THREE STEPS TO NOWHERE
(Translated by the author)
Office and Social comedy in 3 acts
Yuri (Yurko) Siromanets – the chief of the firm, 42-48 year old, tall, with a small black beard; in first act he is young-looking, in jeans. In second and third acts he is getting older and fatter, in shirt and tie. It’s quite possible that in third act another elder actor played this role.
Pani Darina (Darina, Darinka) - his deputy, portly wattled matron of 58-60 y.o, speaks like offended girl
Rostik – Darina’s son; light-minded but very nice guy of 22-25 y.o.
Denis Papluzhniy – a sales manager, smart lad of 25-30 y.o, speaks Surzhik (semi Russian-semi Ukrainian language)
Pan Taras– a specialist, 35-40 y.o, always in jeans and sweater on or checkered shirt
Julia – an accountant 45 y.o, black short cut hair.
Pan Cyril– a supervising officer, 60-65 y.o, military retiree, the right man.
Anny – 25-30 y.o, a slim beautiful smart girl with blond long hair
Lower (pani Larisa) – a business lady, 30-35 y.o. in black pants suite on
Economist – a sleeken little man of uncertain age.
Psychologist (Masha) – a girl just graduated, little mousy person, speaks high sharp voice
Manager chilly – a fat, not-too-high jowly guy
Manager hot – a spindling and tall guy
Old man - client
Others: managers, securities
The actions take place in a large Ukrainian city in the early XXI century
The scene is laid in the office of a small firm. Two tables with computers, faxes, telephones on. Furniture is poor. At the one corner there is an old armchair, at another a pile of new furniture. Employers have democratic dress on, many of them in jeans including top management. There are flowers on the window sills. On the table there are a cake, a bottle of champagne and a bundle of flowers.
Julia. Where is everybody? They may arrange their work places.... Oh my God, that’s splendid! I'm in so good spirits! … I’ve just worked only a month for the firm but I feel like in Abraham bosom. Everybody is so nice here, so helpful, so kind.... This is what I have always dreamed: a small firm where all employers are like a family... No subordination! I even don’t want to go home... And the director is the sweetest! There is the first time in my life when I’m lucky when my boss is somewhere about. If he is away I’m sad but when he appears things start getting faster, everything is in a whirl... He is like the Sun in the sky.... He inspires everything and everybody, finds warm words for one and all, he can cheer up, teach, comfort... He knows answers on all questions! He knows what to do and when. And most importantly how… Here is an example. Yesterday he asked me: «Julia, haven’t you forgotten to submit your report? ». Good heavens! He keeps in mind what report should I submit! And pani Darina, his deputy... A real right hand of our dear director... She knows so many things and always gives me a cue...Oh! Here is she!
Darina (comes in at energetic pace). Julia, is everything ready? Have you submitted your tax reports? Has the furniture delivered? You know that Darinka likes things were in apple-pie order. Yurko will be here soon, he’s just called me.
Julia. Okay, pani Darina … I bought a cake and flowers too... And I paid cash to loaders. They were so swearing when saw the broken lift and charged extra money… but I told them to get lost! Goggle-eyed they nearly tumbled down the stairs!
Darina (litting a cigarette). You rock! Well, how do you feel here? Don’t you regret that we took you here?
Julia. Oh, don't say that? That is something! Comparing to the firm I worked before… as different as chalk and cheese! I am so grateful to you that you offered me this job. Only...
Darina. What only?
Julia. Don’t think I complain... But I can't get anything done... I’m often late from work but can't still get anything done! I need an aid... And indeed a jurist. There emerges such difficult questions sometimes.... It doesn't hurt to have an economist and a lowerat the firm…
Darina. Look at you! ...did anybody promise the moon?
Julia. Yes, I get it…
Darina (sits down in the armchair cross-legged). It's okay, stick out a bit longer... I believe in Yurko. Do you know how we started? He invited Darinka when she worked still at school. He was a shop teacher while Darinka taught gymnastics. Later he got involved in business but didn’t forget me. The old never forgets (titters dreamily). How we started! Yurko was the first who left the school. I remember this day as if it was yesterday... I came to him during his lesson while he was whittling a stool.... Could you imagine this? Yurko is whittling a stool! Now we can’t imagine this picture... By the way, he doesn’t like somebody reminds this fact. Darinka at one fling saw the writing on the wall: something happened.... It turned out that Yurko was going to carry on business. First he sold metal, then operated wagons, after worked on a building site. In short, he made a lot of money and invited me on the new theme - to wrap buildings.
Julia (cuts the cake into pieces, lays the plates). You might have had a difficult time at the start? You had never done it before, pani Darina...
Darina. Why pani? Darinka doesn’t like it... Just call me Darinka...
Julia. Oh, don't say that! I still can’t... May be over time...
Darina. You’ll get used… Julka… How we started! I understood nothing in these wrappings…But I took books, guides and was sitting days and nights on them. And now I can even at night calculate how much wrappings you should take on a buildings. And this is the result (gets up and goes to the mirror). Darinka is pretty good, huh?... I used to take everything off at home, look at myself in the mirror and say: «Darinka is pretty good, huh? Wow! Such a nice girl! ».
Julia. (looks at her warily). Darina Val... Phone!
Darina (sits down in the armchair). Oh... This is our chief. Yurko (hoots out the lips, speaks like abused child …) ...Are you soon? We have been tired of waiting. Julia is counting the moments... (hides her phone). Oh… just look at yourself!? The chief is going to be here soon. Go home and change out of these things. You know Yuri is nearly a bachelor, don’t pay attention to his wife - they have been separated for a long time... So are you... divorced... go quick and make yourself beautiful before he gets here! Take my car, go home and come back like a queen!
