Author Topic: Last Night of the Grand Duchesses - A Play  (Read 4198 times)

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Offline Lady Macduff

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Last Night of the Grand Duchesses - A Play
« on: January 21, 2013, 03:24:24 PM »
http://funnyduchess.tumblr.com/post/35022497015/well-here-it-is

Wrote this a few months ago. All criticism is welcome. Thanks!




We are sitting together as usual, but you are missing from the room. - AN

Offline t_co

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Re: Last Night of the Grand Duchesses - A Play
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2013, 07:04:29 PM »
Thanks.  This is a great character sketch--concise, but illustrates how the four girls thought and reacted to the situation.  Nicely done.

aleksandr pavlovich

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Re: Last Night of the Grand Duchesses - A Play
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2013, 09:47:10 PM »
    Since I rarely read or comment on the "Having Fun" segment of the Forum, I did take the opportunity to rapidly scan your contribution of your play/work, "O Funny Duchess!"/"Last Night of the Grand Duchesses."  You have asked for criticism, comments, etc.
    I am pleased to respond.
 
    IMO, one glaring error as we know of it today via documentation is as follows, if I may quote you verbatim:

" Maria: "I'm worried."

 Anastasia:  "About Leonka?"

 Maria: "Tatiana said the Commandant told her that we'd have him back soon, but she didn't seem convinced."

 Anastasia: "He'll be fine.  He's with his uncle."

 Maria:   (NOTE EMPHASIS IS MINE - AP)  "BUT HE WAS CRYING....."



    Comment on the emphasized wording:  Unless you are using "literary license," presently there is no known basis/or documentation for the tearful reaction of Sednev in the specific instance that you depict.  On the contrary, he is documented as elated,indeed "gladdened" at the news that he was going to see his Uncle Ivan,and proceeded to quickly pack his clothes to leave the Ipatiev House.  Of course, he probably felt that he would be returning in a few days, but little did he know that his Uncle Ivan had already been executed. It was a ruse to get him out, and he fell for it.
    He was then taken and interned in a house across the street, and not permitted to leave. He never saw the IF again.
    And yes, there WERE tears on his part when he was told the LATER confirmation of the execution. ( He probably heard the nearby volleys in the early morning hours, himself. )
    The documentation of his initial reaction as to his easy separation from the Ipatiev House  can be found under the thread, "Servants, Friends and Retainers" and the sub-heading "Leonid Sednev." Please refer to the following: Reply # 149 (06/17/10) , Reply #150, Reply # 151, Reply # 152, and Reply #155. Sources are quoted therein as documentation.

    Good luck with your work.       AP.

« Last Edit: January 21, 2013, 10:17:41 PM by aleksandr pavlovich »

Offline Lady Macduff

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Re: Last Night of the Grand Duchesses - A Play
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2013, 10:11:17 PM »
THANK YOU. That is exactly the sort of nitpicking I'm looking for. I knew you guys wouldn't let me down. :)
We are sitting together as usual, but you are missing from the room. - AN

aleksandr pavlovich

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Re: Last Night of the Grand Duchesses - A Play
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2013, 10:13:22 PM »
THANK YOU. That is exactly the sort of nitpicking I'm looking for. I knew you guys wouldn't let me down. :)

               You are indeed welcome!    AP.      

« Last Edit: January 21, 2013, 10:15:31 PM by aleksandr pavlovich »

Offline edubs31

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Re: Last Night of the Grand Duchesses - A Play
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2013, 10:53:32 PM »
'Lady MacDuff'. Let me start off by saying that I think this is excellent! Of course as I read along my heart begins to break a little since I get sucked into the drama as it unfolds and knowing exactly where it is destined to lead. But that also makes it compelling. In a way I'm sorry to have read this because I too have been writing away (and posting on here in case you care to read), and always fear the possibility of some subconscious forgery spilling onto my own work...especially since I too will eventually have to create scenes involving their final days at the Ipatiev House.

But anyway, you really seemed to get into character nicely and although I'm not an expert the language seems very appropriate. If I had one general criticism it's that I think your ending is a bit rushed. In one sense I'm relieved by not having to read the awful details. But also think the end comes rather sudden. Do you think you'll be adding a bit more? They spent at least twenty minutes in the basement before Yurovsky and the guards reentered the room to carry out the murder. I'd like to hear some more dialogue, whispers perhaps, from the daughters and perhaps the other seven people in their finals minutes. You could cut it off as the guards reenter the room and still spare us the details of the killing.

