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ROMANCE WITH A DOUBLE BASS - STAGE ADAPTATION

PROPS:
Footman's Broom
Double Bass & Case
Basic forestry - Bushes & Trees
Fishing Rod & Float
Flowers
Picnic
The Orchestra Band
Music Stand
Music Sheets & Bow
Dress & Shoes
Recorder

(m) Smychkov (Basic ability with Double Bass)


(f) Constanza (Able to play the recorder)
(either) Majordomo
(m) Prince Bibulov / Musician Zhuchkov
(f) Bibulov's Wife
(m) Lakeyich
(m) Footman / Musician Razmakhaikin
(f) Maid / Leader of the Orchestra
(m) Thief / Count Alexei

SL= Stage Left (House Right). SR= Stage Right (House Left).

SCENE 1 - MORNING

The FOOTMAN enters SL, but proceeds to prepare the stage as


PRINCE BIBULOV and the MAJORDOMO enter behind him.

MAJORDOMO
Excuse me, your highness?
PRINCE BIBULOV
Yes?

MAJORDOMO
Where do you wish me to place the
musicians?

PRINCE BIBULOV
Anywhere, anywhere. Musicians are
to be heard, not seen.

BIBULOV’S WIFE
(Entering SL)
Have the strawberries arrived?

PRINCE BIBULOV
No.

BIBULOV’S WIFE
Footman, have the strawberries
arrived?
2.

MAJORDOMO
Not quite yet, your Highness, no.
The train was delayed at Minsk.

BIBULOV’S WIFE
With the strawberries?

MAJORDOMO
With the strawberries, yes. But
only for two hours. Bronski is at
the station now.

BIBULOV’S WIFE
But they will arrive?

MAJORDOMO
Oh yes, most certainly, your
Highness.

BIBULOV’S WIFE
Cream alone is very unexciting.

PRINCE BIBULOV
What?

MAJORDOMO
(Changing topic)
The Princess and the Count will
be behind you, just to the right.

BIBULOV’S WIFE
Very good. You understand, dear?

PRINCE BIBULOV
What?

BIBULOV’S WIFE
(Distracted)
And do-

PRINCE BIBULOV
-Yes?

BIBULOV’S WIFE
Eugh!

BIBULOV’S WIFE exits SL. PRINCESS CONSTANZA enters SR, and


is soon joined by BIBULOV’S WIFE and the MAID.

MAJORDOMO
Yes, excuse me, your Highness.

PRINCE BIBULOV
Yes?
3.

MAJORDOMO
As Lakeyich has agreed to conduct
the orchestra tonight, I really
do think we should put him in a
prominent position.

PRINCE BIBULOV
Oh! ...Why?

MAJORDOMO
Well, er, he is a most celebrated
conductor, your Highness.

PRINCE BIBULOV
Eugh.

SMYCHKOV enters from behind the audience. The FOOTMAN


notices and approaches him.

FOOTMAN
Here, tradesmen to the back!
Where’re yer manners? Lout.

SMYCHKOV
Tradesmen?

FOOTMAN
T’ the back!

SMYCHKOV
I am an artist, sir, not a...
fishmonger! What do you think
this is? Groceries? Brahms’
father played the double bass!
Nasty man.

SMYCHKOV awkwardly makes his way to SL.

BIBULOV’S WIFE
Perhaps the sash could be a
little longer? Darling, you look
absolutely adorable - have you
been practicing?

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
Yes.

BIBULOV’S WIFE
(Altering her smile)
Well... No darling, not quite so
much... That’s it. Now when you
are told your father is about to
announce your betrothal, you must
both stand a little to his...
behind him. Do you understand?
4.

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
With Alexis on my right...

BIBULOV’S WIFE
Alexei, darling. Alexei, Alexei,
Alexei, Alexei!

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
Yes, mother.

SMYCHKOV has reached the front, to the MAJORDOMO.

SMYCHKOV
Ah, good afternoon, I am the-

MAJORDOMO
-What do you want?

SMYCHKOV
Ah, I am musician Smychkov, I am
playing at the betrothal ball.