Julia. Oh, at once! As fast as I can! (running away).
Darina (again near the mirror). Oh.... years don’t beautify.... The days are dead and gone … I should start auditioning my replacement and keep Yuri on a tighter leash as long as possible… There is still life in the old dog yet, Darinka might come in handy …. I rented the new office room, he will be pleased. Although on the ninth floor and without a lift, but it’s only temporary (Comes to the window). Oh dear, what the view from the window! Below is a garden gone wild... I can go out to have a smoke during my break. Like in a park... an uncared autumn park... I’ll try to sell this silly bitch Julia to him ... I will have him in my pocket... I should probably think over my calm old age and put my son Rostik on his feet. For this I must have a lot of money, too much money...
Darina, Manager chilly, Manager hot, Julia (dressed up in best clothes), Anny, 2-3 other employees
Manager chilly (scringes). It’s so cold! … Close the window! (to Darina) Oh my God… Pani Darina, what beautiful you are!
Darina. Oh yes... Darina is OK... I still look like a girl...
Manager hot (fans with a napkin). God, it’s hot as hell up here.... You are really like a birth mother for us, pani Darina... And where is the chief?
Darina. He’ll be soon! For now find your places.
Everybody sits at the table.
Darina, Manager chilly, Manager hot, Julia, Anny, Yuri, Rostik, 2-3 other employees
Yuri and Rostik are running in. Others jump up. Rostik comes to Darina and kisses her on the cheek.
Yuri. Sit down, sit down... Excuse me… traffic jams, we came here with difficulty. Rostik, sit down... Vow! What’s that?? (Pointing out at new furniture).
Darina. New furniture!
Yuri. What the hell new furniture?
Darina (feels offended). Yuri, well, whatever will we do without furniture? Don’t you want we had a shed? Here is a sofa where you could sit with your partners and have a talk... Here we’ll arrange your office… here is a pouf.
Yuri. What a pouf? We haven’t pulled off yet, but you bought some poufs?
He is comes to the furniture, grasps the pouf and throws it away from the window. Then he sits at the table again
Darina (runs to the window, offended). What are you doing? I did my best... my best
Yuri. Darina, I’ve told you many times... First is business, poufs are after. We should think about how to pay off the salary tomorrow; instead you bought these stupid poufs. Don’t show off. Sit down, leave these poufs alone. Okay, what do we have here? Anything to eat, to drink? Rostik, roll out the champagne. Anny! Where are you? (To Anny) Do you wanna go and sit near me, my good- looking and smart girl! Give me such a wonderful present (with reluctance Anny changes her seat).
Julia. Rostik, are you drinking the champagne? You are a driver, aren’t you?
Yuri. Drink, Ristik, I’ll take you home. Together with your mammy.
Anny. How often you take him! I don’t know even who is a driver and who is a boss here.
Yuri (laughing). Took and more than once... We drove from Izmail to home... Rostik got drunk, pissed out of head, saving his mammy presence... we sat him in the backseat... When he woke up, we gave him a drink of cognac and he felt asleep again. I was asked by traffic cops many times: «Who is there in the backseat?». And I answered: «This is my boss! ». They were surprised: «Such a young boss! ». And the whole ride home... But it’s OK...
Julia (stands up and hands him flowers). Yuri, happy birthday! When you are at the office, you light up all around like the Sun! You warm everyone. Really!
Anny (ironically). We are the children of Sun… (laughs)
Yuri (pleased). Thank you, thank you… . I’m nobody without you. One man no man. That’s why tomorrow you’ll get your salary plus bonus. Julia, calculate the bonus – 50% of salary. I have some news for you. (A pause. Everybody is looking at Yuri adoringly). We gonna expand. Darina is just creating a new staff list. Julia, you’ll have an aid. He is highly skilled… He knows tax laws like “Our Father…”. I know him very well. His name is Taras. We’ll hire some more sales managers ... It’s gonna be hard times first, but we’re not going to give up, are we, eh??
All of them (in chorus). Oh yes! We would go to the end of the world with you! (started eating).
Rostik (slightly drunk, stutteringly to Manager chilly). Some nights ago, I'm sitting at home. Suddenly the phone goes... Yuri.... “Come as soon as possible, we are at the Astoria.” There is a restaurant. “I’m sitting here with D..D..eep P…P..urple.” I say: “Yurko, what are you going on about? What is Deep Purple?” He answered: «Really… I’m really sitting here and drinking with Deep Purple». I quit everything, go there and see that he is really sitting with this… the very same Deep P-P-Purple!.
Yuri. Only the laziest doesn’t drink with this Deep Purple… They might live in Ukraine… Anny, tell us a story (kisses her hand)…
Anny. What stories can I tell? Ah! OK.. I had a story. Not long ago... I went by bus...
Yuri. Where did you go by bus? Why didn’t you ask me to drive you?... Or did you go to a dummy groom?
