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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Elephant Long, Jeremy Patrick 1973

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V ELEPHANT by JEREMY" PATRICK LONG B.A., University of British Columbia, 1971 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in the Department of Creative Writing We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA April, 1973 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by his representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of CREATIVE VlRTTTWft  The University of British Columbia Vancouver 8, Canada Date APRIL 26. 1971 ii ABSTRACT Elephant, a collection of material produced during the past two years, attempts to create an environment within which the per-sonna of the writer may exist without benefit of a corporeal real ity. It becomes an environment of memory. By definition, the genres of drama and poetry must be pre sented to an audience if they are to succeed in their avowed pur pose of communication between creator and audience. It is only the medium of presentation which distiguishes between the two genres. The drama is presented in the "live" medium of the stage, whereas poetry is presented by the "dead" or inanimate Gutenberg technol ogy. In this particular instance, both genres are presented within the same medium, the thesis. They are therefore similar componants of a unique environment. The evironment of Elephant, can only be that of memory, as it was written in the past from material rooted in memory, the mem ory of the personna and the collective memory of the environment in which he exists. It is not "now", it is "then". TABLE OF CONTENTS iii TITLE o i ABSTRACT ii TABLE OF CONTENTS... • ..iii ACKNOWLEDGMENT v POEMS - PART ONE: I. Our Lady of the Rocks • ....1 II. 2-Our Lady of the Rocks 3 III. Habitat......... 5 IV. Refraction • 6 V. Preparation. • 7 VI. Trophy 8 VII. Collapse 9 VIII. Continuance. .10 IX. The Name 11 X. Face Under Water 12 XI. Wound 3 XJ-I. Patsy Jean Oregon. Ik XIII. The Apathy 5 XIV. Lighthouse Barbara 16 THE FINAL PERFORMANCE OF VASLAV NIJINSKY SAINT MORITZ-DORF, 1919 7 I. List of Characters .18 II. Act 1 20 Act I - scene 2 •.••••.••.•••.••33 Act I - scene 3 • ....41 III. Act II - scene 1 kk Act II - scene 2 60 Act II - scene 3*<*«* •••••••.•62 IV. Act III 68 POEMS - Part Two: I. Savage • 75 II. Seeds of the Water .77 III. Sleeper 78 IV. Driftwood 80 V. An Older Poem (For Barbara) 82 TABEL OF CONTENTS (Con't) FOOTNOTES ' .83 BIBLIOGRAPHY VITA ACKNOWLEDGMENT Mrs. Kathleen Long for the time Dr. Douglas Bankson for the energy. 1 OUR LADY OF THE ROCKS 1. Bella Donna we lay day breaking on coasts a horizon bloody enough to be virgin we lay together puddle of water amid the rock Bella Donna we lay this rock supports moss insect existence in the ice preserved for the future the past falls deep as night into the vast invisible belly of the horizon Bella Donna concerned with temperature while a new age marches down mountain to sea 2 and we in paths cracked in the cliff by now Now Bella Donna the minutes of your life stand sentry to your sleep for in the morning cries as you look blind folded into rock Fire a horizon of riflemen Cassandra executed for her crime Bella Donna we lay together in a morning too distant for us Bella Donna man lion climbs a jungle to this cave morning with a mane of light drags a dark carcass the ocean flames to death Bella Donna beautiful lady in the rock your poison your child your blood burns across a morning dying Bella Donna beautiful lady dying in mourning Bella Donna the dead child is yours is not the birth of morning is not a corpse in a rock coffin Bella Donna the poison to a child dead the history of you 5 HABITAT The oasis wastes itself entertaining useless caravans of traders and camels. All the available water drains away to the other side of the world. The palm tree then, the cypress dig up their roots and dissolve, on their knees. Wind comes out of the surrounding sand. The desert collects. 6 REFRACTION The reflection of one or less, we had Last night, is gone. I spilled into distance Between mirror and image, While you lay amid gasps of light And shadow faulted your face Into mountains too distant for morning. 7 PREPARATION Nothing is left to hunt. The wilderness holds Only the empty skin. Hung, frozen In the treeless air. Below, the carcass, Shapeless against the tundra, Howls into the voiceless night. Snared between the teeth And the appetite to kill, I must take The animal with me. I am clear; prepared to vanish with the gaunt issue of consciousness. Pinned, brittle against the wall, the skin of the single celled insect whose track wasted in the wadded air after I had killed him, because he was behind me and thick with the blood of my passage through. 9 COLLAPSE The tortoise moves old Out of the water Unprotected white he crawls Inland Silent the ocean senses The empty shell One wave another the last Forage for the route of his escape Between the rocks Static the body of water Falls inward The tortoise climbs a tree To the ground and spins His web over sand Between rocks CONTINUANCE 1. snow covers the length of your body sleep lady ask no questions of me cold futures itself in my seed ice winters in my south an age preserving itself I was born in August, the month of lions. You often said... A raindrop roars in an empty bucket. The consequence of speech that you give away the secret time of your sex. The sense that the man dies if he admits he may have made a mistake. Now, secretly we sit, say nothing. Happy in this lion life, where the name gives too much sense of purpose. FACE UNDER WATER Usually you cry when we make love. The light attaches itself to your body. I observe you from the shelter of a bus-stop and like drizzle you dissolve into the shallow puddle at my feet. When the next express arrives, I'll step through you, into it and carry you only in the ruined shine of my shoes. 13 WOUND He streams from the bottom, upriver. Green dark and stinking, riparian seaweed drips a new wound. This city pure flesh, perfumed and he the cannibal has never tasted the absence of blood. PATSY JEAN OREGON beyond, the surf mumbles, sand shivers under spectral mists. a hag picks fractured-shell from the shore, washes them in brine, piles them. consecration to the feet of the naked girl-child. who it was didn't matter, her breast in my hand, damp-hair stranded the bed in abeyance of interest, ice-salt water rushes her feet, she refutes the flesh. her tone irrelevant, only sleep. 15 THE APATHY waves clean over the breast of shore line to the starved-black hinterland that bursts an anarchy of lips on the surface of the ocean and he a white man shivers on the nipple nourished secure above the tide line eruption curdles below the belly food excuses everything LIGHTHOUSE BARBARA. Your eye opens regularly, in the dark, intent on salvation. You light candles, in the pupil of your eye to attract, dozens of dizzy moths, or another blind man, who cannot find you when daylight swarms ashore. Nevertheless, your thighs dried me out and you saw me flutter away. THE FINAL PERFORMANCE OF VASLAV NIJINSKY SAINT MORITZ-DORF, 1919 THE FINAL PERFORMANCE OF VASLAV NIJINSKY SAINT M0RIT7-P0RF. 1919 CHARACTERS NIJINSKY, t.ha great ballet dancer. ROMOLA, his wife. EMMA, Romola's mother. SERGEI DIAGHILEV, the Russian entrepreneur. KOSTROVSKY, a Russian technician with the Ballet Russe. KARSVTNA, a ballerina with the Ballet Russe. PROSTITUTE, another character played bv the same actress as Kars-vina. NEGRI, a Swiss peasant dressmaker, played by the same actress as Karsvina. SOLDIER, a Hungarian soldier of U«j nlaved by the same actor as Kostrovsky. OFFICIAL, plaved by same actor as Diaghilev. KAHN, plaved by the same actor as Diaghilev. NAJA, Bnma's maid. GYORGY, Emma's gardener. AUCTIONEER, plaved by the same actor as Gvorgy. MOTHER, NUinskv's mother, played bv the same actress as Naja. CHORUS: To be composed of the ensemble except for Niiinsky. TIME: January, 1919. SETTING: Act I & II...Dressing Room, St. Moritz. Act III The stage, St. Moritz. My little girl is singing: *Ah ah ah ah.1 I do not understand its meaning but I feel what she wants to say. She wants to say that everything ...is not horror, but joy. Vaslav Nijinsky St. Moritz-Dorf Villa Guardamont January, 1919 20 THE FINAL PERFORMANCE OF VASLAV NIJINSKY, Saint Moritz-Dorf, 1919 ACT I (NIJINSKY. sits on a stool, facing the audience. In front of  him is a small table, on which rests a double-surfaced, oval  make-up mirror. He does not move until R0M0LA. enters.) ROM: Vaslav? Dreaming? (She kisses him.) Are you almost ready? NIJ: Don't rush me, please. ROM: I didn't mean to... NIJ: The make-up is very important...to create the illusion for... ROM: I know Vaslav. Are you well? Do you feel up to it? NIJ: Wonderful..I'm going to dance again. ROM: Yes I Vaslav, what pieces? I have to tell.. NIJ: No pieces. I will dance what I feel. ROM: But what shall I tell Madame Asseo? She