(This scene is played downstage, away from the set.  HERR VADIM and HILDE can even enter and begin their lines from the audience.  The trunk can serve as the bench upon which HERR VADIM and HILDE briefly sit, near the end of this scene.  It is dusk.  As they walk, HERR VADIM, whose eyesight is very weak, holds HILDE's arm and taps his way forward with his cane.)

  

HERR VADIM

A good idea this… you still have the good eyes … and I can remember where we’re going!

 

HILDEGARD

I know where we’re going.  To listen to a string quartet.

 

HERR VADIM

At Temple Beth El.  And we should be getting there.

 

HILDEGARD

(Peering)

We’re on Vine Street.

 

HERR VADIM

Good!  The temple should be nearby now.

 

HILDEGARD

Vine Street crosses ... I don’t remember.

 

(HILDE chooses a direction, and they continue walking.)

 

When I was on stage, I had to memorize so many lines!

 

HERR VADIM

It is getting dark, isn’t it?

 

HILDEGARD

A little dark.  We played mostly in the smaller cities.  We weren’t paid well, but I loved it.  Performing “Saint Joan.”

 

 

HERR VADIM

I wish I had known you then, Hilde, and could have seen you perform.  I’ll bet you were great.

 

HILDEGARD

Saint Joan, she believed so strongly!

 

HERR VADIM

But what did she believe in, Hilde?  A bunch of religious nonsense!

 

HILDEGARD

(HILDE stops walking for a moment)

She believed in her voices.

 

HERR VADIM

(Wondering where they are)

Will you please ask Joan to consult her voices and help us find the concert this evening?

 

HILDEGARD

What were her voices telling her?  To liberate her country!

 

HERR VADIM

Come on Hilde, nationalism is madness.  Look at what happened in Germany!  At what’s happening in the United States today!

 

HILDEGARD

Yes, but was it right for England to rule France?

 

HERR VADIM

Saint Joan wasn’t the answer to that.  People put their faith in leaders, hoping they’ll save them.  In Germany, the voices that working people needed to hear were those of their own experience, their own history! 

 

HILDEGARD

Aren’t you leaping too quickly from one historical situation to another that is entirely different?

 

HERR VADIM

People didn’t take power into their own hands, and the result was the Weimar Republic, weak as an eggshell.  No wonder it failed.

 

HILDEGARD

Yes, André.  But within that shell, how much creativity!   New forms of music, experimental theater.  Both Kandinsky and Kokoschka lived and painted in Dresden for a time.

 

HERR VADIM

Hilde, you came from an upper class family, you had money, and could entertain yourselves with these things.  But what use were they to working people, to those of us fighting in the streets?!

 

HILDEGARD

As I remember, leftists spent as much time fighting one another as uniting against the “class enemy”!  And don’t forget, artists were political too!  I performed in a play about the Dreyfus Affair.  Ernst Toller, while he was in prison, wrote a play about workers!  And there was Berthold Brecht! 

 

HERR VADIM

(HERR VADIM Stops walking)

Brecht, he was the best.  But that didn’t help us fight the Nazis!  Avant-garde theater – all the crazy angles and painted shadows – too bad it didn’t last.

 

HILDEGARD

(Schubert music – see a few lines below – can begin here, but only if played very softly, not yet heard by HERR VADIM or HILDE.)

 

Art does last!  Art is the way we … answer death.  It’s what our dreams are about.  The promise of happiness, “la promesse du bonheur.”

 

                                              HERR VADIM

Romantic nonsense!

 

(HERR VADIM stumbles and falls into a heap on the sidewalk, where he lies motionless.)

 

HILDEGARD

My God, are you alright?  André!

 

HERR VADIM

It’s completely dark!

 

(She helps him, patiently and with difficulty, stand again.) 

 

HILDEGARD

Are you alright??  Let’s sit down for a moment.

 

(They sit on the trunk, which doubles as a street bench.)

 

HERR VADIM

(Softly)

Dreams and promises … What can we look forward to, Hilde?  Not even a little chamber music this evening.  And you know, I’ll never see a Kokoshka painting again, or view the Golden Gate Bridge, the sun setting over the Bay.

(Beat)

 I’ll not see your face again, Hilde.

 

(In the distance, Schubert quartet music – the Andante of “Rosamunde” or “Death and the Maiden” – is heard.  HERR VADIM and HILDE smile at one another.  They stand up and are still for a moment, listening.)

 

Do you hear that?  Somehow, we two refugees have found our way

(Beat)

It escapes me – how this can be so wonderful!

 

HILDEGARD

Ach André, “The heart has reasons that reason does not know!”

 

HERR VADIM

Pascal, Saint Joan … I don’t know about the company you keep, Hilde, but you are a dear friend.

 

(They resume walking, toward the music, accompanied by the tapping sounds of the cane.)

 

(DARK)