Женщина и лиса
Кто такая женщина и зачем лиса - я не знала, но почему-то история про них мне виделась исключительно на английском языке. Потом я про них забыла, и вот пару дней назад вспомнила - уже с готовой историей в голове.
Конечно, тут масса ошибок наверняка, и вообще это может быть бред полный, но я не могла успокоиться, пока не написала.
THE WOMAN & THE FOX
A play in one act
1. Many years ago
In the middle of the stage there is the white screen, on which several oddly-looking dolls and doll parts are hanged. By the left side of the screen the Woman is sitting on the back of a big wooden rocking-horse and is rocking slightly all the time during the conversation. By the right side of the screen the Fox is sitting in the soft chair and reading newspaper. The Woman is tall, very handsome, and is having a rich dark shock of hair. She is about forty-five. The Fox is a tiny creature with papier-mâché fox head; it is dressed in a crème long dressing gown.
WOMAN (with theatrical expression): Do you know, Foxy, how it is – to be an orphan?
FOX (not looking at the Woman): Yes, I have read Dickens.
WOMAN (frowned): I see you’re going to be nasty today. Bad news in your paper?
FOX: Good news, but bad paper. (Inspecting its hands as if they were covered with mud) And bad printing.
WOMAN (with theatrical expression again, evidently inventing the story at the moment of telling it): So, I was an orphan. I was raised by the aunt – actually, she was only a half cousin of my mother… Such a bleak, colorless person she was… Always had this awful gabardine coat on. Do you know what is gabardine, Foxy?
FOX (continues reading): Yes.
WOMAN: Good. So, she had this dreadful coat of hers… (Paused) And she reeked of mould… (Shuddering) I think she hated me because she couldn’t have a child of her own. (Paused; then – as if she got a sudden flash of inspiration – continues with speeding-up) On my seventh birthday she told me that my parents were killed in air crush, and the next morning she sent me to a girls’ school with full pension, and I have never seen her again… That school… I can’t tell you, Foxy, what a kind of place it was! Horrible draughts, damp bed sheets… And teachers… Real sadists they were! Except one – she was a kind woman, miss Temple, if I’m not mistaken… Under her influence I began reading absorbedly, and so my passion for literature had started then!
FOX (heavily looking at the Woman over the newspaper): I see.
WOMAN (paying no attention to this): And you know, Foxy, I found a real friend there… Her name was Helen Burns. A real sweet heart she was, poor thing. Such a sad story – she died of pneumonia, and then miss Temple got married and went abroad and so I was left there all alone. I was only eleven by that time, so you can imagine…
FOX (indifferently, continuing reading): Yeah.
WOMAN: Then I began to imagine things, you know. I tried to imagine who my parents were. And know what?
FOX (turning pages): No.
WOMAN: I think that I’m not pureblooded English. May be my father was a Frenchman and kept a winery in Provence… No, no! He was Belgian! He was a puppet-maker, and he had a toy shop in Brussels. My mother travelled to Belgium, and rather occasionally she came across this toy shop, and so they met each other and so it happened. That’s why I’m a doll-maker – I inherited this talent from my dear father. (Paused) Or other way round…
FOX: Your dear father inherited this talent from you?
WOMAN (for several moments is looking at Fox with disgust, then continues): Or other way round – my father was an Englishman, but my mother was… I know – she was Italian! She was an opera singer. No! She was an Art historian from Florence! From her I inherited my artistic taste.
FOX (putting the newspaper aside): So, how it happened that she had that cousin of hers – The Gabardine Coat Cousin Reeked of Mould? If she was a Florentine?
WOMAN: I’ve told you! She was only a half cousin. (With annoyance) Does this really matter?
FOX (taking the newspaper back and starting reading again): No, not at all. (Muttering) Just a half of a cousin she was…
The stage is darkening.
2. Not so many years ago
The Woman is reclining on a chaise longue in the middle of the stage in front of the screen. Several colorful cushions are scattered all around the chaise longue on the floor. Small round table is placed nearby; on it we can see a glass of wine, a cigarette box, a lighter and an ashtray. The Fox is sitting on the floor near the chaise longue and is leaning on it. It is knitting something orange-colored – something which is looking as a stocking or a trunk.
WOMAN: Do you know what love is, Foxy?
FOX: Yes, I have read a book with such title once. Though I’ve failed to reach the end of it.
WOMAN (sarcastically): I see you have read a lot. But I know love by my own experience and not by books, and know what?
FOX (idly, examining the knitting): No, I don’t know. What?
WOMAN: Love is rather funny stuff, my dear. I’ll tell you a story, trust me.
FOX (pulling the cord from the basket): Sure.
WOMAN: When I left that dreadful school – and I was very young then, only seventeen or so – I started to work as a secretary in one family. The job itself was the rummaging in papers of one old chap – politician he was or somewhat like this, – who died two years before. So I had to decode his scribbles, edit them and retype. And there was a young man there – five years older than me he was. He appeared to be a son of this old chap, who died, and his mother – quite a picturesque lady, I have to admit – married again after the death of his father. Are you following me?
FOX (suppressing yawning): Sure.
WOMAN: So, she married again, and you try to guess who her second husband was?
FOX (without hesitation): A brother of that old chap whose papers you had to decode.
WOMAN (with evident vexation): Yes, you got it all right. And this young fellow – he went completely mad about all this stuff. He was sure that his father did not die of heart attack as was officially said but was murdered – poisoned. And do you know why did he think so? He saw a ghost of his father! And this ghost told him that he has been poisoned! (Paused) By the way, do you know that the English see more ghosts than anyone else?
