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Martin Sherman / When She Danced (Acting Edition)
ÒÅÀÒÐ. "ÊÎÃÄÀ ÎÍÀ ÒÀÍÖÅÂÀËÀ"
Êîãäà îíà òàíöåâàëà. (íà÷àëî)
© Ìàðòèí Øåðìàí
The play is set in Paris, Pompe
A house on the rue de la Pompe, Paris, 1923. A large room. The furniture is
sparse, a sofa, a desk, a few chairs, a table, a piano, but of the best quality.
A mandolin lies on the floor. There is an entrance from the hallway; also a door
that leads to a bedroom and a door that leads to a study.
The room is untidy. Glasses and empty champagne bottles are on the floor, as well as a few pieces of clothing. The curtains are drawn.
A man and a woman lie asleep on the sofa. The woman, Isadora, is forty-six and matronly. The man, Sergei, is twenty-eight and handsome. He has golden curls. Sergei's head is cradled in Isadora's arm.
Isadora opens her eyes. She brushes her hand lightly over Sergei's head. She stares into space. She closes her eyes, then opens them again.
Isadora rises and opens the curtains. Daylight floods the room. She returns to the sofa. She caresses Sergei's forehead.
Isadora: Seryezha… (Pause) Wake up. That's right… Mon cher… Mein Liebling… (She kisses him) Sergei… Sergei Alexandrovich! Sweetie, come on. Stavy! Stavy! Come on… c'est mucho late. Seryezha.
Sergei opens his eyes.
Sergei: Sidora… (He kisses her)
Isadora: Good morning, darling. It's afternoon. We were drunk. (She mimes drinking) Very drunk. Piyanegay. I mean, piyaneya. Something like that. Drunk. It's afternoon. (She mimes sunlight)
Sergei: Sidora... (He kisses her) Prosti menya. Mne ochen stidno. Prosti menya.
Isadora tries to rise, Sergei pulls her back on to the sofa.
Isadora: No, Sergei...
Sergei: Prosti menya dorogaya! Krasavitsa moya. (He kisses her hand)
Sergei: Za chto tolko ty terpish menya? (He kisses her breast)
Isadora: Oh God. (She pulls away from him)
Sergei: Sidora. U menya treshchit golova. (He mimes his head hurting)
Sergei mimes his head hurting again.
Yes. Mine too.
Sergei: E zhivot bolit. (He mimes his stomach hurting)
Isadora: Well, it should. Sleeping on that thing. It's destroyed my back.
Isadora: Back. (She mimes her back and shoulders in pain) Bad. Very bad.
Sergei: Sidora... (He tries to pull her back)
Isadora: (pulling away) No. Not now... (She rises and examines her clothing) Ye gods! Just look at me. Jeanne! I think I have a rehearsal. When is it? (To Sergei) Rehearsal. (To herself) Four. I think it's at four. Oh, my brain doesn't work any more. And something's happening tonight. About money. God knows what. Why isn't Mary here? Look at me. Jeanne!
Jeanne enters. She is middle-aged and a bit severe. She carries a tray with two cups of coffee.
Oh, sweetie, you're an angel. Merci, Jeanne.
Sergei takes a cup of coffee.
Jeanne: Madame voudrait un petit dejeuner?
Isadora: Oh God, no. What time is it? Quelle heure est-il?
Jeanne: Une heure dix.
Isadora: Yikes, it is late. I feel extremely kaput. Give him breakfast, duckie. I think he needs it. Un petit dejeuner pour mon mari. (To Sergei) Un petit dejeuner, Sergei? (She mimes food and eating) Oui?
Isadora: (To Jeanne) Yes. Pour monsieur. I have to get ready. Figimijig is coming. Je veux faire ma toilette.
Jeanne: Oui, Madame.
Isadora finds a slip of paper.
Isadora: The rehearsal is at four. (Looking into the mirror) Oh, my God.
Sergei Alexandrovich, I look like shit.
Isadora: I'm old. I am. I'm fat. I have flesh I don't want. Or need. And you... you still look like a child. (She kisses him) The image of my baby boy, my Patrick. (She pulls away) Oh dear, why did I say that?
Sergei: Ya hochu tebya, Sidora. (He mimes making love)
Isadora: No. Not now. There's work to do. We have to get on with it. (She sits down, takes his hand) We have to get on with it.
Mary Desti enters. She is in her late forties. Her dress and demeanour are in imitation of Isadora.
Mary: News, news! Wonderful news about Vienna! Hello, darlings. Welcome back
Sergei: (making a face) Bozhe moi! Tolko yeyo ne hvatalo. (He falls on the floor, in much agony at Mary's entrance)
Isadora: Sergei. Shh! Morning, Mary. What news?
Isadora and Mary kiss.
Sergei: Ya ne mogu yeyo vides.
Mary: Why is he screaming?
Sergei: S nei odni nepriyatnosti.
Isadora: Don't pay any attention. Tell me about Vienna.
Sergei: Ona boltunya. Tolstaya. Nastoyashchi bronenosets. (He mimes a ship)
Mary: What's he doing?
Isadora: I think he's making a ship.
Mary: Why is he making a ship?
Isadora: Don't ask.
Mary: I want to know.
Isadora: No you don't. Tell me about Vienna.
Mary: What is he saying?
Isadora: I don't know. It's in Russian.
Mary: You understand his games.
Sergei: Bronenosets. (He mimes a ship again)
Mary: What is he saying?
Isadora: Well, I think he says you look like one.
Mary: Like what?
Isadora: Like a ship... I think. (She mimes a ship back to Sergei) Ship?
Sergei mimes a big ship.
Sergei mimes soldiers and guns.
Battleship? Yes? Potemkin?
Sergei shakes his head "yes".
Da? (To Mary) Da. He says you look like a battleship.
Isadora and Sergei laugh.
Mary: It isn't funny. After all, everyone thinks I look like you. Why just this morning on rue Jacob I saw two people pointing at me and whispering, "That's Isadora Duncan". And it is an easy mistake to make. Do you think you look like a battleship?
Isadora: Yes. (Laughing) Oh yes, Mary, yes. Once everybody wanted to look like me. Now everybody does.
She pats her stomach. Sergei takes her hand supportively. She kisses his shoulder.
Mary: I'm the only person in the world who looks like you. (She
Isadora: Yes, Mary, yes, you're very special. You've always been my dearest friend. Don't cry.
Sergei mimes a woman crying very tragically.
Serezha! Stop it!
She tries not to laugh, Sergei is beating his breast.
Stop it. (She laughs)
Jeanne enters with a breakfast tray.
Oh, thank fuck. (She points to the bedroom) Dans sa chambre, Jeanne. (To Sergei) Chambre. Bedroom.
Jeanne takes the tray into the bedroom.
Sergei: Da. Sex.
Isadora: No. No. Food. Go. Eat. Blini. Stroganoff. Borscht. (She leads him to the bedroom)
Sergei: Nyet. Sex.
Isadora: Later. Go already.
Sergei: Pozhaluista izbavsya ot neyo. Kogda ya pozavtrakaiu shtob yeyo zdes ne bilo. Ne mogu yeyo vides.
Sergei mimes strangling Mary, laughs, winks at Isadora, and goes into the
bedroom. Jeanne returns to the hallway and leaves.
Mary is still brushing away tears.
Isadora: Come on, don't be angry. Oh, Mary, you've come to save us. I knew
you would. (She sits)
Mary: He's getting worse. (Pause) He's a brute.
Isadora: He's a genius. Tell me about Vienna.
Mary: A clown.
Isadora: All my lovers have been geniuses.
Mary: A peasant.
Isadora: Yes. And the greatest poet in Russia!
Mary: How do you know? You don't speak a word of Russian.
Isadora: Language has nothing to do with poetry. Anyhow, it's highly overrated, language. We never had it in America.
Mary: (Laughing) Oh, Isadora, sometimes you are silly.
Isadora: You should have seen him when we met. He was a demon. He was an angel. I thought I waited my whole life for him.
Mary: You always think that.
Isadora: Artists are the only lovers, absolutely the only lovers. They can smell inner beauty a mile away. But I never should have taken him to America.
Mary: You never should have married him.
Isadora: Tell me about Vienna. My concert. The fee. The gelt. It will get us back to Moscow.
Mary: I don't know why you want to go back to Moscow. Stay here. This is your home.
Isadora: My school. I have my school. And there's the revolution.
Mary: Oh God, Isadora, you don't know anything about revolution. And you have such a nice house here...
Isadora: Don't start that again. What's the wonderful news?
Mary: Vienna has laid yes. The contract is due any minute now. I told you not to worry.
Isadora: But what about the visas?
Mary: My attorney is handling that. I just need your passports. Everyone is excited. Why just this morning someone stopped me on the rue de la Paix and told me how thrilled he was to hear the news. "It will be her first concert since her American triumph," he said.
Isadora: My what? Oh, Mary, I do love you. They called me a Bolshevik whore. In each town I was barely one step ahead of the tar and feathers. That ain't a triumph.
Mary: Well, whatever.
Isadora: We need that money. Good heavens, Mary, there's a new world starting. Can't you feel it? When I was a little girl in San Francisco, I used to dream of overturning the whole bourgeois system, I was the first communist. Honest! We need that money. Oh, criminy, there's something about money and tonight. I think I've invited someone for dinner.
Mary: Yes. You did. You invited that man from the Italian Embassy.
Isadora: I did? Oh, of course. I did. A vice-consul or something. He seemed interested in my school. What the hell's his name? Did he speak English? If I could just get Italy to start a school too. Like Russia. It would be heaven. Just let them give me five hundred, a thousand Italian children, and I'll make them do wonderful things! And we can switch locates. The Moscow children can spend two months in Naples. Or Venice. All that sun, all that beauty, all that wonderful food. And the Italian children can go to Moscow. All that kasha, all that freezing weather, all those rats. It will be good for them. That's an education. Ye gods, what are we going to feed him? Do you remember his name? Jeanne! Oh Mary, I can't go through with it. Not another night scrounging for money. Being sweet to people without names. Mother's child ain't got it in her any more. You have to be here. And, please, be nice to Sergei. Just remember that Dostoevsky and Verlaine and Moussorgsky and even Mr Edgar Allan Poe were dipsomaniacs too. (She laughs, takes Mary's hand and kisses her on the cheek) It's going to be all right. I have a rehearsal at four. Maybe I'll make a new dance. Maybe the Italian will give me money for a school. Maybe someone will give me money for dinner.
