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by Matéi Visniec
Translated from the French by Claire Doucet and Ian Whitfield
The Story of the Panda Bears told by a Saxophnist who has a girl friend in Frankfurt
The Story of the Panda Bears told by a Saxophonist who has a Girlfriend in Frankfurt Copyright ©1996 by Matéi Visniec All performance rights, including professional, amateur, stock, motion picture, radio, television, recitation, public reading, etc. are strictly reserved. All inquiries should be addressed to the author's agent: SACD (Société des Auteurs et Compositeurs Dramatiques) 11 bis, rue Ballu, 75442 Paris cedex 09, France Tel. 0033 - (0)1 40 23 44 44 Fax. 0033 - (0)1 40 23 45 31 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
© Matéi Visniec 10, rue Watteau 75013 Paris FRANCE Tel. Fax. : 0033 - (0)1 47 07 31 89 E-mail: email@example.com Site: www.mateivisniec.home.ro
First performed at the Avignon Festival (off), July 1996, by PLI URGENT Company, directed by Rémi Rauzier Original title in French: « L'histoire des ours pandas racontée par un saxophoniste qui a une petite amie à Francfort »
(published in France by Editions ACTES SUD-PAPIERS, 1998)
The Story of the Panda Bears told by a Saxophnist who has a girl friend in Frankfurt
Room in complete disorder. A bed. We can distinguish two forms under the cover. The man begins to move. He's finding it hard to wake up. Something is bothering him. He smels a strange, unknown parfume. He opens his eyes with difficulty, closes yhem again and waits. He listens to the sound of breathing, not his own. He opens his eyes once again, reaches out with his searching hand to discover a body lying next to him. Amazement. He closes his eyes and try to go back to sleep. He can't. He reopens his eyes. Slowly he pulls back the sheets and looks at the other body: it's a woman. She awakes slowly, opens her eyes. They look at each other. He smiles at him. He returns the smile. HIM HER Pause. HIM HER HIM HER HIM Pause. HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM No, this is your flat. Impossible. Pff! Whatever! You had the keys. What are we doing here? I don't know. Did we make love? Do you have an iron? What? I want to know if you have an iron. She wants to know if I have an iron. Unbelievable. I must be dreaming. Do we know each other? Not really. Is this your place? No, yours. You're joking? Who are you? Me?
He ducks under the covers. After a pause. HIM HER HIM Am I dreaming or am I awake? You're dreaming. (trying to move his head a bit) Shit!
The Story of the Panda Bears told by a Saxophnist who has a girl friend in Frankfurt
I set the alarm. It’s not. Do you mean to say that wherever you go.. Am I still alive? You don't look it. Well then. Do you often remember the taste of the wine you drank the night before. Right after that. takes one out and lights it.. I said my clock! Mine. the only thing I remember.. sharing the cigarette.) Do you want a puff? No. and forget how you pulled the woman with whom you spent the night? So we did make love! Rest assured. you always carry an alarm clock ? Yes.HER HIM HER HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM Pause. What time is it? What's your name? (looking around) Where's my alarm clock? (automatically he reaches and feels the floor) I don't have an alarm clock. They smoke a while in silence.. I must go. Where exactly did we meet? So you really-don't remember anything? All I remember is that at one point. we did nothing of the sort.) Actually. Is it you that undressed me? The Story of the Panda Bears told by a Saxophnist who has a girl friend in Frankfurt 4 .. I can still taste it. I don't know. It should have rung already. a big black hole. I didn't say your clock. your clock. Well that's a good start! To remember that the wine was a Puligny-Montrachet 1945! Yup.. someone opened a bottle of Puligny-Montrachet 1945. (after having felt about a bit on his side) Listen. Give me a cigarette.. HIM You’re right. it’s more likely to be on your side. is that I put my cigarettes somewhere around here... (handing it to her) It's the last one. Where is it ? Wait till it rings and we'll find out. my sweet-pea. HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HER HER HIM Do you have an iron? Do you mind if I ask you a silly question? Go ahead. Did we make love? Don't you remember anything? Of course… (He reaches out and feels the floor. And I want my clock.. (He finds the packet. HER HIM What's wrong? My head.
if you say he runs a club.. Of the club. It's called « Atmos ». HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM And where did all this happen? All what? The sax. I only came for the party.HER No. but someone else had one and he lent it to you. Pause. But I didn't have my sax with me.. My friend the great wine connoisseur... Pretty nice one.. you got me hooked on « Baudelaire ». For fuck's sake I don't know anything of Baudelaire’s. Who has just launched his new club… Kiki… (Trying hard to remember. And you're quite charming when you're drunk and you recite Baudelaire. Really?! Yes.? Manage to pull me? You didn't. the opening. you recited practically half of Baudelaire's work! You’re winding me up? No.. He seems embarrassed. you were already stark naked.. I hope you remember the address. Really? Here's the living proof! If not why would I be here? 5 . True... You give good saxophone! You really think so? Yes. One of my friends. and I loved it. and all the rest of it? At Kiki's.. Then. You know more that you think. You’re mistaken. Who's Kiki? One of your friends I suppose.. You recited some poems by Baudelaire. HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER Pause. And how did I get to be there? I have no idea. great wine connoisseur who has just launched his new club. Baudelaire.) Kiki. Great wine connoisseur. too. Around what time was all this? When you got there? Around two in the morning. Right. « Baudelaire »? Me? That's a joke! It's true.. Hmmm. Do you work there? No. Really! And where had I come from? The Story of the Panda Bears told by a Saxophnist who has a girl friend in Frankfurt So how did I. The sax did.
