The Reader's Doglist Association of Great Britain proudly presents more delightful drama in our world-famous series. Following the astonishing response to Part One, we have spared no expense to commission a second instalment of this new work from leading edge Czech playwright, Stanislav Dukla-Bluhurg.

'The Russian Thing'

by Stanislav Dukla-Bluhurg

Part Two

The Story So Far...

On a bleak day when the Moscow sky had the look of a faded horseblanket and carried the threat of flamed veal kidneys, Boris Petrovich Maiski arrived out of the air via the miracles of Russian New Technology. But he was not alone. On his 'flight', he had struck up an acquaintance with a 'student', un certain Misha Kuznetsov and a bond had been created which stretched deeper than mere friendship.The story gathered pace as our heroes neatly sidestepped the rigours of airport officialdom and Boris Petrovich found himself within the cosy confines of an 'hotel'. But all was not well. An extra piece of luggage appeared at the hotel like Heinrich Böll's proverbial Extraportion Pudding. Why were the hotel staff desperately trying to foist this 'bag' on anyone who approached the administrator's desk?

The sumptuous administrator's desk at Boris Petrovich Maiski's hotel - complete with assorted broken gadgets, illegible information sheets and a severed head.
In This Instalment...
We meet Nina. Why does this student have all the time in the world to swan off to concerts and drink in 'nice' cafes? Then she goes off with Misha and Boris to play 'guitar'! Is that what she calls it? She doesn't fool Misha's Mama. Boris takes a gourmet tour and makes a conquest over breakfast. Or has this all been engineered by the mysterious Vanya, the hotel porter? And what has happened to that extra bag? Does it hold the key to this unfolding story or is it simply the 'clou' to the age of Louis XIV? Find out in the next thrilling instalment of...'The Russian Thing' - a theatrical meisterwerk by Stanislav Dukla-Bluhurg.

A street
'The Locations'
More glamour... more glitz... more five star luxury!!

We are whisked from 'a street' to 'an hotel' and to eateries offering Moscow's finest cuisine!

Boris Petrovich Maiski's Five Star Hotel (before the door fell off)

The Characters

Misha Kuznetsov a student
Boris Petrovich a tourist
Nina Gagarina another student
Man A customer in the buffet
Girl idle girl working in buffet
Administrator the hotel administrator
Vanya the hotel porter
Radio announcer a radio announcer
Misha's 'Mama' a mother

The Song

Every worthwhile dramatic work sholuld have a song! And the Russian Thing is no exception! Once you've heard the cast's rendition of the lyrically stunning ' Da Svidanya' you'll be humming it everywhere - even when you're backing the big brown Lada out of the garage!

The Snorkel

Last but not least, the snorkel!

Can we wait any longer for the next instalment of the 'Russian Thing'?

We present the second instalment of...

'The Russian Thing' by Stanislav Dukla-Bluhurg.

Scene 10

The momentum gathers as Boris and Misha make a hasty exit from the hotel. For now we can only speculate about what has happened to the bag. Misha gives an almighty shove to open the hotel door. Once outside he carefully places the door handle next to a pile of rust and assorted detritus on the ground.

Misha: Let's go, Boris Petrovich!
Boris :Right, let's go.
Misha :Well, there's Moscow!
Boris :How nice it is here! Do you know Moscow well, Misha?
Misha :Yes, I do. Where is my magazine?
Boris :Your magazine? Which one?
Misha :The magazine 'England'. Oh, it's still in your room!
Boris :In the hotel? Well, never mind. I've got a 'Pravda'.
Misha :You read 'Pravda', do you?
Boris :Yes. I always read 'Pravda'. What do you read?
Misha :I read 'Pravda' as well, and the magazine 'England'.
Boris :Is it an interesting magazine?
Misha :Yes, it is. But, who's this in 'Pravda' here?
Boris :Don't you know? It's David Oistrakh. There's a concert today.
Misha :Oistrakh? What a fine artist! Let's go to the concert then!
Boris :Right, let's go!

Scene 11

In the street. Now what is going on here? What is all this tosh about magazines? One minute Misha can't tell David Oistrakh from David Bellamy - and then he's dragging Boris off to a concert without a by your leave, ticket or snorkel! They're about to run into Nina (coincidence?) - someone who also seems to have time on her hands.

