lundi 29 mars 2010

WILD BACKPACKING by Daria Shakourzadeh

From "An Evening of words and theatre" performance at the Ecole Polytechnique on the 17 February 2010.

By Daria Shakourzadeh.

Acted by Michael Buchet, Adrien Chan-Hon-Tong, Etienne Foessel, Pierre Larraufie and Eva Simon (in photos)

Fred, Tony, Jane, William and Charles are hiking in the forest somewhere in the mountains of Corsica. We see them walk while the sun is fading. After a while, only the moon remains to light there path. We can hear the sound of the night, an owl in a tree and crickets.
FRED: Let’s stop here, there’s a good spot to plant our tents. We can’t see where we’re walking anymore.
TONY: Oh Sir, yes Sir! I am dying to eat that jam, it smells so good in my backpack!
They all put down their backpacks where Fred points. Then they talk all together/at once.
JANE: My feet hurt so much, not to mention my back.
WILLIAM: Stop complaining, we’re carrying everything, your bag is empty. But my shoulders!
CHARLES: Oh god, I am going to eat everything up before you have time to even have a look at the food.
TONY: Oh shut up you man, don’t play the rude buddy. I could eat two times as much as you, whenever you want. Wanna bet?
FRED: [everybody else shuts up] Men, I am going to begin to make a fire with those branches while you look for some more wood.
Fred kneels down on the ground and the others resume laughing and giving each other looks of approbation. Charles punches Tony and everybody begins hurrying to put the bags in better order and to begin searching for branches. Some put their flashlights on their foreheads. Charles is the least concentrated, he makes sure he looks as efficient as the others, scanning the ground, but it is clear he is not as focused on the branches. Meanwhile, the fire is finally lit and branches are accumulated. After a while, a plant grabs his attention.
CHARLES: Tony, come here, give me some more light. [Tony obeys] I knew it. You will not believe what I’ve just found!
JANE: What?
CHARLES: [he picks a few bays from the bush] This is Blastenogopia Oephalisis.
JANE: [laughs] Oh please, you’re such a bad chemist, why do you act as if you want us to believe any different?
CHARLES: I might be a bad chemist, but I am not as ingenuous as you, darling. Do I have to remind you that I spent my whole military training up in those Corsican mountains? What do you think I learnt? Management? Authority? Cohesion? Self-help? Nope, darling, when I first got to Corsica, I was whiter than a virgin. But once there, I ended up a Machiavellian drunkard and junkie.
CHARLES: [with a big gesture like a clown] This, my friends, is called Blastenogopia Oephalisis. Take one of those bays, and life will seem different all of a sudden. You think it’s dark? You will be illuminated. You feel lonely? You will have the impression this place is crowded. You think it’s too quiet here? You will be deafened by the most terrific music. You are starving? You will forget about your stomach at once! [They all sit around the fire and Charles goes from one to the other] Take one of them, and you will not be disappointed, my friends!!
FRED: I’m not eating that shit.
CHARLES: Oh come on, I’m joking! I know this is the plant they take here when they want to warm up during long, boring, and cold winters. It only happens to have some peculiar virtues, but it’s not more harmful than a simple cigarette or alcohol. I saw people who have tried it. It’s nothing, just a bit of fun.
TONY: Leave him alone, for the moment he is hot because we’ve just stopped hiking and running around, but after a while he will be cold and he will go himself to pick one of your bays from the bush.
TONY: Come on, this will be fun! Let’s all try it, and then we can prepare our dinner feeling good.
They all eat a bay. Fred hesitates, sees everyone else take theirs. Abandoning his cause, he finally shrugs his shoulders and eats his own bay.
WILLIAM: [laughing] ok, done! Let’s begin preparing dinner then.
TONY: I’ll take care of the tents.
They begin doing their stuff to prepare for their night. They are laughing more and more noisily and uncontrollably together. Even Fred seems to be enjoying the moment and to have forgotten his fears. Suddenly, the noise of the night becomes stronger and stronger until we suddenly hear the Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky. Nobody seems to have noticed it except for Tony who is startled and jumps up.
TONY: [takes Charles’s arm] What the hell is this?!
CHARLES: [bursting into laughter again] what are you talking about, it’s my arm!
Tony laughs while the Nutcracker is still playing. Red lights shine on Jane.
TONY: What the hell? Charles, have you ever seen her dance ballet before?