MAJORDOMO
No, no, no, no, not those! The
engraved ones! ...Well?

SMYCHKOV
I am playing at the betrothal
ball tonight.

MAJORDOMO
You’re early.

SMYCHKOV
Ah, yes, I know, yes.

MAJORDOMO
Go away.

SMYCHKOV
...What?

MAJORDOMO
Come back later.

SMYCHKOV
Eh-

MAJORDOMO
-Later.

SMYCHKOV
Eh, yes. Ah, Could I leave this
somewhere?

MAJORDOMO
No.
5.

SMYCHKOV
It’s very heavy.

MAJORDOMO
Good.

MAJORDOMO turns to excuse SMYCHKOV, who returns to the


audience to look for another way in.

BIBULOV’S WIFE
After the toast, you may let him
kiss your hand.

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
Yes, mother.

PRINCESS CONSTANZA is preoccupied with her fishing rod.

BIBULOV’S WIFE
Sigh. Oh, do put your arms down,
darling... Elegantly!

PRINCESS CONSTANZA flutters her arms down delicately, but


ridiculously. BIBULOV’S WIFE sighs.

BIBULOV’S WIFE (CONT'D)


Strawberries...

BIBULOV’S WIFE exits SR. The MAJORDOMO has crossed to SR


and stops SMYCHKOV who has also just reached the stage via
the audience.

MAJORDOMO
I told you to go away.

SMYCHKOV
...Come the revolution.

MAJORDOMO and MAID exit SR. PRINCESS CONSTANZA sneaks


across the stage to exit SL.

SCENE 2 - RIVER

PRINCESS CONSTANZA enters SL to sit at the riverbank, where


she leaves her line in the water, and falls asleep.
SMYCHKOV arrives at the bank, far SR.

SMYCHKOV
(To himself, with music)
Hmm, hmm, hmm, hmmm. Aaaah, oooh,
beautiful Smychkov! Yes, yes,
blast. No, no, no, wait a moment.
Hmm. Yes, yes, no, sharp! Not
natural. Hmmm.. E minor! E minor,
yes. Sing, strings, sing! Growl,
bass, growl!
(MORE)
6.
SMYCHKOV (CONT'D)
Yes, yes, yes, and now! Good,
ooh, oh, ooh, ooh. Smychkov, that
is beautiful!

SMYCHKOV has been removing his clothes and now dips into
the water. He comes across PRINCESS CONSTANZA sleeping on
the bank, her fishing pole by her, with its float in the
water. He gathers some flowers, and ties them to her float.

SMYCHKOV (CONT'D)
...Come the revolution...

SMYCHKOV exits. PRINCESS CONSTANZA awakes, notices the


flowers, and excitedly tries to pull them in. The line
snaps, and the flowers are too far for her reach.

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
(Calling out)
Could someone come and help me,
please? Hello?! Hello? I’ve lost
my float! ...I don’t know what to
do...

THIEF enters, invisible to her. She removes her clothes and


enters the water to retrieve the float and flowers. The
THIEF steal hers clothes. She notices and calls after him.

PRINCESS CONSTANZA (CONT'D)


Stop! Stop, thief! Come back!
Come back! I’m the Princess, and
I command that you come back! I
command that you stop! Why do you
not stop when I command you?!
Eugh!

The THIEF runs by SMYCHKOV.

SMYCHKOV
Good afternoon!

The THIEF also steals SMYCHKOV’s clothes and exits.


SMYCHKOV doesn’t notice, but when he leaves the water to
discover his clothes missing, he goes into a panic.

SMYCHKOV (CONT'D)
Villain! Villain! Villain!
...Villain.

PRINCESS CONSTANZA approaches naked. SMYCHKOV tries to hide


himself and his double bass case. She gets close, unaware
that he is hiding.

SMYCHKOV (CONT'D)
...Good afternoon-

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
-Argh! Don’t kill me!
7.

SMYCHKOV
What?

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
Don’t kill me.

SMYCHKOV
Oh! ...Right.

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
...Who are you?

SMYCHKOV
Who, me? I’m-

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
-Shut your eyes!

SMYCHKOV
Certainly. Good idea.

