The Possessed

Based on Dostoevsky -- stage composition in two acts

Act I: Sins


Street. Stavrogin, the Girl follows him, passes Fedka. Church bells. Getting dark. Easter?

FEDKA (follows Stavrogin): Christ is risen... Mister, mister, did you see it? Sir, a large herd of swine was feeding there on the hillside; they begged him to let them enter these. So he gave them leave. Then the demons came out of the man and entered the swine, and the heard rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned... Hallilua!

STAVROGIN: Christ risen, is he? (Throws him money)

FEDKA: God bless you, sir. Christ is risen! (runs away to get the money)

Stavrogin looks back -- and the Girl leaves

Act I, Scene 1: "He is Mad!"

At Varvara's: Stepan, Shatov, Dasha, Gaganov, Liputin, Shigalov, Virginsky, Varvara. All talk at the same time, Stavrogin enters. All get silent.
-Nicholas? Nicholas!

VARVARA: Dear, dear child, you are sad, you are bored. That is right. (Stavrogin kisses her hand)

STEPAN (hugs Stavrogin): My good Nicholas!

{Shatov leaves. Pause)

LIPUTIN: Did you know that the new governor had already arrived?

GAGANOV: We can't criticize the new governor before seeing him at work...

LIPUTIN: Why shouldn't we criticize him? He is the governor, isn't that enough?

VIRGINSKY: Yes, it's through reasoning like this we are sinking into ignorance. If a horse were named governor, Gaganov would wait to see him at work.

GAGANOV: Oh! But, allow me, you are insulting me, and I won't permit it. I said... or, rather... I repeat: I won't let anyone lead me around by the nose...

(Stavrogin crosses the stage amid the silence that sets in with his first step, advances like a sleepwalker towards Gaganov’s nose, and, gently pulling it, makes Gaganov step towards the center of the stage. With anguish in her voice, Varvara Stavrogin shouts: “Nicholas!” Nicholas lets go of Gaganov, steps backward a few steps, and looks at him, smiling absent-mindedly. After a second of stupor, general tumult. The others surround Gaganov and lead him to a chair, into which he sinks. Nicholas Stavrogin turns on his heels and leaves the room. Varvara Stavrogin, hardly knowing what she is doing, takes up a glass and carries it over to Gaganov.) He . . . How could he . . . ? Help, help!

Varvara (to Stepan Trofimovich): Oh, my God, he’s mad, he’s mad!

Stepan (hardly knowing what he is doing either): No, tres chere, mere thoughtlessness, youth...

Varvara (to Gaganov): Forgive Nicolas, my friend, I beg of you.

(Stavrogin enters. After a brief hesitation he walks firmly toward Gaganov, who gets up, frightened. Then rapidly and with a frown:)

Stavrogin: Of course you will forgive me! A sudden within . . . A stupid distraction...

Stepan (stepping up to the other side of Stavrogin, who is looking vacantly ahead of him): That’s not an acceptable apology, Nicholas. (With anguish) Je vous en prie, mon enfant. You have a noble heart, you are well brought up and cultured, and suddenly you seem to us enigmatic--- a dangerous person. At least have pity on your mother.

Stavrogin (looking at his mother, then at Gaganov): All right. I shall apologize But I shall do so secretly to Mr. Gaganov, who will understand me.

(Gaganov steps forward hesitantly. Stavrogin leans over and seizes Gaganov’s ear in his teeth.)

Gaganov (in pain): Nicholas! Nicholas!

(The others, who haven’t yet understood the situation, look at him.)

Gaganov (in terror): Nicholas, you are biting my ear! (Screaming) He’s biting me ear! (Stavrogin lets go of him and stands at him with a dull look on his face. Gaganov rushes out, screaming with fright.) Watch out! Watch out!

Varvara (going to her son): Nicholas, for the love of God!

(Nicholas looks at her, laughs weakly, then collapses on the floor in a sort of fit.)

The Narrator: Gaganov stayed in bed several weeks. Nicholas Stavrogin likewise. But he eventually got up, made his apologies most honorably, and set out for a rather long trip. The only place where he stayed for a time was Geneva—not because of the hectic charm of that city, but because there he found the Drozdov ladies.