The first, second and third actions occur in the winter of 1918, the fourth act – in early 1919. The scene of action is the city of Kiev.
Evening. Apartment Turbins. In the fireplace fire, the clock strikes nine times. Alexei Vasilyevich Turbin, a 30-year-old artillery colonel, bent over the papers, his 18-year-old brother Nikolka playing the guitar and singing: “The rumors are worse every hour.” Petliura goes to us! ” Alexei asks Nikolka not to sing “cookies of the song”.
Electricity suddenly goes out, behind the windows with the song is the military unit and a distant cannon blow is heard. Electricity flares up again. Elena Vasil’evna Talberg, 24-year-old sister of Aleksei and Nikolka, begins to seriously worry about her husband, Alexei and Nikolka calm her: “You know that the line is guarded to the west by the Germans, and it’s going on for a long time because they stand at every
station.” Revolutionary Ride: hour you go, two you cost “.
The bell rang and the captain of artillery, Viktor Victorovich Myshlaevsky, 38, completely frozen, almost frostbitten, in his greatcoat pocket, a bottle of vodka enters. Myshlaevsky said that he had come from under the Red Inn, all the peasants who had crossed Petlyura’s side. Myshlaevsky himself almost miraculously got into the city – the transfer was organized by the staff officers, whom Myshlaevsky arranged a terrible scandal. Alexei happily takes Myshlaevsky to his unit, housed in the Alexandrovskaya Gymnasium.
Myshlaevsky warms himself by the fireplace and drinks vodka, Nikolka rubs his frostbitten feet, Elena is preparing a hot bath. When Myshlaevsky leaves for the bathroom, a continuous bell rings. Included 21-year-old Zhytomyr cousin Turbins Larion Larionovich Surzhansky, Lariosik, with a suitcase and knot. Lariosik joyfully greets those present, not noticing at all that no one will recognize him despite her mother’s telegram in 63 words. Only after Lariosik appears, the misunderstanding is resolved. It turns
out that Lariosik is a cousin from Zhytomyr, who came to enter Kiev University.
Lariosik – mama’s son, an absurd, unadapted young man, “a terrible loser” who lives in his own world and time. He rode from Zhitomir for 11 days, along the road he was robbed of a knot with linen, only books and manuscripts were left, only the shirt where Lariosik wrapped up the collection of Chekhov’s writings survived. Elena decides to settle the cousin in the library.
When Lariosik leaves, the bell rings – the colonel of the General Staff came in. Vladimir Robertovich Talberg, 38-year-old husband of Elena. Elena joyfully tells about the arrival of Myshlaevsky and Lariosik. Talberg is not happy. He tells of the nasty situation: the city is surrounded by Petlyura, the Germans leave the hetman to the mercy of fate, and no one yet knows about it, even the hetman himself.
Talberg, a person too prominent and famous, is going to flee to Germany. One, because the Germans do not take women. The train leaves in an hour and a half, Thalberg seems to be consulting with his wife, but in fact puts it before the fact of his “business trip.” Talberg beautifully argues that he is going only for two months, the hetman will certainly return, and then he will return, and Elena, meanwhile, will save their rooms. Talberg severely punishes Elena not to take an annoying boyfriend, the personal adjutant of the hetman, the lieutenant Leonid Yurievich Shervinsky, and not to cast a shadow on the name of Talberg.
Elena leaves to collect a suitcase for her husband, and Alexei enters the room. Talberg briefly informs him of his departure. Alexei in cold anger, he does not accept the hand of Thalberg. Talberg declares that Alexei will have to answer for his words when… when Thalberg returns. Nikola goes in, he also condemns the cowardly and petty Thalberg, calls him “a rat.” Talberg leaves…
Some time later. The table is set for dinner, Elena sits at the piano and takes the same chord. Suddenly Shervinsky enters with a huge bouquet and presents it to Elena. Shervinsky delicately takes care of her, says compliments.
Elena told Shervinsky about the departure of Thalberg, Sherwinsky is glad to hear, since he now has the opportunity to look after the open. Shervinsky boasts of how he once sang in Zhmerinka – he has a beautiful operatic voice:
Enter Alexei Turbin, 29-year-old captain Alexander Bronislavovich Studzinsky, Myshlaevsky, Lariosik and Nikolka. Elena invites everyone to the table – this is the last dinner before the performance of the division Alexei Turbin. The guests together eat, drink for Elena’s health, scatter compliments before her. Shervinsky says that everything is all right with the hetman, and one should not believe rumors that the Germans are leaving him to the mercy of fate.
