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from the performance Let's Have Sex!
by Valentin Krasnogorov

A play in two acts

Translated by Eugene Reznikov and James Walker.

Characters

husband
wife
professor
girl
sister

PART ONE

The room may be furnished with nothing more than a table, some chairs and an armchair. The HUSBAND is reading a book. The WIFE enters. The HUSBAND continues to read. The WIFE goes out, enters again. The HUSBAND continues to read.

WIFE. Let's have sex.

HUSBAND. OK. (Continues to read.)

WIFE. Let's have sex!

HUSBAND. (Continues to read.) OK!

WIFE. I said - let's have sex!

HUSBAND. What?

WIFE. Sex!!

HUSBAND. Right now?

WIFE. Why not?

HUSBAND. Just let me finish reading this page.

WIFE. What if I want it right now?

HUSBAND. What has come over you?

WIFE. Nothing. Do you have any objections?

HUSBAND. Me? No.(Continues to read.)

WIFE. Well?

HUSBAND. Well, what?

WIFE. You said that you have no objection.

HUSBAND. To what?

WIFE. To doing it.

HUSBAND. Doing what?

WIFE. Put down the book, or Iíll throw it out the window.

HUSBAND. The book doesnít have anything to do with it.

WIFE. I know that it doesnít. But you donít want me throw you out the window, do you?

HUSBAND. What do you want from me?

WIFE. I have said, let's have sex.

HUSBAND. You interrupted me in a particularly interesting place - he is sneaking up to her bed with a gun.

WIFE. Nobody sneaks up to my bed.

HUSBAND. Thatís good.

WIFE. I am not so sure.

HUSBAND. (Furtively glancing at the book.) I think heís going to kill her now.

WIFE. (Grabs out the book away from him and throws it into the corner.) I will kill you now.

HUSBAND. What do you want from me?

WIFE. Nothing. A woman is not supposed to want it. You are the one who is supposed to want it.

HUSBAND. You seem very irritable today.

WIFE. There is nothing wrong with me.

HUSBAND. Did something happen at work?

WIFE. Do people have sex only when something happens at work?

HUSBAND. No. Not necessarily.

WIFE. Thank God. Otherwise else I would think that nothing ever happens to you at work.

HUSBAND. I think that now it is not the right time, and this is not the right place.

WIFE. For you, never is the right time and nowhere is the right place for sex.

HUSBAND. Somebody could come in Ö

WIFE. But weíre alone now, so letís hurry!

HUSBAND. You know, it would be inappropriate here.

WIFE. So tell me when and where it would be appropriate for you? Why does it always have to be in the matrimonial bed, always at the same time, on the weekend, ten minutes after the light is turned off? Why not in the morning, why not in the afternoon? Why always lying in bed? Why not standing up or sitting down? Why not on the floor or on a table? Why not on the washing machine? Why not on a swing in the garden? Why not on a roll of barbed wire? Why not by candlelight? Why donít you take me by surprise, without warning, when Iím not expecting it, where itís inconvenient? Why does it always have to be at home, in a warm and comfortable room, when weíre yawning before going to sleep, in the same everlasting bed?

HUSBAND. BecauseÖ Because in the bed is more convenient.

WIFE. More convenient? Then why are the times on the back seat of a cramped car, or in a forest on an ant hill, or on a dark backstairs the ones we remember forever, while matrimonial caresses at home, in the soft, wide, convenient bed so suitable for sexual pleasure are forgotten in ten minutes?

HUSBAND. Because... I donít know why.

WIFE. Why donít you come up to me when Iím washing the dishes and take me from behind? Why donít you look for a chance, why donít you pursue me? Why I am always sure that you wonít do anything unexpected? Why not at a symphony concert? Why not in someone elseís apartment, where somebody might come in at any moment?

HUSBAND. Somebody could come in here at any moment.

WIFE. Well, let them. Let something happen at last. I donít want to be stuck inevitably doing the same thing over and over. I want unpredictability. I want to not know what awaits me tonight. Maybe a meeting with a girlfriend in a cafe, or maybe a party at somebodyís home... Or a quiet walk alone through the park, or taking a rest in an armchair with a book in my hands, or an unexpected rendezvous on a dark beach under the starsÖ Under the bright stars in a mysterious black skyÖ White sand, pounding waves, the passionate embrace of unfamiliar arms, hands greedily exploring a new and unfamiliar body Ė my body Ė that longs impatiently for those arms Ö But none of this will ever be, and I know precisely what will happen today, and tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow. It seems as if my life has already ended, because I already know everything; Iíve already gone through everything. There is nothing new left to happen. Iím not living, I only continue to exist. I read the same page of the same book, and it is so boring to me, boring, boringÖ Itís so boring to me! Let's have sex!

HUSBAND. My God, again?

WIFE. ďAgainĒ? Did we already do it?

HUSBAND. In general or today?

WIFE. What happened in general, I donít remember anymore. There never was anything, and there never will be. All that there is, is ďnow.Ē Why do we live only in the past or in the future? Why not to try to live now, and so that "now" can make us happy? Let's haveÖ

HUSBAND.Ö Sex.

WIFE. Yes. For a change.

HUSBAND. I donít know what has come over you. You sound so cynical. Such a matter-of-fact and naked way of putting it: ďLet's have sex.Ē

WIFE. And what do you want me to say? ďLet's make loveĒ? Love? Doesnít that seem ridiculous to you? Arenít you embarrassed? Doesnít it sound cynical? And you donít seem to approve of the word ďnaked.Ē Better to be clothed. In a long coat, for example. All buttoned up.

HUSBAND. In a decent society they donít talk about sex.

WIFE. You might think that in a decent society they donít have sex.

HUSBAND. They do, but they just donít talk about it.

WIFE. But each of us is not first and foremost an executive, a teacher, an engineer, a doctor or a member of parliament. First of all we are men and women. Why shouldnít we think about it and talk about it? Why should I be ashamed of what is natural? Of what gives me pleasure?

HUSBAND. You shouldnít be ashamed, but you shouldnít talk about it either.

WIFE. And what do they talk about in a decent society?

HUSBAND. I donít know. About money.

WIFE. You want me to talk to you about money? About what you call your salary? Well then, let's talk about money.

HUSBAND. No, better not.

WIFE. And what is so cynical in the word "sex"? It is matter-of-fact - I agree. But sex is a fact of life. A part of our lovely, comfortable, boring, miserable everyday life. You say, ďLet's have supper.Ē So why canít I say, ďLet's have sexĒ? Let's watch TV. Let's go shopping. Let's go to the movies. Let's have sex. Let's take out the trash. Letís do the laundry. Let's have sex. Let's call up some friends. Let'sÖ

HUSBAND. Enough!

WIFE.Ö Let's move the furniture. Let's buy a teapot. Let's have sex. Let's go to bed... Does ďLet's go to bedĒ sound cynical too?

HUSBAND. It depends on with whom.

WIFE. With my husband.

HUSBAND. With your husband it does not sound cynical.

WIFE. It doesnít sound anything at all.

HUSBAND. So tell me, are you having a hard time at work?

WIFE. Iím having a hard time at home. At home, not only do I not have sex, but Iím also forbidden to talk of it.

HUSBAND. Why should we talk about it?

WIFE. Precisely because we donít do it. And what else should I talk about? About the children that I donít have?

HUSBAND. What has come over you today?

WIFE. Nothing. Today I want to talk about sex, again about sex and only about sex. Even if itís just for today. Even if only to talk. I kept silent about it all my life. I talked about everything in the world. About Beethoven and the prices at the market. About skirts and French painting. About local elections and the bossís tie. So really, do Beethoven, French painting, prices, skirts, elections and the bossís tie interest you and me more than sex?

HUSBAND. Skirts interest you.

WIFE. And you too.

HUSBAND. Everything about a woman interests me.

WIFE. Yes. Everything between her knees and her waist.

HUSBAND. Iím a normal man.

WIFE. I wish I was sure of that.

HUSBAND. You are talking recklessly.

WIFE. Thatís good. I grew up inhibited and uptight. Sex was forbidden. Nobody spoke about it. It was obscene, done only at night. Only with the shades down and the lights off. So that nobody would see, even yourself. It was forbidden to remember it in the morning or discuss it at work. We were sexless. We had nothing between our legs. And now they do it in broad daylight. Now they show it at the movies. Now they write about it in children's books. Recently I found twenty-two tips on how to use birth-control in a magazine for schoolgirls. And I had never read about it before.

HUSBAND. So what do you want?

WIFE. To take the taboo off of sex. To free it from sin. To lift the veil of secrecy from it. To stop alluding to it. To call things by their proper names. Penis. Orgasm. Vagina.

HUSBAND. Youíre crazy..

WIFE. Yes, Iíll repeat the word "vagina" twenty times, two hundred times, until the word starts to sound neutral, sterile, medical. Until you stop reacting to it; until people who hear it stop giggling, or being offended by the vulgarity of it, stop being indignant or getting excited. Vagina, vagina, vaginaÖ

HUSBAND. Stop it!

WIFE. Vagina, vagina, vaginaÖ

HUSBAND. Youíre crazy.

WIFE. And youíre a hypocrite. A puritan. What is more attractive to you than a vagina? What do you see in your dreams? What do you pay the most attention to when you look at paintings in museums? What is the main thing for you in a woman? The eyes? The smile? Well, answer me!

HUSBAND. Youíre crazy.

