Prologue (english translation by Catherine Crimp)

(Les Histrions (détail))

PROLOGUE
PRACTICAL MAN    Let’s have a round of applause, ladies and gentlemen. Let’s have a big hand for the madman, the inside-out man and the woman with blurred vision. Give them a big hand, ladies and gentlemen. A big hand for the bird woman, the actress-candle, the man all in a row and his children. Yes, roll up, ladies and gentlemen. Roll up. Come and hear the amazing story of the jellyfish, of the blue-green algae. Come, gentlemen. Come and hear the story of the beautiful Venus. Yes. Do you know the story of the woman born from a scallop? Roll up, gentlemen. Roll up. Do you know the story of the first flower? Do you know the story of the flying horse, sir? The story of the anemones? Do you know the story of the girl who rose from the sea bed? Roll up, ladies and gentlemen. Roll up. Come and visit the whale, and the primates of long ago. Come, madam, come and visit the caveman. Roll up, gentlemen. Take your seats. Do you know the story of the first people to be hanged, sir? The story of the screech-owl? Roll up, ladies and gentlemen. Roll up. May I present Snow White’s hunter. Welcome to the land of dreams, madam. To the land of the thousand regrets.
HISTRIONS    THE WAGON OF THE HISTRIONS!
PRACTICAL MAN    May I present the man born from an Easter egg. The dried-up woman. The golden ball. The man in a bison skin. The married couple of the new century.
HISTRIONS    Three cheers. Three cheers for the married couple of the new century.
PRACTICAL MAN    Sound the oboes, sound the trumpets. Do you know the story of the first drum, madam? May I present the man born from a Christmas bauble. The woman they’ve stopped watering every day. The woman who once had a ray of sunshine between her teeth. The seeker of men. Let’s have a big hand for the man with the golden hair. The long-legged woman’s on her way. May I present the girl from the scrubland. The girl who smells good, like grilled meat. The girl who smells good, like breaking twigs. The histrions are coming. And the pulleys. Do you know the story of the first pulley, madam? The story of the millwheel?  Have you heard of the pocket-tree, madam? And what about the woman who cries tears of wax? Have you heard of her, sir? And what about the man who gets people excited? Have you heard of him? And the man whose fingers smell of garlic? The man with his lips damaged by love? Roll up, ladies and gentlemen. Roll up. Do you know the origins of the fan, madam? Would you like some doughnuts, madam? We don’t have any. Would you like some biscuits? We don’t have any biscuits, either. Would you like some kougelhopf? Do we have any kougelhopf? No! We don’t have any kougelhopf. Come, sir, and listen to the song of the goat. Come and listen to the choir of Béziers. The Bitterois are here.
SUPPORTERS    Hurrah! Hurrah for Béziers!
PRACTICAL MAN    Yes, come, ladies and gentlemen. Roll up. Once upon a time, madam, there was a man who lived in his tuba. Ladies and gentlemen, the Queen of Manchuria. And the Pope—my humble respects Mr Pope, sir, and thank you. Thank you for coming. Do you know the story of the mad octopus, madam? May I present the airborne chicken. And the Marquise. So kind of you to come, madam. My humble respects.
HISTRIONS    WELCOME!
PRACTICAL MAN    Do you know the story of the man with a head made of barley sugar, madam? How about the story of the man born out of a bull’s-eye window? And what about the man born from a chewing-gum bubble? Have you heard of him? And what about the woman suspended from the udder of a cow? Have you heard of the inhabitants of the Moldavian valley, madam? And the woman born from a raindrop? Yes, roll up, madam. Roll up. May I present the woman trimmed like a hedge. Tell me, have you come far, sir? Where do you come from, sir? We have a gentleman here from the Moon. Are you lying to us, sir? And how about you, madam?  We’ve got a lady here to see us this evening who’s come all the way from Pluto. A big hand for the woman from Pluto. From Jupiter? My God, we have a gentleman here from Jupiter. And you, madam? From Béziers. That’s wonderful. It’s wonderful to come from Béziers. Welcome, welcome ladies and gentlemen.
OLD WOMAN IN THE FRONT ROW
    I hope these aren’t extreme actors. I don’t like the Theatre of the Extreme.
PRACTICAL MAN    May I present the old woman in the front row. Let’s have a big hand, ladies and gentlemen. A big hand for the old woman in the front row. Have you had a good trip? Not too tired? Would you like some water, madam? Would you like some plum nectar? Back to OTHERS. You’re from Olympus? We have a lady here who comes from Olympus. Come on, quickly. The woman born from the little hole in the curtain, have you heard of her? And what about the girl born from of a blister? Roll up, ladies and gentlemen, roll up. May I present the man born from a scoop of ice cream. Yes, the pistachio-flavoured man. Do you know the fabulous story of the man of Earth who flies close to the sun and showers men with presents, son? Do you know that story? To OTHERS. Have you heard of this child, ladies and gentlemen, with his heart so tender and full of hope? Roll up, ladies and gentlemen. Come and walk on the woman with a pedestrianised heart. May I present the short-sighted man. Tell me, sir, do you know the story of the star who looks at the Earth to find out whether it’s going to rain?
ASTREA    That’s me. That’s my story.
PRACTICAL MAN    And what about the Heavenly Gardener? Have you heard of him? You have? Do you know the story of the woman of origins? My God, madam, you’re pale. Would you like some complex sugars? Why, Mr Godot. Welcome, Godot. We’d stopped waiting for you. May I present the man with a clock for a head.
CHILD    Did he have a pendulum instead of a penis, that man?
WOMAN OF ORIGINS
    (To HISTRIONS) Aren’t you getting palpitations?
PRACTICAL MAN    May I present the man who talks a lot and then collapses when he gets home. The man who’s died several times. The woman who feeds her sorrow the way other people feed chickens. The woman who swallowed the world, and now has a tiny blue ball in her throat. The man dressed in pink because he’s a girl. The man who’d like to cut up love like a cake, except that the slices wouldn’t be very equal. The woman who’d like the biggest slice of love all to herself. The woman who only wants a tiny little slice because she doesn’t have much of a hunger for life, you see. The woman who sweats gouache when she gets excited. Some onion-men—men who make the women who undress them cry. The newly dead. The bard. The men who grow like fungus on the cowpat of the world. The man who’d really like to stop smoking like a pile of dung, but finds it hard. The man who leaves me on the doorstep. The woman who’s come from elsewhere to inspect the world, and the World Inspector. The head of state who paddles in a sea of sperm. The little minister in short trousers. The woman who’s hiding a child in her belly because he’s Jewish. Because he’s already committed several violent crimes even before being born—the bastard. And the man who mistakes his wife for a wheelbarrow. Roll up, ladies and gentlemen. Roll up. We’re now going to recount to you the interminable (I’m warning you now) the incredible story of humanity. Into the ring, mesdames.