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Writer: Anton Chekhov

Rôle: Grigory Stepanovitch Smirnov

Broadcast: 11 September 1938 BBCTV

Synopsis: The play takes place in the drawing room of Elena Ivanovna Popova's estate exactly seven months after her husband's death. Since her husband died, Popova has locked herself in the house in mourning. Her footman, Luka, begins the play by begging Popova to stop mourning and step outside the estate. She ignores him, saying that she made a promise to her husband to remain forever faithful to his memory. Their conversation is interrupted when Grigory Stepanovitch Smirnov arrives and wishes to see Elena Popova.

Although Luka tells Grigory Smirnov to leave, he ignores Luka's requests and enters the dining room. Popova agrees to meet with him and Smirnov explains to her that her late husband owes him a sum of 1,200 roubles as a debt. Because he is a landowner, Smirnov explains that he needs the sum paid to him on that same day to pay for the mortgage of a house due the next day. Popova explains that she has no money with her and that she will settle her husband's debts when her steward arrives the day after tomorrow. Smirnov gets angered by her refusal to pay him back and mocks the supposed 'mourning' of her husband, saying: Well, there! "A state of mind."... "Husband died seven months ago!" Must I pay the interest, or mustn't I? I ask you: Must I pay, or must I not? Suppose your husband is dead, and you've got a state of mind, and nonsense of that sort.... And your steward's gone away somewhere, devil take him, what do you want me to do? Do you think I can fly away from my creditors in a balloon, or what? Or do you expect me to go and run my head into a brick wall?

Smirnov decides that he will not leave the estate until his debts are paid off, even if that means waiting until the day after tomorrow. He and Popova get into another argument when he starts yelling at the footman to bring him kvass or any alcoholic beverage. The argument turns into a debate about true love according to the different genders. Smirnov argues that women are incapable of loving "anybody except a lapdog", to which Popova argues that she wholeheartedly loved her husband although he cheated on her and disrespected her. The argument deteriorates into another shouting match about paying back the debt. During this argument Popova insults Smirnov by calling him a bear, amongst other names, saying, "You're a boor! A coarse bear! A Bourbon! A monster!"

Smirnov, insulted, calls for a duel, not caring that Popova is a woman. Popova, in turn, enthusiastically agrees and goes off to get a pair of guns her husband owned. Luka overhears their conversation, gets frightened for his mistress, and goes off to find someone to help put an end to their feud before anyone gets hurt. Meanwhile, Smirnov says to himself how impressed he is by Popova's audacity and slowly realizes that he has actually fallen in love with her and her dimpled cheeks. When Popova returns with the pistols, Smirnov makes his love confession. Popova oscillates between refusing him and ordering him to leave and telling him to stay. Eventually, the two get close and kiss each other just as Luka returns with the gardener and coachman

The Bear poster

Trivia: Elena Ivanovna Popova was played by Marius's future wife, Lucie Mannheim. They would also perform the play together on stage in 1948.

Availability: As this was such an early television programme and broadcast live, it was most likely not recorded, so it is believed to be lost.

The Bear review in The Times 19 September 1938

Box for One (1949)

Writer: Peter Brook

Rôle: The Caller

Broadcast: 10 June 1949 BBCTV

Synopsis: A London "spiv" enters an outdoor telephone booth. He dials a number and asks if there's a message for him. As he goes to leave, the phone rings - it is a girl who is trying to find her boyfriend and has the wrong number. The spiv is on the run from gangsters and is looking for help. He tries various people but they reject him. Eventually the gangsters catch up with him.

Comment: Marius plays the unnamed spiv (The Caller) in this 25 minute short film which also featured Josée Richard and Ivan Craig.

Availability: As this was broadcast live, it was likely not telerecorded, so it is believed to be lost.

Box for One poster
Box for One review by C.A. Lejeune in The Observer 12 June 1949
Box for One review in the Daily Herald 11 June 1949
Box for One review in the Kensington Post 24 June 1949
Box for One review in The Sketch 22 June 1949
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