Leyla Begim & Efim Abramov

Лейла Бегим — член Союза Писателей Азербайджана, член Русскоязычных писателей Чехии. Автор четырех поэтических сборников. В соавторстве с Ефимом Абрамовым написала пять пьес. Живет в Чехии. Ефим Абрамов окончил ВГИК. .Член Гильдии Азербайджанских кинематографистов. Режиссер-постановщик нескольких художественных фильмов, пятнадцати сценариев и пяти пьес в соавторстве с Лейкой Бегим. Живет в Израиле.


Отрывок из произведения «LOVE AS INSATIABLE AS A PIRANHA«

 

(from the series «A Fragrance of Dreams»)

Duologue

Setting – A STUDIO

The director’s studio. It is his sanctuary, his temple and his confessional. It is the place where he has been living and creating for over forty years, going through the ups and downs, through ranging successes and failures.

The studio witnessed confessions, bitter disappointments, feelings of jealousy and despair.

 

MARK

HELEN

Act One.

The screen mounted on the wall is flashing with the faces of the actors and directors, crowds of rapturous spectators, award presentation ceremonies and happy winners. There are HELEN and MARK among the celebrities.  She is dressed in a beautiful evening gown, and he is in a tuxedo. Surrounded by their colleagues, they chat and laugh…

Next to the screen we see a painting called «Breaking out of a circle». It shows  a nude woman who tries to break out of the bright circle in which she is placed.

Every now and then the lightning is flashing and the sounds of thunder and heavy rain are heard from the large window of the studio.

MARK is sitting in the arm chair next to the coffee table. There are a few liquor bottles, glasses, packs of cigarettes and lighters on the table.  He has a glass in one hand, and the remote control in the other. Without looking at it, he presses the button and the image on the screen changes. We see HELEN on the screen. HELEN is standing next to the microphone on the stage of the large concert hall.

HELEN, standing  at the footlights, with an open wet umbrella at her feet.

HELEN ON THE SCREEN – (waiting until the applause dies down)  – Thank you, friends. Once my mother told me — never trust the critics. Critics are failed actors. They are simply envious people! (The audience laughs and applauds). Trust your audience – only they can understand and feel the magic of the word, the magic of the theater, the magic of real art:

When you stream your soul toward
Harmony and mystery,
When you hear between the lines
What the verse is whispering,
When the stage is all your life –
With its ups and downs,
Then the theatre, your Lord,
Shouts in approval: “Bravo!”

HELEN enters the studio, looks around and, paying no attention to MARK, leisurely walks touching things and objects around, singing a song and smiling to herself. She looks at the painting for a while, barely touching it with her fingertips, and then walks to the antique console chest of drawers.  Glancing at MARK who pays no attention to her, she opens the top drawer. Fumbling in it, she takes out a light female scarf and smiles.

HELEN – Oh, you kept my neck scarf, didn’t you?

Mark is silent.

HELEN – What for? Goodness gracious, it’s more than thirty years old … Amazing, it has lasted for so long … Why are you silent, my dear?

Helen presses the scarf to her face.

HELEN — Oh, I see. It stores my scent. Do you … Oh God, Mark, it’s so touching. Really! —

Ah this silk scarf!
Tied with elegance…
Producing sweet smell
of our lifetime romance.

 

So many feelings it absorbed:
Wrath, passion, jealousy and fondness…
In its memory it stored
the past life’s fragrance…

 

HELEN – Do you remember?

Mark is silent.

HELEN – Do you remember who wrote this verse? Of course, you do. You have a good memory for names. But I don’t. I only know that this is a woman’s writing. I mean it was a woman who wrote this poem. What was her name?..

Mark pours himself a whiskey, takes a sip, pulls out a cigarette and lights it.

HELEN – You’re doing this on purpose, aren’t you? Tell me!..On purpose?

Mark takes another sip and draws on the cigarette.

HELEN – You do know that I can’t stand the smell of your cigarettes. Especially, Benson & Hedges. How many times have I asked you to smoke other cigarettes?!.. Ah, I see. Probably, some other woman likes this smell…

Mark finishes his glass and pours more whiskey.

HELEN – Do you want to get drunk?

Mark remains silent.

HELEN – Are you that unhappy to see me that you’ve decided to supress it with alcohol?

Helen continues to look in the drawer and takes out a gun. Turns to Mark.

HELEN – Amazing…

Mark looks straight ahead. He’s smoking…

HELEN — Do you keep all of my gifts? It’s just amazing. I don’t even remember why I gave you this gun. Do you?

She aims at him.

HELEN — As always, you don’t remember anything. But I do. Seventeen years have passed, but nothing has been erased from my memory…

Helen presses the trigger and a tongue of flame comes out from the gun.

HELEN — I remember how much I wished it was a real gun. I was ready to shoot you. To use all the bullets. You cheated on me right on the premiere of the film. And with whom? With this raggedy bitch Scottie, who was so happy to star in one tiny episode. You screwed her on a dusty pedestal right behind the screen. Then you swore up and down saying that she seduced you. And I believed you and said I’d forgiven you..

Mark sighs heavily. Helen turns to him.

HELEN — But women don’t forgive. Women remember. Fortunately, I wasn’t a naive young girl as I had been forty years ago when you knowingly made me drunk, brought to this den of sin and literally raped me on these already shabby skins.

Mark chokes and begins to cough heavily. Helen approaches him and trying to help, hits him on the back.

HELEN — By the way, the lighter works … I don’t get why you’re not using it.

Mark takes a sip of whiskey.

HELEN — at least at home … Oh I know, I know … I know that you have lots of lighters, I know that cigarettes and glasses should be scattered everywhere – so that you won’t be looking for them. But after all, my dear, this lighter was my present to you.

She walks to a wide couch covered by calf skins and throws the gun-shaped lighter on it.

 

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