A Soviet Theatre Sketch Book

A Soviet Theatre Sketch Book

A Soviet Theatre Sketch Book

A Soviet Theatre Sketch Book

Excerpt

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OUTSIDE Gorky Park in Moscow stands young Vanka, his peasant soul bewildered; for though Vanka is one of the best workers in a huge new factory recently built in his huge new Siberian town, and though in consequence Vanka has plenty of money to spend on his free holiday to Moscow, he is none the less at heart a very simple young peasant still. Moscow is enormous; Moscow swarms with multitudes and multitudes of people; Moscow is very new and very, very old; and he cannot form a judgment of it. And Vanka, by the example of his elders for many generations, likes to study a thing before he sums it up, and to sum it up before he judges.

Outside the tall hoarding at the entrance to the Park he stands, legs apart, feet turned out, studying.

Dusk is falling late in the summer forenight. The street lamps get brighter every minute, and the sky over the Park turns a richer dark blue. People crowd along; from the new broad bridge over the Moscow River, out of the Metro station beyond it, off tramcars and buses; across the street. They push in to the Park. Or they stand in groups, waiting and talking.

Vanka has pushed, all his life. He pushed his way, somewhat to the astonishment of his parents, into the world. He pushed himself forward in the family, supplanting his elder brother in initiative and leadership. He pushed himself into glory in the war. He has recently pushed himself into glory for his indefatigable and cheerful clearing away of all obstacles that threaten his beloved factory or the development of his beloved town. You can tell by his walk that he pushes. He pushes his feet out. He pushes his body forward. This very evening he pushed himself into the Metro to get here . . . and for the first time confessed himself out-pushed. The scramble for the first train left him on the platform.

When the next train came in, Vanka super-pushed in a group he thought would certainly win the All-Union Pushing Championship if there had been one. He was first in the scrum, and got on to the train . . . only to be swept off again by a counter-scrum . . .

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