forgiveness.  (Falls on his knees)  See, I'm on
my knees.

     (Door opens, ANNA listens behind, ANNA enters)

     Oh, good heavens!  (to MARY)  What's the meaning of this!

     Mama, I was only...

     Leave the room!  Out!  Go!  I don't want to see you!

     (MARY leaves in tears)

     I must apologize for her, sir.  I was simply astounded...

                    K (Throws himself on his knees again)  
     Madam, you see me consumed by love.

     What, you are on your knees?  Oh, get up, get up!  The floor
is so dusty.

     No.  On my knees.  Absolutely!  Oh baby, decide my destiny -
will it be life or death?

     Pardon me, sir, I don't fully grasp the meaning of yours
words.  If I'm not mistaken, you're declaring your sentiments for
my daughter?

     No, I am in love with you.  My life hangs by a thread.  If
you reject my undying love, I am not worthy of earthy existence. 
My heart ablaze, I ask your hand.

     But allow me to point out that I am in some sense married.

     That doesn't matter!  Love knows no barriers.  We shall flee
to America.  Your hand, your hand!

     (The sofa moves, they are on the sofa.  Doors open)

                    MARY (runs in, out and in again)
     Mama...  Papa...  says...  you're to...  

     What do you want?  What is it?  Rushing in like a hot cat! 
No one would believe she's eighteen.  When will you finally learn
to conduct yourself properly?

                    MARY (in tears)
     I didn't realize...

                    K (Grabs ANNA's hand)
     Madam, don't stand in the way of our happiness!  Give your
blessing to our burning love!

     So it's her?

     Decide!  Life or death?

                    ANNA (To MARY)
     There, you silly fool!  It was you!  It was for trash like
you that he was on his knees!   Bursting in here like some
lunatic!  Really, it would be right if I said No.  You don't
deserve such happiness.
SCENE 10:  Quick Engagement
     (MAYOR comes in breathless)

     Have mercy, sir, don't destroy me.  I know the citizens have
been complaining.  On my word of honor, not half of it is true...

     He's asking for your daughter's hand.

     What?  Are you nuts?  Are you out of your mind?  Forgive
her, sir, she isn't very strong in the head, sir, her mother was
the same way.
     But I am in love.

     I can't believe it, sir.

     Are you deaf?  He just told you.

     It's serious.  I might go off my head from love.

     I can't believe my ears.  We don't deserve...

     But if you won't consent to give me your daughter, God only
knows what I may do...

     I just can't believe it.  You must be joking, sir.

     What an imbecile!  Isn't he telling you so?

     Her hand!  Your hand!  I am a desperate man, I may do
anything!  When I shoot myself, you'll have to answer for it!

     But I didn't do anything.  I'm innocent.  Dot get angry,
sir, do what you think best.  My head at this moment is
spinning...  What's happening to me?  I'm turning into a complete
     For heaven's sake, give them your blessing the way he wants!

     God bless you, and don't forget, I'm innocent.  (K and MARY
kiss)  What the hell!  It's true!  It's true!  They're kissing. 
Holy cow, they're kissing!  Hey, Mayor!  Mayor!  Hurrah for the

SCENE 11: Time to Leave
                    JO (enters)
     The car is ready.  I got the tickets.  

     Good.  I'm coming.

     What?  Sir, are you leaving?

     Yes, I'm on my way.

     But...  I mean...  a wedding?

     Ah, it's only for a moment...  for one day, to see my uncle,
a rich man.  To get the money.  I shall be back tomorrow.  Back
in a flash.  Goodby, my love.  (Kisses MARY)  Farewell, darling! 
(Kisses ANNA) (ALL go out)
     MAYOR'S VOICE:  When we are to expect you, sir?
     K's:  Tomorrow or the next day.
     JO's: Here, this side!  That will be fine!
     K's:  By-by everybody!

ACT V: Unhappy Ending
SCENE ONE: Happy Hour
     (MAYOR, ANNA, MARY return)

     Well, Anna, did you ever expect anything like this?  What a
catch, dammit!  It's beyond your wildest dreams.  From the wife
of Mudhole' mayor to... damn it!..  to be related to a man of

     I knew it all along.  It's extraordinary for you because
you're just an ordinary Russian and have never mixed with people
of quality.

