Stage-struck – The eyes are opened, and they fill this room with a glow that brings a weal on its own. The mouth leans forward to let the lips make a few vertical majestic moves coupled with some gracious gesticulations from the other limbs. I’m standing here, staying still as a stone, on a stage filled with cracking noises coming from the wooden planks getting older through invisible time. I inhale, and then I start to deliver a thread of words supposedly coming from my heart. My tongue is shaking through the sounds of order, the bursts of revolutions and the sumptuous compliments I give to the ladies in the first row. One motion after the other, I walk across the stage at different speeds like Don Juan. From stage left to right, I become what I’ve never been. I lose all knowledge of my identity above the curtains and under the acute surveillance of a hundred faces stricken by my presence. They know who I am. They can tell what I’m like even though I don’t have the means to do it anymore. A single step forward is enough to get rid of every notion of soul and meaning. Next, another shout mimicked with my hand goes on to lose itself in the middle of some theatrical fight, and forgets itself amidst the ruins of an existential collapse. My body stands here, as my mind becomes subjugated by that of another. I learn how to live through becoming this other. I take on the ownership of his words and his spontaneous diction, so much it becomes a metaphysical surgery. And now I’m sitting down on the edge of the stand as a man enjoying the last breath of his youth. I’m waiting. I’m waiting for the souls in the audience to capsize on their seats all the way to the back of the theater. I’m waiting for a rain of emotions to flood their faces one after the other in between the triggering silences of the play. Only when the end gets closer in time do I take hold of myself again. My physical exhaustion makes me happier about the real world. Time slows down and I suddenly perceive more easily this other stage on which I keep living all the time. It only took me a few hours of adopting a seemingly fictional life to find back some adoration for my own. To act is nothing but the action of enjoying one’s the body and the versatility of their soul.

This is a translation of the original French text Sur les planches.