Quand ça fait mal (When It Hurts)

Eventually I had to try my hand at the French solo performance genre known as café-théâtre. There are many varieties, with mine a kind of "over-the-top" acting – making a spectacle of myself! – as a female writer-performer in my run-down immigrant neighborhood of Paris, Belleville.

The conceit was of two artists in adjacent maids' rooms, one a very communicative performer (guess who?), the other a musician who from time to time diddles on an instrument or plays a tune that happens to complement the tirade piercing their shared wall.

I wrote and performed QUAND ÇA FAIT MAL in French – with coaching help from a number of Francophone actors and friends, most especially, Moa Abaïd.

I premiered the piece with musician Jouk Minor at the Zèbre, a suitably tatty theater on the Boulevard de Belleville, where it was also part of an evening I conceived and hosted to feature my neighborhood's variety of performing artists. That benefited the association fighting to preserve "Bas-Belleville" from Chirac, who wanted it replaced by an office and commercial center. (We've outlived him!)

I also performed it with Jacques Milly at the Fondation Boris Vian on a fantastic set specially created by its wonderful president, Monsieur d'Déé. Unfortunately, like so many others, that performance was not documented.