As a director of a production of "Three Sisters" outline your ideas for an effective performance of Irena & Toozenbach's final scene together (Act IV). Explain in detail what you would want your actors to do.

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As a director of a production of “Three Sisters” outline your ideas for an effective performance of Irena & Toozenbach’s final scene together (Act IV)

Explain in detail what you would want your actors to do

Caroline Bruce

In Irena and Toozenbach’s final scene together, Toozenbach is saying goodbye and telling Irena how much he loves her, after being interrogated by her as to where he was leaving to. He starts to describe everything around him as if it were the last time he was to see it and as he leaves, as if trying to put Irena’s mind at rest after she tries to come with him, he asks her to tell the servant to make him some coffee for when he returns.

In this scene Irena and Toozenbach would have a lot of awkward silences, as especially Irena seems to be quite uncomfortable with the relationship between them, whereas Toozenbach would be quite jumpy and stutter a lot as he is about to go into a duel against a very experienced duellist and has to come up with a lot of explanations as to where he is running off to.

As Irena and Toozenbach enter, the actor would be speaking at a moderate pace, and at an average volume, between themselves, but not so that nobody else can make out what they are saying. When Irena pauses, in her first line, I would ask the actor to turn and look around, as though looking for something to make conversation about. Then, when she continues with her line, she would be speaking slower than before. As she says the first part of her next line (starting “It’s not true…”) he would reach out and take hold of Toozenbach’s arm, to stop him leaving while she found out what was going on. After she asks this question, the script indicates a pause. During this, I think Irena would be piecing together in her mind what had happened recently that could have an effect now, and when she goes on, she would move towards him, speaking much faster and in a hushed voice, so as not to attract attention to their conversation.

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Toozenbach replies to this by brushing her away by moving backwards brightly, then kissing her hands. As he begin to tell her how much he loves her, he would speak faster and faster as he went along, also getting louder and gesturing towards her as he described each part of her, until he reaches the line starting “But – there’s only one…” where he would take a long pause before starting, during which he would stand and look into her eyes. When he restarts his speech, he would speak much lower than before, and speak happily, but you would ...

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