Dramatic Texts >> Derenik Demirchyan >> Nazar the Brave
NAZAR THE BRAVE by Derenik Demirchyan, translated by Aris G. Sevag

A
folk tale-comedy in five acts for childlike adults and adultlike children
 
CAST OF CHARACTERS:

HOUSE MANAGER
NAZAR THE BRAVE
USTIAN, Nazar's’s wife
SUB-DEACON
SAKO
MASTER OF CEREMONIES
SCHOOLMASTER
GULZAR, neighbor woman of USTIAN in the village
GIANTS OF ZORBASTAN
GHOROBUGHA
DANGIZ
KHOZENI
ARDJATOTOSH
GHARAGHURA
GHORONTI
GHUZGHUN
PERISHAN, their sister
CHAMBERLAIN
MINISTER
VIZIER
GENERAL
CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
COURTIERS
TROOPS
COMMON PEOPLE
TIGER
 
PROLOGUE
The HOUSE MANAGER, coming down center before the closed curtain, is a fat, kindly, and smiling man wearing oriental garb. He addresses the audience.  

HOUSE MANAGER
Members of the audience, young and old, I bid you welcome a thousandfold at this joyous time. I have the honor of informing you that NAZAR THE BRAVE has come and is presently in the theater. He’s just arrived with his entourage from the city of  Nazarashen (which, as the name suggests, he built himself ) situated in our hero’s very own country of  Nazarstan. He’s changing his shirt in an outpouring of heroic sweat and, if the wood flooring of the stage doesn’t cave in from the furious momentum of his bravery, the brave and robust Nazar will receive you all royally on stage. I affirm the special love and care he has toward you. And until His Excellency himself personally comes out on stage for your delectation, he’s ordered me to offer you his greetings. I bear you many greetings from Nazar himself, his wife, Ustian hanum, and his decrepit sub-deacon. Also full of greetings are the heroes of Zorbastan, land of tyrants, despots, and oppressors, namely, the frightful  Sako, the lively tamada (their Master of Ceremonies) the pale Schoolmaster, the sweet-talking priest, and the rest. Greetings, too, from the seven Giants of Zorbastan: the wise Ghorobugha, the very intelligent Dangiz, Khijeni, Ardjatotosh, Gharaghura, Ghoronti,  Ghuzghun, and their sister Perishan the destitute. And also from the eloquent Chamberlain, the Vizier, the Minister, the courtriers, troops, people, and tiger. And the last to extend his warm greetings is the author of this tale of heroism, who isn’t in the theater at this moment. In fact, on the advice of his critics, he’s gone to take singing lessons from a rooster. As soon as the lesson is over, he’ll join us as well. After all, these days he’s become pretty unpretentious. So, if he doesn’t get beaten up this evening, but by some quirk of fate actually hears the sound of your applause, just like his hero, he’ll modestly come on stage during the final act to express his thanks. (The HOUSE MANAGER bows to the audience and then departs, opening the curtain with his long staff as he moves into the wings.)

ACT I
 
 
NAZAR THE BRAVE, at home.
The scene is set in the yard of his home. At left is a hut with a barn, with window and door. Facing it is the yard fence which, extending to the right, bends forward, and the yard gate is precisely at that corner. The wall then comes forward and ends where a small square forms to the right of it. A door opens from the left corner of the hut toward the rear. Behind the fence and extending to the right of it is a forest. Motley items of clothing are hung out between the hut and the yard wall. A threshing tool is at left, in the corner created by the door to the house and barn. It is very late afternoon. Sunlight is reflected in the yard, where a plantain tree gives shade. Dogs can be heard in the distance. NAZAR, a large, tall man, with lazy movements, disheveled hair, long mustache, and clean-shaven chin, has put down his goatskin in the doorway and, sitting on it at an angle, is dreaming half-asleep.


 
NAZAR (waking up, without looking inside)
Ustian!
 

USTIAN (An ugly, coarse, and heavy-set woman is preparing food in an in-ground oven)
What is it, Agha?
 

NAZAR
Listen, Ustian, it’s almost dusk.
 

