Howl Red

Étienne Lepage

Artwork by June Glasson

CHARACTERS

The young ones:

VERONICA
FELICIA
DAVE
FRANCIS

The older ones:

ANDREW
MICHAEL
MELANIE
JOHN
BAMOKO
MRS. WHITE

Doubling is possible.



1 - 
CLINT EASTWOOD

Veronica
standing
one shoe on
the other in her hand

Veronica: You motherfucking piece of shit
You fucking motherfucking
cocksucking piece of shit
Piece of shit
Fucker
You fucker
You fucking cocksucker
You fucking cocksucking
motherfucking bastard
You bastard
Bastard
Fucking cocksucking son of a bitch
You son of a bitch
Son of a bitch fucker
Fuck you
Fuck you
Die
Die
Die
Fuck
Shit
Piss
Fucker
I love you
you motherfucker
I love you
Yeah
I love you
I love you
I love you
How could you?
I love you
Piece of shit
I love you
I wanted kids
you hear?
Kids
Kids
I love you
I wanted kids with you
I'm gonna rip off your balls
I'm gonna rip off your balls
And I'm gonna make you eat them
through your ass
and you're gonna chew
with your ass
and you're gonna like it
and I'm not gonna let go
until you shit out of your mouth

(Beat)


It can't be
My love
It's impossible
I'm dreaming
It's impossible
Why?
Why did you do that?
My love
It's not possible
Tell me it's not true
My love
Hey
Tell me
It's not true
I love you
It's not true
It's not true
My love
Tell me it's not true
Tell me I'm dreaming
It's a nightmare
and I'm gonna wake up in your arms
My love
My love
(Beat
She calms down
looks out)

You will have been
the sun that burned me
I will have been
the pallid moon
that pursued you
without ever catching up with you
The Great Life Force
has crushed me like a petal
Already I am reaching
the end of it all
Still so young
Yet
I am already
beyond all of this
My soul knows itself at last
I am made of crystal
I will take my own life
It is the only thing left to do
I won't even have lived
(She puts a hand on her stomach)

Yes
The first one was already under way
Don't say a word
It doesn't matter
He'll die with me
before he can witness the darkness of the world
It's a beautiful story
I make my life an opus
which I sacrifice at your altar
In that way you'll keep me
close to you
for eternity
Now
let me go
It's not your fault
I don't blame you
I understand
Let me go
Go away
with a light heart
free
Fly away
Forget me
Farewell
Farewell
(She folds her fingers in the shape of a gun and points at her head
Beat)

You're gonna let me do this
without saying a word?
You really are
a motherfucking cocksucking son of a bitch
A fucking pig
Oh no
you're not gonna get rid of me
like that
I'm gonna hound you
you hear me?
I'm gonna hound you
I'm gonna shit in your mailbox
I'm gonna send porn pictures
to your mother
I'm never gonna let go
Never
you hear me?
I'm never gonna let go
I'm gonna stab you
to death
and then
I'm gonna shit in your grave
then I'm gonna dig you up
and I'm gonna shit in your mouth
(She points her imaginary gun at the crowd and starts to shoot)

Pow!
Pow!
Pow!
Take that
fucker...
(She blows over the barrel
She mimes putting the gun back in its holster
à la Clint Eastwood)

Felicia: (offstage)
Vero?
What the fuck are you doing!
We're all waiting
here

Veronica leans over
and puts on her second shoe

Veronica: I'm coming
Chill
(She looks at herself in a mirror
fixes her clothes)

Dad?
I'm going to Mel's

ANDREW: (offstage) What?

Veronica: (louder) I'm going to Mel's!

