Passion Bearer

ALEXANDRA

I know what it looks like.

KERENSKY

Do you really?

ALEXANDRA

Tsar Alexander, very strong, was meant to be immortal. Nicky wished it so. Suddenly he becomes sick, and it is only through his illness that I was able to receive his blessing to marry his son. He dies, and I have my wedding during the grieving period. Yes, I understand how that looks.

KERENSKY

A quick ascension to the throne.

ALEXANDRA

None of us wanted that. Nicky did not want to be Tsar, and I did not care for titles. And my wedding…it seemed to me merely a continuation of the funeral liturgy for the dead Tsar, with the exception that I wore white instead of black. There was no celebration.  

KERENSKY

Did you expect there to be?

ALEXANDRA

I suppose every wedding should be a celebration. Ours could not be, so I did not expect it to be. 

KERENSKY

But it clearly upset you.

ALEXANDRA

Of course. The wedding was not even photographed. 

KERENSKY

Do you blame your deceased father-in-law for a black wedding?

ALEXANDRA

Absolutely not. None of us can control when the Almighty is to take us from this earth.

KERENSKY

Do you blame a different person for a black wedding?

ALEXANDRA

I was upset, surely. But I blamed no one. As I said, no one can control these circumstances.

KERENSKY

But we can control the day we get married.

Screen: an ornate study in Alexander Palace, St. Petersburg.

ALEXANDRA

Please believe me when I say, I would have rather waited. However, the Emperor needed a wife. We were actually meant to marry in a small ceremony before the late Tsar’s funeral.

KERENSKY

Yet you did not.

NICHOLAS and his two uncles, VLADIMIR and SERGEI, enter. Vladimir and Sergei are in their 40s or 50s, and all three men are sharply dressed. Vladimir is more intense while Sergei is softer.

ALEXANDRA

His uncles argued against it.

            Memory starts. Alexandra straightens, becoming in her early 20s.

VLADIMIR

I understand the horrific situation you are put through–

NICHOLAS

Then you should understand why I believe Livadia would be best. The mourning period would not have begun, we can keep the ceremony private among family, and my wife and I could celebrate our union together. 

VLADIMIR

That is hiding!

NICHOLAS

It is not; it is respect.

SERGEI

But, Nicholas, you are the Tsar now.

NICHOLAS

A fact I need not be reminded of.

SERGEI

As the father of this country, given to you by the grace of God, it is only right to have a marriage performed here in St. Petersburg. With some pomp.

NICHOLAS

(sarcastic) Which is highly appropriate at this moment.

VLADIMIR

You should not be hiding this wedding like a coward. (looks to Alexandra) Unless you have something to hide. 

ALEXANDRA

Of course not! 

VLADIMIR

You are older than the natural bride.

ALEXANDRA

I am well aware.

VLADIMIR

Ladies, unmarried at your age, are bound to do unspeakable things–

NICHOLAS

(grabbing Alexandra’s arm, pulling her behind him to shield her) Refrain from speaking to my future wife in such a manner, please. It is inappropriate.

VLADIMIR

I am merely concerned for your public appearance as the fresh monarch of the world’s greatest country.

NICHOLAS

And I greatly appreciate your concern. But you will not slander her again.

SERGEI

Nephew, please heed what we say. We only want what is best. 

NICHOLAS

What’s best is not to have a wedding in St. Petersburg days after the funeral of the late Tsar. My mother, Dowager Empress, agrees with me.

SERGEI

I believe she would; she does not want to have any celebration after her husband’s funeral. However, the Dowager Empress also understands duty and need.

VLADIMIR

Indeed. As well, how would it look to keep not only your public but the foreign diplomats away.

NICHOLAS

Diplomats…?

SERGEI

I’m sorry, Nicholas, but we have to keep the best interest of the country in mind. We are not in the position to have a private life. You especially, Emperor. An invitation to the royal wedding keeps us in the favor of the diplomats. And a celebration lifts the spirits of your people after some dark days.

VLADIMIR

We think only of you, not in our own interest. You and our country who we dedicate our God-given lives to. 

SERGEI

A public union is the only appropriate way to have your marriage. Otherwise, you face not only national scandal but international gossip. 

NICHOLAS

(to Alexandra) They are right…

ALEXANDRA

(to the Uncles) But is it not inappropriate to have a wedding during the grieving time? That would cause a scandal on its own.

VLADIMIR

There is one day that you could have the wedding. 

SERGEI

One day when the court mourning is relaxed. 

VLADIMIR

And when having a union for the new Emperor and the future Empress is acceptable. 

NICHOLAS

Mother’s birthday.

ALEXANDRA

We cannot–

NICHOLAS

It is the only thing we can do, Alix.

VLADIMIR

Sergei and I will handle the planning. 

NICHOLAS

Very well. 

SERGEI

Do not worry. It will still be a glorious union. 

NICHOLAS

(turning his back to the uncles, talking to Alexandra) It will not matter once we wed. Let them take that charge. We will make it right.

NICHOLAS kisses Alexandra’s cheek and exits.

SERGEI

Hm. Well, I do not want you to worry, Duchess. We will do our best for the two of you to have a lovely wedding.

ALEXANDRA

Thank you.

VLADIMIR and SERGEI give a slight bow before exiting. 

End memory. 

KERENSKY

(sarcastic) As a public figure, there was no escaping a public wedding such as that.

ALEXANDRA

I do not expect a lot of sympathy. But it was out of the control of both Nicholas and I. I even less so.

KERENSKY

So you were married. You became Empress. But there is something else–