The artist saw this beautiful girl at his performances for the third time.
|The performance began with a five-minute delay. Moreover, in all theaters it is considered good manners to open the curtains with a slight delay. It was Wednesday, and it wasn’t a full house in the regional drama theater. The auditorium was almost a quarter full. The «Three sisters» was playing. Paul played brother Andrew and was a little bored by the monotony of what was happening. For the hundredth time he offered the same phrases, imitated the same emotions. What a melancholy!
There was depicted a night scene, the spotlights dimmed a bit, and Pasha could see the audience in the auditorium. It was a mainly female contingent, and for the most part elderly. There were a few male specimen, worn out they and didn’t attract much attention. Unexpectedly he noticed a nice girl on the fourth or fifth row.
- She came again, - Paul thought, - and definitely to me.
The artist saw this beautiful girl at his performances for the third time. He was sure that it was his fan. Throughout the play the girl only looked at Paul, didn’t take her eyes off him all the time. A bouquet of red roses had been presented to him at the previous play. The actor did not doubt that the flowers were given by a new admirer. His favorite color - red, the color of celebration, love and blood. The last one symbolizes to Pasha the pain that was, in his opinion, inextricably linked to the love relationship.
He decided to try to catch her after show in the theater lobby to invite her to his dressing room.
- I will let her to touch a little the beauty of the art, and I will feel the softness of her skin, the scent of her hair, - fantasized the artist.
At the end of the play, under the sparse applause, the troupe came to pay homage.
- Bravo! - Someone shouted from the audience.
Paul raised his head - it was his fan, gently looking straight at him.
- So pleasant voice and the word is desirable for the actor, - continued to reflect Paul.
After closing the curtains, he rushed through the wings to the back entrance. While the audience dressed, he would have time to go to the front porch to meet his new admirer. He ran out into the street - it was cold and slippery, that’s why he didn’t run, but rather shuffled slowly on ice. Coming to the front of the theater, he noticed bitterly that viewers have already started to leave the building.
- I hope she has not already gone, - muttered the artist.
He stayed for half an hour, waiting for the last person to leave the the theater. He looked into the lobby, but no one was there, except the cloakroom attendant and cleaner. Drooping his head, he trudged to his dressing room.
- All right, next time I’ll catch her, - he whispered to himself, trying to lighten the mood.
« A Streetcar named desire» was playing. It was a full house on Saturday night, despite that it was not the premier. Violetta Martyanova starred crazy Blanche DuBois. Paul thought, that the role suited her very well and brought the best out of her. Arnold Birkin, who was one of the most honored actors, played Stanley Kowalski. Until the last year he had played the title role in "Romeo and Juliet". Then finally it was transferred to Paul, because Arnold could not bend his leg to kneel in one of the romantic scenes. Pretending to be a sixteen-year-old boy was very hard for him, when he turned 50. Paul was only forty-one, and he was still smart, well-groomed, energetic and a bit sarcastic. For many people he did not look more than thirty years old.
Pasha played Mitch, which was not the main role, and he used the opportunity to watch the audience from the wings. He again noticed his fan somewhere in the middle rows. She was dressed more elegant and at the same time a little shabby. Although nowadays many people dress casually in the theater as it’s no longer a temple or sanctuary.
- She is, probably, a musician or an artist. Anyway, she is from our world of art, - Paul thought.
At this time, the artist decided not bow in front of the crowd and instead slipped through away one of the outputs from the audience closest to the place where his young admirer sat. After playing the last episode, Pasha quickly ran into the dressing room, threw on an old coat, put on his jacket. He didn’t want to be noticeable in the crowd. He went quietly into the room and hid behind the curtain, watching the object of his desire. Over last several days the young woman had not not come out of Paul's head. Passion and lust haunted the lonely bachelor through his sleepless nights. He pictured tender love scenes with a young Aphrodite, who was ready to do everything for the admiration for the artist’s talent.
