TEXTBRIDGE | Literary Agency

I Killed My Mother

András Visky

(Original Hungarian title, Megöltem az anyámat)

Bernadette has been abandoned by her parents, her father whom she has never known (and whom she is, thus, inclined to mythologize) and her mother, a poor Gypsy. She grows up in a series of Romanian orphanages, in one of which she meets a boy, Clip, and they become friends.
Bernadette moves through a series of relationships with would be parents, lovers and friends, as she seeks to eradicate her orphan status. In a mixture of curiosity and anger, she looks for her mother, but their meetings are not successful. She “kills” her mother ritually, symbolically not having any resources with which to integrate her mother’s life as an organic part of her own identity.
The play ends with Bernadette and Clip alone on stage, their orphan status confirmed, but maybe, finally, accepted by Bernadette.


BERNADETTE: a girl/young woman in her late teens/early twenties.

CLIP: a boy/young man of the same age. It is unclear to the audience if Clip is real or some kind of imaginary friend. Or, perhaps, an angel.


Scene 3/Ludus

BERNADETTE startled. Clip...? Clip...?! Is that you? Well, there you are... So then, whose blood is this again, now? Tasting. It's not mine. Tastes again. It is mine. Again, repeatedly. Hm... I don't know... I know you're here... If only I knew where... I remember, this is the first picture in my mind, right inside my forehead, that I am sitting under a huge window and the whole red, grey, blue, bright, bluer than blue, darkly furrowed, swirling, empty, hotter than fire, icy, starry, haggard, smoky, vapor-trailed sky can be seen...I sit on the uppermost bunk in the hospital and I rock myself. ... Like this...I can see the window and the sky, everything and everyone else through the rails of the bed. Now I also see the railings, they remain, everyone is cowered there behind the railings, I'm sorry, many have tried, there is no prescription for this, they say, it's somewhere in my head, somewhere deep in the brain, it's not interesting... Dogs, cats, birds, trees, everything... there is nothing to be done... white iron beds are piled up together at the end of the hospital corridor in front of the big windows, they are painting or disinfecting, and I rock myself... I don't remember when I began, time was not, then suddenly time is, and an image, I see myself, I see that the sky changes, I rock myself determinedly. They want me to stop, not to rock, because I'm covered all over with blood. Stop, they don't want me to break my ribs...Giggles. Let them want, I still break them. Crack, definitely, crack, that's it....Rocking is what I do best. Nothing hurts me, it hurts if I don’t rock myself, if I don’t break my ribs.... I’m vicer-versa. I dream, of course, I often dream, and when I dream, I dream that they beat me up, I'm covered all over with blood, I really need to wake up somehow, and I wake up at last after great difficulty, and I am covered all over with blood, I'm covered with my own blood.... Now, did I dream or not? I can’t get back into the dream to find out the truth. The truth is in the dream, I can’t get back... The maternity hospital, white as snow, a humming beehive, it's non-stop... I adore it...My mother left me at the maternity hospital... I was taken some time after that, I don't know when, they reached into the beehive and lifted me out, for a long time it was dark, I can't see myself, I can't see anyone, they took me to the county juvenile home, somewhere...Luduş, I remember this, Maroşluduş... Sighişoara? No, first there was Luduş. Everyone who lives in Luduş is an accomplice, said the educators. That's what they came up with to call them: educators. And such educators, educators and child-saviors...! Terminators and liquidators and gone astray dog-catchers, everyone knows this, they are professional, giant cockroaches, all of them...I don't like Luduş, Clip hates it, too. When I miss Clip a lot, I think of Luduş, how both of us hated Luduş. I like to think of Luduş, so that I can hate it together with Clip... That's where I met Clip, and so I love Luduş even while I hate it... I didn't know that if two people hated together, that this was love... The boys are playing in the yard, in the mud, many boys, they are all naked. We are also naked, we girls, and we play in the yard, too, in the mud...Clip is being punished by the educators and I watch. I can see that they punish him, they punish him because he is guilty, so he must be punished, it's understandable... Open your mouth. He opens it. Put out your tongue. He puts it out. His tongue is guilty, clearly, so he must put it out. One of the terminators puts a metal clip on his tongue, a many-toothed, shark mouthed, metal curtain-clip. Healthy, stainless steel. Stainless steel, Clip...! And then I open my mouth, it is not I who open it, it opens by itself. There is a self in me that does not feel fear, somehow it feels completely different things but not fear, and Clip is in this feeling, only Clip, and the protruding, dwarf-shark-clip on his tongue, this other self opens my mouth...Steps into the story Stop, take the clip off Clip right now, do it right now! Fights for a while, writhes, throws something at the educators, is captured, and quiets down. Naked Clip, you weeping, whining, muddy little animal, my Clip. Cries in her anger. Open my mouth and put out my tongue. No, I won’t. They help me. They grab my runaway tongue with their fingers...How helpful they are! A clip on my tongue until evening as well. Punishment. Stainless steel, a wholesome metal clip, punishment. Criminals have been punishing since the beginning of the world...