WIFE. I know. This life is enough to drive anyone crazy. Have I ever truly lived? What have I seen? What have I done? Home and work, home and work, home and workÖ And what happens at home? What happens at work? Where is my life? What have I done with it? So there is only one thing left to do Ė try to lose myself in sex and forget all my petty problems. They not worth worrying about anyway, but still they overwhelm and oppress me. To stop hating myself, even for just ten minutes. Not to think, even for just one second. Not to remember. Not to care. Just feel. The joy of being alive. The pleasure. The delight of taking and being taken. Man and woman are always in a state of war, and sex is the one moment of truce, the one field of mutual understanding and attraction. The one moment when you donít feel lonely. An act of unity, a time of reconciliation with life, an illusion of love, a glimpse of happiness, an opportunity for self-affirmation.

Pause.

HUSBAND. Well, if you really want to have sex with meÖ

WIFE. With you? What makes you think that?

HUSBAND. You said, ďLet's have sex.Ē

WIFE. But I didnít say, ďwith you.Ē Just ďLet's have sex.Ē

HUSBAND. Not necessarily with me?

WIFE. No, not necessarily.

HUSBAND. With whom then?

WIFE. Do you have anyone else that you can have sex with but me?

HUSBAND. Not right at this moment.

WIFE. What about other times?

HUSBAND. Theoretically - with anybody.

WIFE. Leave the theory aside, letís get to the practice.

HUSBAND. I am tired of your nagging.

WIFE. My poor, unfortunate husband. Heís tired to death of sex. Apparently, forever.

HUSBAND. You know, Iíve had enough of you. Maybe you really think I am your husband, but I donít consider you my wife. And I am not going to have sex with a strange woman.

WIFE. Why do you think I want to have sex?

HUSBAND. Well, what do you want?

WIFE. Nothing. Thatís the problem. I donít want anything. Iím depressed. Every day the same thing. I am so depressedÖ

HUSBAND. So why torment me? Why ask for sex if you donít want it? Just to spite me?

WIFE. Have I no right to talk? Iím your wife!

HUSBAND. Leave me alone! You are not my wife! I hate the very word "wife"! My wife has ruined my life! My wife has driven me crazy! Stop it! Leave me alone! (Leaves.)

WIFE. (Alone). A little more of this, and I really will go crazy. I have to save myself. I need a change. As soon as possibleÖ Otherwise it will be too late. As soon as possibleÖ What to do? What to do?

PROFESSOR. (Entering). What to do? Iíll tell you. Letís have sex.

WIFE. Thatís a surprising proposition.

PROFESSOR. Good! Sex shouldnít be planned. Itís only good when itís spontaneous. It should be sudden like a whirlwind, unexpected like an earthquake. It should catch us by surprise, when weíre not hoping for it, where it doesnít seem possible. Do you agree?

WIFE. Yes.

PROFESSOR. Then letís start now.

WIFE. Not so fast.

PROFESSOR. But you said you agreed.

WIFE. I agree in principle. Not to your proposition, but to what you said about the whirlwind and earthquake.

PROFESSOR. If you agree in principle, then letís get started. We can work out the details as we go along. Or when weíre done.

WIFE. I donít have time.

PROFESSOR. Neither do I. So letís not waste it. Letís get started right away.

WIFE. I am not used to doing it ďright away.Ē I need time.

PROFESSOR. Nonsense. Imagine youíve been swept up by a whirlwind.

WIFE. Besides, we donít really have time. By the way, what time is it?

PROFESSOR. Youíre kidding! Who has sex with a watch in his hand?

WIFE. What makes you think that I want to have sex?

PROFESSOR. Everybody wants to have sex.

WIFE. But not me.

PROFESSOR. So what do you want to do? Learn to speak German?

WIFE. I donít want to do anything. And definitely not have sex.

PROFESSOR. You donít want to have sex at all or just right now?

WIFE. Not at all.

PROFESSOR. Thatís why youíve called me?

WIFE. Me? I didnít called you. Who are you, anyway?

PROFESSOR. I am a world-famous professor of psychiatry, psychology and sociology. A sexologist and sex pathologist. Treatment, consulting, lecturing. I get rid of complexes, inspire self-confidence, free people of their inhibitions. I cure frigidity and impotence. I satisfy the unsatisfied. Itís very hard work. Lots of calls. I get very tired.

WIFE. Are you a doctor?

PROFESSOR. Not exactly. I am a sex consultant. I teach, give advice, help to solve problems, cure any illness, everything.

WIFE. Why everything, if youíre just an expert on sex?

PROFESSOR. Because lack of sex is the cause of all illnesses. Now do you understand why you feel bad?

WIFE. What makes you think that I feel bad?

PROFESSOR. You told me you donít want to have sex. Thatís a type of derangement.

WIFE. Do you think Iím crazy?

PROFESSOR. No, I didnít say that. Madness is normal because we all live in a mad world. The abnormal one is the person whoís normal. But Iíll cure you.

WIFE. How?

PROFESSOR. I have a universal remedy: sex three times a day. Instead of meals.

WIFE. I agree.

PROFESSOR. Excellent. But the patient has to be very healthy to take this cure. Are you healthy?

WIFE. Yes.

PROFESSOR. Then thereís no need for me to treat you. So letís just have sex. Do you know what it is?

WIFE. I once knew, but Iíve forgotten.

PROFESSOR. Do you have a husband?

WIFE. A husband and sex are two different things. And besides, Iím not sure if I have him.

PROFESSOR. What?! You donít even know if you have a husband?

WIFE. I have him, but I donít know whether he is my husband.

PROFESSOR. My dear, now I see. You need to start life all over again. And Iíll help you. Nobody in the entire world knows what sex is, but me. I have devoted myself to it completely. I have given it the best years of my life. I studied it in libraries and archives, at lectures and in museums, at conferences and seminars.

WIFE. And nowhere else?

PROFESSOR. If you mean nitty-gritty experience, style="mso-spacerun: yes">  perhaps that may be good for an amateur, but not for a top-notch professional. You canít even imagine what a rich world will be opened up for you when I start sharing my knowledge! Primitive sex. Ancient sex. Greek and Roman sex. Medieval sex. Renaissance sex. Baroque and Classical sex. Romantic sex. Modern sex. Oriental sex. French sex. Sex of all countries, times, and peoples. And weíll start learning all this right now.

WIFE. Right now? I clearly told you, I am not in the mood for sex right now.

PROFESSOR. Weíll have sex in the academic sense. A course of four hundred and eighty hours, for a start. We will study the theoretical principles. The history. The social aspects. Practical applications. Tantra and the Kama Sutra. Pictures. Films. Physiology and psychology. Hygiene and techniques. Exercises for the hands and legs. Voice training: shouting, sighing, groaning. Resisting, relaxing, surrendering. Pretending.

WIFE. I already know how to pretend.

PROFESSOR. I will teach you how to pretend so well that youíll believe it yourself.

WIFE. And when I learn all this, then what?

PROFESSOR. Then everything will still be the same. But you will never learn everything. Sex is a boundless science. A science that brings us happiness. All your life is not enough to explore it completely, even if you start from childhood and donít stop until you die. This subject should be taught in school. Why do we have to learn algebra, which is of no use to anybody, and not sex, which everybody needs all the time? Tell me, have you ever needed to know Newtonís binomial theorem?

WIFE. Never.

PROFESSOR. And yet sex is with us always and everywhere. It accompanies us all our life. It warms us in the winter and cools us in the hot summer. It soothes us but does not let us rest. Itís a magic elixir which gives us a sense of youth and happiness. Thatís why we love it so much.

WIFE. Right now I detest it.

PROFESSOR. Donít deceive yourself. Itís not sex that you feel an aversion to, but your partner. Change partners. Three times a day. Start today. I will teach you. Right now. You are a beautiful woman, and it is your duty to be happy. My services are expensive, but I am willing to teach you for free.

WIFE. I always thought that in circumstances like this the teacher pays, not the girl. And I didnít call you.

PROFESSOR. Called me, didnít call me, whatís the difference? Remember, we donít have much time. Letís get started. One, two, three, go!
Pause.

WIFE. How do we start?

PROFESSOR. You see, you donít even know how to start. One, two, three, go!
Pause.

WIFE. Stop that. It would be better if you teach meÖ

PROFESSOR. Teach you what?

WIFE. How to live differently. Not like I live now. Better. More sensibly.

PROFESSOR. To live differently? Itís very simple. To live in another way you must live with another partner. This idea might seem like a commonplace joke to you, but itís true. You canít change yourself now Ė so left to your own devices you will always live the same way you have before. But life with another man will force you to live differently.

WIFE. Better or worse?

PROFESSOR. Worse for sure. But differently. Thatís what you want, isnít it?

WIFE. I donít even know what I want. I only know what I donít want. To live here. To live like this. A miserable, boring life. Alone. People are alienated and crazy. Their favorite pastime is tormenting each other. I want to run away. Doesnít it seem to you that everybody has gone mad?

PROFESSOR. No, it doesnít just seem that way, thatís the way it really is. So there is nowhere to run away to.

WIFE. The years will pass like peas in a pod, but each one uglier than the one before. The end will come, and Iíll ask myself, what did I live for? Did I ever live at all?

PROFESSOR. My dear, life does not and cannot have any meaning, except for the continuation of life. In other words, the meaning of life is sex. Sex is the affirmation, continuation and celebration of life. You and I are ants, and nature does not care about each separate ant. Its goal is to preserve the anthill.

WIFE. I despise the human anthill.

