Friday, October 22, 2004

Death of an anarchist

That was the title of a play I went to see yesterday. A Dario Fo's play adapted for the present times. A pointed satire of the present administration. When we enter in the room, an old church converted into a theater, we have to pass a "metal detector" and from time to time, the guy in uniform in front of it, whistles and put the person on the side to check if their bag, beverage, or shoes are ok. He is a young tall man with a lean and long face accentuated by the hat he is wearing. The stage is surrounded by chairs but people are sitting only to the "normal" place for the public. In front of the stage, on our left when we enter. He is directing people to sit on the other sides and order a couple to sit on the left side of the stage. None of the seats on the right are taken. I went with everybody to the "normal" set of seats in the theater, but I now feel trapped surrounded by two older women in this overcrowed section. I take my stuff and to keep in the spirit of the play, I ask permission to sit on the unoccupied side of the stage. The response is not what I expected: "You're French, aren't you?". Well, yes indeed, I'm French. Am I not allowed to sit then? The guy smiles and says "Don't tell the fat blond guy that you are French". The "fat blond guy" turns out to be the artistic director whom I've seen in my neighborhood cafe many times. I promise that I won't be telling him I'm French although, as I point out, this is hard to miss...
The actor starts telling me that he is also part French (his dad) and that I am also not allowed to say that to anyone. The funny part is that I don't know if this is real or theater. I'm not sure if the guy's dad really is French or if it is the character of the play whose dad is French. Our discussion continues for a bit, interrupted from time to time while he goes inspecting some new comers' bags. It is completely surreal as I am constantly hesitating between thinking this is part of the "Intro to the play" and being convinced that we're just having a normal conversation. Eerie feeling.

At intermission, one of the older women who was sitting on my left when I moved to the side section, comes to sit next to me. I joke with her about joining the side show (the lead actor came several times during the first part of the play and sat next to me asking me rhetorical questions to which I mumble monosyllabic answers). She just says "We got lights shining on us and beside, I like you". I laugh a bit surprised: "I've done nothing for you to like me!" It does not seem to matter. She sits down and whispers "The room is so cold. I'm glad you're wearing an heavy sweater". She pushes her shoulder against mine.


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