“The last of the fasting days” is the second part of a trilogy which begins with Pénélope ô Pénélope. The show was nominated for the French Molière Award 2014 in the authors’ategory.
Written and directed by Simon Abkarian (creation 2008 In The Théâtre National of Chaillot),
Award of the Syndicat de la Critique Dramatique for the best show in french language 2008.
The text is published by actes Sud-papiers editions.
The action takes place thirty years earlier, in the same environment and family. Certainly, there are the sky, the sea and the trees. But here, the infernal confinement consists in the intangible prison of tradition. The characters in the play, men and women alike, are of the "trapped" type. They are all emblematic figures of a Mediterranean lifestyle similar to the one I experienced when growing up in Lebanon. In my quarter, you could hear somebody coughing from the far end of the street, workers’and craftsmen’s clothes could be seen hanging from every roof. This is the local story of a working-class community.
There is the mother, Nouritsa, the father, Theos, their only son, Elias, the youngest sister, Astrig, the eldest, Zéla, the scholarly aunt, Sandra, and the Vava the gossip, the butcher, Minas, his daughter, Sophia, who has become mute, the young idle boy, Aris, and the foreigner, the newcomer, Xenos, who does not say a thing and is afraid to talk and declare his opinion. These people are destined to coexist in an unconfessed confrontation. Men are afraid of women, playing the game of a tacit love to maintain a certain harmony within the family. A subterfuge that the women want to demolish. An ancestral yoke they want to liberate themselves from. They who suffer most from the consequences of a thousand-year alienation. Having been reduced to the role of procreation, they are relegated to a position of secondary importance in an historical sense. They are deprived of desire, their hope for freedom is denied. They have no right to verticality, to spread wings and fly.
They are stuck in the present, bogged down by practical and tangible matters. Every chore considered unsuitable for men encumbers to them. Their main purpose is to give birth, to males if possible. In the capillary and testicular Mediterranean world, a daughter is a burden and she will be taught to shut up and obey. So, inevitably, when women get together they talk. I wanted to place the topic of sexuality at the centre of these funny and spontaneous "symposiums". Reconsider the feminine physical pleasure. Between submission (clichés) and fantasy, I needed to establish a secret cartography of the joyful and fair pratice of a feminine Eros. I wanted to relive through my writing the savagery that characterised the primitive night. In the play, it is the night that is waitng for, it’s in night that all happens and that the plot unfolds. The sun, the great witness, censors any paroxysm. I needed to reinvent the darkness in order to see more clearly situations of incest and murder. In my story, the sun had to be exhorted.
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