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texts Far From Hagondange Jean-Paul Wenzel Translated by Frangoise Kourilsky and Nicholas Kepros Author's Note: A couple in retirement. He worked as an ironworker all his life. Now he works himself to death by building a small workshop-his own factory -where he tries in vain to hide from himself that his life-all his life-has been a failure. In the shadow of her husband who represents all her life, she, his wife-the housewife-has longed to fulfill a dream of life in the countryside, with narrow roads, flowers, trees, and chestnuts. All she has left is to regret till she dies that she is unable to live this other life, this little postcard happiness. In this experiment in the theatre of daily life, it seemed to me important to put on stage-to let speak-the "old people" who are so often abandoned by society (and the theatre). A theatre of daily life, where "reality" is constantly circumvented ... where alienation and the repression of all life appear most clearly through a selection of moments where nothing is said explicitly . The early scenes of the play are consciously written in what one could call a "naturalistic" mode because I want to establish a relationship between the audience and the characters by a rapport that comes through recognition. This does not mean identification but a rapport in which the spectator is drawn to recognize in himself or herself that which is, one might say, "ex87 emplitied" by the characters. Never is it for me a matter of presenting a character or even a story in terms of organic continuity, once the spectator has reached the point of recognition . I proceed by way of ruptures, leaps, by concentrating and emphasizing features and "accidental" elements of daily life. For all these reasons, I think that this "theatre of daily life"-in the text and also in performance (thanks to the mise-en-scene and the actors' work)-escapes naturalism. -Jean-Paul Wenzel What makes people grow old is, on the one hand, of course, the slow disintegration of the body, and on the other the way people are treated in our society, in terms of their labor power and nothing else. Basically, society arranges from the beginning to treat a worker as an old person later: it is interested in productive power and nothing beyond that. (.. .) An old person is someone who has been deformed since childhood, for profit, and who then, at the end of life, discovers this mutilation which, in turn, hastens death. -Jean-Paul Sartre Characters: GEORGES, retired, 68 MARIE, his wife, 73 FRANCOISE, traveling salesperson, 27 The action takes place in a small house in the country. Scene 1 The kitchen-dining area. GEORGES is cleaning a set of tobacco pipes. MARIE is busy straightening up. GEORGES: I wouldn't mind a cup of tea. MARIE: That's odd ... It's not even time for tea; besides, you never drink it ... Don't you want coffee? It's all made, I can heat it up. GEORGES: No, coffee's too strong. I feel nervous. I'd like some tea. MARIE: I'll put the kettle on ... I've only got tea bags. GEORGES: Oh, that's too bad. I'd have loved a good cup of tea. Ceylon. There's nothing like it. MARIE: Where did you get that idea? You've never had Ceylon tea. You've really 88 been acting strange lately. GEORGES: From now on, I'm drinking tea! Don't forget that when you go shopping. (Pause.) MARIE: By the way, the water heater's not working. Would you take a look at it? GEORGES: Yes, yes. Later, after I've had my tea. MARIE: It's three days since there's been any hot water. It's annoying when I do the dishes. And there's a whole pile of laundry. GEORGES: There's no hurry about the laundry. I'll have a look at the heater. (Pause.) MARIE: The guarantee ran out lastweek. It's stupid-a week earlier and we could've had it fixed for free. Oh, well, appliances don't choose when they're going to...


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pp. 87-103
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