CLIP Deh gud tthing ith dath yew dont get hongwee duwing dthis taime.
BERNADETTE stressing every syllable Whatt ah yew tsaying? Oi dont understhand.
CLIP Mimes, acts out his words.
BERNADETTE Oi get id... yew dont get hongwee.. Thas gud.
CLIP Gud, vewee gud.
BERNADETTE Ontilll heevening?
CLIP Weeh dont heet ond tho, weeh dont get hongree. They laugh.
BERNADETTE Phawts yewre naome?
CLIP Kolip. Izzint dat gud?
BERNADETTE Ith iss, ith iss fowh mee.
CLIP Yew muth lenn to speek klipith. Ids impawtant. Ids nawt pawsibble ehnee odder way.
BERNADETTE Teath mme, teath mme, teath mme haow, dahleeng Kolip.
CLIP Draws various objects in the air, Bernadette holds her tongue by three fingers of her right hand and has to say the names of what Clip is drawing in Clipish. They play happily together with much laughing. Then they take the clips off their tongues and continue.
BERNADETTE I can speak Clipish, I can speak Clipish!
CLIP Yes, you can, you smart ass. Pay attention to the throat-work, that's the secret of the Clip language.
BERNADETTE A throat virtuoso, that's what you are, Clip. You!
CLIP Without Clipish, nothing is possible. In Heaven, for example, they speak Clipish. The naked and orphaned god...
CLIP Of course! He has no father, no mother. The naked god speaks Clipish, and the naked angels speak to us in Clipish.
CLIP Naked.
BERNADETTE You know this.
CLIP I know.
BERNADETTE Is there a hell, Clip?
CLIP There is, of course there is.
BERNADETTE What language do they speak in hell?
CLIP In hell, everyone speaks his own language... there are no two souls speaking the same language... No one understands anyone else...
BERNADETTE You know everything, you throat virtuoso! How old are you?
CLIP Old... I don't know... Seven... Or more than seven, how should I know... No one knows...
BERNADETTE childlike, realizing a secret We have no mother-tongue, Clip?!
CLIP Neither does God.
BERNADETTE And the angels don't have one.
CLIP Clipish. Say after me! Bernadette in silence repeats solemnly Ow fawher, who ar in hehven, hollowth be dye naome. Dye kingdom kum, dye whill be dun, on earth as it hiss in hehven. Gif fuss dis day ower dayey breawth and forgiff fuss ower thresspesses as we forgiff dhose thwo thresspess against tuss. And leadth us naught into themptation, buth deliffer uss from evul. Ffoh dthine iss the kingdom anth the powah anth the ghlory, fohevah. Ahmen.
BERNADETTE happily. Good, that’s fine.
CLIP during the prayer, unobserved, hides.
BERNADETTE Clip... Clip? Where are you? Clip! Increasingly alarmed as if believing that she has been dreaming, searching everywhere for Clip Dear Clip, where are you Puts the clip back on her tongue Ow fawher, who ar in hehven, hollowth be dye naome. Dye kingdom kum, dye whill be dun... Stops, afraid to move, cries. Clip! Where are you? Where are you? Where are you? Cries.
CLIP steps out from behind her back. I'm right here, don't be scared. I'm here...
BERNADETTE Clip! Don't disappear like that, as if you were not! Promise me that you'll be! Promise me that you won't ever leave, never, never, never...
CLIP I won't leave you, I promise...
BERNADETTE Someday, you'll escape from here, leave here, like an alien.
CLIP What are you talking about! If I escape from here, I'll take you with me...
BERNADETTE And you won't cross into the realm of Never before me?
CLIP Never.
BENADETTE Me neither. Never.

In a happy celebration, they thread the clips on some string and each place one around the other's neck as if performing a secret engagement ceremony.

CLIP As long as I live, and afterwards too.
BERNADETTE Afterwards too?
CLIP Afterwards too.
BERNADETTE As long as I live, and afterwards too, afterwards too, afterwards too. It's good, how I said it?
CLIP It's good.
BERNADETTE What else do you know, Clip? Do you know how to kill?
CLIP I know.