At long last... an end to the tension! The Reader's Doglist Association of Great Britain proudly presents the next instalment of our world-famous drama series. Following the astonishing response to Part One and the astonisher response to Part Two, we have spared no expense to commission a third but not quite final instalment of this new work from leading edge Czech playwright, Stanislav Dukla-Bluhurg.

'The Russian Thing'

by Stanislav Dukla-Bluhurg

Part Three

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.

Russian New Technology

The sumptuous administrator's desk at Boris Petrovich Maiski's hotel - complete with assorted broken gadgets, illegible information sheets and a severed head.
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?
In Part Two we met Nina. Why does this student have all the time in the world to swan off to concerts and drink in 'nice' cafés? 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 of the hotel buffet and flirts with the hotel buffet girl over 'bulotchki'. 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? In the conclusion to Part Two, Boris buys postcards and stamps - but why he purchases four postcards and only two stamps is not explained - is it significant?

Is anything? Find out kürzlich, as they say in Dalby Borup.

In this installment...
In the third thrilling instalment of... 'The Russian Thing' - a theatrical meisterwerk by Stanislav Dukla-Bluhurg - we take off on the heady helter-skelter ride towards dénouement! Trips to the Big Theatre, to GUM, football matches, not to mention the incident in the shower room... It's all here... intrigue, femmes fatales, skulduggery and snorkel! Not a moment to waste.

'The Locations'
Beetroot Soup
Elegant Moscow Deli and limousines

The Characters

Misha Kuznetsov a student
Boris Petrovich a tourist
Nina Gagarina another student
Girl girl working at GUM
Maid girl hanging about the corridors of the hotel
Valya girl in Kiev
Woman old woman in the hotel shower room
Girl girl in the kiosk
Girl girl at the football match

Femme Fatale

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 third instalment of...

'The Russian Thing' by Stanislav Dukla-Bluhurg.

Scene 23 (Boris stands and reads his letter in the foyer - sotto voce)

Boris :Dear Boris,
(voice then changes to a gruffer, more masculine tone, probably indicative of copious chest-hair and threatening stubble - yes it's his mother)
Mother :I am thinking how good it is that you're in Moscow! How are you? Very pretty and interesting, not true yes! Here in Kiev we know that Moscow is such a big and beautiful city. Do you know that not far from us in the 'Ukraine' hotel there works a girl called Valya. She's from Moscow. Valya has worked here for two years already. She says she loves Kiev, but also very much loves Moscow where there is everything: Theatres, restaurants, hotels, parks, libraries, cafes and the metro and snorkel.
Valya knows about you. She says that you hang about in the buffet where she works. She is a very good girl. And you know that Valya has your photograph in her handbag? What a one you are! I'm your Mama and I didn't know!
Everything is fine at home. We are always thinking of you. You know how much we love you. Regards from Valya.
Boris :(aloud) Well that's all. How on earth did Mama know about Valya? Well, never mind!

So Valya is a bit of fluff with the hots for Boris Petrovich? What would she think about all that 'playing guitar' business with Nina and Misha. Do you think she will find out? Read on...
Mama and Valya

Scene 24 (Enter Misha)

The hotel room walls - washed in a thick gunge of nicotine - greet Maiski like a bout of diarrhoea.

Misha: Hello Boris Petrovich
Boris: Aaaah Misha! Greetings! How are you today? Is everything all right? And how is your Mama?
Misha: Fine, thank you. Greetings to you from Mama. Today she works at home. I see you have a letter.
Boris: Yes. It's a letter from Mama in Kiev. What are you doing today, Misha?
Misha: I'm going to the Big Theatre. I've got three tickets.
Boris: What's on at the theatre today?
Misha: At three o'clock today there is the opera Yevgeni Onegin
Boris: Aaaah Tchaikovsky. How I love the music of Tchaikovsky!
Misha: Are you coming too, Boris Petrovich?
Boris: Yes, with big thanks to you. But is Nina coming to the theatre too?
Misha: I sholuld think so. I'm now going to the library where she is 'working'. Here's your ticket.

