Resurrection: Act 1 Scene 3 – The Prison

Resurrection captures an unusual love story between Prince Nekhlyudov (Scott Hendricks) and the serving girl Maslova (Joyce DiDonato). Though divided by class, their fates become intertwined when the Prince sits on the jury that unjustly condemns the young woman to prison. Despite a merciless justice system that does not allow for second chances, an amazing story of courage and redemption emerges.

Act 1 Scene 3, The Prison

Nekhlyudov goes to visit Maslova in prison. Chaos reigns: wire netting keeps visitors several feet away from the prisoners, and one must scream in order to be heard. At first, Maslova does not recognize Nekhlyudov, and begins to flirt. When she realizes who he is, her manner turns harsh. He asks for her forgiveness but she insists she is proud of her life. Nekhlyudov is repelled, but promises to do everything he can to help her. As he leaves, Maslova remembers the night she knew Nekhlyudov had abandoned her for good. She was pregnant, but he didn’t know it. She went to find him on a passing army train. She saw him in the train’s window, but he didn’t see her. She ran alongside the moving train, pounding on the window and crying out. Finally giving up, she fell to the ground, believing that there is no God, no faith, no help, no hope.

Libretto

WOMEN’S WARDER                        Who do you want?

NEKHLYUDOV                        (with difficulty finding his voice) Katerina Maslova

WOMEN’S WARDER                        (shouts) Who?

NEKHLYUDOV                        Katerina Maslova.

WOMEN’S WARDER                        (shouts) Maslova. Someone to see you.

Maslova looks round and comes up to the net, pushing between two prisoners. She gazes at Nekhlyudov with  surprised and questioning look.

NEKHLYUDOV                        I… I… I wished to see you… I…

                                                 (unable to speak louder than usual)

MASLOVA            (combing her fingers through her hair and turning on her smile)

                                                 You wanted me?

TRAMP            Shut up!  Have you taken it or not?

FEMALE PRISONER            (screaming) Very weak. Dying.

NEKHLYUDOV            Don’t you know me?

MASLOVA            No, why should I?

NEKHLYUDOV            I…

MASLOVA            (her smile vanishes as she begins to recall something she does not wish to remember)

                                                (harshly) I can’t hear what you’re saying.

NEKHLYUDOV            I have come…

                                                 Yes, I am doing my duty… I am confessing.

                                                 (he fights tears, grabs the bars with both hands)

TRAMP            I swear I know nothing!

MASLOVA            You’re like… No, it can’t be…

NEKHLYUDOV            I have come to ask

                                                 (he looks around him, embarrassed, ashamed)

                                                 Forgive me; I have wronged you terribly.

MASLOVA            (recognizing him)

                                                 It’s you. My God, it’s you…

Maslova stands motionless, not taking her eyes off him.

Nekhlyudov can’t go on speaking. He steps away from the wire and tries to suppress his sobs. The inspector approaches Nekhlyudov.

PRISON INSPECTOR              Why aren’t you talking to her?

NEKHLYUDOV                      (trying to collect himself and appear calm)

I can’t be heard. The noise!

PRISON INSPECTOR              (turning to the warder) Menshov Fedotov, lead Maslova out.

Maslova comes to the end of the room which is slightly quieter and, stepping softly, comes very close to Nekhlyudov, looking up at him.

PRISON INSPECTOR              You may talk here.

Nekhlyudov moves to a bench. Maslova casts a questioning look at the Inspector, then follows and sits beside him.

NEKHLYUDOV                      I can’t undo the past, but I’ll do what’s in my power to help you.

Tell me…

MASLOVA                              (sharp) How have you managed to find me?

NEKHLYUDOV                      I was on the jury yesterday. Didn’t you recognize me?

MASLOVA                              No, I didn’t. There was not time to look.

NEKHLYUDOV                      There was a child, wasn’t there?

MASLOVA                              (abruptly) He died at once. Thank God!

(she turns away)

NEKHLYUDOV                      What do you mean? Why?

MASLOVA                              (without looking at him) I was so ill myself I nearly died.

But what’s the use of talking? That’s all over now.

NEKHLYUDOV                      No, it’s not finished. I’ve come to redeem my sin.

MASLOVA                              Redeem your sin?! Redeem your sin?! I’m condemned to Siberia.

NEKHLYUDOV                      I was certain you were not guilty.

MASLOVA                              Guilty! Of course not… as if I could be a thief! Or a murderer!

I need a lawyer. I must appeal. It will cost money.

NEKHLYUDOV                      I have already spoken to a lawyer.

MASLOVA                              I need the best there is.

NEKHLYUDOV                      I’ll do all that’s possible.

(A silence, and then she turns on a smile.)

MASLOVA                              And I’d like some money now… ten roubles will do…

NEKHLYUDOV                      Yes… yes… (feeling confused, he reaches for his pocket book)

MASLOVA                              Don’t give it to me in front of him; he’ll take it away.

Nekhlyudov takes out his pocket book as soon as the Inspector has turned his back, but has no time to hand her the note before the Inspector faces them again, so he crushed the note in his hand.

NEKHLYUDOV                      I’ve come to ask for you to forgive me and you have given me no answer.

MASLOVA                              (she doesn’t listen to him, but keeps watching his hand with the money and the Inspector. When the Inspector turns again, she quickly reaches out her hand, grasps the bank note and hides it in her belt.)

(rudely) What are you talking about?

NEKHLYUDOV                      What’s happened to you? You used to be…

MASLOVA                              What’s the use of recalling what’s past?

NEKHLYUDOV                      I must put things right. I must atone for my sin.

MASLOVA                              What’s dead is dead.

He meets her eyes and reads in them something so dreadful, so coarse, so repellent, that he can’t go on.

NEKHLYUDOV                      You must feel a terrible shame.

MASLOVA                              Don’t talk to me about shame!

Is it a shame to go on living?

Is it a shame that every man who looks at me wants me?

I’m good at what I do.

I’m proud to give and get.

They paid me well

For the use of my body

Just as you did.

PRISON INSPECTOR              (coming up to Nekhlyudov) Time’s up.

NEKHLYUDOV                      (holds out his hand to her) I will come again.

MASLOVA                              (she ignores his outstretched hand) It’s a waste of time.

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