FOX (knitting): Yes, I have read Ackroyd.
WOMAN (looking at the Fox with the air of astonishment, and then continuing): I have never seen any ghosts. I think it is because I am not pureblooded English. My mother was Italian. Have I told you about my mother?
FOX: Oh, yes. And about your father who was Belgium puppet-maker. All Europe contributed to the making of you.
WOMAN (throwing a small cushion at the Fox, but the Fox is squirming): Anyway, this guy – my beloved – was absolutely mad with all that mothers-fathers-brothers-murders collision, but I got it only later. At first I found him very attractive and funny and we fell in love at once. He was my first lover, you know. And sometimes he could be really amusing. Once he showed me a real human scull! Can you believe?
FOX (readily): Sure!
WOMAN: But quite often he was a real nerd. Always harp on these poststructuralists, you know… Even right after having sex with me! Once he told me about The Death of the Author, and I couldn’t understand how it was possible that somebody had written a book and we could hold this book in our hands and read it and still could telling that the author is dead! And know what? He was about to kill me! Mad he was, of course… (Paused; then suddenly laughing out loud) Imagine: he asked me if I could die for him! “Would you go and drown yourself for me?” I thought it was a joke and asked him in return: “Would you go and drown yourself for me?” And this was the second time when he nearly killed me…
FOX: And what about the third time?
WOMAN (scornfully): There wasn’t the third time. Soon he made an attempt to murder his mother – a dark and mysterious story, I’d say. He said that he was intended to kill himself but his mother drunk the poisoned wine first – just by chance, he said, but who knows… Anyway, they took him to the asylum and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s still there… Must be telling stories about poststructuralism to hospital staff… (Changing the subject) What are you knitting, by the way?
FOX: A tail of mine. You didn’t care to make it for me.
WOMAN: Oh, I’m really sorry.
FOX: Forget it.
Both are keeping silence for a minute or two.
WOMAN: Of course I left this dreadful house then… Several rather chaotic years have followed – boyfriends, girlfriends, rented flats, occasional jobs, no job, drinking, drugs…
FOX (mocking the Woman’s tone): … rock’n’roll…
WOMAN (paying no attention to this): And then I’ve met Torvald. Such a serious man he was – a bank manager, I suppose… He was gorgeous – or so it seemed to me at the time. He was from Sweden or Norway – I don’t remember now… He was so… posh with all those elegant suits and luxury leather shoes and golden lighters and expensive cigars. So we got married soon, and you know, Foxy – I think I even loved him… for a while… I mean – I had to love him since I gave birth for two children of ours. But… you know how it happens, Foxy. It all become B-O-R-I-N-G. I was just a doll for him – he liked to show me, as he liked to show his posh suits and cars and all that stuff… But we almost stop speaking to each other. And kids – they seemed to love their nanny more than me. And one day I just left them all and went out, and never came back. I think that because of Torvald I started to make dolls… How do you think, Foxy?
FOX: I think you’ve started to make dolls for money and because of your constant loneliness.
The Woman is throwing another cushion at the Fox.
The stage is darkening.
Massive wooden table is standing in the middle of the stage. Different sewing instruments and parts of the dolls (heads, hands, legs, bodies, joints, and clothes) are scattered all over the table. The Woman is sitting on a chair at the table and is assembling what seems to be a new doll. The Fox is sitting near the Woman, with its legs on a chair, leaning with its elbows on the table and watching Woman’s manipulations closely. At its back it has a newly knitted tail roughly attached to the dressing gown. Sometimes the Fox is picking up some doll parts from the table and playing with them idly.
WOMAN: What are you thinking about, Foxy?
FOX (granting a slight sigh): I’m wondering why you don’t want to make another fox… So that I could have a partner…
WOMAN: You have me – isn’t it enough?
FOX (granting a deep sigh): What is it that you’re making now?
WOMAN: Ah, this is a great order – and good money to come! Twelve Dancing Princesses! Twelve expensive luxury dolls! Do you know, Foxy, this tale about Twelve Dancing Princesses?
FOX: Well, I have read a book once – rather odd one, you know, a story within a story within a story, and there was this stuff about Twelve Dancing Princesses.
WOMAN: How interesting! I always thought it was a folk tale, but you can never know…
FOX (obviously teasing the Woman): Ah, yes – old Belgium folk tale. Your father…
WOMAN (annoyed): Stop it at once! Better do pass me those scissors! (The Fox is passing the scissors) This order will make us rich, Foxy – if we’ll do everything all right. This man who have ordered the dolls – he is very strange, of course. He makes me shuddering sometimes. But he gave very good money in advance, and if we’ll make everything well, as I said… You know, Foxy, we could travel! Oh, I’m dreaming about Florence! My mother was from Florence, have I told you?
FOX: Five hundred times at least.
WOMAN (paying no attention to this): So for me it would be a kind of pilgrimage, you know… To visit Florence… To see all those objects of Art… My mother was an expert in Art; I believe I have told you. And where would you like to travel?
FOX: I would like to visit Prague.
WOMAN: Why Prague?
FOX: It is one of the most beautiful places in the world and, besides this it is the place where Golem had been created. So it would be a kind of pilgrimage for me, since I’m a kind of Golem too…
WOMAN (softly): You’re not Golem; you’re just a little stupid fox of mine. Give me the right leg, please…
The stage is darkening.
When the lights are on again, there is nothing on the stage except the white screen, on which we can see a slideshow – a series of photos, on which the Woman and the Fox are portrayed together on the background of Florence and Prague attractions. Music is playing.