Arnold Birkin hoarsely shouted: "Stella! Stella! Stella!" The performance ended and the hall almost exploded in applause. Among them was the young admirer, who laughed and vigorously clapped. Paul came out from behind the curtains and began to move gently towards the girl. The curtains closed, the applause died down, and the audience went to the door. Only the young fairy lady somehow went in the opposite direction upstream. Paul rushed after her, but the crowd, which had accumulated in the narrow aisles, would not let him pass. Finally just several feet separated him from the girl, but they were feet of impenetrable human jungles.
Suddenly she turned around and saw him. Her face like lightning slipped fear, panic, terror. She made an incredible effort to seep through the human bodies, trying to get away from the actor. Paul accelerated the chase, as he didn’t want to lose that young admirer. The strong desire and insatiable curiosity moved him. He could not figure out who she was? Why was she running away?
After several minutes of chasing her, the actor gave up in defeat. A Fair lady ran out of the auditorium to the lobby. Just several seconds later he burst into the lobby, however, the fan was no longer there. The actor ran from one corner to another in vain, hoping to find his hidden girl among the audience. He looked into the auditorium. No one was there. With his heart glimmering with sadness he wanted to get drunk.
Paul could not sleep that night, as the young beauty filled his thoughts. During the chase he was able to see her face more clearly. He thought that he had seen her before. But where and when? Different scenes turned over in his memory.
- Perhaps, at one of the theater parties, - he thought.
It was Thursday. Despite the weekday "Othello" was held with nearly a full house. After all, it was His Majesty William Shakespeare. Violetta played a young Desdemona. She recently had returned from Egypt, where for almost a month she had fried her body on the beach. The role of Moor would suit her better in both ways - in appearance and in character. Honored Artist Martyanova could drive any person in the coffin without any difficulties. But, of course, Arnold received the role of Othello. But in the previous play of «Othello» in the final scene he had nearly had a heart attack. Violetta then joked that she wanted to smoke, having waited endlessly for her strangulation.
Paul played Brabantio - Desdemona's father, but he wished to play the Moor and to strangle the vicious fury with his own hands. In one of the scenes he had the opportunity to look into the hall and again noticed his fan, as usual, sitting in the far chair. He decided that this time he wouldn’t wait for the end of the play, and would pull the young admirer out of the auditorium during the performance.
Seizing the moment, when he was not involved in the play, Paul slipped into the audience, hiding behind the curtains. He called the serving woman quietly in the hall and asked her to come to a young admirer and call her in the lobby.
- There's a girl in a gray suit. Don’t explain her anything, just say that it’s an urgent matter! - the actor gave his instructions.
- Well, Pavel, - said the old woman, and dragged into the gloom.
She came the woman of thirty-five, who was sitting directly behind the fan. For her, she was also a young girl, and she couldn’t distinguish the colors in the darkness. The spectator was a little surprised, however, she got up and followed the theater’s worker.
- Old fool! - Paul screeched. He jumped out from behind the curtains and ran, passing two ladies, towards his fan. He did not care that his medieval costume would attract the audience’s attention. He had just one purpose - to catch that young fury, to find out who she was. Running to her chair, Pasha suddenly discovered that there was nobody there, it was empty. Young admirer had vanished in the air like a mirage.
At that very moment some power surged into struck the artist's head, as though somewhere in his subconscious had resurfaced a geyser of enduring memory streams. Suddenly Paul remembered the young beauty. Twenty years ago, he and a group of fellow students were resting on the sea. There he began an affair with one of the female friends. He had no doubt that his admirer was that girl.
- What was her name? Irina, Tatiana? - He tried to pull out the remnants of his memory.
Their romantic relationship lasted only a week. It was, perhaps, the happiest week of his life, although later he tried in every way to forget about that time. The whole company got extraordinarily drunk in that evening. They were overexcited and decided to take a dip in the night sea, although there was a violent storm. Paul’s girl died, hitting her head on the rocks. A strong wave had threw her on the reef, which was hardly visible at night. Paul remembered that it was he who proposed to take a dip.
- It's not my fault! It's not my fault! - He shouted, throwing his hands theatrically.
When he awoke, he found himself standing in the middle of the auditorium in silence. Everyone, including the actors on the stage, were staring at him with surprise. The confused actor made an apologizing bow and rushed to the exit.