needs music to play. Will you dance without music? NIJ: Don't tell her anything. She must follow. ROM: She must have an idea... NIJ: No, she is a great artist, that is why I chose her to accom pany me. She will understand...when I dance... She will know what pieces to play. ROM: She asked me... NIJ: Tell her that 21 ROM: Very well, but don't expect miracles of her. NIJ: Miracle? For that you need a saint. A man in the hands of God. They expect a miracle of me. They think artists are touched by God. We are artists, we are touched by God. He is with us. Femraka, don't worry, don't think. FeelI It will be all right. Trust in God. ROM: Don't be upset with me Vaslav. But there are people out there. They expect so much. Our friends, mother, sister. Your friends, the Prince, Countess Ripon... NIJ: What do they expect? What must I prove to my friends? That I am still Nijinsky? That I'm not a madman? Well, I am. I am a madman. My madness is the love I have for those people. ROM: All right. Don't be upset. NIJ: I'm not. You shouldn't bother me like this before a perfor mance. ROM: I'll go. NIJ: Just a moment. Who else is here? ROM: Only those we invited. NIJ: No critics? ROM: None were invited. You saw the list. NIJ: Diaghilev? No, he wouldn't come. I sent him the invitation. Posted it myself. I wrote it. I spelled his name wrong...on purpose...so he would know how I felt. ROM: He won't be here, Vaslav. He's with the touring company in Amer ica. NIJ: America? Making money... Sergei Pavlovitch, what will you say to my success? I will be a success again. ROM: Of course, Vaslav but... 22 NIJ: "Dead to art", he said. I'll make more money than he's ever imagined and I'll show him what art is. He doesn't know still.. ROM: Vaslav, we must hurry... NIJ: Don't rush me anymore...I'll be there as soon as I'm ready. ROM: Good... (She kisses him and exits.) NIJ: I don't have a little alarm clock in ray head, set to ring when someone arrives to see me dance. I WILL DANCE WHEN I'M READY I I'm only a man, A MAN! CHORUS: Not a man. NIJ: Not a man? CHORUS: Not a man, a horse. NIJ: A horse? CHORUS: HorseI NIJ: I used to be a man? CHORUS: HorseI NIJ: I could have sworn... CHORUS: HORSEI NIJ: You'd think a man... CHORUS: Not! HorseI NIJ: Thank God... CHORUS: HorseI NIJ: Kafka's insect... CHORUS: HORSEt NIJ: Perhaps I didn't wake up, the bell never rang? CHORUS: HORSEI NIJ: I'm a horse? Horse! HORSE! 23 CHORUS: ( chanting ) Run. Run. Run. Run horse, run. Run. Run. Run. Run horse, run. run run run run-run, run-run, run-run... ( extended ) NIJ: You were invited! Invited! I invited you to see me dance. I will dance...a new work... CHORUS: Run-run, run-run, run-run... NIJ: I can't...will not...not perform till I'm ready...you don't un-9 derstand...you must..• CHORUS: Horses run. NIJ: I will run. CHORUS: Horses jump. NIJ: I will jump. CHORUS: Horses go when they're told. NIJ: I will go. CHORUS: When the gate opens. NIJ: I don't open the gate. CHORUS: Ten. NIJ: Dance. CHORUS: Nine. NIJ: A new work. CHORUS: Eight. NIJ: I can only do... CHORUS: Seven. 2k NIJ: I am Nijinsky, Le Dieu de la danse... CHORUS: Six. NIJ: Nineteen-nineteen... CHORUS: FIVE! NIJ: St. Moritz, I'm resting... CHORUS: Four. NIJ: The war... CHORUS: Three. NIJ: Take me back to Russia... CHORUS: Two. NIJ: I don't want to dance anymore... CHORUS: GodI God I Hold my hand. God you know me. Hold my hand, my hand is warm. (. THE. AUCTIONEER., enters.. He -takes NUINSKX .by. -the chin and leads him down center stage as the rest of the CHORUS enter as  buyers. ) AUCTIONEER: OrderI Order, ladies and gentlemen, please. Item number twen ty, number twenty for your inspection. ( As the AUCTIONEER begins his next speech. THE CHORUS, enters  the audience and confront individual members of the audience  with offers of NIJINSKY* S love, the various parts of his body  and soul. ) AUCTIONEER: Number twenty, Vaslav Nijinsky; born on February twenty-eight, eighteen ninety in Kiev, Russia. Second colt of Eleanore Bere-da, one time prancer of the Polish court. Sired by Thomas Ni jinsky, freelance racer in the Russian Hinterland. Birth reg istered in Poland to avoid service with the Russian armed forces. Two siblings: a brother currently registered in the St. Peters burg catalogue of the mentally disturbed, a defect due entirely to accident and not a genetic deficiency we assure you. A sis ter currently on display at the Imperial School in St. Peters burg. 25 ( The CHORUS continue to ..circulate .their, offers, amongst- the.Aud ience as Nijinsky's MOTHER enters and- -takes him from -the AUCTION  EER; she pulls his pants down and smacks his bottom. ) MOTHER: You cannot continue. The school is the best place for you to be. NIJ: I know that mama. MOTHER: Well if you know, why do you persist in these antics. They'll make you leave, Vaslav, they'll send you home and we can't af ford you here. NIJ: I can work, I can... MOTHER: No Vaslav. You must stay at the school. You must. One day you will be a great dancer. You will dance for the Czar, a member of the Marinsky...your father always wanted that him self. NIJ: My father is a great dancer... MOTHER: Yes, a great one, but not a Russian. NIJ: I won't go back. I will, stay here and take care of you and Bronislava. MOTHER: You'll go back and there'll be no more talk about it. NIJ: I don't like it there... MOTHER: Be quiet, you're not a snivelling little boy anymore Vaslav, you're very nearly a man and you should see without my telling you, what you should do. There'll be no more sling shots into professor's eyes, no more bad marks and if there are no more of these, there will be no more punishments, do you understand? NIJ: Yes but who will look after you and... MOTHER: God will see for us, don't you worry. Just study very hard. Do you promise? NIJ: Yes, mama. I promise. MOTHER: Good, now, don't look so unhappy. We do what we think is right and we do it because we love you. Do you understand that? NIJ: I think so and I love you, so I will work hard, and then I'll look after you. 26 MOTHER: Yes, then you'll look after us. Now, go along, it's time you went back. ( She exits. ) AUCTIONEER: Gentlemen, an offer, do I hear an offer? ( NIJINSKY .sits at the mirror and begins to put on the make  up of Petrushka. the clown doll. ) Gentlemen, an offer? CHORUS: Ten copeks. AUC: Gentlemen, gentlemen...a graduate of the Imperial school of St. Petersburg... CHORUS: A hundred. AUC: Star of the Marinsky... CHORUS: Two hundred. AUC: Two hundred for the partner of Pavlova? CHORUS: Three hundred. NIJ: Even a horse isn't worth this much. AUC: Creator of Petrushka, clown doll with a living soul.. CHORUS: Four hundred. NIJ: What is worth this much? AUC: The faun, only half man, half animal... CHORUS: Five hundred. NIJ: I don't understand. AUC: Such a fine animal... CHORUS: Six hundred. NIJ: I'm not a horseI AUC:^~ Seven? 27 CHORUS: Seven hundred. NIJ: I won't race anymoreI CHORUS: Eight hundred. NIJ: I don't belong to anybodyt CHORUS: Nine hundred. AUC: Higher! CHORUS: One thousand! NIJ: I'm a man! AUC: One thousand. NIJ: I'm not different from... AUC: One thousand going once NIJ: From you... AUC: One thousand going twice. NIJ: Or you... AUC: ( Bangs his gavel.) Sold for one thousand gold rubles. NIJ: An immortal cog in the machine. ( The CHORUS exit, there is a knock on a door. KARSVINA enters  with KOSTROVSKY.) KAR: Vaslav? NIJ: Hello! KAR: I've brought someone to see you. NIJ: How do you do? KAR: Not him, silly, he's waiting outside. This is Kostrovsky, he's joining us as a technician and I'm just showing him around. The person I brought to meet you is outside. He didn't want to come in right away, in case you were dressing or something. I didn't really understand why. 28 NIJ: Nevertheless, I am happy to meet you too. KOS: The pleasure is mine Mr. Nijinsky. NIJ: I hope you will like it here. KOS: I'm sure I will. We must get together and talk sometime. NIJ: Yes, I'm sure we will. It's almost inevitable in these places., theatres. KOS: Yes, it is. KAR: Shall I send him in? NIJ: Who? KAR: Prince Ivor asked me to introduce you personally but he wouldn't come and all he gave me was this card. Sergei Pavlovitch Diag-hilev. I think he's an entrepreneur of some kind. Do you want to meet him? NIJ: I should, if Prince Ivor sent him. KAR: Yes you should. KOS: Why should he? Just because he was sent by a prince? You should find out what it is he wants first. KAR: Well, he won't tell us, so there's only one way for Vaslav to find out, isn't there? KOS: I suppose so, yes. KAR: You boys are so stupid sometimes. KOS: It's the peasant in us. NIJ: Yes, it is. It makes us stupid. KAR: Now, now let's not quarrel on our first meeting. Let's go. I'll send him in, Vaslav. ( They exit. NIJINSKY. sits and continues his make-up process,  until DIAGHTLEV enters. NIJINSKY. takes note of his arrival,  but does not stop his make-up. ) 29 ( He. DIAGHILEV. stands looking at NIJINSKY. for, a length of  time, until KARSVINA sticks her head in once again. ) KAR: Vaslav Nijinsky, this is