Academic journal article TriQuarterly

Crime and Punishment

Academic journal article TriQuarterly

Crime and Punishment

Article excerpt

Crime and Punishment was commissioned by Writers' Theatre and had its world premiere on May 13, 2003, in Glencoe, Illinois, with the following cast: Scott Parkinson (Raskolnikov), John Judd (Porfiry Petrovich) and Susan Bennett (Sonia). The production was commissioned and directed by Artistic Director, Michael Halberstam; costumes by Rachel Anne Healy; set design by Heather Graff and Richard Peterson; lighting by Joel Moritz, sound by John Schmidt; movement by Shade Murray and stage manager David Castellanos.

Lights up on a small space, many levels. The space is surrounded by windows and has doors on the upstage wall. A desk, a small cot, and two chairs. This could be a cramped apartment with miserly furnishings, or an interrogation room in a police station. Harsh white light.

Porfiry enters through one of the upstage doors. He is looking through files, however his tone with Raskolnikov is always calm and polite.

PORFIRY: Do you believe in Lazarus, rising from the dead?

RASKOLNIKOV (beat): What?

PORFIRY: Do you believe the story of Lazarus? Do you believe he rose from the dead? Do you believe a man can be resurrected?

RASKOLNIKOV: You mean really? Rise from the dead? Yes. I guess I do.

PORFIRY: And do you believe in God?

RASKOLNIKOV: (silence) Yes. Does it matter?

PORFIRY: It might.

(Slight pause.)

RASKOLNIKOV: Look, Inspector, am I being held officially? I want to know what the charges are.

PORFIRY: No, no, nothing like that. (Looks over some papers) You're required to make a formal statement. That you heard about the incident, the murder. That you want those of us in charge of the case to know that certain items which had been in the old woman's possession belong to you. And you want to redeem them. I don't understand, why would we hold you? For what reason?

RASKOLNIKOV: I ... I don't know. It's just that I'm a little broke right now, which makes me ... I have so many debts. I'm going to claim the stuff when I have the money, I mean, the things are worth about five rubles in all, but my sister gave me the ring, and my father gave the watch to me, and I don't have anything else to remember him by ...

PORFIRY (interrupts): Your things, the ring and the watch, are wrapped up together. Your name was written very clearly on the paper, together with the date when you left them. They're right here. We had a list of everyone who had left items, and you're the only one who hadn't come forward.

RASKOLNIKOV: I was sick.

PORFIRY: You still look pale.

RASKOLNIKOV: I'm not pale. I'm perfectly fine!

PORFIRY: My apologies. I'm just glad you finally came forward. (He smiles. A pause, while Porfiry looks through some papers.) I'm sorry, are you in a hurry?

RASKOLNIKOV: No. Not at all.

PORFIRY: If you have the time, would you mind if I asked you a few questions? For the investigation. I don't have any tea, or I'd offer you some. Please forgive me. I just want to ask you a couple of questions. We don't really have any hard evidence. Please, it could be very helpful. (Raskolnikov nods.) I'd like you to tell me your whereabouts during the days prior to the murder.

RASKOLNIKOV: What does that have to do with anything?

PORFIRY: Dear boy. Let me explain. I like to think that the art of investigation can be very, how do I put it, free form. You never know what's going to lead you to an answer. That's why I'm asking. Now. You visited the old woman shortly before she was killed, right?

RASKOLNIKOV: Three days before. I went to visit the old pawnbroker woman three days before she was murdered.

PORFIRY: It says here that you live in her neighborhood. (Raskolnikov nods.) Nice place to live?

RASKOLNIKOV: No. No, it is not "nice."

PORFIRY: Petersburg has become quite a different place in the last few years. …

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