Anny. I went to see my aunty! Suddenly such a licking person took a next seat. He pulled out a gewgaw from his pocket and gave me the story that it’s a new development and if you take better care of yourself you are sure to hold this knickknack on. And he starts to wave sense of life, and religion, and love and stuff like that into the gewgaw. But the gewgaw costs about 3 grand! I say nothing... (to Yuri) that my salary is three times less. But with a salesgirl's accustomed smile he again goes on about this gewgaw. Not a word from me... But this guy was such a nag that spoke with complete. And I launched a counteroffensive! Who, I ask him, invented this do-jigger? Scientists? And what do your scientists know about the sense of life? And what do your scientists know about God? About love? They are stupid, your scientists... I was all geared-up to have an argument... in short, when I was getting off the bus this ratbag asked me with a great hope: «Are you finally getting off? ». And the poor bastard sighed with relief: «Thank God!!! ».
Yuri (laughing). Did he say that?
Anny. That’s what he said: « Are you getting off? Thank God!!!». And folded his arms! (folds her hands showing how it was).
Yuri. Oh, my good girl! (kisses her hand again).
Everybody laughs, then started talking separately . One can hear: «What about me… I used to…. As for me…». Yuri and Darina stepped aside and whispered.
Darina. Okay, I’ll do what you said. Okay, don’t worry... Darina will arranged the whole thing... You can rely on me... I’ll take goods, perform customs clearing… It’s gonna be fine...
Yuri. Good, then I’m leaving. (To all). Could I offer you a ride home? I’m a designated driver today. Come on! We’ll clear the table tomorrow.
All the noisy crowd go behind the Scenes, except for Julia. One can hear: «Whoever heard of a boss being a designated driver?...».
Julia. I'm kind of near here, so I can walk home…I’m going to clear the table quickly and go home… (clears the table). Oh my God, what the boss we have!…Yuri…What eyes he has… Such kind, such deep, such.... as if they look into your soul…Yuri Siromanets … But he has no wolf’s traits. His wife was so lucky to have such a wonderful husband. How she lost him? I’d never let him go! But Darina Velentinivna said that their marriage wasn't very good, and they are separated…Oh, I may have a chance?… (Looks at the mirror). Julia plus Yuri… Julia is pretty good, huh? Wow! Darina is too old…(hopelessly) He needs another wife… But I am not the one… See how he was looking after Ann…(makes faces) « Good- looking… smart …» (again clears the table silently).
End of the first act.
New office, new furniture, new office appliances. The stage is conditionally divided into 2 parts: on the right hand is the principal’s office, on the left hand is the room of sales managers. Signs: «You are hot only with us!», «Let your enemies feel cold!»
Darina, Manager chilly, Manager hot, Denis, other sales managers
Sales managers (in choir, gloomily): You are hot only with us.… You won’t freeze with us, won’t stiffen up, you won’t get cold with us, you won’t ossify with us… Let all your enemies drop off the hooks. We are your real mom. We are with you, you are with us, not with them, our competitors, damn them...
Darina. From now, we’ll recite our firm’s motto every morning. Any questions? No? As many of you already know, I like thing to be in due order. I want to make it right, in time, fair and in law.
Everyone’s leaving. Some sales managers go out on the porch with cigarettes and cups of coffee.
Yuri (running to his office with the phone close to his ear). OK.. OK… OK... I’ve told you many times: you must handle.... Yes… Yes… The goods are already at the border.... haven’t you cleared custom yet? There are our people among custom officers. Write down the Gasan’s phone number.
Denis, Yuri (in his office), Old man
An old man is coming in and looking suspiciously at the stands with wrappings on
Old man. Hello! Could I buy some puttee for my house here?
Denis. Not puttee, buddy, but wrapping (starts to him ). This wrapping will be serving you for 100 years, 50 years quality guarantee! Here, look, fer shur, we take our wrapping and enfold around your house. This is like bandaging…. (Sees Darina, straining her ears backstage). You are hot only with us! You won’t need a heater. You back down from heating and economize on it. Here, look: our quality guarantee is 50 years while our competitors’ is only 10 years. Can you taste the difference? If you can’t, go with God, old one! I won’t bother you anymore, but you have to keep in mind that the founder of our main competitor, the firm «Make hay» is a China subject. Do you get this on...? Ah buddy? A Chi- na sub- ject. And his name is Who Ever. And they produce «What Ever»! Heaven! Do you understand? Finally? We are with you, you are with them... I mean not with them but… Damn it...
Old man (suspiciously). I’d like to see your mugs when I come here in a year to say that your wrapping leaks and you ought to rewrap my house following your nice guarantee.
Denis. And we’ll rewrap it! Yeah, no doubt! Come here; look at this, just look at this, all right? This is our colors: green, red, blue. Fer shur...
Old man. Why would I have a red house? I look like a rooster to you? To have a red henhouse? I’d like to have a grey wrapping or brown.
Denis. How long have you been away? (Persuades the old man more quietly). Buddy, here, look...
Denis, Old man (on the left side), Yuri (at his office), Taras
Yuri. Taras, my friend, well; you’re right on time... I have an offer to make you. You know these sales managers give their eye-teeth to con me out of all my money. Last month every of them got as much as 4000 gryvnias salary! Can you imagine this? Come up, my friend, with a formula which would stimulate their work. They should get their salaries for the result, not for a process. By the way, do you like working here? (but he’ is not listening the answer).
Taras. The way I work… To tell the truth...
Yuri. Well.... I know that Julia is hungry for money and very silly. I know that you have organized accounting and dealt with tax problems. I’ll give you higher salary. I’ll give… how much do you get now? 1200 gryvnias? Okay, it will be 1500... You’re a smart lad. You are the only one I can depend on. Taras, well, look, I have another theme. The goods go there (drawing on a piece of paper chaotically). You understand that? Spell out details of taxes I should pay off and all that. ... You’re so smart lad!