Otherwise I think it's very good. Some additional nitpicking below. Hope this is of some use to you...

Quote
ANASTASIA - 17, short, chunky, the only one with bangs.

Surely this is based off of something her mother said about Anastasia having put on weight "to her great dismay", or something along those lines. Yet with the little that we have seen in pictures over their last several months alive I really don't see it as being a defining physical characteristic. She looked pretty average to me. When giving the description of their former captive did any of the guards ever comment on her supposed stockiness?

Quote
MARIA: Go back to sleep, Olenka, it’s all right.

Sounds a bit brusk for sweet Marie, no? Telling her eldest sister to go to bed without even greeting her with a little, "Oh, hi Olga, we were just chatting but it's all right. You can go back to sleep, sorry for waking you."

Quote
TATIANA: Hush yourselves. You’ll wake Baby.

You might be correct with this but I'm curious, were they still referring to Alexei as "Baby" by this point? He was nearly fourteen years old after all. I know they doted on him and his weakened state made him probably seem more like a helpless child than would ordinarily be the case.

Quote
MARIA: Papa did the best he could.

OLGA: I don’t believe that.

TATIANA: Olga Nikolaevna, that’s treason.

I suppose the sake of this play of yours this is an acceptable transition, but as it were to mirror reality I do find it rather hard to believe that Olga wouldn't have already spoken to her favorite sister and lifelong confidant about her feelings regarding her father. This makes Tatiana's aggressive "that's treason" reaction, as though she is shocked to hear such words come out of the mouth of her sister, seem a bit overdone to me. My opinion only of course but if I were editor I would recommend changing it to something along the lines of..."TATIANA: Olga, please. Don't start with that again. Especially in front of our sisters."

Quote
OLGA: I don’t know. I know I’ll never leave Russia. Maybe I’ll become a nun, found a convent like Auntie Ella. I don’t know who’d want to marry me after this.

I know she was dead set against leaving Russia years earlier, but do you think this would still have been her position after sixteen months in captivity, her father deposed, country turned upside down and with the apparent knowledge that so many of her fellow citizens hated the imperial family? I wonder aloud.

Quote
ANASTASIA: Oh, stop being so glum. Plenty of men are going to want to marry our Mashka. The way she flirts with the guards, I’m surprised she hasn’t had any proposals already.

Her flirting was a source of tension for the family particularly after her "private moment" with one of the guards. I believe she was shunned for a time by Olga and Alexandra, and perhaps to a lesser degree Tatiana as well if memory serves me correctly. Would Anastasia have really brought this up again? Maybe, she was the "Imp" after all, but still.

Quote
TATIANA: I don’t think any of us are ever going to see England, Nastya.

ANASTASIA: Why not? Isn’t that the closest safe place?

TATIANA: Papa’s cousin Georgie refused to have us. You know that.

ANASTASIA: Such pig and filth.

OLGA: He has to think of his people, too, and how they would react to his saving us. We’re hated all over Europe.

How much did they know of their being denied exile by George V? And would they have fully grasped the reasons as to why?


Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right...

Offline Georgiy

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Re: Last Night of the Grand Duchesses - A Play
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2013, 12:13:36 AM »
Something I noticed in the reply above - Tatiana talking to her sister and calling her Olga Nikolaevna - way too formal, for calling your sister in Russian.

Offline MademoiselleAndrea

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Re: Last Night of the Grand Duchesses - A Play
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2013, 04:19:41 PM »
I skimmed over this just now - it looks wonderful! Like "t_co" said it's a great character sketch! I will definitely read it thru more thouroughly later. As a writer of both scripts and stories myself, I like to read other Romanov historical fiction, and this one looks excellent! It would be awesome to put it on somewhere, are you at all planning on doing that?
When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, "I used everything You gave me". --Erma Bombeck

Offline Lady Macduff

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Re: Last Night of the Grand Duchesses - A Play
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2013, 06:44:46 PM »
No performance plans as of yet, but would love to see it come to life one day.
We are sitting together as usual, but you are missing from the room. - AN

Offline TimM

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Re: Last Night of the Grand Duchesses - A Play
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2013, 01:03:05 AM »
It would be nice if they did produce your play.  I hope it happens for you.
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Offline edubs31

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Re: Last Night of the Grand Duchesses - A Play
« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2013, 10:16:55 AM »
It would be nice if they did produce your play.  I hope it happens for you.

Or maybe she can fold it into my "mini-series" screen play :-)
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right...