David Oistrakh
David Bellamy
David 'Dogbreath' Wibble
David Jacobs

Nina :Hallo, Misha!
Misha: Aaaaah! Hello Nina! Boris Petrovich, this is Nina Gagarina. Nina, this is Boris Petrovich Maiski.
Boris :Hallo, Nina.
Nina :Hallo, Boris Petrovich. Are you a student too?
Boris :No, I'm a tourist.
Nina :I'm a student. Misha, where are you going at the moment?
Misha :We're going to a concert.
Nina :How interesting! Who's performing?
Misha :David Oistrakh. Here he is in 'Pravda'.
Nina :Aaaah! You've got a copy a 'Pravda'. I've got a copy of 'England'. It's a good magazine.
Misha :So you've got a copy of 'England'. That's good! My copy's in the hotel. Can I have a look at yours, Nina?
Nina :Yes, please do!
Misha :Here's the magazine 'England', Boris Petrovich. It's good, isn't it?
Boris :Yes, not bad. Quite interesting.
Misha :Let's go, folks! The concert's at three.
Nina :But that's now! I'll come to the concert too. May I?
Misha & Boris (together) :Yes, please do!

Scene 12

Boris Petrovich Maiski is clearly unimpressed with this 'England' publication that Misha and Nina cannot seem to be without. The concert has taken place without major incident.Well, other than the unfortunate collapse of a several floors of the concert hall which, as luck woluld have it, spared Misha, Boris and Nina any significant inconvenience - especially as, as they say, 'the band played on'. Mozart and carnage of considerable proportions. Well done!
Nina at the University library
Boris :What a good concert, wasn't it Misha?
Misha: Yes, and what a fine artist. Don't you think so, Nina?
Nina: I think David Oistrakh plays very well.
Misha: Where shall we go now?
Nina: I'm going to the university.
Misha: Are you working today?
Nina: Yes, I am. I have some reading to do in the library.
Misha: Yes, it's all right reading in the library, though I don't always read there. I often read at home.
Nina: Boris Petrovich, where are you going now?
Boris: I'm going to a restaurant. Do you know where there's a good one?
Misha: Yes. In your hotel.
Boris: That's a long way away.
Nina: I know a good restaurant. It's not far from here.
Misha: Where's that, Nina?
Nina: In the hotel 'Peking'. There's a restaurant there and a café, too. Which shall we go to?
Misha: Let's go to the café. It's nice there.

Scene 13

the unashamed luxury of the cafe at the Hotel 'Peking'
Oh, very nice. While some people get on with their work, Boris, Misha and Nina are pictured here loafing around in the lavish surroundings of the Hotel 'Peking'. When is Nina ever going to do any of this 'reading at the University' that she keeps going on about? Before we know it they'll be necking copious quantities of lemonade and gorging themselves on beetroot swill and dog-gestive biscuits, I sholuldn't wonder! One of them will probably find it impossible to resist another look at the magazine 'England', given half a chance!

Nina: It's nice here, isn't it, Boris Petrovich?
Boris: Yes. Very nice. Is your lemonade good?
Nina: Yes, it's fine. What's your tea like?
Boris: It's all right too. Are you going to the university now?
Nina: Yes, I'm going to the university, to the library.
Boris: What are you reading there?
Nina: I'm reading a journal about music.
Boris: Oh, about music. That's interesting.
Nina: Yes, I'm reading about Mozart.
Boris: Do you read about music too, Misha?
Misha (laughs): No, I don't read about it, I play the guitar.
Boris: Oh, you play the guitar. That's interesting! Where is your guitar?
Misha: It's at home.
Nina: Do let's go over to your place and listen to your guitar, Misha! May we?
Misha: O.K. Let's go. Boris Petrovich, did you know that Nina plays the guitar too? Where is your guitar, Nina?
Nina: I think it's in the university. That's a long way away.
Misha: Well, never mind. Let's go and play the guitar at my house.
Boris & Nina: Let's go.

Scene 14 (outside the Peking Hotel)

So that just about wraps it up for 'reading at the University'. Mozart, Schmozart. The lure of 'playing guitar' is just too much for these young people. And what about the bag? In all this mad rush of hedonism, has anyone stopped to consider what has happened to the bag back at the hotel? Have Vanya and The Administrator managed to pass it on to anyone? It doesn't look likely that we'll find out just yet. Perhaps someone sholuld throw a bucket of water over these people to bring them to their senses and give them a sense of responsibility?
Misha's apartment block

Boris :Let's go by feet to listen to your guitar, Misha. Is it far to your house?
Misha: No, not far. From the 'Peking' restaurant to my house is only two kilometres. It's one kilometre to the Big Theatre and one more kilometre from the theatre to my house.
Nina: Aaahh. That's a long way!
Boris: Yes no, two kilometres - that's not so far!
Misha: Yes, and there is no transport. It's a long way to the Metro and the bus.
Nina: Well, how but. Let's go by feet.

