THE DIAMOND PATH
Note: both plays are available for production. The Diamond Path with its verbal music and sound effects might be turned into a libretto for an opera or a musical.
I NIGHT DIARY (A grotesque drama).
(A brief synopsis.)
An architecturally distinguished OLD HOUSE, which its inhabitants hold dear.. but which will be demolished because of a road construction.
The same house in a demolished state : a large pile of bricks, fallen plaster, shattered glass and pieces of furniture.
Above the ruins of the house there is absolute silence, absolute stillness… but no, one piece of plaster is pulled aside, and dirty fingers with long nails appear, then a thin arm, which tries to find a way out from beneath the fallen plaster. Another moment and a creature crawls out, all covered in plaster dust, somewhat terrifying and somewhat funny, one could say that it is almost human. This is the GUARDIAN SPIRIT OF THE HOUSE, who is holding a red-clad notebook, which is the diary of a former tenant whom he dearly loved. After drying his eyes, the HOUSE SPIRIT begins to read the diary, and the whole story unravels as he reads it.
In an atmospheric house lives
FRIINA, who sells her body, but whose heart is kind and pure. (More like a holy prostitute than a whore.) FRIINA has a small circle of clients who need help both physically and psychologically. She loves only one of them: an adventurer NIIKAI; who turns out to be the husband of her younger sister NOOMI. After they had moved into the city the husband walked out on her.
FRIINA gives him up so that he can return to her sister, who is desperate. Heartbroken FRIINA decides to commit suicide …
…when, out of the blue, the HOUSE SPIRIT comes to visit her.
He gives the girl a couple of mice as a present and professes his love to her, in his own way. It turns out that this small dirty suitor has a warm heart, which is something that the lonely and cold FRIINA badly needs. (At the same time the demolition men are placing detonators in the building. Over the loudspeakers the orders to the tenants to vacate the building are heard.)
But these calls fall on deaf ears. FRIINA takes into her arms the little HOUSE SPIRIT, who is crying for her love, and sings a song to console him.
A loud explosion is heard. The house falls into ruins and above the dust-covered ruins… FRIINA's song is heard. /the lyrics/
II THE DIAMOND PATH
(A brief synopsis.)
The drama is based on a true story. Some Siberian geologists, in whose expeditions the author participated, found an old rickety cabin in the taiga and three human skeletons in it. Beside them there were firelocks and a shredded bag with diamonds.
The author tries to find out what happened to the THREE MEN. And this is what the story is all about.
Introductory music, interwoven with natural sounds: the chirping of birds, the roar of the waterfall, the howls of wild animals… This grows into a song.
Three adventurers who are looking for diamonds are singing. (The lyrics of “The Diamond Path”). The diamond seekers appear one by one: the former overseer on the galley BIG PALM, the former PREACHER and their FIRE KEEPER. They are ecstatic as they have found diamonds. THE BIG PALM raves about slaves that he is going to buy for his galley, THE PREACHER dreams of a church that he will build for his congregation. THE FIRE KEEPER (a girl dressed as a boy), who is in love with the Preacher and has followed him into the woods, dreams about his lover. In the subsequent quarrel all the three of them perish. They had not listened to the advice of their GUIDE, a Wise Man of the Forest, who told them to throw the diamonds back into the river. This is the curse of the diamonds that is on them . The false values have led them to perdition.
A century later (in our time). The same diamond path, the same song “The Diamond Path”, DIAMOND SEEKERS (geologists): RESURSOV, a scientist, SIMKA, a criminal, his carrier, and POTBOY, their cook (in fact, Resursov's wife, dressed in man's clothes; feeling abandoned she has followed him into the forest). A similar situation develops as a century ago… A GUIDE turns up, who is ready to lead them out of the taiga on condition they threw their diamonds back into the river. Two people agree to do it: SIMKA, who is as poor as a church mouse, and Resursov's wife TONKA, who is disappointed in his husband and has fallen in love with SIMKA. The only person who does not want to do it is RESURSOV; he wants to become rich and buy a promotion with these diamonds. Will the curse of the diamonds befall on them as it did on those a century earlier? Will the trio become skeletons, human bones polished by time to be found by the next century's diamond seekers?
“A belief in simple and eternal moral values, proclamation of the basic truths of Christian humanism, the question of the meaning of human existence, a flood of imagery and powerful fantasy, polyphony, fresh symbolism, visionarism –this is what characterises the best written by Baturin.”
(Luule Epner, theatre critic/