REDEMPTION AND TWO OTHER PLAYS
REDEMPTION AND TWO OTHER PLAYS
LEO TOLSTOY ET AL
By LEO TOLSTOY
Introduction By ARTHUR HOPKINS
INTRODUCTION BY ARTHUR HOPKINS REDEMPTION
THE POWER OF DARKNESS
FRUITS OF CULTURE
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
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
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. Fedya 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.
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 FEDYA was played by Mr. John Barrymore.
THEODORE VASILYEVICH PROTOSOV (FEDYA).
ELISABETH ANDREYEVNA PROTOSOVA (LISA). His wife.
MISHA. Their son.
ANNA PAVLOVNA. Lisa's mother.
SASHA. Lisa's younger unmarried sister.
VICTOR MICHAELOVITCH KARENIN.
SOPHIA DMITRIEVNA KARENINA.
PRINCE SERGIUS DMITRIEVICH ABRESKOV.
MASHA. A gypsy girl.
IVAN MAKAROVICH. An old gypsy man. Masha's parent.
NASTASIA IVANOVNA. An old gypsy woman. Masha's parent.
FIRST GYPSY MAN.
SECOND GYPSY MAN.
MICHAEL ALEXANDROVICH AFREMOV.
STAKHOV. One of Fedya's boon companions.
BUTKEVICH. One of Fedya's boon companions.
KOROTKOV. One of Fedya's boon companions.
IVAN PETROVICH ALEXANDROV.
VOZNESENSKY. Karenin's secretary.
PETUSHKOV. An artist.
WAITER IN THE PRIVATE ROOM AT THE RESTAURANT.
WAITER IN A LOW-CLASS RESTAURANT.
MANAGER OF THE SAME.
PETRUSHIN. A lawyer.
ATTENDANT AT LAW COURTS.
Protosovs' flat in Moscow. The scene represents a small dining room.
ANNA PAVLOVNA a stout gray-haired lady tightly laced is sitting
alone at the tea-table on which is a samovar.
Enter NURSE carrying a tea-pot.
NURSE (enters R. I over to table C.). Please Madam may I have some
ANNA PAVLOVNA (sitting R. of table C.). Certainly. How is the baby
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 PAVLOVNA. 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.
[Sits in chair L. of table C.
NURSE. I'm going.
[Exits R. I.
ANNA PAVLOVNA. Nurse says she's always crying. Why can't she try and
calm herself a little?
SASHA. Well really Mother you're amazing. How can you expect her to
behave as if nothing had happened when she's just left her husband and
taken her baby with her?
ANNA PAVLOVNA. Well I don't exactly but that's all over. If I
approve of my daughter's having left her husband if I'm ever glad
well you may be quite sure he deserved it. She has no reason to be
miserable--on the contrary she ought to be delighted at being freed
from such a wretch.
SASHA. Mother! Why do you go on like this? It's not the truth and you
know it. He's not a wretch he's wonderful. Yes in spite of all his
ANNA PAVLOVNA. I suppose you'd like her to wait till he'd spent every
kopec they had and smile sweetly when be brought his gypsy mistresses
home with him.
SASHA. He hasn't any mistresses.
ANNA PAVLOVNA. There you go again. Why the man's simply bewitched
you but I can see through him and he knows it. If I'd been Lisa I'd
left him a year ago.
SASHA. Oh how easily you speak of these serious things.
ANNA PAVLOVNA. Not easily not easily at all. Do you suppose it's
agreeable for me to have my daughter admit her marriage a failure? But
anything's better than for her to throw away her life in a lie. Thank
God she's made up her mind to finish with him for good.
SASHA. Maybe it won't be for good.
ANNA PAVLOVNA. It would be if only he'd give her a divorce.
SASHA. To what end?
ANNA PAVLOVNA. Because she's young and has the right to look for
SASHA. It's awful to listen to you. How could she love some one else?
ANNA PAVLOVNA. Why not? There are thousands better than your Fedya
and they'd be only too happy to marry Lisa.
SASHA. Oh it's not nice of you. I feel I can tell you're thinking
about Victor Karenin.
ANNA PAVLOVNA. Why not? He loved her for ten years and she him I
SASHA. Yes but she doesn't love him as a husband. They grew up
together; they've just been friends.
ANNA PAVLOVNA. Ah those friendships! How should you know what keeps
them warm! If only they were both free!
[Enter a MAID L. U.
MAID. The porter's just come back with an answer to the note.
ANNA PAVLOVNA. What note?
MAID. The note Elizaveta Protosova sent to Victor Karenin.
ANNA PAVLOVNA. Well? What answer?
MAID. Victor Karenin told the porter he'd be here directly.
ANNA PAVLOVNA. Very well.
[MAID exits L. U.
Why do you suppose she sent for him? Do you know?
SASHA. Maybe I do and maybe I don't.
ANNA PAVLOVNA. You're always so full of secrets.
SASHA. Ask Lisa she'll tell you.
ANNA PAVLOVNA. Just as I thought! She sent for him at once.
SASHA. Yes but maybe not for the reason you think.
ANNA PAVLOVNA. Then what for?
SASHA. Why Mother Lisa cares just about as much for Victor Karenin
as she does for her old nurse.