PROFESSOR. An anthill? Thatís an undeserved compliment for our society. Ants work together in harmony, while we are a society of competitors, where everybody is wolf to each other.

WIFE. I donít know how to solve my problems anymore.

PROFESSOR. Donít complicate things. All problems come from sex. Happy sex - happy life, bad sex - unhappy life. That's all. Is your sex life good?

WIFE. No.

PROFESSOR. And the rest of your life?

WIFE. No.

PROFESSOR. Q.E.D.

WIFE. Thatís why I want to run away. Away from this life.

PROFESSOR. To tell the truth, so do I. Who will you run away with?

WIFE. Alone. ... But it would be better with somebody.

PROFESSOR. Together is certainly better.

WIFE. Why donít we run away together?

PROFESSOR. I am asking myself the same question.

WIFE. And what is your answer?

PROFESSOR. Letís do it. Thatís what I offered to do when I first got here.

WIFE. You offered to have sex when you first got here.

PROFESSOR. Sex is just an escape from life.

WIFE. I thought it was life itself.

PROFESSOR. Letís not argue. We donít have much time.

WIFE. So youíll take me with you?

PROFESSOR. Iíll abduct you, steal you, take you away, carry you away in my arms.

WIFE. Where to?

PROFESSOR. Nowhere.

WIFE. Thatís the problem.

PROFESSOR. But we have to run away all the same.

WIFE. Where to?

PROFESSOR. Thatís not important. The main thing is not to stop. Not to think. Not to look back. Give me your hand.

WIFE. Right now?

PROFESSOR. Otherwise someone will come and it will be too late.

WIFE. Then wait here, Iíll just get some things to take with me.
WIFE leaves. Pause. GIRL enters.

GIRL. Letís have sex.

PROFESSOR. So it was you who called me?

GIRL. Me? Called you? What for?

PROFESSOR. To have sex, I believe.

GIRL. No, it wasnít me. But Iím ready.

PROFESSOR. So who called me?

GIRL. If someone wanted to have sex, just presume it was me that called. A very urgent call. Let's start immediately.

PROFESSOR. Thatís just what I wanted to suggest. Who are you, by the way?

GIRL. I work with the husband.

PROFESSOR. Itís a pleasure to meet you.

GIRL. Whether itís a pleasure or not, weíll soon find out, I hope. (Starts to unbutton her dress.)

PROFESSOR. And why donít you have sex with the husband?

GIRL. With whose husband?

PROFESSOR. With yours, for a change.

GIRL. I donít have a husband.

PROFESSOR. But you work with him!

GIRL. I work with him, but he is not my husband.

PROFESSOR. That changes things completely. If he isnít your husband, it is simply your duty to have unlimited sex with him. Especially since you work together. Itís very convenient and saves time.

GIRL. Unfortunately, heís terribly busy.

PROFESSOR. Busy? At work!? With what? Impossible! What can keep a person busy at work?

GIRL. Sex, of course.

PROFESSOR. Thatís different.

GIRL. I make out his daily schedule for him and keep a record of his work: the beginning of sex, the end of it, with whom, when, on whose recommendation, whoís next. Itís a lot of work.

PROFESSOR. If heís so busy, you should have sex with someone else.

GIRL. Thatís just what I proposed to you.

PROFESSOR. My pleasure.

GIRL. I want to make sure of that.

PROFESSOR. You are in luck: youíve found the right person.

GIRL. Prove it.

PROFESSOR. My reputation does not require any proof. My name speaks for itself.

GIRL. And who are you?

PROFESSOR. I am a world-famous professor of psychiatry, psychology and sociology. A sex consultant. I get rid of complexes, inspire self-confidence, free people of their inhibitions. I cure frigidity and impotence. I satisfy the unsatisfied. I teach, give advice, help to solve problems. I cure all illnesses.

GIRL. I would like to become such a consultant, too.

PROFESSOR. Then Iíll teach you. Do you know who said the famous words: "I have taken all knowledgeÖ."

GIRL. ďÖto be my province.Ē

PROFESSOR. Exactly right. It is me who said it.

GIRL. I didnít know that.

PROFESSOR. There are still many things you donít know.

GIRL. So let's study. Iím very curious. Letís start right now.

PROFESSOR. Good. We shall begin by checking your sexuality.
The GIRL starts to undress.

PROFESSOR. No, donít undress! Itís not necessary.

GIRL. (Disappointedly). Not necessary? Then how will you check me?

PROFESSOR. I have a special system of tests. Sit down facing me and concentrate.

They sit down opposite each other.

PROFESSOR. Are you ready?

GIRL. Yes.

PROFESSOR. (Takes out a pen.) Tell me, what does this pen remind you of?

GIRL. Sex.

PROFESSOR. Very interesting. Well, what does this armchair remind you of?

GIRL. Sex.

PROFESSOR. What? Sex again? But why?!

GIRL. Everything reminds me of sex.

PROFESSOR. But tell me what an armchair has to do with to sex?

GIRL. Oh, it has a lot to do with sex. If you only knew, professor, how many of my fantasies involve an armchair! Unfortunately, theyíre only fantasies and not memories.

PROFESSOR. I am giving you the highest score! A hundred points. You have a rich imagination.

GIRL. I have a normal imagination. The trembling sails full of desire to be opened and give themselves up to the wind; the ray of sunshine piercing the moist depth of the sea; the clouds merging with each other; the train confidently entering the tunnel; the smokestack of a power plant; the trunk of a poplar; a candle Ė all of these represent the same thing to me. A carrot is a man; a turnip, a woman. A banana is a man, too Ė what a man! And potatoes, beet, apples, porridge Ė all of these are women.

PROFESSOR. You have amazing abilities. I need to learn from you, not you from me.

GIRL. The sister says that I am crazy.

PROFESSOR. Forget the sister. Trust me. You are normal. She isnít.

GIRL. I live in a world of symbols: a spoon and a plateÖ

PROFESSOR. (joining in).Ö a cylinder and a pistonÖ

GIRL. Öa ring and a fingerÖ

PROFESSOR. Öan arm and a sleeveÖ

GIRL. Öa seed and the soilÖ

PROFESSOR. Öa blade and a sheathÖ

GIRL. Öa key and a lockÖ

PROFESSOR. Öall these are symbols of the eternal union of man and woman. Each is meaningless and impossible without the other.

GIRL. Donít stop talking! Itís getting me so excited!

PROFESSOR. Tell me, what do you know about sex? No, let me put it another way. What donít you know yet about sex?

GIRL. I have to admit, I donít know what sex is at all. Iíve never had it. Thatís why itís so interesting to me.

PROFESSOR. We shall start having it, and we shall have it for a very long time, all day long, from morning till evening, and from evening till morning, and you will learn everything. Weíll start right now.

GIRL. Now? Iím afraid we canít do it now.

PROFESSOR. Why?

GIRL. We canít do it here.

PROFESSOR. I know. But why not try?

GIRL. (Looking around and lowering her voice.) Can you keep a secret?

PROFESSOR. Yes. But youíd better not tell it to me anyway.

GIRL. No, Iíll tell you. I want to escape.

PROFESSOR. You, too? Where will you go?

GIRL. Where everything is different. And why do you say, ďyou, tooĒ? Do you want to escape, too?

PROFESSOR. Who doesnít?

GIRL. Then we will run away together, while we have the chance.

PROFESSOR. Dear, how can I run away? I donít run anymore, I shuffle. I donít breathe, I gasp for breath. A few steps more and my run on this earth will be finished.

GIRL. Oh, donít talk about these awful things! Follow my example and think only of sex. Think about it all the time, so you wonít think about anything else. Do you understand me? I forbid you to think about anything else. Weíll run away from here, and youíll live another thousand years. Are you ready to go?

PROFESSOR. (Stretching out his hand.) With you Ė to the ends of the earth.

GIRL. Let's leave at once, right now, without losing a moment, not stopping, not looking back, otherwise it will be too late.(She pulls the Professor toward the exit, but he stops suddenly.)

PROFESSOR. Wait! I just remembered; I canít.

GIRL. Why? Are you afraid?

PROFESSOR. I am. But thatís not the point.

GIRL. What then?

PROFESSOR. I just promised a lady that I would run away with her.

GIRL. SoÖ?

PROFESSOR. I ought to at least explain to herÖ

GIRL. Why do you think you have to explain anything? Are you the first man to leave a woman?

PROFESSOR. No, butÖ

GIRL. Did you have an affair with her?

PROFESSOR. Not exactly, butÖ

GIRL. Whether you did or didnít, it doesnít matter. Sex is no reason to talk things over or prolong a relationship.

PROFESSOR. But since weíve gotten to know each other...

GIRL. (Interrupting). So what? Sex is no cause for acquaintance. But if youíre so scrupulous, leave her a note. Get out your remarkable pen. Write: (Dictates). ďMy dear, donít worry. I have run away with another woman. I wonít be back anytime soon.Ē.

PROFESSOR. (Gets out his pen and starts writing, then stops.) I should tell her myself. Or maybe the three of us could run away together?

GIRL. Will she agree?

PROFESSOR. Why not?

GIRL. A threesome is not so interesting.

PROFESSOR. On the contrary, it can be even more interesting.

GIRL. Well then, go and talk to her. Iíll wait here. But donít leave me alone for long! I hate being alone. It makes me feel sick.

PROFESSOR. Iíve been sick of being alone for a long time now. style="mso-spacerun: yes"> 
PROFESSOR leaves. HUSBAND enters.

