As the sun sets (Når solen går ned) by Dagny Juel Przybyszewska

Go back…


Cast: Finn, Evy

A deep room, entirely in shadows. Dark tapestries on the walls. Dark, precious carpets and tablecloths on the floor and tables. A large bed in the back to the right. A low square table in the fore to the left; a deep and wide armchair in front of it. A seven-light silver candelabrum is on the table, candles lit.

Evy is lying on the bed, wearing a long, white gown.

Finn: (Enters and approaches slowly from the right. Whispers:) Evy… Evy…

Evy: (Rises slowly from the bed and walks towards him, rubbing her forehead.) I think I was sleeping. Ugh, what a dreadful dream! Finn, do you have a cure for those?

Finn: Come, sit beside me. I will chase off those evil dreams. Come! (He leads her to the chair and regards her for a while.) How pale you are. Your eyes, how pale, and your hair… Where is the light that shone through you?

Evy: No, Finn, that was my blood shining in happiness. When I first met you, dear, I felt my blood suddenly come alive… (Stretches her arms out.) Ah, like dancing sundust in my veins!

Finn: (Quizzically holds her hand up against the light.) See how it shines still, I can see through your skin. You are translucent, Evy, like an elfin maid. And your hair! Your lovely hair… (He loosens her hair and kisses it.)

Evy: Never leave me, stay with me always. Will you promise me that, Finn?

Finn: But you are ill, Evy. You must have peace and quiet, and sleep.

Evy: No, I'm not ill. You don't understand, Finn, you can't see it, but… (Whispers:) I am poisoned, bewitched… (Takes a careful look around.) Hey, can you die of anxiety?

Finn: Of anxiety? What do you mean? What do you have to fear? Don't you think I'm strong enough to protect you from all evil?

Evy: You are strong, and that's why you must always be with me, so that the frail creature that I am may drink of your strength. My love for you is a sea so deep where I may drown all my fears and all my frailty.

Finn: Here you sit, embraced by my arms, and your eyes shine not of happiness.. I must think that your frailty is greater than your love for me.

Evy: I have so many strange thoughts… Remember the fog down there by the cliffs, when she plunged into the sea? Oh, Finn, that fog has engulfed my soul and is now darkening everything, all my joys, my happiness.

Finn: And is not your happiness strong enough to shine through that fog?

Evy: Remember that dreadful night by the beach, when she plunged into the sea? The fog was rolling between the cliffs. She was walking ahead, not knowing the way. Then we heard the scream… Oh, how you squeezed my hand! You knew, Finn… You knew she would fall into the sea. Answer me, did you know?

Finn: (Keeps quiet.)

Evy: Did you know?

Finn: Yes, I knew.

Evy: (Collapses.) How could you?

Finn: I loved you!

Evy: Finn, you murdered her!

Finn: Evy, I love you!

Evy: You are terrible, Finn, but… you love me.

Finn: And you me?

Evy: Alas!

Finn: Remember that same night by the beach? When you told me how you hated her?

Evy: Yes, I hated her. But death… (Afraid.) Death, Finn!

Finn: Death! Millions of people perish. What did she have to lose? And sooner or later everyone must die.

Evy: Yeah, but listen, to die, to die! To lie there lame, blinded… forgotten!

Finn: She had to die. We were fortunate that the sea took her. Your good angel took her by the hand, Evy, and led her out of our story.

Evy: Oh, you would be sorely mistaken to think she would give you up that easily. You would be gravely mistaken to think she's out of our story. She will take revenge. She is strong now, in death.

Finn: Dead or alive, she shall not defeat either one of us!

Evy: So help me then, Finn, I will not be torn from your side!

Finn: No, I will not let you go so easily.

Evy: Alas, what help is there in you not letting me go? In death she is stronger than either of us. Oh, she will force me to follow sooner or later. She will wear me down. If you will not help me, I will be lost.