A good joke for breakfast. And after my little number.HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER Listen... it must still be full… Am I wrong? Where's my bottle? (from the bathroom) In the kitchen. that's not my style. is not the question. So that means that we made love! Doesn't it? It doesn't mean anything at all. Come on. close your eyes. don't move. first you threw up on my dress. I have the right to. didn't he give us a bottle of something? Or am I wrong? We had a bottle when we got here. On top of that. We did. I said! If I understand this correctly: you're completely naked too! Yes. you are naked. You are in my bed. I am naked so. don't speak. ok? Don't look. I just landed there. Around forty loonies. Oh! Right! « Oh! Right! » what? Nothing. Of course not. And the more you tell me. I was joking. love it. Listen. Well go! Close your eyes. I love modest women! Modesty excites me enormously. Who? I don't know them. HIM HER This Kiki fellow. Where's your iron? Wait. nothing at all. Did we or didn't we? You make me laugh. the bigger and blacker the holes get. You need to sleep some more. Whether we have or not. The Story of the Panda Bears told by a Saxophnist who has a girl friend in Frankfurt 6 . I just came straight back to your place and recited Baudelaire? No. I'm just trying to fill in the holes. Thanks. Were there lots of people? Yes. I can't know everything. we did spend the night together. like you. You're making it up. Close your eyes! Why? I'm going to the bathroom. With his eyes shut he feels amongst the empty beer cans sprawled around the bed. my sweet-pea. can't we have a coffee together? Just to get to know each other. didn't we? (covering his eyes) Stay like that. I've got to get going. for the first time. ok? She goes to the bathroom. What for? For god's sake. Right. I have every right to know if we have made love or not.
Yvonne.. Solange. No. I really must go. HER HIM HER… HIM HER HIM (inspecting the clock) Strange.. (He stares at her.) Aren't you hungry? There's plenty to eat in the kitchen.... he reappears with a bottle of wine in one hand and a clock in the other.. Her whole look has changed. Yes… (He looks for it and passes it to her. He goes towards the bathroom door and takes a sip. she is elegant and refined. Yes. Mathilda. Please. The Story of the Panda Bears told by a Saxophnist who has a girl friend in Frankfurt 7 . thank you. Ok? No. Annie. Saturday is my birthday. It hasn't rung. But I wound it up… That's the first time that's ever happened. Food in abundance! Enough for a feast! I have to go... is not Solange. She comes out of the bathroom. Yvonne. That's not what you said last night… Christine.Wrapped up in a blanket he goes to the kitchen. I really am very very late. You…Your... Corinne. Natalie. Out of the question. Five biscuits... Listen.. No. Bernard. We hear HIM trip. HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER Pause. HER No. Then.. HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM Pause.. I can’t let you go just like that! But you must. name. What's your name? Solange. please… Yes. We still have three eggs. Mathilda...) My alarm clock! Where was it? He wants to say something but he has lost his voice. Yes? Are you sure you have to go? Yes. HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM (opens the bathroom door and puts out her hand) Give me your iron. Diet yogurt? Annie.. a piece of cheese.... dressed in a beautiful evening dress.. I'm not hungry. Natalie. You can call me whatever you like.
but then that will be it! All right? And you will play the saxophone for me! The Story of the Panda Bears told by a Saxophnist who has a girl friend in Frankfurt 8 . Right. I'll get dressed and take you. (She leaves her clock on the bed.. you undressed me.. you ask nothing more... are you? Wait. Deal? No deal. First you've got to rest.... because… Because I want to know you. And when you feel better. All right my sweet-pea? Well then. two more. He gets back into bed and makes himself very small under the covers. HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER You really think I'm unfair? Yes! A thousand times Yes! How many nights do you need to get to know me? (under the covers) One more. I want your phone number.. You slept in my pad. She opens the door. and then.HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER So? You're not suggesting that I should stay until then. Two.. Give me a kiss goodbye and go to bed. nine nights. we'll see. HIM It's not fair! No! Not at all! Not at all. Oh shit. all right. you'll have to go to Kiki's. Nine! Nine. I've lost it. nine nights. I've got to hide somewhere. you're not fair… She returns to HIM. that's fucking why! But I've already told you. Yes? You left it somewhere. No! A week! Seven nights! Seven nights is too much. at all. No. just pick one for me. You're being greedy. One more. No! I don't agree! At all! I played the saxophone for you... deal. I should disappear a while.. and pick up your car. AT ALL! I recited Baudelaire for you… I. ok. Listen. Where are you going to? No. Fine. goodbye. No. I threw up all over your dress. I recited Baudelaire for you.....) There. I'll come back nine times.. and sleep well. I lent you my iron. Eight! Eight? That's almost a life time! Nine! Please. On your honour? Yes. nothing. Ah . It's not fair. done! But after that. I want to know your real name! What for? Because. but this morning you couldn't quite remember where! Right? After that. but it's not fair at all! I recited Baudelaire for you… You could stay a little bit longer.. All right? You haven't had nearly enough sleep.
forgive me. MESSAGE: Hi.” Shit! “Who follow.. Who follow easy-moving companions… travelling companions… Who follow easy-moving travelling companions… Who follow easy-moving travelling companions…” The phone rings. laughing) Why did you do that? I don't know. call me urgently. You’re an idiot.. but I forgive you. HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER It's me.. (jumping up) What? (lighting a second lamp) It's me.. Who follow. for fun.. (he hands her a key) Here. Who… Who follow. it's Christian. Probably to show off. Are you there?.. IN THE DARK HIM: “Often.. She lights a lamp.. The Story of the Panda Bears told by a Saxophnist who has a girl friend in Frankfurt 9 ... (takes her hat off and lets her hair tumble down) I forgive you.. I have a proposition for you! Ciao! THE FIRST NIGHT Black. crewmen.. Please. Oh… How did you get in? Have you forgotten: you gave me the key? It was the key to the cellar. Why? I like the idea of you being able to come in at any time. The other’s voice. Catch albatrosses.HIM HER HIM HER HIM She exits. What about you? You won't be able to go out. huge seabirds. The man does not answer. The answering machine kicks in. Listen. (takes her coat off and hangs it up.. take this.. Catch albatrosses. I'll just wait for you. I won't go out anymore.