Sergei Pavlovitch Diaghilev. More than that I can't tell either of you. Except that you have a mutual acquaintance. Good-bye. DIA: There isn't anything quite as striking as a Russian intellec tual. Karsvina? NIJ: Yes, she is striking. DIA: I meant the intellectual. Don't you agree? NIJ: That she is an intellectual? DIA: It's obvious that she's striking. What other question can there be? NIJ: I don't understand. DIA: The Russian intellectual, an elite group, much as Nietzsche might have seen it. Do you know him? NIJ: No, we haven't met. DIA: I meant his work. Personally, he's been dead for some time. Some rather virulent strain of venereal disease, contracted, no doubt, from one of his equally intellectual feminine con temporaries. Turned him into a blubbering fool at a relative ly early stage of his career. A shame. Now, Socrates, there was a philosopher. And a man. He knew what was what, who was who; women were for bearing children and love was left to men...and boys. We will waste no more time. Prince Ivor told me about you. He tells me you can dance, that you may be the best, I like watching the best. And I know the best when I see it. NIJ: Prince Ivor might exaggerate, he is my friend. DIA: One's friends are usually one's strongest critics. I didn't come to see you without reason. What I have in mine, may cause some trouble at court in the beginning. But I'm sure that in the long run, they will see that my idea has great objectives, not only jfor me and those who come with me, but for Russia as well. 30 NIJ: What is your idea, Mr. Diaghilev? DIA: I plan on creating a company, Vaslav. A great ballet company which will carry the greatest works of our culture to the rest of Europe. Ninety percent of the world are ignorant of art which is created in Russia, not because it isn't worthy of their attention but because we have not allowed them opportunity to note its true value. In the past we have waited for them to come to us, my plan is to take us to them. The ballet of Russia, Vaslav, should belong to everybody, the world, not just the elite circle of Russian royalty and...intel lectuals . I understand you have had some trouble. With the managers of the Marinsky. Leave them, Vaslav, leave the Marinsky. Join my company, come to Paris. NIJ: I cannot leave the Marinsky, my training... DIA: How much do they pay you, Vaslav. A meagre sixty-five roubles per month. How can a man, an artist, a great artist such as yourself survive on sixty-five roubles. And I understand that you support your family too. I will pay you more, much more. Think about it, you don't have to answer right away. NIJ: I will consider it. DIA: We could do great things young man, great things for Russia, for ourselves, for art. We should be friends, you and I. Friends can accomplish so much more, together. NIJ: Yes, let's be friends at least. DIA: Better friends than anybody else. NIJ: We can help each other, love each other, I've wanted a friend for so long. Someone who could understand what the ballet means to me and I can already see that you understand. DIA: Yes, I can understand. We are artists, you and I. We must share with each other that talent which we have. If you can dance... NIJ: I love to dance. When I dance I feel that I don't belong to any company, to anybody, that I am free, that I love. DIA: The only great art is love. 31 NIJ: I will go with you, to Paris. But you must pay me. I have my mother and sister to look after. DIA.: I will pay you, don't worry. And so...we are to be friends, eh Vaslav? NIJ: Yes, friends. DIA: Together we will make love to the world? We will rape them? We will take their love and mould it as one would clay to create the Venus de Milo or paint the Mona Lisa and we will create their art. NIJ: It must give love. DIA: That's what I said...we will love them. Enough! Would you like a drink? .(, He takes a silver flask from his pocket and offers it to NIJ  INSKY. ) To celebrate our union? NIJ: I don't drink vodka. It makes me dizzy. DIA: Don't drink? NIJ: Wine, occasionally. DIA: Well then, let's get some wine, (pause) It's good you donft drink. NIJ: It isn't good for the body. DIA: Exactly, you must look after yourself. Take good care of your body. It's your fortune. NIJ: My life, without it I couldn't dance. DIA: May I kiss you. NIJ: Why? DIA: To show my love. NIJ: If you feel... 32 DIA: What I feel, is that if we are to be friends, we must have no secrets, share no lies or illusions. I'm a man, you're a man, so I shouldn't kiss you but I want to. Do you think I'm wrong? NIJ: Not if you must show your love to me this way, instead of another. DIA: You understand? NIJ: I understand love. DIA: But not this love, not my love? NIJ: I understand. I understand because it was Prince Ivor who sent you and he loves me. DIA: I love you more or perhaps differently than Ivor. NIJ: Why? You don't know me? DIA: I watched you dance this evening. (-DIAGHILSV..- moves to kiss NIJINSKY... but instead of ..kissing, him.,  he pries open his mouth with his fingers and inspects his teeth.) BLACKOUT 33 ACT I - scene 2 ( Lights reveal NIJINSKY. again before the make-up mirror, fin  ishing the make-up for Petrushka. Enter DIAGHILEV. ) DIA: Vaslav, how are you feeling today? NIJ: I feel well. DIA: The fever has gone? NIJ: Yes, all gone. DIA: I trust this has taught you to stay away from Parisian water. NIJ: From now on I'll only drink mineral water, from the bottle. DIA: Excellent. Let's go for a walk. ( They begin to walk in circles around the stage area. ) DIA: Paris is so beautiful in the spring, eh Vaslav. NIJ: Very beautiful. DIA: Do you like it here? NIJ: Yes, very much. DIA: That settles it then. We will stay here for the off-season and prepare for the next. I've made arrangements for a charming villa on the... NIJ: We can't stay here Sergei. We should go home. I would like to see my mother and sister. DIA: You just said you liked it here, now you want to leave. You're very difficult to deal with... NIJ: I must go back. DIA: I wish you wouldn't interrupt me while I'm trying to explain the situation to you Vaslav. NIJ: I'm.jsorry Sergei but I should go home to see my family." 3k DIA: The truth of the matter, Vaslav, is that I don't have the money to send the company back to Russia for the summer. NIJ: Why not? The season was good, the critics gave us reviews, the people came. DIA: Not enough people came. It was probably all that bad publicity over "Faun", that made them stay away. Controversy doesn't make money Vaslav. NIJ: I'm sorry Sergei. "Faun" was perhaps a mistake and the fault is mine. DIA: No, no Vaslav, it wasn't your fault. NIJ: I created it, it was mine. They didn't understand what I was trying to do. DIA: No, they didn't, so there's no need to go on about it. We didn't make any money but we made a name, eh? Of course we did, so let's forget it and get on with next season. NIJ: Perhaps, if you paid me back some of the forty thousand francs I lent you, I could go back for a little while. DIA: I don't have it. NIJ: Not a little? DIA: Don't whine. I told you when I borrowed it that there was some risk involved. We needed it to stage "Faun" and it didn't suc ceed. There isn't any money. NIJ: I must go back somehow. DIA: I have an idea. A summer tour. To make some money, for next season. NIJ: But everybody is tired, Sergei. DIA: TiredI They're not tired, just lazy. Artists! They don't know what they are. They have no discipline and discipline is what they must have if they want to be artists. You know that. NIJ: But they need rest too. DIA: No, they need to work. Work, work and more work, that's what we thrive on. South America! A tour of South America, to re store our saggy spirits and...purses eh? 35 NIJ: If you think it best. DIA: Of course itfs best. And then a triumphal return to Europe, eh? It'll be a first, Vaslav. Come on, let's go back to the hotel. I want to start making the arrangements, as soon as possible. NIJ: You go on, I would like to walk a little longer. DIA: Alright but not too long now. We have work to do. C DIAGHILEV.- exits. NIJINSKY continues walking until he meets  the PROSTITUTE. ) ( NIJINSKY.. -walks -past her- -then stops and turns, around .to look at her. She approaches him with one hand held over, her, left. ,... breast. When she is in front of him, she removes her hand, her breast is bare. ) PROS: Monsieur desire? NIJ: No, nothing. PROS: No, no, no. Everybody says no but everybody does. You do, it will be exciting. ( She takes his hand in hers. ) NIJ: Your hand is moist. PROS: ( Dropping his hand. ) I sweat a lot. Do you or don't you? NIJ: Your face is painted, like a caricature in the newspaper. PROS: If it's my face you want...it can be arranged. NIJ: I sweat when I dance or practise. It's good to sweat, it cools the body. PROS: I don't have all day to stand here and discuss it with you. Do you or don't you? NIJ: I don't know. PROS: You do. It will be exciting... NIJ: I don't like excitement. 36 PROS: Don't be afraid. Have you never been with a woman before? 