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ELLE
Marie-Pierre Cattino
ELLE
Couverture édition
 
Actes du théâtre n° 55.

ELLE has been gone for ten years without a trace. One day she rings the doorbell at her parents’ house. She comes back every evening at dinnertime. It’s a game of suffering where everyone has a role to play. No one character is more important than the others. When one goes silent, another one takes advantage of it. ELLE remains content with silence at first, then words come like a lava flow. When ELLE leaves for the second time, her parents stand up, but it’s too late.

“It’s much harder to write a play with three characters than one with ten or twelve, that’s the paradoxical situation. Fewer characters in the hope of it getting produced, yes, but then it’s as if you had increased the power of the magnifying glass focused on your three characters. Marie-Pierre Cattino has already mastered this and knows how to write words and their shadows, silences, subtext, pain, secret wounds, oppression, family tragedies, in almost hushed tones, remaining herself all the while and not turning up the volume.”
Jean-Claude Grumberg, excerpt from the preface to the published play

“Marie-Pierre Cattino has found her place in the collection des Quatre-Vents thanks to the singularity and strangeness of her world, and to the way private suffering is expressed in clearly portrayed writing. Elle and Tirée au cordeau are, each in its own way, expressions of the same female voice trying to understand the reasons for the violence carried out against women in families, but without dipping into pathos or abstraction. On the contrary, they are remarkably fitting, triggering emotions that are both personal and universal.”
Olivier Celik, editor-in-chief of Editions L’Avant-Scène Théâtre

To open at the Avignon OFF Festival by the Sérieuse compagnie, at the Théâtre de la Bourse du Travail, July 7th-30th, at 4:40 p.m. Direction: Ivan Ferré. Cast : Aïni Iften, Laure Vallès, Pierre Azaïs. Opened at the Teatro Argot in Rome, May 30, 2007. Director: Tiziano Panici. Cast: Magda Marcatali, Paolo Triestino, Anita Ferri. Italian translation by Pino Tierno.

Characters: 2 women - 1 men -
L'Avant-Scène, Collection des Quatre-Vents - www.avant-scene-theatre.com

THE FATHER What are you here for exactly? THE MOTHER For … a few days? ELLE For a job. THE FATHER A job? THE MOTHER A job. THE FATHER What kind of a job? ELLE For the newspaper. THE MOTHER The newspaper? THE FATHER The newspaper. What newspaper? ELLE My newspaper. THE FATHER Your newspaper. THE MOTHER Your newspaper? ELLE Yes well the newspaper l I’m working for. THE FATHER You’re a journalist we had been led to understand. THE MOTHER Really?! ELLE Yes I’m a journalist. THE FATHER You came for a job. ELLE They’ve sent me on a reportage. THE FATHER A reportage. THE MOTHER Really a reportage incredible a reportage! THE FATHER Since …when? THE MOTHER You …you … THE FATHER A journalist since when? ELLE A while. THE FATHER Excuse us we didn’t know. Silence. ELLE This soup is really good. THE MOTHER You like it? THE FATHER It’s your mother’s soup. As good as always. So what’s this job? ELLE A reportage. THE MOTHER A reportage on what? ELLE Delinquency in the suburbs. THE FATHER Oh. THE MOTHER Oh! THE FATHER You came for delinquents. ELLE No. THE FATHER Well which is it, yes or no? THE MOTHER What are they saying about the suburbs in Paris? THE FATHER Like on TV. THE MOTHER So why… ? THE FATHER Why what? (The father stares at the mother.) THE MOTHER Nothing. Nothing it’s nothing. THE FATHER A journalist for delinquents, is that it? ELLE No I’m doing that and other things too. THE FATHER What then? ELLE Other things. Not always the same things. THE FATHER The small-time stuff too. THE MOTHER What’s the difference? Silence. THE MOTHER It’s all small-time because they don’t fit in anywhere that’s the real difference. Are you going to interview them? ELLE In a way. THE FATHER Are you staying long? ELLE I’m going. THE MOTHER You’re not staying? THE FATHER That’s not what I meant. THE MOTHER She knows. You do know, right? “Being there means being with your character when it really starts blossoming in the text. It means getting down to the writing to get closer to the character. Something will eventually come to you and start to happen - in flashes, in bits and pieces, stealthily. The writing is there yet not totally there at the same time, and you start writing in the silence that will affect (or not) whoever is reading, listening or watching, and ultimately the person playing the character.”