USTIAN
Are you blind or what? Don’t you see I’m preparing the meal?
 

NAZAR
That’s not what I’m getting at.
 

USTIAN
Well then, what are you getting at?
 

NAZAR
I was just thinking I should go to the village and bring home the loot.
 

USTIAN (curious)
Loot? Well, if you know it’s there, why don’t you just go and get it.
 

NAZAR (scratching the back of his neck)
Yeah, I was thinking it’s time for me to get
up and go. (He gets up, drags along his goatskin cape, and drops it down next to
the oven. Losing his train of thought, he sits down on it again.)
Let me go, I say,
and get what’s coming to me in the village.
 

USTIAN
Well, why did you sit down again?
 

NAZAR (musing)
Yeah, that’s what I was just thinking, too.
 

USTIAN
You were planning on going to the village to bring home the loot, weren’t you?
 

NAZAR
That’s right. I’ll see if my men are in the village. If they are, I’ll send
them to the mountain pass. A caravan or traveler is bound to come through.

 
USTIAN
I don’t understand. Didn’t you say the loot was already stashed?
 

NAZAR (yawning)
What loot are you talking about?
 

USTIAN
You idiot, you just said you were going for the loot, right?
 

NAZAR
Never mind that. I heard that Köroghlu’s gang has come to the village.(1) Let
me go and see if they’ve actually had the guts.
 

USTIAN
You’ll be the laughing stock of the whole village. You’ve got no business there.
 

NAZAR
Yes, I do.  Nazar the Brave has got to go and show them who’s boss.
 

USTIAN
You, brave? You’d give your life’s savings for a mouse hole in a storm!
 

NAZAR
Speak to me with respect.
 

USTIAN (in a loud and threatening voice)
Respect? So you’re a prince or something?
I’ll speak to you with respect when you’re dead—maybe. Respect my foot.
 

NAZAR
I don’t understand how you can belittle me like that. I’m known as the village
prince. Don’t talk like that, otherwise I’ll get up and—
 

USTIAN
You pip-squeak, who the hell do you think you are? Are you above criticism?
No way, José! Are you going to bring home the swag, or are we going to live on charity?
 

NAZAR
What are you blabbering about? I don’t support you. You support me.
 

USTIAN
Me support you? Why don’t you find work?
 

NAZAR (threatening)
What did you say? You sure have got some nerve—
 

USTIAN (surprised)
Nerve?
 

NAZAR
How could you even imagine Nazar working? You’d be in a pretty state if
that got around.
 

USTIAN (sarcastically)
Oh, really? . . . So, Your Majesty doesn’t have to work. Is that it?
 

NAZAR
That’s it. You’re going to work. Not me.
 

USTIAN
I’ll see you die first. Who in hell’s name do you think you are, anyway?
 

NAZAR
I’m a member of the aristocracy.
 

USTIAN
A nobleman? In your dreams!
 

NAZAR
It’s in the church records. My grandfather’s grandfather was a king. Our
family belongs to the nobility.
 

USTIAN
How’d your grandfather get to be a dirt farmer then? And you’re not even
that. First you don’t work, second you pass yourself off as nobility, and now
you’re trying to put me down, when I’m the one of noble birth.
 

NAZAR
Ha! You of noble birth? A noblewoman?
 

USTIAN
A noble noblewoman. Those not as ignorant as you know!
 

NAZAR
How does an idiot like you become nobility?
 

USTIAN
If I weren’t nobility, would my father have been so respected?
 

NAZAR
Get off your high horse! “Nobility!” Don’t you dare say that in my pres-
ence. You get a kick out of abusing me. My name reverberates throughout the
world. Köroghlu doesn’t dare come near us because he knows of my reputation.
What do you know about bravery? Nothing! Now, look what you’ve done,
you’ve made me go on and on and kept me from my duties. Who knows what
action I’m missing in town? Let me go now. When those Daghestani bandits
catch sight of me, they’ll quake in their boots and beat it. (2) (He picks up his
goatskin cape again, drags it to the door, and sits on it.)

 

USTIAN
Dream on! Meanwhile, make yourself useful and chase the chickens out
of the yard or I’ll smash your head in with that old club.
 