1*11 teach you, it'll be fun and you can go back and tell your friends how a woman of the streets of Paris taught you what you know about love. NIJ: I ate meat today. PROS: So? NIJ: It makes you excitable. PROS: All the better, a little animal now and again. NIJ: I'm not an animal, I'm a man. PROS: You're saying that I'm an animal? NIJ: You do this. PROS: What? This? This is life, this is breath, making love. NIJ: Why do you do this? PROS: Because I'll starve if I don't. NIJ: Lust is the death of life. PROS: You're a very mixed up little boy, go home. NIJ: I can't go home, I don't have the money. PROS: No money? NIJ: Not enough. PROS: Good-bye. NIJ: Not enough to get home to Russia. PROS: But enough for me? NIJ: How much do you want? PROS: Ten francs for a moment or fifty for the night. NIJ: I have enough for several nights. PROS: BetterI You can learn more. Come... 37 ( She leads NIJINSKY. upstage and begins to undress him. ) PROS: I promise you'll like it. Never before? NIJ: What? PROS: With a woman. NIJ: No but I have seen a lot of women. At the ballet, in the dres sing rooms. PROS: You're familiar then? NIJ: Yes. PROS: I don't have to tell you what's what? ( She laughs and begins to undress herself. ) ( NIJINSKY. watches her. ) NIJ: Why do you do this? PROS: I told you, I'd starve if I didn't. NIJ: There must be other work you could do? PROS: It wouldn't pay as much and besides, it isn't too bad. My feet get tired on the street, that's about all. NIJ: Do you like it? PROS: What? NIJ: Do you like your work? PROS: Sometimes...if the man is very good looking, or if I'm...inspired or something. NIJ: I wouldn't work unless I loved what I was doing. PROS: You must be a rich man. NIJ: No, my family is poor. PROS: Then you're crazy. 38 NIJ: I dance. PROS: You're crazy. Let's go. NIJ: I want to understand why? PROS: I'm very good at itI NIJ: You're proud of it? PROS: Why don't you find out. NIJ: You should be an artist. PROS: Alright...I've had enough...you keep it, it's yours. Virgins. Look, I'm clean, I have a license, I'm twenty-four years old and I enjoy my work, so little boys like you I don't need. Run along back to mama but tell her to smack your bottom because you've been bad. Don't bother me anymore. NIJ: Here. PROS: What for? NIJ: Take it. I don't need it. PROS: I haven't earned it. NIJ: Take it. I loved you for a few moments. PROS: Thanks. ( She exits. ) You should have tried it, you might have liked it. ( NIJINSKY. returns to the make-up mirror. The CHORUS enter  upstage and begin a series of ballet exercises using a ballet  bar. DIAGHILEV. enters. ) DIA: Vaslav, are you ready? NIJ: Yes. DIA: Good. You'll go to the boat with Karsavina. She'll look after all the details for you. NIJ: Aren't you coming with us? 39 DIA: No, sea voyages do not agree with me. My health won't allow me to go with you, much as I would like. Don't worry Vaslav. Ev erything is arranged. I'll meet you in Spain when you return. Don't look so morose, it's a great adventure you're beginning, enjoy it. NIJ: I'll miss you, Sergei. DIA: I too, but we mustn't let our personal lives interfere with our work. They expect to see you dance in Buenos Aires, not me. I can do more here, setting up next season. Good-bye Vaslav, take care of yourself. One thing Vaslav. I have noticed that a certain female member of the company has been paying particular attention to you here. NIJ: Who? DIA: That Hungarian girl we took on in Vienna. She only wants to make a name for herself, watch her Vaslav. NIJ: Why? DIA: She's after you. NIJ: Is there something wrong with that? DIA: Don't let her catch you. NIJ: Why not? DIA: Just keep what I say in your mind. NIJ: Alright Sergei, as you say. DIA::- That's my boy. Off you go. Write to me. NIJ: I will Sergei. ( DIAGHILEV. exits. ROMOLA enters, walks past NIJINSKY and  .joins the others at the bar. ) ( NIJINSKY. begins his own exercises down center. ) ROM: Why doesn't he exercise with us? KAR: I don't speak Hungarian. Do you speak French? ko ROM: Oh yes, I'm sorry. I spoke subconsciously. KAR: That's alright. What was it you asked? ROM: I was just wondering why he didn't take exercise with us. KAR: He doesn't think we work hard enough. He prefers to concentrate on his own. An idea that our friend Diaghilev put into his head. Work, work, work, that's all he ever does or thinks about I imagine. ROM: Doesn't he have any friends? KAR: Just us. Another one of Sergei's ideas. Keeps him pure for his art...and Sergei's pleasure. ROM: I understand...he must be lonely. KAR: Vaslav? He has his work. ROM: I'd like to be his friend. KAR: Be careful girl. Sergei doesn't approve of Vaslav having women friends. You're too new with us. Wait awhile, you'll see. ROM: Could you introduce me to him? KAR: I suppose so. Vaslavl This is Roraola, she joined us when we were in Vienna, remember. NIJ: Of course I remember. How do you do? ROM: What did he say? KAR: Speak to her in French Vaslav, she doesn't understand Russian. NIJ: I don't want to speak to her in French. I don't understand it well enough. KAR: He won't speak to you in French because he's embarrassed by his accent but he is happy to make your acquaintance. ROM: Tell him that I am very pleased to meet him too, I've heard so much about him and admired his art for so long. ( NIJINSKY waves KARSAVINA away, takes ROMOLA'S hand in his and  kisses it. ) FADBOUT. ACT I - scene 3 ( Light reveals NIJINSKY standing alone down center.. . The CHORUS  in ...the background- sing the following song as ROMOLA enters and  the scene follows. ) CHORUS: "You were meant for me I was meant for you Nature fashioned you And when she was done You were all the sweet things Rolled into one Youre like a plaintive melody That never sets me free." La la lala la etc. ( They continue to hum throughout the scene. ) ROMOLA: Good evening Mr. Nijinsky. It's a lovely evening. Can you un derstand my French? NIJ: I.understand your French but I will speak to you in Russian be cause I am Russian. ROM: I'm sorry I don't understand you. I wish we could talk together, NIJ: I'm very happy that you are interested in me. Sergei was wrong when he described you to me. ROM: Sergei? You must be talking about Monsieur Diaghilev, a great man. NIJ: A very petty manI ROM: I didn't mean to upset you, perhaps I should go. NIJ: No, stay. I will go instead. Talking to you has made me very happy. ROM: Good-bye, Monsieur Nijinsky. (.. NIJINSKY moves upstage, writes a note and gives it to KOSTROV- SKY who goes down to ROMOLA and gives it to her. ) 42 Good evening, Monsieur Kostrovsky. Good evening Mademoiselle. Monsieur Nijinsky asked me to deliver this note to you. Oh, but it's in Russian. Could you translate it for me Monsieur Kostrovsky. Delighted. Dear Mademoiselle, You would do me the greatest honour, if you would con sent to become my wife. Sincerely, Vaslav Nijinsky. Oh my God. ( ROMOLA... breaks down...begins to. cry, and -dutches a jcrucif ix which she wears round her, neck. KOSTROVSKY. backs, away and goes  to NIJINSKY upstage. NIJINSKY approaches ROMOLA and knocks at  the door. ) ( Knock. Knock. ) Just a minute. OhI ( Stuttering. ) Madame...I would...be...you.•.you and me...I would me you...my language... Oh yes, yes, yes, I'll marry you. ( The CHORUS rush forward and perform a brief wedding ceremony  and exit singing the previous song, which fades away. ) ( ROMOLA and NIJINSKY. separate. ROMOLA turns her back to NI  JINSKY and begins to undress. ) 43 NIJ: Femmka, I... ROM: ( Turning. ) " Femmka * • ...how lovely, you must promise to call me that always. NIJ: I will...I... ROM: Won't you try to speak French now...we're married, there's no need to be embarrassed about your accent, I'll understand. NIJ: No, I won't speak French. I'm Russian, I can't.•• ROM: I don't understand you. A few, just a few words of French...je t'airae, je t'aime...je...t..aime.. NIJ: Je t'aime. ( ROMOLA laughs, then continues to undo her dress. ) ROM: Help me Vaslav. (Offering him her back.) I can't reach the last few. ( NIJINSKY. undoes a few of the buttons and then begins to do  them up again. ) \ What are you doing? NIJ: Femmka..I..don't believe...it isn't necessary right away...pas vite... ROM: Not so quickly? NIJ: Goodnight...bon nuit. ( He exits. FADEOUT. ) scene 1 ( Light reveals NIJINSKY. seated again at the make-up mirror* ) I'm standing on a precipice, over which I could fall and be killed but I'm not afraid. God does not want me to fall, only you do. ( Enter DIAGETLBV. ) Hello, Vaslav. How was the journey. The ocean wasn't too rough, I take it. Sergei.•. Vaslav, don't explain. You married her or rather she caught you. You aren't my friend anymore? Eh Vaslav? I am always your friend Sergei, I love you... No, no you couldn't be my friend. My friend, the friend I once had, would have told me first, proudly, that he was going to be married. Perhaps my friend would even have asked my ad vice or blessing of his union. Four thousand miles, four thousand miles of ocean between us... You could have waitedJ Our plans...great plans that we created together...thrown away...for what...for what Vaslav? A woman...a common street corner variety female. Our plans still exist Sergei... No Vaslav...they don't.