Taras (looking at the drawing). If I can figure out what these lines refer to... Some scribbles ... Why don’t you have Julia looking into this? Her salary is 20 times higher, eh?
Yuri. path strewn with roses It’s not meant to be easy. No, Taras, that’s not gonna be too easy... What a hope! By the way, you too... you aren’t a plain man, Taras... Darina says that you don’t do well... Why don’t you sell yourself?
Taras. But how should I sell myself? To do the shopping with your bags, and everything? To buy their silly blouses there? To sell myself... What an aggravating remark!
Darina , Yuri, Taras.
Yuri (to Taras). All right, go now. (To Darina) What are you having?
Darina , Yuri
Darina. Darinka is in shock. Nobody wants to work, but at the payday everybody is first near ATM. (Looking at the window) Just look at them, they are messing on the porch with their cups of coffee! They smoke! I hate men smoking!
Yuri. Darinka, usually people don’t like women smoking...
Darina. But I hate men smoking! Nobodies! Losers! All of you, men, are good for nothing without us, women. What would we be doing with these sales managers? They are getting on my nerves! They only want to get money… for nothing!
Yuri. It's okay, it's okay. Taras is gonna to come up with a formula...
Darina. Who? Taras? This cotton-headed ninny-mugging? What is he capable of, this third-rater? By the way, he hasn’t still followed a dress code! He has worn the same jeans on and chlamydes… He cannot be shown to solid clients... Damn tatterdemalion.
Yuri. Darinka, darling, we have been unable to cope with affairs... I got it. And only economics will save us. But economics must be very economical... Well, I was taught that at Komsomol in Soviet times. We need to keep an eye on every kopeck. We should sit two economists on every cost item to follow. For example, yesterday I encharged them with a task to throw away old contracts. What did they do? They threw them away with paper clips! Issue an order: all paper clips from old contracts should be put into boxes placed in the middle of the room. Put a big box and let all of them throw paper clips into it. Weekly this box is emptied; paper clips are given to all employers according to their preliminary requests. May be at least that’s how we deal with that...
Darina (writing down). In the meantime, the cost of a pack of paper clips is coming right out of their meager but undeserved paycheck.
Yuri. Well ... As a warning...
Darina (offended). Darinka has a little request... You know, I’ve forgotten about my family… I have to work around the clock... My husband drifts on his own... He is having an affair with a My fucking PhD in Geography...
Yuri. Is there PhD in Geography? What are they doing? Do they discover new lands?
Darina. That’s right! Just found a slick in new lands...
Yuri. So what? What are you gettin ' at??
Darina I… I… Maybe make my son Rostik work for us as a sales manager?...
Yuri. But we have a full sales manager staff!
Darina. Oh, Yuri.... My boy feels so depressed... He is dating a girl, he wants to be independent, and he is going to marry... You don’t believe he would spend all his life as your driver!
Yuri. Okay. Okay … By the way, it would be good if we give Taras a raise.
Darina. This lazy dog? For what? Julia is constantly complaining about him. Speaking of that, it was he who threw away these paper clips with contracts. He always goes home in time. His soul is not aching for our firm at all!
Yuri. It’s okay, it’s okay... Add him at least 300 gryvnias... And….. Economical department... Economics is a science of the future. To save money, let hire disabled people...
Darina. For nothing? They are on the stuff; we don’t pay a fine to the fund of the disabled? That is a great idea!
Yuri. Why only to be on the stuff? Let them work!!!
Yuri. Aye, well … Fines and again fines… Here I wrote (holds out a piece of paper). Issue an order. Tardiness penalty is 30 gryvnias, fine for non switching off the light 50 gryvnias, disregarding for direct orders from a supervising officer - 100 gryvnias. This one … will come... Pan Cyril... Old fart, I see... But his son is at the Ministry! The right man!
Darina. Yuri, it will all fall to pieces if he comes here…
Yuri. It won’t... Our sales managers are really fine fellows! There's only one thing we can do now - to come up with a formula so that they work eagerly. And we can make life good!
Darina. Oh, Yuri boy, the time has come to raise Darina’s salary... You did it for your dear Taras...Not for me…
Yuri. You' ve got enough! 50 thousand gryvnias! Isn't that enough??
Darina. Darinka is kept virtually a prisoner here... working morning till night. Julia and I are like a harem! You should raise your salary too. You are looking so peaky. See how pale you are, how faded... We worked our asses off for this firm! And we have the right to get fair compensation for it.
Yuri. Okay, okay... Add each of us 5 grand...
Darina. Yuri...You wanted to say 15?
Yuri. 15 grand to each of us?
Darina. Yes... 15 grand to each of us. And Julia... Darina keeps her nose to the grindstone. My husband is having fun with that , while I am gradually rotting away... because of hard work Julia can’t find a husband. The high salary is kind of compensation for moral damages suffered.
Yuri (sighing). Anything else?
Darina. Yuri, Darinka is not fit to be seen to clients. Look at my teeth. All of my grinders fell out while front teeth are not steady...
Yuri (steps back). You could put your teeth in, dear. Don’t you have enough money?
Darina. Why doesn’t our firm pay it? I want implants...
Yuri (sighing). Okay. Let Julia pay hospital bills. Tell her...
Darina. I' m not doing it for me; I' m doing it for you… All work, all the time … day and night … day and night … And I like thing to be in due order (comes out)
Yuri (at his office), Denis, Manager chilly, Manager hot (at their room)
Yuri (to himself). Everybody wants to take the shirt off my back, nobody wants to work. The only thing they want is to get the money doing nothing... Who is making it up that I should pay to my employees only for their being at my office? We have to pay for the result! (Comes out to sales managers’ room).