NAZAR (looking inside)
Just you wait and see the royal banquet I’ll throw when this
fight’s over.


NEIGHBOR WOMAN (entering from the rear of the house)
Ustian?
 

USTIAN
Is that you, Gulzar? Come on in.


NEIGHBOR WOMAN
Hey woman, what are you cooking? (Looking about) Isn’t your
husband at home?
 

USTIAN
He’s home all right, sprawled out behind the door.


NEIGHBOR WOMAN (whispering)
Isn’t he working yet?
 

USTIAN
You’re joking, of course. Work is out of the question for him. Every other
woman’s husband goes and brings home the bacon. But mine is nothing but a
leech. He’s not capable of robbing or working.


NEIGHBOR WOMAN
There’s always someone looking for a herder. He can handle
that, can’t he?
 

USTIAN
Nazar a herder? Don’t make me laugh! Say “king,” “prince,” or “baron” to
Nazar and he’s all for it. Now, do you actually think he would consider herding
as suitable work?


NEIGHBOR WOMAN
Well, what’s he going to live on?
 

USTIAN
How should I know? He lies about like a tattered rag from morning to
night and talks of being an exalted leader.


NEIGHBOR WOMAN
Who knows, woman, maybe he’ll become a leader. That’s not
so far-fetched. Maybe if he talks enough of becoming a king, he’ll actually become
a king some day.
 

USTIAN
What, that runny-nosed squirt? He can’t even wipe his nose, and you say
he’s material for a king?


NEIGHBOR WOMAN
Stranger things have happened.
 

USTIAN (thinking)
He will? Who knows, maybe.


NEIGHBOR WOMAN
Wouldn’t you want him to become a king?
 

USTIAN
Sure. I’d make as good a queen as anyone. But I can’t imagine that spineless
imbecile as my consort. He deceived my father into giving me to him. Before, I was a princess in my father’s house; now look at me. We don’t even have a crust to eat.


NEIGHBOR WOMAN
If you know your husband can’t cut it, why not find work yourself?
 

USTIAN
You can’t expect me to work, my dear. My father happens to be a prince.
Now tell me, is it dignified for me to work?


NEIGHBOR WOMAN
Well, what’s going to become of you?
 

USTIAN
What’s going to become of me? I’ll crack his skull if he doesn’t get work and put food on the table. I’ll show him which one of us is nobility. Do you think I’ll let him treat a princess like a washerwoman while he pretends he’s a prince? I’m the one of noble stock, not him!


NEIGHBOR WOMAN
Ustian, my child keeps crying. Would you be a dear and come
over to see how she’s doing?
 

USTIAN
Let’s go. I was planning to go into the village anyway.

(They leave by the rear entrance of the house. Pause. NAZAR is sleeping with his head against the door. Mischievous children slowly approach him and wake him up by touching his nose with a stick.)
 

NAZAR (jumping up)
Hey, who’s there? (He runs into the house.)


CHILDREN (As they run off, they shout.)
Snot-nose Nazar!
 

NAZAR
Shut up, you little bastards! I’m not one of your ass-kissing fathers. I’ll skin you alive.


CHILDREN
Nazar is a scaredy-cat. Nyah, nyah nyah!
 

NAZAR
You sons of bitches. I’ll tan your hide.

(The children run off.)
 

NAZAR (He lies down. Within moments, flies begin to annoy him. He shoos them away and then yawns lazily.)
These flies won’t let a man sleep in peace. Hey, good-for-nothing woman of mine, come and drive them away. On top of everything, do I have to do that, too? (He looks inside.) Has she gone out? (Calling)

Ustian! (He tries to pick up the goatskin cape to go inside, but he is too lazy to do so and stretches out again.)
Oh! Am I tired. (Pause) It’ll soon be dark. Who knows what thieves and robbers are lurking about? (To the flies) Hey, get off me! . . . As if I didn’t have enough to worry about. (He drags the goatskin with his body and wriggles his way inside the hut.) I’ve had enough! The devil tells me to get up and annihilate these buggers once and for all. (Getting angry at the flies) Just who do you think you’re fooling with? (Slapping at a fly on his face) There, I’ve got you, and you, and you. I’m  Nazar the Brave. Everybody kids around. I don’t kid around. (Looking at the flies fallen on the ground) How many are there? One, two, three, four, five. (He is too lazy to count any further.) Ooph. Call it an even thousand. (Shouting) I’m Nazar the Brave, I’ll have you know. I slay a thousand with a single blow.