HUSBAND. Letís have sex.

GIRL. OK.

HUSBAND. Iím serious.

GIRL. I could tell right away that youíre not joking. (Starts to unbutton her dress.) Well?

HUSBAND. Right now?

GIRL. Certainly not tomorrow.

HUSBAND. Right here?

GIRL. Where else?

HUSBAND. Who will start first?

GIRL. Donít we have to do it together?

HUSBAND. Yes, but somebody has to take the initiative.

GIRL. You have already done it. You offered; I agreed. Now itís your turn again.

HUSBAND. What should I do?

GIRL. Do what you offered to do, I think.

HUSBAND. That would be great. But I donít know how to start.

GIRL. Thatís the most difficult part.

HUSBAND. What do you suggest?

GIRL. To tell the truth, I donít have any experience.

HUSBAND. Youíve never had an affair with a man?

GIRL. Never! But men sometimes had an affair with me.

HUSBAND. And how did they start?

GIRL. All sorts of ways.

HUSBAND. I think weíre supposed to talk for a while first.

GIRL. What for?

HUSBAND. I donít know. Thatís how itís done.

GIRL. What should we talk about?

HUSBAND. I donít know. Books, movies, paintingÖ

GIRL. And how long do we have to talk?

HUSBAND. I donít know. It depends.

GIRL. Why not to talk afterwards?

HUSBAND. We can talk afterwards, too, but somehow you donít want to anymore. Usually the talk comes first.

GIRL. Well, if thatís the way itís supposed to be, then talk. But make it quick.
Pause.

HUSBAND. Under other circumstances I would offer to take you out to a cafe.

GIRL. Thanks. I already had a cup of coffee today. I thought you were proposing something else.

HUSBAND. That offer remains valid.

GIRL. So, whatís the matter?

HUSBAND. You see, sex should not begin from the end; it should begin from the beginning. There should be a resistance, there should be a struggle, and there should be a victory. Thatís what brings satisfaction.

GIRL. We have resistance. On your part.

HUSBAND. Iím not resisting.

GIRL. Oh really? Are you being aggressive, then? Well, I surrender. Itís impossible to resist you. So, weíve had resistance; weíve had victory; now itís time for satisfaction.

HUSBAND. But first let's talk.

GIRL. Havenít we talked already?

HUSBAND. We havenít even started to talk.

GIRL. Is that so? Well then, let's talk.

Pause.

HUSBAND. What will we talk about?

GIRL. Tell me about your Don Juan list of conquests. I suppose itís incredibly long.

HUSBAND. Yes, I have a lot to tell Ö

GIRL. Well, how many women have you had? Tell the truth. Twenty? Thirty? A hundred?

HUSBAND. Maybe moreÖ (After a pause.) To tell the truth though, not quite that many.

GIRL. Well then, how many? Ten?

HUSBAND. Not quite.

GIRL. Less than ten? And you call that a list? Still, I want to know, how many? Nine? Eight?

HUSBAND. (Reflecting). Including my wife?

GIRL. On the Don Juan list? Absolutely not. You can only include women on the list; is your wife really a woman to you?

HUSBAND. ThenÖ I have to admitÖ IÖ I donít have a Don Juan list. I mean, I do have a list, but there are no women on it.

GIRL. So get started it!

HUSBAND. Right here?

GIRL. Yes, right here, right now.

HUSBAND. You know, right here, just like that, it doesnít seem right.

GIRL. What do you mean, ďjust like thatĒ?! Weíve already been talking for five or ten minutes now!

HUSBAND. Thatís not much. Imagine that youíre about to start traveling across a country that is completely new to you. Is your purpose just to reach the final point? No. You will be looking forward to the whole journey, from beginning to end, over all the hills and valleys, cliffs and canyons, roads and trails. Or, if you open a new book, will you start reading from the last page? Without a beginning there is no plot, without a plot there is no climax. And do you think that the goal of a climber is just to be on top without making the climb? Without having to make an effort, without the climb, there is no summit point, no climax.

GIRL. Iíll have a climax. But, of course, it depends on you to some extent. So letís have sex, finally!

HUSBAND. But we are already having it!

GIRL. Really? I am an inexperienced girl, and easy to fool, but it seems to me that weíre doing something else.

HUSBAND. Sex is not what you think, itís not just the last fifteen minutes. Itís not the curtain falling at the end of the last act; itís a drama that has to be played out from beginning to end. Words, gestures, looks, serenades, flowers, gifts, advances, retreats, proposals, evasions Ė they all are a part of the great game called sex. Itís a ceremony, a series of rituals as old as the rutting of deer or the mating dance of cranes. It is a way of life, the foundation of culture. Fine clothes are not just worn to be taken off at the right moment. The most refined rules of etiquette, novels and poems, the sighs of violins and songs of flutes, pictures and sculptures of the beautiful Venus Ė all of these are created to convey the yearning of body and soul.

GIRL. ListenÖ

HUSBAND. No, you listen to me! What an intricate interrelation of the sexes mankind has devised! Certain parts of the body are concealed. Different clothes for different sexes. Different standards of behavior for men and women. The ďstrong heroic manĒ and the ďweak fragile woman.Ē Donít you see that none of this is accidental? It all fits together, doesnít it?

GIRL. Are you all right?

HUSBAND. What do you mean?

GIRL. Youíre acting as though youíre from the century before last. You talk too much.

HUSBAND. You oversimplify life.

GIRL. And you make it too complicated. Sex is a very useful, very simple and very necessary thing. Unfortunately, people go about this simple, pleasant and useful act in complicated, roundabout ways and spend a lot of effort, time and money on it. Why not simply approach someone, give them a big smile, stretch your hand and say, ďLetís have sex!Ē Like saying, ďGood morningĒ or ďGood night.Ē And how can it be a good night without sex?

HUSBAND. Youíre right.

GIRL. ďLetís have sex!Ē should be used as a greeting. What better way to express an openness and willingness to make contact?

HUSBAND. Youíre right. And what would be the response to this greeting?

GIRL. Something casual. Like, ďThanks, my pleasure.Ē Or, ďAlways at your service.Ē Or just, ďSure.Ē

HUSBAND. And how would we say goodbye?

GIRL. Thereís no need to change anything. The words ďSee you laterĒ already have a certain sexual connotation. You can hear in them a promise of something sweet, intimate, and long awaited .... At least I can. (Speaks quietly to herself.) ďSee you later Ö.Ē

HUSBAND. See you later. (Goes toward the exit.)

GIRL. Where are you going?

HUSBAND. You said, ďSee you later.Ē

GIRL. (Stopping him.) I was talking to myself. I swear, you are crazy.

HUSBAND. Iím completely normal. Maybe a bit old-fashioned, thatís all.

GIRL. That is crazy. But weíve talked enough. Now itís high time to do something! We live in a time of action. If youíre not always running to keep up, youíll fall behind.

HUSBAND. (Anxiously). Who can outdo me?

GIRL. Anybody! You talk, talk, talk, and meanwhile someone will come and snatch me from under your very nose.

HUSBAND. (Scared). Will you leave with him?

GIRL. If someone takes me, Iíll leave. Iím a young, inexperienced girl, I donít know how to resist.

HUSBAND. Please Ė donít leave!

GIRL. Well, alright. You said that we have to have some kind of foreplay. Let's play then. Pretend this is not the first time weíve met, but the second.

HUSBAND. And then what?

GIRL. When we meet the second time, we donít necessarily have to talk. The formalities are over, and we can get right to the main act.

HUSBAND. No, I canít do it. Sex is an art, an act of creation Ö

GIRL. So letís procreate!

HUSBAND. But at least tell me something about yourself first. Whatís your name, what are your interestsÖ

GIRL. I donít have any interests. Iím a young, inexperienced girl Ė pure, enthusiastic, and romantic Ė who is interested only in sex.

HUSBAND. And nothing else?

GIRL. What ďelseĒ is there? (Thinks.) Maybe, also math.

HUSBAND. Mathematics?

GIRL. I once calculated that at any given moment at least ten million people in the world are having sex. Think of that! While weíre talking now and wasting time, at this very moment five million couples pairs all over the world are doing what you and me are not doing. If you laid them all out in a straight line six feet apart Ė the width of a king-size bed Ė they would form a chain over five thousand miles long! Can you imagine that? A cosmic process! A factory! It takes my breath away!

HUSBAND. Mine too.

GIRL. So let's join them!

HUSBAND. Right here?

GIRL. Right here, right now. Hurry! We donít have much time, you know!
The HUSBAND hesitantly approaches the Girl, but suddenly shudders and listens in fear.

HUSBAND. Hush!

GIRL. (Frightened). What?

HUSBAND. Somebodyís coming!

Both listen.

GIRL. I just knew that this would happen!

HUSBAND. Hush!

Both listen. Silence.

GIRL. There is no one coming. Hurry, letís do it! Otherwise it will be too late.

HUSBAND. Maybe later? Not now and not here?

GIRL. Are you afraid?

HUSBAND. Arenít you?

GIRL. To tell the truth, I am. But you have to take the chance sometime. You have to prove sometime that you have the right to do what you want.

HUSBAND. Maybe tomorrow?

GIRL. And tomorrow you wonít be afraid?