                    MAYOR (Drinks)
     I'm person of quality myself.  But think about it - what
high flying birds we are now, you and me!  Eh!  We are flying
high now, dammit!  Just wait and see - I'll make it hot for them,
sneaking about with their complaints and petitions!  Who's out
there?  (POLICEMAN enters)  Get them all in here!  I'll fix those
idiots!  Complain about ME?  I want the name of everyone who came
to grumble about me.  And let them all know that this mayor's
daughter's marrying the most important man in the world!
(POLICEMAN exits)  Anna, what's it going to be?  Eh?  Where will
we live?  In Moscow or Washington?

     In Washington, of course.  How could we possibly stay here?

     Then it's America.  Well, what do you think I might come in
for now?  After all, he pals with the ministers and is and out of
the White House.  He can arrange for a promotion, even make me a
congressman.  What do you think, could I become a congressman?

     I should think so!  Indeed you can.

     Damn it!  It'll be fun to be a congressman!  Even in Alaska. 
Or any other place.

     Congressman of New York is more elegant.

     So that's what you've set your heart on!  You know why I
want to be an American congressman?  Secretaries and aides are
everywhere, shouting, running around and officials are
screaming -but you don't care a damn.  You dine at a governor's,
and - any mayor stands in your presence!  And what do you do? 
Nothing!  Just vote in congress!  Ha-ha-ha!  (Goes into a roar of
laughter)  Yes, dammit, that's what I like about being a

SCENE TWO:  Fantastic Future

     JUDGE (to Mayor): It's true, that you got such stroke of
     DIRECTOR: Congratulations!  Giant!  Our American hero!
     CHIEF: Congratulation to you, boss, from the police
     JUDGE: Please, mayor, tell us everything, step by step.

     Well, it came about in an extraordinary way.  He made the
proposal in person the old fashion style.

     He spoke beautifully.  "Anna", he said, "I'm prepared to do
anything out of respect for your rare qualities.  Believe me,
Anna, life without you isn't worth living..."

     Oh mother!  He said that to me.

     Hush!  What do you know?  Mind your own business!  "Anna,
I'm overwhelmed by you..."  Oh, he said the most flattering
things!  I was about to replay, when he fell to his knees at once
and spoke in such a passionate way, "Anna, do not make me the
unhappiest of mortals!  My life is in your hands."

     Mama, really!  He was speaking to me.

     Yes, of course.  There was something about you too.  I don't
deny that.

     He gave us quite a scare.  Kept shouting, "I'll shoot
myself, I'll kill myself!"

     Is that so!  Really?  That's American!  Crazy Alaskans! 
Well, I'll be damned!

     It must be fate.  Or history!

     Not fate, gentlemen.  Fate has no hands, it's the reward of
merit.  (to Judge about Mayor)  Some pigs have all the luck!

     Good health to our mayor!  (Drink)  To Russian American
friendship!  (Drink)  To our Alaska!  (Drink)  To American
Siberia!  (Drink)

     We are intending to live in the capital now.  Washington, of
course.  The Russian atmosphere is too provincial.  As for my
husband, he will be promoted to the rank of American mayor or

     Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I, I, dammit, I'd really love to
be a mayor in Alaska or congressman in New York.  Language isn't
a problem I think.  They will learn some Russian.

                    JUDGE (To Super)  
     A communist making himself an American!  No way!  There are
must be better men around.  (To Mayor)  Hurray, Mayor!

                    DIRECTOR (To Judge)  
     What's more, he may even make it.  He has conceit enough for
it, the devil take him.  (To MAYOR)  You won't forget us then,
mister congressman!

     I am ready to do my best to support my home town.

     You are always ready to make promises, darling.  To begin
with, you won't have time for that sort of thing.  And why in the
world should you be bothered?  You can't help all the small fry.

     (Doors move)

SCENE THREE: Catastrophic News
     (EDITOR comes in breathless) 

                    EDITOR (holding K's notebook)
     Ladies and gentlemen, comrades, citizens, folks, prepare
yourselves for a shock!  The man we took for a millionaire-
investor wasn't a millionaire or an investor.

     ALL: Not a millionaire?!  Not an investor?!  Not an

     Not at all - I've discovered it from his notebook.

     What?  What notebook?

     HIS own writing! I couldn't help noticing the book!  He
forgot it in the airport.  My first thought was, "He's writing
about us.  This is a historical document, I must have it!" 
Naturally, I took it.