Everybody drinks for the health of Alexei Turbin. The drunken Lariosik suddenly says: “… the cream curtains… you have a rest for them… you forget about all the horrors of the civil war.” But our wounded souls long for peace… “, calling this statement a friendly banter. Nikolka sits down at the piano and sings a patriotic soldier’s song, and here Shervinsky announces a toast in honor of the hetman. Toast do not support, Студзинский declares, that “the toast will not drink this and does not advise other officers”. An unpleasant situation is beginning, against which suddenly Lariosik with a toast “in the honor of Elena Vasilievna and her husband, who left for Berlin,” appears inappropriately. The officers enter into a fierce discussion about the hetman and his actions, Alexei very sharply condemns the policy of the hetman.
Lariosik, meanwhile, sits down at the piano and sings, all the chaotic pick up. Drunk Myshlaevsky snatches the Mauser and is about to go shoot the commissars, he is calmed down. Shervinsky continues to defend the hetman, mentioning the Emperor Nikolai Alexandrovich. Nikolka notices that the emperor was killed by the Bolsheviks. Shervinsky says that this is an invention of the Bolsheviks, and tells the legendary story of Nicholas II, who allegedly is now at the court of the German Emperor Wilhelm. Other officers object to him. Myshlaevsky is crying. He recalls the Emperor Peter III, Paul I and Alexander I, who were killed by their subjects. Then Myshlaevsky becomes ill, Studzinsky, Nikolka and Alexei take him to the bathroom.
Shervinsky and Elena remain alone. Helena is restless, she tells Sherwin dream: “It’s like we all went on a ship to America and sit in the hold, and here’s the storm… The water rises to the very feet… We climb on some bunks and suddenly the rats… Such disgusting, such huge… “
Shervinsky suddenly declares to Elena that her husband will not return, and confesses to her in love. Elena does not believe Shervinsky, reproaches him for insolence, “adventures” with a mezzo-soprano with painted lips; then admits that her husband does not like and does not respect, but she likes Shervinsky very much. Shervinsky begs Elena to divorce Thalberg and marry him. They are kissing.
The second action
Night. Hetman’s office in the palace. There is a huge desk in the room, telephone sets on it. The door opens, and the servant Fedor admits Shervinsky. Shervinsky is surprised that there is no one in the office, no duty officers, no adjutants. Fyodor tells him that the second personal adjutant of the hetman, Prince Novozhiltsev, “was pleased to receive unpleasant news” by phone and “changed very much in the person”, and then “left the palace altogether,” and “left in civilian clothes.” Shervinsky in perplexity, furious. He rushes to the phone and calls Novozhiltsev, but on the phone with the voice of Novozhiltsev answer that he is not. The Chief of Staff of the Svyatoshinsky Regiment and his assistants are also absent. Shervinsky writes a note and asks Fedor to give it to the newsman, who must receive a package from this note.
The hetman of all Ukraine enters. He is in the richest Circassian coat, crimson trousers and boots without heels of the Caucasian type. Brilliant general’s epaulettes. A short-cropped graying mustache, a smoothly shaved head, about forty-five years old.
The hetman appointed a quarter to twelve meeting, to which the higher command of the Russian and German armies should arrive. Shervinsky reports that no one has arrived. He tries to tell the hetman about the unworthy behavior of Novozhiltsev in the broken Ukrainian language, the hetman breaks off to Shervinsky. Shervinsky, referring already to the Russian language, reports that he was called from the headquarters and informed that the commander of the volunteer army fell ill and left with the whole staff in the German train to Germany. The hetman is amazed. Shervinsky reports that at ten o’clock in the evening the Petlyura units broke through the front and the 1st mounted Petlyura division under the command of Bolbotun went into a breakthrough.
There is a knock at the door, including representatives of the German command: gray-haired, long-faced General von Shratt and purple-faced Major von Doust. The hetman joyfully meets them, talks about the betrayal of the headquarters of the Russian command and the breakthrough of the front by the cavalry of Petlyura. He asked the German command to immediately give troops to repel the gangs and “restore order in Ukraine, so friendly to Germany.”
The generals refuse to help the hetman, declaring that the whole of Ukraine is on the side of Petliura, and therefore the German command takes its divisions back to Germany, and suggests an immediate “evacuation” of the hetman in the same direction. The hetman begins to get nervous and to get angry. He protests and declares that he will assemble an army to protect Kiev. The Germans in reply hint that if the hetman suddenly falls into captivity, he will immediately be hanged. The hetman is broken.
