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Last Updated on May 11, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 1901

Auguste is an employee of the Hotel Monte Gabriel.

Mr. Jimmy Cherry
A painter who has been in Australia painting a mural for the government, Cherry was married just a few days earlier in Venice. He is an Englishman, and when war is declared, he is enthusiastic to fight, but he also goes out of his way to be cordial to the German doctor and Italian commander who will soon be his enemies.

Mrs. Cherry
Recently married to an artist, Mrs. Cherry works at a store named Fortnum’s, as she says, ‘‘wearing a smock, and disgracing my family.’’ After hearing the news that Quillery has been executed for speaking out against the Italians, she becomes angry enough to face the same kind of punishment: ‘‘Don’t call me your friend,’’ she tells Captain Locicero, ‘‘because I say what Quillery said—damn you—damn your whole country of mad dogs for having started this horror.’’ Her husband calms her and gets her to apologize before they leave.

Edna Creesh
Edna is one of the girls in Harry Van’s troupe.

The forty-ish bellboy of the resort, Dumptsy has lived in that area since it was a province of Austria. It was ceded to the Italians at the end of the First World War, and overnight Dumptsy and his family became Italian citizens. Explaining this to Harry, he laughs and says, ‘‘But it doesn’t make much difference who your masters are. When you get used to them, they are all the same.’’ In the last scene, he appears in an Italian army uniform, having been drafted into service.

Bebe Gould
Bebe is one of the girls in Harry Van’s troupe.

She pronounces her name ‘‘Ear-ray-na,’’ which is one reason that Harry Van does not recognize her as the girl he once knew named Irene. She presents herself as a member of the Russian royal family, the Romanoffs, who were exiled from the country when the Communists took over in 1917. Her story about escaping from Russia changes, depending on whom she is talking to. Sometimes she says that she rode a sled across the ice, pursued by Bolshevik attackers; at another time she is on a raft at sea, rescued by English soldiers. In the end she confesses to Harry that she is not a Romanoff but that her real origin is still left a mystery. Irene likes to give the impression that she is an important personage, as evinced by the way she drops the name of the Maharajah of Rajpipla when she first arrives, referring to him with the familiar name ‘‘Pip.’’

Irene is traveling with Achille Weber. They are not married, and the implication is that she is his mistress. When they are alone, she is quite ruthless and graphic about imaging the carnage that the war will bring. Her description is so gruesome that it tips Weber off to the idea that the young British honeymooners might have ‘‘touched a tender spot.’’

Since she has traveled around the world throughout her life, Irene has no definite nationality, only a passport issued by the League of Nations. After Italy declares war, it no longer recognizes the League of Nations. Captain Locicero is willing to let Irene leave the country without a valid passport, as a companion of Achille Weber, but he refuses to take responsibility for her.

Harry Van says that he recognizes Irene as a member of a traveling Russian troupe who played at a theater in Omaha with him in 1925: he was working in a mind-reading act and the Russian girl came to his room to learn how his act worked and they spent the night together. At first, Irene denies any knowledge of it, but when she has been abandoned by Weber and Harry is leaving, she tells him that she remembers the exact room number they were in that night. He returns to her and says that he will teach her the secret of the mind-reading act and that together they can tour with his dancing girls. She chooses the exotic name ‘‘Namora’’ as her stage name, but the French start bombing Mount Gabriele just as the play ends.

Shirley Laughlin
Something of a lieutenant to Harry Van, Shirley is the member of ‘‘Les Blondes’’ that Harry speaks to most often. She is the one who oversteps Harry’s authority to show Beulah how to do the ‘‘Maxie Ford’’ dance step. When Harry decides to stop performing with the troupe, he gives Shirley his singing part, which, along with her natural assertiveness, implies that she will be their leader when he leaves them.

Captain Locicero
As commander of the Italian headquarters, the captain’s must detain all of the passengers from the train before they can leave the country, as war is being declared. He is civil and courteous to all, even though they are citizens of countries that have become Italy’s enemies. When Weber leaves Irene to face death, the captain detains her, as is his duty, apologizing to her, but he does not blame Weber, showing himself to be concerned and responsible.

Francine Merle
Francine is one of the girls in Harry Van’s troupe.

Elaine Messiger
Elaine is one of the girls in Harry Van’s troupe.

Donald Navadel
Donald is the hotel’s social director. An American, he was hired away from another resort in the hope that he would attract other Americans to come there. He is discontented because no guests come to the resort, but he is unwilling to leave before his contract is up in March. After the war starts, he does decide to leave Italy and return to California after seeing Quillery shot.

Orchestra Leader
When the play opens, the orchestra is playing to an empty room, and Donald Navadel gives the orchestra leader permission to stop playing.