     How could you?

     I don't know myself.  A mysterious force urged me on.  I
couldn't let it go, I couldn't, I was simply drawn to take it.  I
seemed to hear a voice whispering in my ear, "Don't open it, you
will be done for!" and in the other ear a devil whispered, "Go
ahead, open it, read it!"  I open it - and fire ran through my
veins.  I opened the last page - and turned to ice... yes, ice! 
My hands shook and everything went black.

     How dare you read a private writing of such an important

     But that's the point, that he is not even a figure.

     Then what is he, according to you?

     He's a nobody, a nothing.  The devil knows what he is.

     What do you mean by nobody and nothing!  How dare you say
that!  I'll have you arrested.

     Who?  You?
     Yes, me!
     Oh yeah?

     Are you aware that he's marrying my daughter, that I'm to be
a VIP myself, and that I'm about to pack you off to jail!

     Oh, mayor, before talking jail you'd better let me read
this!  Folks!  Shall I read it aloud?
     ALL: Read it, read it!

                    EDITOR (reads)
     "The most amazing things have been happening to me.  On my
way home I got stuck in Siberia, missing my plane.  The hotel
management was set to have me thrown in jail, when suddenly the
whole town took me for an American investor.  It must have been
my expensive pump shoes.  So I'm staying at the mayor's, living
it up, flirting like mad with his wife and daughter.  I haven't
decided who to start with.  Probably the mother - she looks ready
to go all the way right away.  Everyone lends me as much money as
I ask for.  What oddballs!  First and foremost the Mayor - as
stupid as an ox...

     Impossible!  It isn't there!

                    EDITOR (shows him the page)
     Read it yourself!

                    MAYOR (reads)
     "As stupid as an ox."  It can't be!  You wrote it yourself.

     DIRECTOR: Read on!
     SUPER: Read!

                    EDITOR (reads)
     "The mayor is stupid as an ox..."

     Oh hell!  Do you have to repeat it?  We all know the words
are there.

                    EDITOR  (goes on reading)
     Hmm...Hm... "as an ox.  The newspaper editor's a decent
fellow but..."  Uh, there's something rude about me, too.

     No!  Read it!

     But what for?

     Dammit, if you're going to read, then read!  All of it!

                    DIRECTOR (puts on his glasses)
     Here, let me have it.  (Reads)  "The editor is the very
image of our university janitor.  The son-of-a-bitch must drink
like a fish."
     The miserable brat!  He ought to be whipped and killed!
                    DIRECTOR (reading)
     "The director..."  Hm...

     Why did you stop?

     The handwriting isn't clear.  Besides, anyone can see that
he is a jerk.

     Give it here!  My eyesight's better than yours.

                    DIRECTOR (holding on to the dairy)
     We can skip that part.  It's more legible farther on.

     No, read it all!  Nothing has been left out before.

     ALL: Let him have it, give him the letter.  Read it!

     Just a minute.  (Hands over the book, covering the passage
with his finger)  Here, start from here.  (All crowd around)

                    EDITOR (reads)
     "The director of the hospital is a pig in trousers"

     It's not even witty.  Were do you find a pig in trousers?

     "The superintendent of school reeks of onions."

     So help me God, I never touch onions.

     Thank God there is nothing about me.

                    EDITOR (reads)
     "The judge..."

     Oh, here it comes!  Gentlemen, his writings are far too
long!  What's sense of reading such nonsense!

     No!  Read on!

     Every word!
     "Judge is the ultimate fruit cake..."  Hm, must be French.

     God knows what it means.  If it means "crook," well, all
right.  But it might be worse.

                    EDITOR (reading)
     "On the whole, they are a hospitable folks.  The Russians. 
I intend take up literature classes.  I'll just have to devote
myself to the higher calling."

     How shocking!  It's a slap in the face!

     He's slit my throat, from ear to ear.  I'm finished, dead! 
I see nothing, nothing but pigs, pigs snouts everywhere - no
faces!  Nothing!  Bring him back!  Bring him down!

     It's hopeless!  He is flying over America by now!  

     But dammit, gentlemen, he borrowed three thousand from me!

     And from me, too!

     Me too. 
     From me and Dob - sixty five rubles!!

     How could we have been so mistaken, gentlemen!