I'm in deep shit. I can't stay with you in this mess. HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER Pause. Liar. You slept like a log. Are you my new neighbour from downstairs? No. I brought your mail. How do you know? Because I have all the answers. Really? KIKI doesn't exist? I phoned all my friends. Didn't you go out today? No. Only bills. then? It was open.) Perhaps you have already read these. yes. Liar. What? You stink something horrible. You know what? I like making deals with you. I didn't think you'd come back. Maam! You'd better shave as well. first you must take a shower. No one had a club launch yesterday. How did you notice that? I'm allergic to empty boxes. It could be nine lives.) May I kiss you? No. I played the sax for you. Yes. There are plenty of empty boxes there.HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER Pause. For nine nights. In that case. Because I realized that this guy KIKI doesn't exist. You don't mind the fact that you are going to lose everything? And I'm really sorry about the key. You have all the answers. Yes. take this. You didn't call anyone. At midnight. I noticed this morning that you'd run out of after-shave. Really? Yes. The Story of the Panda Bears told by a Saxophnist who has a girl friend in Frankfurt 10 . I thought you were pretending. you'd better not go into the kitchen. HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM How did you get in. I waited for you. I live with YOU. We should also open the windows and tidy this mess up. Here. don't you? (Looking at his letters. for nine nights. (Pause. Nothing very interesting. I gave you my word. No. I heard you. Yes. So you tried to take your revenge! I swear that I regretted it immediately. I waited for you. Here.
You're there. opens the window... It reminds me of something. You can open the wine if you like. lays the table and lights two candles etc. She goes into the kitchen. But… Pains in the arse. Don’t you listen to your answering machine anymore? I'm fed up with all these messages.. Would Monsieur please take a seat? Would Monsieur have the kindness to do the honours? (after having swirled the wine for a while) Yes. I want to be left in peace for a little... (whispering) Go on. The answering machine picks up.. What? It just reminds me… It’s odd… It just reminds me of something… But… I can't remember what. Good bye. Elisabeth.... We made a deal. Pick up?..HER Not to worry. He goes to the bathroom. He comes out of the bathroom. The Story of the Panda Bears told by a Saxophnist who has a girl friend in Frankfurt 11 . You're not there. HER HIM VOICE HER HIM HER HIM VOICE HER Are you expecting somebody? Me? Monsieur Pailhole. MESSAGE ON MACHINE: Hi Mickael.. You haven't eaten anything today. all of them! (Out loud. May I? Please. you're not picking up… It's me. She exits from the kitchen. Madame! Does it not remind you of something?. cleaning etc.... the table is ready.. Fine. HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM That's cool! I haven't had dinner by candlelight for ages. open the door.... This bouquet reminds me of something. Come on. see what he wants. and we are going to celebrate it.. (kissing HIM) Did you really just sit and wait for me? Yes. it’s our first night.) You're all a pain in the arse! Monsieur Pailhole.. tidies up a little. I've done the shopping.. The phone rings. What's this? Puligny-Montrachet 1945! My God! This must have cost a bomb! There. Knoks at the door... Puligny-Montrachet 1945. pick up… You're there. Come on. She comes and goes. it's Elisabeth.. Sit down. You're not there. I wasn't hungry... Various appropriate noises: water. Are you there?. Who is it? They're all mad. No doubt about it.
(He undresses her fast. I’ll tell you all about it. MESSAGE: Hi there! It's Chris!. let me get my diary... if you're free give me a call back double quick! It's really urgent! And. Right now I am still in Grenoble.. VOICE HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM Blackout. Listen. Oh ya!. shit. all of them.... come on. Hold on.) Tell them. for HIM self... He plays for a little while. quickly… (He turns out the lights. do you understand? There is noone in.. Tell them we aren't anywhere! We aren't anywhere! Bunch of arseholes! Well done! (Laughter under the covers.) Come on. He doesn 't pick up.. I know that you'll be going down to Lyon on the 15th. He stops playing to listen to the message. I tell you. I'll still The Story of the Panda Bears told by a Saxophnist who has a girl friend in Frankfurt 12 .. Do you want to play in Grenoble on the 27th and the 28 th? In other words in two weeks time… Well. Your name is Pailhole? (out loud) There is no-one here. The phone rings. (Whispering. we must run! What? Quickly! Quickly! If we stay here they will catch us! They’re all mad..) Did you see that? Did you see? We only just got away. Ok you're not in. More knocks. Hey! What's this? The bottle.) Quickly. The answering machine kicks in. We have to get out of here. can't you see that? Bastards! (Whispering. A whole week.. Come on. tell them they're a pain in the arse! You're all a pain in the arse! HER HIM HER He drags her towards the bed. end of May. he plays the sax. IN THE DARK Quietly.... but on the 15th I won't be. Do you want me to go and see? More knoks. Mr Pailhole. VOICE HIM HER HIM Mr Pailhole.... It's all I could save.. There's no-one here! No-one..HIM HER Shh! I have no desire to see what he wants. quick. Every now and then we catch a glimpse of the instrument.) Tell them! Tell them that there isn't anyone anywhere! (hiding under the blankets with HIM) We are not in. Something else for you.