Scene 15 (the three friends enter Misha's flat)

All mod cons at Misha's flat
What is all this drivel about the lenght of the journey? As any fool knows, you can either travel there and back (with a purpose) or you can go by feet. It's simple.

Misha :Well, here's our flat. I think Mama is at home. Mama, where are you? In the kitchen? No, she's not at home. She must still be at work on the collective farm. Sit down, please. There is the sofa.
Boris: What a good room you have, Misha!
Misha: Yes, it's a good flat.
Boris: Do you work here?
Misha: No, I work in the bedroom. Mama works here and has the radio on...
Boris: Yes, and your telephone is here...
Misha: Yes. But it's good in the bedroom. You can work there. But where is my guitar? I think it's in the bedroom. No, it's not there. Never mind, Mama knows where it is. (footsteps). Aaahh, here she comes on foot. (door opens). Hello Mama. Do you know Nina?
Mama: Yes I know her. Hello Nina!
Nina: Hello!
Misha: And this is Boris Petrovich, a tourist from Kiev.
Mama: Hello, very pleased.
Boris: Hello, very pleased.

Scene 16 (still in Misha's flat)

Misha: Mama, do you know where my guitar is? It's not in my bedroom.
Mama: You are a one, Misha! There it is by the sofa!
Misha: Axxxx, yes, thank you. (strums)
Mama: What are you playing?
Misha: Don't you know, Mama? (plays tune)
Nina: Boris Petrovich tell the truth! Does he play well?
Boris: Yes, very good. And do you play the guitar often, Nina?
Nina: No, not very often. I'm always working. I cannot play as well as Misha.

Scene 17 (Misha's flat)

Nina, Boris and Misha prepare to 'play guitar'
Is Misha half-baked? Or is this ridiculous searching for a guitar some sort of dubious ritual?
Misha's bedroom after a session of 'playing guitar'
Nina: Monk's Fridge, it's already late. I'm going.
Misha: Come off it Nina. It's not that late. Sit down. Where's Mama? She's in the kitchen. Mama, is the tea ready?
Mama: It is my dear.
Nina: Not, not. No. No. It's a long way to the university.
Boris: I'm off too. Misha, is it far from your house to the hotel?
Misha: Yes no, not far. Nina is also going that way by feet.
Nina: Yes, I'm going on foot to the Metro. The station and the hotel are on Revolution Square.
Boris: Axxx, yes, I know. That's not far from the Big Theatre!
Mama: You notice that Boris Petrovich already knows Moscow well!
Boris: Yes, never mind. Big thank yous to you for a pleasant evening. Goodbye!
Nina: Thank you for the music, Misha. I so love your guitar. Goodbye.
Misha: All the best.
Mama: Goodbye.

Scene 18 (in the street on the way back to Boris's hotel)

Everybody is thoroughly exhausted after this session of 'playing guitar'. Mama's tone speaks volumes - almost accusing Nina of being nothing more than a trollop. Boris seems a little embarrassed by his introduction to these Muscovite shenanigans. As Nina guides Boris back to his hotel in Revolution Square, his head spins with the thrills, smells and tastes of the Moscow night. Nina's perfume overpowers his senses, its bouquet redolent of blast furnace and collective farm.

Boris: What a pleasant evening! And how I love your beautiful Moscow!
Nina: Yes, Moscow is beautiful. But Kiev is also a beautiful city?
Boris: Yes, very beautiful. Do you know that we in Kiev also have a big university?
Nina: Yes. I know a student from Kiev. She loves Moscow but is always thinking about Kiev.
Boris: It's so good in Kiev. We have a good flat, in truth not very big, but not far from a beautiful park.
Nina: Here we are at the Big Theatre already! I'm going that way to Revolution Square. The Metro station is there. And there's your hotel. All the best, Boris Petrovich.
Boris: Goodbye Nina.

Scene 19 (enters hotel)

Boris (to himself) :What a good evening! But where is the administrator? The administrator is not there. Well, never mind. I think I know where my room is. One.....Two.....well here's number three already!. How pleasant to be home! I'll listen to the radio! (switches on: sounds of music - last chords and applause)
Radio Announcer :You are listening to a concert of the music of Mozart. David Oistrakh is playing (opening bars of a Mozart violin concerto)
Boris: How I love Mozart's music!

