Redemption and two other plays

Produced by David Starner, Skip Doughty, and Project
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REDEMPTION AND TWO OTHER PLAYS

 

By LEO TOLSTOY

Introduction By ARTHUR HOPKINS

CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION BY ARTHUR HOPKINS
REDEMPTION
THE POWER OF DARKNESS
FRUITS OF CULTURE

INTRODUCTION

After making a production of Redemption, the chief feeling of the producer is one of deep regret that Tolstoi did not make more use of the theatre as a medium. His was the rare gift of vitalization: the ability to breathe life into word-people which survives in them so long as there is any one left to turn up the pages they have made their abode.

In the world of writing, many terms that should be illuminative have become meaningless. So often has the barren been called “pregnant,” the chill of death “the breath of life,” the atrophied “pulsating,” that when we really come upon a work with beating heart we find it difficult to give it place that has not already been stuffed to suffocation with misplaced dummies.

We seat it at table with staring wax figures and bid it to join the feast. There is no exclusion act in art, no passport bureau, not even hygienic segregation.

In writing the briefest introduction to Tolstoi’s work, I am appointed by the publisher, a sort of reception committee of one to escort the work to some fitting place where it may enjoy the surroundings and deference it deserves.

The place to which I escort it is built of words, but what words have been left me by the long procession of previous committees? Where they have been truthfully used they have been glorified, and offer all the rarer material for my structure, but how often have they been subjected to base use. Perhaps some day we will learn the proper respect of such simple words as love and truth and life, and then when we meet them in books we shall know how to greet them.

The study of Redemption is so simple that it needs no illumination from me. The characters may walk in strange lands without introduction. They are part of us. Fédya is in all of us. His one cry “There has always been so much lacking between what I felt and what I could do” instantly makes him brother to all mankind. His simultaneous physical degeneration and spiritual regeneration is the glory that all people have invested in death. Tolstoi’s cry against convention that disregards spiritual struggle, and system that ignores human growth, will find answering cries in many breasts in many lands.

Utterly disregarding effect, technique or method, Tolstoi has explored his own soul and there touched hands with countless other souls, and since he has trod the path of countless millions who will come after him, the mementos of his journey will long be sought.

ARTHUR HOPKINS.

 


 

The translation of Redemption here published is the one produced by Mr. Arthur Hopkins at the Plymouth Theatre, New York, in the season of 1918-1919. The part of FÉDYA was played by Mr. John Barrymore.

 


 

REDEMPTION

CHARACTERS

THEODORE VASÍLYEVICH PROTOSOV (FÉDYA).
ELISABETH ANDRÉYEVNA PROTOSOVA (LISA). His wife.
MÍSHA. Their son.
ANNA PÁVLOVNA. Lisa’s mother.
SASHA. Lisa’s younger, unmarried sister.
VICTOR MICHAELOVITCH KARÉNIN.
SOPHIA DMÍTRIEVNA KARÉNINA.
PRINCE SERGIUS DMÍTRIEVICH ABRÉSKOV.
MASHA. A gypsy girl.
IVÁN MAKÁROVICH. An old gypsy man. Masha’s parent.
NASTASÏA IVÁNOVNA. An old gypsy woman. Masha’s parent.
OFFICER.
MUSICIAN.
FIRST GYPSY MAN.
SECOND GYPSY MAN.
GYPSY WOMAN.
GYPSY CHOIR.
DOCTOR.
MICHAEL ALEXÁNDROVICH AFRÉMOV.
STÁKHOV. One of Fédya’s boon companions.
BUTKÉVICH. One of Fédya’s boon companions.
KOROTKÓV. One of Fédya’s boon companions.
IVÁN PETROVICH ALEXÁNDROV.
VOZNESÉNSKY. Karénin’s secretary.
PETUSHKÓV. An artist.
ARTIMIEV.
WAITER IN THE PRIVATE ROOM AT THE RESTAURANT.
WAITER IN A LOW-CLASS RESTAURANT.
MANAGER OF THE SAME.
POLICEMAN.
INVESTIGATING MAGISTRATE.
MÉLNIKOV.
CLERK.
USHER.
YOUNG LAWYER.
PETRÚSHIN. A lawyer.
LADY.
ANOTHER OFFICER.
ATTENDANT AT LAW COURTS.
PROTOSOVS’ NURSE.
PROTOSOVS’ MAID.
AFRÉMOV’S FOOTMAN.
KARÉNINS’ FOOTMAN.

ACT I

SCENE I

Protosovs’ flat in Moscow. The scene represents a small dining room. ANNA PÁVLOVNA, a stout, gray-haired lady, tightly laced, is sitting alone at the tea-table on which is a samovár.

Enter NURSE carrying a tea-pot.

Nurse (enters R. I, over to table C.). Please, Madam, may I have some water?

Anna Pávlovna (sitting R. of table C.). Certainly. How is the baby now?

Nurse. Oh, restless, fretting all the time. There’s nothing worse than for a lady to nurse her child. She has her worries and the baby suffers for them. What sort of milk could she have, not peeping all night, and crying and crying?

[SASHA enters R. I, strolls to L. of table C.

Anna Pávlovna. But I thought she was more calm now?

Nurse. Fine calm! It makes me sick to look at her. She’s just been writing something and crying all the time.

Sasha (to nurse). Lisa’s looking for you.

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