Yuri. Denis... What I wanted to tell you?... Uh, right, yeah... don't rush into hell before your father! Why did you call to the founder to ask him if his house need wrapping?
Denis. To the founder?
Yuri. To the founder, poor bastard! You just got some on the founder! By the way, have you gone to the downtown? Have you found the client I told you about?
Meanwhile Manager chilly and Manager hot are fighting for the window: Manager hot in trying to open it, Manager chilly is trying to close it
Denis. I ran all over town... there was no street in there! I have been through for a 5 mile radius. No street...
Yuri. What do you mean, “no street”? This street is behind the circus...
Denis. There’s nothing out there besidesе Livery Street.
Denis. Ok... Livery!
Yuri. Liberty, oddball! Liberty Street!
Denis. Liberty? (The phone is calling) Hello, hello! Kitty, is it you? Meaning, my love? Were you scratched by the cat? Oh, asshole! I am just burying it … I’m… it…
Denis (pays no attention to Yuri). I’m… it… So what, kitty? Have you made supper? What’s for supper today? Pilaf? Did you buy some raisins?
The same and pan Cyril.
Pan Cyril. Beg to report!...
Yuri. What do you got? How is your son? Is everything all right in the Ministry?
Pan Cyril. What will happen to it then? Your Ministry?…
Yuri. Well, good. Start working... Here are sales managers... (Manager chilly and Manager hot leave alone the window, Denis hides a mobile phone into his pocket). Don’t be shy... Well, get comfy (to the sales managers). This is your boss, you poor mutts… The supervisor officer pan Cyril. Follow obediently as you did your own father’s, I go now (goes backstage)
Denis, Manager chilly, Manager hot, pan Cyril.
Pan Cyril. Okay… Attention! Sit down now and listen. Start working… Before this day you guys just kept breaks a butterfly on the wheel. First read the fucking manual... (hands around pieces of paper). Here are fine instructions... For dust on your feet you are fined 50 gryvnias, if you can’t do your job well you are fined 100 gryvnias, if you didn’t turn off your computer and go home you are fined 200 gryvnias.
Denis. But otherwise... Can I ask you a question?
Meanwhile Manager chilly is slipping on a quilted jacket, Manager hot is fanning himself. Suddenly both of them take off running to the window racing each other.
Pan Cyril. Belay questions! This is I who ask the questions here, not you! … That is… (Pays attention to the window). What happens?
Manager chilly. He is hot, while I' m freezing.
Pan Cyril. Boys, take post! We’ll open the window right on the schedule just like the army. Any questions?
Manager hot. Yes. I have...
Pan Cyril . Belay questions! This is command … (hands around again pieces of paper). I mapped out your time… field of operations, as they say …
Manager chilly. Um, can I...?
Pan Cyril. Belay chatting! Read the fucking instructions... Secondly. I made up travel directions for every worker from your home to our office. If something happens to you traveling to and from the office, and we’ll find out that while travelling you strayed from the path, it’s your own fault. No one decompensate anything to you for damages. You got any more questions?
Denis, Manager chilly and Manager hot (in a choir). Negative, command!
Pan Cyril. Then launch now! Go to the fields!
Manager chilly. What about fare?
Pan Cyril . After... after… keep tram tickets… you’ll render me the tickets… after… (Sales managers come out).
Pan Cyril. … And after every ticket we’ll be scanned en face and half face. And I know such types too ... They brought me here for discipline. When I was in the army no mouse could slide by with the tickets. Because I had ticket numbers from all wards! One day an officer brought me a ticket, I' m lookin ' at it and see that the ticket is registered in another ward! I have all tram, trolleybus and bus ticket numbers of the city. If a sales manager brings me a ticket, I’ll ask you: “So, where did you go? To what part of the city?” Eh? (laughing). We'll get together, have a few laughs!
He sits down at the table in the corner and draws something, some schemes. Then he comes out. Some time it’s dark that symbolizes the course of time. Then it's getting light and in the background there appears another poster: “Nin the toilet is being penalized with a 100 gryvnias fine”. “Street dis being penalized with a 150 gryvnias fine”. In the middle of the scene is a disabled man with crutches looking around. Yuri is running in, first he ignores the disabled man.
Yuri (in the room of sales managers), Disabled man.
Yuri. I just can’t get my head round this. Everything is set in motion.... I have to talk and push and change things. I have to hire new heads of departments... Who are you?
Disabled man. A courier...
Yuri. A courier?
Disabled man. Yes, a courier... The job center sent me... You got a smoke?
Disabled man. Shall we? ... What are you here? A sales manager?
Yuri. Oh, no… I don’t smoke.
Disabled man. Been here two weeks and I' m gonna tell you: this is a fucking disaster here. This woman boss Darina makes everybody run again, every move you make is fined, fined, fined … Yesterday she boasted of her record: she fired the whole department for 7 minutes! The first time it was 3 days, but yesterday she did it for 7 minutes! (Comes out)
Anny is in mini-skirt on. She is going through the scene speaking on the phone.
Yuri (runs after Anny). Feet, feet! (Anny shows her legs , bending, spinning). Show your shoes …! Dust! (Thumbs to the sign). Have you wiped you feet? You are fined! (Anny runs out)
Yuri (to Darina). Take out 300 gryvnias of the … untidy girl’s salary. For dragging dust in!