Charles laughs, so much that he is moving and twisting. He finally disappears from Tony’s view while Tony remains looking at Jane.
JANE: [is turning round and round while holding a cricket in her hands] Lizzy, I am to be engaged. [She stops, annoyed, as if somebody had said something that hurt her feelings] Yes, to be married, what other kind of ‘engaged’ is there? Oh no, don’t judge me Lizzy. [She looks at her frog] There is no earthly reason why I shouldn’t be as happy with him as any other. Not all of us can afford to be romantic. I will marry him. What else can I do? I have no money and no prospects. I am already a burden to my parents.
Tony shakes his head, trying to breathe deeper. Jane is spinning again. She stops, looks at the moon, then she kneels down on the floor and goes on acting bizarre. Tony’s breath becomes quieter again, but when he resumes looking at Jane, she has pink hair.
JANE: [smiling] Tony, have you met Marco?
TONY: Marco? Jane, your hair! Who is Marco? Jane, there is something I have to tell you. Who is Marco? I know it is time for me to tell you what I feel. I know I will express my feelings the right way now. Better than ever. I see things, it is clear now.
JANE: Welcome here, dear Tony! Look, this parlor is for my own particular use. Oh Tony, this marriage! It’s such a pleasure to run my own home. [she shakes her head, and laughs, and laughs, with Charles whom she takes in her arms, forgetting the cricket].
Music again. An owl with sharp teeth appears but Tony doesn’t notice it. He is too concentrated on what he is about to say. His three friends come and surround Jane and his friend. They have frightening masks but we still recognize their clothes. Jane looks mad with despair, afraid, looking for Marco with her eyes but staying still in front of Tony.
TONY: When I first saw you, you were so ordinary. Your hair was ordinary, your eyes were too dull, your cheeks too hollow. But then it became different. One day it struck me. You reminded me of this girl who danced in the Nutcracker. I realized you were the incarnation of that girl and that music. The Nutcracker. It is you, don’t you know. Every single detail of your face, every single one of your manners, your grace, every gesture, every position, the color of your skin, the movements of your hands, something in your air and your manner of walking. So I would listen to it, in my bedroom, alone. And I would think of you, and imagine things that could happen between us. You should listen to the Nutcracker. The Nutcracker should listen to the Nutcracker.
Tony is now holding Jane in his arms, smelling her hair. They dance a waltz to the sound of the Nutcrakcer. Jane seems to do this without paying attention to Tony, but she eventually seems to notice him again, and when she does, she says:
JANE: Oh, come on Tony, you cannot be sitting here, next to your wife! Move! Over there, next to Mr. Sobolev, my guest of honor!
Jane goes to one of the masked characters. She kisses him on his head. Then they all take each other’s hands and they begin to turn, except for Tony, who is in the middle of the round.
TONY: No! Go away, you devil! No ! I will not let you ! Oh my goodness, my old demons… No, I had gotten rid of them. You will not win. I know better. Jane, Jane ! Don’t let them ! It’s not dark ! Charles, you told me it would not be dark. The dark knight. No, I am not dark. Oh shit, yes, you are. You are my old demons. My dear, horrible, old demons. I don’t care. I am alone again.
He lies down on the ground. Little by little, everybody stops turning, dancing, laughing. Everybody seems tired. They sit—or they lie down as there is less and less light.
The morning. A pale white light. The scene looks like a battlefield, dirty and devastated. The five friends wake up and realize nobody is sleeping in their tents. They look around them, but they don’t see Tony anywhere.
FRED: [staring at Charles] Where is Tony?
Charles is still sleepy and acts like he has a hangover. Will gets to his feet and begins looking around.
WILL: Oh god, this is not good. This is not good, my friends.
They hear a grunt. It comes from quite far away but they realize it is Tony. We can’t see him.
WILL: Toto, you scared me, idiot! Where were you last night? One moment you were here, the next you had disappeared.
CHARLES: You sound surprised. Why? Everybody knows Tony likes doing a disappearance act during parties.
WILL: What party, Charles? Who’s talking about a party here!
JANE: Oh, shut up! My head’s aching with your stupidities. Come on, guys, we are not in good shape to walk today. Let’s spend the day here.
Silence. They all burst into laughter at the same time.
CHARLES: Oh, Jane, you were incredible last night!