•.they're lost...as you are lost. Dead, sucked like so much air into the eye of that female. Floating in a vacuum. Inertia. You move no more. Sergei I... 45 DIA: No, no more whining..Sergei this..Sergei I want. Sergei wants too...everybody wants but only the great Nijinsky is allowed to whine until he gets it.. I warned you Vaslav, warned you what the costs were. The cost of dreaming. Dreaming Pegasus, the golden horse that flies rings around the sun; running, running forever chased by even Dionysus, liberated from Appollo's rein, no tether on his soul, no master but that of his own body, flying rings around the sun. Whine, whine that away. You were that soul Vaslav, the horse with golden wings but you flew too close to the sun, you're melting. The little golden icon...into a puddle. Good-bye Vaslav. it. You'll never dance again, I'm going to see to (He begins to exit, then turns. ) I'm a petty man Vaslav. Concerned with details, minutae. But I'm a careful man too Vaslav and I take precautions and your contract takes precautions against marriage. Good-bye. (He exits. NIJINSKY returns to the make-up mirror. ) NIJ: Diaghilev always uses that trick; he thinks that nobody under stands him but I...I understand him and therefore challenge him., to a bull fight. I am the bull, a wounded bull. I am God in the bull. I am Apis. I am an Egyptian. I am an Indian. I am a red Indian. I am a Negro. I am a Chinaman. I am a Japanese. I'm a foreigner, a stranger, a land bird, a sea bird. I am the tree of Tolstoy. Tolstoy is mine, I am his. Once...once I went for a walk... CHORUS: Run.•.run...run Run...run...run Run-run, run-run, run-run Run-run, run-run, run-run Run-run Run-run NIJ: CHORUS: Once Onet 46 NIJ: Once I went CHORUS: Twot NIJ: Went for a walk CHORUS: Three four...got yal NIJ: For a walk and... CHORUS: Five six pick up sticks. NIJ: And it seemed I... CHORUS: Seven for God and a gory heaven. NIJ: It seemed I saw blood... CHORUS: Eight angelic rat bait. NIJ: Seemed I saw blood... CHORUS: Nine NIJ: Nine no rhyme? CHORUS: TenI NIJ: I saw blood on the snow! ( Enter ROMOLA. EMMA. NAJA. GYORGY. ) ROM: This is Vaslav everyone. Vaslav, this is my mother... EMMA: Call me Emma, I've heard so much about you that I feel we already know one another. ROM: And this is Naja, the upstairs maid... NAJA: Pleased to make your acquaintance Sir. ROM: And Gyorgy the chauffer and gardener. GYORGY: Howdy-dot EMMA: Gyorgy1 GYORGY: Sorry Ma'am... k? EMMA.: It's so hard getting decent help these days. It's this damned war scare, everyone running off to join this that and the other thing.. Patriotism is replacing the family. NAJA: My boyfriend just joined up. GYORGY: It's those damned Ruskies that'll start it if anybody does. EMMA: GyorgyJ GYORGY: Sorry ma'am... EMMA: I'm sorry Vaslav, he's so ignorant, just like a peasant almost, NIJ: I think we should get back to our hotel, Romola. EMMA: Why don't you stay here? There's lots of room. ROM: I don't think so Mama. Vaslav's tired, we should go. OFFICIAL: ( Appearing upstage center. ) Vaslav Nijinsky, number five four three two one. You are a Russian Citizen. Being on Hungarian soil at the commencement of hostilities, you are under the jurisdiction of the Resident Alien's Committee. You are hereby placed under self-imposed house arrest until your case can be brought to the attention of the International Red Cross Organization. You are not to leave your habitat, the house of your wife's mother, Emma. You are not to indulge in any activity outside the realm of personal needs. EMMA: I suppose you can have the rooms upstairs in the east wing. Dinner is at eight. NAJA: He's Russian, let him clean up after his self. GYORGY: Carry em yerselfI EMMA: Naja cannot be expected to clean up after you when her lover is being butchered by your countrymen, GYORGY: Will you please not dance on the grass. It kills the roots. The weight you know? EMMA: Naja tells me you dance in the halls. The rosin leaves marks on the floors. 48 NIJ: Femraka, I must dance...1 have to have space. OFFICIAL: I'm sorry Nijinsky. You're Russian. Space is at premium in Budapest and as an alien you're at the very bottom of the relo cation lists. ROM: Vaslav, I'm pregnant. NIJ: Femmka? ROM: A baby. NIJ: How? ROM: A son for you. NAJA: I'm not going to do for any czarist bastardI EMMA: You'd best hire a nurse. Romola can't go through this alone. NIJ: Money? ROM: We'll need a wet nurse Vaslav. I can't do everything myself. EMMA: Perhaps you think you have all the attributes of a woman? You can't look after yourself, let alone anybody elset ROM: I'm sure she'll lend us the money if only you would approach her properly. EMMA: Why don't you work? OFFICIAL: Impossible, Hungary cannot sponsor Russian culture when she is at war with that culture. Perhaps, a benefit could be arranged, for the casualties, to show your good will? NAJA: Bullshit, we know where his sympathies are. ROM: You must ask her again, try not to lose your temper. EMMA: All right, I'll lend it to you, but only for Romola and the Ba by's sake. NIJ: I loved the child as soon as she was born. I wasn't allowed to see her at first but they told me I had a daughter. I was sorry it wasn't a son. I had prayed to God for a son. I loved my daughter anyway. EMMA: What shall we call her? 49 NIJ: Emma. EMMA.: No, no it isn't necessary. ROM: I'd like to. EMMA: You don't owe me anything. NIJ: We'll call her Kyra. EMMA: How can you stand his dictatorial manner. NIJ: It's Greek. ROM: It's Vaslav's decision. NIJ: I like Greek culture. EMMA: Leave him, he's no good. NIJ: I carved a wooden duck, put it on wheels and painted it bright colours; purple and orange. I put it on wheels so that she could pull it behind her as she trotted between the walls of our two rooms. ROM: He's so good with the baby. EMMA: He's subverting your authority with the child. ROM: Vaslav wouldn't think of anything like that. EMMA: She'll be spoilt. OFFICIAL: Nijinsky, Vaslav...you are to proceed to Vienna. There you will be inforned concerning your repatriation. The train leaves at ten o'clock tonight. EMMA: You can't take the child to Russia. ROM: Tonight? EMMA: The trains are so crowded. ROM: I hope I'm strong enough. EMMA: The child can't possibly travel. NAJA: Good riddance, that's what I say. 50 GYORGY: Right you are. EMMA: I won't allow the child to go. NIJ: A child should be with it's mother. EMMA: I don't think Romola should go either. ( At the train station. ) ROM: Good-bye Mother, thank you...for everything. EMMA: Don't go dear. ROM: He's my husband. EMMA: I'm your mother. ROM: I have to go. EMMA: You and little Kyra can always come home, if things don't work out. ROM: It will be all right. EMMA: Come with me. I want to give you some money, but I don't want him to know. ROM: All right...Vaslav, I'll be back in just a moment. NIJ: Hurry femmka... ( NIJINSKY. is left alone on the platform: the SOLDIER enters.  He has no legs and pushes himself about on a four wheeled dolly,  about six inches off the ground. ) SOL: Evening. NIJ: Good evening. SOL: Nice night. NIJ: It is lovely. SOL: Going to Vienna? 51 NIJ: Yes. SOL: Me too. Going to the hospital there. They've got doctors there what are going to give me new legs. NIJ: New legs? SOL: Wooden ones, you know. Won't be able to do no dancin* but at least I'll be able to get rid of this thing. My arms are so bloody tired. Pushin' myself about all day. It's tiring. NIJ: I can imagine. SOL: Do I note a bit of an accent in your voice? You're not Hungar ian are you? NIJ: No. SOL: What are you? NIJ: I'm a dancer. SOL: No, what country? NIJ: I'm Russian. SOL: Russian? NIJ: But I was born in Poland. At least I'm registered there. SOL: Polish? NIJ: Yes. SOL: It's a good thing you said that. NIJ: Why? SOL: I get very disturbed at the thought of Russians. NIJ: You hate them? SOL: I kill them don't I? NIJ: They're just men, like you. SOL: We're at war. They're the enemy. NIJ: Your country's enemy, but individually they are just men. 52 SOL: Hold on a minute. Just where do your sympathies lie my Polish friend? NIJ: With men. SOL: Who's men? NIJ: All men. SOL: You can't be on both sides. NIJ: I don't belong to either side. SOL: You have to, you have to belong to one side or the other. NIJ: Why? Why do I have to belong to some side? SOL: Because it's war. Warl Do you know what that is? Do you know what it's like? Have you ever been in a battle? Have you? NIJ: No, I don't... SOL: Pansified artistes. You're all the same. Spouting some tripe about peace an' all when you've never seen war. Never seen what it can do to men. Men...what you're interested in. Well, I've seen it... ...acres of Roosky cavalry, men an* horses as far as your eye could see on a clear day. Trying to get across the river. Us and the German's, we had em in a crossfire. They got about halfway across an' we hit em. Machine guns, mortars, artillery. A bloody gallery it was. ...at first the bodies caught the current an'floated downstream but soon, soon they caught on a snag in the river and begin to pilin* up. Duck pond in October it was... ...they tried another charge, running on the surface created by the flesh of their own men an' horses. They got a little bit further that time but they eventually had to give up...they couldn't get the horses to go up the hill of corpses an' if they did they'd just slide back down again cause of all the guts there was. A great victory for us. I saw a Roosky Captain get his brains kicked out by his own horse. NIJ: God, God wouldn't let it happen. 