« a ». « a ». The Story of the Panda Bears told by a Saxophnist who has a girl friend in Frankfurt 13 ..be in Grenoble. « a ». « a ». Whisper: « a ». Listen I'll call you back to see if you want to stay at the house when you're in Lyon and we'll have to organise how to sort out the key situation.. Say « a » as if to say you think I'm beautiful. «a» Say « a » as if to say : « stay! » « a ». Say « a» to say goodbye to me. let's try and speak then. « a ».. More tenderly: « a ». Say « a » as if to say you will never forget me. Silence. HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM Say « a ». « a ». I'll be able to come and spend at least one evening with you in Lyon. « a »... and to see how long you think you'll stay in Lyon and if we can meet up. back to back. a lighter in his hand. I hope you're very. I'll be at home all morning. tomorrow is Friday. « a ». Maybe they have just made love. Right? So... « a »! Say « a » as if to say you are bloody stupid! «a» Say « a » as if to say you want me... I want a soft « a »: « a ». Say « a » to say hello to me. THE SECOND NIGHT In semi-darkness. Say « a » as if to say: “get undressed!” « a »! Say « a » as if you were asking me why I am late. their heads leaning against each other. She is eating some grapes. Whatever. « a ». Say « a » as if to say you love me. « a ». Ok mate. He has an unlit cigarette hanging from his lips. Loud but soft: « a ». tomorrow. They are resting on the floor. Ciao Mickael.. very well.
Hmm. thank you I have my own. « a »! Say « a » to say how wonderful it is to talk only in « a ».. Now. HIM HER « a »? Just a small piece. « a ». say « a » as if you were telling me that you slept very badly without me... that you dreamt only of me and that you woke up exhausted with no desire to carry on living. « a ».. « a ». The Story of the Panda Bears told by a Saxophnist who has a girl friend in Frankfurt 14 .. Ask me if I love you as much as you love me. I’ll stop the game. Good. HIM HER « a »? No. Ask me to say « a ».. Say « a » to tell me that you have something really important to tell me. « a ». « a ». « a ». « a ». He hands her his cigarette packet.. Say « a » to tell me that you never want to see me again. say « a » as if you were saying that you never wanted to see me again. Ask me to say a soft whispering « a ».. Ask me to say a soft « a ». « a ». « a »! And that you've had enough! « a »! Ok. « a »... Very good. thank you.? Tell me that I'm driving you crazy. « a »! Look. if you don’t do exactly as I say. Say « a » to tell me to stop asking you to say « a ».. « a »! No. Say « a » to tell me that you’re happy. that's not right. « a ».. I'd love one.. He gets up and pours her a coffee. Do I want a coffee? « a »? Yes..HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER Say « a » to ask me if I have brought you something. « a ».
HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM (he offers her a light) « a »? No.... Once again.. . MESSAGE:Mickael.. Say « a » in your mind as if to say you'll never forget me.. And clearer so that I can catch it... But do we have any sauce? « a ». All right.. Look me straight in the eyes.. We'll go out then.. It's Mark again. . He doesn’t pick it up. . « a ». The answering machine clicks in. I'm going to need your bank details... And you're going to answer in your mind..She takes out a packet of cigarettes and takes one. . « a ». so enclose them in The Story of the Panda Bears told by a Saxophnist who has a girl friend in Frankfurt 15 ... Louder. … And now I'm going to ask you something. Now. Say « a » in your mind as if to say you think I'm beautiful. Say « a » in your mind.. Come here… « a ».... listen about your contract. say « a » in your mind as if to say you love me… . not just yet. « a »? . Are you ready? .. .... good evening.... « a »? I don't know… Though I think I prefer to eat at home. Softer… .. . Now. Something very important. IN THE DARK The phone rings. « a »! We'll stay in then. « a »..
. at six in the morning? On top of that he worked in a toxic atmosphere.. But that's not true… I mean. And there you go.... yes… Then. Like carrots? Like carrots. is it? Is my head too big for my scrawny neck? I don't think so… God. more Polish actually. Why not? The recipe is a family secret.. Mmm. Always hungry..... Here. It must be thirty years since I last had it… I was a very greedy child. My father always told me my head was too big for my scrawny neck. you can reach me at Yolanda's.. But my father would always bring it home… We must have been quite poor. Like it? Is it made with potatoes? Yes.. or tonight at my place.. to desintoxicate them.... you beat the lot into a nice creamy smooth consistency. He comes out of the kitchen carrying a tray. waking every single day of your life. A furniture factory or something like that. How do you make it? Can't tell you.. Silence.. All right. I'll give it to you. I haven't been able to drink milk since… Only cream. Is it sweet? No. Mmm.. THE THIRD NIGHT She is sitting at the table. Right... in The Story of the Panda Bears told by a Saxophnist who has a girl friend in Frankfurt 16 . Anyway. Then I shan't eat any more.. They'd give the workers a free bottle of milk every day. salt and spices.. Not bad. it's a starter. I suppose.. And I did. you add a couple of eggs... you chuck it into a hot pan... like you would an omelette. add some cream. in those days.. Are you supposed to eat this? Of course you're supposed to eat it. Is it a Jewish thing? No. it can even be a main course. See ya.. HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM Here you are! It's called tochinel. My mother would make it for me when I was a kid.. I remember one day I made a bet with my cousin that I could drink the whole bottle in one go… I was seven or eight.your letter. how time flies! My father always got up at six… Can you imagine. a little wheat flour... for thirty-five years. My mother used to make it for me when I was a kid. Anything else you need to know.... First you peel the potatoes and then you grate them.