Mary, you're my oldest friend. What would I do without you?
Jeanne enters, followed by a plain, shy woman in her early forties: Miss Belzer. She is wearing a hat. She is nervous.
Jeanne: Cette femme est venue voir Madame Desti.
Belzer: Mrs Desti? (She speaks with an accent)
Mary: Yes? (Pause) Can I help you?
Belzer: Miss Belzer.
Mary: I'm sorry...
Belzer: I am Miss Belzer.
Mary: But I don't know you. Jeanne, je ne connais pas cette femme.
Belzer: Last night. You told me to come here. Miss Belzer.
Mary: I've never seen you before, ever, ever in my life.
Isadora: Mary, you must know her. (She goes to Belzer and takes her hand) Don't be frightened. Tell us who you are.
Belzer: I am Miss Belzer.
Belzer: You are Miss Duncan.
Belzer: (smiling shyly) Yes. (Pause) Miss Duncan.
Isadora: Yes, that's who I am.
Belzer: I know.
Isadora: Well. (Pause) Well. (She goes to Mary; whispering) Mary, who is this?
Mary: I have no idea.
Belzer: I saw you dance.
Belzer: I am Miss Belzer.
Sergei storms out of the bedroom.
Sergei: Sidora, ya pozavtrakal. Ya hochu tebya. (He embraces Isadora and
leads her towards the bedroom)
Isadora: Me too.
Sergei sees Belzer and points to her.
Sergei: Yeshcho odna baba? Etot dom vsegda polon bab.
Belzer: (To Sergei) Menya zovut Belzer.
Sergei: Vi govorite po russki?
Isadora: You speak Russian?
Mary: Oh dear God, it's Miss Weltzer. Of course! The Russian girl. Isn't this funny?
Sergei: Otkuda vi znaete russki yazik?
Belzer: Ya rodilas v Rossii.
Mary takes Belzer's hand and leads her away from Sergei.
Mary: We met last night at a party on rue Bonaparte.
Belzer: No. Rue des Beaux Arts.
Mary: Well, whatever. I completely forgot. But, of course, you look totally different.
Belzer: No. I am the same.
Mary: Your hair was up the last time.
Mary: (To Isadora) You see, darling, she speaks Russian. Why, she even is Russian. Although not one of your nasty Bolsheviks. She's cultured. She doesn't go around shooting rich people. Her father taught languages, or something like that, so she is very good at English too. And she needs a job. And I thought you could use an interpreter. Then you can understand what that slob is saying. It might just open your eyes.
Sergei: Pochemu vi s etoi baboi razgovarivaete? Ona zhe vse vret. Bronenosets.
Mary: What is he saying? It's about me, isn't it?
Sergei: Kogda ona nakonets zamolchit.
Mary: What is he saying?
Sergei: Skazhite etomu bronenostsu uity. Skazhite po angliyski.
Belzer: Oh. Nothing really.
Mary: Now, now, I insist. You mustn't be shy. What is he saying?
Belzer: Well, he thinks possibly there is a battleship here?
Mary: (glaring at Sergei) Peasant.
Isadora: (Laughing) We had an interpreter in Venice once, Miss Weltzer. And it was a disaster.
Sergei takes Belzer aside.
Sergei: Chto vi zdes delaite?
Belzer: Ya nadeyalas poluchits rabotu. Perevodshitsa.
Sergei: Kak priyatno slishits russkuyu retch. (To Isadora) Sidora, naimi yeyo.
Mary: What is he saying? Is he calling me names?
Belzer: (embarrassed) I can't.
Isadora: I suppose he's saying I should hire you.
Belzer: Yes. He is happy to hear Russian.
Mary: Well, of course, you should hire her.
Sergei: (looking at Mary) Skazhite etoi suke zatknutsa.
Mary: What is he saying?
Isadora: Mary, you're the one person who should never know what he's saying.
Sergei: (shouting) Suka. S nei odni nepriyatnosti.
Mary: What is he saying?
Belzer: Nothing, really.
Mary: I want to know.
Isadora: Oh, go ahead. Translate.
Belzer: He's calling you names.
Mary: Tell him it's rude to call people names. Tell him Edgar Allan Poe would never call people names. Besides, he's a murderer! (She goes to Sergei shouting in his face) Murderer!
Belzer: Chto-to pro Edgara Poe i chto vi ubiytsa.
Sergei: Vret! Vse vret!
Belzer: He says, liar!
Mary: I saw him. In Berlin. Holding a revolver. Pointed at Isadora.
Isadora: You saw no such thing. That's a fantasy. It never happened.
Isadora: I have known Sergei for two years and he never once pulled a gun on me.
Mary: What is he saying now?
Belzer: I can not.
Mary: You must. You must.
Belzer: It translates... roughly... a container of shit.
Isadora: In English, I think we say bag, not container.
Belzer: Yes. He calls you a bag of shit.
Mary: (to Isadora, in tears) Well, now, I hope you're happy. It isn't enough that he insults me, but you have to have someone translate it as well.
Mary storms out into the hallway.
Sergei: (To Isadora) U menya ot neyo bolit golova. (He mimes a headache) Ona vse vremya menya oskorbliayet, poidu liagu.
Sergei stalks into the bedroom, slamming his door.
Isadora closes her eyes. Silence. Isadora opens her eyes and looks at Belzer.
Isadora: I'm so tired. (Pause) Do you ever think, Miss Weltzer...?
Isadora: Belzer. Do you ever think of killing yourself?
Isadora: Everyone in this house is mad. And there is no money. How will I find you a salary? How did you leave Russia? Was it a drama? You must tell me everything. I long to know. How will I find me a salary, for Christ's sake? How am I going to pay for the dinner tonight? I mean, I have earned quite a lot of money in my tune. But there have always been things, brothers, a sister, brothers' wives, a sister's boyfriend, our mother, cats and dogs and schools, a school in Germany, a school in France, students, doctors for the students, doctors for the brothers' wives, doctors, things who have eaten the money away. Also, I have certain rides in life, for the dogs and cats and, of course, lovers, lovers for everybody, things, Champagne, for instance. And a motto I have always tried to live by, when in doubt, head for the best hotel. So money vanishes. Well, that's capitalism, isn't it? And schools vanish. And lovers vanish. And inspiration. Ach. But then, suddenly, the New World reached out to me. I received an invitation from the Soviet Government to make them a school. So I left Europe behind. But in Moscow, my students have no food, no clothing, no water, no heat, because the New World, to put it mildly, is broke. So I went back to America to make some dough. And I did earn quite a bit. But I have returned with nothing. So how do I get to Vienna? How do I feed an Italian? I have been selling furniture. Perhaps a desk can buy you for a week, eh? You see, sweetie, I do understand. Not language. But everything else. I know what he's saying. Always.
I'm really very tired.
Isadora goes into the bedroom. She closes the door.
(Off, shouting from the bedroom) Jeanne!
Belzer looks around the room. She takes off her hat. The lights dim. Black-out. A light shines on Belzer.
Belzer: I saw her dance. I was very young, perhaps twenty. It was her first tour of Russia, in St Petersburg. We had heard about this strange creature from America who danced barefoot on an empty platform, wearing only a tunic, and behaving, well, they said in very strange ways. The audience was there, I think, to laugh. When she first appeared they made noises, you know, hissing noises. She was standing. Simply standing. Standing still. The music was playing. It was, I think, Chopin. And then, very slowly, she began to move. But it was not the way anyone else moved on a stage. I do not know exactly what it was, I think perhaps she simply walked from one side of the stage to another, and then it was hard for me to see, because my eyes were burning, that is what happens when I cry, but I do not know why I was crying. I thought I saw children dancing, but there were no children. I thought I saw the face of my mother as she lay dying. I thought I remembered the rabbi's words. I thought I was kissing my child before they took him away from me. I thought I felt the lips, the doing on the stage was walking, just a few steps up, a few steps down, but lips of a man in a great white hat on the train to Kiev, and all she was this walk of hers, it was like a cornet shooting through my body, and then, suddenly, she stopped, and that was it, it was over, and the audience that had been making those noises, this hissing, were on their feet, cheering, but my eyes were still burning. And this is why I do not like to cry. And I never cry since that night, since eighteen years. No matter what has happened, I never cry. But sometimes when sleep does not come or when the dreams have frightened me, sometimes... then... I make myself think of Isadora, dancing!
During the black-out Belzer exits and Alexandros Eliopolos enters.
The lights rise. Mid-afternoon. The room is still untidy. Alexandros Eliopolos is at the piano playing, improvising, diddling. He is nineteen, and speaks with a thick accent.
Jeanne: II n'y a pas d'argent pour le diner. Elle veut des homards. Le vendeur au marche ne me vendra pas des homards. II veut etre paye. (She glares at the closed bedroom door)
Belzer enters from the hallway. Belzer smiles shyly at Alexandros. Alexandros smiles at her, as he plays.
Belzer: Oh. Hello.
Jeanne: (To Belzer) Je suppose qu'ils font l'amour. Ce n'est pas le moment de faire l'amour. On a besoin d'argent pour les homards. Qu'est-ce que je vais faire?
Belzer: Oh. Je ne comprend pas francais. Vous parlez English?
Jeanne: (brushing her away) Non. Non.
Belzer: Russian? Polish? Rumanian? A little Hungarian?
Jeanne: Personne ne parle francais dans cette maison. C'est terrible.
Alexandros plays the "Marseillaise" as she goes.
Alexandros: Speak Greek?