Well Boris is quite keen to go the opera if Nina is going too. But how does Misha know her whereabouts so precisely?

The library shortly after Nina has had a session of 'working' there.

Scene 25 (Misha and Nina meet in the street)

Misha: Aaaaah, hello Nina! Where are you going? You're not in the library? Aren't you working today?
Nina: No. I am now walking from the library to the park. I wanted to have a stroll. Do you want to come too?
Misha: Good, let's go!
Nina: But where is Boris Petrovich?
Misha: He's still at the hotel. He also likes to walk .
Nina: Yes to walk is good, but to work is also necessary!
Misha: Yes Nina, I see that you love to work and to read.
Nina: But when can we 'listen to your guitar' Misha?
Misha: Today I'm not playing. I want to go to the opera. Do you want to go?
Nina: I want to. But what opera is on?
Misha: 'Yevgeni Onegin'
Nina: Aaaah Tchaikovsky. How I love the music of Tchaikovsky! But to work is also necessary. I don't know....
Misha: Well, Nina, you're always 'working and working'. Thinking only of work! But what work have you got? You read about music, I think. So let's go and listen to Tchaikovsky!
Nina: You've got tickets?
Misha: I have. Three of them.
Nina: Three? So Boris Petrovich is also going? Good, then I'm coming too.

The plot thickens. Is Nina too good to be true as this 'working' girl? Is Boris Petrovich being set up here? Whatever happened to the 'extra bag'?

Scene 26 (Boris, Nina and Misha outside the Big Theatre after the opera)

Boris: Well, a very good opera, what do you think, Nina?
Nina: Yes the artistes of the Big Theatre play very well.
Boris: I would very much like to buy a record of the opera.
Misha: It's not one record but four, Boris Petrovich!
Boris: Four records! Tell me Nina, are the shops in Moscow still open?
Nina: Yes they're open until eight. What do you want to buy?
Boris: I'd like to buy presents for Mama and Valya.
Nina: What presents?
Boris: Records. Mama loves music.
Nina: Good. There are lots of records in GUM. I'd like to go too. I'd like to buy a new handbag.
Misha: Yes there are a lot of handbags there. And I'd like to go and play on the guitars at GUM. Maybe I'll buy a good guitar in the department not far from the record department.
Boris: So we all want to go to GUM. Is it far from the Big Theatre?
Nina: No, not very far. Only seven or eight minutes. Let's go!

O.K. Let's pause for breath. Things are developing too fast here. Boris mentions Valya for the first time and no one comments! How much do they already know about Boris? Bags come into the story again - how does Misha know about the handbags in GUM? Is Boris being manipulated? Will he be shelling out more roubles than he bargained for in GUM? And as for 'playing guitar' in the middle of a department store, then surely arrests woluld follow!

Playing Guitar?

Scene 27 (In the street on the way to GUM)

Misha: Do you see, Boris Petrovich, how the Muscovites are walking?
Boris: Yes, I see. But do you know Misha that they're not all from Moscow.. Here there are walking tourists from England and America, even from Peking.. We have many tourists in Kiev too.
Misha: Yes, we know that your city is beautiful and interesting.
Boris: Yes in Kiev we have many parks, many.......
Misha: But do you know Boris Petrovich that you can buy presents in the shop near the entrance to your hotel?
Boris: Yes but are only a few records. There are lots in GUM, aren't there?
Misha: Yes, in GUM there is a very big record department. But what records do you want to buy?
Boris: Classical for Mama and popular for Valya. She loves the 'Tvist' very much.

The handbag department in GUM
Valya dances the 'Tvist'
The record department at GUM

So Boris is going to GUM - watch out for Misha and Nina when it comes to bags. Are they connected to Vanya and the extra bag in some way?

