Book Cover: La Corbière
Editions:Paperback: € 8.99
ISBN: 978-0-9928692-6-7
Size: 129.00 x 198.00 mm
Pages: 80
ePub: € 5.99
ISBN: 978-0-9928692-7-4
Size: 129.00 x 198.00 mm
Pages: 80

When a boatload of French prostitutes is shipwrecked off the coast of German occupied Jersey, their bodies are left to drift on the tide for days, their long peroxide hair floating out on the waves: This tragic image is the starting point for a powerful, poetic sound-scape, a requiem to the forgotten victims of the second world war.

The avant garde drama, La Corbière, premiered in the 1989 Dublin Theatre Festival. One of its more recent stagings was a production in Beirut. This play started life as a poem written in response to the tale of the fate of French prostitutes who were shipwrecked at Corbière Lighthouse during WW2. Hartigan reworked the poem as a one act play for a cast of six. She also performed it as a one woman theatre piece (in Jersey Lilies) at The Samuel Beckett Theatre, Dublin.

La Corbière is published in Anne Le Marquand Hartigan's poetry collection Immortal Sins (Salmon).

Seen and Heard, the first anthology of Irish women's plays (Carysfort Press) includes the one act adaptation of La Corbière (for a cast of six).

 

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Publisher: Chiswick Books
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Excerpt:

Act One
Scene One
The Wreck
Foghorn, sea sounds. The women are being returned to
France on a coaster which is wrecked on the rocks at La
Corbière by a terrible storm.
DÉSIRÉE
Where am I? I can’t see.
MARIE-CLAIRE
Give me your hand.
DÉSIRÉE
What hand? Is that you?
MARIE-CLAIRE
I don’t know. I can’t see.
DÉSIRÉE
I’m here. Touch me. Where are you for God’s
sake?
MARIE-CLAIRE
All my life it has been like this.
DÉSIRÉE
This is stupid. I can’t find you.
MARIE-CLAIRE
All my life, in fog just like this. Dumb.
DÉSIRÉE
I keep expecting to see the light. La Corbière
light.
MAN ON THE PHONE
Receiving Morse code.
Visibility now nil at La Corbière.