(A thin, decrepit SUB-DEACON, with disheveled hair and carrying a parchment book,
enters, leaning on a staff.)
 


NAZAR
Who’s there? (Jumping up) Oh, it’s you, Sub-deacon.

 
SUB-DEACON (jumping up and down)
I throw, I catch; I catch, I throw. (Noticing
NAZAR)
Greetings, Brother Nazar, hail and well met. What’s that about slaying
a thousand and bagging them in a net?
 

NAZAR
Ah, what’s this world come to! If I had the energy, I’d get up and slay everybody.
 

SUB-DEACON
It’s a sign of the times.
 

NAZAR
No matter what, I’ve made up my mind, I’m going to annihilate mankind,
and I’ve started with the flies.
 

SUB-DEACON
It’s a sign of the times.
 

NAZAR
Just look, I struck one blow and destroyed a thousand.
 

SUB-DEACON
It’s a sign of the times. (Looking at the flies) Oh, Nazar, these aren’t
flies, no, these are heroes. (Excited, his speech becomes increasingly more rapid
and mechanical.)
I saw a frightening hero in my dream. He had a sword in his
right hand and a banner in his left. He appeared in the form of celestial fire
and annihilated a thousand lesser heroes. By the grace of God, you are that
hero. Wow, my dream has come true! You shall conquer the world,  
Nazarias, and kings shall tremble with fear before you. (He opens his ledger and, walking
around the yard, begins to look at it and mutter an incantation.)
See, I came, I
found, I saw and I verified with help from the Lord. It’s a great day, and my
dream was auspicious. Now I shall verify, make a prediction, and depart. Behold
(He counts the flies.) one, two, three, four, five—all in all, a thousand.
(Looking at the ledger) It’s an accurate sign. (Approaching a white cloth spread
out on the wall)
Now I shall write it on this cloth for the whole world to see.
(Sticking his finger into an ink well, he writes on the cloth and reads out loud.)

Nazar the Invincible,  Nazar the Brave,
With one blow sends a thousand to their grave.

(Holding up the cloth)
A divine sign, a mysterious phenomenon, a banner given
by heaven, a frightful statement whereby it is God’s hope that you become
master of the world. (He ties the cloth to NAZAR’s lance and extends it to him.)
Take it, (looking directly into NAZAR’s eyes) take it, (getting closer to him) take it . . .
 

NAZAR
What am I going to do with it? (Pulling back)
 

SUB-DEACON
Take this God-given banner. Strike the enemy by the thousands.
 

NAZAR
Really? But now I feel kind of lazy. Put it over there in the corner, and tomorrow
I’ll get up and smash the world to smithereens.
 

SUB-DEACON (putting the banner in the corner)
Now I place it at the corner of the
altar, may the prophet’s words come true, that (singing) “The wise servant
shall dominate the foolish leaders.” (Removing a magic charm from his breast
pocket)
Here’s a magic charm. (Picking up a few specks of dust from the ground)
Behold, the dust of giants. (He wraps the dust in the charm and hands it to NAZAR.) Take it.
 

NAZAR
What is it, what do I do with it?
 

SUB-DEACON
Put this charm in your breast pocket and go vanquish your enemies.
(NAZAR takes it.) (The SUB-DEACON pauses, jumps up and down on the spot, and snickers; again incanting) “I catch, I throw, I throw, I catch.” (He leaves.)
 

