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En V.O.

As we hear the first lines, we're surprised! The theatre did let us know the performance was in english language, but it appears the french subtiles (that were announced on the program) are, for some technical reason, actually missing....Well, We've all got to adapt, and focus. As watching a danse performance. I remember reading that Orson Wells once said he rather attend a show in a language he didn't knew, to let him fully envoy the playing of the actors... The consistency and musicality of the work of the two actress on stage are indeed attractive. But I am frustrated. I sure miss a great part of the subtility of the play. I've got the feeling to always stay far behinds the meanings, being always to slow, unable to catch all of possible implications. Thanks to Barker's writing style, some words and sentences are often repeated. On the other side, placed into an accurated state on attention, I've to let my imagination work, forced to fill the gaps. Being aware that Barker's theatre can be interprated in many ways. All things considered, It's tonight quite an interesting expérience to live.

In addition, according to Barker's habits, the time and place of the plot are all but explicit. What did I hear, what did I see? It's as confused as the words I use to express it. After a mysterious "alteration", a catastrophe of some kind, they're only two women left on stage (and in the world?): that is a former contess and her servant. Lost in a no man's world, maybe in a no male's world. The relationships betweens these two women seem to be have been reversed, now upside-down. The former servant rules (but the situation is much more twisted than it seems at first glance). She wants her husband to have her former mistress (in a sexual way). The whole play is built on this strange request. But I'm not sure the invisible husband really exists off the stage, maybe he's only the expression of the two women's desire. Of the former servant thurst of social revenge, or of the former mistress secret fears and fantasy. It's no surprise we feel an heavy erotic atmosphère all along. The play deals strongly with social power, desire, dignity, dependence and cruallty. Sometimes a mecanic dogs appears, to claim some contess clothes, have her partly undressed. The dogs is beautifully played by a man, he frighteens the two women, it seems he is send by the husband. I ask myself if the dog could be the husband himself. There is a strong contrast between the elegance of the lines and pronunciation and the violence of their very physical relationships. What the language may be, the two women litteraly fight each other. I enjoy this harscheness. Most interesting, the former contess appears, by her way of speaking, not to be a victim, she dosn't act as submitted. The former servant domination is full of doubts. At last, the former contess disapears off the stage to have forced intercourses with the invisible husband. Or maybe it was just an fantasy. Anyway, she returns form this encounter placed an upper position. The dog nows obeys her, the roles are again reversed. The play could continue in a circular way from now on, with further alterations. Only one thing is sure: the two women need each other. It may have political implication, beyond phsycological meanings. I'm out of words now, so that'll be all, and sorry for the many mistakes. If anybody saw another story he's welcome to tell it.


Howard Barker's Deep wifes, shallow animals , directed by  Patrick Vershueren, at Gare au Théatre (cup of theater festival).

lire aussi: Dona Juana


  • Well, my dear Guy, I'm afraid that french is dead. Flickr is now in english only, Spotify is broadcasting english ads to its French customers, and so on... Hopefully, we will be dead when our grandchildren are speaking chinese ;-)

  • Ca doit être pour ça que mon fils ainé apprend le russe...
    Tout bien réfléchi, je préfére encore ne capter que 50 % d'un texte de Barker que de subir l'anglais standard et appauvri qu'on nous sert de plus en plus dans des pieces de danse qui se veulent à diffusion internationale.

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