Selected Stage Directions of Anton Chekhov

humbly submitted to Gone in Sixty Seconds 2005 - A Theatre Quest by WaldemarExkul

Foreword: This sentimental comedy in one very short act is a collage of lines taken from stage directions in various plays by Chekhov, ranging from the very familiar to the downright obscure. (In other words, it consists entirely of material in square brackets; very appropriate for E2 if I say so myself.) These are spoken by three or more performers: a man ("He"), a woman ("She"), and one or more persons ("Off") who make various peculiar noises off from time to time. As they speak their lines, the performers mime the actions described in them, using no props or scenery.

[The title of the play is announced.]

He: He is half-lying in a heap on one of the forms, and is quietly playing on a concertina.

She: She has unslung a rifle from her shoulders and is putting to rights the buckle on the strap.

Off: A shout of Co-ee! in the distance.

He: Gets up, confused.

She: Does not hear.

Off: Shouts of "Yo-ho!" are heard behind the stage.

She: Slings the rifle. They go aside and both look round.

He: Follows her. Nervous.

She: An awkward pause.

He: Making haste to use the ensuing pause to advantage.

She: Not giving him her hand.

He: Tries to kiss her hand.

She: Takes her hand away.

He: Kisses the cupboard.

Off: Looks in at the door and moos.

He: Clutches at his heart.

She: Hardly able to keep from laughing.

He: Takes the pills, turns them out into the palm of his hand, blows on them, puts them into his mouth, and drinks some kvass.

She: Covers her face with her hands. Controlling herself.

He: Angry but amused.

She: Points to her bosom. Laughs.

He: Wipes his eyes, smiles.

She: Takes out a handkerchief. Wipes his face.

He: Confused, afraid to show his pleasure.

She: Embraces him.

He: Kisses her hands, tenderly.

Off: Band plays a flourish.

He: Bows in all directions, in great emotion.

She: Throws a kiss in the air. Bows.

Off: The musicians bow and go away.

Afterword: No, the gun does not go off in the third act (nor, for that matter, does the concertina); that's because there is no third act, and also no mantelpiece.