Muscovites walking

Scene 28 (Just outside GUM)

Boris: Here is GUM. What a big shop! All of Moscow is here.
Nina: Yes here is the entrance to the department of suitcases and handbags.
Misha: You see such good handbags
Nina: Yes, never mind. But here is such a pretty handbag! How much is it? Ach, how expensive! Ten roubles! Let's go to the record department.
Boris: Yes, let's go. Aaah here's the department. How many records are here! Where are the classicals? Aaah here they are. Girl! Have you got the opera Yevgeni Onegin?
Girl: Here it is. Yes, four records. Is that all?
Boris: What other Tchaikovsky have you got?
Girl: Here is a Tchaikovsky concert. David Oistrakh is playing. Do you want it?
Boris: Yes, please! What's the cost?
Girl: To you - seven roubles and 10 kopecks.

Scene 29 (Outside GUM)

Boris: Well that's good that I bought presents for Mama and Valya and that you were there also. Many thanks. Do you want to go now to the buffet and drink beer?
Misha: Yes, I also would like to say that I would like to go to the buffet. What do you think, Nina?
Nina: What? I was thinking about the music of Tchaikovsky.
Misha: About the music of Tchaikovsky! What are you saying, Nina? And I thought that you were always thinking about handbags!
Nina: Yes, that's true, I really wanted to buy that handbag. But it was too dear. Good. Let's go. But where do you want to go?
Misha: We want to drink beer. Here, not far from GUM there is a buffet, where the beer is good. I've already been there.
Boris: Let's go.

Drinking beer

Scene 30 (Boris Petrovich goes to the counter)

Boris: Girl, give us two bottles of Moscow beer and one bottle of lemonade. Thank you. Here's your bottle, Nina; and here's your beer Misha.
Nina: Thank you. Your health!
Misha and Boris: Your health!
Misha: What good beer! How I wanted to drink!
Boris: Yes the beer is good. Do you come here often, Misha?
Misha: Yes, I'm here a lot
Nina: You are a one, Misha! When do you work?
Misha: I'm always working, Nina. But it is not necessary to think about work all the time.
Boris: Yes. To work is good, but to walk and to drink is also necessary.
Misha: Do you see, Nina, that's not what you said this morning.
Nina: But what did I say?
Misha: You said, I think, that it's nice to walk but to work is also necessary.

Walking, drinking, thinking about bags... it's heady stuff. Get back to the comfort of your hotel, Boris, before these two starting suggesting 'playing guitar'.

Scene 31 (8:15 p.m. the telephone creaks in Boris Petrovich's room)

Boris: Hello. I'm listening. Who's there?
Valya: It's me. Valya.
Boris: Valya! You're speaking from Kiev? How are you?
Valya: Good, thank you. I saw your Mama in the park. She said that I could phone you after eight o'clock. She gave me your number.
Boris: How is Mama?
Valya: She is healthy. She's been in our buffet many times and I didn't know who she was.
Boris: This morning I read a letter from Mama. She wrote that she had seen you and saw my photograph.
Valya: Aaah your photograph! Yes, my handbag was open. She saw your photograph and realised that I knew you.
Valya: But what were you doing today?
Boris: I've had a very interesting day. In the morning I got up very late. It was already ten o'clock. After breakfast I walked and for three hours I was at the Big Theatre.
Valya: What did you see at the Big Theatre?
Boris: We saw the opera Yevgeni Onegin.
Valya: We? Who are 'we'?
Boris: Yesterday evening I was the home of a Moscow university student. This student, Misha, plays the guitar very well. Another student, Nina, was also there.
Valya: A female student? Is she pretty?
Boris: Yes, she is pretty, but not as pretty as you. She is very serious and only talks about work.
Valya: You also talk a lot about work, Boris Petrovich!
Boris: That's in Kiev. But in Moscow I am just a tourist. I walk and rest.
Valya: You're in Moscow and forget about us.
Boris: You are a one, Valya! This evening after the opera I was in GUM buying presents for you and Mama.
Valya: O how good! What did you buy?
Boris: I'm not telling you. Wait and see.
Valya: Good. I'll wait. But I wanted to know that you haven't forgotten us.
('pips' - a dreadful clanking noise indicates that the call must come to an end...)
Boris: Well, Valya, it's time....Goodbye and good night.
Valya: Good night.

