Vanya on 42nd Street
adapted by David Mamet from Uncle Vanya by Anton Chekhov
Vanya (Wallace Shawn): I still must fuel my stoves and build with those same woods that you prize.
Dr. Astrov (Larry Pine): Burn peat in your stoves. Build your barn of stone, do you understand? Yes, sometimes we cut wood out of necessity, but why be wanton? Why? Our forests fall before the axe, billions of trees all perishing, and the homes of birds and beasts being laid waste. The levels of the rivers falls and they dry up. Sublime landscapes disappear never to return because we havenít sense enough to bend down and pick fuel up from the ground. Isnít this so? What must human beings be to destroy what they can never create? Godís given us reason and power of thought so that we may improve our lot and what do we use these powers for but waste? Weíve destroyed our forests, our rivers run dry, our wildlife is all but extinct, our climate ruined. And every day, every day where everyone looks, our life is more hideous. Oh, I see, you think me amusing. These seem to you the thoughts of some poor eccentric. Perhaps itís naÔve too on my part. Perhaps you think that, but Iíve passed the woods Iíve saved from the axe, and I hear the forest -- sighing. I planted that forest, and I think things may be in our power, you understand. Perhaps the climate itself is in our control. Why not? And if in a thousand years, people are happy, I will have played a part in that happiness, a small part. I plant a birch tree. I watch it take root. It grows. It sways in the wind. And I feel such pride. Ö And of course itís possible I am just an eccentric.
Kudos and much thanks go to Diane for this monologue, it is very much appreciated.
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