Rodin Rilke.
of Bruce Krebs

Play in 5 acts followed by an epilogue.


versions: French versionGerman version

Inscription SACD n°162 104 (SACD: Company of the dramatic type-setters authors)


the begining
of the play


Act I, scene 3.

Two ladies introduce themselves in the workshop entrance. The eldest seems to be accompanied by the younger lady. They are Danish and speak very little French. They express themselves with hand signals, to which the assistants give their own interpretation.

        The first Dane:
- Here... Angoustte Rodin.

        Bourdelle :
- Yes, yes, do come in, Mr. " Auguste " Rodin is absent at the moment but we are expecting him.

        The first Dane:
- You Rodin ?

        Bourdelle :
- No, me, Bourdelle, Antoine Bourdelle, me assistant, me (he mimes) bang, bang, me assistant...

        Despiau (to Pompon):
- Him very good for speaking foreigners...

        The first Dane:
- I... we (pointing to the youngest) ... Hello Rodin.

She says a few words in Danish to the youngest, the assistants look at each other...

        The first Dane:
- We...

        Bourdelle (attentive):
- Oui, vous...

        The first Dane:
- We... (she makes a circular movement around her face and then that of the youngest) sculpture...

        Bourdelle :
- Yes, very beautiful indeed!

        Despiau (to Pompon):
- They would like a bust of the young lady.

        The first Dane:
- We... (She makes a large square sign showing a poster shape)

        Despiau (to Pompon):
- A very large bust...

        Bourdelle (also replying in signs):
- Yes, Rodin, bang bang, mademoiselle.

        Despiau (to Pompon):
- If he not able, me like very much to bang bang with young lady...

        Bourdelle (harsh look to Despiau):
- Charles !

The first Dane realizes that the assistants don't understand a thing, she converses in Danish with the youngest one:

        The first Dane:
- Min pige, jeg tror ikke, at de arbejdere forstår os, jeg vil endnu engang forsøge at gøre mig forståelig...

        The first Dane to the assistants :
- We, (she separates her fingers and waves her hand)

        Bourdelle :
- Fifteen busts ! (to the others) No I really don't understand any of their gibberish... (to the Danes) No, not possible! That's far too many!

The first Dane realizes that he really does not understand a thing. she waves her hand to mean "no" and converses with the youngest one :

        The first Dane:
- Nej helt sikkert, der er ikke noget at gøre, jeg vil ikke kunne gore mig forståelig.. jeg tror at det vil ske, når man noget senere kommer med plakaten. (traduction : " No, really it's hopeless, I will not be able to make myself understood... I believe it better if we came back later on with the poster... ")

        The first Dane, to Bourdelle with new signs:
- We (waving her arms about to show that they will come back)...

        Bourdelle :
- Yes, you (waves his arms about in the same manner)...

The two ladies leave.

        Bourdelle :
- Wait...

        Despiau (after a while):
- So ? (he waves his arms about)...

        Bourdelle (jokingly):
- They both said that you were the most handsome, but that they actually prefer me!..

They return to their work. (after a while)

        Despiau :
- Even so, such a large bust for such a small face... (he shrugs his shoulders)




Act I, scene 4.

A lady enters the workshop. She has come to pose for Rodin.

        Claire :
- Good morning Mr.Pompon.

        Pompon :
- Good morning Miss Claire.

        Claire :
- Good morning Mr.Antoine.

        Bourdelle :
- Have you come to pose ?

        Claire :
- Good morning Charles.

        Despiau :
- The boss hasn't arrived yet.

        Claire :
- It doesn't matter, I'll go and get ready.

The model goes behind a screen and starts to undress.

        Despiau :
- I said the boss hasn't arrived yet.

        Claire :
- He pays me anyway, even when he isn't here !

        Despiau :
- It dosen't make any difference, you'll catch cold. Wouldn't you rather I made you a cup of hot coffee.

        Claire :
- I wouldn't say no !

Charles Despiau leaves the set on the courtyard side to make a coffee.

        Claire :
- I'm exhausted, I think I shall just pose for him lying down today...

        Bourdelle (il ne la regarde pas) :
- Honestly Claire, There really is no need for you to undress. We have no idea where the master has got to and he may not even come at all this morning.

        Claire :
- I 've already told you, the master wants me to pose all the time, even when he isn't here! I'm more natural like that when he scetches me so he says. Tell me does it bother you? (she steps out from behind the screen, she is naked)

        Bourdelle :
- oh no ! not at all.

        Claire :
- Don't you find me attractive, Mr. Antoine ?

        Bourdelle :
- Of course, absolutely! But you see, I find it... pointless.

        Claire :
- Hey there, look at me when I'm talking to you!

        Bourdelle :
- I find you very attractive , Claire, but I must keep my eyes on my stone.

        Claire :
- And what about you, Mr Pompon, am I to your taste ?

        Pompon :
- You are one of the most beautiful models in Paris, Claire... and you know it well. Leave poor Antoine alone, you know too well that his wife is jealous!

        Claire :
- Excuse me Mr. Antoine, it's not my day today...

She sits with her back to the audience.

        Claire :
- What about your wife, does she pose for you sometimes ?

        Bourdelle :
- No, never... She doesn't have your patience.

        Pompon :
- Real models are pretty thin on the ground my dear Claire. The master is looking for the bodies natural impulse over and above those that just give him poses.

        Claire :
- I don't like poses, they give me back ache. It's much better here, the master lets me do what I want!

Despiau returns with a cup of coffee.

        Despiau :
- Rose is asking if you have eaten ?

        Claire :
- I'm fine thank you... (she drinks her coffee)

        Despiau :
- Otherwise don't hesitate, there's plenty of soup, cheese and wine...

       


Act I, scene 5.

Rodin enters the scene holding a large parcel, he greets his assistants. He is dressed simply with no tie. (The female model appears to ignore Rodins entrance).

        Rodin :
- Good morning gentlemen!

        All:
- Good morning master...

        Rodin :
- I will be with you straight away, I'm going to tidy the mail... Good morning Claire.

He climbs the steps to the mezzanine. On arrival at the top, he disposes of the mail by adding it to the pile, he contemplates the pile, picks up an envelope and opens it. He calls out to his assistants while reading the letter. Having put down her coffee cup, Claire models as if busying herself with numerous imaginary tasks, she ignores everything that is being said.

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