Scene 32 (Morning. Boris Petrovich gets out of bed)

Boris: It's already nine o'clock! How hot it is today! It would be nice to go to the shower room before breakfast, only I don't know the shower room is. (opens door, walks down corridor. To maid...) Girl, tell me please, where is the shower room?
Maid: The shower room is on the first floor but it's only open from nine.
Boris: Nine! It's already nine! So it's already open! How do I get there? Where's the lift?
Maid: There's the lift. Further along the corridor.
Boris: Thank you. Aaah here it is. Not working: under repair.. so it's necessary to go on foot to the first floor ...and it's such a hot day! What can one do: if one must, then one must!

The hotel corridor - imbued with the stench of boiled cabbage - is dimly lit.

Boris: Here's the shower room. (to the old woman in charge) Hello! Is the shower room working?
Woman: It's working.
Boris: (to himself) There's no one here. So it's still early. The shower room is big and good and the whole place is vacant. How can that be? (Turns on shower) Aaaah, what cold water! Never mind, I'll wait... No, something's wrong. What's happened to the warm water? No it's not coming. (to woman in charge) I say... you said the showers are working but there's no warm water.
Woman: Yes, you're right. Here we're having repairs. But there is cold water.
Boris: Cold, yes, but I need warm! What a scandal!
Woman: What can we do, comrade? Repairs are repairs.

Under repair - the hotel shower room

Scene 33 (at the bottom of the stairs - Boris meets Misha)

Misha: Hello, Boris Petrovich! What a hot day it is today!
Boris: The day is hot but I am cold.
Misha: Cold? How can that be?
Boris: Yes. I was in the shower room but there was only cold water. They say it's being repaired.
Misha: I can see that the lift is out-of-order too.
Boris: Yes, I know. The whole hotel is being repaired.
Misha: You know that today there is an interesting football match. Do you love football?
Boris: Yes I love it. Who is playing?
Misha: Torpedo Moscow and Dynamo Kiev. Do you want to go?
Boris: You've got tickets?
Misha: No but I know a kiosk where you can buy them.
Boris: Good, here's money. How much for a ticket?
Misha: A rouble.
Boris: Here's two roubles. Buy two tickets.
Misha: Good, I'll go and buy them. The match is at six o'clock.
Boris: Well, until then, goodbye.
Misha: All the best.

Interesting football match

Scene 34 (Boris Petrovich in the hotel foyer: 5:00 p.m.)

Boris: Where's Misha? He said the match is at six o'clock. It's already late. And I don't know where the stadium is and how to get there. I so want to see this football match. Aaah. Here comes Misha!
Misha: Hello, Boris Petrovich!
Boris: Greetings Misha, where have you been?
Misha: Sorry, I didn't know what the time was. I didn't think it was that late.
Boris: Have you got our tickets?
Misha: There were none at the kiosk. Sorry. But I know where there is a big kiosk at the metro station Dynamo. It's on our way to the stadium. Let's go and see.
Boris: Good. But how are we going? On the metro?
Misha: No, on the bus. It's only three minutes walk to the bus.
Boris: Is it far to the stadium?
Misha: No, only twenty minutes on the bus.
Boris: So it's twenty-three minutes from the hotel to the stadium?
Misha: No, it's necessary to go another ten minutes on foot from the bus.
Boris: Let's get a move on! We've only got forty-five minutes and we still need to buy tickets!

Scene 35 (at the bus stop)

Bus Stop

Trolleybus 3012
Bus with integral Russian heater

Misha: Step on it, Boris Petrovich, here comes our bus!
Boris: What a crowd! Ach, no room! What shall we do?
Misha: Never mind. There's lots of buses here. There's another one behind. There's room. (they get on). There's a seat. Sit down, Boris Petrovich while I buy the tickets.
Boris: But where's the conductor? I see that this bus is working without a conductor.
Misha: Yes, without a conductor. So how do the buses work in Kiev?
Boris: Yes our buses are the same. (pause) Ach, how hot it is on the bus! Are all these people going to the football?
Misha: Yes, they are. Today's match is very interesting. We are already at Leningrad Prospect.
Boris: Is it not far to the stadium?
Misha: Yes, not far. Another five minutes to go.