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
What are you doing here?

SMYCHKOV
Er, well. To cut a long story
short-

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
-Why haven’t you got any clothes
on?

SMYCHKOV
Why haven’t I got any clothes
on... Oh! Why haven’t I got any
clothes on?

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
Well?

SMYCHKOV
They were stolen by a thief,
Princess.

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
...How do you know I’m a
Princess?

SMYCHKOV
Err, oh. Err, well, when- Err.
Err, you look like one.

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
I look like one?
8.

SMYCHKOV
Er, no. Err, well to be perfectly
honest, I did see your... Tiara.
Sorry.

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
Now then, what’s your name?

SMYCHKOV
Smychkov, Princess.

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
You are to keep your eyes shut at
all times, Smychkov.

SMYCHKOV
Of course, Princess.

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
...How am I to get home...?

SMYCHKOV opens his double bass case, removes the double


bass, and suggests that she climb inside. She does so.

SMYCHKOV
I do understand how people feel,
I mean, I know double bass
players and trumpeters have this
reputation for being shiftless
and, well, rather high-spirited,
but I do assure you that I am a
most notable exception. I promise
you, Princess, that I shall get
you safely to your father’s
palace.

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
...I do believe you, Smychkov.

SMYCHKOV
Thank you, Princess. Please do
make yourself at ho- well, not
exactly “at home”, but I mean “as
at home” as is, yes, yes-

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
-Thank you, Smychkov.

SMYCHKOV
Yes, thank you... Princess? I
shall guard you with my life...
For what that’s worth, I mean I
know it’s only a musician’s life-

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
-Thank you, Smychkov.
9.

SMYCHKOV
Thank you, Princess.

SMYCHKOV goes so far, but has to go back to retrieve his


double bass. He finally returns.

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
Why did you leave me without
permission?

SMYCHKOV
Err, to collect my instrument,
dear Lady. Are you comfortable,
Princess?

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
Perfectly.

SMYCHKOV
Are you sure?

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
One should never look a gift
horse in the mouth.

SMYCHKOV
Ah, yes.

After a while of walking, SMYCHKOV looks lost. He knocks on


the case.

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
...Hello?

SMYCHKOV
Ah, which way do we proceed, dear
Lady?

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
It is a little difficult for me
to tell, Smychkov.

SMYCHKOV
Oh! I beg your pardon, um...
Would you be prepared to have a
look?

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
...Yes?

He opens the case, she peeks out and points a direction,


then returns inside the case. He closes it again.

SMYCHKOV
Thank you.
10.

After more travelling, SMYCHKOV is getting tired. He starts


coughing, and accidentally puts the case down clumsily.
PRINCESS CONSTANZA shouts in discomfort.

SMYCHKOV (CONT'D)
Sorry, my Lady. I do beg your
pardon, Princess.

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
Are you getting tired?

SMYCHKOV
(Sounding very tired)
No. No, just a little out of
breath.

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
So am I. It’s very stuffy in
here.

SMYCHKOV
Oh dear.

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
Would you open the case a little?

SMYCHKOV
Most certainly.

He opens up the case, she is sat inside, flustered.

SMYCHKOV (CONT'D)
Allow me to move the lid to-and-
fro, thereby creating a draft.

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
Thank you, Smychkov.

SMYCHKOV
(Fanning the lid)
It is rather close today.

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
Isn’t it? Almost humid.

SMYCHKOV
Yes! Humid, exactly.

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
(Relieved by fanning)
Yes!

SMYCHKOV
That better?
11.

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
Yes that’s lovely. There was
quite a chill in the air this
morning.

SMYCHKOV
Yes there was, yes.

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
I didn’t think that it would turn
out quite so warm.

SMYCHKOV
Nope, no, neither did I.

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
Smychkov? I think I would like to
go into the water.

SMYCHKOV
The water?

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
I’m hot, Smychkov.

SMYCHKOV
Yes, uh, you don’t think- no, no,
right.

She leaves the case and enters the water.

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
Divine! Divine! How pretty... Do
sit down.

SMYCHKOV
Oh, righto.

