ANTON (Tony), anywhere from thirty-five to thirty-eight, bloated from drinking and always under the influence of alcohol. His face is bloodless, sad, and sleepy. He has a sparse beard, speaks slowly and painfully, and never laughs.
OLYMPIADA (Lipa), twenty-eight years old. She is fair and rather good-looking. There is a touch of monastic severity in her dress.
SAVVA, twenty-three, large, broad-shouldered, with a suggestion of the peasant in his looks. He walks with a slight stoop, elbows out, feet in. The motions of his hands are rounded and graceful, his palms being turned up as if he were carrying something. His features are large and rough-hewn, and his cheeks and chin are covered with a soft light down. When agitated or angry, he turns gray as dust, his movements become quick and agile, and his stoop disappears. He wears the blouse and boots of a workingman.
PELAGUEYA, a freckled, colorless woman, of about thirty, wearing the ordinary dress of her class. She is dirty and untidy.
SPERANSKY GRIGORY PETROVICH, an ex-seminarist; tall, very lean, with a pale, long face, and a tuft of dark hair on his chin. He has long, smooth hair parted in the middle and falling on each side of his face. He is dressed either in a long, dark overcoat or in a dark frock-coat.
FATHER KONDRATY, a friar, forty-two years old, ugly, narrow-chested, with swollen, animated eyes.
VASSYA, a novice, a strong and athletic youth of nineteen. He has a round, cheerful, smiling face, and curly, lustrous hair.
KING HEROD, a pilgrim, about fifty. He has a dry, emaciated face, black from sunburn and road dust. His gray, dishevelled hair and beard give him a savage appearance. He has only one arm, the left. He is as tall as Savva.
A FAT MONK.
A GRAY MONK.
A MAN IN PEASANT OVERCOAT. Monks, pilgrims, cripples, beggars, blind men and women, monstrosities.
The action takes place at the beginning of the twentieth century in a rich monastery celebrated for its wonder-working ikon of the Saviour. There is an interval of about two weeks between the first and the last act.
THE FIRST ACT
The interior of a house in a monastic suburb. Two rooms, with a third seen back of them. They are old, ramshackle, and filthy. The first one is a sort of dining-room, large, with dirty, low ceiling and smeared wall-paper that in places has come loose from the wall. There are three little windows; the one giving on the yard reveals a shed, a wagon, and some household utensils. Cheap wooden furniture; a large, bare table. On the walls, which are dotted with flies, appear pictures of monks and views of the monastery. The second room, a parlor, is somewhat cleaner. It has window curtains of muslin, two flower-pots with dried geraniums, a sofa, a round table covered with a tablecloth, and shelves with dishes. The door to the left in the first room leads to the tavern. When open, it admits the sound of a man’s doleful, monotonous singing.