HUSBAND. Iíll never stop being afraid. Iím afraid all the time. Iím afraid to make a mistake. To say sometime wrong. Take the wrong bus. Shake the wrong hand. Take the wrong side. Bet on the wrong horse. Everybody is climbing, climbing, climbing, and Iím afraid I canít keep up. I donít have the elbows, claws and teeth to make my way through the jungle. Iím afraid of tomorrow. Iím afraid of next Friday. I wait in fear of next month. Iím afraid Iíll lose my job. Iím afraid Iíll get sick. Iím afraid of women. Iím afraid of old age. Iím afraid to die. And even more afraid to live.

GIRL. Calm down.

HUSBAND. And this damn money. Money, money, money! Itís all anyone thinks, talks and cares about. Wives donít want love from their husbands, just money. That alone is enough to drive you crazy.

GIRL. Arenít you afraid to always be afraid?

HUSBAND. Of course I am. Donít you see whatís going on all around? Every day is the same, without purpose and without hope. Nothing changes, and if it does change, then itís only for the worse. We are caught in a net and flop around like fish; we open our mouths to scream, but nothing comes out; nobody hears. We keep running just to stay in place Ė round and round in the same wheel, in the same cage, today just like yesterday, tomorrow just like today, the day after tomorrow just like always. We struggle to make our way up, up, up. Up the down escalator. All the time we have no time. We want to have time to do everything we want to do, to make all the money we want to have. We reach out, clutch hold and scramble up. Weíre almost there, so close, just one more step, just a little more effort Ė grab it, take it! But there is nothing to grab because you canít hold on to happiness. Thatís how we spend our lives; you can never get those years back. And what is it all for, what for? You want to run away from this life, run as fast as you can. But you just donít have the strength to do it. You start to get out of breath; you stop, look back and think. You get scared, and then you start running again. So let's run away. Thereís no time left!

GIRL. You think too much. You shouldnít think. There is no tomorrow. There is only today. Donít think, OK?

HUSBAND. You think that we shouldnít think?

GIRL. I think we should run away, thatís all.

HUSBAND. Where to?

GIRL. The important thing is not where to, but where from. Away from the place that we hate, away from here. Here where nothing is possible, where everything is forbidden, everything has to be by the rules and according to schedule. Weíll escape to a better world, where everyone is free, where nothing is forbidden, where thereís not a ceiling overhead, but a big high blue sky with big white clouds floating by. Where people laugh; where theyíre happy, and sing and dance; theyíre cheerful and never sick, and nobody tells them how to live or what they have to do.

HUSBAND. Is there really such a world?

GIRL. Yes, it exists! Itís a world where no one is afraid, where everybody goes to bed whenever they want to, with whomever they want to; where there is plenty of sun and plenty of sex. Where no one is boss and everyone is happy.

HUSBAND. And where will we live without money?

GIRL. Wherever we want! Weíll live on a bench. In the bushes. On a soft green meadow. In a boat. Yes, in a boat! Weíll lie in it, embracing, and it will rock gently and carry us away, always to somewhere new. A brass band will meet us on every pier, and the music will ring out, and theyíll shower us with flowers, and weíll drift and drift and have sex, and weíll go so far that nobody will ever find us.

HUSBAND.ÖNobody will ever find us .Ö OK, letís do it!.

GIRL. When?

HUSBAND. Right now.

GIRL. Perfect. Wait here for me. Iíll go get a glass of water, take a tranquilizer, and then weíll be ready to go.

HUSBAND. Just come right back, otherwise Iíll start thinking again.

GIRL. And what then?

HUSBAND. Iíll start having second thoughts and change my mind.

GIRL. I forbid you to think. You understand? Follow my example.

HUSBAND. Iíll try.

GIRL. Sit here, donít move, donít do anything and donít think. Iíll be right back, and weíll begin a new life!

The GIRL goes out. The HUSBAND waits for her impatiently. There can be an intermission here. The HUSBAND can stay on the stage, waiting for the GIRL.

PART TWO

The action between the first and second acts can proceed without an intermission.

GIRL. Perfect. Wait here for me. Iíll go get a glass of water, take a tranquilizer, and then weíll be ready to go.

HUSBAND. Just come right back, otherwise Iíll start thinking again.

GIRL. And what then?

HUSBAND. Iíll start having second thoughts and change my mind.

GIRL. I forbid you to think. You understand? Follow my example.

HUSBAND. Iíll try.

GIRL. Sit here, donít move, donít do anything and donít think. Iíll be right back, and weíll begin a new life!

The GIRL exits. The HUSBAND waits for her impatiently. The PROFESSOR enters.

PROFESSOR. Letís have sex.

HUSBAND. Thanks, my pleasure.

Pause.

PROFESSOR. Well?

HUSBAND. What?

PROFESSOR. Iím waiting to see what will follow your "thanks".

HUSBAND. I thought it was a greeting.

PROFESSOR. No, it was a business offer. So?

HUSBAND. Iím willing.

PROFESSOR. Then weíll get started.

HUSBAND. (Looking around). I donít see any women here.

PROFESSOR. We can manage perfectly well without them.

HUSBAND. Without women?!

PROFESSOR. Certainly. Thereís you, thereís me, so there is a couple. What else do we need?

HUSBAND. I beg your pardon, but who are you?

PROFESSOR. I am a world-famous professor of psychiatry, psychology and sociology. A sexologist and sex pathologist. Treatment, consulting, lecturing. I get rid of complexes, inspire self-confidence, free people of their inhibitions. I cure frigidity and impotence. I satisfy the unsatisfied. Itís very hard work. Lots of calls. I get very tired.

HUSBAND. Iím not sure I understand exactly what you are offering concretely.

PROFESSOR. To have sex. What could be more style="mso-spacerun: yes">  concretely?

HUSBAND. Professor, with all due respect to you, to your wisdom, knowledge and age, to your gray hair and infinite understanding, you are no substitute for a woman to me.

PROFESSOR. Tell me, are you an intelligent person?

HUSBAND. I hope so.

PROFESSOR. Very well. Tell me, what is the most important thing in a partner for you Ė the body or the soul?

HUSBAND. The soul, certainly.

PROFESSOR. Then what difference does it make what body this soul has, male or female?

HUSBAND. For me Ė a very big difference.

PROFESSOR. Imagine a kindred soul so fine, sublime, gifted, intellectual, sympathetic Ö

HUSBAND. I have been searching for such a soul for a very long time. But this soul should inhabit a nice body, not too skinny and not too plump. And it is also important to me that this soul would have a normal womanís breasts, slender legs and blue eyes.

PROFESSOR. In other words, youíre against homosexual love?

HUSBAND. Absolutely. But I can understand lesbians. Who wouldnít be attracted to a blushing, soft, gentle, fresh, supple, appetizing, young female body. But any attraction to a man is unnatural.

PROFESSOR. But, you see, some women find men to be rather attractive.

HUSBAND. A perversion. Women will always have their follies.

PROFESSOR. Well, Iíll find you a woman. By the way, I have just been talking to two ladies.

HUSBAND. So have I.

PROFESSOR. I have every reason to believe that they will not object.

HUSBAND. Theyíre willing.

PROFESSOR. Which do you prefer - a plump blonde or a slim brunette?

HUSBAND. Thatís a hard choice. What did you say, ďa slim blonde or a plump brunetteĒ?

PROFESSOR. No, the other way around Ė a plump blonde or a slim brunette.

HUSBAND. I would prefer a compromise.

PROFESSOR. Namely?

HUSBAND. A slender redhead.

PROFESSOR. And I thought you would choose both.

HUSBAND. Thatís a good idea. Where are the women?

PROFESSOR. I donít know. Letís get back to the subject. What I am offering is not a coarse carnal act, but an educational process. In other words, I give lessons. Treatment, consulting, lecturing.

HUSBAND. What is there to lecture about?

PROFESSOR. How can you even ask that? Sex is a kind of transaction. And, as in any transaction, you must be considerate, discreet, skillful, and most important, persuasive. Are you persuasive in sex?

HUSBAND. I donít know what to say Ö

PROFESSOR. Donít hesitate to admit your weakness. Such shyness is a prejudice. Unfortunately, our society has not yet freed itself of its primitive values. Why isnít shameful to be a fool, an alcoholic, or a cheat, but it is to be impotent? If you donít have a leg or an eye, if you are short-sighted, skinny or fat, if you are stupid and rude, it is not shameful. If you canít support your family, itís pardonable. But woe to you if youíre incapable of this one thing. You must hide it from everyoneÖ (Sighs.) But, if you think about it, who cares, really, except your girlfriend?

HUSBAND. As for me, Iím OK, I think. But I want to be successful. Earn a lot of money. I work hard, Iím very busy. I think a lot. Thereís no time left for sex. And, to tell the truth, no strength either.

PROFESSOR. Thatís just your mistake. Youíre busy, but not with the right things. Only sex makes us all equal, only sex frees us from feeling inferior to the arrogant highbrow elite. If youíre sure of yourself as a man, you will be sure in everything else.

HUSBAND. You think so?

PROFESSOR. I donít think so, I know so. Success requires an enormous effort. You have to study for a long time, struggle, strive, push others aside, grit your teeth, pay your dues and kiss ass. The only self-affirmation you get is from sex. It makes you feel strong, important, necessary, and even superior, without studying anything, without knowing anything, without any intelligence or talent. So you can enjoy life. That is the advantage of sex over anything else you can do. If you are successful in sex, you canít be a loser. And, vice versa, if youíre a failure at sex, nothing goes right. (Bitterly). Believe me, I know.

HUSBAND. Thereís some truth to what youíre saying.

PROFESSOR. The naked truth. Iím willing to teach you for twenty years and then youíll see thatÖ (Suddenly presses his hand to his chest, groans and falls into an armchair.)