Belzer: Nyet. Russian. Polish. Rumanian. A little Hungarian.
Belzer: And English.
Belzer: Yes. I speak English.
Alexandros: Nay. In Greek, nay mean yes.
Alexandros: I am Eliopolos.
Belzer: Oh. Hello.
Alexandros: Eliopolos. The Eliopolos. Alexandros Duncan Eliopolos. I make Paris debut last week. You read maybe about it?
Belzer: I'm afraid... no…
Alexandros: Greatest acclaim. Newspapers bravo. I am prodigy. Yes, Eliopolos. In Greece, I am Greek, they treat me with respect, they are very kind, always, very kind, but here, in Paris, oh, flowers... roses, orchids, falling on my head from audience, I do not know how, flowers, and applause, going on for many, many minutes. Like excellent lovemaking, applause.
Belzer: Oh. (Pause) I'm the interpreter.
Alexandros: She comes after concert, La Duncan. She falls at my feet. No- one can play the Chopin like you, she says. Then I tell her, Alexandros Duncan Eliopolos is named one third for her. My mother watch her dance, my mother go to Acropolis at night and watch her dance, when I was inside belly, and my mother say her child will be great artist like Isadora. And now this is true. Great artist. But, still, I never see La Duncan dance. I ask my mother to describe. But she will not. In my eye there is no picture. I not see what it is that happens when Isadora dance. This I tell Isadora and she says but of course I will come to Vienna to watch her make performance. But first I go to her house, here, this house, now, and play for her and she will make rehearsal. So, at last, since so many years asking and dreaming, at last I will see Isadora dance.
Belzer: Oh. (Pause) I'm the interpreter. Miss Belzer.
Alexandros: Look, here... (He points to a photograph that sets in a frame on the piano) She keeps photograph. This little girl. This little boy. Beautiful. Her children. Yes. Terrible accident. Many years ago. Children sit in automobile and automobile goes into river. And children drown. Very Greek. Like Sophocles. I am proud to have her name. (He brings the photograph of the children to Belzer and sets it on a table)
Belzer: Yes. I remember. Her children. I read about it. They drowned. In the river. I was in a clinic in Budapest. It seemed much more real.
Alexandros: More real?
Belzer: Yes. (Pause) Than any of the suffering around me. (Pause) I'm the interpreter. But there is nothing to interpret. They have been in there... (pointing to the bedroom)... all afternoon.
Jeanne enters and paces in front of the bedroom door.
Jeanne: Le marchand de vin ne nous donnera plus de champagne. Dis leur d'arreter de faire l'amour. On a besoin d'argent.
Isadora comes out of the bedroom. She looks quite radiant.
Isadora: Oh there you are, Jeanne. We'd love some tea.
Jeanne looks at her in silence.
Du the s'il te plait, cherie.
Jeanne: Madame, il n'y a pas d'argent pour le diner. Je ne peux pas acheter du champagne ou des homards.
Isadora ignores Jeanne and goes to Alexandros, arms outstretched.
Isadora: My sweet Alexandros, how kind of you to come. And... (She stares at
Belzer for a moment, a bit baffled)
Belzer: Miss Belzer.
Isadora: Yes, dear. I remember. (She sees the photograph of the children on the table. She looks at it and carefully puts it back on the piano)
Sergei comes out of the bedroom. He puts his arms around Isadora.
Sergei: Sidora. Idem guliats.
Isadora: (To Belzer) Here's your chance. You can translate.
Belzer: He would like to go for a walk with you.
Isadora: Oh. (She mimes walking to Sergei then shakes her head "no", and turns to Belzer) Tell Sergei I must rehearse. Sergei, do you remember Eliopolos? (She brings Sergei to Alexandros)
Alexandros: (holding out his band) Yassoo.
Sergei stares at Alexandros but does not take his hand.
Jeanne: Madame...les homards.
Isadora: Pas maintenant, Jeanne.
Belzer: (To Sergei) U neye repetitsia s etim molodim chelovekom.
Sergei: (staring at Alexandros) Kto eto?
Alexandros: Eliopolos. I am Eliopolos.
Belzer: He says who is he?
Sergei continues to stare.
Isadora: We went to his concert, Sergei. Eliopolos.
Alexandros: Eliopolos. Prodigy. Piano. Flowers.
Sergei: Skolko yemu lyet?
Belzer: He wants to know how old you are.
Sergei snorts then looks at Isadora.
Sergei: Ponimayu. Togda ya idu guliats odin.
Belzer: He says he will go for a walk by himself.
Isadora: Oh no, duckie, not alone. He mustn't go out alone. Don't translate that. (Quietly, almost in a whisper, to Belzer and Alexandros) Every time he goes out for a walk by himself he gets into trouble. They find him floating in gutters. He destroys buildings. Tres dangereux. Oh dear, oh dear, what to do.
Sergei: Ya idu guliats.
Isadora: No, Sergei.
Sergei: Ya sebia chuvstvuyu kak v tiurme.
Belzer: He says you keep him a prisoner here.
Isadora: It's true. I do. I have to. I will not let him go. (To Belzer) Why don't you reminisce?
Belzer: What about?
Belzer: I have never been to Moscow.
Isadora: But you're Russian.
Belzer: It's a large country.
Isadora: But where did you live? Didn't you long to go to Moscow? You must tell me everything. But, meanwhile, pretend. Talk to him about Russia. Just mention Moscow. See what happens. Try it.
Belzer: Sergei Alexandrovich, ya tak davno ne vstrechalas s russkim.
Isadora: (motioning to her) Go on…
Belzer: Davaite pogovorim o Moskve.
Sergei: Moskva! Oh Moskva!
Sergei: Horosho bi okazatsa seichas v Moskve!
Isadora: Now go into the study and compare memories. Make up memories.
Belzer: Davaite pogovorim o Moskve.
Belzer opens the study door. Sergei follows her.
Sergei: Chto novovo v Moskve?
Belzer: Vi uzhe davno uyehali iz Moskvi, Sergei Alexandrovich?
Belzer enters the study, followed by Sergei. She closes the study door.
Isadora: Good girl, Belzer!
Jeanne: Madame, je ne sais quoi faire a-propos du diner. Nous n'avons pas d'argent pour champagne ou homards.
Isadora: Oh what a blooming farce. (To Alexandros) There is no money for dinner. (To Jeanne) Ne me derange pas maintenant.
Jeanne: Mais qu'est-ce que je fais pour le diner?
Isadora: I don't know. (To Alexandros) The world is a sickening place, isn't it? I live from hand to mouth. (She looks around the room) We'll have to sell some more furniture. The dining-room is completely gone. We'll have our meal in here. We can eat a nice juicy desk tonight. I do love this house, but now suddenly it's all drifting away, piece by piece. (To Jeanne) Essaye det'arranger avec le marchand pour la table.
Jeanne: Et le champagne?
Isadora: Sell anything but the piano. Tu t'en occupe, Jeanne. Je te fais complete confiance.
Jeanne: Oui, Madame.
Isadora: And we have to find someone who speaks Italian. There's a vice-consul or something coming to dinner.
Alexandros: Ah, Eliopolos can help. I speak Italian.
Isadora: You do?
Alexandros: Yes, very superb. Like my English.
Isadora: Oh, dear, dear Alexandros. Then you must dine with us tonight. Un autre homard, Jeanne.
Jeanne: Un autre homard? (Pause) Oui, Madame.
Isadora: I'm so pleased you are here. Do you think she's
Isadora: Belzer. Or is she rather plain?
Isadora: Perhaps? Perhaps pretty or perhaps plain? How old do you think she is? We don't know anything about her. He mustn't ever be left alone. Certainly not with another woman. Did you find her attractive? Why can't anyone give me a straight answer? No, no, she isn't his kind. Would you say? Well, one never knows. (She looks at the study door, then turns away; her eyes blink on Alexandros) My young genius, it really is kind of you to come. What would I do without you?
Alexandros: Many years I wait for this.
Alexandros goes to Isadora. She takes his hand and examines his fingers.
Isadora: You have beautiful, long fingers. You know, Sergei Alexandrovich is
a disaster in the real world, but a creature of infinite beauty in the only
world, the only world worth living in, the imagination. Is that where you live?
Just look at these fingers... (She strokes his fingers)
Isadora: You can tell an artist by his hands.
Alexandros: Mayissa Isathora.
Isadora: They have such grace. I am fatally attracted to genius. (She kisses his fingers, very slowly, gently and seductively)
Alexandros: Pendomorfi Isathora.
Isadora: Fly, fly, fly away... you and I... away from here.
Alexandros: Thavmassia Isathora. Anything. I do anything for you. My name is part yours. My mother gives birth to me, dreaming of you.
Isadora lets go of his hand.
Isadora: Ye godsl You're just a child. A child. (Pause) And I'm a foolish
lady. A tired vamp. A silly old dancing dervish.
Isadora: Yes. (Pause) We must rehearse. (She smiles) Come. Sit at the piano.
(She leads him to the piano)
Alexandros: You make my head in circles. Am I here? Am I far away? Do you dance now? I wait my whole life for this. What is it you dream of, I ask my mother, when you dream of Isadora? She does not answer.
Isadora: There is too much sun.
Isadora draws the curtains. Alexandros looks around at the clutter on the piano.
Alexandros: No space. There is no space.
Isadora lights two large candles.
There is no room.
Isadora: Sit at the piano.
Alexandros: But there is no room.
Isadora: Shh! I'll make room. (She clears debris from the piano then takes a chair and places it next to the piano) Perfect. (She sits) Now, Chopin's Etude, Opus 10. F Minor.
Alexandros plays Chopin's Etude, Opus 10, F Minor. Isadora sits completely still. She is totally absorbed in the music, and completely lost in her imagination. She is listening with power, force and passion. She is on fine, but inside. The piece lasts two minutes and thirty-five seconds. Alexandros finishes. A silence. Isadora remains still. Then her eyes seem to return to the room.
The rehearsal is over. (She rises and goes to the window and opens the
Alexandros: (stunned) But...