NAZAR
Sub-deacon, stay by my side to stop me from inflicting harm on mankind.
(He tries to follow the SUB-DEACON but yields to lethargy.) Oh no! (He cocks his
ear. Afraid, he tries to screw up his courage.)
It’s getting dark now, it’s getting
dark, show the stuff you’re made of, Nazar the Brave. (Suddenly seized by fear,
he runs to the hut.)
What happened to that damned wife of mine?  
Ustian! (Louder) Ustian! . . . (Again he runs inside and, closing the door, locks it. Suddenly
there’s a knock at the door.)
Who is it? (He cocks an ear.) Haji-Murad? (Pause) Gomesh-Patran, is that you?
 

USTIAN
What the hell’s the matter with you? Did the devil eat your tongue?
 

NAZAR (coming out of the hut)
Don’t be foolish! You have no sense of time. What
kept you? Where were you?
 

USTIAN
Do I ask about your comings and goings?
 

NAZAR
That isn’t a proper response at all for the wife of a brave husband like me.
 

USTIAN
The way you rushed inside so terrified, one would think a robber was chasing you.
 

NAZAR
Why shouldn’t a robber chase a man like me? Running away requires skill,
too. I’m such a brave man, I run away and I cause others to run away. I hit and
I get hit. That’s the lot of the brave. Well, no matter, get the food on the table so I can eat.
 

USTIAN (thrusting her fist in the air)
Eat this! Who do you think you are, a king, the
way you’re ordering me about?
 

NAZAR
I know my business. (He sits down at the edge of the oven. USTIAN lights a lamp, brings a serving table over, places it under the sycamore tree, and places the food on it.) What, is it dark already? H’mm. I can hardly see . . . I’m telling you, the bandits will attack the village at night, and our home will be
endangered, too. Wife of mine, keep my sword handy.


A STRANGER'S VOICE (from behind the fence)
Hey!
 

NAZAR (entering the hut and sticking his head out the door)
Go see who’s there. Lock the outer gate.

(USTIAN eats leisurely, unmoved.)



A STRANGER'S VOICE (nearer)
Here I come! Here I come! Here I come!
 

NAZAR (to himself)
I won’t open the door. I’ll look through the crack! (The
stranger’s voice fades away.)
He’s gone! (The voice becomes more distant.) If he
comes again, I’ll show him! Seems he didn’t know whose door he was shouting
at. (He cocks his ear.) Well, he’s gone now. They must have told him in the
village that this is where Nazar lives. (Coming out of the hut) He spoke with a
Daghestani accent. Who knows, maybe it was the Lezgi Haji-Murad. (3) I
thought the voice sounded familiar. Well, what do you know! Oh, the days we
spent together! You, the wife of a hero, didn’t have the presence of mind to invite
him in for a visit. Never mind, I’ll go up the mountain tomorrow myself
and bring him back with me. (He sits down and begins to eat.)
 

USTIAN
How lucky I am! My husband’s a hero, and I’m the queen of a golden palace!
 

NAZAR
Uphold your man’s honor, and everything will work out.
 

USTIAN
I’d be fine without a man like you.
 

NAZAR
You’d be fine without a man like me! What man have you found that you’re
not satisfied with me? You’ve got a roving eye, right? Well, I’ll blind those eyes
of yours. I’m not called  Nazar the Brave for nothing. Don’t exhaust my patience,
otherwise I’ll whack you with my club. You hear?
 

USTIAN (getting up)
You’re threatening me with a club? (She gets up, goes and
picks up the club from its place in the corner, and attacks  NAZAR.)
Well, take this!
 

NAZAR
Oh! Oh! Oh! . . . (He jumps up and goes around the sycamore tree in an attempt
to avoid getting hit by the club.)
Don’t be afraid, I won’t hurt you. Hand over the club.
 

USTIAN
Stay right where you are!
 

NAZAR
Whoever heard of a woman beating a man? Is that a humane thing to
do? (He runs under the hut, then sticks his head out.) Stop! Where are you
running off to? I’m coming! Here I am, you merciless witch. Hand over the club.
 

USTIAN
Come out of there so I can crack open your skull and be done with it!
 

NAZAR
I’m not coming out! You can count on that.
 

USTIAN
Ha! You’re not coming out?
 

NAZAR
I’m a man of my word. I’m not coming out.
 