all the trees were in flower. It was exactly as it had always been.HER HIM HER Blackout.. waiting for each to give its fruit.. Always in the garden… She spends all her time on the veranda.. I went to visit my mother and I saw the garden. and my mother. Anyway… A few years back.. the trees kept on being planted in the garden: a pear. a fir. I don't think my mother needed to see us at all.. a plum.. she has fresh fruit all year round. who still hangs around the house… It's mad!... And an apple tree that my father planted the day I was born… My father was like that.. What? It's a pet... we are all there. apricots. Right. Right now it's apple time… and I can almost feel her munching through me… The old boy did have a certain logic in his choice of trees for us though.. then plums. Early on: cherries.. Jeanne and Claire. a sort of ebony that grew really slowly. the apples and nuts. As if he knew that my mother would one day be alone. as if the apple tree had just walked into the room instead of me… Actually.. there was already an apricot tree.. In the winter: the fir stays green.. when she saw me. Funny guy my dad… Nobody understood what made him choose a particular tree for a particular child. then it's pears and.... I have just had an attack of verbal diarrhea... As for her. The apricot tree was for my elder sister Brigitte.. my brothers and I.. When I was born.. a cherry and a walnut tree. Personally I never thought the walnut suited Claire... And the ebony? The ebony.. she didn't miss us much.. in the garden.. and she can look at it.. late in the autumn. he was a stubborn man and he never gave up his idea… And after I was born.... looked so surprised.. looking at us. The ebony was for my sister Karine who became a dancer. HER HIM HER HIM HER Happy birthday! I've brought you something..... It grows so slowly that it seems to be like a child. THE FOURTH NIGHT She brings a bird cage covered with black cloth. small doses. She eats us secretly to compensate for our absence. The Story of the Panda Bears told by a Saxophnist who has a girl friend in Frankfurt 17 . haven’t I? You should have stopped me… I like your tochinel. A bird? In fact we don't really know what shape it is. some exotic tree. looking at the trees. The plum for my brother Jean and the cherry and walnut for my twin sisters.. God how time flies! We had a garden.. Anyhow. But at least. He would plant a tree every time my mother gave him a child... that… anyway… I really should give her a call one of these days.
. Even little balls of warm bread. It's singing in there. What do you mean? Well. because sometimes it has babies. It always eats very fast. leave some food on a clean plate. And also. It's invisible? It's not invisible but you can't see it. right now? It's always saying something... Because it doesn't like being on its own. I don't really like the idea of a pet you can't look at.. will you take it? What does it like to eat? Apricot stones.. Maybe it's eating. So the minute it has finished you take the cover off and look at the empty plate. ever. So how do you know it’s in the cage? When the cage is covered. Its shape. Or rather for the bedroom. HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER What's it doing ? We don't know. Maybe it's walking about. and wait a bit. They both listen. then cover the cage again. Really? Yes. And what do you want me to do with it? It's decorative. There are some days when I'm not in. It's decorative?! It's for the house. you'll just have to pop back every four hours. HIM HER HIM Pause. Yes. You have to feed it every four hours. Listen. parsley.. That’s enough. Maybe it's dreaming.. you must be careful. and it eats everything. But you can look at it.. Or rather its body. Out of the question.. you know. But it eats a lot. How can you look at it if it's invisible? But you look at its presence. It doesn't have a body. And it's as if you were looking at it.. it moves. Oh yeah! By itself? Does it lay them or something? The Story of the Panda Bears told by a Saxophnist who has a girl friend in Frankfurt 18 . (stunned) And I just look at the empty plate. Maybe it's singing.HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER I don't follow. you can feed it! Take off the cover.. HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM So? So what? So. (listening) Isn't that a shout? I don't know. But we never know what it is. If you really need convincing that it’s there. It's as if you were looking at it. It only moves in the dark. of course.
I can hear every noise in the house. They’re very intelligent these creatures. Do you think so? My neighbour upstairs. you need to always have a tiny spare cage ready. I think it's because of the light. you can stroke them. It must be nearly eight. etc. if it has any. When is that? During an eclipse. it's impregnated by the light.. Right now he is taking his shoes off.HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER No-one knows. he’s switching on all four lamps in his living room. THE FIFTH NIGHT He is shaving in front of a small mirror he has put on the table. Can you hear him? He's just come in. Because there are moments when you can talk with them.. the tie. what do I do with them? For one thing... And the minute you see a little spark light up in a cage. because the kids of this species die immediately if they’re not separated immediately from the mother. you open the big cage wide and say three times « Cheep Cheep Cheep ». It looks like she is getting him ready for an evening out. I feed them every four hours? No. it's because the kids want to go to their own place. She is ironing a shirt of his. The wardrobe is open. The newly born will let you stroke them in the first couple of minutes of their life. and with the kids.. So. the pair of shoes. No. That is an absolute must. HIM HER HIM HER He always gets in around eight in the evening. Maybe. For that. You're crazy. And the kid will go from the big cage to the small one. first you have to separate the kids from the mother. maybe she is the one who chose the suit. The Story of the Panda Bears told by a Saxophnist who has a girl friend in Frankfurt 19 . that can be seen on chairs. In the last few days my hearing seems to have developed exceptionally. there is a small problem. Right. all the kids born after that can repeat it to you word for word. If you tell them a story. There. So it's female. Yes. And for food? Here. they have an incredible memory. Everytime you lift the cover off the cage. How can you tell that? I don't know.. But I think that this species only has females. HIM HER HIM HER Pause. I can’t hear anything.
I can hear someone on the left.. who is listening to a symphony with head phones. Does he live alone? Yes. How old do you think he is? About thirty. She always gets in around quarter past eight... voices. It can only be milk. Somebody has opened the door downstairs. What is it? It's a cartoon.) Even when they're quiet. He's finding his crappy channel. Putting the heat right up. For some time now every sound in this house has passed through my brain. Shit! What's that? That's coming from the ground floor. Can you feel him walking across the room? No.. He's putting the bottle back in the fridge and shutting the fridge. He’s putting it in a pan.. The Story of the Panda Bears told by a Saxophnist who has a girl friend in Frankfurt 20 . That must be Miss Vergne.. breathing. Is that Vivaldi or what? No.HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER Pause. He’s opening a tin of corn. I hear footsteps. It's a little boy who’s mad about electronic games. Even the insects in the walls. He’s flicking through the channels. You learn fast. She’s walking up. You're right.. Are you sure it's milk? Listen how he drinks it. He's going back to the kitchen.. He’s been there three months. That's Mr Moricerti.. HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER It's true. He’s switching on the telly. Perfect. And now? He’s listening to his answering machine. He’s taking out his frozen steak.. Putting the pan on his electric cooker. I can hear them being quiet. (she gets closer and looks in the mirror) He's opening the fridge… And he's taking out a bottle of milk. it’s Allessandro Marcello.. (He angles the mirror so that it reflects the ceiling. He's putting his mail down on the kitchen table. Well done! He's coming back into the sitting-room. Are you sure it's corn? Absolutely. Wait a minute. Especially when it's dark..