Darina. With great pleasure! Listen, this pan Cyril is killing me… He gave out some tasks to everybody and is now sitting and waiting until things just work themselves out. He drew my way to the office and I’m even scared of stopping at a boutique after a long, hard day’s work. Can you imagine this? First I have to go home and only after this I get to where I need to go. It’s a waste of gasoline, if you ask me! You should change his mind! He is a supervising officer, not HR-Manager.
Yuri. Well… It must be done too...Darinka, he is the right man. Last Sunday I had lunch with his son at that restaurant. His son will assist in our winning a tender at Railway Transport of Ukraine. Their depot and railway stations need to be wrapped ... Do you realize these volumes? Aye, well…. Tomorrow after lunch I would like to see the lower, the economist and the psychologist in my office.
Darina. Okay, I’ll do what you say. I like things are in due order (Comes out)
It’s getting dark, music bursts out. Some time has passed. When it’s getting light we can see Yuri sitting at his office. The lower comes in.
Yuri. Ah, pani Larisa... Come in, come in, I've been waiting for you...
Lower. You know, Yuri, We can’t live without staff of lowers. This thing’s so complex, I can’t keep up... Every self-respecting chief must be surrounded by a bunch of highly-skilled specialists. Lowers are his guardians. They are his hellhounds. You understand, lowers are the most highly paid employees in the company. They won’t work for 1000 bucks. Lowers respect themselves.
Yuri. Oh, yeah, yeah. We’ll give you almost the whole store of lowers, pani Larisa, the whole department. If only you work...
Lower. My first step is to throw away all old contracts.
Yuri. We’ve just done it... With paper clips...
Lower. All contracts must be re-concluded. Who made these archaic contracts?
Yuri. Pani Dari…
Lower. How ghastly! She had no right to. What made her think she could do like that? Does she have the law degree?
Yuri. Trust me; every item of our contracts is so kicked around… Kicked around by life itself, and frankly, I always did think that in our case standard form contract is all good....
Lower. Ha! And I wouldn’t be surprised if you downloaded them from Internet... It is no good at all. Each contract should reflect its individuality. “Know your client” is my credo. Take one client. It’s a world. We have to take into account his character, what sign of the zodiac is he, after all? For example, a client was born under the sign of Gemini. It’s a magic mysterious sign. His “on and off” is kind of freaking even astrologers. Not me…. (approaching Yuri, trying to seduce him). Five is a twin’s lucky number. That means that his purchase order amount must be divided into 5.
Yuri. That is very interesting indeed; maybe you'll talk to the head of economical department about it.
Lower. I really need to talk with him! The Twins are eternal children, they like kicking a dead horse. They don’t read much. So what does that mean?? Ah? What?
Yuri (frightened). What?
Lower. That means they won’t read our contract! So we can write in it that a Gemini client should pay us money if our wrapping got wet. Ah? Well, what’s it like?? He should pay us, not we pay him! Now let’s take a Scorpio. Do you think it’s okay to conclude the same contract with him? God forbid! ‘Cause a Scorpio is a hot lover. Take you ... What sign are you??
Yuri (wiping off sweat from his face). A Scorpio... I’m kinda untypical Scorpio...
Lower. There’s a lot of things you... you don’t know about yourself... you should reach your potential... if Scorpio’s passion is getting out of control, this usually leads to insatiable ... To jealousy... And even to violence! A Scorpio has , he can see and hear people’s thoughts and... !
Yuri. I've told you: I’m not typical... I' m so scared of dying... It makes my skin crawl just imagining myself in a coffin at my own funeral…
Lower. …Scorpions mystically understand reincarnation “die and live”. Their motto: "I thirst, I strive, I want". I don’t know how you have been working here... I mean, fucking hell. As for a client- Piscean...
Yuri. Enough ... I can’t take Piscean anymore...
Lower. Okay, okay....Then talk about responsibility. It says right here if a wrapping get wet you exchanging it for a new one right away. Did pani Darina come up with this too?
Yuri. Is there other way?
Lower. Just patch and darn it! Darn the damn wrapping and that’s it! Or turn it inside out. I came to work, ‘cause I have a lot of work to finish up.
Yuri. Darn? Inside out?
Lower. Yes... Darn… And inside out… And finally… Litigating, litigating and again litigating... H? I've been looking at something... We’ll file lawsuits against
Lower. I want rest of them to be scared! (to the audience). court a lower can prove herself! (To Yuri). Well, can’t really talk right now. I am awaiting trials! I go now! (comes out).
Yuri (to himself). Well, we’re branching out… So many problems! ... Well, the lower seems like a very smart woman, she’ll fix it... Speaks like a book! And how many departments must we organize and reorganize... And I' m boiling mad....
Yuri, Economist, Taras
Yuri. You guys, how good of you to come! These birds make me dizzy.
Economist. What happened? Has pani Larisa attacked you?
Yuri. Oh yes.... I barely held her back... We should reorganize our departments... You, our dear economist, are getting out of accounting department’s control... You will be at the cutting edge; lift off your shoulders the silly Julia. It's just the other way round: accounting department will obey you. First, what do you think about Taras’ formula? We’ll pay sales managers’ salaries ... So... what are you proposing?
Economist. This is a good formula... we should lay in it the system of fines. Sales managers must be responsible not only for catching clients but also for the whole order - from start to finish. They get their salary only when a house will be completely wrapped.
Yuri. Okay...okay...I like it. You mean sales managers should look after store men, accountants, guards, the garage and the rest… And fines.... Taras, what are you thinking??