USTIAN
Yeah? For a man like you, you’re in the hole where you belong. If you dare
show your face, I’ll bury your boastful head! (She pulls back.)
 

NAZAR (sticking his head out)
Put the club away, or I’ll come after you.
 

USTIAN
Come on! (USTIAN throws herself on  NAZAR. He pulls his head back, and USTIAN sits down.)
 

NAZAR
Woman, put the club back. I’ve got a mean temper. The blood’s going to
my head. I’ll get up and smash you to pieces. That’s why I’m staying under the
hut. Do you want everyone to know that I struck my wife? (Pause) So you’re
not going to put down the club? Okay. Any man who lets his wife dishonor
him isn’t worth a kopeck. Stand there and drop dead! I’m not coming out! (He
pulls his head back. Pause. USTIAN puts the club down. NAZAR sticks his head
out.)
Put the club back where it belongs because I’m hopping mad.
 

USTIAN
The club is where it belongs.
 

NAZAR
Give it here!
 

USTIAN
Come and get it!
 

NAZAR (Seeing the club on the ground, he approaches gingerly.)
I’m going to blow
my top and wreck the joint, you nagging bitch. (He runs out of the hut but,
tempted by the food, sidles over to the dinner table.)
Well, I was in no mood to
fight anyway. (He sits down.) Our clan is made up of real men; we don’t raise
a hand against women. (He picks up his spoon and begins eating.) If you were
a somebody, I wouldn’t mind, but considering you’re a nobody, you don’t
think I’m going to let you hit me with the club? If you were really tough, you’d
go with me into the mountains and see how the bandits take to their heels
when they see me! All you know is how to act bossy within these four walls. A
really brave person never lifts a club in his own house.
 

USTIAN
Your day wouldn’t be complete if you didn’t run off at the mouth.
 

NAZAR (scratching his head and yawning)
I told you, I’m in no mood to fight.
Clear the table and lay out my bed. I need my sleep so I can get up early. Tomorrow
there’s going to be a clash with the Köroghlu gang in the Chakhmakh mountains, and I’ll be there.
 

USTIAN
Oh, what a bullshit artist you are! It’s easy to conquer the world with all that crap.
 

NAZAR
My conquests keep growing! A mere bagatelle. The whole kit and kaboodle’s
not worth one of my toenails! The world is my captive; like that (He snaps his fingers.) I fear no one, so I dare to release my prisoners and let them live as they wish instead of trampling the whole lot underfoot.
 

USTIAN
You trample the world underfoot?
 

NAZAR
You bet! I’m not one of your clod-hopping knuckleheads.
 

USTIAN
You know how to piss off a person. Nobody compares to you, right?
 

NAZAR
Right. There are going to be award ceremonies honoring me.


USTIAN
And you’re going to become famous and wow the world!
 

NAZAR
Wait and see. I’m conquering everybody. Me, hero of heroes, on top of the heap.
 

USTIAN
You snot-nosed squirt! There’s no limit to your bullshit!
 

NAZAR
If I weren’t so lazy, I’d get up and beat the hell out of you.
 

USTIAN (aside to the audience)
Well, at least he admits he’s lazy.
 

NAZAR (motioning to her)
Who do you think you’re talking to? (Slumping lazily)
All right, let it go till tomorrow. (He pulls his wool coat over him and prepares
to sleep.)
A man like me deserves respect. All you do is sit there and abuse me,
instead of marveling at my mind. My thoughts circumscribe the world. I’m debating
the future of the globe. With all my aspirations for international diplomacy
you should be proud of me. (He lies down. Pause. Musing.) Sweetie pie,
what are you going to say when you get word of my glorious victory? I’ll martial
my forces, get on my horse, draw my sword, ride straight through the enemy
ranks to cheers of “Long live Nazar!”

(USTIAN takes the plates into the hut.)
 

NAZAR (jumping up)
Hey. Where are you going?
 

USTIAN
What are you following me for? Can’t you see I’m putting away the plates?
Just go chase the enemy.
 

NAZAR
You shouldn’t go alone. Wait, I’ll guard you as you walk. (He goes into the hut with her.)
 