Alexandros: It is over?
Isadora: Over. (Pause) Oh, Alexandros Duncan Eliopolos, you want to see my feet move, don't you? You will have to come to Vienna. I do not rehearse my feet. (Taking his hands) Here, lift your long, beautiful hands, and place them on your heart. And try to hear your soul. If you can, then you will be able to dance too. It's easy. Everyone can dance. All they have to know is how to listen. But most people are deaf. I'll tell you what the problem is with angels.
Alexandros: With angels?
Isadora: Angels. They only come to visit you for a short time. You have a few moments of inspiration in all of life, and the rest is chipuka.
The study door is flung open. Sergei strides into the room, holding a bottle of wine. He has been drinking. He is followed by Belzer.
Sergei: Chto zdes prohizhodit? Pochemu prekratilas muzika?
Belzer: He says the music has stopped.
Isadora: Of course it's stopped. The rehearsal is over.
Sergei circles the piano, staring at Alexandros.
Sergei: Kto etot chelovek? On tvoi liubovnik?
He continues to circle the piano. Isadora looks at Belzer.
Isadora: You're blushing, Belzer.
Belzer: I'm sorry, Miss Duncan. He says this man is your lover.
Alexandros: No. I am Eliopolos.
Isadora: Oh, Seryezha...
Sergei: Ti yeyo liubovnik?
He pulls Alexandros up from the piano.
Isadora: No, Sergei. No liubovnik. No liubovnik. Eliopolos. He is Eliopolos.
You went to his concert. The piano player!
Sergei: Ya ubyu tebia.
Belzer: (To Alexandros) He says he will kill you. (To Isadora) Oh, Miss Duncan, this is exciting. What do we do?
Alexandros: I play piano, this is all. Eliopolos. Prodigy.
Sergei: Ya ubyu tebia! (He grabs Alexandros)
Isadora: Sergei, let go of him.
Sergei: Ubyu tebia!
Isadora: No! He's a pederast! Sergei! Pederast! (To Belzer) Tell him. He's a pederast. Tell him.
Good God, Belzer. What's the Russian for pederast?
Belzer: Pederast. (She points to Alexandros) On pederast.
Isadora: You mean it's the same word?
Sergei: On pederast?
Alexandros: Da. Pederast!
Sergei smiles. He embraces Alexandros.
Sergei: Togda vse v poriadke. Ti moi drug. Ti pederast? Eto
Belzer: He says it is wonderful you are pederast.
Sergei: Ti bolshoi muzikant.
Belzer: He says you are a great pianist. Oh, Miss Duncan, that was close.
Sergei picks some glasses up from the floor and pours the wine.
Isadora: (To Alexandros) I'm sorry, sweetie, but I had to think
Alexandros: It is all right. It is true.
Isadora: It is? Honest injun?
Alexandros: Yes. Eliopolos is great pederast. Best pederast in all Europe. It is very Greek.
Isadora: Why didn't you tell me? Sergei, he really is a pederast.
Sergei gives her a glass.
Yes, this calls for some wine. He played the Chopin exquisitely, Sergei.
Something is forming in my head. Oh, the relief! The relief! Something is
growing. (To Belzer) Tell him, we had a wonderful rehearsal.
Belzer: U nih bila zamechatelnaya repetitsia.
Sergei: Kakoe eto imeyet znachenie. Tanzor nichto. Nichto!
Isadora: Belzer, you're going to have to grit your teeth, and say what he
Belzer: I suppose.
Belzer: He says a dancer is nothing.
Sergei: Kogda tanzovshchitsa umiraet, umiraet yeyo isskustvo.
Belzer: When a dancer dies, her art dies.
Isadora: Oh Sergei, that's bloody nonsense. A dancer gives people her soul...
Sergei: Tvoya publica umiraet, Sidora. I s nei umiraet pamats o tebe.
Belzer: Your audience will die. And their memories of you.
Isadora: Beauty does not die.
Belzer: Krasota ne umiraet.
Isadora takes Alexandros' hand.
Isadora: Tell him, Alexandros. Beauty does not die. Somewhere, it has to live
somewhere. Why does he do this to me?
Sergei: Zhiva tolko poeziya. Ya, Sergei Esenin, budu zhits vechno.
Belzer: Only poetry lives. I, Sergei Esenin, shall live forever.
Sergei: Sidora izcheznet.
Isadora: I don't want to hear any more. What did he say?
Belzer: Isadora shall disappear.
Sergei: Ya prochtu vam moi stihi.
Belzer: He recites a poem.
Alexandros: Isadora, I take you from here.
Isadora: (smiling) Shh...
Alexandros: Now. This minute.
Alexandros: I take you to Greece. He is not good, this man. If big wave wash him away to sea I would not care.
Isadora: Shh! He is going to recite! Sit down... everyone... sit down…
Isadora and Belzer sit. Alexandros hesitates then sits as well. Sergei stands in the centre of the room. He begins to recite.
Sergei: Utrom v rzhanom zakute,
Gde zlatiatsa rogozhi v riad,
Semerih oshchenila suka,
Rizhih semerih shcheniat.
Do vechera ona ih laskala,
I struilsya snezhok podtaliy
Pod teplim yeyo zhivotom.
A vecherom, kogda kuri
Vishel hozain hmurui,
Semerih vseh poklal v meshok.
Po sugrobam ona bezhala,
Pospevaya za nim bezhats.
I tak dolgo, dolgo drozhala
Vodi nezamershiy glad.
A kogda tchuts plelas obratno,
Slizivaya pot s bokov,
Pokazalsia yei mesiats nad hatoi
Odnim is yeyo shchenkov.
V siniuyu viss zvonko
Gliadela ona, skulia,
A mesiats skolzil tonkiy
I skrilsia za holm v poliah.
I gluho, kak ot podachki,
Kogda brossiat yei kamen v smeh,
Pokatiliss glaza sobatchi
Zolotimi zvezdami v sneg.
He finishes. There is a long silence.
Isadora: Now tell me be has no genius. Oh my beautiful madman… (She throws
herself in front of Sergei and kisses his foot)
Belzer: (To Alexandros) It is very beautiful.
Alexandros: How to tell? I not understand Russian. Isadora not understand Russian. It is not right, to kiss the foot.
Sergei lifts Isadora up.
Sergei: Vidish, ya budu zhits vechno.
Belzer: He says it is proof he shall live forever.
Isadora: (taking the wine) And he shall. Let's drink. To my golden angel. To my Esenin!
She drinks. The others follow. Sergei smiles, in great triumph. He turns to Belzer.
Sergei: Teper perevedite poemu.
Sergei: Perevedite poemu.
Belzer: Nyet, ya ne mogu.
Sergei: (angry) Perevedite, ya nastaivayu.
Belzer: Ne prosite menya ob etom.
Isadora: What is it?
Isadora: Belzer, you must look the devil in the eye. What is it?
Belzer: He wants me to translate the poem.
Isadora: Oh, yes! Of course! Belzer, I have heard this poem before, many times, he likes to recite this one to me. Translate it for us. Please!
Belzer: No. Not this poem. (Pause) Not any poem. I cannot translate. (To Sergei) Ya ne mogu. (To Isadora) A poem, it is so delicate. So careful. Each word has music of the language. I cannot translate. (To Sergei) Ne mogu.
Sergei: Ya trebuyu perevesti moyu poemu.
Belzer: Eto nevozmozhno.
Alexandros: Isadora, perhaps no.
Isadora: It will make him feel better. No one can appreciate him outside of Russia. It hurts him when I don't understand.
Alexandros: But I think maybe better not to understand.
Isadora: Belzer, you must do as my husband says.
Belzer: Yes. Then… if you insist. It is my job. But it is not the same in
English. The poem is only beautiful in Russian.
Isadora: Don't tell him that.
Belzer: (To Sergei) Po angliyski eto sovsem ne to. Poema zvuchit tolko po russki. (To Isadora) I tell him that. He is not a kind man.
Isadora: What do you mean?
Belzer: All right. I translate. It is called "The Song of a Dog".
Alexandros: Title not so special.
Isadora: Oh, that's beautiful. A dog. (She sits)
Belzer: I cannot translate line by line. I can only tell you the story. It is about a female dog. She gives birth to seven puppies. Seven puppies with golden red hair. She kisses them. On their coats, with her tongue. And the snow beneath her melts because she is so warm. But that evening her master comes and puts the puppies in a sack. She traits behind him, through the snowdrifts and sees… (She stops)
Sergei: (reciting) "I tak dolgo, dolgo drozhala
Vodi nezamershiy glad".
Belzer: She sees her master drown her children.
But the moon vanishes. And tears fall from her eyes like stars on the snow. And she cries out to the night, to the moon. She thinks the melon is perhaps one of her puppies.
Silence. Isadora rises.
Isadora: Thank you, Belzer.
Isadora starts to move around the room. She circles the room, as if she wants to escape. She stops by the piano. She looks at the photograph. She turns to Sergei.
But if it were…
A long pause.
Belzer: Esli bi eto bila…
Isadora: Not a dog…
Belzer: Ne sabaka…
Isadora: But a woman.
Belzer: A zhenshchina.
Isadora: What then, Sergei? Would you still recite this poem to me?
Sergei: Eto este sabaka. V poeme. Ne zhenshchina, sabaka.
Belzer: But it is a dog. In the poem. Not a woman. A dog.
Isadora: But if in life…
Belzer: No esli bi v zhizni...
Sergei: Menye plevats na zhizn.
Belzer: I don't care about life.
Isadora: If in life, a woman loses her children, if her puppies drown…
Sergei: Menye plevats na tvoih detei!
Belzer: I do not care about your children.
Sergei grabs the photograph from the piano and tears it out of its frame. He rips the photograph into pieces and throws them on to the floor.
Sergei: Moya poema o sabake. Ti nichevo ne ponimaesh. Ya idu
Belzer: My poem is about a dog. You do not understand. I am going for a walk.
