Excerpt In Translation

Quelque chose en moi choisit le coup de poing

by Mathieu Leroux

La Mèche, 2016


Quelque chose en moi choisit le coup de poing is an essay on the expression of the self followed by a series of very short plays. Here are two of them.


Where’s Yoko ‘n’ John?

GO.

He lays a sheet on the ground. On the sheet, a pillow.

He sits and waits.

 

Old symbols of hope, of opening up, of liberty, of social and economic upheaval; personification of the osmosis between poetry, music, art, politics, and sexuality; where have John and Yoko gone?

And their successors?

Are there any?

 

Matt is still waiting.

Nothing.

He looks left and right.

Nothing.

He looks under the sheet.

 

Still nothing.

CURTAIN.

*This play has no text. Members of the audience are encouraged to come up with their own readings of what seems to be no more than an absurd sketch. But we like to think that what follows, in italics—a sort of performer’s subtext—can also be read by the spectator as they watch the play.


The Angry Man

Antoine is lying in a hospital bed with its head raised. He has a plastic gun in his right hand, which he is holding against a vein in his left forearm. He barely looks at the audience while speaking. Matt is hidden backstage with a microphone and will remain there for the duration of the play.

Antoine:

Mathieu’s brother is a junky. Those aren’t my words: his own brother told his mom as much, a little before Christmas. Twenty years of regular use: heroin, coke, crystal meth, ecstasy, you name it. It came as a shock to their mom, but for Mathieu who, ten years earlier, had seen his brother bedridden with an infection, jaundice, and a swollen arm, it was obvious. His brother was just coming back from seven years outside of the country (he drops the gun). Those two boys were never real close. When he saw him again Mathieu felt like telling him:

Matt, on the microphone:

I’m not here for you, I’m here for Mom. To listen to her, hold her by the arm, wipe away her tears, reassure her. I don’t want to see you. I don’t know why you came back. I don’t like what you’ve become. I don’t want you in my life. Your bullshit makes me sick. Your lies are so transparent. You taking off didn’t get rid of the anger. You leaving didn’t ease the contempt, it barely made a dent in it. I feel like spitting on you. I could tear out that shit you got in your veins and toss it out the window, screaming. I could set your room on fire. I could roar until your eardrums rupture. I could sink my teeth into your skin and devour every ligament in your body. I want to tell you all this, but I keep my lips sealed tight…

Antoine goes on without missing a beat:

And he shut his trap.

He said nothing.

He even smiled.

And he let the beast eat him up a little on the inside.

CURTAIN.

PETINF14-QuebecReads-Favicon-32x32Translation by Benjamin Hedley