7 May 2021
On the Web
11 May 2021
The Scorpion, a play by French author Véronique Olmi, invites us to a family lunch when a daughter living in the city comes to visit her parents in the countryside. Evolving from family intimacy and interpersonal relationships, the play enquires many topics that are increasingly topical in contemporary society: xenophobia, fascist-like narrow-mindedness, refusal to tolerate all that is different. These attitudes seep slowly through the layers of hypocrisy, double standards and arrogance. The author portrays subtly seemingly very normal characters who are imbued with fear deep inside. They feel threatened even by their next-door neighbour and are in desperate need to find a peace of mind, finding comfort in taking legal action and threats.
The central theme of the production is xenophobia. The fear of all that is foreign intensifies in an individual who shuts him/herself into his/her own world every day. The fear of leaving one’s house grows into a panicky fear of the other(ness).When we observe the world through the window of our flat, when the only contact with the outside world is a television set, one’s world view narrows very quickly, and the fear of everything that is foreign acquires favourable conditions allowing it to grows without hindrance. The lack of empathy and fanaticism engendered by fear is a state of mind for which appearance is more important than truth. It results in a broken family, unrealistic expectations and constant disappointments. Narrow-mindedness refuses to acknowledge a different view of the world, a dissimilar confrontation with one’s trials and tribulations. It believes only in its own right; it knows nothing but selfishness, it is not interested in others. In its scary vortex, The Scorpion exposes the rock bottom callousness of contemporary society.
Claude, mother, in her early sixties
Paul, father, same age as Claude
Hélène, their daughter, thirty
Jules N'Diaye, immigrant (Senegalese) worker, in his forties