[The Ostnia-Westland Room. It is not to be supposed that the Frontier between the two countries does actually pass through this room: the scene is only intended to convey the idea of the Frontier--the left half of the stage being in Westland: the right half being in Ostnia. The furnishing of the two halves should suggest differences in national characteristics, and also in the nature of the two families which inhabit them: the Thorvalds' (Westland) home is academic; the Vrodney-Hussek (Ostnian) home is comfortable, reactionary, bourgeois. Each home has a door and window, left and right respectively. On the back wall of each hangs a big portrait, with a wireless set standing beneath it. The Thorvalds have a portrait of the Westland "Leader, who is bearded and ferocious-looking: the Vrodny-Hussek family have a portrait of the King of Ostnia, very suave and gracious, with orders and much gold braid. The chairs are arranged in two semi-circles, and the concentration of lighting should heighten the impression of an invisible barrier between the two halves of the stage. The two groups of characters (with the exceptions to be noted later) seem absolutely unaware of each other's existence.]
[It is evening. When the curtain rises, DR.