SEAGULL, OSF, 2012 Photo Credit: Jenny Graham

SEAGULL, OSF, 2012
Photo Credit: Jenny Graham

SEAGULL

Excerpt from Seagull Act I

TREPLYOV
(Listening.) I hear someone … (He embraces his uncle.) I cannot live without her… Even the sound of her footsteps makes my heart tremble… I am desperately happy. (Quickly he goes to meet NINA ZARECHNAYA, who enters.) Enchantress, my dream…

NINA
(Agitatedly.) I’m not late… please tell me I’m not late…

TREPLYOV
(Kissing her hands.) No, no, no…

NINA
I’ve been worrying all day. I was afraid my father wouldn’t let me go… But he just went out with my stepmother. The sky is red, the moon is starting to rise, and I rode like a madman to get here. (She laughs.) I’m so excited. (She firmly presses Sorin’s hand.)

SORIN
(He laughs.) We haven’t been crying, have we… No, no!

NINA
You’re right … I’m completely out of breath. I have to leave in half an hour. We’ve got to hurry. Please don’t make me be late. My father doesn’t know I’m here.

TREPLYOV
Actually, it’s time to begin. I’d better go get everyone.

SORIN
I’ll go, as it were. This minute. (He goes to the right and sings.) “To France two grenadiers…” (He glances around.) Once when I began to sing, a friend, a public prosecutor said to me: “Your Excellency, you have a strong voice”… Then he thought for a moment and added: “But… an unpleasant one.” (He laughs and exits.)

NINA
My father and his wife don’t want me to come here. They think this is “Bohemia”… they’re afraid I’ll become an actress… But I’m drawn here to this lake, like a seagull… My heart is so full of you. (She glances around.)

TREPLYOV
We are alone.

NINA
I think someone is coming…

TREPLYOV
No one.

They kiss.

NINA
What kind of tree is that?

TREPLYOV
Elm.

NINA
Why is it so dark?

TREPLYOV
It’s evening, everything looks dark. Don’t leave early, I beg you.

NINA
Impossible.

TREPLYOV
What if I go to your house, Nina? I’ll stand in the garden and look up at your window all night.

NINA
Impossible. The watchman will see you. And Trezor isn’t used to you and he’ll bark.

TREPLYOV
I love you.

NINA
Shh…

TREPLYOV
(Hearing steps.) Who’s there? Is that you, Yakov?

YAKOV
(Behind the stage.) Yup.

TREPLYOV
Take your places. It’s time. Is the moon rising?

YAKOV
Yup.

TREPLYOV
Have you got the methylated spirits? The sulphur? When the red eyes appear, it should smell like sulphur. (To Nina.) Go, everything is ready. Are you nervous?

NINA
Yes, very. Your mother – No, I’m not afraid of her but there’s Trigorin… I’m embarrassed, terrified to act in front of him. He’s such an important writer… Is he young?

TREPLYOV
Yes.

NINA
What miraculous stories he’s written!

TREPLYOV
(Coldly.) I wouldn’t know, I haven’t read them.

NINA
It’s hard to act in your play. There are no living characters in it.

TREPLYOV
Living characters! A playwright shouldn’t present life in reality but only as it comes to us in dreams..

NINA
Nothing happens in your play, and there’s nobody to talk to. I definitely think there should be a love story …

Excerpt from Seagull, Act IV:

TREPLYOV
(Moved.) Nina! Nina! It’s you… you… I just had a feeling all day long — it’s been awful. (He takes her hat and cloak from her.) Oh, my dear, my darling, she’s come! Don’t cry, we mustn’t cry.

NINA                        
Someone is here.

TREPLYOV            
No one.

NINA                        
Lock the doors, they’ll come in.

TREPLYOV            
No one will come in.

NINA                        
I know, Irina Nikolayevna is here. Lock the doors…

TREPLYOV            
(He locks the right door with a key, he approaches the left.) This one doesn’t have a lock. I’ll block it with a chair. (He stands the chair by the door.) Don’t be frightened, no one will come in.

NINA            
(Intently gazing at his face.) Let me look at you. (Looking around.) It’s warm, good… This was the drawing-room. Have I changed very much?

TREPLYOV            
Yes… You’re thinner, and your eyes are bigger. Nina, it is so strange to see you. Why wouldn’t you let me visit you? Why did you wait ’til now to come here? I know, you’ve been staying here almost a week… Several times a day I went to see you. I stood under your window, like a poor beggar.

NINA            
I was afraid that you hated me. Every night I dream that you see me and don’t recognize me. If you only knew! I’ve been coming here every day since the moment I arrived… to the lake. I’ve been at your door so many times but I couldn’t bring myself to come in. Let’s sit.

They sit.

We’ll sit and we’ll talk, talk. It’s nice here, warm, cozy… Listen – the wind? Turgenev has a passage: “Happy is he who has a roof over his head and a warm corner to rest on such nights.”  I – seagull… No, that’s not right. What did I start to say? Yes… Turgenev… “And may the Lord help all homeless wanderers.”… It’s nothing. (She sobs.)

TREPLYOV            
Nina, please don’t cry… Nina!