READ MORE

DÉSIRÉE
Sings
Me and my dog, were lost in the fog, will some
kind gentleman see me home?
ANGÉLIQUE
Here we are leaving this bloody island at last,
stuck in pea soup. Mother of God.
CÉLESTE
You can always swim for it.
DÉSIRÉE
When things got really bad at home, my brother
and I would swim to the island. We thought
nothing of it. Was it a mile or more? I can’t even
remember.
Sound of Morse code.
MAN ON THE PHONE
Receiving Morse code message.
Distress. Ship in distress. Ship in distress off La
Corbière.
CÉLESTE
I can’t see. Where are you Marie-Claire?
MARIE-CLAIRE
Here. I’m here.
DÉSIRÉE
Where’s here?
CÉLESTE
How the fuck does she know?
ANGÉLIQUE
Under this huge tide, rows of rocks ready to eat
you. Teeth.
Sound of Morse code.
MAN ON THE PHONE
Warning to all shipping. Dense fog reported from
La Corbière.
CÉLESTE
Friendly!
ANGELIQUE
Hope this captain knows what he’s at.
CÉLESTE
I doubt it.
MARIE-CLAIRE
Where are you?
CÉLESTE
I don’t know. I can’t see. Touch me.
MARIE-CLAIRE
Where are you? I can’t hear.
Sound of Morse code.
MAN ON THE PHONE
Warning. Warning to all shipping. Warning.
Dense fog reported from La Corbière.
DÉSIRÉE
Where are you?
The wreck takes place. Sea sounds. Foghorn.
S.O.S. in Morse code. Voices of men as
CAPTAIN, SAILORS, shout. All the women
drown except MARIE-CLAIRE.
DÉSIRÉE
Where are you?
CÉLESTE
I can’t swim.
ANGÉLIQUE
I can’t swim.
CÉLESTE
Where are you?
MARIE-CLAIRE
Where are the boats?
MAN ON THE PHONE
A coaster has hit rocks off La Corbière. Believe
all hands have been lost.
CÉLESTE
I can’t swim.
DÉSIRÉE
Hold on.
ANGÉLIQUE
Marie-Claire?
DÉSIRÉE
Hold on.
MAN ON THE PHONE
Hold on. I can’t hear. Hold on.
CÉLESTE
Don’t leave me.
DÉSIRÉE
Where am I?
CÉLESTE
I can’t swim.
MARIE-CLAIRE
Hold. Hold. Hold.
SAILORS
Hold on. Hold on. Hold on. Jump. Hold that.
Jump.
MAN ON THE PHONE
The lines are down. The lines are out. The lines
are bad.
SAILOR
Throw a line. Throw, throw a line, throw…
MARIE-CLAIRE
Hold on.
DÉSIRÉE
Hold on.
SAILOR
A line.
MAN ON THE PHONE
The lines are bad. Hold. Wait. Hold the line…
SAILOR
Throw a line. Quick, quick.
SAILOR
Your hand, give me your hand.
SAILOR ONE
Jump. Jump away from the ship.
MARIE-CLAIRE
Jump. Jump.
ANGÉLIQUE
Hold out your hand. Where is your hand?
DÉSIRÉE
Your hand, your hand, where is your hand?
CÉLESTE
Help me.
MAN ON THE PHONE
I can’t hear. I can’t hear you.
CÉLESTE
Oh help me.
MAN ON THE PHONE
Hold.
MARIE-CLAIRE
Hold on to me.
DÉSIRÉE
Hold here.
MAN ON THE PHONE
Hold on. I can’t hear, the conditions are bad, hold
on a minute.
CÉLESTE
Hold on. Here, here, here.
ANGÉLIQUE
Give it to me.
CÉLESTE
For God’s sake, I can’t swim.
ANGÉLIQUE
For God’s sake, for God’s sake.
MARIE-CLAIRE
Where are you? Where? I can’t see you.
DÉSIRÉE
Where have you gone?
CÉLESTE
I’m gone. I can’t see. I can’t hold on.
DÉSIRÉE
Can’t, I can’t, can’t.
ANGÉLIQUE
Can’t hold.
MARIE-CLAIRE
Jump.
CÉLESTE
I can’t.
MARIE-CLAIRE
You can.
ANGÉLIQUE
I can’t.
MARIE-CLAIRE
Jump. You can. You can. Do it. Do it.
The women are in the water.
DÉSIRÉE
Throw a line.
MARIE-CLAIRE
Throw a line. Where are you? Hang on.
DÉSIRÉE
Where are you? Where are you?
CÉLESTE
I can’t see you.
ANGÉLIQUE
I can’t swim. Oh my God.
DÉSIRÉE
I can’t touch you.
ANGÉLIQUE
I can’t keep up. Mother of God. Holy Mother.
MARIE-CLAIRE
Angélique, Désirée, Céleste…?
ANGÉLIQUE
Where is she? She’s gone.
DÉSIRÉE
She’s gone.
CÉLESTE
I’m going.
ANGÉLIQUE
I can’t feel, I can’t keep up, God help me.
MARIE-CLAIRE
Where are you, Désirée, Désirée, Désirée?
CÉLESTE
I can’t, I can’t swim, I can’t hold on.
MAN ON THE PHONE
I can’t hear. Nothing. Nothing. I can hear
nothing.
DÉSIRÉE
There is nothing to hold, nothing.
CÉLESTE
Help.
ANGÉLIQUE
Help.
CÉLESTE
Help.
ANGÉLIQUE
Don’t leave me, don’t leave me, I can’t.
DÉSIRÉE
Nothing, nothing.

COLLAPSE
Reviews:The Irish Times wrote:

She mines a seam close to that of Joyce, with sound impinging on sound, word upon word, spinning from one meaning to another...

International Herald Tribune wrote:

Poetic drama...set before us on a sea of floating silk.

Sunday Independent wrote:

Rare and delicate...a newborn breath with a light and beautiful hand.

Irish Press wrote:

Anne Hartigan has articulated the submerged voices of women everywhere in a poignant interplay of words that express the gamut of women's emotions in daily life... Beautifully directed by Cathy Leeney.

In Dublin wrote:

Dramatic impact is achieved by Cathy Leeney's careful direction of sound and action. Interplay of light and sound together with good period costumes was complemented by the acting skill of Moveable Feast Theatre Company.


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