The 'Yes No Interlude' starring Alec Dane on the gong

Scene 20 (Boris Petrovich's hotel room: morning)

Knock on door

Boris (wakes, yawns loudly) :Oxxx, what's the time? Ten o'clock - it's already late! (another knock) Who's that in the corridor? Who's there?
Vanya: It is I, Vanya.
Boris: Vanya? I'm coming. (opens door) Hello!
Vanya: Hello! Do you know that it's already ten o'clock?
Boris: Yes, I know. Can you tell me where I can get breakfast?
Vanya: It's already late. The hotel restaurant is closed.
Boris: But can I have breakfast in the buffet?
Vanya: Yes, you can. The buffet is still open. But they only have tea, coffee and fruit.
Boris: Never mind. That's a good breakfast: all I need. The buffet's by the entrance, isn't it?
Vanya: Yes, not far from the entrance.

Scene 21 (the hotel buffet)

Why does Vanya want to get Boris out of his room and into the buffet? Boris goes off like a lamb to the slaughter despite the pointlessness of the exercise. The directions are also pointless. 'Follow the smell of the toasted knacker's yard' woluld have sufficed!
the hotel buffet and girl

Boris (goes up to man at counter) :Tell me please, is the buffet still open?
Man: Yes, it's open - but there's no sign of the girl.
Boris: Where is she? In the kitchen?
Man: No, there she is at the entrance. Listening to the radio.
Boris: Girl!
Girl: Just a minute. I'm coming.
Boris (to man): Yes, it's good to listen to the radio. But breakfast is also good.
Girl: What can I get you?
Boris: Have you got tea?
Girl: No. No tea. But we do have coffee.
Boris: Is that all? What else have you got?
Girl: Well as it's already ten o'clock, we only have coffee, fruit and bullotchki.
Boris: Never mind. Give me coffee, fruit and bullotchki then.
Girl: One bullotch?
Boris: One, please.
Girl: Just a moment. I'm going to the kitchen by feet.

Hours pass. The acrid smell of burning permeates the whole building like an asbestos reindeer.

Girl :Here's your coffee and bullotchki.
Boris :Thanks. I'll just have one bullotch, please.
Girl :You're a tourist, aren't you? Where from?
Boris :I'm from Kiev
Girl: From Kiev? What a beautiful city!
Boris :Yes, it's beautiful. Do you know Kiev?
Girl :No. I don't know the city. But I know a girl from Kiev. She works there in the park buffet not far from the hotel 'Ukraine'
Boris :Aaaahhh! I know that hotel very well. It's not far from my house. I also know the buffet. It's very pretty there.
Girl :Yes. Tania works there. How nice to work in a park! We don't have one. I'm always working here in the hotel restaurant.

Scene 22 (Boris Petrovich goes up to the hotel desk)

Boris : Mushroom Salad! Tell me do you have a letter for me from Kiev?
Administrator :Fish and Chips twice! What's your surname?
Boris :My name's Maiski.
Administrator :One minute, please. Maiski....Maiski.....Aaaaahhhhh. Here it is.
Boris :Many thanks. This is a letter from Mother. Do you have postcards?
Administrator :Yes we have. Here's a beautiful postcard. How many do you want?
Boris :Give me two - and two stamps, please
Administrator: Here are your postcards and stamps
Boris :What a beautiful photograph of the Big Theatre! Give me another two!How much is that?
Administrator :Here you are. That's four postcards and two stamps. Anything else? That'll be thirty kopecks, please.


Why does Boris need the extra postcards? And why hasn't he bought some extra stamps? Why does no one ask about the severed head behind the administrator's desk? Has Alec Dane absconded with the mysterious extra bag?

Find out the answers to these and sundry other non-related questions in the next instalment of the 'Russian Thing' by Stanislav Dukla-Bluhurg.

Now, at this moment of pure suspense, we must leave the dramatic action!

As usual, we, at the Reader's Doglist Association Of Great Britain - Paff Chair Theatre Department, know how to set up a cliffhanger!!!!!!

Paff-Chair Theatre is brought to you by arrangement with the Sulpi Entertainment Corporation.

All characters are largely fictitious. Devices of dubious quality and origin are not recommended for use in the home. You have been warned.


©2003 The Reader's Doglist Association of Great Britain