NINA            
It’s nothing, I need to do this… I haven’t cried for two years. Yesterday late in the evening I went to the garden, to see if our theatre was still there. And it was!  I started crying for the first time in two years, and suddenly I felt more clear. You see, I’m not crying anymore. (She takes him by the hand.)So, you’ve become a writer… You’re a writer, I – an actress… We’re both right in the middle of it… I was so happy as a child– I used to wake up each morning and sing; I loved you, I dreamed about glory, and now? Tomorrow morning early I have to go to Yelets, third class… with the peasants, and in Yelets disgusting merchants who proclaim their love of art will paw me with compliments. Horrible!

TREPLYOV            
Why Yelets?

NINA                        
I’ve got an engagement for the whole winter. It’s time to go.

TREPLYOV            
Nina, I cursed you, hated you, tore up your letters and photographs, but I’ve always known that my soul is bound to yours forever. I don’t have the strength to stop loving you, Nina. Ever since I lost you, my life has been unbearable — I’m suffering… My youth seems to have vanished. I feel like I’m ninety years old.  I call your name, I kiss the ground you walk on; I see your face everywhere, I see that tender smile, which used to shine on me in the best years of my life…

NINA                        
(Confusedly.) Why do you talk to me like this? Why?

TREPLYOV           
I’m so lonely, I don’t feel close to anybody. I’m so cold, it’s like I live in a cave, and everything I write is so cold, stale and dead. Stay here, Nina, I beg you, or at least let me go with you!

NINA quickly puts on her hat and cloak.

Nina, why? For God’s sake, Nina… (He watches, as she gets dressed.)

Pause.

NINA            
My carriage is waiting at the gate. Don’t see me off, I’ll go by myself… (On the verge of tears.) Give me some water…

TREPLYOV            
(He gives her something to drink.) Where are you going now?

NINA                       
To town.

Pause.

Is Irina Nikolayevna here?

TREPLYOV           
Yes… On Thursday my uncle got worse, we telegraphed her to come.

NINA            
Why did you say that you kiss the ground I walk on? I ought to be killed. (She bends down on the table.) I’m so tired! I need to rest… to rest! (She raises her head.) I –  seagull… no, that’s not right — actress. Oh, yes! (Hearing the laughter of ARKADINA and TRIGORIN, she listens, then runs to the left door and looks through the key-hole.) And he is here… (Returning to TREPLYOV.) Yes, yes… No, it’s nothing… Yes… He didn’t believe in the theatre, he always laughed at my dreams, and little by little I stopped believing in them too, I lost heart… And then came the miseries of love, jealousy and the constant fear for the baby’s life… I became so petty, worthless really, my acting was so amateurish… I didn’t know what to do with my hands, I didn’t know how to stand on the stage, I wasn’t in control of my voice. You have no idea how awful it is when you know you’re acting badly. I – seagull… No, that’s not right. Do you remember, you shot a seagull? Once upon a time a man comes along and for no reason at all kills it… A subject for a short story… That’s not it… (She rubs her forehead.) What was I saying?..  Yes, I was talking about the theater. But now it’s different — now I’m the real thing – an actress. I act with delight, with rapture. It’s as if I’m intoxicated on the stage, and I feel so beautiful. And since I’ve been here, I’ve been walking back and forth, back and forth and I’ve begun to feel my strength coming back. I know now, I understand, Kostya, that in our business – it doesn’t matter if it’s acting or writing – the most important thing is not fame, or brilliance, or those things I always dreamed about, it’s the ability to endure, to have patience. We have to be able to bear our own cross and believe. I believe and to me it’s not so painful, and when I think about my own calling, then I’m not afraid anymore.

TREPLYOV            
(Mournfully.) You’re on a journey — you know where you’re going, but I’m still wandering around in a chaos of daydreams and images. I don’t know where I am going or why. I don’t know what my calling is.

NINA            
(Listening.) Ssh… I’m going. Farewell. When I become an important actress, be sure to come and see me. Do you promise? But now… (She squeezes his hand.) It’s late. I can barely stand on my feet… I’m so hungry. I need to eat…

TREPLYOV            
Stay, I’ll get you some supper…

NINA            
No, no… Don’t see me off, I’ll go by myself… My carriage is nearby… So, she brought him with her? Yes, it makes no difference. When you see Trigorin, don’t say anything… I love him. I love him more than ever, more than before… A subject for a short story… I love, I love passionately, I love desperately. It was so nice, Kostya! Remember? How warm, joyful, pure life felt – like gentle, graceful flowers… Remember? (She recites.) “People, lions, eagles and partridges, horned deer, geese, spiders, silent fishes dwelling in the water, starfish and those, that cannot be seen with our eyes, — in a word, all lives, all lives, all lives, having accomplished their doleful circle, died out… Already thousands of centuries have passed since the earth has borne one living creature and in vain the poor moon shines her light. No longer do the cranes awaken the meadow, no longer do the maybugs sing in the linden groves…” (She fitfully embraces TREPLYOV and runs out through the glass door.)

TREPLYOV            
(After a pause.) I hope nobody sees her in the garden. That would upset mama…