With Conductor

Scene 36 (The bus arrives at the Dynamo stop. They alight)

Misha: Here we are already! We are going for twenty-five minutes. Let's go in a hurry. There is a crowd at the kiosk. There you can now see how you can maybe buy tickets when it's already late and there is a big crowd. Don't speak.
Boris: (whispers) but what is this, Misha?
Misha: Sss... Sss... don't speak! (raises his voice in the crowd) Excuse me, comrades! One minute! Here is a tourist from England. He loves our football very much and wants to see the match. Tell me girl, do you have tickets for the Torpedo-Dynamo match?
Girl: Yes. I have. But only expensive tickets.
Misha: Never mind. Give me two, please. How much?
Girl: Four roubles
Misha: Pliz, Meester Smit, u giv me one rouble!
Boris: A? Rouble? One? (pause) Here, pliz!
Misha: There, girl, four roubles.
Girl: Here are your tickets. Thank you.
Misha: Now let's go quickly. They play already!
Boris: Sank u, Misha. (loud whisper). Let's go on foot!

Scene 37 At the football match: Boris Petrovich and Misha and girl sitting near)

Girl: Meester Excuse me, is your friend an Englishman? I was at the kiosk when you bought your tickets.
Misha: Aaah... yes... he's English... a student from an English university...
Girl: Meester But tell me may I speak to him in English? I'm an English language student here in Moscow.
Misha: Yes? But see, my friend does not want to speak English. He's a student of the Russian language and wants to speak only in Russian. He speaks it well.
Boris: (Roar of crowd) Blockhead! Go to the devil!
Girl: Yes he speaks very well! So can I talk to him in Russian?
Misha: Meester Smit: here is this female student of the English language. I said that you would have to speak to her only in Russian.
Boris: Ach... yes... Russian... yes I would very much like to speak in Russian.

Old duffer submits hands for amputation
Pretty 'girls' at bread kiosk

Scene 38

Girl: And you are from which city, Meester Smit?
Boris: From which city... from... from... London...
Girl: Aaah... I was in London. A very pretty city!
Boris: Yes? Pretty.
Girl: You have big red buses, yes? Double-deckers?
Boris: Yes... not only buses, but the metro, trolleybuses and trams.
Girl: But I didn't see trams in London.
Boris: .You didn't see them? Yes trams aren't in the centre of the city. But tell me please, are you from Moscow?
Girl: No from Kiev.
Boris: (sotto voce) Ach the devil!
Girl: Excuse me, what did you say?
Boris: I... I... said that I've been to Kiev.
Girl: So you already know our town?
Boris: Yes I know it well. They are beautiful... your...
Misha: ...your restaurants, theatres, parks, cafés... and snorkel. You have it all there!
Boris: That's true, our... I mean your city is very beautiful.
Girl: Tell me, do you have a big university in London? (referee's whistle, cheering crowds)
Boris: Yes but the match is already over! It's time to go.
Girl: But what sort of libraries do you have in London?
Boris: Never mind, good. Excuse me, it's our time to go.

Scene 39 (as they walk through the crowd)

Girl: Can I come with you?
Misha: Excuse me, Boris Petrovich... that is, Meester Smit... he's now going to his hotel. So goodbye.
Boris: Very nice to talk to you...
Girl: And for me it was also very nice. You speak Russian like a Russian.
Boris: Thank you. Goodbye!
Girl: All the best! 'XGUD BY'
Boris: (turning to Misha) Ach, the devil, Misha! You are a one! That was impolite!
Misha: What was impolite? You wanted to see the match. I bought tickets and you watched!
Boris: Yes, it is necessary to say that the match was interesting.
Misha: Well that says it all. All's well that finishes good!


Has this instalment 'finished good'?

What has happened the mysterious extra bag?

And what about Vanya, the hotel porter, surely we have not seen the last of him?

What has Boris done with his stamp-less postcards?

Find out the answers to these questions and almost anything in the final instalment... coming soon!

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.


©2009 The Reader's Doglist Association of Great Britain