ANDREW: (offstage) OK
Have a good evening sweetie

Veronica exits

2- SOME UGLY SHIT

Dave
a hotdog in one hand
a Coke in the other
He chews
while talking to himself

DAVE: Being ugly
...
is bad
A bite
(He thinks
He looks around)

Her for example
People think
Yuk
(Beat
He looks at her
fascinated
disgusted)

Yuk
(Beat
He's still looking at her)

Ugh
ugh...
(A sip to forget
He thinks some more)

Yesterday on the bus
the girl was cute
I'm thinking to myself
She looks cool
It'd be great to get to know her
y'know
just to see
y'know
She gets up
Big ass
Big ass
Huge disgusting
ass
Bang
I didn't wanna get to know her anymore
Y'know
It sucks for her

People who have ugly kids
They come out:
disgusting
Oh
my
God
such a disappointment
We're stuck with that?
Jesus Christ
Is it worth it?
And I'm sure that's how it is
I mean
you say you don't care
you say you love
your ugly kids
but
I know you resent them
the little fucks
How do you think they make you look?
I'm gonna tell you
how they make you look
They make you look disgusting
(A bite
Looking around)

We're talking about real shit
here
I'm talking about real shit
We're far from polite conversation
This is heavy
We're not kidding anymore
(A sip
He continues with his observations)

I don't do it on purpose
I'm not proud of saying that
but the thing about ugly people
is I don't wanna know them
I'm not proud of it
I'm just stating facts
that's all
I mean
They're ugly
When I see them
I experience an ugly sensation

It's not my fault
People say
You're judging
You're trusting your eyes
Yeah
OK
Correct
I'm trusting my eyes
So?
I'm trusting my eyes
but
I mean
I hope!
What would happen
if we decided that
OK
we don't trust our eyes
so falling from a three-hundred-story building
looks like it might hurt
but actually it might not
Gimme a break
Everyone KNOWS
that it hurts
But
has anyone here
ever fallen
from a three-hundred-story building?
(He looks around)

Judging
is knowing that falling
from a three-hundred-story building
hurts
without needing to actually fall
from a three-hundred-story building
Judging
is knowing that the things we see
are exactly
the things we see
Pyramids
are pyramids
A kick in the ass
is a kick in the ass
...
(A bite)

A disgusting face
...
is disgusting
...
I'm into it deep
now
It's...
Tchak
We're not at your granny's
(A sip)

And we say
Superficial
society
Society
that places too much importance
on appearance
So what?
Ugly people are beautiful?
Beautiful people are ugly?
Gimme a break
What's the point?
So ugly people don't feel
ugly?
But they ARE ugly
(Lowering his voice)

They're ugly
for fuck's sake
I don't get it
It's simple
no?
What the hell is an
unsuperficial society?
What do you do
there?
You trash your own face?
Internal beauty
Gimme a break
Go ahead
Tell yourself it's what's inside
that matters
Tell yourself that
Go ahead
Tell yourself that
Make yourself believe it
Pl-ease
You really think you're a retard
...
Internal beauty
Gimme a break
...
(A bite)

Shit
The wheels are turning in there
...
This hotdog's disgusting
(He throws it on the floor)
(A sip
Suddenly hit by the truth)

Oh
my
God
...

Being ugly
is really the worst thing
that can happen
It's really
really
really really

really really sad
sad sad sad
sad

I don't know what else to say
I'm
I'm tiny
in the face of all that
A grain of sand in the ocean

There's nothing I can do
Nothing anyone can do
It's
alarming
Somehow
these people
are still people
y'know
...
underneath
...
(A sip
Pause
Shiver)

Fuck
...
I'm glad I'm not ugly

3- POPSICLE

Felicia
dances
dances
dances
Suddenly
she stops
She licks a popsicle

FELICIA: Popsicle
(She grabs her breasts with both hands)
Blouse
(She twirls
Her pleated skirt rises
She has no panties
Shaved pussy)

Skirt
Bingo
Try talking to me
I don't talk
Don't need to
You're freaking out
What's the matter with you?
You're a fag or what?
(Offering her popsicle)

Want some?
(She throws it on the ground
She points to something in the distance)

Oh
What's that?
It's nice
You stop
smack in the middle of the street
Does it hurt?
Aw
You poor thing
I know how you feel
It's just that
fuck you
I'm sorry
Let me take that back
What I wanted to say is
Fuck you
(Smile)

Do the math
It's my fault
but I'm not apologizing
(Little noises as if calling a cat)