Taras. There’s nothing to think about. I wish I set up the system : social package, bonus and other benefits… That would be better than the system of punishment and fines. Fear of losing a good job can be quite an incentive to keep labor policy. (Aside). Isn't it? (To Yuri) That’s why before tightening the screws we should have other methods of disciplining. At present we have no system of benefits or bonus. We have only the system of punishment.
Economist. Taras, you are prehistoric with your fucking little looks and sneers... In addition, I need some more economists in my staff... I don’t know how you’ve worked here... And economists… They respect themselves...
Yuri. I already know... They won’t work for 1000 dollars...
Economist. For 1000? (Aside) Quite fine ... Well, let’s go back to work.
Yuri. Go, guys, and get over the formula...
Yuri, Psychologist, Darina
Yuri. Oh, here is our dear psychologist! (He kisses her hand and makes her sit in the armchair. Darina sits next). ? We’re good? Have you tested all of us?
Psychologist. … You are not good at running business… I don’t know how you’ve worked here! Here is a job application I made...
Yuri (takes the notebook). Wow! Ten pages! Well, let me try to answer... Oh, no… Let pani Darina do it….
Darina. Forget it... Why would Darina do it? This is for those who on the street!
Yuri (reads the job application). If I filled out the job application before, I’d never get my job...I’d die unemployed... What’s it? «I want... I will... I know how...». Is it a ? Can’t imagine how a 40 year-old man answers these questions… I want to be an astronaut, but I will be a janitor. Still I know how to be a banker. Isn't it?
Psychologist. It’s after... It’s for newcomers. But now I’ll be testing both of you. Here are 4 geometric shapes: circle, triangle, zigzag and square (handing out the cards). Choose whichever you like. (Yuri and Darina chose). You, Yuri, have chosen circle... Well... You chose it with confidence, which means that you are in good and warm interpersonal relations. So you’re the one everybody says: «The Sun came up! ».
Yuri. Oh yes... They said the same thing about me. And more than once...
Psychologist. , sympathize... People are outreaching to Circles, because Circles are wonderful at reading people. In one minute they are capable of They are really trying to keep the peace...
Yuri. Yes, my father used to say me: «If only quiet! ». It was his favorite saying...
Psychologist. For a Circle there is nothing worse than interpersonal conflicts. He is happy when people are in perfect harmony with each other. That’s why the odds are that he’ll give way first. And you, Darina, has chosen triangle.... Gee... This shape symbolizes leadership. The brightest feature of Triangles is their capacity of concentrating on the main goal. Triangles are energetic, unstoppable. They are people with power, which have clear purposes and as a rule they reach them. Triangles are strong and sure of themselves who used to scoring off. A strong need to ruling and be number one, to decide everything not only for himself but possibly for somebody else make a Triangle to compete against the others. The highest ranking in any case is an orientation for victory, winning, success...
Darina. I can’t hear any more about it. Yuri, I went to my dentist... I have my hands full (Goes out).
Yuri. Go ahead and go to work … (his phone calls). Okay…What can I do? We’ll pay him back tomorrow. What? The goods are held up at the border? (Steps aside speaking low).
Psychologist (aside). Circles are indecisive, but I' m not gonna say anything about it. I won’t also inform him that I’m Triangle too. Circles are not much worried about if only everybody were happy and may we all find peace. Triangles will always put down Circles. (To Yuri, who came back). I think it’s better you know, Yuri, that it’s for a Triangle to be wrong...
Yuri (like came to). What the hell triangle? The goods are held up at the border.... What are you talking about, girl? What are you?
Psychologist (rambling) … she won’t admit her mistake, especially in public. It’s about pani Darina... She is a Triangle... Not me!
Yuri. Triangle? Hey, she looks exactly like square...
Psychologist. I wouldn't say… (Starts talking quickly, ). Triangles try to get a top position, … egocentrism, focus They make revolve around them. sensory acuity. On the way to the top of the power Triangles and may go towards their aim on heads. is peculiar to those presumptuous Triangles which weren’t stopped in time.
Yuri (looks curious). Oh! Quite interesting! So what are you saying? Everybody may be arrange in circles and squares?
Yuri. Very interesting... Now I get... I have lived with my eyes closed, but now I get...I am a Circle, I am the Sun... I warm everybody... They all are hot from me...
It’s getting dark... Music playing. When it’s getting light we can see Yuri sitting in the armchair. . He s.
Darina (looking at Yuri ). Yuri, what's the matter with you? You aren’t... the same as always...
Yuri. Yeah, what? It’s okay... Nothing happened at all... Has the girl-psychologist left? Isn’t she here?
Darina. Don’t worry, she’s not.
Yuri. I’ve just lived with my eyes closed... ... I am a Circle... I am the Sun and everything’s about me. Everything... ‘cause I am a Circle... Anny... Where is Anny? I ain't seen her for ages! Where is she?
Darina. Yurko, are you getting sick? What are you talking about? Your Anny is already on the way home... dogs aren’t gonna get her! This one isn’t working late. Not even for a moment... I just came by to ask you...
Yuri. What else?
Darina (). Application for assistance...
Yuri. Welfare assistance? Are you out of your fucking mind? This is the poor... who need welfare assistance... What do you need money for? For bread?
Darina (). I mean... Darinka … night and day...
Yuri. Well, I've heard that before... night and day... Your husband has another… grad student... How I understand him!… I hope she is pretty, this grad student?