ANNA PAVLOVNA. You'll see. She wants consolation a special sort of
SASHA. Really it shows you don't know Lisa at all to talk like this.
ANNA PAVLOVNA. You'll see. Sasha. Yes I shall see.
ANNA PAVLOVNA (alone to herself). And I am very glad. I'm very very
MAID. Victor Karenin.
ANNA PAVLOVNA. Show him here and tell your mistress.
[MAID shows in KARENIN and exits door R. I.
KARENIN (goes C. and stands behind table C.). (Shaking hands with Anna
Pavlovna.) Elizaveta Andreyevna sent me a note to come at once. I
should have been here to-night anyway. How is she? Well I hope.
ANNA PAVLOVNA. Not very. The baby has been upset again. However
she'll be here in a minute. Will you have some tea?
KARENIN. No thank you.
[Sits chair R.
ANNA PAVLOVNA. Tell me do you know that he and she--.
KARENIN. Yes I was here two days ago when she got this letter. Is she
positive now about their separating?
ANNA PAVLOVNA. Oh absolutely. It would be impossible to begin it all
KARENIN. Yes. To cut into living things and then draw back the knife
is terrible. But are you sure she knows her mind?
ANNA PAVLOVNA. I should think so. To come to this decision has caused
her much pain. But now it's final and he understands perfectly that
his behavior has made it impossible for him to come back on any terms.
ANNA PAVLOVNA. After breaking every oath he swore to decency how
could he come back? And so why shouldn't he give her her freedom?
KARENIN. What freedom is there for a woman still married?
ANNA PAVLOVNA. Divorce. He promised her a divorce and we shall insist
KARENIN. But your daughter was so in love with him?
ANNA PAVLOVNA. Her love has been tried out of existence. Remember she
had everything to contend with: drunkenness gambling infidelity--
what was there to go on loving in such a person?
KARENIN. Love can do anything.
ANNA PAVLOVNA. How can one love a rag torn by every wind? Their
affairs were in dreadful shape; their estate mortgaged; no money
anywhere. Finally his uncle sends them two thousand rubles to pay the
interest on the estate. He takes it disappears leaves Lisa home and
the baby sick--when suddenly she gets a note asking her to send him
KARENIN. I know.
[Enter LISA R.I. KARENIN crosses to LISA.
I'm sorry to have been a little detained.
[Shakes hands with LISA.
LISA. Oh thank you so much for coming. I have a great favor to ask of
you. Something I couldn't ask of anybody else.
KARENIN. I'll do everything I can.
[LISA moves away a few steps down R.
LISA. You know all about this.
[Sits chair R.
KARENIN. Yes I know.
ANNA PAVLOVNA. Well I think I'll leave you two young people to
yourselves. (To SASHA.) Come along dear you and I will be just in
[Exit L. U. ANNA PAVLOVNA and SASHA.
LISA. Fedya wrote to me saying it was all over between us. (She begins
to cry.) That hurt me so bewildered me so that--well I agreed to
separate. I wrote to him saying I was willing to give him up if he
wanted me to.
KARENIN. And now you're sorry?
LISA (nodding). I feel I oughtn't to have said yes. I can't. Anything
is better than not to see him again. Victor dear I want you to give
him this letter and tell him what I've told you and--and bring him
back to me.
[Gives VICTOR a letter.
KARENIN. I'll do what I can.
[Takes letter turns away and sits chair R. of table C.
LISA. Tell him I will forget everything if only he will come back. I
thought of mailing this only I know him: he'd have a good impulse
first thwarted by some one some one who would finally make him act
Are you--are you surprised I asked you?
KARENIN. No. (He hesitates.) But--well candidly yes. I am rather
LISA. But you are not angry?
KARENIN. You know I couldn't be angry with you.
LISA. I ask you because I know you're so fond of him.
KARENIN. Of him--and of you too. Thank you for trusting me. I'll do
all I can.
LISA. I know you will. Now I'm going to tell you everything. I went
to-day to Afremov's to find out where he was. They told me he was
living with the gypsies. Of course that's what I was afraid of. I know
he'll be swept off his feet if he isn't stopped in time. So you'll go
KARENIN. Where's the place?
LISA. It's that big tenement where the gypsy orchestra lives on the
left bank below the bridge. I went there myself. I went as far as the
door and was just going to send up the letter but somehow I was
afraid. I don't know why. And then I thought of you. Tell him tell
him I've forgotten everything and that I'm here waiting for him to
come home. (Crosses to KARENIN--a little pause.) Do it out of love for
him Victor and out of friendship for me.
KARENIN. I'll do all I can.
[He bows to her and goes out L.U. Enter SASHA L.U. goes L. over
near table C.
SASHA. Has the letter gone? (LISA nods.) He had no objections to
taking it himself?
[LISA R. C. shakes head.
SASHA (L.C.). Why did you ask him? I don't understand it.
LISA. Who else was there?
SASHA. But you know he's in love with you.
LISA. Oh that's all past. (Over to table C.) Do you think Fedya will
SASHA. I'm sure he will but--
[Enter ANNA PAVLOVNA.
ANNA PAVLOVNA. Where's Victor Karenin?