Evidence to the Contrary

Evidence to the Contrary

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About the book

Lena Fulvi has been arrested for the murder of her mother. She insists it was an accident, but she has been accused by a nurse in the hospital who saw her do the deed. Her sisters willingly testify against her. But the Inspector questioning Lena is not convinced that it is an open and shut case. He probes the pain and darkness that Lena conceals beneath a sophisticated veneer, embarking on a journey with her that changes them both.

Since its Montreal premiere in 1988, La Déposition (Evidence to the Contrary) has had over 150 performances in Québec alone and has had considerable international success. Readings at the Soho Repertory and Double Image theatres in New York in 1989 were followed by a Dutch translation and performance in Amsterdam in 1990. The play toured France in 1991 and was published there by Editions Actes Sud. It was staged at the Avignon Festival in both 1991 and 1993 and was translated into German and broadcast on German radio in 1993. In 1994 it went into production in London, and was translated into Spanish and Italian.

About the author

Pedneault, Hélène

Hélène Pedneault was well known in Québec not only as a playwright but as a songwriter and musical collaborator; her shows with Sylvie Tremblay, Michel Robert and Marie-Claire Seguin drew sellout crowds. She was also well respected as an essayist, a journalist for Radio Canada and Radio Québec, and a columnist—especially popular was her landmark column "Chroniques Deliquantes" which appeared in the feminist magazine La Vie en Rose. Pedneault made her theatrical debut with La Deposition (Evidence to the Contrary). Critics hailed it as an immediate success.

About the translator

Gaboriau, Linda

Linda Gaboriau has translated over twenty plays, including Robert Lepage's Vinci, and René-Daniel Dubois' Being at Home with Claude. Evidence to the Contrary received New York readings at the Soho Repertory Theatre and Double Image Theatre.

Excerpt

Her: I admit nothing. I maintain it was an accident. An accident of hate, or a highway accident, it's all the same. It couldn't end any other way between the two of us.

She had been dying for eight days, Inspector. She was emptying the blood out of her body. She was emptying it as fast as they could pump it into her arm. It was absurd. She had been trying to die for the twenty years, to no avail. She wasn't very gifted. And one night, when I was reading at her bedside, I glanced at her distractedly, the way I did every so often. I swear, just a distracted glance, Inspector. And she died. I didn't know I was loaded. Like a gun that you clean, thinking it's empty. I looked at her and she died. My look shot an enormous hole through her heart. There was blood everywhere, and a hole in the wall behind her head too. There were holes everywhere. Blood everywhere. I was devastated, as if I had committed one of those enormous blunders that can't be undone. I didn't know what to do. And that' s when Jeanne Bouchard, your famous witness for the prosecution, came in. I said to her: she's dead, look, she's dead... I didn't want to hurt her.

Him: You are raving...

Her: I didn't think that hatred could have a life of its own like that. Totally autonomous. I thought I was very good at controlling it. Everyone thinks they are. These things happen you know: hatred, loss of control, all those things...

Him: That' s enough. There was no wound, no blood.

Her: Yes, there was. Blood everywhere. I could see nothing else.

Him: There was no wound, there was no blood. Only a tiny needle mark in the crook of your mother's arm. A tiny hole where you injected air, bringing on a fatal embolism. If Nurse Bouchard hadn't happened to come in at that very moment, you would have committed the perfect crime. No one would have seen the smoke, only the fire. After all, your mother was already dying. The same technique used in Dorothy Sayers' book, Unnatural Death, which I found on your bookshelves.


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