THE RING by Wang Junzhe

From "An Evening of words and theatre" performance at the Ecole Polytechnique on the 17 February 2010.

by Wang Junzhe.

Acted out by Léo Daguet, Anne-Sophie Hautecloque-Raysz and Christine Messié (pictured here)

The ring
By Wang Junzhe

Actors: 3 (1 guy and 2 girls)

[The stage is divided into two parts: left and right]

[On the left hand side, a girl (Lisa), dressed formally, is working before a computer. Sometimes she leaves her seat and does some housework]

[On the right hand side, another girl (Emily), fashionably dressed, is watching TV, with a casual gesture]

[In the middle of the stage, a guy is reading his monologue]

Casas [without any emotion]: My name is Casas. 30 years old. I am a guy like anyone of you, except for one thing: I have got two girlfriends. Their names are Lisa and Emily.

Casas [turns to Lisa, looks at her for a while and then re-addresses the audience]: Lisa is a professor in a high school. She is wise, virtuous, steady and hardworking. I know that she loves me. Every morning, she gets out of the bed softly and tries not to wake me up. Before she leaves for work, she always prepares breakfast for me. She gives me a call everyday from school. She comes back home half an hour before me so that when I get back from work, the dinner is ready. She is perfect, isn’t she? But there is one only thing that she is missing: Passion.

Casas [turns to Emily, gives a mild smile]: And that is what I found in Emily. She is young, vital, charming and magnetic. She is a perfect complement to Lisa. Together with her, my life is an adventure every single day. I don’t know whether she loves me, but that’s precisely what attracts me. However, she is not motivated to work and she doesn’t really plan to look for a job. With my money, she runs after every new fashion—and her fascinating appearance makes me love her even more.

Casas [Faces the audience]: Now it’s the time for me to make a choice.

[Casas walks to Lisa’s side and knocks on the door.]

Lisa [Comes to open the door, helps Casas take off his coat and put it on a chair, above hers]: Dear, you are back. Come, the dinner is ready. This afternoon I left school half an hour earlier and went to buy the Chinese food that you like the most.

[Casas and Lisa both sit down around a table and begin eating their dinner]

Lisa [looks at Casa eating first, a bit nervous]: So… how do you like it?

Casas: It’s so good!

Lisa [smiles]: That’s great! By the way, in your room I have helped clear off your desk. And today I took some time to wash all your clothes. Now they are all dry. You can take a new shirt with you for your conference tomorrow. You will find them in the second drawer on the left.

Casas [looks into Lisa’s eyes]: Thanks. [Casas gives Lisa a small kiss] Do you have time tonight? You want to go to the cinema? A new romantic movie has just come out. All my colleagues have given it very positive reviews. Maybe you want to go to watch it with me?

Lisa [hesitates for a while]: Sorry dear, there is a bunch of schoolwork that I need to correct tonight. There will be an exam for my students at the end of this week. Maybe next week I will have some time in the evening. I am so sorry, Dear. You know I always want to go to the cinema with you. But … I am too busy tonight.

Casas [disappointed, but still gives Lisa a mild smile]: It’s OK honey.

[at this moment, Casas’s phone rings]

Casas [looks at the number, frowns and turn to Lisa]: Business

[Lisa gives him a smile of understanding]

[Casas goes to another room]

Casas [talking in a very low voice]: Emily, I thought I told you that I would be busy tonight!