Dust shoots a revolver at the ceiling, Shratt hides in the next room. Rushing to the noise, Dust explains that everything is in order with the hetman, General von Schratt caught the revolver with his trousers and “mistakenly fell on his head”. The doctor of the German army with a medical bag enters into the room. Shratt hastily disguises the hetman in German uniform, “as if you are me, and I am a wounded, we secretly take you out of the city.”
There is a ringing over the field telephone, Shervinsky reports to the hetman that two regiments of the hearts went to Petliura’s side, an enemy cavalry appeared on the naked sector of the front. The hetman asks to convey that they have detained the cavalry for at least half an hour – he wants to have time to leave. Shervinsky turns to Shrutta with a request to take him and his bride to Germany. Shratt refuses, he informs that there are no seats in the evacuation train, and there already is an aide-de-camp – Prince Novozhiltsev. Meanwhile, the bewildered hetman will disguise himself as a German general. The doctor tightly bandages his head and puts it on a stretcher. Hetman is taken out, and Shrut goes unnoticed through the back door.
Shervinsky notices the golden cigarette case that the hetman forgot. A little hesitant, Shervinsky hides a cigarette case in his pocket. Then he calls Turbin and talks about the betrayal of the hetman, disguises himself in civilian clothes, which he delivered at the request of the hetman, and disappears.
Evening. Empty, gloomy room. The inscription: “Headquarters of the 1st Kinovaya Division”. Standard blue with yellow, kerosene lantern at the entrance. Outside, the sound of horses’ hooves is heard occasionally, the harmonica plays softly.
A desecration-sechevik with a bloody face is hugging the headquarters. Sotnik-Petlyurovets, the former Ulanian captain Galanka, cold, black, brutally interrogates a deserter, who in fact turns out to be a Petlyura with frozen legs, making his way into the infirmary. Galanba orders to take the sychevik to the infirmary, and after the doctor has bandaged his legs, bring him back to the headquarters and give fifteen ramrods “knowing how to run without documents from his regiment.”
Outside the window there are alarming voices: “Hold them!” – these Jews fled from Slobodka directly on the ice. Afterwards, the Petlyuraites rush out.
A man with a basket leads to the headquarters. He is a shoemaker, he works at home, and he puts the finished goods in the city, in the owner’s shop. Petliurists are happy – there is something to profit, they snatch up their boots, despite the timid objections of the shoemaker. Bolbotun says that the shoemaker will get a receipt, and Galanba gives the shoemaker an ear. The cobbler is running away. At this time, announce the offensive.
Dawn. The lobby of the Alexandrovskaya Gymnasium. Guns in the box, boxes, machine guns. Giant staircase, a portrait of Alexander I above. The division marches along the corridors of the gymnasium, Nikolka sings romances to the ridiculous motif of the soldier’s song, the cadets take a deafening grip.
An officer approaches Myshlaevsky and Studzinsky and says that five junkers escaped from his platoon at night. Myshlaevsky answers that Turbin left to find out the situation, and then orders the cadets to go to the classes “to break the desks, to stove the stoves!” From the closet a 60-year-old supervisor appears behind the students Maxim and says in horror that you can not drown the desks, but you have to fire wood; but there is no firewood, and the officers dismiss it.
Very close to the ruptures of shells. Alexei Turbin enters. He urgently orders the return of the outpost at Demievka, and then appeals to the officers and the division: “I declare that I divorce our battalion.” The fight against Petlyura is over. I order everyone, including the officers, to immediately take off their shoulder straps, all the insignia and run away home”.
The dead silence explodes with shouts: “Arrest him!”, “What does this mean?”, “Junker, take him!”, “Junker, back!”. There is confusion, officers swing their revolvers, the cadets do not understand what is happening, and refuse to obey the order. Myshlaevsky and Studzinsky intercede for Turbin, who again takes the floor: “Whom do you want to protect?” Tonight the hetman, flinging his army to the mercy of fate, fled to Germany, dressed as a German officer, while another channel ran in the same direction: the army commander, Prince Belorukov Here we are, there are two hundred of us, two hundred thousand Petlyura’s army on the outskirts of the city! In short, I will not lead you into battle, because I’m not participating in the show, especially since all of you are completely worthless for paying for this booth! at M says: White movement in Ukraine is over. To him the end is everywhere! The people are not with us. He’s against us. And so I, the personnel officer Aleksei Turbin, who took the war against the Germans, I accept everything to my conscience and responsibility, I warn you, and, loving you, I send home. Rip off epaulettes, throw rifles and immediately at home! “.