Yuri. Oh nothing… Where is the application?… (Signs). By the way… (). Here is the formula. Taras made up it... But we put some fines into it.... The lower will put in it Zodiac signs... Still the economist said that sales managers should be responsible for the whole order till it gets to the end.
Darina. I'll even say more. In three months.
Yuri. In three months?
Darina. To put in the formula that sales managers get their salaries only in three months after the order have been done. There may be a ton of complaints about bad wrappings. Someone has to take responsibility.
Yuri. You know, you are kinda of Jesuit...lady
Darina. I'll even say more.... You should put our salaries into the formula...In order to...
Yuri. Darina! Stop it... Well... I am making a combat-decision! Burn the formula in the stove before it’s too late...
Darina. In the stove? (aside). No, my dear....no stove… Five precious years I’ve sacrificed for you. The formula is forever! You don’t like it, but I’m still a Triangle… And I know enough about your secret bank accounts. I won’t let you ... (Comes out).
Yuri. How are you, bro? Why don't you ask for a pay raise? Don’t worry… I remember about you. I’ll add you as much as 300 gryvnias. Satisfied?
Taras. Yuri, not what I meant... I wish... to go from here... explain to me...... how does it happen, that I did a good job organizing the work, regulating things have anything, while Julia and Darina are golden? goodbye I received a cleaner’s salary here and now I am begging like a schlepper the money I've earned by my honest work... ...
Yuri (with bitter smile). No, no... There’s one or two around here... Taras, what can I say? C’est la vie... Do you know who’s to blame for that? The President! The Prime-Minister is to blame! They don’t let me working! They suffocate, drown! With taxes! Never mind, bro, never mind... We'll be fine. Don’t leave me, man... Though... You know, part of me envies you... You are a free man! You are gonna write your letter of resignation and leave this madhouse. And tomorrow you won’t even remember us... I see sometimes workmen drinking beer ... God, I envy them! They are free men! Having worked 8 hours they go home. Like you. Well, admit it... After all, you don’t like working late.... But you always make a claim for higher pay.... Taras, you too… you aren’t simple-minded... You poor guy. Our psychologist is gonna be a handful. Who are you: Triangle or Square?
Taras. Triangle? What’s fucking triangle?
Yuri. I never turned you down. You are always given a raise...
Taras. Why do I have to work late? I worked 8 hours a day… While your birds came at noon stay up here late into the night... And who is the doctor for them?
Yuri. Eh, Taras... It is not as simple as it sounds... Well... Come, come.... Get back to work... You are a free man. How does it feel to be a free man? So be it: I’ll raise your salary for 200 grivnias... Did I ever refuse to pay? Plus 300 gryvnias bonus out of my own pocket... Look, don’t, um; don’t tell the others, yeah, about... No one has to know... But you know what? Let’s go to the restaurant. Let us sit down somewhere and discuss... I will pay!
Scene 22 (Sales managers’ room)
Rostik, Anny, Denis, Manager chilly, Manager hot, pan Cyril
Anny (with a piece of paper and a pan). Well, just writing a list... Who has children? They should be listed for New Year’s gifts. Denis, you have no children... Next.
Manager chilly. I have a 4 years old daughter.
Anny (writing). What is her name?
Manager chilly. Tania.
Anny. What? That’s all? Don’t sales managers have any more children?
Rostik. Yes, there is one... What about pan Cyril?
Anny. We don’t write grandkids!
Rostik. But he is “a person born in time of war”! Don’t “war babies” have any right for New Year’s gifts? Write: little boy Cyril...
Yuri and Taras are coming in sales managers’ room. This time Manager chilly and Manager hot are fighting for the window, while pan Cyril finish drawing something.
Yuri (to Rostik). Why are you sitting here? Go and find customers!
Rostik. What’s the point?
Yuri. Then go with us... To the restaurant... Gonna remember old times there... Do you keep in mind how I was driving you?
Backstage Darina’s voice: «Julia, Larisa, let’s go shopping… Discount days! I want to buy that green blouse with bows! ». Manager chilly and Manager hot finally broke off the window. Pan Cyril is getting . There is an accurate similar to the Sun: circle is in the middle with rays from it.
Yuri (dumbfounded). What is this? Is it me? Am I the Sun? I am the Sun... I heat everybody...
Pan Cyril (getting the poster higher). Not at all... It’s not you... This is travel directions that show our employees’ way to work and back home.
Taras. Wow! What’s the scheme! (To Yuri). Not your scribbles... Look. ... That circle is our office, and employees’ go to work strait lines... But if they can’t go direct lines? If a minibus takes a detour?
Pan Cyril. It’s their problems. The shortest line is a direct one! End of!...
Yuri. ... That’s the scheme... !... Like the Sun... I am the Sun...
Rostik. By the way... Here are the tram tickets, pan Cyril. The account department doesn’t take them without your consent.
Pan Cyril. Well, let’s see....The number 213245 series АН. Where did you go?
Rostik. To the cottage part of city... There are a lot of houses are under construction... I found three customers there!…
Pan Cyril. Well... Now, check them out... But this ticket is wrong! Not from the cottage area! This ticket is from the part of city where you are dwelling!
Rostik. That one I got lost… So I change it!
Pan Cyril. No… I won’t sign it.
Yuri. Let’s go... Take 10 gryvnias for tickets… (Holds out a banknote to him).
Taras. A ... Is it what you would say in the army?
Pan Cyril. Tactics... S!
Yuri. Okay... Cover off! Shun! Taras and Rostik, face about!! To the restaurant “Tbiliso” forward march! (Come out).
End of the second act.
To be continued