The three women - Natasha, Tonia, and Olga - arrive, and Nikolai speaks privately with them.
Their conversation reveals that the three women have just been evicted; Nikolai then discovers that they wrote a check to their landlord from a closed bank account. He informs them that the police will be looking for them and advises them to be kind to the Field family as their only hope of aid. They return to the Fields' living room as John arrives home, and everyone meets and converses. The three actresses then employ their singing and dancing talents to celebrate Grandmother Field's birthday in grand style.
Tonia talks with John and discusses the difficulty of finding acting work in New York when one is typecast as a "Continental actress." She then confides in him that she and Natasha have written a play that "no-one in the world can act but we ourselves," a tragedy about two sisters still in love with a man who is dead. John is amused by the plot description and by Tonia's odd intensity, and he volunteers to pay the initial cost of their play's production: five hundred dollars, the exact amount of their bad check. The three ladies are overcome with gratitude and joy, and Act 1 ends with them weeping over their sudden good fortune.
Act 2 sets the scene in a guest bedroom, the temporary residence of Tonia and Natasha. Larry comes to the room to profess his adoration to Natasha, and his declarations are interrupted by Nikolai, who escorts the drunk Larry out and then returns to make his own confession. Nikolai tells Natasha that he still cares for her and that Helen has left him. The disbelieving Natasha chides him, reminding him of the war and scolding him for "playing love games" while Russia is fighting for its existence. She tells him that if he will do battle for their homeland, he will have her love and loyalty forever when he returns. He resolves to leave for the Army the next morning.
Natasha and Tonia, finally left alone, talk about John, and Natasha implies that he is only financing their play because he wants to sleep with Tonia. The religious Tonia is horrified and decides to call John to their room to discover the truth. He arrives, and the three argue; John eventually gives up reasoning with the women, who have come to believe that he is only backing their play out of pity and are furious. John exits, and then Tonia begins to weep; she has fallen in love with John and had hoped he would declare his feelings for her.
The next morning, Natasha discovers that Nikolai was indeed lying and that Helen had not broken their engagement. Distraught and heartbroken, both Natasha and Tonia resolve to return to New York City - on foot if they must - then decide that life is no longer worth living anywhere. They drink poison from a bottle in Natasha's suitcase and calmly sit together, awaiting death.
John then knocks on their door. He has already spoken to Olga that morning, and he explains that he knows their landlord and will take care of their financial trouble. He then gives Tonia the promised check for the play and invites them all to stay at the Field home for as long as they wish. Tonia, overjoyed, reveals that she loves him; he makes his declaration to her in return, then leaves to see Larry and Nikolai off to their enlistment in the Canadian army. Tonia suddenly remembers the poison and panics. The house flies into a flurry of concern, and amidst the hysteria, Olga enters. She smells the bottle and laughs, reminding Tonia and Natasha that she had emptied out the poison years before and replaced it with peach brandy.
The play ends with the three Russians elated, their troubles over and a rosy future ahead, and Tonia (who is to marry John) declares that she no longer wants to produce a tragedy; instead, she begins to describe her idea for a marvelous comedy, about three downtrodden actresses invited to spend a weekend in Long Island.
Though she had no playwriting experience, a less-than-perfect command of the English language, and had already been told by the playwright Moss Hart that her idea was charming but unworkable, Miramova began work on Dark Eyes shortly thereafter, spending three months at her typewriter from seven in the morning until midnight. She later called on Leontovich for help; their collaboration came in the form of long walks, during which they discussed the play's second draft. She sent the completed manuscript to producer Ben Hecht for an opinion, and Hecht invited the three actresses for dinner at the Hecht home, along with Broadway director Jed Harris. Harris, absent from the theatre scene for five years prior, had already struck a deal with Twentieth Century Fox for the company to finance an unspecified number of his plays. Dark Eyes was the first play accepted for performance under this agreement.
The play had a brief preview on Christmas Eve in Baltimore. It then officially opened at 8:40 p.m., 14 January 1943 at the Belasco Theatre in New York. It closed on 31 July 1943 after a successful run of 230 performances.
The play was performed in 1947 at the Olney Theatre Center in Maryland.
The show played for six nights at the Newport Harbour High School Auditorium in California, beginning 21 June 1948. Eugenie Leontovich reprised her original role as Natasha Rapakovich.
Performances after 1948, if any, are unknown. The script is published by the Dramatists Play Service but is currently out-of-print.
TIME magazine reviewed the play on 25 January 1943 and praised the skillful acting and directing, but panned the "wobbly playwriting" of the script and the "monotonous" nature of the comedy.
Theatre critic George Jean Nathan recognised Dark Eyes as the Best Farce-Comedy of the Year in 1943, calling it "intelligently entertaining playgoing.
The play enjoyed widespread success with its American performances; one audience letter referred to the "unanimous approval of the New York critics, and director Jed Harris related, "This Dark Eyes is proving a real hit--no question about it. The opinion abroad was also positive, with The London News-Chronicle calling the Russians' antics "utterly absurd but very enjoyable" and promoting the play as "a delirious farce of slight pretensions. Published audience letters agreed with official sources, with one writer stating that Miramova "deserves the success she is having" with her "hilarious comedy.