The Cherry Orchard
From Rewind, Play
The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov
LOPAKHIN. Let me remind you, ladies and gentlemen, on August 22 the cherry orchard will be sold. Think of that! . . . Think of that! . . .
All go out except TROFIMOV and ANYA.
ANYA. [Laughs] Thanks to the tramp who frightened Barbara, we’re alone now.
TROFIMOV. Varya’s afraid we may fall in love with each other and won’t get away from us for days on end. Her narrow mind won’t allow her to understand that we are above love. To escape all the petty and deceptive things which prevent our being happy and free, that is the aim and meaning of our lives. Forward! We go irresistibly on to that bright star which burns there, in the distance! Don’t lag behind, friends!
ANYA. [Clapping her hands] How beautifully you talk! [Pause] It is glorious here to-day!
TROFIMOV. Yes, the weather is wonderful.
ANYA. What have you done to me, Peter? I don’t love the cherry orchard as I used to. I loved it so tenderly, I thought there was no better place in the world than our orchard.
TROFIMOV. All Russia is our orchard. The land is great and beautiful, there are many marvellous places in it. [Pause] Think, Anya, your grandfather, your great-grandfather, and all your ancestors were serf-owners, they owned living souls; and now, doesn’t something human look at you from every cherry in the orchard, every leaf and every stalk? Don’t you hear voices . . . ? Oh, it’s awful, your orchard is terrible; and when in the evening or at night you walk through the orchard, then the old bark on the trees sheds a dim light and the old cherry-trees seem to be dreaming of all that was a hundred, two hundred years ago, and are oppressed by their heavy visions. Still, at any rate, we’ve left those two hundred years behind us. So far we’ve gained nothing at all–we don’t yet know what the past is to be to us–we only philosophize, we complain that we are dull, or we drink vodka. For it’s so clear that in order to begin to live in the present we must first redeem the past, and that can only be done by suffering, by strenuous, uninterrupted labour. Understand that, Anya.
ANYA. The house in which we live has long ceased to be our house; I shall go away. I give you my word.
TROFIMOV. If you have the housekeeping keys, throw them down the well and go away. Be as free as the wind.
ANYA. [Enthusiastically] How nicely you said that!
TROFIMOV. Believe me, Anya, believe me! I’m not thirty yet, I’m young, I’m still a student, but I have undergone a great deal! I’m as hungry as the winter, I’m ill, I’m shaken. I’m as poor as a beggar, and where haven’t I been–fate has tossed me everywhere! But my soul is always my own; every minute of the day and the night it is filled with unspeakable presentiments. I know that happiness is coming, Anya, I see it already. . .
ANYA. [Thoughtful] The moon is rising.
EPIKHODOV is heard playing the same sad song on his guitar. The moon rises. Somewhere by the poplars VARYA is looking for ANYA and calling, “Anya, where are you?”
TROFIMOV. Yes, the moon has risen. [Pause] There is happiness, there it comes; it comes nearer and nearer; I hear its steps already. And if we do not see it we shall not know it, but what does that matter? Others will see it!
THE VOICE OF VARYA. Anya! Where are you?
TROFIMOV. That’s Varya again! [Angry] Disgraceful!
ANYA. Never mind. Let’s go to the river. It’s nice there.
TROFIMOV Let’s go. [They go out.]
THE VOICE OF VARYA. Anya! Anya!