In the hall a terrible commotion rises, the cadets and officers scatter. Nikolka strikes with a rifle in a box with switches and runs away. The light goes out. Alexey is tearing the stove and burning the papers. Maxim enters, Turbin sends him home. A glow breaks through the windows of the gymnasium, Myshlaevsky appears at the top and screams that he has lit the storehouse, now two more bombs will roll into the hay – and go. But when he finds out that Turbin remains in the gymnasium to wait for the outpost, he decides to stay with him. Turbin against, he orders Myshlaevsky immediately to go to Elena and guard her. Myshlaevsky disappears.
Nikolka appears at the top of the stairs and declares that he will not leave without Alexis. Alexi snatches the revolver, to somehow make Nikola run. At this time there are cadets who were at the outpost. They report that the cavalry of Petlyura follows. Alexei orders them to flee, but he himself remains to cover the departure of the cadets.
There is a close gap, the glasses burst, Alexei falls. Of the last forces, he orders Nicholka to throw heroism and flee. At that moment the haidamaks break into the hall and shoot at Nikolka. Nikolka crawls up the stairs, rushes off the railing and disappears.
Harmonica rustles and hums, the sound of the trumpet sounds, the banners float up the stairs. A deafening march.
Dawn. Apartment Turbins. There is no electricity, a candle is burning on the ledge table. In the room Lariosik and Elena, who is very worried about the brothers, Myshlaevsky, Studzinsky and Shervinsky. Lariosik is called to go on a quest, but Elena discourages him. She is going to meet the brothers herself. Lariosik is talking about Talberg, but Elena severely cuts him off: “Do not mention the name of my spouse in the house.”
There is a knock at the door – Shervinsky has come. He brought bad news: the hetman and the prince Belorukov fled, Petlyura took the city. Shervinsky tries to calm Elena, explaining that he warned Alexei, and he will soon come.
Again a knock at the door – Myshlaevsky and Studzinsky enter. Elena rushes to them with a question: “And where are Alyosha and Nikolai?” She is reassured.
Myshlaevsky begins to mock at Shervinsky, reproaching him for his love of the hetman. Shervinsky is furious. Studzinsky is trying to stop the quarrel. Myshlaevsky softens, asks: “Well, then he gave you a move?”. Shervinsky responds: “With me.” He hugged me and thanked me for the faithful service. “And he shed a tear… And he gave me a gold cigarette case, with a monogram.”
Myshlaevsky does not believe, hints at Shervinsky’s “rich imagination,” he silently shows the stolen cigarette case. Everyone is amazed.
There is a knock on the window. Studzinsky and Myshlaevsky approach the window and, gently pushing back the curtain, peep out and run out. A few minutes later Nikolka is brought into the room, his head is broken, his blood is in his boot. Lariosik wants to inform Elena, but Myshlaevsky clamps his mouth: “Lenka, Lenka must be removed somewhere…”.
Shervinsky resorts with iodine and bandages, Studzinsky bandages the head of Nikolka. Suddenly Nikolka comes to himself, he is immediately asked: “Where is Alyosha?”, But Nikolka only mumbles incoherently in response.
Elena enters swiftly into the room, and she is immediately reassured: “He fell and hit his head.” There is nothing terrible. ” Elena anxiously interrogates Nikolka: “Where is Alexei?” – Myshlyaevsky makes a sign to Nikolka – “be silent.” Elena is hysterical, she realizes that terrible things have happened to Alexei, and she reproaches the survivors in inaction. Stoodzinsky grabs the revolver: “She’s absolutely right, I’m all to blame.” I could not leave him, I’m a senior officer, and I’ll correct my mistake! “
Shervinsky and Myshlaevsky are trying to reason with Studzinsky, take his revolver from him. Elena tries to soften her reproach: “I said grief from the grief… I got confused in my head… I was distraught…” And then Nikolka opens his eyes and confirms Elena’s terrible guess: “They killed the commander.” Elena faints.
