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Frost in Summertime (Scenes 4-5)

by Elinor


Scene 4

It’s dinner, and the entire family, including ALEXEI, 13, sit around the table. Watching them is GUARD #1 joined by GUARD #2. They eat in silence. Nicholas seems particularly uncomfortable.

NICHOLAS

Excuse me, Guard?

Both Guards watch.

NICHOLAS

Any word on the letters from our family?

The Guards share a look.

GUARD #1

Nothing yet.

Nicholas takes a deep breath. He doesn’t believe them, but knows better than to say anything. But Alexandra isn’t quite ready to drop it.

ALEXANDRA

Surely our family must want to know how we’re doing.

GUARD #1

(curtly)

I said there are no letters, Mrs. Romanov.

NICHOLAS

You watch the way you speak to the-

After a moment of awkward silence, Nicholas catches himself and turns back to his family. There’s a long silence.

NICHOLAS

Do you girls remember when we had Crown Prince of Romania over for dinner? What was his name?

OLGA

Carol. Why?

NICHOLAS

Whatever happened to him? He was a nice boy.

Olga blushes and sighs, but doesn't respond. 

ALEXEI

Mama?

Alexandra turns to her son.

ALEXEI

Mama, can Olga take me sledding again?

ALEXANDRA

You'll have to ask Olga.

OLGA

ON Christmas?

Alexei nods. 

NICHOLAS

Just two more days.

Scene 5

Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia lie awake in bed, in their nightgowns. Outside, they listen to the howling of the wind.

TATIANA

Is this what ordinary girls have always felt like?

MARIA

In Siberia, maybe.

ANASTASIA

In America, I’ve heard every home has heat in the winter.

MARIA

Of course every home does. No one would be able to survive without it.

ANASTASIA

I meant, not just from firewood.

TATIANA

Soon it will be summertime.

ANASTASIA

Not for six months.

OLGA

Where shall we go, when this is all over?

ANASTASIA

America. I’m going to be an actress in New York City.

MARIA

Who would want to see you act?

ANASTASIA

A lot of people. I could do Shakespeare or… Tolstoy.

MARIA

Tolstoy wasn’t a playwright.

TATIANA

Why are you so mean to Anastasia, Maria?

MARIA

I’m not.

OLGA

Girls, let’s not go at each other’s throats.

ANASTASIA

He wrote plays. And if someone adapts Family Happiness, I could play Masha.

OLGA

And we will all be in the front row.

They smile sadly.

OLGA

I would love to sit in Central Park and eat a hot dog.

MARIA

We could see the Ziegfeld Follies.

TATIANA

First we have to make it to England.

The girls say nothing, suddenly faced with harsh reality.

TATIANA

And I don’t think Mama would let Alexei come to America.

MARIA

He’s not a child anymore. And Mama needs to stop treating him like one.

ANASTASIA

Papa just sits and does nothing. (Pause). You should have been Empress, Olga.

OLGA

Me? I don’t know. I certainly don’t envy Mr. Lenin.

MARIA

Don’t you mean Comrade Lenin?

The girls laugh emptily.

TATIANA

You know, I heard Mama and Papa talking yesterday. Papa was saying because he made so many other people suffer, he deserves to be here. Do you think we do?

OLGA

I’ve tried to be kind to other people.

ANASTASIA

I don’t want to talk about this any more.

OLGA

What shall we talk about?

ANASTASIA

I want to sleep.

The girls all turn off the lights. 


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— Mark Twain