Let me introduce you to me
Not a hair out of place
All you need is a hint of butter
'Cause those like me
are best eaten raw
(She gives him the finger
and kisses it)

Ciao
(She continues to dance)

4-FISTS OF FURY

MICHAEL: OK
So
Let's start over
I
I need to talk to you about something
I wanna do it now
while
between us
it's
while things are
OK
It's hard to discuss now
but if we don't talk about it now
later
when
things are less
it'll be impossible to
OK
Basically
what I wanna say
is the act
No
Other couples
they
Alex and Jen
Alex and Jen
Jen
they
That's it
Basically
That's what I
talk to you
I want
about
...
Wait
Let me start over
Basically
it's simple
The act
I just wanna tell you that
I wanna love you
I wanna love you
That's it
That's it
And I want us to
I want us to help each other love each other
That's it
And I think that the act
Alex and Jen
Other couples
Books
No
Let me start over
I wanna love you
and I think that
we need to
If there are
things
things I don't tell you
that could ruin our relationship
You know what I mean?
And it's because of Christianity
Alex and Jen
What I wanna say
is that the act
It's always
The act
No
What I wanna say
I'm lost
What I wanna tell you
is that
I love women
That's it
I love women
I love women
and it's kind of why I love you
you know what I mean?
And I wanna love you
you know what I mean?
And I want us to help each other love each other
you know what I mean?
But that's where
the act
that's where it becomes dangerous
Because of
Christianity
The act
It's Christianity that says that the act
There are books about that
The act
We need to talk
The act
...
The act of sodomy
OK
Yeah
The act of sodomy
OK
So?
What?
You have the right to not want to
but I thought you should know that
Alex and Jen
OK
Just
Books
'Cause there's nothing I can do about it
Christianity
and
Me
I'm a guy
so it's clear that
ideas like that
fill my days
It's important to me
that you know it
'Cause I wanna love you
and other couples
Alex and Jen
they do it
y'know
It helps
It helps them
It would help me
Isn't there a chance that
somewhere
deep down
beyond taboo
and fear
you want it a little bit?
It's Christianity that made it
taboo
Sodomy is
it's not my fault
And there are books
about that
I mean
I'd never sodomize you
without warning you first
you know what I mean?
Oops just like that
Never
But
what do you want me to do?
What do you want
That's what
That's how I
It's
I'm putting my foot down
OK
So
Yeah
I'm putting my foot
down
I
I'm always the one who
But this time
no
I'm putting my
OK
Alex and Jen do it
If it grosses you out
it's because of Christianity
there are books about that
and me I'm a guy
so
OK
We understand each other
That's good
I
It's just that
We can't let that
We're not gonna

5-BUTCHER

MELANIE: I show up I haven't eaten I haven't eaten anything I wasn't invited I don't have the address I don't know the guy we're not even the same age the parents are there somewhere upstairs no cell no appointment no plans nothing y'know I just happen to be there so I go in I don't ring the bell I don't say hi I don't say a thing I don't pretend to know anyone nothing y'know I show up I go in I walk through the house I open the sliding door I go into the yard maybe they have radios TVs girls food I haven't even eaten I don't care y'know I show up I go in I walk through the house I open the sliding door I go into the yard I walk past people I spot a guy at random the first one who strikes my fancy and POW! I punch him in the face I don't even know the guy I've never seen him POW! I hit him in the face in the guts POW POW real heavy-duty punches the guy takes the blows he has no time to react he tries to put his hands in front of his face I hit him in the stomach in the back without stopping heavy-duty punches POW the guy collapses on the ground I kick him in the face I hit him in the back in the ribs I grab a patio chair I hit him with the chair people turn around to look at us nobody has time to react it doesn't even last ten seconds the guy's pissing blood on the ground on the grass in the garden on the ground in the yard I turn around and I take a bow like I'm fucking Kent Nagano in front of everyone I take a bow I take a second bow I say pleased to meet you see you later I say that while bowing like fucking Kent Nagano nobody daring to move a muscle and I leave I get the fuck out the same way I came in I don't get riled up I don't run I don't say a word I don't even make a face I get out and I go straight to Pizza Hut I get out of there as if nothing has happened and I go eat a pizza at Pizza Hut on the corner with all the toppings and I eat and that's it.

