Funny Business
A Special Edition of The East Village

Kevin Killian & Jocelyn Saidenberg

Oblividad Santos

MARY SUTTER.  This is Jean-Claude Renaud and this is his sister, Juliette. 
Or do I have you mixed up with each other, you're so similar, almost identical,
like my two Range Rovers.

JULIETTE RENAUD.  No, you are right, I am the female.

JEAN-CLAUDE RENAUD.  Shall we read now?

KIRI te KANAWA.  Look at the twins, freaks of French nature . . . a boy and a
girl . . . I used to see the kangaroo mum hopping through Tasmania with her pouch
filled with twins.

MARY.  So, this is the French abstract lyric.

JEAN-CLAUDE.  It is a poetry of erasure and loss, being and not-being, presence
and non-presence, silence and its opposite, noise.

JULIETTE. Jean-Claude!  You've given away our trademark, and no one will buy a
cow when the milk is free.  Shall I begin?

[One recites in French, the other in English.  Some Michael Palmer poem,
translated into French by Norma Cole.]

L'ouverture est lue par la langue 
pour les morts momentanÈment

alors qu'ils se multiplient 
loin d'ici -- il y a

(comme les mots a cette hauteur) -- il y a 
parmi le sable ces quelques fragments

bol pain violette 
courbe bombÈe a l'extÈrieur

de mouches rassamblÈes 
sur les lÈvres et les yeux

The opening is read by the tongue 
momentarily for the dead now

as they multiply 
far from here ­ are

(as words this high) -- are 
amid sand the few fragments

bowl bread violet 
curve smollen outward

of flies gathered 
at lips and eyes


KIRI.  Didn't understand a word of it, but I'm hopeless.  And which one is which?

DONATELLA (to TWINS).  You are sparkling, like the top of my head.  Like crushed
ice pouring out of the vending machine into the paper cup before the soda comes.

JULIETTE.  Thank you so much, we are only in San Francisco for the Poets Theater.
 My brother and I are amateur detectives you see, like‹how do you say?

MARY.  Like the Hardy Boys?  [To DONATELLA.]  Les boys de Hardi?  Like Nancy

JULIETTE.  Yes, but Gallic, independent, chic.

JEAN-CLAUDE.  What I hate is the way Inspector Clouseau is depicted in the US
Pink Panther cinema, a bumbling clown.  We are strong, wise, Taurus-type
detective pair.

KIRI.  I was a Taurus too, before my infamous dismissal.  It's worse than
downsizing when everyone you know seems larger than you do, like Gulliver in the
land of the big people, New Zealand.

JULIETTE.  You are the bull in the china shop, a little teapot, short and stout,
except thin and tall, rigorous, like a Frenchwoman.

JEAN-CLAUDE.  Miss Sutter, does your family have a crime we could investigate
while we're here?  Every great family has a skeleton in the closet or they don't
get streets named after them like your famous Sutter Street!

DONATELLA (to KIRI).  There she goes again with her ridiculous Sutter Street. 
Everybody's family has streets named after them.  Harrison Street-Harrison Ford! 
Louis the XIVth-Fourteenth Street.

KIRI.  Eddie Fisher‹Eddy Street.

DONATELLA.  Paula Jones-Jones Street.  Look at Anne Portugal!  She's got a whole
country named after her and you don't hear her bragging about it.  -- Mary doesn't
realize it's the simple things that matter, like the love of a woman like me for
a strangely withered, fragile former star like you.

MARY (to TWINS).  You are so sweet, but dear brother and sister, we have come to
the entrance of Versace himself.  Make way for genius, for fabulousness and I
hope none of you are allergic, for he wears feathers today, in keeping with his
designs for the Bartoli Capriccio.

		[Enter VERSACE.]

TWINS.  He is smaller than I thought.  But capable of a great crime.

MARY.  He's madness, sadness, great joy and elegant virtu.  He is Versace.

DONATELLA.  Who are you, Gianni Versace?

VERSACE.  I am Versace, pure and simple.

DONATELLA.  Who are you, Versace?

MARY.  You are smoke rising from the auto-da-fe.  Sunrise over the Adriatic
mansion -- of Versace.

TWINS.  You are the crusty French bread of our mother, Mme. Renaud.

KIRI.  You are law, the ruler of empire and age.  You tell me, I am over, and so,
I am over.  You are Versace, father of all form, design, and pleats.

VERSACE.  For this opera I pleat!  I pleat with beads, I pleat with feathers.  I
am com-pleat, hear me roar.  Now where's Reggie?  I find out just this minute
that this opera was written by Richard Strauss, and here I could have sworn that
I, Versace, was buying a cigar at the cigar bar in South Beach, and some one told
me that it was by good friend, Elton John.

DONATELLA.  Sir Elton John.

MARY (disconcerted).  Well, I'll check, how's that, Maestro?  In the meantime
won't you have a seat and we'll have our dress rehearsal.