Emily [Acting cute]: Casas, for the first time in my life, I cooked dinner tonight! You want to join me?

Casas [hesitates]: but…

Emily [seductively]: Come, come! My sweetheart! I am sure that you won’t want to miss my first time!

Casas: OK, I will try to come over in a bit.

[Casas hangs up the phone and goes back to the dinning-table]

Lisa: Is everything OK, Dear?

Casas: emm… Actually, there is a meeting right now to prepare for tomorrow’s conference. I am afraid that I will have to leave now.

Lisa: That’s ok, Dear. What a pity that you don’t even have time to finish your favorite Chinese food.

Casas: I am so sorry about that.

Lisa: Hurry up! You don’t want to be late for the meeting. Let me get your coat for you. It’s cold outside.

Casas: It’s OK, I can get it myself. Again, Dear, I am so sorry for not being able to enjoy dinner with you. I may not come back tonight. No need to wait up for me.

[Casas walks to get his coat from where it lies atop Lisa’s. Something drops on the floor out of the pocket of Lisa’s coat: A ring]

Casas [talks to the audience]: Oh my god! What is that?! A ring? A wedding ring?! Is there another guy who has proposed to Lisa?! I thought she loved me?! [pause for 3 sec] OK, now I think I have made my decision which girl to choose.

[Casas puts the ring back in Lisa’s pocket, puts on his coat and goes straight out of the room without saying anything to Lisa]

Lisa: Bye, Dear, take care! [Casas never replies]

[Once Casa has left, Lisa goes towards her coat. She carefully takes out the ring and smiles with all the happiness in the world: she doesn’t know that Casas has seen it.]

[Casas goes to the other side of the stage, knocks on the door and Emily comes to open it. Emily gives Casas a big hug and goes to close the door. Casas thinks Emily is going to help him with his coat, so he waits for Emily to take his coat off. Emily doesn’t think of that at all, therefore, after waiting for several seconds, Casas has to take off his coat by himself. Then he passes the coat to Emily who extends one hand to him. Casas lets the coat go, but Emily doesn’t catch it and the coat drops onto the floor. Instead of picking it up, Emily extends one hand to cuddle his neck and she leans in to give him a kiss. Casas has to pick the coat up and put it on the back of a nearby chair by himself.]

Emily [dragging Casas over to the table]: Come, my sweetheart! Taste the spaghetti that I made for the first time!

Casas [surprised]: So, you said you cooked for the first time. And this is … spaghetti? OK, let me have a try.

[Casas takes the fork and is about to take a bite]

Emily [takes the fork from Casas]: Let me help you, Dear!

[Emily forks a big mouthful of spaghetti for Casas, and Casas eats painfully with a big frown]

Casas [taking some time to swallow]: Wow, that is … that is awesome! Maybe it could have been cooked for just a bit longer. And you may have put too much salt in it—

Emily [about to cry]: So you don’t like it?! It took me the whole afternoon to learn how to cook, and I even cut my finger!

Casas: You cut your finger preparing the spaghetti?! [not waiting for an answer] Anyway, Dear, I know you are not very good at cooking. But I like this spaghetti that you prepared for me! I will definitely finish all of it! I swear to you that this is the most unique spaghetti have I have ever tried!

Emily [stops crying and smiles]: Really? I love you, Dear!

[Emily gives Casas a big kiss]

Casas [says to audience]: OK, it’s time to make a choice! I must make it clear to Lisa that it’s over between us!

Casas [says to Emily]: Dear, I forgot something very important in the office. I have got to take 5 minutes to go back and get it. I am sorry for that. But please give me 5 minutes!

Emily [gives Casas a naughty kiss]: No problem, my honey. I’ll be waiting for you here, at home!

[Casas leaves Emily’s room and goes to center stage]

Casas [Monologue]: I should practice breaking up with Lisa!

[Casas turns his back to the audience for the preparation]

Casas [back to the audience, starts simulating the break-up speech (romantic version)]: Lisa, you know I love you. My heart is all occupied by you! I think of you in the day and I dream of you at night. [pauses for 2 seconds] However, I cannot see the future between us. I am sorry that I cannot be with you anymore. If you love me, please let me go.

