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The Power of Darkness   By: (1828-1910)

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First Page:

[ Transcriber's Note: This e book belongs to Tolstoy's Plays (Complete Edition). The front matter, including the table of contents, can be found in e book 26660; it lists the other plays in the collection.

Every effort has been made to replicate this text as faithfully as possible; changes (corrections of spelling and punctuation) made to the original text are listed at the end of this file. ]

THE POWER OF DARKNESS

OR

IF A CLAW IS CAUGHT THE BIRD IS LOST

A DRAMA IN FIVE ACTS

(1886)

CHARACTERS

PETER IGNÁTITCH. A well to do peasant, 42 years old, married for the second time, and sickly.

ANÍSYA. His wife, 32 years old, fond of dress.

AKOULÍNA. Peter's daughter by his first marriage, 16 years old, hard of hearing, mentally undeveloped.

NAN (ANNA PETRÓVNA). His daughter by his second marriage, 10 years old.

NIKÍTA. Their labourer, 26 years old, fond of dress.

AKÍM. Nikíta's father, 50 years old, a plain looking, God fearing peasant.

MATRYÓNA. His wife and Nikíta's mother, 50 years old.

MARÍNA. An orphan girl, 22 years old.

MARTHA. Peter's sister.

MÍTRITCH. An old labourer, ex soldier.

SIMON. Marína's husband.

BRIDEGROOM. Engaged to Akoulína.

IVÁN. His father.

A NEIGHBOUR.

FIRST GIRL.

SECOND GIRL.

POLICE OFFICER.

DRIVER.

BEST MAN.

MATCHMAKER.

VILLAGE ELDER.

VISITORS, WOMEN, GIRLS, AND PEOPLE come to see the wedding.

N.B. The 'oven' mentioned is the usual large, brick, Russian baking oven. The top of it outside is flat, so that more than one person can lie on it.

THE POWER OF DARKNESS

ACT I

The Act takes place in autumn in a large village. The Scene represents Peter's roomy hut. Peter is sitting on a wooden bench, mending a horse collar. Anísya and Akoulína are spinning, and singing a part song.

PETER [looking out of the window] The horses have got loose again. If we don't look out they'll be killing the colt. Nikíta! Hey, Nikíta! Is the fellow deaf? [Listens. To the women] Shut up, one can't hear anything.

NIKÍTA [from outside] What?

PETER. Drive the horses in.

NIKÍTA. We'll drive 'em in. All in good time.

PETER [shaking his head] Ah, these labourers! If I were well, I'd not keep one on no account. There's nothing but bother with 'em. [Rises and sits down again] Nikíta!... It's no good shouting. One of you'd better go. Go, Akoúl, drive 'em in.

AKOULÍNA. What? The horses?

PETER. What else?

AKOULÍNA. All right. [Exit].

PETER. Ah, but he's a loafer, that lad ... no good at all. Won't stir a finger if he can help it.

ANÍSYA. You're so mighty brisk yourself. When you're not sprawling on the top of the oven you're squatting on the bench. To goad others to work is all you're fit for.

PETER. If one weren't to goad you on a bit, one'd have no roof left over one's head before the year's out. Oh what people!

ANÍSYA. You go shoving a dozen jobs on to one's shoulders, and then do nothing but scold. It's easy to lie on the oven and give orders.

PETER [sighing] Oh, if 'twere not for this sickness that's got hold of me, I'd not keep him on another day.

AKOULÍNA [off the scene] Gee up, gee, woo. [A colt neighs, the stamping of horses' feet and the creaking of the gate are heard].

PETER. Bragging, that's what he's good at. I'd like to sack him, I would indeed.

ANÍSYA [mimicking him] "Like to sack him." You buckle to yourself, and then talk.

AKOULÍNA [enters] It's all I could do to drive 'em in. That piebald always will ...

PETER. And where's Nikíta?

AKOULÍNA. Where's Nikíta? Why, standing out there in the street.

PETER. What's he standing there for?

AKOULÍNA. What's he standing there for? He stands there jabbering.

PETER. One can't get any sense out of her! Who's he jabbering with?

AKOULÍNA [does not hear] Eh, what?

Peter waves her off. She sits down to her spinning... Continue reading book >>




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