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
Hoo-hoo! It’s like champagne!

SMYCHKOV
Ah... a beverage I have not made
acquaintance with. Now, Vodka-

SMYCHKOV sees FOOTMAN entering and leaps into the water.

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
Argh! Smychkov!!

He pushes the two of them down under the surface. The


FOOTMAN passes, does a double-take, then exits. The two
resurface for air.

SMYCHKOV
Shhh!
12.

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
Haha! Shhh!

PRINCESS CONSTANZA playfully pushes SMYCHKOV.

SMYCHKOV
Oh, God.

He gets out and serenades her with the Double Bass.

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
I’m getting a little cold...

SMYCHKOV
Oh, um, of course. I will go
behind that tree while you, ah...

He looks away as she gets out. She passes the case and
accidentally knocks it closed. SMYCHKOV assumes this means
that she is inside, and returns to the case.

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
HUH!!!

SMYCHKOV
HUH!

The two are standing face-to-face, covering their decency


and their eyes.

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
What shall we do??

SMYCHKOV
Ah, what shall we do, what shall
we do...

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
Oh, please be decisive!

SMYCHKOV
Ah, yes! What shall we-

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
-I’ve got an idea!

SMYCHKOV
Ah.

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
You go behind the tree again,
then I can get into the case.

SMYCHKOV
...Brilliant. Brilliant.

The two shuffle about with their eyes still covered.


13.

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
Are you behind the tree yet?

SMYCHKOV
Umm... I don’t know.

PRINCESS CONSTANZA gets into the case. SMYCHOKOV bumps into


the tree.

SMYCHKOV (CONT'D)
Eugh! Ah, I found it!

SMYCHKOV peeks and realises that she has made it into the
case. He approaches it.

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
Do you often play on important
occasions?

SMYCHKOV
Oh yes, two or three times a
month!

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
Really?

SMYCHKOV
Oh yes, well, twice a month
anyway. Most months I play at
least once... usually... It
should be superb tonight!

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
Should it?

SMYCHKOV
Oh yes, our conductor tonight is
Lakeyich. I’ve never played with
him before; he’s one of our most
brilliant conductors, he’s in
demand all over Russia - he is
reputed to be able to play every
instrument from the violin to the
bassoon.

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
I’m learning to play the
recorder.

SMYCHKOV
(Overly interested)
Are you?? How marvellous! Ah-ha-
ha! What a coincidence! Ha-ha.
Well... Is anything the matter,
princess?
14.

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
I shall miss my life here so
much, Smychkov...

SMYCHKOV
But the Count is rich.

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
But he wants me to live on his
estate in Siberia.

SMYCHKOV
Well surely he has many estates!
You must tell him you do not wish
to live there.

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
Yes, but they say he is very
strict.

SMYCHKOV
Does he love music?

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
No. But he looks very fine in
uniform!

She slams the case in anger. SMYCHKOV carries her offstage.

SCENE 3 - JOURNEY

LAKEYICH and the LEADER OF THE ORCHESTRA enter SR to enjoy


a spot of food and drink.

LEADER OF THE ORCHESTRA


I, er, trust you will find the
orchestra satisfactory, Lakeyich,
I have been rehearsing them
intensively.

LAKEYICH
I’m sure there will be no
difficulty.

LEADER OF THE ORCHESTRA


I think you shall find the string
section small, but among the very
best you-

The two gentlemen spot SMYCHKOV, who enters oblivious to


them SL, carrying the case.

SMYCHKOV
(Distant)
Shan't be long!
15.

SMYCHKOV disappears to fetch the double bass.

LEADER OF THE ORCHESTRA


Smychkov...?

LAKEYICH
Smychkov...

SMYCHKOV
(Returning)
I’m back again!

LAKEYICH
Is he one of our string section?

LEADER OF THE ORCHESTRA laughs nervously, looks to the


exiting SMYCHKOV, then back to LAKEYICH to laugh again,
shaking his head. As SMYCHKOV carries the case, LEADER OF
THE ORCHESTRA hurriedly shoves the food and LAKEYICH SR.

SMYCHKOV
We’re back by the road, princess.