                    MAYOR (slapping his own face)
     How could I?!  My brains must gone soft with this new
political age!  Years of my Soviet service, and not a single
bureaucrat, inspector or contractor put one over on me.  I've
cheated the cheats and swindled the swindlers.  Thieves and
frauds willing to steal from their own mothers fell into my
clutches.  Three party bosses in a row - I hoodwinked every one
of them!  

     I just can't believe it, darling.  He's engaged to our Mary.

     Engaged!  Engaged!  Stuff your engagement!  (In a frenzy) 
Look at me, all look at me, I want the whole world, every nation,
to look at me!  See what a fool the mayor has been made!  (Shakes
his fist at himself)  Oh you idiot!  Taking that jerk, that worm,
for a VIP!  And now he is in the air, laughing and spreading the
story everywhere.  He'll turn you into the laughingstock of the
whole world!  What's worse - some scribbler will stick you into a
comedy!  That's hurts.  And they'll all grin and clap.  (To the
audience)  What are you laughing at?  You, you're laughing at
yourself!  Ooooh!   You sniveling liberals!  Devil's seed!  I'd
tie you all in a knot, pound you all to a jelly and kick you down
to hell!   (Strikes out with his fist)  What was there about that
scatterbrain to make us take him for an investor?  Nothing!  Not
that much!  And yet everyone was suddenly yapping, "It's the
millionaire!  The investor!  Inspector!"  Who started the rumor? 

     For the life of me, I can't explain it.  We were in a fog.  

     You want to know who started it?  I'll tell you who - these
two geniuses!  (Points at DOB and BOB. Furniture moves at them)

     Not me, not me!  It never crossed my mind.

     Me either.  I had nothing to do with it.

     Of course it was you!

     They came running from the motel, raving like lunatics. 
"He's here, he's here, and he won't pay."  

     Damned liars!  American agents!

     The devil take you with your tales of an American investor!

     ALL: Idiots!  Morons!  Jerks!

     (All crowd around BOB and DOB)

     I swear, it wasn't me. It was Dob!

     Oh no, Bob.  You said it first.

     No, sir!  You said "Aha" first!

          (Light blinks, everything moves, voice through loud
VOICE: Mayor!  Mayor!  Sir, the government delegation with
American investors has arrived from Moscow.  They demand your
immediate presence at the airport.  Over.

     (Gogol: The words strike everyone like a thunderbolt.  The
ladies let out a simultaneous cry of consternation.  The entire
group change its positions suddenly and remains frozen)
     Voice on tape: "Now another American happy song.  Together,
please!  "Itsi-bitsi spider..."

DUMB SCENE: MAYOR stands in the middle like a post,
his arms extended and his head thrown back.  On his right hand
are his wife and daughter leaning forward toward him, behind
them, EDITOR transformed  into the shape of a question mark
addressed to the audience.  Behind him SUPERINTENDENT in a state
of innocent bewilderment.  On MAYOR's left, DIRECTOR, his head
inclined slightly to the side as if listening for something. 
Behind him, JUDGE, his arms extended, squatting almost to the
floor, and moving his lips as if about to whistle or mutter, 
"We're in for it now, my friends!"  BOB and DOB arms straining
toward one another, mouths gaping, and eyes popping.  The frozen
group holds its position for almost a minute and a half.

     (The furniture leaves the stage.  Blackout)

                    THE HAPPY END

biomechanics.vtheatre.net 2007-2008 Theatre UAF season : R/G are Dead (Stoppard)

shows.vtheatre.net/gogol production notes
@2000 film-north

Search WWW Search filmplus.org Search vtheatre.net

©2004 filmplus.org *
* home * about * guide * classes * advertise * faq * contact * news * forums * mailing list * bookstore * ebooks * search * calendar * games * polls * submit your link * web *


Get Site Info

Stage Directing Group

Film-North * Anatoly Antohin rate
© 2006 by vtheatre.net. Permission to link to this site is granted. books.google.com + scholar.google.com

anatoly2.0 : Anatoly XXI * Webman's * Anatoly ALL * film * theatre * feeds * links * anatoly.ru * bloglines * myLibrary

home: appendix * links * list * new * biblio * books * dictionary * sum * popup * archive * 2007 * store * theatre4 * amazon.com/kindle * 2009 and After *

my yahoo: theatre