USTIAN
Just stay put! (She goes out.)
 

NAZAR (following her)
What do you mean? With all the thieves and bandits about,
I’m not going to let you leave the house alone. What would the villagers say if they found out?

(USTIAN enters the hut.)

 

NAZAR (following her)
That a girl. Never fear,  Nazar is here.

(Again about to leave, USTIAN approaches the door. NAZAR follows her. But  
USTIAN changes her mind and turns back, preoccupied. She is about to close the door.)

 

NAZAR
Ustian, leave the door open so I can see my way to the stable and check if
the donkey’s got barley to eat.

( USTIAN complies grudgingly. NAZAR goes outside.)

 

NAZAR (calling from the barn)
Don’t close the door, stay there. Why isn’t there any
barley here for the donkey? (Pause) Stay cool, I’m still here. (Pause. The moon appears.) The moon’s out. (Pause) Sweetie, look what a bright clear night this is! Bring me my weapons. I’m going to ambush the khan’s caravan from Daghestan.
 

USTIAN (with contempt)
Just wipe your nose and crawl into your hole. You’re incapable
of ambushing anything.
 

NAZAR
My dear, don’t exhaust my patience! I repeat, bring my weapons so I can
ambush the caravan.
 

USTIAN (aside)
I can’t take it anymore. Who the hell does he think he is? (Firmly)
So you want to ambush the caravan?
 

NAZAR
Right on! Don’t be a pain in the butt. What’s wrong with a little ambush?
 

USTIAN
Go to hell! (Going inside, she slams the door shut.) Shove your ambush!
 

NAZAR
What did you do that for?
 

USTIAN (calling through the door)
Get lost, and don’t bother coming back.
 

NAZAR
Open the door or I’ll break it down. (USTIAN is silent.)
 

NAZAR
Open the door. I won’t beat you.
 

USTIAN
You beat me? Watch I don’t crack your head open!
 

NAZAR (Urgently)
Ustian, open the door. The bandits are coming.
 

USTIAN
Forget it! I’m not opening it.
 

NAZAR
Open the door. They’re here. I’ve got to strap on my weapons.
 

USTIAN (Taking NAZAR’s rusty sword from the wall, she picks up the banner and wool
coat and pushes them through the partially open door.)

Take your junk, and
get out of my life!
 

NAZAR
It’s dark. Where can I go?
 

USTIAN
Try Daghestan, you jerk. I’m no longer your wife! (She lies down.)
 

NAZAR (Picking up the wool coat, he puts it on, straps on his sword, and takes hold of
the banner.)

Ustian, they’re at the gate! (He looks toward the forest and crouches
near the door.)
They’re here! Hey, hey, hey! (Louder) Hey, hey, hey! (Louder
still)
Hey, hey, hey! [As though talking to someone] Who do you think you’re
attacking? . . . I’ll gouge your eyes out! Yeah! Hey, hey, hey! (He runs behind
the house from the left side.)

 

SAKO (He comes forward out of forest right, wearing a white sheepskin cap.)
Oh, my
gosh, for the love of God, where are we? Is this a house or a whole village?
Who’s there? Help! We’ve lost our way!


VOSKAN (He comes forward behind him, also wearing a white sheepskin cap.)
Hey, Sako, hitch your horse to a tree, and we’ll take a look around.
 

SAKO
Voskan, we’re done for. This place’s worse than hell!


VOSKAN
God is merciful. Don’t be afraid, Sako.
 

NAZAR (approaching from the left but still out of sight)
I’m Nazar the Brave, the
hero who destroys a thousand with one blow.
 

SAKO
Hey, Voskan, who’s this Nazar fellah?


VOSKAN
Don’t know. Sit down and keep cool.
(They crouch in the bushes.)
 