[Casas shakes his head to show that he is not satisfied]

Casas [starting again, like the previous time, with his back to the audience for preparation. Starts the second simulation (aggressive version)]: Lisa, I am fucking bored by you! There is no passion with you. I am damn pissed off by the way you are dressed, your profession, your obedience… I cannot bear any of these things anymore! Get the hell out of my room! I don’t want to see you anymore!

Casas: OK, I will use this one. I am ready to break up with Lisa!

Casas [back at Lisa’s room, opens the door as Lisa is coming to open it]: Lisa, I have got something to tell you.

Lisa [makes a sign to ask Casas not to say anything]: Wait, I have got something to tell you!

[Suddenly Lisa gets on one knee, down the floor, and takes out the ring: she is proposing to Casas!]

Lisa: Casas, you know how much I love you. My heart entirely filled by you! I think of you during the day and I dream of you at night. You are the first man with whom I have fallen in love. And I hope you can be the last one as well. Would you like to marry me?

[Casas, stunned by what is going on, backs off one small step, unable to believe what has happened. Then his eye fills with tears. Casas kneels down and holds Lisa firmly]

Casas: I do! Lisa, I do! I love you! I would like to marry you!

[Lisa is very happy and excited, and she helps Casas to put on the ring that she bought for him]

[Casas suddenly remembers Emily]

Casas: Wait, Lisa. Could you give me 10 minutes? I love you baby. I will be back right away!

[Lisa knocks her head with her fist as Casas departs]

[Casas, running out of Lisa’s room, comes to center stage]

Casas [talking to the audience]: What have I done? Am I insane? What about Emily? I love her so much as well! Fine, it seems that I don’t have any choice. It is time to say goodbye to Emily.

[Casas goes back to the room of Emily. Before he can say anything, Emily drags him next to the table]

Emily: dear, the spaghetti is getting cold! Come, finish it!

Casas [is about to say something]: …

Emily: Oh, Dear, do you want me to warm it up for you?

[As she says this, Emily touches Casas’s hand and sees the ring]

Emily [extremely surprised, jumps back]: Oh my god! Is that a ring?! A wedding ring? You have got another girl somewhere? Or are you even married?! I cannot believe it! I love you so much! How can you betray me?!

[Emily gets more and more excitedly and eventually she grabs a knife and puts it next to the neck of Casas. Casas is so nervous that he doesn’t dare to move at all!]

Casas [snaps]: stop!

[The whole scene is frozen and Casas is the only one who can move. He comes to center stage, takes out a small bottle of eyedrops and sprays several drops in his eye. Then he goes back to Emily and puts his neck next to the knife. Now his eyes are full of “tears”]

Casas: Once upon a time there was a true love at my hand, but I didn't cherish it. I didn't realize it until it was gone. There is nothing to make one more miserable than that. If God can give me another chance to restart, I'll tell the girl I Love You. If I have to add a deadline to our love, I hope it will be ten thousand years from now.

Casas [takes the ring from his own finger, kneels down on one knee]: Emily, this ring is for you. Would you please marry me?

[Emily’s hand starts shaking and she drops the knife on the floor]

Emily: I will.

[The lights dim]


ON THE CHAIR LIFT by Jean-Baptiste Desforges

From "An Evening of words and theatre" performance at the Ecole Polytechnique on the 17 February 2010.

by Jean-Baptiste Desforges.

Acted by Mathilde Leclercq, Mathilde Paré, Pierre Salomon and Loic Was
(photos of them are seen here)

The scene takes place in a French ski resort. Four people are waiting for a chair lift to take them up the slope : two young American snowboarders, called Peter and Steven, and a British skiing couple, Mr. and Ms Smith. The boys are noisy and look coarse, the couple seems very distinguished.
The chair lift eventually arrives and picks them up, a little brutally.