I think this time it's a pear. On Sunday mornings.. She's searching for her keys in her bag. she works very hard. she lives on the first floor. Maybe we should do something. she holds the mirror for HIM. When he leaves to go to the swimming-pool. It's crazy that they've never bumped into each other.HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM Yes. Now she’s going to go to the kitchen. but you weren't there. She leaves at quarter to eight. Yes. returns with a bottle of beer. He presses ”play” and listens to his answering machine. But we’ll probably see each other The Story of the Panda Bears told by a Saxophnist who has a girl friend in Frankfurt HER 21 . goes to the kitchen and opens the fridge. And even when they go out for a walk or pop to the shops. I have a feeling she's watching the same channel as the guy upstairs. It’s a shame they don't watch the same crap together. drops his mail on the table. They're both crazy. She’s taking off her coat. She's taking off her shoes. Did you go and fetch your mail? I hope you haven't opened it yet. she's listening to it. she goes to the market while he has a lie in. Yes. What? (He shaves. She sounds tired. She’s going to put on the telly. She’s taking off her gloves. This girl is so shy! I always thought that she ought to meet the guy upstairs. drinks. lights the two lamps in the sitting room.. She's hanging her coat up on the coat hanger. It's always her mother asking her to call back. In the morning he leaves at half past seven. (voice on the answering machine) Where've you been? I popped round earlier. Go and put it back in the letter box. It takes her on average between forty seconds to a minute and a half to find them. they just miss one another by a minute or two. she's cooking.) THE SIXTH NIGHT He He He He He He enters. I'm really sorry but I can't make it tonight. She's going. Now she's going to listen to her answering machine. Are you trying to avoid me or what? You promised to wait at home. She's going to get an apple. (resigned) Whatever. ok? But make sure nobody sees you.
Go and put it back in the letter box. All right? Promise me? Tell me you promise me. Why don't you do as I say? There are some things you have to work out for yourself! I can't tell you everything. I'm really sorry but I can't make it tonight. I trust you. Ok? I'm yours.. I like the idea of you sleeping with your head on my fingers.. with you. Yes. Yes..HIM HER HIM HER tomorrow. And don't forget. I give you a big kiss. I left my gloves somewhere this morning. and then « play ».. See you tomorrow. He pours himself a drink. behave yourself and try and get an early night. Ok? I'm yours. Are you trying to avoid me or what? You promised to wait at home... so that I can hear your voice. go and put the mail back in the box. Ok? See you tomorrow then.. But we’ll probably see each other tomorrow. he drinks. at this very moment. opens a tin of carrots. I like the idea of you sleeping with your head on my fingers. (her voice on the answering machine) Thank you. Promise me? Tell me you promise me. See you tomorrow. You can leave them there.. HIM HER HIM HER End of message... Right. Louder. He presses « rewind ».. then «play » and listens once again to the message. See you tomorrow.. (her voice on the answering machine) Thank you. at this very moment. behave yourself and… don't try to listen to this message a third time. ok? But make sure nobody sees you. Anyway.. yes. (her voice on the answering machine) Louder! I can't hear anything.. Anyway. (her voice on the answering machine) Louder! I can't hear anything. Yes. I trust you.. promise me you won't betray me anymore... Louder.. Long silence. I left my gloves somewhere this morning... And above all don't listen to this message a second time. And don't forget... so that I can hear your voice. with you.. Did you go and fetch your mail? I hope you haven't opened it yet. Louder... End of message. I promise you. They're probably on the pillow. Can you see them? You can leave them there... They're probably on the pillow.. please. Long silence. The Story of the Panda Bears told by a Saxophnist who has a girl friend in Frankfurt 22 . eats. HER (her voice on the machine) Where've you been? I popped round earlier but you weren't there. While listening to the message. Yes. He presses « rewind». yes. go and put the mail back in the box. he goes to the kitchen.
stop clowning around. She takes her shoes off. The Story of the Panda Bears told by a Saxophnist who has a girl friend in Frankfurt Come on. She takes her coat off and hangs it on the coat hanger. End of message... I'm with you. Am I not with you right now? It'll be a wonderful night. I hope nobody saw you go out or come in. it’s not because you broke your promises. out.He listens to the message for the third time. She puts on the two lamps in the sitting-room. 23 .. all right? You have to imagine that it’s the silence of my voice… that this silence is me… Do you understand? Stay like that. Listen… The cassette keeps running... And keep your hands off this machine… Let's listen to the silence together. don't move anymore… This silence that is caressing you is me. Close your eyes… And listen only to the silence.. Ok? Now behave yourself and try and get an early night. you'll see. She takes her hat off and lets her hair hang loose. She goes to the kitchen to fetch an apple.. I forgive you for that. I'm yours. And we'll probably see each other tomorrow.. with you. And the other five nights that are still there. come out.. at this very moment.. ok? Thanks. you must turn out the lights and learn to listen to the silence. HER (Silence. And one more thing. He listens to the silence on tape. I trust you… I give you a big kiss… See you tomorrow.) No! No! No! You're stealing one night from me. with you. The room is full of little covered cages.. See you tomorrow. I don't agree! (her voice on the answering machine) But of course tonight is our sixth night. No. Now.. or anything… Let it drop. You'll never find either Kiki’s café. Because tonight is our sixth night. HIM HER No! (He presses « rewind » and then « play ». Drop your little investigation.. THE SEVENTH NIGHT She enters.. And don't forget. Lie down on the bed. HER (her voice on the answering machine) Where’ve you been? Are you trying to avoid me or what? You promised to wait at home.. You have my gloves with you on the pillow. Calm down.) Come on. She sits in the rocking-chair and eats the apple. I'm really sorry but I can't make tonight..