HUSBAND. Whatís wrong?

PROFESSOR. My heartÖ

HUSBAND. Do you have your pills?

PROFESSOR. (Breathes heavily.) Usually, a sister comes and gives me a shot.

HUSBAND. Should I call the sister?

PROFESSOR. (Hastily). No, donít do that! Iíll feel better soonÖ Or maybe not. (Pause). My life is over - and what is there for me to remember? If I could start my life all over I wouldnít want to. In kindergarten I dreamed of going to school as soon as possible. At school I dreamed of finishing it as soon as possible. At the university I dreamed of being on my own as soon as possible. At work I dreamed of retirement since my first day on the job. When I got married, I dreamed of divorce. Whenever I had sex with a woman, I dreamed of another woman and different sex. All my life I dreamed of another life. What now? Start all over and live the same life, dreaming of something else?

HUSBAND. So you too dream of another life and different sex?

PROFESSOR. Not of different sex anymore. Once I had it every day. Then every other day. Then once a week. Then once a month. I canít understand it: as the years go by, I have more and more skill and experience, but for some reason less desire. There is more and more theory and less and less practice. Why is that? And, you know, my work is very hard. Lots of calls. I get very tired.

HUSBAND. So do I.

PROFESSOR. Iím too old for this kind of work. When I was younger the hand of my clock stood at ten or eleven, and now it barely reaches eight. To tell the truth, it stopped at six a long time ago .Ö I try to remember now and I canít Ė when was it?

HUSBAND. When was what?

PROFESSOR. When was the last time I had sex?

HUSBAND. Did you ever have it?

PROFESSOR. Oh yes, lots of it. At lectures and in libraries. At seminars and conferences. But even that was a long, long time ago.

HUSBAND. Donít give up.

PROFESSOR. Yes, my friend, everything in the world has changed for me now. There are juicy steaks, but no teeth. Beautiful women, but no money. There is a rich past, but no future. There is everything, but there is nothing. Soon I too will not be. (He clutches his chest again and groans.)

HUSBAND. Maybe I should call the sister?

PROFESSOR. (Scared). No! (Pause). People used to believe that a guardian angel watches over us all our life. But at the appointed hour he abandons us, and the angel of death takes his place. What do you think does he look like?

HUSBAND. I donít knowÖ An old woman dressed in black, holding a scytheÖ Or a grinning skeleton. What do you think?

PROFESSOR. Sometimes I feel death so very close, but I canít see it. Maybe, it comes in the guise of an ordinary soldier with a tommy-gun, or a surgeon with a scalpel, or a sister with a syringe...

HUSBAND. (Echoes him Yes, a sister with a syringeÖ

PROFESSOR. The worst thing is that itís always near. It may knock on the door at any minute. Wave the scythe. Press the trigger. Stick in the needle. (Quietly.) Look, is that her?

HUSBAND. (Frightened). Who? The sister with the syringe?

PROFESSOR. (Whispering). Iím afraid she has already come.

HUSBAND. Where?

PROFESSOR. I donít know. I always have the feeling sheís somewhere close by, behind my back, watching me.

HUSBAND. (Whispering). Me too.

PROFESSOR. Go see.

HUSBAND. (Looks around the room and checks the exits.) Thereís nobody here.

PROFESSOR. Thank God. (Sighs). We must hurry up and live before she puts her hand on our shoulder. And what are we doing? How are we using the hours we have left? Do you ever wonder: where do all the days go away? Meanwhile And meanwhile she may come at any moment, this witch with her syringe.

HUSBAND. Yes, thereís nowhere to hide from her. I keep thinking about her myself.

PROFESSOR. (His hand on his chest, listens to himself.) I think Iím getting betterÖ (Gets up from the armchair, cautiously takes a few steps and quickly cheers up.) Weíll still get by for a while! Forgive me for this moment of weakness, this attack of fleeting pessimism! There are so many pleasures in the world! A good steak, a glass of red wine, the sun, women, flowers! Life is fine, my friend! Especially if thereís sex in it! By the way, I forgot to ask, who are you and what are you doing here?

HUSBAND. Me?Ö IÖ uh

PROFESSOR. Itís not at all important, though. Whatís important is that both of us are young and healthy. We must hurry up and live! Let's sing, let's dance! Turn on the music! A fiery tango starts to play. Superb! Perfect! Listen to me: I have a splendid ideaÖ

GIRL. (Entering). Letís have sex.

PROFESSOR. That is just what I was going to say. Would you like to dance, and we can discuss the details.

The PROFESSOR and the GIRL dance.

GIRL. Which details interest you?

PROFESSOR. What, where, when.

GIRL. Sex, here, now.

PROFESSOR. With whom?

GIRL. With you.

The HUSBAND breaks in and starts dancing with the GIRL.

HUSBAND. What were you talking about?

GIRL. The professor was interested in the details of my offer.

HUSBAND. Iím interested in them too.

GIRL. Iím ready to reveal them. (She makes a provocative move.)

HUSBAND. Very impressive details.

GIRL. And the entire offer?

Now the PROFESSOR breaks in and dances with the GIRL. During the subsequent dialogue she passes from one partner to another.

PROFESSOR. Which of us is your offer addressed to?

GIRL. Both of you.

PROFESSOR. Together or one after the other?

GIRL. Do you really think Iím that depraved?

PROFESSOR. So, one after the other?

GIRL. So, together.

HUSBAND. Youíre kidding!

GIRL. Not at all. To have sex with two people one after the other is deceit and infidelity. To do it together is honest, interesting and fun.

HUSBAND. Iíll have to think about that.

GIRL. Again? Youíre thinking again? (Passing to the Professor.) And what about you?

PROFESSOR. As I understand, you propose a group dance.

GIRL. You think itís better to do it alone?

HUSBAND. Together, you and me, just the two of us.

GIRL. Two, three, four together Ė whatís the difference? Just not to be alone, never be alone...

HUSBAND. But think about this: while one lady is being entertained by two men at once here, maybe another woman somewhere is left all alone.

GIRL. So call her here!

HUSBAND. (Perplexed.) Whom?

GIRL. The woman, so we can all be lonely together.

HUSBAND. I was speaking hypothetically; I didnít mean anyone in particular.

GIRL. Never mind. Go and find her. Cherchez la femme!

The HUSBAND and the PROFESSOR exit. The WIFE enters.

WIFE. Letís have sex.

GIRL. OK.

Pause.

WIFE. But who is there to do it with?

GIRL. Donít you know?

WIFE. No.

GIRL. So why did you say, ďLetís have sexĒ?

WIFE. I thought you might know.

GIRL. If I knew, I wouldnít be sitting here alone.

WIFE. Did you offer yourself to anybody?

GIRL. To everybody.

WIFE. And?

GIRL. No result.

WIFE. Maybe they were afraid you would ask for money?

GIRL. No, I explained I was ready to do it for free.

WIFE. And?

GIRL. Same result.

WIFE. Did you offer them money?

GIRL. No. Only myself.

WIFE. That was your mistake.

GIRL. I know.

WIFE. You should have offered to pay.

GIRL. I know. But I donít have any money. Thatís the problem.

WIFE. When you have money, you donít have to look for men. They will look for you.

GIRL. Nobody looks for me.

WIFE. Thatís too bad. We need to have a family, house, money, social status. And for all this we need a man.

GIRL. Where can we find a man like that?

WIFE. Such a man simply doesnít exist. Thatís why itís better to have several of them.

GIRL. I know. But I donít have money. I have only myself.

WIFE. What do you do at work?

GIRL. I do my work, what else.

WIFE. I mean what work? Sex?

GIRL. No. Work is when you do something that you donít want to do, but you get paid for.

WIFE. Sometimes men pay for sex.

GIRL. They donít pay me.

WIFE. Me either.

Pause.

WIFE. Are you married?

GIRL. No.

WIFE. Thatís too bad. A woman should be married. I would like to be married, but without a husband.

GIRL. For me itís not important to be married, but I want a husband.
Pause. I wonder why women are so unlucky nowadays? It seems like the more progress we make, the less happy we are.

WIFE. I think we just canít compete with computers. Weíre not as smart and contain less information.

GIRL. And we are less exciting than a picture on the screen.

WIFE. Maybe women were not created just for sex?

GIRL. (Indignant). What do you mean ďnot for sexĒ? For what then? Why do we have our earrings, bracelets, chains, necklaces, brooches, and rings? Why the perfume, creams, powder, mascara, and lipstick? What are the combs, tweezers, scissors, and hairpins for? Only to attract, to entice, to be liked! To be liked for what? For just one thing! We were created for sex, we live for it. That is why we should dedicate ourselves completely to this purpose, one hundred percent, not missing a single day, hour or minute!

WIFE. But there are exceptions...

GIRL. No exceptions. Even the driest, strictest, coldest, prudish old maid is a walking sexpot.

WIFE. Youíre right. (After a pause). Maybe Iím just not attractive?

GIRL. (Puts on glasses and looks at the Wife.) No, you are still quite something.

WIFE. Do you like what you see?

GIRL. Yes.

WIFE. Maybe, we can get by without men? Since they are nowhere to be found....

GIRL. No, I canít have it that way. But I can understand gay men, though. Who wouldnít be attracted to a strong, muscular, young male body. But a female body ... No way. (Removes glasses.)

WIFE. You wear glasses?

GIRL. I only put them on when Iím having sex. So I can see everything.

WIFE. What is there to see?

