The Flight of the White Eagles: Act 2, Scenes 3-4

SCENE 3: The Streets of Moscow

Enter Vasalisa, two teenage boys (Vitaly & Vladamir), a woman called Angelina & her teenage daughter Albina – they are wielding scythes, pitchforks, axes & bear spears

Vasalisa
So this the starry city of the Tsars
It has certainly lost its old lustre
Find what you can from lead to free lodgings

Exit Albina, Angelina, Vitaly & Vladamir – enter an old man shuffling

Vasalisa
Hey, old man… yes you… are you Muscovite
{Old Man nods}
So much destruction, tell me what was lost

Old Man
It was a very devastating blow,
But we’ll rebuild them all, the Moscow State
University & the Petovsky
Theatre, & Buturlin’s library
Were all destroy’d completely, works of art
Beyond presciousness & divinity
Deceased in the harsh nature of these times
I am a poet-scholar, & bewail
Above all else the ever senseless loss
Of a singular & source manuscript
To flamegrip, ‘The Tale of Igor’s Campaign,’
Houses of bricks may be rebuilt, but art
May only be imitated, the soul
Of our nation has been tainted by France

Vasalisa
The intensity of my enmity
For vile invaders burns in me brighter
Than any blaze that might have burned your books

Enter Vitaly & Vladamir

Vitaly
Mistress Vasalisa

Vasalisa
Yes Vitaly

Vitaly
We have found sacks & sacks of gunpowder
Just sitting in a warehouse in neat rows

Vasalisa
Any gaurds

Vladamir
None

Vasalisa
Fill the cart with twenty

Vladamir & Vitaly
Yes mistress

Exit Vladamir & Vitaly

Vasalisa
The French seem too forgetful,
We’ll make then wish they’d burn’d that warehouse down

Old Man
My wish is to be fighting beside you
Good luck & kill as many as you can

Exit Old Man

Enter Albina & Angelina with Valentina & Natasha

Angelina
Mistress these two were begging us for food

Vasalisa
Are they Russian

Valentina
We are

Vasalisa
Then we have food

Vasalisa
Why are you both here in Moscow

Natasha
This is our home

Valentina
Our dear mother was killed
In the fire, our house destroyed

Natasha
Our father
& brothers all died at Borodino

Vasalisa
A rake’s worth of woes dredging tragedy
Come join us girls, our happy family
Has swell’d with widows & orphans like you –
My kisslove husband was recently slain
By drunken French pigs, despite his status
As village starosta, an evil tithe
On which I swore revenge

Valentina
Do you have food

Vasalisa
We procure support, plentiful supplies
Whichever village pass’d through for the cause

Natasha
Where are you from

Vasalisa
Sychyovsky of Smolensk

Valentina & Natasha whisper to themselves

Valentina
We wish to make you mistress & to fight

Natasha
Beside you in this partisanic war

Vladamir & Vitaly return

Vasalisa
Vladamir, Vitaly, come here & meet
Our latest recruits to the company
What are you names, I neglected to ask

Valentina
Valentina

Natasha
Natasha

Albina
Albina

Angelina
& I am Angelina

Vasalisa
We must bless Lord God the Tsar forbade peace
When, after unattainted sacrifice,
& retreats insane, as long as there are
Russians alive able to wield a spear
Scythe or pitchfork, their duty sigillates
Upon the soul astrive, to consummate
This death-wish of the French & drive the Poles
Back to their poorer palaces, then toss
The King of Naples yelping yon the Alps.

Angelina
We sense a turning of the tides of strength
We Russians rise spryly in our spirits

Vitaly
& in our numbers, too, no longer trail

Vladamir
Passed to our side superiority!
The French are now afraid of open fields
& race to Paris in a straggleline

Albina
Encrusted by the elements them made
A stray mad dog we worry shall to death
Like agile bees stinging a bleeding bear
Inside desperate fits of exhaustion

Angelina
Our mission is to trap & captivate
Each foolhardy French forager that dares
Abandon lines in search of branch & food
Like fallen leaves wind-toss’d from wither’d tree

Vitaly
The graves of the French are dug already
In the sacred soil of Mother Russia
& we shall send Napoleon packing
The monster who makes the world unhappy

Vasalisa
Then we shall need our strength for such a feet
The girls are hungry, I am hungry too

Angelina
There are huge piles of food in the palace

Vasalisa
The Tsar will leave Petersburg until
The French are driven firmly from his soil –
Tonight we eat & sleep like royalty
Tsarina Vasalisa sounds the ring!