aren’t you? (Silence. (invisible) No. you have. The one you like. please. you’re going too far… I haven't done anything to you. (Silence.. So.) You’re really angry. (invisible) Yes.) I can make something for you.) Have you eaten? (Silence. How about a tochinel? (Silence.) Oh. a piece of cheese. (invisible) Yes. I'm hungry. HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM She opens the bottle and pours two glasses. if you like. What's with all these cages? (invisible) None of your business. HER HIM HER (drinking) This wine is really delicious. You were quite right to forget everything except its bouquet. First I must feed the birds. why not make up? (invisible) No. you have.) We still have three eggs..) Do you want some spaghetti? (Silence. No. food galore… (Silence. I'll also do the washing up. Don't you want to give me a kiss? (invisible) What for? Come here. I'll make you something to eat. (invisible) Pass me that cage over there. I've brought a bottle of wine. I only drink milk.) Listen. I haven't. say something.(Silence. Which one? The Story of the Panda Bears told by a Saxophnist who has a girl friend in Frankfurt 24 . I want you to kiss me. (invisible) Hang on. (invisible) I don't care.
) Shoo! Shoo! Shoo! The Story of the Panda Bears told by a Saxophnist who has a girl friend in Frankfurt 25 . Let them wait a while and come on out. You’ll die of hunger. like a firework. and lots of cages roll to the floor. So they’ve eaten you? (invisible. They make love to my smell. stop! What the hell are you doing? (invisible) They are mad. In fact. Ouch ! What's wrong? (invisible) Nothing. Except that now. please? She opens it. to my shadow.. it seems that way. that's enough. (invisible) From where? From everywhere. they start breeding! On top of that they seem to think that I'm their father! But of course you are! Don't you realise that it's you who makes them reproduce. This excites them enormously. (invisible) Where the hell do you want me to come out from? I am nowhere. I’m everywhere. And there are some more in the wardrobe.) Stop! For God’s sake. to my heart beat. where will I put them? Would you please hand me the other empty cage next to you? Which one? The little one? (invisible) Yes.. (invisible) So. Maybe you can show me where my voice is coming from? Yes. Did they bite you? (invisible) What? (Lightning in a cage. HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM Come on.. Did it hurt? (invisible) On the contrary..HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM (invisible) The big one. I can tell because they continue to multiply at the speed of light. to my breath. Flashes of lightning in all of them. (invisible) But I’m not even touching them! Ah! (invisible) Of course I’m not! They have become incredibly perverse. (invisible) I can’t die of hunger because food itself can’t die of hunger. I quite liked it. I don’t know myself where I am. they make love to my reflection. If I look at myself in a mirror. (Despaired. I have never seen such determination to live! What are we going to do? In two or three days. Thank you. sighing) Yes. Are you sure? (invisible) Yes. The minute I say something they couple with my words. there. mad! The minute they're born. mad. I’m drifting empty around the room. Can you open the wardrobe. I think they must have eaten me before I knew what was happening.
Short pause. Today? Not today. Then. I want to do it right away. Perfect. Can’t you come and join us over on this side? I’d love them to be making love with the exact moment we make love.More lightning in the cages. The Story of the Panda Bears told by a Saxophnist who has a girl friend in Frankfurt 26 . I hope. A series of flashes. HER HIM HER HIM What more do they want? They’ve just made love to the thing I was just thinking. now. Now? Yes. stop thinking! They’ll invade the whole estate. HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER So? So what? Do you want to be my bride? But you're not married. HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER So? So what? Shall we get married? Yes. Short pause. Perfect. for God’s sake. All right. You're not already married. Now? Now. I hope. No. Shadows that intermingle. All right. No. THE EIGHTH NIGHT HIM HER HIM HER HIM I want to marry you. Short pause. HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER Now. All right.
three times. This is the last time I'll ask you: Are you sure? Yes. six. Are you frightened? The Story of the Panda Bears told by a Saxophnist who has a girl friend in Frankfurt 27 . Short pause. But we need a little something ceremonial. HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER Are you ready? Yes.Short pause. HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER We don't need anybody. Perfect. The phone rings. HIM HER HIM HER HIM Pause. Fine. All right. Then the calls stop. THE NINTH NIGHT HER HIM HER HIM HER Are you dreaming? I'm dreaming that you're talking to me. I declare us husband and wife. He opens the trap door and they go onto the roof. twice. We need a witness. No. If we want. Yes. Fine. We don't need a witness. You're right. seven. So. No. HIM HER HIM HER HIM So? So what? Shall we? Yes. Once. if you like. Are you sure? Yes. four times. five. Can you hear me? I'm dreaming that I can hear you. all the same. eight times. We can go up on the roof.
But it seems to me that we are gently detaching ourselves from ourselves. Does it distress you? No. we're abandoning them. It’s odd then that we can still communicate. And our bodies ? Do they regret our departure? Apparently not. Leaving our five senses? They're left behind like a pentagon outlined on the tarmac. listen to me carefully. Further and further. simply two voices in flight. Yes. Our bodies. in your dream? Yes. how? I don't know. Can you still pick them out? As if they were two small sea shells. We're floating above the world? Above everything. Can you touch me? I don't need to touch you. Two white waving wings in flight Two white waving wings in flight. More than that. We should now have only one voice. because we're both dreaming the same dream. can you see them? Yes. wrapped in each other's arms. gently. We have become two voices. The Story of the Panda Bears told by a Saxophnist who has a girl friend in Frankfurt 28 . More than that. So.. Do we still need our bodies? Apparently not. Leaving our memory? Yes. Can you describe it? It's still confused.HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER Yes. More than that. We're gliding above everything that we no longer need.. I can feel you as if we were each a wing of the same bird. Finally. From our bodies? Yes. They're content. Can you feel us leaving our present behind us? Yes. We're in full flight high above ourselves. aren't we? More than that. We have perhaps become inseperable. how? Rather like two waving wings in flight. it makes me feel extremely light. yes. Am I with you. What are you frightened of? I'm frightened someone will come and wake us. Our entangled bodies are very far away now. They're asleep. inseperable.