GIRL. Sex should involve all of the sense organs. Eyes. Ears. Nose. Hands. Legs. Skin. So I carry glasses in my bag all the time, to be ready. To tell you the truth, I havenít yet had a chance to put them on. Itís my dream Ė to put on the glasses, close my eyes and enjoy.

WIFE. You are crazy.

GIRL. No, Iím just enthusiastic and romantic. I keep searching. Not a day without a line.. Not an hour without an adventure. And Iím still bored. Iím tired of searching. I want to have something constant and steady. Steady sex. Every day. Every hour. Sex early in the morning. Sex late in the morning. Sex at work. Sex on lunch break. Sex in the bus on the way home. Sex in the evening in front of the TV. Sex in bed before going to sleep. Sex in the shower. Sex in my sleep. Sex before. Sex after.

WIFE. After what?

GIRL. After everything. Before everything. Instead of everything. Always. Everywhere. With everybody.(Sighs). If I didnít know that Iím already crazy, Iíd think Iím losing my mind.

WIFE. So you love to love?

GIRL. Oh yes! If I could, I would love all the men in the world!

WIFE. Why do you love sex so much?

GIRL. How can you not love it? Sex is the opposite of loneliness. Sex means two people together. At least two. Thatís already a salvation. Itís the culmination and embodiment of intimacy. Besides, I love sex because it helps to satisfy our main need Ė to talk. To my heartís content, openly, frankly. Thatís why it is called ďintimate relations.Ē A unique opportunity to tell everything about yourself. And to listen too, but the most important thing is to tell someone else. How itís going between you and him. How itís going between you and others. How itís going between him and others. How itís going between others and others.

WIFE. He and I donít talk while weíre doing it.

GIRL. And afterwards?

WIFE. Afterwards? What is there to talk about afterwards?

PROFESSOR (Entering.) Girls, there is no need to talk afterwards, before, or instead. Stop talking, stop wasting time, letís have sex.

GIRL. Thanks, my pleasure.

PROFESSOR. Then sit down, get out your notebooks, and we shall start.

GIRL. I am willing to do it sitting down, but what are the notebooks for?

PROFESSOR. For taking notes.

GIRL. Taking notes? Iíll remember everything without any notes.

WIFE. As for me, I have no desire for group lessons. style='text-transform:uppercase'> And besides, Iím jealous.

PROFESSOR. My dear, youíre out of fashion. Jealousy has been out of date for a long time now. Even a brainless hen isnít jealous. How can an educated woman of the twenty-first century talk about being jealous?

GIRL. The hen is not jealous because itís her nature to bring up her chicks without a husband, and therefore she doesnít need him. People raise their children together, and that is why jealousy is genetically inherent in a woman. Necessary or not, reasonable or not, we are jealous.

PROFESSOR. With all due respect, I must say that you display surprising erudition and intelligence for such a young, inexperienced girl.

WIFE. And besides, you just promised to run away with me.

GIRL. And with me, too.

PROFESSOR. Itís very strange. As soon as I offer to have sex, everybody wants to run away. But Iím ready. Letís go!

GIRL. Letís go who?

PROFESSOR. Both of you. Letís run!

All three run after each other around the room. The HUSBAND enters and joins the run. After a few rounds, he stops.

HUSBAND. (Panting.) Enough running. It would be better to have sex.

The GIRL, WIFE and PROFESSOR. (Stopping and catching their breath.) Thanks, my pleasure.

PROFESSOR. By the way, we have already met today.

HUSBAND. Better to greet each other twice, than not at all. Where are you running to?

PROFESSOR. We arenít running, weíre talking

HUSBAND. About what?

GIRL. About sex, of course.

HUSBAND. Why do we only talk about sex all the time? Iím sick of it. Let's talk about something else.

GIRL. What?

HUSBAND. I donít know. Just not about that.

WIFE. I agree. Iím tired of it too. Not a word about sex!

PROFESSOR. Itís settled then.
Pause.

WIFE. What will we talk about?

HUSBAND. About something intelligent. Like normal people.

GIRL. (With enthusiasm.) Sure!

Pause.

WIFE. Let's talk! Letís have a clever and cheerful conversation. OK?

GIRL. Thatís what Iíve dreamed about for a long time.

PROFESSOR. So have I.

Pause.

HUSBAND. Itís pleasant to talk about something intelligent, isnít it?

PROFESSOR. (With enthusiasm.) It certainly is!

GIRL. Sure!
Pause.

WIFE. Well, why are you all so quiet?

GIRL. What about you?

WIFE. I just donít know how to start. (To the Professor). You begin, youíre the professor, arenít you?

PROFESSOR. ... Well, to tell you the truth, being a professor I have gotten used to talking only on professional subjects.

GIRL. And what is your profession?

PROFESSOR. You know - sex. I can talk about sex forever.

WIFE. No, sex is a forbidden subject.

GIRL. (Sighing). Yes, itís prohibited

WIFE. Naturally. So we agreed.
Pause.

HUSBAND. Well, I can start. Everyone prepares to listen. Mm-mmÖ One day a husband unexpectedly comes home early and finds his wife with a lo...

WIFE. (Interrupting). Stop! We have agreed to speak only of intelligent things. And no sex.

HUSBAND. About intelligent things? Well then... (After thinking a bit). One day an intelligent husband comes home early and finds his intelligent wife in bed with a very intelligent loverÖ
Pause.

WIFE. And what then?

HUSBAND. Nothing. He found out a lot of new things that day.

Pause.

PROFESSOR. Who else wants to talk about something intelligent? (Pause.) Is it possible that no one has anything to say about literature, theater, music?

GIRL. To tell the truth, the literature doesnít interest me.

WIFE. And I donít like music.

HUSBAND. I know nothing about theatre.

PROFESSOR. So I must conclude that in modern society where everyone is equal in their lack of culture, the only subject that always interests absolutely everybody, that everyone loves and understands is sex.

WIFE. Well, if we canít talk about intelligent things, let everyone talk about whatís interesting for them.
Pause.

GIRL. I wonder what else can be interesting, other than sexPause. For example, Iím interested to know if sex can ever be uninteresting.

WIFE. It happens.

PROFESSOR. To be honest, nothing interests me anymore. Not evensex.

GIRL. I am not interested in sex either. But sex is interested in me. Very much so.

WIFE. We have slipped into sex again. Canít we talk about anything else?

GIRL. (Glumly.) About something intelligent?

PROFESSOR. Only about intelligent things.

Pause.

WIFE. Let's talk about love. May we speak about love?

PROFESSOR. About love? Certainly.

GIRL. Why can we speak of love, and not sex? Arenít they both the same thing?

PROFESSOR. Absolutely not.

GIRL. In my opinion, ďloveĒ is simply an ancient word for sex.

HUSBAND. The word ďsexĒ was probably censored back then, and the word ďloveĒ was used instead.

GIRL. No. Love, it seems to me, is some other thing. I donít remember exactly what. We studied about it at school... Itís something that took place in the distant past.

WIFE. So whatís the difference between them?

PROFESSOR. Well, whatís important in love is the partner, while in sex itís the process.

GIRL. What if the partner is good and the process is bad?

PROFESSOR. Besides, itís thought that women prefer love, while men prefer sex.

GIRL. Thatís not true. I am a young, inexperienced girl, and I donít know what men prefer. But I do know what women want.

HUSBAND. Professor, whatís better Ė sex or love?

PROFESSOR. Sex, without a doubt. Sex is good for your health, while love is harmful.

WIFE. Why?

PROFESSOR. Love involves too many negative emotions. Excitement, jealousy, demands, depression, excuses and whatnot, while sex provides only pure pleasure. Love leaves us with distressing memories, taut nerves and bitter disappointment, while sex only creates pleasant exhaustion and a strong appetite.

HUSBAND. And besides, love takes up a lot of time. All these conversations, bouquets, walks, talks, invitations, presents... Who can afford it nowadays? Who can find even a free half hour? Having sex only takes a few minutes.

GIRL. Yes, sex is somehow more modern.

HUSBAND. Look, what an intelligent conversation we are having!

GIRL. And not at all about sex!

WIFE. (Nervously).The problem is that weíre only talking again. And wasting time.

HUSBAND. What else can we do?

WIFE. I donít know. I only know that we have to do something. Are any of you pleased with your life?
Pause. Iím asking all of you, are you pleased with your life?

PROFESSOR. No.

GIRL. No.

HUSBAND. No.

WIFE. So why are we sitting here, chattering and pretending to be happy?

GIRL. Who pretends? I donít.

HUSBAND. But what can we do?

WIFE. What I proposed a long time ago Ė run away.

GIRL. We canít escape from ourselves.

WIFE. So what can we do?

GIRL. We have to act, we have to finally change something. It doesnít matter what. Wreck it, break it, set it on fire. I donít know about you, but Iíd love to do something like that.

WIFE. We all would.

PROFESSOR. We must unite. We must rise up! All of us together.

GIRL. Yes, unite!

HUSBAND. Itís not so easy. We are all so different...

PROFESSOR. Weíll come together! Develop a common platformÖ

GIRL. What platform? Leave that for later. The only way to come together quickly is sex. People can sit in the same office for a hundred years, meet each other at parties, drink together and go to picnics every weekend, but that wonít make them as close as a single night spent together!

HUSBAND. (Excited). So let's come together!

PROFESSOR. Right! Sex is the only language that everyone understands and enjoys, from Eskimos to Mongols. Thatís why it brings peace, mutual understanding and goodwill. Long live sex!

