IVANOV

 
IVANOV, University of Minnesota, 2016 Photo Credit: Ryan Johnson

IVANOV, University of Minnesota, 2016
Photo Credit: Ryan Johnson

Excerpt from Ivanov, Act I:

IVANOV sits at the table and reads a book. BORKIN in large boots, with a gun, appears in the depths of the garden; he is tipsy; seeing IVANOV, he goes to him on tiptoes and, coming up alongside him, takes aim at his face.

IVANOV
(Seeing BORKIN, shudders and leaps up). Oh for God’s sake. You scared me, Misha… I’m a mess these days, but you never stop with your stupid little jokes… (He sits.) Oh sure,     scaring me to death is your favorite sport... 

 

Five Chekhov Plays
By Anton Chekhov

BORKIN
(He laughs.) I give up. (Puts his hands in the air.) I did it. But I promise, no more, no more… (He sits next to him and takes off his peaked cap.) It’s hot. Take it from me, my darling, I covered eleven miles in about three hours… I’m exhausted. Put your hand on my heart. Feel how fast it’s pounding.

IVANOV
(Reading.) Later, please…


 

BORKIN
No, feel it. Feel it now. (He takes Ivanov’s hand and puts it on his chest.) Hear it? Tu-tu-tu-tu-tu-tu. I must be having a heart attack. I’m going to die any minute. Will you be sorry if I die?

IVANOV
I’m reading… later…

BORKIN
No, seriously, will you be sorry if I die? Come on, Nikolai Alekseyevich, will you be sorry if I die?

IVANOV
Cut it out!

BORKIN
My darling, tell me: will you be sorry?

IVANOV
I am sorry that you stink of vodka. Disgusting!

BORKIN
(He laughs.) Do I really stink? Shocking! Actually, not so shocking. In Plesniki I met a prosecutor, and we knocked back eight glasses. I know, I know – drinking is really bad for you. Don’t you think – bad, bad, BAD. Bad?

IVANOV
Will you please stop it! I can’t take any more of this…

BORKIN
Yes, yes… I did it. I give up. Take it easy, calm down... (He stands and walks.) Amazing, you’re not even allowed to say anything anymore… it’s even forbidden to talk. (He returns.) Oh, yes, I almost forgot… Eighty-two rubles please!...

Excerpt from Ivanov, Act III:

IVANOV’s study. SHABELSKY and LEBEDEV sit on the sides of the writing desk. BORKIN is in the middle of the room astride a chair.

LEBEDEV
In France politics are clear and definite. Frenchmen know what they want. They want to demolish the Krauts and that’s it. But in Germany, brother, it’s just the opposite. The Germans have a lot more fish to fry besides France.

SHABELSKY
Nonsense!... In my opinion, the Germans are cowards and the French are cowards… They are busy giving each other the finger, only they keep their fingers in their pockets. Believe me, their animus is strictly limited to fingers. They won’t be fighting so soon.

BORKIN
And I say, why fight? What do we need all this defense spending? What should we do? Get all the dogs in the country, inject them with rabies, and let them loose in enemy territory. They would all go mad in a month.

LEBEDEV
(He laughs.) See, his head may be small, but it’s filled with brilliant ideas.

SHABELSKII
Brilliant!

LEBEDEV
God help you, you make me laugh, Michel Michelich(He stops laughing.) How does it go, gentlemen, don’t get so caught up with war that you forget about your vodka. Repetatur(He pours three glasses.) Na zdorovye.

They drink and eat a bite.

The herring, mother of God, is the snack of all snacks.

SHABELSKY
No, the cucumber is better… The intelligentsia have been pondering that question all over the world and no one has come up with a better snack than the salted cucumber. (To PYOTR.) Pyotr, let’s have some more cucumbers and get the cook to make us pirozhki with onions. They have to be hot.

PYOTR exits.

LEBEDEV
Caviar is also good with vodka. Only how should it be served? You’ve got to… Take a quarter pound of caviar, half a green onion, olive oil, mix it all together and, you know, what you have… oh, and top it off with a little lemon… Unbelievable! The smell alone will drive you crazy.

BORKIN
It’s also good to eat fried smelts with vodka. Only you have to know how to fry it. You need to clean it, then roll it in crushed bread crumbs and fry it until it’s crisp so it’ll be crunchy… cru-cru-cru…

SHABELSKY
Babakina served good snacks yesterday– white mushrooms. Mmmm…

LEBEDEV
And how… Mmmm…

SHABELSKY
They were specially prepared. You know, with onions, and bay leaves, and all kinds of spices. The smell from the frying pan was… ecstasy!

LEBEDEV
How about it? Repetatur, gentlemen!

They drink up.