is a three-act play
written by Russian-American author Ayn Rand
as an adaptation of her 1936 novel We the Living
. The story follows Kira Argounova, a young woman living in the Soviet Union
in the 1920s. Her lover Leo Kovalensky develops tuberculosis
. To get money for his treatment, Kira has an affair with a communist
official, Andrei Taganov. After recovering from his illness, Leo becomes involved with black market
food sales that Andrei is investigating. When Andrei realizes that Kira loves Leo, he helps his rival avoid prosecution, then commits suicide. Leo leaves Kira, who decides to risk her life escaping the country.
Rand sold an option for the adaptation to producer Jerome Mayer and wrote a script, but he was unable to stage the play. Upon learning about the script, Russian actress Eugenie Leontovich
recommended it to producer George Abbott
. He staged the play on Broadway
in February 1940. The production was troubled by problems with the script and the cast, including the firing of Leontovich and another actor before the premier. When the play opened at the Biltmore Theatre
, it was a critical and financial failure, and closed in less than a week. It was the last of Rand's plays produced during her lifetime. The script remained unpublished until 2014. Read more...