Landru 

The set for Landru (a very funny play) is a second-hand furniture store in Paris, 1919.  (In a note following the script Nigro identifies the “actual” Henri Desire Landru as Bluebeard.)  The characters are Landru, “a sinister looking French gentleman with a mustache, age 50,” and Odette,”arespectable young woman, age 33.”  In darkness we hear the sounds of ticking clocks and “remembered orchestrion carousel music.”  Landru, winding a clock, is talking about himself in the first and third person as the lights come up.  He says that he is shocked by the sight of his mustache in the mirror and, speaking to the mirror, says, “How many times do I have to tell you?  Never begin with a monologue.”  He argues with himself but continues with the monologue since he is the only person there.  He speaks of “Landru” as feeling that he was at least two persons, one who lived his life and one who watched and narrated, one looking in the mirrors, the other looking out from them, one the proprietor of a store, the other an “unspeakable monster.”  We hear the sound of a little bell and Odette comes in.  They speak of Sumatra and Landru asks why she has come into his shop.  He takes some asparagus from under his arm and hands it to her as a token of his “compulsive strangeness.”  She says she has come in response to his advertisement in the newspaper stating his desire to meet a widow with a view towards matrimony.  Odette says her sister was seen coming into Landru’s shop but not coming out.  Odette finds an elbow in the ashes of the stove and says it looks like her sister’s elbow.  Landru says it is his elbow but Odette says she has incontrovertible evidence that he murders women and takes their money.  Landru says that he often feels as if he is many different persons and is forced to keep elaborate records of who knows him by what name and what lies he has told to what women.  He tells Odette that she did not come to see him because of her sister but because she is fascinated by him.  She has come so he can kill her.  He tells her he strangles his victims, then takes off his belt and puts it around her neck.  When he says he envies the experience of his victims as they die, she wants to trade places and puts the belt around his neck, tightening it slowly as we hear carousel music and watch the lights fade out.

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