Silence. Isadora walks to the torn photograph. She collects the pieces.
Isadora: My babies.
The same. Early evening.
Belzer sits on the floor looking through a large open trunk, sifting letters and photographs and newspaper clippings.
Jeanne walks in, wearing a coat. She looks at the contents of the trunk.
Jeanne: Les photographies. Elle devrait oublier ses photographies. (She turns on some lights)
Isadora enters, also wearing a coat. She carries a bottle of champagne and a
glass. She sips from the glass. She flings her coat off.
Isadora: We had a lovely drive in the city. Spring is in the air. Would you
like some champagne? We looked into every gutter on the right bank. No Sergei
Alexandrovich. Well, well, I did my duty. I looked. I went to a chemist. I found
this marvellous poison for rodents. Here. (She shows Belzer a bottle) Do you
think it's the sort of poison that hurts? What to do. Suicide, or what, or what?
I don't want to take any of the unpleasant stuff. I'll throw this away. What I
want to do really is to walk into the sea. There's always a spot where the moon
meets the water, do you know it? I would dance out through the waves and meet
the moon. But there is no sea in Paris. Just the river… Oh Belzer, I'm such a
fool, such a fool. How many nights did he read that poem to me? I am a fool for
love. A born sucker. I'm just trying to stay alive. Ever since Deirdre and
Patrick drowned, I have been only half alive. Perhaps I died with them. There's
just a shadow left walking about. You can divide my life in two. Before. After.
I mustn't speak about them. My friends begin to tiptoe out of the room when I
speak about them. "Isadora, you are being sentimental," they say. That's such a
bad word in Europe. It's perfectly harmless in America. I am endlessly American.
I looked sentimental up in the dictionary. Having an excess of sentiment. I
looked sentiment up. A mental attitude, thought or judgement permeated or
prompted by feeling. Feeling! My babies are snatched from me, a dark fate
descends upon my life, but I mustn't show feeling. Ohh, la, la. Well, I try to
be happy. Have you ever had children? But of course not.
Isadora looks at her.
Isadora: Yes? But, Belzer, why didn't you say so? Are you married? Have you lovers? Where are the children? I must know. Have you had adventures? (She sees a photograph in the trunk and picks it up) Look, it's Deirdre in Egypt. At the Grant Temple at Karnak. Look how calm she is. She would never have made a mess of her life. I was carrying Patrick then. Ye gods, watch out, sentiment! Put the trunk away, Belzer, I've changed my mind. I don't want to find another photograph. It's torn. It's gone. It's best.
Belzer closes the trunk. Isadora pours herself another glass of champagne.
Are you sure you don't want some?
Belzer: No. Thank you. (Pause) Miss Duncan?
Isadora: Yes, Belzer?
Belzer: I saw you dance.
Isadora: You did?
Belzer: In St. Petersburg.
Belzer: Many years ago.
Isadora: Oh. (Pause) And…? (She is waiting for a comment)
Pause. Belzer is flustered.
Belzer: You were very good. (She blushes)
There is a commotion. Jeanne enters, followed by two men, who are carrying
Sergei. Sergei is a mess, his clothes are torn and muddied, and he is asleep.
The men carry him into the bedroom, led by Jeanne. Jeanne closes the door of the
bedroom after them.
Isadora and Belzer follow their progress in silence.
Isadora: Well, well.
The bedroom door opens. The men walk out and across the room, followed by Jeanne.
Jeanne: Merci de nous avoir aide. Au revoir.
The men exit.
Jeanne: Oui Madame?
Isadora: Ou etait-il?
Jeanne: Allonge en face des Galeries Lafayette.
Isadora: (To Belzer) He passed out, dead drunk, in front of a department store. That's perfect. He was probably checking the spring fashions. My Bolshevik is quite a dandy. He makes me buy him clothes at least once a week. That's where the money goes. And the children of Russia are starving. And he cries for his people in his poetry. (To Jeanne) Jette de l'eau sur sa tete.
Jeanne: Avec plaisir, Madame.
Jeanne goes into the bedroom. Mary enters from the hallway.
Mary: News, news. Wonderful news!
Isadora: Of course. What else?
Isadora and Mary kiss.
Belzer: I think I will make some tea. Please, excuse me.
Mary: I've seen her some place before.
Isadora: Yes, Mary, you have. You brought her. She's the interpreter.
Mary: Oh yes. Of course. She's wearing her hair differently. I do have good news, Isadora. The contract has arrived. Signed. And here, your train fare for Vienna.
Mary takes out an envelope and offers it to Isadora. Isadora does not take it. Mary puts it on the desk.
Mary: Everyone is thrilled. Aren't you?
Mary: Is it the visa? Don't worry. It will come.
Isadora: It's not the visa.
Mary: What's wrong?
Isadora: I don't want to dance in Vienna. Nothing's wrong. I don't want to dance. Do you know what I thought, Mary? I thought I would give back to man his lost beauty. Ha. Ha. I can not dance without hope. Tear up the contract. It's a rum world. A rum world. And cancel tonight. I don't want to fawn over some sleazy dago. They won't give me money for a school. They never do. Cancel everything.
Jeanne comes out of the bedroom.
Jeanne: Il est reveille, Madame.
Mary: Ah, it's him. I should have known. What happened?
Isadora: Go away, Mary. Go away.
The bedroom door opens. Sergei enters. He is dazed and sheepish. He looks at Isadora. She turns away.
Mary: Do you want the interpreter?
Isadora: No. Go away, Mary.
There is a long silence. Sergei stares at Isadora. She does not look at him. They stand next to each other, not speaking. Sergei suddenly grabs the mandolin from the floor. He starts to play and sings a Russian folk song. Isadora will not look at him. Sergei circles Isadora, singing, and playing the mandolin. She constantly turns her head away from him, although she is now trying, with some difficulty, not to smile. Sergei drops the mandolin, and now humming the folk song, he starts to dance, a Russian peasant dance, much of it on his knees, interspersed with shouts and yells, ending in front of Isadora, his hands outstretched to her. Isadora has melted. She laughs. She takes his hand.
Isadora: (running her hand through his hair) Mary!
Mary rushes back in, she has not been far away.
Don't tear the contract. (To Sergei) Go on now, take a long, hot bath. That's a good boy.
Sergei lets go of her hand. He walks over to Mary. Mary instinctively backs away. Sergei takes her hand and kisses it. He grins and returns to the bedroom.
Mary: I'm not saying a word.
Isadora: What can I do? He's the image of Patrick. As Patrick would look. Those golden curls… How can I hurt him? So, he is a wee bit eccentric. So what? Did Jeanne get the lobsters? Do Italians like lobsters? Do you think he'll give me a school? All I need is five hundred, a thousand Italian children, and I can lead them to glory.
The lights dim. Black-out. A light shines on Mary.
Mary: She comes from antiquity. She makes dancing a religion. When she moves across a stage she is in touch with the divine. But how do I describe it? She doesn't do steps. She walks. She runs. She jumps. Skips. Stands. She takes her time. Her arms, her hands, her shoulders, sing. How do I describe it? Once she and I were in Rodin's studio examining some of his sketches, searching for the right words to capture the magic we held in our hands, and he said, "It doesn't matter, there are no right words, whatever you see in it, that's what it is". Rodin loved her. What sculptor would not? It is as if the Winged Victory swayed from her pedestal. No, how can I describe it? I know only this, when I saw Isadora dance for the first time, I saw myself for the first time. I heard a voice calling my name. I looked into my own eyes. I am Isadora. I move across the stage. I come from antiquity. I am in touch with the divine.
During the black-out Mary exits. Isadora, Sergei, Belzer, Alexandros, Luciano and Jeanne enter.
The lights come up. Late evening. Dinner is in progress. The table is lit by candles. Isadora is presiding. Sergei, Belzer, Alexandros and Luciano Zavani are at the table. Luciano is dapper, in his thirties. Alexandros sits next to him. Belzer sits next to Sergei. Jeanne is pouring champagne. They are all devouring lobsters. They are all except for Belzer, quite drunk.
Isadora: Oh, my hands! These silly things drip all over you.
Luciano: Le aragoste sono squisite, Signora Duncan.
Isadora: What, sweetie?
Alexandros: He says, lobsters superb.
Isadora: Oh Luciano, thank you. Thank Jeanne. (To Jeanne) Bravo Jeanne. Nos invites ont dit que les homards sont superbes.
Sergei: Chto on skazal?
Belzer: He asks what he said.
Isadora: He said the lobsters are superb.
Belzer: Omari velikolepnie.
Sergei: Da. Da. Velikolepnie.
Isadora: (To Jeanne) Oui.
Isadora: My, aren't we getting on? Oh, I'm oozing butter. Jeanne, encore du champagne, s'il te plait.
Jeanne pours more champagne.
Thank you, cookie. Now, Luciano, you must have some champagne. Make him drink
some more, Alexandros. The two of you are getting a long very nicely. And isn't
Sergei behaving well? Belzer, why don't you drink? Do you have something against
champagne? Or is it your liver? You must tell me. We need things for our hands.
Finger-bowls. Oh merde, how do you say finger-bowls in French? Why isn't Mary
here? She would know.
Alexandros: Finger-bowl. In Greek, mbollaki.
Isadora: That doesn't help.
Belzer: In Russian it is, I think, chashechka. (To Sergei) Dlia paltsev. Po Russki? Chashechka?
Sergei: Da. Chashechka.
Belzer: Yes. Chashechka.
Isadora: Chashechka, Jeanne.
Jeanne pays no attention.
She will only listen to French. Nothing else exists.
Alexandros: (To Luciano) Come dice "finger-bowl"... (he mimes a finger--bowl)... in Italiano?
Luciano: Che cosa? Non Io so.
Alexandros: Italians do not have them.
Isadora: Of course not. Have you ever seen their fingers?
Don't you dare translate that. It's been a lovely dinner. No one has
understood a blasted word anyone else has said. Jeanne, il nous faut une coupe
d'eau pour nos doigts.