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
Thank you, Smychkov.

SMYCHKOV hears two musicians approaching, and jumps behind


a bush. MUSICIAN RAZMAKHAIKIN and MUSICIAN ZHUCHKOV enter.

MUSICIAN RAZMAKHAIKIN
Da-da-da-da-da, dum-dum, duh-dum.

MUSICIAN ZHUCHKOV
I think you’re a little flat!

MUSICIAN RAZMAKHAIKIN
Look! Look!

MUSICIAN ZHUCHKOV
What is it?

MUSICIAN RAZMAKHAIKIN
It- it- it’s a double bass!

MUSICIAN ZHUCHKOV
Oh... Smychkov’s.

MUSICIAN RAZMAKHAIKIN
Who else?

MUSICIAN ZHUCHKOV
Perhaps he’s ah-

MUSICIAN RAZMAKHAIKIN
-yes, off ‘picking flowers’...
Smychkov!
16.

MUSICIAN ZHUCHKOV
Smychkov!!

MUSICIAN RAZMAKHAIKIN
Smychkov!?

MUSICIAN ZHUCHKOV
D’you think he’s all right?

MUSICIAN RAZMAKHAIKIN
Perhaps we ought to go look for
him?

MUSICIAN ZHUCHKOV
Smychkov!

MUSICIAN RAZMAKHAIKIN
Smychkov? Smychkov!!

SMYCHKOV
(Popping his head out)
Oh, hello!

MUSICIAN ZHUCHKOV
What are you doing?

SMYCHKOV
Nothing much, really.

MUSICIAN RAZMAKHAIKIN
Come on, you will be late for
rehearsal!

SMYCHKOV
Yes, right...

The three awkwardly wait for something to happen.

SMYCHKOV (CONT'D)
Well, there are one or two things
that I ought to, uh-

MUSICIAN ZHUCHKOV
Oh! All right, we’ll take your
bass for you.

SMYCHKOV
What?

MUSICIAN ZHUCHKOV
The bass, we’ll take it for you,
but get a move on!

SMYCHKOV
Uh, no, don’t bother!
17.

MUSICIAN RAZMAKHAIKIN
Don’t be late for Maestro
Lakeyich!

SMYCHKOV
No, don’t!

MUSICIAN ZHUCHKOV
That’s all right!

The two musicians carry away the instrument.

SMYCHKOV
No, don’t bother, please don’t?

MUSICIAN ZHUCHKOV
You’d do the same for us!

SMYCHKOV
No I wouldn’t!

MUSICIAN ZHUCHKOV
Haha, of course you would!

The two have exited.

SMYCHKOV
Leave it!! I’d never help you,
never! I hate you both!! Bring it
back, you stupid... tradesmen!!

SMYCHKOV exits after them with his double bass.

SCENE 4 - REHEARSAL

SMYCHKOV makes it to the house. The MAID passes.

SMYCHKOV
Ah, good evening. Musician.

MAID
What?

SMYCHKOV
Rehearsal. I was told -
tradesmen’s entrance?

MAID
Through there.

Hilarious sequence of SMYCHKOV getting to the rehearsal by


way of finding spare clothing that barely fits him. He
avoids the MAID, the FOOTMAN, the MAJORDOMO, PRINCE
BIBULOV, and BIBULOV’S WIFE. He arrives to find Maestro
LAKEYICH already rehearsing with the Orchestra. LAKEYICH
stops, and watches his awkward entrance.
18.

SMYCHKOV
Ah. Sorry I’m late, Maestro,
sorry, I was, uh-

LAKEYICH
...Smychkov...

SMYCHKOV gets ready next to his case, but PRINCESS


CONSTANZA’s arm reaches out to alert him.

LAKEYICH (CONT'D)
(Looking at double bass)
What’s that?

SMYCHKOV
...What?

LAKEYICH
What’s that double bass?

SMYCHKOV
Oh, uh... this is the other one.
That’s a spare.

LAKEYICH
What is it, Smychkov...?

SMYCHKOV
It’s a spare, Maestro... In case
of, uh... fire-

LAKEYICH
-Fire? Ahem, gentlemen...

