Tabataba (Excerpt)- Koltès

Excerpt from “Tabataba” (Tabataba, 1986) by Bernard-Marie Koltès, translated by Amin Erfani, forthcoming in Bernard-Marie Koatès: Seven Plays, Martin Segal Theater Publishing, 2021.

LITTLE ABOU. – I don’t want to walk in the streets of Tabataba, they are filled with dog shit; I don’t want to drink beer in the juke-joint, it’s not even cold and it’s bootlegged. I don’t like the ladies next door, they smell like chicken, and I don’t like how they do their hair and how they dress, I prefer them in the morning when they prepare the meal. And when night falls, I don’t like my buddies anymore. I like my bike and my paws filled with grease, and this filthy rag; I prefer my trousers with no buttons on them and my shirt with wrinkles; I like the old courtyard and the old people and the goats; a goat smells like a goat, I don’t want to smell like chicken, I want to smell like me, I want to choose my filth and stay in the courtyard. Leave my buddies alone and forget about the ladies next door. Don’t stay here, I don’t need you. Don’t look at me like that, like you’re going to give me a bath or slap me in the face; I am not a picaninny, I am too old, I am not going to ride piggyback on you. Go away, Maïmouna; when it gets hot like this, it makes me want to kill.


Tabataba was initially translated along with The Night Just Before the Forests for a weeklong workshop with director Philip Boulay and actor Isam`il Ibn Conner, at Emory University, Atlanta, GA, February 18-25, 2011. (Sponsored by grants from Culturefrance Etant Donnés: The French-American Fund for the Performing Arts, the French Consulate of Atlanta).

Bernard-Marie Koltès