Jeanne: Oh, un rinse-doigts, Madame.
Isadora: Oui. Rinse-doigts. It's rinse-doigts. I should have known. Chashechka is nicer. (She laughs) Now, Luciano, I think we should discuss my school.
Alexandros: Lei vuole parlare con te della sua scuola.
Sergei raises his glass, rises, kisses Isadora, then goes into the bedroom.
Isadora: Thank you, Sergei. And you, Belzer.
Belzer rises and goes off with Jeanne.
(Turning to Luciano) Now, Signor Zavani, what you must tell your government - who is your government, by the way? - is that I simply need a building, that's all, and a few liras to keep it all in working order. And I will find the children, we can start small, only five hundred to begin with. And I won't teach them anything, that's the secret. You see, every child is a born genius. But only a few grow up to be called genius and to my mind that is simply because they have been lucky enough to have escaped education. What I try to do is guide my children away completely from education, but instead toward understanding the movements of nature, toward discovering the beautiful rhythms of the human body. Oh if you only saw the children in Moscow. But, of course, you must come to Moscow.
She signals Alexandros to translate. He takes a deep breath.
Alexandros: Di al tuo governo di darle un palazzo e i soldi per la sua scuola povera. Lei trovera i bambini Italiani sono insegnati i movimenti della natura, del corpo. Tu devi vedere i suoi studenti a Moscow.
There is a pause.
Luciano: Vuoi che ceniamo insieme?
Isadora: What does he say?
Alexandros: He asks if tomorrow I have dinner with him.
Alexandros: He has, I think - how you say it in English? - the words, oh, a desire to suck the cock. This I can not help. This with him I do not want. But I give him my smile and do not say no, I will hold him from a string. So Isadora can have her school.
Isadora: (giggling) My sweet, sweet child.
Luciano: Signora Duncan, abbiamo sentito tanto parlare di voi.
Alexandros: He says they have heard so much about you.
Isadora: Oh. (She smiles a devastating smile for Luciano) Yes.
Luciano: Il vostro nome e cosl famoso.
Alexandros: He says your name is very famous.
Luciano: Voi siete una leggenda.
Alexandros: He says, you are a legend.
Isadora: Oh. Well. Yes.
Luciano: E allora vi prego, Signora Duncan, ditemi che cosa fate.
Alexandros: (angry) Ma che domanda! Lei e Isadora Duncan.
Silence. Alexandros doesn't translate.
Isadora: What did he say?
Alexandros: He says please tell him what it is you do.
Isadora: I don't understand.
Alexandros: Lei non capisce.
Isadora: (Laughing) I dance.
Alexandros: Lei danza.
Luciano: Si, si, ballerina.
Isadora and Alexandros: (together) No ballerina.
Luciano: Ma che tip di danza?
Alexandros: He says, yes, but what type of dance do you do?
Isadora: Oh, poor me, poor me, what will I tell him? (Pause) Mon dieu. (Pause) Say to him, and this is the truth, the complete truth, I listen to the music within my soul, and I dance. Just that.
Alexandros: Lei ascolta la musica nell'anima poi danza.
Luciano: Si, ma di che tip di danza si tratta?
Alexandros: He says, yes, but what kind of dance is that?
Isadora: Oh dear, oh dear. (Pause) This makes my stomach hurt. (Pause) What
would he understand? Well, Italy, I suppose. Tell him I love
Alexandros: Lei adora Firenzi.
Luciano: Grazie. Grazie. Grazie tante.
Isadora: Tell him, in Florence I performed in palaces. I sat for days before the Primavera of Botticelli. I absorbed the Primavera of Botticelli. I turned this painting into dance, this message of love and spring into movement, capturing its central figure, half Madonna, half Aphrodite, who held, somehow, the key, the very key, to the richness of life. This I did in Florence.
Pause. Alexandros considers how to translate this.
Alexandros: Lei in Firenze trasforma Botticelli in danza, con aurore, con
primavera, con Afrodite, con La Madonna.
Luciano: Si, si, La Madonna! Ma quale tipo di danza?
Alexandros: He says, yes, but what kind of dance was it?
Isadora: I have no answer.
Luciano: Non no mai visto la Signora Duncan danzare. Devo descrivere la sua
arte aimiei superiori. Che cosa.posso dire?
Alexandros: You know I give concert in Warsaw. Last year. Rachmaninov. Great success. Much applause. Well, for Polish people, much applause. Not like French. I meet a Jew there. We have little romance. He teaches me Yiddish word. Schlemiel. (He nods towards Luciano) This man is schlemiel. He says, he never see La Duncan dance. He asks how to describe her to his higher-ups.
Isadora: I have no answer.
Luciano: Signora Duncan, pensi che vogua darci una dimonstrazione?
Isadora: I do not demonstrate!
Silence. Alexandros flashes a smile at Luciano.
Alexandros: Where do you meet this man? I smile at him only for you. If he
fall down now with dead heart, I do not care.
Isadora: Tell him to come to Moscow. He will see my pupils. He will see a new world. A revolution. Tell him to come to Moscow. He will see brotherhood, equality and joy. He will see children dancing. He will see everyone dancing and singing together. Tell him to give me a school. I only need a building. I will pay for everything else out of my own earnings. Let the children of Naples and Moscow dance together!
Luciano: Non capisco. Che stai dicendo?
Alexandros: Isadora, the Italians, they do not like Moscow. There is now in Italy this man, Mussolini. He is not for Moscow. Moscow is not for Mussolini. They do not dance together. They do not fuck together. Even a Greek knows this. You have perhaps your politics upside down.
Luciano: Non capisco…
Alexandros: He will not give school.
Luciano: Non capisco. Che stai dicendo?
Isadora: Perhaps not. But I don't ever give up. I keep asking. You have to keep asking.
Jeanne enters with finger-bowls.
Oh, Jeanne, bless you. The chashechkas. Give one to Luciano. I was about to lick his fingers for a school. Now he can dip them like everyone else.
Jeanne distributes the finger-bowls.
Belzer returns and helps Jeanne. Sergei comes out of the bedroom.
Isadora: Yes, my darling?
Sergei: On tebe dal shkolu?
Belzer: He asks if he gave you a school.
Isadora: No, Seryezha, not yet. (She kisses him)
Sergei: (To Belzer) Perevod menye ne nuzhen.
Belzer: He says he does not need a translation.
Sergei: Skazhi yei chto ona ne nuzhdaetsia v Evrope. Evropa pogriasla. Tolko Rossia ponimaet yeyo.
Belzer: He says you do not want Europe. Europe sinks into the sea, only Russia understands you.
Sergei: Ne nado perevodits.
Belzer: He tells me not to translate his words.
Sergei: Skazhi yei chto ya liubliu yeyo.
Belzer: He says to tell you that he loves you.
Sergei: Ne nado perevodits.
Belzer: He says not to translate his words.
Sergei walks away.
Miss Duncan, I don't know what to do.
Isadora: (smiling) Play it by ear, duckie, play it by ear.
Mary enters from the hallway.
Mary: News, news! Wonderful news! My darlings, I have a coup. (She sees Jeanne handing out the finger-bowls) Oh, thank God, we're just in time for the soup. I'm famished. I have brought you Christine. Isn't that brilliant? (She motions a young girl, Christine, into the room)
Christine is seventeen, pretty and very intimidated. She wears a coat, and carries a bouquet of flowers.
Isadora: (To Mary) Where have you been?
Sergei fixates on Christine.
Sergei: Eto eshcho kto?
Mary: Now where is his excellency. (She sees Luciano) Oh, my dear, how are you? Che placere di vederti. What a sweet man. Have you given Isadora her school?
Luciano: Non capisco.
Sergei: Kto eta devochka?
Belzer: Mr Esenin wants to know who the young woman is.
Mary: (To Belzer) Oh, I'm sorry, we haven't met. I'm Mary Desti. (She shakes Belzer's hand) And this, (pointing to Christine), prepare yourselves, is Christine Duncan.
Silence. Christine goes to Isadora and curtsies. She hands Isadora the bouquet.
Isadora: Thank you. (Pause) Mary, what on earth is going on?
Mary: Well, darling, Christine Duncan! She studied with one of your former pupils. They all call themselves Duncan and their pupils call themselves Duncan. Isn't it thrilling? She knows the Isadora Duncan technique. She is a disciple. I found her on the rue de Rivoli, well, in a cafe, not on the street. And someday she will be teaching little Duncans. The art of Isadora will live on forever.
Isadora: Mein Gott! (She reaches for a champagne glass and quickly downs it. She pours herself another)
Mary: Sometimes I don't think you realize quite what you've started. I've asked Christine to dance for us.
Isadora gulps down another glass of champagne.
Isadora: Mary, I don't think that's a good idea.
Mary: Oh, but it is. It will show Signor Zavani the benefits of a school. (To Luciano) Christine Duncan danzera pervoi, Signor Zavani.
Luciano: Si, si, Christine Duncan, si, si.
Isadora: Mary, I don't know this girl.
Mary: (taking Isadora aside) Isadora, you're not any good at this. You never know how to squeeze money out of these people. You think you do, but you're always a disaster. There is a technique to do it, you know. You work so hard and yet you're always penniless. You must let your friends help you. You must take our advice. My advice at least. Trust me. Let the girl dance. She may be a trifle awkward. So what, she's very pretty and very young. And that means money. Now where is that nice Greek boy?
Sergei: (looking suspiciously at Mary) Sidora, ot etoy korovi odni nepriyatnosti!
Mary: Tell Rasputin to stay out of this. (To Alexandros) Ah, there, Aristotle, would you accompany Christine?
Mary: Well, whatever. Something familiar, please.
Alexandros looks at Isadora.
Alexandros: Do I do it?
Isadora: What the hell. Botticelli didn't work.
Alexandros: A waltz, perhaps?
Mary: No. Play that nice thing by Chopin.
Alexandros: What nice thing?
Mary hums a tune.
Ah, you mean perhaps Grande Valse Brilliante No.1 in E Flat Major, Opus
Mary: That's the one.