The band get ready to play. LAKEYICH pauses them.

LAKEYICH (CONT'D)
Smychkov. Your music.

SMYCHKOV
Hm?

LAKEYICH
Where is it?

SMYCHKOV
Ah- in my case, Maestro. I don’t
think I’ll bother.

LAKEYICH
You know it by heart?

SMYCHKOV
Yes! Most of it. Some of it.
Bits, my bits.
19.

LAKEYICH
Get your music, Smychkov.

SMYCHKOV
Yes, Maestro.

SMYCHKOV partially opens the case, slides a hand inside,


and proceeds to whisper to PRINCESS CONSTANZA.

SMYCHKOV (CONT'D)
(Whispering)
It’s there. In the pocket. Sorry.

She hands out the music. He keeps rummaging for something.

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
(Whispering)
...Smychkov?

SMYCHKOV
(Whispering)
The bow. Is this the pocket?

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
(Whispering, shocked)
Smychkov! Stop it!

SMYCHKOV
(Whispering)
The bow!!

She hands him the bow.

SMYCHKOV (CONT'D)
(Whispering)
Thank you.

SMYCHKOV gets up and prepares to play.

SMYCHKOV (CONT'D)
Sorry. I beg your pardon.

PRINCESS CONSTANZA reaches out for SMYCHKOV again.

LAKEYICH
Now gentlemen, in this next piece
it is most important- it is most
important on the second entry of
the woodwinds-

SMYCHKOV
(Whispering)
Where? ...you’re mad! ...Right.

LAKEYICH
-What?
20.

SMYCHKOV
Uh... Excuse me, maestro. Sorry,
I’m afraid that I have to be
excused.

SMYCHKOV runs out on a mission for the Princess’ dress.


Once again he must avoid all manner of people through the
house; the MAJORDOMO, BIBULOV’S WIFE, and the MAID in
particular. He follows close behind this exchange:

BIBULOV’S WIFE
I’m sure I saw her in her room.
Where is she?

MAJORDOMO
I don’t know, your highness, we-
we’ve been looking for her.

BIBULOV’S WIFE
I’m sure I saw her in her room...
These floorboards squeak
abominably; do have them seen to.

He gets to the rehearsal, stuffs the dress into the case.

SMYCHKOV
Sorry. I was, um...

LAKEYICH
Ready, Smychkov?

PRINCESS CONSTANZA gets SMYCHKOV’s attention again.

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
(Whispering)
Shoes, Smychkov!

LAKEYICH
What?

SMYCHKOV
Nothing, Maestro! -I can’t!

LAKEYICH
May we begin, Smychkov?

SMYCHKOV
-I can’t!

LAKEYICH
We will begin, Smychkov!

SMYCHKOV
Sorry, I have to go again. Sorry.
21.

SMYCHKOV once again heads off into the house. This time
he’s very overt in getting the shoes, and is noticed by
many people. As he stumbles by, the FOOTMAN is looking out
the window and joined by the MAJORDOMO.

FOOTMAN
Woah, woah. Yes, I recognise him.

MAJORDOMO
It can’t be. Excuse me... It is!!

SMYCHKOV gets to the MAID who is beside the shoes, and


evidently upset about having lost the dress. She sees him.

SMYCHKOV
...I forgot these. Ah- for the
Princess.

He runs out. Meanwhile, BIBULOV’S WIFE has arrived.

MAJORDOMO
It- It- It’s the Count, your
highness. He’s here!

BIBULOV’S WIFE
Oh good heavens, I haven’t
changed! My face! My hair! My
dress! Oh.

MAJORDOMO
About your duties! Quick, quick!
To the door.

MAID
Stop, thief!! Stop! Thief!

SMYCHKOV escapes, and gets to the rehearsal once more.

SCENE 5 - PARTY

SMYCHKOV
Ready when you are, Maestro.

LAKEYICH is about to shout abuse at SMYCHKOV, but instead


the MAJORDOMO and PRINCE BIBULOV arrive.

MAJORDOMO
Maestro, play, play; the Count is
here, please play!