53 SOL: Of course not, but war ain't the work of God. It's a job that men do, ment The kind of men what you care about. It's their little artistic accomplishment, you know. You dance, they kill, like in a revolution you know? NIJ: You're insane. I don't believe you. SOL: All right then, have it your way. You can't face it, but I seen it. ( The SOLDIER exits laughing. NIJINSKY is left alone. ) NIJ: That men should kill...the god that is in them...I don't under stand. OFFICIAL: Five four three two one, you are to proceed to the Italian bor der, where you will be met by representatives of the Swiss gov ernment who will conduct you to the American Consul in Geneva, in whose hands you will remain for the duration of hostilities. (NIJINSKY sits again at the make-up mirror, still in the per  sona of Petrushka. ) ( There is a knock on the door, enter DIAGHILEV. ) DIA: Hello Vaslav. NIJ: Sergei. DIA: Dreadful business this, still... NIJ: I don't hate you. DIA: Thank you for that. I've missed you. Nobody has come to take your place. I was sorry to hear of all your misfortunes but still I hear you received a blessing in the form of a child. NIJ: A little girl, Kyra. DIA: How nice for you, a girl. NIJ: She's beautiful. DIA: Splendid, still, that's not what I came for. NIJ: To join your company? 54 DIA: I have no company. There's a war in progress. No, I came about your lawsuit against me. I imagine you heard that the English court has decided in your favour. The judgement was a half mil lion gold francs. NIJ: A lot of money. DIA: I don't have it. With the war and all, there is no money for art. There is only money for bodies. Hundreds of thousands of bodies. They're at a premium. You have such a fine body, Vaslav. An immortal one if I remem ber correctly. I'm sure that one or another of these warring factions would give you quite a tidy sum for it. NIJ: I'm not interested in money. DIA: Good, that solves my problem. If you should change your atti tude, you should approach the Americans. They have a lot of money but no "art". I'm thinking of going over myself. (The CHORUS- rush in and capture NIJINSKY- in the middle of a  square dance during which the following song is sung. ) CHORUS: ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS CASH. Well-a alaman left Your partner Swing her dosey doe If'n you like money in your pocket Come on over here Hey alaman left An a dosey doe Throw her in the air We don't know nothin* bout dancin But you know we really care So down on your back Feet in the air Open wide your mind We're gonna fuck you If we get the chance Cause we're quick rich millionaires. Oh alaman left your partner Swing 'im dosey doe If'n he's a ballet dancer Then stomp on all his toes. Stomp on all his toes. 55 •(••• NIJINSKY. left alone as the CHORUS exit, sits again in front  of the make-up mirror. ) ( Enter. KOSTROVSKY and Otto KAHN. ) NIJ: Yes? KOS: This is Mr. ... KAHN: Kahn, that's K..A..H..N. Otto to my friends. I'm the money behind old Coppicus, who you've been dealing with up to now.. NIJ: Mr. Kahn... KAHN: Now look Nijinsky, I put up a half million bucks for this little social of yours and I didn't do it out of charity or because I like to do a little jig now an* then. I did it because I expec ted some kind of return on my money. Know what I mean. I'm a businessman, not a la-de-da gentleman and when I make a deal, I expect the other half to keep up his end. We hired you cause you were supposed to be the best at whatever it is you do and we gave you sufficient means to do it but you haven't done it. Now, how about it? NIJ: Mr. Kahn I can only say... KAHN: I believe in giving the other guy his chance Nijinsky. We've given you three weeks to produce a ballet for us an* it ain't ready. We've already sold half the tickets an' we don't want to give the money back. Where's the ballet? NIJ: I've tried to explain Mr. Kahn... KAHN: Nijinsky... KOS: Mr. Kahn? Vaslav has been ill, very ill for the past week. The doctor's orders have been for him to rest...completely. He isn't supposed to work. KAHN: Who are you? KOS: Kostrovsky. KAHN: I heard about you. YouVe some kind of Bollsheevic aren't you. Crazy too. 56 NIJ: Kostrovsky is subject to epilepsy Mr. Kahn, he is not "crazy" and I will not stand for you coming in here and insulting the members of my company. lour ballet will go on Mr. Kahn. It will be ready but I will not be held responsible for the qual ity of the performance. KAHN: Quality? Just give me a performance, that's all I want. Now, goodnight gentlemen, I'm sure there'll be no need of any fur ther discussion on this point. NIJ: Good-bye ( Exit KAHN. ) KOS: You can't dance Vaslav. NIJ: I have to, we need the money too. KOS: That pompous ass. All he knows is money. MoneyI That's all any of his kind know because they've never been without it. NIJ: We too need money Kostrovsky, their money. We're no better than they are. KOS: Yes, we are. We are better because we have values, ideals that come before money. I want to get out of this country. NIJ: Where would you go? KOS: Back to Russia. There...there is more than a belief in dollars, NIJ: What more? KOS: There is the land, the peasant, the "moujic" who lives and dies on his own soil. There is Russia, mother of our fathers. NIJ: It's money there too. That's why I left to make money for ray family. KOS: Not anymore Vaslav. Things are changing in Russia. It's the people now Vaslav. The people are rising against the Czar. Rising for love of Russia. NIJ: I met him once. The Czar. He gave me a gold watch because he liked the way I danced. I didn't want to take it from him. He said I should because it was worth a lot of money. I sold the watch in New York to buy a birthday present for Romola. I'd like to make a lot of money one day and buy the watch back. 57 KOS: Trinkets, symbols. That's what they always gave us, while they stole our country from us. But no more, we're going to take it back and give it to the people. NIJ: Why? KOS: For love of the people. Tolstoy loves the people, not money. You've read Tolstoy? NIJ: Yes. KOS: He said Russia is like a great tree, with roots that plunge deeply into the earth where its life comes from and the people are the leaves of the tree. They take in the sunshine and give food, life to the tree. Russia for the love of the people. Come with me Vaslav, come back to Russia. All the treasure will belong to all the people. You can dance for them. NIJ: I don't like war. Men kill eachother for reasons I don't un derstand. I understand and believe in what you say...but to kill the god that is any man... KOS: You're a coward, Vaslav. We have to fight for what we believe, there's no other way. NIJ: Love? KOS: Love? What kind of love is there that will put food in your child's belly, that will let her grow straight and tall when men, other men, beat her to keep her down. When you see her blood on the soil of Russia, then you'll learn to kill. NIJ: No, no I won't kill. KOS: Then you'll die. NIJ: I want to. I want to die, if it will end the killing of other men. KOS: Then come and die for Russia. Come and save our Mother because they are killing her. ( Enter ROMOLA. ) NIJ: I'll think about what you've said. 58 KOS: Good, I'll be waiting. ROM: Kostrovsky. KOS: Madame Nijinsky. ( KOSTROVSKY exits. ) ROM: What was he telling you? NIJ: About Russia. ROM: What about Russia. NIJ: ' Femmka, I'm thinking that we should go back to Russia. I don't like America... ROM: Why? Why go back to Russia, what's there? NIJ: My mother, my brother. ROM: You haven't heard from them in two years. NIJ: More reason... ROM: The war... NIJ: You don't understand. ROM: No. No, you don't understand. You want to stop dancing here, go back to Russia, become a moujik and scratch a living in the dirt. I've heard what Kostrovsky has to say. He's saying it to everyone in the company, NIJ: Femmka, he's right, I... ROM: No, he's not right. To earn a life, not live it. To get dirty and go hungry. You want your child to be dirty and starving. To grow up knowing nothing but the land. You want, you want! What about us? What about what we want? Kyra and me? Already because of your dancing, I've had to be separated from her. To put her with strangers in a hotel. I don't want to lose anymore. I'm going back to New York, to be with Kyra. If you want us, come to us or if not go and crawl back to your mother, your Russia. 