In the old Moscow apartment lives Klavdia Vasilyevna Savina. She has four children, all live with her. Senior Fedor – a chemist, Ph. D., recently married. His wife’s name is Lena. Daughter Tatiana – she is nineteen years old – is studying at the institute. Eighteen-year-old Nikolai works in repair shops. The youngest – Oleg – fifteen.
In the morning, Lena hurries to sell the Czech sideboards. They will soon have to give a separate apartment, and therefore Lena spent days idle in lines for beautiful, expensive furniture. The room in which the action of the play takes place, all is made already purchased furniture. The furniture is covered with covers and rags, and no one touches it, as Lena is afraid of anything “spoil”. She talks to
Ivan Nikitich Lapshin and his son Gene come to the Savins. They have been coming to Moscow for a year now to the brother of Ivan Nikitich, who Savin is a neighbor. Lapshin came to ask for “zavarochki.” Gene is embarrassed. He is in love with Tanya and shy of his father, who prefers to borrow from another than to spend his. Ivan Nikitich is all trying to marry his son and for this he bought him an accordion so that “the girls lure”, since with the tool “there will be respect.” He believes that young people are growing too smart, began to reason a lot. At breakfast he laughs at his son, telling everyone about him various funny and ridiculous details. Oleg sympathizes with Gene and, when Lapshin tries to lecture him, he explodes and makes Lapshin’s remark. He takes offense and leaves.
Oleg apologizes to Gena and says that he does not tolerate when people are insulted. Gena also says that eventually Oleg will get used to it. He dispassionately tells that his father beats him and his mother. Oleg is horrified, and Gena says that “there is no wear of tanned leather,” pulls out a hundred from his father’s jacket, hides it. Oleg is again terrified, but for Genes – everything is
Leonid Pavlovich comes to Feodor. He is thirty-two years old, he is a graduate student, earns well, his parents are now in China. Leonid takes care of Tanya. Gena, after seeing him, wants to leave, but Oleg stops him to look at the fish, the aquarium with which stands on the window. Leaving the window, Oleg jumps through a new desk, behind which Fyodor allowed Tanya to work out, and overturns a vial of ink. Ink is poured into the table. Oleg is terrified. They vainly try to wipe the puddle with Gena. Gena is going to take the blame on himself, but Oleg does not agree: Lena must understand that he did this unintentionally.
Lena brings a sideboard. She shines, admires the thing and tells what she has endured because of him. Oleg tries to talk to her, but she waves her back, starts a conversation with Tanya about Leonid, persuades her to marry him, since he is a brilliant party. Oleg finally manages to tell everything. Before that, he takes from Lena the word that she will not scold him. But Lena as if from a chain breaks down, calls Oleg a “crap” and “bully”, and having learned that it happened because of fish, the aquarium suffices and hurls it out the window. Oleg rushes after them into the yard, but does not have time: the fish are eaten by cats. Returning, he weeps, tears off the covers from the furniture, grabs the sword hanging over the sofa, and begins to cut things. Then he runs away. Gena and Kolya rush after him. Lena, like a madman, rushes from thing to thing. Fyodor runs after her confusedly.
Part of things endure. Lena is not well. Uncle Vasya – neighbor Savinykh – promises to repair the spoiled furniture. Klavdia Vasilievna worries that Oleg ran away from home. Leonid and Tanya are left alone. Leonid uses the moment to once again remind Tanya of her feelings. Tanya does not listen to him: she needs to speak out. She remembers how happily and happily they once lived. Now all this has changed, as Fedor, who was very fond of all, changed. Tanya is interested in how they treat Fyodor at work. Leonid says that their collective is an eternal squabble, a struggle. Fedor “dances at the same height, wanting to take everything from her.” He became jealous. According to Leonid, Fedor develops his behavior in life. Tanya is amazed and disappointed.
Fedor tries to calm Lena. She rebukes her husband that he is accustomed to living in a “klopovnik whole kagal”, that he does not care about her, that everyone insults her and hates her and that she does not want to live here more than a single day. leaves. Fedor tries to justify Lena in front of her mother. But she only regrets that the son becomes another, a bourgeois, that he has long abandoned his “treasured” cause and is unlikely to have the strength to continue it. He says that a good wife should first of all take care of the human dignity of her husband. Fedora calls Lena. The conversation is interrupted.
Oleg and Gennady come, who hid Oleg in his room until the scandal lay down. Gen father takes him home. Enter Fedor and Lena. Lena tries to beat Oleg. Fedor separates them. When Lena leaves, Oleg says that he will give all the money for the furniture when he grows up, and notices that Fedor is crying. Gena comes and gives Oleg a new aquarium. Oleg first rejoices, but, remembering that the fish are bought for a stolen hundred, refuses a gift.
Lena asks Leonid to let them and Fedor go to his house until autumn. Leonid agrees. Fedor is not happy with the move. Gena asks Fedor to borrow a hundred rubles. Lena denies him, but under the persuasion of her husband still gives money. Gena brings her a pledge accordion.
When Gena and Tanya are alone, he gives Tanya perfume and confesses love. Tanya is surprised by the eloquence of Genes. She calls him and her father to drink tea before leaving. Suddenly, Gena admits to his father that he stole money from him, and gives him a hundred. Oleg runs into the corridor and brings an aquarium, donated by Gena, puts it in place of the former. At the table again a dispute. Klavdiya Vasilyevna is sure that Lena is selling the best human qualities for her things, that life is too short to leave everything she asks for, only to furnish an apartment. Tanya calls Lena a breakout. Lena says that they will never understand it and that it is better for them to live apart. Klavdia Vasilievna against Fedina moving. Fedor hesitates, but under the pressure of Lena and Leonida is inferior to them. He gives his mother the main manuscript and asks him to keep it.
Lapshin in anger, that Gena confessed about money for everyone, wants to beat him, but he first gives him resistance. Gena is stronger than his father and from this moment forbids him to beat himself and his mother. Lapshin is surprised and very proud of his son’s behavior. Tanya is calling Genna for next year in Moscow, promising to write. Leonid, Fedor and Lena are leaving.