6-POPSICLE (part two)

Francis
approaches Felicia
who is dancing

FRANCIS: Everybody calls her a slut maybe it's because of her lips but I don't see it that way it actually makes me wanna kiss her I don't know I mean I think about it too sucking having her suck my penis because of those popsicles she eats all the time! But I don't know I don't find that gross to imagine a girl sucking me I mean I'm clean down there I don't feel dirty I think we put our mouths on dirty things I mean we put our mouths on much dirtier things than that we open turpentine jars with our mouths when I pee I don't know about you but I don't wash my hands afterwards I don't find my hands dirty after I've touched my penis seems to me I should wash my hands before so I don't dirty my penis anyway except if you pee yourself I don't pee myself do you pee yourself? Not me... Felicia even if everyone thinks she's dirty me I like it when it's dirty! Oink oink! I like it it's slippery it's like a game it slips oink oink! It's shiny dirty wet thank God there are people like me people who like it when it's dirty slippery shiny warm wet it's not malicious it's just I don't know I wouldn't call it that I woke up one day I was slippery shiny and since then it got focused on Felicia I imagine her slippery shiny in an oil bath I imagine that I try to catch her like a bar of soap that she slips everywhere that she ends up with her anus up in the air wide open and that I stick my fingers in it am I allowed to say that? Anyway not to hurt her if she said ow I'd stop if I heard ow I'd stop right away but when I think about it in math class in math class Felicia's sitting right next to me when I think about it she doesn't say ow that's not what she says in my head what she says is basically nothing it's more like grunting even though Felicia speaks very well! She asks really nice questions she begins with excuse me and ends with thank you but two plus two plus two to the power of two after a while all I can see is a close-up of her anus I find that tasty even more tasty than a popsicle on a hot day an anus like that is paradise you lick it you lick it it never melts! Ever! That's all basically Felicia I'd like to lick her anus it's not my fault I don't do it on purpose that's what happens when I see her it's not mean I don't wanna do that to humiliate her or to say to people hey I'd really love to lick her anus deep down I'm kind of shy I'd want her to want it too is it possible that she might want it I'm gonna ask her can you ask that hey I'd like to lick your anus would you let me lick your anus can you ask that? (He turns around, opens his mouth, hesitates, then turns back.) No, you can't ask that.

translated from the French by Chantal Bilodeau



Read the original in French

Read translator’s note

Étienne Lepage is a playwright, translator, and jack-of-all-trades, as well as a graduate from the Dramatic Writing Program of the National Theatre School of Canada. Some of his plays, including Rouge Gueule and L'Enclos de l'éléphant, have been presented internationally and translated into several languages. His most recent play, Histoires pour faire des cauchemars, will premiere this spring in Brussels. He is currently at work on a new piece in collaboration with choreographer Frédérick Gravel.

Chantal Bilodeau is a New York-based playwright and translator originally from Montreal, Canada. Her plays and translations have been presented in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Italy. She has received commissions from the Lark Play Development Center, Play Company, Mo'olelo Performing Arts Company and Bated Breath Theatre Company; and fellowships from the Dramatists Guild, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Banff Centre (Canada), the Jerome Foundation and The Farm, Inc. Her translations include a dozen of plays by contemporary playwrights Mohamed Kacimi (Algeria), Koffi Kwahulé (Côte d'Ivoire), Étienne Lepage (Quebec) and Larry Tremblay (Quebec). She is a member of the Dramatists Guild, NoPassport Theatre Alliance, Playwrights Guild of Canada, Playwrights' Workshop Montréal and The Fence. www.cbilodeau.com


This translation was commissioned by and developed at the Lark Play Development Center, New York City, with funds from the Canada Council for the Arts. The translator acknowledges the assistance of the Banff International Literary Translation Centre at The Banff Centre in Banff, Alberta, Canada.