Finn: You're dreaming. You have a fever…

Evy: No! No, every night she comes to me. When you're gone she comes. She sits down on my bed and stares at me with those dreadful dead eyes, and breathes her corpse breath into my face. Faugh! Do you now understand why I have turned pale? Her breath dulls the shine of my hair, she snuffs out the shine of my blood. Oh, her breath is a gray, lightless miasma. And she lays her arms around my chest and squeezes, squeezes… Ugh, she has claws like a cat and green eyes, green as mold, dreadful, poisonous… (Arises quickly.) She will kill me, she will kill me, she will tear me away from you!

Finn: Evy…

Evy: Oh, I understand her. If that was me tossed aside for someone else… Do you think I would leave that happy one alone? No, I would suck her dry, I would breathe at her so that she should wilt and decay and die… Oh, she would not go smiling to bed!

Finn: (Strongly.) Evy, do you remember that same night, that blessed night, when the sea took her, led by your good angel? I took you in my arms and kissed you, kissed you… Remember how you laughed and wept tears of joy? You had no fear of ghosts, then…

Evy: Do I remember! How the sea sang of her corpse!

Finn: And would you like it undone?

Evy: No, Finn, how fortunate for us, our only fortune. I love you!

Finn: Be strong, and then she won't come near. Look her in the eyes. Spite her!

Evy: (As in a fever.) Yes, I shall spite her. I shall break her spell. I shall be strong, as strong as you. She will not steal my happiness. Leave me now, Finn… I am no longer afraid. I am tired and would rest to recover my strength.

Finn: Yes, sleep… And call me when you wake. (Kisses her.) Sleep, sleep… Shall I leave?

Evy: Please leave, I cannot sleep with your eyes on me. And I am no longer afraid. Leave!

(Finn leaves.)

Evy: (Is sitting quietly contemplating the lights. Arises, looks around carefully, goes slowly to bed and lies down.)

Evy: (Suddenly sits up in bed.) What was that? (Listens. Lies down again.)

(Silence.)

Evy: (Sits up.) My god, what was that? (Looks around confusedly.) Sigh, why did I send him away, why did I send him away!

Evy: (Listens, whispers:) I am afraid! (Louder.) Oh, what anxiety!

(Silence.)

Evy: (Suddenly sits up again, hugs herself.) Oh God, how heavy, how think… Oh, I can't breathe! Oh, Finn, Finn! (In despair.) He cannot hear me!

Evy: (Screams.) Don't touch me! Leave, leave! I beg you, leave! How can destroying my life help you? How can it help you? I won't follow you! Leave… Oh! (Sits up.) I dreamt… Ugh, how dreadful, how dreadful… (Moaning.) Why is not Finn coming?

(Silence.)

(Is sitting up, staring into the room.) It's dreadful here. Oh, how the air is thick and heavy…

(Snuffs out the lights, lies down again.) (Silence.)

Evy: (Screams, struggles.) I can't breathe! I can't breathe! Let go… Let go! You are killing me… Let go! (Arises from the bed. Hoarse.) Finn, Finn! Why are you not coming? (Is standing and peering into the dark.) Oh, I see you… Don't you hide from me… Step forward and let me see you! Let me see your wan and hideous dead face… Me, afraid of you? You wouldn't dare to follow us into the light and the sun… The sun shall wash you away… Oh! Will it amuse you to see him kiss me? (Snickers.) Will it amuse you to see me in his arms? (Retreats towards the bed.) Faugh, you poison the air… Oh, I can't breathe… (Screams.) Finn! (Hoarse.) Finn! Oh, I can't breathe… (Flies towards the door.) I dare not stay here any longer… Oh! (Stumbles and falls on the bed.) Finn… Come… Oh… I can't breeathe! Finn, I'm dying… I can't breathe…

Finn: (Bursts in, grabs her in his arms.) Evy, Evy, what is it… Evy!

(Silence.)

Finn: Evy!

Evy: (Opens her eyes.) Finn, I can't breathe… She… Oh, Finn…

(CURTAINFALL)


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