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Struggle of the Dogs and the Black


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AT: Come Dog, Come Night; Black Battles with Dogs A: Bernard-Marie Koltès Pf: 1982, New York; 1984, Paris Pb: 1980 Tr: 1989 G: Drama in 20 scenes; French prose S: Construction site, West African country, c.1980 C: 3m, 1fHorn, 60-year-old foreman of a soon-to-be abandoned project to build a large bridge, has just brought out Leona (Leonie), a former chambermaid, from Paris to be with him in Africa. Because he was spat at, Cal, an engineer in his thirties, shot a black worker and dumped his body in a sewer. Alboury, from the neighbouring village, comes in search of his brother's body, which Horn promises to release the following day. When Horn learns of Cal's crime, Horn tries to talk Alboury out of demanding his brother's body, offering bribes and appealing to his better sense. To the background of distant barking dogs and the calling of the guards, Cal asks Leona whether she knows that Horn was castrated by African rebels and then tries to seduce her. Horn resolves to get rid of Alboury, with whom Leona has now fallen in love. Cal tries unsuccessfully to recover the body from the sewer and now plans to shoot Alboury, but is prevented by Horn. Horn tries again to buy off Alboury, but Alboury demands a gun to avenge his brother's murder. When Leona pleads with Alboury to desist and take her as his wife, he spits in her face. Horn drives him away and pleads with Leona to marry him. She responds by cutting tribal markings in her cheeks, and is forced by Horn to leave. As fireworks explode in the sky, Cal, about to kill Alboury, is shot by the black guards.

AT: Come Dog, Come Night; Black Battles with Dogs A: Bernard-Marie Koltès Pf: 1982, New York; 1984, Paris Pb: 1980 Tr: 1989 G: Drama in 20 scenes; French prose S: Construction site, West African country, c.1980 C: 3m, 1f

The intense, poetically expressed action, confined to one night, reflects differing European attitudes to black Africa: the paternalism of Horn; the vicious arrogance of Cal; and the absurd romanticism of Leona, against which is set the quiet dignity of Alboury, who bears the name of a 19th-century tribal king who resisted white colonizers. Cal ends dead, Leona mutilated, and Horn disillusioned and alone.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).


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