I'm like an eyelid that envelops the visible. Do we go over to the other side or not? Yes. You see how simple it is? I would never have believed it would be this simple.HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM HER HIM I think that will happen. because silence does not exist anymore. There's a lovely zoo there. But I know all the answers… Are you still afraid of silence? No. Do you remember the question that I will ask you in a moment? No. Does it make you melancholic not to have shape or form anymore? No. The music of a fall in the midst of a fall itself. Do you hear me as if I was your own hearing? Yes. Right. That's not good. You mustn't answer me anymore. I'm afraid we might lose our balance and fall. You can't touch me anymore because you cannot touch your own sense of touch. Maybe. I'm approaching perfection. And what do you hear? Music. Frankfurt. Do you still hear the fall? No. Because if we stop talking. what do you see in the center of all that? Us. Can you see me as if I was your own sight? Yes. This is the last time I will ask you: Are you sure? Yes. Do you remember my last question? No. That's right. The Story of the Panda Bears told by a Saxophnist who has a girl friend in Frankfurt 29 . You are still afraid of me. Give me the name of a city you would have liked to have lived in. What was the animal you liked best when you were a kid? Panda bears. And in the center of all that. now decide. Can you still see anything around you? Yes. Are we going to talk like this for infinity? Yes. Do you still remember the place we took off from? No. How long did it take you between your answer and my last question? I gave you my answer before you asked me your question. Are you sure? Yes.
SERGEANT And you are sure that.. th 4 VOICE Hello.. He hasn't answered for at least ten days.. 1st VOICE It’s no good. MISS V. I haven't heard it anymore. st 1 VOICE This is the sergeant.. SERGEANT And you don't have a spare key? MRS F I did have… But… As Mr Pailhole kept losing his keys.... 1st VOICE (he goes up one floor and knocks on the door) Mr Aubert... nothing. SERGEANT Mister Pailhole.. that smell. I sometimes heard him playing the saxophone. MISS V.. Are you the landlady? MRS F Yes. Hello. MR A. The Story of the Panda Bears told by a Saxophnist who has a girl friend in Frankfurt 30 .. SERGEANT But you're sure that he is in there? 1st VOICE I fear the worst. 4th VOICE So? Shall I start? 2nd VOICE Wait. Hello..HER HIM HER Blackout.. OTHERS Hello. 1st VOICE Miss VERGNE! Miss VERGNE... 1st VOICE It's there. 1st VOICE Can't you smell that? I don't think it's normal. We need another witness. Except the answering machine that records the calls. Knocks at the door. Me too. I'll visit you in Frankfurt.... (To someone opening a door. he’s heard no noise. in half light. I kept having to give him my spares and. right above. All right. Would you mind coming down for a moment? VOICE MR A..) Mrs Falabregues! Would you mind coming here a minute? MRS F Hello. For ten days. SERGEANT Sergeant POULAIN... I have only been here three months. But for the last two weeks or so.. And you? Me. Voices from outside the door. THE MORNING The room is empty. 1st VOICE Mr Aubert lives on the third floor. would you mind coming up here for a moment? MISS V.. SERGEANT Have you ever met your downstairs neighbour? VOICE MR A. And unfortunately our paths never crossed. Not really. So in your next life you will be a panda bear.
Gentlemen..MR A. come quickly........ dimly lit by the ray of light coming from the door. No-one enters. As the door is forced. -Oh! All right.. -Mum. The lock is dismantled. -Pardon? -Mr Moricerti. THE END The Story of the Panda Bears told by a Saxophnist who has a girl friend in Frankfurt 31 .. A basket placed on the chair falls to the ground and a few dozen apples scatter in the room. The locksmith tries to push the door. -Hmm… It’s stuck on something... A strong smell of apples invades the theatre and you can hear a saxophone playing... in the distance... -It's true that… -I think that with this smell. 4th VOICE So? Shall I start? SERGEANT Yes. We can hear the tools and comments. Nor me... Oh! My goodness! Please be careful… The lock is broken into from the outside. Mr Moricerti. -I always said that. it hits a chair. We will proceed to break the lock… MRS F. -Maybe we should have phoned first. Ladies.. The room stays empty.... -This is Sergeant Poulain. somewhere.
Plays by Matéi Visniec available in English Old Clown wanted (Petit boulot pour vieux clown) – Editions Actes Sud Papiers. 1996 Pockets full of Bread (Du pain. 2000 - The King. 1997 - How to explain the History of Communism to Mental Patients (L'Histoire du communisme racontée au maladies mentaux) – Editions Lansman. 1999 - Paparazzi or Chronicle of an aborted Sunrise (Paprazzi ou la chronique d'un lever de soleil avorté) – Actes Sud Papiers. 2004 Three Nights with Madox (Trois nuits avec Madox) – Editions Lansman. the Rat and the King's Fool (Le Roi. 2002 - What shall we do with the Cello? (Mais qu'est-ce qu'on fait du violoncelle ?) – Editions Crater. 1997 - The Chekhov Machine (La machine Tchékhov) The Word Progress on my Mother's Lips doesn't ring true (Le mot progrès dans la bouche de ma mère sonnait terriblement faux) The Story of the Panda Bears told by a Saxophnist who has a girl friend in Frankfurt 32 . 1995 - The Body of a Woman as a Battlefield in the Bosnian War (Du sexe de la femme comme champ de bataille dans la guerre en Bosnie) – Editions Actes Sud Papiers. le Rat et le Fou du Roi) – Editions Lansman. plein les poches) – Editions Actes Sud Papiers. 1998 - Horses at the Window (Les chevaux à la fenêtre) – Editions Crater.
The Story of the Panda Bears told by a Saxophnist who has a girl friend in Frankfurt 33 .