LAKEYICH does everything in his power not to explode, and


instead launches the orchestra into a song. PRINCE BIBULOV
enters.

MAJORDOMO (CONT'D)
Your Highness, the count is here.
22.

PRINCE BIBULOV
What?

MAJORDOMO
He’s here!

PRINCE BIBULOV
Now? But it’s before time!

MAJORDOMO
I know!

PRINCE BIBULOV
We don’t have a Princess!

MAJORDOMO
Yes, I know!

PRINCE BIBULOV
The strawberries are in Minsk!!

COUNT ALEXEI walks in.

PRINCE BIBULOV (CONT'D)


Ah, ho-ho-ho-ho, ah, my dear
Count! How delightful to see you!

COUNT ALEXEI
My dear Prince Bibulov - forgive
my premature arrival, but I could
not delay the wait a moment
longer... Where is your lovely
daughter?

PRINCE BIBULOV
Ah-ha-ha-where is she?

The MAID and FOOTMAN have meanwhile approached SMYCHKOV,


and begin to force him away from the band.

MAJORDOMO
What’s going on?

MAID
I saw this man steal the
Princess’ dress and shoes!

MAJORDOMO
What?!

FOOTMAN
I saw him with the shoes.

BIBULOV’S WIFE walks in.

PRINCE BIBULOV
Ah-ha-ha, well, my wife.
23.

SMYCHKOV is trying to reason with the MAJORDOMO. The music


goes quieter, and dies.

SMYCHKOV
I am not a thief; I was asked
here to play, sir. I am a
musician, and an and artiste, I
was asked here as a double bass
player, and I request that you
not touch me.

PRINCE BIBULOV
Wait! What is going on?

MAJORDOMO
Your Highness, this man was seen
stealing the Princess’ dress and
shoes.

PRINCE BIBULOV
Stealing the Princess’-

SMYCHKOV
Nonsense, sir. I’ve been here all
the time. Haven’t I?

LAKEYICH slowly, purposefully, shakes his head.

SMYCHKOV (CONT'D)
Well, most of it.

LAKEYICH shakes his head again, just as miserably.

SMYCHKOV (CONT'D)
...Bits of it?

LAKEYICH
(Mouthing silently)
No...

PRINCE BIBULOV
Oh, take him away! Take him away!

PRINCESS CONSTANZA gets out of the case, fully dressed.

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
Why has the music stopped? Why
has it stopped? My, what are you
doing to this man?

MAJORDOMO
Uh! Leave him alone, let him go.

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
Good evening, father. Good
evening, mother.
24.

COUNT ALEXEI
Constanza! My dear.

COUNT ALEXEI grubbily kisses her cheeks and hand.

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
Alexis-

BIBULOV’S WIFE
(Mouthing silently)
Alexei!!

PRINCESS CONSTANZA
Did you have a good journey,
Alexei?

COUNT ALEXEI
(Dirtily, slowly)
Ahh, hah-hah-hah-hah. Ah, heh-heh-
heh-heh-heh-heh. Mmm...

He leads her to dance.

MAJORDOMO
Play, Maestro, play!

The band resumes playing, but SMYCHKOV finds himself


constantly distracted by the two dancing; wishing
desperately to be alone with PRINCESS CONSTANZA again. The
song ends, but SMYCHKOV noticeably continues to play. When
the next song begins, everyone in the room starts to dance.
PRINCE BIBULOV with BIBULOV’S WIFE, MAID with FOOTMAN, and
somehow COUNT ALEXEI with MAJORDOMO. Amongst the busy
dancing, both SMYCHKOV and PRINCESS CONSTANZA disappear.
LAKEYICH realizes the bass player isn’t gone, and the rest
of them eventually realise that the Princess is missing.

PRINCE BIBULOV
Why did the music stop?

COUNT ALEXEI
Where is my betrothed?

BIBULOV’S WIFE
Where are the strawberries?

LAKEYICH
...Smychkov.

In a worry and fluster they all exit to search for them.

Outside, behind the audience, PRINCESS CONSTANZA and


SMYCHKOV are once naked; she serenades him with a recorder.

THE ENDING.