The proprietor of the Hotel Monte Gabriele, Pittaluga feels that Don Navadel is too presumptuI ous in giving orders around the hotel and invites Navadel to break his contract and quit.

A labor organizer from France who is returning from an international Labor Congress in Zagreb, Yugoslavia, when the train is stopped at Monte Gabriele. He does not acknowledge any nationality. ‘‘Perhaps if I had raised pigs,’’ he explains, referring to his family’s business, ‘‘I should have been a Frenchman, as they were. But I went to work in a factory—and machinery is international.’’ Later, however, after receiving word that Paris has been bombed, Quillery becomes enraged at the Italians in the hotel, shouting at them, ‘‘Down with Fascism!’’ He identifies himself as a French citizen. When he is executed, he dies like a patriot, shouting, ‘‘Long live France!’’

Signor Rossi
Signor Rossi is only mentioned twice and only speaks in Italian. He is a consumptive. Before medical advances, people used to go to resorts like Monte Gabriele to treat consumption, which is known today as tuberculosis. The resort was once a sanatorium for treating consumptives, but, as Dumptsy explains, ‘‘the Fascists—they don’t like to admit that anyone can get sick.’’

Signora Rossi
Signora Rossi walks through with Signor Rossi, speaking with him in Italian.

Beulah Tremoyne
Beulah is one of the girls in Harry Van’s troupe, ‘‘Les Blondes.’’

Harry Van
After an inconspicuous entrance, Harry turns out to be the play’s main character. He is the manager of a troupe of singing and dancing girls and is responsible for their physical and moral wellbeing. Harry has a long history in show business. At one time, he sold a patent medicine remedy that was supposed to cure cancer, among other things. He was a ‘‘stooge’’ in a vaudeville act with ‘‘Zuleika, the Mind Reader,’’ in the Midwest. He has played piano accompaniment to silent movies. He has been a drug addict, taking cocaine ‘‘during a stage in my career when luck was bad and confusion prevailed.’’ And he has toured Europe with his girls.

Harry is an outgoing person, willing to agree with any perspective. As he sits at the piano in the lounge, different characters come by and talk with him, telling him their stories. He is intelligent, which he explains as being a result of having been an encyclopedia salesman in college: he ended up buying a set of encyclopedias and reading them while on the road. Another reason he gets along with people so well is that he likes just about everyone. As he explains, ‘‘All my life . . . I’ve been selling phony goods to people of meager intelligence and great faith. You’d think that would make me contemptuous of the human race, wouldn’t you? But— on the contrary—it has given me faith.’’

He is interested in Irene from the moment that she comes in, but it is not until he is in the middle of a conversation that he recognizes her as a redheaded girl from another act in vaudeville. He lured her up to his room one night, at the Governor Bryan Hotel in Omaha in the fall of 1925, promising to teach her how the mind-reading trick worked, and they slept together, but they went separate ways soon after. Irene denies having known him. When Irene is abandoned to stay in Monte Gabriele, Harry is hesitant to leave her, but at the last minute she admits that it was she in Omaha. He leaves but then returns after the train has left, touched that their night together so long ago meant so much that she remembered the room number.

When bombs start dropping on the Hotel Monte Gabriele, Harry keeps playing the piano and drinking champagne, being brave in the face of death.

Dr. Waldersee
Dr. Waldersee is very anxious to get out of Monte Gabriele and get to Zurich, Switzerland. He is German, but he is working on a cure for cancer, completing the work of a Dane named Fibiger. If he stays in Germany during the war, he knows that he will be forced to work on chemicals for warfare, to kill instead of cure people. When the war starts, though, the doctor becomes so disillusioned with mankind that he decides to return to Germany and be just as much of a bloodthirsty maniac as everyone else.

Achille Weber
Weber is the only truly sinister person in the play. He is an arms dealer, and Sherwood strongly implies that it is men like him, not the politicians or the citizens of the nations involved, who are responsible for war. In public, he hardly speaks, but in private he tells Irene that the planes from Monte Gabriele are headed for Paris, which is news that not even the local authorities know. When she suggests that his sister might be in Paris, he snaps that they are in Montbeliard, indicating that he has known about this raid long enough to check on the safety of his family members.

Alone, Irene congratulates Weber on ‘‘all of this wonderful death and destruction.’’ He neither accepts her praise nor is horrified by it but responds in an even more frightening way: he takes her emotionalism to be a sign that she has ‘‘turned commonplace.’’ Before the bombing, the Italian authorities say that they cannot allow Irene to leave alone but that, out of respect for Weber, they will let him take her with him, and he refuses, leaving her to die.

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