GIRL. (Pulls the tablecloth off the table, attaches it to a mop and swings it like a banner.)Hurrah!

GIRL. Freedom - now!

HUSBAND. (Jumps up on the table.) Long live the revolution!

WIFE. We have nothing to lose, but our chains!

GIRL. Genitals of the world, unite!

The SISTER enters, carrying a box of medicines.

SISTER. Letís haveÖ (Stops). Whatís wrong with you? Whatís happened?

Pause. The HUSBAND climbs down from the table, the GIRL lowers the flag. Everyone is tense.

WIFE. Nothing happened.

SISTER. Why are you all you looking at me like that?

GIRL. Weíre looking the way we normally look.

SISTER. ďNormally?Ē

WIFE. Who are you and what are you doing here?

SISTER. You know perfectly well who am I. So stop talking. Weíd better have Ö (To the Girl, who has made an impatient movement.) What? Do you object?

GIRL. Me? Not at all.

SISTER. Good. So letís have our evening treatment.

PROFESSOR. We donít want it.

SISTER. My dear, if we canít live the way we want, we all have to live the best we can.

GIRL. We donít, we canít, and we wonít.

SISTER. You have to.

WIFE. Nobody has to do anything.

SISTER. Come on now, letís be good little boys and girls.

HUSBAND. Weíre already good enough.

SISTER. You want me to use force?

WIFE. Forget about force. Itís on our side!

GIRL. I have an idea! Weíll give her a shot. It will calm her down.

WIFE. Do you know how?

GIRL. Whatís there to know? You think I never shot up?

SISTER. What is this Ė Mutiny on the Bounty?

GIRL. We told you Ė no treatment today.

WIFE. Or tomorrow.

HUSBAND. Not ever.

PROFESSOR. We are free people.

SISTER. There is no freedom. Duty, self-control and discipline are required everywhere.

WIFE. Stop this lecturing. We donít know you and donít want to.

SISTER. But I know you very well.

GIRL. What do you know about us?

SISTER. You have seen that people are malicious. Selfish. Aggressive. Stupid. You were deceived, hated, used and abandoned. And you decided to run from life. Didnít you?

GIRL. Go away, we donít like you.

SISTER. Thatís because I am your mirror. A mirror you donít want to look into. But Iíll still make you look into it.

WIFE. (Ironically).I wonder what Iíll see there.

SISTER. Youíll see yourself. Look closely. You imagine yourself being somebodyís wife, even though youíre not married and never were. An old maid with complexes. You read a lot of novels about unhappy marriages and you fuss about how youíre tired of family life and of your nonexistent husband. But do you know how hard it really is to see your tired, apathetic husband every night, with that perpetually dissatisfied look on his face? In your case history it says that youíre a virgin. That alone is enough to drive you crazy. If itís true, you really do need sex therapy. So stop complaining and find yourself a husband. If you can.

WIFE. (Gloomily). Itís easy for you to say.

SISTER. A woman should be inviting, alluring. But you wear a tired scowl on your face; it makes you look like you just drank some vinegar. And you expect to attract men looking like that?

WIFE. And how do you think I should do it?

SISTER. Fewer complaints and more cosmetics. More lipstick and smiles. A shorter skirt, and a lower neckline. If you want to run from men, run, but donít run so fast that they canít catch you. Push them away, but do it so that they hold you even tighter. Resist, but only to make the conquest more pleasing for them. Refuse, but in a way that makes it clear you will give in. Be cold, only so that he will warm you up and not you freeze him. .

GIRL. Every schoolgirl knows that lesson. Even I do.

SISTER. (To the Girl). And you, ďa young, romantic, inexperienced girlĒ Ö Have you forgotten that you have already been married three times? Three times! A normal woman canít even endure one marriage. Did you drive your husbands crazy, or vice versa Ė I donít know. And you keep wondering, ďWhy do they always leave me? What is there about me that others donít like? Are all these men to blame for abandoning me, or is it my own fault?Ē And so you invent a new biography for yourself, trying to deceive others and, most of all, yourself. But does it work?

PROFESSOR. Maybe youíre the one inventing a new biography, not her?

SISTER. By the way, professorÖ Tell me, how are you going to run away in your condition? Your children got rid of you, there is nobody to look after you, and you are going crazy with your loneliness and their ingratitude.Ö Who is waiting for you and where? Sit here quietly, eat your mashed vegetables, and lecture on the theory of sex. You wonít find anyone to listen to you anywhere else. Besides, if I am not mistaken, you are not professor at all, but a former high school English teacher. But no one can make a living teaching literature nowadays, it has gone out of fashion. Sex is far more popular, so youíve declared yourself a sexologist. (To the Husband). And you, young man, I advise you to marry.

HUSBAND. Me?

SISTER. Your former wife Ė no, not this woman here, another one Ė threw you out of the house so you wouldnít bother her and her lover. Since then youíve been afraid of all women. Youíre afraid that they will take away your freedom. That they will want you to marry them. That they will be unfaithful and leave you. That they will take up all your time and spend all your money. That they will make you quarrel with your mother and come between you and your friends. That you will be bored and unhappy with them.Ö Stop being afraid of life! Be strong. Though in this life itís harder to be strong than to be weakÖ

HUSBAND. But I thoughtÖ

SISTER. Stop thinking. Thinking is dangerous.Learn to live without thinking. Donít think what will happen in ten years. Or in one year. Or tomorrow. Learn to live today. Donít think, donít think, donít think. Every one of us should say this to himself ten times a day. ďTomorrowĒ is a bad word. Tomorrow we may be ruined. Lose our job. Get sick. Die. If you think of all of this, it can drive you crazy.

WIFE. You have an interesting tale to tell about each of us, but what about you? If youíre a mirror, would you like to look into it yourself?

SISTER. No.

WIFE. Then weíll help you do it.(Brings a mirror to the Sisterís face.) Who do you see?The SISTER does not answer. Donít want to say? So Iíll tell you. First of all, youíre not a sister.

SISTER. Who am I, then?

WIFE. I donít know. Someone who likes to make up stories about other people, a tired, sick woman who, for some reason, thinks she is a sister. And why would we even care who you are?

PROFESSOR.(To the Sister). I suppose you think weíre in an asylum? Thatís absurd. I could just as easily say that itís a hotel.

GIRL. Or a resort.

WIFE. Or that weíre at home.

HUSBAND. Or at work at the office.

PROFESSOR. So stop lecturing us and trying to cure us.

WIFE. Take care of your own problems. Weíre going to run away from here.

SISTER. Where to?

HUSBAND. To a better place.

SISTER. You have no place to go. Thereís nowhere better, everywhere is only worse. Here, everywhere, and always.

GIRL. Weíll run away anyway.

SISTER. You will never get away from here. You are not so crazy that you want to return to the world of normal people. That world is a big madhouse full of emptiness and violence.

PROFESSOR. How can something be ďfull of emptinessĒ?

SISTER. It is. And stop deceiving yourselves. Youíre sick and you know it.

HUSBAND. So what should we do?

SISTER. (Wearily). Go to sleep. Itís late. Nobody moves. Well, why donít you go?

HUSBAND. I donít want to stay alone in my room.

PROFESSOR. Neither do I.

SISTER. Go on. Iím very tired. Iím on duty tonight. Itís going to be a long, long nightÖ. And Iíll be alone. Worse than alone.

Nobody leaves.

WIFE. Canít you ever have even a few kind words for us?

The Sister keeps silent.

GIRL. Have pity on us. Weíre so lonely and miserable.

SISTER. Go on. Leave me alone.

Everybody reluctantly leaves. The SISTER remains alone.

Youíre lonely and miserable? I should have pity on you? Which one of you knows what real loneliness is like? Absolute, solitary loneliness? What do you know of true longing for real sex? Which of you understands true longing for real life? Do you understand what it means to be a sister in a place like this? To work with lunatics who you canít even talk to normally? To listen to their accusations and complaints and realize that it wonít be long before I go crazy myself? Every morning I enter this mad, mad, mad world, and in the evening I go back to a world that seems even more insane. But I still have to work; I have to live. And what for? To give you your pills and shots and to feel your hatred? Do you know that I already take the same pills and I give myself the same shots? Because insanity is contagious, no matter what the doctors say.

Have pity on you? Yes, I understand you. You talk about sex, but itís actually your thirst for love and warmth. Youíre tiredÖ Youíre tired of real life and try to find refuge in an imaginary world. If you only knew how well I understand! Iím tired too. I need some peace and quiet. PeaceÖ Not to think. Not to plan. Not to hope in vain. Not to thinkÖ

Long pause, silence. The SISTER approaches one of the doors and knocks.

(Through a door.)

Let's have sex.

No answer. The SISTER knocks more loudly and repeats.

Do you hear me? Let's have sex!

No answer. The SISTER approaches another door.

Do you hear me? Hey! Let's have sex!

No answer. The SISTER knocks at the next door. Then at the next one. No answer. Then the SISTER addresses to the audience (probably there is an invisible door between her and them).

Let's have sex!


The end


Valentin Krasnogorov is a Russian playwright living in Israel. Twenty plays of his have been performed in more than 150 theaters in Russia and other countries (including an off-off-Broadway production in the USA). ďLetís have sex!Ē was staged in Moscow in 2003 by the most famous Russian theater director, Roman Viktyuk, and was an enormous success.

Email: fainberg@ladpc.gov.il
Website: http://techunix.technion.ac.il/~merghvf/


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