Exeunt


SCENE 4: The Russian Countryside

The Company are led by Colonel Bodel / They arrive at the side of a wood

Colonel Bodel
Here’s the refuge lads, fine shelter begins
About thick’ning woods, softening the edge
Of ice-knife winds, the company shall make
A sumptuous stew of fresh slain horse-flesh
To send us strength to march these last few days
Into Smolensk where food & warmth await

Leboude & Foucart begin to make a horseflesh stew

Boquet
Warmth, warmth, what a wonderful idea
I am thronging with cold, my veins are chill’d
God help us, there must be twenty degrees
of frost, I’m frozen, from icicle beard
To feelingless feet, fingers stuck to guns
Eyelids seal’d by snow, with all of my joints
Fragile as alabaster, start the fire!

Graingier
What heavy snows the north wind hurls on heads
Then sucks boots down into its shifting lake
From civilized march, thro’ anxious retreat
To wild escape, in matter of mere days
This is brazen disaster without claim
To honour

Bourgogne
The harder grows the pathway
The greater the glory

Rossi
How glorious
We must appear – badly dress’d, lacking food
Denied of any fortifying juice

Vachain
The corps are all disbanded, & scarcely
A quarter of the soldiers still remain
Marching with their regimental standards –
Too cold to clutch their weapons these are thrown
Beside the road with all their cartridges
To reach Smolensk the only common sense
Over vast snows snail-moving silently
Slouching atop the bodies of dead friends
Nobody orders, nobody obeys,
If this is glory, I’d hate to see Hell

Stephanie
{buckling in pain}
Mon dieu!

Dubois
stephanie!

Stephanie
I feel the mighty flushing push of life
My baby is born

Dubois
Quickly, quickly, warm me some water
There, there, rosepetal we shall settle this
Saintly affair with healthy cherubim

Bodel
Surgeon Legrand

Legrand
Yes Colonel

Bodel
Take my cloak
To cover the girl, help Madame Dubois
Deliver this infant into safety

Legrand
Yes sir, Dubois, sit her on my jacket

Dubois
There you go, sweetheart… where is that water

Legrand
Now let me see, open your legs – a head!
Life’s signature its little swab of hair

Stephanie
Well get them out then, the head & the hair

Legrand
Push! Push!… keep pushing… that’s it, almost there

Stephanie
It is just as stubborn as my husband
Where is my husband

Dubois
Stay strong Stephanie
You can do this, take my hand, squeeze & push

Legrand
With one last push your baby shall be born

Stephanie gives birth to a boy to the cheers & relief of the company

Legrand
It is a fine boy, full finger’d & toed

More hurrahs from the company / Legrand cuts the umbillical chord / gives the baby to Dubois who washes him

Stephanie
Thank you surgeon

Legrand
Thank God in all this death
It seem’d he wished to rush life back to us
He came so quick, like raindrops from a cloud

Dubois
Here you are Stephanie, your son, your child
He will break some hearts when he is older

Stephanie
He has his father’s nose

Dubois
His mother’s eyes

Men gather around the cooking pot

Graingier
The aroma of boiled meat breaks the turf
That keeps my sanity, digs a deep hole
To my stoumach, & makes me scream in pain
Cursing this fearful hunger never known
In all my years I’ve marched behind the drum
Starving is madness, I would demolish
the very devil if he was well cook’d

Bourgogne
This hunger of wolves drives me to the hunt
I’ll see what I can gather in the wood
& if I meet somebody with a loaf
Of bread, I shall force it broken in half
No – I would kill him to possess it all

Vachain
Do not foget to share Sergeant Bourgogne
Of course, my global comrades, I’ll bring back
A handsome banquet to the bivouac

Exit Bourgogne

Boquet
Vegetables, sawdust bread & horse meat
What I would do to eat a little fruit
A juicy red apple from normandy

Bodel
Even juicier are the tomatoes
From Roussillon, I would kill for just one

***

POMME DE TERRES

 

 

Boquet
For 25 francs I shall sell you a lovely potato
For 200 roubles I’ll brew you a beautiful soup

Bodel
I’ve a fortune at home & a villa in Rome
In Valenciennes I’ve a vineyard & men
But I’d swap it all for just one little sweet red tomato

All
I am hungry for my country men
I am starving to my heart
We are famished little savages
Now the army has fallen apart

Graingier
For 25 francs I shall sell you a green avocado
For 200 roubles I’ll do you a succulent soup

Foucart
I’d exchange a courgette for my mistress Annette
My wife Marie-Lou’s worth a turnip or two
But I’d swap them all for just one little sweet red tomato

All
Potato… tomato
I am hungry for my coq au vin,
I am starv’d for cherry tart
But sausages & cabbages
In gravy would do for a start

I am hungry for my country men
I am starving to my heart
We are savage little scavengers
now the army has fallen apart

Napoleon – will save us


THE CONCHORDIA FOLIO

“Its worth a pop, right, to try & knock that Shakespeare
Off his feffin’ perch!”

Interview: Damian Beeson Bullen

Posted on April 17, 2020, in Conchordia, White Eagles. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: