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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 MARY, KIRI, DONATELLA VERSACE. Brava! 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 Drew? 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.