by Anton Chekhov
Version by Sarah Ruhl
Act 1: Olga
Read by Olivia MacFadden Elliot
Father died a year ago today, on your birthday, Irina, May fifth.
It was so cold, it snowed.
I thought I’d never live through it, and you fainted, as though you were the dead one.
But now it’s been a year, and we can remember with some —
You’re wearing white again and your face is shining.
The clock struck then too, on that day — it sounded like this.
I remember, when they carried Father away, the music playing.
And guns firing, at the cemetery.
He was a commander, of a whole troop —
still, not many people came. Well, it was raining —
freezing rain mixed in with snow.
Today is warm, we can leave the windows wide open.
The birch trees are almost blooming.
I remember so clearly, eleven years ago, Father was an officer,
and we left Moscow, in early May, same as today.
Moscow in early May! — blooming, warm, golden.
Eleven years ago — but yesterday.
My God! I woke up this morning, saw masses of light flooding in.
and my God, the spring!
I felt this great happiness in my soul, and I wanted to go home.
Stop whistling, Masha, it’s bad luck.