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Sauver la peau
David Léon
Sauver la peau
photo : Christophe Raynaud de Lage
Actes du théâtre n° 1.

Sauver la peau opens with a letter of resignation from a teacher in an institution specializing in the care and educational needs of psychologically fragile young children and teenagers. The narrator speaks to us directly, facing what he calls ‘‘the family straitjacket’’ and ‘‘the straitjacket of educational institutions.’’ Through the interplay of crisscrossing voices the text probes how verbal violence is brought to bear on both sides, ultimately asking the question of what constitutes our identity in the subtle friction between the intimate and professional spheres. In its finely honed writing, Sauver la peau goes beyond revelations about the educational system, asking questions about writing as an act in itself and the function of literature with respect to our commitments. “ Back flap

"Seeing Un Batman dans ta tête at La Loge in Paris was an opportunity to discover playwright David Léon who is at the Théâtre Ouvert this year with a new play, Sauver la peau.
There are themes linking the two: madness is the first. The madness of an adolescent who thinks he has a double – Batman - inside his head. And the madness of another teenager diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic. (…)
In both cases David Léon explores the psychological murders that have destroyed them. (…)“
Brigitte Salino, Le Monde, February 1-2, 2015

‘‘It’s not really a surprise; playwright David Léon’s third play, Sauver la peau, is a brilliant confirmation of his talent (…) Léon’s writing is amazingly powerful, enhanced by the unusual rhythm created through punctuation that continually shatters the harmony of the phrases uttered. The writing is also crisscrossed by echoes, shouts and cries – resonating with the chaotic world outside. At this stage David Léon is doing as he pleases, going to the extent of quoting authors that have influenced him such as Christine Angot, Marguerite Duras, Gilles Deleuze, Virginia Woolf and Bernard-Marie Koltès (…)’’
Jean-Pierre Han, Frictions, February 3, 2015

‘‘(…) David Léon’s writing draws words from the inexpressible. Bits of ideas spring from the turmoil of his inner thoughts. While his speech gradually loosens up, the character utters the words one by one like someone paralyzed who’s learning to walk again step by step. His remission begins with the completion of the first sentence. David Léon explores the possibilities of discourse and writing through superb, complex, poetic phraseology until the deeper meaning of his words comes through the shaping of the lines of text. (…)’’
Camille Hazard, Un fauteuil pour l’Orchestre, January 28, 2015

Opening in 2015 at the Théâtre Ouvert, Centre National des dramaturgies contemporaines. Director: Hélène Soulié. Cast: Manuel Vallade

Characters: 1 men -
Editions Espaces 34

‘‘Dear Sir. I have. The honor. To inform you. Hereby. That. ‘‘I’’ am. Resigning. From my. Educational. Duties. Which I have performed. Since ‘‘this date.’’ Resigning from my position. As a teacher. Beginning ‘‘this date.’’ According to. Employment law. According to. The collective agreement. In force. In your institution. ‘‘I’’ will no longer be a part of your staff starting ‘‘this date.’’ ‘‘Yours.’’ Sincerely. David. Léon. Emmanuel Christian.’’ Says the author. I’m writing now. To everyone. It’s pouring out. I resume ‘‘the attempt to drive others crazy.’’ No tears flowed. My body slid. Down the bench. In the residence hall room. Where I was working with the children. When you. ‘‘My sister.’’ Told me. That he threw himself at the train. Our brother. Matthieu. I screamed: ‘‘No.’’ Several times. You asked me to stop screaming: ‘‘No.’’ But the tears didn’t flow. Nor in the months that followed. In the apartment. It would come back. Sometimes. It would come back up. But no tears. Like suffocating. I slid to the floor. Like an animal. Half-coiled. ‘‘Maybe you were meant for this.’’ Said my girlfriend. ‘‘For what?’’ I asked. ‘‘For telling. For explaining. For understanding.’’ Ultimately you go back to the same point. In writing. To the starting point. And always to the same subject. To the same root. There is no subject. You don’t choose ‘‘your subject.’’ You’re driven to write. ‘‘A compelling need.’’ Says Gilles Deleuze. You go back to the same chaos. Original. Inaugural. ‘‘My brother threw himself at the train.’’ I say. ‘‘Yes. Like all caregivers. All those in the business of caregiving. We all have something to repair. If we asked all those in the business of caregiving. They’d swear by it. All of them. That they all have something to repair.’’ Says the psychiatrist. Psychotherapist. Psychoanalyst. No: nothing to repair. There’s nothing repair. Repair what? Repair for whom? For what? From what? Repair? You can hear. The impact. From the word: ‘‘re-pair.’’ Can you hear it? ‘‘Oh yes. Repair. Something on the order of re-par-a-tion. Oh yes undoubtedly. Without a doubt. Re-pair.’’ ‘‘I’’ say. ‘‘Restitch. Or. Restick. Your head. On your torso. Operate. Resuscitate.’’ I should have screamed in your face that I was looking for a way out. For years. I should have told you about the horrible association I’m making. Now. Between the family straitjacket. And the institutional straitjacket. The straitjacket of care. Institutional care. The straitjacket of education. Of rehabilitation. Institutional rehabilitation. You talk about the terrible association. I’m making. Now. Between ‘‘the attempt to drive others crazy,’’ on both sides. On all sides. The girl is sitting in the back of the truck. With her classmates. All more or less crazy. All more or less handicapped. All with advice. Administrative documents. That stipulate their care. That advise. That indicate what to put in place. To repair them. To repair their situation. The woman driving the truck asks the girl: ‘‘Did your mother come? To pick up. Your things. In. Your room? Because. Our. Institution. Is closed. In the summer.’’ ‘‘No.’’ Replies the girl. ‘‘Mom didn’t have time. Because of her job.’’ The woman says to the girl. No. Don’t answer. That’s no answer. It can’t be. The woman says to the girl: ‘‘You’re just leaving us with all your crap again here in this institution.’’ My blood runs cold. As ice. I slide to the ground. My body crumples onto the tile floor. The white space of that old apartment. The tears don’t flow. Didn’t flow. Never flowed. Just suffocating. I didn’t tell. I hadn’t told.