59 ( Exit ROMOLAT NIJINSKY is left alone in front of the make-up mirror. ) NIJ: A horse. I will run. I will run, from gate to post to wire. I will run because running is my life. My wife told me. I cannot give it up. We need money. I must run for money. I have known nothing but running all my life. ( FADEOUT ) CHORUS: Run...run...run Run...run...run Run-run, run-run, run-run Run-run, run-run, run-run Run-run Run-run 60 ACT II - scene 2 (.. Lights., reveal NIJINSKY. in front of the make-up mirror as  ROMQLA enters. ) ROM: Vaslav? NIJ: Yes, femmka. ROM: I've been talking to the doctors. NIJ: Behind my back? ROM: They said you wouldn't listen. NIJ: To them? Saying stop dancing. Rest. RestI They don't see that I must work to be healthy. ROM: Not forever, Vaslav, just for a little while. NIJ: We need money, you said that. ROM: We have enough money for now. Take a vacation. Go somewhere beautiful, just you and me and Kyra. NIJ: Femmka, my work... ROM: A little while. To play with our child and maybe...have an other one. NIJ: Another baby? ROM: A son for you Vaslav. NIJ: A strong boy like his father. ROM: Handsome. NIJ: Beautiful like his mother. ROM: Then we go? NIJ: Yes, for awhile. ROM: I've already found us a lovely villa. It's in St. MorItz-Dorf, just below the mountains and so beautiful. NIJ: It sounds lovely but. ROM: But? NIJ: I don't like the snow ( FADSOUT ) 62 ACT II - scene 3 ( Light reveals NIJINSKY. standing alone down center* ) NIJ: Sometimes, sometimes while we make love I tell her..."I love the audience as much as I love you now.." ...she moans, says she doesn't understand what I'm saying••.that love, love cannot be as indiscrim inate as the price of an admission.•.or else it would not be love. She doesn't understand. I tell her that God wants us to love every man equally, just be cause they are men. She says each man does not feel this love equally and therefore is not worthy of the same gifts. That if we were meant to love everybody equally, there would be no fami lies. I cannot make her understand. ( Enter NEGRI, calling for her children. ) NEGRI:Sorent Sorenl Where are you? Come home, I've made sugar cook ies. Where are you? Excuse me... NIJ: Who are you looking for? NEGRI:For my son Mr. Nijinsky. NIJ: Are the costumes ready? NEGRI:Very nearly. They'll be ready in time Sir. NIJ: It doesn't matter. I didn't mean to alarm you. Startle you? I mean it doesn't matter if they're not ready. NEGRI:They will be. NIJ: Good. Your son, I haven't met him before. NEGRI:He's been away. NIJ: That's not good. A son shouldn't leave his mother. NEGRI:He...he didn't leave. He was taken. NIJ: Who? Who took your son? 63 NEGRI: It doesn't matter. NIJ: It does. NEGRI: No. NIJ: Where did they take him? NEGRI: I don't know. They just took him away one day. He was so small. A little boy. Just a few weeks old. Just a little boy. NIJ: And you let them? NEGRI: I was ill, I couldn't stop... NIJ: You stupid woman! To let them take your son. Well, they won't take mine. Yes, I'm going to have a son. NEGRI: I'm very happy for you. When? NIJ: Soon. As soon as ray wife's doctor says it's all right. NEGRI: It isn't started yet? NIJ: He. No, not yet. I am..I'm going to start work again soon also. NEGRI: I know, I think it's wonderful. It's been some years since you danced. NIJ: One, just one year but I'll be a sucess again. NEGRI: I'm sure of it. NIJ: You must come. No, I insist. You made the costumes, you must come. It will be just a small audience. Friends, I have in vited. NEGRI: I would be honoured... NIJ: You said you made some cookies. I'm very hungry. I haven't eaten today. Could I have one? NEGRI: They're not very special, just sugar cookies. NIJ: Negri, the dressmaker, also makes cookies. You're very wonder ful. ( She gives him the cookie, he eats it. ) NEGRI: You must be very hungry to eat so fast. NIJ: I haven't eaten for...quite some time. NEGRI: Don't they feed you at hom? Your wife... NIJ: They eat meat. I won't eat any meat. It isn't good for me. They even feed it to my little daughter. NEGRI: Kyra? NIJ: You know her? NEGRI: She's beautiful. NIJ: Yes, she's very special. She is a child of God. NEGRI: So is my son. NIJ: Your son is dead. NEGRI: I know. NIJ: But you call him? NEGRI: He can hear me. NIJ: You believe that? NEGRI: Yes. NIJ: You're very lovely. NEGRI: Thank you. NIJ: I'm very cold; may I come to your home with you? NEGRI: If you like. NIJ: Perhaps you could rent me a room? I need somewhere to work. Somewhere that I won't be disturbed. NEGRI: We have one spare room. I will ask my husband. NIJ: Good. I'll come tonight. NEGRI: Very well. NIJ: You're very wonderful and I love you. 65 NEGRI: Thank you. NIJ: You believe me? NEGRI: Yes...I believe you. You love me, as you love the children, the mountains, the snow, the trees. You are very wonderful, Mon sieur Nijinsky. I'll see you this evening. NIJ: Thank you. NEGRI: It's nothing. NIJ: You believe that I love you. It's enough. NEGRI: Good-bye. NIJ: Good-bye. ( Exit NEGRI. NIJINSKY turns and moves into the audience. ) NIJ: Where have you been? Have you been to the house of our Lord? Did you touch the breast of the virgin? Have you said a prayer for peace? Have you been to church? Why don't you go to church? Christ died for you? Jesus loved you. I love you. God loves you. God loves me. I love you. I am a horse. I have won a lot of races. Do you love me? God is a race horse. Have you been to see Christ? Did you talk with God? Have you been to church? ( Enter ROMOLA. ) ROM: Come away, Vaslav. Leave those people alone. NIJ: I'm only asking if they've been to church. 66 ROM: They don't want you to ask them. NIJ: They should go. ROM: Come with me. NIJ: For a walk? ROM: Yes, for a walk. NIJ: No, I can't. ROM: Why, Vaslav? NIJ: There's blood on the snow. ROM: No, there isn't. NIJ: I sense it. Traces of blood. ROM: There's nothing there. NIJ: Someone who is still alive has been killed. We must change di rection. More blood. I'm afraid. ROM: Don't be stupid, Vaslav. NIJ: I've got to follow. There, there's a cliff. It's not blood, only manure. Walk in the snow. The mark of skis. They stopped here, beside the blood. Someone's buried a man. Someone's knocked a man down. Someone's killed him. I'm afraid. I must run, run back. I must go back. God wants to know if I'm afraid. Afraid of him? No, I'm not afraid of God. He is life not death. Walk toward the precipice. No, I can't. I can't. You...you are the devil, all of you are devils. You tempt me to take my life. You say jump, jump down, only then will we believe you. ROM: Vaslav, don't... NIJ: I am afraid. Can't you see that. I'm afraid. ROM: Yes, Vaslav yes. I see... NIJ: No, you don't see. How can you? I haven't shown you. 67 ROM: Shown me what? NIJ: I am drawn, drawn to the edge. Nearly slip, fall, I am saved, some branches, I am saved, ROM: Vaslav... NIJ: I will fall if I let go. God save me I'm insane. Insane. Do you understand. ROM: Yes, I understand. It's time for the performance. We must go. NIJ: I have to take off this make-up. ROM: Why.,.you spent so long.*. NIJ: I don't want it anymore. I don't need it anymore. ( FADEOUT as NIJINSKY removes the Petrushka persona. ) 68 ACT III ( Lights up. The stage is bare. NIJINSKY. enters. He carries  two bolts of cloth, one black, one white. . He lays out the  cloth in the shape of a cross. Then he goes to the wing and  gets a chair, which he places center stage and sits in. ) NIJ: What? What am I doing here? Here with you? Why am I here? I've been here before, before now. I know what to do. I've done all this before, many times before. So many times. But I am always here and you, you are always there. An audience. You are always different, yet always the same. An audience. You all know how to be an audience. Why? How do I know that I am always me, here? I have nothing you don't. I don't have a little alarm clock in my mind, set to ring when you arrive. I'm a man, like you. I'm muscle and bone like you. But, I'm always here. You're like rain running down dry beds in the mountains, each time I walk through you I get wet in a different way. I'm more interested in you, than you are in me. God. God, whoever, whatever, whyever, even if never, we are both here, you and I. Neither of us any different from the other in our reasons for being here. There is no reason. We are just here. Probably because there is no reason to be elsewhere. Even me, I have no other reason. You could be me. I could be you. You could dance for me, just for tonight. Someone could come, take my place. Someone dance for me? Someone? Dance with me? With me? I will not dance alone. Not anymore. No more. I'm just like you, a man. Just a man.... This dance is to show that I love. I love you and you and you, each of you. I have danced all my life to show my love. I have tried to touch you. Many I have not reached. There are many of you who don't know how to love. I know many of you. ( Long Pause ) The War. THE WARI 69 ( CHORUS enters. ) EMMA: Put him away. He's crazy. ROM: No. KARS: A pity. ROM: No. DIA: It was to be expected. ROM: Don't say that. EMMA: Listen to the doctors. ROM: They're wrong. DIA: They're scientists. EMMA: Listen to them dear. They're right. They wouldn't lie to you. KARS: The strain was too much. KOS: It could happen to anyone. DIA: It was fated for him. ROM: Shut up all of you. Vaslav. I don't want you to go. Even for a little while. But, they say it's the best thing to do. You've said yourself... NIJ: I say...everybody says many things they don't mean. ROM: That you love me, that you love Kyra, that you love all of us. You say that too Vaslav, what am I to believe...? NIJ: Believe what you want. You don't understand. I can't make you understand. ROM: I want to understand. To be able to speak to you with the words that are soft enough for you to believe that I love you. Every body loves you, wants to understand you. You have to give us the chance. NIJ: I have explained and explained until I am tired of feeling any thing. You can't understand, because you don't want to. 70 ROM: Understand what? NIJ: Why I want to be a vegetarian. I have explained that killing, even if it is to eat... ROM: Wait, you don't make sense.