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“A Merry Death”

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Evreinov, Nikolai (Russian playwright, playwright, producer, director, historian, 1879-1953), “A Merry Death,” translated from Russian into English by Christopher Collins,

a 30-minute comedy in English, set Anywhere, late evening, 19__,


 •  © 2000 by Nikolai Evreinov;  •  in Theater Wagon: Plays of Place and Any Place (Charlottesville, 1973), ISBN __________, in Nikolai Evreinov’s Life as Theater: Five Modern Plays (Ann Arbor, 1973), ISBN __________, and published texts also available from translator;  •  script/rights available from Dr. Christopher Collins, 1501 Rutledge Avenue, Charlottesville, Virginia 22903, U.S.A., e-mail writerkit@aol.com, telephone (home) 804-977-7912, (work) 804-760-5267, fax 804-974-7116.  •  Cited by Christopher Collins, via ftp November 1, 2000; Collins says,

 §  Dramatis Personae Harlequin (m), middle-aged entertainer in declining health; Pierrot (m), Harlequin’s best friend; Columbine (m), Pierrot’s wife and Harlequin’s lover; The Doctor (m), summoned to tend to the dying Harlequin; Death (extra m or f—or imagined).

 §  Synopsis “Harlequin is dying, but his friend Pierrot doesn’t want to see it, has summoned the Doctor. Doctor lies to Harlequin while telling Pierrot that Harlequin will die at any moment. Harlequin lectures the Doctor on the need to enjoy life to the fullest before death comes. Columbine arrives, and Pierrot discovers she has been unfaithful, so he resolves to speed Harlequin’s death in revenge then regrets it. Death appears.  During the play and after the apparent final curtain, Pierrot addresses the audience, denouncing the playwright and society in general.

 §  Comment “Death appears either a non-speaking fifth character, or an imaginary one to whom others react. Simple scenery and traditional commedia dell'arte costumes. Doctor can wear academic gown and cap and carry an sbsurdly-large syringe. Few short songs, one with original Evreinov score. A piano would help but is not necessary. Since 1908 in Russia,, this play has had hundreds of productions in many languages. Theater Wagon of Virginia (for whom the play was translated into English) has produced it at Scotland's Fringe Festival and at other locations over the past twenty-five years. Recently produced in Washington, D.C. Often offered in France on a program The Paradoxes of Philandering, including other Evreinov one-act plays ‘Styopik and Manya,’ and ‘Theater of the Soul.’”

 §  Themes adultery, Columbine, commedia dell’arte, death, Harlequin, Pierrot, Russia, stock character.

See also Nikolai Evreinov’s


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Small-Cast One-Act Guide Online


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