The first act. Apartment Turbine. Evening.
Elena worries about how long her husband is gone so long. Nikolka and Alexei-her brothers-comfort her. Comes all the frozen Myshlaevsky. They help him undress, lead to the fireplace, give him a drink of vodka, Lena prepares a bath for him. He says that in a snowstorm and frost without boots, they stood against Petlyura. Then he made a scandal at the headquarters and was seconded to the artillerymen. Alexei takes him to his room. Myshlaevsky goes into the bath. A long bell rang, it was Lariosik, a Zhytomyr cousin. The telegram that his mother sent him did not reach, and everyone is a little surprised by his appearance. Lena sends him to the bathroom, and Nikolka gives him linen, instead of stolen on the train. Talberg comes – Helen’s
Shervinsky comes on duty and sees that there is no one but a footman. The hetman arrived and was surprised that there were no representatives of either the Russian army or the German command. Shervinsky reports to him that the Petlyura units broke through the front. Then the Germans came and said that they know the state of affairs, but they will not fight, since Petliurists are much more numerous. But they suggest that the hetman immediately flee to Germany. He agrees with a little meditation. He is dressed in German uniform and is reeling his head. Disguised as a wounded man. He tells Shervinsky to burn all the papers. He asked to leave with the Germans, but he was told that there were no places, especially since they would only take the Russians to the border. Then he decides to stay here. When everyone was gone, he called Turbine, changed into civilian clothes, took the gold cigarette case forgotten by the hetman and left. At parting, the footman asks, in which case to say that he does not know him, and in general Shervinsky is an opera artist. The footman realized that everyone had escaped…
A deserter with frozen legs was caught at Bolbotun’s headquarters. Then they catch people that they tried to cross the river on the ice. A man with a basket is taken off his boots, which he carried for sale. Then they caught the Jew and began to burn his face and hands with fire, so that he confessed that he was a spy. The Jew agrees with pain in everything, but then escapes and tries to flee. He is killed with a shot in the back.
The third act. The lobby of the Alexandrovskaya Gymnasium.
The Junkers break their desks to heat the stoves, the watchman is terrified of such vandalism. The Mouse-Laevsky commanded them. Alexei comes, tears up the list of cadets, orders to return the outpost, and the rest take off the shoulder straps and run home. Some officers consider this a betrayal, they try to arrest him. Studzinsky suggests everyone go to the Don to Denikin, but Alex says that there they will meet the same generals who have them “to fight with their own people.” He says that “the White movement in Ukraine is over”. The cannon blows are getting closer, the cadets begin to throw rifles and run up, Alexei tears the papers, orders Myshlaevsky to go home to Elena. Nikolka remains with his brother, watching him from death and from shame. The outpost of the Junkers is running, followed by the cavalry of Petlyura. Alexei orders the cadets to tear off his epaulettes and run to the Podol by a basement move. Explosion, Alexei falls. Nikolka rushes to him, but Alexei dies. The Gaydamaks shoot at Nikolka, but he escapes.
Dawn in the apartment Turbine. Elena tries to go out, find out what’s going on, but Lariosik does not let her. Shervinsky comes and tells me that Petlyura took the city, the whole command was running, and Alexei and Nikolka would soon come. Soon came Myshlaevsky and Studzinsky. Myshlaevsky threw himself on Shervinsky, as on the staff, Studzinsky hardly makes peace with them. Shervinsky tells the details of the flight of the hetman, gives a little gloss, shows a gold cigarette case. Someone throws snow at the window, everyone looks out cautiously, and then they run to the street and bring wounded Nikolka. Lena runs in, she immediately realizes that Alexei was killed, accuses his officers of his death. They justify that they obeyed the order of the commander. Studzinsky was offended, bursting into the street, he was barely restrained and comforted by Lena. Nikolka comes to himself and says: “They killed the commander.”
The fourth act. After two months. Epiphany Eve of 1919
Lariosik and Elena decorate the tree. Lariosik admits to her in love, but she says that she has an affair. Lariosik guesses who it is, and goes for vodka to get drunk with grief. In the door collides with Shervinsky. He says that “there will be a red night tonight”, and while there is no one, Elena makes an offer to marry him. She says she only agrees if he stops lying all the time. He promises and Elena agrees. He immediately tears the portrait of Thalberg out of the frame, and they leave for the next room, where Shervinsky sings. Pale Nikolka enters on crutches, sees a ragged portrait, guessed everything and lies down on the sofa. Returns Lariosik with vodka. Nikolka informs him of the news about Lena, who dropped in horror and broke the bottle. Come Myshlaevsky and Studzinsky, both in civilian clothes. Myshlaevsky scolds Lariosik for the broken vodka. Studinsky proposes to leave after Petlyura. Nikolka wondered what the Bolsheviks looked like. Myshlaevsky does not want to fight anymore under the leadership of “treason generals.” And he agrees to Bolshevik mobilization. The coronal phrase of Myshlaevsky: “… I am for the Bolsheviks, only against the Communists.” And then he: “Let them mobilize! At least I know that I will serve in the Russian army.”
Studzinsky is ready to fight to the end, in extreme cases – to flee abroad. Shervinsky runs in and announces that Elena is getting divorced from her husband and marrying him. All of them congratulate, Shervinsky offers to drink champagne, and here comes Thalberg. He does not understand anything. Elena asks everyone to go out and explains to her husband that Alexei is killed, Nikolka is a cripple, and she divorces him and marries Shervinsky. Talberg is outraged, but Lena calls Myshlaevsky, but she leaves. Myshlaevsky, threatening with a gun, throws Talberg, and Lena explains that everything is in order, the husband agrees to divorce. All joyfully lights the lights on the tree, Nikolka plays the guitar and sings, Lariosik speaks the speech. Far from the cannon blows, but no one is afraid: “The Bolsheviks are coming.” Nikolka: “Gentlemen, you know, tonight is a great prologue to a new historical play.”