Mary: Yes. Yes. Vivo.
Alexandros sits at the piano.
(To Christine) Are you ready?
Christine takes off her coat. She is wearing a Grecian tunic. She has already slipped off her shoes, and is barefoot. Sergei puts his hand on Isadora's shoulder.
Sergei: Nyet, Sidora.
Isadora: (patting his head) It's all right, Seryezha, it's all right.
Christine walks to the centre of the room. She stands quite still. Alexandros plays a waltz. Christine continues to stand still. Then, suddenly, she lurches forward. She leaps. She hops. She skips. She jumps. She imitates figures on a Grecian urn. She allows an invisible wind to blow her to and fro. Isadora watches in mounting horror; at first, with a frozen smile on her face. The smile fades. Sergei's hand grasps Isadora's shoulder. He turns away. Christine is now weaving in and out of the most startling contortions. Isadora screams. Isadora flings the bouquet in the air. Alexandros stops playing. Isadora runs to Christine and pulls the startled girl to her breast.
Hate me. Please, hate me. Or forget me. Or laugh at me. Or ignore me. But don't love me. Not like this. This isn't Isadora. These are not my dreams. These are not my dreams. Is this how I'm going to be remembered? (Pause) I wanted to make you free. I did not want to make you Isadora. Only I can be Isadora. Are there now going to be thousands of pathetic imitation Isadoras clumping around in tunics, destroying every hope I ever had? (Pause) Anyone can dance. Anyone. It's there, inside of you. Touch your own spirit, feel it, nourish it, release it, and then come forth with your own great strides, no one else's. With your own leaps and bounds, no one else's, with your own foreheads lifted and your own arms spread wide, come forth then and dance! (To Christine, who is trembling in her arms) Do you understand me? Dear child, do you understand?
She releases Christine from her grip. Christine looks up at her.
Christine: Stroken Duncan, gjorde jag nagot fel? Blou mi missnojd mod mim dans? Jag bars zille vara sam Isadora.
Isadora stares at her for a moment, and then begins to laugh.
Isadora: Ye gods! Does anybody here speak Swedish?
Sergei goes to Mary. He is agitated. He looks Mary in the eye and shakes his fist.
Sergei: Chto ti natvorila? (He walks away and pours himself another drink)
Alexandros embraces Isadora.
Alexandros: Do not be sad.
Isadora: Oh, my poor Alexandros, I'm afraid you will have to schlep to Vienna if you want to see why your name is part mine. You must surely be wondering.
Mary: No, dear. Vienna is out.
Mary: You heard me.
Isadora: What do you mean?
Mary: I mean Vienna is out. Simply that.
Isadora: What are you talking about?
Mary: I said it in English. Vienna is out.
Mary: You can't get a visa.
Isadora: Your attorney was working on it.
Mary: He sent word a few hours ago. They won't grant you a visa. You can not dance in Vienna.
Mary: Because you're very, very foolish.
Isadora: Mary, on what grounds?
Mary: What do you think?
Isadora: On what grounds?
Mary: Political grounds, of course. They say you're a communie. Well, of course, you would go to live in that dreadful country with all those dreadful Bolshies running around. And you would wave that silly red flag in everyone's face and even wear it to dinner parties, and talk, all the time, about things you don't understand. We all warned you against it. But you never listen to your friends. (She takes Christine by the hand) I think you were very hard on this poor girl. Cruel, in fact. Yes, Isadora, cruel. Not everything has to be great art. People try in their own way. People try.
Mary puts Christine's coat over Christine's shoulder. Christine runs away from Isadora.
Isadora: More champagne, Signor Zavani?
Sergei: (To Belzer) Skazhi Sidore chto ya pokonchu s soboi.
Belzer: Oh, Miss Duncan, forgive me, but he says he will kill himself.
Isadora: Not now, Sergei.
Sergei: Zdes nikto nichevo ne ponimaet v iskustve.
Belzer: He says they do not respect art in this room.
Sergei points dramatically to Mary and Christine.
Sergei: Eta devoushka i eta zhenschchina tebia oskorbili.
Belzer: This girl and this woman have dishonoured you.
Sergei: V znak protesta, ya veshayus.
Belzer: As a protest, I will hang myself.
Isadora: That's very comforting, Sergei.
Sergei: Ya prinoshu sebia v zhertvu revoliutsii, ya veshayus.
Belzer: As a contribution to the revolution, I will hang myself.
Isadora: Later, Sergei. Would anybody like some coffee?
Sergei: Ti pravelno perevela?
Belzer: He asks if I translate correctly. He did say he would hang himself, Miss Duncan.
Sergei: (to Mary and Christine) Filistimliane!
Sergei walks away.
Isadora: Mon dieu, he was behaving so well. (She, almost by rote, takes a small white pill from her pocket and drops it into a glass of champagne. She hands the glass to Belzer) Give him this.
Belzer looks horrified.
It's a sleeping pill, Belzer. That's all. I give him one most every night.
Usually when he's going to hang himself.
Belzer: Oh. (She stares at the glass)
Isadora: Take it.
Belzer hesitates, then takes the glass.
Thank you. What would I do without you?
Belzer walks back to Sergei.
Mary, we're sunk. Without Vienna, we're sunk.
Mary turns away.
Belzer hands the glass to Sergei. He drinks. Then he walks into the study. Jeanne enters with two men.
Jeanne: Les messieurs sont arrives. Ils demandent leur table,
Isadora: The table? What table?
Jeanne: On a vendu la table, Madame.
Isadora: Sold the table?
Jeanne: Pour la champagne, Madame.
Isadora: But shouldn't they come tomorrow?
Jeanne: C'est la vie, Madame. Par terre.
Jeanne leads the men to the dinner-table. She removes the dishes and glasses
and champagne bottles from the table and puts them on the floor, instructing the
men to help her.
Sergei returns from the study, holding a rope.
Sergei: Ya veshayus!
Isadora: Signor Zavani, the coffee will be a little late.
Sergei takes a chair and stands on it.
The men carry the table out of the room, followed by Jeanne, during the following Belzer tries to divert Isadora's attention to Sergei.
Not now, Belzer. (To Luciano) I always prefer my coffee without a
Luciano: (watching the table go) Stanno portando via la tavola? Non capisco.
Alexandros: (To Isadora) This is not good. I can stop them. Make fight. I rescue table.
Isadora: Oh, sweet child.
Alexandros: I am not child.
Isadora: You have to protect your hands.
She restrains him and kisses his cheek. Sergei watches this with displeasure. He holds the rope over his head.
Sergei: Ya veshayus!
Belzer: (whispering to Isadora) I gave him the champagne.
Isadora: Good. It takes a while to work.
Christine watches the table go and starts to cry.
Christine: En kvall med Isadora Duncan hade job inti tanakt mig sa har… Jog
vill ga hen.
Mary: Damn right, sweetie.
Isadora: Speak to your attorney again.
Mary: What about?
Isadora: The visa.
Mary: Oh that. It's hopeless.
Isadora: Nothing is hopeless.
Mary: They will not let you dance, Isadora. There will be no money for Moscow. You will have to stay here.
Mary: In Paris. With your friends. With those of us who love you.
Jeanne and the men have left with the table. Mary helps Christine on with her shoes. Sergei ties the tope around his neck.
Sergei: Proshchai Sidora! (He searches the ceiling for something to attach
the rope to)
Isadora: Sergei Alexandrovich, this is no time for suicide. I am having a cris de nerfs.
Sergei: Ya protestuyu protiv tovo kak mir otnositsa k Sidore Duncan.
Belzer: He protests against the world's treatment of Isadora Duncan.
Isadora: How did this suddenly become his tragedy? I'm the one with no visa, no concert, no school, no table. I'm the one everybody imitates and no one understands. Can't you ever let me have my own rotten night, Sergei, just for myself! All these horrible things happen to me and I don't even get to enjoy them. (She clasps Alexandros to her) Oh, Alexandros, sweet, sweet child, hold my hand. I'm losing the threads.
Alexandros: I am not child. This man is not good. If horse bite him on nose, I would not care.
Isadora: What horse, darling?
Belzer tugs at Isadora's dress.
Belzer: He does seem to be hanging himself, Miss Duncan.
Isadora: For pity's sake, Belzer, when are you going to catch on? He never kicks the chair away.
Sergei finds a lighting fixture and tries to attach the tope. Luciano, who has been observing the most recent events with complete confusion, goes to Isadora.
Luciano: Vi prego di sousarmi, ma devo lasciarvi. E stata una serata
incantevole. (He bows to Isadora)
Alexandros: He says he must leave now. But he enjoys evening.
Isadora: He ain't going nowhere, sweetie.
Luciano: Ti posso accompagnare?
Alexandros: He want to see me home. For you, Isadora, for you, I perhaps sacrifice myself. I will go home with him, now.
Isadora: I'm not giving up. (To Luciano, sweetly) Signor Zavani, I hope you will think about my school.
Alexandros: Lei spera che tu ricordi la sua scuola.
Luciano: Si. Faro il possibile. Ma ricorda che sono solo uno scrivano.
Alexandros: He says he do what he can. But… (He laughs)… This is fun.
Isadora: What is?
Alexandros: This is.
Isadora: What's this?
Alexandros: Clerk. He says he is only clerk. (He laughs again)
Isadora: Nonsense. He's the vice-consul or something like that.
Alexandros: Ah, non sei il vice console?
Luciano: No, lavoro in archivio.
Alexandros: No. He is clerk. For papers.
Alexandros: Yes. Papers. In one pile. In another pile.
Isadora: A file clerk?
Isadora: But I was sure he was the vice-consul. He was standing there at the embassy reception looking so diplomatic. Did I sell my table for a file clerk?
Alexandros: I almost give my pee-pee to file clerk. (He laughs again)
Isadora: Mon dieu. (She laughs) It's not funny. (She laughs) How do you say "mon dieu" in. Italian?
Alexandros: Dio mio.