Two months have passed. The Epiphany Christmas Eve of 1919 arrived. Elena and Lariosik decorate the Christmas tree. Lariosik spends compliments to Elena, reads her poems and admits that she is in love with her. Elena calls Lariosik “a terrible poet” and “a touching person,” asks to read poems, kisses him friendlyly on the forehead. And then admits that she has long been in love with one person, moreover, she has an affair with him; and Lariosik knows this man very well… Desperate Lariosik goes for vodka to “get drunk to feeling numb”, and in the door collides with the incoming Shervinsky. He in a filthy hat, tattered overcoat and blue spectacles. Shervinsky tells the news: “I congratulate you, Petliura, the lid, will be red tonight, Lena, it’s all over.” Nikolka recovers… Now a new life begins. It is impossible for us to languish anymore. He will not come. They cut him off, Lena! “Elena agrees to become Shervinsky’s wife, if he changes, stops lying and brags, they decide to inform Tulberg about the divorce by telegram.
Shervinsky tears off Talberg from the wall and throws him into the fireplace. They go to Elena’s room. The piano is heard, Shervinsky sings.
Nikolka enters, pale and weak, in a black cap and student’s jacket, on crutches. He notices the torn frame and lies down on the sofa. Lariosik comes, he just got a bottle of vodka on his own, and, moreover, brought her unscathed to the apartment, which is extremely proud. Nikolka points to the empty frame from the portrait: “The tremendous news! Elena is at variance with her husband.” She will leave for Shervinsky. ” Dumbfounded Lariosik drops the bottle, which is smashed to smithereens.
The bell rings, Lariosik admits Myshlaevsky and Studzinsky, both in civilian clothes. Those vying with each other report the news: “The Reds have broken Petlyura! Petlyura’s troops are being left out of the city!”, “The Reds are already in Slobodka.” They will be here in half an hour. “
Studzinsky ponders: “It is best for us to get attached to the train and follow Petlyura to Galicia, and then go to the Don, to Denikin, and fight with the Bolsheviks.” Myshlaevsky does not want to return to the command of the generals: “I’m fighting for the fatherland from the year nine hundred and fourteen… And where is this fatherland, when they threw me to shame?!” And again, go to these lordships? And if the Bolsheviks mobilize, then I will go, and Yes, because Petliura has two hundred thousand, but they have greased the heels with fat and blow with one word “Bolsheviks.” Because behind the Bolsheviks there are peasant muzhiks, at least I will know that I will serve in the Russian army. “
“But what the hell is the Russian army, when they finished off Russia?!” – objecting Студзинский, – “Russia at us was a great power!”.
“And will be!” – said Myshlaevsky, – “There will not be a new one, a new one will be.”
In the heat of the dispute Shervinsky runs in and announces that Elena is getting divorced from Tallberg and marries Shervinsky. All congratulate them. Suddenly the front door opens, Talberg enters in his civilian overcoat, with a suitcase.
Elena asks everyone to leave them alone with Thalberg. Everyone leaves, and Lariosik for some reason tiptoes. Elena briefly informs Tallberg that Alexei was killed, and Nikolka is a cripple. Talberg claims that the hetman was “a stupid operetta,” the Germans deceived them, but in Berlin he managed to get a business trip to the Don, to General Krasnov, and now he has come for his wife. Elena dryly replies to Thalberg that he is getting divorced from him and marries Shervinsky. Talberg tries to arrange a scene, but Myshlaevsky goes out and with the words: “Well? Vaughn!” Talberg strikes his face. Talberg is confused, he goes to the front and leaves…
Everyone enters the room with the Christmas tree, Lariosik extinguishes the light and lights the electric lights on the tree, then brings the guitar and hands it to Nicholka. Nikolka sings, and all but Studzinsky pick up the refrain: “So, for the Council of People’s Commissars, we will burst out loud” Hooray! Hooray! Hooray!”.
Everyone is asking Lariosik to say a speech. Lariosik is embarrassed, refuses, but nevertheless says: “We met at the most difficult and terrible time, and we all experienced very much… including myself.” My fragile ship long tore on the waves of civil war… Until it is not nailed in this harbor with cream curtains, to people who I liked so much… However, I had a drama from them… Time has turned… Here Petlyura is gone… We are all together again… And even more: here is Elena Vasilievna, she, too, has experienced very, very much and deserves happiness, because she is a wonderful woman. “
There are distant cannon blows. But this is not a fight, it’s a salute. On the street play “Internationale” – go red. Everyone approaches the window.
“Gentlemen,” says Nikolka, “this evening is a great prologue to a new historical play.”
“To whom is the prologue,” answers Studzinsky, “and to whom is the epilogue.”