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. 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 still be able to tell how sad he was, beneath his smile. When Irena replies to him, she would turn away from him slightly as she told him she didn’t love him, and her voice would elevate slightly and she would speak faster. When she begins to cry, she would turn back towards him and slow down her speech, as she explained how she’d never been in love.
When she takes a pause, she would straighten up and stop crying, and keep glancing at him but not looking directly at him, as she would be slightly embarrassed about crying. When she finishes her line with “Your eyes are so restless. ” I think she would look quite uncomfortable beforehand, as though searching around for something to say to him, to break the silence. Although this is not a question, Toozenbach seems to feel he must justify himself, so replies with the line starting “I was awake… In this bit he would speak quite fast, and uneasily as he’s trying to convince Irena to believe something that isn’t true. I think he would pause between “… nothing threatening” and “… only the thought… ” as he’s changing the subject, trying to take the suspicion away. When he asks Irena to say something to him, he would reach out and take hold of her arms, and speak fast and urgently. In the pause he would be looking into her eyes while she was looking away, to the side or at the ground, either trying to avoid answering the question or trying to think of something to say.
When he repeats himself, he would be speaking angrily, and might shake her and raise his voice slightly. She replies by asking him what she is to say. When she does so, she should look straight at him, and release herself from his grip, raising her voice slightly and speaking quite angrily but not enough to be threatening. Toozenbach would sigh, maybe drop his shoulders, and speak quite slowly as he replied. When Irena says “Don’t, my dear, don’t… she would be fighting back tears and holding on to his arm, moving closer to him, and would be speaking at an average speed. Next, Toozenbach starts a long speech about the trees around him and how beautiful they are. Now he would be gesturing around him, and smiling, but turning back to Irena a few times as though looking for agreement, or approval, or even any sort of recognition that she understands what he’s saying. As he goes on, he would get faster and faster and his voice would elevate slightly and get louder.
Also, he would be standing up very straight instead of slouching like he might have been before. When the shouts are heard, he undoes any good he would have done in convincing Irena he wasn’t up to anything, when he says the lines “It is time… ” when he tells her where her papers are. While he is saying that, he would be looking at her as though he was saying goodbye, and he would speak a lot slower than before, taking care over his words and thinking over what he is saying.
He would also speak quite sadly, especially when talking about the dried up tree. After this, Irena says, “I’m coming with you”. When she does this, she would take a step forward, and stand up very straight. She would be speaking quite loudly, and speak very powerfully and quite fast. When Toozenbach hears this he is very surprised and so should quickly step backwards, while saying “No, no! ” in a very high pitched and choked, panicky voice, then turn around and start to run off. After a couple of steps, though, he would turn around and shout “Irena! about to say something, only finding that when it comes to the time to say something he doesn’t know what, so he would stutter before finding an answer, raising his arm while thinking about what to say, and when he finally asks her for coffee, he would smile, and speak very fast, but not as high pitched as the line before this one. In between these lines, when Irena asks him what he wants from her, she would speak dejectedly, dropping her shoulders, and turning round to look at him again, but look quite sad, as though she knew what was about to happen.