•• NIJ: Even if it is to eat, cannot be sanctioned. We are all crea tures of God. He is within us. I cannot eat meat. ROM: All right, Vaslav. I have tried. I can't try anymore. It's time. NIJ: Time? For what? ROM: I don't know. I have to give up. I'm sorry. NIJ: That I'm insane. Only a trial of God. Him speaking with my tongue. The tongue of God licking... EMMA: The men are here to take you. NIJ: What men? EMMA: The attendants from the clinic. You've got to go with them. Get up, please. Go quietly, we don't need another scene. NIJ: Does femmka know about this? EMMA: Yes. NIJ: She said it was ; all right? EMMA: She'll think it best. NIJ: Will they make me eat meat? CHORUS: No, meat's expensive since the war. The war used up a lot of it. Wouldn't want to waste it on someone who didn't want it. NIJ: I won't eat meat. CHORUS: Horses don't eat meat anyway do they? NIJ: I'm a horse. CHORUS: Okay. 71 NIJ: Horses can run though. I can't anymore. I could once though, I was quite good, CHORUS: In Vienna, before the war. Those were the days, EMMA: Please hurry. We want this done before my daughter returns. NIJ: I won't go. CHORUS: I'm afraid you have to. NIJ: Don't upset me... CHORUS: We think you should go, NIJ: It's my choice. GOD? CHORUS: One two out with the old in with the new NIJ: Do you want me to go? CHORUS: Three four shut the fuckin' door. NIJ: If you want me to go... CHORUS: Five six gonna stir your balls with swizzle sticks NIJ: I won't survive this God. CHORUS: Seven eight you're in the gate NIJ: Take me unto youI CHORUS: Nine ten we play big... ( The CHORUS have formed an operating table on which they, have  placed NIJINSKY. DIAGHILEV appears in the role of the DOCTOR. ) DOC: Horsey, horsey tear in his eye, So alive he's scared to die. A rhyme, a joke. These things sometimes help a man in your condition. They relieve the tension which grips your subcon scious. A horse in your condition needs stimuli. Things to grasp the subconscious with two hands and shake it. That's what this little needle is. It makes you pay attention. Not a shock or a jolt, as some might recommend but just something to take quiet control and shake it. 72 DOC: There now. That didn't hurt did it? Now, we just let it take (con't) quiet control» one two three four five six... ( He continues to count as the sounds of NIJINSKY*S life sources  drain away. ) ( Blackout slowly, then in the darkness. ) NIJ: Midnight? Midnight or noon? I would have to open at least one eye to find out. Do horses close their eyes when they sleep? I must find out. I'm supposed to find out. They want me to prove I'm not what I am. They say I'm a man. Only a man? Nothing is only a man. Men are gods and gods are men. God is with me. ( Lights up.. NIJINSKY stands in the center of the cross formed  by the cloth. ) The tree has saved me. If I let go of it I will fall. God wants me to stay on this precipice. To try me. GODt God, try me no more. You know what is in my heart. I'll give all I have to other men. I will lead other men to you. Friend. Have you been to church? Have you kissed the breast of the virgin. Tasted of the blood of Jesus? Eaten of God? He said this is my body, this is my blood. Eat. Eat of me! Take me into your belly! Let me bleed into your womb! I grow thorns in my mind. To make a man of me. Thorns grow holes in my brains. They crucify me! I am convinced of my madness. I am horse. I am man. I am God. EMMA: Maker of judgements. DIA: Save man from sin? KARS: Do we know sin? 73 ROM: Who do you want? KOS: Give us his blood. DIA: Give us his flesh. EMMA: Give us his life. PROS: I will wash his body. ROM: Who do you want? DIA: Give us Petrushka. KOS: He tries to escape. EMMA: From God. NEGRI: Escape his fate? ROM: Who do you want? DIA: Give us Nijinsky. KOS: The god. EMMA: The man. NEGRI: The dead. ROM: He is not guilty, he must die for himself. DIA: To be immortal, naturally. Surely we all can see that. ROM: Yes. NIJ: Take me God. I'm your seed. Flesh of your flesh. You don't want me to fall, not anymore, DEATHt DIA: On the third day he will ascend, don't worry. He's planned it that way. NIJ: I am the one who dies when he is not loved. Today is my marri age with God. I take him to couch, like a whore. You are all guilty. Petrushka must die. Have I not shown you how to love? Like children play butter flies on the green lawn. I must tell you stories and teach you how to die for love, the love I have for you. 74 NIJ: "My little girl is singing: (con't) 'Ah ah ah ah1 I do not understand its meaning but I feel what she wants to say. She wants to say that everything ...is not horror, but joy."^ I choose to be God. CHORUS: We don't know where he went but he never came back. He died in 1950. CURTAIN Earthy Lazarus, Dies twice for all his knowledge. The spider winds round his leg. the cosmos spreads wide lazarus lookin' for eggs down on his knees he begs at the union of her legs shit sucker done went  down down  to reunion union  with nothin1 The words penetrate, Punctures a sticky line Through the fabric. He is webbed and whispers: "Come now, the silencet X am seed in autumn, Food for the child." His hand traces Obsidian flesh to the grotto. Sweaty palm on A pane of glass. bellyrub bellyrub  she gonna come  like jesus did Deeper than space, Lazarus waves to immortality. The bloodless weapon Limp in his fingers. His second hour too old, Too feeble, To hold anything But time. 77 SEEDS OF THE WATER he rolls to the shore in waves, visiting the sea only at night to sleep, to water, to his woman sleeping in water, to sleep, to his woman. the sea-cracked shell, bellyful of sand, doting on the will of tides. while moonshafts penetrate the ocean. 78 SLEEPER Tha foot walks from rock to rock considering, resting upon each one, turned only by the sense of direction. The occasional pool of water poses only an imaginary threat that it connects with the ocean. A line, strung taut across the nipple of the inlet, extends to the figure thigh deep in boulders on the opposite point. The head turns toward him. A gull rises from the rocks, white as a girl on the first day of school. She rises and circles, the struggle of the crab trapped between her lips. SLEEPER (con't) He smells her breath blow across his back, touches the arrival before he falls. Bits of dry and splintered shell on top of a barnacled rock. DRIFTWOOD The wave returns to the line of the previous tide, bringing back the fraction that survives. Worms carve a child's cathedral, spire upon spire; Papa, my papa Your worm-riddled liver. Sometimes you forgot to drink even water. You, soldier transported on oceans, to kill. The tiny holes in my past, belong to you. Seas flow by the cycle of the moon. You travel by night; my blood rush racing the course that crumbles, gripped by my hand. DRIFTWOOD (con't) Fragment, broken my sea-life; turning crab-boulders toward the sun; all night circles mist the shore; broken sense of memory and of sand* AN OLDER POEM (For Barbara) "Spring seems almost Here," he said. Instant replays are Not for real, they've Already been here. Bullets. Footballs. Spirals. "Murder-ball Is no fun for short Guys like me," He said, Impishly. Kids today Are not as Old as we are. 83 FOOTNOTES 1 Romola Nijinsky, ed., THE DIARY OF VASLAV NIJINSKY, Berkeley, Los Angeles, California, University of California Press, 1971 (copyright 1936 by Simon and Schuster, Inc.) p. 184. BIBLIOGRAPHY Nijinsky, Romola, eh., The Diary of Vaslav Nijinsky. Berkeley and Los Angeles, California, University of California Press, 1971. Skelton, Robin ed., Malahat Review University of Victoria, Spring 1971. Srinivas, Dr. Krishna ed., Poet. Industries Press, T Nagar Madras 17, German Number, July 1970, ed. Andreas P. Shroeder. Yates, J. Michael, ed. Contemporary Poetry of B.C.. Vol. 2, Sono Nis, 1973. 


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