vendredi 20 février 2009

An Afternoon of Words & Theater 6: Thomas Morel

STRANGE ENDINGS, by Thomas Morel
Staging by Frederic Delacour (who plays Jerry)

and Simon Chamoret-Devergne (The Angel)

CHARACTERS: Jerry Butler: a CEO in his fifties, tall and thin, with a little moustache. An angel: a messenger. tall and blond, wearing all white.

[Jerry Butler is almost ready to go to work, wearing a dark grey suit with a red tie. But he has a heart attack and he finds himself in a somewhat big white room with no door. Everything’s white, except for two black armchairs and a black TV screen. The room seems to have no walls, he is surrounded by a dazzling whiteness.]
Jerry Butler: What the hell is this place ? Where am I ? What happened ?

[Takes a few steps, stretches his hand out to reach a wall but finds nothing. Puts his hands quickly in his pockets out of fear. The angel comes from nowhere, behind Jerry, puts a hand on his shoulder which makes Jerry jump. The angel wears white trousers and a sky blue sweater. ]

The Angel: [With a sententious tone] Mortal flesh you were, dead you are. For now, it is time you followed me.

Jerry Butler: [incredulous] What ? No kidding ! Where I would follow you ? I won’t go anywhere with you ! There’s a meeting with my administrative board I have to attend to. The administrators, they rely on me. And I must be late by now. I can’t disappoint them ! Let me go !

The Angel: [softening his voice] I tell you, unfaithful, you are not to go anywhere without me. You don’t belong to this worldly place anymore. You are expected elsewhere; and you shall follow me.

Jerry Butler: I tell you, whoever you are ! I have business to do, factories to manage, shares to buy and sell. I work with administrators and financial institutions, I manage employees and factory workers. These worldly matters belong to me and I must attend to my responsibilities. Show me the way out and leave me alone.

The Angel: You shall understand that you are dead and that there is no more concern for you in the world …

Jerry Butler: I don’t give a shit about what you’re saying.

[Jerry’s face turns red out of anger, but the angel remains unflinching, his arms crossed]

Where is the way out ? Tell me or I’ll send my lawyer to deal with you!

The Angel: … You shall follow me, or you’ll be lost on the way.
Jerry Butler: What are you talking about? Don’t you see I’m still alive and healthy? I am still breathing, my heart’s still beating. Can’t you see that? Can’t you hear it? I tell you; I don’t know who you are but I won’t let you kidnap me and fool me like that.

[Jerry swings as hard as possible to take a punch at the angel, but his fist finds nothing and just goes through the head of the angel]

What the hell …

The Angel: You see? There is no way out, only a way forward. Your soul is giving you false impressions. You think you’re breathing, but there is no air; you think your heart’s beating but you had a severe heart attack. There is nothing for you to do, but follow me. If you still don’t believe me, please have a look.

[The TV screen is put on, Jerry looks at it and his eyes widen out of horror]

See, now? There’s nothing I can do for you, but show you the way forward. I’m just a messenger and a guide.

Jerry Butler: [falling on his knees and crying] I can’t believe it! Leave me alone!
The Angel: As you wish. You can call me later.

[He disappears. After a few long seconds, Jerry Butler stands up wearily and wanders around in the whiteness. He finally lets himself fall into one of the armchairs where he begins to speak to himself]

Jerry Butler: God, what am I going to do? Without me, everything will fall apart. There is nobody capable enough of taking over my position at the head of the companies. My administrators will fight for power and the group will collapse. Only I was strong enough to make all that coherent. And what about my family?

[He throws up his hands and shouts]

Oh God ! Who are you to let such a tragedy happen? Why have you allowed this to happen?

[He tries to calm down, sobbing]

What will my wife do on her own? She won’t be able to face anything without me. Who will accompany my daughter to the altar? She’s to be married in two weeks. And there’s still so much to do. The wedding is not ready yet. What about my sons? The elder is preparing for his final exams, he needs to feel safe and secure. The younger is not even five. How will he understand the loss of his father ?

[He starts crying with renewed intensity]

And who will take care of me, in this strange new world? Who will give me a helping hand? I can’t go alone into this scary place. Where are you, my friends?

[He finally lies down on the floor, like a foetus in his mother’s placenta]

The Angel: There, there. Come with me.
[He puts a hand on Jerry’s shoulder, helps him to get up and they go offstage]


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