PETER (very loudly) : Gosh, this one is fast! Feel it?
STEVEN (as loud) : Oh! Man! It has just kicked my ass!
(They put the protection bar down in front of them.)
Mr. SMITH (discreetly to his wife) : What a pleasure to get some rest, my dear, isn’t it?
Ms SMITH : You are perfectly right, my dear.
Mr. SMITH : And what a pleasure to ski on such delicious snow and in such sunny weather, isn’t it?
Ms SMITH : Absolutely, my dear.
PETER (still loudly) : Man! That slope was fucking good! Did you see my back flip?
STEVEN : Sure, man!
PETER : Almost killed a fucking young boy, man!
STEVEN : Yeah ! He should have learnt to ski before…
PETER : Did you see his mother, man?
STEVEN : Yeah, I thought she would kill you ! Mother’s are so nervous when you get close to their “lovely kids” .
PETER : Did you see her clothes, man? Her pink ski suit and her ridiculous hat? She almost killed me with her look, man. She’s living a century ago!
STEVEN : Man, she was so ugly ! I
wouldn’t even touch her with a stick !
(They both laugh loudly and coarsely. Mr. and Ms Smith seem annoyed and ill-at-ease.)
Mr. SMITH : Darling, would a piece of cake make you happy?
Ms SMITH : With pleasure, my dear, you are so gentle.
(He gives her a piece of cake. She eats with her little finger up. Steven and Peter look at them and begin to laugh.)
STEVEN (imitating Mr. Smith’s tone) : Darling, would you like a beer?
PETER (playing the same game) : Sure, Darling, you are so lovely.

(They both take a beer, open it, drink it straight down in one gulp then they both burp and laugh loudly again.)
Mr. SMITH (visibly shocked, discretely to his wife) : They must be American. Do you see how vulgar they are?
Ms SMITH : Doubtless, my dear.
STEVEN (to Peter): Those damned Brits are so hung up!
PETER : Sure, man!
(Suddenly, the chair lift stops.)
STEVEN (loudly) : Come on, man! Those fucking French chair lifts always stop!
PETER : Fucking French ! Nothing works in their country!
Mr. SMITH (to his wife): What a pleasant pause. Let’s enjoy the panorama. I love the panorama. Those mountains are so wonderful. Aren’t they?
Ms SMITH : They are, my dear.
Mr. SMITH : What about a cup of tea, my dear? I have some hot water…
Ms SMITH : Oh, my dear, you are so adorable.
(They begin to prepare some tea and to drink it, little fingers up.)
STEVEN (getting angry): Come on! I won’t spend the day on here because some French guys can’t build a chair lift that works!
(He lights a cigarette, and blows the smoke toward the Smiths. They grimace but don’t react. On the slope, a resort employee arrives with a loudspeaker.)
Mr. SMITH : Look, my dear, a resort employee has arrived with a loudspeaker. He will tell us what is going on.
Ms SMITH : Probably, my dear.
THE EMPLOYEE (in French, through the loudspeaker) : Mesdames et Messieurs, nous sommes désolés pour cette panne. Le moteur sera réparé dans quelques minutes. Merci de votre patience.
STEVEN : Oh, come on ! This fucking man can’t speak English like everybody else? I don’t know what the hell he told us!
Mr. SMITH (to Steven): Please, forgive my indiscretion. I think I heard you say you didn’t understand the message of that employee. Is that true?
STEVEN (a little destabilized) : Well... Um… Yes...
Mr. SMITH : He actually told us that the engine failure was impossible to fix quickly, and that we would have to wait one hour or two.
PETER : Gosh !! Damned French !!
Ms SMITH : Then he told us that people can jump from the chair lift if they would like, since we are not very high and the snow is very powdery under the chair lift.
STEVEN : Really?
PETER : Okay, let’s do that.
(Peter and Steven remove the protection bar from their side of the chair lift. They hesitate for a while then they both jump. We hear them screaming as they fall onto the snow, which is not powdery in the least. Then the chair lift restarts.)
Mr. SMITH : I think the journey should be quieter now. Don’t you agree, my dear?
Ms SMITH : You are perfectly right, my dear.