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Protest Vaclav Havel Stanek's ground-floorstudy in his house on the outskirts of Prague. The house is surroundedby a garden. Doorbell.The front dooris opened. STANEK: (Loud,cordial.) Vanek!-Hello! (Thefront dooris closed.) VANEK: (Noncommittal.) Hello, Mr. StanekSTANEK : Come in, come in! (Pause.Sudden outburstof emotion.) Vanek! My dear fellow! (Pause.Conversationally.)Did you have trouble finding it? VANEK: Not reallySTANEK : Forgot to mention the flowering magnolias. That's how you know it's my house. Superb, aren't they? VANEK: YesSTANEK : I managed to double their blossoms in less than three years, compared to the previous owner. Have you magnolias in your garden? VANEK: NoSTANEK : You must have them! I'm going to find you two quality saplings and I'll come and plant them for you personally. (Crosses to the bar.) How about some brandy? VANEK: I'd rather not, Mr. Stanek, if you don't mindSTANEK : Come on, Vanek! Just a token one. Eh? @ 1978 Copyright by Vaclav Havel; Translation @ 1984 Copyright by Vera Blackwell. CAUTION: No performances or readings of this work may be given without the express authorization of the author or the author's agent. For production rights, contact: Sanford J. Greenburger Associates, 825 Third Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10022. 45 (Two drinks arepoured.) VANEK: (Sighs.) STANEK: Here we are. Well-here's to our reunion! VANEK: Cheers- (Both drink.) VANEK: (Shuddersslightly. Emits a soft groan.) STANEK: I was afraid you weren't going to come. VANEK: Why? STANEK: Well, I mean, things got mixed up in an odd sort of way-What? -Won't you sit down? VANEK: (Sitsdown in an armchair,placinghis briefcase on the floorbeside him.) ThanksSTANEK : (Sinksinto anarmchairopposite Vanek witha sigh.) That'smore like it! Peanuts? VANEK: No, thanksSTANEK : (Helps himself Munching) You haven't changed much in all these years, you know? VANEK: Neither have youSTANEK : Me? Come on! Getting on for fifty, going gray, aches and pains setting in-Not as we used to be, eh? And the present times don't make one feel any better either, what? When did we see each other last, actually ? VANEK: I don't knowSTANEK : Wasn't it at your last opening night? VANEK: Could beSTANEK : Seems like another age! We had a bit of an argumentVANEK : Did we? STANEK: You took me to task for my illusions and my over-optimism. Good Lord! How often since then I've had to admit to myself you were right! Of course, in those days I still believed that in spite of everything some of the ideals of my youth could be salvaged and I took you for an incorrigible pessimist. VANEK: But I'm not a pessimistSTANEK : You see, everything's turned around! (Shortpause.) Are youalone ? VANEK: How do you mean, alone? STANEK: Well, isn't there somebody-you knowVANEK : Following me? STANEK: Not that I care! After all, it was me who rang you up, right? VANEK: I haven't noticed anybody46 STANEK: By the way, suppose you want to shake them off one of these days, you know the best place to do it? VANEK: NoSTANEK : A department store. You mingle with the .crowd, then at a moment when they aren't looking you sneak into the loo and wait there for about two hours. They become convinced you managed to slip out through a side entrance and they give up. You must try it sometime! VANEK:.(Pause.) Seems very peaceful hereSTANEK : That's why we moved here. It was simply impossible to go on writing near that railway station! We've been here three years, you know. Of course, my greatest joy is the garden. I'll show you around later-I'm afraid I'm going to boast a littleVANEK : You do the gardening yourself? STANEK: It's become my greatest private passion these days. Keep puttering about there almost every day. Just now I've been rejuvenating the apricots. Developed my own method, you see, based on a mixture of natural and artificial fertilizers plus a special way of waxless grafting. You won't believe the results I get! I'll find some cuttings for you later on- (Opensalarge silverbox oncoffee table between them.) Would...


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