NAZAR (as though talking to someone)
Hambo? Are you at the top of the tower?
Take a good look, there’s a caravan approaching. If it’s Köroghlu’s, ready the
men for ambush. We’ll grab us a high ticket item to take to Sardar’s tomorrow.
I’m saddling my horse, so, boys, get with it. (Imitating the voice of Ashi, one of the village gang)  
 Nazar the Brave, who are you talking to? (Answering as himself)
Ashi, I got tired playing games with Köroghlu’s forces by myself, I’m taking
our boys with me to annihilate them. (Again as Ashi) Why don’t you let
Köroghlu go? Give him a break. (Answering as himself ) No way. I’ll make
mincemeat out of him. (Cocking his ear) Hey, who goes there? Hambo, somebody’s
standing there and listening. Go see who it is, grab him and drag him
over here. Have you got hold of him? Break his neck. That’s it. Good. Throw him in the bushes.
 

SAKO
Oh, no! We’ve had it!


VOSKAN
Shut up.
 

NAZAR (threatening and fearful)
He-e-e-e-ep!
 

SAKO (rapidly)
Jesus Christ! Jesus Christ! Jesus Christ!
 

NAZAR
I’ll send your feathers flying! (Silence, dashing from here to there) Is there
anybody left? Dali-Aslan, grab that hand. Gija-Ghushi, grab this hand. I’m mounting my horse.


SAKO
Voskan, let’s get out of here!


VOSKAN
We can’t, they’ve blocked the road.
 

NAZAR (still acting)
I’m on my horse. Here I am. Karvan-Ghran, come quick!
Jamush-Patran, strike! Grab hold of them! Hey! I’ll smash them to smithereens!

(NAZAR runs forward to the front of the stage. VOSKAN goes into the bushes.  
SAKO runs out of the bushes and pulls up confused. NAZAR comes, bumps into  
SAKO who, falling down, begins to shudder.)
 


NAZAR
Huh-u, mmuh, mu!
 

SAKO
Huh-u, mmuh, mu, mu! . . .  Nazar the Brave!
 

NAZAR
Köroghlu!
 

SAKO (grabbing NAZAR by the waist and shouting)
Hey!
 

NAZAR (likewise grabbing SAKO by the waist and shouting)
Hey!
 

SAKO (shouting)
Let me go!
 

NAZAR (shouting)
Let me go!

(Both of them suddenly let each other go and each flees: NAZAR to the left, toward the rear of the hut; SAKO to the right, into the bushes.)


VOSKAN (coming out of the bushes)
Sako, run for your life! (He runs toward the right.)
 

SAKO
Oh! Holy Mother of God! (He runs after him. Pause)
 
(NAZAR falls flat on his face. VOSKAN and SAKO run over him to the right and disappear. NAZAR gradually gets up and begins to look over SAKO’s horse.)


NAZAR (Tentatively)
Well, you helpless creature, did your leader escape or is he coming back? (Pause) No, he’s gone . . . He probably high-tailed it out of here. Did he swipe anything? Nah, he just took off. (With assurance) Who says I’m not brave? (Shouting) With one blow I destroy a thousand! (Approaching the door) Ustian, open the door! (Pause) Well, from now on, to hell with any man who speaks well of women! I’m off. Make way, watch out! Nazar the Braveis on his way! (He cocks his ear. Inside the hut, Ustian is silent.) Okay. If that’s how you want it. I’ll give you a beating in the morning and be on my way. (Pause) Okay, Bitch, I’m off! (He gets on his horse.) Tally-ho!
 

USTIAN (Jumping up, she grabs the club, opens the door, and dashes out.)
I’ve had it
with you! (Striking NAZAR and his horse with the club) Take this, you old fart!
 

NAZAR
You’ll frighten the horse! (The horse bolts.) I told you so! Help! (His voice
becomes more distant as he continues calling out.)

 

USTIAN (going inside)
Good riddance to bad rubbish! Have yourself a heart attack
and go blind, too! (She goes inside.)

End of Act 1

NOTES:
(1) Koroghlu is the hero of a Eurasian bardic epic cycle. His character seems to be based on two separate historical figures of the early seventeenth century, a minor Ottoman official and a peripatetic bard. With a band of fugitives, he leads local resistance against the central authorities.
(2) Daghestan is a region located in the northeast Caucasus, bordering on the Caspian Sea.
(3) The Lezgis are a Caucasian mountain people.



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