Isadora: (looking at Luciano) Dio mio. Dio mio.
Isadora and Alexandros laugh.
Mary: The creep's a file clerk.
Mary: Fila clerka.
Luciano: Ma permetietemi di dirvi che la danza della fanciolla e stata bellissima fantastica. Adesso finalmente capisco la vostra arte.
Silence. Alexandros stops laughing. Isadora looks at Alexandros.
Alexandros: No. I cannot tell you.
Isadora: Of course you can.
Isadora: How much worse can it be?
Isadora: Much worse?
Alexandros: Much worse.
Isadora: Tell me. (She takes another glass of champagne. Pause)
Alexandros: He says he thinks girl's dance very beautiful. He now understand your art.
Isadora takes a deep breath. She downs the champagne.
Isadora: You're right. Much worse. Asshole!
She hurls her champagne glass at Luciano. Luciano ducks. Sergei stops attempting to tie his rope to the lighting fixture. He looks at Isadora amazed.
Luciano: Siete impazzita?
Sergei jumps down from the chair, elated. Luciano marches for his jacket. Isadora takes a stock of glasses and plates from the floor. She hurls them one after another at Luciano. Sergei runs to her.
Sergei: Bravo, Sidora…
Christine is crying hysterically. Mary manoeuvres her toward the door.
Mary: Isadora, this is perfectly childish, those glasses were a gift from Marie Bonaparte…
Isadora continues to hurl plates. Luciano is ducking them.
Luciano: Da hatta legare! Una putiana!
Alexandros: (Laughing) Bastardo.
Alexandros throws a plate at Luciano and whoops with joy.
Mary: (screaming) Isadora, you never, ever, ever reach dessert.
Mary and Christine leave.
Isadora, Alexandros and Sergei are now throwing plates. Isadora is breathing heavily, but Alexandros and Sergei are laughing. Luciano has managed to retrieve his jacket.
Luciano: Volgare stronzo! Cretino! Va fa'b calo.
Alexandros: Idiota! Malaka! Vlaka! Aide ghamissoot!
Luciano: Idiota! Va mors ammazzato!
Luciano runs out.
Isadora shouts in triumph. Sergei and Alexandros embrace her.
Sergei: Sidora… Sidora… Milaya. Dorogaya moyai.
Alexandros: Never, never, never, I have such wonderful night!
Belzer, on the side, has poured a glass of champagne, her first of the
evening, and drinks it very quickly.
Isadora suddenly starts to cry.
Isadora: My plates, my beautiful plates. (She tries to rescue pieces of dishware on the floor)
Sergei picks up one last glass. He holds it up.
Sergei: Da zdravstvuet revoliutsia! (He throws the glass. He yawns. He sits down)
Isadora looks up at Alexandros.
Isadora: Oh, my dear child, it's been a most unusual night. Usually it's
Sergei who breaks things. Well, at least he's forgotten about his
Alexandros: It is best dinner party I ever go to.
Alexandros: Yes. (Pause) Lobsters superb.
Isadora: (Laughing) Good.
Alexandros takes her hand.
Alexandros: I hope you get money for Moscow. I hope you have many schools. I
hope you dance many times. I hope I see you many times. (He kisses her hand) Now
I am sad. It is over. Evening is over. I must leave.
Alexandros: In morning I go to Marseilles. Another concert. Well.
I am lonely.
I want to have great passion. Great love. Not just piano.
You have great love. Many times. (He looks at Sergei) Even this bad man.
Isadora: Oh, child, child…
Alexandros: I am not child. I want, more than all else, I want to see Isadora…
Isadora: Then come to Russia.
Isadora: Yes. You can play for the children.
Isadora: Chopin for the children.
Isadora: And I will dance for you. And the children will dance for you. In Moscow.
Isadora: In June. Come in June.
Alexandros: Yes. (Pause) No. In June I have concerts. In Berlin.
Isadora: Ah. Well, July.
Alexandros: July, Amsterdam. And Geneva.
Isadora: Oh. (Pause) August.
Alexandros: Stockholm. Gottenburg.
Isadora: Later then. Later, when you are able to. In Moscow. Or somewhere. Perhaps I'll have a school in Greece. Perhaps I'll dance there some day just for you.
Alexandros: I do not want to go.
Alexandros: Yassoo, Isadora.
Isadora: Yassoo, Alexandros Duncan.
Sergei yawns. Isadora turns and looks at him.
The pill is working.
Belzer: (rising) Will you need me still?
Isadora: Oh, Belzer. No, of course not. You've been very kind. Get some sleep.
Sergei: Belzer. (He yawns again)
Sergei: Skazhi Sidore chto bi ona uvolila tebia.
Sergei: Skazhi Sidore chto bi ona uvolila tebia.
Sergei: Skazhi Sidore chto bi ona uvolila tebia.
Belzer: Nyet. Proshu vas.
Sergei: Ne hochu tebia vides. Skazhi Sidore tebia uvolits.
Isadora: What's wrong. What is he saying.
A long silence.
Belzer: He wants you to dismiss me.
Isadora: Oh, Sergei!
Sergei: Ne hochu tebia vides. Ti slishkom spokoynaya. Ti shpionka. Ti prinosish nepriyatnosti.
Belzer: He does not like me around. (Pause) I am too quiet. I am a spy. I
Isadora: Oh, my dear. (She looks at Sergei) He is too cruel. (To Belzer) You told him his poetry was only beautiful in Russian. Not English. Remember? That was a mistake.
Sergei: (shouting at Belzer) Von! Vigoni yeyo! Ya nastaivayu! Ne hochu yeyo zdes! Ya trebuiu chto bi yeyo uvolili nemedlenno.
Sergei goes into the bedroom.
Isadora: Tell me, is he any nicer in Russian?
Isadora: I thought not. Oh, my dear, I'm so sorry.
Belzer: Tomorrow, he will change his mind.
Isadora: No. He thinks you insulted him. I know him. You should not have said anything about his poetry. He's a wild man. When I return him to Russia, I will leave him. He has drained me of everything. He was very cruel to you. I love him. But I will leave him. I must return to Moscow. Oh, Belzer, poor Belzer. (Pause) Did you need the money?
Isadora takes her purse from the desk.
Isadora: Here. Take this. (She empties her purse, holds money out to Belzer)
It's all I have.
Belzer: No. I can not. I work, always, for my money.
Isadora looks at Belzer. A long silence.
Isadora: I don't know who you are, do I?
Isadora: I don't know anything about you. (Pause) Why did you leave Russia?
How? Where is your family? Why do you speak English? Were you married? Why are
you in Paris? Where are your children? (Pause) I don't know anything about
Belzer: It is not of interest. You are artist. I am not. You kiss all the time. You shout. You laugh. You throw things. You have dramas.
Isadora: What do you have?
Belzer: Just life.
I am not an artist.
But I hear music. Inside my head.
I am not of interest.
Isadora holds out her hand.
Belzer does not take Isadora's hand.
Belzer: My name is Hannah. My first name.
Belzer: Belzer is my surname.
Belzer: Hannah Belzer.
Isadora: Please, take this… (She holds out the money)
Isadora: Take it. And wait… (She takes an envelope from the desk) This too. It's my fare to Vienna. I won't need it now. Take it.
Belzer: I can not.
A long pause. Belzer looks away, then turns and quickly takes the money.
Miss Duncan, you… (She puts the money in her pocket. She takes her hat) You
know, I saw you dance.
Isadora: Yes. You said. Where was it?
Belzer: St Petersburg.
Isadora: Oh yes.
Belzer: I was young. (Pause) Goodbye.
Belzer looks at Isadora for a second, then leaves.
Sergei enters from the bedroom. He is wearing a dressing-gown. He is very tired. He sits on the sofa.
Sergei: Ya ochen ustal. Ochen ustal.
Sergei: Ochen ustal.
Isadora: Ustal? Yes. Me too. Very ustal. (She brushes his forehead. She walks to the windows. She closes the curtains. She puts out most of the lights. She sits on the sofa)
Sergei lies next to her, his head in her lap. He kisses her.
Sergei: Ya ochen ustal. Prosti menya Sidora. Ya plohoi malchik. Prosti. (He
weeps) Forgive, forgive.
Isadora: Don't… don't…
Sergei turns and drapes his leg over her body. He falls asleep.
It's all right, Sergei. Sergei? Don't fall asleep. Sergei! Don't fall asleep. Not yet. Move your leg. Sergei, I can't get up. Sergei! I don't want to spend another night on this couch. I want to sleep in my bed. Sergei!
I have to take you home. I have to take you home. I have to find the money to take you home. (She kisses him) Just look at your curls. Golden curls. Oh, my angel. I have to take you home. (She hums a tune then stops) I would like to kill myself, Seryezha.
I wish you'd move your leg.
She tries to push Sergei's leg away, it is hopeless.
I had a rehearsal, Sergei. I have a new dance. Oh God!
Please, can't you move your leg?
Tomorrow I'll call that princess we met last night. She seemed a vice-princess. Perhaps she can give us some dough. I've got to keep after people. I've got to be nice to people. I've got to keep asking. I must have a concert. I must get you home.
(She runs her hand through his hair) Why do you have these curls?
Move your leg!
Sergei mores. Isadora sighs. She closes her eyes and then opens them.
I have to return to my school. To my children. My beautiful children.
My babies. (She falls asleep)
The lights freeze on Isadora and Sergei.
A light shines on Alexandros.
Alexandros: I never see Isadora again. I am one place. She another place. Four years later, she is dead. Famous death. Later that year my mother also dying. I go to her. I ask her, why, Mama, why, why you name me for Isadora? You must tell me, Mama. I must know. What do you see when she dance? What is it that happen when she dance? Tell me, Mama. My mother smile. She is remembering. And she look at me. And she take my hand. And she press my hand. And she kiss my hand. And she say, "O yornou" - "Oh my son". "Then mboro na to exiyi so." - "I can not explain".
Martin Sherman / When She Danced (Acting Edition) in English
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