Metamorphose by Marion Aubert...An English Translation
Recently— as part of the development process — the Des Voix team held a Skyped reading of Pride, Pursuit and Decapitation, with the playwright, Marion Aubert listening to actors read her play in English for the very first time. It’s a super challenging script to cold read and the actors were stunningly good! Here’s a fun journal entry from Marion about her crazy lead up to ‘talking to America.’
Tonight I’m meeting with America. I have put my children to bed. My parents are holed up in the living room. My husband is already gone on tour to distant Montluçon (six hours by train). I’m quiet. I will have America in my room, all to myself. At 8:55, I am glued to the screen. My father is knocking on the door saying, “Your mother told me to tell you that you have a stain on your sweatshirt. I tell you that because you have an appointment with America, you see? What is America going to think of you with that stain on your sweater? ” I put my parents in front of the TV to keep them calm. The presidential elections are tonight in France. I stick myself in front of the computer screen. I wait. I am a little nervous about all these Americans landing in my room. I have not seen Americans landing since 1944.
I go to the toilet several times. Emotion. At 9:00 p.m. America will call me. I concentrate. At 9:02 p.m., nothing. At 9:03 p.m. I decide to call America. 9:05 p.m.. America does not respond. I see that America is connected but not responding. I say: “The Americans are probably eating fries or something. Everyone must be getting ready.” “All is well with your appointment? ”Says my mother.”I will wait until 10pm. And at 10pm I will call them again” I say. I turn. I watch the elections. Elections are sad here in France. On the set everyone is fighting viciously.
“Good. Now it’s half past, I’m going to call.” America does not respond. ”Did I dream America? ” I say to myself suddenly. I look at my calendar. It is April 22. I noted in my diary: On April 22, apt w/ America, between the tour to Montluçon and Saint-Etienne. Between 2pm and 5pm over there, 9pm and midnight at home. I recall making the calculation. I checked it out on a site. San Francisco, minus seven hours. I am looking through emails in my trash. Everything is consistent! I worry. In France the National Front is 20%. 9:45pm. I sweat heavily. ”How could you believe you had an appointment with America in your room, Marion Aubert? ” I tell myself several times.
I’m about to get into my pajamas. ”What’s troubling you? ” My mother asks. I say, “Oh! I am so sad for the elections.” I look at my computer screen one last time. Then suddenly through my intuition. Crazy intuition. ”Of course! I was wrong! Inevitably, I made a mistake counting the hours! It is not possible otherwise! We exchanged so many emails! We took so much time on both sides of the Atlantic to set the damn calendar! All those confirmation emails! ”I quickly look up a page devoted to local time in San Francisco. 12:35pm ! It is 12:35pm over there! And now I am happy. I go to the living room. “America arrives in an hour and a half, actually.”
A panel of French citizens are invited onto the TV set. ”The French people have big problems with strangers.” Says a TV farmer. I fly into the kitchen. I make three gallons of coffee. I will have to hold on. At 11pm Amy calls. I reply. I see cans of coke on the table, books on minuscule shelves. The American actors are there. I’ve never seen Eric and Kimberly, but recognize them immediately. The actors start reading my play. “Someone always gets Killed when there’s a bullfight. One or two people. I come back and tell myself: “Maybe it’ll be me, this time. The dead one.” It’s midnight, and America is in my room. I am the only one laughing in front of my screen. Sometimes, the Americans laugh too. Time no longer exists between America and France.
My parents come into a small corner of the room. ”Come on over! ”I say. They are happy to hear America, too. It is three o’clock in the morning, Ivan and Amy interview me. This is my first interview in the heart of the night. It’s a bit like being drunk. Ivan hangs up. Then America is finally gone. My parents want to ask me a thousand questions but I say, “Please it’s three o’ clock.” I dream all that miniature night in the sofa bed in the living room. At 5:30am I get up. Give a bottle to my child.Then I take a train to Montluçon (six-hour journey). The train controller asks for my ticket. I reply: “No problem, my dear! ” “You are an American tourist? ” He asks me, punching my ticket. “ Oh ! Un petit peu !“ I say with a foreign accent.